Peace in Our Time?

On the Sabbath of January 29, one day before the elections were to take place in Iraq, there was an article in “The Californian” in which three Iraqi scholars, who are presently students at the University of Arizona in Tucson, were interviewed. These three individuals, two men and a young woman, would travel approximately 1,000 miles round trip from Tucson to the nearest polling place for them, to cast their vote. This polling place was in Irvine, California, at El Toro, the former Marine Corps Air Base, one of five polling places established in the United States for this election.

Iraqis were to choose a 275-member assembly that will draft the country’s new constitution and appoint a president and a vice-president.

When asked their feelings concerning the potential turnout for the election in Iraq, which election was being held to establish a democratic form of government to replace the dictatorship which existed under Saddam Hussein; these three scholars (one a Shiite lawyer, one a Kurdish – Sunni lawyer, and one a Chaldean Catholic who is working toward a masters degree in teaching and teachers education) were in agreement that the people of Iraq are looking for leadership to improve the safety and economic health of their nation.

Additionally, they were unanimous in their belief there would be a “big turnout” for the election in Iraq, in spite of the threats of insurgents and terrorists expected to create violence inside their country. They felt that many of these people causing fear in their country are from neighboring countries “who fear a unified, economically powerful, democratic Iraq.” They were adamant in their belief that the people would no longer put up with the likes of a Saddam Hussein and his “false elections,” and that the people of Iraq are “anxious” for a change. They also felt that the new government will not become a religious government, because the people of Iraq have learned from the bad experiences with such governments in surrounding countries.

Articles in the same newspaper gave many other such examples of Iraqis with similar beliefs. Editorials by Thomas L. Friedman and Jay Bookman seemed to reflect much the same feelings about the Iraqi elections and the new government to be established.

It does appear on the morning following the elections in Iraq that perhaps as many as 60-72% of those qualified to participate in these elections have turned out to support the dream which surely the people of Iraq have had in spite of such odds against them. This has been the vision of many of the Iraqi people for a long time. Of course, we are told in Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) that “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

It is easy for you and me to understand how a people who have lived under the rule of tyranny for a long period would look longingly to such an opportunity that is before the Iraqi people today. No country desires to be ruled by a conquering nation or a tyrant, no matter where he is from. We all desire to live in peace and freedom.

When the people of this country, the United Sates of America, first came to this new land, they were desirous of a government to be established where all men would have an opportunity to live in peace and harmony with religious and political freedom. They were finally able to establish such a government that has existed now for over 200 years. However, we must realize that the freedom guaranteed by that government has been terribly abused by some, if not many, who have misused it as a license to sin in manifold ways.

The people of Germany, at the end of World War II, desired to live in peace and freedom without the rule of an individual over them in the manner that they had been under with the rule of Hitler. Many in the democratic “Federal Republic of Germany” (BRD) and the communist-ruled so-called “German Democratic Republic” (DDR) had a vision of a unified Germany with the freedoms that would allow each individual to live peaceably, each man able to support himself and his family without having to live in fear of those who ruled over them. And it was years later before they would fully realize that vision, with the fall of the Berlin wall.

Today, however, many Germans are unhappy with the German unification, and anti-American feelings and sentiments are being heard in Germany. Some have long forgotten or are deliberately willing to ignore Germany’s liberation after World War II through the Allies and the American support of the free part of Berlin, when the entire city was isolated by the Russian Communists.

The future will show what the elections in Iraq have accomplished. Commentaries warn that the elections should not be over-evaluated, as they are mainly symbolic in nature. The grim facts of violence and bloodshed will continue to occur in Iraq. The Scripture mentions in Jeremiah 6:14, and in other places, people who speak of peace, when there is no peace! That is certainly occurring on a continuing basis, today. And the main reason there is no peace in this world today is that the world does not look to God for His Divine guidance. The people look to themselves, never considering the fact that the inspiration of this world comes mainly from Satan the devil, who is the real ruler of this present world and its systems.

In Ephesians 2:2 we read of “…the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.” It is this being who directs “the course of this world” and who inspires men to “conduct” themselves as they do in the lusts of the flesh, “fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind” and “are by nature children of wrath…”

However, Satan’s time is short, and you and I look to the day when his rule will be put down. You and I have this vision, which is the reason we take no part in this world’s political systems. We look forward to the time when the Government of God will be established over this earth – and finally this entire universe – with Jesus Christ taking His rightful place on the Throne of David, and removing Satan from his seat of authority. He will then replace the false systems, which have been inspired by Satan, with God’s Righteous Government. At that time, there will be safety and economic health, as well as true freedom, established around the world, and God’s peace will rule over all of mankind for 1,000 years!

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