Victory over the World Without Armed Conflict
“In the world you will have trouble. But courage! The victory is mine; I have conquered the world.”—John 16:33, The New English Bible.
1. (a) Why would world victory without armed conflict be quite an achievement? (b) What do some Bible interpreters expect regarding world dictatorship, and will there be such?
VICTORY over the whole world of mankind without an armed conflict would certainly be a remarkable achievement. It seems impossible—especially with the world’s being an armed camp, as it is today. World victory without a military conflict is not the idea of the political nations at present. They do not believe that any nation or any individual man could, by sheer peaceful political diplomacy, gain a world victory and thereafter dominate the world. The long-existing political governments are too smart with regard to the trickiness of international diplomacy to let such a thing be put over on them. Some few religious leaders of Christendom who try to interpret the prophecies of the Holy Bible predict a world dictatorship in the near future. By whom? By the one whom they call “the Antichrist,” whom they also understand to be “the man of sin,” “the son of perdition.” (2 Thess. 2:3-10, Authorized Version; 1 John 2:18) However, contrary to such a belief, there will be no individual antichrist that will gain the victory over the world without armed conflict.
2, 3. (a) According to the Sacred Scriptures, who today can gain such a world victory, and what is the prize thereof? (b) What historic example do we have to show its possibility, and what triumphant words do we have of that one?
2 The inspired Sacred Scriptures are very plain as to the matter of who comes off victorious over the world without taking up the violent weapons of blood-spilling warfare. According to these God-given Sacred Scriptures, we ourselves as God-fearing persons can win such a victory. The prize of such a victory is the gift of everlasting life in a happy, righteous new order of things, in which we shall not have this present wicked world to contend with. Such a prizeworthy victory is worth winning, is it not? A victory with such a matchless reward we should all desire to gain, should we not? Stupendous though it may seem, it can be done. We have a historic example to prove that it can be done. This encouraging example is that of a man who did it nineteen hundred years ago, a man whose name is not unknown to the whole world of mankind. That man was Jesus Christ. On his last day as a man on earth, he said, with a ring of triumph in his voice:
3 “I have spoken all this to you in order that in me you may have peace. In the world you have affliction. But keep up your courage: I have won the victory over the world.”—John 16:33, The New Testament in Modern Speech, by R. F. Weymouth (1902).
4. In view of what developments shortly after Jesus’ statement claiming victory do we ask in what way he had gained the victory?
4 It is now the year 1973 of our Common Era, and yet the world has not been won over to belief in Jesus Christ. So in what way did Jesus Christ win the victory over the world? When he died like an accursed criminal just some hours after claiming victory over the world, he had not won over his own nation, the Jewish people, to an acceptance of him as their promised Messiah, as God’s Anointed One. Fifty-one days after his disgraceful death, there were only about one hundred and twenty of the Jews in Jerusalem who held to him as the Messiah who fulfilled Bible prophecy. (Acts 1:15) How, then, was Jesus Christ justified in saying that he had won the victory over the world? In what possible way could his claimed victory be of benefit to us today? Let us see.
5. (a) The way in which Jesus was executed indicated that the Romans and Jews had what feeling toward him? (b) Jesus told his disciples that the hatred would be by how many?
5 Look at him there on that Friday, Nisan 14, of the year 33 C.E., nailed to a stake in the way that the pagan Romans impaled condemned slaves, yes, and hanging there in between two notorious evildoers! That situation branded him as a hated man, hated both by the Romans and by the Jews who had handed him over to the Romans to be executed in the most disgraceful manner. Even hours before his execution there at Calvary outside the city of Jerusalem, Jesus Christ admitted that he was a hated man. It is bad enough to be hated by someone else unjustly, but by how many was Jesus Christ hated? To the eleven faithful ones who remained of his original twelve apostles Jesus Christ said: “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were part of the world, the world would be fond of what is its own. Now because you are no part of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, on this account the world hates you.”—John 15:18, 19.
6. What were the apostles individually obligated to do about the world hatred against them?
6 Thus Jesus gave his apostles to understand that the world hated him, and likewise the world would hate them. What would they have to do about this? Well, when the whole world hates a person, a person has the whole world with which to contend and so a person has to gain a victory over the whole world. A person hated world wide must either defeat the world or else be defeated by it. How otherwise would a person prove that he is in the right, that he is true, that he is faithful?
WHY WORLD HATRED?
7, 8. (a) What about the world’s hatred causing Jesus any surprise? (b) What do we read of his discussion with his half-brothers shortly before the festival of tabernacles in 32 C.E.?
7 To understand how Jesus Christ gained a victory over the world, we have to understand why the world hated him. For being what or for doing what did he have to stand up against the whole world? He was not surprised at the world’s hatred of him. He understood why it expressed hatred for him, and so he could take it, endure it. He pointed out the cause of the world’s attitude toward him after about three years of his public activity in the land of Palestine. This happened in the latter half of the year 32 C.E., up in the Roman province of Galilee, where Jesus had been a carpenter at the city of Nazareth up until thirty years of age. He had a number of younger half-brothers, the sons of his mother Mary, and, unbidden, these half-brothers offered him some advice about his public career. Even at that time the hostile Jews were waiting for the opportunity to kill him, out of their hatred for him. So the question was, Would he expose himself publicly to them at Jerusalem at the autumn festival of tabernacles that was drawing near? As a Jew under God’s law through the prophet Moses, Jesus was obligated to be there. On his discussion with his half-brothers, we read:
8 “The Jews were seeking to kill him. However, the festival of the Jews, the festival of tabernacles, was near. Therefore his brothers said to him: ‘Pass on over from here and go into Judea, in order that your disciples also may behold the works you do. For nobody does anything in secret while himself seeking to be known publicly. If you do these things, manifest yourself to the world.’ His brothers were, in fact, not exercising faith in him. Therefore Jesus said to them: ‘My due time is not yet present, but your due time is always at hand. The world has no reason to hate you, but it hates me, because I bear witness concerning it that its works are wicked.’”—John 7:1-7.
9. How did Jesus not fail to attend that festival of tabernacles, and what victory did he gain there at the temple?
9 Did Jesus Christ faithfully go up to Jerusalem, where those hating him would be flocking for the festival of tabernacles? Yes, he did so, but not in a foolhardy way. On this we read: “But when his brothers had gone up to the festival, then he also went up himself, not openly but as in secret.” At the appropriate time, he spoke openly to the festival celebrators there in the temple. Orders were sent out by the Jewish authorities to arrest him, but these were not carried out by the police officers. (John 7:10, 32-48) Was that not a victory for Jesus Christ?
10. (a) What did Jesus say to his half-brothers was the cause of the world’s hatred of him? (b) Since Jesus did not go outside Jewry, how could it be said that his witness concerning the world’s works was correct?
10 What reason did he give for the world’s hatred of him? The reason, as stated to his half-brothers, was: “It hates me, because I bear witness concerning it that its works are wicked.” (John 7:7) Well, now, if the works of the Jews to whom Jesus had confined his preaching were “wicked,” what could be said about the works of the pagan world outside Jewry? They must have been no less wicked than those of the Jews hostile to Jesus Christ. Therefore, concerning the whole world of mankind, Jew and Gentile, the witness could be correctly given that its works were “wicked.” Is that not enough to stir up hatred on the part of the world?
11. (a) By what personal example did Jesus bear witness that the world’s works were wicked? (b) How did Jesus’ action at the temple near the beginning of his public career prove the world’s works to be wicked?
11 How, though, did Jesus bear witness to the world and show that its works were “wicked”? Both by word of mouth and by action. He himself had to be guiltless of wicked works. Who of his days on earth could truthfully accuse him of a single wicked work? Even Jewish unbelievers he challenged with the question: “Who of you convicts me of sin?” (John 8:46) When, toward the beginning of his public career, he went into the temple of Jerusalem and drove out the money changers and the merchandisers, saying: “Take these things away from here! Stop making the house of my Father a house of merchandise!” he was bearing witness to those profaners of the temple and to the Jewish authorities who allowed it that their works were “wicked.”—John 2:13-17.
12. How did Jesus, by healings on the Sabbath, by expulsion of demons, by giving no heavenly sign, by making himself no part of the world, cause a witness against wicked works?
12 When, on the legal Jewish Sabbath Day, situations presented themselves for him to do good works of healing and he performed such healings despite the fact that he knew he was going to be criticized and condemned therefor, he bore witness that the deeds of his critics were “wicked.” (Matt. 12:9-16) When he cast out demons from obsessed persons and was accused of being in league with Beelzebub the ruler of the demons for doing so, Jesus made it manifest that the works of his opposers were wicked. (Matt. 12:22-37) When the unbelieving Jews asked for a sign from heaven in proof of his being the Messiah and he refused to dispel their unbelief by undue signs, he bore witness that their wicked works were those of a “wicked and adulterous generation.” (Matt. 16:1-4; 12:38-45) Jesus’ refusal to imitate this world and make himself like it or a part of it was a witness in itself that the works of the world were “wicked.”
13, 14. (a) In what two general ways did Jesus bear witness that the works of the world were wicked? (b) How did Jesus’ preaching harmonize with what he said in John 3:17?
13 However, not just by letting his life speak for itself did Jesus bear witness against this world so as to call forth its hatred. He also did so directly by word of mouth. What does this mean?
14 Well, Jesus himself said to the Jewish ruler Nicodemus: “God sent forth his Son into the world, not for him to judge the world,” that is to say, to judge it adversely or condemn it, sentencing the human race to destruction. (John 3:17) Even so, Jesus did not go around the land condemning everything that he saw, doing so all the time, proclaiming only the “day of vengeance on the part of our God.” No, but he had a positive message that led to freedom from condemnation. This was the message of the Kingdom.—Isa. 61:1, 2; Luke 4:16-41.
15, 16. (a) How did the introductory words of Jesus’ Kingdom message bear witness that the world’s works were wicked? (b) How did the very content of the Kingdom message also bear such a witness?
15 But did this positive message bear witness concerning the world that its works were wicked? Yes! And this is shown in the way that the royal message was introduced. Matthew’s account tells us how John the Baptist introduced the Kingdom message and then how Jesus Christ himself did so. After the imprisonment of John the Baptist, Jesus Christ took up John’s message and enlarged upon it. Concerning this, Matthew 4:17 informs us: “From that time on Jesus commenced preaching and saying: ‘Repent, you people, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.’”
16 That very word of introduction of the message, “Repent,” indicated that the works of the hearers of the Kingdom message were wicked. They needed to repent from such wicked works and turn around and prepare for the coming of the Kingdom. Why so? Because that divine government was not going to let its subjects practice wicked works. In fact, those who practiced wicked works were not going to be admitted into governmental offices in that kingdom. (1 Cor. 6:9, 10) That kingdom was to be a righteous government, and the fact that the God of the heavens saw the need to set up such a kingdom condemned all the kingdoms of this world as being wicked. It bore witness that those worldly systems of rulership were wicked and would one day, in God’s appointed time, have to be destroyed. This was why those proclaiming and advocating the “kingdom of the heavens” could not consistently engage in the politics of the world, could not hold political office in any man-made government or take part in any armed conflict to maintain such worldly rulerships. As ambassadors and envoys of God’s kingdom they abstain from unclean human politics.
17. Why did the world rulers and their backers hate Jesus for preaching the Kingdom message?
17 Did the world hate Jesus for preaching the good news of the “kingdom of the heavens”? The evidence shows that the world hated him on that account. The world rulers and their backers had their own ideas and plans on how the earth and its peoples should be ruled. They hated a message that held forth Jehovah God as having in mind to destroy their kingdoms and rulerships in His due time. They preferred a message that presented God as being behind their man-made governments, approving them and purposing to improve them and keep them in power. Consequently, a message that advertised a kingdom that would not cooperate with their systems of rulership and really work through them was something that the political elements of this world did not relish. They hated both it and the proclaimers of it. They hated the Anointed One whom God purposed to put in power in the “kingdom of the heavens.”
OVERCOMING WORLD HATRED
18, 19. (a) What was it that induced the world to hate Jesus for preaching the Kingdom message? (b) How did Jesus tell his apostles that the world’s hatred was for no valid reason?
18 Did Jesus deserve the world’s hatred for preaching God’s Messianic kingdom? Was he preaching thereby something that would be for the hurt of all mankind? No, but something for their everlasting good. Personal pride and selfishness were the things that induced the world to hate Jesus for proclaiming the Kingdom message that was really good news, Gospel, the Evangel. That the world’s hatred of him was actually for no valid reason, Jesus plainly told his faithful apostles, saying:
19 “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. He that hates me hates also my Father. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have both seen and hated me as well as my Father. But it is that the word written in their Law may be fulfilled, ‘They hated me without cause.’”—John 15:22-25; Pss. 35:19; 69:4.
20. How did the Jews, when before Governor Pilate, show that Jesus was hated for preaching the Kingdom message?
20 As showing that the world hated Jesus for preaching the righteous kingdom of his heavenly Father, Jesus’ enemies resorted to a political trick to have him executed by the Romans who were not then interested in religious issues. They used Jesus’ preaching of a perfect government for mankind as a tool for charging him with a political crime against the Roman Empire, the world power of that time. When the Roman governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate, wanted Jesus’ accusers to treat the matter as a purely religious one involving their religious law and said to them: “Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law,” they answered: “It is not lawful for us [under Caesar’s law] to kill anyone.” (John 18:31) To give a political twist to what Jesus preached, his accusers said to Pilate: “This man we found subverting our nation and forbidding the paying of taxes to Caesar and saying he himself is Christ a king. . . . He stirs up the people by teaching throughout all Judea, even starting out from Galilee to here.”—Luke 23:1-5.
21. How did the accusers of Jesus make Pilate feel personally involved in the matter?
21 Then, finally, to make Governor Pilate feel personally involved in the matter, the accusers of Jesus said: “If you release this man, you are not a friend of Caesar. Every man making himself a king speaks against Caesar. . . . We have no king but Caesar.”—John 19:12-15.
22, 23. (a) How was Jesus then directly made an object of hatred by “the world”? (b) How did Jesus’ disciples, later on in prayer, point out this fact?
22 By thus forcing the pagan Romans to take a hand in doing away with this Preacher of the “kingdom of the heavens,” the Jewish accusers obliged the Roman Empire to commit a hateful act against Jesus. Before the Roman soldiers led him off to the place of execution at Calvary outside Jerusalem, they treated him scandalously like a criminal seditionist. That in this way Jesus was directly made an object of world hatred, his own disciples pointed out later on when offering prayer to God, saying:
23 “Sovereign Lord, you are the One who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all the things in them, and who through holy spirit said by the mouth of our forefather David, your servant, ‘Why did nations become tumultuous and peoples meditate upon empty things? The kings of the earth took their stand and the rulers massed together as one against Jehovah and against his anointed one.’ Even so, both Herod and Pontius Pilate with men of nations and with peoples of Israel were in actuality gathered together in this city against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, in order to do what things your hand and counsel had foreordained to occur.”—Acts 4:24-28.
24. What design behind the world’s hatred against Jesus was it that had to be victoriously overcome?
24 Nobody can call into question that Jesus Christ faced world hatred. But the vital question is, Did he let world hatred win the victory over him? Did he finally bow in defeat to it? Well, what was that world hatred trying to force Jesus Christ to do? It was stirred up by Satan the Devil to frighten him into submission. It was meant to induce him to stop doing his miraculous powerful works that testified to the fact that he was the promised Messiah sent by Jehovah God. It was designed to persuade him against preaching the good news of God’s Messianic kingdom any longer, to silence him as a Teacher and Preacher. It was meant to make him rebellious against Jehovah God who anointed him and commissioned him as the Messiah. Yes, this world hatred was roused up against Jesus Christ to make him get back at the people and hate them and break off from his self-sacrificing course of laying down his perfect human life that they might gain everlasting life under the promised Messianic kingdom of God. The world hatred was aimed at destroying him by making him seek to save his earthly human life, only to lose his soul, his hope of resurrection to life eternal.
25. How did the worldly hatred fail to stop Jesus from performing miraculous powerful works even down to within a few hours of his execution?
25 Did world hatred succeed in accomplishing all these things with respect to Jesus Christ? Did he acknowledge defeat and stop performing miracles and good works that the promised Messiah was commissioned to perform? No! Down to within a few hours of his being sentenced to death, he performed a miracle, to show that he was against any armed conflict. At the time of his being betrayed in the Garden of Gethsemane near Jerusalem, his apostle Peter drew a sword and struck off the ear of a man of the armed band that came out to arrest him under cover of darkness. But Jesus expressed disapproval of the use of the sword and then healed the man’s ear, thereby giving a testimony to the high priest of the Jews, for this healed man, Malchus, was a servant of the high priest.—Matt. 26:48-54; Luke 22:47-51; John 18:10, 11.
26. What is there to say on whether Jesus let world hatred keep him from enlarging the Kingdom-preaching down till the last half year of his public ministry?
26 Well, then, did the continuous world hatred beat Jesus Christ into submission and force him to keep his mouth shut and no longer preach the good news of the Kingdom? The testimony of eyewitnesses answers No! Leading off alone in the proclamation of the nearness of the Kingdom after the imprisonment of John the Baptist, Jesus gathered disciples to himself and chose twelve who should be with him all the time and whom he designated apostles. As the third Passover celebration during his public ministry drew near, he sent out these twelve apostles by twos, to preach the same message that he had continued preaching, for he said to them: “As you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.’” (Matt. 10:1-7) After the third celebration of the Jewish festival of tabernacles during his public ministry, Jesus sent out seventy other disciples as evangelizers, also by twos, and to them he said: “Whenever you enter into a city and they receive you, eat the things set before you, and cure the sick ones in it, and go on telling them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” (Luke 10:1-9) This was during the last half year of his human life.
27, 28. (a) How did Jesus bring the nationwide Kingdom-preaching to a grand climax with a dramatic flourish? (b) When urged to do so, why did Jesus not stop the Kingdom shouting on that occasion?
27 Now the fourth and last Passover of his public ministry drew near. A day of excitement that religiously rocked the city of Jerusalem arrived. This was on Sunday, Nisan 9, of the year 33 C.E., five days before his shocking death. That day Jesus brought his nationwide preaching of God’s kingdom to a grand climax with a dramatic flourish. Upon the Mount of Olives to the east of Jerusalem, he seated himself upon an ass colt and rode like the Messianic King toward the royal city, not attended by an imposing body of cavalrymen armed with spears, not with a squadron of rattling war chariots or with a battalion of fully armored infantrymen, no, not with a mighty military force that would have caused the Roman soldiers to stream out from the soldier barracks in the Castle of Antonia at the northwest corner of the temple area, in order to resist the invasion of Jerusalem. No, but in fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9, he rode in a peaceful triumphal procession attended by a jubilant crowd of unarmed men, women and children, whom he let do the Kingdom proclaiming for him.
28 Among the cries that burst forth from the marching crowd were these: “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Blessed is the One coming as the King in Jehovah’s name!” “Save, we pray you! Blessed is he that comes in Jehovah’s name, even the king of Israel!” When the hate-filled enemies objected to these Messianic shouts of the people, Jesus insisted that the prophecy had to be fulfilled by saying: “I tell you, If these remained silent, the stones would cry out.”—Matt. 21:6-16; Mark 11:4-11; Luke 19:32-40; John 12:12-16.
29. How did Jesus thus fulfill prophecy, and of what did he make a picture?
29 Thus not in vain had the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 declared five hundred years earlier: “Rejoice heart and soul, daughter of Zion! Shout with gladness, daughter of Jerusalem! See now, your king comes to you; he is victorious, he is triumphant, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Jerusalem Bible) “For see, your king is coming to you, his cause won, his victory gained, humble and mounted on an ass, on a foal, the young of a she-ass.” (The New English Bible) Not as a piece of mere showmanship, but in obedience to God’s unbreakable prophecy, Jesus courageously faced the hatred of the world and dramatically witnessed to God’s Messianic kingdom. In this way he portrayed prophetically how after the end of the Gentile Times in 1914 C.E., and after the close of the war in heaven, he would ride triumphantly and present himself to Jehovah’s theocratic organization as her rightful King.—Luke 21:24; Rev. 12:5-10.
A JUST CLAIM TO VICTORY OVER THE WORLD
30. (a) How did Jesus not let world hatred affect his personal disposition and attitude? (b) How did he denounce religious hypocrisy with regard to the Kingdom?
30 World hatred stopped Jesus neither in performing miracles in proof of his Messiahship nor in his preaching of the good news of the Messianic kingdom of God. Neither did it cause him to imbibe its spirit and get filled with a malicious hatred of the human race whom he had come to ransom, nor did it pressure him into becoming rebellious against God and the divine will. At the temple, in an expression of his pity for the deceived, oppressed people, he openly denounced religious hypocrisy and said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut up the kingdom of the heavens before men; for you yourselves do not go in, neither do you permit those on their way in to go in.” (Matt. 23:1-13) Three days later, in no spirit of rebellion against God, Jesus celebrated the Jewish Passover at Jerusalem with his apostles. Immediately afterward he started a new observance, a new supper, as a memorial of his death as a human sacrifice.
31. How did Jesus’ words over the wine cup and in connection with the Kingdom not belie his claim afterward about winning victory over the world?
31 When explaining the meaning of the cup of wine that was to be drunk at this memorial supper, Jesus said to his faithful apostles: “Drink out of it, all of you; for this means my ‘blood of the covenant,’ which is to be poured out in behalf of many for forgiveness of sins.” (Matt. 26:26-28) No hatred of the human race was evident in those words, neither any rebelliousness against God’s will for him that involved a sacrificial death. Then, in the course of the conversation afterward, Jesus said to the apostles: “You are the ones that have stuck with me in my trials; and I make a covenant with you, just as my Father has made a covenant with me, for a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Luke 22:28-30) Later, at the close of his conversation and before offering a final prayer to God, Jesus said to them: “In the world you will have trouble. But take courage! The victory is mine; I have conquered the world.”—John 16:33, NE.
32. (a) Why did Jesus at that night hour have the right to claim victory over the world? (b) How did his testimony before Pilate back up his claim?
32 At that hour of the night of Nisan 14, did Jesus have the right to claim victory over the whole world? In view of his faithful, loving course of life down till then, we can answer, Yes! Jesus was there making no idle boast of self-glorification. His unswerving course of obedience to God in the hours that followed proved that. When standing before the highest local representative of Caesar of the Roman Empire, Jesus refused to deny that he was God’s anointed King but said to Governor Pontius Pilate: “My kingdom is no part of this world. If my kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be delivered up to the Jews. But, as it is, my kingdom is not from this source. . . . You yourself are saying that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.” Although his Messianic kingship was a thing charged against him by his haters as a legal ground for the Romans to execute him, Jesus did not renounce God’s kingdom.—John 18:36, 37.
33. (a) On the torture stake, how was Jesus’ victory completed, and how was this proved less than three days later? (b) What victory with regard to this world yet awaits the glorified Jesus?
33 Shortly afterward, as Jesus hung nailed to the torture stake at Calvary, when his haters passed by and reviled him, he did not make himself like them and give them like for like. When, about three o’clock in the afternoon, Jesus said: “It has been accomplished!” and bowed his head and breathed his last, he had indeed gained the victory over the world, and that without armed conflict. (John 19:30; 1 Pet. 2:22-24) The world had killed him as a man, but he died undefeated. The hateful world got no satisfaction out of his death. It could not, and did not, prevent him from gaining the glorious prize for his world victory. Three days did not fully pass before Almighty God raised him from the dead in a stupendous victory over death and then exalted him to the right hand of his heavenly Father’s throne, far beyond the reach of the hateful world down below on earth, God’s mere footstool. (Phil. 2:5-11; 1 Pet. 3:22) Another kind of victory awaits him, and this one with his holy warrior angels at the coming “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon.—Rev. 16:14, 16; 19:11-21.
[Picture on page 653]
Jesus did not let world hatred win the victory over him by stopping his miracles and good works. No, but within a few hours of his being sentenced to death he miraculously healed a man’s ear after Peter had struck it off