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PEACE ON EARTH

     "Glory to God in the highest, and ON EARTH PEACE, good will toward men (Luke 2:14)."  This statement was made almost two thousand years ago at Christ's first coming to the earth....God coming and taking upon Himself a human flesh body so that He might become our Savior.  Has there been PEACE ON EARTH?  Not by the wildest stretch of the imagination can we claim that the promise has been fulfilled.  Instead, we have seen nothing but war, destruction and bloodshed over the past two thousand years.  What is the answer?

     To further complicate things, the Lord Jesus Christ-the PRINCE OF PEACE-seems to contradict this message given by the angels.  Jesus said in Luke 12:51-52, "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth?  I tell you.  Nay: but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three."  Jesus said plainly that the message of the gospel would divide, and it does.

     Read God's record concerning Jesus Christ in I John 5:11-12.  "And this is the record that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."  The whole world is divided into two groups-the saved and the lost.

     Jesus Christ is the greatest divider of all history.  By His death and resurrection He divided all mankind into two classes; the saved and the lost-the redeemed and the dammed.  Illustrating the greatness of Jesus Christ was His death on the cross between two thieves; the one saved and the one lost.  The lost thief died under the curse of the law; the saved thief was redeemed by the grace of God, entirely determined by their personal belief toward this Man, Jesus.  And so we find that the death of Christ divided all mankind, for these two men are representative of all humanity.

     The angels at the birth of Jesus Christ made a pronouncement to the shepherds in Luke 2:14, "Glory in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."  Thirty years later, Jesus said the very opposite.  "And ye shall hear of WARS and rumors of WARS; see that ye be not troubled...For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places (Matthew 24:6-7)."

     Were the angels wrong?  No!  To understand the answer we must realize that there are two comings of Jesus Christ.  His first coming was to bring salvation and peace with God (Romans 5:1).  "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."  His Second Coming will bring peace on earth.

     Were the angels wrong?  No!  Let's look at the scriptures!  Isaiah 9:6-7 tells us that Jesus' name would be called, "Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace."  "Of the increase of his government and PEACE there shall be no end..."  We learn from this passage that Jesus would establish a kingdom and a government under which there would be PEACE, justice and righteousness.  Where Jesus is, there is PEACE.  Where Christ is not, there can be NO PEACE.  It is a remarkable fact that during the thirty-three years that Jesus was on earth, there is no record of war of any kind.  History does not record a single battle having been fought during the time when Jesus was on earth.  When He was here, there was PEACE.

     Before He came, there was constant WAR, and since He left it has been the same.  Only where Jesus is, there is PEACE.  When Jesus left this earth, He took PEACE with Him.  Heaven is the ONLY place where there is PEACE today.  Did you realize that just before Jesus was rejected, his disciples announced, "PEACE IN HEAVEN, and glory in the highest (Luke 19:38)," and then Jesus predicted WAR in the following verses.  Notice the words "PEACE IN HEAVEN."  When Jesus Christ comes the second time, He will bring "PEACE ON EARTH, GOOD WILL TOWARD MEN," but not before.  We can expect that there will be NO PEACE 'TIL JESUS RETURNS!!!

     In fact, we can expect an increase in the frequency and intensity of conflicts between nations.  Jesus said, "Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of war."  "Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom (Matthew 24:6-7)."

     In the LAST DAYS there will be two classes of people.  The WISE and the WICKED (Daniel 12:10).  In the light of the imminent coming of Christ and impending judgment, God's people will purify themselves from the religious programs of the world.  While God's people heed the signs of the times and prepare to meet the Lord, the world will drown itself in greater wickedness.  While Christians recognize the signs of the times, the world will rush headlong into a godless disregard for the warnings of doom by the very inventions of man's knowledge.

     The cry among the Gentile nations as we approach the Lord's coming will be as follows: "Proclaim ye this amount the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong (Joel 3:9-10)."

     An arms race is the Bible prediction for the near future, preparing the world for Armageddon (1/3 of mankind will be destroyed--all nations worldwide suffer some degree of destruction).  But, Praise the Lord that all believers in Christ will be raptured out beforehand (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).

     The Bible does teach that every person can have PEACE WITH GOD if he places his faith (trust) in Jesus Christ as Savior.  "Therefore being justified by faith we HAVE PEACE WITH GOD through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1)."  Jesus Christ, by dying on the cross and paying for our sins, purchased our salvation (PEACE WITH GOD), which He offers to whosoever BELIEVETH ON HIM.  Why not trust Christ as your personal Savior.  You will never find PEACE apart from Jesus Christ.  Trust Jesus Christ to forgive your sin and give you eternal life.

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