16 years might seem like a long time, but it is not. That is the age of our son, and we can remember well the day he was born as if it was yesterday. Today, 16 years ago, a huge tragedy occurred in the United States of America. While it occurred physically there, it affected and changed the entire world since then.
During the young years of this writer, I never considered the idea of traveling to America in search of the “American dream.” Later on, we had the opportunity not only to visit this beautiful country, but to live for a few years, studied God’s Word (a study that never ends) and got prepared to do the work of the Lord wherever we are. But, there was only one place I wanted to visit and I will never be able to do, the Twin Towers. Watched those towers in several movies, and photos, I always wanted to go up and see the world from there.
911, more than the emergency number that people needs to dial when is in need, get a deeper meaning in the lives of every human being in this world. Three digits changed completely after that horrendous and terrorist event. Now, every year, this day, bring many memories to every living soul in this world. A day that marked many people. Men and women who lost their spouses, children who lost their parents, parents who lost their children, but most importantly, hundreds of souls that lost the opportunity to hear the Gospel of Salvation and obey it. Those terrorists in the day came as a thief in the night, and took the lives of hundreds of people with only one purpose in mind,
The martyr (shaheed) has seven blessings from Allaah: he is forgiven from the moment his blood is first shed; he will be shown his place in Paradise; he will be spared the trial of the grave; and he will be secure on the Day of the Greatest Terror (the Day of Judgement); there will be placed on his head a crown of dignity, one ruby of which is better than this world and all that is in it; he will be married to seventy-two of al-hoor al-‘iyn; and he will be permitted to intercede for seventy of his relatives [emphasis added] (Abdul-Rahman 203).
That has nothing to do with peace, as many followers of this religion attempt to explain to the world. They are not martyrs, they are murderers. A simple definition of the word martyr is, “a person who voluntarily suffers death as the penalty of witnessing to and refusing to renounce a religion” (Merriam Webster).
They did not renounce their religion, they kill themselves causing the death of others, seeking for those seven blessings, being one of them all about sexual pleasure and immorality. Why does pornography make a lot of money today? Why is prostitution still practiced in almost every part of the world? Why the schools where our children go promote “safe sex”? The answer is simple, people like it, and, if a religion offers them that same thing as a blessing in paradise, then, many will follow that wrong path, because that is the only thing they want (and probably do not have).
It is interesting how our Lord and Savior replied to the hypothetical case presented by the Sadducees about the woman with seven husbands,
“Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine” (Matthew 22:29-33).
First, He let them know that they do not know what they are talking because they were not diligent in studying God’s Word. Then, He makes sure that they understand that marriage is a condition on earth, but in the resurrection, is not (so, Islam sets a promise that is not real). When we die, we just depart of this world, but we are still alive, because God is the God of the living!
Do we need an example of a martyr? A faithful Christian already knows the answer to this question, Stephen. In the book of Acts, chapter 7, we can read the speech that Stephen delivered to the high priest as his answer to the charges those in the synagogue were making against him. He delivered to them a History class. His sword was the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12). He did not kill himself and everyone in that room to become a martyr. He plainly preached the good news. His words, not his hands with a weapon, were the ones that cut the heart of those who listened to him (Acts 7:54). He kept telling them the good news, but they decided not to continue listening to him,
“And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep” (Acts 7:56-60).
He truly died for the cause of his Savior. He was a real martyr. Once again, terrorists are not martyrs, but murderers. During the old law, God forbade murder (Exodus 20:13), and still does in the new law, as our Lord Jesus Christ replied to the rich young man,
“And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me” (Matthew 19:16-21).
Jesus reminded this young man of the commandments of the old law, affirming that they are true and valid, and what this man was lacking was to go and follow Him. That is the same that many today are lacking, to come to Him and follow Him.
When one of the Pharisees asked Jesus “which is the greatest commandment?” He answered,
“… Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40).
The apostle Paul, whom previously was known as Saul, the same one that was a witness and consented unto the death of Stephen (Acts 8:1), after his conversion, wrote to the Romans,
“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor [emphasis added]: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:8-10).
Dear reader, those terrorists who professed the Islam religion, professed a religion that is not of peace neither of love. Today, and every 9/11 since 2001, we will remember the sad events of that day. That is something that will never get rid of our minds. Our first visit to New York City was in 2013, and the day of our flight was 9/11. The plane was almost empty, but we were happy to be able to go there. While I was not able to fulfill my childhood’s dream of watching the Twin Towers, I was able to see the One World Trade Center building almost completed. The picture that serves as the cover for this article was taken during that trip. One of the many things I admire of Americans is that they “keep going”. No matter the difficulty, they keep persevering and seeking for opportunities to grow. In moments of difficulty, they show how to be optimistic and give their best. This certainly reminds us that, while terrorists keep destroying buildings around the world, those edifications can be built again, and maybe better than the originals. As Christians, we know how sad is to know that many of those who died that day might not have heard the good news of salvation; others might have heard them but did not obey them; others might have heard them, obeyed them, but leave them; while others gladly heard them, obeyed them and remained faithful unto their deaths. We do not know the final destiny of those souls, but we know what is the desire of God toward our souls (2 Peter 3:9), and our commitment to reach as many souls as we can to bring the message of salvation to all of them, allowing them the opportunity to obey the will of God and become one of their children (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-16).
Today, we remember not only those who died that tragic day by the hands of the terrorists, but also those who died in their efforts to help as many as they could that day. Today, and every single day, we must remember the One who died for every soul, as “the propitiation for our sins, and not only ours, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). Let us never forget our mission on this earth, and bring the glad tidings of good things to every person we meet. We do not know, if tomorrow they, or we, are not going to be able to have the opportunity that we have right now.
God bless you!
Abdul-Rahman, Muhammad Saed. The Heart Softeners Part 1. London, UK: MSA Publication Limited, 2003. Google Books.
“martyr”, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/martyr