Jonathan Cahn and Joseph Farah in Israel, with Signs Following

From WND:

God makes his presence known in the land of Israel – even to this day, and even in the midst of WND’s annual Israel tour.

Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, who led the recently completed tour, witnessed a remarkable sign while he was in the Holy Land with tour participants.

…”On our last day, we were standing on the roof of the Upper Room where, on Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples. I was doing a special anointing with oil of the people on the tour while we worshiped, and I prayed for an outpouring from heaven. While I was praying for that outpouring, people began noticing that something striking was taking place over our heads. The heavens were opening up and an outpouring of light was manifesting above us.”

…The [Messianic] rabbi… claimed it wasn’t the first time he has encountered a divine sign while leading the WND Israel tour.

One year he was at the Jaffa shore, speaking about St. Peter’s vision of a large sheet coming down from heaven, when a large sheet appeared in the sky.

Another time, Cahn was in the wilderness at night, thinking about the fire on Mount Sinai, when lights started appearing on a distant desert mountain. On another occasion, he was in the desert talking about the pillar in the wilderness when a pillar of dust appeared.

It’s perhaps inevitable that Cahn – who found fame with a bestselling paperback that purports to reveal and explain biblical “mysteries” previously overlooked by everyone else – would now be claiming to be the locus of extraordinary supernatural phenomena. Coincidentally, the Russian Orthodox Church recently issued a statement denying claims that “trumpeting angels” had appeared during the restoration of the Holy Sepulchre (or Anastasis, to use the preferred Orthodox term); perhaps the divine beings were already engaged elsewhere, putting on a show for a group of US evangelical tourists led by by Cahn and WND’s birther editor, Joseph Farah.

Cahn also linked the these various signs to the story of a dust storm that had appeared at the Golan Heights at the start of December; this had occurred just a few days after a skirmish between Israeli troops and some ISIS fighters (who came off worse, with four dead), and thus it has been suggested that it was a miracle to protect Israel from ISIS. The account made its way into evangelical news sources, and from there into British tabloids. For some reason, though, none of these reports note that “Golan” may be derived from the Arabic word ajwal, an area exposed to dusty winds, or that such storms are quite common; nor do they explain how they know that the storm came at a moment when ISIS planned a second attack. Stories of the “hand of God” intervening for the benefit of the IDF come around quite frequently – I looked at a previous example here.

The tour (I blogged on a previous WND tour here – for some reason Jim Bakker wasn’t around this year) also included a visit to the Temple Mount, as reported by WND and Charisma News.  Alas, the WND party was told to leave the site by the Islamic authorities (waqf); according to Cahn, this was because he had told the group about the Jewish Temple, and this was found to be offensive due to the pseudo-historical official line (which has emerged only in recent decades) that there was never such a structure on what is now a Muslim holy site.

However, it seems likely that Cahn did misinform his audience; here’s his own supposed historical background:

“The Temple Mount is the most sacred site in the Bible and to Jewish people. But centuries after the destruction of the Temple, the Muslims invaded the land, took the Temple Mount, and built on it the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Among other things, these were acts of defiance, as if to say to the Jewish people, and believers in the Bible, there will never be a Temple again,” Cahn told me.

“Spiritually we know that the powers of darkness will always seek to stop and preempt the purposes of God. So it is written in Ezekiel that the enemy says to Israel, your high places are our possession,” he continued. “The highest of high places in Israel is the Temple Mount and it remains in the possession of Israel’s enemies.”

This heightens the sense of inevitable conflict with the unnecessary claim that the Islamic structures are some kind of provocation. And it also glosses over the fact that the site had been left undeveloped during centuries of Christian rule, in order to emphasise Jesus’s prophecy that the site would be made desolate.

When Jerusalem came under Muslim control, the Jewish Temple had been gone for centuries; Judaism had developed a theology in which the Temple’s restoration would not be possible until God intervened; and the idea of a new Temple made no sense without a Jewish state, or at least large numbers of Jews willing to provide a constant supply of animals to be killed (incidentally, the fact that the Temple was basically a slaughterhouse is just one reason why the idea of such a restoration in modern Jerusalem is preposterous).

Sources for the construction of Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa are late, but the thesis that they were built specifically to stop the Jews re-building the Temple has been plucked out of thin air. The site is sacred to Muslims as the supposed location of Abraham’s sacrifice, and because of the story that Muhammad had ascended to heaven from the spot during a “Night Journey”. There is no need for any further explanation for why the present structures were built.

But all was not lost – according to Farah:

The next day, the tour convened on the Temple steps as had been originally planned in the itinerary, Cahn ascended the steps, reciting the Psalms of Ascent, and then proclaimed the site was the Temple Mount and God’s purposes for that mount would be fulfilled. Then from the top of the steps, with a prayer shawl over his head, he sang the Aaronic Blessing (from Numbers 6).  Above him, through the windows of the Al Aqsa mosque, Muslims began shouting him down. And in the middle of the ancient Hebrew blessing, loudspeakers began blasting Islamic chants for the call to prayer.