With our soldiers in combat, it is useful to think about our Lord’s combats against the hells when He was in the world. Important as may be the protection of the world from terrible weapons and terrorism, a much more important struggle was the Lord’s battle for the eternal safety and freedom of each human being.
Jesus said, “Now is the judgment of this world; now the prince of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all to Myself.” (John 12:31-32)
“Salvation,” which was the Lord’s “war aim,” means everlasting safety from the domination of the hells, and thus eternal happiness. The Heavenly Doctrine says, “The Lord’s love – a most ardent love – was the salvation of the whole human race. It was therefore a total affection for good and affection for truth in the highest degree. Against these all the hells struggled, employing the most malicious forms of guile and venom, but the Lord nevertheless conquered them all by His own power.” Arcana Caelestia 1820
The Lord fought for our spiritual freedom. He wanted us to be free to overcome our innate selfishness and to grow into the love of what is good and true. He did not take away the whole influence of the hells, but He provided us with the truth, so we can see the difference between good and evil and choose freely. Now we do not have to be deceived by the “powers of darkness.” We can learn what the Lord has taught, and walk in His light.
For everyone, whether soldier or civilian, in Iraq or elsewhere, the real issue is whether or not we learn to love what is good and true. We have battles to fight within ourselves, to act with justice and integrity, as the Lord, our Commander in Chief, directs us.
The Lord won complete victory. This is clear from His rising on Easter, and His saying to the disciples, “All power is given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matt. 28:18) If we follow Him, we too will win in our spiritual struggles, not by our own strength but by His.