God's Plan for World Peace: A Sure Thing!

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God's Plan for World Peace

A Sure Thing!

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Humanity's past is the tragic story of man's cruelty to man. Our present world is no better. We have witnessed several intractable conflicts—one of which, the Middle East, again has tragically burst into the headlines in recent weeks.

Last year alone, the world was plagued by 32 armed conflicts in which more than 1,000 people have died. More than one in eight countries experienced violent armed conflict within its borders.

In the book of Isaiah, our Creator sums up our appalling inability to live at peace with each other: "Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. The way of peace they have not known, and there is no justice in their ways; they have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know peace" (Isaiah 59:7-8, emphasis added throughout).

What an apt description of our world, a world whose only times of peace are those rare, brief interludes between wars.

It will not always be that way. Real, lasting peace is coming. But first we need a Peacemaker capable of enforcing an enduring peace.

Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, will be that Peacemaker. That is His assigned mission and purpose!

"For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called . . . Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end" (Isaiah 9:6-7).

A new government required for peace

Peace and good government are inseparable. To bring peace to the world, Jesus Christ must return and assume control of all the nations and peoples on earth. At that time it will be said, "the kingdoms of this world [will] become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" (Revelation 11:15).

The prophet Daniel foresaw Jesus Christ and this Kingdom in vision: "Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed" (Daniel 7:14).

That's our hope for peace—that Jesus Christ will return to change the world. And what a wonderful world it will be when He does!

Let's examine the promise of that wonderful world of the future. Let's see what it will be like and learn how Jesus Christ will bring about world peace. Let's also see why that peace will endure.

God's first action to establish world peace will be to send, as the returning Messiah, "Jesus, who must remain in heaven until the time of universal restoration that God announced long ago through his holy prophets" (Acts 3:20-21, New Revised Standard Version).

As the King of Kings He will immediately begin restoring God's principles for managing the earth and the people on it. Throughout the prophecies of the Bible we find this promise of restoration and hope consistently presented as the only lasting solution to the problems and evils so graphically described by the prophets.

Jesus will return to the Mount of Olives, just east of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:4). He will rapidly begin establishing His rule over all the earth, making Jerusalem the capital of His government (verses 9, 17). Once fully established, His rule will produce worldwide peace and justice that will last uninterrupted for 1,000 years.

During that time, the resurrected martyrs and saints of God will share with Him the supervision of this new era of peace (Revelation 3:21). The apostle John says plainly that they will reign "with Christ for a thousand years" (Revelation 20:4).

Jude passes along this prophecy: "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed" (Jude 14-15).

And Daniel says: "Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him" (Daniel 7:27).

God's way of life will bring blessings

Jesus Christ will begin ruling from Jerusalem. The first people to experience the effects of His rule will be the peoples descended from ancient Israel. Jesus will immediately establish a permanent relationship with them.

Through His prophets God prophesied this long ago: "Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst . . . Indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. The nations also will know that I, the LORD, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore" (Ezekiel 37:26-28).

"'For this is like the waters of Noah to Me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be angry with you . . . My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,' says the LORD, who has mercy on you" (Isaiah 54:9-10).

With Christ's throne established in Jerusalem, the people of Israel will play an important role in helping other nations implement God's ways. After forgiving all of their past sins, God will then use a truly humble and repentant Israel to spread the knowledge of His law to other nations.

All of the world will be taught—and gradually come under the administration of—a unified code of justice, the law of God. This massive reform of world rule will be coordinated by Jesus Christ from Jerusalem.

Concerning the living descendants of Israel, God says: "I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth. And I will cause the captives of Judah and the captives of Israel to return, and will rebuild those places as at the first. I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities . . .

"Then [Jerusalem] shall be to Me a name of joy, a praise, and an honor before all nations of the earth, who shall hear all the good that I do to them; they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and all the prosperity that I provide for it" (Jeremiah 33:6-9).

As the people of Israel learn to follow God's ways, their example will powerfully influence other nations to begin living the same way of life and reap the same blessings.

"'Yes, many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.' Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, "Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you"'" (Zechariah 8:22-23).

Nations will see that obeying God's law works. They will come to Jerusalem to learn how they can apply it in their own lands. "Many nations shall come and 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 the law shall go forth, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem" (Micah 4:2).

During that time "the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:9)

Fruits of applying right knowledge

With Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, the city will become the center of learning for the whole world. God's Word, the Bible, will provide a solid foundation for the development of education and knowledge.

Notice some of the changes Christ will bring. Instead of reaping curses, people will see the land bring forth blessings. "So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; . . . it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

"Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off" (Isaiah 55:11-13).

Prosperity will greatly increase; crime and corruption will cease. "Instead of bronze I will bring gold, instead of iron I will bring silver, instead of wood, bronze, and instead of stones, iron. I will also make your officers peace, and your magistrates righteousness. Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, neither wasting nor destruction within your borders" (Isaiah 60:17-18).

Spiritual transformation of mankind

But it takes much more than mere knowledge to bring peace and cooperation to mankind. A spiritual change must occur in all people. This transformation in the people of Israel will inspire other nations to admire their way of life and seek to emulate it.

God tells Israel: "For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water 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 36:24-27).

The spiritual restoration of humanity is the most important change that will occur during this millennial period. The Spirit of God will enable people to willingly and enthusiastically obey God from the heart. "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people" (Jeremiah 31:33; Hebrews 8:10).

God's Spirit in people will produce phenomenal social changes such as universal righteousness, honorable leadership and a stable society. "I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city" (Isaiah 1:26).

These changes will be permanent, lasting for generations. "Also your people shall all be righteous; they shall inherit the land forever . . . A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation. I, the LORD, will hasten it in its time" (Isaiah 60:21-22).

Each new generation will be prepared to carry on this tradition of righteousness. "All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children" (Isaiah 54:13).

Their example will be noticed and respected the world over. "Their descendants shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people. All who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the posterity whom the LORD has blessed" (Isaiah 61:9).

As people from other nations see what happens in Jerusalem and its environs, they too will want to become the servants of the living God and humbly obey His laws:

"Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to the LORD, to serve Him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants—everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant—even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer . . . For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations" (Isaiah 56:6-7).

Finally the barriers between Israel and other nations will be broken. This will occur because they will all eventually realize that "it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jews, then for the Gentile" (Romans 1:16, New International Version). God is the God of all peoples (Romans 3:29).

Deception disappears

This wonderful spiritual rejuvenation in society could never last if God allowed Satan the devil to continue deceiving human beings as he now does (compare Revelation 12:9). Immediately after Christ returns, Satan—and all the demons working with him—will be restrained. God will completely remove their influence over mankind for the next 1,000 years.

"And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years" (Revelation 20:1-2, NIV).

By eliminating the source of the confusion that undermines and derails all attempts to bring peace to our world today, the spiritual transformation of society in the coming Millennium will last. (For plain evidence of the devil's existence be sure to request our free booklet Is There Really a Devil?)

As people all over the earth begin to obey God—first getting their spiritual priorities straight—they will realize unprecedented physical prosperity.

"Behold, the days are coming," God says, "when the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; the mountains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it . . . They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; they shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them" (Amos 9:13-14).

Isaiah compares this time to a perpetual feast, offering the best of everything: "On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear" (Isaiah 25:6, NRSV).

Notice also this beautiful description of those blessings yet to come: "They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

"They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they shall be offspring blessed by the LORD—and their descendants as well. Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent—its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the LORD" (Isaiah 65:21-25, NRSV).

This is a vision of the world of tomorrow, a vision that is not an illusion but a promised reality. If you believe in God and believe that the Bible is His Word, you have every reason to confidently expect these promises to be fulfilled. Jesus Christ will return to spiritually transform this world and usher in this literal paradise.

The combination of removing Satan's influence, giving humanity God's Holy Spirit and teaching the whole world the principles, laws and ways of God will produce lasting world peace and a society blessed beyond our wildest dreams.

Yes, peace is coming. It's a sure thing! GN