Why War, Death, Disease, and Pestilence

Normally, the run of the mill cliché for this is…"Its God's will."

     If this were backed by scripture, then this page would be short indeed.   The truth is, however that it is  NOT  God's will, and never has been God's will, that men, particularly Christians, should kill each other for any reason whatsoever.   This is said in spite of the wars God directed the house of Israel in.   The explanation of which will become self -evident as one reaches the conclusion of this discussion.

     To understand why God has allowed death, wars, and the horrors that accompany them, one needs some background information concerning basic Biblical issues.   There are a number of things that come into play concerning these Biblical issues.   They are all so closely knitted together that it seems, at first glance, hard to separate.   Yet, they can be separated just as fingers in a glove.   Nonetheless, keep in mind, covering the fingers is the purpose of the gloves.   These issues are all closely related, intricately interactive, and have as their main ingredients:  Christ!  Family!  Time!  The Kingdom!   All of these entirely center on the Purpose of God.   To understand this, let us begin first by looking at Christ as part of the Purpose of God.

     If you stood on a street corner, and asked everyone that passed if they thought war was a good idea, how many, do you suppose, would tell you war was something desirable?   Just the same, in the last 3400 years or so, mankind has managed to endure roughly 140 years of peace.   The word endure is used here because even though no one wants war, man expends most of his time, energy, and resources, including his life, engaged in this outright stupidity.

     In the past 2000 years, Christianity has been an ever-growing faith.   Yet, Christian religions, as they present themselves to the world, have been just as heavily engaged in this folly of war as the rest of the world.   Christian religions have, in truth, been a very source of strife and bloodshed, such as the crusades.   During the Second World War, the priests blessed the Italian troops, and prayed for victory.   On the other side, the priests, rabbis, and ministers blessed the allied troops, and prayed for victory.   Regardless of the battle's outcome, the results are referred to by the world as… "God's will".

     But is this really true?   Is it really God's will that Christian should slaughter Christian in any kind of war?   The Biblical answer to that is an emphatic  NO.   Christ would not even allow his disciples to defend Him when He was arrested.   Listen to what Jesus told them, as one who was with Christ at Gethsemane attempted to fight off what was clearly an enemy.

Matthew 26:51-53 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear.

                    52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into its place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

                    53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? (KJV)

Notice: "all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword"

Verse 53 was not said by Christ to brag, but to make the point that if Christians were here to fight in hand to hand combat, God could and would send legions of angels to lead that battle. Christ is making it clear with the above scriptures that Christians are not here for that purpose.

     John gives us a bit more information on this event by telling us it was Simon Peter that drew the sword, and the name of the man with the injured ear was Malchus.   John also adds something else stated by Christ at the time.

John 18:11 Then Jesus, said to Peter, "Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?" (NKJ)

"Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?"   Read the whole chapter and you will see that Christ's betrayal, arrest, trial and impending death came as no surprise to Jesus. John and Matt both point out this all took place, as related, because of prophecy.   But it is also true that Christ would not allow a true follower to fight for any reason because to do so would be a violation of the second command of Jesus from His Father.   "Love your neighbor as you do yourself."   Since that is the case, then again one can ask, why does God allow war, death, disease, and the pestilence that goes hand in hand with it.

     The question above is rational and reasonable.   It is also a question that the Bible explains in detail.   In fact, it explains it in great detail.   The subject itself could fill volumes; but in order to keep this discussion at a sensible length, within these pages, it must be condensed into sort of a nutshell overall view.   Let us try to do that by examining enough background information from the word concerning God's Purpose as to why He allows death and war and all that goes with it.

     To begin with, death and war never has been the will of God as part of His purpose towards mankind.   Nonetheless, at this time, God does allow it.   The scriptural reason these horrors are allowed by God can be clearly seen within the scriptures.   All one has to do is look for it.   And, one does not have to look far in the Word of God to recognize that the Purpose of God is to establish a spiritual family.

Ephesians 3:15-17 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, (KJV)

     That spiritual family started with God's "only begotten son" [John 3:16] and was meant to be just that, a spiritual family.   It is referred to in the scriptures as the Kingdom of God, which at the present time is ruled by God's son, Christ our Saviour.   When this only begotten son was born of God, it was as a spiritual being in a spiritual world before the creation of the universe.

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (KJV)

If the above scripture is not clear to you, then let us look at some more that make what has been said unmistakable:

Colossians 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of his dear Son:

Col 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: (KJV)

     In fact, it is this spiritual son, "the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature" that performed the task of creation itself using his Father's power, or what we know as the Holy Spirit.

John 1:2-3 The same was in the beginning with God.

            3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (KJV)

     It was Christ therefore, under the direction of His Father and using His Father's power, the Holy Spirit, which made man from the dust of the earth and called him Adam.   Now we all know that it was through the disobedience of this one man, Adam, that death entered the universe.   Just as it was through Jesus, that life was restored.   The very act of restoring life, by the required sacrifice of Jesus, planned for before creation of the universe was begun, meant that death was never intended by God Almighty to begin with.   That is what the scriptures mean by a ransom of mankind.   Christ ransomed man from the condemnation of death.

Hosea 13:14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes. (KJV)

"Repentance shall be hidden from my eyes" is a poetic way of God saying that absolutely nothing will alter the destruction of death when the time comes.   For those that cannot relate to prophesy, as stated in the Bible, note that God has already begun that destruction of death, with the resurrection of Christ.   It has, in fact, already been accomplished for those Christians in history that had overcome before their bodies passed to dust.   For eternal life, as spiritual brothers and sisters of Christ, is far more certain than the rising of the sun on earth in the morning.

Mark 10:45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (KJV)

     Now all that has been said above about Christ above being the ransom from death has a direct bearing on why God allows death at this time.   Just the same, death serves no purpose to the ultimate eternal plans or purpose of God Almighty.   This is why what took place with Christ as a human took place at a prescribed time.   A time preset and scheduled by the Father, God Almighty, before the foundation of the universe was even started.   Christ arrived when he did on earth because this ransom was planned for from the very beginning. Now since time plays an intricate part in all this, let us take the time to look at time, as God sees it.

     Let us first understand that time and space are exactly the same thing.   It is a proven scientific fact that no two things can occupy the same space at the same time.   God created our space time continuum while existing from somewhere outside of our known universe.   Also, since God created our universe that means God existed before time as we know it because time began when the universe began.   This results in our understanding of time, and God's understanding of time,* as being two different things.   For all we know, time may not even be a factor in the realm that God exists in.   But it most certainly is a factor for us and therefore God relates time to us as we understand it, and we generally relate it as an arrow, from 1 o'clock to 2 o'clock to 3 o'clock etc.

     Yet, time is rarely thought of by religions of the world as it relates to the interaction of God's plans and mankind.   When it is considered, it is thought of in sort of a mystical sense. Nonetheless, time as relates to prophecy that has already occurred and to prophecy still to come can easily be compared to one another, and calculations for most prophecy yet to come can be foreseen.   As an example:

Ezekiel 4:6 And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year. (KJV)

     Since Ezekiel is a book primarily concerned with prophecy, the relationship of time as a day for a year is easy to understand as God is stating it to Ezekiel.

     However, it is also true that we do not know the day or hour set by God for the complete conclusion of this system of things.

Matt 24:36 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. (NAS)

     This being the case, we will not venture into the realm of foolishness that tries to predict or pinpoint the conclusion of this system of things.   Particularly since we have been told, no one but God Almighty knows this moment in time.   For us to attempt to do so, would at best, be wishful thinking.

     Even so, time for us is a calculable device, and from time, which has been spoken of in prophecy, within the Word, we can readily see or read and relate time to prophecy by the events that have already occurred.   The point of this is, God does not react to anything mankind does or says.   The time allotted by God for any event within his planned purpose moves along precisely on the schedule he has preordained, regardless of what men or angels think, say, or do.   To illustrate this would be the appearance of Jesus on earth.   This occurred exactly when it was suppose to.   Not a moment too soon nor a moment too late.   [As a sidebar to what has been said above, Christ appeared on earth as one of the two witnesses spoken of in Revelation.   The other of the two witnesses is His body of followers. By law, two witnesses were required to condemn.   And the world has been condemned by God, not the earth... the world.]   This is true of all events in time including the end of the Gentile times, which can be used as an example of what is being said here.

     The Gentile times are expressed in the Bible as an era, space, or period of time.   However, it suited God's purpose to let mankind know exactly how long that period of time lasted in years, so we would know when one event ended and another began.   The word tells us that when the time of the Gentiles were completed, the time of the end began.   Notice time is allotted for everything, because everything takes time.   Time is our universe!   God is not a mystic genie with a pocketful of magic dust.   He designed our universe under laws He Himself established.   Laws he does not waver from in any way.   Therefore, nothing happens in an instant, but only within the time frame God has preset for its beginning and its end.   The time of the Gentiles is no exception to this, and we can follow its course as time unfolded from the Word we were given concerning it.   That word came from Christ Himself when his apostles questioned Jesus concerning the end of this system of things.

Luke 21:7 And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? And what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass? (KJV)

     That was the question the apostles asked our Lord. This is what He answered them.

Matt 24:6-8 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.

7  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

8 All these are the beginning of birth pains. (NIV)

     In verse 6, Jesus is telling us that wars and rumors of wars are a normal course of history. However, in verse 7 Jesus is specifying a world war.   Why?    Because, as he tells us in verse 8, this world war he is referring to, is the beginning of the time of the end.   Well, it is pretty obvious that Christ is here speaking of what the apostles, and consequently what we could expect from the future.   This is particularly true when you realize that Christ is specifically mentioning, in Matt 24:15,  Daniel's prophecies at Daniel chapter 4 in connection with the beginning of the end times.   Daniel's narrative concerns a dream this king had of a mighty and glorious tree, which represents God's Kingdom.   A dream Daniel interpreted for king Nebuchadnezzar through a vision from God.

Daniel 4:12 Its foliage {was} beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in it {was} food for all.   The beasts of the field found shade under it, and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches, and all living creatures fed themselves from it. (NAS)

The key to the above is "All living creatures fed themselves from it"

   As has been said before, the end times begin at the close of the Gentile times which Christ also mentions in Matt 24 and Luke 21. Well then, one might say, the time for this should be easy to calculate.                                                                                                                      

     Guess what … IT IS EASY TO CALCULATE.   In the dream that Nebuchadnezzar had concerning this glorious tree that was cut down, with the stump being banded by a watcher angel, God (through Daniel) explained that seven times would pass over the stump of that tree. The times are seven years with each day representing a year.   The Hebrew year was 360 days long.   We know this because it is calculated from the time Noah spent in the ark.   Seven times 360 equals 2520 days.   A day for a year makes that 2520 years which begins with the fall of the temple in the year 607 B.C.   It begins here because this was the time of the abomination of desolation referred to in:

Matt 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) (KJV)

     607 BC was the year Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple built by Solomon.   In that temple was the Holy Place containing the Ark of the Covenant and was known as the Holy of Holy's, in which the high priest of Israel went once a year to offer sacrifice for the whole family of Israel.   Therefore, subtracting 607 years from 2520 years leaves the year 1913. However, we moved from BC to AD during that time.   In that transition from negative numbers to positive numbers there was never a year dated zero.   Therefore, we have to add one year, making the Biblical date for this tribulation Christ was speaking of, to begin in the year … 1914.   To make it even more precise, the Jewish year begins in the fall (just pick up any Jewish calendar and you'll see that Rosh Hashanah always begins some time between mid-September and October). The First World War began, just as Christ predicted, in the fall of 1914.   As my father used to say … "Son of Gun; God was right again."  This of course did not surprise my father, and it should not surprise any of us that things happen exactly on the time schedule God has assigned and decreed.

     By the way, it can be noted that both Christ and Daniel were speaking of events present and future.   Things, which would occur then in their time and also representing something that would occur in the future.   A future we are now living in, noted by the word as the end times.   This is a common occurrence in the overall verses of the Bible concerning or relating to prophecy.   This is clear from the scriptures below, which also let us know this is the end times that Christ was speaking of in Matt 24 and in Luke 21.

Matt 24:21-22 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

                   22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. (KJV)

     The final background information we need, to understand why God has allowed wars, death, disease and pestilence, is the Kingdom.   The very same Kingdom Christ came to preach to us as the good news.

The same kingdom Christ sent his apostles out to herald.

Matt 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. (KJV)

Matt 10:5-7 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:

             6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

             7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. (KJV)

     A kingdom mentioned over a hundred and sixty times in the New Testament.   A kingdom mentioned by Christ 56 times in Matthew alone.   Christ constantly preached of this Kingdom of God, which has existed from the beginning.   A kingdom God created with a specific purpose, placing two people into this kingdom named Adam and Eve.   That purpose was to populate his spiritual kingdom.

Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (KJV)

The word replenish in the scripture above is the primitive Hebrew root word "Maw-lay", which means literally and figuratively to fill up.

     Now it is clear from Gen 1:28 above that God is referring to populating the earth.   How then, does one get from there to this spiritual kingdom of heaven?

Revelation 14:3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. (KJV)

     Revelation is speaking here of spiritual beings redeemed from the earth.   Beings standing before the throne of God in heaven.   This throne is symbolic.   God does not really sit on a throne in heaven mounted on a sea of glass held up by four beasts.   Not unless you can believe, there are material things in the spiritual realm in which God exists.   Then of course you would also have to believe that Christ is a real lamb with seven horns and seven eyes.   Revelation is all symbolism.   John was told to write what he saw; what he was given to see, in the vision, was symbolic pictures.   The number 144,000 does not refer to an amount ,or quantity, but symbolizes the highest position, or quality, a Christian can attain to, which is to become a spiritual brother of Christ and a spiritual son of His Father which Rev 14:3 is telling us are redeemed from the earth.

Matt 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: (KJV)

Titus 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (KJV)

There is another scripture that also comes to mind concerning people from earth that attain the glory of being redeemed from the earth:

Rev 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (KJV)

And just to make sure that the Bible has made this point clear; Christ, while here on the earth with us, told us this:

Matt 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. (KJV)

     What is this mystery of the kingdom of heaven?   A mystery, by the way, that Christ is telling us Christians already know.   It can be summed up this way.   That kingdom of God was begun and established from the very beginning.   When Adam and Eve were first placed in the garden, that kingdom included the whole universe along with heaven and everything else in both realms, spiritual and physical.   Who else could that kingdom have belonged to besides the creator?   How could God give His son the right to rule that kingdom if it did not belong to God to begin with?   The answer to these questions is obvious.

Well then, one asks, what went wrong?

A third of the angels, led by Satan in the spiritual realm, went wrong.  

Rev 12:4  And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven, and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.   (NAS)

The dragon in that scripture is revealed as Satan in  

Rev 12:9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.    (NAS)

Also, the entire population of the earth, which consisted of two people at the time, went wrong.  They went wrong by disobedience.

Gen 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (KJV)

Well, we all know that Adam broke this command, and for doing so, he did die.

1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (KJV)

     Through these beings, both angel and mankind , DEATH  entered the kingdom of God. Why this happened is a different discussion and revolves around free will, but the fact is, death is here and there is no one that can deny it.   Will it always be here?  No  it will not.

Rev 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (KJV)

     The lake of fire spoken of above is symbolic of utter and complete destruction, which will fulfil what God has promised about destroying death.   Well, now we know how death was brought into God's kingdom, and what will happen to death itself. But what about disease and pestilence?   They came about, as part of the punishment to Adam and Eve.

Gen 3:17-19 Then to Adam He said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat from it;' cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.

           18 "Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field;

           19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return." (NAS)

     It is plain from the verses above that God has cursed the ground that Adam and his wife walk upon.   That curse would bring about the penalty of death, which both Adam and Eve caused for themselves and their offspring by disobeying a simple command.   The one, and only, command that was given to man at the time.   Lets look at that command and see if Adam could have misunderstood what God was saying.

Gen 2:16-17 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;

           17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die." (NAS)

     It could not be any plainer.   Eat the fruit of this tree and you will die.   Well, God told this to Adam and obviously Adam passed this information on to Eve.   Could it be that Eve did not understand what God was saying?   Hardly!   When Satan, through the serpent, tempted Eve, her first reply to him was:

Gen 3:2-3 And the woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;

           3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die." (NAS)

     Could God have taught mankind the difference between good and evil without death, disease and pestilence?   Of course he could have, and He most assuredly would have had man obeyed the one simple command God had given them.   But, by disobeying that command, they made themselves unrighteous before their God and there is no place in God's kingdom for anything unrighteous.

     Was the knowledge of good and evil always to be forbidden to man?    Not at all.     Had Adam and Eve obeyed the command, it would have proved that they trusted God and were willing to do what He told them to do.    Then God would have told them to eat from the tree, for it was time to do so.    Adam and Eve would have traveled down the path of life and learned the rest of their lessons 'the easy way.'

     It should be obvious by now how war entered the kingdom.   Mankind, under the influence of Satan, has nurtured greed, power, evil and all the assorted self-destructive attributes that lead to war.   Man brought war into the kingdom, not God.   It isn't God that manufactures guns, tanks and atom bombs.   The whole universe belongs to God he doesn't have to fight for it, or over it.   It is His!   He is the undisputed owner of it and can do with it whatever He wishes.   What He wishes, is it should be populated with a righteous family.   Since there is no one or nothing that can stop this from being accomplished, that is exactly what the end result will be.

     Nonetheless, God does, at this point in the history of man, allow war.   Why?   Because of time!   The punishment including death was not meant to be everlasting.   If it were, then Christ would not have been sent to begin the process for the restoration of the kingdom to righteousness.

     To us, this seems like a long drawn out process covering thousands of years.   That is because we live only a short time.   However, to God this process of learning is just a blink of the eye.   He has eternity to exist and is offering an eternal righteous life to all, to live with Him, as spiritual sons and daughters.

 Man disobediently bit into the fruit of good and evil to learn his lesson the hard way.  Had man listened, God would have taught this lesson without death, war, disease and pestilence.

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