Peace in Messiah's Time
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A teacher and a student talking about the peace in the times of the Messiah
Teacher: Hello, how are you?
Student: I am fine, thank you. However, I would be more fine, when there were not so many problems in the world. The nations are fighting, and there is no peace. May the Messiah come speedily, in our days, to save us from the troubles. He will make peace in the world, and redeem us from our enemies.
Teacher: What do you say? May the Messiah come speedily, in our days? Don't you know that Jesus is the promised Messiah? He is the Messiah, of Whom the prophets of old have prophesied. He has come already, nearly 2000 years ago. So, you need no longer to wait, but believe in Him.
Student: Yes, that say the Christians. But it is not true, for the prophets said that there would be peace in the days of the Messiah. When you, however, look around you, you see no peace. The nations fight, and the people are unrighteous. All these things will not happen in the messianic era, for then "they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore." From this text, it is clear that we don't live in the messianic times now. The prophets prophesied peace, and we see wars. No, let those Christians think what they want, but I don't believe it. And above all, Jesus Himself said "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." (Matt.10:34) So, He Himself has said that He came not to do the work of a Messiah, for He explicitly says that He came to make wars on the earth. What kind of Messiah is that, who makes wars instead of peace?
Teacher: Tell me, how do you know that the Messiah will make peace?
Student: That's easy, for the prophets said it. Here I have my Bible. Look for example to Isaiah 2:2-4.
Pointing to his Bible: --> Isaiah 2:2-4
2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. 3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.
I think that this is clear enough. The prophet Isaiah speaks about peace in verse four. No weapons anymore, but they will do in peace their daily work.
Teacher: Yes, I see it. When will that be? It will be in "the last days", that are the days of the Messiah. He says not that those happy days will be in the beginning of the days of the Messiah, nor in the middle of the days, but in general, in "the last days". In verse four, you see that there will not be peace in the beginning of His coming, for "he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people". So, in the beginning of the messianic era, there will be judging among the nations, and "rebuke" of the people. But afterwards, as a result of the judging and the rebuke, they shall "beat their swords into plowshares".
Student: So, I must understand is thus, that there will be wars and struggle in the beginning of the days of the Messiah, and only in the course of that era, the peace will come. First, He shall judge and rebuke, and afterwards, they shall live in peace.
Teacher: That's right. The peace comes after the fight. Therefore, there is nothing against the belief, that Jesus is the Messiah. What you said in the beginning, that Jesus could not be the Messiah as He did not make peace, is therefore wrong. He may do so in the future, yes, He will do so. Further, you said that Jesus Himself said that He came not to send peace on earth, but a sword. Now, this well fits the prophecy, for "he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people". This also belongs to the work of the Messiah. He is not only a peacemaker, but also a rebuker and a judge. You now see how well Jesus fits this prophecy.
Student: Yes, yes, you can tell it nicely. Though I see no error in your sayings, I'm still not convinced. Besides the prophecy of the Messiah in our text, there are more. Those other texts clearly speak about peace on the earth. So, let we look to another text. Micah says the same as Isaiah.
Pointing to his Bible: --> Micah 4:1-4
1 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. 2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.
Teacher: Micah says, in broad outlines, the same as Isaiah. In verse one, he makes mention of "the last days". So, he does not specify whether it will be in the beginning, or in the middle of the days of the Messiah, but in general, in the last days. Then the nations will come to the house of God to be taught there of God's ways. Micah, like Isaiah, also adds in verse three, that the Messiah "shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off", and afterwards they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks. So, again here, first a time of war, and afterwards peace. Look, how great that peace will be. "They shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid".
Student: So, Jesus cannot be the Messiah, for there is no peace now. I see wars everywhere.
Teacher: I said you already, that Jesus does not contradict these prophesies, but rather fulfills them. The prophecy speaks about rebuke and judgement. Look around you, and see it. The prophecy speaks about peace for those who come to be taught by the LORD. Look around you. The true believers in Jesus have peace in their hearts.
Student: Yes, but where is the universal peace? The prophecy said that the "people shall flow" unto God's mountain, and "many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD". Look around, and see how ungodly the nations are. Instead of seeking the LORD, they fight, and make quarrel.
Teacher: Haven't you read the words of the prophecy? He says not that "all" the people will come unto God, but "people" in general. Those who believe in Jesus the Messiah, have come unto God. Further, the prophet says not that "all" the nations will come, but that "many nations shall come" unto the LORD's mountain. How did you get that idea of a universal peace? The prophet says no more than that many nations and people will come, not all. And above all, read now verse five.
Pointing to his Bible: --> Micah 4:5
For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.
In this verse, the prophet says that the idolatry on the earth will be manifold. For "all" the people are put in contrast with us. "All" the people will walk in the name of his god, but "we" will walk in the Name of the LORD, our God. Nearly everybody will serve his idols, but we, a small number, will serve the true God. That will happen in the days of the Messiah. Look around you, and see the truth of this prophecy. The idolatry is manifold on the earth. All people walk in the name of their god. This does, therefore, not contradict the days of the Messiah.
Saying that there will be a universal peace in the Messiah's days, is therefore a lie. Those who say that, read but some verses of Scripture, and skip the others. They read a verse out their context, and built their speculations on a small number of verses. The whole Bible teaches us that there will be in the messianic era:
- peace for the small number of believers, and
- idolatry for the greater part of the people.
Look to the world, and you see that we live in the Messianic era now.
Student: Hmm. I think I believe you. The idea that the whole world will serve God in the times of the Messiah is ungrounded, as I now see. Careful reading of the Bible is necessary, for then you will be kept from an unbalanced opinion. I now understand that saying "there will be a universal peace in the days of the Messiah" is such an unbalanced opinion. Not to say, a false opinion.
Teacher: That is right. Jesus, the promised Messiah, gave peace to those who believe in Him. They go up to the mountain of the LORD, to be taught of His ways. The ungodly however, walk in the name of their own gods.
Student: There are more prophecies of the messianic era. Eh, where was it? Yes, I remember. The prophet says that "the wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them." I'll look it up in my Bible.
Pointing to his Bible --> Isa.11:6-8
6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. 7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.
See how great the peace will be. The greatness of the peace is showed us in these parables. The wolf, an animal of prey, will dwell with the defenceless lamb. And also the rest indicates a very great peace on the earth. Say me, where is this peace now? Can you reconcile this with the messianic age? I guess that this is impossible.
Teacher: To say it again, when you only read a part of Scripture, you are doing wrongly. Do not read only the passages you like, but read the whole Scripture. All those who believe in Jesus as the Messiah, have peace. They have peace in their hearts, but also are they peaceful in their contact with the others. But let we now look at the surrounding passages.
Student: Yes, let we do so. The prophet continues saying that the whole earth will be godly, full of the knowledge of the LORD.
Pointing to his Bible: --> Isaiah 11:9
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
The earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD. Now, look around you. Is the earth full of the knowledge of God? I think no. It is rather empty of that knowledge. Therefore, we don't live in the messianic era now.
Teacher: We have still to expect these blessed times. As is said before, you must also read the context. We now live in the messianic era, but there is still war, as the prophets have said us. In the Bible, you read that, in the time of the Messiah, there will be enemies.
Pointing to his Bible: --> Isaiah 11:14-16
14 But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them. 15 And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod. 16 And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.
Note that in this verse is spoken about war. Clearly, this verse speaks about the times of the Messiah. Yet, "they shall fly upon the shoulders" of their enemies; so there is also war in the messianic age. The LORD shall "utterly destroy" the tongue of the Egyptian sea, what cannot be done without violence. So, violence in the times of the Messiah? Yes, surely, according to the prophet.
Moreover, he makes mention of "the remnant" of His people, in the sixteenth verse. Where is a remnant, there is also another part, outside of that remnant. This other part is called Assyria, a place of the heathens.
This all will happen in the times of the Messiah. A remnant will serve the Lord, and the surrounding heathen serve their idols. Let we now also look to the Messiah. What shall He do?
Pointing to his Bible: --> Isaiah 11:4
But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
He shall with righteousness judge the poor, but will smite the earth with his mouth, and likewise shall He slay the wicked. So, in the days of the Messiah, there will be poor, there will be a disobedient world, and there will be wicked. To smite the enemies, that is the task of the Messiah. See how well Jesus did that. He smote the enemies, not with His sword, but with "the rod of His mouth and with the breath of His lips", like our prophet said. The NT describes this: "Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backwards, and fell to the ground." (John 18:5,6) Somewhere else, Jesus said that He came to smite His enemies: "But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me." (Luke 19:27) See how He fulfills that prophecy, like befits Him as the true Messiah.
Student: You have convinced me. The rejection of Jesus as the Messiah depended upon partial reading of the prophecies. I laid too much stress on those parts, where is written about peace. They always said me that there would be an universal peace, but thorough reading of the prophets show me, that this was wrong. The prophets did not say that the whole world would be one sea of peace, without an enemy. They say that there will be many ungodly and enemies. My fault was that I first made a wrong concept of the Messiah, and therefore rejected Jesus, for He did not answer that wrong concept. But now I have the right concept, and see that my former objections are solved.
Teacher: You are right.
Further, we have still to expect more peace then there is now. A careful reading of the prophets show us that the messianic age will begin with much fights against the enemies, and much peace for those who submit themselves to the LORD. Look around you, and see the truth. The enemies are still fighting, but the believers have peace, both in their hearts and in their contact.
Student: Thank you for your explanation. Is there still more to say about those prophecies?
Teacher: Yes, there is. We have now talked about the literal meaning of those prophecies. They must, however, also be understood in a spiritual sense. This becomes clear when we look to Isaiah. He says that "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea." (Isa.11:9) The knowledge of the LORD is a spiritual thing. The prophet compares the spiritual knowledge of the LORD with the waters which "cover the sea". Spritual matters are explained by material things. Besides understanding the prophets literally, we also have to understand them above all spiritually. And I'm not inventing this myself. Also the teachers of old have said this. Moshe bar Maimon wrote it in his book More Nebuchim, page three, and in his Jad Hachasaka, Hilchat Malachim, chapter 14. Therefore, when the prophets speak about an outward peace, then mean also a peace in the heart. The prophets have therefore spoken about a great spiritual peace, which will be in the heart of those, who know the LORD. In the days of the Messiah, the believers will experience a rest and peace in their hearts and minds. Look now to Jesus, the Messiah, whether He gives peace. "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 afraid." (John 14:27)
Student: Yes, He gives peace to those who believe in Him. When I think about the prophecies we have dealt with, I see two sorts of men. Israel first, who will live in peace. This must be taken literal and spiritual, and means thus the literal and the spiritual Israel. Secondly the enemies. Literal and spiritual taken are this Israel's enemies, and the enemies of the believers. So, in the times of the Messiah, both groups will be there. Did Jesus also say this?
Teacher: Yes, surely did He. He said: "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) In this one verse, you see all our discussed matters. Those who have peace are the believers. The enemies, called "the world". The attacks of the world on the believers are alto mentioned, for He said Ïn the world ye shall have tribulation". Lastly, we see the Messiah, who beats the enemies, when He says: "I have overcome the world".
Student: Thank you for your explanation. I'll consider the things.
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