One Order That Will Never be Rescinded

Story of the Day for Wenesday November 16, 2011

One Order That Will Never be Rescinded

                    This is God’s command: that we believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love each other – just as he commanded us. 

                                                                    1 John 3:23

 When the Japanese Emperor surrendered to the U.S. in 1945, World War II was over for just about everyone except Lt. Hiroo Onoda (HEAR-oo OWN-ah-dah).  He was sent to the island of Lubang as an intelligence officer with orders to conduct guerilla warfare and note enemy movements. Onoda’s orders clearly stated that, under no circumstances, was he to surrender or commit suicide.

Onoda took his orders seriously. Along with three other soldiers, they conducted such disruptive operations that they became known the “the mountain devils.”


After the war, search parties of 13,000 men (at a cost of a half million dollars) combed the jungles to root them out, but could never find them.

The Japanese then took to the jungles with foghorns, telling them the war was over, but they considered it an enemy trick. The Japanese dropped leaflets from airplanes telling them the war was over but Onoda considered it a ruse of the enemy.

Over time, Onoda’s three comrades surrendered or died, but no one could convince Onoda to surrender. They sent his brother, Toshio, but Hiroo considered him an impersonator. They sent another brother, Tadao, and his sister, Chie. He finally believed they were truly his siblings, but refused to disobey his orders.


In February, 1974, almost thirty years after World War II ended, a Japanese college dropout, Norio Suzuki, set out to search for Lieutenant Onoda, a panda, and the Abominable Snowman – in that order. Suzuki did locate Onoda, and they became friends. But he still refused to surrender, saying he was under orders from his commanding officer.

Suzuki returned to Japan with photographic proof of Onoda’s identity, and the government sent Onoda’s former commanding officer, Major Taniguchi, to Lubang.  Taniguchi met his faithful officer in the jungle and officially rescinded his order.


Hiroo Onoda’s tenacious loyalty to the Imperial Emperor teaches us an insightful lesson about obedience. No one can be obedient for long when motivated merely by a sense of obligation. Obedience works best when it’s the response to a passionate belief.


Christians view talk about obedience with suspicion – fearful of giving the false impression that we can earn our way to heaven by obeying a moral code. Nevertheless, despite the fear of being misunderstood, we must encourage an unyielding obedience to God’s commands. His orders are simple: trust in the mercy of Jesus, and love each other.

Onoda reminds us that obedience to orders may call for great sacrifice. But God’s command to faith and love is one order that will never be rescinded.

(copyright by and by Marty Kaarre)