September 11, 2001, will always be an important day for Americans. It is the day a number of terrorists hijacked four planes and used them to carry out several attacks. Two of these planes were crashed into the world trade center twin towers. The third plane was crashed into the Pentagon (U.S. Department of Defense building) while the fourth plane crashed in Rural Pennyvelenia after the passengers revolted. The sad day is now referred to as 911 and it serves to remind the free world to be wary of the enemy at all times. But 911 also has some noteworthy symbolism in the Bible.
911 in the Bible signifies the day of atonement. We can derive this symbolism by examining the ministry of Jesus which drew a lot of parallels from Yom Kipurr, a festival that appeared on September 11 on at least three special occasions in the public ministry of Jesus.
Significance of 911 in the Ministry of Jesus
Even though the birthday of Jesus is not explicitly given in the scriptures, most Bible scholars believe Jesus was born during the annual feast of trumpets (Rosh Hashanah). As such, the first full feast day after his birth was Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). In 5 B.C., which was the year of Christ’s birth, Yom Kipurr occurred on September 11 thereby marking 911 as a significant spiritual number.
The calendar that is used to mark the feasts of the Lord makes it a rarity for any of the feasts to fall on September 11. Interestingly, this occurs again when Jesus celebrates his first day of atonement which again was on September 11 (911). The last time one of the feasts fell on September 11 in Jesus’ time was the year he started his public ministry. When Jesus turned 30, he fulfilled the legal age requirement of the priesthood as prescribed by Moses in Numbers 4:3.
As such, he was baptized by John (Luke 3:23) as a way of preparing for this ministry. However, he did not begin the ministry until the day of atonement, which fell on September 11 of that year. Incidentally, this date also marked the beginning of his 40-day fast in the Judean wilderness that culminated in the temptation of the devil and angels coming to comfort him when he overcame the tempter.
This day was also significant for another reason – it was the start of the Jubilee year. The Jubilee year is announced every 50 years in Israel by blowing the trumpet on the feast day (Leviticus 25:9). Jubilee was a year-long season of freedom and blessing because it was when slaves were released and when the land was restored to their rightful owners (Leviticus 25, 27). As a way of acknowledging the significance of this day in his public ministry, Jesus preached his first sermon by reading from Isaiah 61 which read.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18 – 19).
This was a declaration of Jubilee – but not the ordinary jubilee Israel was used to. While the Jubilee spelled out in the Torah was a physical one, this time, Jesus was proclaiming the start of a spiritual Jubilee. As demonstrated by his public ministry thereafter, Jesus went about delivering them from the spiritual bondage of the devil. His ministry can be summarised in the following scripture:
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. Acts 10:38
The appearance of 911
As we have already established, 911 is an important day in American history because its a day of commemorating the day of the worst terrorist attack. But this was still a significant number even before the attack because it is the emergency number since 1968. Every American knows that 911 is the number to dial if in an accident or need some kind of help from the first responders. And it is not just America – other countries that use 911 for emergencies include Argentina, Anguilla, Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Jordan, Liberia, Panama, Palau, Philippines, Sint Maarten, Saudi Arabia, Tonga, Uruguay, and Mexico.
The first time Satan is linked directly to the looming suffering as documented by John in Revelation is in Revelation 9:11.It says;
And they have over them a king, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but the name he has in Greek is Apollyon (Revelation 9:11).
This scripture talks of a king who will bring all kinds of trials in the end times. This king is given three descriptions – the angel of the Abyss, Abaddon, and Apollyon. These are all three names of Satan who is also referred to as the serpent or the enemy. 911 is therefore not just a number of atonement but also a warning to the church to be alert in anticipation of the enemy’s attack. James put it this way;
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. James 5:8
To sum it up, 911 is an important number. For most Americans, it is not just a number to call in an emergency situation but also a day to remember the al-Qaeda attacks on September 11, 2001, that claimed approximately 3,000 lives. But 911 is also significant in the Bible because it represents the day of atonement. This is because the start of the ministry of Jesus coincided with the rare occurrence of Yom Kippur happening on September 11. This rare occurrence signified a spiritual season of Jubilee that was begun by the ministry of Jesus.