The Great War officially began on 28 July, 1914 and lasted until 11:00 am, Central European Time, 11 November, 1918. The total number of deaths, civilian and military, on both sides, is estimated between 15 and 22 million souls. Around 10 million of those were military personnel. The Armistice had been signed at 5:45 am, but the Allied Command chose to wait five hours and fifteen minutes to have the ceasefire order given, so that they could have the symmetry of 11/11 11:00 as the official end of the war. In that time there were 10,944 casualties, of which 2,738 were deaths.
This conflict had come to be known as The War That Will End War, because its like had never been seen. Humanist author H.G. Wells had coined the term in 1914 with the idealistic thought that, surely, mankind would learn their lesson and turn their swords into plough-shears. It quickly came to be used sardonically by the public, because surely this was the war that would end civilization.
A year after the war ended, on 11 November, 1919, the first celebration of Armistice Day was observed. Two years after that, 11 November, 1921, the Unknown Soldier was interred in the tomb at the Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery.
But war had not ended. The Second World War saw 116,516 Americans killed. The total estimated dead in that war is 70-85 million.
In 1954, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, and war continued. The Korean War saw 36,574 Americans dead, then 58,220 in Vietnam.
The spiritual war mankind has been experiencing since the world was created seemed to rage on as well, but in the Gospel of John 19:30, Jesus proclaims, “It is finished!”
His death on the cross was not an afterthought come up with after mankind’s fall into sin. No, it had been settled before Adam existed.
Nexus comes from a Latin word meaning “connection, usually where multiple elements meet.” Isaiah 46:10 says that it is God who, from the beginning, declared the end. Jesus, slain from the foundations of creation, hung upon the cross and declared “It is finished!” There, at the center of history, where the first event happened, the end was proclaimed. Like the well-known symbol of eternity, the beginning and end of Time met in the middle through Jesus. The life of our Lord is the nexus of history.
It may seem that we are forever at war, but He has declared that the war is over, if you want it. The ancient Hebrews looked forward to Messiah, we look backward, and we both see the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and ending.
So, as the Psalmist asked, “Why do the nations rage?” We hear of wars and the rumors of war. Nation rises against nation. But this is not the end. We serve our country when needed, and look forward to that moment when, at last, we see the end that Jesus announced, there at the beginning. And then, we shall study war no more.
In His Name, Mikal
Our staff is voluntold each week and with grace they share their thoughts.