He also says the sycamore tree that was destroyed by the falling World Trade Center is not enough of a match to the sycamore trees destroyed by the Assyrians as reported in Isaiah 9:10 to qualify as the harbinger Cahn makes of it; nor that the Norway spruce brought in to replace the sycamore in New York was enough of a match to the cedars of Lebanon with which the leaders of Israel intended to replace their sycamores.
Because the American building materials don't match those of ancient Israel, and the American trees are not similar enough to Israel's, not a close enough match in James' mind, they don't qualify as harbingers at all.
THE BUILDING MATERIALS
We don't build with clay bricks or quarried stones any more, especially not skyscrapers. So it ought to be regarded as uncanny indeed that anything at all could have been found in New York City in the 21st century to suggest or imitate those materials that are described in Isaiah 9:10. Even the description of the rubble of the WTC as "a pile of bricks" makes the connection, as does the fact that a quarried stone WAS brought in with the intention of making it the cornerstone of the new Freedom Tower.
Remember the verse doesn't say they actually built anything, what it says is that they intended to, and that is what has reappeared in America, that intention to rebuild that is the expression of defiance of God.
When scripture is applied to situations in the present it's going to be adapted to the conditions of those situations. That ought to be obvious.
It occurred to me to look up the various trees that grow in the US to see if a better match could have been found for either the sycamore or the conifer and I've concluded that it couldn't.
The fig-mulberry tree does not grow natively in North America and is not a desirable enough tree to be transplanted here, but we have a tree we named after that Middle Eastern tree because of its general similarity of appearance.
Likewise the cedar of Lebanon, which turns out to be an endangered species, requires specialized conditions to grow well and is not a desirable candidate for transplant in North America.
Both the Middle Eastern ficus sycomorus and the cedar of Lebanon are cultivated here in special nurseries*
The North American tree named after the Middle Eastern sycamore or fig-mulberry tree is the absolute closest match that could have been found, a "perfect" match. It's the tree that would have been planted in a churchyard in New York City and along Wall Street. But of course, beyond that, its choice was made ultimately by God Himself which is why it IS a harbinger that echoes the sycamores of Isaiah 9:10.
As for the Norway spruce, the criterion for an appropriate match ought to be what is most likely to be planted in America and this tree is probably the most popular. It IS an "erez" tree as Jonathan Cahn points out, making it enough of a match to satisfy all but the obsessed critics, but beyond that the best match has to be the one most suited to its particular location. The choice of a conifer at all to replace the sycamore of 9/11 is uncanny, something only God could have done, but in America the conifer of choice would have been the Norway spruce. In my own neighborhood I'm aware of two Norway spruces in people's yards. I conclude that the Norway spruce is the PERFECT match, the perfect AMERICAN match for the cedars of Isaiah 9:10 to replace our AMERICAN version of the sycamore.
Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the Norway spruce: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picea_abies
The Norway Spruce is one of the most widely planted spruces, both in and outside of its native range, and one of the most economically important coniferous species in Europe. It is used in forestry for timber and paper production, and as an ornamental tree in parks and gardens. It is esteemed as a source of tonewood It is also widely planted for use as a Christmas tree. Every Christmas, the Norwegian capital city, Oslo, provides the cities of New York, London (the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree), Edinburgh and Washington D.C. with a Norway Spruce, which is placed at the most central square of each city. This is mainly a sign of gratitude for the aid these countries gave during the Second World War.
It is naturalised in some parts of North America, though not so extensively as to be considered an invasive weed tree. It can grow fast when young, up to 1 m per year for the first 25 years under good conditions, but becomes slower once over around 20 m tall.A very likely tree of choice if you're going to choose a conifer in North America.
I suppose it MIGHT have been a "white cedar" which is really a cypress and is also used for ornamental plantings and is native to North America, especially the northeast: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thuja_occidentalis
but I don't see anything that would make it preferred over the Norway spruce.
HOW CLOSE DOES IT HAVE TO BE?
The best match between elements of different cultures, times and climates -- in fact the PERFECT match -- is the equivalent match, not exact identity. You can't have perfect identity and to demand it is to impose an impossible standard and make it impossible to understand The Harbinger at all.
It has to be close enough to be situationally equivalent with the buildings and trees of Isaiah 9:10 so that we can see that God IS talking to America through Isaiah 9:10. Equivalence we've got, and that does amount to perfect matches.
*Notes on Trees in America:
There is a place that grows cedars of Lebanon, Trees of Joy: http://www.treesofjoy.com/content/about-us
They call it "the RARE cedar of Lebanon" tree.
They also have a page on the Middle Eastern sycamore, Ficus Sycamorus: http://www.treesofjoy.com/content/sycamore-fig-ficus-sycamorus
Pictures of Ficus Sycomorus: http://www.flickriver.com/photos/tags/ficussycomorus/interesting/
"North American Sycamore grows in NY": http://forestry.about.com/od/hardwoods/ss/sycamore.htm