By John D. LaVier
The name “God of Peace” is used three times in the New Testament Scriptures: Romans 16:20, Philippians 4:9, and Hebrews 13:20. This name stands in contrast to God as He revealed Himself to Israel in the Old Testament. There He is many times called the Lord of Hosts. This is a warrior’s name. He is the Lord of the fighting armies and over and over again He fought on behalf of His people.
This name stands also in vivid contrast to the world’s past, which has known little of peace. From the very beginning of man’s history upon the earth, even until the present moment, it has been a continued story of nation being pitted against nation and kingdom against kingdom. Strong nations and mighty empires have appeared upon the scene, flourished for a season, and then vanished away. They have fallen by two causes: (1) an inner decay of pride, envy, greed and lust, and (2) a strong enemy from without that warred against them and won.
As one reviews the world’s past history, as well as the present, when our armies are at war in Iraq, the Israelis and Palestinians killing each other, and the terrorists doing their dastardly work everywhere, the question arises: Shall this condition continue always, with nations rising, shining, sinning, sinking? It is then the name “God of Peace” comes to mind as the prophecy of a better day. God wants peace and in His own day and way He shall bring peace to the world.
Back in the days of the now defunct League of Nations, when many were congratulating themselves on the fact they had outlawed war, it was my privilege as a young man to speak in a certain denominational church. The subject assigned was World Peace. I was brash enough to tell them that in spite of man’s rosy dreams and schemes, there would be no real peace until the Prince of Peace returned to rule and reign. At the close the pastor publicly took me to task, asserting that it was the duty of Christians to work for peace and brotherhood among men. He said: “We pray ‘Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven’ and when we thus pray we are praying for peace on earth.” Later I called his attention to the three words just prior to the words he had just quoted. Those three words are: “Thy kingdom come!” Thank God, that kingdom is coming! Then God’s will shall be done in earth, and not before. Then the God of Peace shall send the Prince of Peace and He will usher in an era of universal tranquility. Then men shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, and they shall learn war no more.
The blessed name “God of Peace” stands also in contrast to Satan, who is the real god of war. For six thousand years this arch-criminal has instigated war and strife among the nations. Satan wants war and God wants peace, but the question of who shall win is never in doubt. It may seem that Satan is having his way but he has nigh well run his malevolent course. Listen to what the apostle says in Romans 16:20, “And the God of Peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.” The God of Peace shall bring war against Satan, and then Satan will be shut up and sealed under lock and key, so that he can no longer deceive and seduce the nations of the world. Israel and the nations will then enjoy peace, when Satan is imprisoned and Christ enthroned.
Meanwhile, the believer may enjoy peace even in a world where there is no peace. The God of Peace sent His Son to die on Calvary and He made peace by the blood of His Cross. Then we read in Hebrews 13:20 that the God of Peace brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus. Christ Himself becomes the believer’s peace. Then as we entrust our all to Him we have the Peace of God which passeth all understanding garrisoning our hearts and minds. And. too, we have the blessed promise: “And the God of Peace shall be with you.”