How do we achieve “World Peace”?
World peace could be defined as:
A cessation of all hostility amongst all humanity … leading to an ideal of freedom, peace, and happiness among and within all nations and peoples [see definitions.net ]
Few would argue with this. But how does it come about? It has been said “World Peace starts with Inner Peace”. There is some truth here. Perfect peace (inner peace) is possible despite personal circumstances (Isaiah 26 verse 3). But, as we shall see, striving for personal inner peace will not lead to world peace since this ignores the external powers behind the lack of world peace. Then there’s the “listening and sympathetic” approach to peace:
Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding [Albert Einstein]
But again, this approach fails to acknowledge the powerful external powers determined to destroy world peace. What about the “peacemaker” approach of the United Nations (an approach commended by Jesus in the “Beatitudes”)? The UN Security Council has the primary responsibility for international peace and security. It calls upon the disputing parties to settle the problem by peaceful means and recommends methods of adjustment or terms of settlement. But the UN itself makes biased, controversial and disputed statements, such as “Israeli settlements remain a ‘flagrant violation’ of international law” (see Israel’s Legal Borders).
Although well-meaning in themselves, these approaches to true world peace will always fail because they do not acknowledge or even see the root of the problem. The true path to world peace is only understood when we look at the largely unseen spiritual world.
Biblical history shows that peace on a local (but not global) scale is possible with one major proviso: a nation must acknowledge that peace only comes when they keep God’s laws. Conversely, peace is lost when the nation walks away from God’s Laws (post-Christian nations take heed!). Consider three examples. In each case Israel was instructed by a Godly leader to follow God’s laws:
King Solomon was instructed by his father David to “keep the charge of the LORD your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments … as it is written in the Law of Moses” (1 Kings 2:3).
Solomon did this and ruled the people of Israel with Godly wisdom. In return, God gave Israel peace for 40 years: “he had peace on every side all around him, and Judah and Israel dwelt safely …” (1 Kings 4:24-25)
King Asa “did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God … he commanded Judah to seek the LORD God … and to observe the law … ” (2 Chronicles 14:2,4). As a result, Asa had no war because the LORD gave him rest (1 Chronicles 14:6).
King Jehoshaphat – the son of Asa also walked with the LORD (2 Chronicles 17:4). He delighted in the ways of the LORD and removed pagan images. As a result “the fear of the Lord fell on all the kingdoms of the lands that were around Judah, so that they did not make war against Jehoshaphat” (2 Chronicles 17:10).
These examples show that real peace has a spiritual basis. It cannot be achieved politically. It cannot be achieved without recourse to the God of Israel. Conversely, the lack of peace also has a spiritual basis, although few nations recognize it!
The Source of all Hostility and War is Spiritual
The Bible claims there is an ongoing (and usually unseen) spiritual war. At the so-called “fall of mankind” (Genesis 3) all kingdoms and nations were delivered to Satan:
Then the devil, taking Him (Jesus, Yeshua) up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. (Luke 4:5-6, emphasis added)
Jesus’ Authority: Did Jesus dethrone and disable Satan during His brief time on earth? After all, following His resurrection Jesus claimed that “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me” (Mat 28:18). And He said “now the ruler of this world will be cast out” (John 12:31). To the individual believer in the risen Christ this is true; they have Christ’s authority over all the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19). But what about the secular, unbelieving world? As someone remarked: “if Satan is not around today, then who carries on his work?”
Satan’s Influence in the World: Satan still operates his power and deception and in this sense Christ’s authority has not yet been fully exercised. Jesus admitted that, after He had gone, Satan was coming to be “the ruler of this world” (John 14:30) – but only for a time. The apostle Paul confirmed this when he indirectly referred to Satan as “the god of this age” (2 Cor 4:4). Satan is the god of this rebellious world in the sense that he influences its ways of life – chaos! Paul describes him as “the prince of the power of the air – the spirit now working in those who reject God” (Ephesians 2:2, paraphrased).
To a largely secular world the concept of an evil controlling spirit seems outdated. And so Satan’s hostile activities go unnoticed. Our secular political leaders are blind to the real cause of unrest and hostility because they have been blinded by the god of this age. Moreover, they are generally powerless since the battle is really a powerful spiritual one. It’s not a level playing field:
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesian 6:12)
So, put simply, whilst today’s peacemakers are to be applauded, they are invariably pawns in the spiritual battle! Recall that the Nazi Party had an occult basis. In 1918, at the age of 29, Hitler claimed to hear voices announcing that he was “selected by God to be Germany’s messiah”, link. Of course, this was extreme spiritual deception. Another good example is the false peace treaty soon to be signed by Israel.
The coming “False Peace”
The Islamic aggression against Israel is increasing, fueled by the continuous threat to “eliminate Israel”:
You [Zionist regime] will not see 25 years from today! [Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, Sept. 2015]
Given this scenario, Israel is promised “protection” through a powerful military leader:
Then he shall confirm a covenant (or treaty) (Heb: “berith”) with many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will stop the sacrifice and grain offering and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate (Dan 9:27 NKJV)
A futuristic interpretation of this text is that at the very end of this age a powerful (Satanically-driven) military leader will agree a peace treaty for seven years (one “prophetic week”) with the leaders of restored Israel. But then he breaks the treaty and violates the restored Jewish temple. This interpretation is compatible with the words of Jesus in Mathew 24:15. The personal pronoun “he” is the end-time “prince” (v26) who could be an archetype of the Roman general Titus who destroyed the Jewish Temple in 70 AD (Daniel 9:26).
Clearly this is only a localized and short “peace” and Israel soon realizes that she has made a “covenant with hell” (Isaiah 28:15).
Allusions to real World Peace
There are several allusions to world peace in the Old Testament. For example:
The whole earth (Heb: “erets” – the earth at large, as in Genesis 1:1) is at rest and quiet; they break forth into singing (Isaiah 14:7)
This sounds idyllic and can be seen as looking forward to a time when the whole earth as we now know it will be at peace – the Millennial age. Probably written around 700 BC, at a time when the Babylonian Empire was reaching its peak, Isaiah 14 looks forward to the time when God delivers Israel from all her enemies (as in historical Babylon) and restores her to her own land. The prophet Zechariah also alludes to world peace:
So they answered the Angel of the Lord … and said, “We have walked to and fro throughout the earth (Heb: “erets”), and behold, all the earth is resting quietly.” (Zechariah 1:11)
Here, the angel of the Lord sees all surrounding heathen nations secure and at peace (Persia had defeated Babylon in 539 BC). But at the same time Judah was depressed under the new Persian rule, with the Jerusalem temple destroyed. So God was angry with the heathen nations that were “at ease” (Zechariah 1:15). Clearly, whilst the “peace” referred to here is a fact of history, there is also an allusion to the coming real world peace.
The Coming Real and Lasting World Peace
The Binding of Satan and the End of War
Besides allusions to world peace in the Old Testament, prophecy also gives much detail of the coming real and lasting world peace. It is a peace some 6,000 years of human government has failed to give. But before it can be ushered in, today’s spiritual war must end. How? Since it is a spiritual battle it cannot come about merely through political treaties. No. A heavenly power much greater than human power is required to defeat Satan.
Here’s the solution of the God of Israel: something momentous happens at the end of this age:
- Through demonic coercion, the armies of the world gather against the armies of Christ (Rev 16:13-14). This is a man-God war, a physical-spiritual war, widely known as Armageddon
- Christ, followed by the armies of heaven, defeats them. Specifically, the Satanically driven military leader (Rev 13.2) and the false prophet (Rev 13:11) are captured and cast into hell (Rev 19:11-21)
- After these momentous events, a powerful angel descends from heaven and binds Satan in the “bottomless pit” or “abyss”
I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer … (Rev 20:1-3, emphasis added)
Peace on Earth: The Millennial Age
With Satan bound, Jesus (Yeshua) returns to this earth (to the Mount of Olives opposite Jerusalem) to usher in lasting world peace and blessing. It will be a theocracy:
For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And He will judge between nations (Isaiah 2:3-4)
The government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6-7, emphasis added)
Under Christ’s rule the whole earth falls into peace and there is no more war:
He shall speak peace to the nations (Zech 9.10)
And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war (Isa 2:4, emphasis added)
Israel’s “Covenant of Peace”
At this time Israel is covered with God’s “covenant of peace” (Ezek 34:25). This is the Hebrew “shalom” in its widest interpretation. It means much more than the absence of war. It speaks of peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility. It speaks of mankind at peace with himself, with his environment and with his God. It is the fulfillment of the New Covenant promised to the house of Israel, to the house of Judah and to all believers (Jer 31:31-34, Heb 9:15).
So after years of hostility against her, Israel will be at peace with her Arab neighbours (Isa 19.24,25) and non-Jews will live peaceably in Israel:
And they (strangers) shall be to you as the native-born among the sons of Israel; they shall be allotted an inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel (Ezek 47.22)
Even the animal kingdom reflects this as the wolf and the lamb graze together and the lion eats straw like an ox (Isa 65.25). In some respects, the land of millennial Israel will be similar to the Garden of Eden:
I will call for the grain and multiply it … I will multiply the fruit of the tree and produce of the field … the plowman will overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows seed … the mountains will drip sweet wine … and they will say, ‘This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden’ (Ezek 36.29,30,35, Amos 9.13)
Perhaps most significantly, the Millennial age is similar to that of the Adamic world, when God walked the earth with man (Genesis 3:8). In the Millennial age, the God of Israel establishes His place in the Millennial temple:
And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate facing toward the east … And He said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell among the sons of Israel forever” (Ezekiel 43:4,7)
If you despair at the lack of peace in the world and seek deep, inner peace, you can have it. Trust in the living Jesus – Yeshua – when He said:
I am leaving you with a gift — peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid (John 14:27, NLT)