The earth’s geopolitical landscape shifted dramatically with America’s recent declaration of war against terrorism. Even one who regularly watches the news may be unaware of how dramatic this shift is.
The nations of NATO invoked article 5 that states an attack on one member is an attack on all. NATO allies further agreed to provide the United States with a complete eight-point list of assistance, including the use of AWACS surveillance planes that are now patrolling the U.S. East Coast (Reuters, October 7, 2001).
Several Arab states voiced their support of America’s war on terrorism. But most Arab states 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 her air space 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 of the expansion of NATO eastward and may be rewarded for its cooperation with NATO by being accepted into NATO. During his attendance at the eighth annual European Union-Russian Summit in Brussels, Belgium, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that “step by step the partnership between Russia and the EU is gaining momentum.” Putin also declared his willingness to take “an entirely new look at the expansion of NATO,” if the alliance develops into a “political organization,” and Moscow is “involved in that process” (BBC Radio Report). Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair has said, “We are only at the start of what we can gain from the new role for Russia” (Reuters, October 5, 2001).
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, the Kashagan field, located southeast of Kazakhstan’s port of Atyrau in the northeast sector of the Caspian Sea, has estimated recoverable reserves of 10 to 30 billion barrels. At the end of October, ENI, operator of the field, announced that the site’s second appraisal well flowed at 7,400 barrels per day. Up to five wells are planned by 2003 (Reuters, October 29, 2001). Thus the importance of this region to the industrial nations is of great significance. Afghanistan has long served as the principal crossroads in this region. So the geopolitical implications of who controls Afghanistan are incalculable.
The United States is counting on logistical support from Turkey and Israel in case there is an attack on the rear flank. In fact, Turkey announced on November 1 that it will deploy 90 special forces troops to Afghanistan, making it the first Muslim nation to join the American-led attacks on the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. Turkey maintains NATO’s second-largest standing army behind the United States. Unlike Afghanistan and other Muslim nations, however, Turkey is strictly secular and it has been a close ally of the United States and Israel ( New York Times , November 1, 2001).
Since the development of the coalition against terrorism, and with Russia’s move toward the West, China is left scrambling to try to regain her political bearings. China does not know whether to support the war or join in with the Muslims or raise the heat over Taiwan. But after the recent APEC meetings she has at least voiced support for the war on terrorism.
In the meantime, Israel, with the greatest knowledge and experience in fighting terrorism, is told to sit on the sidelines and cheer for the coalition. But many voices and parties in Israel object to sitting on the sidelines since the U.S.-led coalition includes Arab nations that have waged terrorist activities against Israel.
Ancient seeds of strife
Here is the heart of the current conflict. The terrorists claim that they are attacking America for two principal reasons: first and foremost because of her support of Israel, and secondly, 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 in order to destroy others who are also made in the image of God.
Bible prophecy reveals that Abraham’s son Ishmael (and by implication, his descendants) “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×).
This ancient history comes to a catastrophic climax at the end of the age when the descendants of Ishmael and surrounding nations 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×).
No one can possibly understand the age-old hatreds that exist among the peoples of the world unless they understand the spirit world. Most, if not all, of the nations of the world believe in some higher power. That is, they believe in the existence of an unseen world. Most of the world’s religions believe that there is one supreme deity. Most religions teach their followers that their ultimate reward is eternal life in some form. However, the perceived road to eternal life is not the same for all religions.
Moreover, 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 are still looking for the prophesied Messiah. Christians believe that Jesus, the Christ, is the Son of God. Muslims view Jesus as a great prophet, but they do not view Him as the Son of God.
No religion views the Supreme Deity of the universe as evil. God, as each religion 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 humans? Christians and Jews believe that God inspired the prophets who then faithfully recorded and communicated the Word of God to the people 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 Mohammed.
If it is the same God who 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 process of salvation is viewed?
All war has spiritual roots
President Bush states that the war on terrorism is not against Islam but against evil. He apparently equates evil with terrorism. Other coalition leaders also insist that this is not a religious war. On the other hand, the Islamic fundamentalists have proclaimed jihad or holy war against America. Both sides claim that they are fighting against evil. The Islamic fundamentalists openly state that they are fighting against the great Satan, which they define as the United States of America.
In one sense, one can agree with President Bush when he states that this is not a religious war. That is, the battle is not against a particular religious group, but against evil. But no one can logically argue that this is not spiritual warfare. All wars in fact are ultimately spiritual in nature, since all wars are fought in the name of justice for someone or some cause. In fact, the United States initially labeled the war on terrorism as “Operation Infinite Justice.” Muslim clerics objected, however, arguing, “Only Allah can administer ‘infinite justice.’” The war was eventually labeled “Operation Enduring Freedom.”
So, what is this war really about? And for that matter, what are all wars really about? Based on the rhetoric of the day, it seems quite 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 by humans against humans, both sides were usually wrong, since in most cases neither side represented the true God of the universe. Yet each side proclaims that it is fighting a righteous war in the name of its god(s).
To really understand the origin of war and terrorism, one must understand who God is, what God is and what is His purpose; and the corollary to that is who man is, what man is and what is his purpose? God is spirit; He 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. But as we shall see, a great spirit being rebelled against God and His plan for bringing sons and daughters into His family.
Before God created humans, He created the angels for the purpose of helping Him to 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×). The angels were organized in a hierarchical order. Three great archangels, Michael, Gabriel and Lucifer, were created for specific purposes. Since God is righteous and perfect in all His ways, He cannot be the author of evil. So the angels were created perfect and given 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 archangels, Lucifer, along with a third of the angels, rebelled against God and tried to take over the throne of God (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 to the present day, Satan has tried to subvert and thwart God’s great purpose of bringing sons and daughters into His family.
The first humans, Adam and Eve, were created without sin. That is, in their initial state, they were created neutral with free will 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 Adam and Eve decided to choose 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×). Satan is the god of this world and to a large degree controls the kingdoms of this world. In one of Satan’s temptations of Christ, he offered Him the kingdoms of this world if He 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 the very motive and purpose of Satan’s current objective and strategy. Satan is filled with an insatiable quest and desire to be worshiped.
The spiritual objective: obscure the true goal
One should never forget that Satan is the author of sin and death and 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 humans into worshiping him, they will be denying the great Creator God and Father and thus losing out on salvation.
Furthermore, Satan knows that Jesus Christ is coming back to this earth as King of kings and Lord of lords. So Satan has conceived a plan of deceiving the world into worshiping him. Satan is going to possess one who will sit in the temple of God proclaiming that he is God; and 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 Christ is going to return to Jerusalem. He knows that Jerusalem is the spiritual capital of the world. So the battle that is being waged against terrorism in Central Asia will eventually shift to the Middle East. The focal point will eventually become Jerusalem.
The consistent cry of the Israelis and the Palestinians centers on each one calling the other terrorists. The Jews believe that God gave them the land that is now called Palestine. The Islamic world believes that their soil and Jerusalem must be purged of the infidels. At the moment there is somewhat of a lull before the storm in Jerusalem. President Bush has placated the Arab world momentarily by speaking in favor of a Palestinian state. And the Jews are so weary from the constant threat of terror that they are willing to compromise on Jerusalem for the sake of peace.
One must never forget that Satan is the source of all evil and that one of Satan’s 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. 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×).
The world has indeed entered a period of sorrow and terror, and the world will never be the same. From this point forward, history will be divided into two distinct periods, pre-September 11 and post-September 11.
Bible prophecy reveals that the Holy City, Jerusalem, is going to be divided and trodden down by the nations before Christ returns to bring true peace to this world (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×). Moreover, Jerusalem is going to become the headquarters for the beast power (Daniel 11:45 Daniel 11:45And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.
American King James Version×). But the good news is, Jesus Christ and the saints are going to take over the kingdoms of this world and usher in a new age of peace for all nations (Revelation 11:15 Revelation 11:15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
American King James Version×).
No matter how just a war might seem to be in the minds of humans, and regardless of how humans seek to justify their cause, this world will never know peace until the peoples of the world look to the true source of peace. Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace, and only He can bring peace to this world.
So, regardless of what the U.S. president or any other political leader says, this war is a spiritual war. It is war for the souls (the life essence) of men and women. Indeed the geopolitical landscape has changed, but this is just one more ugly scene in Satan’s montage. Jesus Christ is going to come again and crush the kingdoms of this world and establish an everlasting kingdom and the nations will 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×). WNP