by Dr. Noreen Jacks
Hardly a day goes by that I don’t receive a prayer request concerning someone struggling with acute depression, anxiety, or panic attacks. Mental and emotional illnesses are becoming epidemic in today’s society, and they must be taken seriously. There are many causes for these disorders, and there are many side effects, often resulting in destructive behavior, including deadly substance abuse.
What does the Bible say about mental health issues? Can a book as old as the Bible give relevant advice concerning the mounting crisis of stress related issues facing our modern world? I believe it can because the Word of God is eternal! The Bible was written for all men of all times. It is the most comprehensive, relevant mental health book ever penned! It is man’s roadmap to peace! Without peace, even the most successful, talented, and wealthy among us live in abject misery and spiritual poverty. Heavenly peace is a treasure beyond human comprehension; yet it is readily available to all who seek this divine gift.
Listen to the following words spoken by our Messiah:
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” John 14:27
We see a reversal of word order in the Greek translation with the subject preceding the vowel, just as in English. The normal word order in both Greek and Hebrew, however, is verb, subject, direct object. Deviation from the normal syntax is a literary device used to denote emphasis. In other words, Yeshua is endeavoring to make a very important point. Also note the use of repetition in the passage: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you.” Both the word order and repetition were used to stimulate His listeners’ attention. Yeshua longed for His disciples to receive His gift of peace, His heavenly shalom!
*I suggest you underline this passage and write “emphatic” in the margin to help you remember the next time you read it.
Now let’s see what we can learn from the next passage:
These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me [ἐμοὶ ,emoi = emphasized form of the personal pronoun] you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Yeshua was emphasizing that He alone is the source of true and lasting peace. It is most likely that He pointed to Himself when saying the term “emoi.”
Tribulation: θλῖψις = thlipsis, meaning a pressing, pressing together, pressure, oppression, affliction, distress, (dire) straits
Tribulation is inevitable in this world, BUT Yeshua has a remedy for what ails us…His perfect peace! Remember the promise given in Romans 8:28. We can be assured of peace according to this passage:
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Rom 8:28
The phrase, “Peace be with you,” was a common greeting in ancient Israel, a typical way of saying “Hello” or “Goodbye,” similar to Hawaii’s friendly “Aloha.” Although Yeshua’s words in these passages were recorded in Greek, His meaning was Hebraic in thought. The Greek term for “peace” is eirene, the root of the English name, “Irene.” Eirene speaks of a harmonious relationship between men and nations, freedom from molestation, and the absence of war. While this is a beautiful and powerful concept, the Hebrew term for “peace” is even more encompassing.
The Hebrew Shalom
The Hebrew term for peaceis shalom, signifying not only peace, but well being, good health, welfare, security, prosperity, and rest for an individual, his spouse, children, extended family, business, crops, herds, and everything else one can imagine. Shalom invokes the wholeness of body, mind, soul, and spirit, and the complete absence of agitation and stress. Shalom is a foretaste of heaven! When a you bless a friend with shalom, he or she has been blessed indeed!
May you also be blessed with heavenly shalom!!
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Dr. Noreen Jacks conveys her passion for the Word of God and her visions of hope for those in need of spiritual restoration. She enjoys biblical archaeology, cultural anthropology, linguistics, and history of the Bible lands and its people.