A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

Showing posts with label World War. Show all posts
Showing posts with label World War. Show all posts

June 9, 2024

How Are We to Understand God and War?

If you were like me this past week, your heart was drawn to the images of the D-Day survivors as they were honored for liberating France and Europe during WW2. The pride with which these men [aged 98 to 104] struggled to stand from their wheelchairs to receive the Legion of Honor, France's highest distinction, from French President Emmanuel Macron, spoke volumes of their principles and moral standards. I have no doubt they would fight for freedom yet today, if called upon. When you looked into their eyes, you could still see the teenage boys who never backed down from the inconceivable task of storming the beaches of Normandy under heavy machine gun fire from the dug-in German forces. You could see the indomitable spirits that drove them to scale the 110-foot cliff at Pointe du Hoc from which they were fired down upon from the German bunkers.    

They are known as "The Greatest Generation" for good reason. The world would look completely different today if they had not answered the call, and I thank the Lord that we still have these few men who survived that terrible war in which it is estimated 50-75 million died worldwide (including both military personnel and civilians). The numbers of the Greatest Generation are dwindling fast, and soon we will have no one to give their testimony and provide evidence of the reasons and consequences for war. And it is vitally important that we understand why war exists and how we should take it into consideration.

Of course, our human minds often come into conflict with our hearts and spirits when contemplating war. Most of us would agree that war is undesirable. It leads to fear, disruption in our lives, destroys our peace, threatens our lives and those we love, and for many, results in death. It would be the last resort for most of earth's peace-loving citizens. But we cannot ignore that from the beginning of time, we've had an Enemy that stirs the passions of men for war, for when he can incite the nations to war against each other, "the minds and hearts of the people are diverted from the work of preparation to stand in the day of God" [Ellen G. White]. And we cannot deny that there are men who take advantage of such passions for war for personal gain and profit. Obviously, God does not condone nor approve of these motives.

But does that mean He never advocates war? I think everyone would agree that He grieves over the misery, misfortune, and affliction that accompanies war. He did not create us to experience such adversity. But because sin has entered His creation, and the Enemy still rules on the earth, man's rebellion against God and his fellow man will inevitably result in wars. And that possibility introduces a new conflict to our moral psyche... the clash of opposing options, if you will -- Knowing that God abhors war, do we compromise in order to avoid war? But that leads me to a series of questions that I have asked before. If there is a battle between Good and Evil, doesn't God want us to take a stand and defeat Evil? And does that necessitate war to gain victory? If it's true that we can't compromise or concede our way to a complete and fulfilled victory -- we tried that with Hitler in WW2 --  then don't we have to be willing to fight and go to war?  

From God's perspective, let's look at a couple of texts in Scripture. King David, who was a man after God's own heart, wrote Praise be to the LORD, my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me [Psalm 144]. During our lifetimes, God is always training us for warfare - both physical and spiritual, and in each battle, He is trying to teach us something: how to live righteously in the midst of increasing evil. 

And then there is Ecclesiastes 3, in which King David's heir apparent, King Solomon, received superior wisdom in order to discern between good and evil. He wrote, There is a season [a time appointed] for everything and a time for every delight and event or purpose under heaven. And who appointed these seasons? God!! Solomon goes on to write, [There is] a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace. Now, Scripture says these appointed times and events  come from God for His purpose under Heaven. It's easy for us to question the reasons for some of God's decisions, but if we believe that Scripture is the inerrant Word of God, then we must accept that there may be wars that He finds justifiable.

To the extent that you can accept these arguments, let me remind you of a quote I posted from Messianic Pastor Asher Intrater in Israel shortly after the October 7th atrocities in his country. The Good Pastor said, "God wants you to know war. That is hard for some to grasp. Fighting in moral, spiritual, and military warfare is part of walking in faith. To fear God is to hate evil (Proverbs 8:13). If we haven't been through war, we miss some aspects of faith: Fighting a war demands obedience, discipline, holiness, faithfulness, courage, sacrifice, a victorious spirit, punishment of evil, justice, and salvation". [I guess this is where what Satan meant for evil [war], God can use for His good -- all the aforementioned]. The Pastor went on, "Messiah Yeshua is not only the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6); He is also the Commander of the Armies", as stated in Revelation 19:11, And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who was riding it is called Faithful and True (trustworthy, loyal, incorruptible, steady), and in righteousness He judges and wages war [on the rebellious nations].  

When I was a child the enormity of WW2 and how it encompassed the entire world seemed like ancient history, yet here we find ourselves only 80 years later with even more devastating prospects and consequences of war at our doorstep. Are the nations so far gone that Almighty God is ready to command the angelic trumpets to sound and send Jesus to tread the wine press of His fierce wrath, in judgment of the rebellious world? At His first coming, Christ was dipped in His own blood for mankind's redemption. Is He now set to mount up as the Head of Heaven's armies, dressed in a robe dipped in the blood of the wicked for mankind's judgment?

Only God knows when that time or season of His appointment to the Final War will take place. But I cannot dismiss that we may [or will] experience a cataclysmic war on the way to our ultimate Victory against Satan and Evil. I only know that however and whenever war comes, I must remain steadfast in my hope and trust in the Lord. I will proclaim His Greatness, Mercy, Love, Glory, Justice, and Righteousness in all the circumstances that may befall our nation. I am ready to receive His judgment as well as His compassion and to represent Him to foe and friend alike, to the best of my abilities. I will take captive all thoughts of fear and anxiety; any feelings of hate or revenge, and I will endeavor to stay focused on the Holy Spirit [in me] to guide me in the ways of my Deliverer. Lord, let me stand ready to fight or to lay down my sword -- whatever you command me. Just let Your Goodness and Your Peace cover this world. We are growing weary of the Enemy and his dominance over men's hearts. We long to see You manifest in the earth once more. Come, Lord Jesus, Come!

Hebrews 10:37, 39     For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay... But our way is not that of those who shrink back to destruction, but [we are] of those who believe [relying on God through faith in Jesus Christ, the Messiah] and by this confident faith preserve the soul.      

April 14, 2024

Remember God's Promises In The Midst of World Chaos

As I finish writing this post, Iranian drones are flying over Israel, and the sense of impending war is heavy. Are these the birth pangs Jesus talked about? Is God determining to shake the world to bring about judgment and [hopefully] repentance? At the same time, as the season of Passover approaches, I am detecting a heightened sense of anticipation in my spirit; different than other years. I don't know how to explain it, other than I'm discerning the upcoming Feast Days unlike I have in years past. The picture God is painting for me is still not in total view, but I want to share what seems to be making sense to me at the moment. And I need to begin with how the Feast days tie into our current world events.

If you are familiar with the timeline of God's Holy Feast days then you are aware that the Spring Feasts align with Jesus's Crucifixion and death, His burial, and His Resurrection. To be more specific, He died as the sacrificial lamb [delivering us from the consequences of sin] on the Feast of Passover; was buried on the Feast of Unleavened Bread [born without sin, He is our Bread of Life]; He rose on the Feast of First Fruits [as the first fruit of the harvest of souls]. Then, 50 days later, on Pentecost, [which is when the Jews believe Moses received the written Law], He sent the Holy Spirit to write God's laws on the hearts of Believers.   

Knowing the spiritual and historical significance of these Holy Days, I am drawn back to that critical moment in time when the first Passover occurred, and God chose to step in and deliver His chosen people from their bondage. Israel had suffered in slavery for 400 years in Egypt and God had heard their cries and sent Moses to try and convince Pharaoh to set them free. Because Pharaoh hardened his heart and rebelled against the Most High God, YHWH interceded to set His plan in motion.

Ultimately, He sent the Angel of Death to judge the nation that had enslaved His people, telling Pharaoh, "Israel is My son, my firstborn. So, I said to you, 'Let My son go that He may serve Me; but you have refused to let him go. Behold, I will kill your son; your first born' " (Exodus 4:22-23). This is a prime example of what it can look like when God shows up to defeat Satan's wickedness and evil. He shows Creation (Satan and his fallen angels) just who is in charge. How it must have enraged Satan to see that God had provided a way for death to "pass over" the homes [and sons] of the Israelites!

God instructed His people how He wished them to memorialize this day of their deliverance by sacrificing an "unblemished" lamb to make peace with Him. This was to remind them that although they were His chosen people, they were not without guilt. Pharaoh paid a price with the shedding of his son's blood. The Israelites would have had their sons killed, too, without the substitutionary sacrifice of the lamb... Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22). 

The ancient sacrifice of the first Passover lamb occurred on the 14th day of Nisan and this day has been commemorated ever since. It should be of great significance to all Believers to understand that nearly 1500 years later, Jesus would become the sacrifice for us, that we might make peace with God. Once again, God chose to step into the world because something had to change if His plan to reconcile mankind was to move forward. So, Jesus chose to die for us on a long ago Passover; to shed His blood so that we could be forgiven for our sins and our relationship with our Creator could be purified and made holy.

Mankind has now had over 2000 years since that historic Passover to make their peace with God and receive that much-needed forgiveness by coming to faith in the One who provided the way to reconciliation. But does it look like we want to restore our relationship with Him? Does the world look like it seeks to honor His sacrifice by perpetuating His message of loving the Lord God with all your heart, soul, and mind; and loving your neighbor as much as you love yourself? The violence that threatens to engulf the world surely does not honor the upcoming Holy Days. 

We must not forget that while our God is a God of grace and mercy, He does not accept our sin and disobedience without chastising us. Over and over the Israelites of the Bible did not fulfill their obligations to YHWH for delivering them out of bondage. Not only did they continue to sin, but they rejected Jesus [whom YHWH sent to deliver them once more]; they refused to listen to His messengers, the prophets; and they forgot His word. And let's not forget the horrific harm to children through their idol worship of child sacrifice. I think nothing grieves God more! And the nation of Israel ended up in bondage. 

I dare to say that the world closely resembles that level of sin today. We certainly deserve the judgment of our Holy and Righteous God. And I believe that every day is an act of His mercy and love for us, giving us a chance to repent and ask for forgiveness; to end the impending wars and violence, the murder of innocent babies, and the sexual perversion that threatens to entrap millions of children in sexual slavery. And it gives Believers one more day to share the Good News of deliverance from our bondage to sin and God's glory of a coming Kingdom on earth.

So, as I contemplate these upcoming Spring Feasts, I am reminded that the Fall Feasts are not that far away. And remember, they point to Jesus's return when God sends Him, once again, to reconcile the world and defeat Evil and Wickedness; this time for good. And what I keep hearing in my spirit is God's promise in Hebrews 12:26-28 that He will "shake the earth and the heavens" in judgment in order to give us His Kingdom that cannot be shaken. 

We know that when Jesus died on the Cross, there was a great earthquake; the earth shook and the veil in the temple was torn in two, representing that the separation between man and God was torn asunder and we now have access to restore our relationship with our Father in Heaven. That shaking 2000 years ago is a foreshadowing of increasing shakings to come, unless we turn from our wicked ways and seek His face.

We do not know when the future Return of Christ will occur, but we do know that it will happen during the Fall Feasts. And when Jesus warns in Matthew of false prophets, false Christs, wars and rumors of wars, famine and pestilence, and great earthquakes that will shake the world, it may look like He's coming soon ... perhaps even during the 2024 Fall Feasts? Many are beginning to tremble with fear of God's judgments, but for us Believers, it is a time for rejoicing, because we know of God's promises when Jesus returns -- even in the midst of world chaos. It is a time of hope, not despair.

We know that no matter what evil Satan instigates in the world, we have an eternal life that awaits us. We know that while we are in this world, it is not our true home. We are a citizen of Heaven, and God promises we have a Savior who will take us Home with Him. Not only that, but He has promised us a home in His mansion; one that He is preparing for us even now. Furthermore, we have the promise that we get to exchange this mortal body [that is subject to pain and disease] for a glorious body, just like Christ's!  

Even in the midst of all the chaos, evil, and corruption of God's laws, I think the promise I am most excited about is the intimacy with Christ that I will experience -- to have personal access to Him as He receives me into His adopted family is something that I hang on to as I witness the increasing darkness. That promise transcends anything the kingdom of darkness can bring against us in this season. And who does not look forward to the promise of having authority in the Millennial Kingdom as we rule and reign with our Lord? 

But while we are still here on the earth, there are still promises that sustain us! Jesus will never leave us or abandon us. We have a precious inheritance that awaits us in heaven; an inheritance that will not perish, spoil or fade, as God, Himself guards it for us. The old corrupted order of things will be abolished and a new order will find us engaged in eternal worship and rejoicing in the presence of God. And don't forget the Heavenly celebration that awaits us at the Wedding Banquet! We will be given fine linen robes of white to wear. What a day that will be!

But even in the midst of all this reflection on the promises of God, we must face the reality of the tragic events that must take place at the end of time. Scripture tells us that wars, earthquakes, famine etc. will come to pass -- and we can certainly see the "shaking" that is coming into view. But the final promise will help us endure these troubling times because we know that God will judge the Enemy and the Enemy will be defeated! And then God comes to dwell with us!! And how I anticipate walking and talking with Him just like Adam and Eve did! 

So, as the world takes another step towards chaos and world war, I wonder if this is another critical moment in time when God will intervene for His people. Will He show up to demonstrate to Satan just who is in charge? While we wait for that answer, I will focus on the Spring Feasts in the next week, and I will be mindful of the sacrifice and pain Jesus suffered for us, and what it must have been like to experience the loss of hope in the days following His death. But I will praise Him for giving me the opportunity to come to faith and believe in His promises. And then I will look forward to that future season of the Fall Feasts when Evil is defeated and all the above promises become our new reality... and it may be coming sooner than we think!

2 Corinthians 7:1     Therefore, since we have [great and wonderful] promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, completing holiness [living a consecrated life -- a life set apart for God's purpose] in the fear of God.