The War to End War, also known as The War to End All Wars, was a phrase originally coined by the author H.G. Wells in his 1914 book ‘The War That Will End War’. The phrase is used sardonically to describe World War 1, a bloody conflict in which 20 million people died. The great hope was that men would never go to war again but it turned out to be a false hope. It must have been devastating for the generation who lived between World War 1 and World War 2. Post-1918 there would have been hoping for a better world but it wasn’t long before the world saw the Spanish Flu, the Wall Street Crash, the Great Depression, the rise of fascism, in particular, Naziism in Germany, and finally World War 2. Another 75 million died during World War 2. So was World War 2 the war to end all wars? Of course not. Off the top of my head, I can mention the Korean War, Vietnam, the Falklands War, Iraq, Afghanistan, wars in Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, the war between Rwanda and Burundi, the rise of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. The list goes on and there appears to be no prospect of peace on earth.
How sad a situation this is when God’s plan for the earth was for peace to reign. Men and women were meant to live in perfect harmony with each other, looking after the wonderful creation God gave us, its animals, its birds, its fish, its land and seas. How are we doing so far? We could ask the world leaders at COP26, speak to Greta Thunberg, ask any military general about prospects for world peace. They’d all give the same answer. The world is an ecological disaster that its inhabitants cannot put right while they choose to fight among themselves. Can the world ever know peace? Will creation flourish as God intended? Is it possible to see harmony in the animal world, and will we ever have enough, and share enough to ensure that no one goes hungry? Will we ever have a beautiful world? The answer is yes, but it won’t be achieved by men. It is only God who can bring peace to the world and he will do it through his Son, Jesus Christ.
What does the Bible tell us about a future world? Here’s a starter. “The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” (1)
Or how about this? “In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.” (2)
This is the world we long for and what we read in the Bible is no fanciful notion. These things will happen when Jesus returns to earth. When he left earth after his resurrection his disciples stood in awe as he was lifted up from the earth and transported to heaven. “They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (3) The day of his return is soon coming and this time Jesus will not come as a humble servant, living in poverty, but he will reign as the earth’s rightful king. “The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name.” (4) When he returns the world will know peace and prosperity. He will bring harmony to the earth and end its ecological disaster. What a wonderful day that will be. Make sure you’re ready for him when he returns.
- Isaiah 11:6-9
- Isaiah 2:2-4
- Acts 1:10-11
- Zechariah 14:9