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A Summary of the Isaiah 9:10 Harbinger - Part 1
The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn
In 2011, Rabbi Jonathan Cahn released his New York Times best seller, The Harbinger. A harbinger is an indicator or foreshadow of something to come; a forerunner. Isaiah 9:10 represents just that. “The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycomores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.”
Rabbi Cahn mentions nine harbingers, or warnings that have taken place in ancient Israel. These same signs are repeating themselves in America today. Before we briefly refer to these nine signs, let us look at the background of the verse.
Isaiah 9:8-12 gives us the following information. “The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel. And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria, that say in the pride and stoutness of heart, The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycomores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars. Therefore the LORD shall set up the adversaries of Rezin against him, and join his enemies together; The Syrians before, and the Philistines behind; and they shall devour Israel with open mouth. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand isstretched out still.”
Crimes and Punishments
Albert Barnes gives this brief outline of the context in which he lists both the crimes and punishment of God’s people through chapter 10:4. ( Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)
I. “Crime” - their pride and ostentation (Isaiah 9:8-9)
“Punishment” - the land would be invaded by the Syrians and the Philistines (Isaiah9:11-12).
II. “Crime” - they had apostatized from God, and the leaders had caused them to err (Isaiah 9:13, Isaiah 9:16)
“Punishment” - Yahweh would cut off the chief men of the nation, (Isaiah 9:14-15, Isaiah
III. “Crime” - prevalent wickedness in the nation (Isaiah 9:18)
“Punishment” - the anger of Yahweh, consternation, anarchy, discord, and want (Isaiah 19-21)
IV. “Crime” - prevalent injustice (Isaiah 10:1-2).
“Punishment” - foreign invasion, and captivity (Isaiah 10:3-4)
Need we mention America’s great pride and arrogance. The Chaldee translates verse nine as “All the people have exalted themselves, Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria, in their magnitude, and in the pride of their heart.”
God met their pride with an invading army. King Rezin of Syria ruled from Damascus during the 8th century BC. He was a tributary of Tiglath-pileser of Assyria. God would allow Israel to be attacked by the Assyrians as punishment for their great pride.
“For the leaders of this people cause them to err. . ."
God saw Israel’s second crime. In Isaiah 9:16 we read, “For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.” It was the leaders of the nation of Israel who caused the people to err in apostasy. For this reason God cut off the leaders and the chief men of the nation.
God mentions crime number three in verse 18 of chapter nine, “For wickedness burneth as the fire . . . .” The wickedness of the people was everywhere – in the people and around the people. God answers with paralyzing dismay and fear.
Crime number four is listed as prevalent injustice by Barnes. We do not need to go into the injustice that takes place in America on a daily basis; from health care to improper care and abuse of the elderly to the safety and rights of children. The list goes on. America stands guilty – guilty of all four crimes mentioned in Isaiah 9.
The Harbinger is Sent
It is at this time in Israel’s history that God sends the harbinger to His chosen people. He begins with warnings. If the warnings are not heeded, sure judgment will fall. The Word of the Lord has declared this. The similarities between ancient Israel and America cannot be denied. The response of God, who is the same yesterday, today and forever can be expected if we continue to reject the only Hope we have. If we continue to neglect the warnings God has given us, the end is not far off.
The secondary prophecy of Isaiah 9:10 falls on America. I will not go into detail, but will simply list the applicable similarities. (For more information see The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn.)
Harbinger #1 - National Security Breach
Security Breach - As long as God’s people followed Him, they were protected. God blessed them. In a sense there was a hedge of protection around His people. Due to the disobedience and rebellion of Israel, God removed His hand of protection. The Assyrian army made its move. There was a breach in Israel’s national security.
Although not all founding fathers were Christians, the respect of God was still in their hearts. George Washington dedicated the new nation to God’s keeping on his inauguration day with the prayer that God would keep this young nation as long as we obeyed him. God has done just that, but now the nation is in disobedience. We have walked away from that God-given protection. As a result our national security has been breached. Our land has been attacked by the enemy – a warning that we have grossly ignored, just as Israel was warned and ignored the warning.
Harbinger # 2 - The Terrorist
It was the Assyrian army from the north that God would use to chasten His people. His hand of protection was upon Israel, but that was about to change. God’s hedge of protection was about to be breached by the largest army of the then known world – Assyria. Assyria was particularly dangerous because they specialized in bringing paralyzing fear to their victims.
They developed the science of flaying. According to midievality.com, “In one version of the Flaying Torture, the victim's arms were tied to a pole above his head while his feet were tied below. His body was now completely exposed and the torturer, with the help of a small knife, peeled off the victim's skin slowly. In most cases, the torturer peeled off his facial skin first, slowly working his way down to the victim's feet. Most victims died before the torturer even reached their waist.”
In preparation for the flaying the victim was often left in the sun to burn the skin, or plunged into boiling water for several seconds to loosen the skin. This is how the Assyrian army gained its great power over the ancient world. Other forms of torture were used as well. They succeeded by terrorizing their victims. They were terrorists. In 732 BC, Israel’s hedge of protection was lifted and they were invaded by terrorists of the Assyrian army, and their terroristic methods.
Terrorism can be described this way: The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments.” The Assyrians were the master of terrorism. In Isaiah 10:5-7 we read how God used this once great nation to spank His people – “O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few.”
Harbinger # 3 - The Falling Bricks
The breach had been made. The terrorists had attacked. After the attack, the city lay in ruins. What was left was a city of collapsed buildings and fallen bricks. The fallen bricks became a sign not of just what happened, but what would continue to happen if Israel did not repent; the collapse of a building, the collapse of a kingdom, the collapse of a civilization.
John D. W. Watts puts it this way – “There is no way for the people to ignore the obvious disaster. Yet they choose not to recognize its deeper meaning . . . They only respond (inadequately) to the threatening situation.” (World Biblical Commentary, Vol. 24) God had spoken, but they chose to ignore. The alarm had been sounded, but they chose to sleep.
America finds herself in the same position. 9/11 became the day of decision for the American people. The security of the nation had been breached allowing the terrorists to invade our airways and bomb our buildings. The sight of falling brick will remain in the memory of anyone who witnessed the attack on our land either first-hand or through television.
The third warning was in place. The sound of the alarm rang loud and clear. We heard it. We gathered in church houses. Prayer vigils were held all over the nation. Billy Graham preached a salvation message heard around the world by over two billion people. Days went by. Weeks went by. Months and years went by. The sound of the alarm was smothered and life returned to normal. America is more apostate now than ever.
There are six more harbingers that God gave to Israel and America. We will continue to briefly look at them next time, but for now - consider where America is headed, and what can we do about it.