On 28 June 1914 a hand grenade was rolled beneath a car travelling in a motorcade in the city of Sarajevo in Yugoslavia.
The grenade missed its intended target and exploded beneath the following car, injuring several people.
The first car continued on its way and the occupants attended a welcome ceremony at the Sarajevo Town Hall.
Just a short time later, the VIPs from the first car decided to visit the injured ones who had been taken to the local hospital.
On the way there the car stalled, this provided an opportunity for another assassin to shoot and kill the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the Heir to the Austrian Empire and his wife Sophie.
These assassinations began a short series of events that led to the start of the Great War – now more commonly called World War 1.
This war was so named because it involved countries right around the world. Although centred on Europe, the effects of the War were felt around the world, in fact every inhabited continent had countries involved.
The First World War is recognized as a turning point in History. It was the first war where major technological advances contributed to huge casualties.
The use of tanks – planes – submarines – huge fighting ships and deadly gas all provided evidence that the modern weapons of War were now so destructive.
The devastating effects of World War 1 brought great attention to the question of global peace. For the first time in history it is recognized that wars between Nations can involve and affect inhabitants of the entire earth.
This destructive threat to world peace was continued in the Second World War. Powerful weapons were developed that culminated in the ultimate weapon – the Nuclear bomb.
The nuclear bomb has also spawned another close relative. The so-called “dirty bomb”.
This is a deadly device that can spread radiation or a toxic bacteria over thousands of kilometers perhaps killing millions at once – a terrible weapon of war. But it’s not just nations at war that can use these weapons.
Terrorists have now become a huge threat to worldwide peace – and the terrifying fact that just one bomb can kill millions of people has awakened an awareness that Global Peace is imperative for the continued future of mankind.
The American Historian and Writer Arthur Schlesinger makes a point about the changing nature of the threat to world peace. He wrote at the turn of the last century;
“One set of hatreds replaces another. Lifting the iron grip of ideological repression in Eastern Europe and the ex-Soviet Union releases pent-up ethnic, nationalist, religious, and linguistic antagonisms deeply rooted in history and in memory. . . . If the 20th century has been the century of the warfare of ideologies, the 21st century begins as the century of the warfare of ethnicities.”
The respected magazine ”The Atlantic Monthly” summarises its forecasts for the decades to come;
“Nations break up under the tidal flow of refugees from environmental and social disaster. . . . Wars are fought over scarce resources, especially water, and war itself becomes continuous with crime, as armed bands of stateless marauders clash with the private security forces of the elites.”
Nations or terrorists don’t even need a deadly weapon or vial of bacteria to start an apocalyptic style confrontation anymore. All that’s required is one of these…… and malicious software designed to disrupt
Yes – cyber-tage can start a global war. In fact special malware has already been used by Governments to disrupt vital electronics facilities of rival nations. Governments have even proudly acknowledged their use of this type of sabotage.
We could discuss the weapons and means that threaten worldwide peace for a long time. We all know these threats are real and as they say, present.
But what about our efforts to curb or even eliminate all threats to peace? What are the measures and steps that have been taken by Governments and Organisations? To eliminate conflicts and bring word peace?
2 GLOBAL PEACE NOT ATTAINABLE THROUGH HUMAN EFFORTS
What has been noted by Historians and scholars has been the effect of WW1 on World Peace.
Since the end of that war there has been numerous attempts by mankind to put in place systems to prevent conflicts and ensure we can live in a worldwide peace.
Yet can anyone say we live in a peaceful world? Well no we do not. Is it because mankind has lacked effort in trying to make a lasting Peace?
Perhaps we can examine efforts to create a worldwide peace but before we do so lets just see what the Bible has to say about man controlling his own destiny.
If we can turn to Jeremiah 10:23
Another scripture we can examine echoes this theme Ecclesiastes 8:9
So we can see that the Bible questions the ability of humans to control their own destiny.
Well these words were written thousands of years ago – so what has History proven about our ability to bring about worldwide peaceful conditions for mankind.
Modern History is littered with Treaties and Peace Agreements… yet we still live in a World dominated by unrest, conflict and ….war.
The Treaty of Versailles was the first treaty signed after the end of the First World War and it was a peace settlement between the main combatants in that war.
The Treaty though had contentious and controversial points and the politicians of the day knew they urgently needed something else– anything – to bring stability to the world.
The League of Nations was then created in1919. The Leagues’ task was simple – to ensure that war never broke out again.
The League of Nations was the first international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. Its primary goals, as stated in its Covenant, was to prevent wars through collective security and disarmament, and settle international disputes through negotiation and arbitration.
The League was also tasked with improving labour conditions, ensuring just treatment of native inhabitants, preventing human and drug trafficking slowing the arms trade, promoting global health, protecting prisoners of war, and the protection of minorities in Europe And after the turmoil caused by the Versailles Treaty, many looked to the League to bring stability to the world.
However the League of Nations was unable to bring peace to the world. During its existence, there were wars between Russia and Poland, wars between the Baltic States, between Italy and Albania and then of course the League could not prevent the Second World War.
Between the two Great Wars political alliances were made and broken, Peace agreements were made …. then broken, treaties weren’t worth the paper they were written on. So one could say the League failed to achieve it’s adjectives. No-one could dispute that The Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini said of the League of Nations….. that ….”the League is very well when sparrows shout, but no good at all when eagles fall out.” That is – it was toothless when it came to making big decisions, especially between nations on the verge of war.
Following WW2 and the failure of the League of Nations there was again a call for an organisation that could assure world peace…. And so the new organisation the United Nations was born in October 1945.
I’d just like to take a moment to read from The UN’s charter.
The Purposes of the United Nations are:
To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace; To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace; To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends. What about the founders and leaders in the United Nations? What is their take on how successful the organisation has been for global peace?
The UN recently celebrated a major anniversary of over 50 years of existence on the UN. One leading Member the president of Finland had this to say;
“Do we live today in a better world than we did 40 years ago? Is there now less violence and warfare? Is there less human suffering in the world? Do the nations feel more secure and confident in their future?”
An Online encyclopedia has this to say about the UN:
Criticism of the United Nations has been ideologically diverse, although much of it is focused on the UN’s ….. inability to handle international conflicts, even on a small scale
In 2004, former ambassador to the UN Dore Gold published a book called Tower of Babble: How the United Nations Has Fueled Global Chaos. The book criticized what it called the organization’s moral relativism in the face of (and occasional support of) genocide and terrorism that occurred between the moral clarity of its founding period and the present day. While the UN during its founding period was limited to those nations that declared war on at least one of the Axis powers of World War II, and thus were capable of taking a stand against evil, the modern United Nations has, according to Gold, become diluted to the point where only 75 of the 184 member states during the time of the book’s publication “were free democracies, according to Freedom House.”
He further claimed that this had the effect of tipping the scales of the UN so that the organization as a whole was more amenable to the requirements of dictatorships. The UN General Assembly decided to hold a moment of silence in honor of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il following his death in 2011. Western diplomats criticized the decision. “An official at the Czech Republic’s UN mission said the Czechs did not request a similar moment of silence for Vaclav Havel, the playwright-turned-dissident who died” a day after Kim
Even organisised crime has cause great concern in the corridors of Power of the the United Nations Evidence is now mounting that criminal groups are spreading their influence worldwide. For years organized crime, with its “crime families,” has had its links between Italy and the United States. But now UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has warned that “organized crime on a transnational scale . . . scoffs at frontiers and becomes a universal force.” He said: “In Europe, in Asia, in Africa and in America, the forces of darkness are at work and no society is spared.” He also said that “transnational crime . . . undermines the very foundations of the international democratic order. It poisons the business climate, corrupts political leaders and undermines human rights.
It can’t be denied that that the UN has failed in It’s primary objective to attain world peace.
It fact many true Christians feel as the prophet Jeremiah wrote thousands of years age…
Jeremiah 8:15 a hoping for peace, but no good [came];+ for a time of healing, but, look! terror!+ Jeremiah wrote about the failure of peace in Judah but his prophetic words for his people then still ring true today.
Why would that be so ?… a hoping for peace, but no good [came];+ for a time of healing, but, look! terror!+??
We are intelligent beings….we seem to have a natural inclination to – on the whole- help those less fortunate than ourselves so why and where have we failed over the thousands of years?
Did you know the Bible has the answer for mankind’s failure to bring about world peace?
Let’s turn to a very salient scripture that really is at the heart of our discussion today. We can find this scripture at 1 John 5:19
19 We know we originate with God,+ but the whole world is lying in the [power of the] wicked one.+
So what does that mean?
It means that Satan is in control of this world and has been since 1914, this control that Satan has can be elaborated upon in another discussion but Bible prophecy has indicated that since the year 1914 – and not coincidently when WW1 broke out – Satan has overseen the degrading and peaceless world conditions we witness today.
Surely you say though that not all can be fooled. There are plenty of intelligent men and women who trust in the power of man to bring about world peace?
We looked at some politicians statements..what about some religious leaders? The Catholic Pope. Leader of millions of catholics around the world, how does he and his predecessors view the UN as a tool for peace.
Well as far bac as 1965, after Pope Paul VI visited the United Nations, to read that he had said he had said: “The peoples of earth turn to the United Nations as the last hope of concord and peace”
And more recently the current Catholic pope visited the UN and said
Well recently the Pope put all his support behind a solution to peace initialled by the UN Recent quote from this year:
The Vatican said the discussions referred to the November 29 UN vote upgrading the Palestinians to the same status as the Holy See: non-member state observer. The Vatican had warmly welcomed the vote, and a Vatican statement said “it is hoped that this initiative will encourage the commitment of the international community to finding a fair and lasting solution” to the conflict.
The 193-nation General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution to upgrade the Palestinian Authority’s observer status at the United Nations from “entity” to “non-member state,” the same status as the Vatican.
The Vatican welcomed the resolution, which amounted to an implicit recognition of a Palestinian state.
So though decades of failures the major co-called Christian church in the world still puts its faith in a flawed man-made organisation.
Even the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of millions of Tibetans, mainly respected around the world, – how does he think world wide peace will come about
Well he too is a supporter of the UN but he also makes an interesting point;
He recently said;
global peace starts with personal peace. We can start eliminating conflict if we work to eliminate anger and hatred as well as other negative emotions within ourselves. By cultivating peace within ourselves, in our families, in the community, we contribute to world peace. ..and that is true isn’t it. Although his trust remains with the UN he recognizes that if we do not have peace within our family, – within our community – or within our town – then how can man achieve global peace?
Again it’s time to turn to the Bible our one constant of wisdom that hasn’t changed over the centuries. In this case lets turn to a scripture many Jehovah’s Witnesses are familiar with; 2 Corinthians 4:4
4 among whom the god* of this system of things*+ has blinded the minds* of the unbelievers,+ that the illumination*+ of the glorious good news+ about the Christ,* who is the image+ of God, might not shine through.+
That is really a statement that holds true today just as much as it was written thousands of years go. Satan – Jehovah’s Adversary – a spiritual creature that is now in his role as the God of This System – has actively blinded the minds of imperfect humans.
In fact his role was also predicted many years ago – even from the first century ce . Revelation 12:9
9 So down the great dragon+ was hurled, the original serpent,+ the one called Devil+ and Satan,+ who is misleading the entire inhabited earth;*+ he was hurled down to the earth,+ and his angels were hurled down with him.
We don’t have time to discuss the reasons why Satan has been allowed by Jehovah to continue to mislead mankind – that’s for another discussion – but the fact is Jehovah’s wisdom and law allowed a time period for Satan to challenge God’s Sovereignty.
If God then has allowed this why doesn’t he intervene so save His followers from man-made destruction?
Well we can be assured that Jehovah has provided a contingency plan.
And this is through His Kingdom rule.