The Truth About the Harbinger: Addressing the controversy and discovering the facts about this prophetic message by Jose Bernal ~ Review

The Truth About the Harbinger: Addressing the controversy and discovering the facts about this prophetic message by Jose Bernal

I recently read The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn in preparation for the review of this book. You can read my review here.

Truth About the Harbinger

For me, the key to understanding all the related books such as the Harbinger Companion book, the DVD ‘The Harbinger Decoded’ and this book, is in the appearance of well-documented historical events that repeat over a period of time. Such circumstances have happened enough to formulate a template–a pattern. Some call this the circle of life. But since time is linear, I prefer to think of it as waves of events which form predictable consequences. Patterns infer a presence of intelligence and purpose. For me, this translates into information about God and His will for mankind…His purpose and intentions.

Jonathan Cahn succinctly summarizes The Harbinger this way, “The Harbinger concerns an ancient pattern of judgment that manifested in the last days of ancient Israel and which is now manifesting in America.” The crux of his message is simple. God’s nature, revealed to us in the Scriptures, is justice tempered with mercy, like two sides of a coin. When God saw that His chosen people were drifting away from Him, He would issue a warning of judgment to come, but would always provide a means to escape this judgment through His loving mercy. This pattern is consistent all throughout the Old Testament. And again, if you study historical events around the world after Jesus’ death and resurrection from a biblical point of view, the pattern holds. This is not a new or original concept. With this thought in mind, it was no surprise to me when the author of The Harbinger found yet another manifestation of this pattern in the present.

I know plans I have for you

Whenever a God-centered message is pronounced publicly that may have an influence over a large number of people, as is the case with the book The Harbinger, especially where the message includes a call to forsake our rejection of God and draw closer to Him, there will be criticism. Some of the criticism comes from within the “faith” community and some from outside of it. As I see it, the stronger the appeal to turn away from sin, the stronger the criticism offered.

Answering such criticisms is the focal point of Jose Bernal’s “The Truth About the Harbinger”. To quote the back cover, ‘Jose Bernal is a teacher of biblical doctrine, hermaneutics, history, and theology, and he hosts a blog called, “The Pepster’s Post: a Voice in Cyber Space” on which he writes on faith, history, religion and current political sociological trends.’ In my own opinion, he is particularly talented at sorting through the trees in order to reveal the forest.

Mr. Bernal’s book is divided into two parts. The first part is an overview of The Harbinger with added comments from others who have read the book. In addition, the author adds more historical context to deepen our understanding of the prevailing patterns. He addresses many issues in this part of the book and points out the criticisms of each harbinger. Where does America fit in prophecy? Who are God’s people? Who is to heed His warnings? Are the nine harbingers relevant for today? Why wasn’t Pearl Harbor considered a harbinger? Can politicians say something prophetic? Can God use natural means as part of His warning? What constitutes the nature of an “effect” (as in the Isaiah 9:10 Effect)? Is a financial collapse part of the prophetic warning? How does God speak to His children today?

The second part of the book goes deeper into the explanations of the truth of the harbingers. Mr. Bernal identifies thirteen criticisms used against the book and the book’s author. He methodically addresses each objection using his expertise in history, biblical doctrine and hermaneutics to make each answer clear and understandable to the reader.

In the final chapters of this book, the author employs two illustrations or parables to summarize his analysis in the latter half of his book. The first analogy is called, “The Fall of Sam.” It’s written in the form of a story to drive home his points. This story is so simple and clear that you could tell it to middle grade young people and they would get it. The second illustration is my favorite. A fireman is trying to rescue a family whose house is on fire. The neighbors come out of their homes and start arguing with the fireman, nit-picking his methods while he is desperately trying to get to the family sleeping upstairs. They even question there is a fire at all. The ridiculousness of the situation is a poignant clarion call for those who are trying to tear down what Jonathan Cahn is building up through his book.

In my opinion this book is a valuable companion to The Harbinger and should be a great help to anyone who wants to delve deeper into the history and background of the basis for the story of the harbingers. I found it easy to read and understand. Its format is logically laid out to appeal to readers whether they have Biblical knowledge or not.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this commentary from Charisma House Book Group through their Booketeria reader program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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One thought on “The Truth About the Harbinger: Addressing the controversy and discovering the facts about this prophetic message by Jose Bernal ~ Review



    A quotation from The Harbinger page 129 the Prophet to Nouriel:

    “It all goes back to the PROPHECY….EVERYTHING-the collapse of Wall St, the rise and fall of the credit market, the war in Iraq, the collapse of the housing market, the foreclosures, the defaults, the bankruptcies, the government takeovers, EVERYTHING- politics, foreign policy world history-EVERYTHING that happened after. It ALL GOES BACK TO THE PROPHECY AND TO THE ANCIENT MYSTERY”.

    Jonathan Cahn in his book claims that Isaiah 9:10 FORETOLD PROPHETICALLY ALL THE EVENTS FROM SEPT 11TH 2001-SEPT 2008 INCLUDING GLOBAL EVENTS? REALLY?

    A wise man once said “There are 3 sides to a story. There is your side, my side and then there is the right side”. Of all the articles and book reviews I have read surrounding Jonathan Cahn’s book The Harbinger, no one has done it better than Dave James to reveal the right side and the truth contained in his book “The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction. With the expertise of an investigator and a legal counselor, Mr. James cuts through all the smoke screen and mirrors, presenting historical, theological, and surprisingly scientific evidence, to reveal the deception
    behind one of the biggest HOAXES unleashed across America since a certain individual from Family Radio Stations predicted the end of the world by May 2011! His shocking evidence demands a verdict.
    He reveals the emergence of many RELIGIOUS VISIONARIES who today are writing books, videos, cds etc to mislead the body of Christ with heresies. As he puts it in his book, the Harbinger is a radical departure from sound biblical hermenuetics. He also reveals how the Zohar, the classical jewish mystical text of the Kabbalist and the Jewish Talmud have had a direct influence on several of Jonathan Cahn’s teachings and sermons. Mr. James exposes how both biblical and historical events were manipulated in order to devise all 9 harbingers with the purpose to create an ELABORATE FABRICATION of a so called ancient mystery that holds the secret to America’s future from Isaiah 9:10. As you read and progress from one chapter to the next, you will be left speechless at the mounting evidence presented by Dave James against Jonathan Cahn.

    Dave James presents overwhelming evidence to refute Jonathan Cahn’s claims about these 9 Harbingers under the following chapters:

    Chapter 10: The Ancient Mystery: the nine harbingers
    Chapter 14:The Shemitah
    Chapter 17: The Tenth Seal-exposes Jonathan Cahn’s jewish mystical theology


    1. Hedge of protection removed/breach: pure speculation-we don’t know if there is or ever has been a hedge of protection. 9/11 was not the first attack on U.S. soil, it was not a military breach, and it did not weaken America’s defenses in any way.
    2. The terrorist: The Assyrians were hardly the first one to use terror tactics-it is just a way to instill fear. The 9/11 hijackers were not Assyrians (which is still an ethnic group that is mostly Christian). In the Harbinger page 40 Mr. Cahn CLEARLY IMPLIES that the Ancient Assyrians were the BLOODLINE ANCESTORS of the 19 hijackers! What a blunder. THE ORIGINS OF THE 19 HIJACKERS ARE AS FOLLOWS: 15 FROM SAUDI ARABIA, 2 FROM UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, 1 FROM EGYPT, & 1 FROM LEBANON(cf with

    3. The fallen bricks: in Israel, fallen bricks meant the nation was leveled by the attacks. On 9/11 there were just a few square blocks of one city. In Israel, most buildings were made of bricks, while in America bricks were only incidental with no significance.

    4. The tower: Completely manufactured only using the Septuagint translation, not the Hebrew(MASORETIC TEXT). If one uses the Septuagint then both the sycamore and cedar harbingers disappear. HISTORICAL FACTS REVEAL THE SEPTUAGINT VERSION IS NOT A UNIFORM AND CONSISTENT TRANSLATION. It was done by many different hands whose skills, and even philosophy of translating varied considerably. These transmission errors found in the Septuagint include the addition of words to create longer versions of some texts, most notably parts of the book of Jeremiah, and other variants that were the result of misunderstanding or misinterpreting a Hebrew word or phrase.

    5. THE GAZIT STONE: Israel rebuilt using gazit (which is just quarried stone), didn’t just lay a gazit cornerstone-they replaced the bricks. In America there was only a single cut cornerstone that ended up not even being used at all.
      The buildings in Israel were constructed of bricks and easily destroyed when the Assyrians attacked. Israel would rebuild with much stronger quarried stone (gazit). When the tower was to be rebuilt at Ground Zero, a single quarried stone was to be placed as a cornerstone–but even that was later moved and never became a part of the new structure.

    6. The sycamore: The sycamore of Israel (fig-mulberry) and that in America are two completely different kinds of trees. In Israel these fig-mulberry trees were cut down by the Assyrians all across the country. In America a single tree (that was not a fig-mulberry) just fell because of the falling buildings.

    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.

    1. The erez: The cedar of Lebanon in Israel, but a Norway spruce in America-two completely different kinds of trees. In Israel, cedars were much stronger and much more valuable trees to be used in many different ways. But in America a single symbolic tree, that is not necessarily stronger than the tree it replaced.

    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.

    1. The utterance: In Israel there was a defiant spirit directed toward the Assyrians and God, ignoring God’s direct warnings by the prophets he had sent over and over to his chosen people. In America there was no intentional, prideful, arrogant defiance of God.
  2. The vow: In neither case was the statement “we will rebuild” a biblical vow, it was just a statement. Beyond that, how many ways can someone say “we will rebuild?” And how many Bible verses talk about rebuilding? It is no big coincidence that Isaiah 9:10 was used (although wrongly) because what other verses could be used if someone wanted to give hope from the Bible concerning an attack that destroyed buildings? It is not like they just picked one out of 30,000 verses as Cahn says-it is basically one out of one. There is no mystery in that.

  3. The Shemitah: This was only for Israel and God wiped out the country after they failed to observe the Sabbath year for almost 500 years. America is not obligated to this and what has happened in America is not the tiniest fraction of what happened to Israel. It is not even remotely close, this is most half of the book, but it is elaborately manufactured out of nothing. The Shemitah/Sabbatical Years was STRICTLY GIVEN TO THE NATION OF ISRAEL UNDER THE MOSAIC COVENANT AND TO NO OTHER NATION IN HUMAN HISTORY. In the Harbinger page 159 Jonathan Cahn claims that the Shemitah was given to America as a sign. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH! There is absolutely no SCRIPTURAL BASIS from Genesis to Revelation which he fails to provide to validate his claims.

  4. Cahn determines that this text in Isaiah contains a mysterious prophecy directed not to ancient Israel but to modern America. At this point the author massages /MANIPULATES Scripture, American history and current events in an attempt to prove that God’s judgment on the United States has been hiding in these verses from the day they were given by Isaiah, but have now been unlocked by the careful investigation of Cahn. (IN OTHER WORDS MR. CAHN HAD TO PERFORM THEOLOGICAL GYMNASTICS BEYOND OLYMPIC PROPORTIONS IN ORDER TO ACCOMPLISH THIS FEAT). Nothing could be further from the truth 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.” However, very few people will recognize what Cahn has done, and fewer still will do the hard work of investigating his interpretations.

    Here is where David James has greatly benefited the body of Christ. He has carefully, graciously and thoroughly analyzed the claims found in The Harbinger and found many of them lacking biblical support and historical accuracy. James has written this book not merely to expose error but to keep God’s people from being led astray by false teachings and improper hermeneutical approaches to Scripture. I believe he has accomplished these goals in The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction?.

    How Serious is False Speculation About Prophecy?

    Evangelical Christians agree that the biblical canon has been established. Anyone who claims to have a prophetic word must demonstrate its validity from Scripture. According to 1 Corinthians 14, any supposedly prophetic statement must pass two tests. First, verse 29 states that after two or three speak a prophetic message, the others are to “judge.” In other words, the prophetic message must not disagree with the knowledge of God’s Word and of truth held by other members of the assembly. Second, verses 37 and 38 demonstrate that just as the apostle Paul submitted his words to the examination of the Corinthians upon the basis of their knowledge of the Word of God, any prophecy that is given must be judged by the standard of the truth already known to the church of Christ. In other words, no completely new truth will be revealed, but rather the prophet will expound and explain truths already accepted and recognized by God’s people. Any “prophecy” that conflicts with Scripture is assumed to be false.

    Evangelicals also know how seriously the Old Testament viewed false prophecy. It provided two tests to determine whether prophets were true or false. Deuteronomy 13:1-3 states the first. If a prophet calls upon the people to “go after other gods,” he is to be considered false, even if his prophecy is fulfilled.

    If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, “Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,” you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul (nasb).

    The second test has to do with the prophet’s accuracy:

    When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him (18:22).

    Deuteronomy 13:5 and Deuteronomy 18:20 explicitly state the punishment for false prophets: They shall be put to death.

    Yet although many evangelicals are wary of anyone claiming to be a prophet, some are dangerously naive about prophetic speculation. Many of those who would never claim to be a “prophet” (See the ATQ article, Do the Same Kinds of Prophets Exist Today as in Biblical Times?) don’t hesitate to claim authoritative insight into the meaning of prophecy. While they would never say, “Thus saith the Lord,” they seem to imply that they know what God was saying through the prophet.

    The purpose of all prophecy-including prophecy about future events-is to encourage us to examine ourselves, repent, and turn from our evil ways. Sometimes prophecy describes a future event to give hope, sometimes it warns of judgment, but in every case the goal of prophecy is spiritual renewal. Prophetic speculation, on the other hand, is mostly concerned with linking contemporary events to biblical prophecy.

    To say this contemporary event is a fulfillment of that prophecy is to claim a kind of prophetic authority. It is a form of “speaking in the name of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 18:22), and just as in the case of false prophecy, it has serious consequences. Scripture and history show that prophecy pertaining to future events is ambiguous before the events occur. (See the ATQ article Can We Know if Current Events are Fulfillment of Prophecy?) Previous historical attempts to predict future events on the basis of biblical prophecy have been disastrous. (See the ATQ article How often in the History of the Church have People Mistakenly Believed They Were Acting in Fulfillment, or Observing the Fulfillment of Prophecy?)

    Believing we belong to a small group that understands how prophetic events are unfolding can lead to unintended results, including pride, isolation, and diminishing concern with truth and reality. It can transform one’s interpretation of prophecy into an idol, a false god. If enough people are influenced, false speculation can lead to its own “fulfillment”-the satanic opposite of legitimate prophecy-accompanied by self-righteousness, fanaticism, and violence.

    This is what happened in Israel in 70 and 135 AD. False prophecy and false prophetic speculation about Messiah led to the destruction of Jerusalem by Roman armies. The fact that many Jews were convinced that Messiah would free Israel from the Roman yoke made them vulnerable to the influence of fanatics. (See the ATQ article How often in the History of the Church have People Mistakenly Believed They Were Acting in Fulfillment, or Observing the Fulfillment of Prophecy?) The same tendency can be seen in those today whose interpretation of prophecy allows them to ignore basic issues of justice and morality while calling for unqualified support for Israel in the modern Middle East, military action, the initiation of new wars, and even the use of nuclear weapons.

    It is no wonder that the New Testament discourages speculation about when Jesus Christ will return and specifically states that He will return at a time no one expects (Matthew 24:36-50; 25:13; Acts 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10).

    Jesus Christ and other inspired writers not only warn us against speculation concerning the hour of His return, but they imply such speculation prevents serious preparation for His return (Matthew 24:43-44; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6; Revelation 3:3).

    Whether it manifests itself in apathy or fanatic violence, false prophecy and false speculation about prophecy is dangerous. Those of us who get caught up in the destructive practice of prophetic speculation not only lend support to the principalities and powers of evil, but also sow seeds of disillusionment and rebellion against the gospel and biblical revelation. Mark 9:42 declares: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea” (nkjv).


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