‘Did believing in our own strength kill the Tree of Hope?’

September 3, 2015


ANCIENT ROOTS: This yew tree in the churchyard of a parish church in central Somerset could be hundreds of years old. They grow bigger in churchyards which are effectively protective enclosures.


Contrasting images

BIBLICAL LINKS: The sculpture highlights the sycamore destroyed in the Twin Towers attack and right the Cedar (Tree of Hope) is placed in the area where they sycamore once stood in 2003. The tree died in August 2014 and wasn’t replaced.




DOES the conifer tree have spiritual significance to our past heritage and is it linked to events around us?

If you drive along the countryside, pull over to see a parish church and its churchyard, you will notice that more often than not it will have a yew tree somewhere in its grounds. Just passing it, you wouldn’t think anything of it but there is quite a lot to it.

Anyone following this blog will know that back in April I visited some Neolithic monuments with some friends on a long day out in Wiltshire and east Dorset and this was brought to my attention by my travelling companions Dave and Amy.

According to the site of the Ancient Yew, in the northern temperate zone of Western society, Celtic, Nordic and Anglo-Saxon ancient cultures linked the yew tree with eternal life, death and re-birth. Local customs and rural traditions can be traced back to these ancient concepts.

When the yews were planted in churchyards, the traditions were blended with these ancient roots and whilst remaining as a symbol of eternity, the terminology changed from ‘rebirth’ to ‘resurrection’.

In ancient druidic Britain the yew was seen as a kind of “protector of the soul” and was conceived as part of the “natural law of reincarnation” The yew is seen as a symbol of the regenerative power of nature.

Dorset, Somerset and the New Forest will have lost much of its yew population to the early medieval longbow production. Yews grow bigger in churchyards than in woodland as they have protective enclosures.

The Yew was considered as part of a sanctuary – you only have to look at the yew sanctuary in Uppsala, Sweden and the yews in Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines in Japan.

As well as finding them in burial sites in the UK, you can also find them in a similar format in France, Germany, Russia, Poland, France and Spain. There are also links to kingship and royalty in Ireland, Russia and Japan.

A writer in the Gentleman’s Magazine in 1781 wrote the following: “We read in the antiquities of Greece and Rome that the branches of the cypress and the yew were the usual signals to denote a house in mourning.

“Now, sir, as death was a deity amongst the atients (the daughters of Sleep and Night), and by them was represented in the same matter. With the addition of a long robe embroidered with stars.

“I think we may fairly conclude that the custom of planting the yew in churchyards took its rise from pagan superstition and it is as old as the conquest of Britain by Julius Caesar.”

Trees can also have a significant meaning in times of real tragedy. Does anyone remember the Twin Towers attack of 11 September 2001. We are closing in on the 14th anniversary of that world-changing event.

Shortly after the second anniversary of 9/11 on 29 November 2003, a 21-foot spruce (cedar tree) replaced the sycamore tree that originally stood in front of St Paul’s Chapel at Ground Zero. It was called the Tree of Hope.

The Ground Zero ceremony declared that “Tree of Hope” will be a sign of indomitable nature of human hope” and seemed to infer that the United States would come back even stronger through its own strength. It was planted in the very place where its 60-year-old sycamore predecessor had been.

The sycamore was said to have been a sycamore-fig or fig mulberry that was native to the Middle East and East Africa.

The next day after the tragedy happened (12 September 2001), the following was statement was said by Senate majority leader Tom Daschle in Congress: “There is a passage in the Bible from Isaiah that speaks to all of us at times like this. The bricks have fallen, but we will rebuild from dressed stone, the sycamore has fallen but we will replace them with cedars. This is what we will do. We will rebuild and we will recover.”

Why refer to this? Well the Tree of Hope mentioned above passed away in August of last year and was replaced quietly without anyone seemingly questioning the significance of this.

In light of what was said above, why was this verse in scripture chosen above all others in the Bible said in this speech? I ask this question. Did Senator Daschle have any idea of the words he was using and what they conveyed? Was a vow being fulfilled?

Apparently in 1789 the St Paul’s Chapel mentioned earlier in this piece George Washington was inaugurated as president of the United States in New York, not Washington.

After delivering his presidential address, he led a procession of Senators and House of Representatives from the streets of the capital from Federal Hall to St Paul’s Chapel.

It was alleged that the representatives that day “prayed” for the country for two hours and dedicated the country to God.

Washington was alleged to have said: “The propitious smiles of Heaven cannot be expected on a country that disregards the eternal rules of order and right that heaven itself hath ordained.”

These facts are being revealed with the question being asked, is there a higher force at work that can’t be explained? If the ‘Tree of Hope’ was dedicated to the world doing everything in its own strength, is that why it died?

I only ask this question as we approach the anniversary of this event. How can we get the lightness back out of the darkness enveloping the world today? I throw the question open. Does this explain it?

  • PART of the information supplied with this article is resourced from the best seller The Harbinger by Rabbi Jonathan Cahn and should be read and viewed as such.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave September 11, 2015 at 10:30 am

‘Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky, We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness’


Sib July 9, 2020 at 10:27 pm

By the hope that is eternal, it comes from the eternal God (see Romans 15:13), who alone can give it through knowing His beloved Son, Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Human hope fails, because it is not eternal.


Jeff January 3, 2021 at 1:00 am

But when a nation such as this places it’s hope in its own powers to save itself, then it’s hope is false. It’s true hope is found only in returning to God. Without that, its Tree of Hope is a harbinger of the day when it’s strong cedars come crashing down to the earth.
The Harbinger II


Geri March 23, 2021 at 5:05 am

Just reading Harbinger. Very interesting read. I purchased the second book also. Your comment so very true.


Jason April 12, 2021 at 12:35 am

In considering the context of the replanting of the tree of hope and in light of the sovereignty of God over all nations, I believe that God is warning the nation of the United States that we are like Edom, the descendent of Esau. In the Bible, God speaks of the outcome of Edom in Malachi 1, Obadiah, and in Ezekiel 35. Read and consider the warnings and implications – will this land that was so great be laid desolate as a warning and reminder to all men of the world that the Lord alone is great? It seems impossible, yet do we not see the wasting away happening daily, if our eyes are open to see. To those who wish to see and to overcome, please consider the Lord’s words to the church of Laodicea. Jesus Christ is the Lord and King and only redeemer God has appointed to save the nations. Praise be to God for His unchangeable plans.


Pitangus October 18, 2021 at 12:59 pm

I wrote down the following back in 2012: the Ground Zero native-to-US sycamore tree (felled in 911) has since been replaced with a Norway Spruce (that later withered and died). The intention was to replace it with something apparently stronger and better, thus encapsulating the whole spirit of defiance that followed hard on the heels of 911. So, the fact it wasn’t actually the same species – a Cedar of Lebanon, as in the Bible (Isa 9v10) – is really immaterial.
The Norway Spruce – ie. non-British, namely that Sceptred Isle with identical pure-Gospel roots as the US! – as it turns out, is actually the perfect modern equivalent for symbolising a similar spirit of defiance; and here, within the context of US spiritual origins, it’s a better one. Notably, unlike the local American cedars, it belongs to the same family of trees as the Cedar of Lebanon – the Pinaceae (pine) family. But then so does that US native, the Loblolly pine – so why choose a non-native?
It seems that by choosing (coincidentally!) a non-native European Pinaceae family tree, this helps convey the general notion of the betrayal of America’s foundational principles and even (original) reason for its existing. The Founding Fathers had actually sought to escape from just about everything the Norway Spruce represents ie. Europe (foreign values), prideful attitudes and overemphasis on things like outward beauty, permanence and strength – it’s a tall, impressive-looking tree offering the grower many material benefits; then perhaps most importantly, false Christianity – the Norway Spruce represents the ultimate Christmas tree – a festival first encouraged by Rome and therefore also the ultimate pagan symbol for the US’s readoption of the general atmosphere of religious oppression back in Europe that the Founding Fathers were originally trying to escape!


Michelle July 4, 2022 at 10:35 pm

Read the HARBINGER by Jonathan Cahn. The Prophecy speaks of this as well as America’s future. This is so eye opening. America was founded on Christian values as we turn our backs on God removing him from government, school, our lives we seal our demise. Hopefully Americans wake up before it’s too late.


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