“He Maketh Wars to Cease”

“He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.” —Psalm 46:9

IN RECENT TIME the news media has been occupied with reports of nuclear bomb tests conducted by India and later by Pakistan. The Western powers tried to stop these tests, and have threatened sanctions against both nations if tests were renewed. None of the media reports gave this news a religious bent as did an article in The Staten Island Advance, on its religious page. The article entitled, “In the Name of God?” said:

“As Indians and Pakistanis celebrate their capacity for destruction in the name of Hinduism and Islam, Western observers may find such sentiments odd if not blasphemous. But nuclear weapons have been equated with Divine justice since the first nuclear tests more than a half-century ago.

“Sometimes religious references are overt, such as the words ‘Islamic bomb’ printed on Pakistani missiles. Often religious beliefs are part of the subtext shaping nuclear policy, said historian Kai Bird, editor of ‘Hiroshima’s Shadow’.

“And no consensus exists in any tradition on how religious teachings translate into practice or policy. One Muslim’s holy war is another’s crime against God, for example. Moreover, believers often interpret religious texts to bolster their contrasting or contradictory political stands.”


Not all Muslims talk of bombs to protect the Islamic world, even though their leaders encourage the development of these bombs to maintain its defenses as a deterrent to attack. Others emphasize that Islam is a religion of peace, and that it is a spiritual atrocity to consider massacring millions of people.

India also has spokesmen that use the same reasoning to justify testing as does Pakistan—namely, defense. One Hindu said, “As a representative of God you have a right to defend yourself.” Another Hindu said that according to a basic principle of Hinduism, “you cannot do violence to anybody.” We are reminded in this article, that the late Mahatma Gandhi, well-known Hindu leader, was among the most forceful opponents of nuclear weapons, saying, “The atom bomb has deadened the finest feelings which have sustained mankind for ages. There used to be so-called laws of war that made it tolerable. Now we understand the naked truth.”


This is reminiscent of the morality struggle endured by the U.S.A. after being the first nation to use nuclear bombs in warfare. The 1940s saw strong religious opposition to the nuclear bomb.

Concerning these recent nuclear tests, the United States put into effect economic sanctions to punish India and Pakistan for testing nuclear devices, but limited their scope to minimizing hardships for the people of these countries, and to avoid cutting ties completely. The sanctions terminated economic aid loans and military sales to both governments, but did not ban trade bank loans to privately-owned firms or investment by U.S. companies. U.S. law requires the imposition of sanctions on any country that tests nuclear weapons other than those acknowledged as nuclear powers: France, China, Russia and Britain.

A month later, the New York Times reported, “American and Indian officials held talks today to ease the standoff that developed after India conducted underground nuclear tests in May. But officials on both sides said there were no breakthroughs that could lead to an early end of the remaining American economic sanctions. The most important ban, on Indian grain purchases, has already been waived.

“There was no tangible sign of compromise on what has been Washington’s central demand, that India and Pakistan, which detonated its own underground nuclear blasts two weeks after India, abandon plans to deploy nuclear arsenals.”

As the United States’ officials sought further discussions with India and Pakistan, these two nations agreed to new talks of their own. Ten days later the news media reported a collapse in these talks. Meanwhile, a shooting war—artillery and mortars’ exchange— continued on Kashmir’s border, killing many people. Both nations have fought three wars since achieving independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over Kashmir.


The struggle in the United States with morality about the use of such weapons did not prevent the stockpiling of nuclear arms. After World War II, there emerged two superpowers in the world—the United States and the Soviet Union. These became engaged in a cold war which led each to fear the other, and to secretly manufacture nuclear bombs and delivery systems. Several attempts were made to limit the development of nuclear weaponry through SALT I (Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty) and SALT II in 1979. At that time, both nations had stockpiled enough nuclear bombs to stagger the human mind in its effort to comprehend the potential destructive force involved. The firepower of these bombs is measured in megatons. One megaton is equal to one million tons of TNT. In World War II days, the blockbuster bomb had a striking force of one ton of TNT. How can we visualize a bomb that has the equivalency of millions of tons of TNT?

Although actual figures were never published and were kept secret by both nations, it was generally supposed that the United States had nuclear bombs equivalent to one hundred trillion tons of TNT, and the Soviet Union has the equivalent of sixty trillion tons.

These figures stagger the mind and imagination. Albert Einstein, shortly after the first atomic bomb was used in World War II, and before the advent of the hydrogen bomb, said, “The annihilation of all life upon earth has now become a technical possibility.” Today, if we could properly comprehend as did Einstein, we would be frightened at the contemplation of what would happen if the explosive power that these two nations have stockpiled was ever used in an all-out war. The materials on hand far exceed the power necessary to destroy all life upon earth. Can we wonder, then, why our Lord said in Matthew 24:22: “Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved”?


How will those days be shortened? Will it be because of the success of SALT agreements? Will it be because the prospect of nuclear war is so terrible that it in itself becomes a deterrent? Not at all! It becomes evident when we review what was accomplished as the result of SALT I, that such treaties serve only as screens for double-dealing by the respective parties. The intent of SALT I was to stop the escalation and multiplication of arms and weapons that would be used specifically to carry nuclear warheads. It failed to do so.

For example, the treaty limited the United States to 1,054 land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and the Soviet Union to 1,607. Both countries equaled or exceeded these limitations. The treaty also said that the U.S. could increase its submarine missile total from 656 to 710, and the U.S.S.R. from 740 to 950, if they retired one land-based missile for every additional submarine missile.

The Soviet Union exercised this option; the United States did not. But since SALT I limited the number of missiles delivering a single nuclear warhead, both sides proceeded to develop a missile carrying multiple warheads, each warhead capable of going to a separate target; and this, of course, made the treaty meaningless. SALT II suffered a similar fate because of inability to make accurate verification of weapons stockpiled by each nation.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union brought a sigh of relief from the world concerning this problem, only to have other nations step in to develop their own nuclear weaponry.


The world’s present population has accepted war as inevitable, even though they hate it and long for real, lasting, secure peace. Christian nations are sometimes regarded as capable of leading the way toward peace. Unfortunately, these so-called Christian nations have waged as much war as the heathen nations, if not more. How can these truly say that they espouse the cause of the Prince of Peace?

What did the Prince of Peace, Jesus, say concerning our time and concerning war? In the 24th chapter of Matthew, Jesus tells about the signs dealing with the end of the present age. His disciples had asked him to tell them of his second presence and the nature of events at the end of the age. Jesus said, among other things: “Ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” (vs. 6) We note that Jesus used the word ‘must’—‘these things must come to pass’. In other words, he was saying that wars must come to pass. Wars and threats of wars would be man’s lot until brought to an end by the power of the Prince of Peace. And so it has been. Wars and the threat of wars have grown in intensity, leading us to the present troublous times. The prophet, Daniel, prophesied of this time. (Dan. 12:1) Jesus quoted him, saying: “Then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved.”—vss. 21,22

Jesus did not expect that peace would come in our day. Rather, he expected that the time spanning his first and second advents would be characterized by warfare of all types. His words recorded in Matthew 10:34-37 are: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword [to make war]. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

This prophecy implies that sin and selfishness would be prevalent in these last days, even affecting Jesus’ followers.


This frightening picture will not change until the Prince of Peace, Jesus, establishes his kingdom. Isaiah’s wonderful prophecy of the birth of the Messiah said: “Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isa. 9:6) A key point in this prophecy is the phrase, ‘the government shall be upon his shoulder’. It is necessary, for the abolishing of war, that there be established a worldwide government which is not influenced or swayed by sin, but which will supervise, overrule, and control the affairs of all earth’s inhabitants for their good. This can be accomplished only by the establishment of God’s kingdom.

Another requirement for the prevention of war is the conversion of all nations from a condition of hardness of heart, selfishness, and sin to a condition of tenderness of heart, generosity, and righteousness. These will be the exact accomplishments of Christ’s government. A prophecy by Jeremiah reads: “I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (Jer. 31:33) Isaiah’s prophecy continues: “Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”—Isa. 9:7


When Jesus came to earth at his First Advent, he came as the Lamb of God, to be the ransom for father Adam. He fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy: “As a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” (Isa. 53:7) In the Book of Revelation, Jesus is also identified as the Lamb of God, as a “Lamb as it had been slain.” (Rev. 5:6) But here the picture changes: the Lamb does not behave like a lamb, but rather like a lion, or a bull. He displays such anger that all who oppose him are forced to try to hide, and are very fearful. They say to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us, and hide us … from the wrath of the Lamb.” (Rev. 6:15-17) A lamb is usually thought of as being meek and docile. In this picture we see a lamb full of wrath.

The Lord is conveying to our minds an important feature of his plan in this picture of a ‘wrathful lamb’. First, he wants us to remember that Jesus died for us as the Lamb of God. Second, he wants us to know that Jesus will establish his kingdom and will make ‘war’ against all of the institutions of selfishness and unrighteousness. Later in Revelation we see Jesus riding at the head of his army, bringing about the complete destruction of this present evil world. At the conclusion of that chapter we read of the final victory gained by him who is rightfully “King of kings, and Lord of lords.”—Rev. 19:11-21

There are remarkable prophecies telling us of the ways in which God will bring an end to war. One prophecy (Isa. 2:2-4) shows the voluntary action by those who want to be in God’s kingdom. This prophecy foretells the establishment of God’s kingdom, in the last days, over all kingdoms in this world. Those who observe the blessings given to the people already in the kingdom are glad to “go up to” the mountain of the Lord. They willingly convert all the resources for war into productive tools: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” It is noteworthy that the key to making wars cease is not learning war anymore. The kingdom will foster this desire for peace that even now beats in the hearts of most men.

Those unwilling to give up war will be restrained. The psalmist says: “Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth; he maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth. He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.”—Ps. 46:8,9

This is real disarmament. No treaty ever signed was willing to include the destruction of all war materials. But God will forcibly destroy all weapons as if they were playtoys crushed by his great power. And so it will be that ‘he maketh wars to cease’. Blessed be our God and his Son, our Lord and Savior.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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