I was working in Washington, D.C. on 9/11/2001. It is a day I’ll never forget. The Pentagon was less than 2 miles from where I worked and I can still picture the scene. Smoke rising. Sirens from police and firetrucks coming from every direction. Jets flying overhead. The entire DC workforce trying to exit the city at the same time. The look of fear on the faces of commuters. The silence and disbelief among my carpool members.
Everyone knew in their gut that this day changed everything. It was a pivotal moment in US history. Nothing would ever be the same. This was the same time-frame of the DC sniper murders. One of the victims was shot literally right around the corner from my carpool meeting spot in Bowie, MD. It was also the same time frame as the anthrax attacks at various government agencies. For a time, we stopped receiving mail at work and once it resumed it had gone through a heat machine to kill any potential anthrax. Our crispy mail would arrive smelling like it had been baked. It had.
As we remember the victims and the heroes of 9/11, let’s also consider the prophetic significance of the dangerous events. In 2 Timothy 3:1 Paul said, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.” Then he goes on to list other indicators of end-time conditions (all of which are globally prevalent in our day).
The Greek word Paul used for terrible is chalepos (khal-ep-os’) it means: savage, harsh, fierce, dangerous, difficult to bear. Paul was saying that savagely violent events would mark the end-times. This would be a key indicator which—coupled with the other trends he mentions in 2 Timothy 3—would mean the church age was winding to a close.
So what’s the solution? Where is the encouragement? The solution is a relationship with Jesus Christ and an awareness of our times. Jesus promised to come back. He said “If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to myself, that where I am you may be also (John 14:3).” Thats the rapture folks.
Compare those words with the key rapture passage from 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 where Paul wrote, “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
Therefore encourage one another with these words. Our encouragement is that God is a promise-keeper and he will return. We don’t know exactly when, but the church age is winding down.
We work with joy and courage while we wait. And as we remember 9/11, may we be reminded that this is not our home and that Jesus is coming back soon.