The Peace on Which World Unity Hinges
THE desire for the abolition of war is a very commendable one. Such an achievement would indeed bring great relief. But could it be lasting? Recently Israel and Egypt have been enjoying improved relations through their treaty. However, has the hatred between Israeli and Arab been abolished? Or, are they, in effect, ‘sitting on dynamite’? Similarly, in other lands—for example, Ireland, Lebanon and Zimbabwe Rhodesia—are the deep-seated racial, religious and nationalistic feelings being eliminated?
Another question to consider when evaluating peace arrangements is, What is the moral basis for peace? Usually in international treaties each country involved seeks all the advantages or concessions it can get. In many instances, when a pact or agreement is made, it is merely a case of “peaceful coexistence,” an uncomfortable toleration of one another, but with no real harmony. Generally, both nations are at the same time building up their stock of armaments, to protect themselves against other countries or against one another. Moreover, when a treaty between two or more nations is made, other nations are offended by the coalition, feeling that it is a power play against them. They become suspicious and fearful of a conspiracy or of an actual attack.
What, then, is lacking in such peace efforts? It is this: However sincere are nations’ efforts to make peace, yet, if they have not consulted the Bible, they will not know what God’s will is concerning these matters, or what he determines as the basis for peace. By neglecting to discern this, they are failing to make peace, first of all, with God. Consequently, the proper foundation has not been laid. If they are not in harmony with the Sovereign of the universe, how can they expect to avoid going against his will? How can the nations hope to maneuver into a peaceful condition unless they are at peace with the Universal Sovereign?
GOD APPEALS TO RULERS
Some may feel that it is impossible for any person or nation to please God—to be at peace with him. But this is not true. God welcomes any person who wants peaceable relations with him. (Acts 17:26, 27) He will enable that one to know how such peace can be achieved. Is it not reasonable to find out the will of the One who, the Bible says, is Ruler in the kingdom of mankind?—Dan. 4:25.
God even appeals to national rulers, saying: “And now, O kings, exercise insight; let yourselves be corrected, O judges of the earth. Serve Jehovah with fear and be joyful with trembling. Kiss the son, that He may not become incensed and you may not perish from the way.”—Ps. 2:10-12.
From the statement in this psalm and from many other scriptures, we can see that, for the nations to gain world peace, they must first make peace with God. For peace, the prime essential is heart harmony and unity with the Creator and Sovereign. He knows what is necessary for the contentment and happiness of those whom he has created. This has become more obvious in our present time when it is seen that man’s efforts in connection with the ecology have often amounted to stupid or greedy blundering and have become a threat even to comfortable living on the earth.
The appeal in the second Psalm, to kings and judges of the earth, gives the rulers of political nations an opportunity to make peace with God and his Son. But history shows that no entire nation has done so, and prophecy indicates that no political nation will ever do so. (Ps. 2:2, 3; Rev. 16:13-16) Therefore, the nations themselves will never be at peace with God or with one another. Because they have taken this position, “the world is passing away and so is its desire.”—1 John 2:17.
MAKING PEACE WITH GOD
God has the power, regardless of the action of nations, to enforce his will and to bring about peace. But he does not promise an enforced peace. This is what some men see as the only realistic hope. Perhaps the nations, they think, will arm themselves with atomic weapons to the point that all will be fearful of starting a war, knowing that there would be no victor, but only world devastation as a result. Others hold that a supergovernment, a world government or at least a union of national governments for peace will accomplish the desired objective.
However, the world peace that God brings in will be of a different kind. He tells us that only people of a peaceful nature—those who really want true peace—will enjoy it. “The meek ones themselves will possess the earth,” the psalmist declares, “and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.” (Ps. 37:11) This promise was echoed by Jesus Christ in his Sermon on the Mount. (Matt. 5:5) He taught his followers to pray: “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.”—Matt. 6:9, 10.
What government will rule over that world of peace? Not one with its capital in an earthly city. Its administrative body will be located in heaven. Jesus called it “the kingdom of the heavens.” (Matt. 4:17) This is the government of God’s Son, whom God’s prophet called the “Prince of Peace.” Of his rule, the prophet said: “To the abundance of the princely rule and to peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom in order to establish it firmly and to sustain it by means of justice and by means of righteousness, from now on and to time indefinite.”—Isa. 9:6, 7.
Just as Isaiah’s prophecy foretells peace under the heavenly rule of Jesus Christ, the psalmist David compares the reign of Christ with the peaceful reign of King Solomon, when Solomon ruled over the Promised Land to its God-ordained borders. The psalmist describes the kind of peace God desires, stating: “Let him judge the afflicted ones of the people, let him save the sons of the poor one, and let him crush the defrauder. . . . In his days the righteous one will sprout, and the abundance of peace until the moon is no more [meaning indefinitely, or forever]. And he will have subjects from sea to sea. . . . There will come to be plenty of grain on the earth. . . . Blessed be Jehovah God, Israel’s God, who alone is doing wonderful works. And blessed be his glorious name to time indefinite, and let his glory fill the whole earth.”—Ps. 72:4-19.
What are the steps in making peace with God, and, consequently, peace with others? Could this be done on an earthwide scale, so that true world peace would be the result? This question, of vital importance to all, is the subject for discussion in the next article.
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The Bible shows that world peace must be based on peace with God