I will never forget where I was when I first heard the
news of the terrorist attack on September 11,
2001. I was just getting out of my car at church
when the radio announcer said that an airplane had
crashed into the World Trade Center in New York
At first I thought that a small plane had probably
gone off course or that bad weather in New York had
caused the plane to accidentally hit the World Trade
Center. I said a brief prayer and headed to my office.
About thirty minutes later, women started arriving
for our Tuesday morning Bible study. One by one they
made their way to my office, asking me if I had heard
about the plane crash in New York. Then those arriving
later began to say that another plane had hit the
World Trade Center. A few minutes later another lady
told me that a plane had hit the Pentagon. Others told
me that another plane had crashed somewhere in
Pennsylvania. I got a sick feeling in the pit of my
stomach. It felt like I was living a nightmare.
I made my way to the nearest TV to see what was
going on. When I saw the video footage of the planes
hitting the World Trade Center, I couldn't believe
what I was seeing. It was like something from a movie.
It was like a scene from Revelation. It was nothing
short of apocalyptic. I was stunned and speechless.
Just as I will never forget where I was when I first
heard the news of the attack and how I felt, I will also
never forget the first thing that came into my mind. I
immediately thought of the words of Jesus:
"There will be signs in sun and moon and
stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the
waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation
of the things which are coming upon
the world; for the powers of the heavens will
be shaken. Then they will see The Son of
Man Coming in a cloud with power and
great glory. But when these things begin to
take place, straighten up and lift up your
heads, because your redemption is drawing
near." (Luke 21:25-28)
Jesus said that when the events of the end of the
age begin to unfold, people will be overcome with fear
and panic. The response of all men will be fainting
and a deep, somber sense of imminent foreboding.
We all witnessed this response firsthand. People
everywhere were gripped with intense, paralyzing fear
and panic. You could see it deeply etched on every
face. You could hear it in the voices. You could feel it
in the pit of your stomach. We all kept wondering,
What's next? Where will the terror strike next? A deep
sense of fear and trepidation about the future overtook
All of this was by design. Fear, anxiety, disruption,
and terror were the stated goals of the terrorists. That's
what they're all about-terror. After the attacks,
Osama bin Laden said, "America has been filled with
horror from north to south and east to west, and
thanks be to God."
The cover of Time on October 22, 2001, revealed
the fragile psyche of the wounded nation. "The Fear
Factor: Anthrax letters. FBI warnings. Bin Laden's
videotapes. Bombarded by threats real and imagined,
a nation on edge asks, What's next?"
Just between September 7 and 28, 2001, prescriptions
for antianxiety drugs nationwide increased 8.6
percent. People desperately want some kind of assurance
that everything is going to be okay. We want
some good news. We want to hear that this is all a bad
Good news, Bad news
The Bible contains the ultimate Good News. In the
midst of the pessimism, gloom, and frustration of this
present hour, there is one great beacon of hope: the
promise of Jesus Christ. "`If I go and prepare a place
for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself,
that where I am, there you may be also'" (John 14:3).
This promise assures us that all who have received
Jesus Christ as their personal Savior from sin will
spend eternity with the Lord in heaven. And not only
that, but all believers in Christ will be rescued by the
Lord (raptured) from the coming Tribulation. So we
can say emphatically that for those who know the
Lord the best is yet to come.
But the Bible also contains some very bad news.
Before Jesus returns to earth at His second coming,
things are going to get bad-really bad. I wish I could
say that everything is going to be okay, that everything
will get better and better until Jesus comes. But the
Bible says that the worst is yet to come for planet
Before we get into the specifics of how current
events in our world today fit into God's plan for the
ages, let's look at Jesus' general forecast for the future.