In our previous posts, we’ve seen how believers prayed during the course of World War II. Christians were praying for God’s will to be done, the gospel of Jesus Christ to be preserved and the deliverance of Britain and Europe as a whole.
There is nothing good about war and that’s why most of us hate it, especially what it does to children, wives, innocent people and the bodies of those in combat. Willy Peter Reese was German soldier on the Eastern front in World War II.
He ultimately lost his life there but he left his writings which eventually were published many years later. Rees was wounded, and was sent to a medical station to get help…
I sat in a room with two hundred naked soldiers. Soldiers with frostbite on their hands and feet, bullet woods all over their bodies, shrapnel everywhere, swellings, and, a few, not many, with mental illnesses. Two doctors and two nurses applied bandages in this depot of human misery produced by war.
The doctors did duty for a week at a stretch, the nurses changed daily, since even the hardest hearts and strongest nerves couldn’t stand more of that pussy, rotting, bleeding chaos of pain, devastation, and screams.
I saw flesh fall from dead toes and pale bones glimmer through…..dribble out of festering woods, faces disfigured by tumors, dead skin hanging in ribbons from burn woods, and the stumps of amputated arms and legs sticking out grotesquely and spectrally from bloodless trunks.
Whoever had seen this and dared to speak just one single word in favor of this war was no human; he was worse than a criminal.
After the prophet Isaiah gives a picture of how Jerusalem’s gates shall lament and mourn because of the men who would fall by the sword and the mighty men in battle, he goes on say that in that day seven women will take hold of one man, saying,
We will eat our own food and wear and provide our own clothes; only let us be called by your name; take away our shame of being unmarried (See Isaiah 3:25-26; 4:1 AMP).
Isaiah here foresees a time when the ratio between marriageable men and women will be one to seven in Jerusalem. Whether this applies to our generation as well…I don’t know.
It’s been noted that although more male babies are born than female babies, the number of marriageable men in the world is constantly decreasing. Over 57 percent of the enlisted men in World War I became casualties and the casualties in World War II have been estimated at 33 million. Not counting deaths in the armed forces, the ratio of deaths between males and females was (as of 1960) nine to seven.
This had not been true in previous centuries. So when writing about prayer and war, I’m not inconsistent or in favor of the warfare state, I am just approaching the subject from a spiritual standpoint.
The Bible teaches that, “God makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow into pieces and snaps the spear in two; He burns the chariots in the fire.” (Psalm 46:9)
But the main question is, if the common man or woman doesn’t want war, then why do we generally support wars? The first answer is, we are all sinners under the sentence of divine condemnation and that’s why we need a Savior.
Since Adam and Eve, the world has been in a war between good and evil. The fall of Adam’s fall is every man’s story which subsequently led to Cain murdering his brother Abel. The second answer was given by Herman Goring.
During the Nuremberg Trials after World War II, Hermann Goring was visited by a German-speaking intelligence officer and psychologist known as Gustave Gilbert. He was given the job of interviewing the defendants at Nuremberg.
Taking notes, he wrote a book a few years later which came to be known as the Nuremberg Diary, in which he recorded his conversation with Hermann Goring. He asked Goring: “How did Hitler and the Nazis get the German people to go along with such absurd polices of war and aggression?” Herman Goering responded:
Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece?
Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor England, nor America, nor for that matter in Germany…. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.
Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in every country.
The leaders are able to entice the people into war by scaring them so that they are in danger of being considered unpatriotic if they don’t go along with them. This is what happened in Nazi German. On the night of February 27, 1933, the Reichstag Parliament building was set on fire and Hitler blamed it on the communist “terrorists.”
Historians agree that the burning of the Reichstag was the event that signalled the beginning of Nazi dictatorship. That same year Hitler formed the Gestapo, justifying it to the German people as necessary to maintain “homeland security” in a speech in which he declared:
“An evil exists that threatens every man, woman and child of this great nation, we must take steps to ensure our domestic security and protect our homeland. Sounds familiar!
Hermann Goering called it “something more sensational to stampede the German people. The public was panicked into accepting war at all costs by the Nazi propaganda machine. General Smedley Butler, an outspoken critic of U.S. military adventurism, agreed with this assessment in his book, War is Racket:
In World War II, we used propaganda to make the boys accept conscription. They were made to feel ashamed if they didn’t join the army. So vicious was this war propaganda that even God was brought into it.
With few exceptions our clergymen joined in the clamor to kill, kill, and kill. To kill the Germans. God is on our side…. It is His will the Germans be killed.
And in Germany, the good pastors called upon the Germans to kill the allies…to please the same God. That was a part of the general propaganda, built up to make people war conscious and murder conscious.
Unfortunately, in times of war the whole effort of the mainstream media becomes one of filling people’s hearts with hate and murder. There seems no place for the spirit of the gospel of love and brotherhood. People will be expected to do all they can to hate, curse, or kill their enemies in wartime, certainly not to love them.
The truth is that the gospel is just the same in peace or in war. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever and every life is eternally precious in His sight. We cannot put any monetary value on a human life, for God loved the entire world so much that He gave His only Son Jesus Christ to die on our behalf (see John 3:16).
But what about Christians who support these wars? Author Laurence Vance, in his book, Christianity and War and other Essays Against the Warfare State, writes,
The only warfare the New Testament encourages the Christian to wage is against the world, the flesh, and the devil. ….It is wrong to invoke the Jewish wars of the Old Testament against the heathen as a justification for war.
In the Old Testament personal rights were protected by a divinely established system of retribution. Every evil had to be punished in order to establish a proper community by eradicating evil from the people of God. That was the purpose of these laws. The Church is not like old Israel, but a community of believers without political or national ties.
The Church is the Body of Christ whereas old Israel had been both the chosen people of God and a national community, and it was therefore God’s will that they should meet force with force. But with the church it is different, it has abandoned political and national status, and therefore it must patiently endure aggression.
Teaching about revenge, Jesus said, “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also” (Matthew 5:38–39 NLT).
The only way to overcome evil is to pray to Christ for strength to patiently endure aggression and let the evil person fall into the hands of Jesus; otherwise evil begets evil which is why the love of money is the root of all evil.
Opportunities to profit come from war and revolutions. Conflict can be used by corporations to supply goods and services to the people involved in a conflict. As John Remington Graham reminds us:
The death of the American Republic, that former shining light to oppressed humanity everywhere, was not caused by slavery, nor was its death caused by unfair tariffs, or even States asserting the right of secession.
No, the great American experiment in constitutional government by the consent of the governed was ruined by a plot to gain control of banking and currency.
In fact when you study history before it happens you understand that wars don’t begin with assassinations of kings or queens, sinking of ships or bombings of Pearl Harbors and World trade centers. Those have been called flashpoints; the march to war takes years.
And, at the core of this last war, no matter how it will be historically engineered, it will not or didn’t start because of repressive regimes, the thirst for democracy, religious strife or territorial disputes—it all comes down to “ money, power and greed.
The Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 24 warned us against ethnic or race wars in the last days. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. But this gospel of the Kingdom will be preached to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:6–8, 14)
Many of us are asking when the end of this age will come. Jesus said that the end will come when the gospel of the kingdom has been preached in the whole world as a witness to all nations (Matthew 24:14).
This is an important statement that means; wars, politicians, philosophers, and scientists don’t have the real initiative for the history of this world. The responsibility belongs to the church of Jesus Christ.
The church is the only group of people who can bring about the closing of this age by preaching the gospel of the kingdom, which is to proclaim that Jesus alone saves and that He is coming again.
It won’t be the humanistic gospel that is prevalent now, but it will be the preaching of the message that came from the lips of Christ the Messiah Himself, and by the apostles, that must be preached in the entire world as a witness to all nations. It is a message of a Kingdom and a King Who is coming again.
So we must keep awake in this day and hour, watching at all times (be discreet, attentive, and ready), praying that we may have the full strength and ability and be counted worthy to escape all the wars, famines, deceptions, and betrayals that will take place at the end of the age, being able to stand in the presence of the Son of Man (see Luke 21:36).