True Peace—From What Source?
“[Jehovah] is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth.”—PSALM 46:9.
1. What marvelous promise of peace do we find in Isaiah’s prophecy?
“THE work of the true righteousness must become peace; and the service of the true righteousness, quietness and security to time indefinite. And my people must dwell in a peaceful abiding place and in residences of full confidence and in undisturbed resting-places.” (Isaiah 32:17, 18) What a beautiful promise! It is a promise of true peace brought about by God.
2, 3. Describe true peace.
2 What, though, is true peace? Is it simply the absence of war? Or is it merely a period during which nations prepare for the next war? Is true peace just a dream? Those are questions to which we need reliable answers. First, true peace is much more than a dream. God’s promised peace goes far beyond anything that this world can imagine. (Isaiah 64:4) It is not peace for a few years or a few decades. It endures forever! And it is not peace just for a privileged few—it embraces heaven and earth, angels and humans. It reaches out to people of all nations, ethnic groups, languages, and colors. It knows no frontiers, no barriers, no failures.—Psalm 72:7, 8; Isaiah 48:18.
3 True peace means peace every day. It means that you wake up each morning without a thought of war, without having to worry about your future, your children’s future, even your grandchildren’s future. It means complete peace of mind. (Colossians 3:15) It means no more crime, no more violence, no more families torn apart, no more homeless people, no more people starving or freezing, and no more despair and frustration. Better still, God’s peace means a world without sickness, pain, sorrow, or death. (Revelation 21:4) What a magnificent hope we have of enjoying true peace forever! Is not this the kind of peace and happiness that all of us yearn for? Is not this the kind of peace that we should pray and work for?
Mankind’s Failed Efforts
4. What efforts for peace have the nations put forth, and with what results?
4 For centuries, men and nations have spoken about peace, have debated peace, have signed hundreds of peace treaties. What has been the result? In the last 80 years, there has virtually never been a moment when some nation or group has not been at war. Clearly, peace has eluded mankind. So the question is, Why have all man’s efforts to establish international peace failed, and why is man incapable of bringing about true peace that will endure?
5. Why have mankind’s peace efforts consistently failed?
5 The simple answer is that mankind has not turned to the right source for true peace. Under the influence of Satan the Devil, men have created organizations that fall victim to their own weaknesses and vices—their greed and ambition, their lust for power and prominence. They have gone to institutions of higher learning and have established foundations and think tanks, which have only thought out more means of oppression and destruction. To what source have humans been directed? Where have they looked?
6, 7. (a) What record did the League of Nations make for itself? (b) What is the record of the United Nations?
6 Back in 1919 the nations put their trust in the League of Nations to establish permanent peace. That hope was shattered by Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia in 1935 and the civil war in Spain beginning in 1936. The League sank into oblivion with the outbreak of World War II in 1939. The so-called peace had not even lasted 20 years.
7 What about the United Nations? Has it provided any real hope of lasting peace earth wide? Hardly. Over 150 wars and armed conflicts have been fought since its inception in 1945! It is no wonder that Gwynne Dyer, a Canadian student of war and its origins, described the UN as “an association of poachers turned gamekeepers, not an assembly of saints,” and “a largely powerless talking-shop.”—Compare Jeremiah 6:14; 8:15.
8. Despite their peace talks, what have the nations been doing? (Isaiah 59:8)
8 Despite their talk of peace, the nations continue to invent and manufacture arms. The countries that sponsor peace conferences are often the very ones that lead in the manufacturing of weapons. Powerful commercial interests in these countries promote the production of death-dealing armaments, including diabolic land mines that every year kill or maim some 26,000 civilian adults and children. Greed and corruption are motivating forces. Bribes and kickbacks are part and parcel of the international arms trade. Some politicians enrich themselves from this source.
9, 10. What have worldly experts observed regarding wars and human endeavors?
9 In December 1995, Polish physicist and winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace Joseph Rotblat called on the nations to end the arms race. He said: “The only way to prevent [a new arms race] is to abolish war altogether.” Do you think that this is likely to happen? From 1928 onward, 62 nations ratified the Kellogg-Briand Pact, renouncing war as a way of settling differences. World War II clearly demonstrated that the pact was not worth the paper it was written on.
10 Undeniably, war has been a constant stumbling stone on mankind’s pathway of history. As Gwynne Dyer wrote, “war is a central institution in human civilization, and it has a history precisely as long as civilization.” Yes, virtually every civilization and empire has had its revered military heroes, its standing armies, its famous battles, its sacrosanct military academies, and its stockpile of weapons. However, our century has been marked by war more than any other, both in destructiveness and in loss of life.
11. What basic factor have world leaders overlooked in their quest for peace?
11 It is obvious that the world’s leaders have ignored the basic wisdom of Jeremiah 10:23: “I well know, O Jehovah, that to earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” Without God in the picture, there can be no true peace. Does all of this mean, then, that war is inevitable in a civilized society? Does it mean that peace—true peace—is an impossible dream?
Getting to the Root Cause
12, 13. (a) What does the Bible reveal as to the basic, unseen cause of war? (b) How has Satan turned mankind’s attention away from the real solution to the world’s problems?
12 To answer those questions, we need to understand the causes of war. The Bible clearly states that the rebellious angel Satan is the original “manslayer” and “liar” and that “the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (John 8:44; 1 John 5:19) What has he done to further his designs? We read at 2 Corinthians 4:3, 4: “If, now, the good news we declare is in fact veiled, it is veiled among those who are perishing, among whom the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through.” Satan does everything possible to turn mankind’s attention away from God’s Kingdom as the solution to the world’s problems. He blinds and sidetracks people with divisive social, political, and religious issues, so that these seem to be more important than God’s rulership. The recent worldwide surge of nationalism is a case in point.
13 Satan the Devil promotes nationalism and tribalism, the belief in the superiority of one nation, race, or tribe over others. Deep-seated hatreds that have been repressed for centuries are being revived to fuel more wars and conflicts. Federico Mayor, director-general of UNESCO, warned of this tendency: “Even where tolerance used to be the order of the day, a shift towards xenophobia is becoming more evident, and chauvinist or racist utterances that had seemed to be a thing of the past are heard more and more often.” What has been the result? The gruesome massacres in the former Yugoslavia and the tribal bloodbath in Rwanda are but two such developments that have made it to the headlines.
14. How does Revelation 6:4 portray war and its effect in our time?
14 The Bible foretold that in the time of the end of this system, a fiery-colored horse, symbolizing war, would gallop throughout the earth. We read at Revelation 6:4: “Another came forth, a fiery-colored horse; and to the one seated upon it there was granted to take peace away from the earth so that they should slaughter one another; and a great sword was given him.” Since 1914 we have seen this symbolic horseman “take peace away,” and the nations have gone right on fighting and waging war.
15, 16. (a) What has been the role of religion in wars and killings? (b) How does Jehovah regard what religions have done?
15 What must not be overlooked is religion’s role in these wars and killings. Mankind’s blood-drenched history can be attributed in great measure to the misguiding influence of false religion. Catholic theologian Hans Küng wrote: “There is no disputing that in negative, destructive terms [religions] have made and still make an enormous contribution. So much struggle, bloody conflicts, indeed ‘religious wars’ are to be held to their account; . . . and this also goes for the two world wars.”
16 How does Jehovah God regard false religion’s role in killings and wars? God’s indictment of false religion, recorded at Revelation 18:5, states: “Her sins have massed together clear up to heaven, and God has called her acts of injustice to mind.” False religion’s complicity with the political rulers of the world amounts to such bloodguilt, such a mass of accumulated sins, that God cannot possibly ignore it. He will soon completely eliminate this stumbling block on the way to true peace.—Revelation 18:21.
The Way to Peace
17, 18. (a) Why is it not just an unrealistic dream to believe that everlasting peace is possible? (b) What has Jehovah already done to ensure that true peace will come?
17 If men, through agencies such as the United Nations, cannot bring about true and lasting peace, from what source will true peace come, and how? Is it just an unrealistic dream to believe that everlasting peace is possible? Not if we turn to the right source of peace. And who is that? Psalm 46:9 answers by telling us that Jehovah “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.” And Jehovah has already started the process to end wars and establish true peace. How? By installing Christ Jesus on his rightful Kingdom throne in 1914 and by promoting the greatest educational campaign for peace in the history of mankind. The prophetic words of Isaiah 54:13 reassure us: “All your sons will be persons taught by Jehovah, and the peace of your sons will be abundant.”
18 This prophecy illustrates the principle of cause and effect—that is, every effect has its cause. In this case, Jehovah’s teaching—the cause—transforms warlike people into peace-loving people who are at peace with God. The effect is the change of heart that makes people peace lovers. This teaching that changes people’s hearts and minds is even now spreading worldwide as millions follow the example of the “Prince of Peace,” Jesus Christ.—Isaiah 9:6.
19. What did Jesus teach about true peace?
19 And what did Jesus teach about true peace? He spoke not merely of peace between nations but of peace between people in their relationships and of the inner peace that comes from a good conscience. At John 14:27, we read Jesus’ words to his followers: “I leave you peace, I give you my peace. I do not give it to you the way that the world gives it. Do not let your hearts be troubled nor let them shrink for fear.” How was Jesus’ peace different from that of the world?
20. By what means will Jesus bring true peace?
20 First, Jesus’ peace was closely tied in with his Kingdom message. He knew that the righteous heavenly government, composed of Jesus and 144,000 corulers, would put an end to war and warmongers. (Revelation 14:1, 3) He knew that it would bring about the peaceful paradisaic conditions that he offered to the evildoer who died at his side. Jesus did not offer him a place in the heavenly Kingdom, but he said: “Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise.”—Luke 23:43.
21, 22. (a) What wonderfully sustaining hope does true peace include? (b) What must we do to witness that blessing?
21 Jesus also knew that his Kingdom would bring comfort to all those mourning ones who exercise faith in him. His peace includes the wonderfully sustaining hope of the resurrection. Remember his encouraging words found at John 5:28, 29: “Do not marvel at this, because the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment.”
22 Do you look forward to that time? Have you lost dear loved ones in death? Do you yearn to see them again? Then accept the peace that Jesus offers. Have faith like that of Martha, Lazarus’ sister, who said to Jesus: “I know he will rise in the resurrection on the last day.” But note Jesus’ exhilarating reply to Martha: “I am the resurrection and the life. He that exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life; and everyone that is living and exercises faith in me will never die at all. Do you believe this?”—John 11:24-26.
23. Why is accurate knowledge of God’s Word essential in gaining true peace?
23 You too can believe in and benefit from that promise. How? By gaining accurate knowledge of God’s Word. Note how the apostle Paul emphasized the importance of accurate knowledge: “We . . . have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the accurate knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual comprehension, in order to walk worthily of Jehovah to the end of fully pleasing him as you go on bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the accurate knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:9, 10) This accurate knowledge will convince you that Jehovah God is the source of true peace. It will also tell you what you must do now so that you may join the psalmist in saying: “In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for you yourself alone, O Jehovah, make me dwell in security.”—Psalm 4:8.
Can You Explain?
□ Why have human peace efforts failed consistently?
□ What is the root cause of war?
□ Why is lasting peace not an unrealistic dream?
□ What is the source of true peace?
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True peace is not a dream. It is God’s promise
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Since 1914 the symbolic rider of the fiery-colored horse has taken peace away from the earth
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Can religion and the UN bring peace?