Why an Atheist Jew Gave His Life to Jesus
Best-Selling Author Jonathan Cahn Looks Back on His Unlikely Salvation Story, as Newest Hit ‘The Oracle’ Continues to Impact Millions Worldwide
December 23, 2019
NEW YORK—In his newest New York Times best-seller—a worldwide smash hit of 2019—author Jonathan Cahn again inspired, stunned and shocked readers with “The Oracle: The Jubilean Mysteries Unveiled.”
But the fact that Cahn would write such a book is, in itself, a mystery—behind which lies a surprising story involving a Jewish atheist and a locomotive train.
Long before penning the New York Times best-sellers “The Harbinger” and “The Paradigm,” among others, Cahn was known for bringing forth messages of prophetic import. His sermons at Beth Israel Worship Center draw some 1,000 congregants every weekend, and he has spoken at the United Nations, on Capitol Hill and to millions of people around the world.
But Cahn’s path to a thriving ministry was marked with doubts, rebellion and a near-death experience that changed everything.
Cahn grew up in a “Reformed Jewish” family. His parents rarely spoke about their religion, but they still attended synagogue for holidays and celebrated Yom Kippur. Most importantly, they enrolled Cahn in Hebrew school. As he grew up, Cahn grappled with what he was being taught.
“I remember this disconnect between the God of the Bible and the God who spoke and moved and did miracles,” he said.
Cahn never heard a ministry leader testify to how God actively and presently affected his or her personal life, whether through a praise report or an impression from God. At 8 years old, Cahn became convinced that God was not real. He called himself an atheist.
By age 12, though, Cahn allowed himself to question why everyone and everything existed. He believed that, surely, we got here somehow. So he sought meaning in a range of ideologies, devouring texts that spanned between scientific and the occult.
One day, Cahn picked up a book that looked like it was about UFOs. It was “The Late, Great Planet Earth” by Hal Lindsey, and it was about end-time prophecies, the rapture and Jesus.
In Cahn’s Jewish culture, the worst thing you could do was believe in Jesus.
“You could be in Eastern meditation,” he said. “You could be a Buddhist Jew, you could be an atheistic Jew, you could be a Communist Jew—all these kinds of Jew. But if you believe in this Jewish rabbi, you’re not Jewish.”
But the more Cahn studied the Hebrew Scriptures, the more he realized how Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah. His conviction grew. By high school, Cahn was spreading the word that Jesus was the Messiah, Son of God.
And yet at the same time he didn’t want to follow Jesus. He wanted to continue living the life of an agnostic teenager who played in a rock band. Intellectually, he believed in God, but the last thing he wanted to do was to live for Him.
Finally, he made a deal with God: “Lord, if You give me a long life, I’ll accept You when I’m on my deathbed.” Satisfied, Cahn carried on with his life.
But one night, when he was 19, Cahn was driving his Ford Pinto when he came across a railroad track. Inching forward, he saw the train’s headlights. The train didn’t appear to be moving. He pressed on the accelerator, tugged forward and, within seconds, was struck by the train. His car crumpled like aluminum foil. And yet Cahn emerged from the wreck without so much as a scratch.
As police arrived at the scene, Cahn thought, “God, that was close. Can we renegotiate that deal?” The truth was, Cahn had been inches from eternity. In accordance with the new deal he made with God, he dedicated his life to the Lord on his 20th birthday.
Since then, Cahn has traveled the world spreading the Gospel. He went on to lead Hope of the World ministry, an international outreach of teaching, evangelism and compassion projects for the needy. His books call readers to repent—and to repent now, not to wait for their deathbed, which may come sooner than expected.
In “The Oracle,” Cahn writes, “Never another time. Never tomorrow. You can only come to Him when the time is now. No other time is real. So the only one who can come is you—the only place is here—and the only time is now.”
Jonathan Cahn caused a worldwide stir with the release of his explosive first book, “The Harbinger,” which became an instant New York Times best-seller and brought him to national and international prominence. His next three books were also New York Times best-sellers: “The Mystery of the Shemitah,” “The Book of Mysteries” and “The Paradigm.” He was named, along with Billy Graham and Keith Greene, one of the top 40 spiritual leaders of the past 40 years to have radically impacted the world. Called the prophetic voice of this generation, Cahn is a much-sought-after speaker and has been highlighted in the New York Times as well as in many national and international media. He has spoken on Capitol Hill, at the United Nations and to millions of people around the world. Cahn is known for opening the deep mysteries of Scripture and bringing forth messages of prophetic import. He leads Hope of the World ministry, an international outreach of teaching, evangelism and compassion projects for the world’s most needy. He also leads the Jerusalem Center/Beth Israel, a worship center made up of Jews and Gentiles, people of all backgrounds, just outside New York City in Wayne, New Jersey. His ministry can be contacted at HopeoftheWorld.org and Jonathan Cahn Facebook.
Visit TheOracleMystery.com. “The Oracle” is published by FrontLine, an imprint of Charisma House.
To book Jonathan Cahn for interviews or to receive a review copy of “The Oracle,” contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.