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With violence and war all around us, will the International Day of Peace on September 21 make any difference?
Will lasting peace come through human effort?
The United Nations General Assembly, in November 1981, unanimously passed a resolution establishing an annual “International Day of Peace.” As of 2002, September 21 has been made the permanent date of this annual observance.
According to a United Nations Web site, “Peace Day should be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples… Since its inception, Peace Day has marked our personal and planetary progress toward peace.”
Peace is certainly something we must seek. And, as Christians, we understand that peace and the fear of God—not terror, but rather an irresistibly motivating awe and compelling respect for Him—go hand in hand. Throughout the Bible, we find that true peace is rooted in obedience to God’s laws and His ways (Ecclesiastes 12:13). True knowledge and wisdom are only attainable if we start with a fundamental respect for our awesome Creator as our foundation (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10). Without such reverence for our God, our “planetary progress toward peace” will be an exercise in futility.
Helpfully, the UN Web site promoting Peace Day has a search function. Searching the site for “Proverbs” or “Bible” or “Jesus” brings the message: “No results.” Search for “God” brings only a curious reference to a “Global Oneness Day” scheduled for October 24.
So, let me contribute my own “two cents” to Peace Day by reminding us all of this plain truth about humanity: “The way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:17–18). This has been a fact of human nature since long before Peace Day was established, and it will still be true this year on September 21.
Is there no hope? What, if anything, can we do to advance the cause of real peace? What will God’s people be doing on September 21? God’s annual Feast of Tabernacles this year begins in the evening on Wednesday, September 18, and continues to sunset on Wednesday, September 25. During this time, many thousands of people from all over the world will be gathering to celebrate what is, in essence, God’s very own “International Days of Peace”—the celebration picturing a near-but-yet-future time when Jesus Christ will rule planet Earth, assisted by His saints, giving our world true peace at last. During the Feast of Tabernacles, God’s people not only anticipate this wonderful future; they learn how to live God’s laws of peace more fully themselves.
They picture a time when men will beat their swords into plowshares, as depicted by Evgeniy Vuchetich’s famous statue, which stands outside the United Nations building in New York City. No longer will this statue represent an elusive ideal. It will become reality. “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:2–4).
When the International Day of Peace comes, this year, will you be doing something that actually advances the cause of real peace? If you are developing a genuine fear of God—awe and respect for His wondrous plan—I hope you will be praying fervently that His promised Kingdom will be established soon here on the earth. God speed that day!