TAMPA, Fla. – "The Harbinger" has become a phenomenon in the Christian world and, more and more, in the secular realm as well. The first week of its release, the book hit the New York Times bestsellers list and has been a national bestseller ever since. Its companion DVD documentary, "The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment," has been the No. 1 Christian or faith video for 22 weeks.
When a message of this nature attains such success, it's guaranteed to become a lightning rod of controversy. While the book and movie have received praise and adulation, they have also been the targets of criticism and attack.
What are "The Harbinger" and "The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment" all about? They are about the revealing of an ancient mystery that goes back 2,700 years and that lies behind everything from 9/11 to the collapse of the American economy. The mystery is so specific that it reveals things such as the exact dates of the greatest economic collapses in American history (from 3,000-year-old scriptures) and the actions and words of American leaders before they do or say them. The book and documentary represent an urgent alarm and wake-up call to America – a warning of judgment that most are calling "amazing" or "stunning."
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What are the "Nine Harbingers"? In the last days of ancient Israel, before its judgment and destruction as a nation, nine harbingers of judgment, nine prophetic signs identifying a nation in danger of destruction, appeared in the land – each one, a warning of things to come. Those same nine harbingers are now reappearing on American soil – some involving the highest leaders of the land – even the president of the United States.
When did the "Nine Harbingers" first begin to appear in America? They began on Sept. 11, 2001 – but they didn't end there. They have continued to affect and even determine the course of America, even affecting the bank account of every American and the future.
What is the key behind the harbingers? The harbingers begin with the breach in a nation's security and a vow of defiance that brought destruction to ancient Israel (Isaiah 9:10).
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Is "The Harbinger" fiction or nonfiction, a story or real? The essence of "The Harbinger" is real and nonfiction. In fact, it was originally written in a purely nonfictional form. But author Jonathan Cahn decided to frame and relay it through a narrative involving a prophet and nine seals. So the narrative or story part is simply the framing or the delivery system to communicate the message, the mysteries, the revelations, which are real.
How do you distinguish what is nonfiction and real from the narrative? The characters, Nouriel, the prophet, Ana and their encounters are part of the story, the narrative framing – but all that the prophet reveals concerning the ancient mysteries and America is real.
Does "The Harbinger" suggest that Isaiah was prophesying of America? No. The idea is an error that comes from a fundamental confusion. "The Harbinger" never says that Isaiah was prophesying of America – but rather of ancient Israel. What it does say is something very different – namely this: The biblical template and warnings of national judgment that took place in the last days of ancient Israel and recorded by Isaiah, are now manifesting and replaying in America, precisely, eerily and uncannily.
What does this have to do with "hermeneutics"? Really nothing. Hermeneutics concerns the interpretation of a given text. "The Harbinger" fully affirms that the text of Isaiah's prophecy is about ancient Israel – thus no hermeneutical issue exists. The foundation is very simple: God judges nations, God warns of judgment and God acts consistently. So for God to send warning to America consistent with a template of national judgment revealed in the Bible rests squarely within sound scriptural parameters. The use of the biblical template in Isaiah to give warning in no way alters or even touches the original meaning, context or interpretation (or hermeneutics) of the pattern or verses used. In fact, some of the most conservative and revered of classic Bible commentaries speaks of Isaiah 9:10 and the surrounding verses as exactly this, a template and pattern of warning and judgment applicable well beyond the borders and times of ancient Israel.
Does "The Harbinger" say that God has made a covenant with America and that America has somehow replaced Israel or advocates some form of Replacement Theology? No. "The Harbinger" notes that American civilization was founded by the Puritans, who envisioned it after the pattern of ancient Israel, who dedicated it to God and who believed that they were in covenant with God – historical fact. The fact is noted only as it forms a striking background to America's now following the same pattern of Israel's apostasy from God and witnessing the same pattern of its judgment. But none of the mysteries revealed in "The Harbinger" are dependent on this background. And none of this has any bearing on Israel's calling as God's covenant nation – in fact, Jonathan Cahn, the author of "The Harbinger," happens to be Jewish!
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Who is Jonathan Cahn? Jonathan Cahn is a Jewish believer in Jesus, born again, evangelical and upholding the Bible as the Word of God. He is the senior pastor and messianic rabbi of the Jerusalem Center/Beth Israel in Wayne, N.J., and the president of Hope of the World Ministries, an outreach of the Gospel and compassion projects for the needy. He is well-respected throughout the Christian world for being solid, balanced and profound in his teachings and is a widely sought-after speaker.
People are calling Jonathan Cahn a prophet. Does he call himself a prophet? No. He refers to himself as a watchman.
Some have said that for Jonathan Cahn to be interviewed by a Christian with whom the critics differ means that Jonathan is agreeing with or endorsing all the views and positions of the interviewer. Is this true? None one to my knowledge has ever been held to this standard before Jonathan Cahn. To appear on an interview show does not mean and has never meant that one necessarily agrees with anything the interview says or believes. One appears on an interview show to be interviewed. Cahn's purpose is to get the message of warning and the call to repentance out to as many people as he can. If that means being interviewed by an atheist, a Hindu or a communist to reach atheists, Hindus and communists, he will do that – just as the apostle Paul appeared in the very pagan platform of Mars Hill that he would reach as many Gentiles and pagans as possible.
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There have been some extreme charges hurled at "The Harbinger" – everything from being connected to freemasonry, Mormonism, dominionism, gnosticism, post-millennialism, kabbalaism, anglo-Israelism and more. Is there any truth to any of this or any connection to "The Harbinger" or "The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment?" The answer is absolutely not – not in any way, shape or form. Such attacks have come from a relatively small group of people who are largely engaged in attacking other ministries in the kingdom, sometimes rightly and sometimes wrongly. Jonathan Cahn would reject and preach against all the above-mentioned isms – and has. The bizarre nature of such charges only shows the impact of "The Harbinger" and "The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment." The charges also show how contradictory the attacks. One Internet blogger put it best with this observation: "The strangeness of the attacks against 'The Harbinger' have to make you wonder what the devil has against it."
Has "The Harbinger" been endorsed by prominent Christian leaders? Absolutely – everyone from Pat Boone to Pat Robertson, from me (I produced "The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment") to Ray Comfort, from Baptist pastors to charismatic ministers, from Bible teachers and seminary professors. It has been widely praised and endorsed throughout the Christian world.
Is "The Harbinger" written for believers or nonbelievers? Both. The thrust of the book and the film leads believers and nonbelievers alike to repentance.
Does it lift up Jesus as the answer, or contain anything that would lead someone to salvation? "The Harbinger" and "The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment" movie both lead directly to repentance and salvation. First comes the reality and warning of judgment, and then the answer. In fact, the book has an entire chapter devoted to salvation called "Eternity." Some have called it the most powerful presentation of salvation they've ever read.
Can what happened in ancient Israel be applied to America? In Romans 15:4, it is written that "Everything that was written in the past was written for our instruction …" If that which took place in ancient Israel were not applicable to us today, most preaching would have to cease.
What about those who say the modern harbingers contain variations or differences from what happened in ancient Israel and Scripture and so are not literal or exact fulfillments of Isaiah? The problem is the book never claims that the modern appearances of the harbingers are fulfillments of the ancient prophecy, but are biblical signs, manifestations of warning. Note that this same strategy is used by those who oppose the Gospel, by seeking to deconstruct each of Jesus' fulfillments of messianic prophecy by focusing on any difference or varying detail they can find. To invalidate Jesus' claim as Messiah, they seek to deconstruct or pick apart each fulfillment and, by so doing, ignore or obscure the overwhelming weight and evidence of the full picture. One can do that with anything.
If we went by such logic, one could only accept the harbingers if New York City were invaded by spear-throwing Assyrians attacking buildings made of clay bricks and if Americans responded in perfect ancient Hebrew dialects. The modern manifestations correspond to the ancient, but speak to the modern nation just as the ancient harbingers did to the ancient nation. For example, it was a middle-eastern version of the sycamore that was a harbinger to a Middle East nation (Israel), but a western version of the sycamore would correspond to a western nation (America) – and this is exactly what manifested at the corner of Ground Zero. On the other hand, they will argue that the seventh harbinger was a spruce and not a cedar as in Isaiah. But neither Isaiah nor the ancient Israelites used the word "cedar." The actual word is the Hebrew "erez," which, in fact, actually and most exactly refers to a pinacea tree, which includes both the English cedar and the spruce, the very tree planted at Ground Zero.
What about the "Mystery of the Shemitah" – some claim you can use any statistic to say anything? One critic sought to minimize the phenomenon by saying that the modern crashes of Wall Street don't compare to that of the Great Depression in relative terms. Of course, had it been reversed, they would say that in absolute terms, the crashes of the Depression don't compare to the colossal numbers and magnitude of the modern collapses. The truth is, no one could have made up what happened concerning the Mystery of the Shemitah – involving such objective and absolute phenomena that the two greatest crashes in American history up to September of 2008 each took place on the same exact biblical day, the day appointed to wipe away the financial accounts of a nation.
Could the appearance of the harbingers just be coincidental? The problem is coincidences are not consistent – but the harbingers are. Every one of the nine harbingers of Israel's judgment and, specifically, Isaiah 9:10, have, in one form or another, appeared in America, each of them linked to 9/11, most being actual symbols of 9/11. This even includes the fact that Israel's ancient vow of defiance and judgment, the vow of the nine harbingers, was actually proclaimed, word for word, by an American leader, on the very day after 9/11 – from Capitol Hill. Anyone can seek to explain anything and blind oneself to the reality. The truth is the manifestation of all nine harbingers in a consistent progression has never happened before in American history, or world history, except one other time – in the last days of ancient Israel, before its judgment.
What has the reaction been to "The Harbinger" and "The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment"? The first reaction is that each has become a national bestseller – hundreds of thousands of people have either read the book or seen the documentary. Most who hear the message describe it as "stunning" or "mind-blowing." Many have called it the best book they've ever read after the Bible. Some have called "The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment" the most important movie they have ever seen. Pastors are showing the film at their services. Unbelievers are coming to belief in Jesus. Believers are coming to repentance. Prayer movements are forming to intercede for America. People are even getting the book and DVD to their leaders. For example: In Oklahoma, the governor and every member of the Legislature were given a copy of "The Harbinger." Those behind that effort are now planning to deliver the movie to every member of the U.S. Congress next month.
Why do you think "The Harbinger" and "The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment" have become so successful? Because they connect the dots to bring forth a stunning revelation of something most believers have felt in their heart – that America is danger of judgment, and that God has already been sending warning to the nation. They provide evidence that this is not just a feeling, but is an precise biblical phenomenon that lies behind everything from 9/11 to the collapse of the American economy, taking place literally before our eyes, and holding the secret of the nation's future. Thus, they believe that the book and the movie represent the urgent sounding of an alarm, a biblical revelation and a prophetic warning appointed for such a time as this.