By Andrew Wommack
I feel impressed of the Lord to respond to the recent terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, and the Pentagon in Washington. Everyone has been asking questions about why and how something like this could happen, and I feel the answers that most people are getting are woefully inadequate. God's Word has timeless answers that are right up-to-date for our situation.
The day after the September 11, 2001, attacks, I made four 30-minute TV shows to deal with this subject. I later made an hour-long audio message covering the same material, and all this was immediately loaded on our website, and later broadcasted on TV. This article will be a brief summary of four of the six points in this teaching.
GOD DID NOT CAUSE, NOR DID HE ALLOW THESE ATTACKS. Many Christian leaders have attributed these acts to the judgment of God upon America. That is absolutely not the case. Jesus clearly stated that He did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them (Lk. 9:56). This was said in response to His disciples wanting to call fire down from heaven on the Samaritans as judgment, just as Elijah had done in the Old Testament. Jesus wouldn't do it, and rebuked His disciples for desiring to do so, showing that God was dealing with the earth differently after the advent of Jesus.
There is a future time described in the book of Revelation, when God's judgment will rain down upon the unbelievers; but today we are living in an age of grace where God is not imputing men's sins unto them (2 Cor. 5:19). There were, no doubt, godly men and women who lost their lives in these terrorist attacks. God certainly wasn't judging them.
If this had been God's judgment, it would have been much more severe. In the Old Testament, when God's judgment was being released, a death angel went through the land of Egypt and killed all the first-born (Ex. 12:29-30). Another angel killed 185,000 Assyrians in one night (2 Ki. 19:35).
The Lord wouldn't have had to use suicide bombers, either, to accomplish His judgment. These men were deceived into thinking they would be granted a special place in heaven with a harem of women if they would kill innocent men, women, and children. That doesn't sound like God. That's not God's method of operation. In the Old Testament, God had the earth open up and swallow people, and then close over them again (Num. 16:28-35). Sodom and Gomorrah were completely destroyed by fire from heaven (Gen. 19), and Noah's flood destroyed all but eight people on the earth (Gen. 7).
Why would the Lord judge America only and not the other Christian nations who have departed from God? Why would New York and the Pentagon be the targets instead of the centers of homosexuality or the movie industry that have defied God? Why didn't God judge non-Christian nations that make America look moral by comparison?
No, this was not God's judgment. America is worthy of judgment, but God is extending grace to America, as well as all the other nations of the world, during this church age. There will come a time when God's judgment is released on the whole world, and no one will have to be told that it's God. The people will cry out for the rocks to fall upon them and hide them from the wrath of God (Rev. 6:12-17); but that time hasn't come yet.
This is not to say that there are no consequences for our national sins. The scriptures say, "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people" (Prov. 14:34). Sin allows the devil access to us (Rom. 6:16). Jesus said the thief comes only, "to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I [Jesus] am come that they might have life, and that they have it more abundantly" (Jn. 10:10). Satan, not God, inspired and carried out these attacks through demon-possessed people.
Some wouldn't go so far as to say that God commissioned these attacks, but they believe that nothing happens except what God allows. It's like not all bad things originate from God's desk, but they all have to pass by there and get His stamp of approval. That's not the way God's kingdom works. Lots of things happen that are not in God's deliberate or permissive will.
I know some people just choked on that last statement. They think that is a direct attack on the sovereignty of God, but God is so sovereign that He has limited Himself in the affairs of men. Indeed, Psalm 78:41 says people, in unbelief, limited the Holy One of Israel.
Look at salvation. Second Peter 3:9 clearly says God is, "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." You can't make it any plainer than that. God doesn't will for anyone to perish or go to hell, yet people perish every day.-but not because God wills it or allows it. We are the ones that allow it. God has made a provision for everyone's salvation, and He convicts every person of their need for Him. There is no doubt that the Lord was convicting the suicide bombers as they carried out their terrible acts (Rom. 1:18-19); the Lord gave us all the power of a free will. He doesn't control us like pawns.
Therefore, God didn't do this, nor did He allow it. It was free moral agents, rebelling against all of God's conviction, that perpetrated this cowardly act. Any portrayal of God as the source of this tragedy misrepresents His nature and character to the lost. There is no doubt that many people will be turned away from God because of ministers who attribute terrorist acts to God.
Another error that I think it is very important to correct, is the idea that this happened because the body of Christ hasn't done enough spiritual warfare. I was with a group of ministers when we heard the news of the bombings, and this was the first reaction of two of them. They believed spiritual warfare could have prevented these attacks, and more spiritual warfare is the thing to stop this in the future. I think that is absolutely wrong.
First of all, if there has been an excess of anything in the body of Christ over the last ten years, it is in the area of spiritual warfare. There have been entire conferences dedicated to the subject, and millions of believers have gotten involved. I believe it is safe to say that there have been more people doing spiritual warfare in the last decade than in all of church history; yet it didn't stop the terrorists from carrying out their attacks. Spiritual warfare will not stop ungodly people from being ungodly!
If you follow that logic, then it was the lack of spiritual warfare that caused the bombing of Pearl Harbor and started America's involvement in World War II. Are you willing to make that indictment? Most would have to say that America was much more godly then than now.
There are scriptural examples of godly kings who had nations attack them in war, and it wasn't because of some lack on their part (2 Chr. 20). Bad things happen to good people and good nations. Every problem cannot be prayed away. The Lord doesn't promise that we won't have trouble. In fact, He promised us that we would have tribulation, but He told us to be of good cheer even then, because He has overcome the world (Jn. 16:33). We are guaranteed to come out winners.
When nations take deliberate steps away from God, as America has, they walk out from underneath God's umbrella of protection. God doesn't punish them directly, but there will be punishment. Satan will exact his own wrath on those who yield to him. As Jonah said, "They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy" (Jon. 2:8). He ought to know. God is a good God, but the devil is a bad devil.
If we Americans would turn to the Lord with all our hearts, then we would see more supernatural protection and intervention on our behalf. However, no nation has ever, or will ever, trust God perfectly. Therefore, there will always be the potential for these types of acts.
Also, if the body of Christ had been more committed to preaching the gospel to the Islamic world, then there would have been the possibility that these terrorists could have been converted as Saul was, and these acts would not have happened. However, men have the free will to choose, and you cannot guarantee that everyone will receive the gospel. There will always be some who hate God and everything that reflects godly values, and are willing to fight against them.
As individuals, we can appropriate God's supernatural protection on a personal level, but we can't throw that net across the entire nation when vast amounts of Americans are in total rebellion to the Lord. As long as we live in a world where people yield to Satan's deception, then there will be wars.
What should be a Christian response to what the terrorists have done? Should we forgive them and turn the other cheek? Isn't that what Jesus taught?
Look at what Jesus told Pilate just before His crucifixion. Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews" (Jn. 18:36). Jesus didn't resist the Roman or Jewish authority because He wasn't establishing a physical kingdom. His kingdom was in the hearts of men (Lk. 17:20-21). His spiritual kingdom could not have been established by physical means; so He submitted to their power.
A time is coming when the Lord will establish a physical kingdom here on the earth and then blood will flow up to the horses' bridles (Rev. 14:20). This establishes a principle that if you are fighting a physical foe, you use physical weapons. If you are fighting a spiritual foe, you use spiritual weapons.
I've been spit upon, cursed, threatened, kidnapped, slandered, hated, and much more because of my teaching of the gospel. In all these things, I've not fought back or resisted because all these things happened for the gospel's sake. I took it as persecution. However, if someone was to try and rob me, just to get my $20, I would fight back. If someone threatened my wife with bodily harm, I would fight to the death to protect her, and anyone who would not do the same for his wife is "whacked."
Sure, the Lord said to turn the other cheek and resist not evil (Mt. 5:39), but this same Jesus made a whip and drove the money changers out of the temple. He didn't do it politely, either. He didn't say, "I'm sorry. I hope you aren't offended, but I have to do this." No! He was angry, and He violently fought against them.-not because of their personal attacks on Him, but in defense of His Father.
On an individual level, we need to forgive others and not seek vengeance; but on a national level, the government has a God-given responsibility to defend its citizens. The scripture says, "he beareth not the sword in vain: for he [the government] is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil" (Rom. 13:4).
These terrorist attacks were pure evil, and the American government has the God-given responsibility to do whatever it takes to punish the perpetrators. No one wants innocent people to be punished, and I don't believe the current administration is seeking to retaliate blindly. So far, there has been reserve and deliberate thought on America's part; but this evil is like a cancer that has to be cut out and destroyed, even if it is unavoidable to inflict minimal damage to innocent people.
Some people have come to the conclusion that America was morally wrong to drop the two atomic bombs on Japan. They cite pictures of women and children who were killed or badly injured in those bombings, and say this couldn't be right; but they forget the broader picture.
America and Japan were at war. The Japanese had exhibited unbelievable brutality in their actions during the war, especially towards the Chinese. The emperor, who was believed to be a god, had already given the command to all Japanese to fight the Americans to the last woman and child. He had armed the women and children and taught them to fight, and there is no reason to believe they wouldn't have obeyed. If that had happened, there would not only have been hundreds of thousands of American lives lost, but multiplied millions of Japanese would have died too.
When all of this is considered, it was still a terrible thing that happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but it was much more merciful than the alternative. Millions of Japanese lives were actually saved through these bombings.
Terrorists have waged war on America and all freedom-loving people who don't subscribe to their fanatical views. They must be sought out and destroyed with as much precision as possible. Any groups or nations who support them should distance themselves from these terrorists or suffer the consequences. That is a godly response.
As I stated at the beginning of this article, I have an hour-long teaching that deals with the points I've covered in this article, and also deals with the grief and fear that these events have caused. This teaching is available to you on CD, audio cassette tape, or you can listen to it on our website. Remember that the four TV broadcasts that deal with this same subject are on our web page as well.