On Earth Peace, Good Will Toward Men

When the angels announced the birth of our Lord Jesus to the shepherds, they said: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14) Today, with all of the conflict and trouble that mankind faces, this promise seems unattainable. Recently, 129 civilians were killed by terrorists in Paris. The civil war in Syria has created millions of refugees, many of whom have fled to Europe for peace and safety. In the US, mass shooting incidents continue with depressing regularity. It seems no one and no where is safe. Where is the peace and good will the angels promised?

The angels spoke of a future day when God would take direct control of man’s affairs and then bring peace to mankind. David writes about this in Psa. 46:6,8-10 (NASB): “The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; He [God] raised His voice, the earth melted. … Come, behold the works of the LORD, Who has wrought desolations in the earth. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire. ‘Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’”

God, through the glorified Christ and his faithful followers [church], will utter His voice and the nations will melt. He will make wars to cease, stop the striving among nations, races and ethnic groups and God will be exalted in the earth.

Joel chapter 2 describes the Lord’s great army, the collection of movements that help melt the nations. (vss. 1-11) Before them “the earth quakes, the heavens tremble.” (Joel 2:10 NASB) Joel chapter 3 tells us the trouble revolves around Israel. “I [God] will gather all the nations And bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there On behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations.” (Joel 3:2 NASB) Then, “the LORD roars from Zion [Christ and the church] And utters His voice from Jerusalem, And the heavens and the earth tremble. But the LORD is a refuge for His people And a stronghold to the sons of Israel.”—Joel 3:16 NASB

God shakes not only the earth but also the heavens so Christ’s earthly kingdom can be established. (Heb. 12:26-29 NASB) Then, “He [Christ] will speak peace to the nations; And His dominion will be from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.” (Zech 9:10 NASB) Through the blood of his cross and his earthly kingdom, Christ will give all the opportunity to come back into harmony and peace with God.

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Isaac

Isaac was not Abraham’s first born son. Abraham was 75 years old when God made the promise to him, “I will make of thee a great nation.” (Gen. 12:2) But his wife Sarai was barren. Ten years later, she was still barren, so she suggested to her husband that he also marry her hand maid Hagar that Sarai may obtain children by her. (Gen. 16:2) Hagar conceived and bore Ishmael, Abraham’s first-born son.

The Apostle Paul tells us in Gal. 4:22-26,28: “Abraham had two sons, the one by a bond maid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: [figurative illustration], for these are the two covenants; the one [Law covenant] from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem [Abrahamic covenant which produces the heavenly seed class] which is above is free, which is the mother [Sarah] of us all. … Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.”

The Apostle Paul was speaking to the consecrated, disciples of Christ as we read in Gal. 3:27,29: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. … And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Ishmael was born before Isaac. Thus, it appeared that the Abrahamic promise would come through him, but God said no. “And God said, ‘Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.’”—Gen. 17:19

Thus, Sarah was a type of the Abrahamic Covenant and Isaac was a type of Jesus and the church. Hagar was a type of the Law Covenant and Ishmael was a type of Jewish people.

Isaac and Rebekah

A Type of Christ and the Church

In Genesis 24 God uses a beautiful picture to show how He calls those to be the bride of Christ [church]. Abraham sends his most trusted servant Eliezer to select a bride for his son Isaac. Abraham makes Eliezer promise not to go to the Caananites to select the bride for they were idolaters. Instead, Eliezer was to travel 550 miles to Haran and Abraham’s brother’s household for Isaac’s bride because they worshipped the God of heaven.

The main characters in chapter 24 have a spiritual application. Abraham represents God. No man cometh unto me lest the father draw him. (John 6:44) Eliezer pictures the Holy Spirit. He will teach you all things. (John 14:26) Rebecca represents the called and selected bride of Christ. She has adorned herself. (Rev. 21:2) Isaac pictures our Lord Jesus. Christ is the spiritual seed and heir of the Abrahamic promise.—Gal. 3:29

Verses 15 to 22 show Rebecca’s humble, loving and kind character, willing to serve others. This shows God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.—1 Peter 5:5

At the end of the journey Rebecca sees a man coming to greet them. Eliezer tells her that he is Isaac. She immediately leaps off the camel and puts on her veil. Isaac must have beenvery pleased because he took Rebecca to his mother’s tent and he was comforted.

What a leap of faith Rebecca made when she left her family forever to become the bride of Abraham’s son. So too, the followers of Jesus [church] have given up their earthly rights to become spiritual sons of God. (1 John 3:2) They receive guidance and help from the Holy Spirit during the journey. At the end the church makes herself ready. (Rev. 19.7) She puts on her veil, a symbol of death. Her old nature [flesh]s dies so that her new creature receives its spiritual body and joins our Lord Jesus in heaven. (1 Cor.15:50-54) This Gospel age and its harvest is the time to prepare and complete Christ and the church so the Abrahamic promise to bless all the nations of the earth can be fulfilled.—Gen. 22:18

The Abrahamic Covenant

Because of Abraham’s great faith, God gave him many assurances concerning the future. These centered upon the promise of a “seed,” through which “all families of the earth” would be blessed.—Acts 7:2-4; Gen. 11:10-26; 12:1-7; 13:15-17; 15:5; 17:1-7

In Abraham’s mind, the birth of his promised son, Isaac, perhaps meant the start of the fulfillment of all God’s promises which had been given, and that soon all mankind would in deed be blessed. (Gen. 21) However, God’s plan for man’s blessing did not culminate with the birth of Isaac. Later, when Isaac was a young man, God instructed Abraham to take “thine only son Isaac,” and offer him in sacrifice on Mount Moriah. Once again, in faith, Abraham obeyed. God, however, stopped him from carrying out the act of slaying his son, and provided in his place a ram, or male sheep, to be offered in Isaac’s stead.—Gen. 22:1-14

Because of his obedience in being willing to offer up Isaac in sacrifice, God reiterated his covenant promise to Abraham, saying that in his seed all nations of the earth would be blessed. This time, however, he swore it to Abraham with an oath.—vss. 15-18

In the New Testament, we are informed that these events of Abraham’s life, including the covenant of promise made with him, pointed forward to something far grander in God’s plan. Paul explains that the “seed” through whom blessings would flow to mankind was actually Christ, and those who belong to him. These, Paul says, are “heirs according to the promise” originally made to Abraham. (Gal. 3:16,29) Commenting on the oath sworn by God to Abraham, Paul further indicates that it was a foregleam of God’s immutability concerning his promises to the true seed, Christ and his Church, the Melchisedec priesthood, which will bless all the families of the earth in God’s coming kingdom.—Heb. 6:13-20

Thus, the Abrahamic Covenant, given only by promise so long ago to Father Abraham, is the ultimate means by which all creation will be brought back into harmony with God, by obedience to his righteous kingdom laws. By this arrangement, through the seed of Christ, all mankind will gain the opportunity to receive the blessings of perfect, eternal life upon the earth.—Gal. 3:8,14; Rom. 15:8-12; Rev. 21:1-5