The Barren Slopes Of Lebanon
To Be Reforested By Millennial Cedars

by Larry Heather

The Cedar's Of Lebanon project envisions the reclamation of lost ground in the declaration to replant the decimated forests of the Cedars of Lebanon.

The initial focus of the Cedars of Lebanon Reforestation Project was to focus on the extension of the once mighty cedar forest of the Jabal Niha area in south Lebanon. It was there where the cedar trees were cut for the construction of King Solomon's Palace and the First Temple in Jerusalem. (I Kings 5)

An enthusiastic reception by local municipal officials was later deadlocked by opposition from the Islamic Hezbollah, the dominant military force in south Lebanon. It appeared that the south was not the place to initiate the project until the terrorists were removed from controlling the area. Strangely enough, the Hezbollah inadvertently redirected the Project to a location of far greater historical and prophetic importance.

The Project then began to work with a Lebanese group in the north of Lebanon called Friends of the Cedars, who were already replanting around the most ancient of the groves known as the 'Cedars of God'. The society was located in the ancient Maronite city of Becherre. The grove is located above the city, consists of over 350 ancient trees and a few thousand smaller trees replanted since 1985. Some of the older trees are estimated at an age of over two thousand years. The grove is located nineteen miles from the coastal city of Tripoli in northern Lebanon.

Becherre, the birthplace of the famed Lebanese poet/artist/writer, Kahlil Gibran,
is situated in the rugged mountain valley of Qadisha (The Holy Valley). Above the ancient grove stands Qornet es Sawda (Black Horn in Arabic), Lebanon's highest peak at over 10,000 feet. (3088 m)
Maronite Christians fleeing the initial Muslim takeover of Lebanon in 637-39 AD, established a Christian stronghold centered in Becherre, which had successfully resisted take-over for nearly 1400 years. Since the Middle Ages, the Qadisha valley has also become the refuge of generations of Monks, hermits, ascetics and anchorites dwelling in natural cave chapels and monasteries cut from the rock.

At a time when most Westerners are regarded with suspicion, Native Lebanese respond with warmth to the vision of restoring the Cedars to their prominence.. It opens up the hearts of the people because they know the restoration of the cedars will improve the environment, ecology, economy and the sheer beauty of the now barren slopes.

They are moved by the Project commitment to their national tree, featured prominently on the Lebanese flag. Imagine all the trees of a coastal range in North America disappearing, leaving only the bare and rocky soil in its place, and you will capture the way the Lebanese long for the return of their biblical cedars.
The Projects interest in the area is the latest, in a procession of more well known historical figures. Namely, Queen Victoria, The Emperor Hadrian, and last but not least, the Old Testament Prophets of Moses and Ezekiel.

In 1876 the 102-hectare grove was surrounded by a high stone wall financed by England's Queen Victoria. The wall protects against one of the mighty cedar's smallest natural enemies; the goats who would gnaw with glee on the young saplings
In the 2nd century the Roman Emperor Hadrian strove to protect the forest by surrounding it with stone boundary markers. Two hundred of these markers still stand as sentinels today testifying to a much grander forest of the past.

But Most significant to the Project's vision, is the emphasis placed on the area by Moses and the prophet Ezekiel. A comparison between the MacMillan Bible Atlas and modern maps of the area bring out a starling realization.
The Project's 'forced' relocation to the Qadisha Valley seems to coincide with the northern boundary of the promised land of Canaan. This boundary is reaffirmed by God to Moses in Numbers 34, explored by the twelve spies in Numbers 13 , and re- declared as the northern boundary in Ezekiel's description of the Millennial Kingdom of Israel. This is the extent of the nation Israel, which Christ as King will rule from over the earth for a thousand years. (Rev. 20:5-7)
Numbers 34:7-9 also gives the northern mountain of Hor, as a landmark near the coast of the northern border. It is logical that Qornet Es Sawda (Black Horn ), Lebanon's highest peak would be a prominent candidate for Mount Hor, which up to this day remains unidentified by Biblical scholars. On a Clear day much of the Promised Land can be seen from it's majestic heights.

The earliest scene of history finds Adam as a skillful horticulturist caring for the Garden of Eden.The Cedar's Of Lebanon Reforestation Project takes the care of the Cedars Of God with equal zeal, and eagerly anticipates the prophesies which extend the reforestation all the way down to the Egyptian border.
The theme of Reforestation is a major characteristic of the one thousand-year millennial kingdom as prophesied in the book of Isaiah.
" In a very short time, will not Lebanon be turned into a fertile field and the fertile field seem like a forest?....In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll and out of gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind will see. " (Is. 29:17)....
"The wilderness will rejoice and blossom.... the glory of Lebanon will be given to it." (Is 35:1,2) "...I will make rivers flow on barren heights...I will put in the desert the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive.... I will set pines in the wasteland.. the fir and the cypress together." (Is. 41:18,19)

Isaiah states the effect that reforestation will have upon the residents of the land,
" So that people may know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this." (Is. 41:20)
The Project desires to plant truth into the people of Lebanon, so that the Jesus can take that truth, and turn the people into trees of righteousness, a planting of the Lord, for the display of His splendor." ( Is. 61:3)

Planting this spring ,starting in late March is the best time, because the cash strapped Friends of the Cedars has 7,000 five year old cedar seedlings in the nursery that will become root bound if they are not planted soon. The Project is asking God to provide supporters for all 7000 trees at a planting cost of ten dollars each.
Also needed by the forestry department, are the specialized water trucks needed to keep the trees alive, while reservoirs are being prepared. The task of planting each tree is labium intensive requiring pick and shovel excavation of a two foot square hole in steep and rocky terrain. A mulch mixed with hydro-gel is laid in to ensure water retention in the first critical months after the transplant.
In sync with the gradual expansion of the forest, the rock water reservoirs must be constructed in stages above the grove to catch the melting of the abundant winter snows in the area. A unique drip irrigation system, originally developed in Israel... will take water from the reservoir by plastic pipe to each individual tree with minimum evaporation loss, thus withstanding the searing hot seasons beginning each June.

The Project believes that all who participate in the project, are planting trees which will likely grow into the Millennial Kingdom of our Lord, a time of unparalleled growth and fruitfulness.

Those wishing to be a part of Millennial History can support the Cedars of Lebanon Reforestation Project by contacting the addresses found on our Contact Page

"To those western poets,
the word “Lebanon” is a poetical expression associated with a mountain
whose sides are drenched with the incense of the holy cedars.
It reminds them of the temples of copper and marble
standing stern and impregnable
and of a herd of deer feeding in the valleys.
That night I saw Lebanon dreamlike with the eyes of a poet.
Thus the appearance of things changes according to the emotions,
and thus we see magic and beauty in them,
while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves."

Khalil Gibran. The Broken Wings, 1912