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Raising The Flag On Mount Suribachi; The Beginning Of The End

Updated: Mar 9

“The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can.

Strike him as hard as you can, as often as you can, and keep moving on.”

(General Ulysses S. Grant)


  

Sunday, February 25, 1945; The Beginning Of The End

 

Above is the famous flag raising picture on Mount Suribachi, taken on Friday, February 23, 1945 by Joe Rosenthal in the battle with Japan for the strategic island of Iwo Jima during World War II. Three of the six soldiers in the picture would soon die as fighting continued for the next month. Two days later, on Sunday, February 25, 1945, the iconic image was placed on the front page of newspapers across America. The immediate effect of the picture throughout our nation was one of great encouragement. Our people had become weary after four years of hard-fought battles in Europe and the Pacific. It fueled the seventh and biggest war bond effort, raising a staggering 26 billion dollars. Maybe even more important, it gave a much needed injection of renewed hope that an end of the global death and suffering could finally be near.

 

The eight square mile island was finally declared secure on March 26, 1945. It had been one of the bloodiest battles in Marine Corps history. After the battle, Iwo Jima served as an emergency landing site for more than 2,200 B-29 bombers, allegedly saving the lives of approximately 24,000 U.S. airmen.

 

Today just happens to be Sunday, February 25, 2024. On February 25, 1984, exactly forty years ago, my brother-in-law Dale G. Goorhouse died after a two-year battle of his own with lung cancer. A couple days later, early in the morning, after attending his showing at the funeral home, I surrendered my life to Christ and He raised His flag over me. None of this is by chance.

 

After attending a house church gathering yesterday (Saturday, February 24, 2024), I decided to sit down and watch a documentary on the battle of Iwo Jima that my wife had picked up for me for $1.00 at a second-hand store. When I heard that the famous picture had been released to the public on Sunday, February 25, 1945, I was immediately stirred within by the Holy Spirit. This was an unexpected addition to the day I had been looking forward to in memory of my brother-in-law, and my surrender to Jesus Christ. I woke up in the middle of the night thinking and praying, asking the Lord to show me why He had pointed out to me these events that had occurred on the same day. It was then, while laying in bed, that He began to reveal to me the significance of this pivotal moment in history, exactly 79, and 40 years ago today.

 

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 3:22)

 

I believe that at this precise moment of God’s providential timing in history, we too are being given, by revelation from the Holy Spirit, a much needed burst of renewed hope that an end of the death and suffering of this global conflict with the devil draws near. The necessary high ground has been gained in the heavenlies by a few good men and women, and the flag of God’s kingdom planted on it. Like the Japanese on Iwo Jima, our enemy will continue to ruthlessly fight to the death, but his final demise has already begun. The time of his downfall has been declared by the Captain of the host of the Lord’s army. In reality, it began at Calvary through Christ’ death on the cross. But now, we stand at the door of all things being brought into submission under the dominion of the King of kings and Lord of lords (see Hebrews 2:1-8).

 

For those who have answered the call, it’s time to press in. Today is a manifested sign in history. Like the picture of the flag raising on Mount Suribachi that was put in the newspapers for all to see, it is a public proclamation to the nations that the Lord will lead us in His guaranteed victory over our enemy (2 Corinthians 2:14; see more on this in the section below called The First Flag Raising). It is not a day for Christians to settle down in contentment while not yet securing our objective of finishing our journey to the Promised Land of our spiritual inheritance in Christ. Yes, the land is ours by decree of the Lord, but only those who persevere in battle will enter into the joy of their Master. As with the children of Israel during their wilderness journey, we have won a decisive battle, but the war has not yet ended.

 

Iwo Jima was a strategic base of operations because of its airfields. In taking the island, our bombers and other aircraft controlled the nearest base of operations essential for launching airstrikes during the looming battle for Japan’s homeland. Before this, the closest air bases were located on Guam and Saipan. The island had also been used to detect incoming bomber attacks on the main island. It let them and their fighter planes know that we were coming. Once the eyes of the enemy were removed, they were unable to see until the last moment when, after air superiority had been established, a high-level American bomber flew over and unsuspectingly dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, followed days later by Nagasaki. It would lead to the unconditional surrender of Japan, and the end of the war.

 

It seems, then, that the Lord is saying that through the taking of the “high ground,” He is giving us “air superiority” over our enemy through our “enhanced view.” By removing his “eyes” in seemingly insignificant but strategic areas known only to our Commanding Officer, thereby blinding them to His actions, his servants will not be able to know what God’s servants are doing until it’s too late, bringing to a conclusion this age. In other words, as long as we go forward in Christ, working together with the Holy Spirit, our inevitable victory has been declared. Air superiority over the prince of the power of the air will be used to prepare the way for high-level bombers in the Spirit who are seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6). Through Christ’ authority, they will carry out their missions of intercession with overwhelming authority over our enemy.

 

Mount Suribachi; A Place of Crushing

 

The Japanese strategically chose not to attack the American soldiers on their way to the island. Instead, they allowed them to gather on the beach where their big guns were zeroed in at. It was then that they unloaded on our huddled masses, resulting in numerous casualties. As one American soldier declared, “It was a killing field.”

 

On the southwest end of the island stood Mount Suribachi, the extinct volcano with a bowl-shaped top where the enemy had wisely placed their big guns that would inflict the greatest amount of damage on those who dared to defiantly stand against her from far below. In Japanese, suribachi means “grinding-bowl.” Together with the surikogi , which literally means “grind-powder-wood,” they are a Japanese mortar and pestle. These mortars are used in Japanese cooking to crush different ingredients such as sesame seeds. The suribachi is a pottery bowl, glazed on the outside and with a rough pattern called kushi-no-me on the unglazed inside. This surface is somewhat similar to the surface of the oroshigane (grater). The surikogi pestle is made from wood to avoid excessive wear on the suribachi. Its purpose is to grind the material placed in it.

 

A mortar and pestle is “a set of two simple tools used to prepare ingredients or substances by crushing and grinding them into a fine paste or powder in the kitchen, laboratory, and pharmacy. The mortar is characteristically a bowl, typically made of hardwood, metal, ceramic, or hard stone such as granite.” The pestle is defined as “a club-shaped instrument for pounding and breaking materials.” Militarily speaking, a mortar is a weapon that is also used to crush and grind. “Mortars launch explosive shells in high-arching ballistic trajectories. They are typically used as indirect fire weapons for close fire support with a variety of ammunition.”

 

In the battle of Iwo Jima, Mount Suribachi was the mortar, and its big guns the pestle used for pounding the American troops down below. Once overtaken through a hard fought battle by the Americans, the situation reversed itself. The pound and grind action were now in the hands of the opposite side. So is ours for those who, again, hear what the Spirit is saying to HIS church. As Paul declared, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” (Romans 16:20) Amen. The reign of our God on earth draws near. On this very day, when we remember our past, we have been granted a sign from heaven for our near future. Be encouraged you faithful servants of the Lord. Our God will have the last word in this war.

 

Taking The High Ground

 

The high ground is defined in the following manner;

  • A position of advantage or superiority.

  • Fighting from an elevated position is said to be easier for a number of tactical reasons. Holding the high ground offers an elevated vantage point with a wide field of view, enabling surveillance of the surrounding landscape, in contrast to valleys which offer a limited field of view.

 

During the beginning of John’s Revelation, the Lord spoke to him about seven different churches. At the end He declared to him;

 

“‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.’”

(Revelation 3:20-4:1/NASU)

 

Interestingly enough, yesterday was February 24, 2024, or 2-24-24. Seeing the two witnesses of the 24’s together moved me to look to see if there was anything being revealed by the Lord through them. It’s hard to understand when people in the church refuse to notice things like numbers (known as biblical numerology), or names as being of any significance from the Lord in His word. It’s my belief that they’ve created a God as dull as themselves.

 

In the article “Hebrew Linguistics & The Bible,” a couple of definitions for the number 24 stood out to me;

  • “To write twenty-four in Hebrew, they wrote two Hebrew letters: kaph-daleth. These signify the open palm in the act of opening a door, signifying an open hand showing and offering to us the door of priesthood and access into the Sanctuary of God.

  • Twenty-four is the number of priesthood. Even as the number 12 is the number of governmental perfection, its multiple (24) is the number of priesthood, wherein lies the call to spiritual government. It is a heavenly government of priesthood, rather than a political government of kings.

 

What this means to me is that the door for entering into the Lord’s presence is now open for all who would choose to enter in. The physical manifestation of His government will soon be established on earth. In fact, one definition for the number 24 that I saw from Troy Brewer (propheticnumbers.com) was, “The number 24 represents ‘Perfect government (12) made manifest (2). It’s when God is in control of circumstances and wants you to come before his throne.”

 

The open-door policy by Divine invitation will not be open for long though (Matthew 25:10). As in the days of Noah, when God shuts the door, no one will be able to open it (Genesis 7:16, Revelation 3:7). Those who enter in now, at this acceptable time of the Lord, will be accepted as the priesthood who will reign in the heavenly government of God. Our submission to the will of God to “come up higher” now will result in the enemy’s submission under our feet later.

 

It is in the upward, holy place near Him where God calls His servants to come so that He may converse with them. Men often think they can remain in an earthly, fleshly condition of rebellion against the “upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14) and still have God reveal to them “what must take place.” When Moses was called up the mountain by God, he obeyed and received His word for the people to live by.

 

On the demands associated with the call of ascension from the Lord, David declared;

 

“Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God his Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob. Selah”

(Psalm 24:3-6/NIV)

 

For those who answer the call from God to come up higher per His revealed standards, the mountain currently possessed by the enemy is yours for the taking. After ascending to the higher position in Christ per the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you will be used to lead others by the Way revealed to you, and take back the land from the enemy for the kingdom of God.

 

Planting A Flag

 

The planting of the flag on Mount Suribachi symbolizes something extremely significant in regards to the kingdom of God. In the article “Planting the flag” by Graham Rutter, he gives the following insights;

 

“…It was done during World War II to show the march of the Allies across Europe and the Far East. It has even been done recently on the sea-bed under the North Pole. What am I talking about? The act of planting a flag. Planting a flag symbolizes conquest, symbolizes the gaining of territory. It is a way of showing that this territory belongs to a kingdom, that this territory is part of something bigger and more important… [Obviously, this is a picture of the retaking of territory lost through sin to the devil, but regained for the kingdom of God. The first place to be captured is within us, followed by the external. Internal freedom is the only way to possess true external freedom.]

 

During World War II, flags were planted after the fighting, as a way of showing the victor. There are moving photographs of flags hanging from ruined cities, with people celebrating because freedom had arrived. A hard-won freedom, a freedom that had claimed many lives, but freedom. There are other photographs of soldiers struggling to raise a flag to show that this part of the battle-field had been claimed. The hard fighting had already been done. There might be more to do, but this part, this street, this hill, this town, had been liberated.

 

And this is what Jesus has done on the cross. He has brought about God’s kingdom, he has brought freedom, he has restored the prisoners of hope as Zechariah puts it [see Zechariah 9:9-12]. Because of Jesus we are invited to be part of God’s kingdom. Freedom and liberation are ours [as we continue in Him; 1 Corinthians 15:1-2]. The flag has been planted…

 

Our second reading was from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians [see 1 Corinthians 2:1-12]. He was writing to the early Christians to encourage them, to help them with their problems and struggles. They had become part of God’s kingdom, God’s flag had been planted in their lives, but there was still much hard work to be done to bring the territory claimed fully into God’s kingdom.

 

[This is what has come to me; that on this very day, February 25, 2024, the summit (i.e. high ground) has been achieved by some, and the flag of God’s kingdom raised upon it. But we dare not sit back and act as though the war is over. Our enemy will always attempt a counter-attack in order to retake the land within us that he lost (Galatians 5:1). It is only as we stand firm in Christ with an obedient, submissive heart that we are able to go forward and finish the race of total liberation for all mankind.]

 

It is a kingdom that holds out the promise of eternal life. And it is a kingdom that challenges us to live our whole lives under it, so that all our thoughts, words and actions are working for God’s kingdom. That’s hard work, yes. But, God promises us that He will be with us and will help us by giving us His Spirit, if we plant the flag of His kingdom in our lives, in every part of our life. So ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.’ Amen.”

 

The First Flag Raising

 

What many do not know is that the famous picture was actually the second flag raising on the mount. The first one was greeted by much noise from the ships and cheers from the soldiers below. Here’s the rest of the story from the article “Raising the flag on Iwo Jima: Here's the story behind that iconic World War II photo”;

 

“On Feb. 23, 1945, during the Battle of Iwo Jima (Feb. 19 to March 26), six Marines planted the U.S. flag at the summit of Mount Suribachi. The scene was photographed by journalist Joe Rosenthal of the Associated Press and his image soon became famous around the world. What many people do not know is that this iconic photo actually shows the second flag to be raised on Iwo Jima that day. 

 

Who raised the first flag on Iwo Jima? 

 

Located on the southern tip of the Japanese island, Mount Suribachi is a dormant volcano that is 546 feet (166 meters) high. The summit has a dominating view of the rest of Iwo Jima, including its black sand beaches. During the battle, one of the bloodiest in the Pacific War, Japanese forces used this vantage point to direct artillery fire onto the American forces. Soon after the start of the battle, the Americans aimed to capture the position.

 

A 40-man [don’t miss this number] combat patrol led by 1st Lt. Harold G. Schrier, was the first American unit to reach the summit of the mountain on February 23. These men were from the 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines, and they carried with them a U.S. flag taken from the USS Missoula, a tank transport ship that delivered troops and cargo to Iwo Jima. Earlier, Schrier had been handed the flag by his battalion’s adjutant and was told, “If you get to the top, put it up.” [Notice that he said “if,” meaning they were not that confident he would make it to the top because of the fierce fighting up until that point. Miraculously though, the patrol made it to the top unharmed.]

 

As revealed through numerous passages in both Old and New testaments, the number 40 is significant for many reasons. In Hebrew it was written with the letter mem which means “water, flowing or coming from.” This makes sense since the first time 40 was used in the Bible was for the rain that would fall 40 days and 40 nights when God flooded the earth in the judgment of the wicked during the days of Noah. Forty is the number of trial or probation. When viewed as a time cycle, we find that Israel spent 40 years being tested and tried in the wilderness. Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness being tested of the devil. The number 40 can be viewed negatively in terms of the full 40 days/years of trial, but it can also be viewed positively in that it is the end of the time of trial or testing. Personally, I believe that the time frame of 40 years since I surrendered my life to Christ is the end of my time of trial and testing, and the beginning of something new in Him.

 

Strangely enough, last night at our weekly Bible study in a fast-food restaurant near our home, I made my usual purchase before sitting down with everyone. The cashier looked down and said, “That will be $8.88 sir.” He then added a, “Hmmm” to it, to which I said, “Hmmm.” I immediately wondered what, if anything was meant by the three 8’s, if it was for me or not. As previously pointed out, I’ve learned to be aware of things like numbers and names over the years in my study of the Bible. God uses them often, with definite intent. I then curiously looked up what the number 8 means, in a biblical sense.

 

The following insight regarding the number 8 in Hebrew is from “Hebrew Linguistics & The Bible”;

 

“8 (chet) New Beginning

Chet is a fence in Hebrew. It can also signify an inner room, even the heart itself. Eight is the number of new beginning. The sons of Abraham were to be circumcised on the eighth day (Gen. 17:12), because the eighth day was the lawful time for the presentation of the firstborn (Ex. 22:29, 30). It took a full seven days to consecrate the priests (Lev. 8:33), and then they emerged from the tabernacle on the eighth day. God then manifested His presence to the people on the eighth day (Lev. 9:1, 4, 24). In the New Testament, Jesus was raised from the dead on the eighth day (the first day of the new week) to fulfill the law of the wave-sheaf offering (Lev. 23:10, 11). Likewise, Pentecost occurred seven weeks later on the fiftieth day, which was also the eighth day (Lev. 23:15-17). As we showed earlier, Jesus prophesied on the eighth day of Tabernacles (John 7:37-39) about the outpouring of the Spirit. These examples all fulfill the law of the presentation of the firstborn on the eighth day in Exodus 22:29, 30.”

This was a simple confirmation that I could easily have missed. To me the Lord simply said, “Yes, you have now entered a new beginning in Me.” Amen!

 

The meaning behind the last name of the man who led the 40-man combat patrol, Lt. Schrier, is also very interesting. According to igenea.com;

 

“The surname Schrier is of German origin and was originally derived from the Middle High German term “schrier,” meaning “shrieker” or “crier.” This suggests that it might have initially been an occupational surname used for town criers, people who made public announcements in the streets. Another possible origin is that it could have been a nickname for someone who was known for shouting or having a loud voice.”

 

As stated earlier, I see the picture of the flag on Mount Suribachi being revealed to us today as another public proclamation that high ground, in the Spirit, has been officially claimed for the kingdom of God. Also, the procession to the top by the “40-man combat patrol of the Lord” is being led by the ones who have been tried and proven, who have faithfully cried out for Him for many years. Praise the name of the Lord!

 

The article continues, saying;

 

“The flag from the USS Missoula was raised by Schrier and two other Marines at around 10:30 a.m. local time. ‘The best memory I've got is the day that we gave a flag off our ship to a lieutenant. That was the first flag that went up on Mount Suribachi,’ said Tom Price, a U.S. Navy veteran who was serving on the USS Missoula during the battle, and shared his memories of it with History of War magazine in January 2020.

 

‘We watched them go up the mountain and raise the flag about 500 yards [457 meters] from the ship. There were hundreds of ships and everyone blew their sirens and horns. Everybody cheered and it was really something because the flag from the Missoula was the very first to be raised on Japanese territory,’ Price said. ‘We were very proud.’”

 

Someone in high command said they wanted that flag for keepsake so a second group of Marines went up the mountain, with photographer Joe Rosenthal in tow, and replaced the smaller flag with a larger one. It was during this second raising that Rosenthal took his unstaged, famous shot. Both flags are now proudly displayed in the United States Marines Museum. By the time the second flag was raised, everyone had gone back to fighting. It went pretty much unnoticed.

 

An Enhanced View

 

While praying on Christmas Eve, 12-24-23, I heard the Lord say, “I will enhance your view. I see things differently than you do.” As we move up higher in Him, by His Spirit, our vision is highly improved of the battlefield. Not only that, but we also become more visible to those who are looking upwards, meaning both friend and foe.

 

The Cambridge Dictionary defines “enhance” as “to improve the qualityamount, or strength of something.” Merriam Webster states that “enhance” means “to heighten, increase; especially: to increase or improve in value, quality, desirability, or attractiveness.” It also said something that I thought was very interesting;

 

“Enhance” Has Latin Roots:

“When enhance was borrowed into English in the 13th century, it literally meant to raise something higher. That sense, though now obsolete, provides a clue about the origins of the word. Enhance, which was spelled enhauncen in Middle English, comes to us from Anglo-French enhaucer or enhauncer (‘to raise’), which can be traced back to the Latin altus (‘high’) by way of an assumed Vulgar Latin verb inaltiare, which would have been formed by combining the prefix in- with the Latin altus. Although enhance initially applied only to physically making things higher, it developed an additional and less literal sense of ‘to exalt especially in rank or spirit,’ and quickly acquired extended figurative senses for raising the value or attractiveness of something or someone.”

 

By these definitions we can see that to enhance our view is to be raised up by Christ, seeing things from His vantage point over our enemy. The Lord desires to raise up all His children. Unfortunately, not all are willing to meet His demands when being summoned to “Come up higher.” As witnessed in the battle of Iwo Jima, only a small band of the Lord’s army will ascend the mountain of His choosing and plant His flag on enemy territory.

 

In his book “The Upward Call,” John Coblentz says;

 

“The world drags us downward. The devil tempts us downward. Our fallen natures exert a downward pull. But God calls us upward through His Son Jesus Christ. When Jesus lived among us, He offered an alternative to the world; Himself. He said, ‘Follow Me.’ He asks us to forsake the world, surrender everything to Him, and to become His disciples. This upward call is a lifelong climb, an ongoing process that requires commitment, courage, and discipline.”

 

In conclusion, may the Lord be glorified through what is about to be seen, publicly, in this world! Many American soldiers shed their blood while taking the high ground of Mount Suribachi. It was the first soil of the Japanese homeland upon which an American flag would be planted in victory. Approximately two thousand years ago Christ shed His blood while taking the high ground from our enemy, the devil. Victory through Him was secured at Calvary. His cross marked the beginning of the end for our enemy as well, as did the taking of Mount Suribachi for the Japanese. Paul declared to the church in Corinth, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ…” (2 Corinthians 2:14/NASU) Not sometimes, but always. The key, though, is to be led by Him. In this manner, we, like the soldiers pictured below, will sing and shout the victory, gathered around His banner over us. Amen. Come Lord Jesus!

 

“Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.’ And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, ‘We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign.’”

(Revelation 11:15-17/NASU)

 

 

 This is another picture by Joe Rosenthal of the second flag raising on Mount Suribachi. You can tell by the faces of these American soldiers, some of whom would die in battle in the immediate aftermath of this picture, that they were glad to finally be on top of their enemy, at the summit, with the enemy literally below their feet in the numerous underground tunnels. Those who stand firm in Christ until the end will also see our “unseen” enemy under our feet, in total victory. Hallelujah!

 

“And the Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one,

and His name the only one.”

(Zechariah 14:9/NASU)

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