Monday, September 3, 2012

James takes on Harbinger Eight, The Utterance, and Utterly Misses the Point:

The evidence continues to mount that [Cahn] believes that in some way Isaiah 9:10 was not only to Israel but was also to, about, and for the United States. Cahn useds the idea that "Somehow Isaiah 9:10 has to be connected to Washington DC" to set up his theory concerning the eighth harbinger.
David James seems to be a nice guy, a sincere guy, he's probably a good Christian man, and apparently in writing this book he's writing for at least some others who had the same take on The Harbinger he had, but from where I sit he's missed it so completely it is hard to comprehend and hard to explain.

This is THE main recurrent theme of the criticism he brings against The Harbinger, that he thinks Cahn actually believes that Isaiah himself some 2500 years ago was writing not only to Israel and about Israel but also had modern America in mind. It boggles MY mind that he could even begin to think such a thing, but he thinks he sees it in some of Cahn's wording such as "Somehow Isaiah 9:10 has to be connected to Washington DC."

It's a dramatic device Cahn is using, he's not saying somehow Washington DC must be IN Isaiah 9:10, he's saying that for the prophecy to continue to be consistent, as it has been over the previous harbingers, for it to continue to play out as the remarkable reflection of Isaiah 9:10 it already is, when we get to the question of who SPOKE the vow to rebuild we would expect to find that coming from the LEADERS of the nation, because it was the leaders of Israel who spoke it way back then. In short, if the parallel between Israel's attitude and America's is to hold up we would expect to find the leaders of America voicing it. That's why we have to find a connection to Washington DC because that's where the leaders of America generally hang out.

I'd really like to know how many out there could possibly have misread this the way David James and his fellow critics have misread it. My guess would be very few or at least I hope it's very few. I can't even imagine what it is that leads them to read it this way. Is it somehow the consequence of their biblical hermeneutic that they can imagine anyone reading the present into an ancient manuscript like this? Common sense ought to tell them that even if at first glance it SEEMS like that's what Cahn is saying he couldn't POSSIBLY be saying that, which should then lead them to what he DID mean.

And really, since in various interviews they did put this question to Cahn over and over again and he consistently denied it, what sort of arrogance does it take for them to ignore his denials and continue to insist that THEIR reading of it is what he REALLY meant? Some time back I mentioned that the way the critics deal with Cahn reminds me of a "kafkaesque nightmare," which means they come to the task with some very strange preconceptions of their own that they apply whether they fit or not, they insist they do fit, and nothing Cahn says matters -- or everything he says only confirms his guilt in his interrogators' minds. He's under suspicion from beginning to end of the interrogation based on some standard that is completely alien to his own way of thinking, he's tried and convicted on this alien standard and they consider justice to have been done. I don't know how far this scenario reflects Franz Kafka's actual writings but it's what the phrase has always conjured in my mind and it sadly fits the situation of The Harbinger.


I'm sure that same theme is going to come up again as I read this book, but now James is going on to Harbinger Eight itself, which will no doubt involve another "kafkaesque" assumption designed to convict Cahn of some sort of offense of their own invention.

Cahn takes the reader to Washington D.C. where we are shown John Edwards giving a speech in which he quotes Isaiah 9:10. This occurred in reality at a Congressional Black Caucus Prayer Breakfast on the anniversary of 9/11 in 2004. Here's James' take on this:
As was said of those involved with the placement of the Tree of Hope at Ground Zero, Cahn frames Edwards's words as part of an unwitting act of defiance. However, an honest reading of the entire speech makes it clear that not only was defiance of God the furthest thing from his mind, but neither was he unwittingly using defiant words (as can be seen in the following excerpts from the speech). So if defiance was not in his words andif it was not in his heart and mind, then where was it? Unfortunately, this is just one more thing that has been made up.
To be sure it's clear where James is getting his view of Edwards' speech I'll reproduce what he's quoted of that speech in the book as well:
[John Edwards] Good morning. Today, on this day of remembrance and mourning, we have the Lord's word to get us through. "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."
Well, let's take this first part of it first because this is all Cahn needed to make his point. Edwards quotes Isaiah 9:10 which is the statement of Israel's defiance of God by vowing to rebuild what the Assyrians had destroyed, without acknowledging that the destruction was God's judgment of the nation or seeking repentance to bring the nation back to God's good favor. It was clear to Cahn, as it was to me and many other readers of the book, that merely quoting Isaiah 9:10 puts Edwards in the position of pronouncing the same attitude toward 9/11 that the leaders of Israel pronounced toward the Assyrian invasion. It was defiance in Israel and it remains defiance when applied to America.

Edwards' foolish misunderstanding of it as words of reassurance, as "the Lord's word to get us through," really only highlights the defiance in the message. James has italicized that phrase as if it demonstrates that Cahn is wrong, claiming it shows that Edwards had no defiance in his heart but wanted to bring a message of comfort to the nation. But it is that very fact that makes the defiance unwitting. Simply to speak of rebuilding without recognizing that 9/11 was God's judgment IS defiance of God. This is Cahn's point. This is why Cahn emphasizes over and over that it is not about the intentions of the speaker, but simply that in speaking the words themselves he is speaking defiance of God.

It also proves nothing about Edward's heart as James claims it does, since the very desire to comfort the nation for 9/11 without acknowledging that it was God's judgment IS to have a heart attitude of defiance. That is essentially what Isaiah 9:10 describes of Israel's attitude -- we will restore our hurting nation by rebuilding, with no acknowledgment that they are out of the will of God and no intention whatever of making amends with God.

Was their defiance intentional or conscious? I don't see that the scripture says it was any more than John Edwards' defiance was. Their "prideful and arrogant hearts" are implicit in the very ignoring of God's judgment. Israel was always committing sins and idolatries ALONG WITH their prescribed sacrifices and their rites and ceremonies in supposed worship of their covenant God Jehovah, and always considered themselves to be His chosen people. They didn't see their own defiance any more than Edwards saw his or America's. That's why God sent prophets to Israel over and over, to SHOW them that they were in violation of His law and His covenant, to bring suit against them in the hope of waking them up and bringing them back to the fold. This is what The Harbinger aims to do for America.

James is very naive here. He has the same naivete Edwards had and that America has. And it is his naivete that leads him to completely miss the point. It is a BIBLICAL point that Cahn is making, it is something you know from knowing the Bible. The human heart is wicked above all things, who can know it? said Jeremiah. Well, how many of us recognize the wickedness of our hearts without the Bible's telling us it is so? Hardly any. Most people think they are good and have good hearts and that most people have good hearts. Jeremiah tells us, no, our hearts are wicked.

This is why I don't think Israel intended to defy God, and it's why Edwards was defying God without knowing it, and all America was defying God in refusing to see 9/11 as His judgment. What an American leader SHOULD have done, preferably a President but any leader could have at least made the point, is call for a national time of fasting, mourning and repentance for the sins that brought the attack upon us. There were times in the past when Presidents did call for such an national observance. Instead all we heard was about the sufferings and needing to bind the wounds of a hurting nation -- that part was important and necessary but in the absense of an acknowledgment of the attack as God's judgment it becomes defiance of God. But this single focus is what James and so many others think is sufficient acknowledgment of God? I'm afraid so. Americans thought they were acknowledging God when they sang "God bless America" but in fact were defying God because ignoring His judgment against us, His attempt to make us aware that we are out of His will, that the nation is groaning under sins that He must judge unless we turn it back to Him.

This is the whole point of The Harbinger. It is a BIBLICAL point. James shares the very attitude of defiance of God that the book seeks to expose and correct and this is really the substance of his objection to the book.

James goes on to quote the rest of Edwards' speech, which is about the sadness of the nation over the attack, and the loneliness and the bewilderment, and this IS sad. I don't want to minimize the pain of the sufferers here, but NOBODY APPLIED THE RIGHT REMEDY. People went to the churches after 9/11 hoping to find an answer to this bewildering and painful experience and they got sympathy and platitudes, they did not get the truth. They didn't stay in the churches. What was there to stay for? You can get sympathy and platitudes at the local bar and the anaesthetic of alcohol as well.

I've been looking for a passage of scripture that says something like "They heal the wounds of My people lightly," meaning the remedy isn't sufficient that is being applied because the cause of the suffering isn't recognized. But I can't find it.

Found it:
Jer 8:11 For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when [there is] no peace.
The true prophets didn't prophesy peace where there is no peace, they prophesied judgment. The wounds won't be healed until the cause of the judgment is turned back.

This is another reason I don't think Israel's defiance was intentional, because there are many passages where God is lamenting that His people aren't taught rightly, they are ignorant of His ways and His laws and therefore keep coming under His judgment and having to suffer for lack of knowledge. This one in Isaiah at least describes the cause of the suffering:
Isa 1:4-6 Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head [there is] no soundness in it; [but] wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.
James thinks that Edwards' call for grace and goodwill and prayers for comfort, proves that there was no defiance in Edwards' heart.
Not a single hint of defiance can be read into Edwards's words. Defiance most certainly was not on the hearts and minds of those in attendance at the prayer breakfast that morning either. yet in spite of all evidence to the contrary, the following dialogue explains what Cahn elieves really happened that day:
[Kaplan] "It wasn't about the motive or the intention of the one doing it, the fact that it was done . . . that it happened. It happened because it had to happen. It was another replahying of the ancient mystery. What the speakier intended to say was irrelevant. The words came out because those were the words that had to be spoken. The vow had to be proclaimed, the words of the ancient leaders over the ancient calamity had to be proclaimed by an American leader over 9/11. And by doing so, the two nations, the ancient and the modern, were bound together. The utterance would join the Assyrian invasion to 9/11 and America's post-9/11 defiance to Israel's defiance in the face of God's judgment.
Jonathan Cahn contends that Edwards was openly defying God but did not realize he was doing so. Cahn does the same thing concerning Tom Daschle in the next chapter. Based on nothing more than a need to fit his harbinger theory, the author contends that although Edwards and Daschle both intended to say one thing, their words carries a far different meaning -- a meaning that they did not intend and a meaning that no one who heard either speech would have understood or even remotely considered.
Seems to me that what Jonathan Cahn is up against here is a Biblical deaf ear. James doesn't think biblically. He thinks like any secular fallen human being. This stuff is biblically naive to put it kindly.

The reason Edwards and Daschle had no idea what they were saying and that no one who heard them would have remotely considered the meaning of defiance is that they and their hearers, like most of America, are biblically deaf.

Cahn's biblical insight on the other hand is right on the mark. Edwards and Daschle both DID speak prophetically in quoting Isaiah 9:10, they DID pronounce the spirit of defiance on behalf of the nation, that was being expressed already anyway by the majority of the people including pastors across the country. In pronouncing that spirit of defiance they were speaking harbingers of God's judgment against a sinful nation. What does it mean when God's judgment is ignored? MORE IS TO COME. It is a Biblical principle. They spoke the words of defiance, defying God's judgment on 9/11. and that becomes prophetic of further judgment. It's a BIBLICAL PRINCIPLE.