New York Times best-selling author Jonathan Cahn offers a sober view of where the United States stands in his new documentary film, “The Harbingers of Things to Come,” set for release in theaters this week, but he says there is still hope.
The film is based, in part, on his 2012 blockbuster book, “The Harbinger: The Ancient Mystery that Holds the Secret of America’s Future,” and his 2020 followup, “The Harbinger II: The Return.”
Cahn, who is a Jewish believer in Jesus Christ, identified a surprisingly similar pattern in the judgment that the United States appears to be experiencing to that of ancient Israel as recorded in the Bible.
He argued in “The Harbinger” that the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, by Middle Eastern terrorists marked the first warning blow, much as ancient Israel (the kingdom of Judah) was struck by the Babylonians in 605 B.C. and ultimately surrendered 19 years later when Jerusalem fell in 586 B.C.
Cahn told The Western Journal most of what’s contained in his new documentary, “The Harbingers of Things to Come” — in theaters nationwide Thursday and May 19 — addresses what has happened since he wrote “The Harbinger.”
“The harbingers haven’t stopped,” he said. “America’s course away from God has actually accelerated. So I believe we’re at a more dangerous point.”
Cahn sees significance in the United States experiencing shakings since 9/11 much as ancient Israel did. These included the financial crisis that started in September 2008 and the COVID-19 pandemic that started in 2020.
“I knew when I wrote [‘The Harbinger’] that it wasn’t going to be the end,” he said. “There was going to be more because it was the beginning of the template, not the end of it. So … we’ve been in that period.”
Cahn was keyed in on that 19-year-period seen in ancient Israel from the first shakings of the nation to the next major shaking when Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar entered Jerusalem and burned down the Jewish temple.
“And the Bible makes a thing of it. It says in the 19th year, Nebuchadnezzar came,” Cahn said.
“2020 is the year when all these shakings have come upon us that are still on us, which starting with the plague, in fact, of COVID 19. Well, the prophet Jeremiah, when he was prophesying that, what would happen in the 19th year of Israel, he said one of the shakings is going to be a plague on the land, literally,” he further explained.
“And what is the name of this plague? It’s COVID and then the number 19,” Cahn said.
One fascinating fact that wasn’t in “The Harbinger” book but is in the documentary is the conspicuous connection both 9/11 targets — New York City and the Pentagon — have to that date.
The latter was just months before the United States entered World War II, from which it would emerge as the world’s pre-eminent superpower.
The terrorist attacks that hit the World Trade Center’s twin towers in Manhattan and the Pentagon in Washington clearly were meant to mark blows against symbols of U.S. power representing its financial and military might.
The attackers certainly did not choose 9/11 because they knew the beginnings of those two places had a connection to the date, but it seemed providential.
“And so God says, you know, ‘As I built up, I will strike down.’ And so on the very same day, very major, gigantic things [happened],” Cahn contended.
“The warning is, the biblical warning is that our powers come from God, and if we war against him, those powers will crumble,” he added.
God instructed the children of Israel through Moses in Deuteronomy 28 of the blessings that would experience if they followed his ways and the cursing or judgment that would follow if they did not.
The United States is obviously not in the same covenant relationship with God that ancient Israel was, but its earliest leaders expressed their desire to follow God’s ways and be in a relationship with him in documents such as the Mayflower Compact and the Declaration of Independence.
In the film, Cahn pointed out that Puritan pastor Jonathan Winthrop, who helped found the Massachusetts Bay Colony, laid out in his famous city on a hill sermon both the blessings and curses the settlers could experience depending on their faithfulness to God.
“For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill,” Winthrop said, drawing inspiration from Jesus’ words.
“The eyes of all people are upon us,” he said. “So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world.”
Cahn believes the United States is still on the judgment track, based on policies that promote abortion and same-sex marriage, among other issues, contrary to God’s laws.
But he offers hope in “The Harbingers of Things to Come” by pointing to two periods in the U.S. history when the American people repented and God blessed the nation once again.
The first was in the middle of the Civil War when then-President Abraham Lincoln called for a national day of prayer, fasting and repentance.
In the spring of 1863, Lincoln issued a proclamation setting aside April 30 for this purpose, which Cahn said was modeled after the biblical exhortation found in 2 Chronicles 7:14.
The passage reads: “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Lincoln’s proclamation began by recognizing that Almighty God has the “Supreme Authority” over the “affairs of men and of nations” the truth “announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”
“And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People?”
Lincoln contended Americans had forgotten that God was the source of the nation’s many blessings.
“It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness,” the president said.
Cahn noted soon after the national day of prayer and fasting, the Civil War changed in the Union Army’s favor.
“But the amazing thing is, when you look at the turning point of the war, which you have [the battle of] Gettysburg and you have [the battle of] Vicksburg, but you look at the very turning point of the turning point, it all changed the day after that national day of prayer, literally saved America,” he said.
Another example of national repentance happened in 1980.
At that time, the nation was experiencing high inflation and negative economic growth, much like today.
Additionally, 52 American hostages were being held by the fundamentalist Islamic regime in Iran.
Then-President Jimmy Carter had ordered a rescue mission that failed when some of the helicopters had mechanical issues and another crashed into a transport plane, killing eight American service members.
The sense of failure was akin to the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan last summer.
Cahn recounted that he was in Washington around this time for a gathering of Christians on the west side of the Capitol building to pray. 2 Chronicles 7:14 was repeated often that day by the featured speakers.
“And we’re praying the truth the [ancient Israelites] prayed. God put who you want in the Capitol … heal our land. Release the hostages,” he said.
The former California governor laid his hand on his mother’s Bible, which was opened to one of her favorite passages — 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray …”
“And then that very hour the hostages were released,” Cahn recalled.
“And there was a real turnaround,” he added. “They called it ‘Morning in America.’ The Soviet Union would fall, our economy [took off] and all that. But it all began when [Reagan] put his hand on the Bible.”
if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, & I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14
Nelle Reagan’s Bible: She thought verse was for country pic.twitter.com/dBOYuWHYXR
— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) October 22, 2021
“Look at what the prayers of God’s people can do, so that’s an encouragement,” Cahn said.
“We have to be vigilant, you know, now. This could be our greatest hour to rise. You know, the dark gets darker. We have to get brighter.”
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