Rabbi’s Reflections – Sunday, September 13, 2020
The 9/11/2001 Attack on America – A Warning of God’s Judgment? (Part 2) by Dr. and Senator Raymond Finney
Rabbi’s note: Raymond sent along a file of images and descriptions to support what he is writing about today. We have loaded them onto our Shomair website. They can be viewed here. https://syknox.org/harbinger-illustrations/. End Rabbi’s note.
INTRODUCTION: This past Friday, September 11, marked the anniversary of the day America was attacked (9/11) by Muslim terrorists in 2001. Continuing last Sunday’s RR, today I briefly summarize the nine harbingers foretelling a future judgment against America, as proposed by Rabbi Cahn in The Harbinger. I can only skim through these harbingers. Rabbi Cahn expands his research and thoughts more thoroughly in a most informative, recently published novel, The Harbinger II.
NINE HARBINGERS: Following, I briefly summarize nine harbingers foretold in the Isaiah 9 prophecy, as proposed by Cahn in The Harbinger. These harbingers possibly predicted the day America was attacked (9/11) and may serve as God’s warning to our nation of future judgment (if repentance does not occur):
NOTE: I quote Scriptures from the Tree of Life Version (TLV), a translation popular in this congregation. If you use other translations, the verse numbers may be one number higher than the TLV verse numbers. There is no perfect Bible translation. We must do the best we can with what we have.
HARBINGER 1– THE BREACH: Pertinent text (Isaiah 9:7-9): Adonai sent a word to Jacob, and it fell upon Israel. All the people will know what Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria say in pride and in arrogance of heart: “The bricks are fallen, but we will rebuild with cut stones. The sycamores are cut down, but we will replace them with cedars.”
A breach is a break in something. (A leaking dam has sustained a breach.) Adonai placed His hedge of protection around Israel (and, more recently, America). Rebellion against God causes Him to breach His protection from time to time. Did God breach America’s hedge of protection on 9/11, allowing Muslim terrorists to stage a deadly warning against “The Great Satan” (a Muslim epithet for America)?
SIDELIGHT 1: “Hedge of protection” is used as a concept of God’s favor in several Scripture verses– Job 1:9-10; Ezekiel 13:5, 22:30; and Mark 12:1. For most of America’s existence, our nation has been protected by vast oceans; peaceful neighbors to the north and the south; and, most importantly, God’s favor. America can no longer depend upon geography (ocean expanses) for protection. If we lose God’s favor (the hedge is breached), we are in ominous peril.
SIDELIGHT 2: In a future RR, I hope to discuss Revelation, chapter 12– a most interesting chapter. Until then, know John the Revelator’s symbols: the “woman” is Israel; her “male Child” is Yeshua; the “fiery red dragon” with multiple heads, horns, and crowns is Satan and the Antichrist system; and the time period of “a time, times, and half a time” or “1,260 days” is the last half of the Tribulation. Note this verse (Revelation 12:14a): But the woman was given two wings of the great eagle, so that she might fly away from the presence of the serpent into the wilderness,…. The “eagle” represents the United States. Yeshua, through John, told us that “the eagle” (the USA) will still be around during the last half of the Tribulation and will be available to carry “the woman” (Israel) to safety from Satanic assaults. Believers must do everything possible to preserve faith in America because it is our destiny– our divine calling– to continue to protect Israel. I will explain this prophecy more fully in a future RR. We Believers must never grow faint of heart. Although America is apostate, sin-filled, and antisemitic, God only needs a remnant of faithful Believers to accomplish His will. END sidelights.
HARBINGER 2– THE TERRORISTS: Pertinent text (Isaiah 9:7-9): See preceding section, Harbinger 1.
Assyria, centered in present-day northern Iraq, originated the concept of terrorism. Assyrians were uncommonly vicious, cruel warriors, having no respect for life.
Ancient Assyrians attacked Israel, when God removed Israel’s hedge of protection. The terrorists who attacked America on 9/11 were of the same mindset as the ancient Assyrians. They have exchanged Allah for Assyria’s ancient gods. They attacked America for the glory of Allah (see recent RRs), shouting “Allahu akbar!” (Arabic for “Allah is the greatest!”), as they cowardly drove commandeered jetliners into helpless citizens, murdering them by the thousands. In their twisted, evil minds, Allah would somehow be pleased by the deaths of these infidels.
HARBINGER 3– THE FALLEN BRICKS: Pertinent text (Isaiah 9:9a): [People will say] “The bricks are fallen,….”
You probably watched the events on the morning of 9/11, as I did. You remember the explosions from the jetliners’ impacts, followed by tons and tons of debris falling to New York City streets. Trapped office workers chose swift death by jumping from skyscraper heights, rather than a slower, agonizing death of burning alive. In a short period of time, the magnificent Twin Towers had been reduced to a smoldering ash pile of office supplies and building materials (fallen “bricks”); and, the Pentagon was significantly damaged, although not destroyed.
HARBINGER 4– THE TOWER: Pertinent text (Isaiah 9:9b): [People will say] “… but we will rebuild….”
One politician after another at local, state, and federal levels defiantly promised something like: “The terrorists have destroyed our magnificent buildings, but we are not defeated. We will rebuild. We will be stronger. We will be better.”
Almost immediately after the 9/11 attacks, two of the first politicians to speak from Washington, D.C. were Senators Tom Daschle and John Edwards. Interestingly, both senators quoted the Isaiah 9 passage being used in this RR. The last high-ranking politician to address the 9/11 tragedy in a personal on-site visit was President Barack Obama on August 2, 2012.
Scripted politicians performed on the world stage, as we would expect. They were completely ignorant of that which should be obvious– God warned America of future judgment because of her sins. Politicians promised that America was not defeated. They promised that we would rebuild and become stronger. Although these promises were to be expected, they must have been an affront to God. God surely did not want a building recovery program. Rather, He wanted a confession of America’s moral failures, a plea for forgiveness, and a promise that America would seek God’s ways. Of course, politicians would never say these things (you know, they ascribe to the false “separation of church and state” narrative). Thus, God’s warning had fallen on deaf ears of the people and, especially, their leaders.
After clearing the fallen towers’ debris (“the fallen bricks”), the Freedom Tower was built on the site. The tower is a beautiful replacement, but God may have viewed America’s arrogant building of the Freedom Tower as He viewed Nimrod’s Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9).
HARBINGER 5– THE GAZIYTH STONE: Pertinent text (Isaiah 9:9b): [People will say] “… but we will rebuild with cut stones.” To show America’s strength and resolve, politicians chose to build the Freedom Tower with more expensive, grander building materials. In the Isaiah prophecy, these new stones are called in Hebrew gaziyth (pronounced, gä·zeth’) stones. A gaziyth stone is a cut (dressed, hewn) stone from a mountain. The cornerstone for the Freedom Tower– the Freedom Stone– is a 20-ton block of granite quarried from upstate New York’s Adirondack Mountains. This granite block is more durable and costly than the original Twin Towers’ building materials.
This cornerstone, laid on July 4, 2004, bears the inscription: “To honor and remember those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 and as a tribute to the enduring spirit of freedom.”
HARBINGER 6– THE SYCAMORE TREE: Pertinent text (Isaiah 9:9c): [People will say] “The sycamores are cut down,….” This portion of Isaiah’s prophecy described a long-standing tactic of terrorists’ attacks. An invading army would destroy a nation’s resources to weaken and punish the enemy. This scorched-earth military tactic is still used. Examples: Sherman’s March to the Sea (American Civil War) was waged from Atlanta to Savannah, Georgia from November 15 until December 21, 1864, by Major General William Tecumseh Sherman of the Union Army. Sherman burned all of the plantations in his path. In twentieth century wars, carpet bombing and fire bombing of cities have continued.
In Isaiah’s time, orchards, vineyards, and other food sources were destroyed. (A starving people soon lose resolve to wage war.) The Hebrew word shaqam is correctly translated “sycamore” in this verse, but the Middle Eastern sycamore bears figs, unlike our American sycamore. The sycamore of the Isaiah prophecy is a source of food, and may symbolize all food-bearing plants. This Middle Eastern sycamore would not survive New York City’s harsh winters.
A large American sycamore grew on the perimeter of the land upon which the Twin Towers were built. As the second tower collapsed, a large steel beam was forcefully propelled from the exploding building. This beam struck the sycamore tree, completely destroying it. Modern-day Muslim terrorists destroyed “America’s sycamore tree,” as ancient Assyrian terrorists destroyed the sycamore trees of the victim nations (such as, Israel) they invaded.
The stump of the felled tree was identified. Its roots were dug up. Bronze was used to make a casting of the roots of this famous, beloved tree, which became known as “The Sycamore of Ground Zero.”
Interestingly, bronze was chosen to make the casting. In the Bible, bronze is symbolic of the metal of judgment in dealing with sin, as well as human nature. Could God have told America that our bounteous harvests may be in jeopardy because of our sins? (Recall: COVID-19 pandemic’s strain of our food supply.)
HARBINGER 7– THE CEDAR TREE: Pertinent text (Isaiah 9:9d): [People will say] “… but we will replace them [the sycamores] with cedars.” “Cedar,” here, correctly translates the Hebrew ‘erez. ‘Erez is usually translated “cedar,” but can denote any evergreen, coniferous tree. (A Norway spruce qualifies as an ‘erez.)
Politicians wished to replace the felled “Sycamore of Ground Zero.” In its place, they planted a beautiful 21-foot Norway spruce, named the “Tree of Hope.”
This tree, planted at the exact spot where formerly grew the sycamore tree, was ceremoniously planted in November, 2003, slightly more than two years after 9/11.
Almost immediately after planting, the spruce failed to thrive. Because this was “America’s tree,” no expense was spared in trying to keep the tree alive. The best horticulturists labored to save the tree, but this important symbol could not be kept alive. Even the soil was replaced (in case there were toxic materials from the Towers’ burning), but nothing could be found to save America’s Tree of Hope.
It became obvious America’s Tree of Hope could not be salvaged, as branches continued to die. Dead branches were cut away. Cutting away dead branches recalls the Biblical description of God’s judgment (John 15:2, etc.). On April 14, 2014, the Tree of Hope was removed. There are no plans to replace it. On April 14, 2014, Passover began at sundown. On this same evening (April 14-15), a lunar eclipse occurred and was highly publicized because of its reddish color (“blood moon”). Could these things occurring in short order– Passover; America’s Tree of Hope cut down, not to be replaced; and a blood moon lunar eclipse– be a message from God? Is hope for America as dead as her Tree of Hope?
HARBINGER 8– THE UTTERANCE: Pertinent text (Isaiah 9:8): [Adonai sent a word] All the people will know what [the people] say in pride and in arrogance of heart:…. Politicians lined up to speak encouraging words of hope, and often to assure us that Islam is “a great religion of peace and love” and to absolve this “great religion” from any responsibility for the attack. (Always be politically correct!) In a speech to the Black Caucus on the third anniversary of 9/11, Senator John Edwards (remember him?) based his speech on the Isaiah 9 prophecy. Edwards missed the point, though. Speaking what he thought to be words of inspiration and comfort, he reassuringly outlined America’s resolve to build better and stronger, never to be defeated by or surrender to terrorists. To God, these words may have been defiant, prideful arrogance. These politicians’ speeches may have seemed as though Nimrod “channeled” through them. Could Nimrod have uttered such boastful words at the dedication of the Tower of Babel?
To build a better replacement tower was accepted by politicians and the public as defiance against terrorism. Any effort to become whole again was a sign of patriotism. Few understood what God’s message may have been– a warning for America and a call to humble repentance.
HARBINGER 9– THE PROPHECY: Pertinent text (Isaiah 9:7-9): Adonai sent a word to Jacob [Israel], and it fell upon Israel. All the people will know what Ephraim [a tribe of Israel] and the inhabitants of Samaria [a region of Israel] say in pride and in arrogance of heart: “The bricks are fallen, but we will rebuild with cut stones. The sycamores are cut down, but we will replace them with cedars.” The ninth harbinger is a prophetic summary of the eight harbingers previously discussed.
Cahn believes this Isaiah passage has dual meaning: (1) It documented Adonai’s punishment of ancient Israel for her defiance against the will of Adonai. (2) It prophesied the treatment of a future nation (America) which would defy God.
Why could this Isaiah prophecy apply to America? Americans:
** Have ignored God and the ways in which we should follow Him.
** Have continued to sin in many ways (ways even unknown in ancient Israel).
** Are growing more estranged (separated) from the God who loves us (blesses us) so much and from Yeshua, who gave His life that we may inherit eternal life.
** Continue to elect corrupt politicians, who are interested in their personal wealth, power, sinful lifestyles, and political careers, rather than leading the nation to follow God’s ways.
** Far too often tolerate weak religious leaders, who are pharisaical; riddled with sin; apostate; and fail to warn their congregations, “Thus says the Lord….”
** And many other shortcomings.
OTHER COMMENTS: Consider additional comments (not part of The Harbinger):
** The immediate death toll in the 9/11 attacks was given as just under 3,000 persons. I am struck by this number, which is approximately the same daily death toll of unborn babies in America’s abortion clinics. Even now nearly two decades later, we mourn those who died in a single day in the 9/11 attacks (and, rightly so). But, virtually no one mourns the same number of babies killed every day– day after day after day– in America’s abortion clinics. I have been derisively called a “pro-life wingnut” – a title, meant as a slur, which I wear proudly (although I had to look up “wingnut” in a slang dictionary)! I believe part of God’s judgment against America is the way we have seared our consciences against a national outrage of killing precious little babies– more than 60-million since 1973 Roe vs Wade– and victimizing their mothers into believing that abortion is the only solution to an unplanned pregnancy.
** Do you remember how Americans behaved shortly after 9/11? Places of worship throughout America were filled to overflowing with people seeking God. Linda and I attended a Blount County 9/11 service at First Baptist Church of Maryville. That sanctuary, which seated approximately 2,000 persons, was completely filled. People were crying, praying, and seeking personal and national forgiveness. That feeling no longer exists. Once again, we have forgotten God.
** Rabbi Cahn has published a sequel– The Harbinger II– which explores in much greater detail the events of 9/11. There are too many “coincidences” between the 9/11 attack and a probable message from God for this day to be anything other than a warning of future judgment for America. Persons will be judged after death (Hebrews 9:27): And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after this judgment,…. By the time persons are judged, nations will no longer exist. Therefore, nations must be judged while nations still exist (before Yeshua returns). We have been forewarned. I believe our nation is too far gone to return to Adonai. We Americans have tasted sinful lives, and we love that taste. I believe we will continue sinning before God until judgment is visited upon us. In other words, the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” (Revelation, chapter 6) may be mounted and ready to ride, just as soon as Yeshua begins to break the scroll’s seals in Heaven.
I love our country (as you also probably do), but there is nothing we can do to change the hearts of 325-million fellow Americans. All we can do is try to prepare ourselves, our families, and our neighbors to be as ready as possible for our personal judgments. The Apostle Paul strongly warned us to care for our families, which would especially apply to times of crisis (1 Timothy 5:8): But if anyone does not provide for his own, especially those in his own house, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
SEE ALSO: As an appendix, submitted today as a separate file, I present some illustrations to demonstrate points made in this RR.
Until next Sunday, Shalom and Maranatha.