The Paradigm by Jonathan Cahn – book review
I have just finished reading a new book promising to reveal “The Ancient Blueprint That Holds the Mystery of Our Times” A book right up my alley.
Before disclosing my thoughts, I would like to make sure the title makes sense, especially since it confused me at first: (to be fair, the author does include a definition in chapter 2)
noun: paradigm; plural noun: paradigms
Technical – a typical example or pattern of something; a model.
“there is a new paradigm for public art in this country”
a worldview underlying the theories and methodology of a particular scientific subject.
“the discovery of universal gravitation became the paradigm of successful science”
Synonyms – model, pattern, example, exemplar, template, standard, prototype, archetype
“why should your sets of values be the paradigm for the rest of us?”
According to the title, we are going to learn about a specific paradigm, or so I thought. Well, I would say there were several paradigms, but that may just be me nitpicking. I think we can agree that the author is referring to a pattern of something, or a model. That’s cool… I often speak of “types” used in the bible. It is a bit of a slide away from a “literal interpretation” of the Bible, which may bother some people, and it will challenge those who believe the Old Testament is simply history and can be ignored because the New Testament is the only relevant bit.
The author takes creative license to retranslate 1 Corinthians 10:11 for us, so we know that the Apostle Paul is on board with this: “Now all these things happened to them as paradigms, and they are written for our warning…” Nothing upsetting there, and many of my favorite authors quote this verse. This is the verse used to validate using the past to predict the future. (If anyone else than Paul, it would excite me. Those who know me, know I am not a fan of Paul.)
Anyway, let’s just jump into the “model” the author is showing us the “blueprint” to.
First, we need to accept that America is Israel. The founding fathers intended the new land to be the New Jerusalem. Not the first author to claim this, so let’s suspend our belief and go with this. It is a good exercise. I am a proponent of putting yourself in other’s shoes to see things through their eyes. Empathy is good.
Of course, we must look at the Apostasy of Ancient Israel if we want to compare our current affairs in America. What is Apostasy? Well, let’s grab the dictionary again:
noun: apostasy; plural noun: apostasies
the abandonment or renunciation of a religious or political belief
Clear enough, right? Like beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder. So, we will have to watch to see what religious or political belief is abandoned. Truly Israel has had its fair share of slipping, and we must look to see how America is replicating that. Actually, there are many examples in the Bible, so there is plenty of data to draw from. Sounds interesting.
But, in order to abandon belief, it must be replaced with something, right? A Golden Calf was used by the Red Sea Pedestrians while waiting for Moses to come back. Is it not possible to abandon a belief without replacing it? There is an old saying, “Everyone has to believe in something, I believe I’ll have another beer!”
But that Cash Cow is not where this book takes us… to compare with America’s Apostasy, we must find a better, less capitalistic god to prove the point. You see, when you are building a proof, it is easier to collect “good” data from the pile and ignore the rest. So, for the direction we are being led, we need to take a look a Baal.
Ah, see where this is going? Baal worship includes sacrifice of children, you know, post birth abortion. Fair enough. Abortion is a controversial issue and the sides are very divided on the subject. The visual of placing your baby in the glowing red-hot arms of a bronze idol of Baal is incredibly graphic. A horrible death comparable to abortion. You know, because Baal worship includes sexual promiscuity, and all that. Nothing new here, a good Biblical argument for believers. Okay, so all supporters of abortion are Baal worshippers. If only they would just admit it.
I see how this generality can be applied to America in the 21st century. So far, it is controversial, but nothing really “explosive”. I have heard all this before. But, I am just into the introduction, so I will give it a chance. What comes next?
Once we get into chapter 3, a narrative is introduced to summarize The Paradigm. I find it interesting that the author chooses to place this running narrative in a box, making it appear as if it is a quote from somewhere. (Well, I suppose it is. It is quoted from his Paradigm narrative, but there are no footnotes to tell us. Just an appearance of prominence.) The first thing I think is how cool this would be if it had been written years ago, and he was just now quoting it. Not THAT would give this book some validity. But, I digress. Here is a sample page showing what boxes I am talking about:
Let me share the opening of The Paradigm Narrative taken from page 11. (In fact, I will now refer to the narrative quotes by page and box number. Since this is the only box on that page, it can be called TPN 11.1)
(TPN-11.1) The nation, culture, and civilization that had been established on the Word of God and dedicated to the ways of God will begin to depart from the God of its foundation. It will begin subtly at first, but as time goes on, the departure will become more and more blatant and brazen.
This sets up how our narrative is presented. I would argue that it is done this way to tweak the stories to fit the paradigm. But, it can also be said that it just puts the paradigm in easy to understand language. Whatever, the point is, the premise that Israel and America were both founded on the Word of God, AKA the Bible. I suppose it would be a profitable exercise to take all of the boxes and put them together in one ongoing narrative. I am not that ambitious at this point. (But again, if that complete narrative had been written in 1980, it would hold a lot more credence in my world.)
The narrative explaining the narrative goes to great length to show the slow degradation of American Culture up to the vilest of acts, the sacrifice of children. This is presented as the Paradigm of the Days of the Gods. The acts done at the altar of the God the nation serves in public. Establishing the connection of America to Baal worship. This is The Paradigm of the Altar.
The next Paradigm we are presented is The Paradigm of Kings. Here is where things get very specific. First an ancient King of Israel for comparison. That King is Ahab. (Well, let me mention here that the author seems to quote from more bible commentaries than the actual bible. But, who am I?) Yes, not an unexpected choice. The modern day “king” is specified as William Jefferson Clinton. I can see where this is going. So, let me cut to the chase. Here are the characters in the old paradigms with the modern characters emulating them:
Paradigm of the King – King Ahab=Bill Clinton
Paradigm of the Queen – Jezebel=Hillary Clinton
Paradigm of the Goddess – Astarte=National Organization of Woman
Paradigm of the Nemesis – Ben Hadad=Osama Bin Laden
Paradigm of personal sin – Naboth=Monica Lewinski
Paradigm of the Heir – Joram=Barack Obama
So, here we have the history of the dark days of Israel compared to the dark days of America. The narrative is quite elaborate and complex. Proving that it was all foretold. (sarcasm alert). We see how Jezebel continued her power play after the death of King Ahab, working closely with Joram to deepen the Apostasy of Israel. All while dealing with the Nemesis, King Ben Hadad who tormented and threatened to destroy Israel, just as Osama Bin Laden threatened to destroy America. For those who don’t’ know who Naboth was, he was the guy who owned a vineyard that King Ahab wanted. Naboth was murdered so Ahab could obtain the land illegally. This was his personal sin. I think we all know Bill’s personal sin.
Then we are introduced to the Paradigm of the Warrior. Jehu is the guy who is anointed King and replaces the lineage of horror. For those who haven’t guessed, this warrior is typed by none other than Donald Trump. The paradigm of Jehu racing to eliminate Joram is typed by the “race” to the Whitehouse. We are led through the overthrow of the former king and destruction of Jezebel. Yes, there are other Paradigms typed, including the Paradigm of the Holy Man, Jehonadab who is typed by the Christian Conservative Right.
It is a wild ride through the first 28 chapters. A lot of time is spent explaining how Jehu=Trump are simply agents of God, not the most upright, virtuous men. They were(are) only intended to disrupt and destroy the Apostasy. This is where the 20/20 hindsight ends. Jehu is in charge; the Apostasy is halted.
I perked up at Chapter 29 which is The Harbingers of Days to Come. Now we are at a point where the book can prove its validity. Of course, we need to find out what happened to Jehu if we want to know how well Donald is going to do.2 Kings 10:31 is quoted:
Yet Jehu was not careful to keep the law of the Lord, the God of Israel with all his heart. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam, which he had caused Israel to commit. (NIV)
A reference to the Golden Calf (Cash Cow, thanks Steve Taylor!) Yeah, that fits. Perhaps I should give this another look, just like I waited until 1989 after reading “88 reasons why the rapture will happen in 1988”.
Allow me to list the Paradigm Narrative from Chapter 29, The Harbingers of Days to Come:
(TPN-218.1) The warning of the paradigm is that as king the warrior will not be careful to follow the ways of God – that his reformation will be partial and selective, that he will oppose some aspects of the nation’s apostasy but continue in others
(TPN-218.2) As king, he will oppose the most blatant practices associated with the apostasy, as in the sacrifice of children, but other practices of the apostasy he will not oppose.
(TPN-219.1) The warrior’s championing the cause of nationalism will at times compete with his intentions to carry out God’s will.
(TPN-219.2) The hope for the days in which the warrior reigns will be that they will not only slow the nation’s descent but also that they will provide the chance for a massive spiritual and cultural returning to God. Apart from such a return the nation’s overall course of apostasy and descent will continue.
(TPN-221.1) Without a return to God the nation that has been given the reprieve will progress to judgment and destruction.
The final two chapters are more uplifting. The Elijah Paradigm is encouraging believers to stay solid in their belief during America’s Apostasy as Elijah had through Israel’s Apostasy. (I am surprised the Rapture wasn’t mentioned at this point, after all, Elijah was whisked away to heaven in a fiery chariot.) The encouragement is the repair of The Altar, restoration of the Cross in public. We are called to “choose this day whom you will serve”.
The conclusions are a decent wrap-up of the book, summing up exactly what the author wants the reader to conclude. In fact, for those who will only have their support for Trump emboldened by this book, they could just read this three-page final chapter. Then you can deem the author a prophet of God. For those who are anti-Trump, I encourage you to read the whole thing before deeming the author appropriately named.
This is one more book that will do as everything else these days, cause either side to dig deeper into their convictions. Jehovah or Baal, choose wisely.