What Hope for Permanent World Peace?
Since Almighty God made man to live on a peaceful, paradise earth, why is our home-town planet today a global battlefield, with the smoke of war never clearing? The answer to this question, contained in the article below, will also enlighten you as to the one sure hope for permanent world peace.
STRANGE world, this! The civilized people today know more about killing than living, more about war than peace. Yet the inborn desire of man is for life, not death; for peace, not war. How can we explain this topsy-turvy condition? Yes, and how can we explain the fact that man’s many avenues of hope for peace all lead to the dead end of war? These questions demand a logical answer. But first the heartcheering, irrepressible news: there is a sure hope for permanent world peace. It is not a pipe dream. It is a reality. This generation can experience its blessings.
Just what is this sure hope? A third all-out war? Hardly! For history shows that no war has ever ushered in permanent peace. Look, for example, at the war record of the twentieth century. In the book A Study of War Professor Wright observes that in the first thirty years of this century the European powers alone fought seventy-four wars. These lasted an average of four years, a record not approached by man since the twelfth century. According to the professor’s calculations, this “enlightened generation” has a war-casualty rate far worse than the grand total of the previous 800 years! Still this blood-curdling concentration of wars within one generation has not brought permanent peace.
Nor is it reasonable to believe that a colossal build-up of military might will permanently scare nations out of war. Fear does not tend to evoke peaceful reaction in men. Rather, people react to fear by preparing for defense and attack. “Those who seek peace in terms of military strength alone,” said President Eisenhower, “are doomed to end up in the agony of the battlefield.”—New York Times, November 20, 1953.
Could the sure hope for peace, then, lie within the sphere of diplomacy, with its conferences, peace pacts and leagues of nations? Well, many people do feel that these methods offer the best hope for peace. In fact, a recent survey revealed that 73 per cent of the American people are in harmony with Dag Hammarskjold, who said that the United Nations “remains the principal source of hope of a world without fear.” (New York Times, May 18, 1954) Since so many pin their hope on diplomacy, these words of Roman Catholic Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, reported in the New York Times of April 20, 1953, should be thought-provoking: “Those who put too much trust in words alone should keep in mind that 4,500 treaties of peace were signed under League of Nations auspices between the first and second world wars. In the eleven months preceding the second World War, 211 treaties of peace were signed.” Still inclined to trust in diplomacy? Eye-opening, then, are the results of the most celebrated twentieth-century peace pacts.
(1) League of Nations Covenant of 1920: fifty-four nations promised “not to resort to war.” In the 1930’s Japan attacked China, Italy attacked Ethiopia and Russia attacked Finland. (2) Russo-Polish nonaggression pact of 1920. In 1939 Russia took over half of Poland. (3) Locarno Treaties of 1925. Germany signed nonaggression pacts with Belgium, France, Poland and Czechoslovakia. In 1938, Germany took over Czechoslovakia. Later, all went to war. (4) Italo-Ethiopian 20-year pact of 1928. In 1935 Italy attacked. (5) Kellogg-Briand pact of 1929. Sixty-two nations renounced war. Almost all were at war within 15 years. (6) Russo-Finnish pact of 1932. Russia attacked Finland in 1939. (7) Russian and Baltic States nonaggression pacts of 1939 with Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. Within a year all three were annexed by Russia. (8) Stalin-Hitler pact of 1939. Peace was to last for ten years, but Germany attacked Russia in 1941. (9) Russo-Chinese nonaggression pact of 1945. To last for 30 years, but in 5 years, with Soviet help, Chinese Communists conquered China. (10) Russo-Yugoslav pact of 1945. Russia denounced it a month after signature. (11) United Nations Charter, 1945. Sixty nations agreed to outlaw war. But full-scale fighting broke out in Palestine, Greece, Malaya, Korea and Indo-China. United Nations attempts to secure formal peace treaties fail. Indeed, President Eisenhower had good reason for declaring: “I am convinced there is no peace alone in edicts and treaties, no matter how solemnly signed.”—New York Times, November 20, 1953.
IDENTIFYING THE GOD OF THIS WORLD
Since many statesmen have been sincere in their efforts, why have all man’s hopes for peace turned into bitter failures? The reason is twofold: (1) Man, as a result of Adam’s sin, is imperfect and sinful; thus no peace pact can guarantee that greedy, selfish rulers will not crop up; (2) the superhuman ruler of this world is Satan the Devil. “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one,” explained Christ’s apostle. This means that all nations of the earth are under Satan’s control. No peace pacts, bullets or atom bombs can nullify the peace-wrecking efforts of the Devil, “the god of this system of things.”—1 John 5:19; 2 Cor. 4:4, NW.
Do not be deceived. The Devil is not some abstract quality of evil. That is what he would like you to think. To show that Satan is a real person and that he has power over earthly kingdoms, let us turn to the inspired Word of God, where we learn of Satan’s attempt to induce the Son of God to rebel against his Father. “The Devil took him [Jesus] along to an unusually high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, and he said to him: ‘All these things I will give you if you fall down and do an act of worship to me.’ Then Jesus said to him: ‘Go away, Satan!’” Would this have been a temptation to Jesus if the Devil did not really control the nations of the world? Of course not! So the Devil’s power of the nations is real. That is why the apostle Paul called the Devil and his demons “the world-rulers of this darkness.”—Matt. 4:1-11; Eph. 6:12, NW.
Jesus rejected the offer of this world’s ruler. He knew that in his Father’s due time he would be given Kingdom power and the command to shepherd the nations with “a rod of iron.” (Rev. 19:15) When Christ wields the “rod of iron,” which he will do very soon now, it means that all the kingdoms of this world will be smashed out of existence. This nation-destroying action was foretold at Daniel 2:44 (AS): “And in the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall the sovereignty thereof be left to another people; but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.”
IDENTIFYING THE SURE HOPE
Now it becomes clear that the sure hope for world peace must be a kingdom, a kingdom that will rule over this planet earthwide and forever. This means a new world for mankind, a world the apostle Peter called “new heavens and a new earth” in which righteousness is to dwell. The King of the new world already reigns! In 1914 Jehovah enthroned Christ as King. Foretelling this enthronement, Psalm 110:2 (AS) says: “Jehovah will send forth the rod of thy strength out of Zion: Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.” Thus Christ rules although the Devil’s world, Christ’s enemies, is still a going concern. But not for long! For following his enthronement, the Jehovah-empowered King initiated offensive warfare against the Devil’s invisible forces: “War broke out in heaven. . . . 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. . . . 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.”—2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 12:7, 9, 12, NW.
“A short period of time” before what? Before the war of Armageddon, called in the Bible “the war of the great day of God the Almighty.” This war will not be fought by man, but by superhuman forces under the direction of Christ Jesus. It is upon this generation that Armageddon will come, because the sign of the “last days” is now visible. A few features of that sign, mentioned by Jesus at Matthew 24 and Luke 21, are world wars, widespread famines, an unusual number of earthquakes, increased lawlessness, earth-wide tribulation, perplexity of nations and men stricken by fear. “When you see all these things,” Jesus said, “truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur,” including Armageddon.—Rev. 16:14; Matt. 24:33-35, NW.
Armageddon will be the final war, for it will end all wars. No need will there be for this war to be fought again: “He [Jehovah] is about to execute complete destruction; he will not take vengeance twice upon his enemies.” Never will anyone debate whether Armageddon was a worthwhile war, as people do with wars fought by men! It will be a righteous war. Thus of the “King of kings,” Christ Jesus, it is written: “He judges and carries on war in righteousness. . . . Out of his mouth there protrudes a sharp long sword, that he may smite the nations with it.”—Nah. 1:9, AT; Rev. 17:14; 19:11, 15, NW.
This smiting of the nations is necessary because they do not want the real, living Christ to rule over them. Nor will they relinquish their rule. Yet even the smiting of the nations will not be sufficient to bring in permanent peace unless “the world-rulers of this darkness,” the Devil and his demons, are also destroyed. Since Christ is the “Prince of peace,” he will see to it that that devilish obstructor of peace, together with the demons, is put out of the way at Armageddon: “He seized the dragon, the original serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. And he hurled him into the abyss and shut it and sealed it over him.”—Isa. 9:6; Rev. 20:1-4; Matt. 8:29, NW.
BLESSINGS OF THE NEW WORLD HOPE
Armageddon’s war will sweep the earth clean of all wickedness, all unrighteousness, all corruption. Never again will nationalistic barriers divide earth’s inhabitants. Never again will there be different governments on earth at the same time, each claiming to be the right kind for the people. Never again will there be armies, navies, war planes, cannons, tanks, machine guns and atom bombs. And never again will there be bomb shelters, bomb craters, radio-active “death dust,” no man’s lands, fox holes, monuments to known and unknown soldiers, statues of bayonet-wielding soldiers or even military academies. For nothing, absolutely nothing, will spoil the peace or mar the beauty of God’s new world. This Jehovah guarantees: “Come near, and see God’s acts, his marvellous acts done on earth; how he puts an end to wars all over the world, the bow shivered, the weapons shattered, the shields burnt to ashes!” “I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.”—Ps. 45:9, 10, Knox; Isa. 65:17, AS.
Clearly, then, Jehovah’s new world is man’s only hope for permanent world peace. Indeed it is a hope for much more! Because even if man could bring in a measure of peace, he would still need doctors, undertakers, grave diggers and tombstone makers. Yes, man would still have his life filled with tears, deep mourning, pain and outcries over keen suffering and heartaches. So man needs more than peace. He needs life. He needs health. But no kingdom of this evil world can put an end to the medicinal needs and the graveyards. Jehovah’s new world will! “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, . . . And he [God] will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be any more.”—Rev. 21:1, 4, NW.
WHAT TO DO
To enjoy the blessings of permanent world peace, perfect health and everlasting life on a paradise earth after Armageddon, what must you do? The Bible answers: “Put on the complete suit of armor from God.” Why? “That you may be able to stand firm against the machinations of the Devil.” To fight such a spiritual warfare you also need the “sword of the spirit, that is, God’s word.” All this means that you must obtain a knowledge and understanding of Jehovah’s written Word. Really, this in itself is a fight because people tend to think themselves too busy for Bible study. This too-busy outlook was foretold for our day by Jesus: “Just as it occurred in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of man: they were eating, they were drinking, men were marrying.” Nothing wrong with eating, drinking and marrying. Then what was wrong? This: the people engrossed themselves so deeply in the pursuits of life, all the while thinking that everything was going to continue as it always had, that they were unwilling to listen to and heed Noah’s warning of that world’s end. The result: “The flood arrived and destroyed them all.”—Eph. 6:11, 17; Luke 17:26, 27, NW.
So take time to investigate the message of the peaceful new world that Jehovah’s witnesses are bringing you. Already a New World society of Christian men and women, who are living for the new world, is formed. Ally yourself with them. They are the sure victors, the survivors of Armageddon’s war. Forsake the man-made, doomed-to-failure peace plans of this Devil-controlled world. Take a positive stand for the new world, its government and King. Remember, there will be no neutrality at Armageddon. All who fail to decide for God’s kingdom are passive resisters of it. The King of the new world, Christ himself, laid down this strict, unbending rule: “He that is not on my side is against me.” (Matt. 12:30, NW) So the time for indecision is past. Decide now. Act now. For soon, at Armageddon, a too-busy world, too busy to heed the warning of its own end, will be crushed out of existence. But there is no need for you to die.