Peace on earth and good will toward men; where is it?
Instead of peace on earth we see a world filled with violence, pain, suffering, and death; perhaps the problem stems from the second part of this angelic message: good will toward men.
And perhaps more accurately, the problem exists in the way most people donít think about the heavenly will of God contained in this angelic message.
Did God really want us to have good will toward all men? He sure did for He makes no distinction between men of different color, or nationality, or creed, or anything else; we were to love them all equally, just as God loves them.
Well what about women? Surely God didnít want us to have love and have good will toward all women, did He? He sure did.
Well, He canít mean the same things about the animals, can He? He sure does.
And contained within this light-hearted discussion we hope that we all can see and understand why we donít have true peace on earth and good will toward all men, because peace on earth only comes about what we learn to love God with every part of our being, which includes loving the whole of His creation, including every other human being, every animal, and the environment we all live in, for until we learn to do this without any reservation, we will not have true peace on earth.
With these things in mind, letís look at some of our typical Christmastime Bible passages, and learn some things from them that will help us to be the children of God that He wants us all to be.
Letís start by looking at Psalm 80:1-7, and truly hear what is being said and what is not being said.
1. Oh, give ear, Shepherd of Israel,
Thou who dost lead Joseph like a flock;
Thou who art enthroned above the cherubim, shine forth!
The psalmist is calling out to God for the people to save them, but they are not saying anything about what they are going to do to help shine the light of the Lord upon them.
2. Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up Thy power,
And come to save us!
God has already stirred up His people, but only a relatively few have cared enough to listen, and unfortunately even fewer people actually respond to do any of the things that God has called upon us to do, such as eating only plant foods, or loving all our neighbors, which if we really think about it includes the wild animals who live in our midst.
3. O God, restore us,
And cause Thy face to shine upon us, and we will be saved.
There are some of us who have been restored and saved, but there are many more who seem to love living in the corrupt and evil world with all its violence that causes millions of humans and billions of animals to suffer and die every year, mostly to satisfy human greed.
4. O LORD God of hosts,
How long wilt Thou be angry with the prayer of Thy people?
I happen to believe His anger wonít end until the majority of human beings soften their hearts and souls to feel the pain and suffering of creation, and do something about it.
5. Thou hast fed them with the bread of tears,
And Thou hast made them to drink tears in large measure.
These tears should lead all people to repentance, and not just a few.
6. Thou dost make us an object of contention to our neighbors;
And our enemies laugh among themselves.
Isnít this like getting coal in our Christmas stockings, because we havenít
When we learn to love God and the whole of His creation, we donít believe we will have these problems any more.
7. O God of hosts, restore us,
And cause Thy face to shine upon us, and we will be saved.
And as we said in the beginning, He already has, but only a relatively small
number of people have responded positively to Godís calling.
Micah 5:1-5 is a prophetic message about the first coming of Jesus Christ, but today we should be looking for the second coming, while we are also helping to clear the way for His coming and being voices crying out in the wilderness of this corrupt world; that is, if we truly want peace on earth.
1. "Now muster yourselves in troops, daughter of troops;
They have laid siege against us;
With a rod they will smite the judge of Israel on the cheek.
The devil and his followers in this corrupt world are fighting against the coming of Jesus Christ and those who seek peace on earth.
2. "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity."
This is the prophecy of Jesusí birth, but every day we should feel His birth in our hearts and souls, and know that if we are working against the forces of evil, we can have the peace on earth that the whole of creation is seeking.
3. Therefore, He will give them up until the time
When she who is in labor has borne a child.
Then the remainder of His brethren
Will return to the sons of Israel.
This has only happened with a few people.
Most people seem to be content living in this corrupt and violent world where millions of humans and billions of animals suffer and die every year; they have no peace on earth.
4. And He will arise and shepherd His flock
In the strength of the LORD,
In the majesty of the name of the LORD His God.
And they will remain,
Because at that time He will be great
To the ends of the earth.
This is the Jesus that we are hopefully following to help free creation from its present corruption.
5. And this One will be our peace.
But, as weíve said before, we cannot just sit back and wait for Him to bring
us the peace we desire; we need to be actively working for it in the
heavenly will of God.
In Luke 1:39-45, we are told another one of our Biblical Christmas storiesÖ
39. Now at this time Mary arose and went with haste to the hill country, to
a city of Judah,
40. and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.
Mary had just become pregnant with Jesus when she went to see Elizabeth.
41. And it came about that when Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Today, we should all be filled with the Holy Spirit, because we have already had Jesus born in our hearts and soul.
42. And she cried out with a loud voice, and said, "Blessed among women are
you, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
43. "And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44. "For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.
45. "And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord."
Today, we should have people saying the same things about us, but alas, most
of the people in the world have failed to truly accept Jesus as their Lord
and Savior, and thus they have also rejected the Prince of Peace.
Letís finish our discussion by looking at Hebrews 10:1-7, for within this passage are some of the keys to opening the doors to having true peace on earth.
1. For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never by the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect those who draw near.
The good things to come must also include having peace on earth, because that
is in the heavenly will of God.
And if we look at the second part of this verse, we should clearly see that all the animal sacrifices that took place for thousands of years could never make anything perfect, for that perfection only occurs when we have a truly repentant spirit and a personal relationship with the Lord, and follow through by living in the heavenly will of God here on earth as it is in heaven, where there is no pain, or suffering, or death.
Such a state of being not only eliminates all animals sacrifice, but it also brings an end to the raising and killing of animals for food or clothing, as well as all other forms of animal exploitation.
2. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins?
This is one of the main problems in most of the churches today, for while they donít offer animal sacrifices to God, they still support causing animals to suffer and die for the sins of human greed and gluttony.
3. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year.
4. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Again, most clergy donít recognize the sins of human greed and gluttony when
it comes to the eating and wearing of animals and their by-products, or perhaps
they just donít want to mention it because they donít want to give up their
own pound of flesh.
We need to truly think about what Jesus saidÖ
5. Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says,
"Sacrifice and offering Thou hast not desired,
But a body Thou hast prepared for Me;
6. In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast taken no pleasure.
7. "Then I said, 'Behold, I have come
(In the roll of the book it is written of Me)
To do Thy will, O God.' "
Can we truthfully say of ourselves that I have come before you O God to do
your will here on earth as it is in heaven?
If we cannot say this, then this is the reason that we donít have peace on earth, but if we can say this from the depths of our heart and soul, then and only then are we on the road to having real peace on earth.
We can do it, if we want to, and I pray we do, for that is also the only way we can truly have a Merry Christmas.
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