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In this season: Remembering the attacks of September 11, 2001


Messianic teacher Kevin Williams commented on the September 11 attacks on the United States in this post originally published on September 17, 2001.

Rosh haShanah [or Hoshanah] is the biblical festival of trumpets (shofar, as pictured), Yom Teruah (the day of blowing, Lev. 23), which marks the Jewish new year and celebration of the creation of the world. The festival concludes with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Some Bible teachers believe the festival to be a prophetic picture of the end of this age, an annual rehearsal of the last days.

Today, we stand on the precipice of God’s sacred assembly—Rosh Hoshanah. This ordained day of worship, above all days, is when mankind is supposed to stand in awe of the Almighty, to revere Him as Sovereign King, and Lord of all the earth. It initiates a time of deep introspection, of examining our lives and exploring our attitudes. “Am I living as God would have me live?” “Am I at peace with my neighbors?” “Are my debts to man and God reconciled?”

It has been the Lord’s good pleasure to sustain me on this earth for 40 years now, and in all that time, no opportunity has been afforded to believers to be a light for truth as now. Confirmed reports come daily that thousands of strangers are wandering into churches in New York. In the lines of grocery stores, current events are the subject of conversation–and before last week, no one talked while waiting in line! Suppliers and customers, who have perhaps been all business, take a few moments to talk about the headlines. People realize there is a spiritual hole in their lives, they are asking questions, and many are turning to the Bride for answers.

Our nation’s leaders, as at no other time in modern history, are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Creator, acknowledging Him in all their ways (Proverbs 3:6). This unprecedented example of biblical faith is speaking, nay shouting from the rooftops, to all the earth. The Christian faith is being carefully examined by men and women of all faiths. How we–as individual believers and as Americans–respond to these events, now and in the weeks and months to come, will be a part of how the earth judges our faith, and ultimately, our Messiah.

In light of the New York and Washington DC tragedies, and as we enter this season of revering the Sovereign King, I guess this comes as a cautionary note to all my friends: that we be “shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matt 10:16).

My heart aches as I hear believers talking about retaliation, about torturing or exacting revenge. Certainly, the loss of life, the economic repercussions, the orphans, widows and widowers, and the trauma are horrible realities. But brothers and sisters, we are told to never “repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody” (Romans 12:17).

Our leaders have taken the position of stopping the evil and putting it out of our midst. This is most appropriate. This is a biblical principle from Genesis through Revelation. It will likely be difficult. It will likely come at a cost. But if we take an attitude of retaliation, then we are subject to judgement just as those who perpetrated this heinous act of war.

Time and again in the Bible, it is God who repays evil–not man. The prayers of the righteous in Scripture are for God to judge and repay. Friends, I appreciate the anger you may feel, and the passionate response for action, but let us act and speak with maturity of faith, living as examples of the Messiah. Stop the evil, certainly, and take the actions necessary to that end, but let us guard our hearts and tongues that the God of all creation may be glorified in the eyes of all mankind.


Editor’s note: Rosh haShanah will be celebrated in 2014 beginning at sunset, September 24 until nightfall on September 26.


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Category: Living the Faith

About the Author: Kevin M. Williams, Litt.D., H.L.D. has served in Messianic ministries since 1987 and has written numerous articles and been a featured speaker at regional and international conferences on Messianic Judaism.

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