This month marks 100 years since the end of the first world war. We shall be reminded of the peace accord that was agreed at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 and there is a special poignancy to Remembrance Sunday this year for it falls on Sunday 11th November.
Over 37 million people died in total and it was declared to be the war to end all wars by the president of the United States. The whole world agreed that such horrendous slaughter must never happen again.
Yet just 21 years later world war broke out again, over 60 million people lost their lives and a horrified group of nations met in America in October 1945 to form the United Nations in another attempt to stop a further catastrophic war. We should not be surprised to learn that this also has failed for every year over fifty state sponsored wars are recorded in the world.
History shows us that it is impossible for humankind to eradicate wars and the Bible explains why. The Letter of James tells us that wars and fighting come from within us. Nations, like individuals desire to have more and will go to any lengths to achieve their goals. Jesus himself warned of wars continuing after his ascension to heaven leading up to a time when nations will be so distressed that people’s hearts will fail for fear and there will apparently be no solution to the problem.
But God will provide one for at that time He will send Jesus back to earth to reign as king over the whole earth and bring world-wide peace. How will he do this? The Bible calls Jesus ‘king of righteousness and king of peace’ and the order of these words is important. Righteousness describes a process of being made right with God. Through Jesus our sins can be forgiven and, in that sense, we are made righteous now. But when Jesus returns, his disciples will be changed to be like him and help bring the world into subjection to God. Only then will wars cease and everlasting peace fill the world.