If you want to see what the early stages of a World War look like, just turn on the TV news or look at a news website. Events today eerily mirror those that led to the first two World Wars. Nations align. A big country attacks a smaller one. The rest of the world struggles to know what to do. Both sides keep ratcheting up the provocations.
2 Timothy 3:1 says, “In the last days, perilous times shall come.” We’re there. These are those times.
The anger in western nations has reached a boiling point. It was bad enough for Vladimir Putin to start a war with his peaceful neighbor. But in that war, he has shown boundless cruelty. Imagine calling a ceasefire in a town, then relentlessly bombing a huge children’s hospital there. Imagine promising refugees that they can safely evacuate a city, then slaughtering them as they make the attempt. He has shown no qualms about bombing hospitals, schools, civilian apartment buildings, and a host of other nonmilitary targets.
His actions have enraged nations and individuals the world over. As a result, pundits and diplomats are advocating things that would have been unthinkable a few weeks ago. Politicians seem intent on proving their mettle by thinking of new, more devastating ways to “punish” Russia.
I get it. Vladimir Putin deserves to be punished. Innocent blood cries out for vengeance. But should vengeance be our goal? Remember Romans 12:19: “‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” In these circumstances, if we choose to steal from God that which He says belongs to Him, we endanger the whole world.
Western governments are right to pressure Putin and arm Ukraine. But as we ratchet up the tension, we must do so with an endgame in mind. For the moment, I’m not hearing much about how to bring peace. The talk is about further cornering Putin. Do we really want to push him into a position where he sees expanding the war as his only recourse?
I am not for appeasement. In fact, coddling and appeasing Putin put us in this present danger. Since the beginning of this century, he has gotten away with every outrageous thing he tried. So, when the United States and Europe told him that the invasion of Ukraine was a red line he could not cross, he didn’t believe them. He had crossed red lines before, never paying more than a token price for his actions. Nothing in his experience as the leader of Russia prepared him for the global backlash he now faces.
I am not for appeasement, but I am for finding an offramp. We must stand up to Putin, but we must do so in a way that will end the war on Ukraine without creating World War III. This is not 1941. This is the era of thermonuclear weapons and ICBMs.
The Bible gives uncannily accurate descriptions of both regional and global nuclear war. As a student of Bible prophecy, I know these things are coming. But in the meantime, we should heed the words of our Lord when He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Remember Romans 12:18: “So far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” That does not mean “peace at all costs,” but it should give us an impetus to find ways to make peace where we reasonably can.
1 Timothy 2:2 instructs us to pray “for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life.” So, consider this a prayer request—an urgent and vital prayer request.