In the Old Testament, we frequently read of nations warring with one another. Secular history records that there was much fighting which took place “between the testaments,” that is, in that time frame of four hundred plus years between the close of the Old Testament and the birth of the Christ. In His instruction, Jesus also spoke of wars and rumors of wars (Matthew 24:6). This all reminds us that our generation is not the first to observe leaders, tribes, and nations who are unable (or unwilling) to be at peace with one another.
It was a challenge to procure peace in the year 1900, when the world’s population was less than two billion people. How much more challenging it is to contemplate peace throughout the world in our day, when the population of mankind is around seven and one-half billion. Is it realistic to think that there ever could be world peace?
Some would suggest that if we can learn to overlook our differences and have a spirit of toleration, then world peace is sure to come about. Pursuing peace can be a complicated matter, but toleration of such things as infanticide, forced child labor, open prostitution, and scores of other crimes against humanity will never be acceptable to those who have a sense of human decency and a commitment to taking action which meets with the favor of the Lord God Almighty.
Some countries have attempted to become the most powerful force on the planet, thinking that by use of their might and aggression they can cause all other nations to bow down to them under their rule. If they can conquer all others, then that should provide for peace, right? How well has that approach worked in history over the long haul? It has been a course of disaster, never resulting in genuine, sustainable peace.
Some denominationalists are convinced that after Jesus comes, He will establish an earthly kingdom and usher in an unprecedented era of world peace. The claim is that Isaiah 11 foretells the reign of the Messiah, at which time wild animals, domesticated animals, and humans all will coexist peacefully in close living arrangements. That, it is said, would be world peace.
Such a conclusion fails to see that the message of Isaiah 11 about peaceful times under the “root of Jesse” (11:10), a reference to Jesus being a descendant of David’s father, Jesse, points to the reign of Jesus over His spiritual kingdom. That is what is taking place right now, as He rules as “High priest over the house of God” (Hebrews 10:21), which is the church (1 Timothy 3:15). The Spirit guided Paul to quote the Isaiah 11 prophecy and apply it to Jesus’ current reign over Gentile converts (Romans 15:12,13).
What are some factors of our day which hinder world peace? Greed, hatred, lunacy in leadership, stubbornness, a feeling of racial superiority, a propensity for some not to get along with other people, and religious terrorism. We would suggest that, in a nutshell, the number one factor which stands in the way of world peace is mankind’s refusal to submit to Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords.
The God of heaven has a plan for peace. And when humans embrace and adhere to that plan, there will be peace at a number of levels – peace in the home, peace in person-to-person relationships, and peace between nations. At the center of God’s peace plan is Jesus the Christ, Who is “the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). His teaching is “the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15). His kingdom is a kingdom of peace (Romans 14:17), being composed of disciples who strive to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9).
If the goal is to get the Middle-Eastern nation of Israel and its Arab neighbors, or Iran and Iraq, to have true peace, the answer is not to send a delegation from the United Nations. The solution is found and obtainable only in Jesus. When men and women humble themselves and submit to the Prince of Peace by obeying His gospel, they become part of God’s peaceful family, tearing down walls of division (Galatians 3:26-29). World peace is attainable only via God’s Son. Any other approach is futile fantasy.
— Roger D. Campbell