Theater of War, Theater of Peace
By Pastor Hal Mayer
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Welcome to Keep the Faith Ministry. Thank you for joining me today as we study our times once again in light of Bible prophecy. As the last generation on earth, the Bible specifically addresses our times. Though many people think that we are not really living at the end of time, and though many live like we are not at the end of time, we are still seeing the prophecies unfolding dramatically in our day. I hope you are not one of those who think that we have many more years before Jesus comes the second time.
The pope believes that we have a long time until Jesus comes, but he is not following the Bible. And he doesn’t believe that the Bible is a book that can be relied on for all necessary information for salvation. But the Bible is the only book that gives the unvarnished truth about the future and unveils what will happen. And it is shocking! Some of it may seem impossible under our current circumstances, but friends, the terrible predictions of the future revealed by inspiration of God are certain to come to pass. They would cause my heart to fail in fear if I didn’t have a higher understanding of our God of love, and His personal protection for the righteous. You see, the horrific events that will unfold on planet earth are punishment for the wicked and rebellious. If you are in Christ, you have nothing to fear. Aren’t you thankful that we can put our trust in the Bible and in the God of the Bible? We don’t need to fear the future. Your confidence in God is your anchor in the chaos, turmoil and bloodshed that is only going to increase as the close of probation nears.
Many want to understand the future because of their curiosity. But this is not the correct motivation. The study of prophecy is the key to understanding and wisdom that you need to prepare for the coming of Jesus. So little is shared with us from the usual religious sources concerning the signs of the times that many faithful souls hunger and thirst to see the Bible applied to current events. I hope you are one of those who want regular encouragement to look at life seriously and to deliberately take the steps necessary to secure salvation. If you are, may God bless you as we study today.
As we begin our study today let us bow our heads in prayer. Our wonderful, heavenly Father, it is hard for us to imagine a world without war, pestilence, disasters and other hurtful things. It is hard to imagine a world without fear, anxiety or depression. Yet, that is what You have promised to Your faithful people. You have offered us, if we fully turn our lives over to You, a place that has absolute peace, absolute harmony, and absolute joy. In that place, there will be no depression, no pain and no suffering of any kind. It seems too good to be true, but it is true. The trouble is, we don’t take Your offer as seriously as we should. We somehow doubt that You will do what You have promised. Please Father in heaven, help us learn to trust You completely, and even let You handle our most basic needs. So often in this world our hopes and plans are shattered. We are disappointed and our hopes are dashed. But that never happens with You. Please, as we study today, help us to understand that there is a better world that is coming, and to place our hope in Christ who will carry us through to that wonderful land of peace. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Have you noticed how much violence and war there is in today’s world? Globalization was supposed to prevent war, but it seems that there is more war and bloodshed than ever. Jesus declared in Matthew 24:6 that there would be wars and rumors of wars at the end of time. He also said in Luke 21:25 that there would be “distress of nations with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring.” He also said this is only “the beginning of sorrows.” And today His prophecy has come to pass in all its gory details. I don’t know about you, but I am almost numb to it. Every day you hear or read about car bombs exploding, killing this many or that many. Every day, it seems, you hear about some terrible violence or bloodshed that is perpetrated in Africa, the Middle East, Asia or somewhere else. And in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and other developed countries, we read about rape, murder and other violence in the news sources almost on an hourly basis.
As I prepare this sermon, war has erupted between Israel and Hamas in the Palestinian territories. It is not that war hasn’t been ongoing. Simmering tensions have been marinating a devil’s brew between them for a long, long time, but again it has exploded into a hot, violent war with death and destruction on all sides.
In Nigeria, the terrorist group Boko Haram attacks villages, burning them, raping and killing their residents. In Kenya, Somali terrorists attack busses and villages and even shopping malls, burning, raping and killing. The lack of respect for human life is horrific.
There are currently 44 armed conflicts going on in the world. Some of them have involved incredible loss of life. In Afghanistan there has been a mind-numbing loss of life since the rise of the Taliban in 1978. Between 1.5 and 2 million people have died since then in that one country alone.
In Somalia’s conflict there have been more than 500,000 deaths since 1991 when the civil war there started. More than 250,000 people have been killed in Syria since 2011. More than 150,000, often gruesome deaths in Mexico’s drug wars have littered the country with casualties. And the horrific list continues on and on, including Egypt, Iraq, the Central African Republic, Sudan, Ukraine, Iran, Pakistan, Israel, The Palestinian territories, Burma, Indonesia, Colombia, India, The Philippines, Peru, Uganda, Congo, Kenya, and the list goes on and on and on.
The war in Darfur which is not particularly active at the moment, though there have been deaths in 2013 and 2014, has snuffed out the lives of up to 460,000. And more than a decade ago, the genocide in Rwanda killed more than half a million.
Some conflicts span multiple nations with their casualties. For instance, the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency in Africa spans four countries and has claimed between 200,000 and 500,000 lives.
The casualties of modern war, horrendous as they are, pale into insignificance to the killing fields of some of the monsters of history. Think of Joseph Stalin, for instance, the violent Russian dictator who was at war with his own people. He killed 20 to 60 million of them through famine and starvation, the “gulag,” death quotas and by other means. That’s between 1,800 and 5,500 dead bodies per day, or up to 40,000 per week during his 30-year reign of terror. Stalin blithely said, “Death is the solution to all problems. No man — no problem.”
Casualty counts always vary and are debated, but World War I saw up to 18 million soldiers killed and a minimum of 30 million wounded.
Adolf Hitler had little respect for human life. It is estimated that he was responsible for 60-85 million lives through battle, concentration camps and the deliberate killing of civilians during World War II, plus 3 million Russian soldier POWs left to die. Also included in that number would be Hitler’s own military casualties as well as those who died fighting his armies. The staggering number of dead from World War II was 2.5% of the total population of the world.
Though World War II was the deadliest war on record, “there was not a single year before, between or after the world wars that did not see large-scale violence in one part of the world or another.”
Niall Ferguson, The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West, 2006.
All in all, the 20th century was the deadliest century since the beginning of recorded human history. Though that century is known for great progress, including, among other things, universal suffrage, technology and industrialization (which gave us the automobile, airplanes, televisions, computers, the Internet, and other amazing things), radical self-interest led to the early graves of between 167 and 188 million people. During the same century, according to a book entitled “Gendercide – The War on Baby Girls,” 100 million females were purged from the human race because they were considered to be less valuable than males.
Why was the 20th century the bloodiest century of all? There were many reasons. For instance, “the most violent period of any empire, country or ideology is during its death struggle.” Rebellions arise, and are countered by “exemplary brutality,” or the ruling elite making an example in punishing the rebellious. As an empire crumbles, the social order becomes dysfunctional and chaos arises. People take advantage of chaos to take what they want. So bribery, corruption and violence become the norm. World War I was a direct result of the death of an empire. Imperial powers fought until they were exhausted. They killed off a generation of young men and bankrupted their economies.
The 20th century also saw conflicts of ideology struggling for supremacy, which undergirded the Second World War. And from the ashes, brutal regimes emerged, like the various communist governed states in Eastern Europe. Technology had developed deadly weaponry including machine guns, faster airplanes, tanks and poison gas, nuclear bombs, all of which reaped a whirlwind of carnage and death.
Thirdly, much bloodshed resulted from tribal, religious and cultural conflicts, as the ruling elites vied for power and wealth. According to some historians there were 200 wars in the 20th century, with half of them in the last 10 years of it.
Niall Ferguson, The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West, 2006.
The planet is a theater of war. And the 21st century is off to a terrible start with wars, violence and death in a host of conflicts. Every day we hear reports of some terrorist blowing himself up, or car bombs killing or maiming innocent bystanders. We hear of murders on every hand, political deception lets the powerful impose their will on the powerless. Such is the background noise of the 21st century in which we live. We are so numb to it all that we shrug our shoulders. Most people are no longer capable of feeling sorry for innocent victims unless it directly affects them.
And there are many more examples of horrific loss of life. King Leopold II of Belgium killed 8 million slaves in Congo during colonial times. Hideki Tojo, military dictator of Japan was responsible for the lives of 5 million Japanese killed during World War II under his reign from 1941-1945. Then there was Ismail Enver Pasha, military dictator of Ottoman Turkey, who killed two million Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians. You may have heard of Pol Pot, dictator of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, who killed 1.7 million of his own people, particularly the educated class. You’ve also probably heard of Kim Il Sung, brutal dictator of North Korea from 1948-1994 who killed 1.6 million of his own citizens for various reasons. And the grisly list doesn’t end there either.
Satan loves war. Listen to this. “It suits his Satanic majesty well to see slaughter and carnage upon the earth. He loves to see the poor soldiers mowed down like grass.” Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, page 367
Here is another statement. It is from the Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 6, page 14. “We are standing upon the threshold of great and solemn events. Prophecies are fulfilling. Strange, eventful history is being recorded in the books of heaven. Everything in our world is in agitation. There are wars, and rumors of wars. The nations are angry, and the time of the dead has come, that they should be judged. Events are changing to bring about the day of God, which hasteth greatly. Only a moment of time, as it were, yet remains. But while already nation is rising against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, there is not now a general engagement. As yet the four winds are held until the servants of God shall be sealed in their foreheads. Then the powers of earth will marshal their forces for the last great battle.”
This was written well before World War I. Since then we have had two general world wars, and hundreds of other smaller, but no less brutal conflicts.
Why is peace so elusive? And why are our times more bloody than any previous time? On this side of the second coming of Christ, we have nothing to look forward to except more efficient ways of killing each other.
Omar Bradley, a highly decorated five-star general from World War II, said in a speech on Armistice Day, 1948, “We have men of science, too few men of God. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living. If we continue to develop our technology without wisdom or prudence, our servant may prove to be our executioner.”
Isn’t that insightful? This general who was one of the main U.S. Army field commanders in North Africa and Europe grasped the issue. There is something wrong with the human race, something wrong with our way of thinking and our way of seeing. We suppress our conscience. We can reach incredible heights of intelligence and technology, but descend into the moral abyss. Without a moral compass, without a supranational system of navigation built on unchangeable universal laws, we will never use our gifts in the service of good. Instead we will always use them in the service of evil.
And General Douglas McArthur said, “The problem basically is theological and involves a spiritual recrudescence and improvement of human character that will synchronize with our almost matchless advances in science, art, literature, and all material and cultural developments of the past two thousand years. It must be of the spirit if we are to save the flesh.”
McArthur saw that the carnal heart of man is at the center of war. His point that human character must be improved if we are ever going to overcome our proclivity for war is especially perceptive.
Where does war come from? Notice that Generals McArthur and Bradley said that there was a spiritual aspect to war. There is conscience involved and moral principles, sometimes referred to as ethics. War originates in the heart. Envy, jealousy, greed for power, or money, all these things and more lead to war.
My friends, will it ever stop? While some human organizations work to bring peace, the scriptures tell us that they will utterly fail. The Bible says in Jeremiah 6:14, “They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” Doesn’t that sound like today’s rulers? They talk of peace, but they plan for war. You cannot plan for war and peace at the same time.
War is the result of the carnal mind. Evil men are possessed by demons. Their minds are a mirror image of Satan’s mind. They have lost their sense of respect for God, and consequently they lose their respect for his creation, including human life. All the efforts of man to unite the world and prevent war and maintain peace, have failed. The great dictators of history failed to prevent war by great empires. The League of Nations, which was the first international or globalist organization, failed to prevent World War II. The United Nations’ efforts to prevent war have also been fruitless. It’s always just more of the same, more wars, more violence, more bloodshed. Armaments have not solved the problem. World War I, for instance, was supposedly the “war to end all wars.” Science has not solved the problem. We just end up with more weapons that are more lethal. We cannot put our cities underground in a bunker. So, what is the solution?
The solution my friends, is law and order. Yes, law and order. Those who make war are lawless and they are order-less. They will not come under the great laws of the universe. They will not come under the law of God. That is the only solution. The Ten Commandments, if followed by everyone, would end all wars. Nations and groups of nations try to solve the problem of war and violence with human mechanisms and political machinery in an attempt to quiet things down. No sooner does one conflict end, or near its end, and another springs up to take its place. There is no peace and no hope of achieving it. Yet that is what the people of this world demand.
In place of political or secular mechanisms, the pope says that the world should look to the Vatican as the peacemaker. And if wealth is redistributed according to the papal principles, everyone will be at peace. But historically, that has proven to be a disaster as well. The popes and priests are just as carnal as everyone else. Look at the inquisition, the crusades, which were the wars of religion in the Middle Ages.
There must be a fundamental change of thinking if there is ever going to be peace. That means a new heart. Instead of competition and the struggle for supremacy, in its place is the spirit of cooperation and collaboration. Perhaps I should point out, as a side, that sports are just controlled mechanisms of war. Sports are all about supremacy over your opponent. The World Cup is war. The Super Bowl is war. It is the spirit of war.
Most people will never be willing to do what it takes to come into harmony with God’s law. So, until Jesus comes in the clouds of glory, we are told that there will ever be another war, more nuclear stockpiles, more heavy artillery, more jet fighters costing billions of dollars each. There will be total insecurity.
We are incapable as human beings of bringing about this essential change to bring in everlasting peace.
The Bible tells us that the first war was in heaven before man was created. Revelation 12:7-9 says “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
The violence in heaven was initiated by Lucifer who thought he should be equal with Christ. For he said in his heart, “…I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Isaiah 14:13, 14
So, you see, Lucifer was jealous of Christ and coveted that which was not his. He chose a carnal heart and he sinned. He then initiated a war of stealth, in order to get the angels to join him in his rebellion. Eventually, one third of them sympathized and united with him. Once everyone could see what Satan was doing, he could hide no longer, and open violence war erupted. Satan and his angels were cast out, the Bible says.
Isaiah 14:12 says, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!”
So, now there was a great controversy, a war between Christ and Satan. Satan hates Christ with deadly passion. He demonstrated that at the cross. Satan tries to rule over our minds and control our thoughts, feelings and actions. He wants to make us his slaves and eventually destroy us.
God rules over his subjects by their own free choice. Each of us can choose to be loyal to Christ or serve His enemy. That principle is the key to understanding the war of the universe. If the universe is going to ever be secure, if ever there is going to be peace, absolute peace once again, everyone must be able to choose based on enough information, which side he is going to be on. In order to reveal enough information so that everyone can make an informed choice, Satan must be permitted to manifest himself in human society so that everyone can make that choice.
That war between Christ and Satan and their respective followers migrated to earth where Satan was successful in tempting Adam and Eve to sin and join him in rebellion. It was a war of conquest. He wrested control of the earth and the human race from Christ. Christ’s death on the cross took back control from Satan. Now we are in the end game of that controversy. The final war is soon to come. The battle of Armageddon, a continuation of the spiritual war, will pit Christ and His followers against the total onslaught of the enemy and His followers.
But let me ask the question again. Where does war really come from?
After the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Albert Einstein said, “It is easier to denature plutonium than it is to denature the evil spirit of man.”
You see my friends, that evil spirit is what causes war. It is the spirit of competition, of conquest. And it is deadly. Millions of innocent people have been murdered because of it. It causes disputes between husbands and wives, arguments between children, power struggles in the office, animosity between church people, strife between races and war between nations. That spirit causes genocide, fratricide, infanticide and homicide. The evil in the heart of man, implanted there by his own choice bring chaos, carnage and catastrophe. It yields butchery, slaughter, massacres and other atrocities. When will it end?
Jesus understood this evil spirit when He said that at the end of time there would be wars and rumors of wars. He knew the heart of man is like that of his master Satan. Satan started a war in heaven. And he instigates that same spirit in his human agents. His desire for supremacy is now implanted in the carnal heart of man and it yields the terrible results of war and bloodshed.
Jesus also experienced the evil spirit when he was beaten, slapped, spit upon, mocked and demeaned and crucified. And many of his followers have experienced the same at the hands of their persecutors. Just ask the Waldenses, the Albigenses, the Huguenots and a host of seventh day Sabbath keepers down through the ages. That evil spirit is still there. It manifests itself in the deliberate killing of innocent people with poison gas attacks, exploding car bombs and passenger jets shot out of the sky.
The apostle James also reflects on this evil spirit in a very practical way. Listen to what he says from James 4:1-4, “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
That means war, my friends. The disciples disputed among themselves, and when Jesus asked them about it, they had to admit that they were arguing over who was the greatest. This was that same evil spirit of war.
It is the same spirit that was in Cain, who killed his brother in jealousy. The Bible calls it “the way of Cain,” Jude 11. The way of Cain is strife, bloodshed and war.
And the whole earth followed in “the way of Cain,” until it was so wicked, so cruel and so violent, that God said he would destroy man off the face of the earth. But God knew that the flood would not change the heart of man. He knew that “the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth,” Genesis 8:21.
Nimrod also had this spirit for he too was in rebellion to God. He established Babel, the ancestor of Babylon, and the literal type of the end-time spiritual Babylon. They are all in harmony. And they were at war with God. Spiritual Babylon has invented a substitute worship in opposition to the express will of God in the Ten Commandments. That’s war. Rebellion to God is war. Sunday worship began with Nimrod, but Rome brought it into the Christian church and converted its true, humble worship, into pomp and prideful display of false piety. That’s war, my friends. And that papal system also had the same evil spirit of war and strife. Rome went to war against those who kept God’s fourth commandment and anyone else who disagreed with any of Rome’s dogmas. She maimed and killed them. She destroyed whole cities to root out heretics and murder them in cold blood.
And now, as Rome regains her popularity in our modern age, she will also regain her pride, and evil spirit of persecution. The great end-time spiritual Babylon is at war with God. In the name of peace, he makes war against the almighty. “…He shall stand up against the Prince of princes,” the scripture says in Daniel 8:25.
War is embedded in the carnal heart. Anyone who tolerates a carnal heart in himself is literally at war with God. You cannot escape that fact. Romans 8:7 says that “…the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”
The scripture says in Ephesians 6:12 that “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
But that spiritual war has real life consequences on planet earth. The Bible tells us about that terrible battle called Armageddon. It is found in Revelation 19:19. Listen to what happens “And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.”
Think about this for a minute. Who will be in that throng that wants to attack Christ, the horseman, and overthrow heaven? Notice that it said the beast. Do you think Pope Francis will be in that throng, perhaps leading the way? Notice too that it said the kings of the earth would be there. What about today’s earthly rulers like Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, Herman Van Rompuy the President of the European Council, U.S. President Barak Obama, Prime Minister Steven Harper of Canada, UK Prime minister David Cameron, or Prime Minister Tony Abbot of Australia? I don’t know about you, but I’m not used to thinking like that. But that is what the Bible says. If this global war happened today, these are the people that would be involved in attempting to overthrow Christ, and many more that we could name. I’m not judging these people’s motives. I’m just applying the scripture to our circumstances. I cannot see how a genuine follower of Christ could ever be President of the United States, or Prime minister of some other country knowing what the Bible says about them. The Bible declares that these rulers of the earth, or their successors will be there, along with their armies.
So, that means that they will be in battle array. Instead of fighting each other as they have done for so many millennia, these fighting men, led by their kings, or presidents, prime ministers and monarchs, will unite together in a strange coalition, a strange sort of unity, all overseen by the pope and the cardinals in the curia. They will aim to overthrow Christ and any vestige of loyalty to His law and set up their own kingdom on Satan’s principles of violence instead. They will try to eliminate all those who keep all of the Ten Commandments. This will be a time of trouble such as never was, said Christ in Matthew 24:21.
The beast (or the Papacy), the kings of the earth, and the spirits of devils gather everyone together for one final war, before Jesus comes. This war will certainly have many aspects, but it will be a time of great trouble and trial for God’s faithful commandment-keeping people. It will be a time of persecution of those that do not go along with the religious laws that will be imposed on a global scale. It will also include a general world war. Remember, Satan always tries to deceive and distract the masses of humanity from the real issues, the spiritual issues. So, a general world war would be a global crisis that could easily precipitate the spiritual crisis for God’s people. It is possible that it will be an attempt to consolidate power in one final attempt at globalization in the name of religion. My guess is that the physical aspect will have something to do with controlling Islam. I don’t have any proof for that, just a hunch. It is not precisely clear in scripture how the spiritual battle for the minds and hearts of God’s people will interact with the literal general war that will be waged at this time, but it is becoming clearer as time goes on, at least for those who are watching carefully and prayerfully the moves and countermoves that are taking place in the important centers of influence in this world.
In the days of Christ the Pharisees and Sadducees, who were otherwise at odds with each other, along with other various and sundry factions among the Jews, united together in a strange union to war against Christ, ceasing their hostilities against one another for long enough to rid themselves of the menace of a man so pure and holy as Jesus. Likewise, in the final conflict, those who have served their self-interests for so many years, those who have fought against each other, now they unite in another strange union and cease their warfare long enough to rid the earth of the pure and holy followers of Jesus. Jesus purity was a threat to the corrupt Jewish system. Likewise, in the final conflict, the purity of His followers will be in stark contrast to the evil intentions and purposes of the ruling classes of the nations of the world. That contrast will expose and threaten their own strife for supremacy that they cannot have them around and still keep the loyalty of the masses. So, they unite to stamp them out.
Think about it, my friends, the spirit of wickedness and war reigns in the heart of carnal men, but the spirit of righteousness and peace reigns in the heart of Christ’s true followers. This difference places the two sides in stark contrast before the masses of people living on the planet. They must then make a final choice whom to serve.
The wicked rulers of this world realize that they are exposed and move to clear the earth of any testimony against them. This is the foundation and motivation of the final test for God’s people. They keep His seventh day Sabbath, but the kings of the earth in league with Rome set up a false day of rest and worship and require all humanity to follow it. They set up a final test of loyalty to themselves. They exalt themselves as if they were God, just like their satanic ruler did in heaven. They mirror his satanic majesty in their own sphere.
The Bible then describes in graphic detail the terrible scene. This final war, this final attempt to overthrow Christ and His followers will end in disaster for the wicked. Listen to it in Revelation 19:20, 21. “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.”
Even though Christ brings an end to the battle of Armageddon, it is not actually the last war. It is only the last war before the close of human probation. There is still one more war to go, or at least one last attempt at war.
After the second coming of Christ, there is a millennium in which the wicked are judged. You can find this in Revelation 20:12. This is so that any and all uncertainty, or lack of clarity about why God has acted the way he has toward the wicked can be resolved. That millennium will be amazing and will clear up a lot of questions that our finite minds cannot comprehend. But at the end of it the Bible tells us that there will be one final war, one final battle. The wicked dead are raised to life again to meet their final judgment. Satan works them into frenzy, a massive coalition and deceives them into thinking that they can overcome Christ and the New Jerusalem, which has come down out of heaven to the earth. It is found in Revelation 20:7-10.
It says, “And when the thousand years were expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
Here in verse nine is predicted an incredible unity that develops among those who are not inside the Holy City with Christ. Like never before there is a globalization of nations, kindreds, tongues and people. There are all manner of religious leaders in an amazing global ecumenical unity as well, all inspired by Satan himself who, as their leader urges them to take the field of battle.
Here is a description of that very time from the book Great Controversy, pages 664-671. Let me read you a few excerpts.
“Now Satan prepares for a last mighty struggle for the supremacy. While deprived of his power and cut off from his work of deception [during the Millennium], the prince of evil was miserable and dejected; but as the wicked dead are raised and he sees the vast multitudes upon his side, his hopes revive, and he determines not to yield the great controversy. He will marshal all the armies of the lost under his banner and through them endeavor to execute his plans. The wicked are Satan’s captives. In rejecting Christ they have accepted the rule of the rebel leader. They are ready to receive his suggestions and to do his bidding. Yet, true to his early cunning, he does not acknowledge himself to be Satan. He claims to be the prince who is the rightful owner of the world and whose inheritance has been unlawfully wrested from him. He represents himself to his deluded subjects as a redeemer, assuring them that his power has brought them forth from their graves and that he is about to rescue them from the most cruel tyranny… Satan works wonders to support his claims. He makes the weak strong and inspires all with his own spirit and energy. He proposes to lead them against the camp of the saints and to take possession of the City of God. With fiendish exultation he points to the unnumbered millions who have been raised from the dead and declares that as their leader he is well able to overthrow the city and regain his throne and his kingdom.
“In that vast throng are multitudes of the long-lived race that existed before the Flood; men of lofty stature and giant intellect, who, yielding to the control of fallen angels, devoted all their skill and knowledge to the exaltation of themselves… There are kings and generals who conquered nations, valiant men who never lost a battle, proud, ambitious warriors whose approach made kingdoms tremble.
“Satan consults with his angels, and then with these kings and conquerors and mighty men. They look upon the strength and numbers on their side, and declare that the army within the city is small in comparison with theirs, and that it can be overcome. They lay their plans to take possession of the riches and glory of the New Jerusalem. All immediately begin to prepare for battle. Skillful artisans construct implements of war. Military leaders, famed for their success, marshal the throngs of warlike men into companies and divisions.”
This all takes time, my friends. They have to rebuild a military industrial complex. They will perhaps create nuclear weapons again, military jets with laser guided missiles, bombs, tanks, machine guns, drones outfitted with the latest weaponry. You name it, they will probably have it.
Reading on, “At last the order to advance is given, and the countless host moves on—an army such as was never summoned by earthly conquerors, such as the combined forces of all ages since war began on earth could never equal. Satan, the mightiest of warriors, leads the van, and his angels unite their forces for this final struggle. Kings and warriors are in his train, and the multitudes follow in vast companies, each under its appointed leader. With military precision the serried ranks advance over the earth’s broken and uneven surface to the City of God. By command of Jesus, the gates of the New Jerusalem are closed, and the armies of Satan surround the city and make ready for the onset.”
Listen to what happens next. “Now Christ again appears to the view of His enemies. Far above the city, upon a foundation of burnished gold, is a throne, high and lifted up. Upon this throne sits the Son of God, and around Him are the subjects of His kingdom. The power and majesty of Christ no language can describe, no pen portray. The glory of the Eternal Father is enshrouding His Son. The brightness of His presence fills the City of God, and flows out beyond the gates, flooding the whole earth with its radiance.
“In the presence of the assembled inhabitants of earth and heaven the final coronation of the Son of God takes place. And now, invested with supreme majesty and power, the King of kings pronounces sentence upon the rebels against His government and executes justice upon those who have transgressed His law and oppressed His people…”
“The whole wicked world stand arraigned at the bar of God on the charge of high treason against the government of heaven. They have none to plead their cause; they are without excuse; and the sentence of eternal death is pronounced against them…”
“As if entranced, the wicked have looked upon the coronation of the Son of God. They see in His hands the tables of the divine law, the statutes which they have despised and transgressed…
“Satan seems paralyzed as he beholds the glory and majesty of Christ. He who was once a covering cherub remembers whence he has fallen… Memory recalls the home of his innocence and purity, the peace and content that were his until he indulged in murmuring against God, and envy of Christ… He reviews his work among men and its results—the enmity of man toward his fellow man, the terrible destruction of life, the rise and fall of kingdoms, the overturning of thrones, the long succession of tumults, conflicts, and revolutions. He recalls his constant efforts to oppose the work of Christ and to sink man lower and lower…
“For thousands of years this chief of conspiracy has palmed off falsehood for truth. But the time has now come when the rebellion is to be finally defeated and the history and character of Satan disclosed. In his last great effort to dethrone Christ, destroy His people, and take possession of the City of God, the archdeceiver has been fully unmasked. Those who have united with him see the total failure of his cause.”
You see, my friends, war and violence is a direct result of the rejection of the divine Ten Commandments. “The history of sin will stand to all eternity as a witness that with the existence of God’s law is bound up the happiness of all the beings He has created,” Great Controversy, page, 671. That happiness and peace can only be ours when we bring our lives into harmony with God’s holy law. All rebellion must be cast out of our hearts. All strife for supremacy must be banished. All clamor for position, or honor must be subdued. All defensiveness and self-interest must be crushed so that Christ can be made manifest in our lives.
Let me continue reading from Great Controversy, page 671 and onward. “The time has come for a last desperate struggle against the King of heaven. [Satan] rushes into the midst of his subjects and endeavors to inspire them with his own fury and arouse them to instant battle. But of all the countless millions whom he has allured into rebellion, there are none now to acknowledge his supremacy. His power is at an end. The wicked are filled with the same hatred of God that inspires Satan; but they see that their case is hopeless, that they cannot prevail against Jehovah. Their rage is kindled against Satan and those who have been his agents in deception, and with the fury of demons they turn upon them.”
You see, they go back to war against each other. But instead of mutually assured destruction, “fire comes down from God out of heaven. The earth is broken up. The weapons concealed in its depths are drawn forth. Devouring flames burst from every yawning chasm. The very rocks are on fire. The day has come that shall burn as an oven. The elements melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein are burned up. Malachi 4:1; 2 Peter 3:10. The earth’s surface seems one molten mass—a vast, seething lake of fire. It is the time of the judgment and perdition of ungodly men—“…the day of the Lord’s vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion,” Isaiah 34:8.
In place of the old destroyed world will be a new world, a world of a wonderful and total peace. Listen to what the prophet Isaiah says about the new earth. It is chapter 32:18 “And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in [secure] dwellings, and in quiet resting places.” And in chapter 60:18 he says, “Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.”
No more war, my friends! No more strife! Even “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,” Isaiah 11:6, “and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.” Oh friends, don’t you want to be there? What a peaceful and glorious place. And here is one more verse from Isaiah 11. It’s verse nine. “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain.”
The things that have caused us so much agony, the things that have caused us to fear and tremble, the things that have tortured and torn our hearts, the things that have brought rivers of tears to our eyes, all will be no more, for “…the former things are passed away,” Revelation 21:4. The theater of war will have become the theater of peace.
“The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love. That’s Great Controversy, page 678.
Now back to the present. Here is a statement from the Review and Herald, September 17, 1901. “The Spirit of God is being withdrawn from the earth. When the angel of mercy folds her wings and departs, Satan will do the evil deeds he has long wished to do. Storm and tempest, war and bloodshed,—in these things he delights, and thus he gathers in his harvest. And so completely will men be deceived by him that they will declare that these calamities are the result of the desecration of the first day of the week. From the pulpits of the popular churches will be heard the statement that the world is being punished because Sunday is not honored as it should be…”
And what popular pulpits would this be? Would that be the pulpit of Joel Osteen? Would it be the pulpit of T. D. Jakes, Benny Hin, Kenneth Copeland. What about the pulpits of Rick Warren and Bill Hybels, or perhaps the papal pulpit itself?
I’ll read on. “And it will require no great stretch of imagination for men to believe this. They are guided by the enemy, and therefore they reach conclusions which are entirely false.” End quote.
While ever Satan still exists, while ever he can develop a league of human forces arrayed on his side, there will never be a solution to the crime and bloodshed that plagues this world. Friends, there is a time of trouble that is coming soon. A general military engagement is not yet happening, but it is on the way. Perhaps it will be labeled World War III. But while there is relative peace, this is the time to prepare by following God’s counsel to get out of the cities. They are the targets of hostilities in any war. But they also suffer collateral consequences during war, even if they aren’t attacked. If there is a fuel shortage, the people in the city suffer the most. If there is a food shortage, the people concentrated in the cities suffer most. It is because they are the most dependent on the transportation system and the food store system. They are also the most dependent on government services. If those should break down, they will be left hanging, with no resources but their own wits. Think of the panic and the violence that will erupt in the cities when the Spirit of God is withdrawn from them, and the forces of evil are permitted to wreak havoc. Oh, my friends, don’t you think God’s counsel is perfectly suited to the coming time of trouble?
Preparation is the only thing you can do. And that means yielding to Christ so that He can fulfill His offer to “put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts. and will be their God, and they shall be my people,” Jeremiah 31:33.
Archeologists can tell a lot about an ancient society by the tools they used. If they find a lot of agricultural implements, they know that the society was an agrarian one and a peaceful society. They can even tell something about how they grew their crops, their methods of harvesting, etc. If they find swords, arrowheads, spears and other devices of battle, then they know that the society was a warrior or hunting society. The Bible says that when the last war has been fought, our weapons of battle will be replaced with implements of agriculture. Listen to it. Its Isaiah 2:4 “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
So, a day is coming, my friends, when there will be no more war, no more mass murders, no more genocide. That day will bring peace to the planet. And it will be an absolute peace. This will not be an act of the United Nations, but an act of God to end the conflict with Satan. It will not be the result of a globalization and centralization of authority. That’s how man thinks he can solve disputes. It will only come by the intervention of the God of heaven. It will be the work of heaven.
As it stands now, one by one, heart-by-heart, Christ works to change our nature. He takes away the heart of war, that evil spirit of war, and replaces it with a heart of love and peace. You cannot wait until heaven to beat your swords into plowshares, or your spears into pruninghooks. You must let Christ do it now. And He will do that in you today if you let Him.
“And the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places,” Isaiah 32:17, 18.
Let us pray. Our Father in heaven, thank you for Your promise to forgive us and cleanse us from war in our nature. Please do that for us today. We want to be in the theater of peace today so that we can be in the theater of peace when Jesus recreates the earth all over again. Change our hearts we pray, in Jesus name, amen.