What counsel can the Scriptures give those in war-torn countries about the end times?
Those suffering the scourge of war must never forget that war is not normal. Nor did it originate within the hearts of man. The Scriptures tell us that war began in heaven by an angel who chose to rebel against God. By cherishing a spirit of pride, Lucifer (now Satan) sought to take by conquest what he could not attain by character, power, or divine authority.
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isa. 14:12-14).
“…Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned…” (Ezek. 28:12-16).
He moved upon many of the angels with his lies to hate their God without cause. His secret conflict eventually ripened into an all-out war to take the throne of heaven.
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (Rev. 12:7-9).
Upon the earth, Satan determined to continue his war with God through man. He tempted Adam and Even to sin and when he did, he opened the way for his war to continue on Earth. From the beginning of our history to now, war has plagued all mankind. Satan and his angels move upon men to contend with one another and to destroy one another. No regard is given to those afflicted by these armed conflicts. Many of those scourged by war often live in war-torn ruins that used to be their homes, their towns, and their countrysides.
As they and the world look upon such destruction wreaked upon man, they fathom why such things have happened to them. They long to understand why these people are stricken by such evil persons. In all their speculations, they cannot discern the intentions of the author of sin. In the beginning, Satan warred against God and all who were faithful to Him. On Earth, Satan wars against man to conquer them and to turn them away from God. He seeks to conquer their faith.
How is this done? As said before, Satan moves upon men and nations to war with one another, especially over religion. But despite the evils of these conflicts, there are people who remain faithful to God. They are doing the work that we should all be doing. They are spreading the gospel news in the most dangerous of circumstances.
Satan, angered by such efforts, tries to destroy these faithful followers of Christ with the weapons of war. But his efforts fail, for God prospers His people, especially in times of persecution. This lesson can be plainly seen in the history of Roman persecution against the early church. Despite the attempts by the Roman emperors to eradicate the Christian church, it continued to flourish.
But Satan is not ignorant of this fact, being the instigator of all war. So he regularly employs another avenue by which to lead men away from God. Through the outlets of media, Satan openly broadcasts his wicked labors and the fruits of them. He allows men to see the carnage and bloodshed that he and his agents have wrought.
The ruined homes and lives of the victims and the malevolent spirits of those who murder without hesitation are Satan’s open challenge to the divine government of heaven. It is as if the accuser of our brethren was yelling to the world, “If your God is so loving, why does He allow me to destroy you?” Just as he challenged God concerning His servant, Job, Satan contests that if he were allowed to afflict man, they would surely curse Him to His face.
Unfortunately, the testimony of the destroyed families and towns by war affected the minds of many inside and outside the zones of conflict. Many people, frustrated by the seemingly endless violence, have indeed blasphemed the Lord and turned away from trusting Him. Many more will do so before Jesus returns. But the faithful among the war-ravaged nations continue on in spite of these things. They do not do this out of a fear of man or a fear of divine punishment. They do it because they love the Lord and He told them (and us) that these things would happen before He returned.
The wars of today are but a faint shadow of the coming time of trouble, the time of global conflict that the world has never seen or will ever see again. It will be a time of outright war against God, a time when every nation in the world will experience conflict more extreme than those we are now enduring. Every conflict throughout history points to this moment, the moment when Satan will marshal his forces to take possession of everyone in the world.
Through this last war, he will seek to claim the world and everyone in it for himself, by open force and subtle deception. It will be the last war, a war not between countries, terrorists, or factions. It will be the final battle but between good and evil.
To the many who dwell in the regions of the world afflicted by war, the counsel is plain. Hold fast to what remains. Be faithful unto death and Jesus will give you a crown of life. The world beholds your faith under the severest trial as both an example worthy of emulation and as an object lesson for what they themselves will soon face. They who behold your commitment to spread and maintain your faith have practical counsel on what kind of faith they need to develop right now.
We need your prayers so that we may awaken from our spiritual sleep, lest that day come upon us as a thief in the night. May your faith continue to shine as a light in the midst of darkness. Until the day when war will be no more, hold fast ‘til He comes.
“Hold Fast Till I Come”
by Mrs. E.W. Griswold
Sweet promise is given to all who believe–
“Behold I come quickly, Mine own to receive;
Hold fast till I come; the danger is great;
Sleep not as do others; be watchful, and wait.”
“Hold fast till I come,” sweet promise of heaven–
“The kingdom restored, to you shall be given.”
“Come, enter My joy, sit down on the throne;
Bright crowns are in waiting; hold fast till I come.”