Throughout the eternal regions, God is working out and bringing to pass His ultimate purpose in the realm of earth. That purpose was spoken by His word in the beginning as his Spirit hovered over the face of the deep, that he would bring all creation, with humanity as its crown, into perfect unity with Himself. That was an offer of peace reiterated to the shepherds by the angels on a night in Bethlehem. Peace here, although a universal offer, is not without condition. It purports that we are to be walking in peace waiting on a sword.
Unfortunately, a quick perusal of the historical record shows that God’s human creation was reluctant to recognize it’s absolute dependence on God’s primal move. Instead, humanity choose for itself an alternate course from the path of life, and scattered blindly off, usurping it’s freedom, down the variant Avenues to dirty death. As C.L. Franklin once said, “God had to reach out with His long arm of love and protection” and draw us back to Himself. The long intermittent years of silence from the prophets reflected that humans had refused to heed His call. Therefore, God, because of His great mercy, elected to send his only begotten Son.
Hence, we find a band of shepherds hearing the glad tidings of peace and goodwill to all men. Whether we take this message to be peace to those who demonstrate piety or to all who God intends to extend peace and goodwill, God’s intervention entails a time of intense decision. It is a time when humanity is compelled to consider walking in peace waiting on a sword.
What does this walking in peace waiting on a sword signify for the world in the waning of this age? Jesus said of Himself, ” Think not that I am come to send peace on the earth, I came not to send peace, but a sword” (Matt. 10:34). Luke’s Gospel, 12:51, has sword as division. This is to say, the announcement of Jesus’s coming is an herald to all peoples that everyone must make a decision to receive Him as the object of your salvation or deny his right as Lord over your life. Certainly, many will rebel, and will be set at odds against those who accept. Either way, you can’t hide; for the ” word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two edge sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit, …and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).
Again, the proclamation of peace to those shepherds in the field and to those of us who toil the fields of life is the same as it was in the beginning. Simply, peace is to set at one again. Those who are one, in unity with the Father and His Son will experience a peace which goes beyond understanding amid the crumbling structures and hatreds of this world. And those who continue to build walls to heaven and cry peace and safety will heap to themselves great chagrin and a wound from which they shall not recover.
Conflicts are inevitable with the coming of Jesus, mother against daughter, father against son. Temptations abound, as they did in His first coming, so it is in Jesus’ return. Corrupted celebrations of Christ’s birth syncretized with the worship of idolatrous sun gods during their seasons inform us the time is nearer. See if you can identify with what John saw, “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 the sword, and with hunger, and with death, and the beasts of the earth” (Rev. 6:8). Nevertheless, the peace that Christ brings will accrue to all those who, in goodwill, put their trust in Him. As you see this day approaching, you can know of a surety that you are walking in peace waiting on a sword.