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One criticism I've heard of Christianity repeatedly by devout Jews is that Jesus of Nazareth did not usher in a time of peace - there are still wars, internal strife, and so on.

Here is an example, from Rabbi Shraga Simmons in the article Why Jews Don't Believe In Jesus:

"Jews do not accept Jesus as the messiah because: 1. Jesus did not fulfill the messianic prophecies. [...] Specifically, the Bible says he will: [...]

  • Usher in an era of world peace, and end all hatred, oppression, suffering and disease. As it says: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall man learn war anymore." (Isaiah 2:4)"

What are the main ways Christians respond to this argument against Christianity?

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    Not a complete answer, but Matthew 10:34 probably needs to be mentioned: "I have not come to bring peace, but a sword". Jesus Himself is quite explicit that the "peace" the Jews expected is not what God intended for the first coming.
    – Matthew
    Aug 24 at 16:52
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    @OneGodtheFather Now we have something more specific to respond to, and with that edit, I'm willing to upvote. Basically, Christians have different interpretation of Isa 2:4, we are pushing it up after Jesus's Second Coming. Yes (as should not be surprising), I strongly believe different hermeneutics is the root cause of behind the disagreement. Christianity uses the already, not yet hermeneutics, while Judaism uses the not yet hermeneutics in interpreting the Hebrew Bible (the OT). Aug 24 at 21:37
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    @OneGodtheFather That article is a good summary of the major points of why Jews today don't believe Jesus to be the Messiah. Answering those need a book, and the first thing the book needs to do is to provide a convincing alternate reading of the Hebrew scriptures, probably needing us to reverse-engineer what St. Paul attempted to do re: Hebrew scriptures because his scripture commentaries and knowledge of oral Torah were unfortunately lost to history ☹️. Why is why I'm into Second Temple Judaism research. Aug 24 at 21:54
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    Hermeneutic resources and methods aside, 2 Cor. 3:14-16 says that until they turn to the Lord there is a veil upon their heart when the OT is read. The veil is taken away in Christ. This objection about world peace, then, is ultimately just another red herring. Aug 25 at 2:01
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    @MikeBorden Ya, but red herring or no, there ought to be a response that can be articulated. Their hermeneutic is wrong, rather this is the correct one, and we know because ... Aug 25 at 2:31

5 Answers 5

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How Christianity and Judaism interpret Isa 2:4 differently

Christianity and Judaism interpret Isa 2:4 differently. For Christians, the condition described in Isa 2:4 will happen only when everyone acknowledges that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil 2:10) and all nations are living in obedience to Him, which will happen at the second coming (see GotQuestions article Did Jesus come to bring peace on earth?).

But in Jesus's first coming, what was fulfilled was Jesus as the "Prince of Peace" which means “the spiritual harmony brought about by an individual’s restoration with God.” Jesus never promised world peace described in Isa 2:4 to result from his first coming, in fact Jesus expected wars (Matt 24:6-7). But in the meantime Christians can of course try to broker peace in the world while doing our duty to be peaceful among ourselves so that we can be the light for the world. (see GotQuestions.org article Should a Christian promote world peace?).

In contrast, as the Judaism article says, Judaism doesn't believe in a two-coming Messiah. Judaism claims that because Jesus didn't bring the kind of peace described in Isa 2:4 it means Jesus was not the true messiah.

How do Christians answer the charge? The common apologetics strategy is to point to Jesus's resurrection as something that only God can do. If we believe the resurrection is historical, we can then trust Jesus to be who He claimed to be, including that he was the Messiah, the "Prince of Peace", the Lamb of God, and that he will come again to reign visibly which at that point fulfills Isa 2:4. For more on this strategy, please read @Johannes's answer to another question about Jewish objection against Jesus being the Messiah.

Right understanding of the "peace" that Jesus brought

The peace as in "Prince of Peace" means peace with God, cf John 14:27a:

"I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give."

and derivatively peace with the worldwide communion of Christians whom each has peace with God. This is because Jesus commanded believers to love one another, cf John 15:12:

"This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you."

while obviously the world is still at war with Christians, cf John 15:18-19:

"If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you."

and how is it surprising that non-Christians are at war with other non-Christians because they have no peace with God and with each other in the sense of what Jesus taught believers?

The tragedy is that wars among Christians like the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) are still happening, one of the blackest reminders that professing Christians can still do evil to one another.

Right understanding of the "sword" that Jesus brought

How then should we understand Jesus as also bringing a "sword" (Matt 10:34-36)? Isn't that contradictory? No. Not if we understand Jesus's bringing a "sword" to mean potentially causing division that can necessarily happen between those in the "church" (who have accepted God's peace) and those in the "world" (who have rejected God's peace). Jesus told the believers to choose Jesus over the world (vv 37-39), even when this means dividing them from other family members (vv 35-36).

Thus the "sword" and the "enemies" can happen as a consequence of standing firm for what Jesus stands for, NOT because the believers create enemy or actively hate, since believers are supposed to be God's agent of peace, forgiveness, and mercy. It's when people in the "world" reject God's peace that they could become enemies / haters of the people of God. Similarly, St. Paul also advised believers NOT to leave their marriages if the non-believing spouse doesn't prohibit them from practicing their faith (1 Cor 7:12-16). For the full meaning of the "sword", see the GotQuestions article What did Jesus mean by coming to bring a sword in Matthew 10:34-36?.

Jesus as peace offering from God

Given that conflicts are still going on even among Christians, rather than denying the truth of Jesus as "Prince of Peace" we should see Jesus as bringing an offer of peace from God in his crucified body broken for us, which we have to receive into our hearts and then allow the peace to rule our hearts, enabling us to obey Jesus's commandment to love one another and to extend forgiveness and mercy to the non-Christian world.

This understanding is beautifully represented in the Catholic liturgy when the Agnus Dei is sung, which has this lyric:

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace.

which is directly related to your other question about how exactly Jesus "takes away the sins of the world". Regardless of how Jesus did it at the cross and does it today, the offer is clear (the Agnus Dei is sung prior to communion): take and eat Jesus's body to obtain peace with God.

It is also significant that the singing of Agnus Dei happens right after the "sign of peace" between the congregants after the priest says

The peace of the Lord be with you always. ... Let us offer each other the sign of peace.

CONCLUSION: Answering devout Jews

Hermeneutical differences are very hard to overcome because the starting point is an authority. Christians use hermeneutics derived from the NT apostolic authors, who themselves were taught by Jesus, the person whom Judaism claimed to be a false messiah according to the authority they trust: Rabbinic Judaism.

One way to respond to their argument:

  1. FIRST, recognize the impasse that can only be broken when Jews trust the NT books to represent faithfully what Jesus said about himself and THEN use the NT books as a more trustworthy hermeneutical key to re-read the Hebrew Bible prophecies in a new light (like how Jesus explained on the Road to Emmaus, cf Luke 24:25-27), thus modifying their expectation of the Messiah. Remind them that Rabbinic Judaism was just one of the several ancient Judaism schools of thoughts in Jesus's time, so at least Jesus's hermeneutics deserves an equal hearing.

  2. THEN we can point out how in the NT interpretation of the Hebrew Bible, the God whom Christians and Jews worship together has already provided a solution to wars and strife, centered on accepting the peace offering in Jesus Christ. If only more people in the world willingly receive this gift to heart, hopefully the world will see less wars and more love. But as the spiritual warfare between the legally-defeated-but-still-ruling-the-world Prince of darkness and the Jesus-led People of God are still ongoing, we will not see the kind of peace envisioned in Isa 2:4 until all evil has been defeated.

  3. FINALLY we point out that the condition in Isa 2:4 WILL be fulfilled at Jesus's second coming, because by that time:

    • all demons and all people who refuse God's peace mediated by the true Messiah Jesus at his first coming will be removed from the earth
    • the sanctification process undergone by the people who have accepted God's peace would have been completed

    so that love rules perfectly in everyone's heart, and everyone on earth submits joyfully under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, leaving no more motivation for wars and strife.

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And it shall come to pass in the last days ... - Isaiah 2:2

Christians do not consider that the last days such as are described in Joel chapter 3, for instance, have necessarily come in any final sense. We tend to view the prophecies of the Messiah's advent as occurring in two stages: His birth in Bethlehem for salvation and His return in the last days to execute judgement and to bring in everlasting righteousness.

Christians tend to see Jesus' first advent as a fulfillment of, for example, Isaiah 53:

For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

And Christians tend to view the current age in which we live as a time to believe in the salvation that has been acquired by God's Messiah such as in Isaiah 55:

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee. Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

And Christians tend to look forward to Jesus' return to earth to establish his righteous Kingdom, as in Isaiah 60:

Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise. The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time. 

It is in that time, those last days, that Isaiah 2:4 will come to pass. That time is not now. Now is the time for Israel to repent and turn to the Lord Jesus as Messiah and receive eyes to see, as the apostle Paul says:

Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. - 2 Corinthians 3:12-16

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Jesus said:

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. (Matthew 10:34)

Matthew 22 also has this parable:

Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.

4 “Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’

5 “But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. 6 The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.

13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

There have been five major missionary expansions of Christianity corresponding to the four uses of the word "servant" and the singular use of "his army" in the Parable:

  • Apostolic era, when the servants were initially sent to "those who have been invited", namely the Jews.
  • Roman era, with Constantine and the later Edict of Thessalonica making Rome a Christian empire, enjoying "oxen and fattened cattle", a time of plenty
  • Dark Ages, with Islamic conquest, Mongol invasions, and the expulsion of missionaries from much of Asia, when Christians were mistreated and killed in large numbers
  • Crusades and Early Colonial era, when God sent out armies instead of missionaries to spread the gospel
  • World Missions movement from William Carey (1790's) until the present when Christian misisonaries went out into the whole world. They "went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find".

With this parable viewed as Jesus' master plan for evangelizing the world, you can see that the fourth phase of missions required the sending of soldiers to conquer much of the world. The cassus belli was the gross mistreatment of his followers by the world.

So in fact, the fact that peace has not yet arrived confirms the gospel instead of refuting it.

Eclesiastes 3 lists twenty-eight times. The "time for peace" comes after the "time for war". Jesus will bring peace, but not until all the enemies of God have been defeated.

What is the Gospel then, if not a Message of Peace?

By a wide margin, the word "peace" appears most often in the writings of Paul. His is the gospel of peace.

  • Apostle Paul: 47
  • Rest of New Testament: 46
  • Isaiah: 25
  • Jeremiah (plus Lamentations): 17
  • Psalms: 17
  • Pentateuch: 10

However, in Romans 5:1-5 we find out what kind of peace that is:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

The gospel promises peace with God to all who have faith. Thus we who have faith have received that peace, an end of our personal wars against God by his forgiveness, purchased by his death on the cross. Peace between people grows only as fast as people turn to Jesus, confess their sins, join the church and mature in their faith. The consummation of that work awaits Christ's return. This confirms the rest of the promise: we shall glory in our sufferings. Those sufferings arise in the context of the continuing war between darkness and light.

Is the Killing of Non-Christians Morally Justified or Even Mandatory?

One of the comments made in response to this answer states that my answer implies that such killing is justified. I implied no such thing but I shall nevertheless answer in the affirmative, but not limit it to Christians. The killing of all people - Christian, Jew, Muslim, Atheist, or any other type of person - is morally justified AND mandatory - but only for God when exercising his vengeance. “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19) However, that vengeance is often implemented through God's human delegates, such as Moses against the Egyptians, the Jews against the Philistines, the Assyrians and Babylonians against the Jews, and in various times, other nations against the Christian church when it has strayed. Indeed, in the time of Noah, that vengeance extended to the whole population of the earth, excepting eight people.

"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." (Romans 12:18) Notice how this verse appears side by side with the announcement of God's vengeance? The normal posture of Christians is to live at peace with all people, so long as they are agreeable, not seek to kill without the authority of God for the specific situation. God did not give Christians carte blanche authority to kill non-Christians. However, Isaiah did say something that should give all people pause: “There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.” (Isaiah 48:2) The only way out of that is to obtain the righteousness that is by faith. With that righteousness in hand, a person is no longer counted as wicked and becomes deserving of peace.

When is the time of Peace?

In another answer, @slm quotes Jesus in Acts when he is answering his discpiples, who are asking about the as yet unfulfilled promises that the Messiah is supposed to keep:

And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. Acts 1:7

The disciples shared the same misconception as their compatriots, so the answer that Jesus gave them is the same answer that can be given to other Jewish people. The things that Jesus as a candidate for Messiah has done or not done are subject to the Father's timetable. Anything that Jesus has not yet done, the Father has planned for the future.

It is interesting that Jesus directs the disciples to the Father for an answer. The assumption that many people have is that "the times or the seasons" are an unknown and unknowable mystery. They are not. Jesus is pointing the disciples to the place where their answer may be found, but understanding that answer requires wisdom. The wisdom needed for understanding the prophecies that spell out when the coming time of peace will begin was not given to the disciples.

Certain Bible sections speak for the Father. It is to one of those sections that we must turn for the answer. King Solomon wrote Proverbs and Ecclesiastes as advice for a father to teach his sons. One of those books spoke in detail about "times and seasons". Thus to learn how long we must wait until the time of Peace arrives we must turn to Ecclesiastes.

Security / Prepare -> Establishment of an enduring culture, Jewish loss of their sovereignty
    Born (960-840 BC) Civil War. Rehoboam. Israel born.
    Die (840-720 BC) Assyrian Captivity. Israel dies.
    Plant (720-600 BC) Kings Hezekiah & Josiah plant Judah more securely.
    Uproot (600-480 BC) Babylonian Exile uproots Judah.
Ability / Plow -> Greek & Roman advances in knowledge & engineering, Jewish advances in theology
    Kill (480-360 BC) Queen Esther and Haman's plot to kill all the Jews.
    Heal (360-240 BC) Alexander the Great. Simeon the Just. Pentateuch begun. Mild Ptolemaic rule.
    Tear down (240-120 BC) Antiochus Epiphanes descecrates the temple. Harsh Seleucid rule.
    Build (120 BC-1 AD) Herod's temple. Jesus born - the precious cornerstone.
Stability / Plant -> Perseverance until a stable empire is won
    Weep (1-120 AD) Jesus crucified. Temple destroyed.
    Laugh (120-240 AD) Justin Martyr.
        In 166 AD, Emperor Marcus Aurelius' most famous victim was scourged and beheaded in Rome. The last words of Justin Martyr were, "We desire nothing more than to suffer for our Lord Jesus Christ; for this gives us salvation and joyfulness before his dreadful judgment seat." Justin was asked, "Do you suppose that you will rise again and live for ever?" He replied, "I do not suppose it. I know it."
    Mourn (240-360 AD) Final Roman persecutions, including under Diocletian.
    Dance (360-480 AD) Edict of Thessalonica. Rome becomes a Christian empire.
Amity / Pour -> Individuation
    Scatter stones (480-600 AD) Rome sacked twice. Fall of teh Western Roman Empire.
    Gather stones (600-720 AD) Dome of the Rock.
    Embrace (720-840 AD) 2nd Council of Nicaea - the 7th and final ecumenical council, about the proper use of icons in worship. Last embrace of the eastern and western CHristian churches.
    Refrain (840-960 AD)
Opportunity / Pluck -> Renaissance
    Seek (960-1080 AD) Pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Church independence from civil control. Seeking the return of Christ. 
    Lose (1080-1200 AD) The crusades: Jerusalem captured but then lost. Great Schism of 1054.
    Keep (1200-1320 AD) The Franciscans Keep the commandments. The English Keep their freedom: Magna Carta.
    Throw away (1320-1440 AD) Black Death. Final decline of Byzantium.
Community / Produce -> Worldwide Christian Missions
    Tear (1440-1560 AD) Fall of Constantinople. Protestant Reformation.
    Mend (1560-1680 AD) Peace of Westphalia. Beginning of religious tolerance. 
    Be silent (1680-1800 AD) Pietism Movement. Great Awakening.
    Speak (1800-1920 AD) Christian missions. Anti-slavery movement.
Loyalty / Peace -> Sheep & Goats
    Love (1920-2040 AD) God pour out his love on the world. Food. Medicine. Transport. Communication. Life expectancy. Education. Rights for women, minorities. Democracy. Wealth of the world.
    Hate (2040-2160 AD) Persecution. Division.
    War (2160-2280 AD) The final war against Leviathan.
    Peace (2280 AD-???) The rapture. Second coming of Jesus Christ. 

The twenty-eight times of Ecclesiastes 3 are:

  • a metaphor for the growth of a man or woman from infancy to maturity, with each group of four times corresponding to seven years of life
  • a prophecy of the history of Israel and the Church, from immaturity to full maturity in the faith

The above schema is cryptically brief. See the book below for historical details. The easiest correspondences above are:

  • the rise and fall of the northern kingdom of Israel (a time to be born and a time to die)
  • the Babylonian exile (a time to uproot)
  • the crucifixion of Jesus (a time to weep)
  • converting Rome into a Christian empire (a time to dance)
  • the Protestant Reformation and wars of religion which shattered the church (a time to tear and a time to mend)
  • the Pietism movement and Great Awakening, when Christians began to hear God's call to implement justice, such as rising opposition to slavery (a time to be silent)
  • the worldwide missionary movement when the Church spoke the gospel to the whole world (a time to speak)
  • the worldwide increase in prosperity, increased lifespan, education, medicine and many other advances, as God poured out his love on the world (a time to love)

This leaves "a time to hate" immediately before us, when a great persecution will bring misery. That leaves "a time for war" and "a time for peace" to follow that.

That is how to answer questions about why peace has not yet come to the earth.

In the above schema for history, the starting point is 960 AD, approximately when Solomon dedicated the first temple in Jerusalem. Each time lasts 120 years, excepting the last, because Jesus will return "like a thief in the night" and cut the last period short. The source of that 120-year value is a riddle in Ecclesiastes. See the book below for its interpretation.

Additional info:

For more detailed analysis of Matthew's parables related to missions, see the chapter titled "A Minute Look at Matthew" in:

https://www.amazon.com/Peace-like-Solomon-never-Knew-ebook/dp/B0B9KL8VNG/ref=monarch_sidesheet

Other chapters in the above book tell how to interpret prophetically the twenty-eight times of Ecclesiastes 3.

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  • Regarding the times of 'love' commencing circa 1920, how is this reconciled according to the theory in the source with WWII and the subsequent atrocities that occurred?
    – bio
    Aug 27 at 7:50
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    @bio - The "time to love" expresses God's love for mankind, by showering down undeserved blessings in great quantity. In no other time in history was so much prosperity experienced by so many, nor so many advances made in so many areas of life which could bring health and long life and ease the burdens of work. The evils of the era were about man's hatred of man. Aug 27 at 18:09
  • I was going to up-vote you, until you went way too long and drifted off target (answering the question)
    – AFL
    Aug 31 at 5:51
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Notes on translating Luke 2:14b "good will" from Greek to English:

Holman Christian Standard Bible:

...and peace on earth to people He favors! footnotes: -Other mss read earth good will to people -Or earth to men of good will

New International Version:

...and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

New American Standard Bible:

...And on earth peace among people with whom He is pleased.”

Expanded Bible:

...and on earth let there be peace among the people ·who please God [or he favors; of his pleasure/approval].”

Amplified Bible, Classic Version:

...and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased [men of goodwill, of His favor].

Wycliffe Bible:

...and in earth peace be to men of good will. [...and in earth peace to men of good will.]

Young's Literal Translation:

...and upon earth peace, among men -- good will.

King James Version:

...and on earth peace, good will toward men.

The letters that make up the Bible were originally copied by hand by people specially trained to be precise, but no person is perfect. Occasionally an error can be made, then every copy made from that copy will have the error (and carried as the correct version to new regions). The oldest and most complete copies found so far of Luke 2:14 use the Greek work "eudokias" for "good will", but somewhere along the way a copy was made (that led to many other copies) that used "eudokia" instead. It still means "good will", but in a different form that requires changing the sentence structure around to make sense. So in English, some versions use "good will to men" because they are based on the likely corrupted "eudokia" version, and others use "men of good will", from the likely original and intended version "eudokias". The error changed the meaning of the verse significantly enough that more recent translations have replaced the phrase with something like "...on whom His favor rests" or "...with whom He is pleased", to emphasize the original "eudokias" meaning.

(note: this shouldn't offend people who prefer the KJV, it is just that many older copies of the letter have been found since the KJV was written)

Jesus being physically born on earth (His "of Nazareth" incarnation) only provides peace to some, not all people, so He was not born to bring world peace.

Notes on the meaning of "peace" in Luke 2:14b:

Orthodox Jewish Bible:

and on haaretz shalom among Bnei Adam kavvanah tovah (of good intention).

Tree Of Life Version (Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society)

...and on earth shalom to men of good will.

Most English translations use the word "peace" for this, meaning an absence of strife or anxiety. But the people and angels in the verse were thinking of "shalom", which includes the English meaning but also means "wholeness", a sense of completeness that comes from having a relationship with God. A person trying to live without God has an incomplete understanding of what a person should be and could not enjoy a true and lasting peace. Using shalom in a greeting was done as a blessing for the recipient's relationship with God.

So the type of peace that Jesus offers is only available to people that have a relationship with God that He approves of, further supporting the "eudokias" method of translation to "of good will" instead of the probably flawed "eudokia" translation of "good will to".

Again, Jesus being physically born on earth (His "of Nazareth" incarnation) only provides peace to some, not all people, so He was not born to bring world peace.

Certainly "devout Jews" (as mentioned in the question's detail section) would understand "shalom", but since they don't believe the New Testament they wouldn't like the idea that their God would want to make it available to the rest of us.

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  • Possibly it would be appropriate for me to add a concluding statement to my answer about how "devout Jews" (as mentioned in the question's detail section) certainly would understand "shalom", but since they don't read the New Testament they don't know that their God told all of us that Jesus could provide it to us?
    – jKevinBarr
    Sep 29 at 2:40
  • This is a "good" answer in the sense that 1) it answers the question, 2) it is substantiated with references. Yes, I also like the Q better here since it addresses beyond exegesis. My input: 1) Do add that concluding statement to "devout Jews" since it is asked for in the Q; 2) the determination of C.SE or BH.SE is for the Q, don't worry about incorporating existing BH.SE answer for the exegetical portion of your answer since your answer will still be different to address the theological issue unique to C.SE,; 3) I would move the last paragraph to a comment so the answer is not cluttered. Oct 1 at 7:26
  • moved this text from answer to comment at request of previous commenter: (note: personally I struggle with deciding if C.SE or BH.SE is a better place for a question. I like this question here but at BH.SE someone might have provided my answer already...) Also, moved my previous comment to answer body at same request.
    – jKevinBarr
    Oct 1 at 11:54
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OP: "Jews do not accept Jesus as the messiah because: 1. Jesus did not fulfill the messianic prophecies. [...] Specifically, the Bible says he will: [...]

Usher in an era of world peace, and end all hatred, oppression, suffering and disease. As it says: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall man learn war anymore." (Isaiah 2:4)"

This is perhaps best answered, yes by the two comings, but specifically by what Christ answered when they asked a similar question. Are You fulfilling all the prophecies now?

When they [apostles] therefore were come together, they asked of him [Jesus], saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? Acts 1:6

Christ answers:

And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. Acts 1:7

So, to answer the OP re peace on earth, it is up to the Father when it happens. We are simply to proclaim the Good News of Christ.

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