Peace and Harmony

Bible Book: Isaiah  2 : 4
Subject: Peace
Introduction

Peace and harmony is a worthy goal for the inhabitants of planet earth. There are many expressions of this sentiment. For example, British singer, Sir Cliff Richard, lit the “eternal flame” on the eve of the Millennium in Birmingham, England, to promote world peace and harmony. All was well until March of 2004, when the Birmingham City Council refused to pay the yearly natural gas bill. They felt this flame exacerbated global warming.[1] Ironically, this “eternal flame” produced the opposite of what it was to promote!

I understand that the most common answer at beauty pageants is “world peace.”

During the closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics they played a song recorded by John Lennon (1940-1980) titled “Imagine”. This song promotes a universal brotherhood of man and a world peace and harmony without heaven, hell, countries and religion.

Allow me to share several aspects of peace and harmony.

I. The Burden for Peace and Harmony

Deep down inside everyone desires peace and harmony. The title of a UNESCO document, “Learning to Live Together in Peace and Harmony” demonstrates the burden for peace and harmony.[2] The League of Nations and later the United Nations attempted to bring peace and harmony. Regardless of human efforts, there will be “wars and rumors of wars” until Jesus Christ comes to reign upon the earth. We must remember there will never be lasting peace in the Middle-East until Israel has her God given land. The pages of history record the futile attempts of man to produce peace and harmony. For example, Moses records the account of the construction of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:1-9, where we read, “Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. Then they said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.’ They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.’ But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, ‘Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.’ So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.”

Note they attempted to have peace and harmony without God. God came down and confused their language. Interestingly, did you know there is a computer program called, “BabelFish”, to assist with language translation? This program is beneficial in spreading the Gospel to the ends of the earth. That is good, but it also provides tools for those who desire to create a brotherhood of man without God.

Ludwig Lazarus Zamenhof created a universal language called Esperanto in 1877. The term “Esperanto” means “one who hopes”.

These days we hear more and more about the World Court. As I heard it mentioned on a PBS documentary on the Pacific island of Palau related to global warming aired (08/12/12) 4:30 a.m. There will be a world court where Jesus Christ will preside. In the words of Abraham “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25) Obviously, He will do right according to his universal law.

Maybe you remember the song in a 1971 Coca-Cola® commercial, “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)”. A group called The New Seekers released a de-commercialized version of this song that became number one hit.

Those who read the Bible find hope of peace and harmony in Isaiah 2:4, where we read, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, / And their spears into pruning hooks; / Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, / Neither shall they learn war anymore.”

Some tell us today, the best thing for us to do is a unilateral disarmament. Remember the exchange of Jesus with His disciples recorded in Luke 22:35-38, “And He said to them, ‘When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?’ So they said, ‘Nothing.’ Then He said to them, ‘But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For the things concerning Me have an end.’ So they said, ‘Lord, look, here are two swords.’ And He said to them, ‘It is enough.’”

The unilateral disarmament referred to in Isaiah 2:4 will not happen until Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, comes to rule and reign over all the earth. Paul writes about the reign of Jesus in Philippians 2:10b-11. Here, we read, “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” What a day that will be! However, in the meantime we must remember as someone said, “We can't all play the same part in God's band of service, but we should all play in harmony.” Now more than ever we need harmony in the band.

Regrettably, many attempt to have peace and harmony without knowing the basis for it.

II. The Basis of Peace and Harmony

Some time ago, [May 17, 2012] while perusing the shelves of a second hand store [Goodwill] in Columbia, South Carolina, I spied two specially made wall hangers. On one I found the word “Peace” and on the other, “Harmony”. They were fifty cents each making it $1.00 for the pair. I did not buy it, and I do not believe peace and harmony come that cheaply. Jeremiah 6:14 and 8:11 we read the refrain “‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace”. The Prince of Peace paid the price of peace as He made peace through the blood of His cross.

Paul writes in Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” Quite often men of the world refer to believers as troublemakers. For example, we read in 1 Kings 18:16-18, “So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him; and Ahab went to meet Elijah. Then it happened, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him, ‘Is that you, O troubler of Israel?’ And he answered, ‘I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and have followed the Baals.’”

We read in Psalm 119:165, “Great peace have those who love Your law,
And nothing causes them to stumble.” Psalm 37:11, “But the meek shall inherit the earth, / And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”

Interestingly, Jesus might appear more of a troublemaker than a peacemaker as people could not agree about Him. Jesus explains, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 10:34-39).

In his remarkable book titled, Firestorm, Dr. Ron Susek shares the difference between a peacekeeper and a peacemaker. Dr. Susek explains, “Peacekeepers tend to be passive, preferring to avoid conflict. . . . On the other hand, peacemakers tackle conflict head-on, determined to bring peace based upon truth, mutual understanding, and forgiveness. . . . While peacekeepers try to sweep things under the rug, peacemakers try to sweep issues out the door.”[3]

Remember, Jesus came to bring peace as “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) He is coming again as “the Lion of the Tribe of Judah” to usher in an era of peace and harmony known as the millennium.

The Puritan, Thomas Watson (1620-1686) writes, “God the Father is called the ‘God of Peace’ Heb. 13:20: God the Son, the ‘Prince of Peace’ Isaiah 9:6: God the Holy Ghost, a Spirit of Peace, ‘the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.’ Eph. 4:3.”[4]

The blessings from peace and harmony flow through the believer’s life. Only the one, who genuinely knows Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, will experience these blessings.

III. The Blessings from Peace and Harmony

Drs. Robert B. Hughes and J. Carl Laney explain, “The major idea here is the coming of the Lord to judge the world. Psalm 96 is reproduced almost verbatim in 1 Chronicles 16:23-33, where it was said to have been composed when David brought the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. While the Lord reigns in a sovereign sense today (Ps. 96:10), one day Christ's kingdom rule on earth will culminate the fulfillment of this prophecy (96:13). During the age of the kingdom, the curse on earth that resulted from man's sin will be removed (96:12). When peace and harmony return to the natural realm, even the trees will "rustle with praise."[5]

Don Fleming, a prolific author and Bible teacher from Belmont, Queensland, Australia, shares about “A new creation ([Isaiah] 65:17-25)”. He comments, “Israel's condition in the time of the prophet is then contrasted with conditions in the new Jerusalem, the kingdom of the Messiah. That kingdom is not an improved version of the old Israelite kingdom, but is something entirely new. It is a new creation, where the quality of life will be different from that of the present world. Sorrow will be replaced by rejoicing. Life will not be cut short except where God acts in judgment (17-20).

In the new creation people will have complete satisfaction. They will not experience the sufferings and frustrations that result from sin, but will enjoy life as God intended them to enjoy it (21-23). The absence of sin will mean that, above all, they will live in perfect fellowship with God. The world of nature also will benefit in this new era of genuine peace and harmony (24-25).”[6]

Conclusion

Don Fleming shares the following comment in his analysis of Isaiah 11 and 12, “In the Messiah's kingdom there is no hate, fear, cruelty or danger, but perfect peace and harmony. People truly know God, and therefore they no longer do evil to each other.”[7]

From Isaiah 11:6-9 we read, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, / The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, / The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; / And a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; / Their young ones shall lie down together; / And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, / And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, / For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord / As the waters cover the sea.” Commenting on Isaiah 11:6-9, Drs. John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck explain, “Isaiah described the righteous kingdom which the Messiah will set up. The curse will be lifted, peace and harmony will be present, and wild animals will again be tame and harmless to domesticated animals and humans. The wolf... leopard... lion, and bear are mentioned as examples of wild animals that will dwell safely with farm animals (the lamb... goat... calf... cow, and ox). A little child will be safe with lions, bears, cobras, and vipers (cf. 65:25). And on the temple mount (God’s holy mountain; cf. 27:13; 56:7; 57:13; 65:11, 25; 66:20) tranquility will prevail.”[8]

On “The Millennial Kingdom of Jesus Christ”, Dr. Paul Benware shares, “Once all the enemies of Christ are removed and all necessary resurrections and judgments take place, the wonderful period of the millennium will begin. The great unconditional covenants given centuries earlier will now be fulfilled. Every promise made by God will be accomplished, and Israel in particular and Gentiles in general will enjoy the blessings of Christ's rule.

The millennial kingdom will be characterized by righteousness, peace, and joy. All people everywhere will worship the Lord Jesus, who will be present in His glory. The curse that was placed on the creation at the fall of mankind will be removed, causing the desert and all of the earth to bloom and become fertile. Because of this, mankind will experience an unprecedented prosperity that will reach to every individual. Apparently very long life spans will characterize the kingdom. This, coupled with the absence of disease, will cause the population of the earth to increase rapidly. Also, the removal of the curse will immediately affect the animal kingdom. Animals will once again universally be vegetarians. No longer will lions eat lambs; rather, they will nap together in peace and harmony.”[9]

Dr. J. Vernon McGee (1904-1988) laments, “ Today I live in a world where every man is tooting his own little horn. Every little group wants to be heard. Everybody wants to tell you what he thinks. Everybody is playing his own little fiddle, and I want to tell you, it's a medley of discord. Everything is out of tune. But one of these days the spotlight is going on, and the Lord Jesus Christ will come. When He comes to this universe, He is going to lift His scepter, and everything that is out of tune with Him is going to be removed. Then when He comes down with that scepter -- oh, the harmony that will be in this universe! I'm thankful today that I do live in a universe where I can bow to Him, and I can bring this little instrument of my body, my life, into tune with Him. I can bow to Him, and I can acknowledge Him, I can make Him my Savior and Lord.”[10]

We look forward to the day of eternal peace and harmony.

[1]Available from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/1457131/Eternal-flame-goes-out-in-row-over-the-gas-bill.html Accessed: 08/11/12

[2]Available from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0011/001143/114357eo.pdf Accessed: 08/11/12

[3]Ron Susek, Firestorm: Preventing and Overcoming Church Conflicts, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), p. 126

[4]A Puritan Golden Treasury, comp. I.D.E. Thomas, (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2000), p. 206.

[5]Robert B. Hughes and J. Carl Laney, Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1990), Database © 2006 WORDsearch Corp.

[6]Don Fleming, Concise Bible Commentary. Copyright © 1988, 1994 by Don Fleming. Database © 2007 WORDsearch Corp. , p. 272

[7]Don Fleming, Concise Bible Commentary. Copyright © 1988, 1994 by Don Fleming. Database © 2007 WORDsearch Corp. , p. 251

[8]John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty, (Victor Books: A Division of Scripture Press Publications Inc., USA Canada England Underlying source materials. © 1985, by Scripture Press Publications, Inc. Licensed by Victor Books. Database ©2003 WORDsearch Corp.

[9]Paul N. Benware, Understanding End Times Prophecy: A Comprehensive Approach, Revised and Expanded

© 1995, 2006 Database © 2006 WORDsearch Corp.

[10]J. Vernon McGee, “Psalm 2:10-12,” Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee WORDsearch Corp.

By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

Author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice Available on Amazon.com and WORDsearchbible.com

http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Biblical-Preaching-Giving-Bible/dp/1594577684

http://www.wordsearchbible.com/products/Sound_Biblical_Preaching_1476.html

http://www.webspawner.com/users/franklinlkirksey / fkirksey@bellsouth.net / (251) 626-6210

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