“All of this was brought upon us in a single day,
and night fell on a different world…”
President George W. Bush
September 20, 2001
by Bob Bryant
Since September 11, we have undoubtedly been living in a different world, a world that is now focused on two specific needs. The first is the need for peace and safety, and the second is the need for a covenant with Israel. These two needs reflect the very conditions that the Bible says will exist when the end time events begin to unfold. Two specific passages set out these conditions: 1) “The day of the Lord so comes…when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3); and 2) “…[They] shall confirm a covenant with many [Israel]…”(Daniel 9:27). In considering these two passages in their contexts, it will become evident that since September 11, we have greater reason to believe that Jesus could be coming soon.
“Peace And Safety” In Bible Prophecy
Notice the phrase “peace and safety,” in its immediate context: “…the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, ‘peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3). The day of the Lord is a time period that begins with the rapture, an event wherein Christ will descend from heaven with a shout as those who have eternal life are caught up (raptured) to meet Him in the air (4:16-18). The rapture will be immediately followed by the sudden destruction of the tribulation (5:3). Since this sudden destruction will come upon the whole world, it will therefore be the whole world that will be saying “peace and safety” when the rapture occurs and the tribulation begins.
Today’s Focus On “Peace And Safety”
The “peace and safety” statement of 1 Thessalonians 5:3 is especially significant in the light of current events. The September 11 attack amazingly galvanized the whole world toward the unified goal of living not only in peace, but also in safety, terms that we now see in a whole new light against the dark background of the terrorist attacks. If, one day, the present war against terrorism appears to be won, the world will then say, “peace and safety.” Perhaps this will be the fulfillment of 1 Thessalonians 5:3. Notice, however, that I said, “perhaps.” God could use a different set of circumstances to fulfill this prophecy. Nevertheless, the attack on America should alert us to the fact that one day the prophesied statement of 1 Thessalonians 5:3 will be fulfilled. Perhaps that day is coming soon.
A Covenant With Israel In Bible Prophecy
A covenant with Israel is the second condition that will exist when the end-time events begin to unfold. I would like us to examine the terms of this covenant within their immediate context: “…Messiah shall be cut off…and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary… then he [they] shall confirm a covenant with many [Israel] for one week…sacrifice and offering…” (Daniel 9:26-27).
Notice the events that had to occur before the covenant could be confirmed. First, “Messiah shall be cut off.” This was fulfilled in AD 33 when Jesus was crucified. Second, the city and the sanctuary shall be destroyed. This was fulfilled in AD 70 when the Romans, under the leadership of Titus (the prince), destroyed the city (Jerusalem) and the sanctuary (the Jewish temple). Daniel writes that sometime after these two events, a covenant shall be confirmed with Israel that allows them to offer sacrifices and offerings. From AD 70 until today, the Jews have not been able to offer sacrifices and offerings because they have been without a temple. Because the future covenant will allow for sacrifices and offerings, the terms will also include provisions to build a new temple.
The covenant is to last for one week, which, in the context of Daniel 9, is a week of years, or seven years. The public may learn about this covenant during the planning stages; but it is also possible that people will not learn of it until the day it goes into effect, the first day of the seven-year tribulation.
Today’s Focus On A Covenant With Israel
Though the need for a Jewish temple has not been on the world’s agenda since September 11, a covenant with Israel is now seen as an important part of the solution to terrorism. Consider, for example, the comment made by Jordan’s King Abdullah on September 16, “Until you solve some of the crises and problems that we have, especially the Palestinian-Israeli crisis, the fight against terrorism is going to be a lot harder.” If, one day, the terms of a covenant with Israel allow for a Jewish temple to stand on the Temple Mount along with the Al-Aksa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, it would be a monumental statement that the Jews and Muslims have moved beyond their religious tensions toward a peaceful co-existence. Such a covenant would give the world further reason to say, “peace and safety.”
Perhaps the covenant with Israel, for which the world now hopes, will include terms that allow for a Jewish temple. Notice again that I said, “perhaps.” God could use a different set of circumstances to fulfill the prophecy of Daniel 9:27. Nevertheless, the attack on America should alert us to the fact that one day the covenant of Daniel 9:27 will become a reality. Perhaps that day is coming soon.
The World Won’t Know, But You Know
Early in the morning on September 11, everything seemed normal. The world didn’t know of the sudden destruction that was about to occur. One day, a similar yet greater scenario will unfold. On that day, the world will believe they have peace and safety, but the world won’t know that the rapture is about to occur, immediately followed by the sudden destruction of the tribulation. The world won’t know, “but you know, that the day should not overtake you as a thief” (1 Thessalonians 5:4). The attack on America focused the world’s attention on the need for peace and safety and a covenant with Israel, which, in turn, should have dramatically awakened us to be ready. Jesus is coming!
Are You Ready?
On the morning of September 11, some of those who died were ready, some were not; some went to heaven, some did not. But for all of those who died, their time to get ready suddenly came to an end. Likewise, the day is coming when there will be no time left for anyone to get ready. On that day, some will be taken to meet Christ in the air, while others will be left behind to face the tribulation. Are you ready for the rapture? Do you know for sure that you have eternal life? The Bible says you can know for sure: “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life…” (1 John 5:13). You don’t have to wonder whether or not you are ready. First John 5:13 says you can know. It is God’s written promise, that if you believe in Jesus for eternal life, you have it! He came to die for you. He paid the price for your sins so that He could offer you eternal life as a free gift. If you have believed in Him for that life, then you’re ready!
I hope you’re ready for the rapture in the way I have just explained. If so, I hope you’re also ready for the rapture in another way. All of those who have eternal life will be taken in the rapture, but they will not all receive the same reward after the rapture. The attack on America, in the light of Bible prophecy, is a wake-up call as powerful and dramatic as any we have seen in our lifetime. What event could more stunningly alert us to the strong possibility that we may have precious little time left to walk with Him and serve Him in order to “lay up treasure in heaven” (Matthew 6:20)? Jesus said, “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work” (Revelation 22:12). Are you ready?
Author’s Note: This article is available in tract form. Two audio or video taped messages are also available that give a more in-depth biblical perspective concerning the attack on America. You may order tracts or tapes from Cypress Valley Bible Church, P.O. Box 458, Marshall TX 75671; 903-938-1711; firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information concerning the rapture, the covenant with Israel, and the events of the tribulation, I highly recommend the book, Power to Make War, by Zane Hodges, available from GES on the enclosed resource order form.