* Both Agree on the Theme of The Harbinger: With the last of the much hyped "blood moons" upon us, BEL is rebroadcasting this important program in which Bob Enyart interviewed Jonathan Cahn, the NY Times bestselling author of The Harbinger. Bob appreciates Cahn's warning to an America defiant of God but Enyart disagrees with Cahn's claim that 9/11 was a specific sign from God. See just below Bob's notes regarding his reasons for disagreeing with Jonathan Cahn's claims of a specific divine message in the events following the Attack on America
* Rejecting The Harbinger's Claim of Divine Signs: (This is not meant to be harsh, for we love and appreciate Jonathan Cahn, and though airing a daily radio talk show, we don't want to be like David who became battle hardened; yet, this is meant to be direct.) The last nine minutes of audio on today's program were recorded twelve years ago at an End Times seminar conducted in Winona Lake, Indiana only four days after Sept. 11, 2001. Bob Enyart predicted that sincere Christian authors (who love and honor God and preach the Gospel) would find a Bible passage with a few uncanny similarities to 9/11, and so would claim that therefore Al Qaeda's attack on America was a sign from God. Consider Jonathan Cahn's few parallels (which get repeated often) from Isaiah 9:10 to 9/11 events. In the audio from September 2001, Bob Enyart illustrates how easy this is to claim fulfillment of a prophetic pattern when, compared to the Harbinger, he quoted more, and more significant, 9/11 parallels, not from Isaiah but from Revelation 17 and 18. As one small example, the greater parallel between Scripture and 9/11 is not a sycamore and a fir tree, but Washington DC and NYC debating the patent rights of murdered unborn children so that "the merchants of the earth" can buy and sell the "the bodies and souls of men." So Bob intentionally misinterpreted the Scriptures to show how easily (and even innocently) this is done, and while Cahn's parallels get to select from events over a period of years, Bob's many more prophetic parallels were all fulfilled on the very day of September 11th.
Harbinger Expert Critic says: "Bob, I read your analysis this morning
and it was dead on right on every point." - David James, 3/24/13
The Internet hasn't existed for 2,700 years. Jonathan Cahn's nine harbingers are based on a quote in the Bible of men defiant against God, who, after suffering God's judgment, repeated in utter ignorance, "The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with hewn stone; the sycamores are cut down, but we will replace them with cedars" (Isaiah 9:10). If the web had been forever, a Google search would probably return countless pages recording, after attacks, utterances throughout Judeo-Christian history of that quote. About 18 minutes into the program, Jonathan Cahn says about Isaiah 9:10 and the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor that back then, "you don't have anyone quoting the Scripture of judgment." Perhaps, perhaps not. In the very center of the Internet's page of Pearl Harbor Quotes we read Isaiah 9:10, not in the NIV or NASB, because those versions were translated later, but in the King James Version.
Cahn chose to present his message in a book of fiction. Not unlike the folks who think Star Wars is real, for many readers, Cahn's literary device blurs the distinction between truth and fiction. The requisite suspension of disbelief necessary to enjoy the elements of the story, a wary reporter, a surprised liaison, and an unnamed prophet with curious ancient seals, works to bias the reader who emerges from the novella into the real world lacking the desire to expend the mental energy necessary for an objective consideration of The Harbinger's theological claims.
The first harbinger (i.e., a seal in the book's metaphor) is the 9/11 attack. Cahn says at about 6:30 into today's program that a first attack is a sign of God's judgment and that God's protection will be further lifted if the nation does not repent. Bob suggests to Cahn that not unlike 9/11, Pearl Harbor suffered 3,000 casualties, about 2,400 of whom were killed. We live here, today, and so we are inclined to discount far-flung attacks over the last 2,700 years and view the world, unsurprisingly, through our own eyes. Bob mentioned to Jonathan that years ago he had interviewed the beloved Hal Lindsey who, through a similar here-and-now-centered interpretation, suggested that the Second Coming would be in 1988. (This was not unlike superstitious European Christians who would panic when pestilence coincided with Halley's Comet, nor unlike those who thought Jesus would return on the Y2K computer bug, nor unlike those who thought that lightning strikes signified judgment from Zeus, until that is lightning rods ruined the divine aim. Superstition, sadly, is as rampant among Christian authors as it was among the Greeks who worshiped the pantheon.) We interpret our own suffering as though it were of biblical proportion, as Cahn said at about 21:40, that in addition to the harbingers (signs), America has suffered "economic collapse". Well, collapse means different things to different people. Within 48 hours of our prerecorded interview, Dow Jones reached an all time high, and at the very minute today's show began, Reuters reported, "Housing starts point to growing economic momentum." Compare that just to even recent decimation by tsunami, typhoon, earthquake, and to the countries bankrupted, the millions slaughtered, and tens of millions ruined by war, and even to the billions in Asia and Africa who've truly suffered debilitating poverty. That's economic collapse, whereas if God brought economic sanctions against America, it wouldn't look like a downturn, and it wouldn't primarily hurt the poor and middle class. Given the freedom to be arbitrary, fans of Nostradamus (who apparently predicted the second coming, to America in the year 2013, of Twinkies and Ding Dongs) and Jean Dixon point to fulfillment of prophecy. Ironically, Isaiah 9:10 itself is not even a prophecy, so any claimed fulfillment is metaphorical at best. However, The Harbinger itself fulfilled an actual prophecy, uttered in the very week of 9/11, at that End Times seminar, which predicted that such books would be written :). And I'm not even a prophet.
Over a million Americans were killed in the civil and world wars. Weren't those lives worth a Bible verse? Around 25 minutes into the program, Bob agrees with The Harbinger, in that "for Israel, being a prophet was a matter of life or death" (p. 9). Enyart then explains that today, God has withdrawn His accountability system for prophets. Jonathan did not anticipate Bob's statement that stoning a false prophet to death is no longer commanded, nor permitted, by God, as the New Testament says, that with "the priesthood being changed [by Christ], of necessity there is also a change of the law" (Hebrews 7:12). So today, while Christians tend to forget and forgive (often without even admitting) the false prophecies of their brethren, unbelievers have long memories and stumble over our false prophecies and prophetic interpretations.
The actual parallel between Israel and America, regarding 732 B.C. and 2001, is only thematic, not divinely particular. When a nation ignores God, she becomes increasingly weak and vulnerable to destruction from within and without. Contrary to The Harbinger's emphasis (p. 19), this is true for Israel and America and for Italy, Germany, and Argentina. Christians disagree terribly over interpretation of the plain words in the Bible. Realize how loose our interpretations will then be of events! What is the meaning of a flood? An earthquake? An attack? It is God! Or perhaps it's the devil! Or was it in fact Osama bin Laden? Jesus disapproved of such interpretations of current events in Luke 13:1-5, and when Enyart debated D. James Kennedy's Professor of New Testament from Knox Theological Seminary, this very passage, regarding 2,000-year-old headlines of murder and a fallen tower, was central to the matter.
The Harbinger makes the important observation that, "during national judgment, both the righteous and the wicked perish" (p. 30). Then Cahn writes, thankfully, that God was not with Al Qaeda, but he claimed this as part of the prophetic pattern, in that, God was not with Israel's enemies who attacked her. But again this is arbitrary, for there were plenty of times when God Himself orchestrated the attacks on Israel in punishment for her national adultery. Yet it is wrong to extrapolate from those extraordinary biblical interventions that, therefore, God is the one who orchestrates a molester's rape of a child, or the Holocaust. Attributing to God the designs of the wicked comes close to blasphemy, except that it is done in ignorance, although often, through negligent ignorance. Jonathan Cahn says, rightly I assert, that God was not with Al Qaeda, yet because of a degree of superstition, he then interprets defiance against Islamic terrorism as defiance against God. Is Israel defiant today against God? Yes. (Sadly, like America they are a nation of socialists who defend abortion and homosexuality.) Does that mean that Israel's defiance of Hamas is inherently condemnable? Of course not. Cahn takes a Time magazine reporter's perfectly valid quote as a double entendre, with the entire thrust of the book implying that the defiance is against God, even though it is typically explicitly stated, as in this case, that it is against Islamic terrorists. "Rebuilding Ground Zero was going to be America's statement of defiance," (p. 63, from July 1, 2008) "to those who attacked us."
In September 2001 in our End Times seminar at Winona Lake (home of a famous Bible center, Billy Sunday, and a prayer launch pad for Billy Graham's first crusade), I didn't have to stretch the details, as Jonathan does a tad, to make far greater and more substantive parallels between 9/11 and the book of Revelation. The world trade center, her sins had reached to heaven, the nations, peoples, tongues, and languages, Babylon the great, is fallen, the kings of the earth see the smoke of her burning, standing at a distance for fear of her torment, watching the smoke of her ruin, the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury, her plagues will come in one day, death and mourning, she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her, alas, that mighty city, for in one hour your judgment has come, their commerce has ceased, no merchandising today of gold and silver, precious stones and pearls, silk and scarlet, every kind of object, of wood, bronze, iron, and marble, incense, wine and oil, flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, pork bellies, and bodies and souls of men. For in the previous week, the targets of God's wrath, New York and Washington D.C. were debating the patent rights of the tiniest innocent babies, the embryos destroyed so that their bodies could be harvested and sold, by the Israelis, to businesses around the world, while American financial interests were angered that they may not be collecting the royalties they were demanding. And on the Hudson and in the New York harbor, all who travel by ship, and as many as trade on the sea, stood at a distance and cried out when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, "What is like this great city?"
Both can't be correct, but either or both, the Harbinger and the Revelation 17-18 prophetic "parallels", could be wrong. As the above paragraph demonstrates, the more powerful and biblically extensive prophetic interpretation of 9/11 is not The Harbinger, but The Revelation. And that one is certainly wrong! For one, I intended it to be wrong. And secondly, if Revelation 18 was being fulfilled before our eyes on September 11, 2001 that would mean that we are now twelve years into Revelation chapter 19, and by now, the Second Coming should have occurred. So if the strong prophetic parallel (Revelation) isn't true, the weak one (Harbinger) probably isn't true either.
Allow me to be petty. A sycamore tree and a Norwegian fir (the claimed sixth and seventh signs) do not come close to the extraordinary depth of substance and parallel between 9/11 and Revelation 17 and 18. Besides (and these are insignificant, but mentioned because such trivialities in reverse, are used in The Harbinger to make its point. The World Trade Center wasn't made of bricks. (On the contrary, it is noted for being the first supertall building to be made without masonry.) And yes, (p. 72) New York City and America rebuilt. But so did Berlin. And Rome, one could say. Destroyed cities throughout history rebuilt, with notable exceptions like Nineveh. Isaiah speaks of many sycamores, not one as at the WTC. And as Cahn acknowledges, that tree destroyed on 9/11 had the same name, sycamore, but it was a different kind of tree; in fact, a different species, and a different genus. And a different family, and a different order. If it were much different, it wouldn't be a tree, one could say. (But then again, what couldn't one say?) Isaiah says the sycamores (plural, not singular) would be cut down (not crushed) and replaced with woods of cedar, not with a single pine tree. The Harbinger also embraces the invalid contradiction of freedom yet being forced, justifying this by saying, "It takes two oars to make a boat go straight" (p. 86). Yes, but that boat illustration presents not even a theoretical contradiction, let alone an actual one. And the world isn't going straight, unless we mean straight to hell. Some of the claimed fulfillments of the prophetic pattern are really the same thing, repeated references to the attack itself, and tower falling, and the rebuilding, and the quoting, in hubris, it is true, of Isaiah 9:10 to rebuild, as by one significant government official who was… John Edwards? That disgraced non-official, failed vice-presidential candidate. The 8th harbinger, coming with some peculiar justification in that spoken words are invisible, has to do with the Lincoln memorial in Washington, which is as it should be because D.C. was also a target (although there was no harbinger from Shanksville, Pennsylvania, for that was not an intended target no doubt). A claim repeated about slavery and the civil war is that every drop of shed blood was due to judgment of God. So then why could the British and much of the world end slavery without a similar judgment? (That could be answered, but would require prophetic interpretations specific to the unique history of each country.) And a biblical hewn stone did not need to be quarried from a mountain, let alone in upstate New York, though that claim adds flavor to the fiction and yet another confirmation of the prophecy! One would think that bureaucracy could not thwart a divine sign. That stone, though, that Jonathan writes so much about, being quarried and celebrated, ended up not as the cornerstone at ground zero but at a suburban office building. For Mayor Bloomberg, et al., changed the One World Trade Center design and diverted one of the harbingers… to Long Island.
A few words about Jonathan Cahn. We don't think that we convinced him, nor even gave him pause. Yet, at the same time, we don't think that he loves God any less than we do, nor do we believe that God approves more of us than He does of Cahn. We're just asking God to help us to do our best to rightly divide, and to urge all believers to rightly divide, the Word of Truth. The Ten Commandments judge Roy Moore publicly apologized here on KGOV.com for misinterpreting something as simple as a court ruling. When the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the partial-birth abortion "ban", Judge Moore, currently Alabama's chief justice, praised that ruling as a godly pro-life victory. Traveling to Birmingham, Alabama we challenged him to actually read the opinion, and he did, and so admitted that it was the most brutally wicked ruling in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court (and that's saying something). So there's hope for Jonathan too :) The great upside of Cahn's book is its theme, which is the nation's desperate need to turn to God and the horror of losing His blessing, for as Jonathan quoted a Bible commentary, "The defiance of God shuts out immeasurable good" (p. 76). The Harbinger's downside though, is that many of its Christian readers will become even more superstitious.
-Pastor Bob Enyart
Denver Bible Church
(See also Bob's Writings at KGOV.com/writings, and Bob's End Times seminar, and his super fun verse-by-verse study of the Book of Revelation!)