In 1914, shortly after the outbreak of World War 1, British social commentator and author H. G. Wells published a series of articles which were compiled into a book, “The War That Will End War.” The title quickly became a dominant catchphrase, repeated with slight variations as justification for participation in the conflict. Although U.S. President Woodrow Wilson is only known to have used it once, it became associated with him and was seen as a crucial factor in the U.S. entry into that great war.
It is estimated that some 65 Million soldiers may have been mobilized, as many as 10 million killed, and perhaps another 20 million wounded, yet even before that historic conflict ended, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George is reported to have said, “This war, like the next war, is a war to end war.” Does it sound as if Mr. George had become a bit disillusioned with the prospect of warfare achieving ultimate peace?
World War 1 ended in 1918, and within 20 years another such conflict was brewing (World War 2), then another (Korea), and on and on. Will it ever end? In 1938, as Hitler was cranking up his war machine, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain earned a dubious place in history through his policy of appeasement, memorably boasting of his accomplishment with a speech which included the words, “I believe it is peace for our time. Go home, and sleep quietly in your beds.”
What Does Scripture Say About Peace?
Some 2,500 years earlier, when warned by the prophet Isaiah of coming warfare, which was specifically prophesied to be “after his death,” Judah’s King Hezekiah seems to have had a similar perspective. “Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the LORD that you have spoken is good,” for he thought: Why not, if there will be peace and security during my lifetime?” 2 Kings 20:19 (HCSB)
The seemingly futile search for world peace has Request personal prophecy characterized politics throughout all of history. As a matter of fact, it was a driving force behind the formation of the United Nations. Predictably, we never experienced lasting world peace since it was founded.
Can we ever hope to achieve that elusive goal, or is world peace, in fact, “the impossible dream”?
• The same prophet who warned King Hezekiah of “the wrath to come” also predicted that there will eventually come a time of world peace. “He will settle disputes among the nations and provide arbitration for many peoples. They will turn their swords into plows and their spears into pruning knives. Nations will not take up the sword against other nations, and they will never again train for war.” Isaiah 2:4 (HCSB)
• World peace is not something which will be achieved through human wisdom, leadership or effort. The prophet Micah echoed Isaiah’s prophecy, adding details which clarify the means by which ultimate peace will be attained. “In the future the LORD’s Temple Mount will be the most important mountain of all, it will be more prominent than other hills. People will stream to it. Many nations will come, saying, “Come on! Let’s go up to the LORD’s mountain, to the temple of Jacob’s God, so he can teach us his commands and we can live by his laws.” For Zion will be the source of instruction; the LORD’s teachings will proceed from Jerusalem. He will arbitrate between many peoples and settle disputes between many distant nations. They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nations will not use weapons against other nations and they will no longer train for war. Each will sit under his own grapevine or under his own fig tree without any fear. The LORD who commands armies has decreed it.” Micah 4:1-4 (NET Bible)