|Sons to Glory book by Paul Jablonowski||
Part 1 - Thinking Like Mature Sons - Doctrine
Covenant of Peace: The Millennial Age
Could this covenant define the coming Millennial Age? The coming "Age of the Kingdom" is literally upon us in our generation. The chart below shows the three main Covenants that God has established with mankind, and the resulting age of understanding that followed:
As we are entering this new age of the Kingdom, it is vitally important that we understand this Covenant of Peace. Jesus came "full of GRACE and TRUTH" and left us with His PEACE, but not the peace that this present world calls peace. This chapter is written to explore the peace of God which passes understanding and in particular to look at the "Covenant of Peace" which will define the coming new age where Jesus reigns the earth in righteousness.
A covenant is a binding agreement that serves as a title deed or legal document of guarantee. Therefore, the Covenant of Peace is like a contract which describes the terms and conditions of God's "peace plan" for mankind. Just like the Covenant of Redemption details the terms and conditions of God's redemption for mankind, the Covenant of Peace will define what is needed to partake in the coming Age of Peace.
There are actually seven major Covenants that God has initiated with mankind.4 The three already mentioned in the previous time-line are the main Covenants, similar to the three main Feasts of the Lord out of the total of seven. Below is a chart showing the seven Covenants and the person through whom God initiated each one:
When Moses initiated the Covenant of the Law, God created the physical nation of Israel. When Jesus gave the New Covenant of Redemption, God created the spiritual nation we call "the Church." Now it is time for God to bring these two together. Both the spiritual and the natural must be in perfect balance, so God can create for Himself "one new man" from the two that will bring true peace in an Age of Peace."For He Himself is our peace, who has made both (Jew and Gentile) one, and has broken down the middle wall of division between us, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off (Gentiles) and to those who were near (Jews)." (Eph. 2:14-17).
In other words, for about 2,000 years natural Israel had a piece of the "Peace" puzzle, and for the past 2,000 years spiritual Israel had the other piece of the "Peace" puzzle. The second coming of Jesus will combine these two puzzle pieces in what Scripture calls "a mystery" and will bring true lasting peace. "Having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensations of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth - in Him that we who first trusted in Christ (Jews), should be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also trusted (Gentiles), after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. (Eph. 1:9,10,12,13). The natural Jewish patriarchs from the Scriptures have the correct order, form, structure, and organization for God's government, while spiritual Israel (the Church) has the correct substance, life, and attitude of heart for those who are to be a part of God's government. For example, the Feasts of the Lord (see Exodus 23, Levitucus 23) celebrated by the Jews are the basic structure of God's worship system. While the Fruits of the Spirit (Galations 5:22-23) which are evident in the true Christians are the correct heart attitudes for the people of God's Kingdom.
As the figure above shows, the correct combination of Truth and Grace (Natural order and spiritual reality) will characterize the peace of the Kingdom Age. The truth of the natural order was given through Moses in the law, and truth as a spiritual reality came with grace through Jesus. The Kingdom of God being manifested during the next 1,000 years will be the perfect balance between Truth and Grace as the above figure shows. This is the Life of Messiah being duplicated in His children or mature sons. God is in the process of making us into His image. Jesus is our perfect example, and His life was the perfect example of truth, grace and peace. The destiny of mankind is to reflect these characteristics as Jesus did when He walked the earth. Since ALL of Peter & Paul's epistles in the new testament begin and/or end by writing "Grace and Peace" to us, we can be sure these are major building blocks that God has been trying to instill in mankind for thousands of years. Jesus wept over Jerusalem saying, "If you had only known, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes" Luke 19:42. Israel had God's truth, but was blinded to most of His grace. Therefore, the peace they desired was not yet possible because true peace requires the divine balance of understanding both Truth AND Grace. Just like a balanced diet is a pre-requisite to good health, having a BALANCED spiritual diet will be a key characteristic in those who will partake in the coming Age of Peace.
Government & Peace
Government and Peace are connected, because peace comes from order and order comes from government. This is why the millennial reign of Christ will be a reign of peace, because God's order/government will be established. For example, when a region is at war with rebellion and disarray, we want to bring peace and order. This means going in and setting up some form of government that people are willing to submit to. The Kingdom of God is also a government. Unlike the governments of this current age, the Kingdom of God is a government that is pure, righteous and perfect, but it is only in effect where it is welcomed and received.
Let's compare the government of God to the current kingdoms of this world. Imagine all of the current nations of the world together at a United Nations meeting. Everyone at this meeting is concerned about one thing: what is best for me. They are all thinking, "What can I do here to benefit my nation which is of course the best nation." They are willing to step on others in order to better themselves. Their motto is to look out for themselves because no one else will.
Now imagine all of the nations of the world coming together at the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem with the main objective to honor the Lord and focus on Him for an entire week. It would be like a huge family reunion where everyone is concerned about how they can bless and benefit others. I compare it to when my extended family goes out to dinner and everyone is fighting to pick up the bill because we want to be a blessing to our family members, and we are more concerned about what is best for them rather than what is best for ourselves.
In order to bring about God's government of peace, the current world order of government must be changed drastically. Revelation 18 describes this world system as "Babylon" and portrays her downfall. God has to bring His people out of Egypt (another type and shadow of the world system) so that we can worship Him according to His system of government based around the three main celebration Feasts of the Lord. God is going to bring judgments upon this world system as He says once again, "Let my people go, so that they may worship Me." These hardships (plagues) will begin to separate those in Goshen (trusting in God's provision) from those in Egypt (trusting in money). Just like plagues were sent in Abraham's day to set his wife Sarah free, the plagues coming in our day will set the Lord's wife (His Bride Body) free from the order of this Babylonian world system. Any part of our lives which is founded on the selfish principles of this world will be judged along with the world.
This pattern of judgment and then blessing is found over and over in the Scriptures, especially in the Scriptures that pertain to the Covenant of Peace. We see judgment on God's leadership/people and then judgment on God's enemies. Blessing and peace only comes after the fires of cleansing judgment. If we really had eyes to see like the Lord, we would rejoice in the judgments of the Lord in our own lives, because after the heartfelt repentance we would have the peace that we so desire. Lord, have mercy on us and on those around us so that we may embrace the cleansing fires of Your judgment and be a part of Your righteous Covenant of Peace!
Covenant of Peace Word Study
In the King James translation of Scripture the word "covenant" appears 272 times, and the word "peace" appears 400 times. However, the phrase "covenant of peace" occurs only four times:
#1 Numbers 25:12-13 - "Therefore say, "Behold, I give to him (Phinehas son of Eleazar) My covenant of peace; and it shall be to him and his descendents after him a covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was zealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel.""
#2 Isaiah 54:9-10 - "For this is like the waters of Noah to Me; For as I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, So have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from you, Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD who has mercy on you."
#3 Ezekiel 34:25 - "And I will make with them (My flock/people) a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods."
#4 Ezekiel 37:26 - "Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them (the combined house of Israel); it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore."
There are many Scriptures which speak indirectly about the Covenant of Peace, often referring to it as "an everlasting covenant" (Isa. 55:3, 61:8, Jer. 32:40), "an everlasting sign" (Isa. 55:13), "My covenant" (Isa. 59:21, Jer. 33:20, Ezekiel 16:60), "a covenant" (Hos. 2:18), or a "perpetual covenant" (Jer. 50:5). Even more indirectly, the Covenant of Peace could be referring to the "everlasting kingdom" (Dan. 7:27), the "tabernacle of David" (Amos 9:11), the "Day of the Lord" (Joel 2, 2 Pet. 3:10), or even the "latter temple" (Hag. 2:9, Zech 8:9, Mal. 3:1). However, this study will only take a look at the four direct quotes of the "covenant of peace." Then we can try to draw some conclusions about what God's Covenant of Peace involves. We will look the longest at #1 because we want to take a deep look at Phinehas, who was the first to be given this "Covenant of Peace."
Phinehas: The Example of Peace
#1 Numbers 25:12-13 - "Therefore say, "Behold, I give to him (Phinehas son of Eleazar) My covenant of peace; and it shall be to him and his descendents after him a covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was zealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel."
Who is Phinehas? And why was he the first one to be given this "covenant of peace" or "covenant of an everlasting priesthood?" Phinehas was the son of Eleazar, who was the son of Aaron. This is the same Aaron who was the first chief priest and brother of Moses. Phinehas' name is mentioned fifteen times in Scripture: five times in connection with genealogy records, and ten times in connection with four different incidents, which we will discuss in detail. (This Phinehas son of Eleazar should not be confused with Phinehas son of Eli, mentioned in 1 Samuel chapters 1-4 who was killed by the Philistines and had a child named Icabod.)
Phinehas, son of Eleazar, was a Levitical priest whose royal-priesthood lineage produced Ezra the priest who later led the captives up from Babylon (Ezra 7:5). 1 Chron. 9:19-20 says that "the Lord was with him (Phinehas)" and that he was officer over those in charge of the work of service in the tabernacle, and over the gatekeepers and keepers of the entrance to the camp of the Lord. Although Scripture never says that Phinehas was a "high (chief) priest" it is almost certain that he was a high priest, because his father Eleazar was a high priest after Aaron died (Num. 3:32) and Phinehas was Eleazar's only son listed in Scripture (Ex. 6:25). This would put him next in line for the chief priesthood.
So Phinehas was definitely a priest and most likely the high priest at some point in time.
Scripture also tells us exactly why Phinehas was honored with Yahweh's Covenant of Peace and repeats it twice once in Numbers 25:11 - "Phinehas has turned back My wrath from the children of Israel because he was zealous with My zeal among them, so that I did not consume the children of Israel in My zeal." And a second time in Numbers 25:12,13 - "Behold, I give to him My covenant of peace and it shall be to him and his descendants after him a covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was zealous for his God, and made atonement (covering/intercession) for the children of Israel."
Psalm 106 confirms that Phinehas' zeal & intercession was rewarded by God with an everlasting covenant when verses 30-31 say, "then Phinehas stood up and intervened, and so the plague was stopped. And that was accounted to him for righteousness to all generations forevermore." Our father Abraham, who was given an everlasting covenant, is often called the "Father of Faith" because he trusted God to raise his son Isaac from the dead "and it was accounted to him for righteousness" (Gal 3:6). Likewise, our father Phinehas could rightly be called the "Father of Peace" because he was zealous to judge and remove the unrighteousness in the camp of the Lord and was therefore given an everlasting covenant. Both Abraham and Phinehas serve as our examples (1 Cor. 10:11).
This account of Phinehas stopping the plague is one of the four stories in which he appears in the Scriptures. The other three have amazing parallels, where each time he appears on the scene, he is acting as a peacemaker bringing first judgment and then peace among the Israeli brethren. The four accounts of Phinehas the priest are found: first in Numbers 25; second in Numbers 31; third in Joshua 22, and fourth in Judges 19-21. Each of these will now be discussed:
The 1st mention of Phinehas in Numbers chapter 25 covers the entire account of how Israel began to commit harlotry with the women of Moab/Midian and how Phinehas intervened to turn back God's wrath. The people of Israel accepted invitations to sacrifice to Moab/Midian gods and "so Israel was joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel" (vs. 3).
The Lord then told Moses to execute (hang) all the offenders so that His anger would turn away. However, Zimri - a leader among the Israelite men, would not kill Cozbi his Midianite wife and they paraded in front of Moses and the tabernacle in open defiance. Cozbi's father was also a leader: "head of the people of a father's house in Midian." So when Phinehas saw this rebellion, he rose up and thrust a javelin through both Zimri and Cozbi while in their tent. This stopped the plague that had already killed 24,000, and ended up sparing many lives in the long run.
So Phinehas' zeal to obey God and get rid of the unrighteous leaders in the camp of Israel was the attitude that God was looking for to be His model peacemaker. Hence, it was accounted to him as righteousness to all generations forevermore, because even today he serves as our example of the way to make peace to have the zeal of the Lord to love righteousness and hate lawlessness (Ps. 45:6,7; Heb. 1:9).
The 2nd mention of Phinehas in Numbers chapter 31 contains the account of Moses taking vengeance for the children of Israel on the Midianites according to The Lord's command. Verse 6 mentions that Moses sent Phinehas to war against the Midianites with the holy articles and the signal trumpets in his hand. This command to war is in connection with the first account of Phinehas in Numbers 25 because Numbers 25:16-18 says, "the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Harass the Midianites, and attack them; for they harassed you with their schemes by which they seduced you in the matter of Peor and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of a leader of Midian, their sister, who was killed in the day of the plague because of Peor."
The thing to remember is that Moses' wife was a Midianite! (Exodus 2:16,17). Moses himself had lived in Midian for 40 years, and had two children who were half Midianite. It was like attacking your own family! So once again Phinehas, the man awarded with the everlasting Covenant of Peace, leads the battle cry against people close enough to be considered family.
I am sure that it was a painful decision for Moses and Phinehas to attack family in Midian, yet they had more zeal for the righteous standards of Yahweh God than they did for "protecting their own turf." It reminds me of Jesus' words when He said, "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26).
The 3rd mention of Phinehas in Joshua chapter 22 gives the next story of our hero Phinehas. Guess when the "man of peace" gets called in again on the scene? Again, it is during a time of conflict between the (brethren) tribes of Israel. At least this time, Phinehas was able to solve the problem without bloodshed.
The point of contention was over an altar that the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh had built. These three tribes were on the east side of the Jordan River, while all the other tribes of Israel were west of the Jordan. All of the tribes on the west side of the Jordan thought that these three tribes were rebelling against the Lord by building this altar outside of the only tabernacle prescribed by God to worship. Therefore, they prepared to go to war against them.
Phinehas was the man chosen by Israel to go with their 10 tribal leaders and speak to these three tribes about this altar they had built. However, it turned out that the reason they built the altar was not to worship falsely outside of the tabernacle, but to teach their children to fear the Lord. Since the Jordan River was a barrier to the Lord's tabernacle on the west side of the Jordan, they wanted to teach their descendents the ways of God. So the altar was a "witness/testimony" of the Lord and not a place where they actually offered burnt offerings. It served as a replica of the altar of the Lord.
This pleased Phinehas and the 10 western tribe leaders as Joshua 22:30-32 confirms:
"And when Phinehas the priest, and the princes of the congregation and heads of the thousands of Israel which were with him, heard the words that the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the children of Manasseh spake, it pleased them. And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the children of Manasseh, This day we perceive that the LORD is among us, because ye have not committed this trespass against the LORD: now ye have delivered the children of Israel out of the hand of the LORD. And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, and the princes, returned from the children of Reuben, and from the children of Gad, out of the land of Gilead, unto the land of Canaan, to the children of Israel, and brought them word again. And the thing pleased the children of Israel; and the children of Israel blessed God, and did not intend to go up against them in battle, to destroy the land wherein the children of Reuben and Gad dwelt. And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad called the altar Witness: for it shall be a witness between us that the LORD is God."
Phinehas was acting as a judge between the tribes of Israel. He was a righteous judge who was not afraid to confront wrongdoers and go to battle if necessary. Yet he was also sensitive enough not to judge by outward appearances but get to the heart of the matter, such as in this case, when it was simply a misunderstanding and not a sin against God. Isaiah 11:3-4 describes the Messiah who will rule in the 1,000 year reign of peace, but also describes the heart of Phinehas and all of those who will rule and reign with Christ during the millennium: "His delight is in the fear of the Lord, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears; But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth."
The 4th mention of Phinehas in Judges chapters 19-21 provides the final account of Phinehas. Once again, Phinehas is called on the scene during a major conflict between the (brethren) tribes, which ends up in a bloody war of all Israel against the tribe of Benjamin. This civil war almost wiped out the entire tribe of Benjamin.
The story begins with a traveling Levite who stayed the night in a town called Gibeah in the land of Benjamin. Perverted men came at night and raped and murdered his concubine. To make a graphic point of the evil that these men from Benjamin had done, the Levite, "took a knife, laid hold of his concubine, and dismembered her into twelve pieces, limb by limb, and sent her throughout all the territory of Israel" (Judges 19:29).
Needless to say, this fired things up in Israel and all of the tribes in Israel rallied to go up against the city of Gibeah and kill the perverted men of Benjamin who did this wicked thing. But the children of Benjamin would not listen to reason and decided to go to battle against all of Israel.
The children of Israel went up to the house of God to ask counsel about the battle and twice God told them to go fight Benjamin. However both days Israel was defeated before the mighty men of Benjamin losing 22,000 men the first day and 18,000 the second day!
The third day Israel fasted and wept and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings to the Lord and again inquired of the Lord. Then, the only time Phinehas' name is mentioned in this account, Judges 20:27-28 says: "the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, and Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days, saying, "Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of my brother Benjamin, or shall I cease?" And the Lord said, "Go up, for tomorrow I will deliver them into your hand." Then Israel went to battle and killed almost ALL of the 26,000 men of Benjamin. The men of Israel struck down men and beasts and all who were found and set fire to all the cities of Benjamin. Only 600 men of the tribe of Benjamin were left, and they fled toward the wilderness and stayed for four months.
Although Israel was able to restore Benjamin by providing wives for the 600 Benjamites who were left, it was a costly way to have to bring peace to rebellious brethren.
So in all of these accounts of Phinehas, who was given the "covenant of peace" and the "covenant of the everlasting priesthood," we see a man who would not tolerate unrighteousness in the camp of the Lord. We see a man who was willing to endure temporary bloodshed and warfare with the greater vision in mind of having a lasting peace where righteousness rules. Yet, he was not "blood thirsty" and just looking for the wrong in everybody. He was able to discern the heart of an issue, whether it was a sin against God or just a misunderstanding.
How opposite from what our current world governments uphold as a peacemaker! I have seen our generation give a terrorist the Nobel Peace Prize and honor him at national prayer breakfasts with the hope that he will "try harder and change his ways." A study on this terrorist will reveal that even from his childhood his life was characterized by brutal murders and deceiving his own people. He was responsible for untold numbers of atrocities which would make the wicked men in Benjamin blush! And yet we call him a peacemaker?
Although God's idea of a peacemaker may need to go to battle and war, it is only to uphold true justice and not for selfish motives. Notice what Jesus, who is our ultimate example of a peacemaker, says in Matthew 10:34-39: "Do you think that I came to bring peace on the earth? I did not come to bring 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 foes will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take up his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it."
These words come from the Prince of Peace, who understood that sometimes it is necessary to divide against our brethren if they are in disobedience to God. This is what Phinehas did when he interceded and went to war against the tribe of Benjamin. He was standing for what was right. Instead of winking at sin, he allowed sin to be judged and in the long run this brought liberty to all of Israel.
Even Solomon, whose reign is a foreshadow of the peaceful millennial reign of Christ, had a period of warfare for the first four years of his reign where there was much bloodshed and vengeance on the enemies of God within the camp of Israel. Adonijah, one of David's sons who presumed to be king, was executed. Abiathar the wicked priest was exiled and later executed. Joab the commander of David's armies who had shed innocent blood was executed and Shimei who had cursed David was also executed. So even Solomon's reign of peace was preceded by the dividing of God's true leadership from those who had presumed leadership.
God's coming leaders for the new age will be peacemakers. These peacemakers are called sons of God (Matt. 5:9), and the whole creation longs for the revealing of these sons of God (Rom 8:19). These peacemakers may bring momentary division and warfare, but afterward there will be the millennial reign of Messiah where peace and righteousness reigns throughout the earth. Paul warned of this "great falling away" (2 Thess. 2:3) that would come before Messiah's second coming, and Revelation also speaks about a 3 ½ year tribulation period that acts as a transition time into the 1,000 year period of peace. "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).
So the next time you see division in the body of Christ, perhaps the Lord is in the process of bringing true everlasting peace? This is not free license to get into strife with brothers and sisters in Christ, but Paul said, "I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you" (1 Cor. 11:19-20). Sometimes the best way we can walk in love with someone is to confront them on sin and allow their sin to be judged so that they can repent and be reconciled back to God and man (1 Cor. 5:5). This is how Jesus loved the Pharisees and Scribes.
How do we know who is on the Lord's side in a division among brethren? "The purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart" (1 Tim. 1:5), and the pure in heart will see God. If we have a pure heart, we will have pure doctrine. "Let no one deceive you, He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He (Jesus) is righteous" (1 John 3:7). So, our morality will effect our doctrine. Corruption and sin blinds us to the truth. People with corrupt hearts have corrupt doctrine and they CANNOT see the truth because God blinds them (John 12:40). The answer is not to choose sides, but to choose the Lord and His righteousness. As Joshua found out in battle, the Lord is neither on our side nor on our enemy's side, He is for righteousness (Joshua 5:13)!
The conclusion that can be drawn from the life of Phinehas is that we must make a stand for righteousness bearing the necessary warfare that often comes before a true lasting peace. One caution that we must always keep in mind is that "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this age, and demonic forces in the heavenlies" (Eph. 6:12). If we are walking in love and find ourselves in confrontation with brethren, the real battle is with the spirits of evil that are blinding them and not the person himself/herself (2 Cor. 4:4). Even in the midst of confrontation our ultimate goal is restoration and reconciliation, not separation.
We have just looked at the first reference of "Covenant of Peace" in the scriptures, and the man Phinehas who was first given this covenant. Our study will now continue with the second reference:
Covenant of Peace in Isaiah
54:9,10 - "For this is like the waters of Noah to Me;
For as I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no longer cover the
earth, So have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke
This promise spoken by Isaiah above is compared to the Covenant of Noah, which is a covenant of preservation where God promised to preserve the earth and mankind and never again destroy all living things. In the context of Isaiah 54, God is speaking this comforting word to a woman who is "barren" (vs 1) and "forsaken and grieved in spirit, like a youthful wife when you were refused" (vs 6). God tells this woman that "for a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you. With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you" (vs. 7,8). Surely, this woman represents the Bride of Christ and the spiritual descendents of Phinehas who will inherit the "Covenant of Peace." At first she is grieved and forsaken because of judgment and chastisement on her sins, which works righteousness in her life, but then she is comforted with a reign of peace (Heb. 12:3-11, Isa. 32:17).
It is interesting to note that the chapter just before this one is Isaiah 53 which speaks in detail about the sin-bearing suffering servant. Then chapter 55, which follows our"Covenant of Peace" chapter, discusses in detail about the abundant life of joy and peace. Just like in the life of Phinehas, we find the pattern of judgment and then blessing. We see sin having to be dealt with openly and honestly before we see the effects of peace becoming a reality in the earth.
Jesus' finished work on the cross is the only work that can take care of the sin that blocks us from peace. We only have access to the Covenant of Peace through the blood of Jesus. We only have an inheritance in the Covenant of Peace through being found "in Him." As Ephesians 2:12-13 shows us, ALL of God's promises or covenants are made available to us through the Blood of Christ " At that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been made near by the blood of Christ."
Covenant of Peace in Ezekiel
#3 Ezekiel chapter 34:25 - "And I will make with them (My flock/people) a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods." The third and fourth places where the term "covenant of peace" is used in the Scriptures is found in Ezekiel.
Once again, we find in the context of the Covenant of Peace a judgment upon God's leadership. Chapter 34 starts out with the Lord rebuking the irresponsible shepherds for feeding themselves instead of feeding His sheep. He then gathers His flock and judges them and establishes His new leadership/government for them. The Lord says in verses 23 and 24: "I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them - My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them." The very next verses (34: 25-31) explain in the best detail available in Scripture what the Covenant of Peace will be like:
This is an awesome description of the restoration of mankind and His purpose to live and rule the earth! Notice that this Covenant of Peace is made with us His people, and that Ezekiel is writing in future tense:"I will make." What a great time we live in today, when the King of kings will soon make a Covenant of Peace with us and with all His creation here on earth! It will truly be a "new age." Just like when Jesus came the first time and initiated the age of Grace, a new age of Peace is literally at our doorstep.
#4 Ezekiel 37:26 - "Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them (the combined house of Israel); it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore." This final place in Scripture where the phrase "covenant of peace" is found, is located only three chapters after the last occurrence in Ezekiel.
Again we find the judgment and then blessing pattern, because chapter 35 discusses the judgment against Mount Seir and then chapter 36 discusses the blessing on Israel. Since Mt. Seir and all of Edom has always had an ancient hatred for Israel and shed innocent blood, they will reap what they have sown and be "desolate." Yet Israel who was made desolate by Edom and her surrounding neighbors shall be rebuilt and inhabited and stumble no more.
Chapter 37 then reiterates Israel's restoration in two graphic visions. The first vision is the valley of dry bones, representing natural Israel, which comes back to life from the dead. The second one is the two sticks of Joseph and Judah, which become one in God's hand. The stick of Joseph in the hand of Ephraim represents spiritual Israel (the Church), and the stick of Judah represents natural Israel (the Jews). After the two are joined together in the land of Israel, the Covenant of Peace will be in operation in a much greater way. This chapter then ends with the Lord describing His Covenant of Peace: (37:23-28)
God's sanctuary (the Millennial temple), as described in Ezekiel 40-48, will be set up and functioning for about 1,000 years as a teaching tool for His people so we can learn to BE His pure and holy temple for all eternity.
It is interesting to note the judgment and then blessing pattern once again in the final chapters of Ezekiel. Chapters 38 and 39 speak about judgment on Gog and Magog, and then the final nine chapters of Ezekiel describe in detail the blessing of God's Millennial Temple, which will be in the midst of Israel during the reign of Messiah. A study model of this temple will be discussed in chapter seven.
Judgment and the Covenant of Peace
So we find the pattern of judgment and then blessing over and over surrounding the Scriptures that pertain to the Covenant of Peace. Judgment on God's leadership/people and then judgment on God's enemies. Blessing and peace only comes after the fires of cleansing judgment. The book of Judges is almost redundant with Israel being judged for sins; then they repent and find blessing and then fall back into sin again, and the pattern repeats itself over and over. It seems like God has allowed this pattern to occur for 6,000 years, since the creation of mankind, to teach us to trust in Him and not our own righteousness. However, God's promise of a Covenant of Peace is hope that we will finally learn from history and our own mistakes not to fall into this vicious cycle of sin and judgment. Hebrews 12:11 tells us, "...no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." We need to rejoice in the judgments of the Lord in our own lives, because afterward we would have our desired peace in a perpetual covenant of peace.
"Your judgments are good true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, sweeter than the honey and the honeycomb by them your servant is warned" (Ps. 119:39; Ps. 19:9-11). God's judgment on nations is also good, true and righteous. Scripture is clear that ALL the nations of the earth will be judged at the beginning of the 1,000 year Age of Peace (Joel 3, Zech. 12:9). The book of Revelation describes in detail this transition period of judgment between the Age of Grace and the Age of Peace. About this judgment Jesus says, "except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened" (Matt. 24:22, Mark 13:20). Isaiah 26:20 tells us to hide during this short time of wrath saying, "Come my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; Hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation (wrath) is past. For behold, the Lord comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth will also disclose her blood, and will no more cover her slain. In that day the Lord with His severe sword, great and strong, will punish Leviathan (a principality of Satan) the fleeing serpent, Leviathan that twisted serpent, and He will slay the reptile that is in the sea."
Satan has been "cast to the earth" knowing that "he has a short time," but he will be bound during the 1,000 years of Christ's rule on the earth through His Bride (Rev. 12:9,12; Rev. 20:2).
Throughout the ages, God's people have always gone through the judgments of the Lord, and been spared alive on the earth. This time will be no different. When Noah was told by God that judgment was coming, God spared him through the flood. Peter and Jesus both compare the end of this Age of Grace to the days of Noah (1 Pet. 3:20, Matt. 24:37, Luke 17:26) where the righteous are saved alive on earth and the wicked are taken from the earth. Also, Jesus compares Lot and the destruction of Sodom with the judgment period we are about to enter (Luke 17:28-37). Again, we see the righteous (Lot and family) being saved alive on the earth, and the wicked (those in Sodom) taken from the earth in judgment.
1 Thess. 4:17 does mention a "rapture" which is a "changing" into our immortal bodies, but it happens in the "twinkling of an eye" (1 Cor. 15:52) and then we remain on the earth to rule and reign with Jesus. The previous raptures in Scripture (Enoch, Elijah, Philip, and Paul) were not for the purpose of removing God's people from judgment. Rather, it was because they "walked with God." (Gen. 5:24) Only after Jesus' Bride walks close to her Bridegroom (Jesus) and is cleansed without spot or wrinkle (Eph. 5:27) will there be any rapture. The coming judgments will bring this cleansing in our walk with the Lord. The rapture is for the purpose of exchanging this corruptible body for an immortal body (1 Cor. 15:35-58) so that we can be more intimate with our Bridegroom. The rapture is not to spare us from judgment, but simply so we can better "be with the Lord." (1 Thess. 4:17)
Abraham survived the plagues in his day. Joseph was spared and even prospered during the famine in his day. Moses and the children of Israel were safe in the land of Goshen during the judgment God sent during their day, while the Egyptians suffered the full force of the plagues. Likewise, we will see the judgments of the Lord fall on the rebellious in our day and it will be a sad and tearful sight to witness. However, by God's grace we will be spared from it ourselves if our lives are founded upon Jesus. His life in us is the ONLY thing that will not burn up in the judgment. "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire" (Heb. 12:28,29).
Be Led By God's Peace
We have all had to make decisions in life where we seek God earnestly and ask for His direction. If you ask someone how they knew God's will for where they are to be living geographically, or what job to take, you may get an answer like, "I had a peace about it." But if we're honest with ourselves, we can admit that sometimes we've "missed it," and looking back we can see that the "peace" we were being led by in some situations was not God's peace, but rather our own peace often being directed by our selfish desires. Being led by the peace of God is definitely a Scriptural way to make decisions (Phil. 4:7), but we will only have God's peace if we have God's government established in our lives. Peace is like an umpire at a baseball game who enforces the rules that are already in place. Umpires cannot change the rules, they only enforce them. The peace of God does not make the rules; it only enforces the rules that are already established in our hearts. God's peace comes from having the government of God in your life. If we don't have God's government in our lives, then we will have Satan's government, which is based on lawlessness Doing what is right in your own eyes. If our lives are not based on God's Word (His Law -His government) then the "peace" that we are led by is not necessarily the peace of God, but will reflect the order/law/government that is already established in our heart. Satan's government has a motto "Survival of the fittest" whoever is the strongest will kill and devour the weaker. Everyone's life is established on some form of government. It may be lawlessness, but that is still a government the government of this current world.
BUT There has been a seed planted (Jesus) in the earth whose fruit is righteousness! This seed is sown in peace by those who make peace (James 3:18), and by the laws of sowing and reaping this seed will generate more righteousness. Although this kingdom of righteousness is currently operating on an individual basis right now, the time is at hand when the corporate Bride of Christ will be established by God Himself into a full fledged central government. There are two spiritual governments currently in operation on the earth: Satan's and God's. Although the kingdom of darkness currently has a very poorly managed natural government (the current world system), Satan's government is about to be bound for 1,000 years which will create a climate of righteousness, and in a climate of righteousness peace flourishes! Matthew 13:19 explains that the Word is likened to a seed which is planted and the evil one comes and steals the seed (Word) that was sown. So, when Satan, the evil one, is bound for 1,000 years (Rev. 20:2), He will not be able to steal the Word (seed) that will be sown in the hearts of people. Hence, that seed will be able to grow and we will have God's peace!
God's kind of peacemakers are not pre-occupied with themselves, because "where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing will be there" (James 3:16). The opposite of peace is confusion (Babylon). Therefore, peace is the absence of envy and self-seeking. The Age of Peace will be where everyone else is thinking about your needs. You will not be concerned about yourself and your own needs, because you will be too busy concerning yourself with others. Instead of today's attitude, which is "Look out for yourself because no one else will," the Kingdom Age attitude will be "I am my brother's keeper."
What will the Kingdom Age be like?
A kingdom is a reflection of the king who rules it. The greatest thing about the coming Kingdom is that it will reflect the character and purpose of King Jesus! "For unto us a child is born, unto 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. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this." (Isa. 9:6,7). Doesn't this also remind us of Phinehas?
Scripture further describes what this Kingdom Age will be like. Isaiah 11:6-9 is quoted often to describe the 1,000 year period of peace:
This shows that Messiah must first bring righteous judgment before the promised peace becomes a reality.
Even the current world system desires to have the type of peace that the Bible describes the millennium will have, because the United Nations building in New York has written above its doors the second half of Isaiah 2:4 - "They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore." However, they conveniently leave out the first half of this verse which shows the method of HOW this peace will be brought about - "He (the Lord) shall judge between the nations, and shall rebuke many people; THEN They shall beat their swords into plowshares "
Also, the peace described in this above Scripture will not come from the U.N. building in New York. If you read the three verses (Isa. 2:1-3) before the one quoted on the U.N. building, it will tell you exactly where the government of true peace will be headquartered:
Jerusalem, Israel is the eternal capital of the earth where Jesus the Jewish Messiah will be king over all the kingdoms of the earth. Ezekiel chapters 40-48 describes His temple building which will serve as a 1,000-year object lesson for His Bride the Church who will be learning to BE the eternal temple.
The reason that God has brought the natural nation of Israel back together in our generation is to set the stage for Jesus' Millennial Kingdom. This 1,000 year period is mentioned six different times in Revelation 20:1-7, and is also very clear about who will be reigning with the Messiah: "the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years."
These souls beheaded for their testimony of Jesus, along with the martyrs mentioned in Rev. 6:9, and the two witnesses who are murdered in Rev. 11:7 could be considered the "shed blood" that all God ordained Covenants witness. The Covenant of Law was witnessed with the blood of bulls and goats. The Covenant of Redemption was witnessed with the blood of Messiah Jesus, which makes valid all of the Covenants. And the Covenant of Peace will be witnessed with the blood of those who have followed, and will follow, in the footsteps of their mentor Jesus and lay down their lives. "And they did not love their lives to the death" (Rev. 12:11). "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints" (Psalms 116:15).
Likewise, all of God's ordained Covenants are "sealed" or have some kind of a "sign" for authenticity. The Covenant of the Law had the sign of the seventh day Sabbath (Exodus 31:12-18): "My Sabbath is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever." The Covenant of Redemption had the sign or seal of Jesus' bodily burial and resurrection (John 6:27, Luke 11:29). The Covenant of Peace is sealed by the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:30, 2 Cor. 1:22). "You were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession" (Eph. 1:13,14). We, the saints, are God's purchased possession and our redemption is not complete until Jesus returns and redeems our bodies as well. (Read 1 Cor. 15:35-58 to see this promise of eternal incorruptible bodies)
The return of Jesus is the beginning of this coming new age of peace. The disciples asked Jesus, "What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age? Jesus answered them and said, " the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (Matt. 24:3,30). However, Jesus will first return IN His mature sons before He fully returns physically. His Second Coming will be a progression like it was when He came the first time and was: 1) incarnated & born, 2) grew up, and 3) finished His earthly ministry. The Second Coming of Christ will be further discussed in chapter 14, but it is sufficient here to say that His Second Coming will be the sign that the Millennial Age has begun. The chart below adds more understanding onto the first chart shown at the beginning of this chapter:
The Lord required that His people appear before him three times per year (Ex. 23:17). Likewise, mankind will experience the manifest presence of the Lord on three major occasions. The Holy Spirit manifested Himself through a cloud and a pillar of fire to Moses and the children of Israel in the wilderness giving us the Covenant of the Law. The Son manifested Himself in the person of Jesus giving us the Covenant of Redemption. Finally, the Father will manifest Himself through His Bride during the Kingdom Age giving us a Covenant of Peace. The Feast of Tabernacles is a great foreshadow of what the Kingdom age will be like. This Feast was a big celebration after the general harvest where there was much thanksgiving and rejoicing in the goodness of God and His works.
Although the Old Testament prophets were somewhat blinded to the Age of Grace, they saw the Kingdom age very well. King David spoke often in the Psalms about God's kingdom being established on earth (Psalms 2, 24, 45, 47, 48, 72, 98, 110, 122, 132, 149). Except for Jonah, ALL of the Old Testament prophets spoke of the Kingdom Age where Jerusalem Israel will be the central government for all the nations. A few of these Scriptures from each Old Testament prophet is listed below:
Isaiah 55:3-56:8, 59:21-62:12, 66; Jeremiah 23:1-8, 32:36-33:26; Ezekiel 16:60-17:24, ch 36; Daniel 7:27, 12:1-4; Hosea 2:14-23; Joel 3:18-21; Amos 9:11-15; Obadiah 1:17-21; Micah 4:1-13; Nahum 1:15; Habakkuk 2:14; Zephaniah 3:9-20; Haggai 2:6-9.19; Zechariah 1:16-17, 2:8-13, 8:1-23, 14:16-21; Malachi 3:1-5.
These Scriptures referenced above speak about the blessing of the Kingdom age. However, if you look at the context of the prophet's messages, you will notice that they all speak about judgment too. These prophets usually spend more time speaking about the judgments than they do the blessings. This is because the Lord's judgment will actually be the catalyst, which brings about the peaceful reign of the Kingdom Age.
Covenant of Peace Conclusion
Peace comes through righteousness, and righteousness comes from the judgments of the Lord "For when Your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. Let grace be shown to the wicked, yet he will not learn righteousness" (Isa. 26,9,10). So if we really desire the peace of God, we will rejoice when His judgments begin to fall. This is why the apostles and prophets and all of heaven rejoice when Babylon (the current world order/government) is judged, because they see that the Kingdom of God is soon coming (Rev. 18:20).
This is not freedom to hold wrath in our hearts, because "the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God" (James 1:20). Man will not accomplish this peace by His own merit, rather it is the Lord IN us who will bring about this peace, as Isaiah 26:12 says, "LORD, You will establish peace for us, For You have also done all our works IN us." All the focus and attention must be put on Jesus, who is the only reason that we have access to this wonderful Covenant of Peace which will soon be a reality in the earth. He paid the highest price of His life for our peace, as Isaiah 53:5 shows us "the chastisement for our peace was upon Him."
"For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed."
Mountains and hills are Scriptural symbols for governments and ruling
authorities. The current world governments will depart, and the occult
religions will also be removed. "But my steadfast love shall not
depart from you (the Lord's Bride/wife). And My covenant of peace
shall not be removed, says the Lord who has compassion on you" (Isa.
54:10). This Covenant of Peace will extend beyond the millennium and