We will always have to endure war on earth, but Jesus is coming to take us to a place of perfect peace.
They thought it would be the war to end all wars. It wasn’t.
They hoped it would make the world safe for democracy. It didn’t.
It did cost the lives of over 16 million people in uniform. The total number of military and civilian casualties (dead and wounded) is normally estimated at around 37 million.
A world filled with war
World War I never really ended. It paused. An armistice was signed on Nov. 11, 1918, at 11:00 A.M. The guns went silent until the next generation of combatants opened up with their weapons. Authorities estimate some 68 million casualties fell before that second war ended.
The United States did not enter World War I when it began in 1914. Nor did it jump into World War II when the first Nazi tanks crossed the border into Poland in 1939. But eventually, it felt compelled to join both wars, sending combat troops across both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Afterward, Americans were called to arms in faraway places such as Korea, Vietnam, and the Middle East.
Today, our troops are standing at the ready once again.
People are frustrated. People are afraid. And some are angry. “Why must there be war?” they ask. “When is it going to stop?”
A place of perfect peace
Those who look to the Lord of nations for answers find the future of warfare is not left in doubt. “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come” (Matthew 24:6).
The question, “But why?” is answered already in Genesis. Something is wrong with humankind. Evil exists in this world and within every person. There has been only one exception, and he was executed by his countrymen who feared the wrath of a foreign nation too powerful for them to defeat.
Jesus of Nazareth carried no weapon. He issued no call to arms against the Roman soldiers deployed in Judea or Galilee. Instead, he announced, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9).
He had been named the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), but his peace does not come at the end of a weapon. As he explained to Pontius Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place” (John 18:36).
The Bible tells us about this place. It is where the holy God dwells in his magnificent glory with his holy angels. It is where no sin, no sorrow, and no fear reside. This place of perfect peace is where he will bring his people at the end of their stay on earth. The final transfer will take place on the day that this creation comes to an end.
Until then, his people will have to endure the days of evil when desires for wealth, power, or glory ignite into firestorms of war.
We are not to panic or think that evil has gotten out of control. We are not to believe that evil will win. Even while wars are raging, the Spirit of God is winning—winning hearts. He brings the peace that surpasses all understanding.
His people share that peace with others. The promise of God is, “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:18).
When Jesus comes on clouds of glory, that will be the forever end of all wars.
Author: Paul Ziemer
Volume 110, Number 11
Issue: November 2023