The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn–Book Review

A friend asked me to read this book, and I had to force myself to finish it.  The author is obviously a clever man, well-versed in the Bible and history, and therefore able to come up with many connections that seem “amazing” on the surface.  He relates a variety of prophecies from Isaiah, Ezekiel and Jeremiah to present day events starting with 9-11.  These are “harbingers” or omens of a coming judgement on the United States.

Do I agree that our country is going down sinful paths?  I do.  Do I believe that like other powerful societies ours will eventually end and that collapse may be brought about by our own pride and arrogance?  Very possibly.  What I don’t believe is that we need to discover exactly when and how it will happen by decoding secret information hidden in the Bible..  This smacks of Gnosticism, a heresy that obviously still persists.

There is no biblical reason to connect America with Israel.  The Bible is clear that the church has replaced Israel as the chosen people of God, not the United States or any other nation or ethnic group.  Scripture should now be read in light of that understanding.  We may like to think of the United States as a “Christian nation”  but in actuality that has never been the case.  Many of the first settlers did not come for religious freedom at all, and while some of the founding fathers were Christians, others weren’t.

In the final chapters of the novel, the main character is told by the prophet that he must “choose” his destiny before judgement day.  This goes against Lutheran belief that God chooses us.  In fact, the whole premise of the book, that we can repent and turn from our errors is wrong  The point of the entire Old Testament, is that the people of Israel couldn’t do this, not matter how hard they tried  Sin will always prevail in both national and personal life — that’s why we need a Savior.

I suppose, like some other books, it might be possible to simply enjoy The Harbinger as fiction, ignoring the glaring theological errors.  Fiction is not theology, after all.  In this case, however, the author specifically says in his introduction that while the form of his work is a story, the information contained is real.  It is not meant to be read as a fanciful or interesting tale.  Furthermore, in my estimation, it also fails as a novel.  It is repetitious, slow and has very little dramatic suspense or plot.

VERDICT:  No stars.  My advice is don’t bother to read this.

For see what Lutherans believe about the end times see:

Lutherans and the End Times

 

 

Why Wait?

I have to admit I’m not good at waiting.  When I have a task on my “to do” list, I want to get it done and check it off.  When I’m due to be at an event, I get there early, and I have little patience for those who show up late (i.e. at the last moment.) I’m certainly not alone in my “hurry up” attitude. These days we’re not accustomed to waiting for anything — our cell phones give us instant connection with people, the internet pops up any fact we need with the push of a button, using GPS technology we can check to see exactly where our spouse or child is right now and when they’ll arrive at home. Sometimes I want God to hurry up, as well — fix my problems, show me the right decision, give me a burst of inspiration — or at least let me know WHEN the answers will come.  However, the Bible tells us that some things can’t be known immediately — they’re in God’s hands and they’re worth waiting for.

See the source image

“The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.  It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”  Lamentations 3:25-26

Advent is a time of waiting and remembering the Old Testament prophets who foretold the coming of the Messiah, the Savior.  Although they delivered the message, the timing was up to God.  The author of Hebrews says,

“These (the heroes of the Old Testament) all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar …”

Abraham and Sarah, Noah and Enoch and many others never saw the fulfillment of God’s promise, but in faith they trusted Him.  They were willing to wait. It’s a lesson I need to learn. God sent my Savior at “just the right time.” (Romans 5:6) — He’ll take care of my other concerns at the right time as well.  I just have to wait. Advent it good practice.