The End of Time?

The following article is based on a sermon preached on September 15 at the Smyrna Chapel.    Editor)

“America Under Attack,” “Horror,” “Another Day That Will Live in Infamy;” these were some of the newspaper headlines after the evil attacks upon New York City and the Pentagon building on the 11th of September. And truly it will be a day that will live in infamy!

The horrific nature of seeing the two World Trade Center Towers collapse sent chills and brought sorrow, not only to millions of Americans, but to billions in the world. At this time of fear and uncertainty, some have questioned to ask if God exists. If God exits, where was He on September 11? Does He really care about innocent people? Is He involved in men’s affairs today?

Perhaps many of these same people who doubt today, if polled on September 10 would have had a different reaction. Yet most of us have read about the flood described in Genesis, when all but eight people perished. We have read of the destructions of Jerusalem and didn’t question God’s existence or His caring. While there are few survivors of WWI, most alive today know of it by the records of history. Yet on September the 10th we did not question God because of WWI. There are still many survivors of WWII. It was the first major war that was well chronicled with film. We know of its horrors well. Yet on September the 10th we did not question God because of it. I do not wish to lessen the trauma and tragedy that played out on world-wide television September the 11th, but if we think it was the worst thing that ever happened, please remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Yet, it is not only the severity of the matter, but also the freshness of the matter that causes us to question God. But may I remind you of the first words of the prophet Daniel when called before King Nebuchadnezzar to interpret the king’s dream, “There is a God in heaven.” (Daniel 2:28) Beloved, God does exists and He is most assuredly interested in the affairs of men and women. He loved every one who perished in those attacks on September 11 so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die for them, as well as for us. Today, we need to look to God more than ever. In the words of Isaac Watts, “God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come.” The United States of America was taken by surprise that “black Tuesday,” but God wasn’t. He still lives and rules. He has not abdicated His throne!

Today, we as a nation, and we as a church, face new challenges. Based on Bible prophecy, we believe the last end time events will progress with lightning speed. The United States of America would be the great final superpower. The world would follow the lead of America in forming an image to the Roman beast power of Revelation 13. We should not be shocked if we see events before our very eyes that may be leading to the final fulfillment of these prophecies!

Since the tragic attacks, the leaders from the United States, such as New York Senator Hillary Clinton, have talked of a new world, a new life, a new society. Mississippi Senator Trent Lott declared that we have a new society where freedom must find a new balance with security! Security is what Americans and others in the “free world” want. They want security from terrorism in the form of hijacked airplanes, biological and chemical warfare, and even nuclear sabotage. They want security from their water supplies being poisoned. They want security enough to be willing to make many changes, and even some drastic alterations! Already legislation has been drafted in the United States Congress to give the government more power in wire-tapping and to issue search warrants, further invading the basic right of privacy.

The scene of the smoking remains of the Twin Towers smoldering in lower Manhattan was dramatic. The area was sealed off “black Tuesday” with travel into and out of the area cut off. With the wickedness and the danger in large cities such as New York, it should not come as a surprise that God dispersed the multitudes at the tower of Babel, and destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. We should take this as God’s warning for us to leave the large cities and live in the country. Brothers and Sisters in Christ, if you are still living in or near a large city, please get out while there is still time. Black Tuesday should help us to see what targets for terrorist attacks they are. It has given us an example of how easy it would be to be trapped within a large city without the ability to get out!

The Events of September 11
Call Us to Seek God

This tragedy and its wake is a call, first and foremost, to seek God. As individuals, and as Americans, for those who live in the United States, this is a call to repent and seek God. While I do not accept the views of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell who attributed the attacks to the homosexual and abortion problems in this country, America, as a nation, is far from God. Abraham Lincoln could say even in His day:

“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God.
“We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God who made us.… too proud to pray.”

If this was true nearly a century and a half ago, how much more true it is today. While I do not wish to judge any person or nation, the events of September 11 should be enough to awake anyone who might have been sleeping spiritually. We need to pray for our nation and its leaders. (1 Timothy 2:1, 2) We need to pray for each other that we might be in Christ. Today, God is speaking to us: “Set thine house in order.” (Isaiah 38:1)

September 11 Calls Us to
Seek God as Our Only Hope

The events of “black Tuesday” are a call to seek God because He is our only help. The Scriptures state:

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. (Psalm 46:1-7)

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. (Psalm 91:1-11)

In this time of uncertainty and danger. God is our only hope. How thankful we should be that God offers us hope.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil.” (Jeremiah 29:11) God says that He has thoughts of peace and not evil toward His people. We can look to God because He is concerned about us. The above promise is especially precious in its context. Israel had been taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar, the temple was in ruins, the people were discouraged. Many had felt forsaken by God. In the light of that backdrop Jeremiah wrote:

For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive. (Jeremiah 29:10-14)

This same prophet also wrote: “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”(Lamentations 3:22, 23)

The Events of September 11
Call Us to Seek God NOW

The events of “black Tuesday” were a call to seek God NOW, because “life at its longest is short.” How many of the thousands who died that fateful Tuesday could have had any idea that it would be their last day alive? The Scriptures teach us to pray that we might know how to “number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) The old saying, “we know not what tomorrow holds,” is more true today than ever. How many common people could have imagined the events of September 11 on September 10? If we ever needed to have a day-by-day experience with the Lord it is today.

For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2)

The Events of September 11
Call Us to Forgive

The events of “black Tuesday” are a call for forgiveness. Arizona Senator John McCain stated, “I say to our enemies, ‘We are coming, God may show you mercy. We will not’.” Retired General and leader of the Desert Storm forces, Norman Schwarzkopf said, “God may forgive them, but we won’t.” While we believe that those who have perpetrated this evil must come to justice, let us remember that God is the ultimate Judge. “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)

If Jesus could say, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do,” (Luke 23:34) what about us? Is the tragedy that America suffered any worse than the death of the Prince of Heaven? Could it be worse than the outright murder of the Son of God? You might think, “But this was thousands of lives!” Yes, that is true, but the blood of that One Life was more than equal to all the souls that have ever lived on this earth.

The United States government claims Osama bin Laden is responsible and will soon reveal the evidence to prove so. Perhaps he is guilty. However even if he is, what good will it do us to hate or harbor ill against him and/or those who helped to commit these acts of terrorism? Also, let us not stereotype Arab people or those who differ from us, but let us show the love of God in an effort to reach out to those who are twisted in mind, that they might find the only true God and His kingdom.

The Events of September 11
Call Us to Draw Together

The events of “black Tuesday” call us to draw together as a people united in truth and love. Those who have petty differences and problems, grudges, and other unchristian feelings and thoughts, need to “grow up.” In the light of September 11, how important are our grudges and personal differences we think we have? Our friendship and brotherhood is needed now more than ever.

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (Proverbs 17:17)

A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)

Millions who do not know God as we claim to know Him have united and drawn together to give support to the victims and their families. Volunteers have given money, blood, and labor in the recovery effort. Americans all across the United States have accepted a comradery not displayed since World War II. If those who do not know God as we do can draw together, what about those who claim to know God?

 The End?

While some Christians predicted that the end had surely come in both WWI and WWII, neither of these events brought the end of the world. While America as a nation was no saint during those conflicts, and far less than perfect, God allowed her to triumph over evil. While Satan may use these movements to start a chain of events, we do not yet know God’s exact timetable. Let us pray that we might be as the tribe Issachar in the time of David, “which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.”(1 Chronicles 12:32)

According to Bible prophecy, are we at the very end? Honestly, I do not know. But I do know that we are at least on the edge of the very end, if not the very end itself. NATO is solidly behind the United States. More countries each day are following the lead of America and lining up behind her. The United Nations looks to be involved as well. One insightful writer wrote:

The days in which we live are solemn and important. The Spirit of God is gradually but surely being withdrawn from the earth. Plagues and judgments are already falling upon the despisers of the grace of God. The calamities by land and sea, the unsettled state of society, the alarms of war, are portentous. They forecast approaching events of the greatest magnitude. The agencies of evil are combining their forces, and consolidating. They are strengthening for the last great crisis. Great changes are soon to take place in our world, and the final movements will be rapid ones. (Christian Service, page 52)

New, wild, fanciful interpretations of Daniel’s prophecies made up to fit the recent events are not needed or helpful. The study of Nostradamus’ prophecies is a waste of time. We do need to carefully study the recent events in their whole spectrum in light of Bible prophecy. If God’s people will diligently study His Word and humbly seek His face, God will direct them.

While there is an interest in spiritual things and end time events among the people of this earth, let us be men of opportunity! This is not a time for self-interests, but a time to share the good news! Jesus has instructed His church to occupy till He comes. (Luke 19:13) Let us not be “cumberers of the ground, unfaithful watchmen,” but rather faithful stewards whom their Master will find working when He comes. Let us be courageous Christians, knowing we have a God who will watch over His own.