COVER SUBJECT | HOW DOES GOD VIEW WAR?
God’s View of War Today
Today people are being oppressed. Many repeatedly cry out to God for relief and wonder if relief will ever come. Does God hear their cries for help? And what about those who resort to warfare to bring an end to their oppression? Does God support their efforts, viewing their warfare as justifiable?
First, take comfort in this truth: God sees the suffering in the world today, and he intends to do something about it. (Psalm 72:13, 14) In his Word, the Bible, God promises that those “who suffer tribulation will be given relief.” When? “At the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels . . . as he brings vengeance on those who do not know God and those who do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus.” (2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8) This revelation of Jesus will take place in the future in what the Bible calls “the war of the great day of God the Almighty,” also known as Armageddon.—Revelation 16:14, 16.
In that future war, God will use, not humans, but his Son, Jesus Christ, along with other powerful spirit creatures to wage war against the wicked. The heavenly forces will bring an end to all oppression.—Isaiah 11:4; Revelation 19:11-16.
To this day, God’s view of war has not changed. He still views war as a legitimate means of bringing an end to oppression and wickedness. But as has been true throughout history, it is God alone who rightly determines when such warfare is to take place and who is to be involved. As we have seen, God has already determined that the war to end wickedness and to avenge the oppressed is afuture war and that it will be fought by his Son, Jesus Christ. This means that the wars being fought in the earth today do not have God’s approval, no matter how noble the cause may appear to be.
To illustrate: Imagine two siblings who begin fighting while their father is away. They temporarily stop fighting and call their father on the telephone. One sibling claims that the other started the fight, while the other claims that he was being mistreated. Both appeal to their father, each hoping for his support in the dispute. However, after hearing both sides, the father tells them to stop fighting and to wait for him to settle the matter when he gets home. For a while the two siblings wait. Soon, though, they are fighting again. When the father gets home, he is not pleased with either child and punishes them both for not obeying him.
Today, warring nations often appeal to God for support. But God does not take sides in today’s wars. Instead, in his Word, the Bible, he clearly states: “Return evil for evil to no one,” and, “Do not avenge yourselves.” (Romans 12:17, 19) Moreover, he has made known that mankind should “wait patiently for him” to take action, which he will do at Armageddon. (Psalm 37:7, footnote) When the nations fail to wait for God to act and instead resort to warfare, he views such wars as presumptuous acts of aggression that bring his displeasure. Thus, at Armageddon, God will express his indignation and settle the nations’ disputes once and for all by “bringing an end to wars throughout the earth.” (Psalm 46:9; Isaiah 34:2) Indeed, Armageddon will be the war to end all wars.
The end of warfare is one of the many blessings of God’s Kingdom. Jesus spoke of that government in this well-known prayer: “Let your Kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also on earth.” (Matthew 6:10) Not only will God’s Kingdom eliminate all war but it will eliminate the root cause of war, wickedness. * (Psalm 37:9, 10, 14, 15) Little wonder that Jesus’ followers eagerly look forward to the blessings of God’s Kingdom.—2 Peter 3:13.
How long, though, must we wait for God’s Kingdom to bring an end to all suffering, oppression, and wickedness? The fulfillment of Bible prophecies indicates that we are living in “the last days” of this system of things. (2 Timothy 3:1-5) * Soon, God’s Kingdom will bring an end to these last days with the war of Armageddon.
As noted earlier, those who perish in this final war will be those who refuse to “obey the good news about our Lord Jesus.” (2 Thessalonians 1:8) But recall, God takes no pleasure in the death of anyone, including the wicked. (Ezekiel 33:11) Because “he does not desire anyone to be destroyed” in this final war, he is now seeing to it that the good news about our Lord Jesus is being “preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations” before the end comes. (2 Peter 3:8, 9; Matthew 24:14; 1 Timothy 2:3, 4) Yes, by means of the global preaching work of Jehovah’s Witnesses, people today have an opportunity to get to know God, to obey the good news about Jesus, and to live to see the day when war will be no more.
^ par. 9 God’s Kingdom will also eliminate mankind’s enemy death. As noted in the article “Bible Questions Answered” in this issue, God will resurrect countless people, including many throughout history who have been victims of war.
^ par. 10 For more information on the last days, see chapter 9 of the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.