Book Review by Alf James
Rather than trying to produce good works we should focus on being God’s work . . . by His grace . . . in His service . . . for His glory – this is the essence of a message that recurs in various forms throughout Jonathan Cahn’s new book, The Book of Mysteries, which reveals biblical secrets of the ages. The messianic rabbi and pastor, is best known for his best-selling novel The Harbinger, where he compares the 9/11 to the prehistoric destruction of Israel.
In The book of Mysteries, Cahn explains that a life spent trying to produce works of righteousness and holiness will not produce them . . . and will be focused on the source of those works – the self. In “The Secret of the Lilies” Cahn reminds us that even with all his riches and glory, you cannot compare King Solomon’s clothes to the understated beauty of a wildflower – a lily of the field.
“What does it reveal,” asks Cahn, who was named by Charisma magazine as one of the top 40 people of the last 40 years “who radically changed the world”?
“If God cares enough to adorn a wild lily, how much more does He care for His children.
“Yes. And yet there’s more. Solomon’s clothing was the work of man. The lily of the field is the work of God. And between the two, there’s no comparison. It is the lily that is the more beautiful, the more perfect, and the more majestic.
“You see, the works of man are never perfect. But the works of God are always perfect. And so perfection is not based on one’s striving to produce good works. Perfection is found in the way of the lilies.
“Learn their secret. Lilies neither toil nor spin. They don’t strive to produce works. Their secret is . . . they are the works of God,” adds Cahn.
“So the secret is not focus on your work for God. The secret is to become the work of God. Cease striving to do the work of God . . . and start letting your life become the work of God”.
Pray that self becomes less and less of you and that God becomes more and more of you through everything you think, say and do – following the humble example of the man who knew no sin, but bore the sin of many and was crucified for our iniquities; the redeemer who was despised and rejected, yet forgave us – our Saviour, Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God.
In “The Doer” Cahn describes how Jesus was numbered with the sinful, with those under judgement.
“He became as one under judgement. And all the acts of the sinful, all that they did . . . all that we did, He, Messiah became the doer of it. He was counted as the doer of our sins, the One who made our mistakes, the One who failed in our failures, and the One who transgressed in our transgressions.
“So, if He becomes the doer of our sins, then we become no longer the doer . . . of our own sins . . . no longer the ones who sinned, who failed, who transgressed, and fell. In the grace of God, we are released from being the doers of our deeds . . . that we might become the doer of His deeds.”
Cahn says just as Jesus Christ was joined to our works, we are joined to His good works. We are reckoned as being the doers of it. Like Jesus, our lives are to be focused on God self-sacrificially. We are to live a God-centred life starting and ending with Him.
In the “Barach Atah” mystery Cahn explains that a blessed life is not me-centred, but God-centred, then dedicated to others in your life, putting them above yourself as well.
“It is the life of love that is the life of blessing. ‘Love the Lord your God . . . and love your neighbour as yourself’.”
Cahn says we should make it the purpose of our lives, above everything else, every other aim and purpose, to bless God . . . and then make it our purpose and aim to bless every other person in our life . . . and our lives will be a blessing.
In short, to have a blessed life, be a blessing; first to God then to everybody else in your life, starting with your family, friends and neighbours, and extending to anybody that God directs into your path; for your life is determined not by what you are doing, but what you are being, which is related to what you are giving rather than what you are receiving.
Although I am far from finished, I have found Cahn’s The Book of Mysteries to be a highly enriching read as a daily devotional containing 365 mysteries complete with a mission for each day (however, the book could also be read in a few sittings) and revealing not only biblical secrets but the deeper meaning attached to many Hebrew and Greek words, which gives the reader an appreciation of the multi-layered, unending depth of knowledge of God’s Word.
Whether you read The Book of Mysteries as a daily devotional or in a few sittings it’s a book you will, most likely, want to come back to again and again.