Burning weapons during Jesus’ millennial reign

Burning weapons during Jesus’ millennial reign

Joel Richardson WND

In several commentary articles featured on WND, I have been addressing the oracle of Ezekiel 38 and 39, and showing why we should understand it to parallel other Antichristic prophecies and passages. In other words, I have explained why Gog is the Antichrist/Beast and why Gog’s hordes are one and the same with the armies of the Antichrist. But while there are numerous very clear reasons to support this view, there remain several objections that seem to maintain traction among those who hold to the popular view that Gog and the Antichrist are two different individuals. In this article, I want to dismantle one of the most common of these arguments.

One of the key features of Ezekiel’s Gog of Magog oracle is that, after Satan’s armies are destroyed, their weapons are burned for seven years. Some argue that there is no room for the burning of weapons during the millennial reign of Jesus. As such, it is argued that the destruction of Gog and Magog must take place at least seven years before Jesus returns.

This argument was first articulated and popularized by Hebrew scholar Arnold Fruchtenbaum in his book, “The Footsteps of the Messiah.” Since that time, it has been repeated by numerous students and teachers of biblical prophecy. In the statement below, Nathan Jones of Lamb and Lion Ministries, mirrors Fruchtenbaum’s argument:

Ezekiel 39:9 describes Israel burning the invading enemies weapons for seven years. Placing the Gog-Magog Battle at the end of the Tribulation would push the burning right into the Millennial Kingdom. With Jesus then present to provide everyone’s needs, the curse partially lifted (Isa. 11:8) and the Earth reformatted by earthquakes (Rev. 6:12-14; 16:17-21), there would be no need for Israel to have to burn any weapons for fuel.

So the idea expressed here is that during the millennium, Jesus will simply “provide for everyone’s needs” thus “there would be no need for … fuel.” According to this view, because Jesus will be present on the earth, there will be no need for things like fuel, or presumably, the normal methods of farming, gardening and cooking, etc.

This view of the nature of the millennial kingdom, however, simply cannot be reconciled with Scripture. The Bible teaches that during the time of Jesus’ millennial kingdom reign, the earth will be restored, yes, but it will largely be through the participation, active labor and blessed work of the peoples of the earth. Let’s consider just a few Scriptures that point to the blessed labor and very real life that will continue during the messianic millennial kingdom age.

Perhaps the first passage that should be highlighted is the famous passage from Isaiah (and repeated in Micah), which speaks of the peoples of the earth during Jesus’ reign, beating their “swords into plowshares” and their “spears into pruning hooks”:

And He will judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples; and they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war. – Isaiah 2:4

If all things are provided supernaturally by Jesus in such a way that even fuel is not needed, then why then will there be need for plowing and pruning? Will Jesus not also “provide for everyone’s needs” by magically plowing the earth and pruning trees? In the same way that Ezekiel portrays weapons of warfare being converted into fuel for domestic and agricultural purposes, so also do Isaiah and Micah speak of converting weapons (swords and spears) into plowshares and pruning hooks for agricultural purposes. The prophetic/poetic portrayals of burning weapons for fuel in Ezekiel and the hammering of weapons into plowshares in Isaiah for agriculture are essentially identical.

What else does the Bible say about the millennial reign of Jesus? According to Isaiah, after Jesus returns, the nations which formerly persecuted and hated Israel will participate in the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem and the nation of Israel:

[T]he LORD will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes all around, and see: they all gather together, they come to you. … Foreigners will rebuild your walls, and their kings will serve you … and they shall call you The City of the LORD, Zion of the Holy One of Israel. – Isaiah 60:2-4,14

During Jesus’ very real earthly kingdom reign, not only will foreigners work to rebuild Jerusalem, but also the Israelis themselves:

Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, they will raise up the former devastations; and they will repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations. Strangers will stand and pasture your flocks, and foreigners will be your farmers and your vinedressers. But you will be called the priests of the LORD; you will be spoken of as ministers of our God. You will eat the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. – Isaiah 61:4

Here we see that beyond the very real process of rebuilding the earth, there will also be such earthly labor as pasturing flocks and farming.

The prophet Amos also spoke of the millennial age in very similar ways:

In that day … I will restore the captivity of My people Israel, and they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them; they will also plant vineyards and drink their wine, and make gardens and eat their fruit. “I will also plant them on their land, and they will not again be rooted out from their land which I have given them,” Says the LORD your God. – Amos 9:11,14-15

My father, who is an avid fisherman, was even excited to learn that during the millennial reign of Jesus, there will be a thriving fishing industry!

Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds – like the fish of the Great Sea. – Ezekiel 47:9-10

While the Greek-influenced mindset struggles with the notion of a blessed but very earthly reality, including blessed labor such as farming, fishing and gardening, these things are all quite basic to the biblical Hebraic mindset consistently revealed throughout Scripture.

In conclusion, the idea that it would be impossible for the Israelis during the millennial reign of Jesus to burn what were formerly weapons for the purpose of fuel is simply not in accord with the consistent Scriptural perspective on these matters. During the millennial reign of Jesus, many blessed labors will take place. Of course, the earth will produce like never before, but it will not happen without some measure of human participation. In that day, the peoples of the earth will rebuild the cities desolated during the Great Tribulation and return in many ways to an agricultural society. As for the weapons that are left after the massive Gog of Magog invasion: What was intended for evil, the peoples of the earth will use for good. In my case, I imagine that my father and I might throw a few old wooden stocks from unneeded Russian-made AK-47s into the fire as we fry up a couple of freshly caught striped bass and sing, “Hallelujah!”

38 Responses to Burning weapons during Jesus’ millennial reign

  1. Joel Varner says:

    I think a lot of the confusion comes from people not realizing there will be unsaved people on the earth when Jesus returns who will live, work and have children all throughout the Millennial Kingdom. Not every unbeliever will take the mark during the tribulation. That’s why there are numerous passages in Scripture talking about nations fighting the Anti-Christ.

    I like how Mike Bickle says it. There will be three types of people on the earth when Jesus returns. The redeemed, who will be caught up at the second coming, the reprobate, who took the mark and will be killed, and then the resisters who weren’t believers but who also didn’t take the mark. They will continue to live, have children, and die in during the Millennium. These people will have natural bodies and will live natural lives but they will be living in a progressively restored supernatural environment. Of course they will need tools, fuel, food, clothing, etc…

    Good article, Joel! I can’t wait to rule and reign with Christ during the Millennium!

    Joel V.

  2. Perry Brown says:

    Excellent post. Failing to see the millennial blessing along side the natural process of life to reconstruct e rebuild the earth, make many to think the burning of weapons for fuel has occur before the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus is established, as if He would wave His hand and everything will automatically restored without the participation and partnership of His people and the remnant of peoples form the nations.

    I could add to these great verses you have already laid out, some other ones, such as:

    Isaiah 65:21-23 – “And they shall build houses and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for as the days of a tree are the days of My people, and Mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.”

    The Lord says His elect will enjoy the work of their hands

    Isaiah 62:8-9 – “The LORD hath sworn by His right hand and by the arm of His strength: “Surely I will no more give thy corn to be meat for thine enemies, and the sons of the stranger shall not drink thy wine for which thou hast labored; but they that have gathered it shall eat it and praise the LORD; and they that have brought it together shall drink it in the courts of my holiness.”

    Here, the Lord promises to His people that the stranger and enemies will no longer eat and drink from their agriculture produce, but (in the Millennium Kingdom) they will gather it and eat and drink in the presence of the Lord.

    Jeremiah 31:5 – “Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things.”

  3. Barnabas says:

    Great article, and I would add, in respect of farming, that God specifically warns the Egyptians that if they do not come up to worship the LORD in Jerusalem that they will have no rain!

    16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
    17 And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.
    18 And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
    19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.

    (Zech. 14:16-19)

  4. Joel Richardson says:

    Joel, Perry and Barnabas,

    Yes, excellent comments and passages. There are quite a few passages that speak of the millennium and describe the very earthly life that the non-glorified will partake of at that time. As for those who were previously in HIm at His coming, we will be in glorified bodies and will be co-rulers and priests with Him. Of course, the articles for WND are normally around 1000 words so these are always abbreviated commentaries. But I have always been surprised at the relative Biblical illiteracy behind the idea that the mere burning of weapons is incompatible with the millennium.

    Blessings

  5. Sara Parsons says:

    Joel. Once again you have wisely and succinctly divided the Word and provided the only interpretation that the scriptures allow – regardless of whether it fits into anyone’s preconceived ideology re the end times. I had suspected for some time that the weapon burning had to occur during the first 7 years of the Millennial reign and I had not found any verses that showed it could not be during that time frame. I appreciate your providing the scriptures to show there is work that will be done even when Jesus is on His throne here on earth. Keep up the awesome work and the articles. God Bless!

  6. [...] Burning weapons during Jesus’ millennial reign [...]

  7. Assembler says:

    Cool blogsite. I am a born again Christian and I believe in the Biblical truth of the Pre Tribulation Rapture and I am convinced that the Anti-Christ/False Messiah will be pushing the Pluralistic Universalism/New Age doctrines, and will involve himself with the demonic “UFO” deception, and, he will be part of the Roman papacy/Roman Catholic church.

    I am aware that many think the Anti christ will be a Muslim. But, Islam and Sharia Law do not appeal to the masses of idolaters and morally relativistic western people in the USA and Europe and Asia and the world over.

    The Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38-39 destruction will make Islam a shriveled up shell of what it was. There is no way that these people in the west will cater to Sharia law, when it would stop them from enjoying their sinful lifestyles. Think of all the homosexuals and the clubbers and drinkers and drug users and abortionists and people wanting to have adulterous fornication. Sharia Law is evil, sinister, and dispicable, but, is against that stuff.

    No, while the ethnicity of the Antichrist could be from a Near Eastern or Middle eastern country, Islam is ironically too exclusive and “crude” to be accepted by the masses who will WORSHIP the Beast and take his mark.

    That being said, Islam is a threat and is evil and Muhammad was a false prophet.

    I like the article about the burning of the weapons. There will be alot of technological development during the Millenium and also there will be the mass burning of those weapons used during the Gog and Magog invasion of Israel.

    Look into the “Scalar” technology and Nanotechnology.

  8. Joel Varner says:

    Assembler,

    I take it your a fan of Thomas Horn, Steve Quayle and Chuck Missler. Make sure you test everything they say like a Berean and search the Scriptures diligently.

    I would advise you to read Joel Richardson’s previous posts relating to Ezekiel 38-39. Islam isn’t going to be wiped out. Also, not every nation on earth is going to follow the Anti-Christ. That’s why the Bible talks about nations going to war against him.

    You also mentioned that the USA, Europe and Asia would never follow an Islamic Anti-Christ. The problem is that even if those nations don’t follow him, it doesn’t take away the fact that the Beast will be the Islamic Caliphate. The prophetic Scriptures don’t say anything about the US, Europe and Asia following the AC. The end-time prophecies are all directed at the nations surrounding Israel in the Middle East. The Bible is wholly Jerusalem-centric and deals with the nations directly surrounding her.

    I would like to ask you a question. Why do you think the Anti-Christ will come out of the Catholic Church in Rome? John says the AC will deny the Father and the Son. The Catholic Church doesn’t deny either of those things. They may have pagan doctrine mixed in but they definitely aren’t antichristic.

    Bless you,

    Joel V.

  9. Marcus Dorsey says:

    Good article. I would also add that animal sacrifices will be taking place.

  10. alan cobb says:

    Thanks, Joel for this article it should bring light into darkness concerning where the people of God will spend eternity. So many of God’s people are waiting to go to heaven to live forever not understanding the millenial kingdom and eternity to follow here on earth, Jesus said: “The meek will inherit THE EARTH,” NOT HEAVEN! (Mt.5:5) Daniel 7:18 says the saints: “shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever and ever.” Lastly: “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)

  11. Joel Richardson : Great article, very helpful.

    Marcus Dorsey : in regard to animal sacrifices, what would be the purpose of these, since a perfect sacrifice has already been made once for all, and it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin?

  12. Marcus Dorsey says:

    Peter,

    They are a memorial, just like communion is today, a perpetual reminder of what He accomplished for us.

  13. Dan Gordon says:

    A couple of problems with the idea that Armageddon and the battle of Ezekiel 38-39 are the same: (reason 2 is the Primary reason)
    1.) Specific nations are named in the Ezekiel battle–but ‘not all nations’ are participating in it…
    2.) Ezek 39:22 states specifically why God gives the victory to Israel in that battle…to bring them back to Him…that is why they then will build the temple and begin Daniel’s 70th week.
    As another thought, if people will again be living to approximately 1000 yrs of age during the millenium, won’t the earth resemble the way it was during Noah’s day, and would there be a need for ‘heating fuel’?

  14. Joel says:

    Hi Dan,

    The first point is simple to explain. One passage names some of the specific nations, but does not name every nation involved. It specifically says, “and many nations with you” (NIV). So clearly, the list of nations given by Ezekiel is not comprehensive. Second, the various references to “all nations” in Joel and Zechariah are hyperbole. Within each passage that mentions “all nations” it immediately specifies “the surrounding nations”. This is a typical Hebrew parallelism. First, it uses a generality, and then it is specific. There are several other insurmountable problems with the view that literally every last nation will be involved, such as the fact that the AC will be at war until the very end (Dan 9:27). But I would refer you to the chapter on this in my book for a fuller discussion.

    As for the second question, the purpose of destroying the armies is to bring not only Israel, but all nations to Himself. It specifically says that the gentiles would all come to know him as a result of the defeat. Not merely know of Him, but actually know him (38:23).

    As for fuel, I would say that yes, they would still need things like fuel. If they will need things like plows and pruning hooks, why not fuel? Remember that not everyone will be in glorified / resurrection bodies.

    I hope this is food for thought. In the end, God knows best.

    Blessings!

  15. Dan Gordon says:

    Oh, and one more reason…Ezekiel 38:11 states that Israel will be comfortable and secure at the Ezek 38-39 battle, feeling safe and at peace. The battle of Armageddon follows a 3.5 year period of time when every Jew alive will have been hunted down to be exterminated…they just couldn’t be the same battles.

  16. Dan Gordon says:

    Thanks for your response Joel–i checked your references, and actually it says many ‘people’ with thee, rather than many nations, but I understand that the list may not be complete…and I have read much of your material and do agree with you on the Turkey connection in this battle…but I do think that this Gog-Magog battle is separate from Armageddon…I think this battle could very well explain why America is not mentioned in the endtimes prophecies (maybe we are destroyed in this battle, which could also explain how millions of Christians could disappear in a ‘rapture’ without it being questioned), but I think we need this battle to explain how a present day ‘secular’ Israel, is drawn back into a Covenant relationship with God, and thus goes back to Temple sacrifices, etc. God fights this battle with 120lb hailstones, while Armageddon is basically won with ‘His spoken Word’…

  17. Joel says:

    This issue is also easily answered by the fact that Ezekiel’s oracle begins with the notion of invasion entering Gog’s mind and culminates with Gog’s destruction. It involves a span of several years. The idea that the entire prophecy takes place in one day or even a short period misinterprets the scope of the oracle.

    This pattern of describing a broad span of time in short succinct passages is common throughout the prophetic Scriptures.

    A classic example might be seen in Isaiah 9:6

    “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”

    Using the same argument that many apply to Ezekiel, one could similarly argue that this cannot be speaking of Jesus, because this child would be born and immediately become a ruler. There is no hint of a 2000 gap anywhere in the verse. Yet in this one verse, we have the first advent, the second advent and his millennial rule all wrapped into one succinct verse.

    Dozens of other similar examples could be cited.

    Also, it must be highlighted that the sense of security that Israel experiences in Ezekiel is false. Obviously, if she is about to be invaded, she is not genuinely secure or safe. So this theme is identical to the false sense of security that the Antichrist will woo Israel into before his great betrayal.

    “And through his shrewdness He will cause deceit to succeed by his influence; And he will magnify himself in his heart, And he will destroy many while they are at ease.” Daniel 8:25

    “When the richest provinces (Israel) feel secure, he will invade them. Daniel 11:24

    “While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.” 1 Thessalonians 5:3

    Blessings

  18. Joel says:

    You are correct: many “am” will be with him. Am is an ethnic denotation however, and is sometimes translated as nations. Essentially it means that many various ethnicities or people groups will be with him.

    Actually, the Battle of Gog and Magog and Armageddon both involve the hailstones. Beyond this, Armageddon is not merely won with a word. Numerous parallel passages validate the statement in Rev 19 that “in righteousness he… makes war.” See Isaiah 63 for example, where Jesus is seen soaked in the blood of his enemies at the outset of the Battle or Armageddon. Consequently, Isaiah 63 and Ezekiel 38, 39 are the two primary passages that Rev. 19 is based upon. This is why the great feast of the beasts and birds are featured in both Ezekiel 38-39 as well as Rev. 19. In fact, Rev. 19 basically quotes Ezekiel on this issue. If the two are distinct, this would be rather misleading on God’s part, IMO.

    Of course, once one throws a pre-trib rapture into the equation, the room for imaginative scenarios become dramatically expanded. I myself am post-trib. But as I often say, this is not an issue to divide over. If every pre-tribber prepares to face antichrists and tribulations (lower case “a” and “t”), and every post-tribber lives like the next day may be their last, as we all love one another despite minor differences, we would all be in much better shape, IMHO.

    Blessings!

  19. Dan Gordon says:

    Ok–now I think I understand why they must be the same battle…it is the ‘post-trib’ position that would require this…I think we should leave that discussion for another day. Thank you for your insight–I love reading your material!

    dg

  20. Joel says:

    Not at all. This issue is really not contingent on either view of the rapture. Blessings to you Dan!

  21. Perry Brown says:

    Dan,

    The prophecy recorded in Ezekiel 38-39 is not a one time battle prophecy, rather a campaign or series of battles, starting with the military invasion of Gog’s alliance with the nations mentioned and many peoples, which probably will happen at the middle mark of the tribulation (after 3 ½ years from the peace treaty is singed and covenant confirmed) and culminating with the commonly known Battle of Armageddon, 3 ½ years latter at the end of the tribulation.

    Many people try to object and see that Ezek 38-39 is not or does not contain (would be the proper way to say it) the Armageddon battle, simply because, on one hand, there is a specific list of nations, and on the other hand, no mention of specific nations, only the mention of “all” nations. The conclusion is therefore, that both are different battles and nations coming against Israel, and specifically, that Gog is not equal to the Antichrist, thus being different “bad guys”.

    I wrote more about this on a comment to another of post. The link is here:

    http://archives.joelstrumpet.com/?p=3898#comment-7621

    Hope this helps.

    Blessing,

    Perry Brown

  22. Perry Brown says:

    Dan,

    To clarify my comment. Ezekiel 38-39 records both the invasion of Israel by Gog (Antichrist) with his armies and aligned nations and the defeat of Gog (Antichrist) the end of the tribulation. The defeat of Gog recorded specifically in chapter 39 is actually the same defeat of the Beast (Antichrist) recorded in Revelation 19 and many other passages.

    So when one says that Ezekiel 38-39 is equal to the battle of Armageddon, it is understood that the battle of Gog’s defeat is the same as Armageddon, but not his invasion of Israel, which will happen a couple years earlier.

    Perry

  23. Joel says:

    Exactly.

  24. Lawrence says:

    Thank you for your work. I am much more aware of many options for fulfillment. Letting Isreal and its neighbors be the focus as it is in the OT loosens the tight grip of present interpertations.
    Present day Turkey can become the head of middle east.
    Turkey has played the ‘ good guy ‘ while ‘ Iran ‘ has played the ‘bad guy ‘
    Ergodan and Turkeys spiritual leader could do a treaty for Isreal. For Muslims the purpose of a treaty is to build strength and let your enemy relax then break it and attack.
    Nice to see intelligent written comments.

  25. Brian says:

    Our Lord Jesus Christ himself said, “No one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man.” By “strong man” he means the devil, who was able to hold the human race in bondage. By his “goods” that Christ was to “plunder,” he means God’s future faithful ones whom the devil was keeping for himself because of their ungodliness and various sins. It was for the purpose of binding this strong man that John, in the Apocalypse, saw “an angel coming down from heaven… who bound the [ancient serpent] for a thousand years.” The angel, that is, checked and repressed his power to seduce and possess those destined to be set free. Now, the “thousand years” can, so far as I can see, be interpreted in one of two ways. One interpretation is that this event is to take place in the sixth and last millennium (the sixth “day”), the latter span of which is now passing, and that when John spoke of the last part of this millennium as a “thousand years” he was using, figuratively, the whole to indicate a part. (After this “sixth day” will come the “Sabbath” that has no evening, namely, the endless repose of the blessed.) The other interpretation makes the “thousand years” stand for all the years of the Christian era, a perfect number being used to indicate the “fullness of time.”
    -St.Augustine

    Joel, great work as always and compliments on the book. I wanted to quote one of the Church fathers in regard to the millennial kingdom. I think the bulk of Catholic Tradition interprets the thousand years figuratively, basically from the Incarnation to the Tribulation. Satan has been restrained (“bound”) by the victory of Christ’s resurrection over death, and during this time (ie, the Church Era) God’s people share in that reign. “After that he must be loosed for a little while” is interpreted to mean the End Times when Satan will be loosed on the world without restraint. But, at the end of the Tribulation period, Christ returns and slays the AC, throws him and the Devil into fire forever. As Rev.20:7-10 describes the battle of Gog and Magog, “When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison. He will go out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, God and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. They invaded the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the holy ones and the beloved city. But fire came down from heaven and consumed them. The Devil who had led them astray was thrown into the pool of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

  26. Richard Neal says:

    Joel; I’ve admired your work for several years now. Of all the Apologists out there, you, in my opinion, are closer to the truth than most…Yet, you have, within your paradigm, several mistakes. For example, like ‘Cold-War Era” theologians, you “can’t see the forrest for you errors.”…The mistake you make in the above article is one made by all Christian theologians since the 17th and 18th centuries; you see theology though a Eurocentric lens, thus you look for people, races, etc in prophecy rather than geographical areas. If one understands the migrations, wars, etc, of the ancient world, one quickly understands that no race, tribe, etc has ever inhabited the same geographical area since Noah let the Ark…Babylon is always Babylon in scripture, regardless the ruling class; Egypt is always Egypt regardless of the ruling class – Magog will always be Magog regardless of who lives in that geographical area. Read my “Biblical Principle of Nations” in my new Book The Kingdom of the Antichrist/The Rise of the Beast and you will understand better what I am trying to say in such a limited place.

  27. Joel says:

    Richard,

    I’m not sure where I say anything about locations, etc., in the above article. Did you comment on the wrong article, perhaps?

    Does your book come in anything other than electronic formats? I’d like to read it, but I hate reading online.

    With regard to your comments, I largely agree, but can think of many exceptions: In 1 Peter 5:13, Babylon refers to Rome, where history thoroughly testifies that Peter was at that time. The early Jews and Christians alike in the 1st century used Babylon as a code word to refer to Rome. Elsewhere, words like Chittim, which initially referred to Cyprus, came to mean all of Western Europe. Numerous other examples of peoples who came to dominate regions could be cited. Ishmael was not a place, but he came to dominate regions. The same could be said for instance in Psalm 83 with names like the Hagarites. While the Scriptures tell us that the Hagrites came to settle in northern Jordan, today many have followed Salus’ interpretation of this name as referring to the Egyptians. So developing solid and well reasoned methods of interpretation with names like this rooted in the historical-grammatical method are necessary. But with regard to well established names such as Egypt, or even Magog, I agree with you. Our understanding of Magog should be informed by how Ezekiel would have understood this term, which would be informed not only by their location during his life, but also by his thoroughly biblically literate worldview, which would have led him to the Table of Nations in Genesis. Other terms like Assyria could refer to a fairly narrow region or to the larger region that they eventually came to control at the height of their expansion. These things are determined by which author wrote, during which period, etc. etc. I think all of these things need to be taken into consideration as we seek to carefully study and understand biblical prophecy.

    Blessings!

  28. Marcus Dorsey says:

    Joel,

    What are your thoughts concerning Isa 65:17 where God says: For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

    Chris “foul-mouth” Schang argues that: “This is why the Earth AND Heavens are “renovated and cleansed” before the Millennial Kingdom starts and is also why burning of weapons and burying of the dead is not going to be taking place at the end of the Tribulation.”

    I already know what my response is, but I wanted to see what you would say.

  29. Joel says:

    I’m surprised that anyone would make this argument. It’s just plain weak. One must allow Scripture to interpret Scripture. The Book of Revelation tells us that “The New Heavens and New Earth” does not come until after the Millennial Kingdom, in Revelation 21:

    Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. – Revelation 21:1

    His argument is also in clear violation of what the Scriptures say with regard to rebuilding the earth after the tribulation. As seen in Isaiah “Foreigners will rebuild [Israel's] walls” (Isaiah 60:4). In the article above, I also cite Isaiah and Amos who make it clear that their will be rebuilding in the Millennial Kingdom. And of course, anyone who says that the nature of the Millennial Kingdom is incompatible with the burning of weapons would also have to argue that it is incompatible with beating swords into plowshares and pruning hooks (Isaiah 2). Yet we know this is not the case. I hope this helps.

    Blessings!

  30. Marcus Dorsey says:

    Joel,

    One response:

    “The scriptures say that people will rebuild Jerusalem and that they will work and play in the Millennial Kingdom, but it doesn’t say that they will clean up the mess from the Tribulation period.”

    My refutation:

    If they renovate the cities that were “formerly ruined” during the great tribulation and in the great earthquake, then they are cleaning up the mess. Duh.

    Just before the Millennium, there is a massive earthquake that will level every city. But during the Millennium, Isaiah and Amos both say that the people will turn the ruins and “devastations” from the former tribulation into beautiful new cities.

    Israel “will raise up the FORMER DEVASTATIONS; and they will REPAIR the RUINED cities” (Isaiah 61:4).

    And Amos says the people “will REBUILD the RUINED cities” (Amos 9:11,14-15)

    So, yes, the Bible couldn’t be any more clear. The people will restore the things devastated during the former period.

    Despite the efforts of the enemies of truth, there is nothing in the Scriptures anywhere to support the idea that the burning of Gog’s weapons couldn’t happen during the Millennial Kingdom.

  31. Richard Neal says:

    Joel: I’m sorry, but my book is only available in ebook format at the moment. It will be in soft back form in about a month.

    To begin, I disagree with the traditional view that “Babylon” in 1st Peter 5:13 refers to “Rome.” My reasoning is simple: As you know Joel, after the Babylonian Captivity the vast majority of Hebrews remained in Babylon. This remained the case up through the intertestamental period, during the life of Christ, and up through the Islamic period to what, the 10th century A.D.?…If Peter, then, was the Apostle to the Jews, much like Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles, then, the one place to reach the most Jews outside of Judah would have been in Babylon. Consequently, because Peter disappears for years according to the book of Acts, I think some, maybe even many of those years were being spent in Babylon ministering to the largest and most sophisticated Jewish population on the planet. Thus, for me, Peter was in Babylon when he wrote his epistle, and any attempt to argue that “Babylon” was a code word for “Rome” is stretching things to fit, again, the old “cold war era” paradigm that argues for a revised Roman Empire, Russia as Magog, etc.

    In your article you infer that, because the Scythians inhabited the Anatolian Peninsula in ancient times, that they are, thousands of years later, the people who will make up the forces of Gog in The War of Gog and Magog?…For me this is a return to what I call “cold war era theology” where theologians tried to force Russia (Scythians = Russians) into an eschatological paradigm for obvious “cold war era”reasons.

    Consequently, the point I was trying to make was that when Scripture is speaking in eschatological terms, it isn’t concerned with the race of the people who happen to inhabit the geographical location at the time the prophecy is being penned. But rather, Scripture is interested in the geographical area itself as an identifying mark/place, because, over time, the race, tribe, nation in charge at any given time will surely change, but the geographical location will always remain the same…Surely God understood at the time the prophecy was being composed, that one of the most important factors over the ensuring millenniums would be forced migrations? As you know Joel, historians often point to migrations as the dominate force – more so than even wars – that formed ancient nations? One example is your Scythians; even though they did inhabit the Anatolian Peninsula at the time of Ezekiel’s prophecy, today that same geographical area is now inhabited by various Turkish tribes which forcibly migrated into the area a millennium and a half after Ezekiel penned his prophecy? Thus, Ezekiel is not concerned with the Scythians of “the land of Gog” in his end-time prophecy, but rather the location of their ancient homeland (the Anatolian Peninsula = The Land of Gog) which, in the end, will be dominated by another race or tribe[s], the Turkish/Islamic nomads from the Eurasian Stepp of modern Mongolia…In other words, Ezekiel knew very well that “Meshech and Tubal” were famous city/states and their geographical location. The prophecies, which only play out two millenniums later, are not concerned with the race of the people who happened to inhabit Meshech and Tubal at the time the prophecies were being penned, but rather it is the geographical location of Meshech and Tubal, and what kingdom inhabits that same geographical area in “the latter days,” that will the allow reader in “the latter days,” or almost two-thousand years later, to identify “The Land of Gog.”

    I agree with your analogy of the meaning of the “Chittim” changing over time from meaning Greeks, or Cyprian’s, “then later” meaning all of Europe. When the termed was originally used, as it was much later in The Dead Sea Scrolls, the term meant Greeks or Cyprians, who were but one of many Grecian tribes. To teach today that the term “Chittim” in Scripture refers to all of Europe would be misleading at best, and of no real help in attempting to interpret the verse.

    God Bless…

  32. Joel says:

    Let me know when the book comes out. I will look forward to reading it.

    The historical testimony that Peter was in Rome is beyond argument. Generally, the only ones who make the argument that Peter was literally in Babylon are extreme anti-Catholic Protestants who feel as though this argument will destroy the Roman Catholic doctrine of the papacy. Literally every single early Church reference to this, affirms Peter’s presence in Rome. Conversely, there is not a single historical reference to Peter in literal Babylon. If we disregard this, we must pretty well through out all of early Church history. I’ve invested quite a bit of time studying this matter.

    Beyond this, there are at least three other 1st century Jewish and Christian extra-biblical references to Rome as Babylon. The Sibyline Oracles being the most well known.

    Your reference to my approach as cold war theology I think is misinformed. I am fully in agreement with you. Did you read my latest book? Mine is not a heremeutic based on the political boogeyman du jour, but simply the historical grammatical method as articulated by Gleason Archer Jr. and Dr. Tommy Ice, which seeks to understand how Ezekiel would have understood these terms. I do not argue my case simply that the Scythians inhabited Asia Minor “in ancient times”, but because they did inhabit these regions specifically in Ezekiel’s day, this would have largely informed his perspective. But I also allow for the idea that Ezekiel’s view would have been informed by his thoroughly Torah-literate worldview, and most specifically the Table of Nations.

    So I articulate in my book what I call the “geographic-correlation” method, as opposed to the “ancestral-lineage-migration” method which seems to be exactly what you are saying.

    This is why in prophetic language, Edom to me is not a reference to literal Edomites (who no longer exist), but Jordan, etc.

  33. Ernie says:

    [Saw this on the net. Care to comment on it?]

    PRETRIB RAPTURE SECRETS

    How can the “rapture” be “imminent”? Acts 3:21 says that Jesus “must” stay in heaven (He’s now there with the Father) “until the times of restitution of all things” which includes, says Scofield, “the restoration of the theocracy under David’s Son” which obviously can’t begin before or during Antichrist’s reign. (“The Rapture Question,” by the long time No. 1 pretrib authority John Walvoord, didn’t dare to even list, in its scripture index, the too-hot-to-handle Acts 3:21!) Since Jesus can’t even leave heaven before the tribulation ends (Acts 2:34,35 echo this), the rapture therefore can’t take place before the end of the trib! (The same Acts verses were also too hot for John Darby – the so-called “father of dispensationalism” – to list in the scripture index in his “Letters”!)
    Paul explains the “times and the seasons” (I Thess. 5:1) of the catching up (I Thess. 4:17) as the “day of the Lord” (5:2) which FOLLOWS the posttrib sun/moon darkening (Matt. 24:29; Acts 2:20) WHEN “sudden destruction” (5:3) of the wicked occurs! The “rest” for “all them that believe” is tied to such destruction in II Thess. 1:6-10! (If the wicked are destroyed before or during the trib, who’d be left alive to serve the Antichrist?) Paul also ties the change-into-immortality “rapture” (I Cor. 15:52) to the posttrib end of “death” (15:54). (Will death be ended before or during the trib? Of course not! And vs. 54 is also tied to Isa. 25:8 which is Israel’s posttrib resurrection!)
    Many are unaware that before 1830 all Christians had always viewed I Thess. 4’s “catching up” as an integral part of the final second coming to earth. In 1830 this “rapture” was stretched forward and turned into a separate coming of Christ. To further strengthen their novel view, which the mass of evangelical scholars rejected throughout the 1800s, pretrib teachers in the early 1900s began to stretch forward the “day of the Lord” (what Darby and Scofield never dared to do) and hook it up with their already-stretched-forward “rapture.” Many leading evangelical scholars still weren’t convinced of pretrib, so pretrib teachers then began teaching that the “falling away” of II Thess. 2:3 is really a pretrib rapture (the same as saying that the “rapture” in 2:3 must happen before the “rapture” ["gathering"] in 2:1 can happen – the height of desperation!).
    Other Google articles on the 182-year-old pretrib rapture view include “Pretrib Rapture Politics,” “Pretrib Rapture Scholar Wannabes,” “Famous Rapture Watchers,” “Pretrib Rapture Diehards,” “X-Raying Margaret,” “Edward Irving is Unnerving,” “Thomas Ice (Bloopers),” “Walvoord Melts Ice,” “Wily Jeffrey,” “The Rapture Index (Mad Theology),” “America’s Pretrib Rapture Traffickers,” “Roots of (Warlike) Christian Zionism,” “Scholars Weigh My Research,” “Pretrib Hypocrisy,” “Appendix F: Thou Shalt Not Steal,” “Thieves’ Marketing,” “Pretrib Rapture Secrecy,” “Deceiving and Being Deceived,” “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty,” and “Christ’s return is NOT imminent!” – all by the author of the bestselling book “The Rapture Plot” (see Armageddon Books). Patriots should also Google “The Background Obama Can’t Cover Up.”

  34. Charles says:

    Assembler, Sharia/a caliphate, will not be appealing (per Roman view; awe of antichrist and willingness to get the mark, etc.)It will be forced on peoples, masses,places etc. Immoral people that want to club, fornicate etc. will be terrified. Imagine if all of a sudden their city,state or country is now sharia compliant. I Would be terrified as a Christian. They WOULDN’T want that. I think the difference in the Roman view and the Mohammedan view concerning the mark, is: – acceptance willingly per Roman view, or- forced unwillingly per Mohammedan view. Which by the way, is scarier.

  35. Ron Meck says:

    Maybe I am oversimplifying things a bit, but if there are two invasions of Israel and Jesus comes to Earth to intervene and defeat her enemies each time, then that would infer that Jesus Christ returns twice. As far as I know, the Bible claims Jesus returns only once.

    But since I am open to the Truth and always seeking it out, I have to ask one more question. Ezekiel 39 states that they will spend 7 months buying the dead. But in Jeremiah 23:33 it states that the dead will not be buried and be like refuse. The two passages appear to contradict one another.

  36. Steve says:

    Joel,
    Greetings,don’t know if I can post on this or not, but hope you will think about what I am saying.I have been Studying the millennium and eternal kingdom for about 8 years after I read Randy Alcorns book, “Heaven”. He “sharpened” me on what I thought I knew about the millennium, Heaven, and the eternal kingdom. Just as your book Mideast Beast, sharpened me on my view points on the Antichrist! Thankyou! Anyway, I believe the new heavens and new earth will start with the millennium. There will probably be some minor “tweaks” after the great white throne, but not a wholesale destruction as many believe. Before you close your mind, let me explain: As you yourself have said, chapter breaks are not in the original copies. Could not Rev 20 be an overview, much like Gen 1 is? Then parts of 21 are describing things that were happening at the start, on earth, and in heaven. Or we could have a “gap” as Isa 61:2a,Luk 4:19 mid verse. Look at how John writes in Rev 12. Verse 5, takes in 33 years. Verse 6 leapfrogs ahead about 2000 years. So can you see how we could all be reading Rev 21, in the wrong way? The reason I say this is the majority of the scriptures teach God will only change the heavens and the earth. And this happens during the day of the Lord, which is finished with the battle of Armageddon. And why would God destroy the culture and society Jesus has allowed to be built with the help of the saints;in effect, saying Jesus made a mistake? So with that in mind here are my arguments. Please help me think on this because I know God will not contradict Himself, we just need to put it all together right! (1)Ps148 “For He commanded and they were created. He has also established them forever and ever;He has made a decree which will not pass away.” (2)Jerm 31:31-40 “If the fixed order departs from before Me,declares the Lord, then the offspring of Israel also will cease from being a nation before Me forever.” (3)Dan 2:31-45 “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed…but it will itself endure forever.” (4)Isa 55:9-13 “Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up, and instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up. And it will be a memorial[name] to the Lord, for an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.” (5) Isa 60-The earthly Mt Zion “And I shall glorify My glorious[beautiful]house…To beautify the place of My sanctuary;And I shall make the place of My feet glorious…Then all your people will be righteous;They will possess the land[earth] forever.” (6)Ezek 43 “And the glory of the Lord came into the house…filled the house…”Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet,where I will dwell among the sons of Israel forever…”and I will dwell among them forever.” 48:35,”And the name of the city from that day shall be,The Lord Is There.” (7)Hag 2:6-9 “ONCE MORE in a little while,I am going to shake the heavens and the earth,the sea also and the dry land. I will shake all the nations;and they will come with the wealth of all nations,and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of Hosts.” (8)Heb 12:18-29,1:10-12 “But you have come to Mount Zion [AND]to the city of the living God,the heavenly Jerusalem…”Yet ONCE MORE I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven. The expression ,”Yet once more,” denotes the REMOVING of those things which can be shaken,AS OF CREATED THINGS…”You Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth,and the heavens are the works of Your hands, they will perish,but You remain.And they will become old, like a garment,and like a mantle You will ROLL THEM UP;like a garment they will also be CHANGED…”{236-allasso-1Cor15:51-52} (9)Rev 6:12-17,Isa 34:1-10,Isa 24 “And there was a great earthquake…and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs…The sky was split apart like a scroll WHEN IT IS ROLLED UP…For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand.” “For the Lord’s indignation is against all nations,and His wrath against all their armies…And the host of heaven will wear away[dissolved,rot]and the sky will be ROLLED UP like a scroll;all their hosts will also wither away…For the Lord has a day of vengeance,a year of recompence for the cause[controversy]of Zion…” “The earth is broken asunder,the earth is split through,the earth is shaken violently…So it will happen in that day,the Lord will punish the host of heaven on high,and the kings of the earth…For the Lord of Hosts will reign on Mount Zion [AND] in Jerusalem,and His glory will be before His elders.” (10)THIS IS KEY- 2Pet3:3-13 “Through which the world AT THAT TIME was destroyed,being flooded with water. But by His word THE PRESENT HEAVENS AND EARTH are being reserved for fire,kept for THE DAY OF JUDGMENT…But the day of the Lord will come like a thief,in which the HEAVENS will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat,and the EARTH and its works will be burnt up. Since all these things are destroyed[dissolved]this way…looking for and hasting the coming of the DAY OF GOD,because of which the HEAVENS WILL BE DESTROYED[DISSOLVED] by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to HIS PROMISE we are looking for NEW HEAVENS and a NEW EARTH, in which RIGHTEOUSNESS DWELLS.” ISA 1:26-27,”Then I will restore your judges as at first…after that you will be called THE CITY OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,a faithfull city. Zion will be REDEEMED with justice, and her repentant ones with RIGHTEOUSNESS. *(Also see Rom 8:18-23,11:15-27)The curse on Creation will lifted at the first resurrection,Israel will be saved.
    So Joel, you can you see how I believe the new heavens and new earth will start at the start of the millennium? There is no where that I know of in the Bible where there is going to be another day of the Lord after the millennium. IT IS DONE! God says in Rev 16:17,15:1. So help me understand this! The only big problem is how John says “and there is no longer any sea”. Ezek 47, and other passages show there is a sea in the millennium. Maybe this is where a gap is? Maybe he did not see it from his vantage point? Notice John saw it coming down but not setting down.And God says, He will dwell among them, and He will wipe; It all looks like future tense, and not just in a general way. Jesus says, He is making, all things new, like He is still working. Then John focuses on the heavenly city, going up to great high mt.This sounds like it could be describing Mt Zion , but no city is there (Isa2) so maybe he was focused on the heavenly city? Again it does not set down and he is discribing the city by looking up through the transparent streets. This is how I believe earthly Mt Zion in Isa 60, will always have light shining on it. The heavenly city will always be elevated above with 12 ramparts leading up on all four sides. Notice the nations will walk in or by its light. Suggesting it is elevated. And the kings of the earth are shown as still kings of the earth! Meaning, the earth has not been destroyed. An elevated city similar to the movie Elysium would free up a lot of space. Maybe it will only come down close to the earth after the 1000 years when sin and death is done with? I believe resurrected saints will “commute” and work on the earth during the millennium, because the heavenly city is our home, and our dwelling place. Peace in the Lord! :)

  37. Jim Thomas says:

    Are there two great days of destruction or judgment in the Day of the Lord? Ron referred to Jeremiah 25:33 which refers to a judgment on the nations “in the remotest parts of the earth”. I have wondered about this for many years, meditating on the fact that Paul warns us of the day of the Lord coming like a thief in the night. If he is only talking about a day or a season that is at the end of the tribulation, it would hardly seem like it could take us by surprise. Even Jesus referred to a judgment that would come suddenly, as it was in the days of Noah and as it was in the days of Lot. When is the sudden destruction?
    The Feast of Trumpets may be warning us of such an event. The trumpet was not only used to herald events, such as the coming of the Lord, they were also blown to gather armies for war. The trumpet judgment of Revelation seems to herald a judgment that will destroy a third of the earth. The judgment of Armegeddon doesn’t appear to be the only war that will be extensive in its destruction.

  38. Paul says:

    Joel, I didn’t have time to read all of the conversation here, but I have two questions:

    1) I’m just about finished your book, Mideast Beast – I’m on page 226 – and I’ve noticed that so far, though you covered the implicit references to Gog and Magog in the NT, you haven’t addressed the only explicit one, Rev. 20:8-9. How do you view this in light of your Gog/Antichrist proposal?

    2) Glancing ahead to p. 264, I noticed you stated that “gentile unbelievers will also come to know Him [Jesus] after He returns”, citing Isa. 60 and Zech 14. How do you reconcile this interpretation of the Hebrew scriptures with Paul’s statement about the judgment of those “who do not obey the good news of our Lord Jesus” at the parousia in 2 Thess. 1:5-10?

    Paul

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