The Unseen Cause of Wars
We live in a world where warfare has become so entrenched within the fabric of, culture, that it is taken for granted. The act of human butchery—of people killing their fellow human beings—has been elevated to a primary institution, so that most nations have standing armies whose express purpose is to kill opposing forces and in the most efficient and timely manner possible. So progress research efforts into armaments and explosives that will deliver the greatest possible firepower with the greatest possible accuracy to achieve the quickest possible defeat of an enemy. So ingrained into the fabric of our society is the military-industrial complex that, were, the pursuit of warfare be terminated, our economy would likely descend into a tailspin. We should take note of the parting speech of President Dwight D. Eisenhower on January 17, 1961, when he cautioned,
“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together” (Wikipedia, article “Military-industrial complex”).
Of course, wars are primarily waged to advance the political, economic, and social agendas of leaders of nations. They always involve the beating into submission of an opposing nation or group, with both sides of the conflict killing each other, oftentimes in prodigious numbers. Since the first recorded murder, of Cain, killing Abel (Genesis 4:8), untold millions of people have been killed in, war, both trained soldiers as well as civilians. Those human beings, each made in the image of Elohim, is precious in His sight. Notice in the table on the next page the number killed in some of the major wars throughout history (Wikipedia, “List of wars by death toll”).
There are 16 more wars than are shown in the table that tally at least 1,000,000 deaths, and 96 more wars that killed less than 1,000,000 each. These do not list the countless other conflicts throughout the Post-Flood Era, nor the Pre-Flood period from Adam to Noah, which was a particularly violent time in world history (Genesis 6:5). While the total casualty list of mankind murdered through wars since Adam is unknown, the total surely exceeds 1 billion people. Imagine the agony and suffering of these countless deaths, and the turmoil of the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, and friends and neighbors of the dead, not to mention the effect on the gene pool by having the best and strongest of men killed, as well as the disruption of livelihoods and dwellings decimated by fighting, rapes, pillaging of wealth, and disorder of civil society.
The Causes of War
Perhaps it is trite to review the causes of wars and murders—I put them in the same category—but recall what James said:
“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot, obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:1-2).
In Genesis 4:3-9 we read of Cain’s great anger and jealousy toward his brother Abel, whose offering of the firstborn of the flock was acceptable to Yahweh, whereas Cain’s offering of grain was not respected. Cain’s jealousy over what Abel possessed kindled unbridled hatred in him, so he killed his own brother. Is not such hatred and jealousy towards others a major cause of war and murder? The commandments of God forbid such attitudes—coveting, lying, stealing, worshiping idols, adultery, and so forth—and if one commandment is broken they are all broken (James 2:10). As John stated, “… we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous” (I John 3:11-12). Even hating one’s fellow man is akin to murder, as John so lucidly pointed out in I John 3:15.
Yet, there is another cause for, war, that so few recognize. This cause is perhaps the most common cause of all, but it is unseen, though the powers that cause it are anything but benevolent. This cause has its origins in the spirit realm, which we discover is inhabited by various pernicious and unsavory characters.
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the scheming of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:11-12).
The “Divine Council”
We must first understand a bit about the nature of Elohim and the spirit beings that surround Him, beings that are powerful and totally overlooked by most of God’s people. This “heavenly host” was with God even before this present Adamic earthly dispensation was created. Note Job 38:4-7.
“Where were you at My laying the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you possess understanding. Who determined its measurements? Yes, you do know. Or who stretched the measuring line upon it? On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars were singing together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”
Psalm 82:1 likewise admits to the existence of more gods [Elohim] than just the Father and Jesus Christ in the spirit realm: “God [Elohim] stands in the divine assembly; He administers judgment in the midst of the gods [Elohim].” The first Elohim in this verse is singular since the Hebrew grammar has the word as the subject of a singular verb form (“stands”), but the second one is plural because the preposition before it (“in the midst of”) requires a plural noun. You cannot be in the midst of one!
Again, we read in Psalm 89:5-7,
“And so the heavens will praise your wonderful deed, O Yahweh, even Your faithfulness, in the assembly of the holy ones. For who in the sky is equal to Yahweh? Who is like Yahweh among the sons of God, a God feared greatly in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all surrounding Him?”
This divine council is in heaven, not on earth, so the members of it cannot be flesh and blood human beings, as seen in Job 38:4-7. In Job 1:6 and 2:1 we see the heavenly sons of God [plural Elohim] present themselves before Yahweh
“Now there was a day when the sons of God [Elohim] came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan [the Adversary] also came among them …. Again there was a day when the sons of God [Elohim] came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord.”
Back to Psalms again, in Psalm 29:1-2, we read that the sons of God were told to “ascribe to Yahweh glory and strength … the glory due, His name.” Clearly we are dealing with, spirit beings who were around the Father’s throne at times. Moreover, Scripture tells us that, of these sons of God, Yahweh was incomparable and unique in His greatness and righteousness.
“Who is like You among the gods [eloim], Yahweh?” (Exodus 15:11).
“What god [el] is there in the heaven or on the earth who can do according to Your works and according to Your mighty deeds?” (Deuteronomy 3:24).
“O Yahweh, God of Israel, there is no god [elohim] like You in the heavens above or on the earth beneath.” (I Kings 8:23).
“For you, O Yahweh, are most high over all the earth. You are highly exalted above all gods [elohim].” (Psalm 97:9).
Of all the Elohim, Yahweh was the supreme God of Israel as stated in the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4): “Hear O Israel: Yahweh is our God — Yahweh alone” (The Emphasized Bible, J.B. Rotherham). Most translations of this verse make it sound like there is only one God, like the NKJV, which says, “Hear, O Israel, ‘The Lord our God, the Lord is one!’”
Imperfect Members of the Council
It is tempting to assume that every being of the Divine Council is totally loyal and righteous, but unfortunately such is not the case. We have already seen that Satan, the Adversary and our own enemy, was among the sons of Elohim as revealed in Job 1:6 and 2:1. We also read in I Kings 22 that Micaiah, a true prophet of God, unveiled a vision which described how Ahab was deceived to go to battle, disguised as a common warrior, so he could be struck by a chance arrow and killed.
“Then Micaiah said, ‘Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left. And the Lord said, “Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?” So one spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the lord, and said, “I will persuade him.” The Lord said to him, “In what way?” So he said, “I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.” And the Lord said, “You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so”’” (I Kings 22:19-22).
The identity of this spirit is not clear, but he was certainly not averse to whispering lies into the minds of Israel’s false prophets. He could well have been Satan himself, the father of lies (John 8:44).
Psalm 45 alludes to the possibility that some of these heavenly sons of God lacked righteous character, since Jesus Christ, the One identified as “You”, is said to have excelled in righteousness above His fellows. The connection between Christ and this individual in Psalm 45:7 is made clear in Hebrews 1:8-9.
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions: (Psalm 45:6-7).
Jesus Christ was placed by His Father above His peers because of greater righteousness. This gives a clue that others in this group were not as righteous, perhaps filled with plenty of wickedness, in fact, as we read was the case of Lucifer in Genesis 3, Isaiah 14, and Ezekiel 28. The “serpent” (nachash, or “shining one”) of Genesis 3 was none other than the Adversary himself, as most of us know, and this serpent, full of wisdom an perfection, is noted in Ezekiel 28:13 as also being in Eden, the garden of God. He was “… a perfect model of an example, full of wisdom and perfect of beauty” (Ezekiel 28:12) until wickedness was found in him, due to the “abundance of your trading” (Ezekiel 28:15-16). He became proud because of his beauty (Ezekiel 28:17). Isaiah 14:13-14 reads as if this being was attempting a coup in the divine council, to be like the Most High (elyon)
Rebellion in the spirit world is not relegated only to Satan the devil, however; it has extended to many other powerful divine beings, some of whom we read about in Genesis 6:1-4. Some sons of God noticed that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and took some of them and produced children who grew up to be Nephalim, giant beings who proliferated before the Flood apparently throughout most of the human race, leaving only Noah and his family “perfect in his generations” (Genesis 6:9). These giants also were produced by Sons of God cohabiting with women after the Flood (Genesis 6:4), and gave rise to the Anakim and Rephaim, giants whom the Israelites met when they entered Canaan. Goliath was one of these Nephalim resulting from sons of God cohabiting with women, which genetic lines God had the Israelites utterly wipe out … as the Flood had done centuries earlier.
Peter and Jude speak of these disobedient sons of God in II Peter 2:1-10 and Jude 5-7. Jewish literature also discusses these transgressing sons of Elohim, such as in I Enoch 6 to 11, which speaks of “watchers,” the sons of heaven, that came down from heaven to Mt. Hermon to choose wives of the daughters of men—just as is indicated in Genesis 6:1-4. Only Daniel 4:17 speaks of these watchers in all of Scripture, where the text says, “Their decision is by the decree of the watchers, and the sentence by the word of the holy ones.”
The Sons of God Rule the Nations
With the knowledge of the Divine Council and the illicit activity of some of these divine beings within the realm of mankind, we are led into some rather astounding knowledge. At least some of these sons of Elohim are heavily involved in the rulership and conduct of the world’s nations!
At Babel, a few centuries after the Flood, the people of earth were of one language, and were building a huge tower, or ziggurat, to serve as a magnet to hold the 70 nations (Genesis 10) together, rather than have them disperse to their assigned places across the earth as Yahweh had commanded them. Yahweh came down to Babel and confused their languages so the various nations would separate from one another, though maintain communication within their own tribes. “Therefore its name was called Babel, for there Yahweh confused the language of the whole earth, and there Yahweh scattered them over the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:9).
What most Bible students do not realize at this point is that Deuteronomy 32:8-9 contains the dialogue,
“When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when He divided mankind [at Babel; some say at the time of Peleg when God “divided” the earth; Genesis 10:25], He fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God. But the Lord’s portion is His people, Jacob his allotted heritage.”
Here we see that the 70 nations across the earth, which had rebelled against Yahweh by remaining at Babel to build a tower, failing to migrate to their designated inheritances, were finally forced to migrate when the languages were confounded. Israel was not yet even on the scene, but centuries later Abraham was given the promise to become a great nation—based on his faith and obedience—to be an example to all of the nations on earth that had deserted Yahweh’s ways. Yahweh was the great God of this one family that was given incredible promises of descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven and the sand on the seashore, of a great name, of many blessings (including the Savior) to be passed to all mankind, and of territory for a great nation. Israel was to be the model nation to demonstrate to all the world that God’s laws and statutes, commandments and judgments do indeed work, and are the key that would bring heaven on earth, the restoration of the Adamic Eden to all nations, and fulfill the model prayer, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
If it seems here that Yahweh is giving the various nations to the rulership of members of the divine counsel, but the rulership of Israel to Himself, then the thinking is correct. Notice what Deuteronomy 4:19-20 says.
“And do this so that you do not lift your eyes toward heaven and observe the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of the heavens, and be led astray and bow down to them and serve them, things that Yahweh your God has allotted to all of the peoples under all of the heaven. But Yahweh has taken you and brought you out from the furnace of iron, from Egypt, to be a people of inheritance to him, as it is this day.”
This is saying that God has allotted various “gods” to there nations that worship idols. It is as if God is saying, “If you don’t want to obey Me, I’m not interested in being your god—I’ll match you up with some other god” (M. Heiser, The Unseen Realm, Lexham Press, Bellingham, Washington, 2015, page 114). The building of the Tower of Babel was a flagrant setting up of Babylonian gods in place of the true God. Yahweh, after the Flood, had commanded the inhabitants of the ark to “Be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 9:1), but instead they gathered at Babel and defied God’s command to move out to their assigned domains. Humanity shunned Yahweh, so Yahweh shunned them, and instead of continuing to dwell with them He called faithful Abram and began building Israel through him … the Israel that would eventually be given charge over the earth, and form the bulwark of the saints who would rule with Christ for 1,000 years and establish Eden throughout the world (Genesis 12:1-3; Revelation 5:10; 20:1-6; Romans 8:18-23; Acts 3:19-21). Amazingly, Abram came from the very heart of the region from which the rebellion against God’s rule had originated: Ur of the Chaldees—Babylon!
Israel Versus the World’s Nations
While the nations of the world rebelled against their Creator and Sustainer, He raised up the nation of Israel to serve as a conduit to bring all Gentile nations back to the One True God. Israel was to be in a covenant relationship with Yahweh, a nation of kings and priests (Exodus 19:6), while the disinherited nations—like those in Canaan—would be in bondage to the corrupt sons of God who rules over them.
In a real sense, the land of Israel was “holy ground.” The other nations who heard of Israel’s exploits knew and respected that, fearing her greatly (at least at first) when they learned that Pharoah’s army had been drowned in the Red Dead while Israel escaped (Deuteronomy 2:25; 11:25), and the Jordan River had been backed up during flood season to allow the nation to pass over when they began to conquer the land (Joshua 2:9-11). No other nation on earth could claim such divine deliverance and protection, and the nations were terrified of these people. When Naaman, the commander of the Syrian army, was healed of leprosy after dipping himself in the Jordan River seven times, as Elisha had commanded, he urged Elisha to take a gift from him; Elisha refused (II Kings 5:15-16). Then, Naaman said,
“If not, then please let a load of soil on a pair of mules be taken to your servants, for your servant will never again bring a burnt offering and sacrifice to other gods, but only to Yahweh” (II Kings 5:17).
Naaman realized now that Yahweh was the one true God, and there was no other, but in order to serve the one true God in Syria he believed he needed soil from Israel, for he considered that holy ground! He took real estate from Yahweh’s territory so he could worship Him in the domain of the god Rimmon.
In the New Testament, Paul affirmed the reality of divine beings ruling over the nations when he stood up in the Areopagus of Mars Hill in Athens, and stated,
“And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord in the hope that they might grope from Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us ….” (Acts 17:26-27).
These words were taken from Deuteronomy 32:8-9, which states that the sons of Adam lived within boundaries administered by the sons of God, whereas Israel (Jacob’s portion) is Yahweh’s inheritance. Paul was in essence telling these Gentile Greeks to search for, and find, the true God who administers in righteousness, who is above the son of God that administers the Greek nation. Paul spent considerable effort in exposing the dark forces that operate in secret all around us. He called them,
Rulers of this age (I Corinthians 2:6, 8)
Rulers in heavenly places (Ephesians 3:10)
The ruler of the authority of the air (Ephesians 2:2)
The god of this age (II Corinthians 4:4)
Rulers, authorities, rulers of this darkness, spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12)
Jesus Christ, after His resurrection, was taken up to the Father’s throne and “… seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion” (Ephesians 1:20-21). Apparently only after the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ and His ascension was this great plan revealed to these powers of darkness (Ephesians 3:10), who were disarmed and put to shame (Colossians 2:15).
The Battle Lines Are Drawn
With the Gentile nations ruled by divine spirits of the heavenly council, a fact well-known to Jesus Christ, and these spirits now living in the knowledge that He has overcome all of their attempts to supplant His plans to reestablish Eden over all of the earth, it is no wonder that they are fit to be tied. They will stop at nothing to try and claim Israel’s allotment of land by any means at hand, not only the land promised in Palestine but also land in other areas of the earth that He has given to Jacob’s sons: America, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and other places. Michael Heiser states the issue well.
“The incident at Babel and God’s decision to disinherit the nations drew up the battle lines for a cosmic turf war for the planet. The competition of the Elohim sons of God set over the nations meant that Yahweh’s vision of a global Eden would be met with, divine force. Every inch outside Israel would be contested, and Israel itself was, fair game for hostile conquest. The gods would not surrender their inheritance back to Yahweh; He would have to reclaim them. God would take the first step in that campaign immediately after Babel” (Heiser, The Unseen Realm, page 122).
Thus we see a major cause for war in today’s world, as well as throughout the history of mankind: powerful spirits who rule the nations, who are fighting for turf amongst themselves, and also for the land promised to Israel. Michael appears to be Israel’s son of God protector (Daniel 10:13, 21; 12:1), while other, sons of God administering other nations are mentioned in Scripture: Persia (Daniel 10:13, 20), and Greece (Daniel 10:20). We see the animosity of the Persians (modern Iran) against Israel today, and a multitude of other conflicts across the globe, which can be understood by realizing that powerful, spirit forces are ruling within the hearts and minds of leaders of these nations.
While we as God’s elect can do little to influence these national leaders, we can certainly remove hatred, jealousy, greed, and avarice from our own lives and live at peace with our family and neighbors. Oh, that all of mankind would do so! Then wars would be a thing of the past. We can take the admonition of James 4:1-2 and remove lust and desire for pleasure from our lives. We can be a living example of Jesus Christ and love Him and our neighbor, doing to others as we would have others to us (Matthew 7:2; 22:36-40). As Christ said, this is the whole meaning of the law and the prophets. It is essentially a restatement of what Solomon said was the encapsulation of his knowledge:
“Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
Micah stated in Micah 6:8, “O man, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
Moreover, Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees,
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith”, (Matthew 23:23).
War is hell. Let us remove it from our homes, communities, and nations, and live in peace, love, and prosperity as we wait upon the return of Jesus Christ to establish the Kingdom of God here upon the earth. Only then will war be utterly removed from our lands, and peace restored as in the days of the Garden of Eden.