Critics have long leveled the charge of "divisive" and "negative" against those who would warn the church of unbiblical teachings and practices. I prayerfully consider such accusations, for my heart echoes the same concern. I long just to preach the gospel and to put behind me the controversy that has become such an unwelcome part of my life. Yet in preaching the pure gospel one must carefully distinguish it from the clever counterfeits all around.
How negligent it would be not to warn the sheep of poisoned pastures and false shepherds who promote lies in the name of truth. Yet the odds are staggering. Norman Vincent Peale's magazines, for example, have 16 million readers monthly, many times our small circulation! The flesh faints with weariness and frustration. Then why persist in a task so lonely and burdensome? Yes, why this burning passion?
There are, thank God, the many letters of encouragement from those who offer their love, support, and prayers. There are, too, the earnest "thank you's" from the thousands who have been set free from the delusion and bondage of false gospels--from Catholicism and "Christian psychology" to positive/possibility thinking and positive confession. Yet even without any such encouragement we would be compelled to carry on and would urge you to do the same.
Jeremiah was hated, maligned, imprisoned, and threatened with death because he preached repentance and warned of God's impending judgment when the "positive prophets" promised peace and prosperity "by the word of the Lord." Popular opinion opposed him. He became so discouraged that he declared that he would no longer speak for God nor even mention His name. But God's Word was in his heart and burned like a fire in his bones, so that he had to speak (Jer 20). Yes, above all, it is God's Word burning within that compels us.
Distressed by accusations of "negativism," I cry out to God and turn to His unfailing Word. And what do I find there? The very message I am constrained to preach! Christ himself was far more "negative" than I have dared to be. He continually warned of judgment and hell, exposed sin, demanded repentance, rebuked the religious leaders and indicted them as hypocrites, whited sepulchers, blind leaders of the blind, fools. Without doubt, He would be banned from most Christian pulpits and media today!
The Sermon on the Mount is not intended to enhance one's "self-esteem." It encourages one to be poor in spirit, to mourn, to be meek and merciful, and promises that those who are true to God and His Word will be hated, persecuted, and vilified (Mt 5). But didn't Jesus say, "Judge not, that ye be not judged" (Mt 7:1)? Isn't it unbiblical, then, to accuse a Christian leader of any wrong? On the contrary, Christ could only have meant that we were not to judge motives, for He clearly told us to judge teaching and lives: "Beware of false prophets [i.e., teachers]...by their fruits [lives] ye shall know them" (vv. 15-20). Surely He is calling us to judge false doctrine and deeds!
When Paul exhorted Timothy to "preach the word," he explained that to do so one must "reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine" (2 Tm:4:2). Paul warned of "vain talkers and deceivers...whose mouths must be stopped [from teaching false doctrine]." He urged Titus to "rebuke them sharply" (Ti:1:10-13). He told Timothy, "Them that sin rebuke before all [i.e., publicly], that others also may fear" (1 Tm:5:20). Clearly such reproof requires a judging that does not violate Christ's prohibition but which, in fact, He commanded and the apostles practiced--a judging which Satan hates because it unmasks his lies.
The International Genocide Treaty signed by President Reagan in November 1988, makes it a crime to try to convert anyone of another religion or to suggest that their beliefs are wrong. It will soon be a serious crime to call homosexuality a sin. The day is coming when, to protect "minority rights," we will be prohibited by law from preaching the gospel except in the most "positive" manner. Sadly, much of the evangelical church has already conformed.
It is not enough simply to "preach the truth" when there are lies that counterfeit it so closely that many can't tell the difference. It is both logically and scripturally essential to expose and refute today's pernicious false gospels. Yet to do so is to be opposed by church leaders and barred from most platforms. I am banned even from such evangelical networks as Moody Radio lest I expose the humanism they promote in the name of "Christian psychology." Why not allow an open discussion of vital issues before the whole church? Are church leaders concerned for truth--or with protecting their own interests?
"Christian psychology" may seem to help for a time, but it undermines our real victory in Christ by redefining sin as "mental illness." This heresy inspired a host of new terms such as obsessive-compulsive behavior, dysfunctional families, addiction--and more recently the increasingly popular co-dependency myths and Twelve Step recovery programs spawned by Alcoholics Anonymous. In 12 Steps to Destruction, the Bobgans point out that Bill Wilson, founder of AA, based his system upon what was a revolutionary new theory: that drunkenness was not a "moral defect" but an excusable "illness." Wilson was relieved to learn that he was an "alcoholic"--a new term at the time.
Enlarging upon this lie, "Christian psychologists" have redefined as mental illness all manner of behavior that Jesus, the Great Physician, diagnosed as sin. John MacArthur tells of hearing a woman call into a "Christian psychology" radio program to confess that she couldn't keep from having sex with anybody and everybody. She was told that her problem arose from an overbearing mother and milquetoast father and that it was an "addiction" that could take years of therapy to cure. So much for Christ's "Go, and sin no more" (Jn:8:11). Disobeying God is no longer sin if one has a compulsion or addiction or has had a traumatic childhood.
In his book, Our Sufficiencyin Christ, MacArthur writes, "The depth to which sanctified psychotherapy can sink is really quite profound. A local newspaper recently featured an article about a 34-bed clinic that has opened in Southern California to treat 'Christian sex addicts.' According to the article the clinic is affiliated with a large well-known Protestant church in the area." Several leading "Christian psychologists" interviewed for the article "scoffed at the power of God's Word to transform a heart and break the bondage of sexual sin." The director explained that his treatment center would serve to rescue many Christians who had been taught that "the Bible is all you need." Yet that is what the Bible itself claims and the entire church believed for 1,800 years until the advent of Christian psychology.
In The Journal of Biblical Ethics in Medicine, Dr. Robert Maddox warns that "all manner of sin...from gluttony to fornication, from stealing to bestiality...is [being] labeled as disease, to be cured with chemical, electrical and mechanical treatments." The Bobgans also quote from University of California professor Herbert Fingarette's book, Heavy Drinking: The Myth of Alcoholism as a Disease: "I just don't understand why any churches would go for the disease idea...[it] denies the spiritual dimension of the whole thing." They also quote Stanton Peele from his book, Diseasing of America: Addiction Treatment Out of Control: "...disease definitions undermine the individual's obligations to control behavior and to answer for misconduct...[and] actually increase the incidence of the behaviors of concern."
How astonishing that as the secular world is abandoning the sinking ship of psychotherapy, Christians are jumping aboard, imagining that this doomed vessel will not only stay afloat but add needed buoyancy to the ark God has provided!
It makes me weep to watch the growing deception, to cry out against it, and to be heeded by so few and opposed by so many. Why is that essential correction, which Scripture so clearly demands, left to a few of us nobodies and shunned by church leaders who would be heeded by millions? Write to the most influential evangelical leaders and ask how they can "preach the Word" without involving themselves in the reproof and rebuke of rampant error that Paul said must be at the very heart of biblical preaching!
Today I received a memo from a researcher who, along with her husband, is among the nobodies crying out against heresy in the church. Her concern was The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning, a Catholic, published by Multnomah Press. In part she said, "Manning teaches...that [a Christian] may continue to live a life of debauchery...describes himself as a [heavy] smoker and someone who became an alcoholic after conversion...wants active homosexuals accepted into full fellowship (p 26) along with other immoral people...teaches an eastern-type meditation (pp 43, 205-206)...twists scripture (pp 23, 28, 73, 173); he says that everyone, but the self-righteous [those that obey God by Manning's definition], will go to heaven (pp 17, 26, 29)....This book is dangerous...a ploy by a new age Catholic to invade the evangelical church....Christian[s] must be warned that...the once trusted names of Multnomah, Thomas Nelson and Fleming Revell [to name a few] are no guarantee of orthodoxy. What a shame!"
I called her to make certain she hadn't overstated her case. She read excerpts from the book to prove she had not. Christian publishers can no longer be trusted to publish truth but have become purveyors of death! A dump truck would not have been large enough to haul all of the heresy out of the recent Christian Booksellers convention in Orlando. Even Roman Catholic publishers of the most awful blasphemy and incredible nonsense, such as Paulist Press, were represented alongside evangelicals.
Take, for example, the booth of another Catholic publisher, Our Sunday Visitor. One of their books on display told the story of Padre Pio, a recently deceased Catholic monk admired by Pope John Paul II. Pio manifested the "stigmata," a bleeding from his palms to make up the deficiency in Christ's redemptive work on the cross! Pio believed he was suffering for the salvation of sinners! He claimed that literally millions of the spirits of the dead, whom he saw with his physical eyes, came to him on their way to heaven to thank him for gaining their release from purgatory! This is only one of Rome's many heresies. I confronted Sunday Visitor employees concerning the demonic delusion promoted by their books and objected to their presence at a convention of evangelical publishers. They pointed to a nearby booth promoting horrendous, allegedly "Christian" rock music and declared, "We have as much right to be here as they do!" I could only agree.
Mission Frontiers, the bulletin of the U.S. Center for World Mission in Pasadena, California, Vol. 13, No. 4-5, has a biblical passion for world evangelization. In contrast to the Manning/Multnomah justification of smoking, the editorial declared, "Tobacco causes more deaths each year in the United States than heroin, cocaine, alcohol, AIDS, fires, homicides, suicides, and auto accidents combined....More Colombians died last year from smoking American cigarettes than did Americans from using Colombian cocaine." "Addiction," or sin?
The editorial also highly commended Pope John Paul II's recent encyclical on world missions. Disappointment was expressed that the encyclical was "marred by reference at the very end to the idea that...the work of the church is done 'together with Mary.'" Yet the encyclical was praised and an address given where it could be purchased because it spoke of "people groups," a term in vogue at the World Center. Sadly, however, 950 million Catholics who need to be evangelized--a special "people group" comprising nearly 20 percent of the world's population--were overlooked! The editorial, in fact, implied that Catholicism's evangelism is biblical.
Throughout Central and South America, Catholicism is in the most blatant partnership with spiritism and paganism. In Brazil, I visited Aparecida, the largest cathedral in the world next to St. Peter's in Rome. It is dedicated to a small idol of a "Black Virgin"--pulled from a nearby lake in a fishing net--which now performs "miracles." The pope came recently to honor this idol. At the Mass the priest led the people in prayers and songs to the idol, asking it for salvation and dedicating their lives to it. Aparecida's large bookstore carries many of the same "positive" books that delude Protestants--books in Portuguese by American authors, from Norman Vincent Peale to "Christian psychologists."
Today's evangelical leaders shun their duty to oppose heresy. Many of them promote Catholicism, occultism, and humanistic psychology. Therefore we, the nobodies, though few heed us, must cry out even louder to warn the sheep of poisoned pastures and false shepherds. "Positive" or "negative" is not the issue, but rather truth and simple obedience to our Lord and His Word. TBC
Originally Published October 1991
The devil is not fighting religion. He's too smart for that. He is producing a counterfeit Christianity, so much like the real one that good Christians are afraid to speak out against it. We are plainly told in the Scriptures that in the last days men will not endure sound doctrine and will depart from the faith and heap to themselves teachers to tickle their ears. We live in an epidemic of this itch, and popular preachers have developed "ear-tickling" into a fine art.
--Vance Havner, Playing Marbles With Diamonds
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
--(2 Cor 11:13-14)
Question: I don't understand why Bill Johnson and Bethel Church in Redding are not classified as a cult (along with Word-Faith). They deny the deity of Christ, they deny the Scriptures and add to and subtract from them, their schools of ministry are lessons in how to operate in the occult and demonology (I was shocked when a friend told me what techniques they used). They are false teachers and wolves in sheep's clothing. What do you think?
Response: Bill and Brenda Johnson are the Senior Pastors of Bethel Church in Redding, California. Bethel Church is firmly aligned with the Word-Faith movement and identifies with the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), or the Third Wave Movement with its "prophets," "apostles," and alleged manifestions. Bill Johnson is called an "apostle" by C. Peter Wagner (See TBC 5/97, 2/07). His theology has amounted to what some call a "de facto denial of the deity of Christ."
By this, they are referring to Johnson's teaching that Christ set aside His deity during His earthly sojourn. Johnson has said, "Jesus was (and is) God. Eternally God. That never changed. But He chose to live with self-imposed restriction while living on earth in the flesh--as a man. In doing so, He defeated sin, temptation, the powers of darkness as a man. We inherit His victory--it was for us. He never sinned!" (Bill Johnson, Facebook 3/21/2011).
If Johnson had stopped at this point, his view of Christ would seem to be biblical--but he didn't.
Consequently, that's not all that he's taught or all that his followers have said. Speaking of Jesus, Johnson wrote, "He performed miracles, wonders, andsigns, as a man in right relationship to God...not as God. If He performed miracles because He was God, then they would be unattainable for us" (Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth, p. 29). That's human reasoning, and by implication opens the way for a deification of man.
Johnson's view of our Lord's "emptying Himself," of which the literal meaning is "humbled himself" (Philippians 2:7), aligns very well with the Latter Rain/Word-Faith "little gods" teaching of Kenneth Copeland and others. Johnson has gone on to say, "God gave every believer the power to heal as Jesus did" (Johnson, "You've Got the Power," Charisma Online, March 2012). In line with Word-Faith teaching, Johnson and his followers speak of these presumed abilities in a way that sounds very much like mind science and departs from Scripture.
Though differing from Jehovah's Witnesses, who deny the deity of Jesus, Johnson's view of Christ is confusing at best, and he endangers his followers by leading them away from the security of the Word.
Johnson writes, "Those who feel safe because of their intellectual grasp of Scriptures enjoy a false sense of security. None of us has a full grasp of Scripture, but we all have the Holy Spirit. He is our common denominator who will always lead us into truth. But to follow Him, we must be willing to follow off the map--to go beyond what we know" (Johnson, When Heaven, p. 76).
In conclusion, Johnson is advocating extrabiblical revelation. Going "off the map" is forsaking the safety and sufficiency of Scripture.
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. (Joshua 1:8)
The human tendency is to focus on experience, which then can lead to a number of problems. The charismatic movement is full of examples of people who did not "prove all things" (1 Thessalonians 5:21), and it eventually led to pride, an attitude of superiority, imitating and covetousness by followers, and ministries full of error and imbalance. The works of God are indeed splendid and hand tailored, but how we handle them must glorify Him and Him alone.
Question: I recently heard the teaching that Genesis 41:25-32 spoke of a great end-time gathering of souls or revival right before the Great Tribulation. And I always thought that Luke 18:8 was speaking of Jesus' return for the church and the condition of the earth at that time. I honestly can't find in the Word a great "last days revival," or in-gathering. And to me, the Luke reference makes more sense if it means His return for the church in the midst of a great apostasy. I love and respect the godly minister who spoke these things. He is very knowledgeable in the Word and in his teaching. I don't want to be confused, could you please help me?
Response: We agree with your concern. Unfortunately, too many may come up with an idea and then seek out Scriptures that would seem to support the idea. Sometimes, the wresting of Scriptures (2 Peter 3:16) appears so blatant, particularly if we look at the simple meaning of the words as well as considering the full context of the passage. Genesis 41:25-32 specifically and expressly details the dream given to Pharaoh, which Joseph, through insight given by the Lord, interpreted. It was a specific warning to Egypt for a specific time in their history. Whether an individual believer might receive an application for their own life is something that only the Lord can give. We can't just lift the Scripture from context and apply it to a doctrine. Consequently, there is no biblical basis for using those verses from Genesis to support the idea of a great endtimes revival. It just doesn't fit.
In contrast, Luke 18:8 is very straightforward. The Lord asks specifically, "Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" The implication is obvious. The Lord knows the heart of man and his susceptibility to deception and his willingness to follow another. "I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive" (John 5:43). The Lord will return to the earth not during a time of great revival but in a time of apostasy. The question naturally follows: "Shall he find faith on the earth?" The apostasy we see today is increasing, leading naturally to the conclusion that the time of the Lord's return draws near. With so many false teachers, cults, and false Christs being presented, "shall he find faith on the earth?"
Finally, for the teacher you respect, this is a wonderful opportunity to pray that the Lord might correct any errors and, if given an opening to speak to him, the right words for you.
In Defense of the Faith
Beware of Trying to "Force" Yourself to Believe
Question: I have struggled with this thing called "faith" all of my life. I want to "believe" in God and the Bible but can't make myself do it. I keep having these nagging doubts. What am I supposed to do?
Response: By all means, don't "make" yourself believe in God or the Bible. Let me suggest that you begin by facing the logical necessity of God's existence. Without God, neither the universe nor we ourselves would exist, and there would be no purpose or meaning for anything. The Bible begins like this: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). It doesn't argue God's existence, because that fact is self-evident from the universe we see around us and has been implanted by God in every person's conscience.
The Bible unapologetically declares, "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God" (Psalm 14:1; 53:1). Any thinking human being must agree with this pronouncement. Only a fool could believe that the universe came into existence by chance. Just one living cell in the human body is, according to Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, "more complex than New York City." To imagine that life itself (which is a mystery beyond the capability of science to fathom) and the incredible complexity of matter that sustains life could happen by chance is absurd.
All the Evidence Points to God
Suppose two survivors of a ship that sank have drifted for days in a life raft across the South Pacific and at last are washed ashore on an island. Their great hope, of course, is that the island is inhabited so they can find food, medical attention, and a means of returning to their distant homes. Pushing their way into the jungle, they suddenly come upon an automated factory operating full tilt. Though no person is visible, products are being manufactured, packaged, and labeled for shipping.
One of the parties exclaims, "Praise God! The island is inhabited! Someone must have made and oversees this factory!"
"You're crazy," replies his companion. "You've been out in the sun too long. There's absolutely no reason to believe that this thing was designed and put together by some intelligent being. It just happened by chance over who-knows-how-many billions of years."
The first man looks down at his feet and sees a watch with a broken wristband lying in the dirt. Again he exclaims, "Look! A watch! This proves the island's inhabited!"
"You've got to be kidding," retorts his companion. "That thing is just a conglomeration of atoms that happened to come together in that form by chance plus billions of years of random selection."
No person in his right mind could imagine that a factory or a watch could just happen by chance. Then how could any rational person insist that the universe came into existence by chance, much less that the complex life forms on earth did so! A single cell in a leaf or in an animal's body is thousands of times more complex than the factory and the watch put together. The human body consists of trillions of cells, thousands of different kinds, all working together in perfect balance. Our top scientists can't produce a human brain even with all of the computers and technology that exist today. Only God could do so. Chance certainly could not!
Nor does it make sense that God would create man without having a definite purpose for him. Nothing is so frustrating to an intelligent person as having no purpose in life. Yet the very idea of purpose could not arise by chance, for purpose and chance are opposites. There can't be design without a designer. We know, therefore, that God had a purpose for creating us. And if so, He must have a way to communicate that purpose.
The Bible claims to be the Word of God to mankind and explains God's purpose and plan. We are not expected to believe that claim without sufficient evidence, but in fact that claim is supported by a vast body of evidence, much of it held in museums around the world and so irrefutable that no one capable of reading the Bible has any excuse for doubting its claims. We will present many such proofs throughout this book.
The major proof of God's existence that the Bible offers is the fulfillment of hundreds of specific prophecies. In Isaiah 46:9-10, God says that He will prove His existence by telling what will happen before it happens. In Isaiah 43:10, God tells Israel that she is His witness, both to herself and to the world, that He is God. How is that so? Because of the many prophecies God made concerning Israel that have come to pass: that the Jews would be scattered to every nation on earth; that they would be hated and persecuted and killed as no other people (anti-Semitism); that they would be preserved in spite of a thousand Hitlers trying to exterminate them; that they would be brought back to their land in the last days . . . and many other prophecies that have clearly been fulfilled and are in the process of being fulfilled before our very eyes.
We won't go into these details here because we have dealt thoroughly with prophecy in other books. The point, however, is that no one should believe anything without a solid reason for doing so, and the evidence compelling mankind to believe in God and the Bible is absolutely overwhelming.
--An excerpt from In Defense of the Faith (pp. 22-24) by Dave Hunt
PRO-LIFERS PICKET NEA TEACHER CONVENTION
Washington, Christian Newswire, 7/5/12: Pro-Lifers Picket NEA Teacher Convention in DC: Soldier On Despite Storm Impact, Heat Wave, Eugenic-Racist and Sexist Remarks [Excerpts]--Pro-Life advocates successfully staged another peaceful picket demonstration outside the National Education Association's convention in Washington, as scheduled on July 2, despite having their ranks moderated by the flooding, storm damage, and power outages afflicting the region.
"Most local pro-life activists from nearby Virginia and Maryland had to forego their plans to picket the NEA as they dealt with the disastrous effects of the violent weather. Some called to report being evacuated due to flooding and electrical blackouts or hindered by blocked and jammed roadways," said organizer Bob Pawson, an NEA member teacher from Trenton, NJ.
Pro-lifers displayed posters stating: 'Abortion Kills Teachers' Careers;' 'Make NEA Abortion Neutral;' '25 Abortions = 1 Lost Classroom;' and 'Save Babies, Save Your Jobs.'
Pawson said, "One NEA delegate unwittingly echoed the eugenic racism of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, by saying that abortion 'results in higher quality students.' Encouragingly, a few delegates did thank us for being there or discretely gave the thumbs-up sign.
"We joined NEA for collective bargaining; not to be bullied or misrepresented on moral, social, or political issues. NEA must repeal its 'Family Planning' resolution and other policies, out of respect for the diversity of 3.2 million members. NEA must totally disengage from abortion; become truly neutral and non-involved."
EXPOSING THE VATICAN-ISLAM ALLIANCE
FrontPageMag.com 7/5/12: Exposing the Vatican-Islam Alliance [Excerpts]--The Roman Catholic Church hailed UNESCO's decision to grant the world heritage status to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
The Palestinian agenda at UNESCO is the de-Judaization of the land of Israel by Islamicizing the holy sites....The Vatican already declared its support of waving a Palestinian flag over the Temple Mount in the heart of ancient Jerusalem. Next in line is Rachel's Tomb near Bethlehem, Judaism's third most holy site, which for millennia has served as a place of longing, pilgrimage and prayer for the Jewish people.
Many Catholic groups worldwide already embraced the Palestinian myth. Pax Christi, one of the most famous Catholic organizations, on its website, repeatedly calls the Jewish site a "mosque." Then there is the Bethlehem University of the Holy Land, the only Vatican-run educational institution in the area....The Catholic University recently launched a project about Rachel's Tomb. The document calls it "a historical religious site for followers of Christianity and Islam," whose location is "on Palestinian lands." The Vatican institution seems to ignore that all of Rachel's Tomb belongs to Area C, which the Oslo Accords gave to Israeli jurisdiction. The tomb, the Catholic report says, "is also known by Muslims as the Bilal Ibn Rabah Mosque." According to the Vatican university, the Jewish shrines are Arab treasures stolen by the Zionists and the Israelis are no more than invading colonizers.
CONFUSING THE CHURCH ON HOMOSEXUALITY
Christian Post, 7/2/12: Gay Bishop Commends LGBT Presbyterians for 'Confusing' the Church on Homosexuality[Excerpts]--The first openly gay bishop in The Episcopal Church recently praised pro-gay Presbyterians for creating "enormous confusion" and what he called "holy chaos" in their denomination over homosexuality.
"It was not that many years ago when our churches, yours and mine and most others, were absolutely certain what God thought of us...and because of your courageous work, there are a lot of confused people out there and that is a huge step forward," Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire said Saturday during an event sponsored by More Light Presbyterians--a pro-LGBT group. During his half-hour talk, Robinson, who was consecrated in 2003, cited several passages in Scripture to defend homosexuality.
"Let's take the Bible back from those who have taken it hostage," he told the LGBT crowd. "You know, those are our Scriptures too."
But Parker T. Williamson believes Robinson is twisting Scripture to show that God is OK with homosexuality. "Robinson's takeaway bible distorts Scripture by omitting or ignoring 'All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.' He replaces it with entitlement language that has no place in the community of faith. Those whom the Lord has redeemed, who by God's grace experience amended lives and whose lives the church recognizes as demonstrations of the Gospel, are called by the Lord to serve his church..."
Children Destroy Worshipful Atmosphere?
Scott Brown, Christian Post, 7/3/12: Children Destroy the Church's Worshipful Atmosphere [Excerpts]--A radical idea has been embraced by some modern churches: "No kids allowed in the adult worship service."
Having children in the adult worship service is too distracting for the parents, it is said, and it's too boring for the kids.
One pastor, when asked what the purpose of Sunday school was, replied, "To keep the children out of our hair so we can worship." This idea was taken to an extreme level at one church (to remain anonymous), when a man was asked to remove his children from the adult church service. When he chose to remain together as a family, he was handed the church's written policy, which stated:
"We are happy you and your children have chosen to worship with us. Small children have short attention spans, so in order to maintain a worshipful atmosphere for all, please do not be offended if an usher asks you to step outside for a few moments should your child begin to disturb others around you. For your convenience, we also provide excellent childcare for all ages. If you would like to use this service, an usher will gladly assist you."
Do we care more about our own space than we do about the personal discipleship of our children? Have we drifted to where we model our sanctuaries more after the peace and focus of a yoga club and inspiration of a rock concert....Do we narcissistically love our comforts more than we desire to embrace the difficult task of training up a mighty army of saints who would be willing to go to their death for their Savior?
This "children-are-a-disruption" attitude is not new. It was around even in Jesus' day. Mark 10:13-16 records this: "And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them."
Dear Mr. McMahon, I appreciate this website and the wealth of information that is provided here. However, with that said, I must state my displeasure with parts of your critique on the book, The Harbinger....It seems to be a deliberate attack on Mr. Cahn and a backhanded way of not only charging him with being theologically unsound but also incompetent as a writer. That is not what I come to this site for, I'm here to help sort out the wheat from the chaff. I wonder, if you had the opportunity to interview Mr. Cahn face to face, would you have made the same comments? It appears to me that your comments as I have outlined are totally out of line and unnecessary for the theological critique.
Yes, I have read the book, my take away is that Mr. Cahn is reminding the American people that judgment is coming, and I can agree with him. I have tried to advise those whom I work with that America is similar to the Titanic, an accident waiting to happen. It is only by God's Grace that He hasn't brought this nation to its knees for its/our/my sins.
I enjoy this site for its sound theological teaching--please leave the literary comments to someone else. KM (FL)
Dear TBC Staff,
Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I was so blessed today to receive the precious gift of three books from you and simply could not be more grateful. I wish it was possible to adequately express what this means to me but please know I truly am very thankful. It is such a privilege to be able to get the TBC newsletter each month and to now enjoy these books that are unavailable here is a special treat. I will continue to hold all of you in my prayers and share TBC where I can. Please continue the good work you've all been called to do--the glorious impact cannot be understated. Thank you again! AT (OR, prisoner)
Dear Friends, Great article in your [February] issue. I was raised in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany. When my parents immigrated to the U.S....and attended one of the local Lutheran Churches...I was shocked by the strong similarity to the Roman Catholic churches in Germany; thus my search for the truth began.
For about a year I studied to become a JW. However, an older Christian man in fellowship in one of the brethren assemblies witnessed to me, making the things of Christ real to me and discipling me without me realizing it.
I had a (proverbial) nail that I held onto--John 1:1-3. Over the years...I have found many new scriptural evidences of the deity of Christ in the Bible, many of which you cite in your excellent article....I continue in fellowship with those who meet in Christian simplicity, give the Lord Jesus Christ the pre-eminent place, and endeavor to teach and practice what the Bible plainly teaches--"Thy word is truth." WK (NJ)
Dear Friends, Words can't express how much you've contributed to opening my eyes and ears to see and hear the wonderful truths God gives us in His Word. I'm praying for all of you that the Lord will continue to give you a faithful heart and bless all of your work for Him. NP (MS)
Hello T. A., I am so grateful for your review of The Harbinger! A dear, sincere Christian friend asked me to listen to The 700 Club (of course all the alarms went off then) to an interview Pat Robertson (more alarms going off) did with the author of that book. I listened, and got ill.
When I was first led to our Lord 33 years ago, I started doing a great deal of research on the Masons, as many of my dearest family members were part of it. I knew as soon as I was saved, that something was really wrong. I have known about George Washington dedicating our first capital city of New York to his god, and there is a famous painting of Washington in his Masonic regalia during this event.
Christians are so naive, and it is sad and scary....I fear for the spiritual naiveté of the church at large. I also fear that Christians know too little about this country's history. So many just assume that we are and always have been "a Christian nation." Where is the discernment? Where is the teaching by the pastors, who also are so often ignorant of what the foundation of this nation is all about?...I am saving this article you wrote, and hopefully can share some of it with my friend. PR (email)
Mr. Hunt, I just want to say thank you for your obedience to the Lord and His word by serving Him the way you have been throughout all these years. I and a few friends have benefited from your teachings on yoga, new age and just recently the DVD, Israel, Islam, and Armageddon. If it were the Lord's will, by the help of His Spirit, I would love to start a Bible study on biblical prophecies. Many churches do not teach prophecies in light of understanding the times we live in (history, religion, politics, economy, humanism, etc.). Sadly, to many, the word of God is compartmentalized and not seen as a whole to study it, understand it, know it, and use discernment to understand the Christian world view. May the Lord continue to bless you in all areas of your life so you continue to live an abundant, richly blessed life and be equipped for all good works, and so you will continue to be a blessing to many. Amen. SP (email)
Dear Dave, I just want to thank you for bringing me out of atheism in 1987 at the age of 20. My life would be completely different right now if God had not used you to reach me back then. I continue to read my Bible diligently each and every day so that I can provide the answers to people on the hope that is in me. I have every single video and audio lecture that was ever released by TBC since 1987 and they have all helped me to stay clear of all the false teachings--right from the start of my Christian walk with the Lord. At the point I was at in 1987 no regular preacher type would have ever reached me. So thanks again for leading me into a reasonable faith by causing me to question my belief system. You have been greatly used by Jesus and I will for the rest of my life continue to share your lectures and books with everyone open to receive them. I just ordered all ten years of radio shows and will be listening to it and reading the Bible every day for years to come....So be encouraged in knowing that the Lord has used you to tremendously impact peoples lives and will continue to do so until the Lord returns. DM (email)
Dear Folks at The Berean Call, I just had to write to you and let you know that "I'm back!" After a hiatus of some months, I am recommitting to supporting your ministry....For a long time I had been burdened with the feeling that I should be supporting a local church....The problem was, I didn't belong to a local church....By what seemed at first a providential turn of circumstances, last year I became aware of a small congregation a few towns over from where I live. [They] seemed to embrace a real biblical outlook and leaning, and so...I began attending services there....Unfortunately, just a few short weeks after I had begun attending, the congregation held a special service...in a neighboring town. When they handed out the bulletins for the morning's program, there was an insert entitled "Lectio Divina." I knew that...you folks at TBC had written about and warned against [it]. I scanned the brochure quickly...and there were enough "buzz words" in it for me to realize that this was not something that I wanted any part of....It's come home to me clearer than ever of how important your ministry is...in these dangerous times.... MC (NH)
Dear Dave, T. A., and TBC Staff, I wanted to drop you a note just to thank you for your past and ongoing ministry. I first heard Dave speak at a prophecy conference in Minnesota in 1995. I have always had a passion for prophecy and a strong desire for the Lord's return. I very much appreciated Dave's insight and presentation of the Scriptures regarding these matters. From that time on I would take every opportunity to hear Dave or T. A. speak whenever they were in our area. I also have read most of their books from which I have learned much.
In 2002, I helped start a church in Minnesota (north of Minneapolis). Since many of our congregation [were] regular readers of the The Berean Call it was only natural that we named the church, Berean Christian Fellowship. This year we are celebrating our 10-year anniversary. The Lord has blessed and preserved us in more ways than I can recount....
I know Christ is our foundation and you are only his vessels but I wanted to thank you for your service to Him. You have been used by Christ to help nurture and encourage us in our walk of faith. Some plant the seed and others water, but God makes our faith grow. SM (MN)
To The Berean Call, I know there are numerous people who have been helped and blessed by Dave's ministry. He has faithfully declared God's Word and kept us from many hurts and false teachings. He has literally spent himself and new he needs our prayers and support.
Would all of you who have been blessed by his ministry join me and take a few minutes and ask God to bless him and his devoted wife Ruth and pour down showers of blessings upon them?
If I know my Heavenly Father, He will be moved with compassion, and bless them.... JW (KY)
Dear Tom, Thanks so much for your newsletter article, "Roman Catholics: The Neighborhood Mission Field." Having been delivered from that darkness after 34 years, I share your zeal for telling the truth to the mission field of 1 billion--including nearly 100 members of my immediate family! However, it took years for me to find ministries who would stand up for the truth about RCC, and I found some good ones in Proclaiming the Gospel and Grace to You. Few "seasoned" or mature believers understand RCC, and I am not received well in most instances when I speak the truth about RCC. But life is not a popularity contest, and I am in it now for my Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks for standing firm on the Truth! CH (TX)
Dear Dave and T. A., Words cannot express our gratitude to you both for ever keeping a watchful, discerning eye on God's truth AS IT IS WRITTEN. Thank you for your faithfulness in addressing current issues as some church leaders are either misinformed or too timid to stand fully on God's Word. Keep sounding the trumpet of warning. Keep on being "the watchmen" at the gate....We know He shall ever bless and keep you in His care. C&JA (OR)
T. A. and Dave, What a marvelous newsletter! Can't imagine not getting it. It's informative and educational. You keep your readers up-to-date on happenings and books in the religious world. It's good to be informed in these last days--any days, really. May God bless your efforts mightily. A&SP (MO)
Snail Mail and Sometimes Slug Mail
Our apologies to those who received the June newsletter weeks later than usual. It did reach our printer in a timely fashion and was sent on to the United States Postal Service. The mailing went astray shortly thereafter. The actual problem will likely remain a mystery since no one has come forward with the details, and therefore there is much doubt that a remedy will be forthcoming. Not that such a delay will necessarily happen again. That would require some form of consistency, which hasn't been the norm for the USPS!
Somehow, we don't foresee upcoming rate increases solving the post office's problems. On the other hand, the latest delay episode may be good motivation for those who have been thinking of switching from their hard copy through the mail to receiving the newsletter through the internet. The newsletter is usually posted on our website and sent out by email on the first day of the month. Most of our readers will be able to view it on their computers, iPads, Smart phones, etc., sometimes as early as two weeks before it might arrive by mail. That's faster for you and less expensive for us.
For those who still prefer a hard copy of the newsletter or don't use computers, we will continue to do our best to accommodate your needs.
T. A. McMahon Executive Director
TBC Exclusive Feature
The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction? Excerpts from a new book by David James
Chapter 1 - "Introduction"
Calling America back to God is a valid message and one that needs to be proclaimed. America is clearly in trouble in many ways. Joanathan Cahn rightly points out that "Judgment isn't ultimately about nations--but people. . . . And no one is exempt. Each must stand before Him." He thus challenges his readers to understand that what is even more important than a nation facing temporal judgment is that those who do not turn to Christ are facing eternal judgment. Cahn is to be commended for his passion and commitment to sharing this message with as wide an audience as possible
However, because of serious flaws throughout the book, its potential dangers may outweigh the benefits. The errors may well overshadow the truth. Many of the views and ideas presented in The Harbinger have both significant exegetical and theological problems. Also, the book may leave many of its readers with serious misunderstandings about how to appropriately interpret and apply the Word of God. Another concern is that in trying to support his conclusions, Cahn appears to overstate his case, sees prophetic fulfillment where none exists, and presses details to draw parallels between historical events beyond what the facts reasonably support.
Chapter 2 - "Departure from a Biblical Hermeneutic"
In a moderated discussion on Prophecy Today with this author, Cahn affirmed his belief that Isaiah 9:10 was specifically to ancient Israel. He has also stated that the prophecy is not to, for, or about America. This would be consistent with the view of conservative scholars, who generally agree that America is not referenced or in view in any biblical passage. However, the book leaves the reader with the very distinct impression that Isaiah's prophecy and ancient Israel are indeed connected to modern-day America in some way.
Chapter 8 - "America: A New Israel?"
. . . after having read The Harbinger, [Glenn] Beck discussed the book on his radio program. His understanding of what Cahn is saying is identical to that of Timothy Ballard (author of The Covenant: America's Sacred and Immutable Connection to Ancient Israel)--a foundational concept in The Harbinger is that an American covenant with God exists. On his GBTV television program, Beck said the following about The Harbinger:
I find this truly amazing because this [The Harbinger] is making the case that I've been making on this program for a while--that we made a covenant. . . . George Washington made that covenant in a church that's right across the street from the World Trade Center. . . . I believe that church had God's protection on it to send us a message. . . . He was sending us a message. God always returns to the scene of the covenant. . . .
This led to Glenn Beck inviting Jonathan Cahn to personally appear on his television program on June 26 and 27 for a two-part series. As one would expect, the issue of a covenant between God and America comes up--and Cahn clearly confirms his alignment with Beck's views about this:
[Beck at 7:49 mark] What is important to me is the point you make in the book is not just about Isaiah. What you say is, "Ancient Israel made a covenant with God. And God will always remind people of the covenant and say, 'Help Me help you-a-t the place of the covenant.'"
Chapter 9 - "Missing Critical Elements"
The New Testament makes it clear that every future judgment of God involves Jesus Christ, yet Cahn never makes that association. Every future judgment of God is in the context of Christ's second coming, yet Cahn never mentions His return. And every future judgment of God is preparatory to the establishment of Christ's kingdom, yet Cahn never tells the reader where this is all heading.
One almost senses that Cahn has explicitly avoided saying too much about Christ and Christians and Christianity. Trying to avoid giving the impression that this is only about religion is a good thing. But leaving out so much crucial biblical truth concerning the nature of the coming judgment is just wrong.
Chapter 10 - "The Ancient Mystery: The Nine Harbingers"
The Sixth Harbinger: The Sycamore
This is yet another forced parallel that does not withstand closer examination. First, the sycamore (fig-mulberry) of ancient Israel and the American sycamore are two completely different trees that are unrelated in any way. They are not the same species (Ficus sycomorus vs. Platanus occidentalis). They are not in the same genus (Ficus vs. Plantanus), nor even in the same family (Moraceae vs. Platanaceae). In spite of this, the author tries to make the connection on a linguistic basis. . . .
The tree in Israel is a fruit-bearing tree, with the English translation ultimately coming from the Greek for "fig-mulberry" which is sycomoros. However, this tree is shaqam in Hebrew. So it is not legitimate to claim that this tree was a "sycamore" to the ancient Israelites, who lived long before the influence of the Greek Empire. It was a fig-mulberry--it was a shaqam to them.
In contrast, the American sycamore, as stated before, is not botanically related in any way to the fig-mulberry. There is no semantic connection. Of course, both trees carry the same name--but this is true only for English-speakers, not for Hebrew-speakers.
The Seventh Harbinger: The Erez Tree
Cahn's reasoning reveals that he is depending on the taxonomic classification system to make his case. The taxonomic system is based on a hierarchy of seven ranks for classifying all living things on earth.
The first problem with appealing to this classification system is that it is based exclusively on evolutionary theory. In addition, as evolutionary theory evolves, so does the classification system itself, and it can change significantly over time. . . .
The Norway spruce planted at Ground Zero is biblically a different kind of tree than the cedars of Lebanon in Isaiah 9:10. Although the Bible is not a scientific textbook, it is accurate in those matters of science about which it speaks. Consequently, based on the authority of the Word of God there is no amazing coincidence. There is no match. There is no parallel. And there is no harbinger.
Chapter 12 - "The Isaiah 9:10 Effect"
Just as the theory of the nine harbingers was developed to demonstrate the connection between Isaiah 9:10 and America, the Isaiah 9:10 Effect is crucial to understanding God's second round of warning to America.
So, the question remains, "Where does the concept of the Isaiah 9:10 Effect come from?" It doesn't come from the text itself, nor from the immediate context. Neither is anything remotely similar to The Isaiah 9:10 Effect mentioned or implied anywhere else in Scripture. . . . Cahn presents the Isaiah 9:10 Effect as if it were an inviolable scriptural principle--that once it is set in motion, the corresponding prescribed outcome is inevitable.
Chapter 14 - "The Shemitah"
All credit and debt from 2001 to 2008 had "in effect, been canceled?" There were certainly a lot of losses experienced by both creditors and investors, but nowhere close to all debt was wiped away. Just the simple fact that many people ended up upside down on their mortgages as the housing market collapsed and many lost their homes because of foreclosures clearly demonstrates this. . . . If debt had been wiped away, these people could have kept their homes and owed nothing.
Another crucial issue that could be easy to miss is the fact that the author has just redefined the Shemitah itself. The biblical Shemitah involved the cancellation of all debt owed to creditors. However, Cahn has completely redefined it, with no scriptural support whatsoever, to include the wiping out of savings and investments. This is more than misleading.
And the speculation does not end there. Cahn goes so far as to argue that God was imposing a global Shemitah made up of countless smaller ones all over the world. . . . This is so far beyond the realm of reasonable logic, so thoroughly contradicted by historical facts, and so completely devoid of any biblical support that it simply requires no rebuttal other than to say, "It did not happen."
Chapter 15 - "A King and a President"
As previously noted, Nouriel Kaplan, the journalist, has a dream about the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem under King Solomon (chapter 19). Although the author has said that this dream is simply part of the fictional storyline, the idea of connecting Solomon and George Washington is clearly far more than just a surprising plot-twist.
Furthermore. Cahn goes well beyond just connecting them in some vague sort of way--King Solomon actually transforms into George Washington on the Temple Mount. . . . Although preceded by kings Saul and David, it was Solomon who built and dedicated the temple. This finalized the establishment of Israel as a nation because it was then that God came to dwell among His people once again--not in a temporary tent but in a permanent structure. So, too, the inauguration of George Washington finalized the establishment of the United States as a nation.
Chapter 16 - "Preparing for Eternity"
Not once does the author ever mention the idea of "placing one's faith in Christ" or "believing in Christ" or "trusting in Christ" for one's salvation. In fact, quite inexplicably, the words faith and trust never appear in relation to salvation or the gospel anywhere in The Harbinger.
Unfortunately the gospel is almost completely obscured in the midst of the many words, while the few words and phrases that could have made the gospel very clear are missing. Because of these and other crucial elements of the gospel that are also missing, a genuine concern is whether anyone who does not already understand the gospel could even be saved by reading The Harbinger.
* * *
Although Cahn refers to the Cross at Ground Zero three times in one paragraph, he never makes any connection between it and the Cross upon which Jesus was crucified. He makes no other mention of the Cross anywhere in the book. It is never once clearly stated that Jesus died on the Cross, shedding His blood for the remission of our sins.
Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 15:1-6 that Jesus' resurrection is an essential component of the gospel, and in Romans 10:9-11 he states that one must believe in His resurrection to be saved....However there is not the slightest mention of the resurrection of Jesus Christ anywhere in The Harbinger. How could this be?
Chapter 17 - "The Tenth Seal"
The following quote is from an article titled "Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism" on the Judaism 101 website.
Mysticism and mystical experiences have been a part of Judaism since the earliest days. The Torah contains many stories of mystical experiences, from visitations by angels to prophetic dreams and visions. The Talmud considers the existence of the soul and when it becomes attached to the body. Jewish tradition tells that the souls of all Jews were in existence at the time of the Giving of the Torah and were present at the time and agreed to the Covenant. There are many stories of places similar to Christian heaven and purgatory, of wandering souls and reincarnation. The Talmud contains vague hints of a mystical school of thought that was taught only to the most advanced students and was not committed to writing.
Intentional or otherwise, Jonathan Cahn's approach to explaining the ancient mystery hidden in Isaiah 9:10 seems eerily close to the above description. Even if he does not personally subscribe to classic Jewish mysticism, as a messianic rabbi he certainly seems to have created his own form.
Chapter 18 - "Final Thoughts"
Jonathan Cahn's intention is for The Harbinger to be a powerful wakeup call for America--a call to repent from her rapid descent into the depths of sin and turn to God as her only hope of avoiding His imminent judgment. . . . Cahn has grabbed the attention of millions--and he has struck a nerve. For those who have taken this idea seriously, we can praise and thank the Lord for His gracious loving-kindness.
In the final analysis . . . The Harbinger's phenomenal success is the result of a tragedy whose magnitude can be measured in many ways. It can be measured in terms of dollars and hundreds of thousands of copies that have been sold . . . or in terms of its long-held position near the top of the theology category on Amazon.com . . . or in terms of the millions of television viewers and radio listeners who have been dramatically influenced through the interviews Cahn has given.
The real tragedy is what ultimately allowed this to happen. A growing segment of the evangelical church seems to be losing its way regarding discernment. We have become far too dependent on what others are writing when it comes to our own understanding of the Word of God. We're letting others do the "heavy lifting" while we sit, watch, listen, and atrophy.
Like a beautiful piece of furniture that appears to be handcrafted from the finest oak but really has only the very thinnest of oak veneers, The Harbinger has only a veneer that gives it the appearance of being biblical. How could so many believers be deceived by this? Is it because the church has largely abdicated its responsibility to examine and test a matter in light of Scripture?
Revealing--or Concealing America's "Ancient Mystery"? (Part 2) by Mark Dinsmore
Millions of sincere Christians are convincingly deceived every day, and in every conceivable way. Some are deceived by the lie of evolution and seek to erroneously reconcile "science" (falsely so-called) with what they believe about God. Others who have trusted (and "tested") the biblical account of Creation have an incredible advantage in establishing a biblical worldview. However, many of these may yet fall prey to the lie of psychology and "self-love." Still others, having recognized the subtlety of Satan, escape the lie of selfism and self-help, only to be ensnared by seeking after signs and wonders--or by the mistaken belief that God is now revealing himself in some higher, mystical realm through select messengers to whom we must turn for fresh manna. (As it turns out, what often passes for "fresh" is nothing more than recycled ancient lies.)
The dazzling array of deceptions by which believers can be beguiled today is truly astounding. This should come as no surprise to Bereans, who know that the End Times are so characterized by spiritual deception that our Lord Jesus warned of this sign more than any other. In fact, Satan's wiles are so well-crafted that they would even deceive many elect. How? The Bible says that he is able to appear as an angel of light. He can manipulate minds, material creation, and even orchestrate events (certain "divine encounters" may in fact be devilish). Almost all believers tend to recognize "bad" temptations, but many saints--even pastors and authors--may yet be deceived by "good" ones. Good deceptions? Certainly: "And [Eve] saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise..." (Gen 3:6, emphasis added).
Today this identical desire--once seemingly extinguished from the professing church--is now leading believers into strong delusion. Mysticism and methodologies once recognized instantly as "New Age" have not only crept into Christian households but are proclaimed from the pulpits of formerly sound preachers. And the tragedy is, as the prophet Jeremiah lamented, "a wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?" (Jer 5:30-31). The context of this passage is national judgment for God's people, who have "refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return" (Jer 5:3b). And the problem is not merely rebellion of the flesh but a perversion of those who profess the ways of God: "Thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery...[spiritual fornication]. Shall I not visit for these things? saith the Lord: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?" (Jer 5:7,9).
To this day, well-meaning Christians fiercely defend the motto on our currency, "In God We Trust." But tragically, few stop to consider the question, "Which God?" For the Christian, Catholic, and Mormon who are "brothers" in Freemasonry, the god in whom they trust is one and the same: a false god. Tragically, for decades Christians have naively assumed that when the government or a public official has acknowledged "God," they mean "God of the Bible." But as the occultic emblems on our currency prove (particularly the unfinished pyramid, over which hovers the gnostic "eye of Horus/Ra"), the architects of the national seal had another god in mind--a universal, Masonic god, who is only secretly revealed to the highest "illuminated" adepts as none other than Lucifer.
Should believers continue to be frustrated at the attacks of atheists who perpetually seek to strip the motto "In God We Trust" from our currency and coin? Not for those whose God is the Lord, because armed with this knowledge, they will recognize that such a crusade is nothing more than a distraction of the enemy that consumes valuable time and resources. The real concern is that for generations believers have been deceived by such symbolism "hiding in plain sight." Freemasonry, as with any stream of occult mysticism, or "ancient wisdom," is spiritual fornication. And yet, the temptation to partake (like Eve) in the revelation of such mysteries--as though there is "hidden truth" yet to be accessed on this side of heaven--persists to this day as restless believers rush to taste the latest "prophetic" word published for consumption by spiritual pied pipers.
So when the author of the New York Times bestseller The Harbinger concludes his fictional tale with a bizarre dream in which King Solomon shape-shifts into the likeness of George Washington and then transforms a second time into the elusive Prophet (a main character and the "teacher" in the story, who helps Nouriel unlock "divine knowledge"), the reader is left to wonder: Is this curious vision simply a case of creative license gone wild? Or is there something more symbolic intended, or subtly represented? [See online version for relevant book excerpts.]
Understandably, such occultic imagery raises quisical eyebrows. But Jonathan Cahn artfully dodges attempts to discern the source of such details, hiding behind what he maintains is purely a fictional "framework." However, his appeals to the Bible, historic figures, and events betray his "fictional" defense. Furthermore, his book is published by Charisma Media--home to many authors who traffic in spiritual sensationalism, including elaborate visions and "visitations" of angels, and others who stress the importance of dream interpretation as not only an acceptable but desirable means of hearing from God. For the author to suggest that there is absolutely no significance to this curious dream appears disingenuous.
In part one, we observed Cahn's penchant for placing sacred importance on "ancient mysteries...secrets...vows...oaths...keys...ground...stones...etc." It is simply astounding that in the same breath, the author casually casts off the relevance of inquiry into Freemasonry--a fraternal order that has jealously guarded such "national treasures" of occult illumination for centuries--all the while building monuments and towers whose tops "may reach unto heaven," hiding esoteric symbolism in plain sight.
Nouriel is Cahn's "journeyman" character, who throughout TH is on a quest to decipher nine ancient "seals" containing progressive revelation. Curiously, Cahn's plot parallels the Masonic journey of self-knowledge. In fact, it is in the lore and artwork of Freemasonry enshrined in our nation's capital that we may find a key to the ancient mystery of Nouriel's strange dream, "linking...ancient Israel and America, as with all the other mysteries" (p.195). In his quest for answers, Nouriel suddenly had an epiphany: "I had no idea where it was all leading me. And then it hit me...Washington! [George] Washington hid the mystery [in my dream]. So the mystery was hidden in Washington...the city...the nation's foundation. And the Temple was in Jerusalem, which was the capital. The mystery again pointed to the capital city. So I returned to Washington DC" (p.195). Cahn's character beholds the Masonic obelisk, then ironically stands in the center of the Capitol rotunda--but without finding the answers he sought. If Nouriel had only looked up--literally, straightup, then he would have discovered the most likely inspiration for Cahn's cryptic dream sequence: A "heavenly" painting inside the Capitol dome known as The Apotheosis of George Washington, in which the president is depicted just as the figure in Nouriel's dream: one hand raised, one hand lowered, robe slipping off (another bronze similarly depicting the first president once "graced" the rotunda floor, but with a bare chest, seated after the manner of Zeus).
The impressive and highly symbolic fresco was painted by Constantino Brumidi, who once worked for three years under Pope Gregory XVI in the Vatican. "Apotheosis" means the "exaltation of a person to the rank of a god." As Dave Hunt and TBC have long documented, the Luciferic quest for ascension to godhood has not only been an ancient objective of mankind for millennia but is still today the literal spiritual objective of Freemasons, Mormons, and others so "enlightened." That Cahn's character appears to vicariously participate in Masonic ritual through the "vision" of King Solomon and Solomon's Temple (the "ancient secrets" of which form the foundations of Freemasonry) is especially disturbing.
Either way--by mirroring the same "secret code" genre popularized by the commercially successful The Da Vinci Code book and film, as well as the movie, National Treasure (the latter being a fictional joyride that purports to reveal Masonic treasures, while in fact concealing its "ancient secrets")--The Harbinger has opened a dangerous spiritual door. By favorably referencing Masonic elements and events in his novel, while selectively avoiding their true meaning, Cahn has either "wittingly" or "unwittingly" drawn readers into an occult environment that centers upon another gospel--one acceptable to the false god of Freemasonry.