The Bible’s Viewpoint
Terrorism—Why the Rapid Rise?
“Even if you have to blow up half the continent and shed a sea of blood to destroy the part of barbarity, have no qualms about doing so.”—Karl Heinzen, German revolutionary, 1809-80.
BOOKS and other items were suddenly sent flying when the bomb exploded in a Dortmund, Germany, department store. Eight shoppers were injured, some seriously. Another dastardly act by political extremists? No. “It was all just a joke,” said a 20-year-old who was soon taken into police custody. However, his lack of political motivation made it no less an act of terrorism.
In just nine days—from February 28 to March 8, 1985—Northern Ireland, Lebanon, Spain, and the Federal Republic of Germany had seen the bloody hand of terrorism fatally strike down 72 people, injuring another 245. And since then, terror, fear, and shock by miscreants have continued without limit.
Why are people in a civilized world resorting to violence to achieve their goals? Can it, will it, ever be checked? The Bible offers credible answers.
“Do not show yourself heated up because of the evildoers. . . . Let anger alone and leave rage; do not show yourself heated up only to do evil.” “For mere oppression may make a wise one act crazy.”—Psalm 37:1, 8; Ecclesiastes 7:7.
When governments repeatedly fail to cope successfully with such problems as lack of peace, poor environment, or social or economic injustice, when they permit or even encourage oppression and discrimination, people can understandably become “heated up.” They argue: ‘Something must be done, and if not now, when? If not I, who?’
At times frustration can make even “a wise one act crazy.” Thinking himself wise, the peaceful protestor may at first be intent on committing only nonviolent acts of civil disobedience. How rapidly, however, these can escalate into acts of violence! Look, for example, at one racially and economically divided African country. What started as peaceful protest marches has ended up as militant opposition. “Today, after a quarter-century of struggle and despite recent promises of reform,” says Time magazine, “violence still holds sway in the divided land.”
“Because sentence against a bad work has not been executed speedily, that is why the heart of the sons of men has become fully set in them to do bad.”—Ecclesiastes 8:11.
It is admittedly difficult to apprehend wrongdoers and to bring them to justice. In some places, courts have become overly lenient in dealing with accused wrongdoers. Add to this a heavy court work-load that prevents authorities from executing “sentence against a bad work . . . speedily,” and we have the ingredients for causing the hearts of wrongdoers to “become fully set in them to do bad.” Since governments have found no successful way to combat even “normal” crime—much less international terrorism—many people may feel tempted to try to get away with it.
But Why the Rapid Increase Now?
“In the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. . . . Men will be lovers of themselves, . . . unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, . . . without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness.”—2 Timothy 3:1-3.
Bible chronology and the fulfillment of Bible prophecies indicate that our generation is living in “the last days” marked by “critical times hard to deal with.” Would you not say that men and women with the characteristics mentioned above are potential candidates for the terrorist scene? Since their number has been increasing as “the last days” proceed to their end, we should not be surprised that violence continues to permeate every feature of human society.
“And the earth came to be ruined in the sight of the true God and the earth became filled with violence.” “For just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be.”—Genesis 6:11, 13; Matthew 24:37.
In Noah’s day, spirit sons of God who had made demons of themselves played a significant role in creating a world filled with violence. (Genesis 6:1-5) These wicked creatures can no longer materialize human bodies to influence mankind directly, as they did then. But today their indirect, invisible attacks are no less deadly.
Now living in the days of “the presence of the [glorified] Son of man,” Jesus Christ, we can expect the world to be bloodied by the same kind of violence. Really, we can see, as Jesus predicted, an “increasing of lawlessness.” (Matthew 24:12) This is true because “the one called Devil and Satan . . . [has been] hurled down to the earth, and his angels . . . with him.” With what result? “Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.” (Revelation 12:7-12) Would this not be the main reason why terrorism is increasing at an unprecedented rate today?
Jesus prophesied various events that would occur during the transition period after his Kingdom had been established and before he destroyed this wicked system. (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21) He said, as recorded at Mark 13:8, that there would be “pangs of distress.” Even as literal birth pangs multiply in number and intensity as birth draws near, so the pangs of distress described by Jesus as a sign of “the last days” would increase in number and intensity as the time for Christ’s unopposed rule drew near.
No wonder, then, that the “pangs” of terrorism are increasing. This may cause uninformed persons, in fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy, to “become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth.” Not those, however, who know the meaning of his following words: “But as these things start to occur, raise yourselves erect and lift your heads up, because your deliverance [including deliverance from terrorism] is getting near.”—Luke 21:26, 28.
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When governments fail to cope with problems, people can become “heated up”
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In Noah’s day, demons played a significant role in creating a world filled with violence