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Jesus and War in the Ukraine

To begin our discussion concerning the war raging in Ukraine, let us first look at the birth of our Lord Jesus who is the key to understanding what will follow. The circumstances associated with the birth of Jesus were unusual. Destined to be “The Prince of Peace” and the king of the whole earth, yet he was born in a stable. (Isa. 9:6,7) The world knew little or nothing of what was taking place. Nevertheless, the coming to earth of the Son of God was announced by an angel, who said to the shepherds on the hills of Judea, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Then the angel, together with a “multitude of the heavenly host,” praised God and said, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”—Luke 2:10-14

There has hardly been a time since the birth of The Prince of Peace that the world, or some part of it, has not been plagued by war or the fear of war. Furthermore, the so-called advancement of civilization in recent centuries has not materially changed this picture. Mankind in general is not looking to God for help but is relying on its own methods for bringing peace to the world. Its methods have generally been unsuccessful. It is, as the prophet Jeremiah stated, “saying peace, peace when there is no peace.” (Jer. 6:14; 8:11) World conditions are rapidly deteriorating as the people that we have trusted in, and the things that we have come to know and enjoy are deteriorating. Many in the world today now live in a constant state of fear. (Luke 21:26) We see firsthand that world tensions are at an all-time high. Conflicts, wars, and acts of terrorism now fill our headlines and news reports as Jesus prophesied. (Matt. 24:6-13) Much of the world is caught up in a frenzy, which has led many to fear for their very existence. Even now, as the year 2022 draws to a close and many in the world commemorate the birth of Jesus, millions are wondering if, and when the angels’ announcement of peace and good will among mankind will ever come about.

Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine on February 24, 2022 sent shockwaves throughout the world. Tens of thousands of people have been killed or wounded and fourteen million people have been displaced because of the destruction of towns and cities. There continues to be much suffering, confusion, and fear. People and world leaders alike fear that Russia will expand its desire for conquest and expand its attacks into other neighboring countries. Then, there is the fear among more distant nations that they will somehow be drawn into the conflict on one side or the other. Considering the unpredictability of the Russian president, there is the ever-present possibility that he may choose to use nuclear weapons in a display of power and control. Certainly, the news coming out of this part of the world is far from being a message of peace and good will.

The foregoing description of the current Russia-Ukraine conflict is but one example of the world’s present situation in which “good tidings” are seldom part of the daily news. We should not conclude from this, however, that the purpose of Jesus’ coming to earth has failed, or that its accomplishment has in any way been delayed. The storm clouds of human passion hovering over the distraught and fear-filled world today are the result of human failure. This was foreknown by God and foretold in the Bible. He has permitted it so that the human race might come to realize that the only way out of its confusion and perplexity is to look to him.—Luke 21:25-28

Let us recall some of the promises by which God assures us that we have no need to fear. One is found in the prophecy of Isaiah, previously noted in part, pertaining to the birth of Jesus and to his future rulership as the world’s king. “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”—Isa. 9:6,7

One day soon, God will use the returned Lord to fulfill the scripture, “He maketh wars to cease.” (Ps. 46:9) In Micah’s prophecy, we are assured that, “In the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain [kingdom] of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains [kingdoms], and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.”Mic. 4:1-4

We should trust that the Heavenly Father is working out everything according to his plans and purposes. He is looking especially at how we are living up to the teachings that were revealed to us by his dear son. “The fire [of that day] shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” (I Cor. 3:13) The trouble or ‘fire’ will reveal what type of character we have developed during our lives. Our faith and character should be built upon the precious promises of God which, we are told, are pictured by gold, silver, and precious stones. (I Cor. 3:12) The Heavenly Father is allowing all nations to deceive themselves into thinking that they can solve all the world’s problems. However, we have seen the contrary. Man’s peace has never been long lasting and new conflicts arise suddenly. However, these events of violence and war are helping to prepare the world of mankind to accept Christ’s coming kingdom of everlasting peace. We see by the conditions in this present evil world that mankind is far removed from the spirit of Christ. (Rom. 8:9)

Nevertheless, God’s grace is that glorious attribute by which He will triumph over the greatest evil that can be, sin, and the author of sin, Satan. (I Pet. 5:8; Rev. 20:7-9) By His grace God provided His son, the Lord Jesus, to die for sin, as he willingly did on the cross. (John 1:29; I John 2:2; Heb. 2:9) Jesus rejected the concepts of violence and war. Instead, he taught love both by his example, and by the commandments “to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart” and to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matt. 22:37-39) This new attitude toward our enemies rejects the use of force and killing. This type of character is based upon the principles of love and peace making.—Matt. 5:9; Heb. 12:14

All the people of the earth will one day know of this promised, everlasting peace and have the opportunity to then live in a restored, perfect earth forever. (Isa. 35:8-10) This promise includes all who have ever lived since there is also promised a resurrection of those who sleep in death. Paul says that “there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.” (Acts 24:15) Jesus added, “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth.” (John 5:28,29)

As we consider the wonderful gift of our Lord Jesus, who suffered and died on the cross to take away the sins of the world, and then was raised to life again by the mighty power of God (Eph. 1:18-23; II Cor. 5:15) to bring salvation to mankind, we rejoice to have such a loving and merciful God. (I Thess. 4:14; I Cor. 15:4) This peace that we have been writing about will then become a reality through Christ’s earthly kingdom. Then, “they shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain [kingdom], for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as waters cover the sea.”—Isa. 11:9

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Why God Permits Evil

Why doesn’t God do something about all the suffering in the world?

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