, Revelation 21:1-7
I received an interesting Christmas card from a dear friend, a retired Air Force General. On the front was a white dove with an olive branch in its beak, hovering above the world. Inside the card were these words: “Peace on earth.” Beside those words my friend had added a big question mark. Then he wrote, “Is peace possible in a world like this?”
This General was asking the $64,000 question. Go to any barbershop or beauty parlor and you will hear various prescriptions for how to straighten out our troubled world. Someone will suggest that we retreat from the rest of the world and just build a “Fortress America” along our borders. Someone else will suggest that we withdraw from the United Nations. Someone else will declare that if all nations would surrender their nuclear weapons, the world would be safer.
But what does the Bible say? Let’s see if God’s word can give us answers concerning world peace.
The 24th chapter of Matthew’s gospel is filled with Jesus’ predictions about the future. Let me set the scene for you. The disciples had been admiring Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem. Indeed, the Temple was one of the most beautiful buildings in the ancient world. At that time it was already 1000 years old. It was built of white marble and plated with gold. Some of the temple’s supporting stones were 40 feet in length and weighted 100 tons. The cutting and moving of those massive stones remains a mystery of ancient engineering. The disciples, some of whom were Galilean fishermen, were awe-struck by these huge and beautiful buildings.
Jesus’ response must have shocked them. He said, “That temple will be utterly destroyed. Not one stone will be left upon another.” Forty years later, in the year 70 A.D., Jesus’ prediction came true. The Romans utterly destroyed Jerusalem. A portion of Matthew’s 24th chapter, verses 2 and 15 through 22, relates to those awful events of 70 A.D. But most of that chapter deals with the end of the age, the end of history.
In this chapter and in other portions of Holy Scripture, I find three answers to the question: “Is there hope for world peace?”