Seek True Peace and Pursue It!
“He that would love life and see good days, . . . let him turn away from what is bad and do what is good; let him seek peace and pursue it.”—1 PETER 3:10, 11.
1. What famous words of Isaiah are sure to have certain success?
“THEY will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4) Even though this famous text is displayed near the world headquarters of the United Nations in New York City, that world organization has not by any stretch of the imagination carried them out. However, as part of the unfailing word of Jehovah God, that declaration will not be without results.—Isaiah 55:10, 11.
2. What must “occur in the final part of the days,” according to Isaiah 2:2, 3?
2 The words found at Isaiah 2:4 are actually part of a marvelous prophecy, a prophecy about true peace—and it is undergoing fulfillment right in our own time. Before proclaiming the thrilling prospects of no more wars and weapons of war, the prophecy says: “It must occur in the final part of the days that the mountain of the house of Jehovah will become firmly established above the top of the mountains, and it will certainly be lifted up above the hills; and to it all the nations must stream. And many peoples will certainly go and say: ‘Come, you people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.’ For out of Zion law will go forth, and the word of Jehovah out of Jerusalem.”—Isaiah 2:2, 3.
People Can Become Peaceable
3. How can a person change from being belligerent to being peaceful?
3 Note that before people can pursue a peaceful course, they must be instructed in Jehovah’s ways. Obedient response to Jehovah’s teaching can change a person’s way of thinking and acting, so that one who has been belligerent becomes peaceable. How is this transformation accomplished? Romans 12:2 says: “Quit being fashioned after this system of things, but be transformed by making your mind over, that you may prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” We make our mind over, or motivate it in a different direction, by filling it with principles and precepts from God’s Word. Regular study of the Bible helps us to make this change and enables us to prove to ourselves what Jehovah’s will is for us, so we can see clearly the way we must go.—Psalm 119:105.
4. How does one put on the peaceable new personality?
4 Bible truth transforms not only our pattern of thinking but also our actions and personality. It helps us to do what the apostle Paul urged: “Put away the old personality which conforms to your former course of conduct and which is being corrupted according to his deceptive desires; but . . . be made new in the force actuating your mind, and . . . put on the new personality which was created according to God’s will in true righteousness and loyalty.” (Ephesians 4:22-24) The force that actuates the mind is internal. It is transformed and becomes powerful as our love for Jehovah and his laws grows, and it makes us spiritual and peaceable people.
5. How does the “new commandment” Jesus gave his disciples contribute to the peace among them?
5 The need for this transformation is seen from the instruction Jesus gave to his disciples during his final hours with them: “I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.” (John 13:34, 35) This Christlike, unselfish love binds the disciples together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:14) Only those who are willing to accept and live by this “new commandment” will enjoy the peace that God promises. Are there any people doing this today?
6. Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses enjoy peace, in contrast with the people of the world?
6 Jehovah’s Witnesses endeavor to show love in their worldwide brotherhood. Though they are drawn from all the nations of the world, they do not get involved in the world’s controversies, even when they are subjected to severe political and religious pressure. As a united people, they are taught by Jehovah, and they enjoy peace. (Isaiah 54:13) They remain neutral in political conflicts, and they do not participate in wars. Some who were formerly violent have given up that life-style. They have become peace-loving Christians, imitating the example of Christ Jesus. And they wholeheartedly follow Peter’s advice: “He that would love life and see good days, let him restrain his tongue from what is bad and his lips from speaking deception, but let him turn away from what is bad and do what is good; let him seek peace and pursue it.”—1 Peter 3:10, 11; Ephesians 4:3.
Those Who Are Pursuing Peace
7, 8. Give examples of people who gave up warfare and became seekers of true peace. (Relate others that you might be familiar with.)
7 For example, there is Rami Oved, a former officer in a specialized antiterrorist squad. He was trained to kill his enemies. He fervently believed in his Israeli nationalism until the day that he discovered that the rabbis did not want him to marry the woman he loved simply because she was an Asian, a Gentile. He began to search for truth in the Bible. Then he came in contact with Jehovah’s Witnesses. His study of the Bible with the Witnesses convinced him that he could no longer be a fanatic nationalist. Christian love meant giving up war and weapons and learning to love people of every race. How surprised he was when he received a kind letter with the opening words, “My Brother Rami”! What was so unusual about that? The writer was a Palestinian Witness. “I thought that was incredible,” Rami says, “as Palestinians were my enemies, and here one of them was calling me ‘My Brother.’” Rami and his wife now pursue true peace in God’s way.
8 Another example is that of Georg Reuter, who served in the German army that invaded Russia during World War II. Soon he became disillusioned with Hitler’s grandiose scheme for world domination. When he returned from the war, he started to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. He wrote: “At last, things were beginning to become clear to me. I realized that God was not the one to blame for all the bloodshed . . . I learned that it was his purpose to establish an earth-wide paradise with everlasting blessings for obedient mankind. . . . Hitler had boasted about his ‘Thousand-Year Reich’ but had only ruled for 12 [years]—and with what a ghastly outcome! It is Christ rather than Hitler . . . who can and will establish a thousand-year reign over the earth.” For some 50 years now, Georg has been serving as an envoy for true peace in the full-time ministry.
9. How does the experience of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Nazi Germany prove that they are courageous yet peaceable?
9 The integrity and neutrality of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany during the Nazi regime continue to be a testimony to their love for God and for peace even now, more than 50 years later. A booklet published by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., states: “Jehovah’s Witnesses endured intense persecution under the Nazi regime. . . . The courage the vast majority displayed in refusing [to renounce their religion], in the face of torture, maltreatment in concentration camps, and sometimes execution, won them the respect of many contemporaries.” Then it adds: “During the liberation of the camps, Jehovah’s Witnesses continued their work, moving among the survivors, making converts.”
A Much Greater Change
10. (a) What great change is needed for true peace to come? (b) How was this portrayed in the book of Daniel?
10 Does this mean that Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that they can bring peace to the whole world by means of some mass conversion to a belief in Christian neutrality? No! For peace to be restored to the earth, a much greater change is needed. What is that? Divisive, oppressive, and violent human rule must give way to rule by God’s Kingdom, for which Jesus taught his disciples to pray. (Matthew 6:9, 10) But how will that take place? In a divinely inspired dream, the prophet Daniel learned that in the last days, God’s Kingdom, like a huge stone ‘cut out not by human hands,’ would smash a giant image representing mankind’s political rulerships over the earth. Then he proclaimed: “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.”—Daniel 2:31-44.
11. By what means will Jehovah bring about the needed change for peace?
11 Why will this radical change in the world picture take place? Because Jehovah has promised that he will cleanse the earth of all those who are polluting and ruining it. (Revelation 11:18) This transformation will take place at Jehovah’s righteous war against Satan and his wicked world. We read at Revelation 16:14, 16: “They [that is, unclean inspired expressions] are, in fact, expressions inspired by demons and perform signs, and they go forth to the kings [the political rulers] of the entire inhabited earth, to gather them together to the war of the great day of God the Almighty. And they gathered them together to the place that is called in Hebrew Har–Magedon.”
12. What will Armageddon be like?
12 What will Armageddon be like? It will not be a nuclear apocalypse or a disaster provoked by humans. No, it is God’s war to end all human wars and annihilate all those who promote such wars. It is God’s war to bring in true peace for those who love peace. Yes, Armageddon is coming as Jehovah has purposed. It will not delay. His prophet Habakkuk was inspired to write: “The vision is yet for the appointed time, and it keeps panting on to the end, and it will not tell a lie. Even if it should delay, keep in expectation of it; for it will without fail come true. It will not be late.” (Habakkuk 2:3) Because of our human feelings, it might seem to be late, but Jehovah keeps his schedule. Armageddon will strike at the hour that Jehovah has predetermined.
13. How will God deal with the real culprit, Satan the Devil?
13 This decisive action will clear the way for true peace! But for true peace to be firmly established, something else must be done—the removal of the one who causes division, hatred, and strife. And that is just what the Bible prophesies will take place next—the abyssing of Satan, the fomenter of war and the father of lies. The apostle John saw this event in a prophetic vision, as recorded at Revelation 20:1-3: “I saw an angel coming down out of heaven with the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he seized the dragon, the original serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. And he hurled him into the abyss and shut it and sealed it over him, that he might not mislead the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended.”
14. How may Jehovah’s triumphant action against Satan be described?
14 This is no dream; it is God’s promise—and the Bible says: “It is impossible for God to lie.” (Hebrews 6:18) Thus Jehovah could say through his prophet Jeremiah: “‘I am Jehovah: the One exercising loving-kindness, justice and righteousness in the earth; for in these things I do take delight,’ is the utterance of Jehovah.” (Jeremiah 9:24) Jehovah acts in justice and righteousness, and he delights in the peace that he will bring to the earth.
Rule by the Prince of Peace
15, 16. (a) Who is chosen by Jehovah to rule as King? (b) How is that rulership described, and who will share in it?
15 To ensure that true peace will come to all those living under his Kingdom arrangement, Jehovah has given the rulership to the true Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, as foretold at Isaiah 9:6, 7: “There has been a child born to us, there has been a son given to us; and the princely rule will come to be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. To the abundance of the princely rule and to peace there will be no end . . . The very zeal of Jehovah of armies will do this.” The psalmist also wrote prophetically of the Messiah’s peaceful rule: “In his days the righteous one will sprout, and the abundance of peace until the moon is no more.”—Psalm 72:7.
16 In addition, 144,000 spirit-anointed brothers of Christ will be ruling with him in the heavens. These are the joint heirs with Christ of whom Paul wrote: “For his part, the God who gives peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. May the undeserved kindness of our Lord Jesus be with you.” (Romans 16:20) Yes, these will share from the heavens in Christ’s victory over the warmonger, Satan the Devil!
17. What must we do to inherit true peace?
17 So now the question is, What must you do to inherit true peace? True peace can come only in God’s way, and to gain it you must take positive steps. You must accept the Prince of Peace and turn to him. This means that you must accept Christ in his role as Redeemer and Ransomer of sinful humankind. Jesus himself said the famous words: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Are you willing to exercise faith in Christ Jesus as God’s Agent for bringing in true peace and salvation? There is no other name under heaven that can establish peace and guarantee it. (Philippians 2:8-11) Why? Because Jesus is God’s Chosen One. He is the greatest messenger of peace ever to walk the earth. Will you listen to Jesus and follow his example?
18. What should we do in response to Jesus’ words recorded at John 17:3?
18 “This means everlasting life,” said Jesus, “their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) Now is the time to take in accurate knowledge by regularly attending the meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses at the Kingdom Hall. These educational meetings will motivate you to share your knowledge and your hope with others. You too can become an envoy for God’s peace. You can enjoy peace now by trusting in Jehovah God, as stated at Isaiah 26:3, according to the New International Version: “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” In whom should you trust? “Trust in Jehovah, you people, for all times, for in Jah Jehovah is the Rock of times indefinite.”—Isaiah 26:4.
19, 20. What awaits those who today seek peace and pursue it?
19 Take your stand now for everlasting life in God’s peaceful new world. At Revelation 21:3, 4, God’s Word assures us: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” Is that not the peaceful future that you yearn for?
20 Then remember what God has promised. “The meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace. Watch the blameless one and keep the upright one in sight, for the future of that man will be peaceful.” (Psalm 37:11, 37) When that happy day comes, may we say with gratitude, “True peace at last! Thanks to Jehovah God, the source of true peace!”
Can You Explain?
□ What can help one to make changes in thought and action?
□ How have Jehovah’s Witnesses, individually and collectively, demonstrated their love for true peace?
□ How will Jehovah deal with all who promote hatred and war?
□ What will the rule by the Prince of Peace do for mankind?
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The words of Isaiah are fulfilled, not by the UN, but by those who respond to Jehovah’s teaching
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These two men made changes to pursue peace
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True peace will prevail under the rule of the Prince of Peace