From Plainer Words

Plainer Words on... Peace on Earth, Good Will toward man

Posted in: 2016
By Tom L. Ballinger
Dec 19, 2016 - 10:06:04 PM

December 17, 2016
    “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone  round about them: and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men”(Luke 2:8-14).
   This passage of Scripture is largely ignored except at Christmas time. There are, however, profound truths embodied in the message delivered to the shepherds, beyond the fact that the Savior is born in the City of David.
   Encapsulated in the good tidings that were announced to the shepherds with great joy, it was “for all people,” not just for Israel. It was for every nation, kindred, tribe, and tongue. After the initial announcement of the Angel of the Lord concerning the birth of the Savior, suddenly, there appeared a multitude of heavenly hosts (angels) saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
    This is the first New Testament announcement of the coming Kingdom of God (i.e., the Pre-Millennial Kingdom). The Angel of the Lord and the multitude of heavenly hosts proclaimed the time in which the Lord, alone, would be exalted. The coming Day [the Day of Christ] will be when every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil.2:10-11). This refers to the time when the Kingdom of God becomes a reality in the earth.  The disciples were told to pray for this event, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt.6:10). This magnificent Day follows the present Dispensation of Grace.
    When the Kingdom comes, Christ will assume sovereignty over the earth and will begin His manifest reign over the nations, and the affairs of mankind.  His Kingdom in the earth is not, now, in place.  However, one day it will be a reality.  When His will is done on the earth, there will be “peace on earth.”
    Isaiah speaks of this peace in Verse 4 of Chapter 2, “And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
    Micah says the same in 4:3; “And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
    When the Kingdom comes, there will be “peace on earth.” Weapon systems will be destroyed. “Defense” contractors will turn their production facilities into that of producing plows and tractors. Military academies will be closed. Nations will no longer teach how to wage war. Universal peace will be the order of the day.  For two-thousand years, God has been displaying His grace to the world. He has not been exercising His government, or His judgments in the world. He has been dispensing Grace.  Wrongs will, one day, be addressed when His Kingdom comes. During the Dispensation of the Grace of God, He is not, overtly, manifesting His “good will toward men.”

    When the Pre-Millennial Kingdom of God actually comes into being in the earth, all mankind will know, without a doubt, that He is dispensing “good will toward men.” Acts 3:19-21 says, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”       This tells us refreshing times, that is to say, exhilarating, invigorating, stimulating, and healthy times shall come from the presence or Face of the Lord, and all things shall be restored.  The world will be restored to a holy and happy state. It could be said; Paradise will be restored.
    Hunger and starvation will disappear. To this, the Prophets agree. God will cause the desert to rejoice, and “blossom like the rose” (Isa.35:1-2). Water shall break out in the wildernesses, and “streams in the desert” (Isa.35:6).  When the Lord exerts His regenerating power in the earth, the earth will yield her increase (Ezk.34:27).  Psalm 85:12 says, “Yea, the LORD shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase.”
     In the astonishing passage of Amos 9:13, there is further evidence of God’s “good will toward men:” “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall over-take the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the  hills shall melt.” In plainer words, the earth will yield her increase year around. Food stuffs will abound.
    The animal kingdom will undergo a radical change as God demonstrates His “good will toward men.” Isaiah 11:6: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid [young goat]: and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.”  The lion, in the Day of Christ, shall eat straw like the ox, and poisonous snakes and reptiles will no longer be a threat (Isa.11:6-7).
    Physical handicaps, birth defects, sicknesses, diseases, and plagues will disappear from the earth. Excellent health will be the standard. The blind shall see. The deaf shall hear. The tongue of the dumb shall sing. The crippled shall leap like a deer (Isa.35:5-6). Psalm 67:2 speaks of these benefits as, “Thy saving health among all nations.”
    Sorrows and sighing “shall flee away” (Isa.35:10). “...and the voice of weeping shall no more be heard... nor the voice of crying” (Isa.65:19).
    Another benefit for mankind will be that God will instantly answer prayer, “And it shall come to pass, before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear” (Isa.65:24).
     “Good will” from God “toward men” will, also, be demonstrated during the times of “restitution of all things,” by Divine guidance and direction being given to men, “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (Isa.30:21).
     Mankind’s life span shall be greatly increased, much like that of the people prior to the universal flood of Noah's time. Isa.65:20-22:  “There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old  man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed... They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands” (Isa.65:21-22).
      These are the blessings of Heaven which mankind will enjoy upon the earth, when the Lord Jesus Christ begins to “judge the quick and the dead at His Appearing and Kingdom”                  (2 Tim. 4:1).
     The good news of the coming Pre-Millennial Kingdom of God is that the Lord Jesus Christ will bring all of His resources to bear for the benefit of mankind.
      The Christmas message will really be meaningful to those whose trust is in the Lord Jesus Christ, who live, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). When this happens, it will truly be peace on earth and the Lord will truly show good will toward men. Today, He shows only grace toward men. Thankfully, He is dispensing Grace, not Judgment. If it were judgment, Ephesians 2:8-9 would not be available to us; “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
It was one night in February 1963 that I realized my goodness wasn’t enough to meet God’s Standards for salvation—realizing this Truth I bowed down in our bathroom, and said, “Lord Jesus I want to be saved, and I want to know it!” I was and I did.
(This Christmas essay by Tom Ballinger was first issued on Wednesday, November 19, 2003).
Tom and Gloria Ballinger
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