The Great War
Men think more highly of their wars than they ought to. The great origin of war is elusive for the historian, but it is well known to the Christian. Cain killed Abel. Men of war followed in Cain’s footsteps (Gen 4:23–24). Pride caused man to gather to build the tower of Babel, but God judged man and confused his languages (Gen 11). Men gathered into tribes who could understand one another. The pursuit of land, wealth, and power became man’s obsession during his brief stay in the land of the living. Every generation taught the art of war to the next. Tribes became nations which became empires. The rise and fall of empires is one dominant theme in world history. It is the story of the future, too (see Daniel and Revelation).
The kingdoms of this world found endless reasons to war with one another. They still do. We fight over property lines. We fight over resources. We fight over ideas. One despot follows another in the quest to control people and things. We hold leadership conferences to teach the next generation of power-mongers the art of war. The gods are invoked for support of a tribe or nation’s “noble cause.” Wisdom warns, “He who lives by the sword will die by the sword,” but men of war have not been proven very wise in six thousand years of problem solving. After all, men, in their wisdom, have told us about wars that will end all wars. They cry out, “Peace! Peace!” But there is no peace. There never will be, for the war must go on.
The futility of war must be exhausted. God ordains for men to expend themselves until man comes to terms with his fallen state and rebellion against God. Yahweh is the warrior King (Ex 15:3), who has sent the Prince of peace, Jesus Christ (Is 9:6). The terms of peace between God and man are simple. Every man is called to repent of his sins and bow his knee to the Lord Jesus (Acts 17:30; Phil 2:10). Some rebels have surrendered to the Son of Man, but most press on waging war against God and His anointed (Ps 2). Why do the nations rage?
The sin nature of fallen man is far worse than we comprehend. Every intention of man’s heart is only evil all the time (Gen 6:5). When God began to separate a people for Himself, in covenant (Gen 12), He gave them His Law (Ex 20). Even though the Law was spiritual, good, holy, and righteous (Rom 7:12), it only intensified peoples’ passions for sinning (Rom 5:20). God shined the light into the dark, dusty cellar of human hearts. The Law began to sweep the dust, but it only whipped up more of a problem (see Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress). Man needed a river of grace to wash away the dirt. God provided the cleansing agent, but the agent from heaven, His own Son, who was rejected by men (Is 53; 1 Pet 2:4).
When the ancient of days gave dominion to His Son (Dan 7:13–14; Mt 28:18–20), man’s war with God only intensified. Dominion of the earth was wrested from Satan, by the Son of Man (Eph 1:21), through His victory at the Cross of Calvary (1 Jn 3:8). The claims of two warring kings became the issue of the Great War. The Great War is between the seed of Satan and the seed of the woman (Gen 3:15). The story of this Great War is the story of world history. It is only understood through the lens of the Holy Bible (Rev 12).
God is a Creator, and Satan is a destroyer (1 Cor 10:10). Man is caught in between. Although God created man in His own image, man joined in Satan’s rebellion against God (Gen 3). Satan enslaved man in sin (Rom 6:16–17). Men love sin even though it destroys them (Jn 3:19; Eph 2:1–3). Sin is in their hearts (Gen 6:5; Jer 17:9; Eph 2:3). It is on their lips. Sin dominates their behavior. Sin reigns in the flesh (Rom 5:21).
Because Satan was a murderer and liar from the beginning (Jn 8:44), man has learned Lucifer’s ways. The Bible calls people, “children of the devil (1 Jn 3:10)” and “children of wrath (Eph 2:3).” Satan’s demeanor is also depicted in the Bible as “a prowling lion looking for someone to devour (1 Pet 5:8).” He is a hunter, a killer. Man serves in his image, and in the likeness of his actions. He inspires the sons of disobedience (Eph 2:2) to walk in the futility of their minds in the course of this world (Eph 2:2; 4:17). That futile course is war.
Man has learned war from Satan. Satan desires to destroy the image of God; therefore, Satan stirs up strife between men and nations (Is 14; Ezek 28). Satan laughs when men fight with one another. When man murders his neighbor, he has served his master well. When men unite arms to destroy other tribes and nations, they do the devil’s bidding. War is not hell, war is the primer for hell. Men deserve hell for their destruction of the image of God. Jesus Christ is called, “the icon of the invisible God,” bearing the express image and likeness of the Almighty (Col 1:15). The kings of the earth crucified the Lord of glory in the ultimate act of hatred toward God (1 Cor 2:8). They continue to kill the followers of Jesus, today.
Despite the ongoing war in heaven that has come to the earth (Rev 12), God’s dread champion has conquered the enemies of His people and reconciled many sons to God (2 Cor 5:19). Unfortunately, man does not trust the report of peace with God (Jn 12:38). This is why the war continues despite victory being secured. Satan’s strategy is to keep the mind of man as far away from the glad tidings of peace with God (2 Cor 4:4). Satan labors to keep men occupied with notions of scarce resources (economics) and the promise of being king of the earth (politics). Men of the world are consumed by the cares for this world, and they refuse to live for God’s kingdom.
When a man or woman surrenders to the King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 17:14), they become soldiers of the Cross. This is not a Christian holy war, in the manner of Pope Urban II during the Crusades against Islam (A.D. 1096–99), but rather, an ongoing mission of proclaiming peace (Acts 10:36; Rom 10:15). In every generation there will be some who confess Jesus Christ as Lord (Phil 2:11), and some who will continue in their rebellion against Him (Jn 8:47; 10:26; Rom 8:9). Our proclamation of peace with God is called, “the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” It is the message of salvation from our enemies. You are either with Him or against Him; and if God be for us, who can be against us (Rom 8:31)?
In the Great War, Christ is victorious, and God always leads us in triumph in Him (2 Cor 2:14). Christ has overcome the world (Jn 16:33), and He has made us overcomers by faith in Him (1 Jn 5:4). Just as Christ came into the world, in His first advent, to bring peace to His people, He has sent us into the world to bear witness that He Himself is our peace with God (Acts 1:8; Eph 2:14). All men everywhere are called to lay down their earthly weapons of war and pick up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Eph 6:17).
Fighting the good fight of faith (1 Tim 6:12; 2 Tim 4:7) occurs in the mind and in the hearts of those who have received and believed the Good News from our home country, “The war is over. Our God reigns. Christ is high and lifted up, exalted to the highest place and given the name above every other name.”
As Satan retreats in defeat, he blinds the minds of people, prohibiting them from seeing the light of the Gospel of grace (2 Cor 4:4). The Word of God is issued from our high command in heaven. It is powerful, like a double-edged sword to cut through the lies of the enemy (Heb 4:12). It is the Word of truth entrusted to us as a stewardship to be rightly handled (1 Cor 9; 2 Tim 2:15). The mystery of the Gospel must be faithfully proclaimed, with boldness, so that we might persuade all people to believe our report (Acts 4:31; 1 Thess 2:2). We have the assurance of this Word of power (1 Cor 1:18; 2 Cor 6:7), to bind devils and free men, in the Spirit of truth.
In summary, we have considered the world at war from the very beginning. We have seen Satan inspiring men to war with one another. We have identified Christ as the divine warrior, who has secured victory for man, by reconciling man to God. Peace with God has come with our submission to Christ and the message of Him crucified, buried, raised from the dead, and ascended to the throne of God in heaven. While we wait for His return, to end the continuous fighting of man, we proclaim peace as ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor 5:20). Our mission of peace toward men is a truth war against the father of lies and his demons.
In conclusion, let us honor Christ our triumphant King, and let us continue to serve Him with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength, bearing witness to His power to set free the captives to sin, death, Satan. If you are engaged in this battle for hearts and minds, thank you for your service. If you have not declared your committed allegiance to King Jesus, then heed the trumpet call of the Lord of all, to join His regiment of righteousness. This is the Great War…and as always, the battle belongs to the Lord.
David E. Norczyk
Spokane Valley, Washington
January 20, 2021