Preview of Anarchy

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.”
—I John 4:18

THE AFRICAN CONTINENT has become a backdrop for anarchy. During the 1990’s Rwanda was torn apart by civil war that resembled anarchy, as no law or order prevailed and millions of people lost their lives. The two tribes of that nation, the Tutsui and the Hutus took turns prevailing in the land and trying to commit genocide by slaughtering the others.

The same type of attitudes and activities have shifted into the African nations of Liberia, the Ivory Coast, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The World Press Review ran a feature article entitled “Congo’s Nightmare” in its August, 2003 issue, composed of different news articles. The first was entitled “In Hell’s Waiting Room,” and came from a German liberal newsmagazine called Der Spiegel, issuing May 26, 2003 in Hamburg, Germany. It said:

“Missionary Jan Mol is afraid he may be losing his faith. When the pastor makes his way past the shell craters to his parish house in the burned-out center of Bunia, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (D.R.C.), he has to run a humiliating gantlet. Already, at midday, drunken 7-year-olds wearing women’s high heels flock around the 67-year-old, flaunting their Kalashnikovs, disrespectfully blowing cigarette smoke in his face, and threatening this mzungu from Holland with bread knives and hand grenades.


“These children are the new lords of the street. They ‘kill and loot and obey the rule of violence, not the rules of the Lord,’ Mol says, and he feels that he is already in hell’s waiting room. ‘If United Nations soldiers don’t come soon to separate them, we are going to experience a real catastrophe,’ the minister says. He watches incredulously as a Blue Helmet [U.N. peacekeeper] from Uruguay stands on the Boulevard de la Libération and allows himself to be harassed by a heavily armed boy wearing a wig, with a pack on his back and beer bottles stuck into his belt. The Dutchman is convinced: ‘We are witnessing genocide, and the U.N. is standing by, doing nothing.’

“At least two weeks ago, child soldiers from the Union of Congolese Patriots, belonging to the Hema tribe, took control of Bunia, a city of 300,000. They drove out their opponents from the Lendu tribe, hacking them with machetes or shooting them. Butchered bodies lay on the streets here for days. Mol, who has lived here since 1971, sees a disaster like that in Bosnia or Rwanda coming, where hundreds of thousands were beaten, shot, or slashed as the world looked on.

“When the battle for the capital of the Ituri region of the D.R.C. began, the pastor tried, again and again, to get the commander of the 750 or so Uruguayan Blue Helmets who are stationed here to intervene. But by the time a few U.N. soldiers, armed to the teeth, finally moved out into the streets, Mol’s colleagues, Father Aimé Ndjabu and Father Francois Mateso, were already dead. One had his throat slit, the other had been riddled with machine-gun fire.”

The article went on to describe more killings in graphic detail and the ineffectiveness of UN peacekeepers. How many had died, no one knows. The region of Ituri had 2.4 million people. Now one million are refugees. As one man said, “What is happening in the hills of Ituri is pure terror.”


Another article from a World Press Review, written in Paris, France on June 1, 2003, said:

“A remote province named Ituri, which borders Uganda and the Sudan in the Northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo (D.R.C.), has become the scene of Africa’s worst nightmare. Tribal armies, including child soldiers, have killed thousands of people. There are reports of rape, mutilation, and cannibalism.

“Ntumba Luaba, human-rights minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, describes Ituri as ‘a cemetery.’ In an emotional statement to the Foreign Press Association in Paris in May, he appealed for United Nations intervention. ‘If the multinational force does not arrive soon,’ he said, ‘there will be nothing left to save but the trees and the rocks.’

“Luaba has been to Ituri twice in the past year in an effort to negotiate peace between the province’s warring Hema and Lendu peoples. His first mission to Bunia ended in humiliation when he was taken hostage by Hema militia. During a second visit, in May, his plane made a forced landing after being hit by a rebel missile.

“The International Rescue Committee puts the death toll in the D.R.C. at between 3.1 million and 4.7 million people since August 1998, making it the deadliest conflict on the globe since World War II. Of those who have died in the conflict, the majority are civilians who perished from starvation and disease after being driven from their homes. Several hundred thousand were murdered.

“Undisciplined government forces have contributed to the chaos. (The government of the D.R.C., headed by President Joseph Kabila, controls around half of the country with support from Angola.) Their abuses include summary executions, rape, looting, and other violent acts. Luaba admitted that there has been ‘killing, too much killing.’ But he insisted that the army’s conduct would be subject to an international commission of inquiry and said he has warned commanding officers that they would be held responsible for the death of civilians.”


Luaba was interviewed in Paris by a host of interviewers. A representative of Ivory Coast Radio asked whether the world was viewing the same days as when more powerful countries were undermining the Democratic Republic of Congo’s sovereignty so that they could control the nation’s resources? His answer was:

“The great natural resources of the D.R.C. are a blessing but also the reason for the country’s malaise. They are coveted by foreign powers and by some of its neighbors. But no amount of wealth will compensate for the loss of human life. We can’t just watch the population of Ituri being massacred while we look on, helpless. It is already very, very late. There are various armed factions in Congo, particularly in Ituri, who rejoice in the chance to massacre its population every time there is a new shift in alliances. These alliances involve the participation of certain neighboring countries—above all, Uganda and Rwanda—and the complicity of others.”

France 3 (French TV station) asked, Why can’t MONUC (the UN observation force in Ituri) put an end to this situation?

His answer was, “The actions of the U.N. observers are limited by their mandate. They are observers, that’s all. During the massacre at Kisangani, the Congolese began to refer to them as the ‘U.N. mission to observe Congolese cadavers’ because the only thing they did was to count the dead. It’s necessary to change the mandate of MONUC, above all to reinforce it, and to deploy an international force.”


Another question asked was, “What could the United States do to stop the killings?” Again his answer was that he believed that the United States could stop the killing if they could be properly motivated to do so. Other news articles printed didn’t agree with this latter view. One, in particular, entitled “Congo’s Unwelcome Visitors” published in The Monitor, an independent Ugandan paper, on June 5, 2003, said that the D.R.C.’s troubles can be traced back to its relationship with outsiders. It explained in the article that the United States would not be a welcome visitor because historically they have helped to promote the present situation. The article says in part:

“The war in Congo has its genes from two mutually reinforcing factors: wealth and foreign intervention. Study the historical epoch in which the Congo Free State was born, and the whole problem becomes self-explanatory. The Congo Free State was born in an era when Africa was parceled out like a birthday cake by the imperial European powers. Congo was scrambled for and ‘won’ by Belgium’s King Leopold, who beat the other powers in a cutthroat, winner-take-all contest dubbed, ‘The Scramble for Africa.’

“That was not only the birth of the Congo Free State, but also the beginning of its problems. From the outset, King Leopold was ruthless in plundering the vast resources of Congo. He enslaved the Congolese in their homeland, subjecting them to forced labor, and meting out inhuman treatment on those who dared to defy him.

“Studies show that by the end of Belgian colonization, about 10 million Congolese had been killed. Note the pattern between the two mutually reinforcing factors that explain the plight of the Congolese. You have the vast wealth of Congo beckoning foreign intervention, and the Congolese bearing the brunt of it.

“At the end of Belgian colonization enter Patrice Lumumba, the first and only democratically elected leader of the Congo. Sadly, democracy was killed in its infancy when Lumumba was assassinated (before even serving two years as prime minister) with the help of America’s Central Intelligence Agency. He died because in the Cold War, Lumumba was thought to be leaning to the Soviet Union and not the United States. Big mistake!

“Enter Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wazabanga, a true client of the U.S. White House. Mobutu’s despotic leadership in Congo (then renamed Zaire) was significant for ensuring that Congo did not ‘fall into the hands’ of the Soviets (remember the revolutionary Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara had tried to help Laurent-Désiré Kabila liberate Congo after Lumumba’s death). Mobutu’s (mis)rule also served the West by making sure it had a free rein in plundering Congo and acting as a conduit for arming Jonas Savimbi’s UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola). By the end of the Cold War, Mobutu had outlived his usefulness to the Western block but had set the stage for continuing conflict.”

Another news article from the African paper L’Avenir (French language), published in the Democratic Republic of Congo, June 2, 2003, reported on the multinational peacekeeping force that is to be formed as a consequence of a resolution passed in the UN. The article entitled “A Scary Pair” told of the assignment of Rwanda and Uganda as UN observers in the D.R.C. when the UN appointed these nations to be the UN Mission to Congo. The article expressed the hope that the new resolution would not see England and the United States assigned to support Rwanda and Uganda.


Two other articles concerned France. One by the Britains, The Observer, a liberal weekly paper, published an article entitled “Where are the French?” told of 1,000 French soldiers being airlifted from Uganda to the Congo under a UN mandated effort to restore peace in the Congo. The article told of the battle in Bunia, the province of Ituri’s capital. To explain the UN’s latest failure to quell the bitter war, the commander of the French troops said, “Our mandate has not changed. We are trying to impede the fighting through negotiations.” The article ended by saying:

“The French-led intervention force represents the first serious effort to end Congo’s war, which has claimed around 4.7 million lives—the highest death toll in any conflict since World War II. Over the coming weeks, 1,400 European soldiers are expected in Bunia from Sweden, Norway, Germany, Britain, and France. The force has been given a stiffer mandate than the existing peacekeepers. Yet its mission is limited to the town of Bunia and is scheduled to last only three months.”

The other article about France appeared in the conservative French paper Le Figaro, published June 1, 2003, entitled “Africa’s New Policeman?” and told of France’s involvement in all of the three recent strifes in Africa—The Ivory Coast, Liberia, and the Congo. After telling about France’s recent attempts to bring peace to the African continent the article ended by saying:

“Despite these initiatives, France denies any ambition of becoming the new ‘policeman’ in Africa and notes that it is intervening in a multilateral context. The dispatch of French troops to Ituri is presented as the ‘first large-scale, independent European military operation.’ Carried out jointly with Britain, the operation, known as ‘Mamba,’ marks a reconciliation between London and Paris after the disagreement over Iraq. Within Africa, Operation Mamba has the support of Congo itself, a large French-speaking country, but also of Uganda, the logistical base for the deployment, and through an odd twist in history, the tacit consent of Rwanda.”


Although there is hope of bringing peace to the area, the events in Africa demonstrate how quickly and devastating can be such outbursts of anarchy. What can we glean from all of this as Bible students? One thing is to see the fulfillment of prophecies spoken by the Lord concerning the last days of this present evil world. We note in particular the involvement of children in the anarchistic uprisings, and we are reminded of the Apostle Paul’s description of the last days of this present evil world given in II Timothy 3:1-5, and that portion that describes men as “disobedient to parents.” The Phillips translation phrases this portion of the prophecy as “without any regard for what their parents taught them.” These are times described by different translators as “perilous,” “times of stress,” “full of danger,” and “a time of trouble.” The terrible condition of mankind in our day is aptly described by the Apostle Paul.

Also, as Bible students look at the prophecy of Jacob’s trouble, as described by the Prophet Ezekiel in the thirty-eighth and thirty-ninth chapters of his book, we note that the way God fights against the hordes that come against Israel (Gog and Magog) is described in Ezekiel 38:21, which says:

“I will call for a sword against him [Gog] throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man’s sword shall be against his brother.” Bible students have long believed that the end of the Gospel Age and this present evil world will be a period of anarchy. This text is one of the strongest we have to support that point. The events in Africa could well be a prelude to the fulfillment of that prophecy. It reveals the terrible conditions that can arise in the earth quickly and devastatingly. This is God’s way of bringing an end to a threatening situation quickly. It was used as a figure or type on several occasions.


The first occurred when Gideon was assembling an army to fight against the Midianites who had been harassing Israel for some time. This army was pared down from thousands of Israelites to three hundred men. (Judg. 7) The Midianites and Amalekites were described in the following terms, “The Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude.” (vs. 12) Gideon spread the three hundred men around this camp and at the proper signal, they broke pitchers concealing the torches, and blew their trumpets, and shouted, “The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.” (vs. 21) The Midianites thought they were surrounded by thousands of Israelites. In the confusion the account says, “The Lord set every man’s sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled.” (vs. 22) Those that weren’t killed by their own fellows fled and were pursued by Israel, and Gideon and his band, who slew them.

The same thing occurred to the Philistines in the early years of Saul’s reign over Israel. Israel had been so badly harassed by the Philistines that they went into hiding. Saul with six hundred men attempted to fight them. However, it was his son, Jonathan, who, with “his armourbearer” (I Sam. 14:12), challenged the garrison of the Philistines separately from Saul. He asked the Lord for a sign as to go up against them, which was that they would call to him to go out to them, instead of them coming to him. (vss. 9,10) The Lord was with him and he slew twenty men before the Lord caused an earthquake to occur and great confusion occurred in the garrison of the Philistines, so that again “every man’s sword was against his fellow, and there was a very great discomfiture.” (vs. 20) Then all the Hebrews in hiding came out, along with those captured by the Philistines, and as the Philistines fled they were pursued and slain by Israel, and as the scripture says, “The Lord saved Israel that day.”—vs. 23

The Lord used this method a third time when Jehoshaphat was king of Judah. He was a good king as the scripture testifies of him, “The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim.” (II Chron. 17:3) During his reign “the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle.” (chap. 20:1) Jehoshaphat had great fear and gathered Israel to pray to the Lord. As all Israel gathered and prayed to the Lord, a prophet—a Levite—prophesied and said to Israel, “To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel. Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.”—vss. 16,17

Jehoshaphat and Israel did as they were instructed and went out early in the morning into the wilderness of Tekoa and they sang as they went. In response the Scriptures say, “The Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, … and they were smitten. For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another.” (vss. 22,23) Instead of warfare, Israel came upon dead bodies. They gave thanks to the Lord for their deliverance.

As we review the method of the Lord in dealing with the enemies of his people, and as we see the present-day events giving us a preview of coming disasters, we can respond to our Lord’s words in Luke 21:28, “When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” May God be praised forevermore.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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