IS IT PEACE ?
A. G. TILNEY
MOST people seem to be writing or talking as if World War Number Three is sooner or later certain, inevitable. In that case, prayer would be as futile as a peace-conference. But prayer - of the right kind, and along the right lines (even more than of the right quantity) - can change things, that is, hearts and circumstances. God rules over all, rulers’ hearts are in His Hand, and He has told us in outline and in order what is coming. Indeed, the Scripture here is the most reliable news.
We are told the character of the supposedly impending war - atomic, bacteriological, etc., global, universal, destroying civilization if not mankind. Moreover, some Christians point to Peter's prophecy as if the Bible foretold such general destruction for the end of this age. Here, however, there are seemingly two errors: first, this destruction cannot be till Christ has personally come and reigned one thousand years upon this earth; second, it is not only the end of this age that Peter refers to, but the end of this world, prior to the creation of the new earth, and it is brought about not by men but by God.
the same men's hearts are failing them for fear, as Christ declared would be
the case before His coming in power and glory. Therefore, the man who could
avert this peril and catastrophe would be hailed as hero and revered as saviour
of mankind. Let us now remember that
Satan counterfeits God and offers not at once an enemy of Christ, but an
imitation Christ. Christ came in gentleness
and mercy - as the Lamb, but He is
coming again in power and judgment as the Lion of the tribe of
Now God has promised a millennium, a Golden Age in the future like the Golden Age in the past, a period of rest and glory, of prosperity and peace (based upon judgment and righteousness). We must therefore expect Satan in his counterfeiting to offer something similar to what God has promised. Now it is most remarkable that in one of the end-times (for there are several rehearsals of the final drama) one of the antichrist's forerunners and understudies actually offered Israel a counterfeit of the earthly Canaan, the land flowing with milk and honey, and openly called it "a land like your own land", with descriptive details studiedly borrowed from those of the Land of Promise : "a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of oil olive and of honey, that ye may live, and not die" (2 Kings, 18: 31-32; Deut. 8: 7-8).
then, is clearly a False Millennium, promised to
While, then, a human atomic [or nuclear] war - world-wide, and pre-millennial, and earth-destroying - is not announced in Holy Writ, the Bible puts us on our guard against a false peace deluding men into accepting their destroyer as their deliverer. In Zech. 1: 11, an ominous lull before impending doom reveals that "all the earth sitteth still and is at rest ... at ease". In Rev. 6: 4, we read of the apocalyptic horseman who had authority "to take peace from the earth". In 1 Thess. 5 : 3, we hear men boasting just before the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord that they have, without Him, achieved "Peace and Security" (i.e., freedom from war, want and fear).
The boast is vain - apart from righteousness and the Coming of the Prince of Peace, for there is no real or lasting peace for the wicked. Yet we may be sure that the boast will be made, "with all deceivableness of unrighteousness" (2 Thess. 2: 10). But how will such spurious peace come about? To remove fear, there must be some sort of disarming, a calling of a halt in the present wild armaments race. Can it be that anti-God Rosh will by some material pledge prove the sincerity of his protestations on behalf of peace? This seems implied in the reversion to more primitive weapons of warfare before the fleece is thrown off and the Assyrian again comes down like a wolf on the fold - in the land of un-walled villages, dwelling safely (Ezek. 38: 8; 39: 9).
Far, therefore, from despairingly assuming an immediate world-war let us pray for all leaders and rulers, for continued peace in Jerusalem, and hopefully prepare for the proclamation of God's Good News of Christ's [millennial] Kingdom "in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (Matt. 24: 14). And let us watch and pray that we may be accounted worthy to escape the tribulation and, as rulers, to enter the real and impending millennium (Luke 20: 35; 21: 36), the Realm and Rule of the true Prince of Peace.
devoted to annihilation for war purposes, menaces the world. "There is
nothing," says Mr. Edison, "to
prevent twenty to fifty aeroplanes flying tomorrow over
The world's moral decay is no less a forecast of death: the deepening iniquity, above all else, must reach a limit compelling the miraculous intervention of God.
... It is true that our Lord is about to delay the death of the universe. For the universe's final years the evil angels are cast out of heaven; the population of the earth is to some degree restored; wildernesses are changed into fruitful fields; and by His [Christ’s] marvellous redemption the sin-cursed earth fulfils God's creative design of a glorious world. But sin bursts out once more: war on God and His Christ "went up over the breadth of the earth and fire came down out of heaven, and devoured them" (Rev. 20: 19): no fact could be more dynamic for the annihilation of the universe. But, thank God, a marvellous future lies beyond - "new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness" (2 Pet. 3: 13).
But our threatened world takes not the slightest heed to the threat. "In the last days mockers shall come with mockery, saying, where is the promise of his coming, for all things continue as they were - the unceasing, uninterrupted reign of law - "from the beginning of the creation" (2 Pet. 3: 3). "For this they wilfully forget" - they resolutely put it from their minds, it requires an effort of will to shut it out - "that the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished": that the entire race of men, with the sole exception of a single family, was miraculously swept out of existence. The words of the infidel Hume sums up the unbelief:- "A miracle is a violation of a law of nature; but the universal experience of ourselves, and of the whole human family, proves that the laws of nature are uniform, without exception." To one further catastrophe, immeasurably appalling, which will instantly shatter all their mockery, the world is blind.
But, as so often in Scripture, a warning is given to us [regenerate] believers also. "Ye therefore, beloved, knowing these things beforehand" - the whole mass of Second Coming truth - "beware lest, being carried away" - swept from your bearings - "by the error of the lawless, ye fall from your own steadfastness." And the Apostle reveals a chief source of this backsliding. "The ignorant and the unsteadfast wrest the scriptures unto their own destruction": that is, we allow ourselves sins which, by carefully distorted Scriptures, we come to regard as venial or even permissible. In the words of Dr. James Hastings:- "If it be true that he who is faithful in that which is least is faithful in that which is greatest, it is also true that he who permits himself some private but real disloyalty to Christ, without immediate self-rebuke or repentance, is allowing forces to gather within him which will bring about a shear, and it may be an irreparable fall."*
[* For example, Unitarianism, Christian Science, Mormonism, Christadelphianism, etc., all abound in quoted Scriptures, but Scriptures warped and expounded 'lawlessly'.]
So the Holy Spirit unfolds the tremendous spiritual consequence for us all. "Seeing that these things are thus all to be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be," as you stand beside the deathbed of a universe; "in all holy living" - perfected conduct "and godliness" - Godlikeness, perfected character; "looking for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God". "The world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever" (1 John 2: 17). See the marvellous wonder and value of the little interval between an eternity when there were no worlds and the moment when there will be no worlds again. Holiness is the only asbestos of God. Godliness is the life of heaven lived on earth: it is the activity of God reproduced in a human soul: it is the air of the coming eternity blowing through a human life. And the suddenness sharpens the preparation: "the day of the Lord will come as a thief." As no pleading can postpone it, no flight avoid it, no secrecy escape it, so nothing but holiness in time can meet it.
Many years ago I asked a little girl of eight years of age why she wanted to be saved. "Because", she replied, "I want God in my heart." If she lives to eighty, she will never give a better answer.
[Extracts from "A Dying Universe," by - D. M. PANTON.]
THE INSPIRATION OF THE ADVENT
LOOK upon this world as a wrecked vessel. Its ruin is getting nearer and nearer. God said to me: "Moody, here is a lifeboat, go out and rescue as many as you can before the crash comes ..." The churches are asleep. I know of no better way to awaken them than to get them to look for the return of their Lord from heaven. Nowhere in the Scriptures is it claimed that the whole world will be brought to the feet of Christ in this dispensation. I do not find any place in the Bible where God says the world is to grow better and better and that Christ is to have a spiritual reign over the earth a thousand years. The first thing Christ is to do at His coming is to take the Church out of the world. The trump of God may be sounded, for anything we know, before I have finished this address.
- D. L. MOODY.
I have never spoken in a mission, toiled as an evangelist, or preached in a pulpit, that I did not feel that the service might bring the last man, the Church would be completed, and the Lord should come. With such an inspiration as this, who would not be a minister of the Gospel? And I can say in truth that I would rather preach than be a king upon his throne. I should be utterly discouraged if I did not believe that all the wrongs in this world would be righted by the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. He may come before the sun goes down.
- DR. WILBUR CHAPMAN.
The Second Advent of our Lord and Saviour has been a dear and delightful doctrine to me through the greater part of my ministry. My hope of the world’s salvation lies not in any gradual evangelisation but in the personal return of Christ. I believe this age is waning fast and that any moment He may appear. This fills me with hope. This makes my ministry vivid and intense and glad.
- DR. DINSDALE YOUNG.
THE REDEMPTION OF THE ANIMAL WORLD
THE redemption of the animal world will come as a result of the reinstatement of man. The animal creation was subjected to the fall unwillingly and will receive a regeneration in the coming glorious new age. Before the fall animals were not ferocious but were docile and subject to the tender care of un-fallen man, but after the fall the nature of Satan was implanted within them. Their present plight is described by Paul. "For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but we ourselves, also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body" (Rom. 8: 19-23). The present nature of the creature will undergo a radical change, for Isaiah says, "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain" (Isa. 11: 6-9).
- Wm. F. BEIRNES.
So we read how the earth will be changed when the Millennial Kingdoms comes. "The Spirit is [shall be] poured upon us from on high, and the desert becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field seems like a forest" (Isa. 32: 15). "A king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice" (Isa. 32: 1). N.I.V.