The Bible’s View of Peace and Security
Many people take at face value the apparent trend toward greater world unity and the peace and security that this might bring. They hope that such a movement will lead to a better world. But the Bible indicates that more is involved than meets the eye.
THE subject of peace and security is especially of interest to Christians because of what the apostle Paul wrote under inspiration to a Christian congregation of the first century. His words are recorded in the Bible at 1 Thessalonians 5:3: “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.” This scripture raises important questions.
Peace and Security—A Prelude to What?
If you read the context of Paul’s words quoted above, you will see that the ones saying “peace and security” are not wide-awake Christians, but, rather, individuals who are asleep to what is really happening. They are in a dangerous situation but are not aware of it because they think things are looking up. Regarding Christians, though, Paul said: “As for the times and the seasons, brothers, you need nothing to be written to you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:1) Yes, we should be aware of God’s timetable of events. Why? Because Paul said that a time of sudden destruction, called “Jehovah’s day,” is coming “exactly as a thief in the night.”—1 Thessalonians 5:2.
What does the foretold talk of peace and security involve? Clearly, it must be more than mere talk. Men have been talking of peace almost as long as they have been fighting wars. Paul’s words must point to a time when the nations appear to be achieving peace and security in an outstanding way. But this amounts only to a surface appearance. An apparent peace and security that leads to sudden destruction is obviously neither real peace nor genuine security.
Jesus too spoke about this sudden destruction. He called it a “great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again.” Several hundred years before Jesus, the prophet Daniel also spoke of it, and he described it as “a time of distress such as has not been made to occur since there came to be a nation until that time.”—Matthew 24:21; Daniel 12:1.
Call it a great tribulation, call it a time of distress—in either case, according to the prophecies, it will wipe out every trace of Satan’s earthly system. Rather than signifying divine approval, the prophesied talk of peace and security leads to the very opposite!—Compare Zephaniah 3:8.
Time Elements Revealed
Are the recent apparent moves toward greater world unity and the resulting hopes for peace and security a fulfillment of Paul’s prophetic warning? Well, as this magazine has frequently pointed out, since 1914 we have witnessed the fulfillment of numerous Bible prophecies related to Jesus’ heavenly presence in Kingdom power. (Matthew, chapters 24, 25; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; Revelation 6:1-8) Jesus indicated that Jehovah’s day, when sudden destruction will come upon the wicked, will arrive while members of the generation of people who witnessed the beginning of this time are still alive.—Luke 21:29-33.
The apostle Paul also introduced a time element. He said: “While they are talking of peace and security, all at once calamity is upon them.” This rendering of Paul’s words in The New English Bible shows clearly that the great tribulation takes place “while they are talking.” Like a thief in the night—unforeseen—destruction will strike when it is least expected, when the attention of most humans is on their hoped-for peace and security. Hence, while at the moment we cannot say with finality that the present peace and security situation fulfills Paul’s words—or to what extent talk of peace and security will yet have to develop—the fact that such talk is now being heard to an unprecedented degree alerts Christians to the need for staying awake at all times.
‘Pushing’ Between World Powers
When he spoke of the time of distress, the prophet Daniel also introduced a time element. He showed that the time of distress would occur at the end of long-standing conflict between two power blocs, one called “the king of the north” and the other, “the king of the south.” (Daniel 11:5-43) Since the end of World War II, these power blocs have been represented by a capitalistic “king of the south” and a socialistic “king of the north.”
Daniel foretold that the bitter rivalry between these two blocs, as noted during the past 45 years, would be as “a pushing,” like two wrestlers striving for an advantage. Recently, the pushing appears to have diminished. Thus, in May last year, the Soviet foreign minister declared the Cold War over. In June, Time magazine referred to a summit conference between the United States and the Soviet Union and noted: “Some of the agreements on arms control and nuclear testing would have seemed a stunning accomplishment a few years ago. Now, even taken together, they appear anti-climactic.”
Whether this seeming amity between the two superpowers is temporary or permanent, time will tell. One thing is clear, though. The time period mentioned by Jesus is well advanced. And things happening in the world indicate that we are close to the events foretold by the apostle Paul and the prophet Daniel. Even though recent political developments are to some degree due to the influence of Christendom’s churches, they will not lead to lasting peace. The evidence is that they will lead to quite the opposite for the nations of this world.
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Time will tell how long the seeming amity between the two superpowers will last
USSR Mission to the UN
Looking Beyond Man-Made “Peace and Security”
The truth is, humans can never bring real, lasting peace. Why not? Because humans are not the real peacebreakers, although they share the guilt for their bloodstained history. The real peacebreaker is more powerful than man. It is none other than Satan the Devil, who is described in the Bible as “misleading the entire inhabited earth.”—Revelation 12:9.
THE Bible says: “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one [Satan].” (1 John 5:19) Hence, attaining real peace and lasting security must involve removing Satan from the scene along with the world system that he has built up and that he so obviously controls. (Compare Isaiah 48:22; Romans 16:20.) Humans cannot do this.
How, then, can peace and security be achieved? By the power of the One who is infinitely stronger than Satan. Almighty God has set a time limit to Satan’s activity among mankind. When that time limit arrives, “sudden destruction” will come upon the world lying in Satan’s power. (1 Thessalonians 5:3-7) All the evidence leads to the conclusion that this will happen soon.
Peace and Security Now!
What about now, though? A measure of true peace and security is possible even today. How? Not as many religious leaders have tried, by getting involved in the politics of this world, but, rather, by following God’s commands and counsel.
Does such a course really produce peace? Yes, it does. For example, Jehovah’s Witnesses have put it to the test and found that it really is possible to enjoy genuine peace as well as a measure of security. Following God’s commands as revealed in the Bible has enabled them to come together as an international organization in true peace, whatever their race, nationality, or language.—Psalm 133:1.
In obedience to divine law, they have symbolically ‘beaten swords into plowshares and they learn war no more.’ (Isaiah 2:2-4) They feel secure in God’s love and have confidence that their spiritual brothers care for them. (Romans 8:28, 35-39; Philippians 4:7) If you question whether this is true, we invite you to visit them in one of their Kingdom Halls and see for yourself.
Peace and Security Worldwide
This, however, is not the final fulfillment of the Bible’s promise of true peace and security. Far from it! It is merely a foregleam of what this world would be like if everyone followed God’s laws. Soon that foregleam will turn into reality.
The apostle Paul said: “Whenever it is that they [those not serving God] are saying: ‘Peace and security!’ [thinking they have finally brought peace and security in their own way] then sudden destruction is to be instantly upon them.” (1 Thessalonians 5:3) God will determine that Satan has misled mankind long enough. It will then be time to remove him from the scene, along with the corrupt world system that is in his power. Then will be the time for the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy: “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 2:44.
Will this be an unfair act on God’s part? In no way. Sudden destruction will come upon only those who deserve it according to God’s judgment, God’s standards. Do you trust the Creator to decide justly in this matter? Surely we can leave the matter safely in his hands! And what will be the result of his judgment work? The proverb says: “The upright are the ones that will reside in the earth, and the blameless are the ones that will be left over in it. As regards the wicked, they will be cut off from the very earth.” (Proverbs 2:21, 22) Will anyone grieve the loss of the wicked?
With the peacebreakers out of the way, genuine peace and security will be the lot of mankind earth wide under the beneficent rule of God’s Kingdom. “They will not do any harm or cause any ruin in all my holy mountain; because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.” (Isaiah 11:9) Do you believe this promise of the Bible? Are you confident that these things will happen soon? If you have any doubts, we encourage you to examine the matter further. In truth, God’s way is the only way man will ever achieve the longed-for goal of real peace and genuine security.
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Jehovah’s people enjoy true peace and a good measure of security today