What Hope for an End to War?
WORLD WAR I, fought from 1914 to 1918, was called the war to end all wars. But since then there have been over 200 wars, including the greatest to date—World War II.
Clearly, human efforts to abolish war have been a complete failure. Is it any wonder, then, that many say, “There will always be wars”? Is that what you believe?
The setting up of the United Nations in 1945 after World War II was intended to give war-weary humans a hope for a world without war. That hope is expressed in an inscription on the wall of the UN plaza in New York City, which reads: THEY SHALL BEAT THEIR SWORDS INTO PLOWSHARES. AND THEIR SPEARS INTO PRUNING HOOKS: NATION SHALL NOT LIFT UP SWORD AGAINST NATION. NEITHER SHALL THEY LEARN WAR ANY MORE.
Sadly, the nations by their warmongering have made a mockery of this beautifully expressed hope for peace. Nevertheless, these words will be fulfilled! This is because they originated over 2,500 years ago with a Source higher than imperfect humans. They represent a promise made by Almighty God.—Isaiah 2:4.
A False Hope
Many have looked to the churches to help create a war-free world. But the churches, in fact, have proved to be one of history’s most divisive, militant forces. For example, Frank P. Crozier, British brigadier general during World War I, said: “The Christian Churches are the finest blood-lust creators which we have and of them we made free use.”
Thus, it is vital that we distinguish between true Christianity and false. To help us do this, Jesus provided a simple rule: “By their fruits you will recognize them.” (Matthew 7:16) Words, or professions, are not enough. To illustrate this Steve Whysall, a staff writer for the Vancouver Sun, noted: “Not all people wearing blue oil-stained overalls are mechanics, even if they look like mechanics, . . . even if they say ‘We are mechanics.’”
Applying his illustration to Christianity, Whysall said: “Often you will hear people talk about how this or that was done in the name of Christianity and what an awful thing it was to do. Well, yes, it was awful. . . . But who ever said they were Christians who did those awful things?
“Oh, you say, the established churches say so. Well, who ever said the established churches are Christian?
“So the pope blessed Mussolini, and there is evidence of other popes who have done dastardly deeds in the past. So who said they were Christians?
“You think because a man is the pope he must be a Christian? Just because a person says ‘I am a Christian’ does not mean he is one—just as a man who claims to be a mechanic may not be a mechanic.
“The Bible even warns Christians against people who pose as Christians . . . No Christian can war against another Christian—it would be like a man fighting himself.
“True Christians are brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. . . . They would never, never intentionally hurt one another.”
So we need to apply Jesus’ rule and look at the fruits produced by the churches. But what fruits? The Bible points to one in particular, saying: “The children of God and the children of the Devil are evident by this fact: Everyone who does not carry on righteousness does not originate with God, neither does he who does not love his brother. For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should have love for one another; not like Cain, who originated with the wicked one and slaughtered his brother.”—1 John 3:10-12.
Rather than encourage love for one’s brother, the churches have supported and even promoted the killing of one’s brother in war. Thus, they have become pawns of Satan the Devil just as surely as were the religions of the ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, and Romans. Jesus Christ called Satan “the ruler of this world” and said regarding His true followers: “They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world.” (John 12:31; 17:16; 2 Corinthians 4:4) Yet, the churches have made themselves an integral part of this world.
Clearly, then, God is not using the churches to fulfill his purpose to create a war-free world. Despite what chaplains and other church representatives say, God does not take sides in the wars of nations.
How will God’s promise to eliminate war be fulfilled? Have any people truly beaten their swords into plowshares? Indeed some have.
Those Fulfilling God’s Promise
The prominent church historian C. J. Cadoux noted: “The early Christians took Jesus at his word . . . They closely identified their religion with peace; they strongly condemned war for the bloodshed which it involved; they appropriated to themselves the Old Testament prophecy which foretold the transformation of the weapons of war into the implements of agriculture.”—Isaiah 2:4.
But what about today? Is there a people who take Jesus at his word and truly love one another? Have these, in effect, beaten their swords into plowshares? Well, the Encyclopedia Canadiana observes: “The work of Jehovah’s Witnesses is the revival and re-establishment of the primitive Christianity practised by Jesus and his disciples during the first and second centuries of our era. . . . All are brothers.”
Thus, in keeping with Christ’s command to love one another, Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to hate or kill their brothers, even though these may be members of another race or nationality. (John 13:34, 35) Martin Niemöller, a Protestant leader in Germany, noted that “throughout the ages, [the churches] have always consented to bless war, troops and arms and that they prayed in a very un-Christian way for the annihilation of their enemy.” Yet, in contrast, he said, the Witnesses “by the hundreds and thousands have gone into concentration camps and died because they refused to serve in war and declined to fire on human beings.”
Yes, unlike people of other religions, Jehovah’s Witnesses have truly beaten their swords into plowshares. By remaining “no part of the world,” as Christ directed, they are indeed different from other religions. (John 15:19) The Roman Catholic St. Anthony’s Messenger observed: “Jehovah’s Witnesses stand outside the ‘establishment’ and accept no responsibility to bless whatever the secular government decides to do.”
Is God’s promise regarding disarmament to be realized only as a result of a few million individuals from all nations beating their swords into plowshares? By no means! God’s promise will be fulfilled on a much grander scale and in a dramatic way.
How an End to War Will Come
The Creator, Jehovah God, will end war by eliminating all war machinery and those responsible for it. A Bible psalmist invited readers to consider this exciting prospect. “Come, you people,” he wrote, “behold the activities of Jehovah, how he has set astonishing events on the earth. He is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth.” (Psalm 46:8, 9) What a remarkable, stirring announcement!
Is the prospect of a world without war too good to be true? Skeptics may think so. Even the military historian whose story appears on pages 9 to 13 of this magazine thought so. But he took the time to examine the evidence carefully. As a result, he proved to himself that the Bible truly is reliable. He discovered that Bible prophecies regarding earlier events in history were, without fail, fulfilled right on time. This gave him reason to believe that those events that are prophesied yet to take place will occur right on schedule.
For instance, consider how the earthshaking events now happening match perfectly the events that the Bible foretold would mark the last days of this system of things. (Matthew 24:3-14; 2 Timothy 3:1-5) This means that we are now living at the time for God’s Kingdom to come, in fulfillment of the prayer that Jesus taught his followers, namely: “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.”—Matthew 6:9, 10.
In what manner are we to expect God’s Kingdom to come? A Bible prophecy says regarding this: “In the days of those kings [meaning, those governments now in power] the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms [or, governments], and it [God’s Kingdom government] itself will stand to times indefinite.”—Daniel 2:44.
Yes, God’s Kingdom will come in a dramatic way to remove all present governments, even as the foretold global Flood came in Noah’s day. (Matthew 24:36-39; 1 John 2:17) In view of imminent destruction of all present governments, as well as of the religions that support them, it is vital that we individually examine our own situation. Will we make the effort to learn about Jehovah God and his Son, Jesus Christ, and then do what they require of us? (John 17:3) Will we love one another, refusing to do harm to our fellowman, and thus show that we have beaten our swords into plowshares?
If you agree that war does not make sense and that you would like to live on earth when peace is universal, contact Jehovah’s Witnesses. They will be pleased to help you learn more about how war will soon be no more, under the rule of God’s Kingdom.
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Himmler’s Plans for Jehovah’s Witnesses
HEINRICH HIMMLER was head of the Nazi SS, or Elite Guard, and during World War II was the second most powerful man in Germany, next to Adolf Hitler. Although Himmler hated Jehovah’s Witnesses for their refusal to participate in Nazi plans for world conquest, he came to respect them. In one of his letters to Gestapo chief Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Himmler wrote:
“Some information and observations of recent date have led me to draw up plans that I would like to bring to your attention. This concerns Jehovah’s Witnesses. . . . How are we going to govern and pacify Russia when . . . we will have conquered vast areas of its territory? . . . All forms of religion and the pacifist sects must be supported . . . , among all the others the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It is well-known that the latter have characteristics incredibly positive for us: Apart from the fact that they refuse military service and anything to do with war . . . , they are incredibly reliable, do not drink, do not smoke; they are relentless workers and of rare honesty. For them the spoken word stands. These are ideal characteristics . . . , enviable qualities.”
No, Himmler would never have persuaded the Witnesses to work for the Nazis. He did not want the peace-loving qualities of the Witnesses for himself or his people, but he wanted these ideal qualities to rub off on the Russians. This would make them peaceful people, causing them to beat their swords into plowshares.
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God’s Kingdom will eliminate all war machines and deliver people into a peaceful new world