Summary: "Peace on Earth" is illustrated through God’s reign in Isaiah 52:7-10 as seen through: 1) The Peaceful Reign (Isaiah 52:7), 2) The Peaceful Return (Isaiah 52:8-9), 3) The Peaceful Reveal (Isaiah 52:10)
This week, the Canadian federal government has launched voluntary evacuation plans for the roughly 5,000 Canadians remaining in Syria. On Thursday, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said: "The time to leave Syria is now,". "We can offer you assistance now. If the situation continues to deteriorate, we can’t guarantee that." Arab League sanctions against the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad came into effect Thursday. The new measures are expected to lead to the suspension of some 50% of commercial flights out of the country. The UN estimates over 5,000 people have died since the uprising began in March. On Thursday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the crackdown on anti-government protesters must end. "In the name of humanity, it is time for the international community to act," he said.
Still, Russia and China have rebuffed efforts to push for action at the UN Security Council. (http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/sunnews/world/archives/2011/12/20111215-103713.html)
When the people of Israel lived in exile, under the captivity of the Babalyons, they longed for redemption. The northern kingdom fell completely to Assyrian domination in 722 B.C. and ceased to exist as a nation. (Thomas Nelson, I. (1997). Woman’s study Bible . (Is 52:1). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.)
God allowed them to fall into captivity because of their disobedience to their covenantal obligations. Under foreign oppression they wondered where God was, if He abandoned them, and if He will act to release them from captivity.
As we look around this Christmas season there does not seem to be much peace around. Nations war against nations, people are imprisoned, hungry and living in fear as to their future personal and economic fortunes. Family and personal dynamics are rife with strife, conflict and frustration. Where is the promissed peace on earth promissed with the comming of Christ?
For the people of Israel under captivity to those living today, outward conflict is just a result of inward strife. The peace that Jesus brought in His first advent, points to the peace that will culmunate in His coming again. The strife between nations to the strife within the human heart, is only resolved in submission to the reign of Christ the king. For those who submit to His authority, and have His peace reign in their hearts, the outward manifestation in personal, family, regional, national and international lives, becomes manifest.
"Peace on Earth" is illustrated through God’s reign in Isaiah 52:7-10 as seen through: 1) The Peaceful Reign (Isaiah 52:7), 2) The Peaceful Return (Isaiah 52:8-9), 3) The Peaceful Reveal (Isaiah 52:10)
1) The Peaceful Reign (Isaiah 52:7)
Isaiah 52:7 begins with the voice of the messenger. Messenger (mebaśśēr) connotes a bearer of good news in this book (40:9; 41:27). Messengers will traverse the mountains around Jerusalem to spread the good news of the return of redeemed Israel to the Land (40:9; 61:1; Nah. 1:15) (MacArthur, J. J. (1997). The MacArthur Study Bible (electronic ed.) (Is 52:7). Nashville: Word Pub.).
The glorious news reaching us comes through the feet of this runner! It is not the feet that are beautiful, but what the feet have brought is beautiful. The expression refers neither to the sound nor to the sight of the feet; but is a poetical metonymy. The feet stand for what they do. The feet walk, come. The coming, the advent of the messenger of good tidings is beautiful/lovely (Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., Nägelsbach, C. W. E., Lowrie, S. T., & Moore, D. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures : Isaiah (564). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)
In the imagery the messenger declares to a waiting people that their God, far from being dethroned, has conquered the enemy, thereby demonstrating the reality of his kingship. This passage does not refer to a cultic act but an act in history whereby God delivers his people, demonstrating that a fundamental characteristic of his kingship is compassion (see 40:10–11). (T. Mettinger, “In Search of the Hidden Structure: JHWH as King in Isaiah 40–55,” SEÅ 151–52 (1986–87) 148–57)
The Messenger ("him") is singular in the Hebrew, ‘the one’; not a straggle of fugitives from a defeat, but a single runner (as in 2 Sam. 18:24ff.) with shining face and a spring in his step because he comes with good news (Motyer, J. A. (1999). Vol. 20: Isaiah: An introduction and commentary. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (372). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.).
• The main reason why there is not "Peace on "Earth" and in the human heart, is because of the diverse ways people seek peace. It will not ultimately come through a religious denomination, United Nations, supreme military or economic power, nor through the personal accumulation of wealth or sentimental feelings, but solely through "Him", Jesus Christ who is the singular and ultimate messenger of peace (Heb. 1:1-3).
The Messenger brings good news of God’s salvation (1 Sam. 31:9; 2 Sam. 1:20; Jer. 20:15; for the single instance of bad news, see 1 Sam. 4:17.). Here the message is threefold, leading to a climax: peace, good, salvation—your God reigns. In this reign of God, what does His rule entail? It entails a condition where all things are in their proper relation to each other, with nothing left hanging, incomplete, or unfulfilled (peace, šālôm); it entails a condition where creation purposes are realized (good, ṭôb; cf. Gen. 1:4, 10, etc.); it entails a condition of freedom from every bondage, but particularly the bondage resultant from sin (salvation, yešûʿâ). Where God reigns, these follow.