Monday, June 25, 2012

More Harbinger controversy: it's all about the false hermeneutics* of the critics

Brannon Howse apparently doesn't have any problems with Jimmy DeYoung's "hermeneutics" which insists that we are to apply the Old Testament ONLY to Israel to whom it was originally addressed.* This flies in the face of Christian understanding for 2000 years. Never trust in man, Brannon, the best of friends with the best reputation can be wrong. Do your own research on these things.

So Brannon has DeYoung on his program today as he frequently does, and the subject of the first half is the storm over The Harbinger.
Brannon’s guest is Dr. Jimmy DeYoung. Topic: Dr. DeYoung and Brannon begin this week’s program by discussing a recent radio program by a “discernment ministry” defending the book, The Harbinger. The program included, in a negative manner, a discussion of individuals that have rightfully been concerned with the book The Harbinger.
"Rightfully" only if you accept their erroneous "hermeneutic" that says we can't apply the Old Testament to anything in our own day, As DeYoung said on the program: "It comes down to hermeneutics. It comes down to whether this passage which was written directly to the nation of Israel can be applied to America." Yes, it does come down to that, and it's DeYoung's hermeneutic that is wrong, not Jonathan Cahn's.
Which hermeneutic is apparently Dispensationalism. By the way, today's radio show by Chris Pinto addresses this topic.
And they are "rightfully" concerned only if you accept their total misreading of Cahn's book. No, in fact the whole attack on The Harbinger has been done WRONGFULLY. What MIGHT be rightfully criticized about the book doesn't even get addressed, while instead they wrongfully attack it at its core as theologically false.
In addition, the host of this program wrote a article that Jonathan Cahn, the author of The Harbinger “…got stuck with unraveling a code given to him by God.” As Dr. DeYoung explained, this is a major issue. Today, God is NOT giving anyone code to unravel. God is not giving extra Biblical revelation today. If God is giving an individual a code then that would make that person a prophet and the office of prophet is closed because the cannon [sic] of Scripture is closed.
The person they are talking about, who wrote the article for World Net Daily, is Jan Markell of Understanding the Times, and unfortunately I don't agree with how she describes The Harbinger as a code -- there's no code involved, although possibly she didn't mean by that what she was taken to mean. I want to think about some parts of her article later in this post so I won't say more here, but what she said doesn't give license to DeYoung and Howse once again to muddy things. This is not a personal prophecy by Jonathan Cahn.
This is not a small issue or a side-bar issue or a non-essential issue. This issue is actually at the heart of defending the authority and supremacy of Scripture.
Amazing how he can have a heretical view of scripture himself, that denies that the Old Testament was written to individuals and nations of the future as well as to ancient Israel, and claim he is defending the authority and supremacy of scripture. Where did this false hermeneutic of Dr. DeYoung's come from? Must be fairly recent.
Brannon and Dr. DeYoung believe that some people seem to be about destroying people and not destroying arguments raised up against the Lord. However, respectfully disagreeing with the author of the book, The Harbinger, as men like Dr. DeYoung, T.A. McMahon of the Berean Call, and Pastor Gary Gilley have done is not being cantankerous nor are they being “modern-day Pharisees.”
This pretty much sums up what was said on today's program, but I've got to say you can't characterize Jimmy DeYoung's very first remarks on Worldview Weekend as anything BUT cantankerous as he was nearly beside himself with the false idea that The Harbinger teaches "replacement theology" and denounced it in very angry tones -- without having read it. And he's pretty much still accusing Cahn of replacement theology when he goes on insisting that what was said to Israel by Isaiah can't be applied to America. And you can't characterize T A McMahon's criticism as anything but cantankerous either.

They keep emphasizing "tone" as the problem, but it's not, the problem is the WORDS, the INTERPRETATION. You can be nice as all get out while calling someone a false prophet.

They HAVEN'T been "nice," Brannon, you have been nice, others have been nice, but overall there is nothing nice about any of the attack on Cahn. Getting it as wrong as they do, and making it a matter of theological error as they do, even aside from some of the namecalling that's been done, is not nice at all.

Here is Jan Markell's article at WND:. I wish I could agree with her more completely but my impression is that her way of looking at The Harbinger may only be increasing the mystification about it by putting Cahn in the role of prophet.
By Jan Markell

I need to apologize. I founded and direct an organization that could be called a Christian discernment ministry. We contend for the faith as we are instructed to do in the book of Jude. We’re busy. Doctrine is askew today. False teachers are plentiful. Wolves are slinking around the sheep and devouring them. We try to discern the times, and we even name the names of those who, in our perception, are in error...

So why am I apologizing? Some in the discernment crowd are having a field day over something that may be God’s final warning to America. It may even be a final warning to individuals to get right with God. It’s a wake-up call to the church. I am referring to Jonathan Cahn’s book “The Harbinger” and the related film produced by Joseph Farah, “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment.”

If you haven’t read the book or viewed the DVD, Cahn takes nine warnings to ancient Israel and uses them as a signal to America. Israel was warned. America is being warned. Israel shook a fist at God, and America may follow suit – but some, like Cahn, are trying to stop the train wreck.
So far so good, except that as usual I always want to add that it's not right to attribute any of this to Cahn himself. The "harbingers" simply EXIST in reality, they simply came to Cahn's attention -- BROUGHT to his attention by God, I'm sure -- and he went on to arrange a way to present them to the public. Trying to stop the train wreck is the only thing a Christian can rightly do when confronted with such realities that MUST HAVE come from God.

Must have. The only way you could fault the message of The Harbinger would be by showing how the harbingers DID NOT come from God. I'd like to see someone try. Merely ASSERTING that Cahn invented it all is simply false.
What is it about a warning that stirs controversy? Jonathan Cahn is not marching up and down Main Street wearing a sandwich board that says, “Repent, America.” He has connected some very mysterious dots on a map that started on 9/11. Each dot is a harbinger. They make perfect sense. The Ark door is going to be slammed shut again. God wants none to perish. It says in the book of Daniel that some mysteries would be sealed up until the end and then they would be revealed. Could the “Harbinger” message be one of them? I think so.
Interesting way to look at it although I don't see that the message of the book extends beyond America so that it could reflect the sealed mysteries of Daniel. I don't even see all this as a "mystery," although it is certainly astonishing that God would bring such literal signs to America to tell us that we're under judgment just as ancient Israel was.
But to the hypercritical and some modern-day Pharisees, Cahn’s hermeneutics aren’t quite right. He hasn’t fully dotted every “I” and crossed every “T,” they claim.
But let's be clear here. There's only ONE complaint about his hermeneutics and that is that we aren't allowed to apply to America what God gave His prophets to speak to Israel. That's IT. And it's a false hermeneutic, false in relation to all the teachings of all the churches I've ever been in, and false to the last two millennia of theological understanding. If I'm wrong I'd like to know HOW, but so far all I've heard is this bald assertion that we aren't allowed to apply the OT to anything today.

And again: The "harbingers" were not invented by Cahn, they HAPPENED IN REALITY. Plunk plunk plunk, one after another they simply SHOWED UP IN REALITY starting with 9/11. These complaints about his hermeneutics are complaints about GOD's hermeneutics since God brought about all the harbingers.
Additionally, the message of “The Harbinger” is unique enough that it doesn’t fit into the way God usually does things. Imagine that. God outside of a box! To be honest, I’d prefer God in a box, too, but I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that He just doesn’t always work that way! He is creative.
True, when has there ever been such an appearance of literal elements of an Old Testament prophecy in a later nation? It's staggering to think about.

AGAIN, these literal material harbingers or signs are what the critics have to explain away. Fussing about Cahn's hermeneutics misses the point by light years.
John the Revelator had to deal with this. Imagine the poor guy stuck on an island trying to connect the dots of the vision he was given. It was a classic case of “Lord, choose somebody else!” But there was no Internet back then so that critics could jump on board and accuse John of bad hermeneutics. Lucky for him. They would have had a field day, because to this day they are having a field day over the book of Revelation! For centuries scholarly old men have laughed at the profound words in the last book of the Bible and brushed aside its warnings. Some have said through the ages that it is too complicated, too mysterious. We must leave it alone. We leave it alone at our own peril.
I don't see it Jan. Jonathan Cahn was not given anything to himself alone. What he observed is out there for anyone to verify. It all exists in reality, not merely in the mind/soul/spirit of a prophet. I think by making such a claim you are making it harder to answer the critics.
Jonathan Cahn, a Messianic Jew, is a 21st century John or Jeremiah but in the right sense! He is not some out-of-order “prophet.” He got stuck with unraveling a code given to him by God. Cahn himself calls it, “mind-blowing.”
It IS mind-blowing, it's amazing. But please let's not liken Cahn to the prophets. And there is no "code" here to "unravel." It's all very straightforward once you simply SEE it. It all exists in reality, and the message to be gleaned from it is unmistakable. There are no apocalyptic symbols or visions involved. The stark reality of the "harbingers" is in itself amazing and dramatic but there is nothing mysterious about them in themselves, nothing cryptic or hard to interpret.
Then Ishmael and Isaac meet as Joseph Farah, of Arab heritage, who enters the scene to produce one of the most brilliant films you will ever see, giving the visual effect to further the “Harbinger” message. Wait! This union just might be of God.
I guess I'm not quite ready to find anything especially symbolic in this union myself, although I admit it's nice.
So I apologize for those “discerning ministries” who have concluded that what just might be a somber final call for individuals and America is out of bounds. They call Cahn’s book and the companion DVD “inane,” “preposterous,” “fallacious,” “blasphemy,” a “lying prophecy,” and much more! One critic denigrates Cahn’s character with a derogatory reference to his Jewish chutzpah.
Wow, I really wish you had named names HERE, Jan. WHO has used these terms? (I don't think they all came from T A McMahon, did they?)
What I’m reading and hearing from these older scholarly wonks is that they don’t get it that this is a Jewish thing for such a time as this.
I'm OK with this idea. IF we are at the brink of the revelation of the Antichrist, and IF the pre-trib rapture people are right and the Church is about to leave this world, and IF the clock of the 70th week is about to start ticking down, and IF world events are about to push national Israel onstage for the Last Act of Planet Earth, then bringing a message of God's judgment through a Messianic Jewish Rabbi/Pastor could have all kinds of interesting implications.
I have one more issue: Not one of these men who are criticizing – and may I say even bashing – made the slightest effort to contact Cahn and dialogue with him. And in that they run in a discernment crowd, Matthew 18 just must be on their mind now and then! How quickly we forget. Shoot first – follow protocol second!

And that’s why what some discernment outfits do is blood sport. For that I apologize. Profusely. I am ashamed. I don’t want to be known more for what I attack than what I build up. This has taught me a lesson for which I am deeply appreciative. As a representative of the “discernment community,” I apologize to Cahn and Farah for what is flying around right now. How, when and why did repentance become controversial? It’s such a simple theme. It’s the theme of the Bible from the opening verse to the last verse.

Forgive us, guys. Some folks are entering the Ark because of your work. Many will be eternally thankful.
All true. I wish the critics would stop and think.

*The false hermeneutics that to one degree or another apply the OT only to Israel, denying its application to anything today, individuals or nations or whatever, is called Dispensationalism.