Shalom is the Hebrew word translated peace in English. Shalom is a word full of rich meaning that is lost in the New Testament translation of eirene. In the Old Testament KJV Hebrew, shalom is translated: peace (175x), well (14x), peaceably (9x), welfare (5x), salute (4x), prosperity (4x), did (3x), safe (3x), health (2x), peaceable (2x), miscellaneous (15x). In the New Testament KJV Greek, eirēnē is translated: peace (89x), one (1x), rest (1x), quietness (1x).
Jews greeted and said goodby to one another saying shalom aleikhem “peace be upon you” and responding aleikhem shalom “unto you peace.” Jesus often uses this blessing “Peace be unto you,” a translation of shalom aleichem. It was a sign of kinship among friends, for they were descendants of Abraham. The shalom greeting affirmed they were God’s people; one nation under God.
Shalom is the environment of God’s kingdom in which His new covenant community of people thrive. It is righteousness, shalom and joy in the Holy Spirit (Ro 14:17). This shalom comes to us because God makes us right with Himself. By the blood of the Lamb, He has made us holy from the inside out. Our righteousness is God’s covenant justice. God’s shalom incubates shalom with one another and to an extent with His creation (Mk 4:39). Thus, peaceful harmonious fellowship and wellbeing in the community of the King flows from God our Father. By His Spirit, He gives us grace to relate in accord with His righteousness, in the shalom mode.
Shalom is a sign of kinship
The Jews had a common lineage. They were descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God renamed Jacob “Israel” (Gen 32:24-32). He was the father of the twelve tribes of Israel. Their kinship made for natural liking, caring and loyalty.
Our kinship is in the kingdom of God’s Son. “Thank the Father, who made you fit to share everything the holy people have in the light. He has rescued us from the tyranny of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, who paid the ransom to forgive our sins and set us free. … God decided to have His whole being live in Him and by Him to reconcile to Himself everything on earth and in heaven in a peace made by the blood on His cross” (Col 1:12-13, 20 AAT). Cf: Mt 13:41; Mt 20:21; Eph 1:22-23; Eph 5:5
We share a spiritual lineage as God’s children and heirs of eternal life in the kingdom of God that is to come (Eph 1: Mt 25:31-46, Rev 21-22). God has called us into His kingdom and glory (1 Th 2:12), to live in a way that is worthy of the calling to which we have been called. That way is the way of shalom.
So I, a prisoner in the Lord, urge you to live as people whom God has called should live. Be humble and gentle in every way, be patient and lovingly bear with one another. Do your best to keep the oneness of the Spirit by living together in peace/shalom: one body and one Spirit—even as you have been called to share one hope—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over us all, works through us all, and lives in us all. Eph 4:1-6 AAT
Shalom affirms we are God’s people
The shalom greeting affirmed fellow Jews were God’s people; one nation under God. The consciousness that Yahweh was Israel’s king was deeply rooted, was a national feeling, and the inspiration of a true patriotism (Ex 15:18; Ex 19:6; Jg 5:1-31).
As the worldwide community of the King, we, together with all Jews who believe in Jesus, are chosen people, priests of a King and a holy nation.
But you are a chosen people, priests of a King, a holy nation, a people saved to be His own and to tell of the wonderful deeds of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were no people, but now you are God’s people. Once you had received no mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10 AAT
To this day, Jews still identify as one race and one Israel, whereas Christians are divided into 40,000 sects.
Shalom is recognition of God’s kingdom blessings
Way back then, Daniel had a vision of the Son of Man.
“I continued to observe the night vision—and look!—someone like the Son of Man was coming, accompanied by heavenly clouds. He approached the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. To him dominion was bestowed, along with glory and a kingdom, so that all peoples, nations, and languages are to serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion—it will never pass away—and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”
“Now as for me, Daniel, I was emotionally troubled, and what I had seen in the visions kept alarming me. So I approached one of those who was standing nearby and began to ask the meaning of all of this. He spoke to me and caused me to understand the interpretation of these things. He said, ‘These four great animals are four kings who will rise to power from the earth. But the saints of the Highest will receive the kingdom forever, inheriting it forever and ever.’ Daniel 7:13-18 ISV
God’s kingdom blessings for us are summarized in Ephesians 1:3-14. After his greeting and blessing, Paul urges us to bless God, for God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heaven. Then, Paul blesses God, declaring the reason God is being praised. We bless God by speaking forth the blessings God has given us and living in them. The spiritual blessings Paul enumerates reveal how and why God made us heirs according to His plan. “This was according to his plan that he set forth in the Messiah to usher in the fullness of the times and to bring together in the Messiah all things in heaven and on earth” (Eph 1:9-10 ISV). ”God has put everything under the Messiah’s feet and has made him the head of everything for the good of the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills everything in every way” (Eph 1:22-23 ISV).
We look forward to the fullness of the times when Jesus returns and gives us the inheritance, which is the kingdom of God that is to come (Rev 21-22).
Come, you whom My Father blessed, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the time the world was made. Matthew 25:34
Until then, our inheritance is stored up for us in heaven.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Pe 1:3-5 NASB
In the mean time, we get to live in the kingdom of God that is in the Spirit (Ro 14:17).