A recent book and DVD by rabbi Jonathan Cahn suggest that America is about to undergo judgment which parallels what was prophesied for ancient Israel. Cahn maintains that “nine harbingers” of warning were given to Israel and these same warnings now apply to the United States: “Before its destruction as a nation, ancient Israel received nine harbingers, prophetic omens of warning. The same nine harbingers are now manifesting in America with immediate ramifications for end-time prophecy.”
Cahn claims that Isaiah 9:10 is the textual key to making sense of the recycled prophecy. He admits that the verse appears to be “innocuous” (as speculative proof texts often are), yet he stands firm in his resolve. He points to speeches by disgraced politicians, such as Tom Daschle and John Edwards, that evoke the Isaiah verse. Cahn states that these men think they’re speaking “inspirational and comforting words from the Bible, but [they’re] actually inviting judgment on America.” Apparently, Cahn doesn’t stop to think that perhaps political speechwriters are as lazy in their exegesis as they are in their fact-checking. Both of these speeches, and much of Cahn’s own hermeneutic for the proposed double fulfillment of Isaiah 9:10 is linked to the events of September, 11, 2001. Could it be that speechwriters went looking for a significant 9:11 verse in the Bible and instead settled for a 9:10? While Cahn is certainly correct that this verse has been wrongly applied in these politically-motivated speeches, it is a stretch to claim that Daschle and Edwards are “inviting judgment on America” in their ignorance.
What is really at stake here is the integrity of the first fulfillment of Isaiah 9:10. Dispensationalist Charles Ryrie acknowledges that this passage refers to the “imminent judgment on the northern tribes of Israel” and that it “would be deserved, sudden, cruel, and complete.” Lest we forget that Isaiah 9:10 is preceded by verses 6 and 7–the well-known verses that we typically hear only around Christmas time–which refer to the ultimate antitype of all biblical prophecies: the kingdom and reign of King Jesus. If Isaiah 9:10 can have a double fulfillment of sorts, then why not verses 6 and 7? Cahn’s double fulfillment notion makes nonsense of the Bible. If double fulfillment is permissible, why stop at two? Why not three, four, or even ten fulfillments? If the Bible needs to be reinterpreted for each generation in light of current events and political speeches, then the Bible really never means anything for all generations.
To read more about Cahn’s book, The Harbinger, and his subsequent DVD, The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment, click here.