Will we ever see peace on this earth? Peace is prophesied to come upon the earth, but only after many other prophecies come true. Tune in to learn about this prophesied time of peace and what must happen before it is attainable.
[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]
The Second World War ended 75 years ago and a shrinking number are old enough to remember it firsthand. Those who fought in that terrible war, and those civilians who endured it, are dying off. They were my parent’s generation. The war was etched deeply upon their minds and hearts and I remember them taking me to the American Cemetery in Cambridge England. The Memorial Day ceremonies included a plane flyover to drop flowers from the sky over the precisely aligned white crosses where 3,812 Americans were buried. And a wall contained the names of 5,127 others that were missing in action.
It was an impressive sight, but my twelve-year-old mind couldn’t take in the meaning of it all. And for that matter, who can? While a cemetery is a meaningful reality of the conflict, it hardly encompasses the total brutality of a fight that engulfed the whole world and cut short the lives of some 60 to 70 million people, with far more bearing physical and emotional scars.
After the greatest conflict in man’s history, we’re still looking for the way to peace. There have been dozens of wars in the intervening 75 years, but all limited in scope in comparison. One must ask, “Are we making progress toward a more peaceful world?” Surely, there will never be a World War III! Nations are not that foolish. Or are they?
Have we seen the war to end war? Can mankind learn the way to peace? There are answers to these questions and the answers may surprise you. There IS good news, so stay tuned.
Welcome to Tomorrow’s World where I’m asking whether there will ever be an end to war. Twice in the last century the world was brought into conflicts where tens of millions of lives were lost. Could such a thing happen again in our modern civilized world?
Robert Kagan gives us a warning from the past in his 2018 book, The Jungle Grows Back.
“As the British author and politician Norman Angell observed in 1909, the world’s great, civilized powers, had “passed out of that stage of development” in which any nation could benefit from conquering another by force. Reasoned calculations of self-interest precluded war among them. In a world of growing prosperity, democracy, and increasing connection among peoples, great-power war was obsolete” (The Jungle Grows Back, Kagan, Alfred A. Knopf, 2013, p. 16).
Kagan explains how delusional that thinking was, and in effect, cautions us against similar delusions.
“They could not imagine that the world’s leading commercial powers, so interdependent in the modern global economy, would wage a war for such primitive goals as territory and military domination, that they would be inspired not by rational calculations of interest but by fear, pride, and ambition, and that war would enjoy the enthusiastic backing of their people fueled by nationalism and tribalism” (Kagan, pp. 16–17).
Yet, Angell and the politicians and people of his day were terribly wrong. It would only be five years from when Angell made those predictions until the greatest conflict in humanity’s history up to that time. World War I killed an estimated 20 million with another 21 million carrying with them the physical scars of human conflict. United States President Woodrow Wilson called it “the war to end all wars,” and that too, was an illusion.
Such numbers are staggering and can only be understood properly on the personal level, as brought out so dramatically in Erich Maria Remarque’s 1929 novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, where he strips away the glamour of war and brings it down to what it means for the common soldier. The most poignant chapter describes the inner thoughts of Paul Baumer, a German soldier, as he sits in a fox hole with Gerard Duval, a Frenchman he mortally wounded.
Given mankind’s propensity for avarice and the game of war, the future looks bleak, and any realist would conclude that there will never be a time of genuine peace. So, is that the final answer to our question? Or is there a surprise on the horizon? Is there any realistic hope that peace can come to our troubled planet?
Yes, my friends, there is. There is a statue near the United Nations in New York with these words inscribed on it:
“They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.”
Do you know from where these words originate? They come from Isaiah, chapter 2 and verse 4 in the book of all books, the Bible. The same words are also repeated in the biblical book of Micah.
Is this a mere pipe dream? It is, according to one former United States President. Richard Nixon well understood the world and how it operates. He understood the mind of man on a geopolitical scale and how self-interest is at the heart of every nation’s foreign policy. In his book, Real Peace, Mr. Nixon chided poets, authors, and songwriters about such dreamy ideas of peace.
“Those who make peace at the typing table rather than at the negotiating table have the luxury of being peace-makers without having to grapple with complex problems in the rough-and-tumble world of real international diplomacy. To them the only obstacle to peace is the regrettable lack of leaders who are as selfless and idealistic as they claim to be and who are willing to put aside parochial national interest in the interest of bringing peace to the world. They hope that this era will be the one in which self-interest, the force that has driven history since the dawn of history, will simply evaporate” (Real Peace, Richard Nixon, Simon & Schuster, 2013, p. 4).
So we must ask, “Who is correct—the Bible or the late President of the United States?”
Before the break I said I would answer the question as to who is correct—former President Richard Nixon, or the Bible? While he did not have the complete answer regarding peace, Mr. Nixon correctly understood the problem behind why we have war. He recognized it is man’s nature, and he understood that the only hope to change human nature falls in the realm of religion. But, Mr. Nixon never placed hope in religion coming to our rescue. In fact, he attributed religion as part of the problem.
“In the long term we can hope that religion will change the nature of man and reduce conflict. But history is not encouraging in this respect. The bloodiest wars in history have been religious wars. Men praying to the same God killed each other by the thousands in America’s Civil War and by the millions in World War I and World War II. Unless men change, a real peace must be built on the assumption that the most we can do is to learn to live with our differences rather than dying over them” (Nixon, p. 14).
Another pragmatist is former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev, a man who by his actions as well as his words, seeks a more peaceable world. Looking past the COVID-19 crisis, he wrote in Time magazine:
“While it is the national governments that now bear the brunt of making difficult choices, [future] decisions will have to be made by the entire world community. We have so far failed to develop and implement strategies and goals common to all mankind” (“When the Pandemic is Over, the World Must Come Together,” Time, April 15, 2020).
He then asked the following rhetorical question:
“Is it not clear by now that wars and the arms race cannot solve today’s global problems? War is a sign of defeat, a failure of politics.… I’ll never tire of repeating: we need to demilitarize world affairs, international politics and political thinking” (ibid.).
Gorbachev concluded by calling on world leaders to come together at the United Nations to hold an emergency session and revise “the global agenda.” He then suggested that nations cut military spending by 10 to 15 percent as a first step.
But is either Nixon or Gorbachev correct in their pessimism? Mr. Nixon did not understand or believe the biblical message, and neither does Mr. Gorbachev.
But exactly what is that message and how can it come to pass? As we already saw, the prophet Isaiah spoke of a time when men would beat their swords into plowshares, indicating a time of peace. But when? When will we ever see peace? The book of Micah, chapter 4, verse 1 answers this question:
“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days…” (Micah 4:1).
“The latter days” and similar expressions are found in the Bible to indicate a time in the future when God will intervene very directly in human affairs. These latter days will be marked by rebellion and violence and God’s patience will have run out. The Prophet Jeremiah predicted these rebellious times and declares in Jeremiah 23, and verse 20:
“The anger of the LORD will not turn back until He has executed and performed the thoughts of His heart. In the latter days you will understand it perfectly” (Jeremiah 23:20).
All of this will become clear in the latter days, at the time of the end. We’ve quoted numerous times here at Tomorrow’s World the words of Jesus in Matthew 24, where His disciples asked Him,
“Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3).
After rehearsing major signs, Jesus gives this summary:
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved…” (Matthew 24:21–22).
I asked at the beginning of this section, which view is correct? The Bible or Mr. Nixon? The answer is that both agree that man’s efforts for peace will fail. The Apostle Paul quotes the Prophet Isaiah:
“And the way of peace they have not known” (Romans 3:17).
Jesus even went so far as to predict that mankind would come to the point of self-annihilation. So how can war and peace both be correct?
Very simply, there is a climax coming in world affairs which will lead to a time of trouble such as the world has never known, and World War will be a major feature of that time. However, the Bible predicts something that political leaders fail to see—the literal return of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.
Today we are asking whether there will ever be an end to war. Students of history have little confidence that real lasting peace will ever come to pass. Even now, we see raw human nature on many fronts. Can mankind discover the path to peace? Tolstoy’s War and Peace may make a good read on a rainy day, but it’s the Bible that gives the real story of war and peace. Based on history, how can the Bible predict so confidently that peace is in our future?
Richard Nixon came very close to the answer. He saw the problem, but not the solution. As he wrote:
“In the long term we can hope that religion will change the nature of man and reduce conflict” (Nixon, p. 14).
However, he observed the utter failure of religion to change “the nature of man.”
“But history is not encouraging in this respect. The bloodiest wars in history have been religious wars. Men praying to the same God killed each other by the thousands in America’s Civil War and by the millions in World War I and World War II” (ibid).
Thousands of years of man’s history prove that religions of all stripes, including professing Christianity, have failed to solve the problem, but the object of right religion—that is, God—can solve the problem. The true Creator of mankind IS able to change human nature and He reveals that He will.
The Bible tells us that God made a covenant with the ancient nation of Israel. In short, He said, if you obey my law, my commandments, I will bless you above all people on the face of the earth. So He revealed to the children of Israel Ten Commandments. Most people are more or less familiar with them, but let’s review them in a shortened and paraphrased form:
You shall have no other Gods before the only true God
You shall not use images in the worship of the true God
Don’t take God’s name in vain
Remember the seventh day to keep it holy
Honor your mother and your father
You shall not kill
You shall not commit adultery
You shall not steal
You shall not bear false witness
You shall not covet anything that is your neighbor’s
These commands seemed simple enough, and Israel wanted God’s protection and blessing, but there was a problem—human nature. Notice how God figuratively groaned at Israel’s lack of respect for the covenant—Deuteronomy 5:29:
“Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!” (Deuteronomy 5:29).
God is not very flattering toward Israel, and by Israel I don’t mean only the small nation called by that name at the East end of the Mediterranean Sea. Israel refers to far more than the Jews in that nation and those scattered abroad. It refers not to the tribe of Judah only, but to all twelve tribes, a distinction that even students of the Bible fail to recognize. And God describes all twelve tribes in the most unflattering terms:
And He describes Gentile kingdoms as wild devouring beasts in Daniel, chapters 7 and 8; and Revelation, chapters 13 and 17. The problem of the human heart, our nature, transcends race, nationality, tribe, and gender. So the question remains: “How to change the heart of man?” Religion has been around for thousands of years, but all have failed to change human nature on a scale necessary for peace.
But there IS good news my friends. There is coming a change of the human heart. Notice Ezekiel 11:19:
“Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh…” (Ezekiel 11:19).
But what is the purpose of that new heart? The answer is found in the very next verse:
“… that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God” (Ezekiel 11:20).
The Apostle Paul explains the problem very succinctly in Romans 8 and verse 7:
“Because the carnal [that is the human, fleshly] mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be” (Romans 8:7).
Why is it my friends that people think the New Covenant does away with the law of God? As we have just seen, God gives a new heart for the very purpose,
“… that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments.”
Jeremiah 31:31–34 describes the New Covenant, but let’s read it in the New Testament. After explaining that the problem of the first covenant was with the people, Paul quotes Jeremiah:
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts…” (Hebrews 8:10).
Now can anyone explain how this in any way does away with the law of God as many evangelicals profess? Here is what The New Bible Commentary Revised says about this exact same statement as it was originally recorded in Jeremiah:
“What, then, will the Lord do? He must either reduce His demands until they are within the range of human powers, or else He must change the heart of men. It is to the latter that He commits Himself” (The New Bible Commentary Revised, Jeremiah 31:33, Inter-Varsity Press, 1970, p. 645).
Explaining the words “My law” in this passage, the commentary goes on to say:
“The law reflects the nature of God, and therefore is unchanging. God cannot reduce His standards without ceasing to be Himself, but now the whole inner constitution of men, their hearts, is to be fashioned by God to match the requirements of His law, and in this way the great covenant promise, I will be their God, and they shall be my people, will be fulfilled” (ibid.).
That which changes the heart is the Spirit of God in us, but if that is the case, why don’t we see real peace among those who claim to have that Spirit?
As explained in our booklet “The Beast of Revelation,” the Bible predicts the rise of a power in Europe that will bring a level of warfare on a scale we can hardly imagine. This will necessitate the intervention of God to stop the insanity, and this in turn will make peace possible. A new spirit will be poured out on mankind, but that’s not all. The spirit that currently rules this world must in turn be removed. We read about that rebellious spirit in Ephesians 2, verses 1 and 2:
“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:1–2).
As long as that evil spirit, Satan the Devil, is still around, there can be no peace! One of the first things Jesus will do upon His return is to have that being removed, no longer allowing him to influence mankind. We read of this in Revelation 20, verses 1–2.
“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven.… He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years…” (Revelation 20:1–2).
Peace will be possible once the Prince of Peace returns and pours out His spirit on all flesh and the current prince of the power of the air is removed. The laws of God that bring peace will be written in the hearts of men. And that, my friends, is how human nature will be changed!
How will global religio-political developments affect you and your family? Will a world dictator soon appear? Just who or what is the Beast, and will you receive its infamous mark? Read on for the startling answers!