October 24, 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, an international body striving, according to the preamble of its Charter, "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war" and "to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights."
The organization that today has 193 member-states began 70 years ago with just 51. Yet, despite 70 years of growth in the UN's visibility and influence around the globe, planet Earth today continues to be plagued by war, genocide, rape, famine and the displacement of the weak and vulnerable.
So, will mankind ever attain global peace? Will our world learn the lessons of the UN's first 70 years? And can you and I succeed individually, even where the UN has failed?
Throughout much of 2015, the United Nations has commemorated important historic milestones in preparation for its "UN70" anniversary celebrations. Yet, at the same time, millions continue to suffer from violence as the UN's leaders admit the organization's capacity is being outstripped by increasingly complex and severe challenges around the world.
At a recent Oslo forum, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently issued a sober warning that "the capacity of the United Nations and its partners to meet humanitarian needs is under 'unprecedented strain.'" So, will the United Nations and its member states—as imperfect as human governments are—be able to meet these "unprecedented" challenges to establish peace and fundamental rights, now or in the foreseeable future?
The sobering answer is "No." Although the UN, like so many other institutions, may try to do good, we know that without God's law, we will see the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy, "The way of peace they have not known, and there is no justice in their ways" (Isaiah 59:8). Furthermore, your Bible foretells that, in the years to come, all agencies and all nations will be overwhelmed by increasing violence leading to the "Great Tribulation"—the greatest time of war and suffering the world has ever experienced (Matthew 24:21; 2 Timothy 3:1)!
Between 1945 and 2000, as many as 51 million people are estimated to have died in approximately 250 wars around the world! This does not include the countless other millions raped, injured, persecuted, displaced and enslaved. In Afghanistan and Pakistan alone, since 2001, an estimated 149,000 have died and 162,000 seriously injured in regional warfare. Since 2003, more than 134,000 civilians were killed by war in Iraq, before the 2014–15 attacks by Islamic State troops, which the UN estimates will cause more than three million people to become refugees and displaced persons before the end of 2015.
Throughout the entire 20th century, at least 108 million people were killed in war, and historians have calculated that in the last 3,400 years of human civilization, human beings have only been at relative peace for 268 years—just 8 percent of recorded history.
The UN currently has deployed about 120,000 peacekeepers to 16 countries on 4 continents. But where is the peace, security and safety in Syria? Where is the peace in Ukraine? Where are the "fundamental human rights" in North Korea, much of Africa and the Middle East? Where is the assured peace and safety even in parts of Europe, Australia and the United States where crime, child abuse, rape, murder, extortion and violence pervade?
Although we can appreciate that many in the UN are truly trying to help, the UN has failed and will fail to bring peace to the world. In its 70 years, it has not achieved its goals, and cannot achieve its goals. Current events and Bible prophecy show that humanity is headed toward greater war and conflict in the years ahead (cf. Matthew 24:3–21; Revelation 6).
Thankfully, however, Bible students know that it will not be long until peace and prosperity, abundance and lawfulness, safety and human dignity will be established! This is a promise founded on God's word! This will come to pass. While the UN cannot accomplish its aims in this age, there is hope for a better world to come!
Are you being called to be part of this great purpose? The UN story is a fascinating one, but its failures and successes are simply frail human examples that point to a greater truth—that world peace will only come when God brings it to the earth through the return of His Son, Jesus the Christ!
After 70 years of the UN, the sad and bloody facts are that the organization has not been able to "save succeeding generations from the scourge of war." The UN has not been able to establish peace throughout the earth. When from the countryside and deserts, from Asia to Latin America, and when from the cities of Kabul, Mogadishu, Baghdad, Ciudad Juarez and Abidjan— and even the cities of Detroit, Chicago, London, Paris, Mexico City and Pretoria—citizens walk in fear, it is evident that mankind has not found the way of peace. It is painfully evident that the UN has not achieved its goals or its hope!
Instead, the world needs Christ's powerful and perfect rule, but the world also needs leaders who will rule under Christ who have learned to fulfill God's command in Deuteronomy 16:19 to not pervert justice, nor show partiality, nor take a bribe. The world needs leaders who will rule under Christ, being "just, ruling in the fear of God" (2 Samuel 23:3). God demands righteous leaders because He is just and because when Jesus Christ returns, He will rule righteously (cf. Isaiah 11:3–4)!
True Christians today are being called to proclaim the good news of Christ's return and the coming Kingdom of God (Mark 16:15) and are being trained now to become those leaders in the Millennium—in Tomorrow's World. The world needs Christ's return and the world also needs those future leaders who are learning today to glorify God in all that they do (Romans 15:6; 1 Corinthians 6:20), who are learning to serve others now (Galatians 5:13), and to live by God's law now (1 John 5:2–3), to practice humility, love, faith and all of the fruits of the Spirit now (Galatians 5:22–23), to be peaceable now (Matthew 5:9, James 3:17) and to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before God now (Micah 6:8).
Today's Christians are being called for a great and awesome purpose—to fulfill a purpose that is simply beyond the capabilities of the UN or any human agency. True Christians are called today to prepare for their destiny of ruling under Jesus Christ (Isaiah 30:21; Luke 22:26-27; Revelation 5:10; 20:4–5), in the kingdom of God, on this earth. One day soon, the returned Christ and His resurrected saints will succeed where the UN has failed. God speed that day!