Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 11, 1970


Floyd Embree

"Peace" seems to be The Word in our country now. Hippies are claiming to be "children of peace" and "flower children" because they talk "peace" and love beauty. Many students from elementary to college ages have "peace" printed on notebooks, their hands, and even sometimes their faces. They give signs of peace. Riots are held to promote peace and to show how peaceful some groups are!

Even some of our older people object to hunters killing doves, the "bird of peace," (though most of them do not know why it is so-called!) Brethren at church have been heard to pray unto God to "banish cruel war from the earth." Recently a radio commentator was heard to speak about fighting taking place in the "land of the Prince of Peace." It seems that the world, and some church members, think that Christ came to promote peace on earth among the nations, peoples and religions. A study of the scriptures shows such an idea to be false.

Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household." (Matt. 10:34) If there were no passage other than this, I would know that most ideas concerning God and peace are wrong.

Jesus also said to His apostles shortly before His departure, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: Not as the world giveth, give I unto you." (Jno. 14:27). Jesus came to give peace to His followers but not peace "as the world giveth." He said in Jno. 16:33 "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation." Would you say that the apostles had "peace" in the world when they were beaten, imprisoned, ill-treated, maligned, one crucified head downward, and all died violently except one and he was banished? Yet every time Christ appeared to His apostles after His resurrection He spoke "peace" unto them.

Christ came that He might abolish the law of Moses, the partition, that divided Jew and Gentile that peace might be restored between them. Christ is declared to be "our peace" to both Jew and Gentile. (Eph. 2:14-17). In the sermon on the mount Jesus declared, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." (Matt. 5:9). Brethren have misapplied this passage by using it in reference to one who tries to bring about peace between quarreling brethren, usually by compromise. Jesus said these peacemakers shall be called children of God. Why? Because they have themselves made peace with God (have obeyed the gospel). He was pointing to Pentecost (Acts 2).

The gospel of Christ is such that there can be no peace between truth and error or good and evil. Truth and error are always in conflict as is good and evil. There can be no peace (religiously) between a son who has obeyed the truth and his father who has obeyed error or vice versa. (Matt. 10:34). That is the reason sound thinking brethren were upset over Pat Boone's appearing on Oral Robert's program. The truth Pat should have had would have been the mortal enemy of the error of Roberts and peacemaking brethren cannot reconcile them.

The idea that God will banish "cruel war" from the face of the earth is likewise erroneous. War is God's way of cleaning up (or cleaning out) nations. Concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, the prophet declared that Jehovah would fight against the city in that day. (Zech. 14:1-2). Matthew 24 foretells the destruction of Jerusalem and speaks of the Lord's coming in judgment upon the city in such a way that many have concluded from the wording that Matthew 24 was speaking of Christ's second coming. (See Matt. 24:27-31). God overthrew nations in Old Testament days because of wickedness. He used war as the instrument to overthrow and punish. He used war and the Roman army to overthrow Jerusalem and the Jews for their wickedness. Nations rise and fall because of their evil ways and because they forget God.

The only peace on this earth promised to man is "the peace of God that passeth understanding," (Phil. 4:7), the result of obedience to the gospel and the conforming of one's life to the principles of the gospel. We are to follow after peace with all men as far as possible, (Rom. 12:18) but the truth one holds will always be in conflict with error and the good one does will be in conflict with the evil of others. Aside from this men may cry, "Peace, peace, but there is no peace."

— Rt. 1, Box 570 A, Yuma, Arizona