So where did Jesus earn the title “Prince of Peace”? Simply said, it is because of the Messianic Prophet – Isaiah. You see, Isaiah earned his nickname because he recorded many of the prophecies for the coming Messiah. Through him, many Christians qualify their Jesus as The Messiah. One of Isaiah qualifiers in Isaiah 52:7 is that the Messiah will be a messenger of peace ushering a new world without violence and war. In addition, Isaiah tells us earlier, evil and tyranny will not be able to stand before his (the Messiah’s) leadership (Isaiah 11:4). So we can deduce from these prophecies that we will know the Messiah has arrived when we are living in a world of peace. Yet, as Richard F. Ames, a writer for “Tomorrow’s World” tells us
“The United Nations recently reported that there are more than 35 major conflicts going on in the world today, and that there have been more than 250 major wars since World War II. Three times more people have been killed in wars in the last 90 years than in all the previous 500.”
Viewing these facts, we would have to concede that the promised of peace has not been fulfilled yet. This being the Tanakh’s (Old Testament) prophetic litmus test, we thus can say the Messiah has not arrived.
However, to all Christians, Jesus is the epitome of peace. So to say that he didn’t bring peace appears, on the surface, as a fallacy. Nonetheless, his own book, the New Testament, stands as a witness against him. For example, Matthew 10:34 quotes Jesus as saying:
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
Also, in Luke 12, Jesus starts off by stating ““I have come to bring fire on the earth…” (v. 49) then from here up until verse 53 he goes into detail about how his mission is to divide the world against itself even down to the family unit. This certainly does not sound like “The Great Unifier” prophesied in Zechariah 8:23.
So, in order for Jesus to be able to usher in the prophesied era of peace, Christianity came up with the second coming. As we look at the gospels, Jesus does talk about a Messiah coming in Matthew 24:30 and Luke 21:27 but he doesn’t proclame that it is him. Here he appears to be supporting Isaiah’s prophecy. Actually, the first time we see the claim of a second coming is after the gospels in Acts 1:11. Bear in mind, the book of Acts was written between 80 and 90 CE 1, 2 over a half century beyond the crucifiction of Jesus. In the space between Jesus’ crucifixion and the book of Acts many things happened. In 66 CE the Jewish population rebelled against the Roman Empire. Four years after that Roman legions under Titus retook and destroyed much of Jerusalem and the Second Temple 3. Thus, it would be hard for new Christians to convince Jews of that day that Jesus was the Messiah when he failed the test of peace. So, now Acts gives Jesus a second chance and a second coming. To the readers of the New Testament it appears these events happened in seamless succession, but we need to understand that the book of Acts was written more than a decade after the gospels.
Additionally, Christianity has their messiah returning as a “Righteous Warrior”. This is thought to be the reason for a violent Jesus.
“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.” – Revelation 19:11-15
Although to many Christians Revelations has been billed as an endtime prophecy, conventional understanding is that Revelation was written to comfort beleaguered Christians as they underwent persecution at the hands of a Roman emperor. Additionally, it was meant to convect those Christians who were willing to compromise with Rome and it’s pagan religions. In truth, many of the figures and symbols used in Revelations can be linked to historical events in the first century 4.
As we study out the arrival of the Messiah, we do not see the figure of a warrior but one of a diplomat who advocates peace:
- Once he is King, leaders of other nations will look to him for guidance (Isaiah 2:4).
- He will include and attract people from all cultures and nations (Isaiah 11:10).
- He will be a messenger of peace (Isaiah 52:7).
- Nations will recognize the wrongs they did to Israel (Isaiah 52:13–53:5).
- The peoples of the world will turn to Israel for spiritual guidance (Zechariah 8:23).
- The ruined cities of Israel will be restored (Ezekiel 16:55).
- Weapons of war will be destroyed (Ezekiel 39:9).
If we believe there will be a future Messiah, you need to stick to the pedigree of the Tanakh (Old Testament) for answers. Not only does history not reveal for us the peace of the Christian messiah, Jesus speaks of violence not love. The true Messiah will be a Prince of Peace.
- Charlesworth, James H. (2008). The Historical Jesus: An Essential Guide. Abingdon Press. ISBN 9781426724756.
- Burkett, Delbert (2002). An Introduction to the New Testament and the Origins of Christianity. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-00720-7, page. 195.
- Rome, By Bruce Johnston in. “Colosseum ‘built with loot from sack of Jerusalem temple'”
- Gumerlock, Francis X. Revelation and the First Century: Preterist Interpretations of the Apocalypse in Early Christianity. Powder Springs, GA: American Vision Press, 2012.