Inspired by the Omagh bombing in Northern Ireland in 1998, U2 wrote a song called “Peace on Earth”. The song challenged the very premise of its title. In the bombing’s aftermath, the Irish-native and lead singer confessed, “the whole ‘peace on earth, goodwill to all men’ struck a sour note. It was hard to be a believer that Christmas.” The song was subsequently sung at tributes following the 9/11 attacks.

U2’s song begins, “Heaven on earth, we need it now; I’m sick of all of this hanging around; Sick of sorrow, sick of the pain; I’m sick of hearing again and again that there’s gonna be peace on earth.” It repeats the refrain, “Jesus, can you take the time, to throw a drowning man a line? Peace on earth.”

how Scripture answers "Did Jesus bring peace on earth?"

Jesus did not bring peace on earth1 in terms of man’s relationship to man3, but rather man’s relationship to God4,5 – that was His mission. A “way of peace”2 is what was foretold6 and what He preached5. It is true that if all mankind adopted this “way” there could be peace on earth right now, but unfortunately, sin is ever-present. Jesus has already thrown “a drowning man a line” by coming1, showing us the path2, and dying on the cross4,5.

the answer above is based on and footnoted with the following Scripture Blocks
1
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 among those with whom he is pleased!’
At once, a multitude of heavenly beings that joined the angel in praising God by saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.”

Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth and specifically the events surrounding the visit of the wise men from the east.

How does it inform?

The angels announced Jesus’ coming as bringing peace to the earth. Especially known is King James Version rendering, “and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

Does it apply? Yes

2

to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

…to provide light to those in darkness from the shadow of death, guiding our feet into the way of peace.

The very end of Zechariah’s prophecy from God that was spoken when his mouth was finally opened after the birth of his son, John the Baptist.  The prophecy describes John the Baptist and his mission as well as cousin Jesus and what He would do.

How does it inform?

A “light” was coming to give people an alternative to darkness/death and show them a “way of peace”.

Does it apply? Yes

3

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to peace but a sword! For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.

Jesus didn’t come to earth to bring peace, but conflict (“a sword”).  The conflict will be personal, even within one’s household.

Jesus is sending out the twelve to teach.  He has given them “authority over unclean spirits so they could cast them out and heal every kind of disease and sickness” (vs 1).  However, he has warned them that they will be “like sheep surrounded by wolves” (vs 16) and that “Brother will hand over brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rise against parents and have them put to death.” (vs 21)

How does it inform?

Jesus affirms a context in which He definitively did not “bring peace to the earth.” His coming would divide people, even close, familial relationships.

Does it apply? Yes

4
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
For in him [Christ] all of God’s glory was pleased to dwell.  Through Him, all things in heaven and earth are reconciled to God in peace by His blood on the cross.

Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae confronting false teaching in the form of “human philosophies and traditions”.  Earlier in this chapter he references “the word of the truth, the gospel” which came to them and “indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing” (vs 6).

How does it inform?

Peace was brought through “the blood of his cross” that reconciled man to God.

Does it apply? Yes

5
For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.
He [Jesus] is our peace, making us one by his flesh.  The Old Law expressed in commandments that had separated us is abolished.  In Him, we are one man in place of two, reconciled together to God in one body through the peace of the cross.

Paul is writing to the “saints that are in Ephesus” (1:1), but Gentile Christians in particular (2:11).  He is reminding them of this grace that they have from God and the fact that they are now “fellow citizens…of the household of God” (2:19).  Ultimately, his plea to them is to walk in a manner worthy of the calling” (4:1).

How does it inform?

Jesus was the embodiment, along with the message He preached (vs 17), of peace. The peace he brought was peace between God and man.

Does it apply? Yes

6

The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts.

God says that there is a glory coming that is greater than what was before.  He declares that He will provide peace in this place.

Haggai is prophesying to those that returned to the land from Babylonian captivity.  Released by Cyrus the Great of Persia, they returned to their home [promised] land and had to rebuild their lives.  Haggai [and Zechariah his contemporary] encouraged them in the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem – sometimes referred to by historians as “Zerubbabel’s temple” (verses “Solomon’s” prior and “Herod’s” later in the first century).  God’s statements here are in a response to their specific underwhelmed reaction to the temple not being like “its former glory” (vs 3).

Since the earlier verse 6 of this passage is applied by the inspired writer of Hebrews to the second coming/final judgment of Jesus Christ (

Hebrews 12:25-29
), the “latter glory of this house” would connect to the unshakable kingdom they had received in the first century (the church).

How does it inform?

The prophets foretold a time when this “peace” would come to earth.

Does it apply? Yes

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