From Atlantic submarines to Pacific isles, from Siberia to Seoul, from Iraq to Iran, Afghanistan and now Pakistan, nuclear warheads stand silently poised to vaporize whole cities and threaten to destroy large populations. Terrorist trained guerrillas stalk American embassies and blast buildings and personnel to horrible ruin. Islamic enemies of the West threaten to bring down the "great Satan"&emdash;the United States of America. Alarm is sounded on the nightly news. Who will hear the warning now? Who will respond to the call: prepare ye war?
by Jerry Gentry
"Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up" (Joel 3:9).
"Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong" (v. 10).
"Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD" (v. 11).
Never before has there been such a time of history as this. "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" (Matt. 24:6).
The palette of history is smeared and blotted with blood drawn from the crucible of warfare. In ancient times, military warfare required battalions of foot soldiers armed with sword and bow, bolstered by cavalry, elephants, battering rams, ladders and catapults for throwing stones and wreaking destruction. Man on man combat was the rule. Fire laden arrows were perhaps the most volatile element of ancient techniques of destruction.
A military campaign was a year long effort, and perhaps extended longer.
Today a single terrorist armed with a business suit and counterfeit passport can deplane at Kennedy Airport, walk through customs, and take a taxi to a Fifth Avenue public lock box. There he can pick up a shoulder pack armed with a nuclear device capable of leveling skyscrapers while burying millions in the rubble. Such is modern warfare, renamed terrorism. The rules of engagement have been quietly and methodically transformed, as third world countries such as Korea, Libya and now Pakistan, along with a dozen former Soviet satellites, brandish nuclear arms.
What are Christian nations to do? More particularly, what must individuals do? Answer: Prepare ye war! But how?
Modern war planners sit in their ivory towers daily in efforts to devise methods of protection against terrorism and nuclear assault. Yet the sun goes down daily, and still no effective means have surfaced that will assure against nuclear attack, small or large, from third world nations who possess little traditional military might. Foretelling such a time of uncertainty and frustration, the prophet of old taunts God's rebellious and disobedient people Israel, who have forgotten the true God: "Prepare ye war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe unto us! for the day goeth away, for the shadows of the evening are stretched out" (Jer 6:4).
"Arise, and let us go by night, and let us destroy her palaces" (v. 5).
"For thus hath the LORD of hosts said, Hew ye down trees, and cast a mount against Jerusalem: this is the city to be visited; she is wholly oppression in the midst of her" (v. 6).
"As a fountain casteth out her waters, so she casteth out her wickedness: violence and spoil is heard in her; before me continually is grief and wounds" (v. 7).
The sun has long ago set on the mighty British Empire, and her former military power has been brought low. America today grapples as a sitting duck in the face of Islamic terrorism. Experts tell us that it is no longer a matter of "if;" rather, it is a matter of "when," concerning a nuclear terrorist attack on United States soil.
Prepare ye war! the Bible declares. But how? If the combined military machines and think tanks of the Western powers are ineffective against the real threat of terrorist attacks with nuclear devices, or even all out nuclear war, what must the Christian to do personally?
The Bible gives us a clear directive: "Prepare war! Wake up the mighty men!"
"Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand" (Joel 2:1).
"The great and terrible day of the LORD" is preceded by many "wars and rumors of wars" (Mark 13:7). The ultimate in warfare rages between the powers of wickedness and the revealed truth of the word of God. Other intermediate skirmishes and wars have spilled the blood of mankind ever since wicked Cain slew righteous Abel. Warfare, bloodshed, death and destruction have poured bloody rivers over the landscape of history since the beginning of time. Such destruction continues today, even through high tech terrorism, East against West.
In the days of old, Israelite nations stood proud and mighty, as God's own special force in the world.
The prophet declares: "Thou [Israel] art my battle ax and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms" (Jer 51:20). The whole world has been explored, settled and colonized by Israelites from time immemorial. Did you know that there is a boulder today near Las Lunas, New Mexico, at a place called Mystery Mountain, on which is written the Ten Commandments, using ancient Hebrew letters? Yes, archaeology has unearthed numerous evidences of Israelite civilizations thriving in America before the time of Christ.
Yet for forgetting the true God, the LORD of hosts, and His word, Israelite civilizations around the world were judged by God and brought down:
"And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass" (Lev. 26:19).
"And they [Israel] shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Luke 21:24).
Enter our time of history today. We approach the end of "the times of the Gentiles" when six millennial days are complete, when "the kingdom shall be the LORD'S" (Obad. 21). The directive "prepare ye war!" takes on special meaning for everyone living at the time of the end. At a time such as this, Christians must heed the call,"prepare ye war!" like never before.
"Prepare war! Wake up the mighty men!" the Bible says.
It was made clear to Moses, Joshua and even later kings of Israel under direct rule of God, that "the battle is not yours, but God's" (2Chr. 20:15). The Bible claims: "With him [Sennacherib, king of Assyria] is an arm of flesh; but with us [Israel] is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah" (2Chr. 32:8).
Can we today understand and confess that "the battle is not [ours], but God's," and harmonize these facts with the directive, "prepare ye war"?
The Bible commands Christians to "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses" (1Tim. 6:12).
How must we fight this warfare? "And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully" (2Tim. 2:5). This is the language of the battlefield, applied to the Christian life and walk.
How must we "strive lawfully?" Our ground rules are thus: "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh" (2Co 10:3).
"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds" (v. 4).
The apostle Paul instructed young Timothy: "This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare" (1Tim. 1:18).
The real warfare among God's creatures is not in the flesh. Flesh war is only a tiny shadow of a warfare with infinitely greater stakes: "For we [Christians] wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Eph. 6:12).
Spiritual warfare calls every Christian to arms, that we may be found "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2Co 10:5). Wake up the mighty men!
God expects every Christian to "endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ" (2Tim. 2:3). No soldier goes into battle without armor and weapons, which are also available to every Christian who will enter the fray and do serious battle with the enemy.
"Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand" (Eph 6:13).
"Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness" (v. 14).
"And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace" (v. 15).
"Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked" (v. 16).
"And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (v. 17).
Here we see the armor of the Christian from head to toe. Here we see the weapons of our warfare, how we must "prepare ye war!" and do battle in the conflict of the ages. Here we see how we are able to enter the battle fray and come out the other side intact, with the enemy lying helplessly overcome at our feet. Here we see the defeat of Satan and all his minions. Herein we see the key that unlocks, for the Christian, success day by day in our battles of life.
"Prepare ye war!" Christian.
"Wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up" (Joel 3:9).
A trumpet of alarm and warning calls all the mighty men to wake up! Will you wake up early, draw near, and receive your marching orders? "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints" (Eph. 6:18). Thus, through effectual prayer, our Christian armor is completed.
Will you quiet yourself from worldly pursuits long enough to hear that "still small voice" of God (1Kgs. 19:12)? The Psalmist declares: "Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early" (Ps. 57:8). Will you today "prepare ye war?" Will you make ready to do battle for the Most High? Will you defend his name and reputation, in word and deed, even at a time when nearly all the men of Israel sleep on in moral apathy and reprobation, when "the men. . . [of Israel] are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil." (Zeph. 1:12).
Awake the mighty men! Call the men of Israel to arms. Call the warriors to stand in the gap. The time comes shortly when God is coming in His fierce wrath, to "take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies" (Nahum 1:2).
Christian, "prepare ye war!"
"Wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up."
"The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly" (Zeph. 1:14).
"Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches" (Jer 9:23).
"But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. (v. 24).
"Wake up the mighty men," and "prepare ye war! "
Jesus commands: "But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one" (Luke 22:36).
For "God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty" (1Cor. 1:27), who "out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens" (Hebr. 11:34).
Yes, the time is now at hand for Christians everywhere to engage in conquering spiritual warfare. The time has come to "Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruninghooks into spears." Will you take heed to sharpen your sword of the spirit, the very word of God, through daily Bible reading and scripture memorization? Only then can it be said, "Let the weak say, I am strong."
The victory is ours by the faith of our conquering King, Jesus Christ, who won our victory for all time. We must confess that victory in the face of defeat. We must confess might in the face of our own weakness. We must confess His constancy in the face of our wavering. We must confess His success in the face of our own failures. We must confess His perfect sacrifice in the face of our filthy garments.
Christian, "Prepare war! Wake up the mighty men!" And let not the enemy's false charges move you off course.
For "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth" (Rom. 8:33).
"Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us" (v. 34).
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" (v. 35).
"As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter" (v. 36).
"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us" (v. 37).
"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come" (v. 38).
"Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (v. 39).
To the church of the living God today, hear the message of God from ancient times: "And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear [that is, the arm of the flesh]: for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you [the enemy] into our hands" (1Sam. 17:47).
Christian, "Prepare ye war!"