War - its place in God's purpose
The purpose of war
One of Christ's titles is “Prince of Peace”, and therefore mankind generally supposes that war is displeasing to God.
A careful study of God's book, however, finds that this is not the case. The Bible reveals that God uses war to punish sinful nations. For example, in the past, God instructed His people Israel, to war against the nations of Canaan who were utterly corrupt and wicked in their way of life. God used Israel as His rod of punishment to destroy the Canaanites for their wickedness. Later, God used the Assyrians and the Babylonians as His instruments to punish the nation of Israel, because of their continued disobedience and idolatry - yet, and here is a most important principle, God held the Assyrians and the Babylonians responsible for the overthrow and scattering of Israel as the following passage shows.
Again, in Isaiah chapter 19, God is speaking about the Assyrian power which over-ran northern Israel:
Then a few verse later,
This illustrates how God uses war to punish nations (and his people Israel) for sin and idolatry.
Later still, the Romans besieged and destroyed Jerusalem, and the Jews were again driven out of their land and scattered throughout the world. The Babylonians and the Romans were merely fulfilling their own aims and ambitions; nevertheless God used them as His instruments and they unwittingly carried out God's judgments on His rebellious and perverse people.
The cause of war
The facts set out may be offensive to most people yet we do well to remember that the will of God as expressed in the Bible is the only standard of right and wrong.
God's will has been flouted by man, and death reigns as a consequence of this; indeed all the evil in the world is finally traceable to man's sin. All the wars from creation onwards are ultimately traceable to the “enmity” which God put between the serpent's seed and the woman’s seed in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:14-19 - see our article “Why did Christ die?”).
When Christ came as “the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world”, by sacrificing his life, he had this to say about war:
Also in Matthew he said:
This is how, Jesus, the Prince of Peace spoke when on earth and his words have proved true as history shows.
The end of war
A time is coming, however, when he will fulfil the terms of his title, “Prince of Peace”, for the Bible makes clear that, after he has judged the earth at his second coming, he will make wars to cease unto the ends of the earth.
Then he will establish God's kingdom on earth as he preached during his days on earth (see Luke 4:43-44 and Luke 9:1-6).
The Apostle Paul, speaking to the academics of Athens on Mars Hill, told them:
The first few verses of Isaiah 2 are one of the many glowing descriptions in God's Book of this glorious time of peace on earth, for then Christ will see to it that men give “glory to God in the highest”. Only THEN will there be “on earth peace, goodwill toward men”. As a means to this end, we read in following passages,
As sure as God’s word is true, this time is coming. Then
Well may the Lord Jesus exhort his followers to pray:
For only then will there be peace on earth!