|Volume 19 Number 6 June 2017||
Isaiah prophesied, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulders: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace“ (9:6). The Bible informs us that Jesus, the “Prince of Peace,” was born in Bethlehem of Judea (Matthew 2:1). When He was born, an angel and a multitude of the heavenly host praised God by saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased” (Luke 2:14 ASV). However, we know that practically all the news we are receiving from that part of the world where the Lord was born is wholly negative because it centers on the carnal warfare being waged between the Israelis and the Palestinians. On one occasion, some of the Palestinians were holed up in the Church of the Nativity, a site where it is claimed that Jesus was born.
How is it that God sent forth His Son, Jesus Christ, the “Prince of Peace” and such discord and killings are taking place right in the area where He was born of the virgin Mary? Did not the heavenly host praise God and speak of peace among men? I believe that the key regarding peace is found in the expression as translated in the American Standard Version when it reads, “in whom he is well pleased.” In other words, true peace is only to be experienced and enjoyed by those who are pleasing to God. Further, those who are pleasing to God are men and women who accept Jesus Christ as being the Son of God. Jesus stated, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). It is sad to note that neither of the participants in the war in the Middle East believe that Jesus is the Son of God. They only elevate Him to be a good man and a prophet. It is in the kingdom (the church) of the Lord that people will “beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:4).
Paul taught in Ephesians 2:13-18 that peace can be found in Christ and in His body, which is the church. Man alone will not insure worldwide peace because of greed, hatred and lust for power that fill the heart. The more people who obey the Gospel of Christ, the less likely there will be carnal warfare among men and nations. Without Jesus, the “Prince of Peace,” there cannot be true peace among men.
It is common for man to think that peace is only to be found when there is the absence of carnal warfare; however, the peace of which Jesus often spoke and promised to His disciples is to be found in Him, the “Prince of Peace.” Jesus spoke these encouraging words to a group of discouraged disciples as recorded in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.” This is “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding” (Philippians 4:4-7). The apostle Paul knew this peace in his heart, and it gave much comfort to his spirit when he faced physical death for his faith in Jesus Christ and in God the Father. He knew that “the Lord, the righteous judge” would give to him “the crown of righteousness” “at that day.” Paul was not afraid of men who were able to “kill the body” (Matthew 10:28). The circumstances and physical surroundings in which we find ourselves do not insure that we have peace in our hearts. Only the “Prince of Peace” can bring comfort and consolation to the troubled soul. Without the Christ, mankind will continue to experience warfare within and without. In the beautiful hymn, “Prince of Peace! Control My Will,” it is clearly taught that in order to enjoy the peace of God in our hearts, we must submit our wills to His will and permit Him to control our lives.
Prince of peace! Control my will, Bid this struggling heart be still; Bid my fears and doubtings cease, Hush my spirit into peace. May Thy will, not mine, be done; May Thy will and mine be one; Peace I ask, but peace must be, Lord, in being one with Thee. Let Thy happy servant be One for evermore with Thee.
[Editor's Note: The carnal spirit persists among Christians, too, when they fail to realize that they ought to be submissive to Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, rather than promoting themselves and their notions. Subsequently, division and discord arises among Christians (1 Corinthians 1:10-13) in interpersonal relationships, within congregations and throughout the brotherhood. Brethren, this circumstance is repulsive to Almighty God (Proverbs 6:16-19) and shameful. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
In Luke 15, Jesus told a parable about a young man who decided to leave his family and his home. The young man had a very good father. He lived in a very nice home. His family was wealthy. There was no reason for him to leave home.
However, the young man did not just leave home. He asked his father to give him his inheritance. This was a terrible thing to do. A father could decide to give a son his inheritance early. It might be done if the father thought his son would be better if he left home. This was a rare occurrence. It, though, was a horrible thing for a son to ask for his inheritance. This was equal to saying he wished his father was dead.
The young man’s loving father did as his son asked. It must have been a very emotional thing for the father to do this. He had loved his son as best he could, but the son basically said he hated his father. The young fellow left and wasted away the money in a short time. He initially made friends because of his money, but when his wealth was gone, he had no friends. He became poor and homeless.
He decided to go back to his father. He made up his mind that he would ask to be a slave. At least he would have something to eat and a place to sleep.
His father saw him from a distance. We cannot know for sure, but it seems his father had been looking for him every day. When his father saw him, he ran to meet his son. He loved him so much that he was glad to just have his son back alive. The Arabs say that when a son has treated his father badly like this son did, he deserves to die. They interpret this part of the story that the father was actually running to his son to save his life. If others in the nearby town or nearby farms saw this son, they had the right to grab him and kill him. The father was showing exceptional mercy and grace by running to his son and showing his love.
Our Heavenly Father is like the father in the parable. He loves us so much that He is ready to run and embrace us when we come back to Him. Many in the world may not want to forgive us of things we have done. They would just as soon see us dead, but our Father forgives us. Satan does not want us to return to the Father. He will do everything in his power to keep us from making it back to the Father, and yet, our Father is always watching. He is always ready to receive us.
Study your Bible. Learn how to obey the Father. Stay with the Father and never leave him. Though, if you do leave God the Father, remember that He will willingly embrace you when you come back with the proper attitude like the young son in the parable. If any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.