We have been examining what the angels were praising God about when they praised God with the words:
Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
As we have commented on this over the past few weeks, this peace on earth was directed towards those (stated more clearly in the NIV) “on whom His favored rest.” Who does God favor, but those who seek Him and His salvation through Jesus Christ whom He has sent. We individually can experience His peace by being at peace with God:
Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Because have made peace with God through Jesus, we can have the peace of God:
Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Because we in the church possess the peace of God, we within the church should be experiencing this peace with one another. But what about the rest of the world. Where is peace for them? We talk about peace on earth, especially this time of year, but the hard truth of the matter is, there is no peace on earth nor will there be peace until Jesus comes and establishes peace Himself.
As Christians, perhaps we need to realize that God allows storms to come into our lives just so an unbeliever can observe first hand, how His peace, God’s peace, is at work in our lives. Often the biggest the biggest witness we perform is how we show that peace, not by what is said. What is the definition of peace according to the world? According to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary peace is defined as:
a state of tranquillity or quiet: as freedom from civil disturbance; a state of security or order within a community provided for by law or custom; a breach of the peace; a state or period of mutual concord between governments; a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity.
Last week talked about what Jesus said we can expect from the world. From Jesus we can have peace, but from the world what can we expect?
John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
What about the peace the world has to offer?
In the over 3100 years of recorded secular world history, the world has only been at peace 8% of the time or a total of 286 years, and over 8000 treaties have been made and broken. During this period there have been 14,531 wars, large and small, in which 3,640,000,000 (3.64 billion) people have been killed.
Jeremiah said it best.
Jeremiah 6:13–14 “For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is greedy for gain, And from the prophet even to the priest Everyone deals falsely. 14 “They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace.
Isn’t that what the world tells us and tries to convince us with? Look at the peace talks between Israel and the muslim nations surrounding them. Have we seen any real peace there? Every agreement has been broken. Do you think peace will come out of Washington? We cannot get the Democrats and Republicans to agree to anything. The call now is for unity, yet the divide between the people here in the united State grow deeper and wider every day. What make us think our government can author any lasting peace?
In this world, will even Christianity bring peace? For starters, it doesn’t take a deep study of history to know that large percentage of wars in the past 1500 years were started in the name of Christianity. Look at the words of Jesus:
Matthew 10:34–36 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; 36 and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD.
You see, Christianity by its very nature will bring division. Christianity will bring you anything but peace with the world. In fact, the world will hate you just because you are a Christian, Just because you are a follower of Jesus Christ. Jesus explains:
John 15:18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.
Jesus also said:
Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.
You see we are to work for peace in the world, Paul tells us:
Romans 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
Romans 14:19 So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.
So the unrest and the lack of peace in the world should not be due to us as Christians, but as a result of the lack of godliness in the world. And Jesus said:
Matthew 24:6–8 You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 8 But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.
Not only is there no peace on earth, if I understand my Bible correctly, there will be a lot less peace in the future. It will get a lot worse before it gets any better. And as far as getting better, there will be no world-wide lasting peace until the Prince of Peace returns to rule.
This brings us to our focal passage. You may ask, why an Old Testament passage vice something from Revelation? You will not understand the Book of Revelation until you have a firm grasp on the Old Testament as Revelation is full of Old Testament imagery. When we look at the prophecies in the Old Testament concerning the coming of the Messiah, so much more is written about the Messiah’s second coming than His first coming. The passage we read so often at Christmas from Isaiah 9 has more to do with His second coming than His first.
Isaiah 9:6 6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
Especially look at the verse that follows:
Isaiah 9:7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.
Jesus with his first coming did not establish any earthly government, not did Jesus take the throne of David to rule. Jesus, first coming was to save, His second coming is judge and to rule. It is His ruling and reigning over the earth that we will examine today. In Isaiah 9:7 we see that Jesus will rule over the nation of Israel by taking the throne of David. But it is the “increase of His government” we are looking at, as well as there will there be no end to the increase of peace.
Isaiah 2:1 The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
Now Isaiah lived and wrote these things about 700 years before the birth of Jesus. In this prophecy, Isaiah was given the word what was to come concerning Jerusalem and Judah.
Isaiah 2:2 Now it will come about that In the last days The mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it.
“In the last days” most commentators agree this a clear indication of the millennial (1,000 year) rule of Jesus after his second coming. Where will Jesus be ruling from? From this passage and many more, Jesus will rule from the temple which will be rebuilt on the Temple mount in Jerusalem. Throughout Isaiah, this place is referred to as the “Holy Mountain,” “The Mountain of the Lord,” or Zion. Even though geographically, the Temple Mount in lower that some of the surrounding hills, including the Mount of Olives, it being lifted higher refers to this hill being more important that all the others. The word “mountain” is a symbol of governmental authority in OT Scripture.
And as we read here, it will be the “chief of the mountains” and will have authority over all the governments in the world. Jesus will rule over all the earth from here. And “All the Nations of will stream to it.” This is a very special spot for all of Judaism, and for Christians as well. This spot has a long history, being the Mount Moriah, the place where Abraham was to sacrifice Isaac his son. It was the place where Solomon built the first temple and God said to Solomon:
1 Kings 9:3 The LORD said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your supplication, which you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built by putting My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.
Herod’s Temple, commonly called the second temple, the temple of Jesus’ day was built here, but it was utterly destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. The Temple Mount currently and for the most part, for the last 1400 years, has be owned by and occupied by the Muslims (except for a few years during the Crusades and a few weeks in 1967) and their shrine, the Dome of the Rock sits over the traditional location of the Jewish Temple. According to Ezekiel 40-43, the new temple will be built here during the Millennium.
Isaiah 2:3 And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
The people of the world will flock there, seeking the Lord. Why? To learn His ways, so they might walk in His paths. To learn from His words, His laws, which according to Scripture will come right from His mouth.
Isaiah 51:4 “Pay attention to Me, O My people, And give ear to Me, O My nation; For a law will go forth from Me, And I will set My justice for a light of the peoples.
Psalm 78:1 Listen, O my people, to my instruction; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
When Jesus rules, the nations and all the people of the earth will know that God’s revelation is foundational to their lives and they will want to know it and live it.
Isaiah 11:9 They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea.
And here is where the peace comes in:
Isaiah 2:4 And He will judge between the nations, And will render decisions for many peoples; And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war.
Jesus’ rule over all the nations of the earth will be total and complete. The word tells us He will rule with a “rod of iron” (found in Psalms 2:9, and Revelation 2:27, 12:5, and 19:15) meaning Jesus will lay down the law with no exceptions.
Why will there be peace? Because He will resolve all conflicts between the nations and there will be no need for war. Since there will be no need of any war, all the implements of war will be destroyed and farming tools will be made instead. There will be no armies nor schools to learn war.
In this congregation, where many of us are retired military (including myself), we realize the enormous impact of this prophecy of Isaiah. Can you imagine our community with no military? (We are located next to a major military installation.)
There will be peace throughout the earth, not because of anything or any accomplishment of man, but because of the presence and rule of Jesus. This verse (Isaiah 2:4), minus the actions of the Lord at the beginning of the verse, is inscribed on the wall at the United Nations building in New York. Hence therein lies the whole problem of the United Nations, they have left out the action and recognition of Almighty God and His Son, Jesus Christ. No wonder the world is in such a mess.
This world will not have true peace until Jesus comes and He will rule with a rod of iron. In the meanwhile, there will be those who will come claiming to bring peace, don’t you believe them.
Matthew 24:4–6 And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. 6 You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.
More on this in January when we begin the sermon series titled: “Signs of the Times.”
This Christmas season we celebrate the first coming of Jesus, when the angels sang about Peace of Earth in praise to God. Jesus came the first time to save. We live in expectation for his second coming when He will be bring real and everlasting peace to the whole earth.
Have you accepted His offer of salvation and are you living in His peace now? One day we will all see Jesus, either when He comes, or when He gives us our last heartbeat. We will either meet Jesus in love and salvation or in Judgment. What will your decision be?