Thursday, November 28, 2013

2 Chronicles 7:14

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (Old Testament, 2 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles 7:14)

I want to call attention to a sermon by Jonathan Kahn at the last Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast.  Rabbi Kahn called America to repentance, called us to return to the God of the Bible and called us to a return to virtue.  Rabbi Kahn also restated the covenant over this land that is found in the Book of Mormon that only inasmuch as we would serve and obey God we would prosper.

This post is not necessarily an endorsement of Jonathan Kahn or his best-selling book "The Harbinger". I think the signs and numerology in the book may give a false impression of how God operates. Also, that certain events were accidental.

The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycomores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars. (Old Testament, Isaiah, Isaiah 9:10)

I do agree with Rabbi Kahn that Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle could have been more careful when he choose to quote the Bible in his 9/11 speech.  Isaiah's words actually were spoken in condemnation of Ephraim.  Isaiah was saying that Ephraim, even after being afflicted, would saying these words in the pride of their heart.

For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the Lord of hosts. (Old Testament, Isaiah, Isaiah 9:13) (Tom Daschle quotes Isa 9:10) (John Edwards quotes Isa 9:10) (Pres. Obama says "we will rebuild")

So, what is Rabbi Kahn's book about? Kahn recounts Assyria's attack on the land of Napthali as a warning to Ephraim of future destruction.  Kahn draws a parallel between this Biblical warning and 9/11 foreshadowing a future destruction to America.

Kahn says he was drawn to this conclusion when several American politicians began quoting Isa. 9:10 with regard to 9/11 rebuilding projects.  But in addition to quoting scripture, the people rebuilding the "one world tower" symbolically laid hewn granite stone as the cornerstone and foundation of the  rebuilt "freedom tower".  

Additionally, there is the sycomore-cedar issue.  St. Paul's Chapel is the site where, after George Washington gave his inaugural address from Federal Hall in Manhattan, he led Congress in prayer at St. Paul's chapel dedicating this country to the service of God. St. Paul's Chapel is across the street from the WTC but was protected from the building collapse by a sycamore (buttonwood) tree.  The tree's roots have been bronzed and are on display in memorial to 9/11.  But in addition, cedar trees were planted in the place of the sycamore.

There is some more significance to the sycamore tree.  In the Bible, the sycamore refers to a fig tree. In America, the sycamore refers to a fruitless buttonwood tree. May 17, 1792, the Buttonwood agreement started the New York Stock Exchange and in July 1944, the Bretton-Woods agreement established the US Dollar as the world reserve currency.  Remember the cursing of the fruitless fig tree in Matt 21 and Mark 11.

Kahn concludes that the defiant rebuilding without repenting and returning to the God of America and a return to virtue will bring a great curse and future  destruction upon America.  Kahn says the historically low interest rates following 9/11 brought about the housing bubble and collapse 7 years later in 2008. Other actions in response to 9/11 may also likewise come back on us (e.g. Patriot Act, War on Terror, etc).

What Kahn doesn't seem to realize the possibility that any of these events could have been purposefully carried out. While I do think the preservation of St. Paul's Chapel is miraculous, I don't think people mock God by accident. Kahn seems to assume that people were putting Isa 9:10 in speeches, laying hewn stone and planting cedars without realizing the message of defiance they were communicating.
(summary: "Harbinger")

I do agree with Rabbi Kahn that everything the US has done to protect herself following 9/11 which was done instead of repenting has and will bring upon America a backlash.  In other words, instead of fixing the problems in our nation through repentance, we have just dug our own pitt 10 times deeper.

That said, I hope Kahn's book and speeches do more than just call attention to the mocking of God. I hope that people instead feel more inspired to repentance.

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