A Sign of the End Times (but its a good thing!)
Bill Mefford

Bill Mefford

Executive Director

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A passage in Scripture that I am continually drawn to is Micah 4:1-4, which prophesied the end days when the nations of the world will stream to the mountain of the Lord to have God settle their generational disputes. Then, to make that peace lasting and fully transformational, weapons of warfare will be beaten into instruments that provide for the care of people and all people will have their basic needs met so that there is no need to train for war any longer.

It is, I believe, the most beautiful picture of a reality that God calls for and calls all of us to work for.

I am overjoyed to say that we took a big step towards that reality a couple of days ago when the United States finally, after decades, destroyed its last stockpile of chemical weapons. And it came just in time. In 1997, the US Senate ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention, which required all signatories to destroy their chemical weapons stockpile by Sept. 30, 2023.

Taking 26 years to destroy something we haven’t knowingly used since World War 1 means the world God dreams of will not happen overnight; it will take us some time. It also means that “beating swords into plowshares” takes commitment and work! We too often relegate the work of the Spirit in our lives to only the inward; to changing our hearts and saving our souls. But this picture of Micah clearly reveals that God’s work is both firmly rooted in right relationships as well as governmental and social processes that require a tremendous amount of work by a lot of people to transform the original intentions of the State – which is to protect itself from outside attack. God desires all nations to live in harmony and to be a place of life-giving resources for all that people need to live in abundance and happiness.

Even in the midst of the joy that I feel about the US taking this huge step, I remember that in nations like Sudan, Syria, Russia, and North Korea, chemical weapons are still used regularly with tragic results.

  • In 2016 the Sudanese government unleashed chemical weapons in some of the farthest reaches of Darfur where, in one instance, close to 250 people were killed, most of them being children. Amnesty International reported that children were covered in lesions and blisters, vomiting blood, and were screaming in pain just before they died. Horrific.
  • In 2013, the Syrian government released the nerve gas sarin on their own civilians in the Ghouta district of Damascus which resulted in 1400 people, again, mostly children, murdered. Just unbelievable.
  • In a sign of pure deceit, Russia was an early signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention and has stated that it had destroyed its stockpile in 2017, but Putin has ordered at least two assassinations of political rivals in 2018 and 2020 with the use of nerve gas. And there continues to be fear that Russia will authorize the use of chemical weapons in its illegal invasion of Ukraine.
  • Lastly, the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, killed his half-brother who was living in exile with a nerve agent. Yikes.

These examples only remind us that the road to authentic peace and security is long and not certain. And there are so many other weapons still to destroy! Nuclear weapons, small arms, assault weapons, and the enormous military industrial complex which drives this nation’s insane commitment to armed destruction.

Our work before us to build a world as God dreams of it to be is a tremendous task and one we should be committed to daily. But today we can celebrate this one small step.

Come Lord Jesus.

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