World Peace—What Will It Really Mean?
THE world peace that God has in mind will involve far more than a global cease-fire or a nuclear stalemate. This is evident from the way the Bible uses the word “peace.”
For example, in the Hebrew Scriptures (the “Old Testament”) the word for peace is sha·lohmʹ. A form of this word is used at Genesis 37:14, where the patriarch Jacob tells his son Joseph: “See whether your brothers are safe and sound and whether the flock is safe and sound, and bring me back word.”* Sha·lohmʹ is used again at Genesis 41:16, where it is rendered “welfare.”
In a Biblical sense, therefore, real peace involves not simply a cessation of hostilities but also health, safety, and well-being. Our previous issue showed that humans are unable to solve the puzzle of how to bring peace. Only Jesus Christ, the “Prince of Peace,” will fit the pieces together and bring real peace to the earth. (Isaiah 9:6, 7) Consider, for example, what the Bible prophesies at Psalm 72:7, 8 about the rule of that one: “In his days the righteous one will sprout, and the abundance of peace until the moon is no more. And he will have subjects from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.” Imagine—health, safety, and well-being on a worldwide scale! No political treaty could ever accomplish that. Only God’s Kingdom can, and it will achieve yet more. The Bible gives us a number of thrilling prophetic glimpses into this future world peace. Let us consider some of them.
Global Disarmament—God’s Way!
Psalm 46:8, 9 says: “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 wagons he burns in the fire.” The words “bow,” “spear,” and ‘wagon,’ are symbols of any sort of war weapon or war machinery. Jehovah thus goes far beyond arms limitation or even total disarmament. He thoroughly eliminates nuclear weapons, cannons, tanks, missile launchers, grenades, plastic explosives, rifles, handguns—anything that could threaten global peace!
However, weapons alone do not cause war. Usually, war has its roots in the hateful, greedy, or violent nature of imperfect humans. (Compare James 4:1-3.) God’s Kingdom will therefore attack this root cause of war by eliminating such vile personality traits in people. How? By means of a global educational program. “The earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.”—Isaiah 11:9.
Having been thus “taught by Jehovah,” mankind will no longer see racial differences as a basis for conflict, animosity, or disdain. (John 6:45) “God is not partial,” and earth’s inhabitants will reflect his impartiality. (Acts 10:34) The Kingdom will also eliminate any potential for national conflict by eliminating national boundaries. ‘From sea to sea and to the ends of the earth,’ all will swear their willing and grateful allegiance to Christ’s rule.—Psalm 72:8.
So that such peace will last, the Kingdom will also eliminate the most divisive force in man’s history: false religion. (Zephaniah 2:11) Mankind will be united in its worship of the only true God. (Isaiah 2:2, 3) A worldwide brotherhood will prevail!
Peace on the Home Front
Of what value, however, would world peace be if private homes were a battleground where insults, hurtful words, and threats were constantly being hurled about. Such is the case with many families today. Other families conceal deep-seated animosities behind a veil of cold silence.
True peace must therefore include domestic tranquillity. Under the Kingdom’s educational program, husbands and wives will be taught to deal with each other in love and respect. (Colossians 3:18, 19) Children will be taught to ‘be obedient to their parents in everything.’ (Colossians 3:20) There will be no rebellious teenagers to frustrate and worry their parents. Obedience will be the norm, cooperation the rule. Children will be a delight to behold and a joy to be around.
Today, economic pressures greatly aggravate family tensions, as both parents are often obliged to take on heavy loads of secular employment. But under Christ’s rulership, families will be relieved of crushing financial burdens—inflated rents, towering mortgage payments, escalating taxes, unemployment. Fulfilling, challenging work will be plentiful. And no one will need to be homeless. Note how the prophecy at Isaiah 65:21-23 highlights these facts: “And they will certainly build houses and have occupancy . . . They will not build and someone else have occupancy; they will not plant and someone else do the eating. . . . The work of their own hands my chosen ones will use to the full. They will not toil for nothing, nor will they bring to birth for disturbance; because they are the offspring made up of the blessed ones of Jehovah, and their descendants with them.”
Imagine living in an environment that does not assault you with the sights, sounds, and smells of urban decay! Imagine living on green land—your land—that has been perfectly cultivated, landscaped, manicured. Imagine inhaling air that is exhilaratingly clean and pure; hearing, not the harsh cacophony of modern civilization, but soothing, natural sounds. True, some fortunate individuals already enjoy a measure of some of these things. But under God’s Kingdom, peaceful living conditions will be enjoyed by all. There will be no poor, no hungry, no disadvantaged.—Psalm 72:13, 14, 16.
The Bible further promises that “as regards the wicked, they will be cut off.” (Proverbs 2:22) That means the abolition of crime. If your smallest child goes out to play, you will not need to worry about child molesters or kidnappers lurking in the shadows, cars with drunken drivers at the wheel careening out of control, or roving gangs of drug-crazed youths. Your children will play in absolute safety and security.
Peace and Your Personal Well-Being
Finally, there is the aspect of personal well-being. Even Paradise conditions do not dull the pain of cancer or the aches of arthritis. True peace must therefore include the eradication of disease, illness, and death. Is such a thing possible? While on earth, Jesus Christ repeatedly demonstrated his mastery over human ailments. (Matthew 8:14-17) From his heavenly vantage point, Christ will be able to perform miracles earth wide! “At that time,” promises the Bible, “the eyes of the blind ones will be opened, and the very ears of the deaf ones will be unstopped. At that time the lame one will climb up just as a stag does, and the tongue of the speechless one will cry out in gladness.”—Isaiah 33:24; 35:5, 6.
Christ’s campaign against human misery will not stop there, however. The apostle Paul explains regarding Christ’s kingship: “For he must rule as king until God has put all enemies under his feet. As the last enemy, death is to be brought to nothing.” (1 Corinthians 15:25, 26) This means undoing all the havoc death has wreaked upon mankind from the very beginning. As Jesus Christ himself explained: “The hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear [Christ’s] voice and come out.” (John 5:28, 29) Countless millions who have lived and died in misery will thus have the opportunity to share in the coming world peace.
Will you share in it? Jehovah’s Witnesses urge you to learn more about what the Bible teaches in this regard.* The prospect of world peace is too thrilling, too real, to be ignored. Be assured that if you exert yourself to learn and apply God’s Word, “the God of peace will be with you”—eternally!—Philippians 4:9.
Literally, “See the peace of your brothers and the peace of the flock.”
A free home Bible study can be arranged by writing the publishers of this magazine.
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Jehovah will make wars to cease “to the extremity of the earth”
USAF Official Photo
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Husbands and wives will be taught to deal peaceably with each other