Many times, over the last twenty-five years, I have stood at the top of the World Trade Center on the same kind of crystal clear day that prevailed September 11, 2001. When I was assigned as a minister to New York City, in the mid-1970s, and again in the late 1980s, I often enjoyed taking people on tours of these enormous buildings. Of course, I will never again stand on the top of those towers.
On February 26, 1993, the World Trade Center was struck for the first time by terrorist bombers. One day later, on February 27, I gave a sermon in which I stated that terrorism was going to come to our shores—in a very big way—in the future. Few sitting there believed me. My sermon was entitled, “Truth.” Below is an excerpted portion about terrorism, though reading it does not convey the emotion in which I made the statement:
“As our society comes apart—and I don’t know how many times, brethren, through the years, I have said, I have mentioned in sermons, I’ve said our society is going to come apart. Sooner or later, terrorism—the reality of the ugliness of this world, a world that does not have the truth—will strike our society. I don’t know how many times I have been right at the spot where a terrorist blew up the bottom of the North Tower, the Twin Towers. I’ve been there. I can picture the chaos as though I’m there right now.
“‘Oh, no, no, no, all that kind of stuff happens in the Third World. That happens in South America. That happens in the Middle East, in Israel and other places.’ Listen, when you can damage that much—the damage was tremendous from that car bomb—why, terrorists are going to find they are kids with new toys.
“Seven groups were so excited by what happened that (they) called in and said, ‘We did it.’ Now only one of them did it. Six of them were lying. That’s not my point. But people were just thrilled to get credit for that kind of damage, in this world where people speak falsehood, and ‘bend their tongue like bows for lies.’
“You know, the reality of this world is moving closer to us as God’s people.”
The reason I could so boldly state that terrorism would eventually happen in the United States is because Herbert W. Armstrong began warning of it in the 1970s, in a ministry that spanned 52 years (1934-1986). In a clear and forceful way, until the day of his death, he continued to warn of prophesied terrible calamities to come upon our lands. While Mr. Armstrong is now gone, the reality of his words resonates more powerfully than ever!
Changed Forever by Another Day of Infamy
I do not need to describe the events of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. The single worst act of terrorism, possibly that the world has yet seen, took place on United States soil. As with the attack on Pearl Harbor, this strike was intended to be an assault on the very security of the United States.
My birth date is December 7, 1948. Because of this, and because my father’s older brother was at Pearl Harbor during that attack, this day has been a subject of interest to me my entire life. I have walked Pearl Harbor and studied nearly every detail of what happened. The Titanic sank with 1,500 lost. The death toll from the sneak attack at Pearl Harbor was over 2,300. The September 11 attacks resulted in over 2,800 deaths!
Ironically, twenty years ago, in 1981, the United Nations General Assembly officially designated the opening day of its annual regular session as the International Day of Peace. It is to be observed each year. In 2001, that day fell on September 11th. It is probably no accident that the terrorist conspirators, who plotted these awful acts, picked this very date to stick a thumb in the eye of both America and the world. The sheer daring of their plan suggests that they feel they can, in the future, do almost anything they choose—with near impunity. How do you stop criminals whose acts do not require a “getaway”? Through the horrific vehicle of mass murder, suicide bombers are interested in being “heroes” in death.
The choice of targets in these attacks was much more important, prophetically, than you might realize. The World Trade Center and the Pentagon are enormous symbols of both the pride and power of the greatest nation on earth. Actually, the Pentagon is the single largest building on earth—with the Twin Towers, Building Seven and the several-story structure that tied them together into one complex, probably not far behind.
Yet, I heard two national news commentators state that “this was not an attack on America, but rather it was merely an attack on some buildings in America.” Though they were trying to bring a reassuring calm to the nation, they were desperately wrong in their assessment of what took place. The particular buildings that were struck were selected because they are possibly the greatest symbols of the world’s most powerful country. The terrorists knew exactly which buildings to target in order to make the maximum statement of their purpose and to kill the maximum number of people in each strike.
We can only guess the destination of the fourth plane, which crashed in southwestern Pennsylvania. We may never know the target that its pilots had in mind. I am chilled as I realize that there was a likely struggle in the cockpit, literally, as this plane turned in the skies directly over where I am writing this article. The Bible states that Satan the devil, who is called the “god of this world” in II Corinthians 4:4, is also called “the prince of the power of the air” in Ephesians 2:2. He and the fallen spirits that he leads were almost certainly involved in the struggle for control of the jet in the “air” above The Restored Church of God’s offices.
Why Did It Happen?
As a result of these terrorist acts, America and the world will never be the same. The anger, sadness and confusion that now engulf this country are overwhelming. Americans learned firsthand what the Israelis have been enduring since 1948.
The headlines of most next-day newspapers around the world screamed of what happened. The pictures of the actual attacks, and the sounds and pictures of people shrieking, crying, running in terror and running to banks and gas stations, are images that are indelibly stamped in the minds of the hundreds of millions of people all over the world who watched this event play out in slow motion and instant replay.
America has long been known for its “fighting spirit.” People in great numbers now want her to retaliate. Many voices say, “We must do something!” This time, in the end, America’s fighting spirit will not prevail. We will soon learn why.
While most are occupied with the question of “WHO did this?” (and this article will emphatically answer this question), the first important question that must be answered is “WHY did it happen?”
The United States of America, along with the democratic and generally English-speaking peoples of the Western World are the modern-day nations that have descended from the tribes that once comprised the ancient nation of Israel. The Israelis are merely one of the twelve tribes (Judah) that descended from the patriarch Jacob, whose name was later changed to Israel.
These nations, along with the rest of the world, have rebelled against God. Their sins have cut them off from Him (Isa. 59:1-2). They have rejected and disobeyed the great spiritual laws that He gave them! In addition to a few others, the modern nations of America, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Israel are to be the special recipients of a prophesied time of terrible national punishment for their sins and crimes against God. (Read our book America and Britain in Prophecy to learn more.)
THESE NATIONS NEED TO WAKE UP BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!
One next-day headline of the nation’s largest paper stated “Tears most of the day” with a following subhead of “Coast to coast, Americans turn to each other.” While this is a natural human thing to do in times of tragedy, Americans need to shed tears about the rampant immorality of their conduct. Americans need to turn to God and obey His laws. I have not yet seen headlines stating that these things have even begun to happen.
I have heard numerous religious commentators give weak responses, which demonstrate that they are afraid to tell America the truth about why this is happening. They softly speak of grieving, healing, forgiving, prayer for peace, etc., but they do not tell America to repent of her sins!
While grieving and healing are important, they are useless without repentance because they only deal with the effects of America’s suffering, not the CAUSE!
Our Responsibility to Warn
This Church has the responsibility to “CRY ALOUD, spare not, lift up [our] voice LIKE A TRUMPET, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob [Israel] their sins” (Isa. 58:1). The modern nations of Israel need to be warned (Ezek. 33:7-9) that punishment is coming. You are now learning about this punishment and you are being warned! There will soon be no time remaining to do this (John 9:4; Amos 8:11).
The book below carefully explains the stunning scope and nature of the coming national punishment and time of Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:21-22), foretold by Christ and the prophets of the Old Testament, to come upon the descendants of ancient Israel.
In a sense, for the thousands of people who were killed in the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, the “tribulation” came and went in an instant. For them it is over. There is nothing that can any longer be done for them. They are asleep, awaiting the time when they will be resurrected and given an opportunity to learn the truth of God’s awesome plan for mankind. Only then will they understand why they died.
But it is not yet over for America, the rest of the world or you!
Who Did This?
In regard to the terrorist attacks, I mentioned earlier that this article would answer the question of “WHO did this?”
Here is the answer.
Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 are two long parallel chapters describing how God would bless Israel for obedience or curse them for disobedience. Among the curses prophesied to come on Israel, if they rebelled, is a warning of a coming time of “appointed terror.”
In Leviticus 26:14-16, God says, “But if you will not hearken [listen] unto Me, and will not do all these commandments; and if you shall despise My statutes…I [God Himself] also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over [upon] you terror…”
YOU NOW KNOW WHO DID THIS TO AMERICA! Your Bible says that it is GOD who sent the terror that struck the United States. Humanly, I wish that He was finished sending terror to our lands to punish us—but He is not! God’s “appointment” to terror is one that America and her Israelite “brethren” will continue to keep.
Three verses later in Leviticus, God continues, “And if you will not yet for all this hearken unto Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. And I will break the pride of your power…” (vs.18-19). This passage explains why the specific targets—great symbols of national military, communications and financial power—were selected for the attack. The fact that the terrorists probably had this in mind must not allow us to ignore the far greater importance of the fact that God certainly had this in mind! God says that He will break the pride of the power of the modern-day nations of Israel. What God says He will do, HE WILL DO!
The fact that these enormous buildings could even be destroyed at all has struck a kind of fear in people never known before in this country. In the same way, Americans, like those who rode the Titanic saying, “God Himself couldn’t sink this ship,” probably felt that the failed attempt on the Twin Towers, in 1993, meant that our great buildings were more secure than we now recognize them to be. This new attack has shaken a people who desperately NEED to be shaken!
“When the Towers Fall”
The Bible actually prophesies a time of much greater calamity for the large cities of the modern-day nations of Israel.
In Isaiah 30, God explains more about what will happen when He intensifies His punishment of this world—when He says that He will come “burning with His anger” and “full of indignation” (vs. 27). Verse 25 states, “And there shall be upon every high mountain, and upon every high hill, rivers and streams of waters in the day of the great slaughter, WHEN THE TOWERS FALL.” This passage is primarily speaking of the steeples on top of the great number of false churches of this world. But it is also speaking of a time when God will destroy the great steel, glass and concrete monoliths that are symbols of power, pride and prestige in the largest cities of the Western World.
The “greatness” of large cities today is measured by their skylines. So, “when the towers fall,” it will be far more than just the Twin Towers or Building Seven that come down.
Desolation will occur in all the big cities of the modern nations of Israel. So says God in numerous Old Testament prophecies!
Consider what is now reported by multiple sources and the subject of at least one book by a respected author: The intelligence services of at least five countries—America, Britain, Israel, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia—confirm that about 20 “suitcase bombs” purchased from Russia have been in the hands of terrorist cells in the United States since the fall of 2001. These cells are supposedly awaiting a signal of some kind.
You Need Not Be Terrified
In Matthew 24, Christ warned of a time of “wars and rumors of wars,” to appear in a greater way just prior to His Return. In a chapter paralleling Matthew 24, the Gospel of Luke records, for all true Christians living at the time of the end, “But when you shall hear of wars and commotions (extreme terrorism is at least a “commotion,” if not a “war”), be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not (yet). Then said He unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in various places, and famines, and pestilences…” (21:9-11).
Those who know the truth, and are in harmony with God, His laws and His plan, do not need to worry. They do not need to be “terrified”—of either terrorists or their terror. God promises a place of safety to those individuals who humble themselves, and yield to and obey Him. You can escape the far worse calamities and horror that still lie ahead for America, the other modern-day nations of Israel and, eventually, the whole world!
Good News After Bad News
We now need to carefully examine an extensive prophecy concerning our peoples’ short-term and long-term future. It begins with a description of bad news but ends with a wonderful picture of good news. It demonstrates that at the end of this age, everything will truly “turn out alright.”
We must first carefully read the entire prophecy before discussing it. It is found in Jeremiah 30:4-7, 10-17:
“And these are the words that the Lord spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah. For thus says the Lord; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask you now, and see whether a man does travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it…Therefore fear you not, O my servant Jacob, says the Lord; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save you from afar, and your seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid. For I am with you, says the Lord, to save you: though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, yet will I not make a full end of you: but I will correct you in measure, and will not leave you altogether unpunished. For thus says the Lord, Your bruise is incurable, and your wound is grievous. There is none to plead your cause, that you may be bound up: you have no healing medicines. All your lovers [allies] have forgotten you; they seek you not; for I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy [our enemies are merely tools in God’s hands], with the chastisement of a cruel one [certainly, this is the very essence of terrorist thinking], for the multitude of your iniquity [lawlessness]; because your sins were increased. Why cry you for your affliction? Your sorrow is incurable for the multitude of your iniquity: because your sins were increased, I have done these things unto you. Therefore all they that devour you shall be devoured; and all your adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; and they that spoil you shall be a spoil, and all that prey upon you will I give for a prey. For I will restore health unto you, and I will heal you of your wounds...”
This remarkable prophecy contains many elements that require explanation and emphasis.
First notice that the prophecy pertains to both Israel and Judah. These are not one and the same, and the book referenced earlier makes this clear! Then notice how many times God speaks of “fear,” “trembling,” no “peace” and “faces turned to paleness,” in what He describes as the “great…time of Jacob’s trouble.”
Next notice how many times God describes our incurable “wounds,” “bruises” and “sorrow,” and our loss of “lovers” (allies). Now notice how many times God says that all of this has come upon us because of our “iniquities”—our “sins.”
Further notice how God repeatedly says that He is the One doing this to Israel and Judah—”I have scattered…I have wounded…I will correct…I have done these things…” These passages make plain that what is happening, and will continue to happen, to our lands is God’s doing!
Finally, notice how many times God says that He will “restore…heal… save…” Israel and Judah. God absolutely promises a time of restoration, healing and deliverance —as surely as He promises a time of terror, wounds, punishment and correction to precede it.
GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISES!
At the “end of the day,” the good news is that America, her Israelite allies and the rest of the world have hope of a final world peace when Christ Returns and establishes the kingdom of God.
To understand much more about the many prophecies detailing soon-coming world events, read the following literature, available on our website:
1. The Mid-East in Bible Prophecy
2. Are These the Last Days?
3. Revelation Explained at Last!
4. Who or What Is the Beast of Revelation?
5. America and Britain in Prophecy
The following additional booklets outline the wonderful good news that lies beyond today’s bad news. You do not need to be discouraged and without hope. Jesus Christ will return to establish His kingdom. World peace will come. The devil will be chained and unable to deceive the nations any longer (Rev. 12:9):
6. Which Is the True Gospel?
7. How World Peace Will Come!
8. Tomorrow’s Wonderful World – An Inside View!
We have examined specific prophecies showing what God will do—and why.
Now, what will you do?