Shalom From Israel

by Keith Macnaughtan

I am now the proud possessor of two coffee mugs! The first is adorned on the base (where it cannot be seen unless you hold the mug upside down) with the words MADE IN SCOTLAND – not surprising when you note my name.

But I now possess another coffee mug, and this I hold even more dearly for it was given to me by two special friends who recently visited Israel. It bears the figure of a dove (universally recognized as the emblem of peace) merging into an Israeli flag below which are the words of our title: SHALOM FROM ISRAEL.

Shalom! This we all know is the Hebrew word for 'Peace'. SHALOM FROM ISRAEL is, therefore, PEACE FROM ISRAEL. But what right, you may ask, has Israel, afflicted with awful wars since her rebirth as a nation; labouring under a national deficit which is absolutely staggering; surrounded by enemy nations so bitterly hostile that they refuse to recognize even that Israel exists -- what right has she, of all people, to proclaim 'PEACE'?

Only now, at the time of writing, is she able to pull back from Lebanon, which she unwillingly invaded to rid herself of terrorist P.L.O. gangs, which made life unbearably difficult at her northernmost borders. At home her soldiers must be continually alert, guarding against every contrivance and strategem by which terrorists could maim or kill innocent citizens. And yet she, the only one among the nations, sends out the message of peace!

Israel Threatens No One

Let us say that, although Israel has as yet known little peace in the years of her renewed national life, and although her ablest men must maintain the State in a constant condition of readiness for more wars, yet this is not from choice. Although an immense part of her national expenditure is for weapons of war, really, she herself threatens no one.

What other nation can honestly complain against Israel that it has been menaced by her? All her wars, yes, even the invasion of Lebanon, have been in self-defence. And who will deny that she has been compelled to maintain an unwilling stay in Lebanon because of the inability of the Moslems and (so-called) Christian factions to cooperate with each other?

What Other Nation Gives Peace?

To Israel, every life is precious. Unlike some military leaders who recklessly throw away the lives of the men under their command, Israeli leaders have always sought to safeguard their men. Yet Israel knows that a nation militarily weak is an open invitation to war-like neighbours to attack. Little as we may like this philosophy, the strongest nations, speaking militarily, are usually the safest. Their very strength gives other nations cause to hesitate before launching an attack.

We may think of this situation in reverse: what other nation could proclaim and send out a message of peace? Could Ethiopia, where today people are persecuted for their faith and their places of worship are wantonly destroyed? Could Russia, which still coldly disregards the cry: Let My people go!? Or Syria? Or Egypt? Or any other near nation with its immense build-up of weaponry?

Only the Coming of the King Gives Peace

Even though many Jewish people have lost the Messianic hope, there are those who still, enlightened by their prophets in the sacred Scriptures, look for a day yet to be when the Messiah of Israel will come again to His people and introduce a reign of peace such as this weary old world has never known.

For they read in Isaiah (Jewish translation): "And it shall come to pass in the end of days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many peoples shall go and say: 'Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.' For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." (2:2,3)


So, not from Israel alone, but from her Messiah comes this peace, for again Isaiah says: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder . . . Of the increase of His government AND PEACE there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever . . . " (9:6,7 K.J.V.)

Oh for that time of peace when the King sits on His throne in the city of the great King. Let Isaiah speak again: "And I will work a sign among them, and I will send such an escape of them unto the nations . . . to the isles afar off, that have not heard My fame, neither have seen My glory, and they shall declare My glory among the nations. And they shall bring all your brethren out of all the nations . . . " (66:19 ff J.T.)

The Jewish people will then become the messengers of the King to other nations; they will call all men to a new obedience to Him; they will call for the release and recovery of their brethren still in foreign lands. Then indeed it will be SHALOM -- SHALOM FROM ISRAEL.