What is biblical peace?

by Mark S. Railey
Jan. 4, 2021

Let’s begin with what is “NOT-peace.” One recent example, sadly among many, are the Jewish children who grew up, in part, in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany. When they left the camps, they had screaming night terrors, many of their bodies were tortured and abused - there was pain, they lost most of their family, they witnessed horrors no child should ever see, they were forced to live in horrifying anguish. Then when they were finally free from the Nazis, they were mocked, ridiculed, and scorned by the rest. (To get an impression, visit the film “The Windermere Children”). With this level of “NOT-peace” in our world, how would you bring biblical peace?

Biblical peace is captured by the word “Shalom.” (The Greek word eirene doesn’t quite capture the full meaning of shalom.) The word Shalom means 1. Wholeness in body (that is, health). 2. Right relationship - a harmony between people(s) - usually created through covenant (see Num. 25:12-13; Isa. 54:10; Ezek. 34:25-26). 3. Prosperity or success. And, 4. Victory or the absence of war.

Biblical peace comes from “The Lord is Peace” (Judges 6:24) who sealed a covenant of peace with His presence (Num. 6:24-26). If we remain in the right relationship with God, we are given perfect peace (“shalom shalom” - Isa. 26:3; 2 Thess. 3:16). This peace is and will be mediated through a Messiah (Isa. 9:6-7; Micah 5:4-5; cf. Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:14-17; Col. 1:19-20; see Heb. 13:20). One really important truth is shalom is one of the fruits of righteousness (Isa. 32:17-18; cf. Ps. 85:10).

But now for the hard part: Peace often comes only after judgement (correction).

After God has judged (corrected) us, our country, our world, then we will enjoy an age of peace (Isa. 11:6-11). We can trust God's promise that the “Prince of Peace” WILL have dominion. The nations WILL "beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks" (Isa. 2:4; Micah 4:3).

But what about those poor innocent Jewish children? They didn’t know peace in Auschwitz, Buchenwald, or Dachau! No. That is the reality of NOT-peace: It hurts and damages the innocent - including us. But why did God let them suffer such evil? (Sorry, that question is part of another teaching).

What can we do to bring peace to our communities? 1. We must restore health. 2. We must create a covenant of peace. 3. We must restore success and prosperity. And, 4. We must stop fighting.

But How?

There is truth and power in prayer and practice! Let us pray and practice for wisdom and for favor. Let’s ask the women, living in the community, to become friends with each other, especially for the sake of building friendships between their children. Let’s ask the men to provide righteousness for their homes. Indeed, Let’s all strive to become more righteous. The way to defeat NOT-peace is with the shalom that God gives. Since His instructions on how to make peace are found in the Torah, let's dedicate our time, our lives, to studying Torah.

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