Mis-Understanding Israel and America

30 Jan

From Jason A. Van Bemmel (via The Aquila Report):

A couple of weeks ago, I was listening to American Family Radio’s Bryan Fischer as he said, “Only two nations in history have ever had a direct covenant relationship with God, Israel and America.” He claimed that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were America’s covenant documents with God. He was making this claim in the context of promoting Jonathan Cahn’s book, The Harbinger. As soon as I heard him say those words, I thought to myself, “That’s the AFA heresy right there. That’s the whole problem with their theology!”

In the list of top-selling Christian books, right along with Todd Burpo and Sarah Young (books I have reviewed and critiqued elsewhere in this blog – here and here), stands The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn. This book takes readers to Isaiah 9:10 as a prophecy of the judgment of God against America on 9/11/2001. Cahn point out that “The One-Year Bible” published in 1985, puts Isaiah 9:10 on Sept. 11th:

“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.
But the Lord raises the adversaries of Rezin against him,
and stirs up his enemies.” – Isaiah 9:10-11, ESV

First of all, before I go any further, any time an author starts playing “numbers games” or hidden-code tricks with the Bible (“secret prophecies”/ citing page numbers from “The One-Year Bible”), run the other way! This is not a responsible way of handling the Bible.

The basic “prophecy” behind the book rests on Cahn’s ability to string together random events and coincidences and read them into the text of Isaiah 9:10. This is called “eisogesis,” when you read into a text a meaning which is not there.

FACT: No responsible Bible scholar would assert that Isaiah 9:10 anything to do with America whatsoever.

The Harbinger has been heavily promoted on American Family Radio (AFR). I listen to AFR regularly, as they sometimes have some good things to say. However, when they start talking about The Harbinger or the theology of Israel & America which underlies both this book and much of AFR’s message, I get pretty irritated.

I have written a more in-depth blog post (No Distinctions: Lord of All) exposing the flawed theology promoted by AFR, but I will just pick out a few highlights and be more specific. In my other post, I was concerned to be Biblical and not to name names, but sometimes you have to step out and name names.

Here are four key errors that underlie the theology of The Harbinger and American Family Radio:

1. The political nation-state of Israel has a right to the land of Canaan; it is a Promised Land for ethnic Jews.
2. Ethnic Jews are the Chosen People of God forever.
3. America has a covenant with God through our Declaration of Independence and Constitution.
4. America is guilty of breaking covenant faithfulness with God and is suffering covenant judgment.

Each of these four statement above is false and un-Biblical.

The first two are based on a flawed way of interpreting Scripture called dispensationalism. If we are to understand the Bible properly, we cannot read the Old Testament in isolation, as if the New Testament had not been written. We must always read the Old Testament in light of the New, seeing God’s promises to Israel as they are explained in Galatians, Romans 9-11, 1 Peter 1-2, etc.

Read the rest

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