• Home
  • Contact
  • VBC - The World Trade Center Disaster

    The World Trade Center Disaster -

    Why Did It Happen?

    By Laurence A. Justice

    Luke 13:1-5

    Tuesday morning September 11, 2001 was a day of national horror in our country.  Two hijacked airliners wiped out as many as 5,000 people in less than an hour’s time.  With the possible exception of the War Between The States this incident is the greatest tragedy our nation has ever seen.  It has brought unutterable horror and grief to our nation. Because of this disaster the words of our beloved hymn “American The Beautiful” are no longer true:



    Why did this terrible thing happen?  All kinds of explanations are being given.  Unbelievably one Kansas City pastor has said, “America suffered this attack because of the good we are trying to do in this world...America didn’t fail, it was simply being true to itself...”  

    But according to God’s word this is not the reason this catastrophe has come on our nation.  In a few words this great cataclysmic event happened as a matter of the judgment of God on our wicked nation.  Contrary to the God being preached in most pulpits in our land today, God’s nature and character do not consist in unending niceness. 

    The God of the Bible is clearly and unmistakably revealed as a God of judgment.  Psalms 58:11 for example says “...verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth.”  Significantly the word judgeth here is in the present tense.  Psalms 105:7 says “He is the LORD our God: his judgments are in all the earth.”  Nahum 1:6 asks “Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.”

    A good brief biblical definition of God’s judgment is his righteous and controlled response to the sinful rebellion of man.  The thing that requires God’s judgment is his holiness.  Sin demands God’s judgment because sin is so repugnant to a holy God.  The holy God is always and unceasingly angry with sinners.  Psalms 7:11 says that “...God is angry with the wicked every day.”

    God’s judgments in this world did not end with the Old Testament.  In our text in the New Testament the Lord Jesus used two catastrophes to warn unrepentant sinners in every age of the reality of the judgment of God on sinners.

    The first involved some Jewish worshippers who were making sacrifices to God and right in the midst of their worship Pilate suddenly sent soldiers in to execute them by the sword.  In so doing their blood was actually mixed with the blood of their sacrifices.  The second catastrophe involved eighteen people who were seated or standing near a great stone tower near the pool of Siloam in Jerusalem.  Suddenly and without warning the tower collapsed on them and all were killed.

    In looking at these words of our Lord Jesus in this text there are three things we can learn in answering the question concerning The World Trade Center Disaster  - Why did it happen?


    The Lord Jesus says here that if his hearers don’t repent they shall all likewise perish or they will all die in the same way.  God doesn’t send these things for us to just look at and be amazed and to talk about.  He is warning and instructing us in them.  Unusual and catastrophic events are intended to be instructive warnings from God!  The mind of God is seen in them.  The voice of God is in these things and those persons will suffer who do not hear and understand that voice.  These things are the intervention of the Lord in our nation’s affairs.

    It is characteristic of the way God works in bringing judgment on a nation that he usually sends lesser judgments before he sends major and final judgments.  This procedure is seen in the first nine verses of the seventh chapter of the book of Amos.  In dealing with the Northern Kingdom of Israel God first sent grasshoppers to eat everything and cause famine.  Next he sent fire which consumed their treasure and finally he sent the plumbline judgment which was a leveling devastation.

    In our text the deaths of those Jews in the place of their worship was a token of the coming destruction of the Temple and its worship by the Roman invasion in 70 AD.  The fall of the tower of Siloam was a token of the coming destruction of Jerusalem in the Roman invasion when all the towers of the city would fall.

    God’s word teaches that the natural disasters that occur in this world are judgments of God.  Look at Psalms 107:33-34.  The writer is talking about God when he says “He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground; A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.”

    As a matter of judgment on sin God called for a draught in Judah in Haggai 1:11.  “And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.”

    Over the past thirty years or so God has sent a steady stream of so-called natural disasters and other lesser judgments on our land, a few of which include: The worst flooding ever in the great flood of ‘93, the bombing of the World Trade Center the same year, the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, Hurricane Andrew, earthquakes in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and now a much more serious disaster in the World Trade Center catastrophe. These things have not been happening by chance or coincidence!  They are warnings from God of greater, more serious and final judgments to come.

    Why did it happen?  Secondly, in light of what the Lord Jesus says in our text we can learn that


    In verse 3 of our text the Lord Jesus says to his hearers, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” and again in verse 5, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”  Nothing but repentance will help, the Lord is saying.  Except ye repent!  Fasting and prayer won’t do it!  Repeating “God bless America” again and again won’t do it!  Only repentance will do it!   Only repentance will avert God’s impending final judgment.

    The World Trade Center disaster, like all the disastrous events in the last thirty years or so is a loud call for America to repent; both nationally and individually.  The sole reason why God sent this catastrophic judgment on those New Yorkers was as a warning to all of us to call us to repentance before God.

    What terrible sins on our parts as a nation and as individuals would bring such severe and catastrophic judgment as what happened at the World Trade Center on September 11th?  We as a nation and as individuals have many sins that cry out for God’s judgment today.  Someone has correctly called them our heaven-daring sins.

    There is our murder of 40 million unborn babies in the years since the atrocity of abortion was legalized by the U.S. Supreme Court.  There is our feminist revolt against God’s will for the family.  There is our perverted view of something called homosexual rights.  There is our utter disregard for God’s plan of marriage.  Even though Malachi 2:16 says that God hates divorce, divorce is rampant in our land.  There is American Education’s willingly and systematically excluding of God and Christ and the Bible from curriculum and classroom.  There is our rebellion against God as our Creator and our subscribing instead to the wicked and godless theory of evolution.  There is our wholesale forsaking of God’s holy Sabbath day for work and recreation and travel.  There is our crass materialism and our unbridled hedonism and love of pleasure more than God.  There is our bloody record of murders and failure to carry out the death penalty.  Our corrupt courts slap the hands of criminals instead of meting out justice until as in Cain’s day long ago, the blood of the victims cries out to God from the ground.  There is our drunkenness and ever increasing use of drugs.  There is our licentious lifestyle and culture characterized by sexual license and promiscuity.  There is our love of vile and filthy entertainment such as TV shows like Aly McBeal and Survivor and Temptation Island.  God’s word says in Ephesians 5:6 “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things (fornication, uncleanness and covetousness as listed in verses 3-5) cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.”  There is our refusal to hold accountable wicked and morally corrupt political leaders like Bill Clinton.  We did not turn this moral leper out of office when his immoral behavior was exposed.  There are the churches who ordain homosexuals to the “ministry.”  There is the fact that our churches by and large have become second rate amusement and recreation centers instead of lighthouses for faithfully holding forth the word of truth in this sin darkened world.  The list of our nation’s sins is almost endless; child abuse, rampant pornography, gambling and on and on and on and these sins should be obvious to all but the most sin blinded eyes.

    In Jeremiah 5:9 God asks a question about the sins of Judah that is certainly applicable to America and our sins today:  “Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?”

    In a nutshell the condition of our nation today is this: America abounds in sin, God is angry and has risen up in his holy wrath, and final judgment looms and can only be averted by repentance.  “Except ye repent,” the Lord Jesus says, “Ye shall all likewise perish!”  But what is repentance?

    Biblical repentance involves several things: real conviction for sin, a real sense of God’s anger with sinners, a turning from all known sin in the life and a sense of God’s  approaching  judgment.  True repentance is an inward thing.  It is real and it is accompanied by the appropriate change in the life.  True repentance not only involves being humiliated over our sins and confessing our sins,  we must stop sinning!

    According to God’s word, it is by means of repentance that we shall either be saved or perish!  Even with the many and increasingly severe judgments God has sent on our land over the past thirty years or so, sin abounds more and more and there is no repentance!

    Virtually no one seems to be getting God’s message in this latest disaster.  Instead of repenting and turning to God after this great disaster our leaders are daring to pray with Muslims and allowing God to be called Allah and to be called “the God of Abraham and Mohammed.”  Our nation does need God at this time but God has a name and God’s Son has a name and that  name is NOT Allah!  It is Jehovah and Jesus Christ!  As Acts 4:12 says, “There is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved!”

    There have been judgments threatened by God in the past that have been averted by repentance.  The city of Nineveh in Jonah’s day is a prime example.  God called Jonah to preach in Nineveh that in forty days God was going to send judgment on their city.  The people of Nineveh believed Jonah and repented and God spared them for many years to come.  In Jonah 1:2 God said to Jonah, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.”  Then Jonah 3:10 says, “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.”  The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 12:41, “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.”

    The other thing we want to consider in connection with our text and the World Trade Center disaster is this:


    God’s judgment will overtake unrepentant sinners who have been previously warned of their sin.  In the Lord’s statements in verses 3 and 5 of our text destruction is threatened on the whole nation when he says,“Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.”  Judgments on a few or on groups or on cities are warnings of a wider general judgment to come.  When warnings and instructions are not seen and heeded, they are tokens of destruction that is coming. 

    This is exactly what the Lord Jesus was saying to the people of Jerusalem and Judah in Luke 19:41-44.  Let’s turn to it.  “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” Unrepentant sinners, not cured by warnings, are the objects of God’s wrath.

    In this message we are not talking about God’s final judgment on all sinners at the Great White Throne.  That is a whole other subject. Here we are talking about the judgment he executes in history.  There are several biblical examples of cities and empires God has destroyed in his judgment in the past.

    There are the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Genesis 19:24 says that “...the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven...” and II Peter 2:6 says that these cities and their final judgment from God are intended by God as examples of how his destructive judgment will fall on nations that reject God’s warnings.  “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly...”

    Another example of cities and nations destroyed by God’s judgment after their rejecting God’s warnings is Old Testament Jerusalem.  Look at Jeremiah 15:5-8.  “For who shall have pity upon thee, O Jerusalem? or who shall bemoan thee? or who shall go aside to ask how thou doest? Thou hast forsaken me, saith the LORD, thou art gone backward: therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with repenting. And I will fan them with a fan in the gates of the land; I will bereave them of children, I will destroy my people, since they return not from their ways. Their widows are increased to me above the sand of the seas: I have brought upon them against the mother of the young men a spoiler at noonday: I have caused him to fall upon it suddenly, and terrors upon the city.”

    Still another example is New Testament Jerusalem.  In Luke 21:20-24 and Matthew 24:1-2 the Lord Jesus warned Jerusalem of her impending destruction but Jerusalem remained unrepentant and in 70 AD God’s judgment fell and the Romans conquered the city, crucified up to a million Jews and plowed the city like a field for farming.

    Thus far the people of America have missed God’s message in the World Trade Center disaster.  The people of our nation are largely insensitive to God’s working in judgment and intervening in history.  Very few people seem concerned with either the cause or the remedy of this tragedy.  Few among us seem to be seeking the mind of God in this matter.  The people of our nation are unable to see or hear what God is plainly declaring against us.  We are characterized by the blindness, apathy and false security that are marks of a nation whose final judgment is near.

    Isaiah 9:13, though describing Judah long ago, certainly applies to our nation today in the wake of this tragedy.  “...The people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the LORD of hosts.”  Again Isaiah 42:25 says “Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart.”

    Members of the media and politicians scoffed when one preacher suggested this tragedy is God’s judgment on America’s great sins.  Some conservatives like Rush Limbaugh in seeking to maintain a positive outlook have taken to emphasizing the goodness of Americans and thus scoffing at the idea that God would judge our nation.  All these glad handing, back slapping ecumenical priests and women preachers and Muslim Imams getting together cannot change the fact nor the terror of God’s judgment!  Our nation is characterized by sin! God is against us!  And at any time he may pronounce the final sentence upon us.


    Why did it happen?  It happened as a matter of God’s judgment on our wicked nation.  Alexander Solzhenitsyn had the perception to see God’s judgment in the great calamity that fell on his native Russia in the coming of the Communist revolution.

    The other day I came across these great words of his: “Over half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: ‘Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.’  Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by the upheaval.  But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: ‘Men have forgotten God;’ that’s why all this happened.”

    It is extreme false security to either neglect such events or to misinterpret them as not being tokens of God’s approaching destructive judgment on our land.  Each and every American needs to ask for himself, Have we forsaken God or not? God’s ultimatum to America today is, Repentance or Ruin!  Repentance and nothing else will save our nation and us as individuals from ruin.  If our nation would receive this warning and repent, we would be spared from our otherwise inevitable destruction.  But what can save a nation that despises the only remedy for its relief?

    Let us pray that God will change men’s hearts and grant us repentance!  Let us pray to God with the prophet in Habakkuk 3:3:  “O LORD...revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.”  Let each and every one of us repent and then let us begin to urge others to do the same.

    A question being asked a lot in these past few weeks is, Will life be the same in America after this? It had better not be!  We pray it won’t!

    Sponsored and hosted by   .    For questions about the web site, please