Jonathan Cahn’s bestselling novel The Harbinger has proved very divisive for online discernment ministries (ODMs). Many ODMs are sympathetic to The Harbinger if not openly endorsing it. Many other ODMs are (rightfully in my opinion) exposing Cahn and The Harbinger as being heretical.
Berit Kjos has written an excellent expose of Cahn and his quoting of the occult Zohar/Kaballah. I have reposted her expose below; click here for the original source. I have emphasized certain points in bold orange, and inserted comments [in bolded orange in brackets].
The Zohar & Kabbalistic Mysticism
By Berit Kjos ~ Updated on July 30, 2012
Zohar: The Book of Splendor: Basic Readings from the Kabbalah
Below are notes and quotes, not an article. The information they contain provides valuable insights into Jonathan Cahn’s mysterious theology. They may also help to explain some of the puzzles in his popular book, The Harbinger, with its guru-like ‘prophet’, so-called mysteries, and bewildering misapplication of Scripture.
On the video in the box below, Cahn quotes from the Zohar [the mystical rabbinical writings behind the Kabbala] and presents his view of Golgatha [Gulgalta]. Notice in that partial transcript that the “god” who is credited with salvation, redemption, spiritual light and life is merely a place or object — a skull or Gulgalta — not Jesus Christ our Lord! Apparently, the rabbis behind the Zohar have borrowed from the actual Bible but twisted God’s Word into their own esoteric message. Please remember this warnings from God’s true Word:
“You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it…” Deut. 4:2
Some say that the Zohar is to kabbalists what the Bible is to Christians. That’s partly true! Much of the Zohar even sounds Christian to those who are not familiar with the Bible. But in reality, it presents a deceptive blend of distorted truth and kabbalistic occultism.
Quoting from the Zohar, Jonathan Cahn affirms that an amazing life-changing event did occur at Golgatha. But his teaching is a corruption of our Lord’s redemptive work through the cross! It exalts a skull and a “thing” rather than our Savior and King!
“…have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” Ephesians 5:11
Let’s take a look at the video titled The Zohar Speaks: Gulgalta – The Cosmic Skull. [This video can now be found here. The original video was recently removed and replaced with a less controversial message. Please read Cahn's statements below from the original video expressing the twisted, Christ-less deceptions of Kabbalah.]
The speaker is Jonathan Cahn. Notice how he twists Biblical truth, approves of mystical symbolism, and praises the kabbalistic traditions that distort and ignore our actual Savior: [My comments are italicized within brackets]
“I found it in the mystical writings, Jewish writing of the Zohar…. The Zohar speaks, the rabbis are writing of the redemption of the worlds with Messiah’s coming. They speak of life from the dead, they speak of the resurrection — the redemption of the worlds….
[What "worlds"? Our Lord doesn't promise to redeem any 'worlds.' Instead He calls us to choose between this evil world and life with Him in His Kingdom. “My kingdom is not of this world," He tells us. Only those who trust and follow Him -- and who confess their (bondage to) sin -- can share in the joy of His redemption and eternal salvation! Perhaps this page will help explain the many worlds that are part of the Kabbalah]
“They say it all will come — the power of all this, the miracle of all this — will come from a sacred thing, a sacred place. And this place, this thing is where all the mercy of God is stored….all the mercy of God pours out from this place… all the blessings come from this place, this ‘thing’ … They call it the Gulgalta….
[That's an occult distortion. God's love, mercy, redemption and guidance doesn't dwell in (or come from) a "thing" or an earthly place! It comes from our wonderful sovereign Lord Himself!]
What is Gulgalta? … The rabbis are saying that all the mercy of God comes from Gulgalta. Gulgalta, the radiance of God that brings to life. Wow! That’s amazing stuff. …the place of the skull.
“All the mercy of God leads to a skull…. From this comes drips — salvation drips, resurrection. For all the forgiveness of God you want, you have to go to Gulgalta….
“The rabbis are saying ‘From Gulgalta is all the mercy of God you could ever need…. From Gulgalta the forgiveness of Adonai is poured out to the world. From Gulgalta comes the redemption of the universe… [This is from Rabbi Zohar 1, 28b]
[What "universe" would be redeemed? Will this corrupt world will be redeemed rather than destroyed? (1 Thess. 5:2-6) This message is totally contrary to the Bible!]
“In the Gulgalta… sit thousand of myriad of worlds. And from the Gulgalta drips dew and… the dew fills the world and the dead will awaken in the world to come as the dew comes forth. The dew is the lights of the ancient one. The light of the ancient one comes from Gulgalta and as it touches, the dead comes to life. From Gulgalta is the light of God bringing life from the dead…”
[But the Bible tells us that Jesus -- not the physical place of His crucifixion -- is "the Light of the world." John 8:12]
“Gulgalta, the radiance of God that brings to life. Wow! That’s amazing stuff. That may be the first times its ever been said….
“The death of Messiah… all pinpoint us in time and space: … The prophets, Daniel zeroes in on the time period mathematically… those 70x7s. …The Rabbis in the Book of Moed unwittingly gives the name of it… Gulgalta…. Moses zeroed in on the place. He said where shall it be! It says ‘in that Mountain the Lord shall provide the lamb,’ which is the mountain of Moriah…. And now the very hill, the very place here in…the rabbinical writings of the Zohar unwittingly gives the name of it: Gulgalta – the center of everything. Listen to the rabbis!“
[Gulgalta is not the "center of everything!" That honor belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ! He should be at center of all! From Him we receive all the spiritual riches of God: His love, life, light, joy, peace and strength -- everything we need! But He wasn't even mentioned.]
Notice the similarities between the next two paragraphs. The first one is a quote from Cahn’s video message, The Zohar Speaks. The second one is from the actual writings in the Zohar. Neither one deals with sin, our fallen nature, the reason for redemption, or the painful cost paid by Jesus. The Biblical context is totally distorted!
1. “In the Gulgalta… sit thousand of myriad of worlds. And from the Gulgalta drips dew and… the dew fills the world and the dead will awaken in the world to come as the dew comes forth. The dew is the lights of the ancient one. The light of the ancient one comes from Gulgalta and as it touches, the dead comes to life. From Gulgalta is the light of God bringing life from the dead…”
2. “In the Gulgalta sit thirteen thousand myriads of worlds which move on feet and lean on them. And from that Gulgalta dew drips upon Him who is outside, and fills his head every day…. And from that dew which He who sits outside shakes from His head, the dead will awaken in the World to Come, as it is written, ‘For a dew of light is Thy dew, and the earth shall bring forth the shades (Isa. 26:19). That dew is the light of the pale glow of the Ancient One [That's not a reference to our God!]. And from that dew exist the supernal saints, and it is the manna which they grind for the righteous in the World to Come. And that dew drips down to the field of Sacred Apples…”
Idra Rabba, Zohar 3: 128b [Quoted in The Messiah Texts by Raphael Patai, Wayne State University, 1979] Jeremy James, an Irish researcher provided this information.
“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. ” Colossians 2:8
“MANKIND is reaching out to apprehend the Mystery of Golgotha once more with all the forces of the human soul; to understand it not only from the limited standpoint of present-day civilisation, but so as to unite with it all the forces of man’s being. But this will only be possible if we are ready to approach the Mystery of Golgotha once more in the light of spiritual knowledge.
“…if as initiates of modern time we fill ourselves with Christ, who made manifest His life in the Mystery of Golgotha…then will Christ lead us even through this Death….
“These things must be regained in spiritual knowledge, in the new Science of Initiation. Then only shall we take hold of the Mystery of Golgotha as the true meaning of all Earth-existence.”(From a lecture delivered in Manchester College Chapel, Oxford, August 27,1922.)
In a recent interview, Cahn responded with some interesting comments:
Question: “It is stated that Jonathan Cahn ‘says that Zohar, an extrabiblical, mystical source from which the occultic and mystical Kabbalah is derived, greatly influenced his writing.’”
Cahn’s answer: ”Unfortunately this kind of statements represents some of the extreme and bizarre opposition to The Harbinger – It is an extreme false accusation. No. I have never in my life said that the Zohar has greatly influenced my writing – nor has it ever. … Rabbinical writings, mystical or otherwise, have been quoted for ages, in Bible commentaries, apologetics, works such as The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, etc….
“The apostle Paul actually quoted from a pagan hymn to Zeus [that's not true] in order to share the truth of the Gospel at Mars Hill. If we were to then to accuse him of being into Zeus worship, or that pagan writings were behind the epistles, or accuse of him of being secretly pagan – I would think we would need to repent. It’s called bearing false witness.
Berit’s response: Here is the Biblical context for Cahn’s reference to Mars Hill. Notice that there is no reference to Zeus. Instead, Paul happened to see the inscription on an altar “TO THE UNKNOWN GOD,” then uses that reference to turn the idol worshippers from an “unknown god” to our sovereign God who does makes Himself known to His people:
“Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus [Mars Hill] and said, ‘Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.
“Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. …since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.” Acts 17:22-29
How true that is! But today’s post-modern churches are rarely rooted in the solid foundations of God’s Word. Influenced by secularism, ecumenism, pluralism, mysticism or even occultism, they are fast losing sight of their only source of true hope. Like the Athenian pagans, the American masses have learned to love the world’s darkening thrills.
”…what communion has light with darkness?“ 2 Corinthians 6:14
From Webster’s Dictionary (G. & C. Merriam Co., 1905)
The Zohar: “A Jewish Cabalistic book attributed by tradition to Rabbi Simon ben Yochi who lived near the end of the 1st century. Modern critics believe it to be a compilation of the 13th century.”
The Cabala [or Kabbalah, Kabbala, etc]: “A kind of occult Theosophy or traditional interpretation of Scriptures among Jewish rabbis and certain medieval Christians [Gnostics]….It assumes that every little word, number, and accent of Scriptures contains a hidden sense; and it teaches the methods of interpretation for ascertaining these occult meanings. The Cabalists pretend to foretell events this means.”
The quotes below are from An Encyclopedia of Religion (Edited by Vergilius Ferm, Philosophical Library, pp. 412-413)
1. Zohar: (Splendor, Brightness—derived from Daniel 12.3) “A Jewish mystical work of diverse origin which became the classic text of Kabbalah and the Bible of medieval mysticism.
“The Zohar is in the form of a commentary on the Pentateuch*, written in Aramaic and in Hebrew, which purports to be the record of the revelations made to Rabbi Simeon ben Yochai (2nd C. A.D.) while hiding in a cave for thirteen years, and by him transmitted to his disciples. This pseudepigrapha was… made public in 1300.
“The body of the Zohar is interspersed and supplemented with special tracts and dissertations which together form an unsystematic and frequently contradictory compendium of Jewish mystic lore on the nature of God, His attributes and dimension, the mysteries of the Tetra_grammaton, the evolution of the cosmos, the nature of the human soul, heaven and hell, angelology, magic and astrology…
“Next to the Bible, the Zohar came to be regarded in the centuries following its publication as the holiest book in Judaism and profoundly influenced the theology, liturgy, poetry and the messianic hopes of the people. The Zohar also influenced Christian thought in the 16th and 17th centuries, and a considerable number of eminent Christian scholars were attracted to it, translated portions of it, wrote commentaries upon it and used it for purposes of Christian apologetics.”
2. Kabbalah: (Heb. Kabel—to receive, hence tradition) “The esoteric mystic lore of Judaism based upon an occult interpretation of the Bible and handed down as secret doctrine to the initiated. The origin is obscure. Evidences of kabbalistic themes both as speculative theosophy and practical thaumaturgy are found in Apocryphal and Apocalyptic literature…”
“In the course of its long development, many streams from alien sources flowed into it—Gnosticism, Neo-Platonism, Neo-Pythagoreanism, possibly also Zoroastrianism and Sufism. Its birthplace was Palestine, but it was in Babylonia, during the Geonic period (550-1000 A.D.) that it experienced its first substantial systematic development. At least two important Kabbalistic works were composed … [one was]…on the dimensions of the Deity….
“The most significant book of this period, however, and the one which came to be regarded as the holiest of all Kabbalistic writings, and the very epitome of Jewish mysticism, was the Zohar, made known to the public by Moses de Leon in 1300.
“The next great period of Kabbalah was in the 16th century. Its principal center was in Palestine, more especially in the city of Safed. Next in importance was the center in Poland. The foremost Kabbalists of this period were Moses Cordovero (1522-1570), Isaac Luria (1533- 1572), the father of modern ‘practical’ Kabbalah….Luria was the founder of a school of Kabbalistic speculation in which redemption and messianism figured prominently….
“With the advent of the Zohar, the study of Kabbalah spread among the masses of the people. It ceased to be the secret doctrine of the few…. Frequently leading Rabbinic authorities inveighed against this popular absorption in Kabbalistic studies which fed many superstitions and aberrations.
“Kabbalism attracted the interest of Christian scholars in the Middle Ages….
“The central themes of Kabbalah are the nature of the Deity… and the ways by which He has made Himself manifest—the ‘Ten Sefirot’ (Emanations) the four Universes of Atzilah… the Soul of man, its nature and consummation, the mysteries of the Divine Name, good and evil, man’s place in the universe, heaven and hell, the order of the angels and demons, Israel, the Exile, redemption and the Messiah.
“Kabbalah … regarded not only every word of the Bible— written in Hebrew, the very language of God— but every letter, every vowel and all their possible permutations and combinations as holding profound mysteries. Thus the Bible was interpreted not only literally, allegorically… but also through the devices of Gematria (the interpretation of a word according to the numerical value of its letters)…. Thus Kabbalah …never came into conflict with the written Scriptures as Christian mystics frequently did.”
From Wikipedia: Kabbalism ~ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabbalism
“Kabbalah, also spelled Kabala or Cabala, is an esoteric method, discipline and school of thought. Its definition varies according to the tradition and aims of those following it, from its religious origin as an integral part of Judaism, to Christian, New Age, or Occultist syncretic adaptations. Kabbalah is a set of esoteric teachings meant to explain the relationship between an unchanging, eternal and mysterious Ein Sof (no end) and the mortal and finite universe….
“Inside Judaism, it forms the foundations of mystical religious interpretation. Outside Judaism, its scriptures are read outside the traditional canons of organized religion…..
“Kabbalah originally developed entirely within the realm of Jewish thought and kabbalists often use classical Jewish sources to explain and demonstrate its esoteric teachings.”
Mystic elements of the Torah
“According to adherents of Kabbalah, its origin begins with secrets that God revealed to Adam. … When read by later generations of Kabbalists, the Torah’s description of the creation in the Book of Genesis reveals mysteries about the godhead itself, the true nature of Adam and Eve… and the Tree of Life…
“The 72 letter name of God which is used in Jewish mysticism for meditation purposes is derived from the Hebrew verbal utterance Moses spoke in the presence of an angel, while the Sea of Reeds parted…” [That's not in the Bible]
“...the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3-5
God’s people are being deceived! It’s time to wake up and take a stand! Will we search God’s Word for His Truth and guidance, or will we simply flow with the crowd and accept each new and alluring suggestion?
Remember Satan’s lures involves all kinds of enticing but misleading expressions. For those who believe his lies, the source and outcomes is essentially the same: deception, spiritual blindness, and rejection (or false interpretation) of God’s true Word!
Jesus told His disciples that His way would be narrow and difficult. “There are few who find it,” he said. But “wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.” (Matthew 7:13-14) Yet, for those who walk with Him, there’s abundant strength in Christ for all the challenges ahead! This promise is for us today:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Please see The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction? (New book)