Please comment on the prophetic implications of the recent tragedy in America.
Many people are asking your question. An item in USA Today on September 24 notes that sales of books on prophecy soared 80 percent over the same week last year. You may hear or read some very interesting prophetic conjecturing in upcoming days, particularly from those already prone to outlandish predictions. Events such as those on September 11 tend to breed eschatological speculation. For some, it is easy to take passages like Isaiah 30:25 (which speaks of falling towers) and read into them current happenings. The context seems not to matter to these people or groups. Yet we cannot simply pass off the recent events in view of overall picture of true Biblical prophecy. The actual events just witnessed are not recorded in Scripture, but the events are indeed “fit into” the way end-time events are going to unfold, as the Bible indicates. So here are some areas to watch:
1. God’s program for Israel. The enemies of America who inflicted this horrendous recent assault on her are also outspokenly the enemies of Israel. They purpose to destroy the U.S. because Americans are a friend of Israel, God’s chosen People. Israel has not accepted her Messiah, but after upcoming period of extreme calamity—recorded in Scripture and well known to Bible-believing Christians as the Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7) or the seven-year Tribulation period (Daniel 9:24–27; Matthew 24:21), she will trust Christ (Zechariah 12:10–14).
Make no mistake: God’s unconditional promises to Israel—spiritually, politically, and territorially—will be fulfilled. But Israel will go through this tribulation time all alone, for believers of Christ (Israel’s best friends) will have been caught up to be with the Lord Jesus (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; 5:9). Even before this occurrence, we may see a weakening of support/friendship for Israel. Just as an example, a recent letter in a local newspaper expressed the sentiment that Israel is not worth supporting if events like the September 11 tragedy are the result. As believers, we need to pray daily for the “peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6), as well as to pray for our own nation. Israel confronts terrorism daily and has for years.
2. Gentile developments. There is no guarantee that America will be the chief world power indefinitely. The Scriptures speak of a future rebirth of the old Roman Empire (Daniel 7:7, 24). While this end-time confederacy will emerge in full force after the rapture of believers in Christ, we already see some indications of this future power. Students of Bible prophecy generally believe that the United States (which is not directly mentioned in Scripture) will diminish as a world power for this rise to take place and/or that perhaps the United States will be absorbed into the revived power. Perhaps the moral and spiritual erosion that has occurred in America during the last decades will come into play here (Psalm 9:17; Proverbs 14:34). But we could also see a return to the Word among some prior to the Rapture, something Bible-believing Christians have long been praying for.
3. Ecumenism. It is one thing to rise to the defense and support of one’s country regardless of religion or race. But since the tragedy, America is also witnessing religious activities that go beyond patriotism and will continue in that direction. Further, with all of the mergers of religious denominations that have been taking place in Christendom and with people discarding once-cherished beliefs to do so, we are reminded that a one-world religion, as well as a one-world government, is the trend; and we can see how it indeed can come into being. The final one-world religion will be based upon the Antichrist and Satan as they rule and reign during the Great Tribulation (Revelation 13).
4. Personal implications. All of us are “prophesied” in Hebrews 9:27: “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” The recent tragedies speak loud and clear of the uncertainty of life. The unsaved need to come to Christ, the only way to Heaven. As believers, we need to live holy, ready lives so that we won’t be ashamed when we meet the Lord (1 John 2:28). We need to know more Scripture better. The USA Today item I referred to also mentioned that Bible sales are up 22 percent since the tragedy. People go to the Bible and those who know doctrine when there is a crisis; believers need to have a command of the Word of God before crises. Persecution might also come. A recent vicious letter in a local newspaper tried to link fundamentalist believers with Middle East “fundamentalism,” implying that we Bible-believing Christians are just as dangerous.
About 50 to 100 thousand people die every day in this country, and we pay little attention. But when several thousand die at once in an unusual calamity, we are confronted head-on with the reality of death. God asks people through these recent events, “Where will you spend eternity?” With the time we have left (and it may not be much), let’s evangelize and teach people who are ready to hear the truth.
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