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Peace - And The Prince Of Peace

Christ, Our Leader And Model

Alfred E. Bouter

'For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful. Counsellor. Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace' (Isa. 9:6 NKJV). 'He will be great' (Lk. 1:32).

The Prince of peace. our Lord Jesus Christ, is unique in several respects:

(1) His coming to this earth,

(2) His life, walk and public ministry,

(3) His work accomplished at the cross, once and for all,

(4) His present ministry in heaven,

(5) His public and future ministry.

Let us consider these five points in connection with the theme of peace.

Overview with Isaiah 9:6 as starting-point

As Prince of peace. Christ is the Leader and Finisher (leader and completer. JND Trans.) of the faith (Heb. 12:2). Compare: David and those who came to him for peace (1 Sam. 22:1-2; 1 Chron. 12:17-18). Christ is Counsellor by excellence: He instructs, corrects and counsels (Rev. 3:14-22).

He is the 'mighty God,' both God and Man (El-Gibbor): unsearchable mystery! Thus, in His strength and wisdom, He can and will accomplish God's plans, bringing peace, now in our lives, later for Israel and for the whole earth.

He is the 'Father of eternity' or 'Father of the age' (the Millennium), but He has introduced us already into an intimate relationship of peace with His Father. who is our Father (John 20:17).

(1) Christ is unique in His coming - His mission

Born of a virgin. He represents a new order of things. being 'the second man (Rom. 5, 1 Cor. 15). He is called the Prince of peace, but also the King of peace (Heb. 7:2) and thus is really 'in charge'. From His birth to His death, all was for God's glory: glory, peace, good pleasure (Lk. 2:14; cf. Rom. 14:17, righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit). Isaiah 9:6 summarises it as follows:

  • A child is born to us - His humanity:
  • A son is given to us - His deity.

His name is 'Marvellous': what He is in Himself (the name expresses this), but also marvellous in His authority and in His official glory, in everything He is and does.

(2) Christ is unique in His life and walk - His earthly ministry

He is our perfect Model, although rejected by men (Matt. 11:29-30). Compare Matthew 10:24 and Luke 6:40: 'A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.' Philippians 2:5-11 presents His stooping down or His humiliation (in seven steps) and His following exaltation (also in seven steps).

  • v. 5 - His attitude, mindset. way of thinking (this is the
  • v. 6-in the form of God (from eternity in eternity);
  • v . 7 - in the form of a bondman (ever since His coming).

 Let' note the links between:

  • His submissiveness and obedience (Heb. 5:7: Ps. 40:7-8; Isa. 50:4-6: Ex. 21:5-6):
  • His sacrifice (His work, see below):
  • His supremacy (His reward: His present position and His public position in the Millennium).

Here are many lessons for us. While looking to the Lord Jesus, we can learn to count (to evaluate, to consider) the right way. (The same Greek verb in the following references from Philippians):

  • We should esteem others better than ourselves (Phil. 2:3);
  • Christ did not esteem it an object of robbery to be equal with God (2:6):
  • Paul learned to evaluate (lit. count) in this way: on the road to Damascus (3:7): all his life afterwards (3:8. twice); particularly in a real test - he counted it necessary to send Epaphroditus (2:25)

Do we recognise Christ as Prince and Ruler over all things (cf. Joshua 5:14-15)? If we do we will be able to evaluate in the right manner, and this will contribute to practical peace.

(3) Christ is unique in His work accomplished once and for all - His passion

Christ's person is marvellous, because His name is marvellous (Judg. 13:18). This includes His incarnation, 'the Word became flesh' (Jn. 1:14), He God and Man in one Person (cf. point (1)). Christ's work is marvellous (He acted in a marvellous way, Judg. 13:19); His entire earthly ministry was extraordinary, but especially His work on the cross. God has glorified Him: He went up in glory, having received a marvellous position (cf. Judg. 13:20 and point No (4) below). On the basis of His accomplished work and in virtue of His present position, we have peace with God (Rom. 5:1). 'The chastisement of our peace was upon Him' (Isa. 53:5), and now '}1e is our peace' (Eph. 2:14). Because of this, God can say to us as believers, 'Grace and peace to you' (18 times in the NT).

(4) Christ is unique in His present ministry - His heavenly ministry

All is based on His accomplished work on earth (point (3)). First, justice is satisfied - God's rights have been honoured and maintained - and then there is peace. "The work of righteousness will be peace' (Isa. 32:17; cf. Ps. 85:10). Compare Melchisedec: king of righteousness, then king of Salem, that is, king of peace (Heb. 7:2). Christ made peace, He is our peace and He announces the good news of peace (Eph. 2:15, 17). Working from the glory, He uses His own on earth to communicate peace, to spread (to sow) it. Are we available for such a service? Christ, the One who made peace and who communicates it, is making us enjoy peace: 'I leave peace with you, I give my peace to you' (Jn. 14:27). Notice the context of the upper room!

The kingdom of God is marked by righteousness, peace and joy already (Rom. 14:17). The joy of communion is the topic of the Epistle to the Philippians and it is the particular characteristic of the offering called the sacrifice of prosperity or the peace offering. Shalom (peace) means: what is complete, whole, perfect. God's present kingdom (1 Pet. 3:15; Rom. 14:17) is a foretaste of the future millennium, of the age to come (the millennial reign), pre-figured in the days of King Solomon, whose name means `pacific' (1 Kings 4:25).

Peace is the fruit of righteousness and it brings joy (Philippians). Furthermore, we think of the sevenfold fruit of wisdom (Jas. 3:17), in connection with which it is said, 'Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace' (3:18). As to Christ's future reign, the government[1] will be on His shoulder (Isa. 9:6). He will be King and Priest on His throne and the counsel of peace will be in between (Zech. 6:13). Thus, there will be an abundance of peace (Ps. 72:7; Jer. 33:6). This covenant of peace for days to come (Ez. 34:25; 37:26) is as it were foreshadowed in God's heavenly people as they live in this world. But this practical realisation depends on the Prince of peace. All comes from Him, all will be for Him.

The Prince of Peace - Represented in His disciples, in all the details of their lives

To demonstrate this peace, Christ is with His own (Immanuel, Isa. 7:14, God with us, Matt. 1:23; cf. Matt. 28:20), so that they can go the way of peace (Lk. 1:79; Phil. 4:7, 9). The Lord Jesus wants us as His disciples, to represent Him in a world where He is rejected, being here as sons of peace (Lk. 10:6). He wants them to show Him forth in our daily walk, through the preparation of the gospel of peace (a part of God's armour, of seven parts, Ephesians 6:15).

The unity of the Spirit should be kept in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3), through the work of the Holy Spirit. But at the same time it is our responsibility (in seven points, vv. 2-3) to be diligent to keep this unity of the Spirit; harmony, unity and holiness are inseparably bound together with peace. These are privileges confided to our responsibility; if we are faithful in these things, we will realise again that our blessings come from the Prince of peace.

We should distinguish between 'the peace of God' in our circumstances (Phil. 4:7) and communion with 'the God of peace', who is with us (Phil. 4:9). 'Blessed are the peace makers, for they shall be called sons of God' (Matt. 5:9). This peace-making is one of the nine qualities of Christ's disciple! We represent our Lord here below by showing the nine-fold fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22), Christ 'reproduced' by the Spirit in us, in nine aspects, including peace. In God's moral government and His ways with us, He produces, in His discipline, the peaceable fruit of

righteousness (Heb. 12:11). Thus, it is the God of peace who works in us what is pleasing to Himself (Heb. 13:20-21).

'And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful' (Col. 3:15). Remember that it is the Prince of peace, the Lord of peace, who gives peace. `Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way' (2 Thess. 3:16). Christ is included in the expression 'God of peace' (7 times in the NT: Rom. 15:33; 16:20; 1 Cor. 14:33; 2 Cor. 13:11; Phil. 4:9; 1 Thess. 5:23; Heb. 13:20). He works in us individually and collectively in the context of His assembly. Let us submit to the Prince of peace!

Associated Topic - the Peace-offering

The peace offering (sometimes called 'sacrifice of prosperity') is linked with peace, communion and joy (see above). It had a central place in the life of God's earthly people (Lev. 3 and 7). The application and explanation for the Christian are found especially in 1 Corinthians 10­1 1). In this sacrifice there was:

  • a part for God and/or a part for Christ;
  • a part for the one who sacrificed;
  • a special part for the officiating priest, but also for his family and the Levites;
  • a part for all those who were ritually pure and clean among God's people.

This sacrifice is a beautiful illustration of the Lord's Supper, with regard to peace with God, peace in the individual life of the worshipper, in the domestic circle and in the life of an assembly.

Christ's present position - a result of His work of peace

Let us note seven points with regard to Christ's present position in the glory:

(1)      'He who comes from above is above all' (Jn. 3:31),

(2)      He is above the splendour of the sun, 'a light above the brightness of the sun' (Acts 26:13); He is higher than the greatest glory in nature.

(3)      'Above [1] every principality, [2] and authority, [3] and power, [4] and dominion, [5] and every name named, not only in this age, but also in that to come; and [6] has put all things under his feet, and [71 gave him to be head over all things to the assembly' (Eph. 1:21-22, numbers added).

(4)      'He that descended is the same who has also ascended up above all the heavens, that he might fill all things' (Eph. 4:10) [He is Head].

(5)      'Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and granted him a name, that which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of heavenly and earthly and infernal beings, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to God the Father's glory (Phil. 2:9-11). [He is Lord].

(6)      'Thou hast loved righteousness and hast hated lawlessness; therefore God, thy God, has anointed thee with oil of gladness above thy companions' (Heb. 1:9).

(7)      'For such a high priest became us, holy, harmless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and become higher than the heavens' (Heb. 7:26).

It is this marvellous Person who is interested in each of us and who wants to help us to walk in the way of peace.

(5) Christ is unique in His public ministry in the world to come - millennial reign

Christ's public glory, to be demonstrated in the world to come, is a glory that believers know already (Heb. 2:9). When Saul of Tarsus was called by Christ glorified, he saw a light that passed the glory of the sun at the noon-hour, a light more vivid than the sun's splendour (Acts 26:13). 1 suggest that the sun represents Christ's glory in His public ministry in the world to come. This is confirmed by passages like Malachi 4:2 ('And unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings'). However, Christ's present and heavenly glory (that is going to subsist forever) is greater, like this bright light that Paul saw. This complements point (4) concerning Christ's present ministry. How great He is, our Prince of peace!

[1] This word is derived from the same root as the word prince.