When Old Wounds Are Healed
YOUNG Adeline Nako, mentioned at the outset of this series, developed a strong animosity toward her ancestors’ homeland, Japan. When other children called Japanese-Hawaiians “Japs,” she would retort, “We’re Americans.” She painted posters saying, “Wipe Out Those Axis Powers” and was at the forefront of the campaign to buy war stamps. Adeline said: “I was so proud of the 100th and 442nd battalions made up of nisei, or second-generation Japanese-Americans, who courageously fought for America.”
However, as she grew older, she started to wonder: ‘Why do people have to kill one another?’ It all seemed wrong. ‘Buddhists went to war. Christians went to war. They are all hypocrites,’ she thought. As she had started to study the Bible with the help of Jehovah’s Witnesses, she challenged her Witness teacher with the question, “Do you Jehovah’s Witnesses go to war?”
She was told that they do not take up arms to kill any man. At that time war was still raging in Europe as well as in Asia. Adeline found out that the Witnesses in Germany were being sent to concentration camps and those in the United States were imprisoned for not taking up arms in the war. ‘This must be the true religion,’ she thought.
As her Bible knowledge increased, she was moved to dedicate her life to Jehovah, the God of the Bible. Her devotion to “the God of peace” moved her to widen out in her love by following in the steps of the five Japanese-Hawaiians who volunteered to go to Japan soon after World War II. (Philippians 4:9) They were eager to help the people in the land of their forefathers, former enemies at that, by preaching as missionaries the comforting good news of the Kingdom from the Bible.—Matthew 24:14.
One who volunteered to help in the war-torn land of Japan, Shinichi Tohara, recalls how he felt about his mission. “I contemplated the faithfulness of the Japanese people when it came to serving human lords and the emperor,” he says. “I thought of the kamikaze pilots, who gave their lives for the emperor by deliberately flying their aircraft into enemy warships. If the Japanese are that faithful toward humans, I thought, what will they do if they find the true Lord, Jehovah?”
With such positive views, in 1949 these volunteers set foot in Tokyo, which had not long before been reduced to rubble by B-29 air raids. What did they find in the huts amid the ruins? A rather timid people who were conscientious workers. Of course, there were people who still harbored resentment and prejudice. Many, however, responded favorably to the Bible’s message of peace.
In 1953, Adeline joined those first missionaries. She eagerly helped the ones who were hungering and thirsting for the comforting message found in the Bible. She did meet antagonistic people in her preaching activities. They would tell her: “You people dropped atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki!”
“Well,” she would respond, “you know I am from Hawaii. And it was Japan that first attacked Pearl Harbor and killed many people there. But that did not hinder me from coming to Japan to tell this good news to people here.” That would usually calm them down, and they would accept literature explaining the Bible.
Thanks to the fine foundation laid by those early missionaries from Hawaii and other countries, now more than 150,000 Japanese are part of a brotherhood of those who do not “learn war anymore.”—Isaiah 2:4; 1 Peter 2:17.
How All Wars End
Indeed, knowing one another and cultivating unselfish love toward one another is indispensable to world peace. However, that is not enough. People who loved peace and had friends on the other side were also mobilized into the Pacific war under the compulsion of “justifiable” causes. Nationalistic propaganda got the better of their natural inclinations. Although some refused to go to war even at the risk of being sent to concentration camps or prisons, their actions, though commendable, had little, if any, effect in curbing the fervor for war.
When a whole nation is led into war, more than human hands are doing the leading. Usually all involved insist that they wish to avert war. Yet, some very powerful force influences them against their wishes. The Bible identifies that powerful force as “the god of this system of things.” (2 Corinthians 4:4) Indeed, “the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one,” Satan the Devil.—1 John 5:19; see also John 12:31; 14:30.
However, the Bible promises that “the God who gives peace will crush Satan.” (Romans 16:20) A prelude to this crushing took place in heaven some 77 years ago. Listen to the description of what the apostle John saw in a thrilling vision 18 centuries in advance of its fulfillment in 1914: “War broke out in heaven . . . So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him.”—Revelation 12:7-9.
Since then Satan the Devil has been confined to the vicinity of the earth. By maneuvering politicians and militarists like puppets, he has unleashed untold sufferings in the wars of this century. However, his impatience only reflects his having great anger, “knowing he has a short period of time.” (Revelation 12:12) Through the mighty hands of the “Prince of Peace,” Jesus Christ, God will deactivate Satan after “the war of the great day of God the Almighty” at “Har–Magedon.”—Isaiah 9:6; Revelation 16:14, 16.
Unlike all the wars that have been waged by humans, the standard of justice that will prevail in that coming war of God is absolute. It is the standard of the Creator of mankind, who has the best interests of humanity at heart. Unlike political leaders who pressure their people into war, Jehovah, our Creator, will tell his people just as he told his nation of Israel in the days of Jehoshaphat of Judah in the tenth century B.C.E.: “You will not need to fight in this instance. Take your position, stand still and see the salvation of Jehovah in your behalf.”—2 Chronicles 20:17.
With the dark clouds of influence by Satan blown away, individuals from all nations will enjoy true peace and security earth wide. Then the following conditions foretold by Isaiah will have become a reality. “Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth. Former things shall no more be remembered nor shall they be called to mind.”—Isaiah 65:17, The New English Bible.
Thus, what took place at Pearl Harbor will no more be remembered in a painful way, nor will the victims of the atom bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki cry out “No More Hiroshimas!” Why? Because the following words of Isaiah’s prophecy will also be true of every person on earth: “He [God] will certainly render judgment among the nations and set matters straight respecting many peoples. And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war anymore.”—Isaiah 2:4.
Fulfillment of these prophecies is already being realized among Jehovah’s Witnesses, who now form a worldwide brotherhood millions strong. This becomes especially evident at international conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses held in various parts of the world. You too can be a part of that international unity and peace. Come and learn how to be one of the people who have already ‘beaten their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears,’ who do not “learn war anymore,” and who look forward to a paradise soon to come on earth, where wars will never again take place.—Psalm 46:8, 9.
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Jerry and Yoshi Toma, Shinichi and Masako Tohara, and Elsie Tanigawa volunteered to help their former enemies
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Today an international brotherhood worships God in unity and peace