When Will There Be War No More?

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When Will There Be War No More?

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We need only to watch the news to see death and destruction around the world. Every day we can see the carnage that comes from armed conflict.

The number of those who have died on the field of battle throughout man’s history is truly staggering. In World War II, the worldwide death toll numbered nearly 54 million. What might the toll be in a future world war, when casualties include even more civilians?

Why has war been so common to man’s history?

German Gen. Helmuth von Moltke in “Doctrines of War” makes observations about man’s perceptions that help explain why war is so commonplace in our world: “Eternal peace is a dream and not even a beautiful one, while war is an element of God’s world order. In war, the most noble virtues of man unfold, which would otherwise slumber and become extinct: courage and abstention, loyalty to one’s duty and willingness to make the sacrifice of one’s life; the experiences of war are a lasting influence, strengthening a man’s ability for all future” (Lawrence Freedman, ed., War, 1994).

Is war truly a positive way of life? Is war the way God ordered the universe? Is peace only a dream? Will humanity ever live in a world in which there will be no more war?

War the order of the universe

Where did war originate? It wasn’t with humankind, but rather it began with a thought in the mind of a heavenly being.

Ezekiel 28:12-15 Ezekiel 28:12-15 12 Son of man, take up a lamentation on the king of Tyrus, and say to him, Thus said the Lord GOD; You seal up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 13 You have been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of your tabrets and of your pipes was prepared in you in the day that you were created. 14 You are the anointed cherub that covers; and I have set you so: you were on the holy mountain of God; you have walked up and down in the middle of the stones of fire. 15 You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, till iniquity was found in you.
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describes this remarkable creature. He had numerous qualities that made him unique. He had great capabilities. The king of Tyre in this chapter is a created cherub that had access to God’s very throne. This angelic being came to have an inflated opinion of his “perfection.” In time, pride, arrogance and selfishness caused this cherub, now known as Satan, to come to a momentous decision.

The prophet Isaiah also wrote of this being, revealing the shocking truth that he and one third of the entire angelic host mounted a war against their Creator (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.
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). Satan came to the conclusion that he deserved to sit upon God’s throne, and he sought to overthrow Him in a violent coup.

Revelation 12:7-9 Revelation 12:7-9 7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
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gives us more insight into this heavenly conflict. “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” The rebellion was quickly put down.

With Satan’s selfish ambition, war was introduced into the creation. Clearly, God did not establish war as part of His ordered creation.

War enters the human realm

Satan turned to God’s creation of humankind to introduce war into the human realm. The first presentation came about as Cain murdered his brother in a fit of jealousy (Genesis 4:1-8 Genesis 4:1-8 1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bore Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. 2 And she again bore his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering to the LORD. 4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect to Abel and to his offering: 5 But to Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. 6 And the LORD said to Cain, Why are you wroth? and why is your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, shall you not be accepted? and if you do not well, sin lies at the door. And to you shall be his desire, and you shall rule over him. 8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
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).

Interestingly, God offered Cain another way to work out the conflict with his brother and be pleasing to Him. The Eternal warned Cain that his attitude would lead to sin, if he did not control his impulses (verses 6-7). Cain did not heed God. Instead, he chose the way of violence and murdered his brother (verse 8).

In the biblical account is a most telling statement about why conflicts often end with violence. When God asked Cain about where his brother was, Cain replied, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9 Genesis 4:9And the LORD said to Cain, Where is Abel your brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?
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). Cain’s focus was upon himself with no consideration for his brother.

The violent path chosen by Cain is the path that humanity has followed to this very day. It is a path covered in blood and death.

War perfected

From Cain’s day forward, man has applied his fertile mind to making better and more deadly weapons and to perfecting military tactics to insure maximum killing power. He has perfected his ability to attack from the air, the land, the sea or even from outer space. Man’s killing skills have reached the point at which he can kill millions from a distance. Massive killing has almost become like a video game. The advent of nuclear weapons brought humanity to the brink of total destruction, the ability to annihilate all life from the planet.

In Carnage and Culture, Victor Davis Hansen chronicles the war-making abilities of Europe and the United States. He points out, “War is ultimately killing” (p. 8). This no-nonsense statement bluntly reminds us that the death of one’s opponent is the purpose for going into battle.

Further, he writes that the West came to dominate the world through warfare. “The Western way of war is so lethal precisely because it is so amoral—shackled rarely by concerns with ritual, tradition, religion, or ethics, by anything other than military necessity…The idea of annihilation, of head-to-head battle that destroys the enemy, seems a particularly Western concept… Westerners, in short, long ago saw war as a method of doing what politics cannot, and thus are willing to obliterate rather than check or humiliate any who stand in their way” (pp. 21-22).

The goal of war is to win, doing whatever is necessary to achieve the destruction of the enemy, regardless of the morality.

The renowned conqueror Alexander the Great exemplified this approach to warfare.

“Alexander brilliantly employed decisive battle in terrifying ways that its long-conquered Hellenic inventors had never imagined—and in a real stroke of genius he proclaimed that he killed for the idea of brotherly love…To Alexander the strategy of war meant not the defeat of the enemy, the return of the dead, the construction of a trophy, and the settlement of existing disputes, but, as his father had taught him, the annihilation of all combatants and the destruction of the culture itself that had dared to field such opposition to his imperial rule. Thus, Alexander’s revolutionary practice of total pursuit and destruction of the defeated enemy ensured battle casualties unimaginable just a few decades earlier” (p. 83).

The Roman Empire went on to learn from Alexander and perfect his approach to war more fully. Daniel 2:40 Daniel 2:40And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: for as much as iron breaks in pieces and subdues all things: and as iron that breaks all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.
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describes the Roman military machine, “And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others.” The Romans built their empire through warfare.

In summary, war is cruel and bloody and its purpose is to kill, defeat and conquer. Man has perfected his war-making ability to the point where it will bring an end to all flesh if not for the intervention of Jesus Christ (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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).

War fills our world

Have you ever stopped to consider on how many levels conflict permeates our world?

We find it between spouses and between families. We have sibling rivalry. Regularly we find gyms and stadiums filled with thousands of frenzied fans cheering for their favorite teams as if it were life and death. On the political front, running for office is a no-holds-barred war. And in many parts of the world, gangs rule neighborhoods and battle with their rivals for “turf.” Throughout the world, we find regional and ethnic groups, competing religions and power blocs all willing to battle for their cause.

War is easy for humankind because it is so easy for men and women to be divided over issues. It’s easy for us to take offense, to be hurt and, in response, to take revenge in word and action. Ultimately, humankind finds war an easy choice.

Our world is filled with it. It is not the way God originally designed things, but it is the way the god of this world has ordered his kingdom (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.
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).

Why is war so commonplace?

War abounds because God is on the sidelines. In the Garden of Eden, the parents of humankind decided to live apart from God and determine right and wrong for themselves. That choice set our world on a course in which war is a fundamental part.

The apostle James addressed the fundamental reason war takes place: “What leads to strife (discord and feuds) and how do conflicts (quarrels and fightings) originate among you? Do they not arise from your sensual desires that are ever warring in your bodily members? You are jealous and covet [what others have] and your desires go unfulfilled; [so] you become murderers. [To hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned.] You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain [the gratification, the contentment, and the happiness that you seek], so you fight and war. You do not have, because you do not ask” (James 4:1-2 James 4:1-2 1 From where come wars and fights among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2 You lust, and have not: you kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: you fight and war, yet you have not, because you ask not.
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, The Amplified Bible).

The simple fact is that personal ambition and a lack of self-control still drive the way of war.

The ancient prophet Isaiah tells us that war is an inherent part of humanity’s sinful nature and that, until repented of, it keeps people from knowing the path to peace (Isaiah 59:7-8 Isaiah 59:7-8 7 Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. 8 The 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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). But humankind most certainly knows the path to war.

Yet, wars have never resolved anything on a permanent basis. World War I was to be “the war to end all wars.” And yet, it only set the stage for an even more savage conflict, World War II.

War has never been eliminated because humankind has never resolved the problem of our nature. In other words, man has never been willing to be his brother’s keeper.

War no more

In spite of the dismal record of almost constant warfare, the Bible promises the coming worldwide Kingdom of God in which peace will prevail.

There are several reasons that will be the case.

First, the ruler of that Kingdom, Jesus Christ, will usher in a time of peace. “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:6-7 Isaiah 9:6-7 6 For 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. 7 Of 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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).

In addition, Satan, the author and inspirer of war, will be removed for a thousand years (Revelation 20:3 Revelation 20:3And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
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). When released briefly at the end of the thousand years, Satan will incite war again! However, the rebellion will be short-lived, and then he will be cast out forever (Revelation 20:7-10 Revelation 20:7-10 7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
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).

Moreover, man will no longer learn to make war (Micah 4:3 Micah 4:3And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
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). There won’t be any military schools.

What way will people learn instead of war? They will learn how to resolve conflicts individually and collectively without violence. They will learn that God’s way is infinitely better than taking up arms, that war only brings about destruction (Ecclesiastes 9:18 Ecclesiastes 9:18Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroys much good.
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).

Mankind will learn the way of righteousness. Righteousness, the application of God’s law, will produce peace (Isaiah 32:17 Isaiah 32:17And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.
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). In essence, man will learn to be his brother’s keeper. As men and women seek to apply the wisdom taught them by God, this will create a peaceful, positive atmosphere in which all people can live.

Rather than battle each other, people will learn to wage a personal spiritual warfare against their own nature (2 Corinthians 10:1-5 2 Corinthians 10:1-5 1 Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: 2 But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, with which I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
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).

Between now and then, we will sadly hear of wars and rumors of war (Matthew 24:6 Matthew 24:6And 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.
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).

With the coming of Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom, Christ will lead the world into a time of peace. He will make war to cease (Psalms 46:9 Psalms 46:9He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and cuts the spear in sunder; he burns the chariot in the fire.
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) and the citizens of the Kingdom of God will neither hurt nor destroy each other (Isaiah 65:25 Isaiah 65:25The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, said the LORD.
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).

Outside the United Nations building in New York City is a statue, picturing 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.
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, with a sword being beaten into a plowshare. So far, that image has only been a dream, but the reassuring news from the Bible is that this will become reality.

In the Kingdom of God, there will be no more war. The utopian peace that some men have always longed for will characterize the wonderful world to come.

Read more in our free booklet The Gospel of the Kingdom . WNP

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