It is a snare to the man who devoureth that which is holy, and after vows to make enquiry.—Proverbs 20.25.

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The Present War, Its Cause

and Issue.

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TrueCovenanter.com Editor’s Introduction.

The following observations were published almost 100 years ago with the Minutes of the General Meeting of the Reformed Presbyterian Church at North Union in Butler County, PA, 1915.  World War I, as it is known, was then under way.  As it is counted by historians, it had a few more years to continue.  The reality is, however, the world never ceased to be at war between World War I and World War II; nor is it at present in a state of true peace.  It has rejected the peace of the Prince of Peace, and its attempts to maintain order without him, and in a conspiracy against him, are yet sure to fail.  As modern weapons of mass destruction are most frightening unto men, it is natural that most choose to comfort themselves with a false sense of the impossibility of a World War III.  Yet it is far more sure that World War III will erupt in the years, or days, to come, than that men shall preserve peace and order in the earth without yielding a due submission to the rightful and powerful Lord of all the Earth.  Whether tensions in Korea, or present conflicts between Russia and Ukraine, will develop into a Third World War, is a matter we will not pretend to prophesy.  But we will surely testify, that there is God “that judgeth in the earth,” (Psalm 58.11,) and his purpose is not forever to sustain the false peace of a conspiracy of nations who will not that he should reign over them. (Luke 19.14.)

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For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.  They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.  Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.—Jer. 6.13-15.

And it came to pass, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, Is it peace, Jehu? And he answered, What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?—2 Kings 9.22.

IN the number of nations engaged, the millions of men under arms, the deadly weapons of destruction employed (many of them for the first time), the awful cost in men and money, and the inability of either side to gain any decided advantage, the world never beheld anything to compare with the present titanic struggle.

Because of the geographical position and extent of the {14} countries, the preponderance of the population of the earth already engaged in the conflict and the extent to which it is affecting neutral countries, it has already been termed a “world war.”  And, indeed, it may soon become so in truth, for of the nations not already involved, some are ready to enter the lists at any time, and the rest are preparing with feverish haste.

Much has been said and written since the beginning of the war as to its cause, the possible outcome, and the effect on society.

But a short time ago the boast was frequently made that war would soon be a thing of the past, and that nations would arbitrate all their differences.  So the tribunal to which nearly all the nations sent representatives was established at The Hague, in Holland; and at their conferences elaborate plans were made for the arbitration of national differences, and many rules were formulated for mitigating the horrors of warfare and nearly all the powers were signatories of them.  The world, and especially ecclesiastical guides, loudly acclaimed the near approach of universal peace—as in fact practically accomplished.  And on every side resounded their cry, “The world for Christ.”  Men boasted that the civilization of the Twentieth Century would not permit the barbaric horrors of war; and when their vistas were rudely shattered by the outbreak of this mighty conflict, many were asking: why is this war?  The answer is easy to those who are acquainted with their Bibles and the condition of society.  The nations have ignored and cast off “The Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9.6) until their iniquity has come to the full (Gen. 15.16); so He could well say to them as Jehu to Joram: “What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?” 2 Kings 9.22.

Men may talk of the militarism of Germany being the cause of this war, but the true cause is the rebellion of the nations against the glorious Mediator—Jesus Christ.  They {15} have said, both by words and actions, “We will not have this man to reign over us.” Luke 19.14.  Now He is saying in His wrath, “Those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before Me.” Verse 27.  As Mediator, the government of the universe is given to our Lord Jesus Christ by God the Father.  Christ Himself says, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Matt. 28.18.  If civil government be a “power on earth” it is given to Christ.  He does not say it will be given to Me, when the powers on earth shall acknowledge me; he says, “it is given to me,” I have it now.  And this subjection of civil government to the Mediatory authority is clearly set forth by Daniel: “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before Him.  And there was given Him dominion and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him.” Dan. 7.13,14.  In the Second Psalm, Christ makes known to all, His Father’s eternal promise to Him: “I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto Me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten Thee.  Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession.” Verses 7 & 8.  “Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth.” Rev. 1.5.

Ready to take vengeance on His implacable enemies, His supreme authority is patent to all beholders: “He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.” Rev. 19.16.  “The Lord Most High is terrible: He is a great King over all the earth.” Psalm 47.2.  “The shields of the earth (civil rulers in their official capacity) belong unto God (Christ as Mediator): He is greatly exalted.” Verse 9.  Indeed the Scriptures abound with declarations of the Mediatorial dominion, so plain, “that He may run that readeth.” Hab. 2.2. {16}

This dominion was given to Christ:

1. As a reward of His sufferings.  Being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil. 2.8,11.  “Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out his soul unto death.” Isa. 53.12.

2. It is for the sake of the Church, and in subserviency to her interests, that God hath set Him “King upon His holy hill of Zion.” Psalm 2.6.  “And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the Church, which is His body.” Eph. 1.22,23.

God, the Father, having vested his Son, as Mediator with all authority, commands civil rulers to serve the Son in their official capacity: “Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed ye judges of the earth.  Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.  Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little.” Psalm 2.10,12.  And Christ Himself says: “I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” Isa. 45.23.

Then the manifest duty of civil rulers is to acknowledge that Christ is King of nations, and that the Word of Christ—The Holy Scriptures—is the rule of national duty.  They should make practical confession of His Lordship by taking His Holy Word as the rule of obedience in all the affairs of national life.  Anything less than this is rebellion against His rightful authority; for His law is broad enough to cover every human relation and every human action.  And {17} nations crown the glorious Mediator as their Sovereign by serving His Church.  He sits enthroned as King on His “holy hill of Zion,” there is His place, and the habiliments of His power; from thence He issues His commands to the nations.  “For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” Isa. 2.3.

Having their constitutions framed according to God’s Word, it is the bounden duty of nations to make the religion of Jesus Christ the national religion and the test for all office-holders in the state, from the lowest to the highest.  “Thou shalt provide out of all the people, able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.” Exod. 18.21.  “Thou shalt in any wise set him King over thee whom the Lord thy God shall choose.” Deut. 17.15.

So national submission to Christ extends beyond things purely civil.  The great end for which the nations are placed under Christ is that they may be subservient to his purposes “to the Church.”  Hence the glorious Mediator demands that the nations consecrate their power, influence, and resources for the good of His Church: that they give legislative countenance and encouragement to Zion: suppress all idolatry, heresy, schism, and profaneness of every kind; and that state funds be used liberally for the support and enlargement of the Church.

But before these things can be done nations must first take hold of God’s covenant and swear to him.  We have Scripture examples as: Asa and Judah, 2 Chron. 15.12-15; Joash under the guidance of Jehoiada, Chap. 23.16; and Josiah, Chap. 34.31,32.  And the most perfect model, since the completion of the Canon of Divine Revelation, is The National Covenant of the Church and Nation of Scotland, first sworn in 1580; and The Solemn League and Covenant of Scotland, England, and Ireland, entered into 1643. {18}

Now from this brief glimpse of the rights of the reigning Mediator and the submission nations are required to yield to him, it appears that all the nations of the earth are in rebellion against His righteous sceptre: and with but a few exceptions they have been so from the beginning.  “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?  The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against His Anointed (Christ), saying, let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” Psalm 2.1-3.  As David in his day thus saw the swelling tumult of the nations against God, so it has continued, and so we behold the same inveterate hostility against the throne of the Lord’s Anointed; and their hostility against the Lord is all along displayed against His mystical body—the Church.

This wicked association of plotters was shown in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream under the similitude of an image, Dan. 2.31; and afterward exhibited in vision to Daniel, Chapter 7.2-8.  And the workings (especially in the last days), and final end was clearly revealed to the apostle John, Rev. 13.1-12, and 19.20,21.  The legs and feet of Nebuchadnezzar’s image—the iron and clay (Dan. 2.33) — represented the same as Daniel’s fourth beast, Chap. 7.7, and John’s beast of the sea, Rev. 13.1; i.e. the anti-christian Roman empire, both pagan and nominally Christian.  Daniel and John describe this beast as having “seven heads and ten horns.”  By revolution the empire is divided into a number of separate kingdoms, yet all possessed with the spirit of hostility “against the Lord and against His Anointed”; as Herod, and Pilate, and the people of the Jews, though enemies among themselves, all were in unison against the Son of God.  “The ten horns out of this Kingdom are ten kings that shall arise.” Dan. 7.24.  This nondescript beast possessed all the properties of the three that had gone before it—the leopard, bear, and lion: by which the Grecian, Persian, and Chaldean empires are symbolized.  For although these dynasties were {19} destroyed from off the earth (the Persian destroyed the Chaldean, while the Persian was in turn overthrown by the Grecian, and the Grecian by the Roman;) yet the diabolical, persecuting principles, by which the first three had been actuated, passed by a kind of transmigration into the body of the fourth beast.  The horrid cruelties and slaughters perpetrated upon the saints by these three, have been far exceeded by this monster which “devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it.” Dan. 7.7.  And John shows from whence it is actuated to bloody cruelties against the saints, it is, from the devil: “The dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority,” Rev. 13.2.

Thus we have from God’s Word a portrait of the secular or civil beast that for the space of 1260 years wars against the saints; and is aided, abetted, and driven on in his diabolical work by a most wicked confederate: “I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.” Rev. 13.11.  This beast of the earth is identical with the “little (or eleventh) horn” of Daniel’s fourth beast. Dan. 7.8; and is the same as the “false prophet” Rev. 16.13; and 19.20; and in chapter 17.3 is called a woman: “I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy having seven heads and ten horns.”

“The scarlet colored beast is the Roman empire, professing the Christian religion, modelled by the Romish church: for the woman sits upon the beast, guiding and controlling all its motions.” — Notes on the Apocalypse, [David Steele, 1870.]

At the instigation of an apostate church, tyrannical civil powers serve the “dragon” by destroying, persecuting, and wearing out the Saints of the Most High for 1260 years.  There is no neutral ground in this conflict between the “two witnesses” (Rev. 11.3), and this complex anti-christian system of civil and ecclesiastical tyranny and heresy.  Christ says, “He that is not with Me is against me; and he that {20} gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” Matt. 12.30.

And to Zion He says, “The nation and kingdom that will not serve Thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.” Isa. 60.12.  The glorious Mediator is now at length reckoning with these rebellious nations; “Let the heathen be wakened and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.” Joel 3.12.  “When he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them.” Psalm 9.12.  And he may well say to them as to Judah: “In thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents: I have not found it by secret search, but upon all these.” Jer. 2.34.

The nations now at war are getting blood to drink for the innocent blood they have shed.

The British Isles are very guilty.  Not to mention the persecutions of Mary Tudor and others; the bloody and tyrannical rule of perjured Charles II and his popish brother James VII, laid up a weight of wrath for Britain.  Their overturning of the glorious fabric of reformation, wrought from 1638 to 1650, by the infamous act recissory; the burning of the covenants National and Solemn League; the blasphemous oath of supremacy, with other wicked acts and oaths; and their pursuing for 28 years, all who dared to stand to their covenants, and witness for the crown rights and royal prerogatives of Jesus Christ,—with fire and sword, with bonds and imprisonment.

The blood of thousands of the witnesses of Jesus cries to God for vengeance from the scaffolds and dungeons, the fields and morasses, the mountains and valleys of Britain.  And there has been no repentance.  The present government is built on the ruins of the reformation.  The act recissory remains in full force.  “Shall I not visit for these things? saith the Lord: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?” Jer. 5.29.  The light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ shone with more of noonday splendour in {21} the British Isles (especially in Scotland) than in any other part of the world: hence their sin of apostacy from the truths once professed is of a scarlet hue, and we may expect that “the Lord will make her plagues wonderful.” Deut. 28.59.

And as to France, many are the crimes for which she must answer.  The Psalmist’s lament may be truly said of France: “The dead bodies of thy servants have they given to be meat unto the fowls of the heaven, the flesh of thy saints unto the beasts of the earth; the blood have they shed like water.” Psalm 79.2,3.  Doubtless there is more blood of the saints in her skirts than any other single horn of the beast.  It is probable that the witnesses slaughtered within her borders number millions.  The slaughters and unspeakable cruelties exercised upon the unoffending Waldenses, Albigenses, and Huguenots are scarcely paralleled in all the history of persecution for religion.  During the reign of Francis I, and his immediate successors, the sword was almost constantly dripping with the blood of innocents.  In the massacre of St. Bartholomew (Aug. 24. 1572), it is estimated that from 70,000 to 120,000 Huguenots fell victims to the diabolical cruelty and hatred of their enemies.

The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685) and the Dragonnades by Louis XIV add more black pages to the annals of terrible persecution in France.  And the persecution under Louis XVIII, from 1814 to 1820 was stopped only from fear of outside interference.  And as in former times, there was no sign of repentance for the enormities committed; nor punishment of the murderers and plunderers.  Thus an awful weight of wrath is surely laid up for gay infidel France.  For, as if to fill up the cup of their fathers’ iniquity, they have given themselves over to infidelity with its attendant vices.  “Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? he hath said in his heart, thou wilt not require it.  Thou hast seen it; for thou beholdest mischief and spite to requite it with thy hand.” Psalm 10.13,14.  “The violence done to me and to my flesh be upon Babylon, shall the inhabitant of Zion say; {22} and, My blood upon the inhabitants of Chaldea, shall Jerusalem say.” Jer. 51.35.

Turn to Germany and we see another noted horn of the beast that has shed the blood of multitudes of the saints.  Terrible were the outrages committed on the Bohemians.  John Huss was treacherously seized and burnt by Emperor Sigismund (1415).  Charles V. destroyed with the sword and inquisition vast numbers of German Protestants.  The awful massacres of Ferdinand II, and his wars on his Protestant subjects laid waste many of the fairest portions of Germany.  The sack of Magdeburg and the massacre of its inhabitants, by his ferocious general Tilly, was “a scene of horror, for which history has no language, poetry no pencil.”

In these works of arch-wickedness Austria was a partner, being to a great extent embraced in the Germanic Empire, and a number of the emperors being from the house of Austria.  Austria has been a very willing servant to “the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” Rev. 17.6; and having partaken much in her sins, may justly receive of her plagues.

We hear much said concerning the spoilation of Belgium; but in it we may see the just retribution which God in His providence is measuring out to her.  “For the Lord God of recompenses shall surely requite them.” Jer. 51.56.  The awful cruelties which Leopold and his Belgian subjects poured out on the natives of Belgian Congo are returning on the heads of their children.  The Lord is requiring blood for the blood of his saints shed throughout the land; and for their rejection of the glorious light of the gospel and base servitude of the “Mother of Harlots.”

And as to Italy, it has long been the abode of the Papal Hierarchy; and from “The City on the Tiber” has gone forth many of the most cruel and bloody edicts that stain the pages of history. {23}

Most diabolical slaughters of the followers of Jesus Christ have been perpetrated throughout the Italian states; notably in Piedmont where thousands upon thousands of the Albigenses and Waldenses were destroyed with every refinement of cruelty that hellish ingenuity could invent.

Russia has long been regarded as the symbol of autocracy and despotism.  Many and various have been the cruelties and oppressions exercised by that absolute monarchy upon its unhappy subjects.  The inhuman murderous treatment of political prisoners exiled to Siberia, has to some extent been made known to the world.  There the Jews have been harassed, plundered, and massacred at various times.  And, although they are but receiving the fruits of their hostility to the Messiah, and the curse they pronounced upon themselves: “His blood be on us, and on our children,” Matt. 27.25; yet God will assuredly judge those that devour them.

We need scarcely mention the murderous Turks.  For centuries they have been held up to the world as embodying rapine, cruelty, and slaughter.  The power of England has been employed more than once to prevent the extinction of the Ottoman Empire.  Now they are being repaid to their face for upholding Mohammedanism, and being partakers in the crimes of the Turks.

Thus the nations now at war are receiving the due reward of their deeds.  The Lord “will avenge the blood of His servants and will render vengeance to His adversaries.” Deut. 32.43.  Impenitent votaries of the “Mother of Harlots” their doom is destruction from the Lord.  “I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed and given to the burning flame.” Dan. 7.11.  And as to the nations not yet engaged in the war, they are equally guilty of rebellion against the Mediator and we may expect that He will “break them with His iron rod and dash them in pieces like a potters vessel.” Psalm 2.9.  The United States has a heavy weight of guilt lying upon her.  Although {24} slavery was wiped out with blood, there was no repentance for the sin.  Wickedness and crime abound in every part of the land; and the “three unclean spirits” are gathering the hosts “to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” Rev. 16.14.  “And He gathered them,” or rather, “they”—the unclean spirits—“gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” verse 16.  This battle is identical with the reaping of the harvest of the earth. Rev. 14.15.  And this is followed by the gathering of the “clusters of the vine of the earth.” verses 18-20.  This punishment of the apostate church (the beast of the earth) is represented as far more bloody than the harvest.  This is the execution of the doom pronounced on all the adherents of the anti-christian system by the third angel: “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.” Verses 9,10.

Men may speculate as to who will win in this mighty conflict, but we believe that the signs of the times all indicate it is “the supper of the great God.” Rev. 19.17;  It will end in the overthrow of the nations of the earth.  The avenging justice of the Mediator is being poured out upon rebel kingdoms: “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” Psalm 9.17.  “The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.” Psalm 110.5.  “Behold the Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood and shall no more cover her slain.” Isa. 26.21.

Christendom today is sinking beneath a weight of transgression unknown to heathen lands.  The external so-called {25} Christianization of the present world powers does not make them any less bestial or change their nature, but only fastens the chains of guilt the tighter upon them.

So-called culture and civilization are powerless to teach the fear of God, and can but ripen for the stroke of judgment.  If there were no other sins to bring down God’s wrath on the earth, that of Sabbath-breaking alone would be sufficient, for the Sabbath is profaned throughout the world; but all the other commands of the Decalogue are broken with impunity.  If Sodom and Samaria were not half as guilty as Jerusalem that the King of Babylon destroyed (Ezek. 16.48-51); what shall we say of the guilt of Christendom now?  Nineveh, Tyre, and Sidon shall meet a milder fate than the horns of anti-christian Rome.  Luke 10.12-14. and 11.32.  We need not look for peace until the whole fabric of anti-christian power is overthrown; for the Lord Jesus Christ “will tread them in His anger and trample them in His fury,” (Isa. 63.3,) until every vestige of opposition is trodden under His feet.  The issue of the conflict is never once in doubt, truth and righteousness will triumph gloriously.  “Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.  And in the greatness of Thine excellency Thou hast overthrown them that rose up against Thee: Thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble.” Exod. 15.6,7.  The apostle John in vision saw the final overthrow of all the visible enemies of the Lord and His Anointed—the whole anti-christian system of iniquity.  “And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.  And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image.  These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.  And the remnant were {26} slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.” Rev. 19.19-21.

“Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.” Psalm 82.8.