In August 1914, Europe was mired in the depths of World War I. At the time, many (including British author H.G. Wells) observed the events of the war, and hypothesized that a win in this war by the “good guys” would result in the end of war itself. In a series of newspaper columns, Wells coined the phrase, “The war to end all wars.” This phrase would be picked up on by American President Woodrow Wilson, and used as a rallying cry as he led America into the battle, believing that a victory in that day would prevent future military conflict.
Today, the phrase, “The war to end all wars” is uttered somewhat tongue in cheek. Knowing that the century that has transpired since Wells and Wilson first coined the phrase have been covered with war after war after war. WWI, regardless of intention and speculation, was NOT the war to end all wars. It was simply another war.
Like you, I wish that wars would cease. I would love to see an end to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq draw to a close. I would love to see an end to genocide on the African continent. I would love to see the last civilian fatality from a terrorist attack. I would love to see a final conflict that would truly be the war to end all wars.
Thankfully for us, there will one day be a true “War to end all wars.” This war will not be defined by simple empty rhetoric, but will be characterized by a real, certain, and final victory by God over the forces of evil. This victory (which was won by Christ on the cross) will materialize when Jesus Christ returns to the earth for His second advent.
At Christmas time, we sing the angels song which speaks of “Peace on earth . . .” yet in the 2,000 years since Jesus’ birth, the earth has not been characterized by peace. People who have entered into a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ over these two millennia have peace with God, but on this earth, war and conflict have still endured. When Jesus returns to the earth a second time, however, He will fight one final conflict with Satan (see Revelation 19-21) and literally END ALL WARS.
In the Old Testament book of Isaiah, written 700 years before Jesus’ birth, the peace Jesus ushers in is describe by the prophet in a very poetic way. “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:6-9).” In this passage, animals are used as a creative descriptor of the extent of the peace that will follow when the little child of Bethlehem returns as a man/King and judges Satan. What will be left is a world without war.
There is such a thing as the “War to End all Wars” . . . Wells and Wilson were just at least one century too early with their prediction.