Shalom: Peace. Strong’s 7965 (sha-lowm)
Root: שָׁלַם shin/lamed/mem
The Jewish concept of peace is different than what you might think. Peace is not the absence of conflict or the opposite of war. Peace, instead, is a state of wholeness, completeness, fulfillment. It is a restored relationship… a unity with God. It denotes harmonious security and well being.
The root word for shalom is shalam (Strong’s 7999), which means “to make amends”, “to repay” or “to restore”. Yeshua’s title as Prince of Peace, highlights that He is the key to our restored relationship with YHWH the Creator! [More on that later].
“Shalom” is used as a common hello/goodbye greeting today in Hebrew circles. As a hello it is really asking “how is your peace?” and as a goodbye it is really saying “may peace be with you as you go”.
But how is this word, shalom, represented in Hebrew scriptures?
One of the most well known verses that includes shalom is Aaron’s blessing:
YHWH bless you and keep you. May YHWH make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; May YHWH lift his countenance on you and give you peace.
This is an interesting verse because to have God’s face shine upon you was a terrifying concept to the ancient Jewish people. To physically see God was a death sentence.
Moses said [to God], “I pray You show me Your glory!” And He [God] said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of YHWH before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion. But”, He said, “You cannot see My face. For no man can see Me and live!”
If that is the case, then why, in Aaron’s blessing, are we asking to have YHWH’s “face shine upon us?” Isn’t that just asking to die?
When Gideon sees the angel of YHWH he also fears death, but YHWH comforts him:
Then the angel of YHWH vanished from his sight. When Gideon saw that He was the angel of YHWH, he said, “Alas, O Lord YHWH for now I have seen the angel of YHWH face to face.” YHWH said to him, “Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die.” Then Gideon built an altar there to YHWH and named it YHWH is Peace.
YHWH is Peace could also be read as YHWH is Fulfillment! What is the fulfillment? What is the completeness of God’s promise to his creation?
True peace is a restored relationship. It is a way to be able to look at God face to face. This is what Aaron’s blessing is asking for… it is seeking a covenant with God so that we can look at Him, face to face.
Ezekiel 37:26, 28
YHWH: “I will make a Covenant of Peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them…My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people.”
How can we connect with God, face to face? How can we really see God?
God’s plan- send an anointed one, a Messiah! To connect with Creation, you must become part of Creation. Send a Son, an anointed Prince of Peace, a Covenant of Peace, a Fulfillment of God’s Promise…
For to us a child is born; to us a Son is given. And the government shall be on His shoulders. And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Through Yeshua, the Messiah, God can fully connect with His Creation.
Colossians 1:15, 19-20
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation…. For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through the blood of His cross.
Yeshua, God’s son, comes to earth as an Advocate of Peace… to bring fulfillment of God’s covenant with us. He is the Messiah, but to the 1st century Jewish people the Messiah is a conquering King that will take down the Roman occupation. Yeshua, comes as a suffering servant, not a conquering, militant, King. This is not the Messiah the Jews were hoping for!
Yeshua: Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
After his death on the cross the Romans continue to occupy the Jewish homeland, but Yeshua brought a different kind of peace, not as the world gives. His peace is a restored relationship with God. Yeshua knows that He is not what the people are hoping for, but He also knows that He is the hope they need.
A common Jewish greeting, then and today, is “Shalom Aleichem” (Peace be with you), and the response to that greeting is “Aleichem Shalom” (with you, be Peace). Interesting that after Jesus dies He returns to His disciples and uses this greeting:
Jesus came and stood among them. “Peace be with you! (Shalom Aleichem)” he said to them. After He had said this He showed them His hands and His side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said to them, “Peace be with you…”
Do you see? Yeshua isn’t just spouting off a generic greeting. He’s making a statement! Yeshua was Peace amongst them! He IS Peace on Earth. He is the fulfillment we seek… making our life complete. He restores the relationship we have with YHWH. Yeshua, the Great Compassion, came through the womb of a woman to be our Sar Shalom, our Prince of Peace. We cannot have a fulfilled life without Him because He takes us by the hand and leads us directly, face to face, to God the Father.
Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus replied, “Philip, I have been with you all this time, and still you do not know Me? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me?”
John 16:31, 33
“Do you finally believe?” Jesus replied… “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!”
Yeshua, born of the womb of Mary, comes as the baby of our Christmas celebrations. He is pierced upon the cross, dies, and overcomes the world. He is the Covenant of Peace, the Covenant Fulfilled, and through his blood we can come face to face with YHWH and experience His True Peace.
What is the meaning of life? When I come to the end of my days I will “Rest in Peace” because the road I travel, following the footsteps of Yeshua, leads me straight to the countenance of God. Face to face I will find my Peace.
Next week: Dedication (Chanukah)