Sabbath, August 9, 2008
“In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.” Psalm 72:7.
Prophecy of the Prince of Peace
1. What special prophecy was given to strengthen the faith of God’s people throughout the centuries?
“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14.
“‘Emmanuel, God with us,’ this means everything to us. What a broad foundation does it lay for our faith. What a hope big with immortality does it place before the believing soul. God with us in Christ Jesus to accompany us every step of the journey to heaven. The Holy Spirit with us as a comforter, a guide in our perplexities, to soothe our sorrows, and shield us in temptation. ‘O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!’” –My Life Today, p. 290.
“‘His name shall be called Immanuel,… God with us.’… It was to manifest this glory that He came to our world. To this sin-darkened earth He came to reveal the light of God’s love–to be ‘God with us.’ Therefore it was prophesied of Him, ‘His name shall be called Immanuel.’
“… God’s wonderful purpose of grace, the mystery of redeeming love, is the theme into which ‘angels desire to look,’ and it will be their study throughout endless ages. Both the redeemed and the unfallen beings will find in the cross of Christ their science and their song. It will be seen that the glory shining in the face of Jesus is the glory of self-sacrificing love. In the light from Calvary it will be seen that the law of self-renouncing love is the law of life for earth and heaven; that the love which ‘seeketh not her own’ has its source in the heart of God; and that in the meek and lowly One is manifested the character of Him who dwelleth in the light which no man can approach unto.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 19, 20.
2. What special name was given to Him in view of His nature and mission?
“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.” Isaiah 9:6.
“Christ is ‘the Prince of Peace’ (Isaiah 9:6), and it is His mission to restore to earth and heaven the peace that sin has broken. ‘Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Romans 5:1.
Whoever consents to renounce sin and open his heart to the love of Christ, becomes a partaker of this heavenly peace.
“There is no other ground of peace than this. The grace of Christ received into the heart, subdues enmity; it allays strife and fills the soul with love. He who is at peace with God and his fellow men cannot be made miserable. Envy will not be in his heart; evil surmisings will find no room there; hatred cannot exist. The heart that is in harmony with God is a partaker of the peace of heaven and will diffuse its blessed influence on all around. The spirit of peace will rest like dew upon hearts weary and troubled with worldly strife.” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, pp. 27, 28.
His work in the church
3. As the Prince of Peace, how did He present Himself in Jerusalem, the symbol of God’s people?
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” Zechariah 9:9.
“Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.” Matthew 21:5.
“Five hundred years before the birth of Christ, the prophet Zechariah thus foretold the coming of the King to Israel. This prophecy is now to be fulfilled. He who has so long refused royal honors now comes to Jerusalem as the promised heir to David’s throne.
“… All nature seemed to rejoice. The trees were clothed with verdure, and their blossoms shed a delicate fragrance on the air. A new life and joy animated the people. The hope of the new kingdom was again springing up.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 569.
4. Was His message for the heathen, among whom we are counted, different from that for the Jews?
“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.” Zechariah 9:10.
“Every man’s experience testifies to the truth of the words of Scripture, ‘The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest.… There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.’ Isaiah 57:20, 21. Sin has destroyed our peace. While self is unsubdued, we can find no rest. The masterful passions of the heart no human power can control. We are as helpless here as were the disciples to quiet the raging storm. But He who spoke peace to the billows of Galilee has spoken the word of peace for every soul. However fierce the tempest, those who turn to Jesus with the cry, ‘Lord, save us,’ will find deliverance. His grace, that reconciles the soul to God, quiets the strife of human passion, and in His love the heart is at rest. ‘He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so He bringeth them unto their desired haven.’ Psalm 107:29, 30. ‘Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ ‘The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever.’ Romans 5:1; Isaiah 32:17.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 336, 337.
Not bearing arms
5. According to the teachings of the Prince of Peace, what will happen with military weapons among those who accept His message of peace?
“And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” Isaiah 2:4.
“And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.” Micah 4:3, 4.
“God has provided abundant means for successful warfare against the evil that is in the world. The Bible is the armory where we may equip for the struggle. Our loins must be girt about with truth. Our breastplate must be righteousness. The shield of faith must be in our hand, the helmet of salvation on our brow; and with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, we are to cut our way through the obstructions and entanglements of sin.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 502.
6. Right at His birth, what joyous announcement was made by the heavenly host to the people who longed for His coming?
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. “ Luke 2:13, 14.
“When the plan of salvation was revealed to the angels, joy, inexpressible joy, filled heaven. The glory and blessedness of a world redeemed, out-measured even the anguish of the Prince of life. Through the celestial courts echoed the first strain of that song that angels sang above the hills of Bethlehem: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’” –The Messenger, June 7, 1893, par. 3.
“No one born into the world, not even the most gifted of God’s children, has ever been accorded such demonstration of joy as greeted the Babe born in Bethlehem. Angels of God sang His praises over the hills and plains of Bethlehem. ‘Glory to God in the highest,’ they sang, ‘and on earth peace, good will toward men’ (Luke 2:14). O that today the human family could recognize this song! The declaration then made, the note then struck, the tune then started, will swell and extend to the end of time, and resound to the ends of the earth. It is glory to God, it is peace on earth, good will to men. When the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings, the song then started in the hills of Bethlehem will be reechoed by the voice of a great multitude, as the voice of many waters, saying, ‘Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth’ (Revelation 19:6).” –Selected Messages, Book 1, p. 250.
The message of the Prince of Peace
7. According to prophecy and its fulfillment, what was the message of Jesus to human hearts?
“I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him.” Isaiah 57:19.
“The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) “ Acts 10:36.
“And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.” Ephesians 2:17.
“They began to realize the nature and extent of their work, to see that they were to proclaim to the world the truths entrusted to them. The events of Christ’s life, His death and resurrection, the prophecies pointing to these events, the mysteries of the plan of salvation, the power of Jesus for the remission of sins–to all these things they had been witnesses, and they were to make them known to the world. They were to proclaim the gospel of peace and salvation through repentance and the power of the Saviour.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 27.
“Beside the throng on the shores of Gennesaret, Jesus in His sermon by the sea had other audiences before His mind. Looking down the ages, He saw His faithful ones in prison and judgment hall, in temptation and loneliness and affliction. Every scene of joy and conflict and perplexity was open before Him. In the words spoken to those gathered about Him, He was speaking also to these other souls the very words that would come to them as a message of hope in trial, of comfort in sorrow, and heavenly light in darkness. Through the Holy Spirit, that voice which was speaking from the fisherman’s boat on the Sea of Galilee, would be heard speaking peace to human hearts to the close of time.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 245.
8. What greeting did Jesus recommend that the disciples give when they visited homes in their missionary labors? What gift did He give them just before His crucifixion? What should be our message?
“When you go into a house, say, ‘Peace be with you.’ If the people in that house welcome you, let your greeting of peace remain; but if they do not welcome you, then take back your greeting” (Matthew 10:12, 13, Today’s English Version, The New Testament in Greek and English).
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27.
“At the birth of Jesus the angel announced, Peace on earth, and good will to men. And now at His first appearance to the disciples after His resurrection, the Saviour addressed them with the blessed words, ‘Peace be unto you.’ Jesus is ever ready to speak peace to souls that are burdened with doubts and fears. He waits for us to open the door of the heart to Him, and say, Abide with us. He says, ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.’ Revelation 3:20.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 803, 804.
“Shortly before His crucifixion Christ had bequeathed to His disciples a legacy of peace. ‘Peace I leave with you,’ He said, ‘My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ John 14:27. This peace is not the peace that comes through conformity to the world. Christ never purchased peace by compromise with evil. The peace that Christ left His disciples is internal rather than external and was ever to remain with His witnesses through strife and contention.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 84.
An object lesson
Building bridges between men
One day two brothers who lived near each other on their respective farms had a quarrel. It was their first quarrel in 40 years of being good neighbors, of exchanging machinery, work, and goods. Suddenly all this came to an end as a result of a bitter exchange of words, followed by weeks of silence. One morning someone knocked on the door of the older brother. It was a carpenter who was looking for work: “Maybe you have some small jobs that I could help you with for a few days?”
“Yes,” said the older brother, “I have work for you. That huge ditch in the farm has been made by my neighbor, my younger brother. Last week there was a field of flowers between our two farms, but he has taken the tractor and has ploughed the field, creating this deep chasm between us. But I will certainly not treat him better. I would like you to build a high fence so that it will not be possible for us to see each other, and he’ll pay for this.”
“I understand the situation,” said the carpenter and immediately went to work. He took measurements, cut the lumber, and nailed it together. At sunset, when the farmer returned home, the carpenter had finished his work. But there was no fence! There was only a bridge connecting one farm with the other! It was a masterful work, and the younger brother was just crossing the bridge with open arms, saying: “You have had the courage to build this bridge after all that I have said and done to you!” The two brothers met and embraced in the middle of the bridge.
Then they turned around and saw the carpenter picking up his tools and getting ready to leave. “Wait, don’t go! Stay a few more days; I have more work for you,” said the older brother to the carpenter.
“I would like to stay,” responded the carpenter, “but I have many more bridges to build.”
The One who has built the bridge over the abyss is Jesus Christ. He longs for us to reconcile with God and with our brethren. What are we doing? Are we building fences or bridges