Jonathan Cahn: It’s time to prepare!

Harbinger Author – Now Is The Time To Prepare

August 24, 2015 | 

Author and Bible teacher Jonathan Cahn says he has been so swamped with questions and concerns about the looming end of the Shemitah year on Sept. 13 that he can’t answer them all.

“We have been deluged with people calling, emailing, asking questions from all over the country, wanting to know what’s happening. So we decided to put out a video,” Cahn told WND via email.

In the message, posted to YouTube, Cahn calls for a period of national prayer and repentance leading up to the pivotal month of September.

He also issued a new warning about a “desecration” that often precedes judgment and is already present in American society. He calls for Christians to prepare for persecution and get ready to stand for God in a coming period of strife that will increasingly be devoid of “gray areas” or middle ground.

In the video, he says his main theme continues to be that of judgment visiting America. This will bring a “shaking” in the financial and economic realms. These tremors may spread beyond the economic realm.

Watch U.S.-Israel relations

The harbingers of coming judgment that Cahn first wrote about in 2012 in his New York Times-best-seller, “The Harbinger,” have continued long past the writing of that story, he said. The Tree of Hope, a spruce or cedar that in the Bible symbolizes a nation’s strength, was planted at Ground Zero in New York following 9/11 but it withered and died. It was finally uprooted on Passover 2014.

The new office tower built to replace the Twin Towers opened earlier this year only to have the first tenants overrun by an infestation of vermin.

But one of the most critical harbingers for America is its relationship with Israel, Cahn said.

“The relations between America and Israel are at its worst. This is a dangerous sign for America. America is now pressing for a deal that Israel says will put Israel in danger. That is also ominous,” Cahn said. “All these things: Israel, the harbingers, the apostasy, the Shemitah, all these things are converging, and we need to take heed now.”

Here comes the pope

Pope Francis, the 266th pope, is also coming to the United States to meet with President Obama on Sept. 23, the 266th day of the year. He will address a joint session of Congress on Sept. 24 and then deliver a keynote speech Sept. 25 at the United Nations in New York. The pope, who has already called for the need for global government to fight climate change and poverty, is expected to give a ringing endorsement to the U.N.’s new global agenda titled “Transforming Our World: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” This document was created by a 27-person “high level panel” that consisted of only one American – John Podesta, a member of the elite Trilateral Commission [Illuminati backed] and the former climate-change czar for President Obama.

The Senate is also under a deadline to approve the Iran nuclear deal by the end of September.

Focus on dates, miss the big picture

Cahn implores those concerned about the Shemitah not to focus on dates but on getting their own houses in order. He offers practical advice on how to prepare for the coming “shaking,” both physically and spiritually.

He said he gave dates in his book, “The Mystery of the Shemitah” to show that God often works, especially in economic matters, according to the seven-year cycle given to Moses as Mount Sinai and recorded in Deuteronomy.

While this is something “to be aware of the signs of the times,” the bigger issue for America is that judgment is imminent. The U.S. clearly “crossed a line,” he said, with the Supreme Court decisions on abortion, removing prayer from schools and most recently in its arrogant redefinition of the God-given covenant of marriage.

“The first caution is, God doesn’t have to do anything. He is sovereign. He doesn’t have to work according to our understanding, He is beyond our understanding. Nothing has to happen in September or the autumn. It could be very uneventful,” Cahn said. “And if nothing happens, well then, what will we do? We will praise God, we will be bold for the Lord, we will spread the gospel, we will stand as witnesses for God and we will glorify His name.”

God hasn’t given him any secret knowledge as to what, if anything, will happen on or near the date of Sept. 13 or Elul 29, the once-every-seven years biblical day of reckoning when all debts and credits were wiped clean.

“Either way, I believe a great shaking is coming and it is wise that we be aware,” he said.

Prepare with ‘essentials’ for body and soul

How does judgment come upon a nation hell-bent on going its own way without God?

Cahn said it can come with economic collapse, with man-made and natural disasters, wars or a slow descent into irrelevancy.

On the last two Shemitahs, on the exact same biblical “day of remission,” which is Elul 29 on the Hebrew calendar, came record stock-market collapses.

Cahn, a messianic Jewish rabbi who leads a congregation in New Jersey, said the months of Elul and Tishrei bring the Feast of Trumpets or Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, also called the Day of Atonement. These are high holy days on the biblical calendar meant to focus one’s heart on the mighty judgment seat of God.

“America’s apostasy should be enough” for people to take note and be aware that judgment is coming, Cahn said.

He advised people to stock up on “essentials,” food, water and other items.

“Are we survivalists? No. We are revivalists,” Cahn said. “We are not here to survive we are here to be part of God’s revival, his restoration. And we are here not to prepare, simply thinking about ourselves, but to bless others. Worst-case scenario, you can eat your investment. You can use what is essential. But it’s wise, anyway.”

Financially, he said he would not personally feel secure having investments “linked to the well-being of the stock market.”

The U.S. stock market fell 358 points, or 2.1 percent, on Thursday, its worst day in 18 months. The market has shed more than 1,300 points already this year heading into the volatile autumn period.

Cahn said it would be wise to have cash on hand in your home.

A final ‘desecration’ brings judgment

“This summer, America crossed the line,” beyond any line ever crossed before, Cahn said, referring to the June 26 Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court case legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

“When the Supreme Court struck down the biblical definition of marriage, this was a tectonic event, a seismic change, with ramifications not just about marriage but about the future of the culture, of society, of religious freedom, of persecution, and, I believe, judgment,” Cahn said.

He noted a principle in the Bible that before judgment comes there is often an act of desecration.

The prophet Ezekiel, for example, was taken to the temple and shown a vision. The most holy place was being desecrated with idolatry.

“And then he sees a vision of the judgment of Jerusalem, the judgment of the Temple Mount, the judgment of Israel.”

Another example comes from ancient Babylon.

“There is a festive party, a celebration to the gods, and the king of Babylon orders that the sacred cups of God be brought into the celebration and they use these sacred cups to drink to the gods,” Cahn said. “That is a desecration and once that act is done the sign comes in the form of a handwriting on the wall that proclaims there will be judgment, and judgment comes that night to Babylon.”

“Marriage is a vessel of God. It was made by God for God,” Cahn said. “It’s like a cup, a sacred cup. You cannot take a vessel of God, you cannot take it and use it against its purpose and against God, without desecration. That was an act of desecration for America to strike down marriage. So, another convergence here. This happened just as the Shemitah approached its end.”

‘The middle ground is disappearing’

Cahn also thought it was significant that every one of the four dissenting justices issued a warning about coming persecution of those, predominantly Christians, who continue to believe in traditional biblical marriage.

“We are watching that begin to happen. The Bible says those who call darkness light will call the light darkness. The grays are disappearing. It is fading to black and white,” he said. “The middle ground is fading away. And those who try to stay in the middle, who try to dance in the middle, will find it harder and harder. You cannot dwell there. The time for gray is disappearing. If the darkness is removing the gray to become utterly dark, then it’s time for the light to remove the gray in our lives. And become totally light. The time for wavering, living both ways, compromising, not sharing, not living consistently in your faith, is over.”

Cahn also shared a lesson from the prophet Elijah. This Hebrew prophet implored the people to stop being half-hearted believers.

“How long will you waiver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, serve Him. If Baal is god, serve him. But choose you this day, whom you will serve,” he said.

He said the same dynamic that leads the dark to get darker will lead those who stand for God without compromise to go from light to blazing light, from good to great. We are watching the faith go, and the Supreme Court decision was a milestone, from a cultural faith to a counter-cultural faith, from a status-quo faith to a revolutionary faith. There is good in this. We say we wish we could live in the Book of Acts, well we are going to. … This is going to force us to go either totally dark or totally light.”

So how does one prepare for what’s coming to America?

Ground yourself in prayer. Get plugged in, emotionally, intellectually, to the presence of God,” he said.

Decide no matter what the majority does you will follow the Lord. You have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back. God will anoint those who do not compromise. If you want biblical times, you’ve got it. You want the Book of Acts, it’s coming. You want the days of Elijah? It’s here. It’s time to become the Elijahs of the day. If there’s anything in your life that has no business in the life of a saint of God, the time is now, not later, to get it out. Whatever is not in your life that God is calling you to, the time is now to get it in.”

Cahn said he made the video on Elul 1. The month of Elul is a time of preparation for the high holy days, a time to draw nearer to God in prayer. It’s a 40-day period of preparation, often accompanied by fasting.

So I am calling for prayer, repentance, to commit this time for seeking God, in your life, seeking God individually, seeking God as a church, seeking God as a Bible study, seeking God as a movement, but devoting this time to be in prayer every day, in special prayer, of repentance, to get right, to get out of your life that which needs to be out and get in what has to be in.

Cahn is also joining WND founder and CEO Joseph Farah in promoting the third annual 9/11 Day of Prayer and Repentance.

Farah encourages pastors to open their churches on Friday, Sept. 11, to allow both their community of members and their communities at large to gather and pray. There will also be three national repentance conference calls that day, with details at 911dayofprayer.org. Readers can go to the website and sign up to pray. They are also encouraged to let their pastors, congregations, and friends know about this event.

‘We are in critical times’

In the Old Testament, which often provides clues or spiritual foreshadowing of things to come under the New Testament, the priests of God had to first get things right in their own lives before they could minister on behalf of others. They would ritually cleanse themselves with water. Only then could they enter the Holy of Holies and intercede for the nation.

“Get to that higher ground, to bless God. This is our time to be ready, no matter what comes in September, autumn, or not,” Cahn told his listeners.

“The fact is America is in danger here,” he continued. “America is progressing on a dangerous course away from God. And we are in critical times. We are at a crossroads in every way. For the society, the culture, the civilization, the church, to be praying for this time. And to declare we will make up our minds we will not bow down to Baal, we will not compromise, we will not give in to political correctness. No matter what, we will not turn away from God, no matter what anybody says. We will follow the Lord, and His ways, only.

LINK:  http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/2015/August24/241.html#BfJMfux8qQw0khPX.99

 

Get the word out! And keep watching …

 

“Lessons Lost In Time” by Paula Yingst

“Those who do not know history are forever condemned to repeat it.”

— Will Durant

LESSONS LOST IN TIME

Since I was a child, I have been looking for tangible confirmations that God exists and has a plan for my life. I’ve waded through wives tales and researched many a conspiracy theory. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined it would take over fifty years for events to occur in the lives of other people before information and insight would become available that could answer my questions.

I have never come across one book that demonstrates the hand of God in human lives like the one published in 2011 by an unassuming, modern-day prophet. His name is Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, and the title of the book is, The Harbinger: The Ancient Mystery That Holds the Secret of America’s Future. It is written in narrative style with a creative twist on riveting facts that even the most hardened skeptic will find difficult to dismiss. And the most deeply devoted lover of God will stand amazed.

I’m going to share Rabbi Cahn’s discoveries and revelations with you in bite-sized pieces, spread out over the last few devotions in my book, with the hope that you will see how each of our journeys are connected and ultimately lay in the Creator’s scarred hands. And, believe it or not, I had no idea when I began writing Chapter One that I would be sharing this with you in the final chapter.

I’m going to start with the historical foundations — which had to be set into place before any of the other events could happen — within two of the most blessed countries in the world: Israel and America.

It all has to do with “ground of consecration,” where a nation’s leaders dedicated their country to the Lord God, with the hope of securing his blessing, protection and provision. With that declaration, the ancient pronouncements of Deuteronomy 28 go into effect: “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow his commands … the Lord God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All of these blessings will come upon you and accompany you IF you obey the Lord your God.” A list of blessings follow that promise, including blessings upon people, land and livestock, victory over enemies, and abundant prosperity.

Deuteronomy 28:12-13 says, “You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. IF you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God … you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.

But in the same chapter, curses are promised for disobedience — particularly for following after other gods and serving them. Students of the Bible may be quick to point out that these were originally directed at the descendants of Jacob, also known as Israel. And that’s exactly what I would have said as well, before I knew about the “harbingers” that were shown by divine revelation to Jonathan Cahn.

Historically, the nation of Israel was consecrated to God in a prayer spoken by King Solomon, son of David, grandson of Jesse who lived in Bethlehem. The Lord God allowed Solomon to build a temple for His Presence, so that He could reside in Jerusalem among His chosen people “Israel.” You can read about everything that led up to the moment of the nation’s and the temple’s consecration in 1 Kings 1:28-8:21. Solomon’s actual prayer is recorded in Kings 8:22-61.

I can envision the skeptics who are saying, there is no proof that God exists, that the Bible is factual, or that Israel is a favored nation…. Let’s push all that onto a back burner for now.

Historically, the United States of America was consecrated to the Lord God in President George Washington’s inauguration speech, given on April 30, 1789. That was America’s first day as a fully constituted nation — not in Washington D.C., but in America’s first capitol, New York City. To this day, a bronze statue of George Washington stands on Wall Street facing the New York Stock Exchange. It marks the site of Federal Hall, where Washington took the Oath of Office as America’s first President. Federal Hall was America’s ground of consecration, just as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem was the ground of Israel’s consecration.

After the ceremony, President Washington led a procession of the nation’s first government officials a few blocks away to a little church, known as St. Peter’s Chapel. There, America’s first president, senators and congressmen bowed their heads together in prayer and committed the new nation to God Almighty, asking for his protection and blessing.

That little stone chapel is still in existence and intact — at the corner of what we now call Ground Zero. It was the only building on that plot that remained unharmed during the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

“O Lord, God of Israel,

there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below —

you who keep your covenant of love with your servants

who continue wholeheartedly in your way.”

— King Solomon (1 Kings 8:23)

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT: Log onto http://www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/washington/earnestprayer.html and read President George Washington’s inaugural address to Congress. Notice the number of times he gives credit to Almighty God.

“Breach in Security” by Paula Yingst

“The ship’s place is in the sea, but God pity the ship when the sea gets into it.”

— Author Unknown

BREACH IN SECURITY

Occasionally I dream that I am homeless. The virtual state seems so real that it is an eerie sensation. Fearful. Uncertain. Unprotected. The odd thing — obviously, the whole dream thing is odd — is not that I’m without basic provisions, like food, a change of clothing, and no convenient place to go to the bathroom. It’s the absence of walls.

In the beginning, Adam and Eve had no need for walls because they had no enemies. It was unnecessary for them to be encased in a man-made box because they were gifted with divine safety. They didn’t even have to be afraid of hungry animals because they were all vegetarians!

Along with that sense of security, the couple enjoyed complete freedom. There was no need to worry about anything. They were free to make choices, and they had no psychotic tendencies that could turn their free will into willfully harmful behavior. They had a Protector who generously lavished them with prosperity … and with love. But they took for granted all that they’d been given. They made a naive choice to disrespect the Source of their blessings and go with a different security system that offered attractive “bells and whistles” not included in God’s original plan. The retaining wall that had supernaturally surrounded them was instantly punctured, like a dyke that sprang a leak. Suddenly there was a gap, an opening, a breach in the wall that had been invisibly protecting them.

They were on their own. The realization that there was now a need for walls was frightening … overwhelming. But the Source of everything they had known before was not absent. He was still present and available. And even though communication with him was not as convenient as it had been, the Protector was absolutely capable of creating invisible barriers between his loved ones and their newly acquired enemies — “terrorists,” if you will.

Where did those enemies come from? As I scratch my rusty helmet, I have to say again, “I don’t know.” But after reading The Harbinger, I understand it is naive to think that a supernatural wall of protection — similar to the one that shielded Adam and Eve — was not created around the tiny, fledgling nation that we call “America” on the day it was consecrated by its first official President.

But, of course, we humans want proof of its existence. We assume that if we can’t see it or touch it then the security that we enjoy must be of our own making. As a country, we become cocky and arrogant and claim superiority among the nations of the world.

So, our Protector must send tangible warnings to show us — collectively — who is really in charge. And he must remind us about Deuteronomy 28 — God’s “constitution” for his chosen people, which details the blessings and the curses originally promised to the nation of Israel. Almighty God is merciful beyond our comprehension, so rather than annihilating us, he patiently reminds us what can happen to an honored nation when a breach occurs in the invisible wall of his safekeeping.

“I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall

and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land

so I would not have to destroy it,

but I found none.”

–The Word of the Lord (Ezekiel 22:30)

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT: Consider ways in which the walls around you can be breached — sometimes even without your knowledge. Turn to Ephesians 6:10-18 in your Bible and carefully review the pieces of spiritual armor that are available to those who respect the Lord God and trust him for their earthly and eternal protection.

“Towers and Terrorists” by Paula Yingst

“God is preparing his heroes and when the opportunity comes,

he can fit them into their places in a moment,

and the world will wonder where they came from.”

— A.B. Simpson

TOWERS AND TERRORISTS

If you’ve ever watched children at play, you’ve probably witnessed the scenario of one child building a block tower … and another child gleefully (or maliciously) knocking it down. That’s the nature of children.

I read an article that claims there are summer camps in the Islamic world created to teach kids how to become martyrs for the glory of Allah, and to encourage hatred, primarily toward the the descendants of Jacob. They are trained to annihilate.

Did you know that hatred for those who are now called Israelis originated with one man — Abram — who, like Eve, made a decision that has affected the entire human race? He listened to his impatient wife rather than waiting for God’s perfect timing concerning the conception of a promised child.

You see, when “the word of the Lord” came to Abram one day in a vision, God promised something that seemed utterly impossible. Abram was an old man, and his wife Sarai was barren. Yet God told Abram: “A son coming from your own body will be your heir. Look up at the heavens and count the stars — if indeed you can count them…. So shall your offspring be.” (Genesis 15:4-5). Scripture tells us, “Abram believed the Lord,” and that act of faith was “credited to him as righteousness.

But Abram’s beloved Sarai thought her husband must have misunderstood the message. She reasoned that since she had not been able to have a child, there must be some mistake. So she took control of the situation and convinced Abram to have intercourse with her Egyptian maidservant, Hagar.

However, Sarai became ragingly jealous of her husband’s mistress after Hagar became pregnant. She mistreated Hagar, so the woman fled into the desert. There the angel of the Lord (most likely Gabriel) appeared and instructed Hagar to go back and submit to her mistress Sarai, because the Lord God had a plan. He promised: “I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count. You will have a son and name him Ishmael, because the Lord has heard of your misery” (Genesis 16:9-11).

The next verse is astoundingly prophetic: “He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him. He will live in hostility toward [also translated ‘to the east of’] all his brothers” (Genesis 16:12).

So Hagar obeyed, returned to Sarai and Abram, gave birth to a son and named him Ishmael. Then God showed up again. He made it clear that what he had promised many months earlier was still going to happen. As if to underscore that fact, the Lord gave Abram and Sarai new names — Abraham and Sarah. And he told them what to name their biological son — Isaac.

I encourage you to read the entire account in Genesis of these historical events, since I can’t recount them all here. For this purpose, I’ll just establish the fact that the descendants of Ishmael have indeed “lived in hostility toward” their relatives — Isaac’s descendants — for centuries, and a majority of them still do. (Like the Hatfields and the McCoys … on steroids!

Toss into the mix the descendants of Isaac’s son Esau — who foolishly gave his birthright to his twin brother, Jacob. in exchange for a bowl of stew and then got really mad about it — and you have a basic overview of the enemies of “Israel” (the new name that God gave to Jacob).

If we could trace the family tree of Ishmael, we would likely find that the ancient people group known as Assyrians was connected in some way. According to revelations in The Harbinger, the Assyrians were among the most brutal people who ever lived. At the peak of their power they ruled most of the ancient Middle East, and they perfected the art of terrorism. They spoke a language called Akkadian … which today is called Arabic — the tongue of Al Queda.

The Lord God made good on his Deuteronomy 28 promise to provide blessings and allow curses to flow upon the descendants of Israel. Whether they received the blessings or the curses depended on their collective attitude and behavior. So, when they defiantly continued to worship other gods and act out in deviant ways, God removed his blessing and the hedge of protection that he had placed around the Israelites, BECAUSE they chose (as a nation) to defiantly disobey the laws he had put into place for their benefit. In 732 B.C. the Assyrians managed to breach the wispy wall and attacked the Israelites, drawing them into military conflict, war, and tragic national drama.

One of the specific curses listed sounds chillingly familiar: “The Lord will bring a nation against you from far away, from the ends of the earth, like an eagle swooping down, a nation whose language you will not understand, a fierce-looking nation without respect for the old or pity for the young” (Deuteronomy 28:49-50).

On September 11, 2001, America’s hedge of protection was breached by a group of Semitic men. They were gathered from nations across the Middle East and communicated with each other using words and phrases that mirrored the ancient Akkadian language. Their weapons of choice were airplanes that swooped down and took out the towers of the World Trade Center, without respect for the old or pity for the young.

At that historic moment, the United States of America — “one nation under God” — was irretrievably drawn into military conflict, war, and tragic national drama. And the world watched in horror as the carefully built towers came crumbling down.

“Carefully follow the terms of this covenant

so that you may prosper in everything you do.”

(Deuteronomy 29:9)

A CHALLENGE: Share this information with someone, as the Holy Spirit leads.

“Vows of Defiance” by Paula Yingst

“We make our decisions,

and then our decisions turn around and make us.”

— F. W. Boreham

VOWS OF DEFIANCE

“I won’t let this happen to my church!”

I remember uttering those words of defiance back when I believed that my home church was under attack. I wasn’t sure who was behind the sudden dysfunction, but I was determined to find out and FIX the problem…. I’ve learned since that my assertive passion — no matter how well intended — was simple-minded and doomed to fail.

Israel’s response following the Assyrian attack on their nation (in the 730s B.C.) was also one of defiance. In essence, they shook their fists and vowed to rebuild what had been destroyed. They pledged to come back even stronger than before. But in doing that, they disrespected the One who had allowed the Assyrians to breach the wall of His protection.

So the Lord God once again sent warnings through His prophets to try and wake up His naive chosen people and to help them understand why their enemies had managed to attack them so unexpectedly. But the people would only believe what they could see with their eyes — devastation, collapsed buildings, and fallen handmade bricks.

An obscure verse in Isaiah gives us a window into Israel’s response to what happened. With pride and arrogance of heart they replied: “The bricks have fallen, but we will rebuild with dressed stone; the fig trees have been felled, but we will replace them with cedars” (Isaiah 9:10).

According to Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, an official response to national calamity can only be recognized if it is given by a leader with authority to speak publicly on the nation’s behalf.

In 1865, toward the end of the Civil War (a catastrophic event similar to when the Assyrians breached the Israelites’ wall of protection), President Abraham Lincoln responded appropriately by humbly laying the whole bloody mess at the feet of Almighty God. In his Second Inaugural Address, President Lincoln stood on the Wast Portico of America’s capitol and proclaimed: “The Almighty has His own purposes…. Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away…. Yet … it must be said, that the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

On the contrary, America’s response to the attacks of 9/11 was not humble, but defiant — similar to that of the ancient Israelites. That response was pronounced on September 12, 2001 by the Senate majority leader. Out of over 30,000 verses in the Bible, Senator Daschel chose to read Isaiah 9:10! And after he finished proclaiming the ancient vow, he added his own words: The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stones; the fig trees have been felled, but we will replace them with cedars. That is what we will do.

The speaker was oblivious to the prophetic role he was playing in the grand scheme of things. And he wasn’t the only one used by God to pronounce judgment on America. In autumn of 2004, the Democrat’s candidate for the office of Vice President, was invited to speak in the nation’s capitol on the third anniversary of 9/11. He started his speech with these words: Good morning. Today, on this day of remembrance and mourning, we have the Lord’s word to get us through: ‘The bricks have fallen, but we will rebuild with dressed stones; the sycamores have been cut down, but we will put cedars in their place.'” He (or perhaps his speech writer) chose the same defiant words chosen by the leaders of Israel!

President Barack Obama has also unknowingly taken part in reiterating the call for defiance. During his first State of the Union address, given before Congress and the nation in 2009, President Obama said: “I know that for many Americans watching right now, the state of our economy is a concern that rises above all others. But while our economy may be weakened and our confidence shaken; though we are living through difficult and uncertain times, tonight I want every American to know this — WE WILL REBUILD…. The weight of this crisis will not determine the destiny of this nation.” Later in his address he added one more declaration: “We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before.”

Though his intent was to inspire the nation, the President actually voiced the central declaration of Isaiah 9:10! Amazing? Yes, but there’s more. In June of 2012, Obama set aside politics and visited the sleek glass and steel building under construction to replace the Twin Towers at Ground Zero in New York City. The structure has been named “Freedom Tower” and when it’s completed, it will be the tallest building in the country at 1776 feet. (The Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776.)

After his tour, the President of the United States signed one of the construction beams with a red marker. He wrote: “We remember, we rebuild, we come back stronger!” And he signed his name.

Is America actually capable of of recovering by its own efforts — without returning to God and asking for reinstatement of His divine protection — and emerging stronger than before?

“But the people have not returned to Him who struck them,

nor have they sought the Lord Almighty …”

(Isaiah 9:13)

THINK ABOUT IT: Is there anything wrong in your life that could be put right by simply giving God credit for the blessings He has bestowed on you? Are there curses that could be removed by the Protector if you humbly submit to Him? Do you feel like you’re at a dead end in your job or relationship? Think about what God said through the prophet Jeremiah before Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3).

“Bricks Without Straw” by Paula Yingst

“God sends no one away empty

except those who are full of themselves.”

— Dwight L. Moody

BRICKS WITHOUT STRAW

“The bricks have fallen,

but we will rebuild

with hewn stone” …

When the Lord said to Pharaoh, “Let my people go!”, Pharaoh replied, “No!” And who could really blame him? After all, the Israelites were the unpaid workforce for his empire. They were excellent brick makers, and the Egyptian Pharaoh needed them.

Pharaoh obviously didn’t get it, though, when it came to the issue of defying the Israelites’ God. Because, to make a point, Pharaoh increased the level of suffering and ordered that the brick makers produce their regular quota, but without the key ingredient that held them together!

It wasn’t long before the king of Egypt got a taste of what can happen when you mess with the Lord God of the Israelites! (You can read all about that in Exodus 3-14.)

Fast forward about 700 years to the aftermath of the Assyrian conquest. The Israelites who miraculously remained in the Promised Land — those who had not been taken captive — looked around at all the broken bricks that had been their capitol city. They shook their fists in defiance and reasoned, “We will rebuild with gazit stone!” Gazit stone was a hewn stone — quarried and chiseled out of mountain rock. It was much stronger than brick and less likely to crumble beneath the onslaught of future enemies.

Another 700+ years went by … Jesus and his disciples were standing around looking at the second temple buildings — no doubt constructed from gazit stone. Out of the blue, Jesus remarked, “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down” (Matthew 24:2). Sure enough, a few decades after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, the Jews’ wall of protection was breached once again, this time by the Romans. Soldiers set the temple on fire — I’m not sure why they were successful since it was made out of rock — then they pried the massive stones apart to retrieve gold that had melted between the cracks.

At that point, God delivered on another curse detailed in Deuteronomy 28 — “You who are as numerous as the stars in the sky will be left but few in number, because you did not obey the Lord your God…. Then the Lord will scatter you among the nations, from one end of the earth to the other” (Deuteronomy 28:62-64).

After the Roman onslaught in 70 A.D., most of the descendants of Israel were literally relocated to every known country on earth, and they remained without a homeland until 1948, when the Jews were gathered again as a nation into the land promised to Abraham by the Lord God. Since then they have dealt continually with open hostility from their extremely distant relatives, the descendants of Ishmael!

After 9/11, the Lord God was carefully watching over infant Israel, but he still had his eye on America. On July 4, 2004, another harbinger unexpectedly appeared in New York City. A massive, twenty-ton rectangular gazit stone, quarried from the Adirondack Mountains, was moved to the corner of Ground Zero. During the dedication ceremony, it was declared that the stone would “forever remain a symbolic cornerstone for the rebuilding of New York and America.” Governor George Pataki added, By laying this magnificent cornerstone of hope, we are sending a message to the people around the world.”

Like so many symbols that are expected to remain relevant forever, “the Freedom Stone,”as it was christened, was removed from its place of honor in 2006 and given back to the company that had provided it. Turned out that it didn’t fit into the revised plans for the Freedom Tower.

And it’s been sitting in the backyard of the company’s headquarters ever since.

“The Lord foils the plans of the nations;

He thwarts the purposes of the people.

But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,

the purposes of His heart through all generations.”

(Psalm 33:10-11)

CONSIDER THIS: How often do you ask the Lord about your plans and purposes? Set aside 15 minutes within the next 24 hours to seek Him, listen for His voice interjected into your thoughts, and then move forward with assurance.

“Sycamores and Cedars” by Paula Yingst

“What is a foundation? It is that upon which something else stands, rests, or is built.”

— Jonathan Cahn

SYCAMORES AND CEDARS

“The sycamores have been cut down,

but we will plant cedars in their place.”

Chuck and I stared at the sorry-looking palm tree, planted at the corner of our property. It had been standing proud and lofty with a full head of fronds blowing gracefully with the breeze. Now it looked like it had been beheaded!

A tree trimming service had come along on behalf of the County when we weren’t home and whacked it off about midway down the trunk. Chuck had been actively protecting the palm for a couple of years, so seeing it in such a sorry state was painful.

The tree had been planted too close to the power lines, which was considered a fire hazard. But while the County wanted it cut down because the fronds would “eventually touch the wires,” the power company was telling us that they would be taking the lines out … “eventually.”

What must it have been like for the remaining Israelites who surveyed the damage in mid-730 B.C. after brutal Assyrians had ravaged their land? The clay bricks had fallen … the beautiful sycamores had been cut down. I envision women weeping, children picking through the rubble, and men shaking their fists in frustration and anger, vowing: “We won’t allow our enemies to get the best of us! We’ll rebuild with gazit stone and plant cedars where the sycamores stood. We will return, stronger than before!”

The sycamore tree was common in the Middle East. It was feeble in comparison to the cedar, or “erez,” tree. So the nation vowed that they would plant a stronger version — and evergreen conifer — a symbol of renewed strength and defiance.

On the morning of 9/11, as the Twin Towers were in the process of crumbling, St. Peter’s Chapel stood at the very edge of the chaos. As I mentioned earlier, the little stone church was the only building unharmed on the rectangular plot of real estate that’s now known as Ground Zero. A miracle? Of course, but there’s much more to the story.

The sycamore specifically named in Isaiah 9:10 is foreign to the American Northeast. But a version of the tree does exist in New York City, called the English sycamore. And one of those English sycamores was planted around 65 years ago next to the little stone church where President George Washington and the first American Congress gathered to pray for God’s protection over our nation.

When the dust cleared after the terrorist attack on 9/11, it was discovered that the sycamore tree next to St. Peter’s Chapel had been felled by debris and wreckage, hurled through the air as the towers fell. But it had protected the little church during all of the horrific destruction! The gnarled remains of the tree was dubbed “the Sycamore of Ground Zero” and placed on display as a tourist attraction … along with the small object found entwined in its roots — a brick.

No one had any idea of its connection to the Isaiah 9:10 prophecy. Nor did they have any clue about the unfathomable “coincidence” that would occur two years after the sycamore fell.

In November 2003, a fully-grown tree, transported by crane, appeared in the sky at the corner of Ground Zero. It was carefully lowered into the exact spot where the sycamore tree had stood, next to St, Peter’s Chapel. The tree is a “pincea,” sister to the Cedar of Lebanon, and just like with the gazit “Freedom Stone,” a public ceremony of dedication followed. The cedar was labeled “The Tree of Hope.”

I’m thinking that maybe we should gather family and friends for a dedication of our decapitated palm tree and label it “The Tree of Hopelessness.”

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”

says the Teacher.

“Everything is meaningless!”

— Solomon (Ecclesiastes 12:8)

THINK ABOUT IT: Judging from the personal observations recorded in the book of Ecclesiastes, could it be that King Solomon suffered from undiagnosed chronic depression? Beware of “bumper sticker Christianity” where verses are often taken out of context and applied to random situations … and coffee mugs.