Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Only the Dead have seen the End of War

     On August 26, 1863, Abraham Lincoln declared this wishful statement, "Peace does not appear so distant as it did. I hope it will come soon, and come to stay, and so come as to be worth the keeping in all future time." As hopeful as Lincoln was, the end of the Civil war was not close at hand. The war lasted another year and a half, ending on April 9, 1865.  Even when the South surrendered, Lincoln did not get to enjoy the peace for long.  The president was assassinated  just six days later. Lincoln's hope for a peace that would last far into the future would remain unfulfilled. 

British writer H.G. Wells in 1914 wrote a newspaper article predicting that World War One would be the last war. He referred to that war as, "The War that will end War." President Woodrow Wilson adapted the quote into one of his speeches renaming the First World War as the, "The War that will end all Wars." Sadly, they were both wrong.  Following the conclusion of the Civil War, only fifty years would pass before Americans were again dying in the First World War, then just twenty years after that war's end came the Second World War. The Spanish-American philosopher George Santayana penned these sobering words in 1922, "Only the dead have seen the end of war."

The Apostle Paul wrote this powerful prophetic verse in his letter to the Corinthian church, "The last enemy that will be abolished is death." 1 Corinthians 15:26   Someday that last great enemy, Death, will be defeated once for all. These wars and the horrible suffering caused by sinful man, are yet to come to an end. We, like Lincoln did, hope and pray that peace in this world is not far off. Therefore, we encourage ourselves by the Word of God that lasting peace, justice, and eternal life will soon become a lasting reality. Lincoln did not live to see it. We may not see it in our lifetimes, but someday everyone who has given their lives to Christ will surely see it.  The decisive battle to, "End all Wars" victoriously happened on the Cross, and the "War to end all Wars" will be triumphally concluded at His Return.   There is coming a day when the whole world will live by the truth of this passage, 
"Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war." Isaiah 2:4

There is coming a time, we know not when, but it will arrive, when the Redeemed of the Lord shall finally sit down in peace.  
"And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." 
Revelation 21:4

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