Violence Fills the Earth
Violence seems to be a part of everyday human life. Three unspeakable acts of horror occurred recently in the USA… a mindless and despicable mass murder in Las Vegas through a deranged gambler; a cowardly terror attack in New York through a radicalized Islamist; and now another senseless mass murder in a small Texas church through a former disgraced member of the Air Force who apparently preached atheism. Other violent acts happen in the country on a daily basis. And the USA is no exception.
After each horrific act, politicians and the mass media are quick in pointing out the “causes” for such ungodly behavior… mental sickness; uncontrolled access to weapons; radical Islam; and many other ideas. And even though some of these explanations might play a role, the REAL culprit is hardly ever mentioned—Satan and his demonic forces. After all, it is SATAN who rules this world. It was through Satan that man became so corrupt and violent that God decided to destroy him in a worldwide Flood (Genesis 6:11,13).
Man has, from his youth (Genesis 8:21), given in to Satan’s evil devices, and Satan is THE destroyer and an extremely irrational violent being.
On the other hand, we are told that God HATES the wicked and the one who loves violence (Psalm 11:5). Jesus, the coming Prince of Peace, NEVER committed any violence when here on earth (Isaiah 53:9), and under His rule, “Violence shall no longer be heard in your land” (Isaiah 60:18). But today, our cities, the land and the entire earth are confronted with horrible and despicable violence (Ezekiel 7:23; 8:17). Christ said that at the time of His return, it will be similar as it was at the time of Noah… when violence, corruption and everything evil fill the earth (compare Romans 1:28-31).
God has been commanding repeatedly to abstain from violence (Jeremiah 22:1-5; Ezekiel 45:9). John the Baptist told Roman soldiers not to commit violence against anyone (Luke 3:14, Authorized Version). Christ told us that we must not even think of committing violence against others, let alone carrying it out (Luke 9:54-56; Matthew 26:52). He warned us that we will have to give account of every idle word which we speak (Matthew 12:36), adding that we will be justified or condemned by our words (verse 37). Paul reminds us not to engage in foolish talking (Ephesians 5:3-4). God’s ministers and deacons must not be violent (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7). Since there is no partiality with God (Romans 2:11) and since God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34, Authorized Version), His prohibition of violence applies to all of His children.
This world’s violence steadily increases, as Satan has great wrath, knowing that his time is short. Christ warned us that in these end times, we will hear more and more of wars and rumors of wars… and He spoke of civil wars, wars between two or three nations, as well as all-encompassing world wars. This is so as Satan, the originator of war, is trying to destroy all of mankind.
In quoting from the Old Testament, Paul summed up the way of this world with the following condemnatory remarks (Romans 3:10-18):
“… There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside… Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways; And the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
God has called true Christians out of this evil and rotten world. We are to be different… shining lights in this violent society. Our new life must not be hidden or hypocritical. We cannot preach violence in any manner, shape or form, let alone act upon it. We must not hate others, which may lead to violent and murderous acts (1 John 3:15); nor must we advocate the destruction of our enemies through war and other violent means. Of course, it goes without saying that we cannot participate in any of man’s wars, whether or not they may be deemed “righteous” by politicians, religious leaders and the mass media.
We are to pray that God’s Kingdom will come soon. Then, and only then, will we experience a world without war and violence. We are to be ambassadors and representatives of that future kingdom. But are we? Are we truly peacemakers, by saying things which are good, gracious and wholesome for the hearer (Ecclesiastes 10:12; Ephesians 4:29-31)? Or are we at times conforming to this world by expressing its evil thoughts… thoughts of hatred, violence and revenge? Are we sometimes overcome by evil, or are we overcoming evil with good (Romans 12:21), having regard for the good and peaceful things in the sight of men (Romans 12:17-18)? Are we allowing God to transform us by renewing our minds, so that we fulfill God’s good and acceptable and perfect Will for us (Romans 12:2)?
The choice is ours.