Hardly can we find a person today who does not want peace. Yes, there are always those who are for war. There have always been such people from the beginning of human history. But, as bloody wars and violence have alarmingly proliferated and escalated just in the last decade, many people feel they have had it, and their cries for “Peace, peace!” haven’t been louder, especially at this time of year! Yet, amidst all this clamor for the much pursued “peace on earth, goodwill towards men” — peace between and among nations — that global peace has remained elusive. Why?
Were we to take a clue from the “manual and workbook” on achieving world peace — the Holy Bible — we would know why.
Through the great prophet Isaiah, God says of men and nations: “The way of peace they have not known” (Isaiah 59:8). Why has this been so? What is the mysterious “key” that will unlock the deep and unknown secret to world peace? And can mankind hope to ever achieve peace in this present age?
A prophecy for our times
The apostle Paul wrote to the Christians at Thessalonica something that applies not just to them but to all believers in Christ down through the centuries — and much more so during these our “end times”: “For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman, and they shall not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:3).
How many leaders and organizations have tried to broker peace between or among warring nations and groups — and have ended up in failed efforts? It has come to a point where people tend to regard with jaundiced eyes all human attempts to achieve peace. It looks like all our efforts to bring about peace have likely resulted in more intense hatred and war. Men have waged war with the idea of it being a “war to end all wars” — and thereby establish their human idea of a peaceful world order. But nowhere is that order to be seen on the horizon! In fact, all indications in the news today point to the imminent greatest war ever to take place in human history! A war that could, instead, end all life on this planet!
Who has not heard about “Armageddon?” This place or event has been associated in the minds of many with the “end of the world.” Revelation 16:12-16 speaks about this coming time when wicked spirits — Satan with his demons — will cause leaders of nations to have their armies gather, perhaps unknowingly, for “the battle of that great day of God Almighty” which will happen in a “place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.” Many shudder at the thought or mention of a coming “World War III.”
This is that true “war to end all wars” — and bring about world peace at last! But one may ask: How can such a war beget peace?
How will peace be ushered in?
Who has not had a mosquito or more enter your screened room at night and keep you awake most of the time? You can either let the mosquitoes out of the room — with the possibility of them coming back in again — or you can swat, clap, or spray them dead. Then you can have a peaceful sleep the rest of the night.
So it is with our world. As long as there are those who are for war — those who want peace their way, by hurting and destroying others — there will never be peace in the world. [Remember a gun that was called “Peacemaker?” It made “peace” for a while by killing one’s enemy, but that peace was short-lived, as the folks of the slain person fought back in an endless vendetta.] That is why it is “good news” that Jesus Christ is coming again, this time to “destroy those who destroy the earth” (Revelation 11:18).
This extreme, draconian solution may seem unacceptable to many, but this is the only way to peace in the world. At least, that’s the only sure beginning of peace on earth. And sure — and lasting — peace will prevail, because no less than the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) Himself will wage that war! Jesus Christ will intervene just in time — when mankind is about to obliterate itself through wars and other sophisticated and subtle ways to destroy all life on this planet (Matthew 24:21-22). [See: “The Next Chapter of History.”] As supreme Creator and Ruler of mankind, Jesus alone can — and will — bring about the peace and other good stuff we all have desired for this world but have not attained thus far.
Proverbs 11:10 promises: “When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices; and when the wicked perish, there is jubilation.” When, at Christ’s return, wicked people are removed from this earth, there will be not only peace and quiet; there will be joyous celebration!
Getting at the root cause
At His return, Jesus will put the author and instigator of all wickedness in this world — Satan, with his multitude of demons — away in some dark prison which God has reserved for them (Revelation 20:1-4; Jude 6; 2 Peter 2:4). [See: “Your Eyes Will Be Opened!”] Satan is the arch-rebel and arch-enemy of God [“Satan” means adversary or enemy; see: Where Did Satan Come From?]. Proverbs 22:10 advises: “Cast out the scoffer, and contention will leave; yes, strife and reproach will cease.” Who else is the #1 scoffer but Satan the devil? [See: Two Goats Together, especially the section on “When will Satan be bound?” and Of Dungeons and Prisons.]
After He has put away Satan, Jesus will destroy in His fierce wrath those human beings whom Satan has deceived (Revelation 12:9) and who remain under his evil sway (Revelation 16:17-19:21; Isaiah 6:11-13; 24:1-6; 66:15-17). Only the “elect” of God will be saved for everlasting life [see: Predestination and “I Never Knew You!”].
Mortal human beings who will survive and will be humbled by God’s show of power will become subjects of God’s kingdom which Jesus will establish on earth after His return here. God promises: “I will leave in your midst a meek and humble people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD” (Zephaniah 3:12).
A peaceful “world tomorrow”
With Satan and his demon cohorts locked up and disabled from influencing mankind again for the first 1,000 years of Jesus’ reign, the honest-to-goodness work of bringing about true world peace will begin. After this earth will have been cleared of all the debris of that “Great Battle of the Almighty” and massive rebuilding — right, this time! — of the earth’s landscape and infrastructure will have been under way, then massive re-education of the human beings that survive Satan’s wrath (Revelation 12:12) and God’s wrath (Revelation 14:16-19:21) will be among the first order of the day.
It will take a meek and humble spirit — like that of a child (Matthew 18:2-4) — for these surviving human beings to want to be taught God’s true way to peace. Those “elect” who are changed or resurrected to Spirit or immortal life (1 Corinthians 15:50-57; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17) will reign as “kings and priests” with Jesus in God’s kingdom at that time (Revelation 5:10; 20:6). They will help Christ teach these mortal subjects (Isaiah 30:19-22) the way to peace — and to everlasting life.
Psalm 37:9-11 pictures that wonderful time: “For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; indeed, you will look carefully for his place, but it shall be no more. But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace!”
God’s way to peace
Psalm 119:165 holds a vital key to peace: “Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.” Is it any wonder that there is no real peace on earth today while most people hate God’s law — and stumble over it (Malachi 2:7-8)?
The “Holy One of Israel” — the God of the Old Testament who later became Jesus Christ [see: The True Christ and Peter Knew “The Holy One“] — tells not only the children of Israel but all people whom God wants to redeem: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you by the way you should go. Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea [unending]” (Isaiah 4 8:17-19).
In that kingdom of God where Jesus and His glorified saints will reign, surviving mortal humans will pour into Jerusalem, His world “headquarters,” and they will say, “‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people [according to that word]” (Isaiah 2:3-4).
And the result of that “re-education” in God’s ways? “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Verse 4).
Those are noble and lofty words of prophecy which the United Nations has emblazoned around the sculpture of a man beating his sword into a plowshare, at its world headquarters in New York City. In the midst of conflicts and wars which the UN has tried to contain or resolve over the decades, those words have sounded hollow and a mere unfulfilled hope — an impossible dream, for now! The UN’s “peace-keeping” forces have striven to keep peace — when and where no true peace has even taken place yet or at all!
Only at Christ’s return to establish God’s kingdom here on earth will that peace finally become a reality. Micah 4:4 gives an idyllic description of that peaceful world: “But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid.” That new world will be so safe that there will be no need of walls and other devices for protection and security (Ezekiel 38:10-12). [See: No Walls, No Ceiling? and The Great Wall.]
The irony of it all
Before a man can ever know and practice the way of peace, he has to deal with — or be dealt with by — the “Prince of Peace,” Jesus Christ. Jesus it is who is claimed by the apostle Paul to be “our peace” (Ephesians 2:14). Paul says that, through His death and resurrection for our “justification” from sin, Jesus has made a way for us sinners to “have peace with God” (Romans 5:1, 6-11; 1 Corinthians 15:17).
Yet, ironically, those very people who claim Jesus as their Lord and Savior are so divided over what Christ really taught — there is no peace and unity among them at all! [See: Is Jesus Your Lord — Really? and The Law of Christ.] Why is this the case?
Contrary to what many people have supposed, Jesus said: “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household'” (Matthew 10:34-36). And why should we not think so?
It is because God is not calling all of mankind — not even all in one family, in many cases — to faith in Christ at this time. [See: Predestination and This Is Not the Only Day of Salvation.] It is only those whom God the Father has drawn and brought to Jesus (John 6:44, 65) who have true faith in Christ. They are those to whom applies the promise of Christ to His disciples: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). He also told them: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
The apostle Paul showed the disciples how “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). Paul added: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you” (Verses 8-9).
Otherwise, as Isaiah 57:21 says, “There is no peace…. for the wicked.” “…there is no justice in their ways; they have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know peace” (Isaiah 59:8).
The good news!
In Isaiah’s prophecy about Christ’s reign — which is celebrated in many an oratorio, cantata, anthem, etc. — we see this magnificent forecast about our present troubled world: “Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken” (Isaiah 40:4-5). Beyond speaking just about our planet’s landscape, this prophecy also touches the landscape of the human heart!
Of utmost importance, God will straighten the crooked hearts — and minds — of men, beginning with His model nation Israel [see: God’s Kingdom and Israel]. God promises, through His prophet Ezekiel: “Then I will sprinkle clean water [symbolic of God’s Spirit and Word (John 7:38-39; Ephesians 5:26)] on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them” (Ezekiel 36:25-27) [see: God’s Spirit and Obedience and The Higher Law of the Spirit.]
The whole Bible — both Old and New Testaments — expounds in many details on how a man or woman of God is to live their lives according to “every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
You can read much more about this peaceful, wonderful world that God has prepared for those who love Him. Follow this link: http:www.herbert-armstrong.org. Click START HERE, select “Books & Booklets” and scroll down to the booklet titled “The Wonderful World Tomorrow — What It Will Be Like” or the book titled Tomorrow… What It Will Be Like.
Are you one who is earnestly and sincerely seeking the peace of God in your life and for the world? Then take this article seriously as it explains God’s Word on how you can have peace yourself, and how there will be world peace at last! May God give you “eyes to see and ears to hear” (Matthew 13:16; Revelation 2: 7, 11, etc.), believe and obey His wonderful ways, and give you true and lasting peace!
Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.