I often feel this way as I consider an argument by just about any of the critics. Sometimes they are truly jesuitical in their bizarre logic, conjuring objections on the flimsiest of excuses, taking words completely out of context and imposing a formulaic definition on them that they then shoot down as a straw man. I'm sure they aren't conscious of being so manipulative, but nevertheless I have to think that just a LITTLE benefit of the doubt, a LITTLE grace extended to a brother in Christ, could have spared us all such confusing, useless, wearisome and destructive exercises in fallacious logic and wooden pedantry.
All this as preamble to my next task, David James' chapter on The Isaiah 9:10 Effect.
This one has all the nonsense of the whole critical enterprise rolled into one. Cart before horse:
Just as the theory of the nine harbingers was developed to demonstrate the connection between Isaiah 9:10 and America... [THFOF, p. 127]There is no "THEORY" involved here that was "developed" to demonstrate the connection. The observation of the harbingers that appeared in America that so uncannily repeat the elements of Isaiah 9:10, alone dictates the connection that carries the whole meaning of The Harbinger. There's no THEORY here, there's straightforward inescapable FACT. Too bad to have to keep repeating that. But he finishes his sentence:
... the Isaiah 9:10 Effect is crucial to understanding God's second round of warning to America... [Kaplan] Which is what?It would never have occurred to me in reading The Harbinger to suspect that there could be a problem with such a statement, so consistent with scripture does it read to my simple mind. But David James perceives depths of nefarious meaning that most of us simpletons miss.
[The Prophet] This: 'The attempt of a nation to defy the course of its judgment, apart from repentance, will, instead, set in motion a chain of events to bring about the very calamity it sought to avert.'
He prepares us for the revelation thusly:
Before going any further, the first question every reader should be asking about The Prophet's degfinition of the Isaiah 9:10 Effect is, 'Where did this definition come from?' *It cwertainly didn't come from Isaiah 9:10. Neither did it come from any of the verses in the vicinity of Isaiah 9:10. The importance of this matter cannot be overstated because the rest of Cahn's entire theory depends on this theory -- that there really is such a thing as the Isaiah 9:10 Effect. This is immediately apparent as the dialogue continues:Are you curled up in the fetal position pulling your hair out and muttering to yourself by this point? No? Then you're either party to this schizophrenogenic distortion of critical thinking or you haven't read The Harbinger.
...[Kaplan] Behind the collapse of Wall Street and the American economy was... [The Prophet] Isaiah 9:10.In the author's mind, Isaiah's words in the alleged Isaiah 9:10 Effect actually cause things to happen.[THFOF pp. 127-8].
I exaggerate, I dramatize. I hope. But that's what The Harbinger is doing too. Dranatizing I mean. This is what the critics fail to see time after time as they "discover" doctrinal issues where there are nothing but literary stylistic choices.
IN WHAT SENSE IS ISAIAH 9:10 "BEHIND THE COLLAPSE OF WALL STREET?" Certainly NOT in the sense that Jonathan Cahn thinks that WORDS "cause things to happen." Oy. Oh groan. Oh yeah, James will go on to try to prove this and I'll have to say more against the idea.
But ALL CAHN MEANS IS THAT THERE IS A SPIRITUAL CAUSE-AND-EFFECT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DEFIANCE OF GOD AND JUDGMENT. He's saying it poetically or metaphorically, using "Isaiah 9:10" to STAND FOR the defiance that was the harbinger to the judgment in Israel's case and is now also a harbinger of further judgment on America -- to those who have ears to hear, that is.
This OUGHT to be standard biblical understanding. It doesn't NEED to be STATED in Isaiah 9:10 or nearby because scripture is SATURATED with this message. If you read the law in Deuteronomy and Leviticus you will see that the enumerated laws and failure to obey them are followed by blessings or cursings. Disobedience is punished by the enumerated cursings. If the nation obeys they will be blessed, if they disobey they will be cursed, and the specific blessings and cursings are described.
"You will reap what you sow," says scripture elsewhere.
"The wages of sin is death" says scripture elsewhere.
The Book of Proverbs is another place where you can find out how you will be blessed if you pursue Wisdom but suffer punishment if you follow Foolishness instead. The Psalms too, as the psalmists are always lamenting the unhappy circumstances their sins have gotten them into and appealing to God for mercy and so on. But even the historical writings document over and over the obedience and disobedience of the kings and the people and the consequences that followed. The Book of Judges is one story after another of the disobedience of the people followed by God's giving them a leader who obeys and sets them back on the right path after which they fall away again, over and over and over. And all the Prophets are after all enumerating the sins of the people and warning of the consequences God is going to bring upon them for their sins if they do not repent. That's the ESSENCE of the message of ALL the prophets. Isaiah has brought that message quite clearly in his very opening chapters. Why should he need to repeat it in the context of chapter 9? Alas, My people, a people laden with iniquity...
THIS IS WHAT THE ISAIAH 9:10 EFFECT IS:
Defy God's Warning of Judgment, Expect More Judgment.