Review of "The Harbinger" by Jonathan Cahn

The Harbinger: The Ancient Mystery that holds the secrets of America’s Future
By Jonathan Cahn
Rating: 3.5 Stars
I read this book at the urging of my father-in-law, a 72-year-old Christian from the Silent Generation with a strong interest in Biblical prophecy. Since his normal reading fare is non-fiction, I was intrigued when he told me, “It’s written as a story, but it’s all true.” As a moderately conservative (or conservatively moderate) Christian from the Gen-X generation, I was immediately skeptical with the description on the book’s outside cover, “Though it sounds like the plot of a Hollywood thriller – it’s real,” and from the inside dedication page, “What you are about to read is presented in the form of a story, but what is contained within the story is real.”
While the story is well written and engaging, I struggled immensely with the author’s claims, particularly throughout the first half of the book. Bear in mind, I agree with the author’s overall premise. Over the past 50 to 100 years, America has turned away from God. We are in jeopardy of judgment, and yes, many of the events happening in America today are more likely than not the consequences of our sin and disobedience. Yes, individually and collectively, we must turn from our sins to faith in God or risk the consequences of a life and a culture outside of His perfect will.
However, I struggled with many of the author’s claims, particularly since I was confused as to which he meant as “truth” and which he used to develop the story. As the pages unfolded, my skepticism grew. Although I’m not a theologian, I am concerned when a single verse of Scripture is taken out of context, and I firmly believe that individual passages cannot be accurately interpreted apart from the entirety of Scripture and the Gospel message. In itself, the author’s use of Isaiah 9:10 was troubling, but even more troubling was the manner in which he specifically and mystically linked pieces of the verse to specific events in recent American history. I don’t believe the actions of America’s leaders immediately following 9/11 were an act of defiance against God – an act of defiance against America’s enemies, yes; but an act of defiance against God? No. I also don’t agree that because Isaiah 9:10 was spoken aloud by government leaders they somehow mystically and unwittingly opened the door for God’s judgment simply by speaking them.
To be fair, as the book progressed, I began to enjoy it more, and I was particularly intrigued with the link between 9/11 and America’s financial collapse. While I still struggle to believe that this was somehow mystically engineered, I agree that God allows a person, a family, a community and a culture to experience the consequences of their own decisions. When we follow God, His Spirit helps us to make decisions that transform us into the people, communities and cultures He wants us to be. When we don’t, the challenges are much more difficult, if not impossible.
In spite of the struggles I’ve outlined, however, the book is worth your time, particularly if you are a fan of Joel Rosenberg, Tim LaHaye or Hal Lindsey. My only caution is to read it as fiction. Glean the truths you can from it, but remember it is a fiction story. And “do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (1 Peter 3:8-9).

Product Description from the Publisher:
Is it possible…

That there exists an ancient mystery that holds the secret of America s future?

That this mystery lies behind everything from 9/11 to the collapse of the global economy?

That ancient harbingers of judgment are now manifesting in America?

That God is sending America a prophetic message of what is yet to come?

Before its destruction as a nation, ancient Israel received nine harbingers, prophetic omens of warning. The same nine harbingers are now manifesting in America with immediate ramifications for end-time prophecy.

Hidden in an ancient biblical prophecy from Isaiah, the mysteries revealed in The Harbinger are so precise that they foretold recent American events down to the exact days. The revelations are so specific that even the most hardened skeptics will find it hard to dismiss or put down. It sounds like the plot of a Hollywood thriller with one exception… IT S REAL.

The prophetic mysteries are revealed through an intriguing and engaging narrative the reader will find hard to put down. The Harbinger opens with the appearance of a man burdened with a message he has received from a mysterious figure called The Prophet. The Prophet has given him nine seals, each containing a message about America s future. As he tells of his encounters with The Prophet, from a skyscraper in New York City, to a rural mountaintop, to Capitol Hill, to Ground Zero, the mystery behind each seal is revealed. As the story unfolds, each revelation becomes a piece in a greater puzzle the ramifications of which will even alter the course of world history.

Category: Fiction, Suspense
Publisher: Front Line
Pub Date: Jan 3, 2012
Hardcover Format:  262 pages
Hardcover: $24.99

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