How could I ever forget the day when someone called me on the phone the morning of September 11, 2001 and told me to turn on the TV right away? Something incredible was unfolding in New York that would forever change our view of the world......maybe. Most of us remember watching the horrors of the 9-11 plots to bring down this Nation and possibly trigger a world war. We watched in unbelief and horror as the World Trade Center fell into a pile of ash, dust and debris in a matter of seconds, as though a nuclear bomb had fallen on it. We saw numerous people jumping to their deaths to escape the inferno of the flames. We grieved as we began to hear the endless, tragic stories of almost 3000 people that had been murdered in cold blood in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on that Day. We also began to learn over the next few days about how the 19 hijackers, from a radical Islamic group inspired by Osama Bin Ladin, had carefully planned this diabolical plot of evil for years. It was as if Hell showed up and let the world see its ugly face, if but for a few hours.
In the wake of that tragedy, the Nation came together for a season. People bought and displayed American flags by the millions, held prayer meetings and memorial services. Our Nation and its leadership began to ask hard questions about the nature of Islam, good, evil, right, wrong and how all of this could happen. The Nation began a soul searching on many levels of how to respond. People wanted to know how we could all work together so something like this would never happen again. All of this eventually led to a war in Afghanistan and Iraq, new surveillance measures by our government over our lives and deeper questions about our national security. Without a doubt, 9-11 forever changed America and the world....maybe.
Yesterday was the 16th anniversary of 9-11. Around the Nation people held memorial services; President Trump laid a wreath at the Pentagon Memorial to 9-11 to honor those who died in this tragedy and shared these words,
On that day not only did the world change, but we all changed. Our eyes were opened to the depths of the evil we faced, but in that hour of darkness we also came together with renewed purpose. Our differences never looked so small, our common bonds never felt so strong.
And while many still remember that Day, the power to forget the past is growing more powerful with each passing year. Increasing numbers of our population were not born in 2001, nor do they have memories of the evil that happened. Most of all, the lessons from 9-11 are being forgotten before our eyes by many in leadership. As an example, we have just finished 8 years of the Obama Administration that had forbidden even mentioning "radical Islamic terrorism" in any way. This political attempt to hide the truth about the dangers of Islam has also been strongly supported in the media and by the growing cultural agenda of multiculturalism, extending to our current refugee and immigration policies. Sadly in today's twisted media world, the real threat to the world is not Islam, but rather anyone raising concerns about the dangers of Islam. Such people are being labeled as "Islamophobic,' a terrible condition we are told that is the "real" evil and threat to America and the global community.
Now the Biblical problem with this growing "9-11 Amnesia Syndrome," that has been reinforced by politicians, the media, liberal academics and clergy, is the fact that nothing has ever changed about Islam in 1400 years. From its founding, Islam has been the doctrinal and spiritual enemy of the Lord and His people. It has waged continual war against the Lord and Western Civilizaton, leading to the death and suffering of millions. Islam's central teaching is that there is only one God, Allah. Islam's entire purpose in the 7th century was an attack on Christianity, the Lord Jesus Christ and His Divinity. The core doctrine of ALL Muslims, not just the "terrorists," is that Jesus never died on the Cross, never rose from the dead, never forgave sin and is not God in the flesh. The Bible tells us that Islam is part of the spirit of the antichrist in the world as we hear in I John 4:2-3:
By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.
As a result of this spiritual enmity with the Lord Jesus and Christianity, there will always be a spiritual war with Islam......an ongoing 9-11. The issues that came out on 9-11 will continue and intensify until the Lord returns. There is not a week that goes by that there is not some evidence of that happening. We see that right now in the battle with ISIS and the emerging nuclear threat in Iran, THE central sponsor and source of Islamic terrorism against Israel and the West. Sadly, that same spirit of antichrist is also at work in those here in America that have rejected Christianity and seek to replace it with humanism, secularism and a desire to create a world of supposed global "progress" without the Lord of Creation.
The major, Biblical lesson that is being forgotten today is not just the threat of Islam. The deeper lesson of 9-11 is that there is real sin and evil in the world that is not going away. No amount of "media spin" by anyone will remove the evil in the hearts of human beings. Only the Lord Himself and His amazing Gospel of grace can do that. The humanistic worldview all around us wants us to forget the sin of the world that was in the 9-11 hijackers and all of us. The world wants to ignore what has happened throughout human history with the deluded idea that we can create some "new" world of peace, tolerance and love without God. That fantasy world has never happened to date and it will never happen with humanity being in charge of things.
As the philosopher Santayana is quoted as saying, "Those that fail to the learn the lessons of the past are doomed to repeat them." That statement has never been as true as it is with Islam and the terrible lessons of 9-11. The evil of what we saw 16 years ago with 19 young men is not going away. The 9-11 tragedy is but a harbinger of even bigger things to come that will unfold in the Book of Revelation, as the demonic powers of this present world take their stand against our Lord, Israel, the Church and His coming Kingdom.
As we look back on 9-11 this week, the central message of it all is that everyone needs a Savior from the evil and sin in all of our hearts. May this 16th anniversary of the horrors of that dreadful Day be a powerful reminder for everyone to call on the Lord Jesus Christ and find the salvation and grace we all need today and forever.