Remembering 9/11

It is not difficult for me to remember where I was on Sept. 11, 2001.

That fall, each Tuesday and Thursday at 7:20 a.m., I was teaching the book of Daniel at Maranatha Baptist University.

When I came out of class just minutes after United Airlines Flight 175 hit the South Tower of the World Trade Center, a friend tried to tell me what was going on. I do not think that either of us had any comprehension of the magnitude of the events that were unfolding. In fact, for some reason when he said, “World Trade Center,” in my mind I was thinking, “United Nations Building.”

But as the news developed—as all of us stayed glued to it—we knew the world was changing before our eyes that day. Strange things were happening. Government buildings were shut down all across the country. All major sporting events were cancelled for the remainder of the week. Even people in small towns far away from the destruction, fearing the worst, took every precaution.

091116-blog-remembering-911-wikimedia-photoEven to this day, I do not think we fully realize just how much the world has changed . . . just how much a change in the steering of four airplanes has impacted the way we now live our daily lives, the outlook of the most powerful nation on earth and, indeed, the very course of history.

It even changed hearts and minds—at least for a while. There was an outpouring of patriotic euphoria mixed with spiritual fervor that appeared to be sincere. Do you remember our national leaders gathering on the Capitol steps to sing “God Bless America”? The late-night comedians suddenly became more somber than many preachers. And the American flag was everywhere—from giant versions at football games to pins on politicians’ lapels.

In the days that followed there were outright chapel services held in public schools, and the churches—well, they were packed! There were special prayer meetings and the Sunday following 9/11 was, as much as any day in my lifetime, the day to be in church. I happened to be preaching in a little country church that morning. We had been there earlier that summer to provide pulpit supply, and I spoke to about 15 people. But on the Sunday after 9/11, there was barely a seat to be had.

I remember wondering how our lives could ever be the same again. . . .

But as time went on—as with any tragedy, I suppose—the events of 9/11 gradually subsided in our memories.

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As much as cold hard reality has actually changed since 9/11, it turns out that people’s emotional responses to the terror was superficial and short-lived. Fast-forward 16 years and look at how profoundly our culture has changed since that time—in a manner that defies our original reactions. The debate on gay marriage is over. We are now considering whether there is really even such a thing as male or female, and whether churches who disagree with the new moral and political orthodoxy are worthy of continued freedom. Our nation is in a state of moral decline that previous generations would have considered unthinkable.

Perhaps the real lesson from 9/11 is that—spiritually speaking, at least—we failed to learn any lesson from 9/11. Though the world today is more dangerous than it has ever been and the time is shorter than it has ever been, the heart of our nation appears to be further from the Lord God than it has ever been.

Did the events of 9/11 help to set the stage for the fulfillment of Bible prophecy? In the broader context, I believe that they certainly have—although we may not see a correlation in the prophetic Scriptures with every detail that unfolds during this preparatory time before the rapture. Sept. 11, 2001, certainly gave a warning though—just a picture in miniature—of events still to come. God is sovereign, and He has a plan for all of history.

Two weeks after 9/11 I was a in a modular class at Faith Baptist Theological Seminary with Dr. John Whitcomb. I remember him pointing us to Isaiah 2, which speaks of a day when “every high tower” (v. 15) will fall.

I invite you to meditate today upon this amazing prophecy, which foretells events that will occur during the coming seven-year tribulation, in preparation for the millennial kingdom. Notice the repeated warnings against arrogance and pride, and how the Lord offers the opportunity to repent and turn to Him—graciously cautioning mankind even through the very catastrophes of judgment.

Isaiah 2:10-22 states:

Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust,
From the terror of the LORD
And the glory of His majesty.
The lofty looks of man shall be humbled,
The haughtiness of men shall be bowed down,
And the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.

For the day of the LORD of hosts
Shall come upon everything proud and lofty,
Upon everything lifted up—
And it shall be brought low—
Upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up,
And upon all the oaks of Bashan;
Upon all the high mountains,
And upon all the hills that are lifted up;
Upon every high tower,
And upon every fortified wall;
Upon all the ships of Tarshish,
And upon all the beautiful sloops.
The loftiness of man shall be bowed down,
And the haughtiness of men shall be brought low;
The LORD alone will be exalted in that day,
But the idols He shall utterly abolish.

They shall go into the holes of the rocks,
And into the caves of the earth,
From the terror of the LORD
And the glory of His majesty,
When He arises to shake the earth mightily.

In that day a man will cast away his idols of silver
And his idols of gold,
Which they made, each for himself to worship,
To the moles and bats,
To go into the clefts of the rocks,
And into the crags of the rugged rocks,
From the terror of the LORD
And the glory of His majesty,
When He arises to shake the earth mightily.

Sever yourselves from such a man,
Whose breath is in his nostrils;
For of what account is he?

We remember 9/11 today—those we lost, those who survived, and an entire nation coming to terms with global terror reaching its shores.

How desperate is the situation in our beloved United States on this 16th anniversary of 9/11. How awful is the fate of those who do not know the Lord.

How wonderful is the hope of all who do.

Copyright © 2017 Dispensational Publishing House, Inc.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Photo within the article is by Robert on Flickr.

This article was first featured on September 11, 2016.

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