“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.”
As Jesus Christ was preparing His 12 disciples to go out and do His work, He warned them of many dangers they would face. He encouraged them to be strong in the face of persecution. Even some of their own family members would oppose them (verses 35-36).
But how does this verse square with the proclamation of the angels to the shepherds before Christ’s birth? Didn’t they say He would bring peace on earth? Actually, a clearer translation is: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” (Luke 2:14, New American Standard Bible).
It was not a promise of peace to all men at that time or today, as it is obvious that peace has not come. In this age there are few men with whom God is pleased, as sin is the prevailing choice of mankind in our age.
Though Jesus Christ did not bring peace at His first coming, He opened the way to reconcile men to God. And He promised to return to rule in the Kingdom of God. Then He will enforce God’s laws, which are the way to peace, and peace will spread around the world. At His second coming He will truly be the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
To understand more about how this fits in God’s plan of salvation, see the article “The Feast of Trumpets: Alarm of War, Announcement of Peace.”