All of us are very concerned about the world and our lives these days. The threat of global war tops a list that includes pandemic and global warming. We have had a false sense of peace for a while. The United States has been militarily involved in conflict. The Afghan War (2001-2021) and, during most of that time, a war in Iraq (2003-11) were active conflicts. It just didn’t seem that way here in the States. It didn’t even make the news on most nights. Prior to the second Iraq war was the first Iraq War (1990-91), before that there was Panama (1998-90) and you get the idea. Google U.S. military engagement timeline and you will see some degree of involvement almost every year since our birth as a country. The point here is that we don’t live in a peaceful world and never have. That said, it actually had been better than usual, even counting the wars that we are not involved in. But now the Russian invasion of Ukraine brings the specter of nuclear war.
We have an abundance of movies, video games and nightmares that picture a dystopian post-nuclear war world. Could this happen? Would God allow it?
The Bible doesn’t paint a beautiful picture of the world as we know it. It prophecies about a world where peace is lost, “natural” disaster abounds, and many lives are lost. We would be naive to think that horrible things will all be stopped by God. These disasters are not an expression of what God desires, they are the result of the sinfulness of mankind and the evil influence of the kingdom of Satan. This will remain a constant until the end.
There is a limit, however. It may be of little comfort, but the total destruction of mankind doesn’t happen. We arrive at Judgment Day. We even arrive thinking that peace and safety is at hand. The Bible warns that “because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). It also promises that the “one who endures to the end will be saved.” We need to be spiritually and mentally prepared for tough times.
I don’t think that involves digging a bomb shelter, stocking rations, buying weapons and the like. We leave our lives in God’s hands.
We are here for the sake of bringing the Gospel to all people. It will not necessarily always be a time of peace. The Gospel of eternal life through Jesus will remain a fruitful message and people will come to believe. It may not necessarily mean that the number of believers on Earth will be an increasing number. It does mean that more will be ready for Judgment Day.
While prophesies of the future, like Matthew 24 and Revelation, don’t give much detail on how the Church fares throughout this time, Jesus’ words quoted above, do give you the sense that the Church will decline but continue until its work is complete. There is also a sense that Satan will continue persecution of the Church and try to deter the success of the Gospel until the end.
We may live in a period of time where dangers ramp up. Whether it does or not, we cannot let the world’s lawlessness discourage us or cause us to doubt the ultimate outcome of the world. God will ultimately seize back the control of the world and remake something better. There will come a time when there will be no more war and no more curse. We will be a part of it through our connection to Jesus.