I ought to write a thread, at some stage, on the subject of Peace.
Ideally, it should have been done as a preliminary to the “Peace restored” series, but I’ve only just thought of it.
“Peace” is the great aspiration of the Old Testament. It might be seen as the equivalent of the American “pursuit of happiness”. The
difference is that the latter is actively looking for something to be gained, and may easily be distorted into acquisitiveness and dissatisfaction.
Peace is closer to “contentment”. It’s about the quiet enjoyment of what one has already, not disturbed by troubles and threats of troubles.
“Every man under his own fig-tree”, and all that.
Peace was the original state of Adam and Eve in Eden. This highlights the point that Sin is the original disturber of Peace. “But there’s no peace
for the wicked.” (Isaiah ch48 v22).
In the more physical sense, the peace of Israel was disturbed from time to time by natural calamities, but disturbed most severely by human enemies.
The most extreme case was the fall of Jerusalem to the armies of Babylon, and the consequent destruction of the kingdom.
The prophets of Israel responded to the constant threat of enemies by promising a final battle in which the Lord would deal with all these enemies
once and for all, so that they would never appear again; The Last Battle in Old Testament
So the Peace that was broken by Babylon would be restored.
However, the restoration of Peace would not be complete unless every other obstacle to Peace was also removed, so this becomes part of the full
prophetic promise. The people would recover their home and their unity, and their relationship with God would be restored, so that they would be
living in his presence in holiness and enjoying his blessings.
But that is the Old Testament, which brings up the question of how Christians should be reading the Old Testament. Jesus told his disciples that a
scribe [that is, a man with understanding of the old scriptures] who was [also] “trained for the Kingdom” was like a householder who could bring
old and new things out of his treasure-chest (Matthew ch13 v52). In other words, they would hold the compete combination of the right kinds of
knowledge. Take the old and the new
The Christian reader should be taking two messages from this comparison.
We need to be reading the Old Testament.
And we need to be reading the Old Testament in the light of Christ.
Therefore the purpose of this short series has been to take the prophetic promises about a final restoration of Peace, and read then “in the light
This involves returning to the point that the fundamental
cause of the loss of Peace has been the existence of human Sin.
Thus, the prophets of the old Testament understood God’s promise for the aftermath of the “Last Battle” in terms of a Return to the land.
There was a promise that the Return would be accompanied by guaranteed holiness. But that promise has been fulfilled through Christ, in the gift of
grace and the forgiveness of sins. Holiness
There was a promise that the Return would be accompanied by a permanent state of blessing. But that promise has been fulfilled through Christ, in the
blessing of the Holy Spirit. Blessing
There was a promise that the Return would be accompanied by reconciliation with the estranged faithful. But that promise has been fulfilled by Christ,
in the inclusion of the Gentiles. Reunion
There was a promise that the Return would find them under fresh leadership provided by God. But that promise has been fulfilled in the Lordship of
Christ. True leadership
There was a promise that the Return would be accompanied by a renewed sense of the presence of God. But that promise has been fulfilled for those who
trust in Christ. Presence of God
Finally, there was a promise that God’s people would be returning from their exile. But that promise has been fulfilled for those who trust in
Christ, who have been brought home to the Father and may be recognised as God’s people.
These things, together, add up to a restoration of the condition of Peace, as it would have been enjoyed in the environment of Eden.