Jonathan Cahn recently spoke at the Inaugural Prayer Breakfast, held just before Donald J. Trump succeeded Barack Obama as commander in chief. The messianic rabbi, whom some have called "America's Prophet" and the author of sensational bestsellers, including the new devotional "The Book Of Mysteries," hailed the rise of Trump as an example of God's will.
Warning the audience his message would be "true" rather than "politically correct," Cahn reminded them it is God who decides who rules nations and empires.
"We've come from every part of this land to stand before the Almighty, before whom kings and kingdoms rise and fall, and nations ascend and descend, Who alone remains the same yesterday, today and forever," he intoned.
The Bible teacher presented a grim image of the Obama era and spoke of the remarkable victory of the new president as a sign of God's hand in the affairs of men.
"America stood at the threshold," he said. "In the face of an election that threatened to establish for ages the edicts of apostasy and the ways of godlessness, and an open war against the people and gospel of God. And then there was Donald Trump. There had never been a candidate like him. Whatever it was that one was never supposed to do while running for president, he did them all."
Cahn's remarks were met with applause and laughter. But after all, what else could explain Trump's unprecedented victory except for God?
"Poll after poll foretold a sure Democratic victory if not a landslide," Cahn said. "The Democrats prepared for victory. The Republicans prepared for defeat … but then something happened. And nobody was sure what exactly what. The election took a strange turn and whatever everybody was sure couldn't happen, happened. The media was in shock. The Democrats were in shock. Obama was in shock. The Republicans were in shock. Obama was in shock. And it appears Donald Trump couldn't believe it happened, either.
"But as it was written in ancient times, it is no less true to this day: 'As high as the heavens are above the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways. And My thoughts than your thoughts.' And as we can bear witness today in the city of Washington, on January 20, 2017, with God, nothing, shall be, impossible."
Cahn framed Trump's triumph as part of a continuing national drama that has defined America’s history, the same struggle between faith and apostasy that shaped the history of Israel. He spoke of Israel and the United States as the only nations in history founded "solely for the glory of God."
Cahn cited John Winthrop, the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony who prophesied if America followed the ways of God, the Lord would "command a blessing" upon a people who were to be "as a city upon a hill."
Indeed, explained Cahn, that is precisely what happened.
"Those who came to these shores four centuries ago dedicated the new civilization to God and consecrated it to His will and purposes," Cahn said. "America was to be a city on a hill, a holy commonwealth. Its first governments were established in the name of Jesus and for the glory of God. Its public school system was founded for the purpose of teaching the Word of God. And as Winthrop had prophesied, God had commanded a blessing. America would become the most blessed, the most powerful and the most prosperous nation the world had ever seen, a praise and glory in the earth."
Yet as with ancient Israel, America turned away from God, said Cahn, driving "Him out of our culture, out of our government, out of our lives and [banning] Him from our public squares."
Instead of honoring the God of Israel, Cahn charged, America honored the idols of "carnality and gain, and gods of materialism and licentiousness."
The administration of Barack Obama, said Cahn, was the culmination of this process.
"In the past years eight years, America's spiritual fall and moral descent has both deepened and accelerated," he said. "The present administration has led this nation to champion the killing of the unborn, and not only within its own borders, but in that of other nations across the world. The present administration has labored to strike down the standards and order ordained by God concerning man and woman and marriage, not only within these borders, but around the world."
Speaking directly to Obama, in the last hour of his presidency, Cahn asked the outgoing president: "If you overturn the edicts of God, should you be surprised that your own edicts will now be overturned? And if you strike down the precepts of God, will not your own precepts be struck down?"
"Under the [Obama] administration," Cahn said, "relations between the United States and Israel have been brought to their lowest point in the history of the two nations. And the administration's parting gift to the Jewish nation was to abandon it at the United Nations, to allow and even foster a resolution declaring that Israel's ancient holy city Jerusalem, belonged not to Israel, but was, quote, 'Palestinian territory.' In this way too, the present administration was waging war against the Word of God."
Given all this, Cahn suggested it is not surprising God "intervened" to essentially nullify Obama's entire legacy. Yet this does not mean America is saved. The election is not the answer, Cahn said, but a window in which the answer can come. America is being given a chance.
"In the days of Israel's apostasy, when the people were warring against His ways, God extended His mercy," the rabbi explained. "He gave the people time to repent. So too, in the days of our apostasy, God is giving us a time to repent."
Thus, the Trump administration should not be regarded as an unmitigated triumph. Instead, Cahn showed, it is a charge and a challenge laid before both the nation and the new chief executive. It is for American believers to fulfill what is commanded in 2 Chronicles 7:14 – to seek God's face and turn from their wicked ways. And it is for Donald Trump, a man who has not lived the life of a believer, to now become a vessel for God.
Cahn gave a charge to the new president.
"As you are lifted up to become the most powerful man on earth, remember always that it is the Almighty who lifts up kings to the throne, and the Almighty who removes them," Cahn said to Trump. "Your authority comes not from man but from God, the King above all kings. Therefore, submit your life to His authority, and by His authority you shall lead. Do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.
"Your life has been a vessel of your will. Now it must become the vessel of His will and His purposes. Walk in His footsteps, seek His righteousness, and follow the leading of His voice.
"Uphold His ways, and you shall be upheld. Keep His Word and you shall be kept. Give honor to His name, above all names, and your name shall be honored. Love the Lord your God, with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. If you do this, and you will arise, and you will shine, and the glory of the Lord will rise upon you."
Such words may seem strange to those who seek secular explanations for political events. Yet after a year when nearly every political expert, every experienced strategist and every established institution was confounded and discredited, Americans are more open than ever to the simple truth at the heart of America's destiny. If Americans repent and seek revival, God will answer their prayers, he said.
After all, the rabbi suggested, he already has. Just look at who is in the White House today.
"What was it that all the experts and pollsters missed?" Cahn asked. "The answer was 3,000 years old: 'If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land.' "For the power of prayer is stronger than kingdoms. And God is faithful. And His promises are true."