Full disclosure: I am writing this for the year’s end, but well before it. Therefore, you who are now reading this will know much more how this most dramatic of years has come to its end.
At the beginning of every year, I pray for a word or words concerning that year. I then share what I receive to the congregation I lead, Beth Israel at the Jerusalem Center in northern New Jersey. Some of the words may be of an individual or personal matter. But other times, they involve the world.
Example: When I prayed regarding the year 2017, I got the word of King Cyrus’ declaration concerning Jerusalem. It would turn out that 2017 was the year President Trump issued his declaration recognizing Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel.
But at the beginning of Jan. 2020, as I prayed, I received a very different kind of word, and I likewise shared it publicly. I spoke of 2020 as a year of “dark events,” “storms,” “calamities” and “judgments.” And yet I also spoke of God’s purposes working in and through all these things, light through the darkness. I had the strong sense 2020 would be a year of great shakings that would come to America and the world—that these would be the continuation of the mystery of judgment that began in The Harbinger.
Thus, I knew there were two things I had to do in the year 2020. The first was what I had held off for doing for eight years: Write The Harbinger II, the sequel to The Harbinger, to open up the biblical mystery behind that which had come upon America, to warn those who would hear of what was to come and to prepare the people of God.
I started working on The Harbinger II in Jan. 2020. Two months later, America was hit by a modern-day plague that would dramatically alter and paralyze the course of its everyday life. That was only the beginning.
Eight years earlier, in The Harbinger, I had written of the biblical template of a nation’s judgment. It begins with an enemy attack. The nation’s enemy makes a strike on the land. The strike is limited in scope and time—it’s a wake-up call, a shaking, a call to return and a warning of things to come. It happened to America on Sept. 11, 2001. What follows in the ancient template is a period of years which the nation is given to return to God. If the nation doesn’t return to God, the window of grace comes to an end, and great shakings come upon the nation. What kind of shakings? The Harbinger cited them: division, civil disorder, economic disintegration, the breakdown of infrastructure. In 2020, we have witnessed all of these things come to pass.
In the biblical template of Israel’s southern kingdom, the first strike of the enemy came in 605 B.C. The greater shakings came on the land in 586 B.C. The timespan between the first strike and the greater shakings was 19 years. The strike on America came on Sept. 11, 2001. Thus, the mystery ordains that the shakings will come upon the nation in the year 2020. And that’s exactly what has happened. The prophet Jeremiah foretold what would happen in the 19th year in the judgment of his nation. It would include the coming of a plague on the land.
It was for this reason that ever since writing The Harbinger, I’ve been looking toward the year 2020, wondering if it would follow the ancient template of judgment and be the year when shakings came upon America. There is much more behind what is happening in America—and where it all leads. That is the reason I knew I had to write The Harbinger II and it had to come out in 2020, that His people would know what was happening and what was to come.
But is there hope? The Harbinger II reveals, as well, a mystery of national redemption that goes back to the promise God gave to King Solomon: “if My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14). It was the application of that Scripture that, 40 years ago, altered the course of American and world history.
As the decade of the ’70s neared its end, America was in deep trouble. Unemployment and inflation were skyrocketing. The economy was disintegrating. In Iran, 52 Americans were being held hostage. When the United States military attempted to rescue them, the mission ended in disaster. A gloom settled on the nation. The nation’s standing in the world had deteriorated to the point that there was a growing sense that the American age was coming to an end.
At that very moment, believers from all over the nation converged on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to humble themselves, pray, seek God’s face, to repent and to pray for America according to 2 Chronicles 7:14. At midday, they prayed that God would, by His own hand, rescue the hostages. Then, near the end of the gathering, they lifted their hands toward the West Terrace of the Capitol Hill and prayed that God would bring into the government those who would do His will. I remember it—I was there.
A few months later, there was a revolution in the polls. Candidates pledging commitment to biblical values were swept into office. Most prominent among them was Ronald Reagan. That year, after a century and half, the site of the inauguration was changed from the East Terrace to the West Terrace. So on Inauguration Day, Reagan was now standing on the very terrace to which the believers who had gathered to the National Mall had lifted up their hands and prayed for God’s will in the coming election. Then, in that same hour in which Reagan took the oath of the presidency, the hostages in Iran were set free. Both prayers were answered at the same moment.
That moment was a turning point in American and world history. There would be a resurgence of the American economy, the American military and America’s image and standing in the world. It would be called “morning in America” and would ultimately lead to the fall of the Soviet Union and the liberation of millions in Eastern Europe. But it all began with the prayers and repentance of God’s people and with Ronald Reagan placing his hand on the Bible to take the oath of the presidency. But his hand was resting on one particular verse of Scripture, and it was on that verse the history of America and the world turned. The Scripture was this: “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray.”—the same Scripture and promise proclaimed on the day of the gathering on the National Mall. Second Chronicles 7:14 changed the history of the world.
And that leads to the second mission I had for 2020: “The Return.” If America was in deep trouble at the end of the 1970s, now in 2020, its situation was far more critical and dangerous. Its fall from God had accelerated to the point of becoming a war against His ways. The template of judgment begun in The Harbinger had been advancing, with the appearance of yet other harbingers and further signs of judgment. And as America headed for another election, the window of grace appeared to be in danger of closing.
Ever since writing The Harbinger, I’ve been calling for the return of America to God as its only hope. Another who had held a similar burden was a man of God named Kevin Jessip. We planned for “The Return” to take place in 2020 long before the year began. It was to be a sacred assembly, a day of prayer and repentance centering on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. It would also take place throughout America and the world. With a crippling virus, a national lockdown, civil unrest in Washington and a quarantine that cut off the capital city from most of the nation, we had no idea who would show up.
But on the morning of Sept. 26, 2020, tens of thousands of believers converged on Washington, D.C., from all over the nation and all over the world to seek the Lord and intercede for repentance, forgiveness and revival. Everyone from Pat Robertson, Dr. James Dobson, Billy Graham’s daughter Anne Graham Lotz, Martin Luther King’s niece Alveda King, Michele Bachmann, Michael W. Smith and many more took part and led in prayers.
It began as did the sacred assemblies of Israel, with the sounding of the shofar, the ram’s horn. Since repentance must begin with God’s people, the first prayers focused on the repentance of the church. The focus then moved to intercession for the sins of America, lifting them up as the prophet Daniel lifted up the sins of his nation. Prayers then came in from every continent as those gathered prayed for the nations. The focus then turned to the end-time harvest, world revival and the pouring out of God’s Spirit. Believers stayed in prayer for 12 hours, standing, sitting, kneeling, on their faces, in tears, in worship, in the Spirit, in the presence of God.
And then there were the phenomena beyond the natural. As “The Return” approached midday, I gave a prophetic message to America and the nations. The day before, a woman gave me a Scripture, that of Ezekiel giving forth God’s word and hearing the sound of a “great rumbling.” The message was a prophetic warning concerning judgment and the call to return. As I gave it, I heard the sound of a “great rumbling.” In fact, it was just as I said that ‘It can be that through shaking comes revival,’ that the heavens thundered and I had to stop to make note of it. The Scriptures speak of God thundering from the heavens. The heavens were thundering over “The Return.” (You can see the message for yourself on Jonathan Cahn YouTube). Others, including at least one very skeptical observer, reported a parallel phenomenon. They distinctly felt the ground literally shaking beneath them. When I finished giving the word, I got down on my knees to pray, and just about everyone else did likewise. As we prayed, the clouds parted, and the sun broke through.
In days of national repentance, as in the book of Jonah, the role of leaders or kings is critical. While I was giving that word, the White House was sending forth a word. The President of the United States had just issued an announcement in which he cited Sept. 26 as the day of prayer and return. The presidential announcement used the same words I had used in the message, a prophetic warning against America turning away from the ways of God. As in Nineveh, the leader had called for the nation to return to God.
The sacred assembly ended as did the sacred assemblies of biblical times, with the sounding of the shofars and the giving, in Hebrew, of the ancient Aaronic Blessing. At the very moment that I spoke the last very last word of that blessing, the president announced the name of his candidate for the Supreme Court in the hope of ultimately overturning the killing of millions of unborn children, a prayer that was very prominent in “The Return.”
It was long after the date of “The Return” was set for Sept. 26 that I discovered the mystery that lay behind it. That specific day had a significant place in the biblical Hebrew calendar. It is called Shabbat Shuvah. The Hebrew word Shuvah means “the Return”! It was specifically appointed, from ages past, as the day given for a nation to return to God! And the key Scripture appointed to be read on that day is Joel 2, which says, “Sound the shofar … proclaim a solemn assembly” (see v. 15)—which is exactly what we did.
The impact of “The Return” extended far beyond the borders of the National Mall and Washington, D.C. People took part in their churches, in their homes and in citywide and regionwide gatherings around the nation and world. In America, the number of those taking part in “The Return” exceeded 12 million! The numbers around the world are estimated as extending into the tens of millions.
Then there was the deluge of reports that came in from those places—the father who had long resisted the gospel but who promised his daughter he would watch “The Return.” He ended up kneeling down and giving his life to God as he and his family wept. There was the well-known orthodox rabbi from Israel sending word that Israel was watching “The Return” and “shaking” and that he was amazed by what he was seeing. Then there were the invitations that came from nation after nation asking to have “The Return” come to their lands. And then there were the believers of every nation on their knees in every land as one, praying at the same moment in the same Spirit.
What happens now? Even with all that we witnessed, I know that the most important and far-reaching impact of “The Return” is unseen, in the spiritual realm, and that its full manifestation will come in time. Was “The Return” the catalytic event to usher in revival? Or was it a last call, a final warning, to a nation before the coming of judgment? Or could it be both? Ever since The Harbinger, I have been asked what the future holds: calamity and judgment or revival and restoration. I have always been led to answer that it could be both—that through shaking can come salvation, through judgments can come revival, and, as I said at the start of the year, through darkness can come the light.
Until we see the full impact and working out of what God began at “The Return,” we must pray as never before, intercede as never before, repent and turn as never before and shine as lights into the darkness—knowing God heard our prayers, His words are true, His promises will be fulfilled and His ways are higher than our ways.
READ MORE: Discover more revealed mysteries and insights from Jonathan Cahn at jcahn.charismamag.com.
Jonathan Cahn caused a national stir with the release of The New York Times bestsellers The Harbinger, The Mystery of the Shemitah, The Book of Mysteries, The Paradigm, The Oracle and his bestselling book yet, The Harbinger II. He has addressed members of Congress and spoken at the United Nations. He leads Hope of the World—bringing God’s Word to the nations and help to the world’s most needy—and the Jerusalem Center/Beth Israel in Wayne, New Jersey.
This article was excerpted from the November issue of Charisma magazine. If you don’t subscribe to Charisma, click here to get every issue delivered to your mailbox. During this time of change, your subscription is a vote of confidence for the kind of Spirit-filled content we offer. In the same way you would support a ministry with a donation, subscribing is your way to support Charisma. Also, we encourage you to give gift subscriptions at shop.charismamag.com, and share our articles on social media.