Violence is the norm, not the exception.
Wars and rumors of wars. One cannot peruse the history of man without reading about endless conflicts, tribal massacres, and nations at war. Century after century, nations and empires arise and then cease to exist, often with war providing both the source of their creation and the cause of their demise. The aftereffects linger for decades: hundreds of thousands of orphaned children, widowed women left homeless, crippled bodies of survivors, devastated infrastructure, and enduring economic ruin.
“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars.… For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (Matthew 24:6–7). Christ spoke these words on the Mount of Olives nearly 2,000 years ago, and history has proved Him right. In the last century alone, World War I saw around ten million soldiers and eight million civilians lose their lives, with another 23 million soldiers becoming wounded. Though World War I was labeled “the war to end all wars,” within two decades, World War II claimed even higher casualties. Though exact figures are hard to determine, it has been estimated that between 75 and 80 million people died during that conflict. World War II was followed soon after by the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Millions more have been devastated by conflicts large and small since then.
There was the Gulf War with Iraq, wars in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Tajikistan, Yugoslavia, Sri Lanka, Rwanda, Burundi, Djibouti, the Congo, Algeria, Slovenia, Croatia, Abkhazia, Chechnya, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Darfur—to name only a few. There are ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Nigeria, Syria, the Israeli West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. North Korea and Iran threaten to escalate tensions to the level of war. There is a palpable fear of war between the United States and Iran, Israel and Iran, the United States and North Korea, and North Korea and South Korea.
Waves of civil unrest, demonstrations, riots, and related chaos threaten governments in Egypt, Yemen, North Africa, Algeria, Tunisia, and the Ivory Coast. There are rumblings in Burma, Lebanon, Jordan, Iran, and China. Failures to prosecute criminals and militants for the violence they commit or instigate, as well as distrust and growing dissatisfaction with weak or unpopular leaders, all increase the potential for conflicts and uprisings in Colombia, Zimbabwe, Iraq, Venezuela, Sudan, Tajikistan, Haiti, and Guatemala. The Middle East is always a powder keg. Ours is a time of uncertainty, anxiety, and perplexity.
War is now changing, becoming less conventional. It still results in death and destruction, but now it is labeled “hybrid war.” We are experiencing a fusion of war, terror, and crime. There are often no clear battle lines, no contested territory, and no easily identifiable differences between combatants and noncombatants. The enemy may be a stateless entity and live among the population in urban areas. Movement of the enemy may be on public thoroughfares or even public transportation systems. Targets may be innocent civilians in public places. World powers may continuously use unrest and civil disturbances to carry out “proxy wars” in an effort to pursue their interests in places where open war would be strategically unwise.
As Romans 3:10–17 teaches us, no one is righteous. No one understands and seeks after God. Feet are swift to shed blood and wage war. The lesson of history is just as the Apostle Paul wrote: Mankind does not know the way to peace.
Will the long-expected “Battle of Armageddon” soon occur? Will the earth be destroyed? What will happen to you, your family, and your friends? The Bible reveals that horrific and frightening events are just ahead. But it also reveals an encouraging hope. Order your free copy of Armageddon and Beyond today.