|Attack On America|
|Americans watched in disbelief on September 11th as two passenger jets slammed into the twin World Trade Center towers located in the lower section of Manhattan in New York City. The first aircraft struck at 8:48 a.m., soon followed by the second at 9:06 a.m. These two incidents were followed by another aircraft smashing into the Pentagon leaving in its wake death and destruction. Less than thirty minutes later another plane crashes in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, southeast of Pittsburgh. And, if this was not enough to create fear and desperation, the world then watched in horror as the south tower of the World Trade Center collapses, only to be followed twenty-five minutes later by the north tower.
The shock and disbelief of this tragedy will not soon go away. Americans are slow to anger, but once there we have understandably demanded retribution. As we approach the anniversary of the September 11th tragedy, Americans have been awakened to the realization that we are in a war, a war with the combined forces of the Islamic terrorists of the Muslim world.
In light of these events one can only wonder: has the world gone completely mad?
It's important to understand that the Bible predicted such a time as this would occur in world history shortly before the Lord's return. Jesus spoke of this in Matthew 24:37: "But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." What do the Scriptures say concerning the "days of Noah"? Genesis 6:11 tells us that, "the earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence." This certainly depicts our modern day era of the 2lst century. The Bible also tells us that "every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Gen. 6:5). If you've heard about the new fall line-up on prime-time television, you can easily see how we would fall into this category.
Paul in the New Testament also warned us about this: "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come" (2 Tim. 3:1). He went on to say that, "evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived" (2 Tim. 3:13). On a recent "Nightline" presentation, Ted Koepel outlined the impending dangers of terrorism and their consequences for our nation. Other countries in the world have had to deal with these threats for many years and have countered the threats of terrorism by strengthening their security in airports and other areas of daily life. Many believe that it is only a matter of time before we are faced with an atomic, biological, or chemical attack by terrorists on our land. We as Americans must realize that the forces of evil are even now planning even more and heinous acts of violence against us. Let us be ever vigilant in our determination to stand strong against the forces of evil around the world.
Many have asked: "Where is the United States in Biblical prophecy?" One must realize, first of all, that it is Israel, not America, that is the focus and key to all of Bible prophecy. Many have speculated about passages in Isaiah 18, Jeremiah 50 and 51, and Revelation 18. Many of these Scriptures, upon closer examination, yield no definitive evidence that the United States is in view. Of course, most of the judgments described in the Tribulation period of Revelation chapters 6-19, will affect the whole world, including every nation, even America.
One can only surmise that the closer we get to the Lord's return, the more severe these events will become. In fact, we are already seeing the shadows of the twenty-one judgments mentioned in Revelation 6-19 and Matthew 24. Jesus spoke of this in Matthew 24:8 when he said: "All these are the beginning of sorrows." Just as the births pains of a woman in travail become closer and more severe as the time of delivery draws near, so also will the events preceding the Lord's return become more severe and closer together as the time nears for the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
There are several indicators that we can use to nail down, so to speak, this time in history that we are living in. I have outlined these below so that you might be able to see where we are in relation to the Lord's return:
(l) Israel becomes a nation May 14, 1948. This is the definitive key to all of Biblical prophecy. Jesus spoke of this in Matthew 24:32 concerning the "fig tree." Israel is the fig tree and many Bible scholars believe that we are that "generation" (Matt. 24:34) that Jesus spoke of that would not "pass, till all these things be fulfilled" (Matt. 24:34). We are the "generation" that has seen Israel return after 2,500 years speaking 83 languages, coming from 120 countries back into their land. According to God's Word, in the last days, Israel will become "a burdensome stone" (Zech. 12:3) to the nations. This we have seen to be true since Israel's conception in 1948.
(2) A ten-nation confederacy arises in the western hemisphere. This also began in 1948, with six nations in Rome, Italy. In 1981 Greece became the tenth member while today the EU (European Union) is comprised of fifteen member states with more petitioning for entrance. The Bible predicted that this United States of Europe described in Daniel chapters two and seven and John in Revelation thirteen and seventeen would arise shortly before the Lord's return. Recently we have seen the EU taking a more pivotal role in the Middle East peace process while the United States has begun staying in the background. According to recent headlines, European currencies; such as the franc, lira, mark, and pesetta, will disappear as the Euro dollar takes over in March 2002. It is from this area of the western hemisphere that the last world dictator will arise known as the Antichrist, the Beast, the son of perdition, the man of sin, the king of the north, and "the little horn" of Daniel chapter 7.
(3) A northern army (Gog) will invade Israel in the "latter days" and "latter years." For years Biblical scholars have seen the Gog of Ezekiel 38 and 39 as the modern day nation of Russia. These passages predict that while Israel is back in their land dwelling in peace a northern army will invade and be supernaturally driven back by Almighty God losing most of their armies in the process. Along with this northern army are many other nations (Iran, Iraq, and Libya) identified. This invasion is predicted to take place somewhere near the middle of the Tribulation period. Once the northern armies are destroyed, the Antichrist takes advantage of the void in world power by stepping into the rebuilt temple then standing in Jerusalem and proclaiming himself God (2 Thes. 2:4). He will then proceed with the help of the false prophet to set up an image in the rebuilt temple, instituting the mark of the beast and a satanic religion as outlined in Revelation 13.
(4) The kings of the east will cross the Euphrates River and invade the Middle East. China continues to be at the forefront of world politics as we see predictions concerning the "kings of the east" (Rev. 16:12) beginning to fall into place. There are several verses in the Word of God that I believe clearly shows that China will be included in the final scenario of end-time events. Many see China in Daniel 11:44: "But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him." Also Revelation 9:16: "And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand." Also Revelation 16:12: "And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great Euphrates, and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared." Toward the end of the Tribulation period the armies of the world will mobilize to march on the Middle East. China will be included in those nations.!
(5) False Christs, wars and rumors of wars, pestilences, famines, earthquakes in diverse places, signs in the sun, moon, and stars. Many of these are mentioned in my standing commentary and are continuing to progress as we draw nearer to the Lord's return. According to recent news reports, Japan has reported their first case of mad cow disease. All of this was predicted by our Lord in the Olivet Discourse which would take place shortly before his Second Advent.
Jesus told us in Luke 21:24: "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." We, as believers, should not fear, because we know that these "signs" are only predictors that our Lord is coming soon and that we should be preparing ourselves for the next event on the horizon--the Rapture of the church. Paul spoke concerning this in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17: "For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."