Home > Theology and Eschatology, Wars and Rumors of War > Burning Weapons During Jesus’ Millennial Reign

Burning Weapons During Jesus’ Millennial Reign

By Joel Richardson – “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!'” Source – WND.

  1. Mike
    09/19/2012 at 8:05 PM

    ICA, slightly off topic but I’ve just been wondering about this and hope you can help fill in the blanks.

    If one holds to the church-is-part-of-Israel view, that all Christians are grafted into Israel even during the end times, and that according to Rev 12:6, Israel is protected during the last 3.5 years of the tribulation just prior to Jesus’ return (which would imply that Christians are supernaturally protected), who are the “saints” who are overcome in Rev 13:7 and worn down in Dan 7:25? Or do those events take place in the first 3.5 years? What’s your view on this. Thanks.


  2. ICA
    09/20/2012 at 4:10 PM

    Hi Mike, we are grafted into spiritual (believing) Israel, and the saints who are “overcome” are those who are being persecuted and killed for the faith of Jesus. Although Satan wages war against the saints, in the end “they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” (Rev 12:11). Supernatural protection need not mean physical protection only, but spiritual protection. Because they are enduring and persevering in the Word of God, they cannot be deceived by the lies of the enemy (cf. Matthew 24:24).

    Consider Revelation 3:10. Jesus says that, “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”

    The Greek word “persevere” is “hypomone” (G5281) which means “steadfastness” or “patiently enduring” and is closely related to the “hour of trial” (“peirasmos” (G3986), meaning to “examine” or “prove”). Peirasmos is frequently translated “to tempt”, and Scripture tells us that it is Satan who tempts (1 Thess 3:5). James 1:2-3,12 tell us to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials (peirasmois) knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience … Blessed [is] the man who endures (hypomone) temptation (peirasmon).” This refers to the “hour of trial” in Rev 3:10 using the identical Greek word: “The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer… Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing (peirasmos), as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation” (1 Peter 4:7,12-13). And per 2 Peter 2:9, “the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation (peirasmos), and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment.” In both cases the believer is preserved spiritually through the peirasmos.

    Even though there are those who are persecuted and killed during Great Tribulation, supernatural protection is not necessarily physical per Rev 3:10. Believers are guarded from deceptions and temptations during this time. Many will die “for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God” because they will not have “worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands.” The soul is more important than the body, and although God can physically protect us at times in accordance to His will and for His purpose, what ultimately matters is that we remain steadfast in the faith of Christ, even if it means to the point of death. As Jesus says, “he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matt 24:13).

    The “woman” (Israel, natural) in her disbelief was cut off from the Olive Tree, which is spiritual (believing) Israel, but when she believes again will be grafted back into her own Olive Tree (spiritual). Even during her disbelief, God has not and will not allow her to be completely destroyed. As Paul writes, “if they do not continue in unbelief, [they] will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who [are] natural [branches], be grafted into their own olive tree? For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob’” (Rom 11:23-26).


  3. Mike
    09/20/2012 at 8:23 PM

    Hi ICA. Thanks bro for answering in such detail. I’m a little overwhelmed with it, not coming from a background of this line of thinking. The whole being-grafted-into-Israel thing sounds pretty good though. You made a good case for it over at Prophezine a few weeks ago. It’s new, but I’m open to it.

    I have a bit of a problem with the other though. I can understand being rescued from eternal punishment via our general salvation in Jesus Christ, but I find it very difficult (and I’m trying to be open minded honestly), to consider that instead of God rescuing people via a rapture at some stage of the tribulation, that He would not rescue believers during some stage of the tribulation. I’m going to have to let that simmer for awhile and think about it.

    The main reason I was asking, is that if Rev 12:6 is indicating that Israel (the woman) will be supernaturally protected for 3.5 years (1260 days) in the wilderness, does that protection include all believers, Jewish and Gentile? or just Jewish?


  4. ICA
    09/20/2012 at 10:12 PM

    Mike, “I find it very difficult (and I’m trying to be open minded honestly), to consider that instead of God rescuing people via a rapture at some stage of the tribulation, that He would not rescue believers during some stage of the tribulation.”

    God does rescue His people. Matthew 24:22, “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” Christ comes to deliver His people by cutting short the reign of Antichrist to 1260 days. During this time, God will not allow physical Israel to be completely destroyed, nor will He allow spiritual Israel to be completely destroyed. They will be persecuted, and many lives will be lost, but through it all they will not fall for the deceptions of the enemy, right up until the end when the Deliverer comes to rescue Jacob. Spiritual Israel will remain in the Truth, and physical Israel will be brought into it.

    Mike, “if Rev 12:6 is indicating that Israel (the woman) will be supernaturally protected for 3.5 years (1260 days) in the wilderness, does that protection include all believers, Jewish and Gentile? or just Jewish?”

    If you’re referring to physical Israel (the nation), they aren’t believers yet. They are largely either secular or have not yet come to recognize Yeshua as the Messiah. Regardless, even in their state of unbelief, the Lord has and will continue to protect them as a people and a nation until His return. If you’re referring to believers, whether Jewish or Gentile, then they are both built together as One Body, as One Temple, into One Olive Tree. There is no distinction between a Jewish believer and a Gentile believer. They are one in the faith of Messiah.

    Revelation 12:6 says that the woman will flee “into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared of God”. But what does this mean exactly? Could this be referring to physical Israel fleeing into the desert, and Antichrist is supernaturally blinded to her location? In John 14:2 Jesus said that “I go to prepare a place for you.” Since this place is the spiritual Temple — the Church — could this be referring to a “spiritual Exodus” and into a place where she is spiritually nourished, where “they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days”? Because of the knowledge of Christ, we have “escaped the corruption that is in the world” (2 Peter 1:4). Is Revelation 12:6 somehow telling us that “physical Israel” will finally begin paying attention to “spiritual Israel”?

    At any rate, I don’t know for certain what fleeing into the wilderness is referring to, but one thing does seem pretty clear, at least in my view. Neither physical Israel nor spiritual Israel will be destroyed, and in the end all of Israel will be saved.


  5. Mike
    09/20/2012 at 10:32 PM

    ICA Okay, well I think that’s as good an answer as I could expect. And it’s a good answer. Though neither of us knows for certain what is going on at Rev 12:6, and it’s not for sure exactly who Israel is (believing, national or ethnic) there are other Scriptures that are more clear on the matter of Israel being saved, for example the Romans 11:23-26 that you shared. Paul must have had other end times information at his disposal when writing Romans. Maybe it isn’t important? After all, it isn’t the ones who seek to protect their life that overcome, but the ones that don’t love their life until death.

    (Rev 12:11) “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.

    Well, I will continue to search the Scriptures and meditate on the word and do research. I thank you very much for your informative replies. GOD bless you bro in Christ!


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