Peace is perhaps the most prevalent issue on the minds of mankind in these volatile times. The rumors of war that look to be much like those prophesied by Jesus in His Olivet Discourse (Matthew Chapter 24) are on the increase, when thinking upon things brewing in the Middle East. This region threatens to break out in violence between Israel and her enemy neighbors at any moment, an action that could swiftly progress to a much larger conflict involving atomic weaponry. This must be avoided at all costs, therefore every effort at peace is explored by the internationalist powers that be.
Some efforts at squashing war before it can get started are genuine. Others look suspiciously to be simply re-positioning in ways that will help those involved secure advantage for themselves in one way or the other. That’s how I view most peace initiatives taking place in the region in and around the so-called “holy land.”
The endeavor to quell the likelihood of conflagration in the Mideast is often found in disseminating rumors of peace. These strange, diametrically opposite war and peace matters–and their genuine/self-serving re-positioning stratagem–are wrapped up at one and the same time in the “Roadmap to Peace.”
Time and time again we hear the various tactics about to be employed in order to bring the antagonists to the table of peace. These “rumors of peace” are, indeed, for preventing war in the region. But, the reasons for wanting that peace is not merely so people of the region will get along, thus enjoy a life free of fear of any moment attack. The reasons are more steeped in 1) making sure World War III doesn’t spring from such conflict; 2) that the parties involved in the peace-making (the “Quartet”) continue to have maximum access to the massive petroleum reserves; 3) that a presence is maintained by the American/European/Russian referees that keep Israel and her enemies separated.
We who observe conditions in that region from the perspective of Bible prophecy note that the peace plan never seems to get installed. Peace never eventuates from the actions of the diplomatic community.
George W. Bush promised a peace agreement involving establishing a Palestinian state before he left office. But, other than the rumors of peace, nothing developed in that peace coming to fruition. And the days of the current presidential administration are dwindling with nothing more substantial than rumors of peace in prospect. We are dealing with rumors of peace at the same time we are dealing with rumors of war. Peace is defined as:
1. The normal, non-warring condition of a nation, group of nations, or the world.
2. An agreement or treaty between warring or antagonistic nations, groups, etc., to end hostilities and abstain from further fighting or antagonism: the Peace of Ryswick.
3. A state of mutual harmony between people or groups, esp. in personal relations: Try to live in peace with your neighbors.
4. The normal freedom from civil commotion and violence of a community; public order and security: He was arrested for being drunk and disturbing the peace.
5. Cessation of or freedom from any strife or dissension.
6. Freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, an obsession, etc.; tranquility; serenity.
7. A state of tranquility or serenity: May he rest in peace.
8. A state or condition conducive to, proceeding from, or characterized by tranquility: the peace of a mountain resort.
9. Silence; stillness: The cawing of a crow broke the afternoon’s peace. (Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 2006).
Those definitions pretty much cover the meanings of the word “peace” in human terms. But fulfillment of the definitions to any great extent is far, far from this generation–like it has been from every generation of the past.
True peace in this fallen realm, you see, is not possible in the physical or even psychological sense. We are at every point dealing with mere “rumors” of peace. Here is why: “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not” (James 4:1-2).
“There is] no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked” (Isa. 48:22). All of fallen mankind is wicked. There is none good, no, not one, the Scripture tells us. The only “good” is in Jesus Christ, who came to take away the sin of the world. When the individual turns over his or her soul to Christ for salvation, He then can bring true peace that is absolutely elusive under any other prescription for conducting life on this decaying planet. Even those who are Christ’s (have become born again into the family of God) must submit moment by moment to Christ, to receive God’s peace within their innermost being.
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7).
All efforts at achieving peace are just rumors of peace unless those efforts have Jesus at their center. Whether thinking on the individual life, from which all war-making begins according to James 4:1-2, about society, geoeconomics and geopolitics, or any other frame of reference concerning the human condition, if Christ is left out of the equation for achieving peace, there will be no peace.
Considering modern Israel and the rumors of peace in particular, here’s what God’s Word says about His daughter, Israel, and the world’s dealing in the process of peace involving that nation: “For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when [there is] no peace” (Jer. 8:11).
Thankfully, Christ will one day–perhaps very soon—return to bring true peace, rather than the rumors of peace in our daily headlines today.