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THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: Peace on earth. It is a common refrain at this time of year, and many pray for it literally throughout the year. But what does the expression mean in the Bible? In Luke 2:14, the angel announced to the shepherds, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” If the angel meant literal peace on earth, then he was mistaken as there has not been such a condition since the birth of Jesus. Even Jesus denies this definition of peace on earth in Matthew 10:34 which illustrates in context that the word would divide people of good heart from those of stopped ears. Some refer back to a prophecy in Isaiah 11:6 about the wolf lying down with the lamb. Clearly, however, in the context, Isaiah is talking about the coming Messiah. He even speaks of striking the earth with the rod of His mouth which sounds like what Jesus said in Matthew 10:34 and what is said in Revelation 1:16. We know the sword or rod of his mouth is the gospel message, Hebrews 4:12, Ephesians 6:17. Ultimately, Paul answers the question in  Ephesians 2:14 “For He Himself is our peace.” The angel was not telling the shepherds that Jesus’ birth would bring literal peace on the earth, either then or in the future.He was saying that peace had been born into the world. What comes of this peace? 2 Corinthians 5:18 tells us that Jesus reconciled us to the Father. We now have peace with Him. In the grand scheme of things, this world is destined to pass away, 1 John 2:17, and be destroyed, 2 Peter 3:10-12. What matters to us on the earth is our relationship with the Father which will lead into eternity with Him. Have you obeyed the gospel of peace yet? Why tarry?

If you are not a Christian (see the ABOUT YOU page), becoming a follower of Christ is the most important decision you will ever make. The Susquehanna church of Christ is a group of individuals who seek to worship God together according to His will, revealed to us in His word, the Bible. We believe that Bible study will lead us into greater understanding of what God wants of us. Though lots of denominations will tell you they teach the truth of God’s word, they cannot all be right when they teach doctrines that contradict each other. We invite you to consider the material you find here, and most importantly, weigh it against what is found in the scriptures. Our hope and prayer is that you will find the information here to be not only of benefit but also of truth. If we can be of help in any way in your search, please contact me. One more thing. Susquehanna church of Christ is a non-denominational church. You will notice that the “c” in church is not capitalized. The reason is that it is a description not a title or proper name. We are simply members of the church which Jesus built, Matthew 16:18. If you are a Christian, we hope the material here will be of benefit to you and will stimulate your thinking. If there is any way in which we may be of help, please contact me. Sincerely, Scott Long preachsl@verizon.net