Peace, Be Still
By William T. James
Planet earth was near cataclysm. The atomic structure of all creation strained
to explode while the One for whom and by whom all things were created
descended the Mount of Olives riding on the donkey.
Apparently, all that kept the building blocks of the universe from flying apart
were the hosannas of praise shouted by the people who spread the palm
fronds before Jesus.
The indignant Pharisees, seeing and hearing the worshipful adulation,
implored Jesus to tell them to stop their praising. The Lord knew their jealous,
sin-blackened hearts-that they, in their unbelief, considered the praise
blasphemy. As He always did, Jesus spoke truth that out away all
superfluous side issues.
I tell you the truth that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would
immediately cry out (Luke 19:40).
The King of kings moved toward the holiest of all places on earth to present
himself as Israel's Messiah and King. In a short time, those people would
reject Him and demand that He be put to death by. the cruelest method of
execution known in that day. When the praises turned to cursings and the
Lamb of God was slain in the once and for all sacrificial act that provides
redemption for lost mankind, the skies darkened to midnight black at midday. The earth convulsed mightily and split apart. Corpses came out of
their graves and walked the streets of
Jerusalem. Nature itself must have screamed in agony when the Son of God and God the Father separated because of humanity's sin,
which Christ became in that awful moment
the Trinity was split.
Before Jesus voluntarily gave up His spirit to death, I le said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke
23:34). Could Jesus have been asking the Father
to restrain the geophysical elements from taking vengeance on that generation of rebellious earth dwellers?
All of creation no doubt spasmed with the pain the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit experienced. Legions of angels leaned forward, ready
for battle if the Son of God had called.
But Jesus' words reflected only compliance with the will of His Father in heaven: "It is finished" (John 19:30). And the upheaving
geophysical universe settled when the veil in
the Holy of Holies ripped from top to bottom.
Neopaganism and Its Consequences
Practically every indicator within the scope of human affairs points to restlessness, turmoil, and to wars and rumors of wars.
Jesus' words as recorded in Matthew 24:5-8 could
easily be applied to our times. The Lord said in that account, "For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall
deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and
rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled-, for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise
against nation, and kingdom against kingdom;
and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows."
Although He was referring specifically to the Tribulation period, that seven-year period of apocalypse which will conclude with His
second advent at the time of Armageddon,
He also said in Luke 21:28 that "when these things begin to come to pass" we are to "look up, and lift up [our] heads; for four]
redemption draweth near." Jesus said that these
indicators would be "the beginning of sorrows" or birth pangs.
The Lord warned that these symptoms of the end time will increase in frequency and intensity as the time of His return
approaches like the labor contractions a woman suffers when the birth of her child nears. His words seemed to emphasize that man's
rebelliousness and wickedness will again
be at levels like in the days of Noah and the days of Lot (Luke 17: 26-30). Mankind's incorrigible rebelliousness will bring God's
Certainly, this generation of earth dwellers cries out for peace. Most conspicuous in this regard is the global outcry for a
cessation of hostilities between Israel and its
Palestinian neighbors. The hue and cry for peace, however, can be heard from every quarter on earth. From nations in conflict with
each other, from ethnic groups warring one
against another, from communities experiencing everincreasing violence, from families in turmoil, from individuals who murder and
maim each other, every hour of every day,
they cry peace, peace! when there is no peace (Jeremiah 6:14, 8:11).
This generation seeks to calm the rage, but does so through anything and everything but the one and only source of true peace, Jesus
Christ. The poorest among our number
seek comfort, solace, and sustenance from governmental bureaucracies. The middle class seeks to keep noses above the flood of taxes
those bureaucracies issue forth. Yet at
the same time, the middle class gropes for temporal pleasures, entertainment, and material goods that might provide moments of
peace that never seem to come. The wealthy
and elite grasp for satisfaction they perceive as attainable through the pursuit of money, power, and self-aggrandizement. Idolatry
of every sort rules throughout every strata
of every culture and society today. God is pushed farther and farther from the thoughts of men who seek only to praise their gods
of this age.
Fires of discontent are the result of man's refusal to give God the praise and worship He alone deserves. That fire will soon
produce seven years of hell on earth. As Jesus
warned the Pharisees, "the very stones will cry out."
The Stones Begin to Shout!
When the 22-pound Mars rover named Sojourner began its work shortly after landing on that planet July 4, 1997, scientists began
proclaiming almost with one voice that the
geological pattern was telling the story of a catastrophic planetary flood. Many of these same scientists could discern and exclaim
loudly that a planetary flood had occurred
millions of years ago on the planet Mars 119 million miles
distant. They cannot, however, bring themselves to admit that the catastrophic global flood reported in God's Word ever occurred on
earth. They deny the flood of Noah's day
even though the geological record attests to the truth of the biblical account and is readily observable all around them on their
The stones cry out from 119 million miles away, making manifest the foolishness of those who profess themselves to be wise. The
so-called scientific community can claim with
absolute authority that microbial life once existed on Mars because of formations they think they see inside a meteor fragment they
speculate came from Mars. They can say
with certainty that man evolved out of primordial soup without producing a single link of proof that one specie has ever made the
evolutionary leap to become another specie.
Yet when millions upon millions of sealife fossils (seashells, etc.), are found on the highest peaks on earth, the so-called
empirical method is thrown out the door. Rather than
admit that these mountain ranges were once under water due to a great flood that covered the whole earth, they choose to believe
and put forth the unsubstantiated claim that
the mountains have been somehow rising for many millions of years from a starting point below sea level.
Human beings lie because their foolish hearts are darkened. God's marvelously made creation cries out the truth where mankind fails
to do so. The apostle Paul, writing under
inspiration of God's Holy Spirit, spoke to the heart of man's disbelief and its consequences.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in
unrighteousness, Because that which may be known of
God is manifest in them; for God hath shown it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are
clearly seen, being understood by the things that are
made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse; Because, when they knew God, they glorified him not as
God, neither were thankful, but became
vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed
the glory of the uncorruptible God into an
image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore, God also gave
them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves, Who exchanged the
truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and
served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen
Our generation voraciously devours the evolutionary dogma with the same gusto the ancients hungered for their self-fashioned beastly
gods. Idolaters of today differ from
ancient idolaters only in that neopagans worship gods that are a bit more interactive. They excitedly praise Hollywood entertainers
and shout their adoration to sports stars and
sports teams from pews at the temple-like stadiums and arenas and through television altars in their homes. They fashion their
objects of worship into shiny automobiles,
pleasure boats, and other usable forms. Like the pagans of old, they give their hearts, time, and money to their idols which they
name after birds, four-footed beasts, and
Evolution has become the foundational undergirdings upon which humanistic agendas are built. God has been kicked out of our
classrooms and our courtrooms. He has been
replaced by relativism, which makes the individual a god unto himself.
Evolution says that all began in chaos but is getting better and better as the human animal progresses toward becoming the ultimate
man. But in actuality, evolution creates
chaos because it puts forward "values clarification" that says everyone has a right to know and do what is right in his own eyes.
The ultimately evolved man will be the
incorrigibly wicked and rebellious people of the apocalypse. The Antichrist will personify the lies wrapped up in the false faith
so-called scientific minds of today term
Total chaos, the opposite of true peace, is unregenerate mankind's destiny. America's decline since the 1960's Supreme Court
decisions to legalize abortion and outlaw God in
classrooms and courtrooms and many other public places proves that chaos results from a godless, humanistic system.
Perilous Times in America
Often, in discussions involving the state of the world, it is said that societies such as those in Communist China, Cambodia, Laos,
Vietnam, or the various brutal regimes in
Africa have no regard for human life. Such accusations imply that America and western Europe are the truly civilized societies and cultures of planet Earth. However, with more than one million children legally murdered
while still in their mothers' wombs every year in
the United States, the assertion that America honors life more than do the barbarous nations of Asia or Africa is hypocrisy. The
hypocrisy is magnified many times over when we
consider that this nation has had God's grace shed upon it in ways no other nation, with the possible exception of Israel, has ever
Darkness has not come upon America because of wicked regimes suppressing gospel truth. Darkness is engulfing us because we, as a
people, are turning our backs on God. We
are deliberately and methodically turning off God's light so that we can do our self- sinful deeds under cover of darkness.
American money has inscribed on it In God We Trust. Today, it would be more accurate to say that our slogan is "In money we trust."
With the Dow Jones stock market figure over the 8000 mark as of the time of this writing, we live under the euphoric bubble of
economic prosperity that causes national
irrationality. While leaders at the highest levels of the United States government are examined in congressional hearings for
alleged influence peddling to communist China and
other avowed enemies, polls show that same leadership enjoys high approval ratings among Americans.
National news media, unlike during the Watergate hearings three decades ago, push information about the influence peddling to the
back pages and middle of broadcasts when
indeed they cover them at all.
The troubling statement "character doesn't matter" seems to sum up the majority of opinion in America so long as the economy
continues to give us the good times we want as
an entertainment, recreation, and pleasure-seeking people.
America's governmental leadership is not the source of America's problem. Rather, America's leadership is a manifest symptom of the
sin-darkened hearts of a growing majority of
God's Word speaks bluntly to a people who reject Him and choose instead to do what is right in their own eyes.
The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished; But
chiefly them that walk after the flesh
in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they; self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of
dignities.... But these, as natural brute beasts, made to
be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not, and shall utterly perish in their own corruption, And
shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as
they that count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. Spots they are and blemishes, reveling with their own deceivings.... Having
eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin;
beguiling unstable souls; an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children, Who have forsaken the right way,
and are gone astray.... These are wells without
water, clouds that are carried with a tempest, to whom the mist of darkness is reserved forever... For it had been better for them
not to have known the way of righteousness than,
after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them ... (2 Peter 2:9-21).
America's founding fathers determined to set this nation upon a foundation of God-given principles. Yet one federal judge can
command that those godly principles, the Ten
Commandments, be removed from a schoolhouse or courtroom wall. The Supreme Court of the land can declare God's Word null and void
and His Son, Jesus Christ, a
nondesirable entity by declaring Christianity too narrow and bigoted to be presented within America's educational process alongside
pagan deities and pagan forms of worship
which, in many cases, have governmental approval. The results of such foolhardiness are inevitable.
This disregard for God's Truth is disregard for life. Such disregard is, in some sense, worse than atrocities committed by those we
consider barbarians in regions that have not
been so blessed by God as ours. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). To reject and blaspheme the only
begotten Son of God is to display the ultimate
disregard for life. Rejecting Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, brings the opposite of peace-chaos and war.
War in the Home
Humanism, the system embodying man's determination to construct the world in his own image totally apart from God's
authority, is making an indelible imprint upon American family life. Homes are ripped apart by selfish actions that cast aside the
notion of personal responsibility.
A generation has arisen from the chaos of evolution-based education. Man is but the highest evolved form of animal life, the hellish
doctrine goes, and, like the lower animals,
has needs that supersede any obligation to some nebulous concept of morality.
Hollywood portrays the supposedly liberated man or woman as a sexual creature not unlike a dog in the street who can simply mate on
the spur of the moment, then separate
after having satisfied their primal urges.
There are no consequences, only self-satisfaction and contentment until the next primal urge wells within.
Sexual innuendo and outright reference are every-night fare on sit-coms and regular TV programming. It's just good -fun, the
defenders offer when critics speak out. There is no
real harm, they proclaim. Yet many who create the sexually oriented programs are among those who cry the loudest in the fight
against sexual harassment in the military, in
business, and in society. This sort of convoluted reasoning-that it is okay to program the minds of men with scenes of sexual
debauchery in the name of "fun" entertainment but
it is not okay for these same programmed men to put their fantasies into action by assaulting women in the workplace-God's Word
calls reprobate thinking.
Growing numbers of men are following the "if it feels good, do it" tenets taught by humanism and vividly portrayed by Hollywood.
Divorce rates continue to climb, the majority
of them due to men leaving wives and children to pursue relationships that require of them little or no responsibility. This is not
to say that women are not culpable as well.
Statistics show a growing number of women deserting husbands and children for the same self-centered reasons.
Why get married? is another attitude that pervades American culture today. Single mothers who have never been married constitute a
rising tide of irresponsible behavior that
portends great trouble in the near future. Gangs of youth without fathers to nurture and discipline them cling to each other and
rage against a society that neither understands
nor seems to care except when crimes committed by the gang members on occasion directly touch our lives.
Abortion proponents give unwanted children (such as those who end up in gangs and who might predictably produce future gang members)
as good reasons for ending
pregnancies. Such children, if allowed to be born, they say, will only suffer the abuse of America's gang culture or worse. The
truth is, however, that abortion imprints upon the
minds of our children the idea that human life is a commodity like any other commodity and can be discarded without a second
thought. Man, not God, it is implied, has
authority over life and death. The message clearly has gotten through to the young gang members who slaughter each other each night
War in the Streets
Americans have for decades heard of civil conflicts in ThirdWorld countries where people face bodily injury and even death because
of bloody fighting in the streets of their
neighborhoods. Such murderous rampages continue to inflict millions of casualties. Wars resulting from civil unrest are perhaps
more horrendous in nature than those in which
uniformed armies oppose each other on battlefields. Helpless women and children who carry no weapons most often fall victim to
roving marauders in these civilian versions of
Jesus' prophecy that there will be wars until His return certainly has been proven accurate.
Rumors of war, the second part of Jesus' prediction about deadly fighting that will mark human history as His return nears, rumble
ominous warnings from America's inner cities.
Although fighting in the streets of this nation has so far been confined to youth gangs sporadically shooting it out in our larger
cities, troubling reports of increased drug
dealings and other criminal activities in suburban and even rural areas should serve as a wake-up call. Rumors of wars threaten to
turn into actual wars if peace is not
So-called "gangbangers "-inner city youth gang memberssometimes now receive something akin to diplomatic recognition by city
officials and other leaders who desperately
wish to negotiate an end to gang crime and gang war. Although such overtures to these juvenile thugs are well-intentioned, they
serve to give gang leaders and the gangs
themselves increased prestige, power, and
authority, thus making the gang life more attractive to youngsters. Rarely is peace made and never is peace maintained through these
The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3 that in the last days, perilous times will come. He wrote in that account that many people
will be fierce in those closing moments of human
history. Death dealing carried on by the gangs and the drug dealers who rove our streets late at night and make thousands of new
gang members through death threats and
thousands of new customers through addictions indeed prove we live in a time when a growing number among us are of fierce demeanor.
How long can it continue at the
present rate of increasing ferocity until every street in America becomes a battle zone like those streets in so many Third-World
The Seas and the Waves are Roaring
"There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the
sea and the waves roaring" (Luke 21:25).
The Lord alludes to man's intense interest in and preoccupation with things taking place in space. It seems hardly necessary to ask
whether that prophetic reference fits this
generation. All eyes turned heavenward when Sputnik first traversed the space above earth. Then Uri Gagarin's trip into space sent
the U.S. Congress, the news media, and
many worried citizens into orbit and America was pronounced woefully behind in the space race. U.S. scientists were given carte
blanche to pursue the Soviets. Then came
Alan Shepard, John Glenn, and all the rest. America's space program reached its zenith when Neil Armstrong dropped onto the moon's
surface and issued the now-famous
proclamation, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."
Telescopes in space have recorded spectacular stellar events, for example, comet fragments slamming into the planet Jupiter with
stupendous impact. The space shuttle
program routinely draws our attention to the fact that man's future points toward the stars. We witnessed the awful, yet awesome
spectacle of the Challenger exploding, then
falling ten miles to the ocean's surface, plumes of death streaming behind it.
Man's progress toward reaching into the heavens hardly skipped a beat, however, and now the great enemies of the Cold War, Russia
and the United States, are supposedly
allies in the quest for reaching those stars with cosmonauts and astronauts sharing the Mir space station and shuttle rides on a
regular basis. Great plans are in the works for
manned missions to Mars and beyond.
Jesus' prophecy has already been fulfilled and He was foretelling events scheduled to be most pronounced during the seven year Tribulation period.
The next part of the Lord's prophecy, "and upon the earth, distress of nations with perplexity" could be used as a bold headline on
the front page of every major newspaper in
the world on any given day to encapsulate the present state of world affairs. No nation on earth is without distress. Leaders are
perplexed as to how to remedy the
The United Nations, supposedly instituted to deal with such problems, is proven ineffective time and time again. The nations
continue to cry peace, peace, when there is no
U.N. leadership vies for power and influence within that confused body. More often than not, the most horrendous distress among
nations goes unnoticed because the
oppressed are overlooked by the heady, high-minded diplomatic elite who seek first and foremost to secure funding for their
bureaucratic power bases.
The southern part of Sudan in North Africa, for example, is perhaps the greatest point of human stress on the planet. According to
Kevin Turner, a missionary with the Voice of
the Martyrs organization, millions of Christians have been murdered in that region and continue to suffer such horrific deaths as
crucifixion and being buried alive. He reports
that children are routinely taken from Christian parents and are sold into slavery and prostitution. Turner said he recently gave
slave traders $1,000 for 15 children, stating that
although it distressed him to in any way encourage slave trading, his higher duty was to see to it that the little ones were
He then reported in a trembling voice and with a breaking heart that some slave traffickers are now engaging in the hellish business
of harvesting the organs of the children
they take from Christian parents.'
Is it any wonder that God's wrath is building while the seas and waves of human depravity crash upon this world? How terrible the
judgments described throughout the book
of Revelation will be upon the generation who turns a blind eye and a deaf ear to such atrocious inhumanity.
Jesus himself described the plight of the generation of apocalypse: "Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those
things which are coming on the earth; for the
powers of heaven shall be shaken" (Luke 21:26).
Waves were breaking over the little vessel that rolled in the violent sea of Galilee. The terrified men did all they could to keep
the boat from being swamped, probably shifting
their bodies to offset the buffeting from one side and then the other. The storm got worse and all appeared to be lost. Despite
their best efforts, they had lost control of their
circumstances. Finally, they turned to the One who, astonishingly, was sound asleep in one corner of the boat.
Jesus of Nazareth awoke and calmly surveyed the heaving, tumultuous sea which threatened to destroy the tiny craft. (Read Mark
4:35-41.) You and I stand today within a sea
even more violent than that stormy sea nearly 2000 years ago. It will get worse. Much worse. As a matter of fact, it will become so
violent, God's Word says that if Christ
Himself did not return, all life on earth would end. Man would destroy himself.
Half of earth's population will die during the seven-year Tribulation period. Many will be killed through man's own murderous
efforts when God removes His restraining hands
for a time. Billions will die as a direct result of God's wrath during the last three and a half years of the apocalypse. Great
armies will march and roll and fly into the Valley of
Jezreel. More than 200 million men will come from the east while millions upon millions more invade from west, north, and south of
Jerusalem. All of unregenerate humanity will,
through sin-engendered insanity, determine to battle to the final breath of the last man standing. Blood will literally flow and
pool for many miles at depths up to three or four
feet, according to God's prophetic Word.
When the rage intensifies to a level God can no longer tolerate, the dark, sulfurous clouds blanketing earth's atmosphere because of
the terrible carnage of that dark hour, the very fabric of space itself, will scroll apart. A blinding laser-like path from heaven
to earth will thrust forth. Heaven's armies will
descend, led by the King of kings and Lord of lords.
While the sea of humanity on the planet's surface viciously roars in an attempt to prevent the heavenly intervention, those warring
forces will turn from battling with each other
to curse God and all His righteousness. Then Jesus Christ, mounted upon a stunningly white steed, will speak words sharper than a
I am convinced they will be the same words Jesus of Nazareth spoke to that raging sea of Galilee nearly two millennia ago. They are
the same words He speaks today to
everyone who turns to Him, acknowledging that there is nothing and no one but Christ who can save them. He speaks those words to
all who accept Him and trust Him to save
them from their sins and to make them born-again children of God.
Just as His words instantaneously calmed that violent sea, thus saving the men in the little boat, Jesus' words will instantly end
the warfare and rebellion at Armageddon.
Christ's words to your troubled heart likewise will bring tranquility and joy to your soul. You will never be the same when He
speaks those life-changing words.
"Peace, be still" (Mark 4:39).
Revelation's thunder rumbles in the distance. Before the coming storm is full-blown, Christ will come for those who trust Him and
Him alone for salvation. It will happen in a
moment, in the twinkling of an eye.
Even so, come Lord Jesus.