War & Peace

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Terrorism is the scourge of the modern age. More than 30 years ago, living just outside of London, I remember being inconvenienced on more than one occasion by the IRA terror campaign on the British mainland. Later in the same decade my wife and I lived through a terrorist war in Africa, in which we lost a number of personal friends and acquaintances. Today it’s Islamic terrorism that is affecting our way of life. It didn’t start on Sept. 11, 2001, but it has certainly spread since then. July saw terror return to the British capital. This time it was not the IRA but Islamic suicide bombers. Coincidentally, in the same month, the IRA renounced terrorism, encouraging hopes of peace in Northern Ireland. War and peace have been constant themes throughout history. Wars are fought and peace follows. Eventually, other wars come along, followed by peaceful interludes. Man seems unable to learn the lessons. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah summed up one of man’s greatest weaknesses when he wrote, “The way of peace they have not known” (Isaiah 59:8 Isaiah 59:8The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whoever goes therein shall not know peace.
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). We live in worrying times, with the constant and spreading fear of terrorism coupled with a growing threat of nuclear terror. Jesus Christ warned that man would eventually come to the point of self-extinction, except that Christ Himself will intervene to save mankind (Matthew 24:21-22 Matthew 24:21-22 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
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). He will then establish the Kingdom of God, the central message of His ministry 2,000 years ago (Mark 1:14 Mark 1:14Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
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). One of the primary causes of terrorism is religion. Different religious beliefs have caused conflict in various parts of the world for thousands of years. In the last decade we saw conflict in the Balkans between Croatian Catholics, Serbian Orthodox Christians and Bosnian Muslims. War and the threat of war have been a constant for six decades in the land of the Bible as Jews and Muslims struggle for mastery over the Holy Land. In India, Hindus and Muslims are in conflict; in Sri Lanka it’s Buddhists and Hindus. For almost 14 centuries there has been repeated conflict between Muslims and Christians, with the threat of a return to such wars on the rise again today. When the disciples asked Jesus Christ what sign would signal His second coming (Matthew 24:3 Matthew 24:3And as he sat on the mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the world?
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), He responded with the following words: “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” (verse 6). He added: “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (verse 7). Of the time His Kingdom is established on earth, God says, “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9 Isaiah 11:9They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
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). Isaiah was inspired to write of this coming time of Christ’s rule: “Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end … from that time forward, even forever” (Isaiah 9:7 Isaiah 9:7Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
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). Jesus told His disciples to “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33 Matthew 6:33But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
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) and to pray daily for that coming Kingdom (verse 10). That is the only real hope for lasting peace for the world. GN

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