Excerpted from The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction?
THE NEXT major idea that Cahn introduces in connection with the “Second Shaking” is termed the Isaiah:9:10 Effect. Just as the theory of the nine harbingers was developed to demonstrate the connection between Isaiah:9:10 and America, the Isaiah:9:10 Effect is crucial to understanding God’s second round of warning to America.
[THE PROPHET] “As in there comes a second, yes. So what would it mean?”
[KAPLAN] “The prophecy has a second part, it leads to something else . . . to a second manifestation.”
[THE PROPHET] “The Isaiah:9:10 Effect.”
[KAPLAN] “Which is what?”
[THE PROPHET] “This: ‘The attempt of a nation to defy the course of its judgment, apart from repentance, will, instead, set in motion a chain of events to bring about the very calamity it sought to avert.’”
Before going any further, the first question every reader should be asking about The Prophet’s definition of the Isaiah:9:10 Effect is, “Where did this definition come from?” It certainly didn’t come from Isaiah:9:10. Neither did it come from any of the verses in the vicinity of Isaiah:9:10. The importance of this matter cannot be overstated because the rest of Cahn’s entire theory depends on this theory—that there really is such a thing as the Isaiah:9:10 Effect. This is immediately apparent as the dialogue continues:
[KAPLAN] “And this all has to do with America?” I asked.
[THE PROPHET] “Seven years after 9/11,” he said, “the American economy collapsed, triggering a global economic implosion. Behind it all, and all that followed, was something much deeper than economics.”
[KAPLAN] “Behind the collapse of Wall Street and the American economy was . . .”
[THE PROPHET] “Isaiah:9:10.”
In the author’s mind, Isaiah’s words in the alleged Isaiah:9:10 Effect actually cause things to happen. This is clearly affirmed in the following exchange at the end of chapter 16:
[KAPLAN] “As in the Isaiah:9:10 Effect?”
[THE PROPHET] “Yes, but in this mystery the connections are even more beyond the realm of the natural.”
[KAPLAN] “They’re supernatural?”
[THE PROPHET] “You could say that.”
[KAPLAN] “And they connect 9/11 to the economic collapse?”
[THE PROPHET] “Not only do they connect them . . . they determined them . . . down to the time each would take place.”
[KAPLAN] “An ancient mystery?”
[THE PROPHET] “Yes, an ancient mystery upon which the global economy and every transaction within it was determined, a mystery that begins more than three thousand years ago in the sands of a Middle Eastern desert.”
A Fatal Flaw in the Theory
So, the question remains, “Where does the concept of the Isaiah:9:10 Effect come from?” Since it doesn’t come from the text itself nor from the immediate context, nor is anything remotely similar to the Isaiah:9:10 Effect mentioned or implied anywhere else in Scripture, it appears to be just another one of those things in the book that has been made up. Yet one would never guess that from reading The Harbinger. Cahn presents the Isaiah:9:10 Effect as if it were an inviolable scriptural principle—that once it is set in motion, the corresponding prescribed outcome is inevitable.
However, even if he were discussing only the fulfillment of Isaiah:9:10 in ancient Israel, this would not be a good way to explain how prophecies work. The reason that prophesied events happen is because God causes them to happen, not because the prophecy itself somehow causes them to happen. Yet Cahn seems to be suggesting that as a principle the Isaiah:9:10 Effect can cause these same events to happen anywhere at any time once it is triggered.
Of course, if it were simply a general principle such as that of “sowing and reaping,” or like the many principles found in Proverbs, it wouldn’t necessarily be as problematic. Even this would disregard the fact that Isaiah:9:10 does not appear to be a principle in context. The Isaiah:9:10 Effect is presented as being so specific that it is independently formulaic. In other words, if and when the First Harbinger happens, then it is just a short matter of time until the Second Harbinger also happens—which will then be followed by each of the other harbingers—until finally the judgment takes place.
As noted before, Cahn strenuously argues that he has been misunderstood by those who believe he is saying that Isaiah:9:10 specifically applies to America. However, if that is not what he is saying, then the only other possible explanation is that the Isaiah:9:10 Effect is an independent and formulaic principle that operates in a mystical way through the power of the words themselves. Once again, he tries to have it both ways, as can be seen in the necessary results of the Isaiah:9:10 Effect (emphasis added):
This leaves Cahn with two major problems. If Isaiah:9:10 is to both ancient Israel and America, he is faced with an insurmountable hermeneutical problem. But if instead there really is such a thing as the Isaiah:9:10 Effect, he then has a historical problem.
What if “the breach” and “the terrorist” had been observed in 1812 or 1861 or 1941? In theory, could someone have discovered the “hidden ancient mystery” of Isaiah:9:10 in 1949? And if it had been claimed that Pearl Harbor was a breach by an enemy who persistently used terrorist tactics throughout the war in the Pacific (which the Japanese did), then could it not be argued that God’s hedge of protection had been withdrawn prior to December 7, 1941? And if the hedge of protection had been removed long before 9/11, had God put yet another hedge of protection in place since WWII? The questions are truly endless.
This is not an attempt to mock the author. This is a very serious issue because if he is correct about the Isaiah:9:10 Effect, then it could have happened at any time in the past or it could happen again at any time in the future. On the other hand, if it could only have happened one time on September 11, 2001, then there is no such thing as the Isaiah:9:10 Effect as a principle.
Other “. . . Effect” Passages?
If Cahn is right about the Isaiah:9:10 Effect, this raises another very important question: Are there any other prophetic passages in the Old Testament that also function like the Isaiah:9:10 Effect? How many other prophecies that were directed to Israel can also be correlated to historical events in the United States?
Is there also a “Genesis:12:2 Effect?”:
I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.
Or a “Joshua:1:2 Effect?”:
Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.
Are there dozens of others? Or is Isaiah:9:10 the only such passage in the entire Bible? If the Isaiah:9:10 Effect really exists, then it seems remarkably unlikely that it would be the only such principle in the entire Old Testament. But if not from the context, how could it possibly be known whether any given passage is supposed to function in this way? And yet there is nothing whatsoever in the context of Isaiah:9:10 that would suggest the existence of such an effect.
As noted earlier: If a proposed theological or spiritual idea is not found in the Bible, or if it cannot at least be supported by the text in some way, then someone made it up. This is exactly the nature of the Isaiah:9:10 Effect—someone made it up.