In August 1914, immediately after the outbreak of World War 1, British author H. G. Wells published a number of articles in London newspapers that subsequently appeared as a book entitled The War That Will End War. It became a slogan “the war to end all wars.” So how did that work out? Actually, the result of World War 1 contributed to the outbreak of the even more catastrophic World War 2.
It wasn’t long after the end of World War 2 that we found the U.S. fighting communism in Korea. It was called the “Domino Theory.” It said if one nation falls to communism then another will fall as it spread. Just like dominos. From Korea we went to just south of China to Viet Nam.
That’s just a little history of the United States at war. Now…think of how many countries there are and how many conflicts there have been.
Jesus said in Matthew 24:6 “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”
Here is a scary rumor of a war: the Chinese state media is calling on a nuclear buildup as a “strategic deterrence” against the United States, Newsweek reported.
“We must be prepared for an intense showdown between China and the U.S.,” WHO SHE GIN, the editor of the Chinese state-run newspaper the Global Times, wrote in an editorial. “The number of China’s nuclear warheads must reach the quantity that makes U.S. rulers shiver should they entertain the idea of engaging in a military confrontation with China.”
“As the U.S. strategic containment of China has increasingly intensified, I would like to remind again that we have plenty of urgent tasks, but among the most important ones is to rapidly increase the number of commissioned nuclear warheads, and the DF-41s, the strategic missiles that are capable to strike long-range and have high-survivability, in the Chinese arsenal,” WHO SHE GIN wrote. “This is the cornerstone of China’s strategic deterrence against the U.S.”
Hu called for “a large number of Dongfeng-41, and JL-2 and JL-3 (both are intercontinental-range submarine-launched ballistic missiles)” to “form the pillar of our strategic will.”
“On this basis, we can calmly and actively manage divergences with Washington to avoid a minor incident sparking a war,” Hu concluded. “U.S. hostility toward China is burning. We must use our strength, and consequences that Washington cannot afford to bear.”
In saying “wars and rumors of wars,” Jesus seems to be saying that some wars will be threatened but not fought. Part of His response to the disciples’ question, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” Jesus responded, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”
Because of Jesus’ words in this passage, whenever there is an explosion of conflict, especially in the vicinity of Israel, many people begin to wonder if the new war is a sign of the end times. But if you read the rest of the passage Jesus says “. . . And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Whether it is a civil war in Africa, launching missiles between Israel and its neighbors, or the war on terror, no conflict today is necessarily a sign that the end times are imminent. No matter what wars and rumors of war are going on around us, our mission is the same: to preach the Gospel to the whole world. It just so happens that our mission is what Jesus says is a reliable predictor of the end times, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:14).
Matthew 24:5–8 gives us some important clues for discerning the approach of the end times: “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
An increase in false messiahs, an increase in warfare, and increases in famines, plagues, and natural disasters—these are signs of the end times. In this passage, though, we are given a warning: we are not to be deceived, because these events are only the beginning of birth pains; the end is still to come.
Some interpreters point to every earthquake, every political upheaval, and every attack on Israel as a sure sign that the end times are rapidly approaching. While the events may signal the approach of the last days, they are not necessarily indicators that the end times have arrived. The apostle Paul warned that the last days would bring a marked increase in false teaching. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.
The last days are described as “perilous times” because of the increasingly evil character of man and people who actively “oppose the truth.”
Other possible signs would include a rebuilding of a Jewish temple in Jerusalem, increased hostility toward Israel, and advances toward a one-world government. The most prominent sign of the end times, however, is the nation of Israel. In 1948, Israel was recognized as a sovereign state, essentially for the first time since AD 70. God promised Abraham that he would have Canaan as “an everlasting possession” and Ezekiel prophesied a physical and spiritual resuscitation of Israel. Having Israel as a nation in its own land is important in light of end-times prophecy because of Israel’s prominence in the Last Days.
With these signs in mind, we can be wise and discerning in regard to the expectation of the end times. We should not, however, interpret any of these singular events as a clear indication of the soon arrival of the end times. God has given us enough information that we can be prepared.
But Jesus’ point seems to be that there always has been war, and, until He establishes peace in the Millennial Kingdom, there will always be war. No kingdom without the the King.