And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever.—Isaiah 32:17
What’s in a name? In Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare wrote, “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Certainly no matter what we call them, flowers smell as fragrant, fruit tastes as flavorful, and colors reflect the same wavelengths of light. Likewise Jesus’ sacrifice is as effectual and sweet, regardless how it is described.
The Scriptures, however, are particularly careful to name the Son of God with uniquely descriptive titles. The names given to Jesus are chosen specifically to define his character and position. How magnificently Isaiah characterizes our Lord and Savior: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6, RSV).
The Title Prince of Peace
“In a beginning was the Word, and the Word was with the God, and a god was the Word” (John 1:1, Emphatic Diaglott, literal Greek word-for-word translation). Before there was anything other than our heavenly Father, God created the Word (Greek: Logos), the very expression of the Father of all things, the first and last of all Jehovah’s direct and personal creation, and a marvelous reflection in all aspects of God the Creator. As a likeness of our Creator, we would expect the Word to be an illustration of each of God’s primary attributes. “Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” (John 14:9). The Logos and the entire divine plan of the ages are exemplified in our heavenly Father’s wisdom, justice, love, and power, with justice as the foundation of everything: “Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face” (Psalm 89:14).
The deception of Lucifer and subsequent disobedience of man created an injustice, which plummeted mankind into a downward spiral of sin, degradation, and death. To make things right with God, justice demanded a perfect life for a perfect life.
From the beginning the Logos, the co-creator of man and builder of the earth, was eager to carry out his Father’s plan for mankind, a plan that would take thousands of years to accomplish. These years would be filled with unrest, war, turmoil, and evil, but the plan would ultimately lead to a world of peace. These words in Isaiah are a beautiful example of sacrifice and approbation to the Father’s will: “I heard the voice of the LORD, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8).
Notice the difference between the Logos’ desire to carry out God’s will and Lucifer’s attitude, also recorded by Isaiah: “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:13,14).
There is a linguistic link between the Old Testament, New Testament, and translated uses of the words “just” and “righteous.” They are nearly synonymous. In the Old Testament the word tsaddiyq (Strong’s #6662) means to be just, lawful, or righteous; it is sometimes translated “righteous” and sometimes “just.” This also occurs in the New Testament with the Greek word dikaios (Strong’s #1342). The word means just, meet, or righteous and is sometimes translated “righteous” and sometimes “just.”
Justice as derived from the root “just” can mean right, fair, righteous, deserved, merited, having good grounds, well-founded, in accordance with standards or requirements, lawful, true, and correct (see the World Book Dictionary). In the printing industry, when words are justified in a column, they are all in alignment. In the Scriptures, when something is just or justified, it is righteous, being in agreement with God’s laws and principles.
Justice is frequently represented by a balance scale. The cliché is that justice hangs in the balance. When justice is not achieved, the balance is off kilter; there is a sense of discomfort, a lack of peace. But when true justice is achieved, balance is achieved as well, and with balance there is peace and comfort.
Isaiah links justice and righteousness with peace: “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever” (Isaiah 32:17). Without justice there is no peace. Without righteousness there is no justice and thus there is no peace.
Because of sinful disobedience, man remains out of balance, and experiences no peace with God. Mankind is not justified, not in alignment with God’s requirements. Jesus, however, offered his life as an atonement to correct the imbalance: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22). His sacrifice was the offering of a perfect life for a perfect life. Eventually balance will be restored, justice achieved, and all will be made right once more.
We long for this day when the whole world will see the fulfillment of one of the most popular and frequently quoted prophecies: “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10).
Good tidings of great joy have begun for the few who now see it. At this time, it is the members of the church who voluntarily give their allegiance to the Lord; in due time the remainder of mankind will need and want to do the same.
The Lost Diadem to be Restored
“Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him” (Ezekiel 21:26,27). Then, with his diadem restored, as a ruler after the order of Melchizedek, a king and priest, Jesus will reign from the New Jerusalem, the new “city of peace.”
“It is asked why the presence of the Prince of Peace should cause so much trouble. We answer that he is not only a peaceful governor, but a King of righteousness and there can be no true and lasting peace or happiness aside from principles of justice. In the establishment of his kingdom it is necessary to overthrow present kingdoms, because they are upheld by injustice and tyranny. For the same reason titles, and honors of birth, based upon fraud and injustice of the past ages, no less than the wealth and honor grasped dishonestly in our own day, must all fall under the condemnation of the new King who declares that the humble and lowly shall be exalted, and the proud and arrogant debased. During his reign, ‘the meek shall inherit the earth.’ ”—Reprints, p. 621
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”—Jeremiah 23:5,6
True peace, eternal peace cannot be obtained without true justice. Christ must first reign with a rod of iron, must first tear down all unrighteousness before his true peace can be achieved. Christ paid the price of his life in the ransom for all mankind to satisfy the justice required for Adam, and this gives him the right to rule. The psalmist poetically expresses the close relationship between righteousness and peace: “I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly. Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land. Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (Psalm 85:8-10).
Eventually when all things have been put under his feet, Jesus, along with the glorified church, the bride, will turn all things over to the heavenly Father. Then, under the grand king of the universe, the subdued earth will assume its place in the divine order, subject in all aspects to the Father’s perfect government and under the administration of the Prince of Peace.
“And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever” (Isaiah 32:17).