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Short Thoughts on Isaiah 9:10 and The Harbinger

A friend of mine gave me the book The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn to read a while back.  Another friend recently gave me a documentary done by Cahn on Isaiah 9:10.  The irony is that the book claims to be a fictional book while the documentary claims to be real.  Both are fiction to me.  Let me explain why.

Let’s first read Isaiah 9:10:

“The bricks have fallen,
but we will build with dressed stones;
the sycamores have been cut down,
but we will put cedars in their place.”

Cahn believes that hidden in this text is the 9-11 attacks on the United States.  His documentary seeks to prove this theory while his book is a fictional account of a rabbi discovering the 9-11 attacks hidden in the text.

Gary DeMar points out that the American dollar also has a hidden clue in it about the 9-11 attacks.  If folded just right, the American dollar bill shows the planes hitting the buildings.  But that is beside the point.  I put that in here to say that conspiracy theories always find things in odd places.

In regard to Isaiah 9:10, first notice that the buildings that fell were made from brick.  The twin towers were not made from brick.  I have stood on them myself and know that they were made from steel.  Secondly, the new tower that now stands in the place of the World Trade Centers is also made from steel and not brick.  Thirdly, Isaiah 9:10 does not say that the trees would be destroyed by buildings falling on them but by being cut down.  Lastly (and most important), Isaiah 9:8 is clear that this prophetic word is to Jacob (Israel).  Nothing in this text suggests otherwise that the Lord is speaking to the United States or England or any other nation other than the children of Jacob.

I’m still confused how people can get wrapped up in such poor exegesis of Isaiah 9:10 and be both excited and worried about end times events.  I find my end time hope in Psalm 110:1 not in Isaiah 9:10.

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Written by The Seeking Disciple

03/12/2014 at 12:58 PM

8 Responses

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  1. Always appreciate your thoughts and the spirit in which you communicate them.

    Tom Seitz

    03/12/2014 at 1:16 PM

  2. It never ceases to amaze me how people can read into a text and take their theory on the text so seriously while at the same time completely ignoring obvious meanings the text actually says.

    jeff

    03/13/2014 at 9:14 AM

    • I agree. What disturbs me also is that I read one blog that stated that since Cahn is a Messianic Rabbi, who are we to question him on this. Huh? We are to question all things (1 Thess. 5:19). Scripture alone speaks truthfully and faithfully for God.

      • What website is it? I teach at the Beth Israel Arise and Shine Academy, and the only requirement that is necessary is that the most fundamental tenets of our faith be taught and preserved, such as Christ’s vicarious death on our behalf to secure our redemption and salvation; His unique role in human history and in God’s plan, His bodily resurrection from the dead; His deity and Lordship; Him as the only way to God and heaven; salvation by faith in Christ and not works, Christ’s return for His church, to deliver Israel from its enemies, and restore all things. Such things as these which form the primary bedrock of our faith is what we must all embrace, but I’ve never heard anywhere that anyone should ever be required to agree with anyone else on the basis of their ethnicity, pedigree, or religious, or social affiliation. And I personally know this because I’ve known Jonathan Cahn for over ten years and I am an active member of his congregation. Even wrote a book about The Harbinger, titled The Truth About The Harbinger.

      • The blog was a private blog so its not public. The blogger simply stated that Cahn, being a Rabbi, would have unique views that we Gentiles cannot grasp (such as Isaiah 9:10). His post was not in defense of Cahn but was quoting another source himself. I don’t believe Cahn holds that view but there are those who believe that Messianic Christians have “deeper” understanding of God’s Word because of their Jewish heritage than Gentiles. This would be attacking the doctrine of the clarity of Scripture.

        I have no ill feelings toward you my brother even if you don’t agree with me on this issue. Your doctrinal statement appears sound and for that I rejoice that you love Jesus, preach His gospel, and declare that Jesus alone saves. I pray that you are fruitful in preaching the cross.

  3. Dear Seeking Disciple,

    Thank you for your review of the New York Times bestseller, The Harbinger. Having studied this topic for years, I am personally acquainted with both its biblical and historical content and context. I also understand the proper hermeneutics that must be applied to it for us to understand the passage of Isaiah, the ninth chapter in its correct and proper historical and prophetic context. To this, I have written a little book by the title THE TRUTH ABOUT THE HARBINGER: ADDRESSING THE CONTROVERSY and Discovering the FACTS About the PROPHETIC MESSAGE. I also host The Pepster’s Post: A Voice in Cyberspace, where I write on faith, history, religion and current political sociological trends, and much about The Harbinger.

    I am well-acquainted in the prophecy of Isaiah as well as the teachings of pastor and messianic rabbi Jonathan Cahn which form the basis for the book upon which he based it. Every example of how Christians should behave towards one another is given to us in Scripture. There is for example the method used by the Bereans whom Paul the Apostle visited. This method can be applied to situations where knowledgeable brethren disagree on certain particulars regarding theology, but wish to discuss these differences as good “Bereans” who search thoroughly the Scriptures to obtain the facts about what they differ. Now in the case of the Bereans in Paul’s day, they searched to Scriptures to verify that what Paul preached to them about the Messiah supports what the Scriptures say about Him. We read:

    The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men.

    (Acts 17:10-12)

    The result of their thorough search of the Scriptures resulted in many of them embracing faith in Jesus as the Promised Messiah. Note, neither the Bereans or Paul berated one another as “false teachers” or “false messengers” but Paul shared the Gospel, they listened, and they searched and examined the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Even these Bereans were not yet Christians, neither they or Paul acted in an unworthy manner towards one another, but the Scriptures teach us that they were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, and examined the Scriptures for themselves without arguing with Paul about them as the Thessalonians had.

    We also have some very good examples of how believers should properly handle a brother who is fervent in the faith, but who may have an incomplete or faulty knowledge of God’s Word, or how disagreements are handled properly with consideration of the other while respecting and defending the truth of God’s Word in the process. We go to the Book of Acts, and read the following:

    Now a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John; and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.

    (Acts 18:24-26)

    When Apollos preached an incomplete Gospel, having been acquainted only with the baptism of John, (Acts 18:25) Aquila and Priscilla took him aside and explained to him the complete work of God. (Acts 18:26) What’s more, after explaining the way of God more accurately to him, when he wanted to go across to Achaia, the brethren encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him; and when he had arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah. (Acts 18:27-28)

    This is what we as those who live by God’s grace in Christ strive to do, and this is the manner in which I address your honest review of this book, speaking the truth in love. May I highly recommend you obtain and read a copy of my book, The Truth about The Harbinger: Addressing the Controversy and Discovering the Facts About This Prophetic Message in either the paperback or kindle version. It will well be worth your while, and personally bless you. Oh, and by all means, please tell you friends about my book. I believe they will be highly blessed by reading it as well. Thank you.

    Yours for the Lord,

    Jose J. Bernal

    • Thank you for your very long reply. I don’t have time to sift through it all but let me point out one huge error Cahn makes in his book. He falsely assumes that God has a covenant with nations. While He did have a covenant relationship with Israel (a simple reading of Deuteronomy shows this), where in the Bible does it teach that He now has a covenant relationship with anyone or any nation apart from Christ? Where in the New Testament do the Apostles teach that God favors one nation above another? Where in the NT does it teach that nations are under the wrath of God? People are for their sins and rejection of the gospel (John 3:36; Romans 1:18-32) but where does it teach that certain nations are under God’s wrath? The Israelites were a theocracy. They were established by God Himself. Modern Israel nor the United States is a theocracy. Both are republics. Both are based on principles of democracy and not as the ancient nation of Israel. The ancient nation of Israel was divinely chosen by God (Deut. 7:6) to bring forth the Messiah (Romans 9:5). They did this and rejected the Messiah (John 1:11) and were thus cut off from the blessing of God (Romans 10:21). Now God has a remnant of grace (Romans 11:1-6) who are His elect in His Son (1 Timothy 4:10). Only those in His Son are now His covenant people (Galatians 4).

      This point is huge. To take Isaiah 9:10 and place it upon modern Israel or England or New Zealand or the United States is to ignore the clear context of Isaiah 9:8 and ignores the fact that ancient Israel was a theocracy, the chosen people of God whom He personally delivered from the Egyptians (Deut. 8:1-10). Modern Israel was established in 1948 by the United Nations and is based on democracy and modern Israel is nothing like ancient Israel in governmental principles. Neither is the United States.

      Now can we learn from the OT? Certainly. 1 Corinthians 10 is clear that the OT is our example. We can learn from it but the NT is what is binding upon the Church. Jesus is now King, He is head (Col. 1:15-20). Jesus is Lord over all and He alone is our King (1 Timothy 6:15-16). Jesus alone is the One that we now worship, bow to, adore, and praise. Jesus is King over all nations and He reigns over all by His atonement (Psalm 110:1). His rule shall go over all the earth through the gospel (Matthew 28:18-20). Isaiah 2 is clear that the kingdom of God will cover the earth. This includes people in Israel, China, Cuba, the United States, etc. Revelation 5:9 shows us this promise. The blood of Jesus is redeeming people from every nation. People, not nations, is the focus of God.

      This focus in the book of Acts was clear for the Apostles. The Apostles went out preaching the gospel. They did not focus on Israel or Samaria but all the nations (Acts 1:8). This took an act of God (Acts 10) but God sent for His gospel through the Apostles to all nations. All nations are the focus of the kingdom (Acts 17:30-31). The command of Acts 2:38 is for all people. The command of Acts 3:19 is for all people. The command of Acts 17:30-31 is for all people. God is calling all people to repent and not nations.

  4. THE PEPSTER’S REPLY:
    Dear Seeking Disciple, I want to thank you for a writing a well-thought out and intelligent and clear review of The Harbinger. As a fellow believer who lives in the grace and sovereignty of Almighty God, I appreciate your candor and honesty here. However, there are some things that you wrote that require a biblical and correct reply. I would appreciate if you will allow me to address them below point by point.
    ________________________________________
    The Seeking Disciple:
    A friend of mine gave me the book The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn to read a while back. Another friend recently gave me a documentary done by Cahn on Isaiah 9:10. The irony is that the book claims to be a fictional book while the documentary claims to be real. Both are fiction to me.
    ________________________________________
    THE PEPSTER’S REPLY: Here below is a brief description of what The Harbinger is and what it says – its message:

    The Harbinger is written in the form of a novel that describes a biblical pattern of judgment that has repeated itself in just about every great civilization in history, but the book focuses on how this specific pattern of judgment befell the northern kingdom of Israel, headquartered in Samaria, in 732 B.C. when the prophet Isaiah rebuked and pronounced judgment on the nation for vowing – as he describes it – “in pride and in arrogance of heart” (Isaiah 9:9) to undertake a rebuilding and recovery program after a limited first strike on the land was made by Assyria. This rebuilding, replanting, and recovery effort was done without accounting to God in repentance, or giving Him any mind, much as our leaders today have done today.

    The Harbinger focuses on how this specific pattern of judgment befell the northern kingdom of Israel, headquartered in Samaria, in 732 B.C. when the prophet Isaiah rebuked and pronounced judgment on the nation for vowing – as he describes it – “in pride and in arrogance of heart” (Isaiah 9:9) ) to undertake a rebuilding and recovery program after a limited first strike on the land was made by Assyria. This rebuilding, replanting, and recovery effort was done without accounting to God in repentance, or giving Him any mind, much as our leaders today have done.

    The full strike occurred ten years later in 722 B.C., when the Assyrian Empire invaded Damascus, overran the northern kingdoms’ defenses, and exiled almost the entire population to the east, to the cities of Halah and Habor, on the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. (1Kings 17:6) The Assyrians then resettled the land with Gentiles from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sephar-vaim; who then mingled with what was left of the Israelites to produce what became known as the Samaritans. (2Kings 17:29)

    The Harbinger breaks the various parts of this judgment down to its elements – nine specific warnings – harbingers – that manifested themselves in the land, and describes according to the summary parts contained within the biblical text as they are described in the vow made by the ancient leaders of Israel and how historically these played out, and their subsequent results. This vow was pivotal to their fate, because in pronouncing it, they unwittingly pronounced their own judgment, which Isaiah uses to prophesy God’s judgment on them and the land.

    The Harbinger then takes the reader to the present and describes in exact detail and precision how the same pattern of judgment has befallen the United States. It documents thoroughly the biblical history contained in Isaiah’s prophecy and the prophetic events that are now a matter of public record available regarding the same patterns of warning and judgment that are now repeating in our land today, in the same recurring pattern of warning and judgment as they occurred in ancient Israel. But we have been moving in this direction for some time. America’s apostasy didn’t happen overnight, but it has been developing over decades as Christians slept in the comfort of religious liberty.

    The Harbinger contains three – actually four – characters: a journalist named Nouriel Kaplan who provides the narrative of the story; a Manhattan publisher named Anna Goren to whom Kaplan recounts his encounters with a mysterious man he calls “the Prophet”; “the Prophet” whom Kaplan meets at various places and historical locations in the story, and an Orthodox Jewish bookstore owner whom Kaplan meets at one point in the story.

    In the story, Kaplan recounts to Anna Goren how “the Prophet” gives Kaplan nine clay eighth century pictographic discs he identifies as seals that are connected with Isaiah’s prophecy of judgment against Israel in Isaiah 9:8-11. Each red clay pictographic seal displays an element or aspect contained within Isaiah’s prophecy, and each seal also explains the nine remedial judgments called harbingers contained in the story which have appeared in America since September 11th, 2001 which have determined the events described in story.

    The Harbinger was written to call God’s people and this nation back to God in full repentance for its rejection of God and the Judeo-Christian principles that once formed the bedrock of American society and made this the most blessed predominantly Gentile nation in history. By expositing properly the elements contained within the prophecy and recounting how this nation’s leaders took ownership of this vow contained in this prophecy which became ancient Israel’s judgment, The Harbinger warns its readers of God’s imminent judgment. National repentance can take place only at a personal level – where each person individually turns from sin to God, calling upon the Messiah, Jesus Christ for his salvation. To this end, The Harbinger devotes an entire chapter in presenting the Gospel of Salvation. We ignore The Harbinger’s message at our own peril.

    Even one of its main critics conceded, “Make no mistake – calling America back to God is a valid message and one that needs to be proclaimed. America is clearly in trouble in many ways. Cahn (sic) 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. Jonathan Cahn is to be commended for his passion and commitment to sharing this message with as wide an audience as possible.” (D.James, Fact or Fiction? pp. 18-19)
    ________________________________________
    The Seeking Disciple:
    Let me explain why.
    Let’s first read Isaiah 9:10:

    “The bricks have fallen,
    but we will build with dressed stones;
    the sycamores have been cut down,
    but we will put cedars in their place.”

    Cahn believes that hidden in this text is the 9-11 attacks on the United States. His documentary seeks to prove this theory while his book is a fictional account of a rabbi discovering the 9-11 attacks hidden in the text.
    ________________________________________
    THE PEPSTER’S REPLY: If I may correct you, the fictional character of Nouriel Kaplan is not a rabbi, but a journalist and writer. I’ve seen both the documentary, and have read the book, as well as have heard all of the messages that Jonathan Cahn has given from which he wrote his book.

    Additionally, I am a student of Biblical History and the History of the United States, and know both well enough not to confuse one with the other. Some people have charged The Harbinger with doing this, I for one, am not one of those; for that reason, and I have read The Harbinger, as well as have read its companion material, and have heard all of the messages Rabbi Cahn has given on this topic to know that nowhere do any of his teachings or books, or the DVD The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment blur those differences between Israel and America, as some have charged.

    My book, The Truth About The Harbinger makes this clear by presenting the evidence. What’s good about my book is that if you haven’t read The Harbinger, or heard about it, and read my book first, it will lead you to examine The Harbinger for yourself. If you have read The Harbinger, you’ll appreciate the biblical examination of its message as well as how it addresses each criticism against it in a concise and accurate manner without any verbal abuse against anyone. It presents the facts as they are and allows you, the reader, to make your own determination about them.
    ________________________________________
    The Seeking Disciple:
    Gary DeMar points out that the American dollar also has a hidden clue in it about the 9-11 attacks. If folded just right, the American dollar bill shows the planes hitting the buildings. But that is beside the point. I put that in here to say that conspiracy theories always find things in odd places.
    ________________________________________
    THE PEPSTER’S REPLY:
    Thanks for pointing this out, but this has no connection to The Harbinger. Zilch; nada, and to claim that it does is nothing more than an outlandish fallacy. Nothing in The Harbinger has anything to do with any conspiracy whatsoever. In fact, Rabbi Cahn who wrote the book himself is NOT a 9/11 Truther, and abhors conspiracy theories himself, and nowhere in The Harbinger does one find any mention of any conspiracy theory. But thank you for making this analogy here about Gary DeMar, because it allows us to address the possibility of anyone out there who might connect The Harbinger to any 9/11 Truther. Some of the criticisms leveled against it and its author have been so outlandish that they do not dignify a response, but I’ve biblically addressed them in repeated article on The Pepster’s Post: A Voice in Cyberspace and in my book, The Truth About The Harbinger.
    ________________________________________
    The Seeking Disciple:
    In regard to Isaiah 9:10, first notice that the buildings that fell were made from brick. The twin towers were not made from brick. I have stood on them myself and know that they were made from steel. Secondly, the new tower that now stands in the place of the World Trade Centers is also made from steel and not brick. Thirdly, Isaiah 9:10 does not say that the trees would be destroyed by buildings falling on them but by being cut down.
    ________________________________________
    THE PEPSTER’S REPLY:
    When The Harbinger refers to this prophecy, remember it was not Jonathan Cahn who connected Isaiah 9:10 to the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, but America’s highest elected officials – it leaders – were the ones to apply the vow made by ancient Israel’s leaders in response to a limited strike on the land by the Assyrians, foreshadowing a greater one ten years later; that God used as a remedial judgment to warn the nation through the prophet Isaiah.

    It was our nation’s leaders who connected the prophecy to the events of September 11th, and then proceeded to apply it to the nation’s rebuilding and recovery efforts, vowing that “this is what we will do.” This is a matter of public record, and The Harbinger as well as my book, The Truth about the Harbinger: Addressing the Controversy and Discovering the Facts about this Prophetic Message and The Harbinger both contain extensive documentation that the reader may make use of to verify the facts for themselves. These public utterances at our nation’s capital, in the capitol itself, can be found in the Congressional Record for the 107th Congress. (See Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery, and Address to Joint Session of Congress, Tuesday, February 24th, 2009)

    As far as what the book says in this regard, The Harbinger only describes the pattern of remedial judgments that appeared in ancient Israel that are repeating here. Thus, he is not speaking literally, but thematically in the same manner that Christ referred to the sign of Jonah as being the only sign that God would give to His generation, and that was His resurrection.

    This is where discerning Christians must be careful not to over-spiritualize things or to become too literal in their interpretation, but to keep things balanced in its context, and to understand it in the Holy Spirit only as He reveals in the light of God’s Word.

    The literalist would have taken issue with Christ for over-spiritualizing His own resurrection and Jonah’s plight as well as God’s redemptive plan and the story of Noah. Let me give you an example of how he would handle it.

    He would argue that both Noah and Jonah did not suffer any mortal wounds, whereas Christ was brutally beaten, whipped, and pierced through by Roman crucifixion.

    He would argue that Noah was with his family and animals in an ark for forty days and nights, and Jonah was swallowed by a large aquatic animal, not laid to rest in a rock hewn tomb.

    He would argue that Noah and Jonah did not die young, whereas Christ did at the age of 33. He would argue that Noah and Jonah died of natural causes, whereas Christ was executed.

    Furthermore, he would argue that after spending three days inside this large aquatic animal, Jonah was vomited out onto the shores of the Mediterranean, whereas Christ emerged from a tomb victorious over death.

    He would argue all of these points, and he would be correct in arguing them, but they would all be misapplied, just as to argue them here does the same; because it misses the point that as Christ applied the stories of Jonah and Noah thematically and not literally to the redemptive purposes of God in His resurrection, so The Harbinger describes the same pattern of remedial judgments emerging today that appeared in ancient Israel, confirmed by the use of this precise prophecy regarding God’s judgment of ancient Israel by America’s leaders, and applying it thematically as a warning to call God’s people and this nation to repentance.

    Again, as I mentioned above; here is where the student of prophecy must verify for themselves the historical pattern of how God deals with nations; how He has dealt with Israel and how He has dealt with the Gentile nations, and kingdoms which history. When terror struck US on 9/11, this nation’s leaders did not say, “We will repent,” but “we will rebuild, and we will recover, this is what we will do.”

    The Harbinger does not say that Isaiah is prophesying of America any more than Christ is saying that Noah’s and Jonah’s stories were literal prophecies of Christ, but thematic parables of God’s redemptive work on the cross. God is using this book to warn a nation and call His people – Jews and Christians – to full repentance, and He has been doing it through these remedial judgments as warnings – harbingers if you will – of worse things to come if this nation – its leaders, its citizens, and especially God’s people among them do not turn from their wickedness, repent and call upon the only name given among under heaven among men by which we must be saved individually, and as a nation be delivered. It is because God is merciful and seeks to preserve US and our nation that He has been warning of US.
    ________________________________________
    The Seeking Disciple:
    Lastly (and most important), Isaiah 9:8 is clear that this prophetic word is to Jacob (Israel). Nothing in this text suggests otherwise that the Lord is speaking to the United States or England or any other nation other than the children of Jacob.
    ________________________________________
    THE PEPSTER’S REPLY:
    Thank you again for pointing this out. You may not know it, but when you write, “Nothing in this text suggests otherwise that the Lord is speaking to the United States or England or any other nation other than the children of Jacob,” because neither does The Harbinger. The prophecy in Isaiah 9:10 is specifically to the northern kingdom of Samaria headquartered in Damascus and governed by Israel’s largest tribe, Ephraim – primarily the tribe of Ephraim, and the half-tribe of Manasseh – both sons of Joseph who was the son of Jacob These governed the other nine tribes who seceded in rebellion from David’s throne after Solomon’s passing, and followed Jeroboam the Ephraimite of Zeredah, Solomon’s servant. We must begin by understanding how the nation of Israel became divided and degenerated in apostasy, because it is from this point in its history where The Harbinger tells its story.

    We must examine the historical context that preceded its apostasy, and how it played out in the history of what became the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah. The Scriptures give us the prophetic backdrop to what brought this about, first with God’s prophecy pertaining to what would befall Solomon’s kingdom after his death, when his son, Rehoboam was to ascend the Davidic throne. We will examine this history and then follow up where The Harbinger picks up on it and present some of the narrative here as evidence of whether or not its hermeneutics is faulty as its detractors claim. In the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) we read:

    Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the sons of Israel, “You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.” Solomon held fast to these in love. He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away. For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the detestable idol of the Ammonites. Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not follow the Lord fully, as David his father had done. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon. Thus also he did for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.

    Now the Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not observe what the Lord had commanded. So the Lord said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant. Nevertheless I will not do it in your days for the sake of your father David, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. However, I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.”

    (1Kings 11:1-13)

    I cannot but well up with tears when I read this passage, for even in judgment, God’s graciousness provided that Solomon’s son would have one tribe to lead for the sake of David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which the Lord would deliver from the hand of King Sennacherib of Assyria (2Kings 18, 19, 2Chronicles 32:1-23, Isaiah 36, 37) after the fall of Damascus, but would later deliver the city, the temple and the people into the hands of the Babylonians under King Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 39), as prophesied by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 27).

    Solomon’s unfaithfulness to God brought judgment on his kingdom and Israel’s unfaithfulness brought God’s judgment upon themselves. This took the form of various adversaries arising towards the end of Solomon’s reign. These were; Hadad the Edomite (1Kings 11:14-22), Rezon the son of Eliada, who reigned over Aram from Damascus and was an adversary to Israel all of the days of Solomon. (1Kings 11:23-25)

    Also Jeroboam, an Ephraimite of Zeredah, Solomon’s servant; who was a valiant warrior (1Kings 11:27) rebelled against Rehoboam, and when Rehoboam disregarded the sage advice of the elders who had served his father, and instead went by the foolish counsel of the arrogant young men who grew up with him, and when he misspoke to Israel; all Israel – ten tribes – went with Jeroboam and made him king. (1Kings 12:1-20) This is how the people of Israel became two kingdoms; one in the north led by the tribe of Ephraim in Damascus, and other in the south led by Judah in Jerusalem with Benjamin at its side.

    So by Isaiah’s time in the 8th century B.C., Solomon’s once great kingdom had years before divided into northern and southern kingdoms. The southern kingdom of Judah and Benjamin (ca. 740 B.C.) led by Ahaz faced attack by an alliance between the northern kingdom of Israel under Pekah (often called Ephraim, the largest tribe) and Syria under Rezin (Aram; the Arameans, see Isaiah 7). These two kingdoms had been tributaries of the Assyrian Empire, but had broken away from it and looked to Judah to join them in their rebellion, but Ahaz refused to join the coalition. This northern alliance sought to depose Ahaz by invading the southern kingdom of Judah.

    When these two kingdoms attacked Judah, the Philistines took advantage of the invasion and raided the towns and villages within the borders of the southern kingdom. King Ahaz called on Tiglath-Pileser III the Assyrian king for help, and he obliged by defending Judah. The northern kingdom of Israel allied to Syria were both attacked by the Assyrians. The biblical record states that the sack of Damascus was instigated by King Ahaz of Judah and it ended in Rezin’s execution (2 Kings 16:7-9). Samaria fell, Aram was annexed, though it had looked to Egypt for help. We now begin to put things in their perspective.

    The defeat of the northern alliance (Israel and Aram) is promised to Ahaz in the Immanuel prophecy Isaiah 7:14, the Great Messianic Prophecy linked to the birth of a Child who will be an infant, some believe to be Ahaz’ royal heir Hezekiah, when this takes place, but he is a shadow type of much better things to come in the future Messiah and God’s faithfulness to Judah. God would use the Assyrians to stop this invasion dead in its tracks.

    The Harbinger describes both the first strike and the second. As Pastor and Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn describes it, the first strike by Assyria was a limited strike on the land, and it foreshadowed a greater one that would follow. This is where Isaiah’s prophecy falls into place (Isaiah 9:10). In the year 732 B.C. Isaiah prophesied this prophecy (Isaiah 9:10), and his prophecy came to pass ten years later in 722 B.C., when the Assyrian Empire invaded the land, despoiled it, and took most of its inhabitants away – Samaria fell, and Israel was taken captive. This war is known as the Syro-Ephraimite War.

    Assyria’s defense of the southern kingdom of Judah came at a price for King Ahaz. After the conflict was over, Ahaz had to pay Tiglath-Pileser III tribute with treasures from the temple in Jerusalem and his royal treasury. Also, to find favor with the Assyrians, Ahaz built idols of Assyrian gods in Judah, a great sin.

    In 715 B. C. Hezekiah ascended to the throne of Judah – six years after the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel (Ephraim and Manasseh) in Samaria to the Assyrian king, Sargon II. When the Philistines rebelled in 711 B.C., Hezekiah remained a loyal subject of the Assyrians. But when Sargon died in battle in 701 B.C., internal pressures from the heartland of the empire, and the power transferred from Sargon II to Sennacherib, the new Assyrian monarch faced rebellion on all sides. At this time the vassal kings like Hezekiah tried to exert their independence from him.

    In 701 B.C., Sennacherib invaded, overran and took Lachish, which guarded Judah. At this time, Hezekiah paid him a heavy tribute, and release Padi the pro-Assyrian king of Ekron, to appease him; while Sennacherib gave some of the cities of western Judah to Philistine kings loyal to him. This was for naught, for during Hezekiah’s fourteenth year as king of Judah, Sennacherib sent his armies to besiege Jerusalem, demoralize its citizens, and persuade them to surrender its king, and most importantly of all; abandon faith in the Lord God (2Kings 18:19-35, 2Chronicles 32:10-19, Isaiah 36:4-20). As his armies surrounded the city, Sennacherib sent his field commander, Rabshakeh to taunt the Judeans besieged inside Jerusalem (Isaiah 36, 37). But, God speaking through Isaiah the son of Amos, encouraged the people inside the city not to fear, for He would deliver Jerusalem from this petulant pagan king and his proud taunting (Isaiah 37:5-7). The biblical record preserves God’s direct judgment of Sennacherib, and how the Lord God delivered Jerusalem from his hand:

    “Therefore, thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, ‘He will not come to this city or shoot an arrow there; and he will not come before it with a shield, or throw up a siege ramp against it. By the way that he came, by the same he will return, and he will not come to this city,’ declares the Lord. ‘For I will defend this city to save it for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.’”

    Then the angel of the Lord went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men arose early in the morning, behold, all of these were dead. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home and lived at Nineveh. It came about as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons killed him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son became king in his place.

    (Isaiah 37:33-38)

    As the biblical record describes above, when Sennacherib returned to the city of Nineveh, his capital, he was assassinated by his two sons as he worshipped in the temple of Nisroch, his god. (2Kings 19:35-37, 2Chronicles 32:21, Isaiah 37:36-37) Later Hezekiah would become mortally ill, and was prophetically told to prepare to die by Isaiah, but when he humbled himself before the Lord in prayer and supplication, with bitter tears and humiliation, God granted him an additional fifteen years to his life and spared Jerusalem in his day from further incursions. He set His hedge of protection over it. (Isaiah 38:1-8) To be sure, the southern kingdom of Judah and its capital, Jerusalem – the ground of Solomon’s consecration of the temple and nation to God (2Chronicles 6) – would fall, but not in the days of Hezekiah but years later at the hands of the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar in the days of the prophet Jeremiah. But regarding the northern kingdom, we read the following from Isaiah:

    Therefore the Lord raises against them adversaries from Rezin
    And spurs their enemies on,
    The Arameans on the east and the Philistines on the west;
    And they devour Israel with gaping jaws.
    In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away
    And His hand is still stretched out.

    Yet the people do not turn back to Him who struck them,
    Nor do they seek the Lord of hosts.
    So the Lord cuts off head and tail from Israel,
    Both palm branch and bulrush in a single day.
    The head is the elder and honorable man,
    And the prophet who teaches falsehood is the tail.
    For those who guide this people are leading them astray;
    And those who are guided by them are brought to confusion.
    Therefore the Lord does not take pleasure in their young men,
    Nor does He have pity on their orphans or their widows;
    For every one of them is godless and an evildoer,
    And every mouth is speaking foolishness.
    In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away
    And His hand is still stretched out.

    For wickedness burns like a fire;
    It consumes briars and thorns;
    It even sets the thickets of the forest aflame
    And they roll upward in a column of smoke.
    By the fury of the Lord of hosts the land is burned up,
    And the people are like fuel for the fire;
    No man spares his brother.
    They slice off what is on the right hand but still are hungry,
    And they eat what is on the left hand but they are not satisfied;
    Each of them eats the flesh of his own arm.
    Manasseh devours Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh,
    And together they are against Judah.
    In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away
    And His hand is still stretched out.

    (Isaiah 9:11-21)

    The vow of Isaiah 9:10 which the northern kingdom of Israel made, Isaiah called an expression of pride and arrogance of heart, and the preponderance of evidence bears witness that it brought national judgment on the people and land and its people, led by its largest and most powerful tribe, Ephraim along with Manasseh – the descendants of Joseph’s two sons (Genesis 46:20, 48:1, 13-14, 17, 20, Numbers 26:28) – with the inhabitants of Samaria. (Isaiah 9:8-10)

    In the next chapter, Isaiah calls Assyria “the rod of My anger,” for He would use the Assyrians to humble sinful Israel and Judah. (Isaiah 10:5) However, the proud and mighty Assyrians would themselves eventually be humbled. (Isaiah 10:12) This is the historical backdrop to Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the northern kingdom of Israel and what later would eventually befall Judah when the Babylonians invaded under Nebuchadnezzar. By the time of Jeremiah the prophet (born 627 B.C. commissioned by God to prophesy in 607 B.C.), three great world powers vied for control of the region; Assyria, Babylonia, and Egypt, but Babylon broke Assyria’s power at the Battle of Carchemish in 605 B.C., and crushed Egypt as well.

    To be sure, The Harbinger does not present as thorough a historical outline as we have provided here for the reader, but it is correct and it is accurate, and more than adequate to the narrative of the story and presented within its correct biblical and historical context. The Harbinger does not have to be encyclopedic to present the history behind the prophecy, but just tell it in very simple terms, and this it does faithfully to God’s Word. In fact, it does it very well, even thoroughly. It does indeed explain what befell the northern kingdom of Israel, both biblically within the context of the history behind Isaiah’s prophecy, as well as how there exists a biblical prophetic pattern of repeated warnings – harbingers of punishment – that when ignored, culminated in God’s judgment on that civilization with the signs of these preceding the collapse of the civilization displaying the same signs of moral and social decay throughout that history.

    We see it repeated throughout history, and history repeats itself over and over and over again. But, we are in the End of Days and the prophetic time clock is winding down. The Scriptures teach this, and they tell it to guide us into understanding how God works with the nation of Israel and with the nations of the earth. (Romans 2:12-16) For anyone to deny this is to deny one of the key fundamental core teachings of Mainline Evangelical Christianity, and a key aspect of how Scripture teaches human history.
    ________________________________________
    The Seeking Disciple:
    I’m still confused how people can get wrapped up in such poor exegesis of Isaiah 9:10 and be both excited and worried about end times events. I find my end time hope in Psalm 110:1 not in Isaiah 9:10.
    ________________________________________
    THE PEPSTER’S REPLY:
    While I disagree when you write, “I’m still confused how people can get wrapped up in such poor exegesis of Isaiah 9:10 and be both excited and worried about end times events,” I too see part of our end time hope in Psalm 110:1, whereas Isaiah 9:10 is a prophetic warning that the northern kingdom ignored and ten years later was invaded and overrun by the Assyrians.

    Yet its prophetic significance for America is how Isaiah 9:10 was used repeatedly following the tragedy of 9/11 by America’s leaders on three main separate occasions commemorating the tragedy, and on various occasions on Ground Zero where the same vow culled from the same verse was used by public figures and elected officials for the same purpose.

    The original intent of these pronouncements of this vow of ancient Israel’s defiance was to allay the nation’s hurt, but they were used on all occasions as a rally to united behind America’s rebuilding and recovery efforts. In so doing, these leaders unwittingly applied and took legal ownership of the vow for America, by declaring, “This we will do,” and “We will recover, we will rebuild, and we will come back stronger.” According to the Scriptures all matters, whether civil (Deuteronomy 19:15-21), religious (Matthew 18:15-17), interpersonal (2Corinthians 13:1), as well as legal (1Corinthians 6:1-7), and matters of capital punishment (Numbers 35:30, Deuteronomy 17:6, Hebrews 10:28) are settled on the testimony of two (John 8:17) or three witnesses. If there is more, such as in this case, since this vow has been repeated by public officials on various occasions connected to 9/11, there is a greater preponderance of evidence that what we have here is prophetic in nature inasmuch as it directly connected to the nation’s rebuilding and recovery efforts without a single mention of God or repentance though His Word, and specifically this verse of Isaiah is repeatedly invoked as public policy without knowing that those who’ve uttered it and applied it to the nation’s public policy following this tragedy have unwittingly pronounced a curse upon this nation. As the of Our Lord confirms, “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37)

    In doing this, as the highest elected officials in the nation, these leaders and public figures pronounced upon themselves and the nation at our nation’s capital, and in various ceremonies at Ground Zero ancient Israel’s vow of defiance, sealing its future destiny. Since that day, they each one of these politicians have been disgraced and are out of office, the third will go down in history as an unmitigated failure, while the nation he presides over has collapsed as a military power, and its economy and that of the world it once led is in ruins. Additionally consider also the following.

    As Dr. David R. Reagan observed in his seminal work America the Beautiful?, I quote:

    “…I had been so disappointed by our nation’s response to the 9/11 attack. I had hoped it would drive us to our knees in repentance and would serve to turn our hearts back to God. Instead, it seemed to provoke primarily an outbreak of patriotism. Let’s get one thing clear: patriotism is an exercise in pride. God did not allow the 9/11 attack in order to bring about a revival of prideful patriotism. He is calling this nation to repentance, not pride. Our pride is what has gotten us in trouble. He wants to see us humble ourselves before Him and repent of our sins. Thus far, we seem to have missed that message. Here’s how a pastor friend of mine in Northern Ireland expressed the situation to me: ‘God used 9/11 to set off an alarm clock for America. But I fear that the response has been one of rolling over, hitting the snooze button, and going back to sleep.”

    (Dr. David R. Reagan, America the Beautiful?, page 170, Lamb & Lion Ministries, McKinney, Texas, 2009)

    It is the fictional character of the prophet in The Harbinger who explains Isaiah’s prophecy, specifically Isaiah 9:8-21. It describes a good part of this in vivid detail on pages 9, 16, 17, 18, 23, 27, 28, Chapter 5 (pages 34 to 42). The Harbinger focuses on the vow and the elements within that vow that was spoken by ancient Israel’s leaders within the context of the prophecy itself.

    The entire Chapter 5 (pages 34 to 42, 71 to 85 in pdf format) outline the historical context of the sacred text by delving into the nature of the ancient Assyrians and the terror they inflicted in the region at the height of their power. Additionally on pages 44 and 45 (88 and 89 in pdf format) there is additional background information regarding ancient Israel and the Assyrian strike on the land. What we have cited here – including additional places where one can read about the ancient Israelites and Assyrians in the context of Isaiah’s prophecy, is proof positive that The Harbinger does present the correct hermeneutic of this prophecy as it describes it in its historical context. The Harbinger does not in any way take this out of context. In fact, it describes a good part of this in vivid detail on pages 9, 16, 17, 18, 23, 27, 28, Chapter 5 (pages 34 to 42), etc… as we’ve seen above.


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