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, and a third into the Pentagon. A fourth plane was foiled in its attempt to smash into some other significant building. Thanks to the heroic efforts of some passengers, it 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 the LORD ’s will for you to do something in the beginning, because of opposition you might think it's not His will now. So, you are tempted to stop the work. God is glorified, however, when He triumphs over opposition. If it was easy, would He 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 with 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. The LORD 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 were 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. God stirs up the governor of Jerusalem, Zerubbabel, the high priest, Jeshua, and all the people. 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, NIV). So, once again they begin the work of rebuilding the temple.

Zechariah’s message, which was 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).

Has God removed our blessings? Have things gone from bad to worse? Is it because of sin, neglect, or adversity? If without His direction, we have stopped the work and become self-absorbed in our own projects, we need to repent, return to the work of the LORD and remember our Almighty God will be with us if we will be obedient. Let's honor Him first and foremost in our lives. The LORD will be with us and His Spirit will help us through adversities. At times, things may be rough in this life, but we have a bright future in heaven.

Zechariah's message, not only encourages Israel to get back to work on the temple, but he also tells her of her bright future. 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 present time the LORD will favor her, help her complete the temple and give her peace in her land, if she will be obedient. 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 book of Zechariah is couched in symbolism and mystery about the end times. 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. 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 us? He offers us forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life. He can give us protection and favor (more...)
  • Let's not be discouraged in the work of the LORD. We can be strong and encouraged because God is in our midst helping us when we are obedient. By God's Spirit we can do the work.
  • If any of us have quit the work of the LORD because of threats or self-absorption, we need to repent, return, rise up, and get back to work. Giving into fear of man, laziness, neglect, or self-absorption dishonors God, and His blessing upon will be removed. Obedience honors the LORD and brings His favor, power, and protection.

Focus Verse

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

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A Look Ahead: God Works for His Glory and our Good not only in Israel but in our lives as well. Learn more in our Next Lesson.

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