(Paperback version available soon through Amazon.com)
The last three months have been quite incredible. Since Tom McMahon (executive director of The Berean Call) first contacted me on April 29 about my ABI article critiquing The Harbinger, we have been on a speeding train just trying to hang on.
I am extremely grateful to the entire staff of The Berean Call who have been with me every step of the way since my book was little more than just the article. Everyone involved has put in a monumental effort to make everything come together in a such a short time frame. Roy Zuck (who has been in publishing for decades) recently described this as being “almost unheard of in publishing circles.”
This is even more amazing given the extensive scrutiny the book has undergone to make sure we get this right. The book has gone through multiple rounds of editing by three different editors and as well as three critical readers who carefully examined it for accuracy, theology, logical arguments and overall tone. And finally, it has been read by an additional six theologians and ministry leaders, who along with two of the critical readers, have provided a total of eight initial endorsements. Besides these things, they have designed the covers and formatted the book in about one-fourth of the time usually allotted.
The level of controversy surrounding The Harbinger and concerned reviews has been virtually unprecedented in that so much of it has been generated within conservative evangelicalism. Although other recent books have caused a stir within the broader evangelical community, some have said they have never witnessed anything quite like this in their decades of ministry life.
Everyone agrees that America is in deep spiritual trouble and that the country is now or soon could be under God’s judgment. Everyone also agrees with Jonathan Cahn’s overall message, which is a broad call for national repentance. However, the serious disagreements center on whether the author has genuinely received this message from God and whether he has indeed discovered an ancient mystery in Isaiah 9:10 that correlates precisely with events over the last decade in the United States, beginning with the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Those of us with deep concerns about the book are persuaded that he has not either case.
This is not simply an academic issue nor does it only involve inconsequential minutiae. The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction? demonstrates that Cahn’s book is ultimately an illusion which gives the impression that God’s direct intervention is the only possible explanation for what is said to be the replay in America of events prophesied to Israel in Isaiah 9:10. As with any well-executed illusion, the audience is astounded by what they think they are seeing – but what they think they see does not actually correspond to reality. The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction? pulls back the curtain and gives another “camera angle” so that the mechanics of the illusion become obvious.
This “reveal” shows that maintaining the illusion depends the mishandling of Scripture, faulty theology, misleading statements, the selective use of historical facts and unsupported speculation. Consequently, The Harbinger falls far short of the biblical requirements necessary to conclude that such a message is truly from God. The broad implications of this are significant and far-reaching.
I have written my book so that anyone can accurately, clearly and fairly understand what is in The Harbinger whether or not they have read that book. It should be helpful for those who wonder what all the commotion is about or who have been encouraged to read it by someone else. We also hope it will be helpful for those who have had reservations and concerns and for those who are not yet sure what to make of it. We are also hopeful that those who have embraced The Harbinger will take some time to read The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction and perhaps reconsider their views once they see there is another side to the whole issue.
It will also be available in Kindle format in about a week. In addition, I have finished recording the audio version of the book, which will probably be available shortly after The Berean Call annual conference next weekend. There has also been some discussion of possibly doing a Spanish version, including audio, but this has not yet been decided as far as I know.
I am looking forward to discussing the book with Jimmy DeYoung on his Saturday radio program (info at the Prophecy Today website). Brannon Howse has also invited Tom McMahon and me to join him for two full hours on his radio program on Monday and Tuesday beginning at 2:00 PM EST (1:00 CST) (www.worldviewweekend.com).
Next week I will be heading out to The Berean Call conference in Bend, Oregon. Tom McMahon has invited me to take one of his two sessions to discuss biblical discernment based on my book, using The Harbinger as a case study. We believe this is an important issue which needs to be addressed in a fair way. We also see it as a significant opportunity to help many believers as they think through how to consistently apply a biblical hermeneutic and carefully evaluate anything they might read or hear that purports to be a biblical message.
I want to sincerely thank all who have prayed for me and the entire process. We would also appreciate your ongoing prayers as we are unsure of what the overall reaction might be given the immense popularity and influence that has been enjoyed by The Harbinger and its author.
Note: The first chapter, foreword, preface and endorsements are also available for download in pdf format from the order page. (near the bottom)
President & Founder, Prophecy Today
“David James has done an excellent job in this book, a review of the book, The Harbinger, being very careful not to bring personality into focus but instead to take a critical look at the biblical aspects of the book. Having read the book a number of times, David studied the hermeneutic used in the book to examine the use of a single passage of scripture taken out of context to understand what the author had done to develop a fictional book while the same time telling the reader that everything in the book was real.
“I believe that David did the research required to give a fair look at Jonathan Cahn’s work and, at the same time, apply the age-old truths of Bible interpretation to help any potential reader of The Harbinger to be aware of the problems in this work. I know that David spent much time in prayer and consultation before he approached the writing of his review, and his only desire is to hold up the truth that we don’t get doctrine, or our understanding of Bible prophecy, from a fictional novel but from the Word of God, the Bible.”
President & Founder, Worldview Weekend
“All across America hundreds of thousands of people have purchased Jonathan Cahn’s book, The Harbinger. By far, the majority have given it rave reviews as well as promoted it, defended it, and recommended it to everyone they know. Unfortunately, this represents a pervasive lack of biblical knowledge and discernment in the church and is why many of us have written and broadcast our deep concerns about the book. I believe David James has used true discernment, extensive research, and biblical hermeneutics to reveal the dangerous message of The Harbinger. James’s research also defends the authority of Scripture against the increasing trend of experience, extra-biblical revelation and mysticism.”
Teaching Pastor, Faith Bible Church
Vineland, New Jersey
“Whether or not you’ve read The Harbinger, you must read David James thorough and thoughtful response in The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction? The popularity of Cahn’s book has many Christians wondering if the Bible contains a secret message for America enveloped in the details of the 9/11terrorist attacks. I recognized a dangerous hermeneutic at work in Jonathan Cahn’s fast-paced novel but was daunted by the challenge of providing a response for my congregation. David James provides such a response. This book gives the reader a detailed, point-by-point analysis challenging Cahn’s barrage of data and “connect the dot” attempts. David James does this with clear biblical methodology while avoiding personal attacks against Cahn. This book is an example of the way that Christian dialogue should be conducted.”
ROY B. ZUCK
Senior Professor Emeritus of Bible Exposition
Editor, Bibliotheca Sacra
Dallas Theological Seminary
“Jonathan Cahn’s book The Harbinger has been a bestseller for many months. A messianic Jew, Cahn is the senior pastor of the Jerusalem/Beth Israel Worship Center in Wayne, New Jersey. The Harbinger presents the view that Isaiah 9:10-11 refers to the United States, and in particular to the catastrophe of 9/11 and the States’ subsequent economic problems. James masterfully demolishes Cahn’s efforts to relate this passage to the States, pointing up numerous hermeneutical and interpretive fallacies in Cahn’s approach. Anyone interested in The Harbinger needs to note the numerous errors in Cahn’s thinking, as presented in James’s excellent analysis.”
GARY E. GILLEY
Senior Pastor, Southern View Chapel, Springfield, Illinois
Director, Think on These Things Ministries
“Jonathan Cahn’s, The Harbinger, is a warning to America that God’s judgment is imminent unless the country repents and turns to the Lord, and that very soon. If the book is read merely as a novel warning our country to wake up spiritually, it has value, but the author makes immediately clear that “what is contained within the story is real” (p. 7). In other words, Cahn believes that God pronounced exacting judgment on America, and that judgment is found in Scripture, specifically Isaiah 9:10-11.
“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 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 but have now been unlocked by the careful investigation of Cahn. 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?”
Executive Director, Pre-Trib Research Center
Pastor/Teacher and Church Planter, Community Bible Church, Omaha, Nebraska
“Just because something is popular within today’s evangelical community does not mean that it is biblical. The Harbinger is a popular book for many within evangelicalism that claims to provide a message from God, but it is not built upon a true biblical foundation. Dave James provides a fair biblical analysis for anyone wanting scrutiny of The Harbinger. I commend James’s book, The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction?, for those seeking the truth rather than popularity.”
Guarding His Flock Ministries
“In a fair and balanced way, Dave James exposes the eccentric biblical interpretations upon which The Harbinger is premised. He demonstrates biblical and theological inaccuracies contained in the story created by Jonathan Cahn, one which the author claims to be partially real. James connects the dots between multiple biblical, historical, and factual problems, which gives the reader the sense that The Harbinger has undertones of Anglo-Israelism and Christian Dominionism. Though perhaps not intended by the author, these concepts form an underlying philosophical framework upon which the theoretical “secret” of America’s future appears to be based. For readers possessing a heart to discern truth from error, The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction? frames fundamental issues related to an accurate understanding of Bible prophecy in our modern world. Highly recommended.”
LARRY J. WATERS
Associate Professor of Bible Exposition
Dallas Theological Seminary
“One of the most asked questions in biblical prophecy today is, “Where does the United States fit into eschatology?” Jonathan Cahn’s The Harbinger tries to answer that question—however, he attempts to do so with many unfounded hermeneutical “jumps” that cannot be sustained. Dave James goes to great lengths to debunk Cahn’s theories and offers a balanced look at end-time prophecy and the USA. Where Scripture is silent, it is best not to impose one’s own presumptions on the text. For those interested in this subject, James offers extensive objections to Cahn’s presumptions.”