The earth’s geopolitical landscape shifted dramatically with President George W. Bush’s September declaration of war against terrorism. Even one who regularly watches the news may be unaware of how dramaticthe shift was.
After the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the nations of NATO invoked the alliance’s Article 5, which states that an attack on one member is an attack on all.
Several Arab states voiced their support of America’s war on terrorism. But most were long on rhetoric and short on substance as the coalition developed.
Saudi Arabia granted the United States permission to use one of its bases but stated that it would not permit the United States to launch attacks on Muslims from Saudi soil. Pakistan granted the United States permission to use its airspace and eventually granted the United States permission to use an air base. But the United States still needed support from countries in Central Asia that border Afghanistan and from Russia. Support from this region was needed to buffer Russia and China.
Russia has dropped objections to the expansion of NATO eastward and may be rewarded for its cooperation by being accepted into NATO. During his attendance at the eighth annual European Union-Russian Summit in Brussels, Russian president Vladimir Putin stated that “step by step the partnership between Russia and the EU is gaining momentum.”
Mr. Putin also declared his willingness to take “an entirely new look at the expansion of NATO,” should the alliance develop into a “political organization,” with Moscow “involved in that process.”
Central Asian oil fields
The United States’ interest in Central Asia extends far beyond its war on terrorism. Central Asia is the repository of one of the world’s largest oil reserves. One field alone has estimated recoverable reserves of 10 to 30 billion barrels. Thus the importance of this region to the industrial nations is great. Afghanistan has long served as the principal crossroads in this region, so the geopolitical implications of who controls Afghanistan are incalculable.
With the development of the coalition against terrorism, and with Russia’s move toward the West, China was left scrambling to try to regain her political bearings, not knowing whether to support the war or join in with the Muslims or raise the heat over Taiwan. Eventually China at least voiced support for the war on terrorism.
In the meantime, Israel, with the greatest knowledge and experience in fighting terrorism, was told to sit on the sidelines and cheer for the coalition. But many voices and parties in Israel objected to nonparticipation, especially as the United States made overtures to Islamic nations that previously have supported terrorist actions against Israel.
Ancient seeds of strife
Here, in the Holy Land, is the heart of the conflict. Terrorists claim that attacks against America are justified because of her support of Israel and to drive the infidels out of their sacred lands. But the age-old family feud between the sons of Abraham, provoked by the real author of evil, the devil, is the real reason people are willing to kill themselves to murder others.
Bible prophecy reveals that Abraham’s son Ishmael (and, by implication, his descendants, the Arabs) “shall be a wild man; his hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren” (Genesis 16:12 Genesis 16:12And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brothers.
American King James Version×).
The enduring nature of this hostility against Israel by Ishmael’s descendants, as described in this ancient history, suggests its catastrophic climax may come at the end of the age. Another passage indicates the descendants of Ishmael and surrounding nations could enter into a covenant for the destruction of Israel.
“They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, and consulted together against Your sheltered ones. They have said, ‘Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.’ For they have consulted together with one consent; they form a confederacy against You: The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab and the Hagrites; Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also has joined with them; they have helped the children of Lot” (Psalms 83:3-8 Psalms 83:3-8 3 They have taken crafty counsel against your people, and consulted against your hidden ones.
4 They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.
5 For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against you:
6 The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes;
7 Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre;
8 Assur also is joined with them: they have helped the children of Lot. Selah.
American King James Version×).
Many Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias will show that the peoples mentioned here include today’s Palestinians, Arabs and Jordanians, among others.
Major religious differences
No one can properly understand the age-old hatreds among peoples unless they understand the spirit world. Most if not all people believe in some higher power. That is, they believe in the existence of an unseen world. Most religious people believe there is one supreme deity and that their ultimate reward is eternal life in some form. However, the perceived road to eternal life is not the same for all religions.
The teachings and practices of the world’s religions vary greatly. Islam, Judaism and Christianity all have a different view of the nature of God. To some degree Christianity has its roots in Judaism, in the sense that both accept the Old Testament as the inspired Word of God. The Jews still look for the prophesied Messiah. Christians believe that Jesus is the promised Messiah and Son of God. Muslims view Jesus as a great prophet, but they do not view Him as the Son of God.
God, as each of these religions interprets God, is the ultimate arbiter of good and evil. So the determination of good and evil is a spiritual matter. Thus good and evil must be revealed to humankind.
So how does the Supreme Deity of the universe reveal His will to human beings? Christians and Jews believe that God inspired the prophets who then faithfully recorded the Word of God in the form of the Bible, the written Word of God. Muslims believe that the archangel Gabriel revealed the words of Allah to the prophet Muhammad.
If the same God inspired both the Bible and the Koran, why is there such a variance in the definition of good and evil? And why is there such a difference in how the followers of those two books view the process of salvation?
War has spiritual roots
President Bush has stated that the war on terrorism is not against Islam but against evil, insisting that this is not a religious war. On the other hand, Islamic fundamentalists have proclaimed jihad, or holy war, against America. Both sides claim they are fighting against evil. Islamic fundamentalists openly state that they are fighting against the Great Satan, which they define as the United States of America.
What is this war really about? For that matter, what are all wars really about? Based on the rhetoric of our day, it seems logical to assert that war has to do with the battle of the ages-that is, the great war between good and evil. In nearly all the wars that have ever been waged, both sides proclaim that they are fighting a righteous war and that God is on their side.
To understand the origin of war and terrorism, one must understand who God is, what He is and what His purpose is-and the corollary to that, which is who man is, what he is and what his purpose is.
The answer is that God, who is spirit, is our Creator and Father. He created human beings for the purpose of bringing them into a relationship with Him that would allow them to be born into His family as glorious spirit beings like Him. But, as we shall see, a lesser spirit being rebelled against God and His plan for bringing sons and daughters into His family.
Before God created human beings, He created the angels to help Him bring sons and daughters into His family (Hebrews 1:14 Hebrews 1:14Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
American King James Version×). God created the angels, including three mentioned in the Bible named Michael, Gabriel and Heylel (the latter rendered “Lucifer” in Isaiah 14:12 Isaiah 14:12How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how are you cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations!
American King James Version×), for specific purposes. Since God is righteous and perfect in all His ways, He cannot be the author of evil. So God created the angels perfect and gave them free will to choose whether they would be the servants of God or of iniquity (Ezekiel 28:15 Ezekiel 28:15You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, till iniquity was found in you.
American King James Version×).
One of the angels, Heylel or Lucifer, along with a third of the angels, rebelled against God and tried to take over His throne (Revelation 12:3-4 Revelation 12:3-4 3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns on his heads.
4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
American King James Version×; Isaiah 14:12-15 Isaiah 14:12-15 12 How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how are you cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also on the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet you shall be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
American King James Version×). This event marked the initial battle between the forces of good and evil. From this event forward, Satan has tried to subvert and thwart God’s great purpose of bringing sons and daughters into His family.
God created the first human beings, Adam and Eve, without sin. That is, in their initial state He created them neutral with freedom to choose good or evil. God told Adam and Eve to look to Him for the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17 Genesis 2:16-17 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.
American King James Version×). But they decided to determine for themselves what is good and what is evil and thus cut themselves off from God (Genesis 3:22-24 Genesis 3:22-24 22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from from where he was taken. 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
American King James Version×) and in effect submitted themselves to Satan’s dominion.
Satan thus became the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4 2 Corinthians 4:4In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them.
American King James Version×) and to a large degree controls the kingdoms of this world (1 John 5:19 1 John 5:19And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness.
American King James Version×). In one of Satan’s temptations of Christ, he offered Him this world’s kingdoms if Christ would bow down and worship him (Matthew 4:8-10 Matthew 4:8-10 8 Again, the devil takes him up into an exceeding high mountain, and shows him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And said to him, All these things will I give you, if you will fall down and worship me. 10 Then said Jesus to him, Get you hence, Satan: for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.
American King James Version×). This temptation reveals Satan’s objective and strategy: He is filled with an insatiable quest and desire to be worshiped.
The objective: Obscure the true goal
We should never forget that Satan is the author of sin and death (John 8:44 John 8:44You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
American King James Version×). His purpose is to subvert and thwart God’s plan for bringing sons and daughters into His family. Satan knows that, if he can deceive human beings into worshiping him, they will deny the great Creator God and Father, thus losing out on salvation.
Furthermore, Satan knows that Jesus Christ will come back to earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. So the devil has devised a plan of deceiving the world into worshiping him instead of the true Messiah. At the end of “this present evil age” (Galatians 1:4 Galatians 1:4Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
American King James Version×), Scripture seems to indicate he will possess an individual who will sit in the temple of God proclaiming that he is God. All the peoples of the world, except those whose names are written in the book of life, will worship him (2 Thessalonians 2:4 2 Thessalonians 2:4Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
American King James Version×; Revelation 13:8 Revelation 13:8And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
American King James Version×).
Moreover, Satan knows that Jesus will return to Jerusalem. He knows God has established Jerusalem as the spiritual capital of the world, and the focal point of the world’s wars will eventually be that city.
One must never forget that Satan is the source of evil and that one of his age-old strategies is to divide and conquer. Sadly, the nations that form the coalition against terrorism and those who foster and perpetrate terrorism are all pawns on Satan’s great chessboard of deception.
The storm before the calm
Christ said: “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there shall be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:6-8 Matthew 24:6-8 6 And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that you be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
American King James Version×).
Bible prophecy reveals that at some point the Holy City, Jerusalem, will be divided and trodden down by the nations (Revelation 11:1-2 Revelation 11:1-2 1 And there was given me a reed like to a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given to the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
American King James Version×). But the good news is that Jesus Christ will take over the kingdoms of this world and usher in a new age of peace for all nations (verse 15).
No matter how just a war might seem in the minds of human beings, and regardless of how they seek to justify their cause, this world will never know peace until its peoples look to the true source of peace. Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6 Isaiah 9:6For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
American King James Version×). Only He can bring peace to the world.
So, regardless of what any political or religious leader says, the war on terrorism is a spiritual war. It is war for the hearts and minds of men, women and even children. Indeed the geopolitical landscape has changed, but this is simply one more ugly scene in Satan’s montage. Christ will come again and defeat the military might of the world and establish an everlasting kingdom. Only then will the nations learn war no more (Isaiah 2:4 Isaiah 2:4And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
American King James Version×). GN