One of our readers wrote to ask our opinion about a book by Jonathan Cahn entitled, The Harbinger, and if it’s okay for a Catholic to read it.
My answer to this question is yes – if you do so with the understanding that what you’re reading is fiction and does not contain the ancient secret prophecy about the U.S. that the author claims is in the Bible.
Let me explain. The book in question, entitled The Harbinger: The Ancient Mystery that Holds the Secret of America’s Future, was written by Jonathan Cahn, senior pastor and messianic rabbi of the Jerusalem Center/Beth Israel in Wayne, New Jersey. Cahn states at the beginning of the book that “What you are about to read is presented in the form of a story, but what is contained within the story is real.”
He then goes on to weave his story around a journalist who has a dream one night about Solomon’s Temple in which George Washington appeared. Suddenly, a sheet of paper descends from the sky and lands in Washington’s hand, upon which is scrawled a message from a mysterious “prophet” who appears throughout the book. The prophet instructs the journalist to transcribe the message for others to read – and the contents of this message is the story behind The Harbinger.
The book hands down nine harbingers which portend the doom of the U.S. unless the nation repents and returns to the Lord. It primarily points to Isaiah 9:10, which the author calls “The Isaiah 9:10 Effect.” In this Scripture, Isaiah states: “The bricks have fallen down” – which Cahn links to the rubble at Ground Zero on September 11.
He goes on to determine that these verses contain a hidden second prophecy which was directed not to ancient Israel but to modern America. He then deftly massages Scripture and current events in an attempt to prove that God’s judgment on the United States has been hiding in these verses from the time of Isaiah and have only now been unlocked thanks to his careful investigation.
For instance, he shows how stock market dips and bankruptcies align perfectly with the Shemitah (the Sabbath Year on the Hebrew Calendar). He also shows how the number seven keeps popping up, such as in the stock-market crash of September, 2008 which occurred exactly seven years after 9/11 at a drop of seven percent drop to arrive at 777 points on the final day of the Hebrew 7th year.
He does a masterful job of making everything point to the conclusion he wants to draw – that God has allowed him to discover the hidden prophecy about America’s future.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” writes Dr. Gary E. Gilley of Southern View Chapel. “And, even more importantly, once someone decides they can cherry-pick verses at will, change the meaning of these texts to fit his theories and use random hermeneutical methods, anything can be “proven.”
He gives an excellent bottom line to the controversy over Cahn’s book. “The Harbinger is a semi-interesting novel that exposes the pride and sinfulness of America and God’s disdain for such rebelliousness. But the novel does not in reality discover a mysterious Old Testament prophecy about America. Read as fiction with an important point, the book has value. Read as a prophecy, it is dangerous.”
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