…evidence of “perilous times”
The apostle Paul described the last days of this age as “perilous times,” and then continued by describing some of the perils. “For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good”—all of which we see today (2 Tim. 3:1-4).
Clear as this prophecy and others are, however, we have no way of knowing the extent or degree to which they will be fulfilled before Jesus comes. But it surely seems that the prophecy fits this period of time.
…the “fear” before Jesus returns
Jesus said, “And there shall be … upon the earth distress of nations,… men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken”(Luke 21:25-26). The original word translated “fear” in this text is phobos, and has for its principal meaning, “fear, dread, terror; that which strikes terror.”
Could Jesus have foreseen our day more precisely? The very purpose of the terrorist is to incite fear—often fear that is greater than the reality of the threat because of the feeling of unknown, unpredictable, impending harm.
But He told also the final outcome—not more and more terror but His own joyous return to bring the situation under control. “And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” vs. 27).
…a real, sustaining reason to have HOPE
The terror only shouts that better times are coming! They are just ahead! This was Jesus’ concluding comment after He forecast the terrorizing events of the end times. And His assurance is more than just the end of terror. Jesus said, “When these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28). The long-awaited redemption, deliverance, salvation, and blessing are near—these events signal the nearness of the time for the fulfillment of all that God has promised!
…a warning that life is uncertain
The real pain of the news of the collapse of the Twin Towers came when we realized people were dying by the thousands in terror and horror. These people got up that morning never imagining that this day was their last.
This is one of the striking lessons of the horror. We tend to think we are bulletproof, disease-proof, accident proof, as though life will go on forever. How wise are the words of the prophet: “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near” (Isa. 55:6).
The Carnage of September 11 IS…
…God’s wake-up call: Get Ready!
None of the prophecies give us any clear indication of a precise time. We do not know how near the end of the age is, for Jesus said clearly, “You do not know what hour your Lord is coming” (Matt. 24:42). But one fact is sure: the end of this age has never been so near as it is right now.
One of these days He will come—suddenly, when the prophecies are all fulfilled. This was Jesus’ message during His earthly ministry. It is still His message. He says, in effect, You don’t know when I’m coming, so be on the watch, alert, ready… all the time!
“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming” (Matt. 25:13). “Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is”(Mark 13:33).
What should we be watching? Not the sky, but our manner of life, our conversation, our relationships, our diligence, our commitment. This was the message of Jesus’ apostle Peter: “what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming”(2 Pet. 3:11-12 NIV).