Man has always been in search of peace. Yet peace, true peace and lasting peace, has alluded him. Recently I heard that there has not been a day since the beginning of WWII when there has not been war or some type of conflict upon the earth. Even today we live in a world of conflict.
Yet it doesn’t have to be that way. The Bible teaches us that God is the ‘God of peace’ and that it is His desire that we live in peace.
I. The Pursuit of Peace
Romans 13:20 Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
God is a God of peace and He wants His creation to be at peace. Yet everything that is called peace is not true peace.
A. False Peace
1. In the Days of Israel
The Bible tells us of a time when men said “Peace, peace! When there was no peace.” During the days of the prophet Jeremiah, the nation of Israel was living in disobedience to God. They pretended to be religious, yet their religion was hypocrisy. God sent men like Jeremiah to warn them and to call them to repentance and revival. Yet the people ignored God’s prophets. Instead the people listened to their false prophets.
Jeremiah 8:11 For they have healed the hurt of … My people slightly, Saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace. NKJV
In other words, in a time when there needed to be major surgery, the false prophets told the people that a Band-Aid was sufficient. Though these men promised peace, it was a false peace. Twice the prophet exclaimed – “Peace, Peace! When there is no peace.’
B. Search for Peace in Today’s World
Many of you remember the 60’s when everything was about peace. We had peace signs, peace symbols, and peace rallies. Yet it was all a false peace. Why is a false peace so popular? It’s because a false peace makes no demands. A false peace says that you can live as you please and still have peace. I would love to have a dollar for every time someone has come to me with sin in their live and said, “I have a peace about it.” How can a man have true peace when he is outside of the will of God?
C. Promise of a False Peace During the Tribulation Period
False peace will be a sign of the end of time.
1 Thessalonians 5:2 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. 3 While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.
The Tribulation Period will begin with a time of false peace.
Revelation 6:1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. 2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
1. Significance of the Seven-Sealed Scroll
What is this ‘Seven-sealed Scroll?’ John MacArthur calls it the – “Title Deed to the Universe.” This sacred document determines who will control the universe – God or Satan? The Bible tells us that in the Beginning – God created the heaven and the earth and that He gave man the responsibility of having dominion over His creation. But man lost that dominion. When man chose to disobey God, he lost his dominion over his domain and he became a slave to sin. 2 Corinthians 4:4 tells us that Satan is now the ‘god of this world.’ Satan does not own this world, but he rules over it because mankind gives their allegiance to him.
But the day is coming when all of that will change. When King Jesus begins to open the Seven-sealed Scroll, God will begin to take back into His possession what has always rightfully been His. (see Revelation 11:15)
2. Sequence of the Seven-Sealed Scroll
All the Events of that terrible time period known as the Tribulation are found in these seven seals.
Seals 1-4 reveal what will happened during the first 3 ½ years.
Seal 5 reveals what will begin to happen around the middle.
Seal 6-7 reveals what will happen during the last 3 /12 years.
Revelation 6:1And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. 2And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
Who is this mysterious rider of the white horse? It’s the man known as the Antichrist. The prefix Greek ‘anti’ can mean two things: (1) against, (2) in place of. Although the Antichrist will ultimately be against Christ, he will begin pretending that he is Christ.
Matthew 24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
This rider of the white horse is not Christ. He is the Antichrist. Yet he will deceive many. One major group of people that he will deceive at first will be the Jews. Daniel 9 tells us that he will establish a seven-year peace treaty with the nation of Israel that will enable them to rebuild their Temple in Jerusalem. Under this peace treaty the nation of Israel will thrive. Yet all will not be well. As they are being blessed, the Arab nations around them, along with the leadership of Russia, will be boiling with jealousy and envy.
Seal 2- War
Revelation 6:3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. 4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.
While it appears to some that the Antichrist is saving the world, war will be brewing under the surface. Why?
Seal 3- Famine
Revelation 6:5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.
While Israel is living in luxury, much of the rest of the world will be starving. It will take a day’s worth of work to earn enough money to buy a day’s worth of bread. Finally the enemies of Israel will say that enough is enough and they will plan an invasion.
Ezekiel 38:1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him…
8 After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them. 9 Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee. 10 Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: 11 And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, 12 To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.
Russia will form a coalition of nations that come against Israel to take what they possess. As we will study in another message, this coalition of nations will be defeated and this war will serve as a major turning point in the Tribulation Period.
Seal 4- Death
Revelation 6:7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.
Death will simply be the aftermath of war and famine. Scripture says that during this time period, ¼ of the world’s population will die. Today there are over 7 billion people in the world. ¼ of 7 billion is 1.75 billion people. 1.75 billion people dying at once is mind-boggling. Yet this is only the beginning. Jesus said “All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Matthew 24:8) Literally this means that 1.75 billion people dying is only the premature birth pains of what is yet to come.
II. The Prince of Peace
This world will never find true peace until it finds the Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 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, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever.
Peace is not the absence of problems. Peace is the presence of a Person. The Bible says –
Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
There are people in this world who have everything, except peace in their lives. They have mansions, automobiles, yachts, expensive clothes and jewelry. Yet as the old saying goes – “Money can’t buy happiness.” Actually money only seems to fuel our desire for more and more.
On the other hand there are people who have very little of what this world has to offer, yet they have peace. They have peace in their hearts because they have Jesus in their hearts.
A. Peace of God
Philippians 4:6 Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. CSB
B. Peace with God
Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
Many years ago there was a young man who was raised by a Christian mother. Despite all the mother tried to do to raise her son to know and love God, her son chose instead to rebel against God. Yet his mother would not give up. She was like the woman who kept going to the judge and begging for him to act on her behalf. God began to speak to this young man and he became deeply convicted over his sins and in faith he received Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Who was this young man? Well I could say that it was me. That’s a whole lot of my story. But there was another young man whose name was Augustine who had this similar salvation experience. Later in his life Augustine wrote – “My heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.”
1. Justified by faith
What does it mean to be ‘justified?’ It means to be pleasing and acceptable in the sight of God. I can go to God anytime of the day or night and talk openly and freely.
2. We have peace with God
The word ‘peace’ refers to a tranquility of the soul. Whereas there was a time in my life when I was at war with God, today He is by best friend. As a matter of fact, the Bible says that we can call Him – ‘Daddy.’ Imagine calling the Creator of this universe – ‘daddy.’
3. Through our Lord Jesus Christ
There is only one Prince of Peace and His name is Jesus. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we can have peace with God and the peace of God.