Christmas: Peace On Earth?
"We have seen the best of our
hollowness, treachery and
all ruinous disorders follow
us disquietly to our graves."
~Shakespeare - King Lear~
Hotspots & Fuses
A quick perusal of the headlines is not very encouraging. The search for tranquility between warring factions is a never-ending story of failure. Military attempts to end what boils down to tribal animosities have had dismal results.
Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Iran are simmering hotspots always in the news. The war on terrorism continues unabated, with no cease-fire in sight.
In the Middle East, tension between Israel and Palestinians routinely erupts in violence, threatening to be the fuse that ignites a global apocalypse.
Even so, Christmas is a time to reflect on a decree issued by a choir of angels: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Try to imagine the world as God intended it to be; a place where all relationships in creation are perfectly aligned with the Creator. It was a reality that once existed in a garden at the beginning of time and one day, in precise compliance with God’s timetable, will come to pass again.
An Idyllic Scene
As human history unfolds we are on a course that inevitably leads to God’s purposes being realized in indescribable peace.
According to Isaiah, a prophet of enormous influence and consequence, one day all relationships will be free of enmity. Consider his timeless words of promise:
“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.”
In a world where violence and hatred seem to be the norm our imaginations can hardly aspire to catch Isaiah’s vision; in a world where manipulation and coercion are commonplace, it is difficult to grasp the full wonder of genuine peace.
Yet, Scripture is clear: At some future time the earth will be as full of the knowledge of the Lord as the oceans are with water; then no creature shall harm any other creature in all of God’s earth.
An Elusive State
Current events certainly do not provide much hope for this idyllic development. In our present age we appear determined to wreak destruction. Peace is an elusive state that obviously goes against the bend of human nature.
Here is an incredible statistic: Since the beginning of recorded history, the entire world has been at peace less than eight percent of the time; in recorded history, only 286 years have seen peace. In that time more than 8000 treaties or accords have been signed, sealed and subsequently broken.
How and when will the ancient Hebrew prophet’s forecast be fulfilled? God’s Word does not even suggest that Isaiah’s golden age will come through the achievements of people, but that does not release us from responsibility.
Christ-followers are supposed to be instruments of forgiveness and ministers of reconciliation, but we must accept the truth that ultimate peace will not be a result of our faithfulness. It will come to fruition when Jesus Christ returns in the clouds with great power and glory for the whole world to see.
Until that day of reckoning and wonder, Shakespeare’s dire pronouncement of machinations, hollowness, treachery and all ruinous disorders will indeed follow us to our graves; until then, as Jesus of Nazareth cautioned, there will be wars and rumors of war. Nation shall rise up against nation.
Until Christ returns terrorists and tyrants will cause havoc, but we can take comfort in the knowledge that what was decreed to simple Judean shepherds will one day find unerring completion.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” What those angels actually delivered was God’s declaration of peace, which finds consummation in Jesus Christ.
Jesus—the One born at Bethlehem; the One executed at Calvary; the One who destroyed death; the One who one day will come again—that Jesus is the embodiment of God's plan for eternal peace.
To know Jesus is to be on the path to that lasting peace; peace must find its first expression in the manger of our hearts.
- Wanted Man
Wanted Man a.k.a. Ken R. Abell, seeks to be a blessing to others. He's a rake, a rambler, and a teller of tales who understands that there is strength in a story well told and well lived. To learn more, inquire or schedule him, visit this web site.
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