Second chronicles 7:14

One biblical verse holds the key to solving America’s deadly division. We must know what it actually says!

United States Vice President Mike Pence has twice misquoted a vital verse in recent months. The way he said it sounded nice, but he left out the most important part—the part that actually shows how to heal the country’s deadly division!

Jesus Christ commands us to live by every word of God (Matthew 4:4)—not by shortened versions of biblical verses. Here is the verse misquoted by Mr. Pence: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). He left out the parts about repentance!

America desperately needs healing. In an August 25 article for Newsmax.com titled “There Will Be No Winners in the Second Civil War,” Michael Laitman wrote (emphasis mine throughout):

Earlier this week, cnn news anchor Don Lemon stated that the president “is clearly trying to ignite a civil war in this country.” In response to Lemon’s words, historian and former house speaker Newt Gingrich said in an interview on Tucker Carlson Tonight: “I think we should take the threat of civil war very seriously.”

Referencing Dennis Prager’s piece “America’s Second Civil War,” Gingrich added, “What you’re seeing with Antifa, what you’re seeing on college campuses, what you’re seeing, to some extent, in the bureaucracy, is a real division of the country.” …

any people see war not only as imminent, but as virtually inevitable. If that’s the case, we’d better get busy digging ourselves bunkers … and graves.

And not just in the U.S. A civil war in America will not end in America. If the country plunges into battle, many will be vying for the loot. China, Russia, North Korea, Iran and others will destroy whatever the war doesn’t, the American empire will become history, and a third world war, with multiple nuclear powers, will follow.

The Philadelphia Church of God, and Herbert W. Armstrong before it, has been warning of World War iii for over 80 years! That is in your Bible. Prominent news commentators are finally catching up.

“I wholly agree that America requires massive infrastructure projects,” Laitman continued. “But the real infrastructure of the country is its people, not its asphalt roads or railroads.” God promises to heal our land, but the people must heed His warning. The minds of the people must be healed!

“Any decision that Trump’s administration and Congress make from here on should first and foremost promote unity and solidarity because this is truly the only realistic option,” Laitman concluded. Time is running out!

An Unbreakable Promise

The book of Chronicles is for three end-time nations of Israel primarily: America, Britain and the Jewish state. The first two received the birthright promises of unmatched national abundance; the last one received the scepter promise of a kingly line destined to endure until Jesus Christ’s return. (Request Mr. Armstrong’s free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy to learn more.) The warning in Chronicles is for our day!

Ancient Israel suffered from horrible national division. They found a way to reunite, but they didn’t do it by following a misquoted scripture. They did it by following every word of the prophecy in 2 Chronicles 7:14. Here it is again: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

The wonderful, loving God tells us exactly how to avoid suffering. Continuing in our ways and rejecting His Word won’t do the trick.

As originally organized, the Old Testament concludes with the book of Chronicles. This message is filled with hope. It is not just history, but prophecy too. God makes an unbreakable promise in this book: If we turn from our sins, He will heal us! This applies to the dangerous present as well as the glorious future!

God healed ancient Israel. “Then all Israel gathered themselves to David unto Hebron, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh” (1 Chronicles 11:1). The nation had learned its lesson from the ungodly leadership of King Saul. David was anointed king but couldn’t ascend the throne for another 17 years because Saul was chasing him everywhere, trying to kill him!

God blessed Israel with a new king, a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). David strove to fulfill every tiny detail of God’s will! He thought like God and lived by His every word!

“So David waxed greater and greater: for the Lord of hosts was with him” (1 Chronicles 11:9). With God on our side, we can solve any problem!

Curses and Captivity

Hurricane Harvey has wrecked the Houston area. Hurricane Irma is just getting started in the Atlantic. When you see horrific crises like these, do you really think that God is blessing America?

Maggie Astor wrote for the New York Times on August 28:

is one of the largest disasters America has ever faced. Emergency dispatchers were overwhelmed. Tens of thousands of people spent the weekend in shelters. …

What set Harvey apart was its rain. Once the storm made landfall, it essentially stalled, turning roads in Houston and elsewhere into raging rivers. …

“This event is unprecedented, and all impacts are unknown and beyond anything experienced,” the National Weather Service tweeted Sunday morning.

Houston was deluged by a year’s worth of rain in just three or four days. Fifty inches of rain—roughly 9 trillion gallons of water—has caused nearly $200 billion in damages. How will our debt-ridden government pay the bill?

Could God have a part in these hurricanes? Is He trying to wake up our sinful people?

National curses are followed by captivity, both historically and presently. “And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia” (2 Chronicles 36:20). The ancient kingdom of Judah refused to turn from its wicked ways. Babylon took it captive in 585 b.c.

“To fulfil the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah …” (verse 21). God sent a prophet to warn the Jews of their coming captivity. Jeremiah told them how to be healed, but they wouldn’t listen.

But the book of Jeremiah is specifically addressed to Israel (America and Britain)—not the Jews. Jeremiah never delivered his message to ancient Israel. His warning is for our nations today!

Raising the Ruins

“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the Lord God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The Lord his God be with him, and let him go up” (2 Chronicles 36:22-23).

The conclusion to the Old Testament is incredibly hopeful. Bible scholars are befuddled by the ending of Chronicles because it is the same as the beginning of the book of Ezra. So, they rearrange the books so that Ezra comes after Chronicles.

Chronicles centers around David’s throne, which Jesus Christ will rule from when He returns to the Earth. Ezra, who wrote the book, is trying to get us to focus on Jerusalem—the future headquarters of the Earth and the universe! (Request my free booklet The Book of Chronicles to understand this inspiring truth.) Look to the future! What a perfect transition to the New Testament.

After being freed from slavery, the Jews returned to Jerusalem, constructed the second temple, and built a wall around the city. God healed their land and allowed them to raise the ruins—a type of God’s Work today and of the healing that will soon spread across the planet and throughout the entire universe!

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Open ToolsVerse page’>2 Chronicles 7:14

and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Open ToolsCross References pageVerse page’>2 Chronicles 6:37-39

if they take thought in the land where they are taken captive, and repent and make supplication to You in the land of their captivity, saying, ‘We have sinned, we have committed iniquity and have acted wickedly’;

Open ToolsCross References pageVerse page’>James 4:9-10

Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom.

Open ToolsCross References pageVerse page’>Leviticus 26:40-41

‘If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, in their unfaithfulness which they committed against Me, and also in their acting with hostility against Me–

Open ToolsCross References pageVerse page’>Deuteronomy 4:29-30

“But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.

Open ToolsCross References pageVerse page’>Deuteronomy 30:1-6

“So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where the LORD your God has banished you,

Open ToolsCross References pageVerse page’>2 Chronicles 6:27

then hear in heaven and forgive the sin of Your servants and Your people Israel, indeed, teach them the good way in which they should walk. And send rain on Your land which You have given to Your people for an inheritance.

Open ToolsCross References pageVerse page’>2 Chronicles 6:30

then hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and render to each according to all his ways, whose heart You know for You alone know the hearts of the sons of men,

Open ToolsCross References pageVerse page’>2 Chronicles 33:12-13

When he was in distress, he entreated the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers.

Open ToolsCross References pageVerse page’>2 Chronicles 33:18-19

Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh even his prayer to his God, and the words of the seers who spoke to him in the name of the LORD God of Israel, behold, they are among the records of the kings of Israel.

Open ToolsCross References pageVerse page’>Psalm 60:2

You have made the land quake, You have split it open; Heal its breaches, for it totters.

Open ToolsCross References pageVerse page’>Proverbs 28:13

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.

Open ToolsCross References pageVerse page’>Isaiah 45:19

“I have not spoken in secret, In some dark land; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in a waste place’; I, the LORD, speak righteousness, Declaring things that are upright.

Open ToolsCross References pageVerse page’>Isaiah 55:6-7

Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.

Open ToolsCross References pageVerse page’>Isaiah 59:20

“A Redeemer will come to Zion, And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,” declares the LORD.

Open ToolsCross References pageVerse page’>Isaiah 63:19

We have become like those over whom You have never ruled, Like those who were not called by Your name.

Open ToolsCross References pageVerse page’>Jeremiah 8:22

Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has not the health of the daughter of my people been restored?

Open ToolsCross References pageVerse page’>Jeremiah 33:6

‘Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them; and I will reveal to them an abundance of peace and truth.

Open ToolsCross References pageVerse page’>Jeremiah 51:9

We applied healing to Babylon, but she was not healed; Forsake her and let us each go to his own country, For her judgment has reached to heaven And towers up to the very skies.

Open ToolsCross References pageVerse page’>Ezekiel 18:27-30

“Again, when a wicked man turns away from his wickedness which he has committed and practices justice and righteousness, he will save his life.

Open ToolsCross References pageVerse page’>Acts 9:11

And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying,

Open ToolsCross References pageVerse page’>Ezekiel 33:11

“Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?’

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Summary

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Bible References

My people

Open ToolsTSK pageVerse page’>Isaiah 63:19

We have become like those over whom You have never ruled, Like those who were not called by Your name.

And pray

Open ToolsTSK pageVerse page’>Acts 9:11

And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying,

Seek my face

Open ToolsTSK pageVerse page’>Isaiah 45:19

“I have not spoken in secret, In some dark land; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in a waste place’; I, the LORD, speak righteousness, Declaring things that are upright.

Turn from

Open ToolsTSK pageVerse page’>Proverbs 28:13

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.

Open ToolsTSK pageVerse page’>Isaiah 55:6

Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.

Open ToolsTSK pageVerse page’>Isaiah 59:20

“A Redeemer will come to Zion, And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,” declares the LORD.

Open ToolsTSK pageVerse page’>Ezekiel 18:27

“Again, when a wicked man turns away from his wickedness which he has committed and practices justice and righteousness, he will save his life.

Will i hear

Open ToolsTSK pageVerse page’>2 Chronicles 6:27

then hear in heaven and forgive the sin of Your servants and Your people Israel, indeed, teach them the good way in which they should walk. And send rain on Your land which You have given to Your people for an inheritance.

Heal their land

Open ToolsTSK pageVerse page’>Psalm 60:2

You have made the land quake, You have split it open; Heal its breaches, for it totters.

Open ToolsTSK pageVerse page’>Jeremiah 8:22

Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has not the health of the daughter of my people been restored?

Open ToolsTSK pageVerse page’>Jeremiah 33:6

‘Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them; and I will reveal to them an abundance of peace and truth.

Open ToolsTSK pageVerse page’>Jeremiah 51:9

We applied healing to Babylon, but she was not healed; Forsake her and let us each go to his own country, For her judgment has reached to heaven And towers up to the very skies.

bible.knowing-jesus.com

A Text Out of Context: 2 Chronicles 7:14

written by Aaron Brake

2 Chronicles 7:14 is a frequently quoted verse which is often given a modern-day application for the United States of America. The verse states,

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 heal their land.

You may hear this verse quoted or see it posted especially around the National Day of Prayer. Accompanying this verse, it is often pointed out that America is in spiritual and moral decline, and if we as a nation would only humble ourselves, pray, seek the face of God, and turn from wickedness, then God would hear from heaven, forgive our sin, and heal our land. Sometimes the verse is applied more specifically to Christians living in America since God refers to “my people.” Regardless, notice that God is making a promise: If you do this, then God will do that.

Is this a correct interpretation and application of 2 Chronicles 7:14? It seems to me this takes the passage out of context and leads to misapplication.

What Is the Context?

What is the broader context of this passage? This is always an important question to start with whenever we are seeking to correctly interpret and apply a biblical passage.

Very briefly, as we read the beginning chapters of 2 Chronicles we discover that Solomon is preparing to build a temple for Yahweh in Jerusalem (chapters 2-5). He completes the temple and dedicates it with a prayer before all the assembly of Israel (chapter 6). Yahweh responds by filling the temple with His glory and making His dwelling there (chapter 7). After sacrifices are offered and the Feast of Dedication is observed, Yahweh appears to Solomon with both a promise and a warning:

Then the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name 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 heal their land… But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will pluck you up from my land that I have given you, and this house that I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight, and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples” (7:12-14, 19-20).

Interpretive Issues

Reading this passage in context brings up several important interpretive issues.

First, notice who is being addressed. God is speaking directly to Solomon, though Israel as a nation is clearly in view. In fact, God is giving Solomon a point-by-point response regarding his prayer for Israel in 2 Chronicles 6. Therefore, the promise of blessing and the warning regarding disobedience was given to Israel, not America or Christians living in America.

Second, what is “this place” that God has chosen in verse 12? Clearly it refers to the temple Solomon built in Jerusalem, not America.

Third, who is the group of “my people” that God is referring to in verse 14? It is certainly not Christians under the new covenant. That is an anachronistic reading which would be completely foreign to the original author and audience. Clearly this is referring to the Israelite nation. The nation of Israel was God’s chosen people in the Old Testament, not America or Christians living in America.

Fourth, what “land” is God promising to heal in verse 14? Again, clearly this is referring to the promised land of Israel, not America.

Fifth, what exactly is meant by “heal their land” in verse 14? Many assume this refers to some sort of spiritual healing, a spiritual revival of sorts. This is the way it is often applied today. But notice what verse 13 states, a verse that is frequently skipped over to get to verse 14:

When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people…

The consequences of disobedience mentioned here is how God dealt with Israel under the old covenant when they were unfaithful to Him. It is with respect to these calamities that God promises to “heal their land.” In other words, “heal their land” has nothing to do with spiritual revival but rather a physical restoration of the land and people. God is promising Israel He will restore them to prosperity and “heal their land” if they return to Him. This is a promise of physical restoration for Israel, not a promise of spiritual revival for America.

Sixth, notice the language that is being used in this passage. This is covenant specific language reflective of Deuteronomy 28. Yahweh is reminding Israel of the covenant He has established with them, specifically the blessings that come with obedience and the curses that come with disobedience. God established this covenant with Israel, not America or Christians living in America.

Seventh, notice what verse 19 states:

But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments…I will pluck you up from my land that I have given you.

Why don’t Christians in America claim this part of the passage for themselves? And if we do claim this for ourselves, are we to believe that God is warning us that we will be uprooted from America and taken to a foreign land if we forsake the Lord? Of course, this passage makes perfect sense when applied to the history of Israel as a nation. Israel forsook Yahweh and the northern kingdom was conquered by the Assyrians in 722 BC and the southern kingdom was conquered and exiled by the Babylonians in 586 BC. Again, this is exactly what we should expect given the fact that this warning was for Israel, not America or Christians living in America.

Furthermore, in verses 17-18 God tells Solomon,

…if you walk before Me as your father David walked… then I will establish your royal throne as I covenanted with your father David.

Should Christians claim this promise for themselves as well? After all, if Christians in America are going to claim the promises made to Israel, why not claim the promises made to Solomon also? Why not just claim every promise made in Scripture for ourselves and adopt a “name it and claim it” approach? Perhaps we find 2 Chronicles 7:14 emotionally appealing and so we are more willing to claim it as our own. At the same time we disregard other verses that would equally apply to us given this method of hermeneutics. This seems inconsistent at best and can lead to dangerous misapplication.

In sum, it seems presumptuous for Christians in America to quote a verse such as this and claim the promise for themselves. America is not God’s chosen nation or land. Americans are not God’s chosen people. America is nowhere to be found in this passage nor is any other nation besides Israel:

The context clearly relates the promise to “this place” (the temple in Jerusalem) and “their land” (Israel, the land of Solomon and the Israelites). Yet because modern Christians yearn for it to be true of their land—wherever they live in the modern world—they tend to ignore the fact that God’s promise that he “will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” was about the only earthly land God’s people could ever claim as “theirs,” the Old Testament land of Israel. In the new covenant, God’s people have no earthly country that is “their land.” The country they belong to is a heavenly one (Heb. 11:16).

But It Can Still Apply to America, Right?

Despite the clear context of this passage there have been interesting attempts to make 2 Chronicles 7:14 still apply to Christians in America. One speaker made reference to 2 Chronicles 6:32-33 where Solomon is offering his prayer of dedication:

Also concerning the foreigner who is not from Your people Israel, when he comes from a far country for Your great name’s sake and Your mighty hand and Your outstretched arm, when they come and pray toward this house, then hear from heaven, from Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know Your name, and fear You as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this house which I have built is called by Your name.

The speaker stated that the “foreigner” in this passage could refer to Americans. Does this work? I don’t think it does for at least two reasons.

First, notice the context again. Solomon refers to the foreigner coming “from a far country” and praying toward “this house.” In other words, there are stipulations in Solomon’s request. The foreigner must fulfill two conditions: he must come to the land of Israel and he must pray toward the temple Solomon built. No foreigner could fulfill these conditions today for the simple fact that Solomon’s temple is no longer in existence.

Second, notice that one of the reasons Solomon makes the request regarding foreigners is so that “they may know that this house which I have built is called by Your name.” But again, since the temple is no longer in existence this means that at least one of the reasons Solomon makes the request regarding foreigners is null and void. This could not be fulfilled in our day and age.

It would seem then that we would be forced to take 2 Chronicles 6:32-33 out of context in order to make 2 Chronicles 7:14 apply to America or Christians living in America.

So What’s the Point of This Passage?

We need to remember that not everything in the Bible is about us. When we approach the text of Scripture with “What does this say about me?” as a primary interpretive question we take a mecentered approach that is inherently narcissistic and individualistic. This does not mean the Bible does not apply to us. It certainly does. But before we move to application we need to first discover the correct meaning by using legitimate interpretive principles.

The Bible is about God first and foremost. The Bible is God’s self-revelation. God is the hero! Therefore, a good interpretive question applicable to many passages is, “What does this teach about the nature and character of God?” Looking at 2 Chronicles 7:11-22 with this question in mind I think we learn several important things.

First, we learn about the tremendous mercy, love, and graciousness of God. Yahweh would have been completely justified in breaking covenant with Israel and forsaking them in light of their persistent rebellion. But instead Yahweh is constantly faithful. He keeps His promises and the covenant He established with Israel despite their continued unfaithfulness toward Him. Regarding application, this means that we as Christians can be confident that God will keep His promises to us. It should also cause us to reflect on the tremendous mercy, love, and grace God has given us despite our own rebellion.

Second, we learn about God’s desire to be in communion with His people. In response to Solomon’s prayer we are told “the glory of the Lord filled the house” and Yahweh states, “For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually” (2 Chronicles 7:1, 16). In Yahweh’s covenant relationship with Israel and His presence among them we see His desire to overturn the effects of the Fall and reestablish shalom between Creator and creation. This of course applies to us as Christians just as well. As members of the New Covenant we have peace with God (Rom. 5:1). Furthermore, God desires to be in continual communion with us and to further our sanctification.

Finally, we can even learn that God desires us to humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from wickedness. These prescriptions for Israel in the Old Testament are even repeated for Christians in the New Testament. This should not surprise us since God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. But what we cannot do is take a promise out of context, claim it for ourselves when it was never given to us, and assume that if we do these things God is bound and obligated to spiritually renew America. While we should continue to pray for our nation and seek God’s mercy and grace, the continued prosperity of our nation is dependent on exactly that: God’s mercy and grace, not a promise He has made us. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is not a magic formula for spiritual revival.

Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003), 105.

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