Peace and Security
When will it come?
From what source?
What will it mean for mankind?
“[God] 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.
COMMENTING on the outlook for 1978, the weekly journal U.S. News & World Report said, in its issue of December 26, 1977, that this should be “A Pivotal Year.” The writer went on to say: “Major decisions are to be taken against a backdrop of rising optimism. Troubles? Plenty. But shaping up is a time of peace and prosperity.” In these words, the journal echoed the hope of millions that peace with security may be ‘just around the corner.’
In many parts of the earth the cry is for “Peace, Peace.” But can we truly and optimistically say that world peace is to be seen on the horizon today? Or, rather, is the situation similar to that facing Israel in the days of the prophet Jeremiah? The world situation was critical then. For the Babylonian juggernaut was advancing in its campaign of world conquest. The people were searching frantically for some hope of peace. Yet the prophet declared that they were “saying: ‘There is peace! There is peace!’ when there is no peace.”—Jer. 8:11.
WHAT BASIS FOR PEACE?
If you planned a new house, where would you build it? Would you select a neighborhood well known for its crime? Would you build in an area where the people were fighting one another on racial, religious and social issues? Would you move into a community where mistrust, hatred and violence of every sort abounded? Moreover, in constructing your house, would you try to make it “safe” by stocking its basement with every kind of high explosive? Surely you would not make plans for such a home!
However, the world of today has been building just like that! Since the total war first struck in 1914, the world environment has been one of increasing violence. Nationalistic, racial and religious hatreds have engulfed many peoples of the earth. Yet political leaders claim that they can bring peace to this world neighborhood. Some may be very sincere in their claims. But can they really succeed?
On what kind of foundation are they building? Is it a firm foundation of mutual trust and love? Or, is it, rather, a shaky foundation of fear and hatred? Very literally, the foundation on which the world powers are building is an explosive one. During the year 1976 the nations of earth spent more than 300 billion dollars on armaments, and in 1977 the figure soared toward the 400-billion-dollar mark. The armaments race is running out of control. What kind of foundation is this for constructing a world of peace and security? We can only say it is hopeless and impossible.
The prophet Daniel spoke about our very day when he foretold the climax of the centuries-long struggle between the “king of the north” and the “king of the south.” Today these two kings are identified as the opposing blocs of Communistic and capitalistic nations that struggle for world domination. They carry on the age-old game of diplomacy: “As regards these two kings, their heart [is] inclined to doing what is bad, and at one table a lie is what they . . . keep speaking. But nothing will succeed.” (Dan. 11:27) The louder they speak of “peace and security,” the farther does this desirable goal recede from their grasp. A house of real peace can never be built on a foundation of distrust and competitive rearmament—a foundation fortified by stockpiles of nuclear and other horrendous weapons. It can never be built in an environment of international hatreds, crime and violence.
“AS A THIEF IN THE NIGHT”
However, the nations continue to talk of “peace and security.” In this they are chasing a will-o’-the-wisp. For what does the Bible prophesy concerning their efforts? The apostle Paul tells us: “Jehovah’s day is coming exactly as a thief in the night. Whenever it is that they are saying: ‘Peace and security!’ then sudden destruction is to be instantly upon them just as the pang of distress upon a pregnant woman; and they will by no means escape.” (1 Thess. 5:2, 3) Already, the cry for peace and security is rising in a crescendo. And it can be expected that, while the nations are making a significant cry of “peace and security,” then suddenly, “Jehovah’s day” will break forth in all its fury. It will come just like the unexpected arrival of a thief in the night. Like sudden pangs of childbirth, the day of accounting will catch up on the nations of earth, and divine judgment will be executed on them.—Zeph. 3:8.
This will not be an uncontrolled destruction, as if nuclear warfare were to destroy civilization completely from the surface of the earth. Rather, it will be a controlled, selective destruction brought by the Almighty God against “those who do not know God and those who do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus.” (2 Thess. 1:8) True lovers of peace and security can be assured that Jehovah will continue to be to them “a refuge and strength, a help that is readily to be found during distresses.”—Ps. 46:1-7.
Astonishing events will be seen on earth as this “great tribulation” runs its course. (Matt. 24:21) It will result in something that no SALT (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks) or disarmament conferences have even started to accomplish—the complete disarming of the nations. We are invited to a preview of these world-shaking happenings: “Come, you people, behold the activities of Jehovah, how he has set astonishing events on the earth. 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. 46:8, 9.
There is purpose behind this decisive action by the Almighty God, Jehovah. The nations have proved over the centuries and are still showing that they cannot bring stable peace and security to the peoples of earth. They have been given every opportunity and they have tried every kind of government. However, all of them have built their house on a wrong foundation. In rivalry toward one another, they now pile their nuclear and other armaments higher and higher, vying with one another as they seek to maintain some kind of shaky balance of power. No wonder that the Almighty God, Jehovah, purposes to wipe out such an insecure and murderous arrangement.
BASIS FOR A REIGN OF PEACE
However, Almighty God will not only destroy the nations, along with their armaments, but also bring in the universal reign of peace. And upon what foundation will this new order be built? For one thing, there will be love and mutual trust among mankind. Those who qualify to live in that new order will be persons who subscribe to the two greatest commandments indicated by Jesus Christ: “‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole strength and with your whole mind,’ and, ‘your neighbor as yourself.’” (Luke 10:27) These will have developed “the fruitage of the spirit,” which is “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.” They will have “put on the new personality which was created according to God’s will in true righteousness and loyalty.” (Gal. 5:22, 23; Eph. 4:24) Persons who have acquired these qualities and who have given themselves in dedicated service to God will become the very nucleus of God’s new order. His Kingdom rule under Christ Jesus will succeed gloriously as such persons out of every national group, race and social status truly unite in a secure and peaceful worldwide community. And literally billions of mankind will be ushered into that happy society through the resurrection of the dead.—John 5:28, 29.
There is still another purpose, a noble purpose indeed, in God’s destroying the false foundation for peace and security and building a true foundation. It is that the sovereignty of the true God, Jehovah, may be exalted in all the universe. For this reason Jehovah extends the invitation at Psalm 46:10: “Give in, you people, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” It is only when all mankind submit to Jehovah God as Sovereign Lord of the universe that peace at last will reign supreme. While lovers of true peace wait for that glorious time, they can exult in the protection that Jehovah assures: “Jehovah of armies is with us; the God of Jacob is a secure height for us.” (Ps. 46:11) So, while the nations build on explosive foundations for a shaky peace and false security, all who heed the admonition of God’s Word, the Bible, can press forward toward the real peace and security that is guaranteed only by God’s kingdom through Christ Jesus.—Matt. 6:10.