“The Return” – To WHAT?

A Bait & Switch Revival?


“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure,
having this seal,
The Lord knoweth them that are His.
And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ
depart from iniquity.”

(2 Timothy 2:19) 



By Sarah H. Leslie

America the nation is in a state of crisis. Violence and chaos erupts in the streets, pestilence swarms from coast to coast, fires are raging in the West, and bullying threats are ruining lives on mainstream media and social media. The church that is located in America is bogged down by its flagrant sins, especially by indulging in heresies and sexual immoralities. Freedom hangs by a thread. The right to life may never be so precarious. Truth is scarce, and the courage of godly men to speak out the Truth of the Gospel is even more rare. Those who do cry out run the risk of being “cancelled” by social media or censored by high tech. It is without dispute that the times are indeed dire. It is also very evident that this is a time when each individual should seek the Lord in contrition and repentance. The saving Gospel of Jesus Christ is our only hope. 

So into this tumultuous time of judgment two men arose this past weekend to call for prayer and repentance at our nation’s capital. Fervent prayer and sincere repentance are needed. But both of these men’s calls were based on “identificational repentance,”[1] the concocted doctrine that people can corporately confess the sins of their ancestors, each other, or their nations. Further, the messages by these men contained a serious omission. What was left out? We believe that repentance and revival cannot be achieved without a return to God’s Word as our sole and final authority over our lives. 


One of the men, Jonathan Cahn, called his event “The Return.” On Saturday September 26th on a simulcast broadcast around the globe, he staged a high profile event at the foot of the Washington Monument. Cahn openly claims to be a prophet of both the Old and New Testament type. He represented both Israel and the United States in a shared spiritual destiny. He proclaimed that America the nation can be saved if the church-at-large located in the land of America will “return” and repent. His event featured the following list of Who’s Who, many of them names prominent “apostles” and “prophets” in the New Apostolic Reformation. We have previously written articles about many of these names below: 


Concurrently, across the Washington Mall Franklin Graham, esteemed son of the late Billy Graham, also held a prayer revival event. He likewise proclaimed that America is a Christian nation.[2] He stood amidst an ecumenical hodgepodge of prominent leaders, some of whom also attended Cahn’s event. On his Facebook page afterwards (9/27/20) Graham thanked these leaders: 

“Thank you to Dr. Alveda King, Tony Perkins, Darryl Strawberry, Pastor Skip Heitzig, Bishop Harry R. Jackson, Jr., Pastor Greg Laurie, Pastor Robert Morris, Pastor Paula White-Cain, Pastor Jentezen Franklin, Pastor Jack Graham, former Representative Michele Bachmann, Pastor Andrew Brunson, Congressman Frank Wolf, Jerry Prevo, Dr. Kelvin Cochran, Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer, Lt. Col Oliver North, my son Lt. Col. Edward Graham, and my sister Anne Graham Lotz who led us in prayer at seven stops along the route of the Prayer March.” 


 Cahn’s Bait & $witch 

Cahn’s “The Return” event may have been a high-scale marketing ploy to launch his latest new book, The Harbinger II, which continues on with his “prophecies” concerning America. The theme of Cahn’s “prophecies” merge Old Testament prophecies blending Israel with those of America. This is based on the classic Christian Right (Dominionist) mantra that “America is a Christian nation.” To this claim Cahn typically includes the addition of Old Testament prophecies about Israel, potent occult mysticism derived from visions, fictional narratives, occult lore, numerology, and other unbiblical sources. His theology matches up precisely with that of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), particularly his eschatology. 

We have written extensively about Rabbi Cahn. See especially our most recent article (9/21/19) by Gaylene Goodroad titled “The Oracle of Cahn.”  And for those who want more background information on the “prophet” Cahn regarding specifically “The Return” we refer the reader to Marsha West’s detailed recent article “The Return—Jonathan Cahn’s Upcoming Prayer Event Produced by Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing.”  She sums it up with: 

“Let me cut to the chase. Prophet Rabbi Cahn’s books are not built on a solid biblical foundation. He has a mystical approach to interpreting Scripture. When you do the research you will discover that Jonathan Cahn is a false prophet. People say that about him because none of his prophecies have come to pass. Not one.” 

The question needs to be asked – what is meant by “The Return”? Since we do not have an early review copy of Cahn’s book we can surmise that “return” means “repentance,” i.e., turning back to God because this is what he said in his remarks at 11 AM at his rally. And many in attendance at both Washington D.C. events seemed to sincerely desire to return to the Lord and repent. 

However, Cahn’s term “the return” may also have embedded mystical meaning given his proclivities to employ extrabiblical esoteric sources. We are uncomfortably suspicious he may mean the return of a “presence”. In fact, the symbolism employed by Cahn is overtly freemasonic. Not only was his event staged at the foot of the nation’s foremost obelisk structure, The Washington Monument, but the “arrow” in his graphic letter “R” is obviously phallic. 

The scenery he employed for advertising “The Return” also includes a star arising over a networked earth. This image is indicative of the masonic belief that Lucifer (Sol) is returning to Gaia (the Earth) in a culmination of terrestrial ecstasy, creating a “new man” for a networked new world order.[3] Cahn’s use of this typology may indicate that the NAR’s planned second Pentecost with its “presence” theology is now openly connecting with the New Age idea of a cosmic consciousness. New Age leader Barbara Marx Hubbard’s “christ” channeled in her book The Revelation, saying: 

“At the moment of cosmic contact, I will appear to you both through inner experience and through external communication in your mass media—the nervous system of the world. You will all feel, hear, and see my presence at one instant in time, each in your own way.”[5]

The Real Return 

Real revival results in marked transformation evidenced in changed real lives.(Romans 12:1-2) It cannot happen without a return by each individual Christian, and the church, wholly to the Word of God – the inspiration, infallibility and inerrancy of the Scriptures: 

“For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
(Hebrews 4:12) 

The past decades in the greater evangelical world have been ridden with subversion of this Word by corrupting the text, adding in man-made philosophies, and denying its inspiration. Further, an “existentialism” has taken hold, which teaches that people need only “believe” the nice Bible stories and “feel good” about themselves. Some believe that the Word of God is not necessarily real nor true. This sort of mythological narrative view of Scripture has permitted the church to avoid obedience to the Word. Consider this one key fact and ask – how many doctrines that were preached fifty years ago are no longer taught nor practiced in the church today? How many doctrines have been compromised by “felt needs” or “circumstances”? It is clear that any real return would be to “the foundation of repentance from dead works” (Heb. 6:1). To do such a thing in this day and age is to guarantee social bullying and ostracization. The “fear of man” (Prov. 29:25) is indeed the largest impediment to actually taking the radical steps to repent of one’s sins. 

Repentance can only occur by applying the light of Scripture to the darkest places in our heart, and returning in real time, in real life to God wholeheartedly.

Are the Scriptures the unique and supreme rule of faith and conduct in your life? Is God’s Word absolute? Is the Scripture still the law which governs your thoughts and acts? Can you submit to God’s Word or are attempting to make your interpretation of Scripture submit to your lusts, desires, opinions, and lifestyles? Has your gospel become truncated and twisted, acclimating itself to your comforts? If so, you have “left your first love” (Rev. 2:4). 

Cahn acting as the prophet Jeremiah (Exhibit)


Personal Testimony 

I was a hippie, saved by God’s grace 49 years ago from a horrible occult and immoral lifestyle. When I was born again during my first year in college I found myself in the Jesus Movement. I experienced it as a real revival. It was only later in my life that I realized to my surprise that people on the West Coast linked the Jesus Movement to Christian rock ‘n roll and Calvary Chapel. The Midwest experience was somewhat different. It was part of the spontaneous outpouring of God’s salvific grace upon a young generation of postmodern infidels who had been raised in dry dead Protestant churches. We hippies had outrageously sinned by abandoning all restraint and authority, and by indulging ourselves in lusts, the occult and eastern mysticism.[6]

I can assert that God’s Word was what we clung to when Satan ravaged our thoughts and attacked our newfound biblical beliefs. It was God’s Word that brought conviction to our hearts – so scouring that sometimes we would be weeping flat on our faces on the floor before God. It was God’s Word that illuminated our brains damaged by drugs and eastern meditation. By His Word we were set free into His true Light and true Peace. 

It was God’s Word that pointed out the narrow path to us. Each day as we would read and study the Scriptures we would become convicted of the ugly sins which we had so promiscuously pursued. We would earnestly pray for God’s forgiveness as we became to recognize the depths of our sinful condition. For some of us it took years of studying the Word to walk out of our old life into newness of life, to align our mind to God’s Word, and to abandon our old ways. During this time of real revival we experienced real miracles, healings, deliverances, and sometimes God’s amazing protection from harm. We openly shared our Good News with others, but sometimes we experienced rejections and alienation from family members. There was a genuine joy in evidence as we were refreshingly cleansed by the shed blood of Jesus from our sins. 

Those of us oldtimers, who have now survived lo these many long decades, have only done so by God’s grace. Along the way there are many abandoned carcasses of once faithful saints who left the narrow path. Some even died in their sins. At first the biggest temptation was to return back into old lustful sins of the flesh. Another temptation was to substitute a psychological “inner voice” for God’s Word. Later temptations involved “shunning to declare the whole counsel of God’s Word” (Acts 20:27). Many of us who had been in the Jesus Movement were lured into the Latter Rain cult beliefs (that later became the NAR) because it promised us the signs and wonders that we longed for, like that which we had once experienced as new believers. But some of us grew wary when it came without the solid doctrinal foundation of the whole counsel of God’s Word. 

Over the past five decades the authority of God’s Word has been denigrated. To a generation that had originally rejected authority this has always been a prime temptation. The gospel of easy-believism came in like a flood. Under the onslaught of shattered lives and broken families, and changing societal mores, certain doctrines began to be neglected and the church eventually became altogether silent about them. 

Many ministers no longer carefully guard their associations with those leaders who have been concocting new doctrines or corrupting old ones. In fact, they brazenly share the stage with such men! Essential key doctrines rapidly became both corroded and eroded by exposure to these popular men’s worldly philosophies. Of course there has been a tremendous financial profit to be had by all who compromise with the new books, conferences and organizations filled with the new teachings that always push beyond the boundary of orthodox theology. Those of us who have sounded warnings about this semantic theological revisionism found ourselves blacklisted and “cancelled” by mainstream evangelical media and publishing arms beginning in the early 1990s. 

God’s Word has been systemically chopped off at its root and a New Age trunk to the evangelical tree is forming. There has been widespread pretending that it is all being grafted in because of new enlightenment – “new understandings” or “new revelations” about God’s Word. This is a slide backwards into postmodernism. Some of us recognized this as the very sort of faulty church foundation that we fled from in decaying Protestantism to become new believers. 


Experiential Esotericism

Cahn is the latest champion in a long line of prior signs and wonders teachers, which is another reason why his idea about a “return“ is way more than the simplicity of biblical repentance. Several decades ago, into the vacuum of the authority of God’s Word came the Third Wave leaders such as C. Peter Wagner and John Wimber. These men and their associates taught that God’s Word is insufficient and that signs and wonders supersede or supplant it. Wagner actually concocted a slew of new theologies to undergird his errant foundation, and millions across the world have only been taught his heresies, not the true Gospel of Salvation. Rather, they taught the gospel of the kingdom, a Dominionist worldview. Both men believed that they could invoke the Holy Spirit via audio-visual media, mind-altering phenomena, mood-inducing music, chants, decrees, signs and wonders, revelations, prophetic “words,”, and other psychological methods of manipulation. The evidence for “revival” was no longer repentance from sin, but rather being “filled” with a false spirit that sometimes shows itself in demonic head-wobbling or uncontrollable laughter. Now this movement’s leaders are attempting to invoke a “presence” spirit, a substitute for the REAL RETURN of Jesus, His soon Second Coming.

These experiential exuberances substitute for true repentance and they are characteristically devoid of God’s Word. In fact, it is commonplace to listen to an entire message without once hearing the name of Jesus Christ, mention of His Cross and Resurrection, or a presentation of the Gospel of Salvation found in God’s Word. Many ministers water down and water down their messages to the lowest common denominator. No more meat, just pap or sweetened sugar drinks. Ecumenism in evangelicaldom has become a giant stew pot of collaboration, dialogue, common ground and compromise – the dialectic. Ecumenical efforts promise unity and reconciliation, revival and power, even the ability to fulfill the Great Commission. But it all avoids God’s gold standard of authority for all things pertaining to life and godliness, His Word. 

We wrote about this slippery slope as it unfolded during the 1990s. For the past 15 years our articles have been published on this Herescope blog. We have lived long enough to see a great falling away, a great apostasy from the Truth of Jesus Christ found in God’s Word. We have witnessed the dechristianization not only of our nation, but also the church. We have sadly watched as friends and fellowships have fallen away into these popular errors. We knew the extreme dangers of so many of these occult, mystical and esoteric heresies because we once engaged in them ourselves before we were saved. We know firsthand the path to repentance and have tried to tell people The Way back to Jesus Christ.

As the church has lost its ability to be salt and light, the world, and our nation, has become a darker place. Evil is now running rampant, unchecked. People are afraid in their own homes. Law and order authority is evaporating and there is talk of it being legislated away. Brutal violence lay hidden from public view as people dismembered tiny lives in wombs for the past 5 decades. But now human violence has openly erupted on the streets. Those who have lived by the sword may die by the sword. Things are indeed bleak, and scary. 

Those who have a heart to see America become a “Christian nation” have misplaced their yearnings. But there is hope. It begins by each one of us returning to our first love, Jesus Christ, and agreeing with God to obey His Word, to follow Him, to repent of our wicked deeds. And when we do so we need to share Jesus Christ and His Word of salvation with others.

“I know thy works, that thou hast a name
that thou livest, and art dead.
Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain,
that are ready to die:
for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
therefore how thou hast received an
d heard,
and hold fast,
and repent.
If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief,
and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.”

(Rev. 3:1b-3)


1. This concept is explained and refuted in our post titled “Identificational Repentance,” Herescope, August 20, 2007, https://herescope.net/2007/08/identificational-repentance.html. 

2. It is true that America was founded with much Christian influence. However, in Vengeance Is Ours: The Church In Domionion (Sword, 1990) Al Dager explains the root belief of all Dominionists that hold to the idea that there is a “mandate to rule the nations in the name of Christ,” which he says was “a natural outgrowth of Gnostic influences in the early Church. The Church prelates, (sic) gave rise to the belief that, since Christ came to save the world, it must be through the Church that salvation will be wrought.” (p. 36). See our landmark article that contains a compilation of a great deal of what we have written about this Dominionism “7 Mountain Politics and Theology,” 2/24/16, https://herescope.net/2016/02/7-mountain-politics-and-theology.html.

3. This freemasonic belief system was explained by the historian A. Ralph Epperson in a conference in Iowa in 1992 and is spelled out in his book The New World Order (Publius Press, 1990). 

4. See our “7 Mountain Politics and Theology” post (2/24/16) which contains a compilation of everything we’ve written about this “presence” eschatology: https://herescope.net/2016/02/7-mountain-politics-and-theology.html  

5. This may all be connected to the continued attempts to forge “laughing revivals” in the New Apostolic Reformation. This quote from Barbara Marx Hubbard ‘s The Revelation: A Message of Hope for the New Millennium (Nataraj Publishing, 1995), p. 242),is found in Warren B. Smith original Reinventing Jesus Christ: The New Gospel (Conscience Press, 2002), p. 58, along with her disturbing quotes about “selection process” that will eradicate humans who refuse to evolve. Bold added.

6. The writings of Dr. Francis Schaeffer helped many of us sort through what we had been taught in public schools and liberal Protestant churches.

For further reading see: