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Looking Back on 9/11; Looking Forward to Christ’s Return

Sometimes we must look back on the traumas of the past. But this reflection should propel us forward. We can celebrate a promise of good news ahead!

Looking back on 9/11: A New York City fireman calls for 10 more rescue workers to make their way into the rubble of the World Trade Center (U.S. Navy photo; Wikimedia Commons).

Looking back on 9/11: A New York City fireman calls for 10 more rescue workers to make their way into the rubble of the World Trade Center (U.S. Navy photo; Wikimedia Commons).

As the anniversary of the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, rolls around, many of us can’t help but think about what we were doing and how we heard about the planes crashing into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.

The terrifying televised images of that day seem seared into our minds, though the passing of the years has blurred the edges for some of us.

Since then, there have been many more terror attacks around the world: Bali, Istanbul, London, Madrid, Mumbai, Paris, Brussels, Sri Lanka—and the list goes on.

There have also been a few wins in the war on terror, such as the elimination of Osama bin Laden. Al-Qaeda’s leadership ranks were thinned and that group may have been driven further underground, but there seems to be no lack of new, willing recruits for suicide bombings and other acts of terror.

God’s warnings of evil end-time attitudes

God warns that the last days would be filled with violent and destructive attitudes. The apostle Paul writes that people would be proud, unloving, unforgiving, without self-control, brutal, traitors, headstrong and haughty (2 Timothy 3:1-4).

But terrorists and violent attitudes are not the only things God warns about. In this same passage He describes other attitudes that are also displeasing to Him. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, despisers of good and lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.

He also warns of hypocrisy, as people have an outward show of religion, but deny God’s power and secretly or openly live lives of sin—disobedience to God’s good and beneficial law.

Many times in the Bible God warns that terror would come upon sinful nations and wicked people, leading up to a time of trouble worse than the world has ever known (Deuteronomy 32:25; Psalm 73:19; Jeremiah 15:8; Matthew 24:21). This time of Great Tribulation is also known as the time of Jacob’s trouble because it affects the descendants of the 12 tribes of Israel (Jeremiah 30:7).

Why remember?

Anniversaries of some terrible events are long remembered, such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the attack on Pearl Harbor. We remember out of respect. Sometimes we are encouraged to remember to be on guard lest such things happen again.

Sometimes terrible events wake people up to want to examine their lives. Seeing how fleeting our physical lives are can spark an interest in the eternal. Too often this spiritual awakening is short-lived, though anniversaries can bring these thoughts to the fore again.There are many good reasons to look back, especially if remembering will help us change and then move forward on the path God wants us to take.

There are many good reasons to look back, especially if remembering will help us change and then move forward on the path God wants us to take. Because God’s way is not just about looking back. The gospel message—the good news God wants us to believe and live by—is also about looking forward.

Looking forward

In the cosmic scale of things, the Great Tribulation and the wrath of God that follows (called the Day of the Lord throughout the Bible) will soon be over. The unprecedented time of trouble will bring humanity to the very brink of mutually assured destruction, but Jesus Christ promises: “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:22).

The elect are God’s chosen servants, those who do what He says and love His appearing (John 15:14; 2 Timothy 4:8).

Christ’s faithful followers yearn for the soon-coming day described in Revelation when the seventh of seven trumpets sounds. Then a proclamation will be made in heaven: “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).

Jesus Christ will return to the earth and stop the annihilation of the human race! He will end the downward slide into evil—and the suffering and misery it produces.

“They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9).

His government—the Kingdom of God—will begin a whole new age of peace, joy and fulfillment.

He will restore the earth to an Eden-like paradise and will heal those who suffer: “The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. … Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing” (Isaiah 35:1, 5-6).

The return of Jesus Christ and the restoration of the Kingdom of God on earth is the best news ever!

Celebrating the good news

God provides many prophecies of the troubled times ahead and the wonderful world beyond that. He also outlines a series of memorials and celebrations in the Bible that help us reenact and remember His plan and where it all leads.

His elect celebrate these seven festivals each year. The next one to come this year is the Feast of Trumpets (Leviticus 23:24), the pivotal fourth festival. Part of its meaning is displayed in the seven trumpets of Revelation, especially that last one announcing Christ’s return to rule.

You need to understand the meaning of the Feast of Trumpets and the wonderful good news of Jesus Christ’s return. Learn more in the articles “Feast of Trumpets: Alarm of War, Announcement of Peace” and “End of the World: Why It’s Good News.”

About the Author

Mike Bennett

Mike Bennett

Mike Bennett is editorial content manager for the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, in the Dallas, Texas, area. He coordinates the Life, Hope & Truth website, Discern magazine and the Life, Hope & Truth Weekly Newsletter. He is also part of the Personal Correspondence team of ministers who answer questions sent to Life, Hope & Truth.

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