The Day Everything Changed

“I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed.” —Genesis 26:4, NIV”

In 2001 I took a life-changing trip to Israel. After flying home, my wife and I were awakened the next morning from a jet-lagged sleep when the phone rang. A good friend was calling, clearly upset.

“Turn on the television, now!” She was barely able to get the words out. “We’re being attacked.”

It was September 11. Four commercial jetliners had been hijacked by terrorists and used as deadly weapons against American citizens. We began checking with other friends and traveling companions. Several of the team members who had traveled with us to Israel had left on a later flight. They landed in Newark, New Jersey and were stranded on the tarmac, where they could see smoke billowing from lower Manhattan. Some ended up hitchhiking home across the country.

With this direct attack on US soil, everything changed. Even though the attack was launched against New York City and Washington DC, Israel was the key. The terrorists hated its existence and hated the United States for supporting the Jewish state.

Just days earlier, I took part in a vine planting ceremony in the city of Ariel. That day, kneeling in the dirt, working the soil, and planting new vines, the importance of God’s people impacted me. 

I had studied prophecy for decades, but on that afternoon I knew the fate of the world revolved around Israel. I had come face to face with a new understanding of prophecy. It is not just the geography of Israel that is important to our understanding. Israel and her people are the center of our world, our history, and our future. 

Israel is more than a prophetic clock on the wall.  

God had a beautiful goal in mind when He promised Abraham, “And in you all the families of the earthshall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). 

No one is left out of this promised blessing. God manifested His love and grace from the very beginning. We all are His chosen people through the covenant He made with Abraham. When I believed in Jesus as my Lord, Savior, and Messiah, I, too, became a son of the promise, a spiritual son of Abraham, grafted into the family (see Romans 9:6-8).

September 11 is a day we will never forget. Our nation and our world changed, and our eyes were opened to so much, including the need and importance of obeying God’s exhortation: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May they prosper who love you’” (Psalm 122:6).

Ray Bentley