Written by Jimmie Burroughs
According to a new poll by the United Press International, nearly half of those interviewed believed that 2015 would be a better year for them, and only one out of ten thought 2015 would be a worse year.
I became interested in this particular study about a year ago when a friend told me about a new book, “Harbinger,”  by Jonathon Cahn. He and some friends were using it as a group study, and he highly recommended it. I ordered the book from Amazon, and was very impressed with it, so I gave kind of an overview of it to a study group. It was well received, and some of the group read the book. This year, in November, a friend gave me a copy of Jonathon’s Cahn’s new book, “The Mystery of the Shemitah” , Once again very impressed, I decided to write this article for the first publication on this website for the 2015.
In order to prepare you for the article, here are five questions for you to consider:
- Does the Bible address the future of America? In the past, most of us thought the answer to that question was no, but were we wrong?
- Is there any hope for America?
- Did God foresee the rise and fall of America, and has He given early warnings that so far have gone unheeded?
- Are the warnings that God gave Ancient Israel, 3,000 years ago, connected to modern America?
- Is it possible that those warnings have a bearing on recent events in America beginning on 9/11 2001?
Those are the questions that I want to try to answer in this article. You decide, by the time you finish reading it, what you believe.
Harbinger (Harbinger means warning) is wound around an obscure verse of Scripture found in the Old Testament book of Isaiah, Isaiah 9:10. If you’re like most, you may never have noticed this verse.
“The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycamores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.”
This was Israel’s response to a warning God had given them. God’s warning was that Israel was to turn from their Idols, so He allowed the Assyrians to Attack them for a wake up call. They ignored God’s warning, as well as the wake call, and instead took the attitude of defiance, as is clearly indicated in the verse above.
In order to understand the meaning of Isaiah 9:10, it is necessary to have knowledge of its context. After we clarify the context, we will see what connection the verse may have to Modern America.
Israel did three things to trigger God’s warning:
- They turned from God to idols.
- They ignored the Shemitah.
- They did not heed God’s warnings.
They turned from God to idols:
In Ezekiel 23, the prophet Ezekiel tells the people a parable of two sisters who were harlots, Oholah and Oholibah. In the parable, metaphorically, Oholah represented Samaria, the capitol of the Northern Kingdom, and Oholibah represented Jerusalem, the capital of the Southern kingdom. These two prostitutes represented the spiritual adultery of the two kingdoms. Both Israel and Judah turned away from the Living God to worship idols made by hand, idols of the Canaanites. God had commanded Israel, when they first entered the promise land, to drive the Canaanites out of the land. When Israel refused to do so but instead turned to the idols of the Canaanites, God turned Israel, the northern kingdom, over to Assyria, and Judah, the southern kingdom, was turned over to Babylon. It was their descent into idolatry that brought judgment as well as their defiance of God’s law.
The Canaanites were pagans. Their religion was polytheistic, or in other words, they worshiped many false gods. Over 30 false gods, or idols, are mentioned in Scripture. Here are three that are probably most familiar:
- Baal, a generic term, means lord or master, a term used for any number of Israel’s gods.
- Molech, god of fire: Leviticus 18:21 refer to Israel as causing their children “to pass through the fire to Molech.” There are several artist conceptions of Molech. One is a brass idol with the body of a man and a head of a bull, about fifteen or twenty feet tall including the throne on which he is seated. His arms are outstretched and tilted slightly downward. When a child was placed on his outstretched arms, it would roll into a fire pit and be burned alive, as the child screamed, the drums beat, and musicians played. This is a hideous example of how depraved a person, or a nation, can become when they turn from God.
- Ashtoreth, god of fertility: Pagan idolatry always included sex with worship that included all types of deviation including homosexuality. Israel embraced homosexuality as normal and included it in their worship. They had their temple prostitutes, both men and women, whose lodging was next to the temple. They accommodated the worshipers.
They Ignored the shemitah:
According to the law God gave Moses on Mount Sinai, the Children of Israel were commanded to honor the seventh day and keep it holy. It was to be a day of rest from their labors, just as God also rested on the seventh day after he made the heavens and the earth (Exodus 20:11).
The law also commanded the Israelites to allow the land to rest every seventh year (Exod. 23:10-11; Lev. 25:1-7). The Sabbath year was known as the “Shemetah,” which means seven or Sabbath. No crops were to be planted and nothing was to be harvested. The lands became public lands where anyone could gather whatever food grew on its own. The shemitah also touched the financial:
“At the end of every seven years all debts were canceled. This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel any loan he has made to a fellow Israelite. He shall not require payment from his fellow Israelite or brother, because the Lord’s time for canceling debts has been proclaimed” (Deut. 15:1-2).
During the Sabbath year, God provided for the farmers and those who labored on the land. He said,” I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year, that the land will yield enough for three years. While you plant during the eighth year, you will eat from the old crop, and will continue to eat from it until the harvest of the ninth year comes in” (Leviticus 25:21–22).
For 490 years, Israel and Judah, together, violated the shemitah. Divide 490 by 7 and you get 70 years of shemitah, which were neglected, the amount of time Judah spent in Babylonian captivity. God provided three years of gain during the sixth year and did not renege on His promise, however, Israel was greedy and omitted the Shemitah, putting even more gain in their pockets.
They rejected God’s warning, sent through His Prophets.
God warned both Israel and Judah for 19 years before He finally said, it’s enough, time for judgment. Israel, beginning with the attack in 732 BC and over the following 10 years, were taken into Assyrian captivity. In 586 BC, God allowed the Babylonians to siege Jerusalem and they were carried away.
God’s messengers, the prophets, pleaded with the Israelites to turn from their sins and their idolatry, and promised them if they did that, they could stay in the land. God said through His prophet Jeremiah, “Turn now, each of you, from your evil ways and your evil practices, and you can stay in the land the Lord gave to you and your ancestors for ever and ever. Do not follow other gods to serve and worship them; do not arouse my anger with what your hands have made. Then I will not harm you” (Jeremiah 25:5-6). Israel ignored the prophets of God and choose instead to go their own way; therefore, they invited God’s judgment.
The connection between Isaiah 9:10 and America was revealed beginning with 9/11 2001, but first, what is the connection between ancient Israel and America?
When the Pilgrims and the Puritans landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts, they considered America as New Israel, and they dedicated the new found world to honor God and vowed to worship Him alone.
Fast-forward to the inauguration of George Washington, America’s first president, April 30, 1789; it was on the balcony of Federal Hall in New York City, that the inaugural took place. Federal Hall was the first U.S. Capitol and the site where the first United States Congress met.
On the same day of his inauguration, after the oath had been administered In 1789, newly inaugurated President, George Washington, gave a prophetic warning: He declared, “America’s prosperity and protection were dependent upon its adherence to God” .
He, the Vice President, members of the Senate, and House of Representatives, proceeded to St. Paul’s Chapel, only a few blocks from the nation’s capital. From there they dedicated the new nation to God . That little chapel still stands today, though by a miracle. It sits on the corner of the same property where the twin towers once stood and where the new World Trade Center now stands. When the bricks of the twin towers came falling down, the chapel only received minor damage. However, a sycamore tree on the property was cut down by flying debris. The sycamore tree was later replaced using a stronger tree in the Cedar family. Does that ring a bell? Wasn’t that also what Israel decided to do? After a ceremony of dedication, the new tree was named “Tree of hope,” a hope based on America’s own initiative, not God’s help, as was the case with George Washington, the nation’s first president.
The hedge of protection removed
When Israel entered the promise land, they were not trained warriors, and they were ill equipped to fight a war. Nevertheless, they quickly and easily defeated the Canaanites and drove them out of the land, at least some of them. How were they able to do this? God fought for them and placed His hedge of protection around them to protect them from the enemy.
When Israel turned from God to the same idols the Canaanites worshiped and defied God’s covenant, God removed the hedge of protection and the Assyrians attacked in 732 BC. This could have been temporary if Israel had heeded God’s warning and repented, but they did not.
Instead of repenting and turning to God, Israel looked to themselves, and in defiance they said, “The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycamores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.” The buildings that were made of clay bricks would now be replaced with much stronger hewn stone; the Sycamore trees would be replanted with a stronger variety, the Cedar.
After decades of turning away from God, God also removed His protective hedge that kept America safe. After the terrorists attack of 9/11 and the bricks came falling down, the United States also pledged to build stronger. Using the same words as Ancient Israel, quoting Isaiah 9:10, “The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycamores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.” The new World Trade Center is said to be much stronger than the original. The possibility of the domino effect that brought down the twin towers has been eliminated, and today the new World Trade Center stands in all its glory as a symbol of America’s defiance. It wasn’t the rebuilding that was wrong but the attitude in which it was built.
As did Israel, America also has enjoyed God’s protection and blessings, growing to become the most successful and most powerful nation in history.
As did Israel, America also departed from God. Therefore, God removed His hedge of protection and then came 9/11. The day after the 9/11 attack, the US Congress met and the Speaker of the House of Representatives delivered a speech concerning the tragic attack by terrorist the day before. His speech centered on Isaiah 9:11, “The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycamores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.” Little did he know that he was pronouncing the same judgment on America that befell Israel some 3,000 years earlier. Over the following few days, several high in government used the same terms and ultimately also the President of the United States.
This year, thirteen years later, at the near completion of the new World Trade Center, another president, Barock Obama, attended a dedication ceremony of the new building. However, his comments were much different from George Washington, the first president of the United States and different from those of George Bush after the 9/11 attack. Instead of depending on God, as did George Washington, for God’s protection and blessings, Obama continued the same attitude of defiance as Israel.
Paraphrasing Isaiah 9:10, he scribbled on a steel beam, before it was hoisted to the top of the building, “We remembered, We rebuilt. We come back stronger.” Unlike George Bush, it was no longer a statement of future intent. It was now stated in the present tense. America’s president had officially stamped his seal of approval on America’s defiance of God. No one seemed to understand that Isaiah 9:10 was stated by Israel in the attitude of defiance. So now, America was defiant. Instead of turning to God in repentance, asking Him for forgiveness, and help, they relied on their own power and initiatives, the same as ancient Israel had done.
As Israel had done, America also turned away from God. God was removed from the public square. The Ten Commandments were no longer welcome on or in any governmental space.
In 1962, the Bible and prayer were banned from public schools.
In 1973, abortion on demand became law. Israel had sacrificed their thousands; until now, America has sacrificed over fifty million unborn babies for the sake of convenience.
America has now embraced a new code of moral ethics to fit modern day, broadminded people. Believers were told to put aside the Bible as the guide for moral ethics and accept America’s new moral code. Laws were written to enforce compliance to the new moral code of ethics, with the threat of fines and or imprisonment for those who refused. I don’t think it is necessary to detail what is meant here.
Morals in America eroded over a few decades to an all time new low, and those who still hold to a belief in God have become a joke and are ridiculed for their ignorance, and referred to as homophobic, religious nuts, and fanatics. However, after 9/11, droves of people returned to the church to pray for America, and for a while, it looked as if there would be a new great awakening in America, but it was short lived and people returned to the way things were before and even worse. The drift away from God continued. America had ignored God’s warning.
Amazingly, God used the same rod that judged Israel to judge America. He used the terrorists. In the chapter that followed Israel’s statement of defiance, God said, “O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation,” (Isaiah 10:5).
The ancient Assyrians were the father of terrorism and were feared by every nation. They used terrorism to accomplish their means, and flayed resistors alive and nailed their skins to the wall.
The terrorists of today are the descendants of those ancient Assyrians. The headquarters for the ISIS was Mosul, Iraq, (recently moved to an unknown location) which is just across the Tigris River from the ancient ruins of Nineveh, the capitol of the Assyrians. The terrorists who flew the 737 jet liners into the twin towers, could well have been of the same bloodline as those Ancient Assyrians. They spoke Arabic, which is the closest language to the Assyrian language, and their tactics were the same.
The Shemitah effect
The attack on 9/11 was just a beginning, which resulted in the stock market shutting down. When the stock market re-opened, seven days later, it sparked a downward turn, which went on record as the worse one-day drop in the market’s history.
By 2008, seven years later, the stock market had regained its strength just in time for the second financial implosion, which surpassed the one seven years earlier, to become the worse one-day drop in the history of the stock market.
Jonathan Cahn, paints and interesting correlation of events surrounding 9/11, using the number seven. He shows in his book, “The Mystery of the Shemitah,” a connection between 9/11, and the events which followed, to the Shemitah (The Shemitah was the seventh year in which the land was to rest in Israel and all financial debts were wiped away, according to Jewish law).
Counting backwards from September 17, 2008, the final day of the seventh year of Shemitah when the second financial implosion occurred. According to the Jewish calendar, this was on Elul 29, the culmination of Shemitah in which all financial debts were canceled. On that day, at the ringing of the final bell at 4:00PM, the stock market had lost 7% of its value, topping the financial implosion seven years earlier as the worse one-day drop in the stock market in its history.
Counting backward seven years to the day and hour September 29, 2001 at 4:00PM, was the first financial implosion after 9/11, resulting in a 7% loss of the value of the stock market, which amounted to 777.7 points, which also occurred on Elul 29.
Counting back seven days to 4PM on Tuesday September 11, 2001, brings us to the day the two airliners struck the twin towers.
Counting back seven hours brings us to a seventeen-minute span of time in which both airliners struck the twin towers.
Counting back in segments of 7 minutes each brings us to 8:46 AM, September 11, 2001, the exact minute when the first plane struck the first tower.
I don’t know the statistical odds for all these events lining up perfectly in a series of sevens, but I can imagine it would include a long string of zeroes. I believe that it is far more than coincidence. Only God has perfect control of the timing of events.
The present Shemitah
While America is not obligated to observe the Shemitah, that doesn’t keep God from using it as a reference. Seven years since the last financial implosion in 2008, commenced the next Shemitah beginning September 2014 and continuing through September 2015. This is the third Shemitah since 9/11 occurred fourteen years ago. Fourteen years ago, it was 9/11. Seven years later it was the worse one-day implosion of the stock market in history. Does this mean that since America has ignored the past warnings and continued its departure from God, that another calamity is coming in the culmination of the Shemitah in 2015 or perhaps sooner?
Date setting is not the point and is not what I’m emphasizing. In fact, in 2015, nothing may happen in proportion to 9/11 and the following two implosions of the stock market. The point is that America needs to repent and turn to God while there is time.
The Northern Kingdom of Israel never repented and they were defeated and carried away into Assyrian captivity, never to be a nation again.
The southern kingdom of Judah never repented and was carried away into Babylonian captivity for 70 years so the land could enjoy its rest. Judah did return after 70 years to the land and rebuilt the temple and Jerusalem, but for 2,500 years they were under the control of other nations and only became an autonomous nation again in 1948.
Will America wake up in time and repent, or will it follow the same course as Israel and Judah? Only time will tell. Pray for America.
There are many who are fearful of what 2015 may bring and with good reason.
It isn’t my intentions to scare you, but quiet to the contrary, it is to encourage you. The Bible tells us, who are believers, “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” (John 4:16-18)
However, for America, the big question remains when you consider all that is happening in the United States and abroad, “What does the future hold for America in 2015 and beyond?” Will America be weakened by internal problems to the point of a possible collapse? There are many unsolved problems in the United States, and there seems to be no viable solution on the horizon to any of these complex problems. It’s not necessary to predict the future to realize that 2015 could be very challenging and become one of the most difficult times America has encountered. Neither is it necessary to invent reasons why this may be the case. The causes are already in place:
- The racial issue in America is growing.
- There is uneasiness concerning financial problems both domestically and nationally.
- The economy is still unstable, even though it experienced strong growth in the last quarter.
- The viability of the dollar as a world currency is shaky.
- America’s indebtedness is growing rapidly and may already be beyond the point of no return.
- We have been involved in wars that we cannot afford. For the last 13 years, it has been a war with the terrorists, which has no end in sight and more than likely will last until the end of time.
There is not space to comment on all the above. However, to give you an idea of how serous times are, according to a new survey by the personal finance website, Bankrate.com., Americans are in a financial straight, with 62% not having the available cash to pay for a $1,000 emergency or a $500 car repair. Most Americans are living from paycheck to paycheck. Any kind of a recession now would be devastating, much worse that the previous one. According to many of those polled, all of their savings were depleted to survive the last financial downturn. Saving is far more difficult for most because they are too far in debt.
As I mentioned earlier, a shemitah year began at sunset on Sept. 24, 2014 and will end at sunset on Sept. 12, 2015. If the next 12 months don’t result in serious trouble for our country, it will only be due to the grace of God, because America for generations has been in rebellion towards God, deliberately abandoning His principles and attributing His blessings to our own ingenuity.
America has been blessed more than any other nation in history because in the past we have honored God and lived according to Word, the Bible. As soon as America stopped honoring God and started depending on their own initiatives, God’s blessings began to diminish.
Is There Hope For America?
Perhaps there is hope for the time being and the near future, But According to the Bible, America’s final destiny is to be completely destroyed, along with all other nations among which God’s people Israel have been dispersed (Jeremiah 30:11).
There are more Jews dispersed to America than all other of the world’s largest countries combined, with the exception of Israel. There are over two million Jews in New York City alone, over twice the number of Jews that are in Jerusalem. There are as many Jews in New York City and LA as was led out of Egyptian bondage by Moses. America has no national covenant with God, as did Israel. Nevertheless, God’s people, those who are believers, do have a covenant relationship with Him through Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore, we will be saved from the final destruction that is to come on America, and we shall live with God eternally.
God also has promised to deliver Jews from the time and place of America’s complete destruction, and from all other nations were Israel has been dispersed. “For I am with you,’ declares the LORD, ‘to save you; For I will destroy completely all the nations where I have scattered you, Only I will not destroy you completely. But I will chasten you justly And will by no means leave you unpunished.’which will come during the time of His Wrath,” (Jerimiah30:11), New American Standard Bible.
The time of God’s wrath takes place in a specific seven year period, called the tribulation that will begin on Earth shortly after the Lord takes His saints to His Father’s house in Heaven (John 14:2-3). Believers will be spared the wrath. “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thes. 5:9), “And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (I Thes. 1:10).
Believers from around the world will join American believers and be delivered from God’s wrath, not claiming a country as their home but instead claiming citizenship in God’s heaven.
If America is all you call home, then you have every right to be worried about 2015 and beyond. However, if you claim heaven as your citizenship, you have genuine cause for hope. As citizens of heaven “we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so they will be like His glorious body” (Phil 3:20-21).
The Lord will come at a time when the world least expects Him, and we who are alive in Christ shall be caught up to be with Him (1 Thes. 4:16-17, 1 Cor. 15:51-53).
Here’s the thing: We need to rethink our stand for Jesus Christ now in the beginning of the New Year, 2015. For many of those who call themselves Christians, the church is only important when convenience allows. Their Bible gathers dust. The average Christian today couldn’t recite the 10 commandments if their life depended on it, nor could they list the 12 apostles by name or even tell you the seven churches mentioned in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. Out of the 84% of Americans who claim to be Christian, according to the 80/20 principle, only about 16% are truly believers, though there is no way we can know for certain the number of believers.
The Bible tells us that God does not wish that any should perish, but that all should repent, and come unto Him. You may be a church member, but perhaps you may not be among the true believers. I invite you to become one today. The Bible teaches that salvation is a result of believing in your heart that Jesus died for your sins and rose from the grave and then confessing that belief with you mouth and through the symbol of baptism. Baptism is a confession on your part to the world that Jesus died and arose.
I want you to pray the following prayer to God as a re-commitment to God if you are a true believer, and if you have doubts as to your relationship to God, pray the second part of the prayer.
Dear Lord, I realize that I need to re-commit myself to you. I want my priorities to be right in 2015. I want to center my purpose in life on you instead of my own selfish desires. Please give me a renewed, and stronger, faith in you. Amen.
Dear Lord, I believe in my heart that you died for my sins and rose from the grave, just as the Bible says. I ask that you forgive my sins, the sins that I’m willing turn from and no longer want to characterize my life. Help me to rely on you and place my faith and my hope in you alone. Amen.
If you prayed the above prayers, either one, and would like to receive some fifteen lessons for new believers free, please click here.
© 2014 www.Jimmie Burroughs.com All rights reserved.
 “The Harbinger” By Jonathan Cahn, www.TheHarbingerBook.com
 “The Mystery of the Shemitah” By Jonathon Cahn, www.TheHarbingerBook.com
About the author: Jimmie Burroughs is a motivational speaker and author who has been involved in teaching Christian Personal Development for more than 30 years. He is a dedicated believer in Jesus Christ and considers helping others his calling in life. His websites contains over 600 articles on preparing yourself for success through personal development and the things that accompany personal development.
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