About two years ago I was given the book The Harbinger that has reached bestseller status atop the New York Times Bestsellers list. I have spent some time reading portions of it and after about five chapters concluded The Harbinger is an impressive work of fiction but has nothing really to do with the Bible. Why is there a problem then? The opening page of the book says, “What you are about to read is presented in the form of a story, but what is contained within the story is real.” Therein lays the problem. The book presents itself as factual based on biblical teaching.
Whenever we approach the Bible, we must remember the AWANA theme verse that we are to “correctly handle the word of truth,” 2 Timothy 2:15. A well-known pastor says that with any sermon the most important element is “accuracy of interpretation.” He is exactly right. Is that sermon accurately interpreting what the Bible is saying? That’s the most basic question of all. On that basis The Harbinger has a number of problems we need to recognize. Here are two.
First, the book implies that the U.S.A. is in a covenant relationship with God just like ancient Israel was. Like Israel, America has broken her covenant with God and is now being judged for her disobedience. But if, like Israel, America repents and returns to obedience the blessing of God will again be restored to our nation. There are many problems with this. One is that the U.S.A. is not even mentioned in the Bible let alone in a covenant relationship with God. All covenants with God are recorded in the Bible and they were initiated by Him never by people. While it may be true that many of our founders were Christians who committed America to God and asked for His blessing, that is not the same as God ratifying a covenant He initiated and making promises based on it. Where is such a covenant to be found in Scripture? Further, the only covenant in force today during the Age of Grace is the New Covenant which includes all Christians worldwide who belong to the Church. There is no special message for America that makes it unique among nations. Instead, “Now God commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed,” Acts 17:30-31. That is the central focus during the Church Age which is for all nations.
Second, the book claims that George Washington, the first president and father of our country, gave a prophecy at his inauguration about America’s future that has now come to light. The problem with this is that it would’ve been a total surprise to Washington that he was a prophet for he never claimed to be one. Further, no one else has ever claimed that our first president was a prophet until now. Washington himself took the oath of office on a Masonic Bible administered by a high-ranking Freemason. Freemasonry teaches that all religions lead to the same place and as long as people are sincere they will make it to heaven. That totally contradicts the exclusiveness of Christianity. While Washington surely claimed to be a Christian and attended church regularly, his Christianity must not have been very deep or he couldn’t have been a Master Mason like he was until his death. He certainly was not a prophet who acted as a mouthpiece for God.
Sometimes popular movements give us an opportunity to clarify how we are to handle Scripture. We should only be teaching it if God really said it. The Harbinger fails to pass that test.
Your friend, in search of the truth, Pastor Brian (:-}).