The Harbinger,” a narrative that intertwines fiction with historical fact and Biblical teaching to point out striking parallels between God’s judgment of ancient Israel and recent American history. In the book, Cahn uses discussions between a mysterious prophet and journalist to point out these parallels.
Cahn’s message centers around Isaiah 9:10, a verse in which the ancient Israelites vowed to rebuild stronger than before in the aftermath of the first Assyrian invasion. According to Cahn, the process of divine judgment begins with the removal of God’s protective “hedge” to open the nation to attack. In the case of both nations, the removal of God’s protection led to an attack by terrorists. In Israel’s case, the attack was by the Assyrians in 732 B.C. In America’s case, it was by al Qaeda on 9/11. (Warning: The following review contains spoilers.)
In both cases, the attack was followed by defiance. The Israelites made the vow found in Isaiah: “The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stone; the fig trees have been felled, but we will replace them with cedars.” Put simply, they would take what was destroyed and replace it with something even better rather than repenting of their sins.
Ironically, this obscure Old Testament verse with its vow of defiance was used not once, but twice by American leaders in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. On Sept. 12, 2001, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle quoted the verse in a speech to congress where he specifically linked the verse to America. Three years later, on Sept. 11, 2004, Sen. John Edwards, then a vice presidential candidate, again invoked the verse in a speech to the Congressional Black Caucus. On February 24, 2009, President Obama echoed the defiant tone of the verse, saying in his address to Congress, “I want every American to know this: We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before.” Although George W. Bush also promised to rebuild after the attacks, he did not make the defiant vow that the U.S. would become stronger.
The prophecy literally came true in the case of the United States after 9/11. After the attacks, a giant sycamore tree was uprooted at Ground Zero. Two years later, the sycamore was replaced by a Norway spruce, scientifically the same type of tree that the ancient Israelites would have called a cedar according to Cahn. Likewise, bricks from the World Trade Center were replaced with a dressed cornerstone for the new Freedom Tower in 2004.
The links between the Bible and the news don’t end there. Cahn points out that the 9/11 attacks set in motion not one, but two record crashes of the stock market. The first occurred on the first day of trading after the attacks, Sept. 17, 2001. The second occurred seven years later on Sept. 29, 2008 at the onset of the Great Recession. The second crash was set in motion by the low interest rates put in place after 9/11 to stimulate the economy. The low interest rates fueled the credit bubble that eventually led to the real estate collapse.
There is significance to the dates of the two crashes. According to the Hebrew calendar, both occurred on Elul 29 of the years 5761 and 5768 respectively. Both of these years were Shemitah years according to Jewish tradition. In the Shemitah year, the ancient Israelites were to cancel debts and let their fields lie dormant. In 2008, billions of dollars in debts were canceled in terms of lost value, bailouts and bankruptcies. Many storefronts have factories have lain empty and unused since 2008. Further, the first collapse of the looming fiscal crisis was Northern Rock, a British bank that was nationalized on Sept. 13, 2007. In the Hebrew calendar, that would be Tishri 1, the New Year’s Day of the Shemitah year.
Cahn establishes the connection between America and Israel all the way back to 1789, the year of George Washington’s inauguration. Sen. Daschle alluded to this year in the same speech in which he cited Isaiah 9:10.
In 1789, New York City was the capitol of the United States. Washington was inaugurated at Federal Hall where he gave a speech acknowledging God’s help in gaining independence: “No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”
Washington also called on the American people to remain faithful to God, saying “We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained.…”
After being sworn in at Federal Hall, Washington led a procession of dignitaries to St. Paul’s Chapel in Manhattan for a prayer service. The same St. Paul’s Chapel is located at Ground Zero and was the original site of the Ground Zero sycamore. The shock wave when the World Trade Center collapsed literally cracked the foundation of Federal Hall, the birthplace of the United States government.
After the initial Assyrian invasion, Israel continued to resist both God and the Assyrians. Ten years after the first invasion in 722 B.C., the Assyrians conquered totally conquered Israel and took her people into captivity. The stakes for America are high.
“The Harbinger” lays out a convincing case that there is more to these connections than mere chance. The book contains many more links than can be presented here and their sheer volume makes it difficult to explain them away as coincidences. The majority of the instances that Cahn cites can be verified through independent sources online, such as the articles that have been linked here.
According to Lucille Gabel, an assistant at Cahn’s Hope of the World Ministry, the “Harbinger” is “reality” that is “framed and delivered through a narrative.” She continues, “The characters are fiction, but what they say through the mouth of the prophet is real.” The storyline makes the message easier to understand and receive.
Cahn has not revealed what he believes the next acts of judgment against the United States to be or when they will occur. On the “Jim Bakker Show” on Nov. 9, 2012, Cahn did say that the pattern of judgment includes repeated “shakings” that can include natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy and the Newtown massacre. He also noted that in the wake of the storm, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo again made the vow to rebuild Ground Zero better than before.
An obvious question is whether there is any significance to the next Shemitah Elul 29. The Gregorian date for this day on the Hebrew calendar is Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015. According to Gabel, “Jonathan [Cahn] was not led to dogmatically commit to that or deal with it in the present book. He did allude [to] the fact that the pattern may extend – but he hasn’t yet been led to be dogmatic concerning it – just that we must stay vigilant and aware regarding this and many things.”
A recurrent theme in the book is that the “attempt of a nation to defy the course of its judgment, apart from repentance, will instead set in motion a chain of events to bring about the very calamity it sought to avert.” Cahn refers to this as the Isaiah 9:10 effect. The low interest rates after 9/11 leading to the real estate bubble and financial collapse is a prime example.
In the end it is up to each reader to decide for himself if the evidence that Cahn presents is sufficient to prove that the U.S. is indeed coming under divine judgment and, if so, what to do with that information. In any case, Sept. 13, 2015 might be a good day to watch the stock market.
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Originally published on Examiner.com: