The Prince of Peace
The Hebrew word “shalom”, which is translated “peace” in English, means a lot more than what we normally define peace as. Shalom means, “peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility”. In the Bible, Jesus is called by so many names, one of them is the Prince of Peace or the Prince of Shalom because he is the embodiment of all the afore-listed qualities. In this article, let’s take a look at Jesus as the Prince of peace, what this descriptive phrase means and its implications to believers.
In Isaiah’s prophecy about the birth of the Messiah (Isaiah 9:6-7), he used a number of phrases to tell his readers who and what the Messiah would be to the world. He preceded the listing of these phrases with the statement “… and his name shall be called”:
- Wonderful Counselor: This refers to the wisdom evident in the counsel Jesus gives.
- Mighty God: This is in reference to the deity of Jesus Christ. The “birth of God” was prophesied by Isaiah and Jesus lived, died and resurrected to fulfil this prophecy.
- Everlasting Father: This refers to the fact that Jesus is the eternal father. Simply put, Jesus is God.
- Prince of Peace: This is in reference to the peace evident in his reign and it also reveals to us his ranking in the spiritual and physical realm.
The prophet tells us that “of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end”. Meaning Jesus’ rulership is everlasting and ever-increasing and so is the peace he gives. His reign is characterized by an outpouring of peace and his tank will never run out of the peace he dispenses to all who call on him. It is my sincere hope and prayer that anybody going through a turbulent season in their lives will come to the saving knowledge of the government of the Prince of Peace. I pray that nations that are in a state of constant warfare will hear the good news of the Saviour who dispenses peace in abundance. After hearing the good news, you must believe in him to have access to the peace he gives. But as Paul asked in Romans 10:14, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him, of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”. Christians must carry out the great commission and preach the good news to all creation. But before we go about telling people who he is, what does “Prince of Peace” really mean?
Let’s begin with the word “prince” and its usage in the bible. According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, the Old Testament contains different words mostly rendered as “prince” or “princes” in the English Versions of the Bible. One of them is “sar”.
This word occurs quite frequently in our English Bible, mostly in the Old Testament. While it is never used to denote royal parentage (compare 1 Chron 29:24), it often indicates actual royal or ruling power, together with royal dignity and authority. As a rule, the name is given to human beings; in a few instances it is applied to God and Christ, the angels and the devil. (from International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
In the book of Daniel, the word is used in reference to angelic beings and demonic forces as well. Below are a few sightings of the word in Daniel:
- Daniel 8:25: “the Prince of princes” refers to God Himself
- Daniel 10:21: “Michael your prince” refers to Michael as the guardian angel of Israel. Also in Daniel 12:1, the word “prince” is used again to refer to Michael as the angel in charge of Israel. He is referred to as the “great Prince”.
- Daniel 10:13 & 20: In these 2 verses, we are told of the “Prince of Persia” and the “Prince of Greece”. These two are demonic forces in charge of the nations of Persia and Greece respectfully. They are also referred to as principalities. Similarly, in Ephesians 2:2, Paul refers to Satan as the “prince of the power of the air”.
The word “sar” is always used to denote a ruler or leader and never to refer to an actual prince who is the son of a King. As stated earlier, the word is sometimes used in reference to human authority. For example, when Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 10:16, “woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, and your princes feast in the morning”. The word “princes” used in this verse does not refer to the son of a king but rather human rulers and leaders. The Amplified Bible actually translates that word in this verse as “officials”.
“Principality” is another word used in the English bible in reference to a powerful ruler, usually in the spiritual realm just like “prince”. The two words are similar but not the same, especially because according to the english dictionary, “principality” also refers to the reign or the territory this powerful ruler presides over. In the bible, the word is often used in the plural form in reference to all manner of spiritual authorities and human rulers.
The word (often found in the plural) may refer to human rulers (Titus 3:1, KJV), demonic spirits (Rom 8:38; Eph 6:12; Col 2:15), angels and demons in general (Eph 3:10; Col 1:16), or (especially when used in the singular) any type of ruler other than God Himself (Eph 1:21; Col 2:10). While Christians must often wrestle against evil principalities (Eph 6:12), they can be victorious because Christ defeated all wicked spirits (Col 2:15). (from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
Michael was described in the book of Daniel as the Prince of Israel. We are also told of the operations of the Prince of Persia and the Prince of Greece: demonic forces in charge of specific geographical locations and territories. Principalities are territorial spirits. Therefore, if peace was a geographical location, Jesus Christ would have been the Prince in charge of it. He would have been the ruling authority presiding over the territory called “peace”. Peace is his principality. The bible makes us understand that it is in him we live and move and have our being; we are in Christ. If this is the case then the “peace of God which surpasses all understanding” should be abundant in the life of every believer. We should access it on a daily basis and never panic or be thrown into a state of turmoil and chaos because of the issues of this life. The peace of God is only operational in Jesus Christ, the Prince of peace (read Philipians 4:7). Outside him, nobody can access the peace of God. His peace is not like the peace the world gives (John 14:27). His Spirit lives in us to produce this peace in the face of adversity and all manner of chaotic situations. That is why peace is listed in the fruit of the spirit. It is produced in you as a result of the operation of the Holy Spirit in your life. This peace comes to guide our hearts and our minds for specific reasons. It guides our hearts lest we are thrown into a state of emotional turmoil and fall into deception, and our minds, lest we are affected mentally by the issues of this life and give in to the wiles of the enemy.
Storms are a good representation of chaos; similar to what human beings go through in life. How Jesus dispenses peace to us when we are in a turbulent season is best depicted by his relationship with storms. In Matthew 14, the remarkable story of Jesus walking on water is recorded. When the disciples saw him walking on the storm, upon Peter’s request, the Lord asked him to walk on the water too. The very water that Jesus walked on, was the very water on which Peter walked until he turned his attention to the waves and began to sink. Peter panicked and that’s why he sank. The waves were already raging before and during Peter’s walk on the water, so it wasn’t the “waves of the water” that caused him to sink. It was the raging storms of fear and doubt in his heart that caused him to sink.
In Matthew 8, Jesus was in a boat with his disciples, and while there was a storm, he was fast asleep. They had to wake him up to the reality of the storm. His immediate response was to rebuke them for their lack of faith, then he proceeded to rebuke the storm too. He exercised authority over the disciples and the storm.
Here are the observations I made from these two stories: the Prince of peace is either strolling “on” the storm, telling it to shut up or sleeping in the midst of it. The first two observations depict Jesus’ authority over turbulence and the last one shows us how much he is unaffected by it. He was so much at peace that while his disciples were struggling to keep the boat floating on the water in the storm, he was fast asleep. He had to be woken up. In my sleep, sometimes I am startled by the vibration of my phone and usually it jolts me into consciousness. The Prince of peace was in a boat that was being tossed to and fro by the waves yet he was asleep. If he could sleep in the storm, then he can grant us sleep in the turbulent seasons of our lives too. So long as the struggles of this world give some people sleepless nights, we have to understand that sleep can never be underrated in the assessment of the amount of peace we have. The Psalmist did say in Psalm 127:2 that the LORD gives sleep to his beloved.
The Prince of peace is the head of all principality and power (Colossians 2:10). The Prince of peace disarmed every principality there is in hell, defeated them and made a public show of their defeat (Colossians 2:15). This means, there is no evil principality in existence that hasn’t been stripped of its power to harm those who are in Christ. Beloved, it is my sincere prayer for you that no matter how chaotic and turbulent the season of life you are in may be, remember who your savior is. He is the Prince of peace, he gives peace – perfect peace. Just as the disciples called on him to restore peace in the midst of the storm, you too can have peace when you call on him. It takes one statement from him, “peace, be still!”, to restore peace in the tempest. It won’t take more from him to restore peace in your life. Call on him now.
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