In the following Scriptures which we present concerning “Peace on Earth,” to the superficial student of the Word of God there may seem to appear one of the supposed-to-be contradictions of the Bible.
To ignore the principle of dispensational divisions in Bible study is a serious blunder. Imaginary contradictions will be one of the unprofitable results of this serious blunder. But now for the three verses
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth PEACE, good will toward man.”
“Suppose ye that I am come to give PEACE on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division.”
“And there went out another horse that was red; and power was given to him that sat thereon to take PEACE from the earth, and that they should kill one another; and there was given unto him a great sword.”
More than thirty years after the angels brought to the shepherds that heavenly message concerning earthly Peace in connection with the birth of Christ the Lord in the City of David, it was that Christ who spake these words:
“Think not that I am come to send Peace on earth: I came not to send Peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34. Does it not here appear on the surface that one statement of the Bible plainly contradicts the other? But we shall see by rightly dividing the Word of truth that this seeming contradiction will disappear. Both declarations are from the unerring Spirit of truth. Just before Christ left this earth to go back to Heaven by the way of Calvary, He said to His disciples: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” John 14:27. Now this Peace was not a universal guarantee. It was by no means pledged to Christ’s own nation, Israel. His Peace was left with as many as had received Him by faith, who had thereby become the children of God. “Therefore being justified by faith we have Peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1. Peace during the “Church” dispensation is for the individual disciple of Christ. World Peace belongs to a different age; namely the “Kingdom” age. The “Prince of Peace” age.
Just before the same Christ shall come again to be King over all the earth, the selfsufficient Christless rulers of this world shall say: “Peace and safety then sudden destruction cometh upon them; and they shall not escape.” I Thessalonians 5:3. It is then that the rider of the red horse shall make his appearance for a great time of blood-shed, with his great sword. He shall take Peace from the earth.
Before this “war” horseman shall take Peace from the earth, the Lord Jesus Christ shall take from this earth every individual who has by faith in Him entered the spiritual Kingdom of God, which is righteousness, Peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.
After the days of His indignation, during which God will scourge rebellious humanity, because they know Him not and obey not the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, the government will be transferred to the shoulder of the Prince of Peace.
Let us read together that glorious prophecy found in Isaiah 9:6 and 7:
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and Peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”
Surely no King with any such titles has ever occupied an earthly throne. The Person described in this prophecy is to be the unique combination of Deity and humanity. He is to be the only one of His class; therefore, called Wonderful; a child and mighty God.
The prophecy concerning such an one is in itself wonderful. The fulfillment of the prophecy will be even more wonderful. Almighty God is to be born as a child. He is to be the Prince of Peace, a Governor. He is to be an heir to the throne of David. He is to enjoy a peaceful reign; that is, a reign of uninterrupted, ever increasing, never ending peace. The seat of government is to be David’s throne. David’s throne was an earthly, visible, material throne. That throne is now fallen down; but David’s Lord is coming to build it again. Read that promise in Acts 15:16. These words of Isaiah’s prophecy should banish any doubt that you may have as to its literal fulfillment; “The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this.” Certainly the Lord of Hosts is able to perform anything and everything that He undertakes to perform.
This peaceful reign is to be here on this earth. When? When the Prince of Peace shall be occupying the throne of David. The world is now enjoying comparative Peace in some parts; but as David’s throne is now vacant and the Prince of Peace is now absent, we have no assurance of uninterrupted Peace in any part of this earth. It is altogether too uncertain. In Luke 19:12 this Prince of Peace pictured Himself as a Nobleman. He said, “A certain Nobleman went into a far country to receive for Himself a kingdom, and to return.”
Now we know this Wonderful Prince of Peace has already visited this earth. Yes, the Son has been given. The Child has been born. You are familiar with the story of the Birth of the Holy Child born of the Virgin Mary. About seven hundred years before she gave birth to that Holy Child, which was conceived by the Holy Spirit, God spake by the pen of Micah, the Prophet, in these words:
“Out of thee, Bethlehem, shall He come forth unto me that is to be ruler (or governor) in Israel; whose goings forth have been from, of old, from everlasting.” Micah 5:2.
Christ came as a fulfiller of this prophecy. Matthew 2:6. Some, with Nathaniel, said unto this Divine-human Governor; “Thou art the King of Israel.” But for the most part, His nation cried; “We will not have this man to reign over us.” “Away with Him, Crucify Him.” “He came unto His own and His own received Him not.” Surely He was despised and rejected; the man of sorrows, acquainted with grief; even the grief of Gethsemane, the crown of thorns and the Cross of Calvary. In His humiliation and sorrow He fulfilled the fifty-third Chapter of Isaiah as Israel’s suffering Messiah.
According to God’s more sure Word of prophecy, there will be no world Peace as long as David’s throne is unoccupied.
Now let us turn to Luke’s record and read the account of the birth of the Child, “Wonderful”. According to Luke 2:4 to 11, He was born in the city of David, of the house of David, the son of Mary, the Son of God, the Seed of David. And according to Luke 1:32, this Holy Child Jesus was born to occupy the throne of David. There is not the slightest suggestion in Luke 1:32 and 33 that Jesus was born to be the Head of the Church. No, He was born to reign over the house of Jacob for ever. He was likewise raised from the dead to occupy the throne of David. Acts 2:30 and 31.
Christ is now the glorified God-man in Heaven. Now He is the invisible Head. He reigns over His spiritual house, which is His Body. In so doing, He is not fulfilling this declaration by Gabriel: “He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever.” The Body of Christ is not the house of Jacob. Neither is the individual human heart, that is surrendered to Christ, the throne of David. Every individual who permits the Lord Jesus Christ to reign in his or her heart is conscious of the indwelling Peace of God. But the “Peace on earth”, as announced by the angels of the Lord to the shepherds who were keeping their flocks by night, is the Peace that was prophesied in Isaiah 9:6 and 7, the never-ending Peace of the Prince of Peace sitting on the throne of David.
The Wonderful Child of Isaiah’s prophecy has been born. He was God manifest in the flesh. But the prophecy of Isaiah concerning the glorious reign of the Prince of Peace is still unfulfilled.
In that same prophecy or Isaiah we find many references to that glorious reign of Peace on this earth; such as the second Chapter, the eleventh Chapter and the four closing Chapters.
Christ was born as King of the Jews. He was the Seed of David, born to occupy the throne of David. He did not fulfill, at His first advent, this prophecy: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.” Jeremiah 23:5. “They shall serve the Lord their God, and David their King, Whom I will raise up unto them.” Jeremiah 30:9.Read also Jeremiah 33:21 to 26—Amos 9:11 to 14. Read also Ezekiel 34:23 and 24 Ezekiel 37:21 to 28 and be assured that the kingdom and throne of David are going to be restored.
“Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their King; and shall fear; the Lord and His goodness in the latter days.” Hosea 3:5.
The Peace of the world must begin with the Peace of Jerusalem. The Prince of Peace came to Jerusalem nineteen hundred years ago and offered Peace to the inhabitants of that city of the Great King. His own people cried, “We have no King but Caesar.” Because they knew not, they crucified the Lord of Glory. Instead of crowning Jesus as their King, Israel crowned Him with thorns. Instead of welcoming Him to David’s throne, they nailed Him to a tree. Before this final, murderous deed, their King had perceived the wickedness of their evil hearts and had gradually withdrawn His offer to the nation. With the mutual rejection of Israel and their Messiah, came His announcement of the postponement of their Messianic Kingdom, which included the postponement of world Peace. There also came the declaration of division instead of Peace. Notice these three significant words; “For from henceforth” Luke 12:52.
“Suppose ye that I am come to give Peace on earth? I tell you, Nay, but rather division:— For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three,” etc. Luke 12:51 and 53.
Certainly this condition prevails in this year, 1931, A.D., and the earth does not yet enjoy even household Peace, while at the same time, optimistic Religious and Political Rulers are promising World Peace.
The rejected Prince of Peace, made Peace by the blood of His cross. Colossians 1:20. This Peace is available for any one and every one who will have it by faith; but Alas! the people of the twentieth century are like the Jews of the first century. The Jews would not then receive their Messiah and King and the masses today will not receive the same Christ as Saviour and Lord. And God declares there is no Peace for the wicked.
Ere long Peace will be taken from this earth for a short time and then poor blind suffering Israel will realize and confess their awful sin. Then with open hearts they will welcome their Divine Deliverer who shall come out of Zion to save them from the hands of their enemies. Then they shall see Him and know Him as the King of Glory, sitting upon His throne on the holy hill of Zion, they shall know Him to be the same Messiah who suffered when they pierced His hands and feet. “The sufferings of Christ and the Glory that should follow.” I Peter 1:11.
Oh, think of the folly of the Postmillennialists’ interpretation of the Word of God, confusing Israel’s Kingdom and their earthly promises, with the Church or Body of Christ with her heavenly promises. The Church will not usher in the millennium Kingdom. While the Kingdom of Heaven is in abeyance, the Church is being called out. Before the Kingdom shall be established on earth the Church shall be caught up. Peace will come when the King of Glory comes to earth. Christ on earth 1900 years ago preached to Israel “Repent the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” “The Kingdom of Heaven will be at hand again soon and then universal Peace. But this is the “Church” age. Salvation by grace for individual sinners. With this salvation Peace with God and the Peace of God.
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.