With a title like “Return of the Gods“, you may think that Jonathan was writing a fictional novel in the same vein as Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods”. Neil’s book is a work of fiction and Jonathan’s book is far from fiction. Jonathan Cahn’s book asks the question, “What happens when a nation stops the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?” What do you suppose will take God’s place?
Over the weekend, I thoroughly immersed myself in this fascinating and heavy book. Jonathan went into great depth in answering that question. It’s a lot deeper than I expected and I could not help but think of Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods”. I suspect his fans might like this book. My familiarity with Neil’s book is based on what I saw on a YouTube channel that reviews TV and movies. That’s it.
My focus will be on Jonathan Cahn’s “Return of the Gods”.
First of all, I should point out that Jonathan’s book focuses on a dark trinity of Babylonian gods that readers of Scriptures will recognize. No, it is not like the whitewashed version of Greek & Norse mythology or what you’d find in Marvel Comics.
In college, I learn the horrific reality surrounding the Bullfinch version of famous mythological stories that I grew up reading about. Let’s put it this way, it is not a pretty picture. Ancient mythologies were anything but neat and clean. Yes, human sacrifices were a part of that landscape and it is not the only thing.
In Jonathan Cahn’s book, the reader is introduced to what he called the dark trinity. If you read the Old Testament, you’ll know the names of Baal, Molech and Ishtar. In the book, you’ll quickly learn who and what they are.
I, for one appreciate Jonathan straightforward tone when listening to the audio version of his book, I am so glad that I got the audio version. I don’t think that I could have stomach reading this book, for too long. Do not misunderstand me! The book is well written; however, it is not an easy book to read. If you do read, it would be best to read in bite sized portion! Even better, you should play some worship music in the background or an audio version of Scripture.
After reading the first part of Jonathan Cahn’s book, I have a better appreciation for why God used such strong language when talking about the Baals and his cohorts. Of course, their atrocious behaviors are not limited to human sacrifices. It’s a lot worse! Find out for yourself!
In Psalms 115:8, the psalmist says “Those who make them will become like them,
Everyone who trusts in them.” It is true that we do become like the one that we give our focus and adoration to. In this case, I don’t mean statues; rather the one that the statues are pointing to.
I am talking about taking on the characteristics demonstrated by these pagan deities. It doesn’t matter if you think they’re just myth. It is what you’re ascribing to God or to these pagan deities. It is the characteristics seen in these pagan gods that will dominate their worshippers. The same idea applies to God, Almighty.
For this reason, the people of Israel were given a choice in whom they will follow. Here’s what Joshua says in Judges 24:15
15 If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”Judges 24:15 NASB ’95
I will credit Jonathan Cahn in giving a fuller detail on what the children of Israel were choosing to follow. It is something that is missing in many Sunday morning sermons. I don’t fault the pastors or priests because this topic isn’t something suited for a Sunday morning service. Yet, it is helpful in understanding the reasons behind the actions of the LORD and his followers.
Before continuing, I need to caution the readers against judging people in the distant past. In those days, the idea of human sacrifices was perfectly normal and acceptable. Yet, it does not mean that God approved of such evil behaviors.
The above set of paragraphs comes from just the first part of Jonathan Cahn’s “Return of the Gods”. It’s also where I got the idea to compare Jonathan’s book with Neil Gaiman’s book. With the advance of Christianity, you may think that these detestable gods of the past were sent into exile and are permanently gone. Think again!
Early in Jonathan’s book, the author uses a specific passage of Scriptures for the premise for the entire book. I’m talking about Matthew 12:43-45. You can easily call it a parable and a prophetic warning that is still relevant to today’s audience
43 “Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.”Matthew 12:43-45 NASB ’95
I will ask the same question that Jonathan asks in the book. Yes, America did begin as a Christian nation and sought to honor God by dedicating this land to the God of Israel. Like ancient Israel, America is far from perfect and God discipline our country, for our shameful behaviors.
If the house is America, then who is occupying it? As Jonathan points out, it is God’s Spirit that occupy the house in the above parable. “What would happen if God is kicked out of that house?”, as Jonathan Cahn asked.
It didn’t happen overnight and I do appreciate the fact that the author did touch on it. However, I wished that Johnathan had gone deeper. It didn’t start in the Supreme Court decision to ban prayers in school. The slow decline had already started and culminated in that fateful decision.
In all fairness, Jonathan Cahn would’ve had to write an 800-page book to cover the things that led to the decline. A part of the problem come from the Age of Enlightenment. In the West, we have become too enamored by the teachings of logic and the seperation of the spiritual from the secular. That is, we became too intellectual for our own good.
Upon reflection, I suspect that Jonathan Cahn did point to the problem of separating the spiritual realm from the secular realm. As I already pointed out, Return of the Gods is definitely heavy reading and it is not easily absorbed in one sitting. For me, the Bible, history and fiction are a powerful help in understanding what Jonathan Cahn is sharing in the book.
For the rest of “Return of the Gods”, Jonathan seeks to answer the question of “What would happen if these ancient gods appear in our modern American society?” Keep in mind, we have been on a slow decline of separating the spiritual realm from the secular realm. We act like one realm doesn’t impact the other one. As Christians, we should know better than that.
I won’t spoil the book for you. You will have to read the details for yourself and make your own decision. It is a prophetic warning and it is something worth heeding. I will end this article by giving you a helpful warning. Don’t read the book in one swoop. Read it in bite size and talk to Jesus about what you’re reading.
Be certain to give yourself a break between reading chunks of the book. Otherwise, you will feel overwhelm and perhaps depressed because of what you’re reading.