The War That Ends All Wars
June 2, 2021
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, was first officially observed on May 30, 1868, on the order of General John Alexander Logan for the purpose of decorating the graves of the American Civil War dead.
Arlington National Cemetery, filled with all those white grave markers, is probably the most symbolic of the cost of war and a revelation of our heritage and troublous times in American history.Historically, Memorial Day was expanded to include all who died in World War 1, and further expanded to include those of World War 2, better known as Poppy Day. Since 1971, Memorial Day, the last Monday in May, was declared a national holiday. It is traditionally marked by parades, speeches, ceremonies, and is a time set aside for decorating the graves with flowers and flags, in honor of all those who died at war.
It has become not only a time to remember the nearly 1.1 million of our nation’s armed services personnel killed in wartime, but also a time for all families to remember those loved ones who have succumb to that enemy called death.
This coming Memorial-Day Weekend will definitely be like none other. The Covid-19 pandemic has drafted us all into a world-wide war with an invisible and infectious virus, resulting in over 3,000,000 deaths in over 220 countries.
The United States has experienced nearly 600,000 deaths as a result of the pandemic battle. We used to look at Memorial Day as the first part of summer, with the annual trip to the lake, fun in the sun, weekend of relaxation, reunions and family fellowship. But this Memorial Day remembrance brings us a little different perspective on the loss of life, not only in war, but also because of the pandemic. Just as Memorial Day reminds us of our roots and the losses of life sustained in fighting for freedom, so also, there has been, and still is, a spiritual battle raging in our world today. Like the human battles of World Wars 1 and 2, fighting against an enemy that was seeking to destroy freedom for all, so also, there is a battle for freedom in the spiritual arena that is raging against all mankind. This great controversy battle between Christ and Satan, this war behind all wars, is being fought for the spiritual freedom of every man, woman and child.
I believe this great controversy theme and its overall understanding is the central backdrop for the whole Bible Story. This core conflict between God’s way of doing things and Satan’s operating system transcends all conflicts between mankind. This great controversy theme enters into every phase of our human experience.
Like parts of a play, the Bible portrays at least 5 Scenes in this spiritual war behind all wars, giving us hope that God is in control, the fighting will end one day and the taste of victory will be sweet.
Scene # 1 – An Angel Turns Rebel – Lucifer, War in heaven, Jesus prevails, Satan and angels are cast out.
Scene # 2 – Mankind Joins the Rebellion – Creation, Adam & Eve, Satan’s temptation and the fall into sin.
Scene # 3 – God Intervenes in the Rebellion – Jesus comes to earth, wins at Calvary, Returns to heaven.
Scene # 4 – The Rebellion Goes Underground – Dark ages, persecution of the saints, Reformation appeal
Scene # 5 – The Rebellion Ends – 2nd Coming of Christ, New Heaven and New Earth, no more Satan or sin.
As you can see, the central theme of the Bible is the story of redemption and restoration of mankind to the image of God through the saving ministry of Jesus Christ.
The burden of every book and every passage of the Bible is the unfolding of this wondrous theme of man’s uplifting, this story of redemption, this saving power of God “who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ,” with the complete elimination of evil and sin.
He who grasps this grand central thought has before him the key that will unlock the whole treasure-house of God’s Word. This great controversy story of redemption helps explain all those hard to answer “Why” questions about suffering and death, hurt and heartache, disease and disaster, good and evil.
At the conclusion of the Bible Story, Rev. 21 declares, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be nor more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the former things are passed away.” Someday soon the war behind all wars will be over and a new heavens and a new earth will be restored with peace and harmony. Love and fellowship will replace hate and persecution. Humility and selfless ministry will replace prejudice, pride, and oppression. May God comfort us all in times like these.
Retired Pastor Jim Nichols – Sidney Seventh-day Adventist Church