Imagine if mankind turned from destructive pursuits to focus on positive achievements. This day is coming!
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War is as old as history. Like a virus filling its host, it has consumed mankind. Humans have had a murderous streak since Cain killed Abel. No deterrent—military, political or economic—has prevented it from breaking out. New weapons are constantly being developed, billions of dollars spent on artillery and forces, and endless man-hours wasted on learning how to destroy other human beings.
In a televised speech titled “The Chance for Peace” on April 16, 1953, United States President Dwight Eisenhower summarized war’s terrible cost: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone.
“It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”
Over seven decades later, Eisenhower’s words echo with even greater meaning and urgency. Nations spend unprecedented resources on war preparations, scrambling to win the arms race—not realizing that no one wins in war. Technological advancements such as tactical nuclear bombs, armed drones, and space-based weaponry have only upped the ante.
A warning often attributed to philosopher and historian Bertrand Russell has fallen on deaf ears: “War does not determine who is right—only who is left.” Left as in those not completely obliterated.
Each successive generation has passed its addiction to bloodshed on to the next. This has been done wittingly or unwittingly by media, parents, military academies, and through the most powerful teacher of all—example.
An oft-quoted passage from the Bible predicts the end of war. The book of Isaiah foretells what will happen at Jesus Christ’s Second Coming: “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” (Isa. 2:4).
As wonderful as this utopian vision sounds, it seems impossible given war is so entrenched in the human experience.
We are left to ponder, which generation will fulfill this Bible prophecy and break war’s vicious cycle?
War is not new. For 6,000 years, mankind’s most precious assets—time, human life, and money—have been poured into the black hole of the global war machine. It appears we mostly have death and destruction to show for it.
Consider time. A statistician in the 1960s found that more than 14,000 separate conflicts took place throughout man’s history. In these conflicts, billions of people spent an incalculable number of hours, days, weeks, months, years and decades thinking, planning and carrying out violent acts. Now consider the thousands of conflicts that were never recorded or those that occurred since the 1960s.
Think about what could have been achieved if the world’s greatest leaders had not been distracted by war. What if Abraham Lincoln governed in peacetime? What if the brightest minds who assembled to create the atom bomb for the Manhattan Project—including Enrico Fermi, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Albert Einstein—had tackled world hunger or clean energy? Instead of hundreds of physicists, mathematicians and engineers creating nuclear weapons that resulted in the deaths of 185,000 people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, consider what could have been done toward productive pursuits. How far could the trillions of dollars spent during the United States’ two-decades long conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have gone to solve other existential problems?
The incalculable time and money civilization has spent on war is mind-boggling—and tragic!
And what do we have to show for it? A more peaceful, stable world? No! The modern, “advanced” time in which we live is more dangerous and tumultuous than ever.
Heads of state do little else but ponder wars and even potential wars. They spend sleepless nights worrying about warfare. Administrations are filled with military planners who have devoted their entire lives to the topic. Giant, war-related divisions of governments exist. The U.S. alone has the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency, to name a few.
Armed conflict showcases man’s creative abilities, but to what end? Take the Russia’s Satan-2 nuclear missile, in development since 2009. President Vladimir Putin claims the 119-foot-tall intercontinental ballistic missile, which can travel 16,000 mph, is “invisible” to missile defense systems.
According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Missile Defense Project, Satan-2 is able to carry 10 large nuclear warheads and 16 smaller ones. This means one missile can transport as much as eight megatons of TNT-explosive power or 400 times the power of either bomb the U.S. dropped on Japan in 1945.
What makes this devastating weapon “invincible” is its ability to elude another technological marvel known as a “kinetic kill vehicle.” It is best described as a bullet that can take out a nuclear-tipped missile mid-air before it makes impact with its intended target. Satan-2 has advanced guidance systems and countermeasures that trick the “bullet.” All of this occurs in a matter of moments.
Think of the human capital used up in these inventions. What could have been accomplished if governments focused on health advancements instead? Or other useful manufacturing?
Yet adults are not the only ones wasting their time on war. While child soldiers are a tragic problem, there is another way today’s youth are trained to be killers: video games.
Although not actual warfare, these games are not harmless fun. Children and teenagers learn how to kill and maim in virtual reality. One study of over 3,000 schoolchildren in Singapore found that “youths who play video games are more likely to think and act in aggressive ways” (Agence France-Presse).
The amount of time eaten up by these virtual battles is astonishing. According to UberFacts, gamers collectively spent 25 billion hours or 2.85 million man-years playing the popular video game series Call of Duty.
Note that this is not man-hours, but man-years. Millions of years wasted stabbing, shooting and blowing up virtual opponents—in just one game series! This is time that children, teenagers and college students could have spent on fruitful endeavors—learning about the world around them or building skills for a career.
So much time spent on violence has led to no positive end.
Lives Cut Short
Next consider loss of life. World War I—ironically at one time called the “war to end war”—left a staggering loss of life in its wake.
The total mobilized forces of the Allied nations (the U.S., the British Empire, France, Italy, Russia and six other countries) was over 42 million. An estimated five million were killed, with total casualties (those either killed or injured) amounting to 22 million—52.3 percent of the total forces of the Allied nations.
The forces of the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria) were around 23 million. Over three million lost their lives.
American Forces Press Service stated: “A generation of men died in battle on the fields of France. The Somme, Verdun, Ypres and Meuse-Argonne became killing grounds. On the Eastern Front, millions of Germans, Austrians and Russians battled. Overall, about 16.5 million people [when civilian deaths are included] were killed in the war.”
World War II, not surprisingly, proved even deadlier. An estimated 59 million soldiers and civilians were slaughtered. Poland lost nearly 17 percent of its entire population with over 35 million killed.
One of the longest, deadliest battles took place in Stalingrad, Russia. This clash between Russians and Germans lasted from July 1942 until February 1943.
“The Battle of Stalingrad was one of the bloodiest battles in history, with combined military and civilian casualties of nearly 2 million,” History recounted.
All from just one battle!
While World War II looms as the largest and deadliest war in human history, it was obviously not the end of death via warfare. Scores of millions died in subsequent conflicts around the globe such as the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and conflicts in India, Sudan, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Iraq-Iran, Syria and Ukraine to name a few.
One of the worst consequences of fighting is the impact on children. War robs young people of their innocence. Children around the world are taught to murder. Numerous accounts reveal the tragic results of young kids who are taught to hate their enemies.
A Long Way Gone – Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah chronicles the sad picture of war’s impact on children in Africa. A description from the book’s website stated: “There may be as many as 300,000 child soldiers, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s, in more than fifty conflicts around the world. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them. He is one of the first to tell his story in his own words.
“In A Long Way Gone, Beah, now twenty-six years old, tells a riveting story. At the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he’d been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts. Eventually released by the army and sent to a UNICEF rehabilitation center, he struggled to regain his humanity and to reenter the world of civilians, who viewed him with fear and suspicion. This is, at last, a story of redemption and hope.”
Ishmael Beah’s story is an exception to the rule. Most children ensnared in war’s vicious cycle do not escape.
The Peace Research Institute estimated that nearly two-thirds of the world’s children lived in a conflict-ridden country in 2019, adding that more than 415 million children—over one in six—lived less than 31 miles from where the actual fighting took place.
According to UNICEF, children are literally under attack in conflicts around the world. The organization named what they call “six grave violations against children in times of war.” Atrocities include: the killing and maiming of children, the recruitment of children into armed forces and armed groups, attacks on schools and hospitals, abduction, and rape and other sexual violence.
“Between 2005 and 2020, parties to conflict raped, forcibly married, sexually exploited, and committed other grave forms of sexual violence against at least 14,200 children.” This number is almost certainly low due to underreporting given the stigma around rape and sexual violence of children.
Governments and military forces are required by international humanitarian law to protect the most vulnerable, including children, during conflict. Enforcement of these standards, however, rely on the depraved minds waging war in the first place.
This heart-rending predicament should make even the most hawkish minds cry out for peace!
Finally, there is the loss of money due to conflict. For the Allies, the price of World War I was $195 billion. This amounts to about $3 trillion in today’s dollars! The cost for the Axis powers was over $86 billion—or around $1.3 trillion today. To further understand the size of these figures, Germany finally paid off its debt from the first world war in September 2010.
World War II resulted in even greater costs. Encyclopaedia Britannica recorded, “There can be no real statistical measurement of the human and material cost of World War II. The money cost to governments involved has been estimated at more than $1,000,000,000,000 [$1 trillion] but this figure cannot represent the human misery, deprivation, and suffering, the dislocation of peoples and of economic life, or the sheer physical destruction of property that the war involved.”
U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “I discovered that over ninety percent of all national deficits from 1921 to 1939 were caused by payments for past, present, and future wars” (Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Search for Victory).
Today, man is still addicted to war-spending. While the United States continues to far outpace other nations in military spending—$801 billion or 38 percent of the world’s total military expenditures in 2021—other nations such as China (second on the list), India, the United Kingdom and Russia also continue to pour billions into their militaries.
China, the only other country besides the U.S. with a triple-digit-billion-dollar defense budget, has seen its profile on the world stage rise with each yuan invested in its military might. “China’s defense spending has grown five-fold over the past two decades, jumping from $50 billion in 2001 to $270 billion in 2021. This has had a significant impact on the balance of military power globally, but especially within China’s neighborhood. In 2000, China was the second-largest defense spender in the Indo-Pacific, behind Japan. In 2021, China spent more on defense than the next 13 Indo-Pacific economies combined” (ChinaPower).
Imagine if the world’s wealth was instead earmarked for productive uses. Recall Eisenhower’s words. How many starving mouths could be fed? How many people’s thirst could be satisfied by clean, drinkable water? How many educational programs could be financed with these funds? How many cures for debilitating diseases could be discovered?
Imagine the possibilities…
“Neither Shall They Learn War”
We read the Bible prophet Isaiah proclaiming the end of war. The United Nations yearns so much for this God-inspired vision that the organization adopted it to represent their goal. In fact, Isaiah 2:4 is inscribed into a wall across from the UN headquarters in New York City. A statue of a man beating his sword into a plowshare also stands at the UN complex.
A description of the bronze man reads, “This is called ‘Let Us Beat Swords into Plowshares’ and…represents the figure of a man holding a hammer in one hand and, in the other, a sword which he is making into a plowshare, symbolizing man’s desire to put an end to war and convert the means of destruction into creative tools for the benefit of all mankind.”
Although this scripture is well-known, how many actually believe it?
Contrary to what most believe, the Bible explains that a day is coming when human beings will no longer “learn war.” Each generation will not pass their “war habits” to the next. At Christ’s Return, a world-ruling supergovernment will be established. Countries will be taught to not “lift up” their swords—or militaries—against other countries! Nations will no longer compete against one another for money and resources. The spirit of selfishness that has long existed will be replaced with one of selflessness. Peace will break out across all nations. Mankind will seek the knowledge of the right way to live.
Lethal weapons (“swords” and “spears”) will be forged into productive tools (“plowshares” and “pruninghooks”). These instruments will then be used to provide food through a vast worldwide agricultural program. World hunger will end. Amos 9:13 describes the resulting abundance of food: “Behold, the days come, says the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that sows seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine…”
In fact, as part of the new anti-war policy, all weapons will be destroyed. Ezekiel 39 provides one example of what will be done during Christ’s reign: “And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years: so that they shall take no wood out of the field, neither cut down any out of the forests; for they shall burn the weapons with fire” (vs. 9-10).
Imagine the world’s immense stockpiles of weapons—old and new—being destroyed and put to helpful use!
Darkest Before Dawn
Isaiah 2:2-3 explains more about when this will happen: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’ s house shall be established in the top of the mountains [the Kingdom of God], and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come you, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”
This is the good news from God’s Word!
Yet prophecy records that in the last days—our time now!—war will grow worse before it can be banned forever. As the saying goes, the darkest hour is just before dawn. The briefest look around in our society shows time must be short.
Jesus said of the time immediately before His Return: “And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars…for nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved” (Matt. 24:6-7, 21-22). War is an inseparable part of this bleak future.
Those who survive the catastrophic events of the end-time will be so war-weary that they will be willing to submit to God’s ways and choose peace.
“Way of Peace”
During this prophesied time, mankind will replace its failed ways with God’s ways. The world will at last discover what God calls the “way of peace” in Isaiah: “The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goes therein shall not know peace” (59:8).
The apostle Paul quoted Isaiah 59 in Romans 3:17: “And the way of peace have they not known.”
The context of this verse brings more insight into how God views man’s ways: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that does good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood [how true of man’s nature]: destruction and misery are in their ways: and the way of peace have they not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes” (vs. 10-18).
This way of peace has not been taught in the classrooms or institutions of the world. Instead, we have learned hatred toward our fellow man. Mankind, cut off from its Creator, and never coming to the revealed knowledge of how to live, has disobeyed God and reaped bad fruits. But bitter hatred will soon be replaced with love and concern for one another. Romans 13 explains how true, godly love is the ultimate solution to war: “Love works no ill [the Greek can also mean “harm” or “evil”] to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (vs. 10).
The Creator in numerous places is called the “God of peace” (Rom. 15:33; 16:20; Phil. 4:9; I Thes. 5:23; Heb. 13:20). His Son, Jesus Christ, is called the “Prince of peace” (Isa. 9:6). God will force peace on a mankind that will need to be taught the only right way to live—and will start with one generation.
Better World Ahead
Once war is removed, never-before-seen progress will occur in all areas. Man’s God-given creative genius will be channeled toward productive and positive means.
Vast resources will be unlocked. Human ingenuity—guided by God’s Spirit—will be a thrilling sight to see! The world’s best minds will be put to work fixing problems. Cities will be cleaned up. Earth will be filled with the knowledge of the right way to live (Isa. 11:9). New and better farming programs will be created. Effective and right educational systems will be instituted.
Think of the possibilities. The incredible brain drain that is war will finally be gone!
Besides exciting productivity breaking out in all nations, universal happiness will exist. As the psalmist wrote, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy” (Psa. 126:5). The prophet Zechariah records: “Thus says the Lord of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof” (8:4-5).
To learn more about how man will finally find lasting peace, request our free booklet How World Peace Will Come! It brings the big picture—and the truth!—about how war will soon be abolished.
Although hundreds of generations have been addicted to war, one will soon raise the banner of peace for all future generations.
God speed that day!