Peace on earth
Reformed Free Publishing Association
“Peace on earth”: this is the song of heaven’s army. Peace is something that exists in heaven, for there is peace in the being of God, peace between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and there is peace among the angels. Peace is harmony, wellness, or wholeness. To be at peace means to be in a harmonious relationship with God. The angels enjoy peace with God, for they have never sinned.
Man enjoyed peace with God before the fall, but he forfeited it by his sins. Now because of man’s sin, God is at war with man, and man is at war with God. Man hates God and fights against him, and peace is lost. As long as man is a sinner, peace with God is impossible. Peace must remain in heaven, but it cannot come to earth. That explains the history of this world, a history of man’s inhumanity to man and a history of war, violence, bloodshed, and murder. That explains God’s dealings with mankind, a history of terrible judgments because man has rebelled against his Creator.
But God made a promise to his people that he would send peace to men. That peace is brought about because of the coming of Jesus the savior. God creates peace between heaven and earth by coming to earth. The incarnation of the Son of God is the greatest announcement of peace that has ever been heard. In that great act, God says, “I am at peace with you. I am sending my Son to be the Prince of Peace.”
Moreover, that coming is not only an announcement, but it also actually accomplishes peace. It accomplishes peace by uniting in one person the divine and the human. Jesus is the second person of the holy Trinity; therefore, he is fully God. The man Jesus is the true son of the virgin Mary, of her flesh and of her blood; therefore, he is fully man. The incarnation brings these two together, the divine and the human. Therefore, Jesus comes as close to us as it is possible for him to come. He becomes one of us, our Immanuel, God with us. That is crucial to establish peace, for the divine Savior suffers for our sins in the human nature.
God will not simply forgive sin, for his justice must be satisfied. But we cannot satisfy God’s justice. One who is truly God and truly man does that. Since we can find no such person, God sends his own Son. That is the only way of peace, and all who reject this peace perish as God’s enemies. But all who by faith embrace this peace live forever as God’s friends.
What a wonder of grace: the Savior is born, to the glory of God, according to God’s good pleasure, and as proof of God’s goodwill, to bring us peace.
Martyn McGeown, Born for Our Salvation, 106-107.
As king he would have the authority and power to build the temple of God and to see to the offering in that temple of a sacrifice that would take away sin forever. He would build that temple by being himself the temple of God, the one in whom God would dwell with his people perfectly and unendingly. He would be Immanuel, God with us as the one born in our flesh, yet remaining God’s only begotten Son. He would build that temple by allowing the Jews to tear down the temple of his body that he might build it again in three days by his resurrection from the dead. He would build that temple by becoming the one through whom we come to God, so that in the new Jerusalem there is no need of any temple but himself. He builds the temple by building his church as the place where God dwells in us and walks in us (2 Cor. 6:16). Temple builder indeed!
What an encouragement that must have been to Zerubbabel and the Jews, who were struggling to build a temple that would not begin to compare with Solomon’s! Though this word of God meant that the temple they were building was not the true temple, it did mean that their efforts were not in vain and that the outward poverty of the temple they were working on did not matter, for one greater than Solomon was coming and he would build a temple that would eclipse the glory of Solomon’s.
What an encouragement to New Testament believers, who in the face of endless difficulties are building the church as the temple of God (1 Cor. 3:10–14; Jude 20). They do not work alone, nor is their work in vain in the Lord (1 Cor. 15:58). God’s house will be built by the master builder himself and will stand for all eternity.
Ronald Hanko, The Coming of Zion's Redeemer, 238.