A Changed World

YOU and I are living in a world revolution. In the split-second of the first atomic explosion at Alamogordo, our world was completely and fundamentally changed.” These are the words of Mr. W.T. Holliday, President of the Standard Oil Company of Ohio, found in a book published by him in which he urges the idea that our number one job is to secure world peace before it is too late; for, he writes, “Man at long last has developed the instruments with which he can destroy his world, and you can depend upon it that he will try to do it. Unless, by his own organization for self-restraint, the power to do it is taken away from him.”

Thus, at the beginning of 1950 we have brought squarely before us the great issue that stares humanity in the face. And as we enter a new year, the world is painfully aware of the fact that no worthwhile progress has been made during the twelve months just past toward a genuine settlement of those international disputes which, as long as they remain unsettled, continue to drive the nations nearer and nearer to the precipice over which it will be so easy to plunge into the abyss of the third World War. As a matter of fact, the world is shrouded with a more chilling fear at the beginning of 1950 than it was a year ago.

There are many reasons for this, one of the principal being that now it appears that Russia has the atomic bomb. The significance of this was alluded to in an Armistice Day speech before the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in the Arlington Cemetery. “An ominous shadow is hovering over the world,” the speaker said, “a shadow so threatening that it takes away any comfort the world might otherwise get from commemorating Armistice Day.” With this threat hanging over the world, there is nothing that is really secure. New York City could be wiped out in a day, so could any of the other cities of the nation. And it is little comfort to hope that in the event of an atomic war the United States would finally be victorious. Victory would not restore the cities of America and bring back to life the millions who would be killed in such an episode of madness.

That such a dread possibility exists is not merely the idea of a few sensationalists. Both government and business realize the danger and are making preparations to cope with the situation when it develops. The government has issued a book of instructions for the enlightenment of civilians in what to do, and how, in the event of an atomic raid. Large business concerns are moving their factories away from what they consider to be danger zones and into what they hope will be more secluded territory. This is particularly true of industries engaged in the manufacture of war goods.

Yes, the atomic bomb has changed the world. There was a certain sense of satisfaction when those first atomic bombs were dropped on Japanese cities. It was claimed that the war was thus shortened, and millions of lives thereby saved. But how much did those who made the fateful decision to use atomic bombs take into consideration the long range result of that act? How many lives were really saved in view of what the world is facing today? And this nation cannot honestly say to any other nation that it is unlawful to use such a weapon of destruction; for the United States, considered to be among the most civilized of all nations, took the lead in doing so.

The increasing threat of the atomic bomb was not the only portentous development of 1949. Virtually all of China was taken over by the Communists, thus greatly strengthening the hand of the “reds” in the Orient. The methodical clamping down on the great church systems of Europe by the Communists, gained momentum. The Marshall Plan failed to live up to expectations in affecting the rehabilitation of Western Europe. All the United Nations conferences, both in the General Assembly and in the Security Council, followed their usual line of accomplishing nothing. The devaluation of the British Pound constituted an admission to the world by Great Britain that her economic and financial condition had become very serious indeed.

These are but a few of the gloomy incidents in the 1949 news parade. Had there been real progress toward international understanding along even a single line, the news that Russia has the atomic bomb would not have sent such a chill up the spines of the world’s diplomats and the public generally. But against the somber background of diplomatic failure, which daily increases tension in the “cold war” between East and West, the news of atomic explosions behind the Iron Curtain, gave, and continues to give, the world a real scare.

And what about 1950? Will the story be any brighter? There is not much on the news horizon to give us reason to believe that it will. There are thousands of honest hearted men and women the world over who would like to change the downward trend of events, but selfishness is so ingrained in the human heart that all such efforts seem foredoomed to failure. Even the most beneficent of our statesmen are not willing to take the steps which are really necessary in order to assure lasting world peace.

Regardless of the propaganda emanating from various sources, each trying to undermine the influence of the other, and regardless of the conflicting ideologies of the East and the West, the fundamental cause of international unrest is the economic need of the people. The earth is capable of producing abundant supplies for all, but human selfishness endeavors to control the supply, channeling more in one direction than in another, with the result that we have what are known as the “haves” and the “have nots” among the nations. Even the civilized United States is not willing that its standard of living be lowered in order that the standard of living in other countries might be raised. The Marshall Plan aid has helped to keep millions from starving, but the taxes needed for this work of charity are a fruitful cause of complaint on the part of millions.

In Great Britain many are disposed to blame the Labor Government for the economic straits in which the country has been placed, but the situation would have been little different no matter who controlled the government. The stark fact is that Britain is over populated and cannot provide for her own needs, and no longer has an empire to support her. This is but an illustration of the fact that world commerce will no longer function under the old monetary systems of exchange. Suddenly, the world family of nations have been thrust upon each other to be cared for, and the outmoded machinery of world economy is not equal to the occasion.

In this state of crisis there is a wild clamor for advantage, each nation or group of nations endeavoring to gain a controlling position in the new world setup. It is this struggle for power which may eventually unleash the atomic bomb and lead to the climax of what the prophet foretold as a “time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation.” (Dan. 12:1) The extremity of the nations may not become sufficiently acute in 1950 to precipitate this “hot” war. It may take several years for the pent up needs and supposed needs of the people to erupt into the third World War. But with half the world starving, and the other half not willing to share their bounties except upon the basis of miserly charity, the explosion is sure to come; and those who are being guided by the prophecies of God’s Word will be wise to chart their course consistent with what they know is coming.

In the beginning of this article, we quoted from the pen of Mr. W.T. Holliday, President of the Standard Oil Company of Ohio. This eminent business man sees the threat of a third World War, and his only hope of averting it is that enough pressure can be brought to bear upon the United Nations organization to induce it to form a world government, backed up by a world police force given jurisdiction over the affairs of all nations in matters pertaining to armies and armament. He visualizes all the nations of the earth as forming a gigantic union similar to the United States of America. Just as the various states in the United States do not go to war with each other, so presumably the nations of earth, when controlled by a federal world government, would also keep the peace. Mr. Holliday states that “nothing else under the sun offers us the slightest chance of avoiding war.”

Mr. Holliday admits that even a world government might very well fail to keep the peace, for there would be no way to force all nations to join the federation and submit to its control over their armies and munitions of war. So here, too, is that inevitable big “if.” Russia, it is thought, would be the one major power that would hold aloof from a federated world government, but the effort should be made to get Russia into the federation, Mr. Holliday claims, even if there is only one chance in a million that it will be successful. This, as Mr. Holliday sees it, would be the one chance in a million that another war can be averted.

Prophetically, we know what to expect, for we read, “Associate yourselves, and ye shall be broken.” (Isa. 8:9) But this does not mean the end of all hope for the world, for the certainty of human failure gives meaning to the promises of God to establish a world government according to a plan which he has devised, a government, the success of which will be guaranteed by divine power. It is even the kingdom of Christ. Concerning it the Prophet Isaiah wrote, “And the government shall be upon his shoulder.” (Isaiah 9:6) There will be no “ifs” as to whether or not this divine, world government will succeed, for we are assured that all nations will yield to its control. “Many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain [kingdom] of the Lord, … and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths.”—Micah 4:1,2

Thus, when we know from the Word of God what the final outcome of the present world crisis is to be, our hope is based upon much more than that one chance in a million that a humanly devised plan for world peace will succeed. With this better hope on which to build,—this hope that is based upon the promises of God—we can look ahead through 1950 with confidence, knowing that just beyond the final outburst of human passions that will wreck civilization, the “King of kings, and Lord of lords” will be recognized as the rightful ruler of the world, and that through the righteous administration of his kingdom, “the desire of all nations shall come.”—Haggai 2:7

It is a glorious prospect to have before us during 1950, and every year. The joy resulting from a knowledge of the divine plan pertaining to Christ’s kingdom soon to be manifested to the world, should overflow to the comfort and joy of others. Let us tell our neighbors about it—tell them not to fear, that even though the atomic bomb may be used, and though millions may be destroyed by it, the resurrection power of the Lord will restore them to life, and, during the thousand years of his reign, give them an opportunity to live forever.

Money will not save the world. Power politics will only hasten its destruction. Conflicting ideologies lead more and more to chaos. Human selfishness stands in the way of every man-made effort to save the world from destruction. But, thank God, there is a way out—it is the way of the kingdom—Christ’s kingdom—that kingdom which God has assured us will be established. That is why we can continue to say to all, that the world’s hopes for the future are as bright as the promises of God.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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