Peace Be Still

Today, we find ourselves living in a world of uncertainty. All around us we see the evidence of crime, violence, and social unrest. Our president recently returned from meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to discuss denuclearization. While all the details
of the meeting have not been made known, it apparently includes the freezing of North Korea’s nuclear and missile activities and the
shutting down of known nuclear facilities. Skeptics cite that it all depends on whether North Korea is serious about following through
with the agreement, and compliance may be difficult to substantiate. Meanwhile, we have the continued debate over gun violence and
gun control, the worldwide immigration crisis, and the tragedy surrounding the illicit use of drugs which has reached epidemic proportions.

As we view the events taking place in the world, they are anything but peaceful. Jeremiah wrote, “saying, Peace, peace, when there is
no peace.” (Jer. 6:14) This saying of “Peace! Peace!” has been going on for many years as world leaders have met numerous times to
sign peace treaties and yet, we continue to live in a world without lasting peace. This unrest is confirmed by the Apostle Paul’s words, “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them.”—1 Thess. 5:3

There can be no true peace if there is sin. Sin is the great difficulty the world wrestles with through the work of Satan. “As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”—Rom. 5:12

The relief from present conditions will come only with the birth of a new order of things. John 1:29, speaks of Jesus as “the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Jesus died on the cross completing his sacrifice to take away the sins of the world. Jesus’ faithful sacrifice earned him the right to establish this new order of things and take control of man’s affairs. (Isa. 9:6,7) This takes place when the Kingdom of Christ is set up, and then, Christ will bring all trouble to a sudden end. According to the Heavenly Father’s plan, Jesus as the “Prince of peace” will bring in the lasting peace that is so desired by mankind.—Isa. 11:9

This was shown when our Lord Jesus calmed the sea saying “Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” (Mark 4:39) The raging sea represents the restless, turbulent, dissatisfied masses of the world. (Isa. 57:20,21) Jesus will bring an end to the sin, violence, and death plaguing mankind through the fulfillment of the promise, “‘I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and to his mourners … Peace, peace to him who is far [Gentiles] and to him who is near [Jews],’ says the Lord, ‘and I will heal him.’”—Isa. 57:18,19 (New American Standard Bible)

Christ’s kingdom will teach mankind righteousness and “the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.”—Isa. 32:17

To learn more, see our offer for the booklet Hope for a Fear-Filled World on the back page of this newsletter.

Image Copyright:  Junichi Suzuki   © 123RF.com

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Ruth, an Example of Faith

A severe famine fell upon Israel, so Elimelech and his wife Naomi moved from Bethlehem to Moab. Then, Elimelech died and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, married Moabite women—Orpah and Ruth. After ten more years, both Mahlon and Chilion died.—Ruth 1:1-5

When Naomi heard that the famine in Israel had ended, she decided to return to her homeland.Her daughters-in-law desired to go with her. However, Naomi advised them to return totheir mother’s homes. While Orpah agreed and stayed in Moab, Ruth decided to go with Naomi. She made the statement, “For whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.” (Ruth 1:16) This statement showed
Ruth’s trust in Naomi and her God.

When Ruth arrived in Judah, it was the time of the barley harvest. Ruth went to the edge of a field to collect grain. This was allowed under the Jewish law. Boaz, the owner of the field noticed Ruth and inquired who she was. When he discovered that they were related through Naomi, he instructed his workers to treat her kindly.—Ruth 1:22; 2:1-9,14-17

Ruth continued collecting grain and Boaz watched over her. Naomi instructed Ruth to make herself attractive and to sleep at Boaz’s feet after a long day on the threshing floor. Boaz awoke about midnight and realized that someone was sleeping at his feet. When he asked her who she was, she informed him that he was her family’s redeemer. Under Jewish law, the immediate kin of a family member were to take on their brother’s family in the event of their death. Since Ruth was a widow, there was no one to carry on the family name. Boaz pointed out, that there was a closer family member who had the first rights to Ruth.

Boaz approached this family member who desired to purchase Naomi’s land. However, he did not want to jeopardize his own inheritance by marrying Ruth and so, Boaz agreed to assume his responsibility as the kinsman redeemer. (Ruth 4:1-9) Boaz married Ruth and their child (Obed the father of Jesse) was born. Thus, Naomi had a grandson and her family line endured. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is related to David through Ruth.—Ruth 4:17-22

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A House Built Upon a Rock

Jesus said, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” (Matt. 7:24,25) These words are the exclamation point Jesus put on his teaching about what it will take and who will be fit to enter into the Kingdom of God.

In verse 24, Jesus said those who hear and do his sayings are wise. The Apostle Jamesagrees that we should be “doers of the word and not just hearers only.” (James 1:22) Throughout Jesus’ ministry, he spoke of demonstrating one’s love for the Father and for himself by
loving their brethren and neighbors and laying down their life for them. These same character principles Jesus gave in both his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) and during the evening of the last supper. In addition, Jesus gave the disciples a lesson and example in humility by washing their feet—John 13:12-17

In verse 25, Jesus likens the harsh weather conditions that beat upon the house to the trials of one’s life. “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Tim. 3:12) A strong faith built upon the rock of truth that Jesus is the son of God is required for one not to be swept away by these trials. Instead, the Apostle Paul says, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”—2 Cor. 4:17

If we are to be built up and grow into Christ and be fitted for a place in Christ’s Kingdom, we must have faith that God will reward them that diligently seek him (Heb. 11:6), make a full consecration of our lives to God (Rom. 12:1), and be transformed into the likeness of our Lord and Savior by developing the fruit of God’s spirit in our hearts and minds. (Rom. 12:2; Gal. 5:22-25) Concerning the rock upon which our faith rests, Paul writes, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”—1 Cor. 3:11

Image Copyright: Zacarias Pereira Da Mata  © 123RF.com

The Resurrection

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, … when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”—John 5:25

These words of Jesus provide the promise to mankind of being raised from the sleep of death. A few verses later, he further confirms, “The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth.” (vss. 28,29) The promise that “all that are in the graves” will be raised from the dead is based on the fact that Jesus died a “ransom for all.” (1 Tim. 2:5,6) Having paid the penalty for sin, he provided redemption for Adam and his race, the entire human family. As the Scriptures plainly state, all in Adam have died, and so all in Christ will be made alive.—1 Cor. 15:21,22

The “making alive” of mankind is described in the New Testament by the word “Resurrection.” It is a translation of the Greek word anastasis, and signifies “a standing up again,” and by implication, “a moral recovery.” Thus, the resurrection is more than merely an awakening from the sleep of death. It is the entire process of mankind being brought back into heart harmony with God, and into full fellowship with him as earthly sons.

Christ’s thousand-year kingdom is the period in God’s plan for the accomplishment of the resurrection work. Satan, man’s great Adversary, will be bound, and unable to deceive the people any longer. (Rev. 20:1,2,6) Man will first be raised from the grave, and will be given new bodies which are physically and mentally whole. His character, however, will still retain many of the vestiges of sin which plagued him in this life. Thus, the people will be educated in the knowledge of God—his laws and his character attributes. (Jer. 31:34) This education process, along with each individual’s application of its lessons, will enable man to be freed from the remaining effects of sin.

Then, the great resurrection work will be complete, and man will be recovered to God’s favor. “They shall be his people, and God himself shall … be their God.”—Rev. 21:3

Image Copyright: Romolo Tavani © 123RF

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