Thursday, September 14, 2017

Review: ‘The Paradigm’ By Jonathan Cahn

The Paradigm by Jonathan Cahn (fair use)
When Jonathan Cahn speaks, the Christian world takes notice. The messianic Jewish rabbi is most famous for The Harbinger, his 2012 book that detailed the striking parallels between ancient Jewish history detailed in the Bible and modern events that have shaped the world we live in today. The Harbinger and its follow up, The Shemitah, were both runaway best sellers.

Now Mr. Cahn is set to release his fourth book, The Paradigm: The Ancient Blueprint That Holds The Mystery of Our Times. In The Paradigm, due out September 19, Cahn has once again found a pattern in which American history seems to be replaying historical events that took place in the Middle East almost 3,000 years ago.

I have long thought that America seemed to be following the paradigm, or pattern, that the Bible described of ancient Israel. The nation was founded on the basis of God’s commandments and, while it followed and honored those commandments, it thrived. In ancient Israel, the people eventually rebelled against God in spite of the blessings that he had given them. Success became pride and pride led to sin and rebellion. I could see that America seemed to be following the same general pattern.

Rabbi Cahn takes the analogy a step further. Cahn describes how the United States, once a Christian nation, is following the pattern of allowing our success to lead us into apostasy. The parallels between modern culture and that of ancient Israel are eerily similar.

Cahn describes how the proliferation of Baal worship turned Israelite morality on its head. Marriage became separate from sexuality as prostitution became part of the worship of Baal, a Phoenician fertility god. As sex was removed from the marital bedroom, it was increasingly put on public display. As a result, culture became more coarse, crude and harsh. Even gender became subjective as male prostitutes became a part of Baal worship.

What was evil began to be viewed as good and what was good came to be viewed as evil. The remaining worshippers of the Lord came under persecution as a culture war raged for the soul of the country.

The most heinous part of Baal worship was the sacrifice of children to the monstrous deity. At first, child sacrifice was illegal, but eventually it became commonplace and was even endorsed by the government and practiced by the royal family. The obvious parallel here is the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of babies through abortion, which was encouraged by the federal government in the administrations of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.  

This general parallel should be alarming enough to those who are familiar with how Israelite history ends, but Cahn goes even further. He describes specific parallels between the dynasty of the Israelite King Ahab and his wife, the notorious Queen Jezebel, and American political history over the past 30 years. The links are too numerous and specific to list here, but Cahn vividly and in detail shows how the dynasty of Ahab has been replayed in American politics with astounding accuracy.

In ancient Israel, the reign of Ahab and his son Joram represented a defining moment. As the cult of Baal grew, Israel teetered on the brink of irreversible apostasy. In Biblical history, the turning point came when the prophet Elisha anointed Jehu, a soldier in Joram’s army and a political outsider, to become king. Jehu came from nowhere in a meteoric rise to upset the status quo. In a lightning fast campaign, Jehu killed Joram, the sitting king, and his mother, Jezebel, and assumed the throne of Israel.

Cahn says that the warrior Jehu arrived to deliver the country a temporary reprieve from apostasy and ultimate judgment. Jehu’s goal was reform toward worship of the Lord, an ancient version of “draining the swamp.” In that vein, he killed the prophets of Baal as well as the members of the royal lineage of Ahab and Joram.

Cahn points out that while Jehu was used by God to temporarily halt the Israelite slide into apostasy, he was not necessarily a man of God. “Some undoubtedly saw Jehu’s rise as a calamity,” Cahn writes. “Others saw it as the answer. It was neither. It was a window.”

Cahn makes the same case for the election of Donald Trump. The Trump Administration, he believes, represents a reprieve for America from irreversible apostasy. The question is what the president and the country do with the postponement of the ultimate rejection of God and the judgment that would follow. “A political answer cannot solve a spiritual problem,” Cahn says. The only way to avert judgment in the long run is through national repentance and revival. Trump’s election may provide an opportunity for that revival.

As in his other books, Cahn offers little in the way of prophetic claims for the future. His focus is on how God is sending messages to America through the modern echo of ancient Israel’s history. He does note that the Biblical Jehu was only partially successful in “making Israel great again.” The Bible tells us that Jehu “was not careful to keep the law of the Lord” and “did not turn away from the sin of Jereboam,” worshipping the idol of the golden calves. Jehu’s false religion was of a more nationalist nature than the foreign god imported by Ahab and Jezebel, but it was still sinful.

The revival necessary for the redemption of Israel never happened. It was in the years following Jehu’s reign that the signs that Cahn described in The Harbinger began to appear. The warnings and “shakings” were ignored and, ultimately, the kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Assyrians.

In discussing Jonathan Cahn’s books, it is important to note that he never engages in replacement theology which holds that America has become a new Israel. Instead, he presents parallels that he believes God is using as warnings for America. Cahn’s core message is that America is careening toward judgment unless we change course. He urges nonbelievers to repent and believers to follow the models of Elijah and Elisha who stood strong to resist the moral decline of their country.

Some will also say that the replaying of ancient Israelite history in modern America is a series of coincidences. As the series becomes larger and more detailed, the question becomes how many coincidences are necessary to show evidence of an omnipotent God who controls events and history. At some point, the odds against the manifestation of such an improbable series of events repeating itself become astronomical.

Jonathan Cahn makes a compelling case that America is following the same pattern of disobedience and rebellion that ultimately led the kingdom of Israel to destruction. Regardless of whether you accept Cahn’s conclusion that history is repeating itself in a way that seems preordained by a higher power, it seems clear that the country is on an unsustainable path.

If America is to be saved, it must repent. And if America is to repent, it needs people like Jonathan Cahn to sound the warning.

Originally published on The Resurgent

No comments: