“He Is Making Wars to Cease”
“IT WAS August 8, 1942. Japanese forces had occupied some of the American Aleutian Islands with a view to attacking the U.S. west coast. I was assigned to a U.S. Navy air squadron that had to go in there and torpedo the Japanese ships.
“During the raid we were shot up and our radar was put out of commission. We had to head back to our base through thick fog along the seemingly endless chain of the Aleutians—without our basic navigational aid, our radar system. We lost our bearings. We knew that to our left we had the islands and their mountains. But how far? Visibility was virtually nil. Suddenly the captain shouted, ‘We’re going to crash!’
“I knew nothing more until I regained consciousness. Our plane had hit a mountain and somehow I had been thrown clear of the wreckage. I could see that our plane was still burning. The tail section had broken off. If any were alive they would be in there.”
The above was related by Harley Miller, who survived. A photo of what was left of the plane appears on page 13. What happened to the other eight crew members? Harley recounts this in the next article. We urge you to read the account, not as a war story, but as the story of a man who finally found peace.
During his navy career Harley saw a lot of men die. They were only a fraction of the total death toll of World War II, but they were enough to make him see the utter futility of wars and to ask, Why?
Is Man Any Wiser?
During World War II, death reaped a harvest to the tune of some 55 million lives—military and civilian. What anguish and misery were spread throughout the world! Millions of widows and orphans were left to fend for themselves. Thus the obvious question in 1945, when the war ended, was, Will wars ever cease?
The sad answer since 1945 is that man is no wiser. Nations continue to prepare for and engage in war and strife. At a recent conference on the fate of the earth, retired Admiral Gene La Rocque indicated that, according to the Pentagon, 270 wars have been fought since the end of World War II. He added that the United States and the Soviet Union alone have 20,000 nuclear weapons, and he warned: “If we continue along our present course, we will have a nuclear war.”
Yes, like wild beasts, governments continue to settle their differences by shedding blood, but usually not that of the political rulers. And when war is not actually fought, the nations hold to a tenuous peace based on mutual terror—the theory of Mutual Assured Destruction. But why? Why does war seem to be inevitable in human history? Is there a solution?
Why Are There Wars?
Psychologists and anthropologists come up with a variety of theories to explain this phenomenon. Of course, their ideas are rooted in the theory of evolution and the concept that man is just a higher animal. Therefore, some say “aggression is indispensable to the survival of mankind.” Thus a spin-off of the evolution theory is the justification of war.
However, some other psychologists do not accept that war is just the result of an aggression instinct. They believe that war is an acquired characteristic, the result of frustrations in childhood. As a result, they advocate a more permissive childhood and a more permissive society. But since the Western world now has its permissive society, has that lessened the threat of war?
Robert Leckie, in his book Warfare, concluded: “War . . . is not explicable in biological terms. It seems to be rather a social, political and legal problem. . . . Society itself seems to be the root cause of war, and as long as great societies—sovereign nation-states—continue to possess great and unchecked power, war will remain inevitable.”—Italics ours.
Nearly 2,000 years ago, in the context of the early Christian congregation, Jesus’ half brother James asked: “What causes conflicts and quarrels [literally, in the Greek, “wars and fights,” Kingdom Interlinear] among you? Do they not spring from the aggressiveness of your bodily desires? You want something which you cannot have . . . you are envious, and cannot attain your ambition.”—James 4:1, 2, The New English Bible.
These words give a clue to the basic causes of war—envy, ambition, greed. This situation has existed for some 6,000 years. (Genesis 4:2-10) How often wars have been fought over territory, possessions and resources! Pride, nationalism, loyalty and xenophobia, or fear of strangers and foreigners, are manipulated in order to mobilize the forces of war. However, there is a fundamental cause that goes deeper than these superficial ones.
A Fundamental Cause Ignored
Of course, in all their speculation there is one factor that nearly all the experts choose to ignore—the invisible power that prefers to have man divided and at war. That power deliberately distracts mankind in endless ways—whether through religion, politics or the pursuit of pleasure. That power is clearly identified in the Bible. For example: “We know we originate with God, but the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19) Who is that “wicked one”? Jesus himself identified that one when he answered the Pharisees who were intent on his murder: “You are from your father the Devil, and you wish to do the desires of your father. That one was a manslayer when he began, and he did not stand fast in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaks the lie, he speaks according to his own disposition, because he is a liar and the father of the lie.”—John 8:44.
Yes, the influence underlying man’s belligerence is the wicked spirit ruler, Satan the Devil. He and his demon followers, with their sadistic streak, are keeping mankind fully occupied in wars and preparation for war. While it is true that millions rise up and protest about nuclear weapons and demand a nuclear freeze, they show no allegiance to the only true solution—the rule of God’s Kingdom by Christ. Thus Satan is successfully “misleading the entire inhabited earth.” (Revelation 12:9) He has mankind on a wild-goose chase for peace—seeking peace while they cling to the very elements that lead to war—narrow-minded nationalistic interests.
How Will Peace Be Established?
Previously quoted Robert Leckie states: “Scientists of the social disciplines say that war is an outmoded function . . . and that the pugnacious instinct upon which it feeds can be controlled by education, law and ethics.” (Italics ours.) Unintentionally, this view of scientists coincides with the Bible’s solution to war, one based on “education, law and ethics.” The prophet Isaiah pointed to that route to peace some 2,700 years ago, saying: “And many peoples will certainly go and say: ‘Come, you people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.’ For out of Zion law will go forth, and the word of Jehovah out of Jerusalem. And he 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 2:3, 4.
What does that prophecy indicate? That people of many nations will have to recognize Jehovah’s law, rulership and sovereignty. They will have to accept a new education in peace. In humility they will have to say: “He will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” Yes, they will learn the ways, or “ethics,” of true Christian peace and walk in Jehovah’s paths as clearly outlined by the perfect example of his Son, Christ Jesus. The fact is that Jehovah’s Witnesses, as a world movement, have been fulfilling this prophecy for decades—through two world wars and all the other conflicts that have afflicted mankind.
However, we have to face the fact that lasting peace for all mankind will never come by human efforts alone. Something much greater is needed—not just an international government, as many have advocated—but a supranational government, above all petty politics and nationalism. God’s heavenly government through Christ is just that. It is the only valid means for peace.—Matthew 6:9, 10.
How will that peace be established? Since the nations will not voluntarily give up their national sovereignty, they will soon be obliged to do so. As the prophet Daniel foretold: “And in the days of those kings 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, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.” (Daniel 2:44) Further, as stated at Revelation 20:1-3, the prime instigator of warfare, Satan the Devil, will be ‘abyssed,’ being put out of action “for a thousand years . . . that he might not mislead the nations anymore.”
The end of man’s selfish political kingdoms, or governments, will make way for the complete fulfillment of the hope-inspiring words of Psalm 46:8-10, namely: “Come, you people, 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. The bow he breaks apart and does cut the spear in pieces; the wagons he burns in the fire. ‘Give in, you people, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’” Yes, Jehovah’s sovereignty will be exalted in all the earth. That day is near.—Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21.
Do you wish to share in seeing the end of all war? Then be assured that we stand at the threshold of the glorious time that David spoke of at Psalm 37:10, 11: “Just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more; . . . but the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”