War or Peace — Which?

How accustomed have we become to war? Would we agree with most people that our wars — although perhaps undesirable — are nevertheless necessities? Do we believe that our wars will solve at least some of our problems, and that they will bring lasting peace? Are we prepared to accept the death of thousands of innocent people in the course of man’s wars, thinking that these “casualties” are necessary by-products for the ultimate goal of peace?

The Bible tells us that Satan has deceived this whole world (Revelation 12:9). It is Satan, the author of war, who has caused man to think that destruction can produce construction — that war can result in peace.

Man wants peace. But, man does not know how to achieve it. Paul tells us in Romans 3:11-17: “There is none who understands… Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways; And the way of peace they have not known.” Peter was willing to kill with the sword to defend Jesus. His Master had to tell him: “‘Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.'” (Matthew 26:52). This same message is repeated in Revelation 13:10: “…he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword.” When James and John, the “sons of thunder,” were prepared to call fire from heaven to devour the Samaritans, Christ rebuked them with these words, “‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.'” (Luke 9:55-56).

6000 years of human history of pain and misery have proven that our wars do not bring peace, but that they only result in more wars. Just looking at the last century, we know that there would not have been a second world war without the first. And as prophecy reveals to us, there will be in the near future a third world war — the deadliest of them all — caused to a large extent by the last two wars. Indeed, wars only breed more wars.

God has given His people understanding — including the understanding that the way of peace is not found through the wars of men. God will send Jesus Christ back to this earth to end all wars (Psalm 46:9). In His government, and under His rulership, man will not learn to fight in war anymore (Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3). Christ is called the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), and we are told that of the increase of His peace, there will be no end (Isaiah 9:7; compare Psalm 72:7).

Christ has commissioned His Church to proclaim His way of peace to all nations (Ephesians 6:15; Acts 10:36). This means, we must live this way ourselves. As His true disciples, we will not participate in any war fought by men — and we will not even advocate any such wars. We will not allow ourselves to become deceived again, thinking that any human war is justified — rather, we will counsel peace (Compare Proverbs 12:20: “Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but counselors of peace have joy”). We will do today what Jesus Christ will do when He rules on the earth: We will “speak peace to the nations” (Zechariah 9:10).

God’s way of peace and Satan’s way of war are total opposites. A true Christian will not practice or endorse anything that will bring destruction and pain for others — and war brings destruction and pain for others, as we all should know. Our conscience objects to human warfare — that is, why we are called “conscientious objectors.” Notice Christ’s commission to His end-time Church: “Behold, on the mountains The feet of him who brings good tidings, Who proclaims peace!” (Nahum 1:15; compare Romans 10:15).

Christ has enabled us to proclaim peace to others, since Christ has given us His peace to dwell in us (John 14:27; compare Colossians 3:15). Christ guides our feet into the way of peace (Luke 1:79) — far away from the destructive road of war. We are called to “follow peace with all men” (Hebrews 12:14, Authorized Version), knowing that peace will be given to us if we are peacemakers (James 3:18; compare Matthew 5:9). If we ourselves “seek peace and pursue it” (1 Peter 3:11), if we make every effort, “as much as depends” on us, to “live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18), then we can be used by Christ as His ambassadors of peace. We are to represent His government, His kingdom, His rulership — and as such, we cannot be participating, neither in word nor in deed, in this world’s ways of war.

We are to live and proclaim a way of give. The wars of this world are the result of the way of get. James 4:1-2 tells us, “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?… You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.”

Why does man go to war against his neighbor? Because he wants what his neighbor has, or he wants to make sure that his neighbor does not get what he has. At the same time, he does not ask God for help, and even if he asks, he does not live the way God wants him to. God promises us in Proverbs 16:7: “When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”

A very powerful practical example of this promise can be seen in 2 Kings 6:8-23. Warring Syrians — enemies of the nation of Israel — sent an army to the land of Israel to capture the prophet Elisha. “So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, and said, ‘Strike this people, I pray, with blindness.'” (Verse 18). God answered Elisha’s prayer. Elisha led the blind soldiers to Samaria where God removed their blindness. The king of Israel asked, “Shall I kill them?” Elisha answered, “‘You shall not kill them… Set food and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.’ Then he prepared a great feast for them; and after they ate and drank, he sent them away and they went to their master. So the bands of Syrian raiders came no more into the land of Israel.” (Verses 22-23).

This is God’s way of love and peace in action. When our enemy is hungry and thirsty, we give him to eat and to drink, thereby heaping “coals of fire on his head” (Proverbs 25:22; Romans 12:20). The carnal mind says, This does not work. One cannot rule a country with the Sermon on the Mount. And so, man has never really tried out this way of life. Rather, man has chosen Satan’s way of war, destruction and death — and as a consequence, man is now facing the distinct possibility of eradicating all human life from the face of this earth.

God’s disciples and children MUST be different. We have a unique opportunity today to preach peace to the world — by our words and by our deeds. Perhaps some might listen and try it out in their lives. What a surprise they will experience when they find out that God’s Way of Life DOES work!

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