John McTernan and Jonathan Cahn both teach that God is judging America and both document a series of unusual “signs” or events to prove their position. John McTernan, in his book, As America Has Done to Israel, documents the catastrophes that have happened to America every time one of our leaders tries to bring peace to Israel by dividing the land. The cover of the book makes this claim:
There is a direct correlation between the alarming number of massive disasters striking America and her leaders pressuring Israel to surrender her land for peace. Costing hundreds of lives and causing hundreds of billions of dollars worth of damage, dozens of disasters, including devastating earthquakes, raging fires, hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, and tornadoes, have hit America – and always within twenty four hours of putting pressure on Israel.
Jonathan Cahn documents eight “harbingers” of God’s judgment on America in his book, The Harbinger: The Ancient Mystery that Holds the Secret to America’s Future. He compares the signs of God’s judgment on ancient Israel with what he claims are the signs of judgment on America.
In both cases the signs of judgment are uncanny, almost miraculous. For example, the first time McTernan documents the leadership of America (President George H.W. Bush) going along with a plan to divide Israel was the same day that the “perfect storm” (portrayed in the movie The Perfect Storm) flooded and damaged the Kennebunkport, Maine vacation home of the Bush family, fulfilling, he says, Genesis 12:3 which says:
“Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
McTernan then goes on to connect hurricanes, earthquakes, and other catastrophes to the American leadership dividing the land in Israel. While I don’t want to go into whether God blesses those who bless Israel and curses those who curse Israel (this goes into the issue of Jesus becoming a curse for us) McTernan goes beyond this admonition and blames America’s judgment from God on homosexuals, those who make laws supporting homosexuals, on abortionists, and on the compromising, apathetic church. Cahn blames the same groups. The Harbinger is promoted with these words:
The book traces a series of detailed parallels between what has happened in the United States since the 2001 terrorist attacks—including the economic collapse—and Israel’s history after it turned away from God. Told in fictional narrative, the book unfolds how nine signs concealed in recent events reveal God’s progressive judgment.
Hidden in an ancient biblical prophecy from Isaiah, the mysteries revealed in The Harbinger are so precise that they foretold recent American events down to the exact days. The revelations are so specific that even the most hardened skeptics will find it hard to dismiss or put down. It sounds like the plot of a Hollywood thriller with one exception… IT’S REAL.
Both of these authors claim that they can document the specific “signs” or events revealing that God is judging America . . . but were the September 11th terrorist attacks a sign that God is judging America? Was Superstorm Sandy a judgment from God, as McTernan claims? Cahn points to terrorism and economic collapse as evidence of judgment, while McTernan points to natural disasters as evidence of God’s wrath on the world.
The signs they point to seem more than coincidental. They seem to have been accomplished with pinpoint precision. But what if the signs aren’t from God? What if they are LYING SIGNS (2 Thessalonians 2:9) to deceive the church and lure her away from sound doctrine? What if, in their attempt to “defend the holy God of Israel,” (as McTernan claims he is doing) they are painting a picture of God that is profane!
What a paradox that those who seem the most passionate about holiness, and the most concerned about God’s honor, are the very same people who are dishonoring God by neglecting the precious work of the blood of his Son.
After all, is Jesus actually pouring out his wrath on the world? Are any nations under the wrath of God at this time, or is this a false teaching based on an Old Testament understanding of God, one that neglects the propitiating atonement of Jesus Christ?
Jesus isn’t only the atonement for our sins, he is the PROPITIATING atonement for our sins–and not only our sins (as those who receive Christ), but for the sins of the whole world.
“And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2)
What does the word “propitiation” mean? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, it means “to gain or regain the favor or goodwill of: appease.” The Greek word for “propitiation” is “hilasmos” (Strong’s G2434). It means “an appeasing, propitiating.” What does the word “appease” mean? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, it means:
1. To bring to a state of peace or quiet: calm.
The propitiating atonement of Jesus, not only reconciles us, as believers, to God. It also appeases the wrath of God upon the whole world. His wrath has been pacified until Jesus comes again, raptures the church, and the judgments are finally poured out. Until then, the world is in a state of peace with God. He has been pacified by the propitiating atonement of Jesus!
If this is the case, then how can McTernan and Cahn claim that God has revealed signs to them showing that God is judging America? Perhaps these are “lying signs!” After all, their teachings villify God. They make God an unjust judge when Jesus clearly taught that God is no longer even the judge!
“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” (John 5:22)
Jesus is the one who will finally open the seals (in particular the seventh seal) which initiates wrath and judgment being poured out on those who reject his offer of salvation. This is an appropriate circumstance since Jesus paid the price to have the judgment and wrath be held off. His blood was poured on the mercy seat!
As I’ve written in a previous article, there are other explanations for natural disasters, terrorism, and economic collapse. A nation can reap what it sows. Evil exists. We can be experiencing birth pangs as the return of Jesus draws nearer. The bad things that happen aren’t from God! God is not judging any man. Instead, the whole world is under a period of God’s grace. That is why “NOW is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthian 6:2)
The McTernan/Cahn scenario makes God an unrighteous judge. It makes him a God that mingles grace and wrath together, like an abusive father with a temper whose family never knows when they will have to run and hide from his anger. But the blood of Jesus is a form of forbearance. “Forbearance” means:
1. A refraining from the enforcement of something (as a debt, right, or obligation) that is due.
2. The act of forbearing: patience.
3. The quality of being forbearing: leniency.
Cahn and McTernan teach that God’s judgment is poured out on innocent people, that He isn’t a righteous judge. They also teach that JUDGMENT is for NOW, rather than for the DAY OF WRATH. They neglect or ignore the propitiating atonement because they don’t teach that the blood of Jesus appeases the wrath of God on behalf of the whole world.
Yet Romans 2:4-5 teaches that there is a forbearance, and that the present kindness and patience of God is allowing people to have time to repent, but those who harden their heart are storing up wrath for the time when God will pour out “righteous judgment”–not indiscriminate judgment on the guilty and innocent together–as Cahn and McTernan teach.
“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds.”
This leads me to conclude that there is something sinister behind the “signs” that Cahn and McTernan claim to have had a revelation about. Since these miraculous signs counter the New Testament teaching on the propitiating atonement of Jesus Christ, they must not have their source in God–or in the truth. Instead, I believe they have their source in the father of lies.
Satan would want nothing more than to cause the church to abandon grace and neglect the true gospel. After all, the gospel is “Good News!” Yet there is no good news coming from ministries that preach the gloom, despair, and destruction of America by the hand of God. No doubt, America has gone far away from the teaching of the Word, and into sin and darkness, but is the Great Commission of the church to preach a warning of judgment against a nation, or is it an invitation to individuals to come to Christ by grace through faith?
What is the content of the Gospel we should preach?
In the grace of our Lord Jesus and his wonderful Word,
Greg and Diana Lesperance