Some of you are familiar with the book written several years ago by Jonathan Cahn called The Harbinger (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005IYEQKI/). In examining the ancient prophecies of Israel, Cahn saw a parallel warning that applied to America. His book and explanation were controversial, but Bible prophecy always is.
The initial warning that Isaiah related from the Lord fell upon the divided land of Israel, i.e. the Northern Kingdom, in the form of Ephraim and Samaria. The Northern Kingdom had aligned with Syria to come against Judah, the Southern Kingdom. This fearsome combined army intended to destroy Jerusalem and the House of David. The threat was so great that the hearts of King Ahaz of Judah, along with all “his people shook as trees of the forest shake before the wind.” (Isaiah 7:2)
But God had Isaiah assure Ahaz that none of what these two opposing forces planned would come to pass. In fact, Syria and the Northern Kingdom would both be destroyed by Assyria within sixty-five years (Isaiah 7:8). Through Isaiah, God told Ahaz that he must trust and believe as noted in Isaiah 7:9:
“‘… If you are not firm in faith,
you will not be firm at all.’”
The Lord even gave Ahaz the opportunity to ask for a sign to give him greater assurance that the Word of God would come to pass. Foolishly, Ahaz told God that he wouldn’t ask for that sign. But God gave him one anyway in Isaiah 7:14, that of the future coming of Jesus:
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
This prophecy foretold a marvelous future for the entire House of David that God would be with His people, but it also contained the message that great evil would come upon the land before and after this promised child. In times to come, light would shine forth in the darkness of Israel as a whole because God Himself would rule and reign upon the earth. However, before that glorious period, many trials and tribulations would beset the people. First, the Northern Kingdom of Ephraim and Samaria would fall.
They had a serious problem. Not a single one of the kings in the Northern Kingdom was faithful to the Lord. Every one of them had spurned the Word of God. They had persecuted His prophets that He brought to warn them to turn back to Him. Worse, they had willfully chosen to follow every other god but Yahweh. Instead of humbling themselves in the face of oppression and seeking the face of the One who could aid them, they doubled down in their idolatry and worship of pagan gods.
And so it was that God relayed through Isaiah what He knew was in the hearts of those in the Northern Kingdom. In a time of trouble they shook their fists at God as Isaiah 9:8-10 notes:
The Lord has sent a word against Jacob,
and it will fall on Israel;
and all the people will know,
Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria,
who say in pride and in arrogance of heart:
“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.”
Pride and arrogance would be their downfall. When an enemy struck, rather than falling on their knees to beseech the Lord of heaven and earth for His mercy, they would declare that in their own power, they would rebuild. God declared unequivocally that this would not happen. He was in charge and His will would prevail, not the foolish fleshly desires of a stiff-necked people.
It was this prophecy that Jonathan Cahn explored in The Harbinger about the bricks having fallen and the people arrogantly saying that through their own means they would restore what had been destroyed. The parallel that Cahn brought forward was to America, following the terrorist attack and destruction of the World Trade Center towers. Several ignorant governmental officials publicly, proudly and arrogantly, used this prophecy of warning against pride and arrogance to declare their intention to restore what had been torn down.
Just as God sent prophetic warning, i.e. harbingers, to Israel, Cahn argued that He was doing likewise in this incident to our nation. Just as the Lord desired for Israel to turn from her wicked ways, God similarly wanted America to return to Him. If Israel refused – which God knew she would – His anger would remain and His hand would continue to be stretched out against her for her harm. So it would be with the United States.
If we examine the current landscape of the world; particularly zeroing in on Israel and America, this ancient harbinger appears to still remain as a warning that neither nation has heeded. With the advent of COVID-19, both Israel and America – rather than turning to God for His mercy, direction, and healing – have embraced the false security of a vaccine to heal our lands.
We have decided that only man’s intervention can give us hope for the future. In our faith and trust in a medical solution, vast numbers of people have been deceived. Neither of our nations has repented of our grievous sins. Because of this, God has allowed blindness to come over the majority of our peoples. Instead of turning to God to alleviate our fear, we have placed our hope in a dangerous drug that is causing untold numbers of deaths and adverse effects. Despite this, millions of people are oblivious, and continue to willingly offer their bodies to death merchants in the hopes of returning to normality. The evil that is in our midst causing such a response is astounding. Wickedness has overtaken every institution in our nations – previously trusted or not. Yet, people don’t see it. Those who do see and warn are maligned and marginalized. Listen to what Isaiah 9:18-19 says:
For wickedness burns like a fire;
it consumes briers and thorns;
it kindles the thickets of the forest,
and they roll upward in a column of smoke.
Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts
the land is scorched,
and the people are like fuel for the fire;
no one spares another.
Why is this? The answer is the same today as it was in the time of the prophet bringing the Word of God to a wayward people. He says in Isaiah 9:21:
… For all this his anger has not turned away,
and his hand is stretched out still.
Should God relent? Why does the hand of the Lord continue to punish? The answer lies in the hearts of the people – whether it be Israel or America. Our desire is for any god but Yahweh; it is for any solution other than one that only Jesus Christ can bring. In our pride and arrogance, we will continue in our blindness. Only Christ removes the veil.
God’s anger will continue to be kindled because our nations – in fact, the entire world – refuse to look upon Him as Savior and Lord. Ignoring God’s kindness has severe consequences, and we are in the season that reaps them.
There is still time for some to rend their hearts and come to Christ; for others, they will not heed despite the Holy Spirit’s conviction upon them. The job that we as true followers of Jesus must do is work while it is still day. We who know that time is short have an obligation to reach as many as who will listen in order that some might be saved.
Now is the time for us to shine our lights brighter, even as the darkness intensifies. God is still merciful. He will make a way for some to know Him. As we reflect His glory and represent Him as His ambassadors to this lost and dying world, we can be assured that He will use our meager efforts to His good purposes.
Let’s not give up. Let’s not pull back in resignation because we see no fruit. None of us have any idea what may occur in someone’s heart simply because we were faithful in proclaiming Jesus Christ as the only hope. He is coming soon. Let us show ourselves worthy.