Back in 2012 I wrote a short response piece to Jonathan Cahn’s inept handling of Scripture known as The Harbinger. I ended with this line:
“A Christian enthralled by this twaddle deserves the label of biblical illiterate.”
I haven’t changed my mind. But Cahn of course returned with more twaddle, a new book called The Mystery of the Shemitah. No, I don’t plan to waste my time reading it. Would a doctor read a book on why giving yourself an appendectomy is a bad idea? Would an astronomer read a book on the evidence for a flat earth? Would a computer programmer pour through a manual on MS-DOS? People who have a serious grasp of any given field don’t waste their valuable time on reading material that is utter nonsense and cannot result in learning anything of value. I’m a biblical scholar. I already know anything Cahn writes is bunk.
But I do get questions about The Shemitah and the way Christian “leaders” promote it. Let me be clear: Many Christian leaders — pastors, talk show hosts, televangelists, “Bible teachers” — are truly ignorant when it comes to handling Scripture. Anyone who could read Isaiah 9:8-12, the passage on which The Harbinger was based, and conclude it’s about America, is simply biblically illiterate:
8 The Lord has sent a word against Jacob,
and it will fall on Israel;
9 and all the people will know,
Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria,
who say in pride and in arrogance of heart:
10 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.
11 But the Lord raises the adversaries of Rezin against him,
and stirs up his enemies.
12 The Syrians on the east and the Philistines on the west
devour Israel with open mouth.
For all this his anger has not turned away,
and his hand is stretched out still.
There are seven clear, unambiguous points in this brief passage that tell us who it’s for and what time in history it was situated, and yet “Christian leaders” across the US thought Cahn was on target by telling us the passage was against the US and verses 10-11 prophesied the fall of the twin towers on 9-11. This is sheer, brute force ignorance. Why even look at the words of the text? It’s as though a mass exegetical lobotomy was performed on Christians throughout the land. (And these same believers will tell you that you need to interpret the Bible “in context” when they don’t share a view you might have about a passage).
The Mystery of the Shemitah is the same sort of bilge. If you’ve recently endured the pain of someone in Church who desperately wants to share the thrill of Obi-Cahn’s mystery with you, I suggest you read this lengthy critique, and then share the thrill of your own discovery with the person who asked.
People are people. We have an ideological or emotional POV and are much too inclined to arrange/pick data so it fits our theories (failing that, we deny the data).
Good people do this too — they have the most noble reasons, of course.
I read the book and what I got out of it is that we violated God’s principles.
After we had a brief repentance period we vowed to build a bigger and better structure. With little thought or contemplation of how it might have been a judgement from God against the U.S.
I did not get that he implied God had directly prophesied about the US. It was saying that the schemita year is still a signifant year in God’s kingdom. We have gotten away from His ways and He has been warning us to come back to Him.
I did not agree with all that he said.
He spoke about how we got away from the finicial system that God set up for us. This system forgave debts, rested the land, and returned land back to original families.
The book was about those principals. You should read it.
Everyone violates God’s principles. That doesn’t mean we then can move on to violating the text of Scripture.
I haveread part of both books (they were a little boring to me so I couldn’t get through them). I am not really keen on his interpretation, either.
I am trying to understand this discussion, and from what I can see the question is not about exegesis of the passage. I have read some of Cahn’s responses to criticism somewhere, and I don’t think he disagrees with you on that.
Rather, is is about interpretation and application of general principles of how God works with people. Also, I do not get the impression that Cahn is being dogmatic, but rather offering a possible application of this text in accordance with Jewish hermeneutical principles as he sees them. Many texts in the Bible are open to a double interpretation and application, including many texts re-applied in the New Testament (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23 come to mind).
The question seems to be: do we have the right to extend the application of Isaiah 9:8-12 to our own situation? Some will say yes, and some no. That is ok, but I think we should avoid judging a person’s interpretation until we have fully understood where there are coming from. Which means reading all of his books, as well as his responses to criticism.
Short answer: No. “Application” that utterly violates the sense of the text in context is lazy, unwise, and misleading. If that’s what the Bible is for, there’s really no need to care about accurately interpreting it — if it’s for a spiritual buzz or functions as a “guide for living” that needs no connection to meaning, then why not preach from any book? As long as the application is helpful, what would it matter?
In short, the biblical text matters — not only for meaning but for application. Application should derive from meaning. If it doesn’t, you have application from non-meaning, or operating independent of meaning. How can we call that divine guidance? I think the divine Guide would guide us from his own word.
The reality is that Cahn does go beyond mere application. He claims his material is revelation from God in a prophetic sense. He responded only after criticism – he made no attempt to carefully distinguish meaning from application that you’re outlining.
I see your point. I remember from hermeneutics class I think Fee said in his book that it cannot mean what it never meant to the original writers/audience.
Anyway, the Bible has enough sensational stuff even when you don’t go beyond the text. Frankly, hermeneutics can be boring, but your books make it interesting.
God has His ways, and one of them is having a degree tolerance towards ignorance. Can we see you, and those like you Mike, as someone who discovered the water spring, while the rest of us are sitting back at camp working with what we have as far as water resources and you come into the camp saying “wait you guys , I found the water spring, forget that bottled water that you are passing around” At least that it is the way it is for some of us. From a personal testimony, it was like I was drinking water from the different bottled water companies that are there, and then suddenly I came upon you, and realized that “Hey, there is such a thing as serious Biblical scholarship out there, and just had never thought about it “At east this is the way it was for me, but I sense it is the same for many others. So I am wondering if maybe a somewhat different approach might be taken to this whole area of bringing light to the unaware. Maybe you could write a book called “Hey, I found the water spring !” As a brother who is the same age as Mike, and can say, ‘Back in 1978, when I was on a mission trip, ministering to a poor soul at two in the morning on the streets, while Mike was watching Captain America on TV ” Just Joking Mike, for all I know you could of been doing the same thing as I or better)But just saying, I am not going to get proud if you take some of my advice, if you know what I mean. I hate that celebrity stuff just as much as you do. But I wonder if a book with a catchy title like “To all you Christian writers , who never thought of Serious Biblical scholarship”–One of the people I thought about was a person like Ken Ham Heis an intelligent guy, and I wonder if secretly, he has looked into some of your material, and realized the sense of what your study brings out, but would it be wise for him to all of a sudden say to every one,”Hey,on a whole line of what I have been telling you, I have found serious scholarship on , and I see the light on it—- ” Now about the subject of TV watching, many are caught in Diana’s snare unable to think for ourselves, living in an over stimulated world, it is related to what I am saying here, because it is the same thing that keeps people from even delving in deeper Theological matters, (or going to Theological meetings)But I cling to something you said in one of your radio interviews “I know these people ,(like Ken Ham at least) are just trying to uphold the integrity of the Bible” I know there is the issue of Once you HAVE seen the correction, of not correcting yourself, but that is what I am asking here –“What is the wisdom for making turn arounds,and correcting, if you have written books like the Harbinger , or like Ken Ham ? I mean, should Ken Ham just let things that He secretly found out are more of a scholarly approach (which I really believe a person like Ken Ham has), but He might figure “It doesn’t ultimately matter, so I will just stick to the position I have put forth?”
Christian celebrity is a sanctification test for me. I have a visceral disdain for it.
The problem with Cahn’s approach, at it’s core, is a doctrinal one. Why do we think that God is in the business of judging America like He would Israel?
The passage is directed at Israel and America is not doctrinally in the same position as Israel. Israel was (and is via the believing remnant – and there always is a believing remnant with a majority that don’t believe and a minority that do, that pattern never changes; ex: 10 spies don’t believe, 2 do) God’s ONE AND ONLY chosen nation and as such, God will discipline His Nation, this for the purpose always of bringing the believing remnant through the fire in a better position than they were before. The point being to ultimately cleanse His people and bring them back to Himself (there are many OT Scriptures with reference to the various captivities that Israel/Judah faced to back that up, the point being to save the remnant, the judgment of national Israel being an act of grace to select for the remnant and therefore preserve Israel via them).
But, America is not Israel and is no different than any other nation that has “graced” this planet. We are just as beastly as any other nation as viewed per God’s eyes in passages like Daniel 7. America is not chosen nor special like national Israel, thus would not be subject to the same patterns of judgment that Israel was. We cannot read ourselves into passages like Isaiah 9. God is not going to be trying to judge us to get remnants out of us in the same way he would Israel. It makes absolutely no sense to expect a passage directed at Israel to also apply to America.
It is bad doctrine. It is inflammatory and is not useful to the propagation of the gospel. Where in the NT do we see this kind of thing focused upon in order to get individuals to respond to the gospel? Paul never said – “God is about to judge Rome, so repent and believe or be destroyed along with Rome”. And, if any nation needed to be judged and called out for their sin…it was Rome. Paul didn’t waste his time focusing the persecuted church on a judgment that the nation that persecuted them should expect. How does that help the propagation of the gospel message? Who would be the target audience of that kind of misguided focus?
Apply this to Cahn’s message to America and try to think of this in the context of the whole point of the Church’s existence – salt and light propagation of the Gospel. Is he targeting nonbelievers? Why is God judging them right now in the same way that He judged Israel? Does that make any sense doctrinally? If He was in that business then He has a ton of work to do and is way behind the ball. Oh yeah, that is what the afterlife is for…weeping, gnashing of teeth and all that…
So, are these calls of impending judgment (in the physical “here and now”) directed toward believers? But, it is not believers who are the one’s to blame here – I read Cahn’s book and he is only targeting the national decisions and declarations of American politicians, who are generally NOT believers. Again, I don’t see what God is trying to do here. Certainly with respect to believers, God wouldn’t be judging them (us) that way here under the Gospel (“there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” – Romans 8:1)
So, what are we DOING here? What are we falling for? What is the point? Come on!
The irony is that these popular prophecy writers and Bible teachers seem to be the primary contributers to that strong delusion (2 Thessalonians 2) that they themselves warn us will afflice the church in the end times…
“Where in the NT do we see this kind of thing focused upon in order to get individuals to respond to the gospel?”
John the Baptist
Jesus (Mat 24, Luke 21, Mark 13)
Paul (2 Thessalonians)
Not sure what “this kind of thing” refers to here, but approved.
“This kind of thing” = scaring people about national destruction, which in my opinion is a waste of gospel-propagating time. We should rather scare people about personal destruction in both the here and now and the afterlife as a result of personal sin.
John the Baptist was appealing to personal judgment, not national. And, any national implications for Israel are fine, for that is what the prophets were predicting. But, any gospel-type message coming from the mouth of John the Baptist was still aimed at personal destruction, not national. That is fine, I am all for appealing to the certainty of personal destruction outside of Christ. That is the core gospel message. Again, I am talking about scaring people about national destruction within the context of the gospel.
To put it plainly, scaring people about the fall of America is a WASTE of our gospel-propagating efforts. A huge waste of time and effort. It is pointless.
As far as your other NT references – those are all end-of-the-world/eschatologic passages that are fine for understanding how things are going to ultimately work out but, again, are not any given nation centric per se. That’s all just going to happen whether we like it or not and are going to affect the world at large and have been prophesied for millennia. They are going to start up, go for 7 years (or however your eschatology sees them), and then Christ comes back. They are all pre-preplanned and foreknown. There is nothing we can do to stop or delay them. National repentance has nothing to do with it.
Those things are not what I nor specifically Jonathan Cahn (it being he that I am specifically responding to by the way, not eschatology in general) is talking about.
I never said they were “national” but John was intentionally warning people that judgment was coming. He said “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” and so did Jesus
I never implied any of them were “nation-centric” I was pushing back against the idea that the NT never tries to “scare people” I believe it does, if not, please explain the bowls of wrath and trumpet judgements… How about this? “But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.” (2 Pe 3:7)
Seems pretty scary to me!
New Testament scholar Gordon Fee writes, “The theological framework of the entire New Testament is eschatological.” ( How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, 145)
Jesus did not return in AD 70 and we are obviously not in the millennium. Preterism is not widely taught because most people agree its obviously false.
Cris – people have had explanations for the bowls and trumpet judgments for years. I remember reading them in the Salem Kirban era, then Hal Lindsay, etc. It just recycles. Fee’s quote proves nothing – it doesn’t establish which eschatological approach is the right one (or how to take what’s right in all of them and come up with a synthesis). (For those that don’t know, I’m not a preterist, either).
I love the title of this post. The fact that many of those promoting this (and the whole Blood Moons thing) are church leaders who should now better is the most disheartening aspect to me.
Thanks for the link to the article. I’m so tired of paranoid tripe from Christians. Whenever Cahn releases a book, I grab my communicator and channel James T. Kirk the Wrath of Kahn.
yeah, I hear you.
I agree the passage has nothing to do with America. However,the most interesting point is that the US Congress applied Isaiah 9:8-12 after 9/11 using the “we will rebuild” passage. John Edwards cited it and I believe another senator did as well. Of course, in complete ignorance that the original context was Israel defying God by rebuilding. Because congress applied to America, it seems fair to point out that the “rebuilding” was not a good thing in the original context. In light of congress’ eisegesis, we are a biblically illiterate Nation.
Cahn was late to discover all of this, as I had heard everything he wrote about in the Harbinger from Elliot Nesch a few years before Cahn. So even his eisegesis is not original but copied.
Well that’s disturbing.
Mike, there is a Futurequake show with Elliot Nesch that predates The Harbinger (November 16, 2009). This link has the press release http://www.worldofprophecy.com/smf/index.php?topic=7868.0;wap2
This is an mp3 of the interview: http://futurequake.com/Audio/FQShow183.mp3
The Harbinger seems derivative of Sycamore by Nesch and pastor David Wilkerson in NY.
the line about no honor among thieves is ringing in my head for some reason.
Well actually there is no disturbance, derivative, theft or bell ringing… if you actually watch the Elliot Nesch film, he states twice the Harbinger concept of potential judgment came from listening to Jonathan Cahn’s recorded sermons long before the book was ever published. Truth is stranger than fiction or presumption.
Just fast forward if you like to minute 3:50-5:00. https://vimeo.com/22494189
From Elliot Nesch’s website: “Cahn’s interpretations were borrowed in addition to those of the late David Wilkerson, Times Square Church pastor, and others who also linked 9/11 with Isaiah 9:8-10”
This has been a revealent couple of post here. My comment is going to be from one who goes back to when there where only three channels on TV and black and white. And from one who has not partook of Hollywood after 1975. I am not going to comment in a Legalistic way, but will give you some scripture verses that are Very revelant . Isaiah 33 ” Who stops his ears from hearing of the shedding of blood” Well that wipes out about 60 percent or so of what you see from Hollywood doesn’t it? Now, I know hard core Hollywood idolators or just common Christians, who can’t wean themselves from Hollywood, are going to kick and scream against this, but people, I am NOT saying this in a Legalistic sense whatsoever, If You are a Mature Christian,God gives us feedom to enjoy Hollywood, and such, but for Christ sake, Please ,when you come to the point in your day when you are deciding how to spend a free time that you have ,Study Your Bibles, you won’t be disappointed, for it is Life -Giving! And this is why this couple of post is so interesting.Mike points out that the gentleman said” I have not studied Thomas Aquinas yet, why would , I read the Harbainger?” –Right on Mike ! —-Watching Hollywood , instead of deeply studying their Bibles !! Don’t we realize that Theologicaly, this is what is stated if you carefully read the major prophets? Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, all make the point early in their books that it is because of lack of KNOWLEDGE that His people are perishing! I am going to say again why I found this couplet of post interesting, and that is because then in the second post Mike immediately put a post up about ” celebrity” book sellers and how many, many Christians know who are the top 100 Christian music artist, verses knowing hardly anything in their Bibles !— Right on , Mike!—-what is so interesting about this is, just as Mike states how he didn’t EVEN read The Harbainger , I didn’t EVEN see Star Wars . I know some things about it, from reading books by Dave Hunt , about the” projecting images ” and such. But I knew THAT ,from just being a sinful kid and how we used to project images on the less physically agile as being sissies or fairies and stuff like that, or from some of the images the misled tried to project on people ,that they got from some TV program. We used to be a contemplative society, we have become largely an Entertained society. I personally Thank God For His wisdom, in letting me nip that in the bud, way back in 1975. Gods wisdom never changes, people, He can erase , and reveal deep things to us, and totally refresh.
Please post a warning about http://www.biblicalintegrity.org/2014/09/19/mystery-of-the-shemitah/
What a freakin’ rabbithole of crazy.
Notice the number of 5 stars this book garnered at Amazon and that it is referred to as a *best seller in Christian Prophecy * as was Cahn’s previous book.
Now that is what is truly scary for America.
U guys get your kicks shaming the man (Cahn) and anyone who appreciates his work. That’s sad.
The harbinger was strangely prophetic, with uncanny correlations and bc it’s not “academic” enough?, you just trash his second book without reading it. Cool.
Cahn is merely drawing parallels to what happened to Israel in Isaiah’s day.
Don’t you make anything of our nation’s leaders the day after 911choosing to recite the verse of judgment and the city planners replacing the sycamore with the cedar, the hewn stone etc.etc… What are the odds and why is it so difficult to see America as following a very similar path to judgment as Israel did? I believe a reasonable argument can be made for the parallels.
Sanctified incompetence is still incompetence.
My concern is that he teaches people how to interpret the Word of God ineptly. He doesn’t present his work as “I’m just doing a thought experiment with analogies.” It’s presented as the meaning of the text. My question to you is why you are tolerant of Scripture being handled so poorly.
It’s the gospel of infotainment as well as depending on others to “hear
God”. I’ve been guilty of both.Since I was a small child I’ve asked the
Lord for the truth,fortunately there is yourself and other scholars who are putting it out there,a lot of people don’t want to admit they are wrong,it is very humbling especially on matters of faith.It’s a pride thing
my brother.Don’t confuse us with the facts.
“…the gospel of infotainment…” Good observation! I don’t think the phenomenon under discussion should be considered as anything else. Unfortunately, since the 40’s, Americans have had ever-increasing misinformation foisted upon them through an overload of science fiction fare. This glut for the sensational has now run rampant in Christian circles so that writers are now able to make millions of dollars peddling the leaven of the Pharisees in different packages (“You have to pay attention to Jewish festivals!”). What is so wonderfully awesome and refreshing is that people like MHS, who have painstakingly done the work, have distilled much of it for free for the less-learned among us. I believe that I can say with some assurance that there are other scholars who share Mike’s viewpoint concerning the interpretation of Scripture, who are as equally generous as he is, who have stayed fairly quietly in the background NOT getting rich, practicing their solid Biblical scholarship – while the giants, the Nephilim, the asteroids, the Rapture, what’s-the-importance-of-America questions and whether or not the antichrist is this or that living person, “based upon Scriptural interpretation,” are monetarily thriving – not to mention the “prepare yourself” merchants who are benefitting quite well, also. I contend that anyone who clings to this exclusivist approach is barking up the wrong tree with trying to involve any “Gentile” nation in the importance of Scripture, unless there is a direct, stated application thereto. The Bible, at least the Old Testament, was written to the Jews, and as such guided the Israelites (not an easy job) into bringing truth to all the world. IMHO, the Bible has NOTHING to say about the USA, just as it doesn’t mention the Athenians nor the Spartans nor the Russians nor the Chinese, nor Genghis Khan. The Bible’s intent all along (again, just my opinion) has been to speak to and through the Jews with the purpose of reaching the world with God’s message of reconciliation for all men. I suggest that America, thinking itself so notable, is nevertheless no more worthy of mention in the biblical grand scheme of things than are/were other super powers throughout history (beyond those certain individuals and circumstances which were relevant to God’s plan for humanity at the time, e.g., Nero Caesar and the Romans). The Jewish system has been set aside, not in a “replacement theology” sort of way, rather in one that favors the glorious gospel of Christ. If that were not true, there would have been no controversy over Gentiles and Judaizers. All the Gentiles would have had to become proselytized Jews.
It is my belief that certain (there are many) authors who claim that the Temple in Jerusalem must be rebuilt are blaspheming the sacrifice of Jesus. I wish all of the supernatural, false hype that has now spread rampantly among Christian authors, their books selling like hotcakes, (basically, how God is going to pull off the End of Time in living color for all holographically-conditioned mankind to behold) would concentrate on what’s truly important. I believe these scholars have missed the whole point of the central message of the Bible, which is not, IMO, who the antichrist is. After His final act of ministry on earth, Jesus said, “It is finished.” Let us live our lives looking, as we are told to by Jesus Himself, to HIS coming – not the coming of the end of the world.
In fairness to Jonathan Cahn, he didn’t say the Isaiah passage was about America. He looked at the series of events that occurred in Israel leading up to its demise and wrote about parallels he believes he sees playing out in America. That’s not the same as saying the passage is about America. When I read the 2nd half of Romans 1 I can’t help but see America over the last several decades, does that mean I think Romans 1 is about America? No, it means I see what appear to me to be similar patterns playing out.
He did nothing to avoid people being led astray to such a conclusion, and did nothing to correct that idea once it surfaced (except benefit).
One interesting thing about his second book is that it has an expiration stamp on it, so to speak. He has tried to back off the timing, but the reality is he has staked his fame on God doing something very significant in America no later than the last days of summer, specifically by the middle of September (9/13 – 9/14).
No matter what happens it’ll be what he was talking about. That’s the way this always works.
Oh my goodness! That’s how, Jack van Impe, e.g., and other date-setters like him have stayed “afloat.” He’s set (it seems like) a million different dates. I’m not sure I have ever heard of someone who actually said that they were wrong when their prophecies failed (I think the founder of Seventh Day Adventism (?) quit the ministry after his second wrong guess). Those who are “sharp” figure out how to say that they were “mistaken,” but they, by golly, have the info right THIS time. It is so very easy, sometimes, for those who don’t study for themselves to be gullible. I don’t understand why the preterist view isn’t taught in every seminary – I mean, there WAS a time when the church at large didn’t even mention a Rapture.
it’s very true that there was a time when Christianity wasn’t talking about a rapture. But it’s equally true that they weren’t all talking about preterism.
Yes, I knew that. I am still studying about it. My first exposure was through PARADISE RESTORED by David Chilton. If that view is accurate, why do you think it has never been particularly popular? I would have thought that the earliest Christians (believing Jews) would have understood this.
I’m not sure if you are talking preterism or full preterism (just a heads up).
Historical theology tells us that some did think this way. I think the reason it didn’t (and doesn’t) have more adherents is its unsatisfactory handling of the concept of the fullness of the Gentiles. Though Scripture never gives a number for a “Gentile quota,” OT and NT prophecy link the Day of the Lord (= DOL) — which would coincide with a second coming and final judgment — with the reclaiming of the Gentile nations into the people of God (via liberating souls from the gods of the other nations by means of the gospel; for podcast listeners, here we are again back to the Deut 32 worldview). Preterist systems pay lip service to this concept by saying this is fulfilled in the church. Yeah, it is — but its not over. Preterism (along with other systems) doesn’t really integrate this point into its eschatological schema. Part of the problem is conceptual — since the NT writers knew only the Mediterranean world (but God’s understanding of the world was much bigger), how should we think about these concepts? I’d suggest “bigger than 70 AD” in this case, since the nations that need to be reclaimed are more than Genesis 10/ the OT picture (which were “templates for understanding” the program of God — my phrase). I think a any system that argues Jesus has already returned is utterly incoherent in this regard. It’s also far from satisfactory to say DOL prophecy is only about 70 AD. The fullness of the Gentiles concept is tied in with this. (This is also a trouble spot with those who want a return of Jesus [rapture] to be imminent. It really depends on when God is satisfied with the status of the nations, which only he knows. This is one of several reasons I think a term like “impending” return avoids misleading language like “imminent”).
Mein Kampf was a best seller too.
5 stars widda bullet…
I don’t envy David James for trying to deal with all this dishonesty in an honest fashion. I respect the effort.
Really. Dude. When you have to quote Jim Bakker chatting with Mark Biltz about Jonathan Cahn you’re pretty much teleporting the shark.
( sheesh…and here I thought the Jimster had gone to his just and eternal reward…I was sort of cheering for the latter-day Tammy. Is there no justice?)
Other than the classic 3 set up for a joke,”JB, MB and JC go into a bar,…” I got nothin’.
I call “Dog’s Breakfast!” and commend J. Cahn’s gibberish to the flames.
Bad grammar/syntax/spelling et alia(nut/pl?)/Best.
great line – “teleporting the shark”! Loved it.
It’s yours. Sole Copyright granted.
Have somebody cook you a meme.
In university, I had a one-hour humour show on student radio (it ran 1988-1990). About half was scripted, have improvised. One of our time-fillers was a “dramatic reading,” wherein my friend Karl noodled around on a keyboard while I read from a book, opened at random. I did a straight read for about two sentences then jumped off into extemporaneous absurdity.
One week, Karl handed me “Move that Mountain!” by Jim Bakker. It was a challenge because the book itself was absurd; the religious content consisted almost entirely of Jim praying for various pieces of TV studio equipment — and miraculously getting them. But I was able to “read in” plenty of references to his various scandals. (Bakker’s trial ended in 1989, smack in the middle of our show’s run.)
Prosperity theology is comedy gold!
> it ran 1988-1990
Just checked: 1987-1990, so our show started three months after Bakker resigned from PTL.
it is; it’s just so unfortunate (and awful).
This is all very interesting. I have to ask a question though Dr. Heiser. I’m currently watching a video of a conference you did with David Flynn. I’m showing it to my boys Sunday School class. I’m not sure who else was there but you mention him several times. Before his untimely death he wrote some pretty wild stuff. Do you consider his writings to be completely different than the stuff Cahn writes?
This is a bit of a yes and no. There’s no question in my mind that Dave Flynn was a lot smarter than Cahn. That said, I don’t think a number of Dave’s positions were exegetically defensible, nor do I think his version of “encoded” knowledge is on target. for example, part of his temple and the center of time material depends on equidistant letter sequencing of the Masoretic text. That has all the same flaws as any other ELS Bible code (doesn’t account for plene spelling of Hebrew, presumes priority of the Masoretic Text even though the Dead Sea Scrolls will disagree with it, and doesn’t take into account other ancient text-critical data). The value of Flynn’s work in my view is it’s esoteric analysis of (this is how I parsed what he did) how esotericists would use the Bible to their own ends and how ideas/memes were plotted into the wider culture using esoteric symbols. What Flynn does used to be somewhat common in early Christian mysticism / Neo-Platonism. That has become the language of (real) conspiracist agenda (from mind-control to the Bilderbergers). Hence there’s value in understanding how all that communicates ideas and agendas. Note that I’m not a “big C” conspiracist. I don’t think for a minute that the future hangs on freemasons and other secret societies doing anything. But there is a high-level (geo-political) pursuit of a technocratic new world order, and some of those people have made their cause a religion, and themselves the gods of the new age. There are major geo-political elites who think this way and have the clout to “make the future” into the pagan utopia they want. All you need to do is read official govt/think tank/DARPA stuff on exotic weapons, implants (RFID), data collection, etc. to see all of it in official documentation. Some of these players are esotericists and use media of all types to communicate their goals to those watching (for and against), but most of it sails right over the heads of the distracted masses. Flynn was good at exposing important symbols and memes in all sorts of places so that they were on the radar. Consequently, I don’t (and didn’t) look at Flynn like an on-target Bible interpreter, but instead as something of a Gandalf who saw things most people would miss and direct attention to them. In short, he exposed darkness. I would just disagree on how it intersected with biblical theology.
I never learnt OT Hebrew when I was at school; somehow it never seemed important. I saw the Cahn’s video and got the ebook so that I could try to understand what he was trying to say. Where does America come into it? I always thought that the Church was the “spiritual Israel” according to Augustine, about fifteen centuries ago. America was not thought of, then, although the Wolf is thought to be the symbol of Islam, the bear is the symbol of Russia and the dragon can only represent China.
On a scale of 1-10, what might America’s symbol be?
If Augustine was right, where does that put the Church in relation to your paraphrase in Isaiah 9?
Isaiah did not have America in mind. Not only didn’t it exist, but Isaiah gives seven contextual clues as to what he was talking about. It has nothing to do with America or the church.
Because America didn’t exist in OT times, there is no “biblical symbol” for it (unlike symbols for known empires — symbols that readers would have understood because, well, those empires existed and were thought of / spoken of via those symbols).
The sort of symbology Cahn imagines and promotes has its origin only in the modern mind. By definition, it is superimposed on the Bible. That means his ideas do not derive FROM the Bible. They are inserted and then extracted.
Crashes are engineered as a consolidation of wealth. The money doesn’t disappear in a collapse. Those at the top end up with everything, while everyone else is left struggling to start over. If it happens every seven years, that is by design. And Rabbi False Harbinger is an insider. As for the four blood moons,(nothing but ordinary lunar eclipses), there is nothing in the Bible about them. The earth’s shadow passing over the moon is no more significant than your shadow passing over my foot.
Mt 23:8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
Rabbi Johnathan Con Man doesn’t even acknowledge that 9/11 is an inside job. Either he is a very poor prophet or he is very dishonest.
That would be because he is a reptilian. He is trying to keep ‘them’ off the scent by getting ‘them’ to turn their attention to the nephilim instead while the reptilians and Xenu get their earthquake beam in position before the Mars expeditions notice the construction platform on the dark side of the moon.
I don’t know the context for this discussion, but this sounded humorous, so up it goes!
Mike, I thought this was so outrageous it could only be funny when I wrote it. But since then I have read stuff that people actually believe that makes this look like a boring morning mowing the yard. The stuff that people dream up is incredible. Have you checked out Scott McQuate?
no – glad to say.
Well, I guess my comment earlier on a Leviticus broadcast about offering God a bowl of ice cream didn’t make it into your humorous bone,( or you were just to busy) but one thing I on this blog that is precarious ,is that you CANNOT edit, and on one instance when I commented ( and thank God you did not post it) ,because I said —” I am going to keep a SERIOUS tone in my comments from now on” — Oh, How I regretted That ! — And it went into my ” Why, did I say THAT” ? category in writing on blogs–LoL— and in case you are wondering what I said about the ice cream, it was just a comment stating that– ” Where not the ancients just offering Something that meant GOODNESS to them “?
I missed the ice cream comment – but I get it now that you describe/explain it!
Proverbs 18:13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.
Dr. Heiser, you have obviously not read the book or books you chide. Possibly, you skimmed them. It is also painfully obvious that your knowledge and understanding of scripture is not half as great as your arrogance.
Yep; the problem is me. Of course.