Posted by Christine Pack
There is an unlikely book taking the Christian world by storm right now (unlikely because there seem to be obvious problems with it) and yet this book, surprisingly, has been embraced by a a number of evangelical Christians. The book is The Harbinger, and it was written by Jonathan Cahn, a Messianic Jew who is also the senior pastor of the Jerusalem Center/ Beth Israel in Wayne, NJ. In our original Commentary on The Harbinger, we noted that The Harbinger is a fiction book, and features a character known as the prophet who is slowly giving seals to one of the main characters (Nouriel). These seals contain messages (nine in all) which are meant to be put together as clues in a mystery, so that a final, distinct message will emerge and be revealed. This message, once decoded, is intimated to hold the secret to bringing America back to its moral center and becoming once again a Godly nation. And in our original article, we discussed some of our concerns with the book, chiefly that, (1) in our opinion, the book has a distinct gnostic flavor to it, with its "mysteries" needing to be decoded, and also that (2) Jonathan Cahn's two appearances on Mormon Glenn Beck's show to discuss spiritual matters were problematic because Glenn Beck is not a Bible-believing Christian, and so his view of God and Cahn's view of God are vastly different, and such an alliance is likely to be very confusing, in general, to the body of Christ.
One of the Cahn's staunchest defenders has been discernment speaker and talk show host Jan Markell, who is featuring Jonathan Cahn at her 2012 Understanding The Times conference
, and who also recently had Jonathan Cahn on her radio show to discuss his controversial book in a two part interview (segment one here
and segment two here
). In these interviews with Jan Markell (which also included Dr. Walter Martin's daughter Jill Martin-Rische and discernment speaker Eric Barger), Jonathan Cahn addressed concerns that have been raised about him by discernment ministries (including ours), specifically his appearances on the Glenn Beck show. This was Cahn's response:
"If I am given an invitation to go on an interview show, and I am given an open platform to share the gospel, to share the word of God, to share the warning and the call to repentance, I will do that. In no way, shape or form is going on an interview show, are you giving consent that you agree with the host's position or they agree with your position. And so they're giving an open platform........If I spoke to some of these people in these discernment ministries, and said, there's a man who's actually going to a pagan place, where it's all pagan, a pagan event, and he's going to speak, they would condemn him or crucify him, most likely. And they'd be crucifying the Apostle Paul on Mars Hill. And because he went there, it didn't mean that he was agreeing with Mars Hill."
This is the second interview that I know of in which Cahn has likened his appearance on the Glenn Beck show to that of the Apostle Paul on Mars Hill addressing their "Unknown God." But in my opinion, that is an incorrect characterization of Cahn's Glenn Beck appearance.
Did Jonathan Cahn Use His Appearance on The Glenn Beck Show To Give The Gospel Message?
The Apostle Paul clearly gave the gospel message on Mars Hill, while, by all appearances, Cahn went on Glenn Beck's show to promote his book (The Harbinger), and did not proclaim the gospel. If you read the passage from Acts (below), and contrast it to what Cahn discussed on Beck's show (1st interview here, 2nd interview here), you simply cannot find anything in either of Cahn's appearances where he clearly proclaimed that Glenn Beck, as a Mormon, has given his allegiance to a false god, and is himself, personally, in danger of judgment, and that he needs to repent and place his faith in Christ alone for the forgiveness of sins.
|The Apostle Paul on Mars Hill|
"Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, You men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore you ignorantly worship, him I now declare unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwells not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshiped with men's hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he gives to all life, and breath, and all things; And has made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if perhaps they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Therefore then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Deity is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. And the times of this ignorance God overlooked; but now commands all men everywhere to repent: Because he has appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom he has ordained; and of this he has given assurance unto all men, in that he has raised him from the dead. And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear you again of this matter. So Paul departed from among them." (Acts 17:22-33, my emphasis)
Our family has been reading through the Bible on a yearly reading plan, and as providence would have it, we recently landed on this passage of the Apostle Paul on Mars Hill. I've read this passage many times, but in light of Jonathan Cahn's insistance that he will use any platform as his own "Mars Hill" in order to proclaim the gospel message, I slowed down and really looked again at what exactly happened on Mars Hill. I ended up coming away from the text with an even deeper appreciation of Paul, who, not surprisingly, gives a magnificent gospel proclamation to the men of Athens. And make no mistake, it's all in there:
- A sovereign creator God who is holy, who made us and who has a righteous claim on our lives.
- Man's depravity and inability to save himself.
- Man's attempt to conjure up his own path to God with his all-bases-covered "Unknown God," and Paul then proclaiming that this God, who is "unknown" to them is real, that He commands all men to repent, and has Himself appointed a Man by whom salvation comes, and as proof of this, has raised this Man from the dead (all of which probably drove those sophisticated, religious pagans bonkers in the same way that it drives sophisticated, liberal Christians of today bonkers when people take the Bible literally....but I digress).
So my lingering question is this: Going by the biblical text from Acts above, and comparing that to Jonathan Cahn's Glenn Beck appearances (here
), does it appear that Jonathan Cahn took the opportunity, as he claims he did, to present the gospel message on the Glenn Beck show? Do we hear anything of God's holiness? man's depravity? a command to repent and believe on the Jesus of the Bible, who bodily rose from the dead, for the forgiveness of sins? I just don't see it. But beyond just taking apart what he said he did vs. what he actually did, would it be stating the super obvious for me to wonder, also, where is Jonathan Cahn's pastorly care and compassion for Glenn Beck as a lost human being on his way to Hell? I'm rather neutral on the subject of Glenn Beck, other than finding him pretty amusing, but on the subject of Hell, I am not neutral. The thing about Jonathan Cahn's interview with Beck that is the most upsetting to me is that Glenn Beck has a soul, having been made in the image of God, and I'm left wondering this: how will Glenn Beck feel when he wakes up in hell, and thinks, wait a second, I was just twelve inches away from a Christian pastor who sat there and nodded when I talked about "God" and never told me that my Mormon god was a false god? Glenn Beck is lost-lost-lost, and he needs to hear that the times of ignorance have been overlooked by God, but that He now commands all men everywhere to repent (and that includes sincere, well-intentioned Mormons, like Glenn Beck).
Jonathan Cahn's first appearance on the Glenn Beck show
(Glenn Beck online)
Jonathan Cahn's second appearance on the Glenn Beck show
(Glenn Beck online)
Is The Harbinger Fact or Fiction?
Implications of The Harbinger
A Commentary on The Harbinger
The Harbinger - A Review and Commentary
(Pastor Larry DeBruyn)
The Harbinger - A Review
(Pastor Gary Gilley)
What To Make Of The Harbinger Mystery
(Stand Up For The Truth, Amy Spreeman)
The Rise and Fall of World Powers
(Dr. John MacArthur)
When Contending Becomes Cantankerous
(a pro-Harbinger interview, with Jan Markell, Eric Barger, Jill Martin Rische)