The Book of Ben Kathryn purports to be a modern revelation to Judah through a modern prophet (the first true Jewish Prophet in modern times), heralding the end of the times of the gentiles and the turning of the Jews to the Messiah with the final restoration of Israel. The text states it was given to Jachanan ben Kathryn (John, son of Kathryn) first in the year 1995/96. From what I can gather, the Author is a Messianic Jew, born among the Gentiles (in the West?) but taken at an early age to Israel. His texts points out that he did not seek out his calling, and in fact apparently tried actively to flee from it (BOBK 1:2,9). As a prophet he is commanded to take no followers, and even now lives unpretentiously out of the public eye.
One must read it to make their own judgments, but with the exception of a few books, it seems like the more I read most modern restorationalists texts or supposed prophesies the less impressed I am. Most purported prophecies out there are ridiculous — but even some of the more impressive ones (such as those featured on this site) seem too distorted by their channels or means of revelatory reception to really parallel the form, grammar and symbolism of Old Testament prophecies. But the Book of Ben Kathryn is one of the few that the more I read it, the more I am absolutely amazed at its prose, poetry, form and allusions to the Old Testament revelations supposedly originating from the “God of Israel” (in my view, the same higher-plane group consciousness which dealt with Israel in the Old & New Testament).
It truly is a spectacular revelation, rivaling any of those found in the Old Testament. Its subtle and ubiquitous references and allusions to the Books of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Ezra, Nehemiah, Zechariah and more make it seem as though it came from the same authors. It is certainly not surprising that the revelation was given/written in both English and Hebrew.
The revelation was first given to the supposed prophet in 1995, but instructed him not to write it until 2004 or published it until 2006 (see chap 1 vs. 1-4). Furthermore, it suggests that it will not gain any wide audience until the very unexpected events prophesied therein begin to occur (a final 70 year destruction/captivity of the modern nation of Israel and/or gentile Christians) and the prophet is commanded to work miracles in the eyes of the nations.
The book suggests it need not be rejected or believed at present, since God will “prove” to the nations of its truth by the coming fulfillment of biblical prophecy, accompanied by miraculous events not seen since the days of Jesus. (People raised from the dead, unparalleled healings, appendages miraculously restored to those without legs, green fire from heaven, etc—and most importantly the wholesale conversion of Islamic countries to the new religion within a few hundred years.)
Although not specifically mentioned, Jachanin Ben Kathryn’s revelation indirectly suggests he/his movement will perhaps be one of the “two witnesses” symbolically portrayed in Revelation 11 (see also D&C 77:15), who will come to Israel during at Daniel’s prophesied “70th week”, to herald the end of the Times of the Gentiles and the beginning of the restoration of Israel.
SMITE thou the ground and I shall raise up prophets as the dust to afflict this generation. Look up Israel, look up, behold the latter rain as before, saith the LORD. Look up and feel the steady rain. Lift up the head of Israel, remove thou the plate. Hear the child cry from afar: The miracles of our God, the miracles of our God— a child is cleansed; a maiden is raised from the dead; a man without legs walketh. Behold again in the name of Jesus Christ this is done in Israel. Look up, O Israel, believe and greet thy redeemer as he cometh.
An LDS Perspective
The Book of Ben Kathryn should be of special interest to Latter-day Saints, since LDS people believe themselves to be essentially the apogee of the restored Northern Kingdom of Ephraim (D&C 133:30–35; 27:5; Ether 13:3–12)—A view that the Book of Ben Kathryn could possibly support (it continually refers to the American Christian Church as “Ephraim”). The traditional biblical restoration of the Jewish southern Kingdom (Judah) to Jerusalem is of course, ubiquitously prophesied of in Mormon scripture (D&C 98:17; 18:26; D&C 45:18–44; 77:9-15; 109:62-66; D&C 133:12–14,34–35; Ether 13:3–12, 1 Nephi 13:42, JS Matthew 24). The slight doctrinal differences and subtle contempt which the Book continually directs toward “Ephraim” should also be of note to LDS people. This “enmity” between Ephraim (the Northern Kingdom) and Judah (the Southern Kingdom) is spoken of in Isaiah, The Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants, and is a continuation of the ideological differences between King David’s split kingdom. And was one of the primary points made to Joseph Smith in his first angelic visions (see Isaiah 11). The text seems to suggest that the Northern and Southern Kingdoms were created to be types or symbols of the major doctrinal and political schisms which exist in Western culture today—namely; dictatorship vs. republican government, democracy vs. autocracy, and Islam/strict monotheism vs. Christianity/trinitarianism. LDS scripture seems to support the idea that these two kingdom’s would be restored independently—with their ancient biases, and eventually grow together and come to see eye to eye during the final dispensation (see Ether 13:3–12). And that Christ’s “coming” would harmonize these political and religious opposites.
9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea…
12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
13 The envy of Ephraim also shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim. (2 Nephi 21:12–13; Isa 11:12–13)
Of even greater importance to Latter Day Saints are the overwhelming references in LDS scripture to a “reverse order” restoration of Ephraim & Judah in scripture. Scores of LDS verses point to the idea that the ancient Christian Gospel was to go 1-first to the Jews, 2-then to Ephraim (ten tribes), 3- and lastly to the gentiles. In the last days it was to be restored 1-first to the gentiles, 2-then to Ephraim (ten tribes), 3- and lastly to the Jews.
10 And then cometh the New Jerusalem; and blessed are they who dwell therein, for it is they whose garments are white through the blood of the Lamb; and they are they who are numbered among the remnant of the seed of Joseph [Ephraim], who were of the house of Israel.
11 And then also cometh the Jerusalem of old [Judah]; and the inhabitants thereof, blessed are they, for they have been washed in the blood of the Lamb; and they are they who were scattered and gathered in from the four quarters of the earth, and from the north countries, and are partakers of the fulfilling of the covenant which God made with their father, Abraham.
12 And when these things come, bringeth to pass the scripture which saith, there are they who were first, who shall be last; and there are they who were last, who shall be first. (ether 13:10-12. see also D&C 19:27, 20:9, 21:12, 90:9, 98:17, 107:33-97, 112:4, 133:8)
The Book of Ben Kathryn seems to add to this parallelism by suggesting that just as the early Christian movement found few supporters among the Jews (compared to the movement’s success among Ephraim and the Gentiles)—so too has the reverse order restorative work among Ephraim & the Christian Gentiles found few followers compared to what will come from Judah and Islam.
Despite very small doctrinal differences, one of the most catching aspects of the Ben Kathryn revelation is its style. As an avid reader of supposed “revelations”, I am reminded of D&C 67:5–8 which teaches that “true revelations” are given in a poetic form difficult for men or false spirits in the lower heavens to replicate. In my experienced opinion, apart from the Bible and eastern Sacred Texts the language of the Book of Ben Kathryn is unparalleled. Likewise its references and allusions to Old Testament prophecy are unlike anything I have ever read.
The similarities between Ben Kathryn’s theophany experience, or vision of the Lord or that of Joseph Smith in D&C 76:22–23; D&C 110:2–3; 137:3-4, or other Old Testament prophets (see Abr 1:15–19, Moses 6:26–34, Daniel 10:8–21, etc) are also of interest. The prophet speaks of it in first person as follows (as opposed to the majority of the revelation which has the LORD speaking in first person),
5 Wonder of wonders, saith my soul. Wonder of wonders moveth my tongue. Who is like unto the LORD our God? I have seen the great King, he who is BEING. I am speechless. There are no words. Groanings of my soul cannot form them. Behold, burnings in mine heart cannot materialize words. What a wonder that he should breathe into man his spirit! Yea, I live because of the LORD, because of his burning fire. No heart can bear the compassion of his ways. I see no son of flesh who can stand before an ounce of his glory.
6 I have never seen beauty like this, like unto the LORD our God. Consider, O man, his doings, for eye cannot behold nor can heart appreciate his visage. At the healing of our wound, we do see him. At the gentle hour, we do hear his call. The LORD hath drawn his portrait and hath made me the frame. From beginning unto end, I have been written on by his hand, that all the Earth shall see and understand his glory.
One last very interesting aspect of the revelation is the way in which its prophesy of the restoration of Judah parallels the restoration of the American Ephraimic Church and original Christian Church. (See my synopsis for a run-down of these events.)
-Just as Christ and the original 12 apostles began their ministry about 40 years before the beginning of the 70 period of Roman destruction of Israel (beginning at siege of Titus in 70AD through the Jewish-Roman Wars ending in 135 AD), also just as Jeremiah, Zephaniah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Ezekiel and Daniel all prophesy either in the 40 years leading to the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem or during the 70 Israeli exile in Babylon— so too is the modern nation of Israel prophesied to be attacked and brought captive around 40 years after John Ben Kathryn received his revelation, beginning a 70 year period of captivity wherein the Lord will “raise up prophets as the dust to afflict this generation” in order to establish the religious movement.
-Likewise the destruction of Israel at 70 AD led to the absorption of this fledgeling Christian religion/kingdom into the expanding Roman Empire which would one day adopt this movements as its primary state religion. Just as shortly after Joseph Smith and other restorationists revelations on the restoration of the New Jerusalem, the “Kingdom” was taken over and absorbed into the powerful, expanding United States which has already come to be dominated by the religious ideals of the Second Great Awakening (Evangelicals/Baptists, Mormons, Adventists, etc..)—so too John Ben Kathryn declares that Israel, after the coming Messianic restorationist movement takes hold, will be taken over and absorbed into a powerful, expanding Arab Union/coalition where although treated harshly at first, will be nourished during 70 years of captivity until they are turned to the true Messiah and restored as an independent nation and kingdom.
-Just as the “Barbarians” nations of Northern Europe were almost entirely converted to the Christian religion within a few hundred years of its founding, so too does the Book of Ben Kathryn prophesy that the Islamic Nations of the Middle East as well as the Christian Nations of Europe will give way to this coming Israeli restorationist movement. The Book of Ben Kathryn itself is written in a manner as to appeal to Jews, Christians and Muslims and slowly bring them together into a more unified religious system.
Summary of Prophesied Events
-The United States will continue to pressure the nation of Israel and other peaceful Middle Eastern Nations into disarmament (65:3), with the underlying pledge that we will protect them from Arab aggression. (66:19)
-America will continue to bankrupt itself in the process of trying to police the world. (65:9)
-Afterwards, America & Israel will follow the new precedence of “pre-emptive war” by striking Iraq (Mosul) and likely at a later point, neighboring Syria? [text says Assyria, which was headquartered in Mosul, Iraq, but spread into Syria, Turkey & Iran. this may have been fulfilled in the 2003 unprovoked Iraqi invasion.] (20:20)
-Some Arab faction (the Islamic State? Syria or Hezbollah?) will have been plotting with neighboring Arab countries to attack Israel. One of Israel’s attacks will give them the impetus and Arab support to carry out their plans of mass destruction. (12:4 44:8, 66:1-3)
-The destruction of Jerusalem will lead many of apostate Christianity to believe Armageddon is here and Christ is coming. When their preconceived notions of the Second Coming are not met, many will lose faith. (16:1-3, 16:9-10,12)
-The ensuing war will destabilize the entire region, leading eventually to the necessity of Turkey and Egypt to militarize and step in to make peace. (66:4-5))
-Sometime either before or after the siege of Jerusalem, a Middle Eastern group will strike at the heart of America (65:23)
-In the end an Islamic/Arab union similar to the Ottoman Caliphate will emerge to challenge the European Union as a world power. (66:4-5)
-Much like the LDS Church within the U.S., Israel is to be brought into captivity one last time (by an early fundamentalist aspect of this Islamic Empire). During this 70 year captivity God will begin the Gathering of His People to Jerusalem. (63:1,5; 64:5-6)
-During this 70 year captivity, God will raise up scores of prophets to Israel, causing a massive conversion of millions of Jews & Arabs to this new Messianic movement. (22:2-3)
-At the end of this 70 year captivity, Israel will again become an independent nation, the Temple will be rebuilt, and Jerusalem will become the new “Rome” in the ensuing wholesale conversion of the region. This regional religious transformation will exceed even the wholesale conversion of the Roman Empire regions of the first four centuries to Christianity. (5:4-5, 46:11, etc.)
-Over ten chapters of the Book are instructions to priests and leaders on the day to day operation of the future Jerusalem Temple. It is instructed to follow the template given by Ezekiel. It is prophesied that the Ark of Covenant and “holy things” of the former temple will be found and returned to Israel.
These, of course, are just my interpretations of the prophecies given by Ben Kathryn, but if you would like to make your own judgments you can read the text yourself. The original version has been posted since about 2006 on Nabion.org (shortly after I began sharing a version of the text, the site was closed down. I speculate that the Hebrew version of the Book is likely still available on a purely Hebrew site.)
Read a pdf version of the book here
Read an html version of the Book of Jachanan Ben Kathryn here
Prophesy in the Book of Ben Kathryn http://mormonuniversalism.com/3/prophesy-in-the-book-of-ben-kathryn/
The identity of Gog and Magog http://mormonuniversalism.com/1137/the-identity-of-gog-and-magog/
The End of the Times of the Gentiles http://mormonuniversalism.com/86/the-end-of-the-times-of-the-gentiles/
Additional Prophesies in the Book of Ben Kathryn http://mormonuniversalism.com/81/additional-prophesies-of-the-book-of-ben-kathryn/