terrorist September 11 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Ezra 4:1-5, 24; Haggai 1-2; Zechariah 1-6

Don't Be Intimidated!

September 11, 2001 will always be remembered in American history–the day terrorists flew two planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third into the Pentagon, and a fourth plane, which was foiled in its attempt due to the heroic efforts of some passengers, crashed into a Pennsylvania field. Altogether, almost 3,000 Americans lost their lives. Many nations before and after that time have faced terrorism and have their own stories.

Your present circumstances may not be so dire, but they can be very threatening. Are you or your Christian organizations hated? Do people threaten you or take malicious actions against you? Does this make you draw back? Even if you knew it was God’s will for you to do something in the beginning, because of opposition you might think it is not God’s will now. So, you are tempted to stop the work. However, God gets glory triumphing over opposition. In fact, if it was easy, would God get any glory at all? Would anyone come to know the LORD any better or see His works and say, “only God could do that”?

By God’s sovereign will and His grace, King Cyrus of Persia had signed a proclamation allowing any Israelites in captivity to return to their land and rebuild their temple. He even supplied the money and materials to do it. Zerubbabel became the governor of the area and Jeshua (Joshua) the high priest. Only a remnant of Israel returned because they had grown comfortable in their captivity. Within a few months they started the project and there was loud rejoicing and praise as the foundation of the temple was laid.

In today's Bible reading, the Jews are facing opposition from neighboring nations, so they stop. God is displeased and sends the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to them with messages.

Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai:

“Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house [meaning the temple] remains a ruin?”

Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the LORD (Haggai 1:3-8, NIV).

The LORD sent famine to the Jews and took away their prosperity because they are dishonoring Him and caring only for their own lives. When the people hear the messages from God, they fear Him and turn from their sins. Then God stirs up the governor of Jerusalem, Zerubbabel, and the high priest, Jeshua, and all the people, and once again they begin the work of rebuilding the temple. The LORD gives assuring words, “I am with you”; “Do not be afraid”; “My Spirit is with you”; and “Be strong and work,” (Haggai 1:13; 2:4,5). Is God with you? He can give you forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life. He can give you His protection and favor (more...).

God prophesies a future hope for Israel. Has God removed our blessings? Have things gone from bad to worse? We need to return to the work of the LORD and remember our Almighty God will also be with us. Let us not become self-absorbed in our own daily lives and neglect the work of God. Let us honor Him and be busy about the work. The LORD will be with us and help us through adversities. At times, things may be a little rough in this life, but we have a bright future in heaven.

Zechariah’s message, which is given the same time as Haggai's (compare Zechariah 1:1 and Haggai 2:10), also encourages Israel to return to God, rise up, and rebuild the temple.

Why does Zechariah repeat Haggai’s message? Perhaps they were not listening, or perhaps they were fearful and needed another witness and encouragement from God’s Word.

This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the LORD Almighty.

The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me [Zechariah] to you, (Zechariah 4:6,9, NIV).

The book of Zechariah is couched in symbolism and apocalyptic literature. Symbolism gets people’s attention; the more bizarre the images are the more we remember them. Perhaps, like Ezekiel, Zechariah is told to prophesy in symbols to get Israel’s attention. Nevertheless, it not by our own might that things can be accomplished; it is by God's Spirit–He gives the motivation and the power.

Like most Bible prophecies, Zechariah’s prophecy is partially fulfilled in the present and will be completely fulfilled in the distant future. In Israel’s future there will be a time of great world-wide peace and prosperity when her enemies are destroyed and Christ rules and reigns on the earth. The present day application gives encouragement to the Jewish people to repent, return to God, rise up, and rebuild the temple. For clues to interpreting prophetic literature and some interpretations of Zechariah’s night visions, see the more… page.

Lessons to Live By

  • Is God with you? He can give you forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life. He can give you His protection and favor (more...)
  • Do not be discouraged in the work of the LORD. Be strong and be encouraged because God is in your midst. By God's Spirit you can do the work.
  • If you have quit the work of the LORD, repent, return, rise up, and get to work. Laziness, neglect or self-absorption dishonors God, and His blessing upon you will be removed. Obedience honors the LORD and brings His blessings.

Today’s Bible Memory Verse

Philippians 1:6, NIV “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.”

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