By Dr. Harold Sala

War Memorial photo by Flickr user Dixie Lawrence licensed under Creative Commons

War Memorial photo by Flickr user Dixie Lawrence licensed under Creative Commons

When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened.  These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.  Luke 21:9

There is an inscription on the United Nations building taken from the book of Isaiah, chapter 2, where Scripture says, “…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” (Isaiah 2:4 KJV); however, the U.N. inscription omits the phrase immediately preceding this, which says, “He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples…” (Isaiah 2:4).  Until Jesus Christ returns and establishes his kingdom, there will be continued war and strife.

Speaking of what would take place until then, Jesus said, “When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened.  These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away” (Luke 21:9).

In the past 5000 years, there have been 14,531 wars, according to one historian, which have taken the lives of 3.5 billion people–a number that represents more than half of all the people who are alive today on planet earth.  This means that there have been 2.9 wars per year during that period.  Only 10 generations during that time have lived and died without the specter of war hanging over their heads.

“There have been more than 1,600 arms races since 650 B.C.,” says a United Press International press release, and “only one in 100 of these arms buildups has not ended in war.”  But today the stakes of war are greater than ever before.

A 1965 clipping in my file reads, “The world today is engaged in the deadliest arms race ever.  The latest missiles, tipped with nuclear warheads, could kill 300 million people in one hour; could, if used in an allout war, destroy civilization as it is now known.”  It continues, “One polaris submarine carries more explosive power than all the bombs dropped by both sides in World War 2, including the two atomic bombs.” And since 1965, weapons have taken on electronic sophistication with scientific precision hitherto thought impossible.

In November, 1989, the Berlin Wall came tumbling down, something which few anticipated in their fondest moment of dreaming.  Then in 1990, World Communism came down like a house of cards blown apart by a strong wind.  The 1990’s seemed destined to be a decade of great peace, and then in August, 1990 Saddam Hussein invaded nearby Kuwait, and the chessboard of world politics rapidly began to change.

Since then it has been Somalia, then Bosnia and then Chechnia. People ask, “Will our world ever see peace again?”  Speaking of his return to establish His kingdom and bring peace to our earth, Jesus said, “No one knows that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mt. 24:36).  Immediately before that great event when Jesus turned and walked up the celestial staircase back to heaven, He said, “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority” (Acts 1:7).

Scripture makes it clear that the timetable for His return is in the Father’s hands and the Father’s alone. The second fact which is also clear is that lasting peace will elude humanity until Christ does return and puts an end to war, causing nations to set aside their mad quest for world domination and begin to seek peace.  Friend, make a note of Isaiah chapters 65 and 66, and there you will discover a description of what it will be like when men beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruninghooks, and the wolf and the lamb feed together.  But until then, better keep your door locked.

Resource reading: Isaiah 65.