The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn

In the best of plans to go forward toward a chosen and specific goal, there are nearly always stumbling blocks, and in the perusal of personal meaning for The Harbinger:  The Ancient Mystery That Holds the Secret of America’s Future.

Jonathan Cahn I began by stumbling, continued to stumble, and have perhaps at last stumbled upon the exit.

With all due respect to Pastor Cahn, I have not been able to overcome the urge to call on my forty plus years as a high school English teacher and liken, not compare, his work to John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. Should Pastor Cahn by sheer accident stumble or happen upon and read this review, I beg that he not feel that I have in any way meant to diminish the importance of his work, but merely in my own search for understanding, to enhance it as a classic of our time. His is a deep and intense journey of its own into the heart of Isaiah 9:10. Depending on the version of the Bible one uses, there are no more than twenty-four words of the entire verse. Yet, a vast and unsearchable volume of history lay between those words and the fervent repetition of it in New York City, and elsewhere, in the year of our Lord 2001. Such a brief description of an event that signaled the defeat of Israel by the Assyrians, and the repetition of those twenty-four words centuries later is interpreted in an allegorical like explication by Pastor Cahn. His character, Noureil, becomes a modern version of Bunyan’s character, Christian. Both of these men were led from answer to answer on their search for the end of the mystery, which drew them both forward, searching and finding the truth as it was finally made known.

As I first read through The Harbinger, I was not immediately struck by the allegorical similarity, as there is little to bring Bunyan’s work to mind quickly, or ever to claim a complete likeness between the two. It was only when I began to review the Pastor’s intricate and stirring explication of the attack on the Twin Towers and the way in which Israel was brought down by the Assyrians that I made my feeble understanding into a simpler grasp of the Prophet’s unraveling it for Noureril.  Much as Christian, created by Bunyan while he was in prison, Noureil is more or less a prisoner of the search and unraveling of the Isaiah scripture. Neither character is given release from the journey, once the journey began.

The narrative use of a sojourner by Pastor Cahn is, in a manner of speaking, much the same as Bunyan’s Christian in his journey. Both Cahn’s and Bunyan’s protagonists encounter coincidences that have no logical explanation. Noureil, the modern man, continues to meet the mystery man who appears with no prior warning. Noureil is merely given a seal and must learn for himself where it is meant to lead him. Using his narrative style is Pastor Cahn’s device for relating occurrences to a listener, but having the narration leaves Noureil to his own deivces to find the next level of the Isaiah verse. No conclusion or logical explanation comes until the Prophet appears again and presents the solution, and presenting the next seal, or Harbinger. As the Cahn narrator goes forward, so does Christian, and both are given meanings and signs that enable their next meeting and instruction. I will leave Bunyan’s story for another time.

Noureil is being led to unravel the nine Harbingers as each of the seals, as the Prophet called them, were images on what I envisioned as small, palm of the hand sized stones.  Each had images engraved dimly on them, and the strange Prophet or messenger in the black coat came and went in a mysterious way. Each meeting and each explanation of the message of the seal, the harbinger, was connected to the same horrid event on a beautiful September morning. I stood brushing my hair in our motor home in Little Rock, Arkansas that morning and watched on television what I thought at first was an airplane filming a stunt for a movie or television show.  When I watched the plane actually hit the first tower, the world suddenly came to a point of no return. Isaiah 9:10.

The Harbinger does not support the way in which so many totally sincere Americans, the very day of the destruction of the twin towers, began to recite those twenty-four words. They were reciting the words in an entirely different meaning than the Biblical events actually occurred.  Cahn’s Noureil was given a difficult puzzle to unravel but was not completely satisfied or comforted by the results. He was left by the Prophet with the unsettling words, “If my people pray,” and “then comes the next”.

Nor should the American shakers and movers take lightly the message behind the book: Pastor Cahn, was gifted with the understanding that should truly bring common sense and clear thinking to the reader as the book’s sojourner, Prophet, stranger, completed each harbinger by revealing that the defeat of Irael by the  Assysrians was never over and continues today, witnessed by the knowledge that the Assysrians still thrive in Iraq and Syria and other areas where the blood lines still prosper. The fate of Israel and America? I will leave that to whoever gets this far in the book review and wants to know so much more that I have yet to understand. You will of necessity have to read the book. It will give you much more to aid in your future thinking about how the ways of God enter into the ways of His children.

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