Saturday, December 29, 2007

Day 5: Peace on Earth

On the Fifth Day of Christmas we continue to look at the connections between Christmas and Liberty. We're focusing on the prophecy of Zecharias made at the birth of John the Baptist, who heralded the coming of the Messiah. That prophecy is found here. The name "Jesus" comes from the Hebrew word yasha, which means much more than "going to heaven when I die." We started exploring some of the depth of the concept on the Second Day of Christmas.

We’ve looked at the first several themes in Zechariah’s prophecy.

• The House of David
• His Holy Prophets
• Saved from our Enemies
• His Holy Covenant to Abraham

We’re trying to understand exactly how Jesus is the Messiah prophesied by the Old Testament prophets and by Zacharias. Jesus certainly did not meet the expectations of many Jews in his day. They expected a conquering emperor who would overthrow the occupation forces of the Roman Empire, and leave Israel standing safely as an independent nation. Instead, Jesus said the Jews themselves were the enemies of God’s Kingdom, and that the Roman army would destroy Israel in judgment. This was definitely not what Israel expected on that first Christmas morning!

So were the prophets wrong, or was Israel mistaken in their expectations? Zacharias and the Old Testament prophets were not wrong to say that Christmas would mean that God’s people would be

• Delivered from our enemies
• Serving in Holiness and Righteousness
• Liberated from sin
• Guided in the Way of Peace

Consider this claim: If Zacharias, Joseph, and Mary, were to join you right now, where you are, and if you were to describe the progress of Christianity throughout the world, and compare our world today with the world under the Roman Caesars, Zacharias and all believing Jews of the first century would say that all the promises of Christmas have come to pass. Nobody alive on the first Christmas could have imagined the addition of 6 billion people to the planet without causing widespread violence, war, chaos, and conflict as all these people attempted to survive on what was being produced in the world when B.C. became A.D.

The influence of Christianity and the way of peace now pervades the globe, with hundreds of millions of people claiming to be Christians. The loaf has been leavened, and is still rising.

A History of Force by James L. Payne shows how a greater percentage of human beings died a violent death before the birth of Christ than after. Other writers have noted the same thing.

When Mary gave birth to Jesus, every third baby died before reaching age five. Today less than one out of a hundred does not reach that age. Up until the century in which the Westminster Confession was written, the vast majority of all human beings lived on less than one dollar a day. Today, in countries where the governments acknowledge themselves to be “under God,” hundreds of millions of people live without fear of foreign invasion.

A typical concern of people living in Christian nations today –– who would passionately deny any claim that Christ will bring "peace on earth" in this age, before His second coming –– is something like, “Will I have enough money to make the mortgage payment on my 3 bedroom home with central climate control that heats my home without my having to chop wood and appliances that cook my food in just a few minutes and also make the payments on an automobile that can transport me and a week’s worth of food 50 miles in just one hour, instead of one whole day?” This kind of “financial precarity” is called a “crisis.” Earlier generations would love to face such a “crisis.”

The range of “problems” we have today would utterly astonish every human being alive at the first Christmas––even the most wealthy handful of individuals on the entire planet at that time would find the level of wealth enjoyed by average citizens today to be breathtaking.

Jesus’ command to “go with him a second mile” is almost meaningless in our day, as we are not under military occupation by ruthless thugs who serve a totalitarian Caesar. Before Christ most human beings were conquered.

America is the most powerful nation on earth. That means 300 million Americans are the most powerful people on earth. At least 200 million out of 300 million Americans claim to be Christian, and they have the power to end most wars that still exist today.

And yet most of us worry incessantly about our material standard of living, forgetting that Zacharias’ concern was that God would

grant us that we,
Being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.
Luke 1:74-75

Serving in Holiness and Righteousness
We have a tremendous opportunity to serve the Lord without fear. Do we take effective advantage of these opportunities?

It is in fact the presence of those who are salt and light in a culture that raises the standard of living in that culture. They continually remind us all of the higher standard that God holds us to. Not everyone wants to actually live in Calcutta with the poor like Mother Teresa, but the presence of people who are more committed to serving God has a way of tempering the temptation to use fraud or violence against our neighbor to get what we want. When we come in contact with people who remind us of God’s standard of holiness and righteousness, we pause. “Oh yeah,” we say; “I better not do that.” This is how, historically and culturally, we are delivered from our enemies: they see the prosperity that exists in Christian nations and they pretend to be Christian. Notice these verses from Young’s Literal Translation, with King David reflecting on his influence over unbelievers:

2 Samuel 22:45
Sons of a stranger feign obedience to me,
At the hearing of the ear they hearken to me.

Psalm 18:44
At the hearing of the ear they hearken to me,
Sons of a stranger feign obedience to me,

Psalm 66:3
Say to God, `How fearful [are] Thy works,
By the abundance of Thy strength,
Thine enemies feign obedience to Thee.

Psalm 81:15
Those hating Jehovah feign obedience to Him,
But their time is –– to the age.

Deuteronomy 33:29
O thy happiness, O Israel! who is like thee?
A people saved by Jehovah,
The shield of thy help,
And He who [is] the sword of thine excellency:
And thine enemies are subdued for thee,
And thou on their high places dost tread.’

Proverbs 14:19
The evil have bowed down before the good,
And the wicked at the gates of the righteous.

This was in the Old Testament, before the Advent of the Messiah.
Atheists cower, not Christians. Compared with those who are truly converted, however, these cowards will be a minority,[2] for genuine conversion is the Lord’s will[3] and His will shall be done.[4]
[2] Revelation 7:9; Matthew 8:11; Zephaniah 3:9; Acts 14:27; 15:9; Romans 11:12,25; 15:12; Ephesians 3:6; Matthew 13:32
[3] Psalm 17:1; 1 Timothy 1:5; 2:5
[4] Matthew 6:10; Isaiah 44:21-28; Malachi 1:11; Mark 10:42-45; Matthew 9:9-13.

This is why our goal is to serve God by observing His commandments, the standard of holiness and righteousness. It is by following in Christ’s footsteps that we fulfill the terms of the Covenant, and God brings peace.

Proverbs 16:7 When a man’s ways please the Lord, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Remission of Sins
Who are our “enemies?” How can we best be delivered from them?

“Enemies” are those who do not serve the Lord in holiness and righteousness. “Enemies” are those who are willing to use violence against us to get what they want. They are willing to steal and kill to advance their agenda. “Enemies” are socialists of every stripe.

On a deeper level, our enemies are our enemies because they are the enemies of God.

John 7:7
The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.
John 15:18
“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.
1 John 3:13
Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.

If we reflect the Image of God, or are more and more achieving “the stature of Christ,” (Eph. 4:13), those who hate Christ will hate us.

But those who hate Christ hate everybody, not just Christians. Here’s why.

True peace in the deepest, spiritual sense, eternal peace, it should go without saying, is only a result of the justification which Christ secured on the Cross. Ultimately, horizontal peace between men can be built only on the vertical peace we must have with God.

Colossians 1:20-22
And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. {21} And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled {22} In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

Those who do not have peace with God attempt to create peace in two ways:

masochism, or self-atonement, punishing oneself for one’s sins, or
sadism, trying to punish others to bring about a sense of atonement.

If everyone makes his neighbor a scapegoat for his own sins or for sin in general, you do not have a cooperative society. See the studies in R.J. Rushdoony, Politics of Guilt and Pity. The opening paragraph sums up a volume with many profound insights:

The fact of guilt is one of the major realities of man’s existence. Both personally and socially, it is a vast drain on human energies and a mainspring of human action.
The human race, in apostasy from God, is deeply involved in a rebellious claim to autonomy and in the guilt which follows that claim. As a result of this omnipresent sense of guilt, there is an omnipresent demand for justification. A sense of guilt leaves a man feeling like a leaky, sinking ship: the energies must all be resolved to the repair of that breach.

Social and cultural peace, harmony, and cooperation are rooted in (1) justification by imputed righteousness (2) the influence of God’s Law. Very few historical or sociological studies have been done to show the connection between evangelism and capitalism, between justification and social harmony. A Christian should have no doubt that capitalism arose in societies that had already dealt with the sin question: countries influenced by the Protestant Reformation and the Protestant Work Ethic. This question is not studied because of the myth of the “separation of church and state.” Modern scholarship wants to obliterate from the collective memory the fact that Western Civilization is Christian Civilization, and America in particular was a distinctly Christian nation. Let’s remind ourselves of this again with a paragraph from the Journals of the Continental Congress ––Saturday, November 1, 1777, pulled out at random from the website of the Library of Congress by searching for “Jesus Christ.”

The committee appointed to prepare a recommendation to these states, to set apart a day of thanksgiving, brought in a report; which was agreed to as follows:
Forasmuch as it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with gratitude their obligation to him for benefits received, and to implore such farther blessings as they stand in need of; and it having pleased him in his abundant mercy not only to continue to us the innumerable bounties of his common providence, but also to smile upon us in the prosecution of a just and necessary war, for the defence and establishment of our unalienable rights and liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased in so great a measure to prosper the means used for the support of our troops and to crown our arms with most signal success: It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive powers of these United States, to set apart Thursday, the eighteenth day of December next, for solemn thanksgiving and praise; that with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts, and consecrate themselves to the service of their divine benefactor; and that together with their sincere acknowledgments and offerings, they may join the penitent confession of their manifold sins, whereby they had forfeited every favour, and their humble and earnest supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance; that it may please him graciously to afford his blessing on the governments of these states respectively, and prosper the public council of the whole; to inspire our commanders both by land and sea, and all under them, with that wisdom and fortitude which may render them fit instruments, under the providence of Almighty God, to secure for these United States the greatest of all human blessings, independence and peace; that it may please him to prosper the trade and manufactures of the people and the labour of the husbandman, that our land may yet yield its increase; to take schools and seminaries of education, so necessary for cultivating the principles of true liberty, virtue and piety, under his nurturing hand, and to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth “in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.” [Romans 14:17]
And it is further recommended, that servile labour, and such recreation as, though at other times innocent, may be unbecoming the purpose of this appointment, be omitted on so solemn an occasion.

Societies that lack this Christian perspective tend toward socialism, because they do not believe that Christ is our Deliverer, who brings comprehensive salvation. All of the promises made in the opening chapters of the Gospels on that first Christmas are promises of peace and freedom from violence and theft and are rooted in justification through Christ.

The transition from military socialism under Caesar to “Liberty Under God” (capitalism) is summarized in a verse from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians:

Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. (Ephesians 4:28)

It is not the way of vengeance and “military supremacy” that brings salvation from our enemies. It is the “Way of Peace” that Zacharias spoke of.

The Way of Peace
“Peace” is not a popular word in some circles today. To say you’re for “peace” is to risk being branded as a “hippie” or an impractical “pacifist.”

One of the most important issues we face today is the conflict between the Prince of Peace and “prophets” of Jihad. Christian capitalist nations are peaceful, Jihadist nations are arming for war. (Atheistic nations are socialist, and are selling arms to Islamic nations to raise the money needed to keep up with Christian capitalist nations.)

We need to saturate our minds with the Biblical imperative of peace. We need to become Biblical “peaceniks.” We live in a world where billions of dollars’ worth of arms trade hands every single day. That’s “billion” with a “B.” That’s every single day. There are two reasons for this (beyond the obvious fact that people aren’t reconciled to God). First, we don’t fully appreciate capitalism as “the way of peace.” We think socialism is OK to some degree. Second, we poo-poo peace as “unrealistic,” “impractical,” or “idealistic.” Nothing could more clearly prove how “impractical” and “unworkable” peace is than the figure of Jesus Christ. Unwilling to allow His disciples to exercise their Second Amendment rights (Matthew 26:52), He died on the Cross at a very young age, just as He was beginning to have some impact on society. What a waste.

We need to get all traces of that kind of thinking out of our minds. The New Testament tells us we are to follow in Christ’s steps (1 Peter 2:21). We can’t do that confidently if we think the world is right, that arms trades are right, and that peace is just a fantasy.

We do well to read a few verses on PEACE. The angels announced the ideal of “Peace on Earth” as the message of Christmas (Luke 2:14). We need to get used to it. We need to be willing to walk on “the path of peace,” as Zecharias prophesied. The paths of “peace” are the paths of “justice.” These verses create an unbridgeable gap between Christianity and false religions, and between Christianity and the religion of Secular Humanism (socialism).

Psalm 85:10-13
10 Mercy and truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed.
11 Truth shall spring out of the earth,
And righteousness shall look down from heaven.
12 Yes, the Lord will give what is good;
And our land will yield its increase.
13 Righteousness will go before Him,
And shall make His footsteps our pathway.

Proverbs 3:17
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
And all her paths are peace.

Proverbs 8:20
20 I traverse the way of righteousness,
In the midst of the paths of justice,

Isaiah 48:17-18
17 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
The Holy One of Israel:
“ I am the Lord your God,
Who teaches you to profit,
Who leads you by the way you should go.
18 Oh, that you had heeded My commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

Isaiah 48:22
22 “There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.”

Isaiah 57:19-21
19 “I create the fruit of the lips:
Peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near,”
Says the Lord,
“And I will heal him.”
20 But the wicked are like the troubled sea,
When it cannot rest,
Whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
21 “There is no peace,”
Says my God, “for the wicked.”

Isaiah 59:8
8 The way of peace they have not known,
And there is no justice in their ways;
They have made themselves crooked paths;
Whoever takes that way shall not know peace. quoted Romans 3:17

Jeremiah 6:16
16 Thus says the Lord:
“Stand in the ways and see,
And ask for the old paths, where the good way is,
And walk in it;
Then you will find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

Matthew 5:9
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Luke 6:27-28
But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, {28} Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

Luke 1:77-79
To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, {78} Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, {79} To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Luke 2:14
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Hebrews 12:14
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

1 Peter 3:9
Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called––that you might inherit a blessing.

1 Peter 2:21-23
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps: {22} Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth: {23} Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously:

Romans 12:17-20
Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. {18} If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. {19} Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. {20} Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink:

Psalm 34:14
Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

Psalm 35:20
For they do not speak peace, but they conceive deceitful words against those who are quiet in the land.

Psalm 37:11
But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

Psalm 37:37
Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.

Psalm 72:7
In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.

Psalm 85:10
Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

Psalm 119:165
Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

Psalm 120:2-7
Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.{5} Woe is me, {6} My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace. {7} I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war.

Psalm 122:6-8
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. {7} peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. {8} For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, peace be within thee.

Proverbs 3:17
The ways of Wisdom are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

Proverbs 12:20
Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellors of peace is joy.

Proverbs 16:7
When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Isaiah 9:6-7
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of peace. {7} Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Isaiah 26:12
O Lord, you will ordain peace for us, for indeed, all that we have done, you have done for us.

Isaiah 32:17-18
And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. {18} And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;

Isaiah 48:22
There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked.

Isaiah 52:7
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

Isaiah 54:13
And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord;
and great shall be the peace of thy children.

Isaiah 55:12
For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Ephesians 2:14-17
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; {15} Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; {16} And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: {17} And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

Isaiah 59:8
The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.

Isaiah 60:17
For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness.

Isaiah 66:12
For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees.

Ezekiel 34:25
And I will make with them a covenant of peace

Ezekiel 37:26
Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.

Daniel 4:1
Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; peace be multiplied unto you.

Daniel 6:25
Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; peace be multiplied unto you.

Nahum 1:15
Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace!
O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.

Haggai 2:9
The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord
of hosts.

Zechariah 6:13
Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.

Zechariah 8:16
These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates:

Zechariah 8:19
Thus saith the Lord of hosts; The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love the truth and peace.

Zechariah 9:10
And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.

Malachi 2:5-6
My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. {6} The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.

Malachi 2:6
The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.

Romans 1:7
To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 2:10
But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:

Romans 3:10-18
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: {11} There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. {12} They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. {13} Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: {14} Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: {15} Their feet are swift to shed blood: {16} Destruction and misery are in their ways: {17} And the way of peace have they not known: {18} There is no fear of God before their eyes.

Romans 8:6
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Romans 10:15
And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Romans 14:17-19
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. {18} For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. {19} Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

Romans 15:33
Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Romans 16:20
And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

1 Corinthians 1:3
Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 14:33
For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

2 Corinthians 1:2
Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: {4} (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) {5} Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

2 Corinthians 13:11
Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind,live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

Galatians 1:3
Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,

Galatians 5:22
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

Galatians 6:16
And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

Ephesians 1:2
Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 4:3
Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Ephesians 6:15
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

Ephesians 6:23
peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:2
Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 4:9
Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Colossians 1:2
To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Colossians 1:20
And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

Colossians 3:15
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

1 Thessalonians 1:1
Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:23
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 1:2
Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 3:16
Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.

1 Timothy 1:2
Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Timothy 2:2
For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

2 Timothy 1:2
To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Timothy 2:22
Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Titus 1:4
To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Philemon 1:3
Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

James 3:17-18
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. {18} And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

Hebrews 13:20
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,

1 Peter 1:2
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

1 Peter 3:11
Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.

1 Peter 5:14
Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.

2 Peter 1:2
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

2 Peter 3:14
Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

2 John 1:3
Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

3 John 1:14
But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.

Jude 1:2
Mercy unto you, and peace and love, be multiplied.

Revelation 1:4
John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

What would the world think of us if we were more like the Bible in our thirst for peace?

The way of peace is the way of God’s Commandments. If we are unwilling to steal, even by majority vote, and unwilling to kill, even if ordered to by “the government,” we will be closer to the way of peace than most of the world.

It is the way of peace, not the way of vengeance or military occupation that has created the unimaginably high standard of living we enjoy today.

Capitalism is the way of peace.

That statement strikes most people as rather odd. Such people are not able to defend the peace and prosperity which has marked the shift from B.C. to A.D. People who don’t understand that Capitalism is the way of peace tend to often to be recruited by the forces of war, violence, vengeance and military coercion. They become the “enemies” from which Christ came to save us, according to Zacharias’ prophecy.

But horizontal peace, social peace, is not magically brought to us on a silver platter, poof!, there it is. This was the expectation of the religious leaders of Jesus' day, and the "rapture"-oriented televangelists of our day. The Bible says peace comes about after generations of evangelism and education in the “way of peace.” It comes about only when there are people who are continually raising the bar, bringing light into the darkness.

Tomorrow we will find out why capitalism is the way of peace.

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