Used with permission from Charisma magazine, January 2012. Copyright Charisma Media, USA.
As he looked across the waters of the Hudson River from the Statue of Liberty,
the twin towers of the World Trade center spiking the New York City skyline,
Jonathan Cahn had a deep sense of foreboding.
The Messianic rabbi had joined with other prayer and prophetic leaders
at the nation’s symbolic gate – Lady Liberty greeting the many immigrants
arriving at nearby Ellis Island, where they would take their first steps in their
new land – to seek God. They had gathered with a shared burden to pray for
the city and a sense of concern about a possible terrorist attack on the United States.
Two years later, the suicide flights that stunned the world would touch Cahn’s, too. His
future wife, Renata, was to have been at the World Trade Center for an appointment but
changed her plans at the last minute, as did other members of his congregation who worked there. Two who were in the Twin Towers were among those who escaped before the collapse.
But in addition to feeling personal relief, Cahn was pitched into a journey of discovery. It would take him to ground zero, historical sites and research libraries, collecting hundreds of pages of notes in a mission to uncover the deeper story behind the shocking news footage.
From disparate fragments of present-day events, key moments in America’s past and
somewhat obscure biblical passages, he has pieced together a jaw-dropping jigsaw puzzle that presents a disturbing picture of a nation on the brink.
Cahn shares what he has uncovered in his new book, “The Harbinger,” revealing that
the 2001 terrorist attacks, the war on terror, the economic collapse, the actions of the U.S. government and even the words of its leaders all are part of a modern-day
replaying of an ancient drama. Laying out current happenings over an Old Testament
template, Cahn presents an uncanny match.
The message: Israel’s fall to judgment for failing to return to God, as described in
Isaiah 9, is being reenacted step by step in the U.S. today with the appearance of nine
prophetic harbingers, or warning signs, from ancient times manifesting to America.
The Assyrian invasion, Israel’s ruin and ultimate exile are remarkably being mirrored
in a sequence of events that started unfolding on 9/11.
Cahn reveals how Scriptures recording Israel’s defiance of God have actually been
quoted by America’s leaders in the wake of the terrorist attacks and that contemporary
events have often unfolded on dates with specific significance in the Jewish calendar.
He traces the ways in which occurrences at ground zero have inexplicable links to Bible
texts and connects the dots of the economic collapse to God’s progressive judgment.
“We are at a crossroads,” says Messianic movement leader and broadcaster Sid Roth
simply of Cahn’s book. “Either the church will act like the church in the New Testament
or it will collapse and the U.S. will become a Third World country and we will
not fulfill our destiny.”
Though Cahn describes “The Harbinger” as a trumpet call, it may ring bells for some
who recall messages from David Wilkerson in the wake of 9/11. The famed New York
City pastor and author told how he believed that the strikes at the World Trade Center
and the Pentagon were a sign of God’s judgment – referencing Isaiah 9. The Harbinger
expands on Wilkerson’s early broad-brush alarm, with Cahn inheriting the now deceased
pastor’s prophetic mantle and “building on the shoulders of his revelation,” Roth says.
He became aware of the first stirrings of Cahn’s message several years ago. Cahn had
spoken about what he believed God was showing him at the Messianic congregation
he leads in New Jersey and some conferences. But Cahn turned down an invitation
to talk more widely about the message on Roth’s TV and radio broadcasts, sensing
that the time was not right.
After the economic collapse of 2008, Cahn realized that what was revealed and
foreshadowed in the nine harbingers was affecting the entire American and global
economies. Cahn says: “A lot of believers have a sense regarding America – this
sense that America is rapidly departing from God and that if it doesn’t return,
its future is bleak. The book is a revelation that behind this sense is a deep and
uncanny biblical reality.”
An atheist finds Yeshua
While the book releases in print only this month, its message has already created
waves through early interest in an e-book edition, made available in September, and
Cahn’s two appearances on Sid Roth’s “It’s Supernatural” TV show in the fall. The
broadcasts – “the most important prophetic show you will ever see,” Roth says – produced “a phenomenal response.”
Though the bearded 52-year-old, who might be mistaken for an amiable college
professor, may be unfamiliar to many, Cahn is well known and respected within
the Messianic movement. Since 1988 he has led Beth Israel Worship Center, one of the
country’s largest Messianic congregations. Members travel from four states to a former
furniture department store in Wayne, N.J., where Jerusalem’s Western Wall and the old
city gates are being recreated as part of the fellowship’s celebration of the Jewish roots
of their faith.
Located 20 minutes outside New York, the center is also home to Cahn’s Hope of
the World, an outreach ministry with radio broadcasts – including Cahn’s weekday
“The Nice Jewish Boy” – and compassion programs providing clean water and supporting
orphanages overseas. Cahn has traveled to Cuba, Nigeria and India on
ministry and spoken at the United Nations. He often symbolically blows the shofar at
gatherings, echoing its Old Testament call to worship.
Cahn leads Beth Israel Worship Center, a messianic congregation near New York City
Cahn is known for unlocking Bible mysteries through the understanding born
from his Jewish background, and his heritage and personal history have prepared
him to sound the trumpet in “The Harbinger.” Descended from the line of Aaron,
whose priestly role included calling the people to worship and leading Israel into
battle through the sounding of the shofar, he grew up in a reformed Jewish home,
the youngest of three children to scientist parents.
Though he attended synagogue services, he became an atheist at age 8. “In the
synagogue, people would say the prayers by rote,” he recalls. “There was no sense
that God was real in their lives. It made me question the whole thing.”
Cahn was dubbed “The Atheist” at school for his vigorous unbelief, but things
started to change when he became a teenager. He began to question his atheism and
then to embark on a quest for the truth through science, philosophy, the occult, even UFOs. He was surprised to find Jesus mentioned in many of the books.
“God got me through the back door,” he says with a smile, recounting how in a store
one day he stumbled across a book that seemed by its cover to be like some of the
others he had read. It was “The Late Great Planet Earth” by Hal Lindsey, a best-selling
exploration of end-times prophecy that brought many to Christ.
Eventually Cahn came to accept that the Bible was true and that Jesus, Yeshua, was
the Jews’ long-promised Messiah. He even witnessed to others about Him and led
them to faith – but he wasn’t ready to take the step himself.
Cahn told God he would surrender His life when he reached old age. Two car
accidents within a few months – one of which saw him escape unscathed when his
vehicle was crushed “like aluminum foil” by a train on a railroad crossing – caused
him to reevaluate. As a 20-year-old college student, Cahn climbed to the top of a
mountain overlooking the Hudson River and told Yeshua he was ready.
Cahn’s first job as a new believer was as a night watchman, at one stage guarding
property that included the headquarters of an outreach to Jews. Keeping night
watchman hours to this day – he typically studies and works until the early hours,
rising later in the day – Cahn observes of his past: “I think that the Lord prepares us
in our life, and He gives us signs and indications of His will.”
The start of ‘Something Big’
There was also a prophetic element to “The Harbingers” acquisition by Charisma
Media. Having finished the manuscript, Cahn had someone in mind to speak with
about finding a publisher. “I wanted it to get out God’s way,” he says. “There’s conventional wisdom in publishing that you have to promote yourself, but I didn’t want
to do that.”
Mulling things during an early morning layover at a North Carolina airport on his
way to speak at a Promise Keepers conference, Cahn bowed his head and prayed
that the Lord would get the message of “The Harbinger” out His way. When he looked
up from praying and reading his Bible, he noticed a man sitting to his left.
“He was looking at me,” Cahn says, “and he said, ‘What’s the good word?’ I figured
he was a businessman who didn’t know the Lord, so I started witnessing to him.”
Cahn was half right. The man was Hubie Synn, a New York accountant – a
believer with a prophetic gifting. Synn had once told client David Tyree, a devout
Christian and wide receiver for the New York Giants, that God was going to highlight
Synn’s word to the athlete was delivered several months before the 2008 Super Bowl, during which Tyree dramatically snagged an Eli Manning pass with his right hand,
pressing the ball against his helmet. Footage of the stunning play became an Internet
sensation, and ESPN SportsCenter dubbed Tyree’s catch “the greatest play in Super
When Cahn realized that Synn was a fellow believer, the two began talking.
“Then he began to prophesy over me,” Cahn says, “telling me that God was about
to do something big.”
When Cahn later mentioned that he had been working on a book, Synn suggested
that he contact Charisma Media founder Steve Strang, whom he knew for
having published Tyree’s book, “More Than Just a Catch.”
Synn recalls being at the airport because his flight had been delayed and initially
being reluctant to follow the nudging he felt by the Holy Spirit to speak to Cahn,
because he was preoccupied with family concerns. “The way my gift works, I don’t
really know what I say, it just blows right through me,” Synn says.
But when he bowed to God’s prompting and finished telling Cahn that
an important book he had written would be published, Cahn told him he had been
praying to know what to do about his book. “God literally answered his prayer
right away,” Synn says, “because he opened his eyes and I was there.”
Cahn originally documented his revelatory findings as nonfiction but decided to
rewrite and present them in story form to reach a wider, general audience intrigued
by past-and-present mysteries such as “The Da Vinci Code” and “National Treasure.” “In
the Bible, God uses images, symbols, stories and parables to convey prophetic messages
or spiritual truths,” he explains.
But why would God choose Cahn to deliver the message of “The Harbinger?”
Cahn shrugs, cross-legged in the chair of his basement home office that looks out
over a small lake. “He chooses the foolish things of the world,” he says. “At school I
was known as ‘The Atheist.’ Perhaps that makes me the least likely person.”
Roth offers other reasons, pointing to Cahn’s prophetic gift, his rich understanding of the Old Testament as a Messianic believer, his proximity to ground zero and that premonition two years before 9/11 that something was going to happen. All of it makes him “a very unique person,” Roth says.
He also wonders whether Cahn’s personality – passionate but restrained, a combination Roth says makes him like “a kind John the Baptist” – fits him well to deliver
such a sobering message.
With a thoughtful manner belying the intensity of his message, Cahn says that he
is driven by love, not anger. “If you see people who are in danger of
calamity and you don’t warn them, and you say nice things to them and make them feel
good, that’s not love,” he says. “If you love them, you will sound the alarm. You will
plead with them and you will do everything you can, even if it costs you, to get them
saved. That’s what love is.”
Andy Butcher , an award-winning journalist, is the editor of Christian Retailing
and former news director of Charisma.
Used with permission from Charisma magazine, January 2012. Copyright Charisma Media, USA.