Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, a messianic Jewish Rabbi who was at ground zero on September 11, 2001, has been given amazing insights into the judgment of God on America. Rabbi Cahn is President of Hope of the World Ministries, Senior Pastor, and Rabbi of the Beth Israel Worship Center in Garfield, New Jersey.
Rabbi Cahn points out the similarities between how God dealt with ancient Israel and how He is dealing with America today. This article summarizes some of his key points starting with God’s dealings with Israel and then looking at recent events in America.
When ancient Israel turned away from God, He sent warnings to bring them to repentance. It was never God’s will to bring judgment. His desire was only for their good. He sent warnings to get the people to come back to the place where He could continue to bless them. However, when the people refused to repent and ignored His warnings, they separated themselves from God by turning away from what He had commanded them to do. By their acts of disobedience, they took sides against God and put themselves in a dangerous place where the blessings of God were cut off.
Each time the warnings came was another opportunity for the people to repent. However, in some cases the people did not repent but rather became defiant. This is the situation described in Isaiah 9:10. God had struck down Israel, but the people asserted in pride and in arrogance of heart saying:
“The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with smooth stones; the sycamores have been cut down, but we will replace them with cedars.”
Their defiance and refusal to return to God brought about worse calamities as God stirred up their enemies to devour them. There is nothing wrong with rebuilding, but when it is done without repentance it becomes an act of defiance, which leads to more judgment.
Like ancient Israel, the people of America have a godly heritage. As a nation, we have known the truth and known the God of Israel. Not every nation can say this, but Israel and America can.
The evidence of America’s godly heritage today has virtually been erased from our school textbooks. But for anyone who wants to know the truth, the evidence is overwhelming and undeniable. America was founded by believers in God and dedicated to God from the very beginning. Of the 250 men who today are identified as founding fathers of America, 237 of them (95%) were dedicated believers. Many were ordained ministers of the gospel and had graduated from seminaries. It was by their faith in God and from their knowledge of the scriptures that they drafted our constitution and our system of government.
The very day our new government was established, on April 30, 1789, the day of the inauguration of our first president, George Washington, our leaders gathered together at Federal Hall in New York City, which at the time was the capital city of our nation. It was not until later that the capital was moved to Washington DC.
On that day at Federal Hall, George Washington delivered his inaugural speech. Then, immediately after his speech, Washington led the other leaders to walk with him to St. Paul’s Chapel where they had the very first meeting of the new American government. Their meeting was only for one purpose, prayer.
In that prayer meeting, Washington led the other leaders in a prayer to dedicate our nation to God. In his prayer, Washington declared that if America ever turned away from God, that we would lose his blessings. Here is a quote from his prayer:
“We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained.” (George Washington)
His prayers are commemorated to this day in St. Paul’s Chapel with a statue of him praying.
The scripture says in Luke 12:48, “To whom much is given, much will be required.” Judgment is more severe for the one who knows to do right but chooses to turn away from doing it. It is a far more serious offense to have known God and then turned away from him than to have never known him. This principle applies to individuals as well as nations.
For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. (2 Peter 2:24)
So now consider 21st century America, where God’s people, the people who call themselves believers in the God of Israel, believers in the Messiah, Jesus, have willfully indulged their carnal appetites in all sorts of immorality, sensuality and corruption. As a nation, we have chosen to receive darkness and have rejected the light of God. We have separated ourselves from God by turning against His commandments. We have strayed so far away from the light of God that we are now perplexed and confused by the scriptures which are engraved in the walls of almost all of our government buildings and monuments. We have forgotten why our forefathers ever put them there. We have even demanded to have them removed. We have rejected the God of our fathers. We have demanded to keep God out of our schools and our public places. We have taken sides against God. We have effectively demanded that God remove Himself from our nation so that we can govern ourselves without Him.
Then comes 9/11. It is our choices that take God’s blessing of protection of America away. It is not His choice. Thousands of people were killed on that day as a result.
All across our land, people ask themselves why did God allow this to happen to us? In heaven, very different questions are being asked. Why did God’s people turn away from him? Why did they reject the blessings of the one who is the source of every good thing? Why did they ban Him from their schools and from their public places? Why do they take sides against the God of heaven?
Amazingly, the judgment of God came to the exact same place where George Washington led our new government in prayer. The very property where the twin towers were built was the property of St. Paul’s Chapel. The World Trade Towers were built right next to this historic chapel. The very place where George Washington cried out to God saying God’s blessings would be lifted from us if we ever turned away from God, this was the very place where judgment fell on us. Judgment of America returned to the place where America was founded and dedicated to God.
Even more amazingly, when the World Trade Towers collapsed they destroyed all of the surrounding buildings. All except for one. St. Paul’s Chapel was the only one left standing.
If you think this was a coincidence, think again. The story gets more remarkable as it unfolds. The impact of the collapse of the World Trade Towers was so great it shook the earth and caused a crack in the foundation of Federal Hall, the site of the first President’s inauguration, the place where our nation’s government was founded. The foundation of our place of foundation was cracked on that day. Just as America has rejected the truths which have served as the pillars of our nation, the very truths which have been our firm foundation, so have we now suffered a crack in the foundation of Federal Hall.
In ancient Israel, Solomon was chosen by God to build the temple. When it was completed, he dedicated the temple and the nation of Israel to God in a glorious ceremony. This same temple that was the place of dedication to God later became the place of the judgment of God on Israel. When the people of Israel turned away from God, judgment returned to the place of dedication. The temple was destroyed.
The parallels with ancient Israel continue. God instructed the Israelites to have a year of rest every 7 years. The 7th year, which was the Sabbath year, was called the Shemitah. Shemitah is a Hebrew word which means “to let fall”. Israel was instructed to rest during this year, to set aside their business dealings, to let them fall to the side for a time of rest. On the last day of this Sabbath year, they were instructed to release all debt. But in pursuit of money, the Israelites broke the Shemitah and refused to rest during the seventh year. Therefore the Shemitah, which was intended to be a blessing, came back upon them as a curse. The people were removed from their land for 70 years because there were 70 Shemitahs that they failed to observe. The Shemitah became a sign of judgment against a nation that had put economics ahead of God. Specifically, the judgment was against Israel’s financial realm because that was the realm they chose to put ahead of God’s commandment.
On the Hebrew calendar, the last day of the 7th year occurred in September 2001. As a result of the attacks on 9/11, 7% of the value of Wall Street was wiped out during the same month.
Following the events of 9/11, Americans rallied together. For a few weeks, many who had been away from God showed up in churches all across the land. For a few weeks, it got our attention. Unfortunately, the turn to God was short lived. People soon resumed their lives and their godless lifestyles continued just as they had before.
Our leaders talked about what we would do to rebuild and respond to this tragic event. But what they did not talk about is what we must do to avoid another 9/11 by returning to the God of our forefathers to obey His commandments and repent of our sins against Him.
Just like ancient Israel, instead of repenting we became defiant. We declared what we would do to rebuild, to punish our attackers, to increase our security, yet all of that without any mention of repenting before God. In their ignorance, our government leaders even quoted the very same scriptures from Isaiah 9:10, where Israel defied God. The day after 9/11/01, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle stood on the steps of the capital and quoted Isaiah 9:10.
The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with smooth stones; the sycamores have been cut down, but we will replace them with cedars. (Isaiah 9:10)
Of all the scriptures he could have quoted, Daschle picks the one that Isaiah gave as a judgment against Israel. Shortly after he said this, Tom Daschle fell from power.
Without humility, without expressing any need for God, without acknowledging any wrongdoing on our part, our government leaders claimed America would get ourselves out of this mess. They might have well shook their fists at heaven as they arrogantly claimed to have the solution without any need for repentance, not knowing they were only moving us further in the wrong direction, on the path towards more judgment.
Three years later, on the 3rd anniversary of 9/11, on September 11, 2004, during his campaign for vice president, John Edwards gave a speech which was all about Isaiah 9:10. He quoted this verse in his speech. Like Tom Daschle, Edwards took this scripture out of context to make it sound like it was a good thing rather than an act of defiance. He had no idea what he was saying. He also fell from power soon after this. Today he is fighting to avoid a federal prison sentence.
Exactly 7 years after the attacks of 9/11, in September 2008, judgment returned to America. This time it hit directly in our financial markets beginning with the collapse of the housing market and ultimately the collapse of Lehman Brothers. In this collapse, the financial sector of our economy was wiped out. Only a massive government bailout prevented a total economic collapse. Trillions of dollars of wealth were wiped away.
The pinnacle of the collapse came on the 29th day of September 2008, which was the day of Elul. On the Hebrew calendar, which is different from our calendar, the day of Elul is the last day of the 7th year, the year of the Shemitah. This day only comes once every seven years. It was on this exact day, the day of Elul, that God instructed Israel to wipe away all of the financial debts. On this very same day came the greatest collapse of Wall Street in history up until that time. The stock market dropped 777 points that day, resulting in a loss of exactly 7 percent of its total value, exactly 7 years after 9/11.
Sadly, if our government leaders are an indicator of where we are as a nation, it appears America has still not humbled herself to repent before God. Only repentance can bring us back to the place of favor and blessings from God. Yet our government leaders ignorantly continue on the path of arrogance, the path of Isaiah 9:10, which is the path of destruction.
In February 2009, President Barack Obama was giving his first speech to Congress. In this speech, he 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, we will recover and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before.”(Barack Obama)
This was the same central vow of Isaiah 9:10. He did not quote this scripture but he surely did capture the godless, unbelieving, unrighteous spirit of it.
After King Solomon dedicated the temple to God, he cried out to God asking Him to forgive the people if they would ever turn away from Him but would then repent of their sins. God answered Solomon, telling him He had heard his prayers and gave him this word of encouragement:
If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2nd Chronicles 7:13-14)
So then the answer lies not with our government leaders and not with the unbelieving heathen in our land. The answer for America lies in the hands of God’s people, those who have believed in him through his son, Jesus Christ. As God said to Solomon, if “My people” would turn from their sins and pray and seek His face, then He would hear from heaven and heal our land. God is calling His people to repent of their spiritual apathy, complacency and their secret sins to turn back to God. Judgment begins with the house of God. So rather than rail against our leaders and against the unrighteous in our land, let us first humble ourselves, turn from our own sins, and seek the face of God. Only then will God heal our land.
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Author: James Bailey
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