Before I was saved, I was like most Jewish people: I did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah, or that He was God’s Son in any special way, or that He died on the cross for my sins; maybe He did for the Gentiles! I also did not believe in Him as the Messiah which Jewish people speak of and hope for: we say that if the Messiah comes, everyone will know, and there will be peace. Clearly, not everyone knows that Jesus is the Messiah, and there is not peace in the world, not even in Israel! Simple!
Thank God for His mercy and grace to me that He saved me, and opened up the Bible as His Word! When I began to read the Bible, it was living and all true and relevant for me living now. It is not just history; and the stories that I had heard about, but was now reading from the source, were more true than the stories about them I had heard! They are not fables, but truth; they are not legends, but real: God is letting His people know the truth of things that other people just know as fables and stories! The Everlasting God reveals things to us that only He could know, but also wants that we know – especially His chosen and elect people whom He has created and redeemed for His glory. That is how we can be His witnesses to tell others the truth of things, and not just rely on logic or human philosophy or religious tradition. (1Cor 2:14) But we have to not only believe in God, but also we must believe God. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater. For this is the witness of God which He has testified about His Son. He who believes on the Son of God has the witness in himself. He who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he does not believe the record that God gave of His Son. (1Jn5:9-10)
There are two places in the Tanach (O.T.) that particularly spoke to me about the fact that there is not yet peace, even though the Messiah has already come: Dan 9:26-27, and Ps 110:1.
Dan 9:26-27 And after sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself. And the people of the ruler who shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. And the end of it shall be with the flood, and ruins are determined, until the end shall be war. And he will confirm a covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.
Psa 110:1 A Psalm of David. Yehovah said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand until I place Your enemies as Your footstool.
The Daniel passage says that after Messiah dies, there would be wars until the end: not peace yet! The passage in Psalm 110, written by David (Mt 22:41-46) says that until Yeshua comes again, He is sitting at the right hand of the Father, and will do so until His enemies are made His footstool: not peace yet! Right there in our own “Jewish” Bible, in front of our eyes, and under our noses! God has spoken, and He has told us. . . at least twice. The main reason, of course, for there not yet being peace is because neither Israel nor the world has yet accepted and believed that Yeshua/Jesus is the Messiah of YHVH and the Son of God. (Ps 2) As we see developments around the world in ‘peace’ negotiations – in Israel, in Syria, among believers on different important issues – none of these has produced the true peace that we all long for: peace of mind; cessation of wars, hatred, envy; good health; righteousness; joy in the Holy Spirit. There is even war with mosquitoes! Anything that is called “peace” that is less than all of this together is not really the peace that God has planned for His people, and for the world-at-large that He created and made for His glory.
What are some other examples from the Old and the New Testaments that conflict and war are spoken of in the world – or a false peace — after the Messiah has come [His first time, and until He comes again]? This warfare and lack of peace – or a false security — can be physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual.
In the first passage that we will read, YHVH God is speaking directly to Gog, the ‘legendary’ ultimate enemy of the Jewish people. God tells him to prepare for war against a people who, at the least, think and feel that they are at peace:
—Eze 38:7-12 Be prepared; yea, prepare for yourself, you and all your assembly that are assembled to you, and be a guard to them. (8) After many days you will be visited. In the latter years you shall come into the land turned back from the sword, gathered out of many peoples, on the mountains of Israel, which have always been waste. (But he has been brought out of the peoples, and they shall dwell securely, all of them.) (9) And you shall go up, coming like a storm. You shall be like a cloud to cover the land, you and all your bands, and many peoples with you. (10) So says the Lord Yehovah: And it shall be in that day that things shall come into your heart, and you shall devise an evil plan. (11) And you shall say, I will go up to the land of open spaces. I will go to those at ease, who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and there are no bars nor gates to them, (12) in order to take a spoil, and to steal a prize; to turn your hand on the inhabited waste places, and on the people gathered out of the nations, who have gotten cattle and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land.
In this next passage from Daniel, it is written about one who we call now the Antichrist. (If you trace out this person described in v. 21 through the rest of the chapter, it is the same one.) He comes in and takes over deceitfully in order to destroy the people. Sadly, there are covenant-breakers among the Israelis who join him against their own people, land, and God. Although some of the details given in this chapter can be understood from the history of Alexander the Great and of Antiochus Epiphanes, the vision of Daniel is clearly said to be concerning the time of the end; that is, of the end-time of the last days leading up to and during the “70th week of Daniel.”
—Dan 11:21-24 And a despised one shall stand up in his place, and they shall not give to him the honor of the king; but he will enter while at ease and seize the kingdom by intrigues. (22) And the forces of the overflow will be swept from before him, and they will be broken, and also the ruler of a covenant. (23) And after they join him, he will practice deceit. For he will come and be strong with a few people. (24) He shall enter safely, even into the rich places of the province. And he shall do what his fathers have not done, nor his fathers’ fathers. He shall plunder, and spoil, and scatter goods among them. And he shall devise his plots against the strongholds, even for a time.
The passage in Jeremiah about Jacob’s Trouble corresponds to what Daniel and Yeshua refer to as “a time of trouble/great tribulation”. This has not yet occurred, for Israel is not yet serving YHVH their God and David (Yeshua, the son of David) their King, whom YHVH raises up for them, both of which are the results of the time of unparalleled trouble. But Jeremiah explicitly prophesies concerning the whole House of Israel: Israel and Judah.
—Jer 30:1-9 The Word that came to Jeremiah from Yehovah, saying, (2) So speaks Yehovah, the God of Israel, saying, Write all the words that I have spoken to you in a book. (3) For, lo, the days come, says Yehovah, that I will bring again the captivity of My people Israel and Judah, says Yehovah. And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave their fathers, and they shall possess it. (4) And these are the words that Yehovah spoke concerning Israel and concerning Judah. (5) For so says Yehovah, We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. (6) Ask now, and see whether a man is giving birth? Why do I see every man with his hands on his loins, like a woman in labor, and all faces are turned into paleness? (7) Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. (8) For it shall be in that day, says Yehovah of Hosts, I will break his yoke from your neck and will burst your bonds. And strangers shall no longer enslave him, (9) but they shall serve Yehovah their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up to them.
Let’s look at the New Testament. There are those who say that God is finished with the Jews, with Israel, with the land, this Earth now that Messiah has come. Then why should people (especially Jews and believers) still pray for the peace of Jerusalem? Of course, as we are seeing here, the peace that God is concerned with is not a ‘peace’ that the world would accomplish. His peace requires full acceptance of His beloved Son. The New Testament carries the same stream of prophecy as the Hebrew Scriptures, and gives us to know that their fulfillment comes with the coming again of Messiah the Lord. There is not peace yet!
—Mt 10:34-39 (Lk 2:34-35) Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I did not come to send peace, but a sword. (35) For I have come to set a man against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. (36) And a man’s foes shall be those of his own household. (37) He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. (38) And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. (39) He who finds his life shall lose it. And he who loses his life for My sake shall find it.
—1Th 5:1-11 But of the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need that I write to you. (2) For you yourselves know accurately that the day of the LORD comes like a thief in the night. (3) For when they shall say, Peace and safety! Then sudden destruction comes on them, as travail upon a woman with child. And they shall not escape. (4) But you, brothers, are not in darkness, that the Day should overtake you like a thief. (5) You are all the sons of light and the sons of the day. We are not of the night, or of darkness. (6) Therefore let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us watch and be calm. (7) For those sleeping sleep in the night, and those being drunken are drunken in the night. (8) But let us, who are of the day, be calm, having put on the breastplate of faith and love and the hope of salvation for a helmet. (9) For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, (10) who died for us, so that whether we watch or sleep we should live together with Him. (11) Therefore comfort one another, and edify one another, even as you also do.
Our security is found through our faith in Yeshua/Jesus. But that faith which assures us a peace that surpasses all understanding is grounded in us believing what He says, keeping His word.
—Jn 14:23-29 Jesus answered and said to him, If a man loves Me, he will keep My Word. And My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. (24) He who does not love Me does not keep My Words, and the Word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me. (25) I have spoken these things to you, being present with you. (26) But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you. (27) Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (28) You have heard how I said to you, I go away and I am coming to you again. If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, I go to the Father, for My Father is greater than I. (29) And now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens you might believe.
—Jn 16:33 I have spoken these things to you so that you might have peace in Me. In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.
Jesus promises peace with God and in the heart now to those who believe in Him, but a sword – war – to the “world” and to unbelievers. We may know a sword in our own families and among those who have been our friends. This peace with God now is a pledge of the peace that is to come in the world to come, and of the perfect righteousness and peace beyond that in the New Heavens and New Earth.
What am I saying in all this, and also in last week’s message from Ps 2? The Scriptures are relevant in our everyday life, and speak into all situations. They shape our world-view and inform our hopes and expectations. They give us answers for those asking good questions, and give us truth when science or culture and worldly wisdom contradict what God has said. This is the temptation that the serpent deceived Eve with: “Did God really say?!” We are salt and light in the world, which also means that we give true testimony according to the Word of God of His covenant loyalty: there is no lasting genuine peace possible as long as Satan is the prince of this world, and there is unbelief and rebellion among the people and nations, until the Lord Yeshua returns to imprison the devil and to judge the nations in righteousness.
We must read the Bible prayerfully as the living Word of the God of Truth, and meditate on it, thinking critically about how it applies to what “the world” says and thinks and acts, and how we are to understand and to live in the truth: we belong to God, and Jesus has come to die for our sins because of our rebellion against Him and His Word, and the Holy Spirit is going to fulfill the truth of all that YHVH has spoken regarding all things. Let us read the Scriptures for what they are, and give glory to the Lord for this treasure He has given us in His love! We are His witnesses; let us be found faithful and true, walking in the truth with faith and hope and love! Amen!