We will remember them
…They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more.
Isaiah 2:4 (NIVUK)
This year Remembrance Sunday marks 104 years since the end of World War 1, and 77 years since the conclusion of World War 2. Between these two world wars scores of millions of people including military personnel and civilians lost their lives.
The First World War, with its horrible emphasis on trench warfare, was reckoned by the League of Nations to be ‘the war to end all wars’. Sadly the Second World War occurred a mere 20 years later, and an estimated 285 distinct armed conflicts have resulted since then, according to the Uppsala Conflict Data Program, the leading provider of statistics on political violence.
A Google search estimates that upwards of a billion lives have been lost to war down through the ages! War is both cruel and horrible, and it leaves families bereft of fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, uncles, aunts, cousins and siblings. War can dehumanise those engaged in it, and many atrocities have been carried out by opposing forces.
Many wonder if war will have the last word. Not according to the prophets of the Old Testament! They envisioned a time when the nations would ‘beat their swords into ploughshares’ and ‘their spears into pruning hooks’ (Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3). On the grounds of the UN buildings in New York City there is a bronze statue of a man depicting just that. Other prophecies tell of a time when ‘the reaper will be overtaken by the ploughman’ (Amos 9:13), and the deserts will ‘blossom as the rose’ (Isaiah 35:1 NKJV). They are wonderful word pictures of a world living in peace and prosperity.
The good news is that God will initiate this utopian age in his own good time; humanity with limited powers and governments has tried and tried over the centuries, but to no avail. The prophet Zechariah wrote: ‘The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.’ (Zechariah 14:9 NIVUK).
For nearly 2000 years Christians have been hoping the Lord would return in their lifetime and set up his glorious kingdom. Their desire for a better and safer world has been honourable, but only God himself has held the key to the ‘when’ of his return.
Sadly, wars and conflicts have plagued mankind for millennia. Perhaps we are nearing the time when Isaiah wrote that ‘…the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end…’ (Isaiah 9:6-7). May God speed his return to our precious planet!
Father, as we remember the fallen in both world wars, we long for the day when your Son will return to earth to establish the fullness of your kingdom of love and peace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Study by John Magowan
About the writer:
John Magowan attends the Lisburn congregation of Grace Communion International, Northern Ireland.
Lisburn Grace Communion
Ballymacbrennan School House
129A Saintfield Road
Local congregational contact:
Word of Life contact: