What are some of the criticisms surrounding Jonathan Cahn’s controversial book The Harbinger?
To answer that question, were were blessed to have on our program Christ in Prophecy Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn. Rabbi Cahn is the spiritual leader of the Beth Israel Worship Center in Wayne, New Jersey and best-selling author of the book The Harbinger and a new book titled The Mystery of the Shemitah. Both books have been best sellers and highly controversial in Christian circles.
The Bible teaches that God never pours out His wrath on a nation without first sending remedial judgments and prophetic voices to warn of God’s impending judgment and to call the nation to repentance. Rabbi Cahn believes that when it comes to the United States, God already has been emphatically warning us, and since we haven’t listened, is delivering us from judgment to destruction.
As always has been the case with anyone who historically speaks out in prophetic manner calling people for repentance, Jonathan has of course been severely attacked. So, in this series we are going to discuss the first of his two books — The Harbinger and the controversies that surround it.
[Note: The interview has been put into article format for ease of reading. For an unedited transcript, please click the PDF button above.]
Criticism #1 – A Prophecy About America
Dr. Reagan: You can correct me on this, but I would say the number one criticism of The Harbinger that I’ve heard is people saying that it was a prophecy that God gave to Israel and it has absolutely nothing to do with the United States of America. So, first of all, it’s not a prophecy.
Jonathan Cahn: Yes, that’s right. That’s right. It is the prophetic word of what happened.
Dr. Reagan: If we can’t apply verses to us, then forget all preaching. We might as well forget the Bible. The book of Colossians was written to the church at Colossae, so it doesn’t apply to us? Philippians doesn’t apply to us?
Jonathan Cahn: Nothing does. Yes. Nothing does unless it says America.
Dr. Reagan: This is a spiritual principle we are talking about here.
Jonathan Cahn: You’d have to cut down all prophecy, yes. My book The Harbinger never says this was a prophecy about America. What it says is exactly what you said — this is a template. This is what God actually did to Israel. God is consistent. God is able. God when He acts He judges, He warns, and He will do so in a biblical way as only He does. Not only that, God is also able to use the Scripture, or use a template, to speak to a nation so that we can say, “Wow! This pattern is all there and we can use it to identify where we are right now as a nation.”
Criticism #2 – America in Covenant with God
Dr. Reagan: Detractors also accused you of saying that America has a covenant with God?
Nathan Jones: That’s the number one accusation people write in to our ministry about. They reject your book because they say you’re claiming that America is under the same covenant relationship as Israel. But, that’s just not true?
Jonathan Cahn: I never said that.
Nathan Jones: Your book never says that America is under the same covenant relationship as God had with Israel?
Jonathan Cahn: It never says that. God can judge any nation, but He uses His usual template.
What I bring up that’s especially pertinent to America is that America was founded after the pattern of Israel. It’s there historically documented. The Puritans covenanted with God. Sure, it doesn’t mean we know what God did on his side, whether He honored the Puritans’ covenant or not. Did He honor it? It seems to me like He did. But that’s not the same as the covenant God made with Israel when God made it thousands of years ago. There is only one nation that has that covenant.
Still, there’s something about America that’s very special compared to all other countries, and that is that our founders dedicated our nation to God. So, there are historic principles that are in effect.
Nathan Jones: Yes, from my reading I never thought you said that the United States was in a covenant relationship with God like Israel’s covenant.
Jonathan Cahn: No, indeed. And yet, God can honor prayers. But, even without knowing that, the fact is God’s enacting the harbingers.
Criticism #3 – Replacement Theology
Dr. Reagan: What are some other major attacks on you concerning your book The Harbinger?
Jonathan Cahn: First let me just put it into context. Attacks generally only come from a small group of people, but they speak loud. Most have not. Most have taken my book seriously.
Dr. Reagan: I refer to them as the “Junkyard Dogs of Christianity.” They’re just snarling and growling and always looking for someone to attack.
Jonathan Cahn: Well, yeah, there I was and there they came. I came into the “junkyard” and I didn’t realize the sign said “Beware of the Dogs.”
Okay, another complaint about The Harbinger was the very first one I received. It was actually the accusation that my book was Replacement Theology. Some claimed I was preaching that God is finished with Israel, which is classic replacement. “He’s replacing Israel with the Church!”
Dr. Reagan: Are you going to replace yourself?
Jonathan Cahn: Yes, I’m Jewish. I’m a Jew! How can I? I literally have to replace myself with myself because I’m saved. So, with the accusation of my book being Replacement Theology, I can’t possibly do that. I’m totally pro-Israel. The name of my ministry is Beth Israel. I mean that accusation is crazy, right! By the way, most of these people didn’t even read the book.
In the third part of our interview with Rabbi Jonathan Cahn on his book The Harbinger, we’ll debunk more of the criticisms his detractors have thrown at him.