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THE Scriptures foretell that in the end of this Age there will be a cry of "Peace! Peace!!" but that there will be no peace. (Jeremiah 6:14.) This prophecy has been fulfilled. When the First National Arbitration Board convened at Geneva, Switzerland, and gave its first reward, September 14, 1872, the cry of "Universal Peace" went up all over the world. There was to be no more war. All difficulties between nations were to be settled by arbitration. How sadly disappointed must those people be who, in spite of the many wars since that time, have continued to cry, "Peace! Peace!" Their theory has been that universal peace between the nations would speedily usher in the Messianic Kingdom.
How few look to the Word of the Lord to see what He has to say on the subject or, looking, entirely disregard God's testimony through the Prophets, to the effect that the present Age would end and the Millennium be inaugurated, not by Peace Conventions and Peace Treaties, but by "A Time of Trouble such as was not since there was a nation." (Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:21.) The Peace cry has received an especially severe shock in the present momentous war, involving more than any other war on the earth ever! Instead of the present war being nearly over, we incline to expect much more serious complications in Europe—that other nations will be drawn into the war.
Notwithstanding the fact that the President and the Secretary of State of our own land are wise men, lovers and promoters of peace; and notwithstanding the fact that there is no apparent reason why our country should ever be involved in this war, nevertheless we are apprehensive. The great nations of the old world, impoverishing themselves and destroying their commercial interests, as well as being robbed of hundreds of thousands of valuable lives by this war, will not wish to see the United States towering high above them in every way by reason of its isolation. We may be sure that the crafty statesmen of Europe, while professing interest in our peace, will really do all in their power to embroil us in war by one device or another.
While desiring peace at home and abroad, all who are children of the Highest must desire the Father's will to be done—rather than our own. Hence, should the war extend even to our own land, in spite of everything we can do to the contrary, let us not be discontented, but still pray, "Thy will be done!" Let us look beyond the present terrible war to the glorious things which God's Word assures us lie just beyond it; namely, Messiah's Kingdom.
When we say that the Kingdom lies just beyond the war, we should note the fact that, according to the Scriptures, it will not be set up immediately. Following the terrible storm of this war will come a great revolution, symbolically styled "a great earthquake." (Revelation 16:18.) In conjunction with this social revolution, the Bible indicates that Churchianity will for a time be greatly exalted as the hoped-for power by which the revolution may be offset and stopped. During that brief time of Babylon's prosperity, the true Church will be in hard lines, from the earthly viewpoint. Nevertheless, "all things shall work together for good to them that love God, to the called according to His purpose."
Following the revolution and Churchianity's exaltation quickly will come the anarchy, which the Bible everywhere symbolizes by fire, because of its destructive force and influence. That will be the time mentioned by our Savior, saying, "Unless those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved." (Matthew 24:22.) The Master tells us, however, that those days of anarchy and general strife—"every man's hand against his brother, against his neighbor, and no peace to him that goeth out or to him that cometh in"—shall be shortened. The establishment of the Church in glory, the bringing of the Elect into control of the world, will shorten those days and inaugurate the Reign of the Prince of Peace.
Our Honorable President with praiseworthy intent requested all Christian people to make October 4 a day of prayer for peace in Europe. However, we cannot concur with our Worthy President in this matter. Much as we appreciate peace—and we have all our life labored to be a peacemaker—we cannot pray the Almighty to change His plans to conform to those of our Honored President.
For twenty-five hundred years God, through the Bible Prophets, has been telling His people about this great war and concerning the more terrible Armageddon which will follow it; and can we expect Him to reverse the program at our behest?
The prayers of these millions praying for the prosperity of the Germans and the extermination of the Allies, and the prayers of other millions for the success of the Allies and the annihilation of the Germans, and the prayers of the Pope and of our President and other good people that this awful war shall promptly cease will all go unanswered, if we read our Bible aright. The war will proceed and will eventuate in no glorious victory for [R5554 : page 308] any nation, but in the horrible mutilation and impoverishment of all. Next will follow the awful Armageddon of Anarchy.
After that, peace, lasting peace, may be hoped for, because God has declared it! It will be brought in by Messiah's Kingdom, for which so long we have prayed—"Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as in Heaven."
For forty years we have been proclaiming this very war and its glorious outcome, by sermons, oral and printed, and in our books on Bible Study in twenty languages. Now, when the very year has come and the prophecy is being fulfilled, could we consistently ask the Almighty to change His program? Nay! Rather, our discourse on October 4 was from the Master's words, respecting the present "DISTRESS OF NATIONS WITH PERPLEXITY, men's hearts failing them for fear of those things about to come on the earth."—Luke 21:25,26.