“Your Word Is Truth”
“Happy the Peacemakers”
THE very sound of the word “peace” is pleasant to the ear, soothing to the heart and mind. And the same is true whether it is paix in French, paz in Spanish, frieden in German, eiréne in Greek or shalom in Hebrew. When Jesus sent out the seventy evangelizers, he instructed them to say: “May this house have peace.” It is an Oriental custom to greet others by wishing them peace. Even today, when you phone the Israeli embassy in New York city, the first words you hear are not “Good morning!” but “Shalom!” “Peace!”—Luke 10:5.
How fitting, therefore, that Jesus, in his happinesses or ‘beatitudes,’ pronounced happy the peaceable, that is, those who work for peace. As he said: “Happy the peacemakers, that they sons of God will be called.”—Matt. 5:9, Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures (interlinear rendering).
Since the peacemakers are to be rewarded by being called “sons of God,” it only follows that their Father, Jehovah God, must also be a peacemaker. Not only is he a peacemaker, he is the Peacemaker! Those with little faith in God’s Word and lacking understanding of it are prone to speak of Jehovah as a God of war. But with Jehovah war is the exception, an expression of his anger. Anger is not a dominant quality of his, but love is. His anger is but for “a moment,” his goodwill is for “a lifetime.”—Ps. 30:5.
Jehovah God engages in war only to get rid of the peace disturbers so that peace can hold sway in his universe. Thus we read: “He is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth. The bow he breaks apart and does cut the spear in pieces; the [war] wagons he burns in the fire.” (Ps. 46:9) That is why he is described as “the God who gives peace,” and as the “God of peace.” Since he is also called “the happy God,” he, above all others, is the happy Peacemaker.—Rom. 15:33; Phil. 4:9; 1 Thess. 5:23; 1 Tim. 1:11.
Jehovah God being the great Peacemaker, it is to be expected that his only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who said that he did whatever he beheld his Father doing, would also be a peacemaker. (John 5:19) And so we find it to be. He is called by such titles as “Prince of Peace” and “the Lord of peace.” (Isa. 9:6; 2 Thess. 3:16) Regarding his rule we read that “to the abundance of the princely rule and to peace there will be no end.” When he holds undisputed sway over the earth, there will be “the abundance of peace until the moon is no more.” He being called “the happy and only Potentate,” he also is a happy Peacemaker.—Isa. 9:7; Ps. 72:7; 1 Tim. 6:15.
Among professed Christians there are some today who would like to be peacemakers, such as those belonging to the “Christian Peace Conference.” It is composed of religionists on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Yet those belonging to it in the West state that it would be too much to expect that their activities would have an effect on world peace. They are chiefly trying to keep communications open between fellow religionists on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Even with this modest goal they are having little success, for they are having difficulty in keeping peace among themselves!—The Christian Century, June 10, November 11, 1970.
How are the true followers of Christ to be peacemakers? Not by mixing in politics or furthering the political schemes of men, for Jesus said his followers were to be no part of the world. (John 17:14) Rather, they do this first of all by making peace with God, the most important peace. They gain this peace with God by exercising faith in Christ’s sacrifice, by dedicating themselves to do the will of God and to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, and then symbolizing that dedication by water baptism. The fact is that Jesus came to earth for the very purpose of enabling humankind to come into peaceful relations with God. As we read: “He [Christ] came and declared the good news of peace to you, the ones far off, and peace to those near.” Yes, by means of Jesus Christ, God is offering peace to both Jews and Gentiles.—Eph. 2:14-17.
Only after having come to have peaceful relations with Jehovah God are Christians in a position to gain and maintain peaceful relations with fellow Christians. It is when the fruits of God’s spirit are manifest in their lives that they are able to obey the command: “With complete lowliness of mind and mildness, with long-suffering, putting up with one another in love, earnestly endeavoring to observe the oneness of the spirit in the uniting bond of peace.”—Eph. 4:2, 3.
These also fulfill their role as peacemakers by bringing a message of peace to those on the ‘outside.’ As did the apostle Paul, so they serve as “ambassadors substituting for Christ, as though God were making entreaty through us. As substitutes for Christ we beg: ‘Become reconciled to God.’” (2 Cor. 5:20) More than that, they show themselves to be peacemakers by heeding the counsel, “If possible, as far as it depends upon you, be peaceable with all men.” (Rom. 12:18) So long as no principle must be violated to do so, they are willing to yield in the interests of peace. They endeavor to avoid making needless issues, they seek to be tactful, pleasant, ready to please; knowing that by such a course of action they not only will be effective peacemakers but also will be preparing the hearts and minds of other people to become reconciled with God.
Jesus said that the peacemakers are “happy” since “they will be called ‘sons of God.’” (Matt. 5:9) However, it must be recognized that the term “sons of God” is used in the Scriptures in more than one sense. Thus we read that Adam was a son of God. (Luke 3:38) Then again, the angels that left their heavenly estate to marry the daughters of men upon the earth were called “sons of the true God.” (Gen. 6:2) And time and again Jesus referred to himself as the “Son of God,” or “God’s Son.”—John 3:18; 5:25; 10:36.
Jesus’ words at Matthew 5:9 apply first of all to those who have been begotten by God’s holy spirit and therefore have the hope of becoming spirit sons of God in the heavens. Of these peacemakers it is written: “The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s children. If, then, we are children, we are also heirs: heirs indeed of God, but joint heirs with Christ.” (Rom. 8:16, 17) These will be glorious spirit sons of God, enjoying the divine nature, having incorruptible bodies and possessing immortal life.
Other God-fearing peacemakers will become human “sons of God,” for he will give them everlasting life. But since they will also be children of the “Eternal Father,’’ Jesus Christ, they may more correctly be called sons of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, and ‘grandsons’ of God.—Isa. 9:6.
So let all who would become sons of God and gain everlasting life, either in the heavens or in an earthly paradise, prove worthy of being called peacemakers!