BETWEEN THE LINES: A harbinger of things to come?

In my last column, I discussed the similarities between the state of Israel and the United States, particularly when it comes to religion. Both countries at their founding placed a priority on God. Although America is not a theocracy, our Founding Fathers understood the importance of religion and its moral beliefs for the republic’s welfare.

Recently, messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn wrote a book, "The Harbinger: The Ancient Mystery That Holds America’s Future," in which he compares the warnings the prophet Isaiah delivered to the Hebrews for their disobedience to modern America, where our nation’s courts have effectively silenced any public reference to God.

"Under God" is in the Pledge of Allegiance, but public displays are a taboo.

As a young Christian, I was never particularly drawn to the Old Testament. It just seemed to be an endless stream of unpronounceable names and rituals. Christianity was the Gospels, in general, and the words of Jesus, in particular. It would be much later in life after listening to J. Vernon McGee’s radio program, "Thru the Bible," that I developed a much deeper appreciation for the Old Testament.

Once I began to realize the Old Testament was not just a history of the Hebrews and their tribulations, but a demonstration of the sinful nature of all mankind, I began to understand its significance. In essence, you and I are the Hebrew people in that we too quickly forget all that God does for us and turn away from him.

We do not worship golden calves per se; instead, modern man is far more sophisticated. Our culture turns to wealth and fame, or even the football season for our gratification, all in their own way symbolizing the golden calf.

Cahn focuses on prophesies found in the book of Isaiah in the ninth chapter, beginning at the 10th verse where God sent nine harbingers or warnings to the Israelites that were ignored. God’s judgment soon followed, and the nation fell to the Babylonians. The temple was destroyed, and many went into exile.

God was proactive in the destruction of Israel in the Old Testament, but he certainly does not need to be. All he has to do is turn his back and allow our sinful nature to run its course. Without God’s restraining influence, evil will reign.

Is America’s judgment sealed? Have we crossed the Rubicon, the point of no return? Only God knows the answer, but it would be foolish for us to believe our poor choices will have no consequences.

Sin not only affects the sinner, but those innocents around him as well, even loved ones. The good news, as demonstrated by Old Testament history, is God does not abandon his people. Even during the Israelites’ judgment, God’s hand remained upraised.

If you’re interested, a DVD based on the book can be purchased at the website For the past 21 weeks, it has been the No. 1 faith-based film in America, which indicates the concern many Americans feel about the future.

Laughlin is a Christian Libertarian. He is an economist, teacher, father, husband and most recently a grandfather. He has written a weekly column for The Tribune for 13 years. He and his wife Gina reside in Meadowlakes. To contact him, email He is an independent columnist, not a staff member, and his views do not necessarily reflect those of The Tribune or its parent company.

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