Evangelist Billy Graham has offered a reminder that while the world seems to be mired in chaos today, the angels were not wrong to say that Jesus Christ would bring peace.
The 99-year-old evangelist answered a reader's question on his website Tuesday regarding the promise of peace the angels gave the shepherds as found in the Gospel of Luke: "Glory to God in the highest Heaven, and on Earth peace to those on whom His favor rests."
The reader asked: "Were the angels wrong when they told the shepherds that Jesus would bring us peace? The world seems to be just as chaotic today as it was 2,000 years ago. I'm not sure we'll ever have lasting peace on earth."
Graham said that the message is indeed true, "because when we commit our lives to Jesus Christ and become His followers, He gives us peace - peace with God, and peace in our souls."
"You see, by nature we are at war, not only with each other, but with God - and even with ourselves. The Bible says, 'What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?' (James 4:1)," he continued.
"But Jesus Christ came to change all this. By His death and resurrection, He destroyed evil's final power over us - and once we understand this great truth, our lives will never be the same."
The pastor reassured readers that "someday Christ will come again, and even the evils we still see in the world around us will be destroyed. Yes, someday the angels' promise on that first Christmas will be fulfilled - totally and completely!"
Earlier, Graham acknowledged that as wars and conflicts continue to erupt all over the world, it can be easy to lose hope that peace will ever come. However, Christians should have "confidence and peace" knowing that the future is in God's hands.
"And it will, as we commit our lives to Christ and learn to trust Him in every situation," he said. "Then we can honestly say with the Psalmist, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust,'" (Psalm 91:2).
Graham says the end of the world will unfold "in God's time and in God's way," but warns that one prominent sign of Christ's return will be renewed violence on Earth - "such as we are seeing today."
"The world as we know it will only come to an end in God's time and in God's way - and only when He intervenes to usher in a perfect world of peace and righteousness," he continued. "As the Bible says, 'In keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells,' (2 Peter 3:13)."
Still, Graham has stressed that Christians do not know specifically when certain things will occur.
As the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), now headed by Franklin Graham, states: "All Christians do not agree on every detail of what will occur in the final events of this world's history. Some of these events and their order of occurrence have simply not been made clear in the Bible. What is important is that all Christians hold in common that Christ will ultimately return bodily, visibly, and gloriously to reign and rule with His resurrected and transformed saints forever and ever. The details of this great event will be made known in God's own time."