The Winnable War

One of the most familiar texts to Adventists in the entire Bible is Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all generations and then the end shall come.”

Ron Watts, president of the Southern Asia Division, has an interesting take on this verse. He points out that the devil claims to be the ruler of this earth. Even Christ called him the “prince of this world” (John 14:30). Therefore, if any part of the world has not been given the opportunity to hear the message of salvation, Satan can still claim rulership of that area and Christ cannot return. God’s forces are fighting a war against the prince of darkness. This is indeed the great controversy. His stranglehold must be broken.

This is why it is so exciting to be involved in global missions. It is hand-to-hand combat with the enemy. There are casualties, there are losses. Occasionally we even lose some battles, but praise God the final victory is assured.

Winner Takes All

Currently it is obvious that the devil is desperate. Conversely, God’s forces are embedded world-wide and gaining ground in what was once non-contested territories totally under the control of the enemy. Areas of India, Africa, and the 10/40 Window had never even heard the name of Jesus. Now the arch enemy is on the run. But he will not accept defeat readily. He is resisting valiantly. And if he can distract, discourage, or disinterest God’s forces, he believes he may be successful or at least delay the inevitable. As you read in the GLEANER the inspiring first-hand accounts of victories gained by our troops, you will be blessed.

Some would question why we need to support missions with our physical presence. Wouldn't it be best to take the money we spend on traveling expenses and send it to the mission fields? Ron Watts, who is experiencing the great controversy first-hand in India, differs strongly with that philosophy.

Last year when we were in India with a number of our Northwest members, Watts drove 12 hours to thank us for coming. I asked him whether he would rather we just sent money. He emphatically replied, “No, it’s you we want!” While I don’t understand all the dynamics, there is a certain affinity toward Americans that many citizens of the world have. We are able to attract crowds of people, and the nationals are responding in unprecedented ways. And this is true not only in India but many places in the world.

Additionally, we receive a blessing. In fact most short-term missionaries will readily tell you that they are not sure who benefits more—those from America or the nationals who welcome us. Ellen White wrote: “The prosperity of the home work depends largely, under God, upon the reflex influence of the evangelical work done in countries afar off” (Gospel Workers, pp. 465–6). By investing overseas, we strengthen the work here.

Spoils for the Victor

So this year, whether you’ve participated in a short-term mission experience or have never gone before, I’d encourage you to step out, do something outside your comfort zone. You can join the thousands of Northwest Adventists who are actively fighting the war. And if you can’t travel, then you can pray and support financially those who can. (For more information on just one of the initiatives, go to

If you do become involved, you can claim the promise of Daniel 12:3, “Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heaven and those who lead many to righteousness like the stars for ever and ever.

Yes, this war is winnable, and victory is imminent. It’s almost time for the soldiers to start the victory celebration.

February 01, 2006 / Editorial