Middle East Meltdown 016 – Ezekiel 39Ezekiel 39:8-10 • Dr. Andy Woods • May 8, 2022 • Middle East Meltdown
Middle East Meltdown 016 – Ezekiel 39
By Dr Andy Woods – 05/08/2022
Let’s open in a word of prayer, if we could. Father, we are grateful for this very special Sunday where we commemorate motherhood and we know that your word has a lot to say about it and so I just pray that this would be a time when mothers would feel valued, because they have a tremendous role to play in the outworking of your purposes. I do pray, Lord, that you would be with us during Sunday school and in the main service that follows and we’re going to just take a couple of moments, Lord, to privately do business with you so that we might be prepared to receive from your word today. Father, we remain grateful for the promise of 1st John chapter 1, and verse 9 (1 John 1:9), which says, if we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We’re thankful, Lord, that our position is secure forever with you, but sometimes we go back to our natural selves and we do things that can break fellowship and so we always like to take a moment before we begin teaching just to allow people to privately come before you so that we can receive from you in an uninterrupted way from your word today. So I do pray that you help us as we look through some difficult scripture today. I do pray for the illuminating ministry of the Holy Spirit and I do pray, Lord, that people would leave here changed today, eternally and only you can do it and so we trust You for this great work. We lift things up in Jesus’ name and God’s people said, Amen. 3:02
Well, good morning, everybody! Happy Mother’s Day to you. Just let’s open our Bibles, first of all, to the book Ezekiel chapter 39, and verse 8 (Ezek 39:8) and we do have a gift that we would like to give out to the ladies, all ladies, at Sugar Land Bible Church, it’s called “The Powerful Influence of the Christian Woman” by Donna Radtke. We’ve given this out before but maybe you’re new here and never got one or maybe you lost your copy, whatever the case is. You can find those right where you pick up the bulletins, as you come in and out of the sanctuary, and also, I’ve been asked to announce that if you’re planning on coming next week to the prophecy conference Saturday and Sunday, we need you to sign up on the waiting list by today. Today’s the last day to get on the waiting list and once the clock strikes midnight, our door is shut at that point. So that’s a brief reminder and we’ve been dealing, as you know, in the series with The Middle East Meltdown. It’s a series that we started at the beginning of the year and my goodness! It sure has become very relevant, hasn’t it? When you look at the headlines.
- Ezekiel recommissioned (33)
- False shepherds removed (34)
- Edom destroyed (35)
- Israel’s restoration: physical & spiritual (36)
- Israel’s restoration illustrated (37)
- Means of restoration: Northern invasion (38)
- Results of the Northern invasion: conversion (39)
- Millennial Temple (40‒46)
- Tribal land allotment (47‒48)
It’s that section of scripture Ezekiel, 36 through 39 that really deals with some chapters in the Bible that I think are in play today in terms of stage setting. So, Ezekiel, 36 is a restoration of Israel in the last days physically and spiritually.
- Israel to prosper again (1-15)
- Israel’s sins inhibiting prosperity (16-21)
- Israel to be restored: physically & spiritually (22-38)
That’s really what our prophecy conference, that’ll go next Saturday and Sunday, is designed to communicate and then chapter 37 is basically the prophecy that Ezekiel gave in chapter 36, but it’s given in a different form. It’s given in two metaphors in chapter 37.
- Vision: Valley of the Dry Bones (Ezek 37:1-14)
- Vision (Ezek 37:1-10)
- Interpretation (Ezek 37:11-14)
- Sign: Two Sticks (Ezek 37:15-28)
- Sign (Ezek 37:15-17)
- Interpretation (Ezek 37:18-28)
The valley of the dry bones and also the vision of the two sticks and so, by the time you get outside of Ezekiel, 37, you realize that God has a plan to restore the nation of Israel, first physically and then later spiritually. It’s a twofold restoration. So, the question then becomes, okay, once Israel is brought back into her land in unbelief, how then is God going to work in such a way that she comes to life spiritually? That question is answered in chapters 38 and 39, which deal with the northern invasion.
- Invasion planned (Ezek 38:1-13)
- Invasion executed (Ezek 38:14-16)
- Invasion defeated (Ezek 38:17‒39:20)
- Invasion’s results (Ezek 39:21-29)
There’s going to be an invasion against Israel that is going to completely overwhelm her to the point where her only hope will be to trust in the Lord and there’s a very happy ending to these chapters, which Israel will do and that will lead to her national regeneration. There has never been a circumstance on planet earth where a whole country, every single person in that country, comes to Christ and that’s what Israel’s future is in store, what God rather has in store for Israel in the future.
- Invasion Planned (Ezekiel 38:1-13)
- God’s intention (Ezek 38:1-9)
- Gog’s intention (Ezek 38:10-13)
So, we can take chapters 38 and 39 and sort of divide them up chapter 38, verses 1 through 13 (Ezek 38:1-13) is the planning of an invasion, ultimately God is planning it, because what man intends for evil, God intends for what? For good and it’s actually God that’s going to draw the nation into the Middle East for this invasion and as we worked our way through verses 1 through 9 (Ezek 38:1-9), we identified the nine or so principal players that are going to be involved in this invasion.
In fact, actually there’s not nine, there’s fourteen names mentioned here and I think every one of these fourteen names can be identified which we’ve done. So God is planning it and then when you get to verses 10 through 13 (Ezek 38:10-13), Gog is planning it. Gog, the leader of this coalition basically thinks he’s going to just pull off something here and wipe Israel from the face of the earth and Gog is in for a rude awakening, as is any nation by the way that conspires against the Jewish people, because Gog thinks he’s acting and planning, but it’s really God who’s planning this whole thing and then we got to verses 14 through 16 of chapter 38 (Ezek 38:14-16) were the invasion moved away from the planning stage to the execution stage. So here comes the attack and as the attack comes, here comes God and by the time you get to chapter 38, verse 17 (Ezek 38:17) through chapter 39, verse 20 (Ezek 39:20) you see these invaders defeated not by the power of an Israeli army, not by the United States of America military budget, but by God Himself and so, the first thing that happens is God destroys their armies of the invaders.
III. Invasion Defeated (Ezekiel 38:17‒39:20)
- Armies destroyed (Ezek 38:17‒39:8)
- Weapons burned (Ezek 39:9-10)
- Soldiers buried (Ezek 39:11-16)
- Soldiers eaten (Ezek 39:17-20)
That starts in chapter 38, verse 17 and goes all the way through chapter 39, verse 8 and that took us out of chapter 38, as we’ve been studying this into chapter 39. Chapter 38, for the most part, is something that I think will happen towards the beginning of the tribulation period and we’ve gone into all of the reasons why I would think that. But once you get into chapter 39 it’s very different, it sort of leaps forward to the very end of the tribulation period. It doesn’t really give you a lot of the details that you would like, you have to consult other passages of scripture to get that, but it leaps to the very end of the tribulation period and goes right to the final results. 10:17
The results that God was looking for when He drew these nations into the Middle East in the first place and so, I think, we made it all the way through chapter 39, verse 7 (Ezek 39:7) and notice if you will, chapter 39, verse 8 (Ezek 39:8), it says: Behold, it is coming and it shall be done, declares the Lord GOD. That is the day of which I have spoken… Charles Feinberg commenting on this verse says:
Charles L. Feinberg – The Prophecy of Ezekiel: The Glory of the Lord, Paperback ed. (Chicago: Moody, 1969; reprint, Chicago: Moody, 1984), 219
“Notice that twice it is stated (38:17; 39:8) that former prophets foretold this invasion (Ps. 2:1-3; Isaiah 29:1-8; Joel 2:20; 3:9-21; Zech. 12:1 ff; 14:2-3).”
So, when Ezekiel is describing this invasion, he’s not talking about something that the Holy Spirit has never revealed before. There are other places of God’s word that seem to be speaking of this event. Charles Feinberg in parenthesis gives a lot of other verses which deal with this. Psalm, 2; Isaiah, 29; Joel, 2; Joel, 3 and of course, if you’ve been with us on Wednesday nights, you see the same kind of thing in the book of Zechariah. So, it’s not as if Ezekiel is the only one that ever talked about this particular invasion, it’s just that Ezekiel, more than anybody else, crystallizes the details. A lot of these other areas just kind of speak of it more generically, if I can use it that way, but Ezekiel really crystallizes it in the terms of identifying the principal players involved. So, the point is, if you mess around with Ezekiel, you’re going to mess around with all these other prophets that speak of it as well and this is really the problem that you run into when people want to come to God’s word, a section of it, and they want to take it at less than what it says and there are many people that do that. The problem is you’re not just damaging the book of Ezekiel, you’re damaging other places of the Bible that speak of the same thing. One of the massive debates in the book of Ezekiel chapters 40 through 48 is Ezekiel’s temple. Many, many people look at Ezekiel’s temple and they say that can’t be literal and the problem with that is Ezekiel, 40 through 48 is not the only section that deals with Ezekiel’s temple. There are many, many other prophets that deal with the same thing; it’s just that Ezekiel speaks of it more specifically than do those other areas of scripture and so, if you start to allegorize or symbolize away what Ezekiel is saying about the temple, then what you’re going to do is you’re going to end up doing damage to other parts of the Bible and we’ll get to this a little bit more in the sermon coming up in the next hour related to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Sorry, I couldn’t bring a more Mother’s Day oriented topic. I said Lord, are we really supposed to talk about this on Mother’s Day? But, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament and it’s mentioned in the Old Testament as if it actually happened. So, if you play games with Genesis, 19, you’re sort of destroying the foundation that the house is built on and that’s why it’s very important to take God at His word whenever possible. Theology is that way; it’s a seamless tapestry. If you do injure one part of the Bible, what most people don’t contemplate is what they’re doing to other parts of the Bible without even recognizing it. 14:36
So, Charles Feinberg is of the belief that verse 8 (Ezek 39:8) is sort of repeating what you have in chapter 38, verse 17 (Ezek 38:17) where God spoke about these things in the days of His former prophets, His servants and then you come to chapter 39, verse 9 (Ezek 39:9) where now these armies have been destroyed by God and God takes the weapons of the invaders and He burns them.
- Armies destroyed (Ezek 38:17‒39:8)
- Weapons burned (Ezek 39:9-10)
- Soldiers buried (Ezek 39:11-16)
- Soldiers eaten (Ezek 39:17-20)
He takes the soldiers of the invaders, their corpses, as we’re going to see, are lying all over the land of Israel to the point where they’re causing a traffic jam. I mean, if you think Houston traffic is bad, wait till you read what’s in here and so God makes sure that all of these soldiers are buried and the soldiers that aren’t buried, their corpses are consumed by birds of prey. So, let’s talk a little bit about these weapons. Notice if you will chapter 39 and verse 9 (Ezek 39:9): Then those who inhabit the cities of Israel will go out and make fires with the weapons and burn them, both shields and bucklers, bows and arrows, war clubs and spears, and for seven years they will make fires of them… So essentially what’s happening here is the nation of Israel is going to take the very weapons that these enemies plan to use for evil and Israel is going to burn them and Israel is actually going to use these weapons for their own fuel. So, a lot of this that’s happening is the outworking of something God articulated at the very beginning of the Bible, it’s in Genesis, 12, verse 3 (Gen 12:3), you know the verse very well, where God said to the patriarch Abram, as the nation of Israel was just coming into existence, I will bless those who bless you and the one who curses you, I will what? Curse, so all of these countries invaded the land of Israel thinking that somehow they were going to destroy Israel, when in fact, they are the ones that are destroyed and in fact, the very weapons that they formed, for the purpose of destroying the nation of Israel, will now be burned and it talks about the length of their burning, seven years, which is the number of completion, most people would acknowledge, seven years these weapons are burning and Israel is actually going to use their weapons for their own fuel and I guarantee that these attackers, when they came against Israel, never thought something like this would happen, but this is what Bible prophecy predicts. 17:47
Now, you run into a lot of difficulty in this verse, particularly when it talks about seven years, talks about these weapons and it says, for seven years they will make fires of them. So, here’s sort of a list of things that are kind of the aftermath of this invasion.
- Divine annihilation of the coalition (Ezek 38:19-22)
- Birds and beasts feast on the carnage (Ezek 39:4-5, 17-20)
- Seven-month burying of the dead (Ezek 39:11-12, 14-16)
- Seven-year burning of weapons (Ezek 39:9-10)
- Israel’s salvation and restoration (Ezek 39:22, 29)
Some of these we’ve talked about, some of them we haven’t, but there’s going to be a divine annihilation of the coalition. There’s going to be birds and beasts feasting on the carnage. There’s going to be a seven-month bearing of the dead. There’s going to be a seven-year burning of weapons and there’s also going to be a salvation for the nation of Israel and when you look at the birds and beasts feasting on the carnage, I showed you last week scriptures that put that not at the beginning of the tribulation period but the end. One of the things mentioned here is Israel’s salvation. Israel’s salvation is actually them calling Jesus back to the earth to rescue them. Now, that is not something that happens at the beginning of the tribulation that something that happens at the end. So that’s why I’m not seeing these two chapters taking place concurrently, as most Bible teachers do. What I’m seeing here is a process. Chapter 38 begins with seal judgment number two and then it doesn’t give you all the details by the time you get to chapter 39. It just flashes forward to the end results that will be achieved through this conflict. So, I think chapters 38 and 39 are kind of the outer brackets of the tribulation period. Chapter 38 towards the beginning chapter 39 towards the end, but, yeah pastor, I want you to tell me about the mark of the beast, I want you to tell me about the destruction of Babylon and I want you to tell me about the battle of Armageddon and I can’t do that today, obviously, because we’re studying Ezekiel, 38 and 39, which isn’t going to give you all those details that people are interested in. Ezekiel’s just giving you the outer rim, if you will, outer edges of the tribulation. To learn about all those other interesting prophesied events, you have to consult other areas of scripture. But one of the things that happens at the end, when these enemies are defeated is the nation takes their weapons and burns them basically for seven years. Now, this seven years is a big issue, because people use this constantly to give you a time when this will happen. Here are the different views of when Ezekiel, 38 and 39 will happen.
- Beginning of the Millennium
- End of the Millennium
- End of the Tribulation
- Before the Tribulation
- First half of the Tribulation
- Two phase view
Some think it will happen at the beginning of the millennium, some think it will happen at the end of the millennium, some think it will happen at the end of the tribulation, some think it will take place before the tribulation, some think it will take place in the first half of the tribulation. But those of us that are walking by the Holy Spirit take the last view (hehe) and I’m being a little bit facetious there obviously and it’s okay if you don’t agree with me on this, you know, you can go your way and I’ll go His way and that’ll be fine. But you have to be a little bit good natured about it cause prophecy students disagree with each other but what I take is the two-phase view, chapter 38 towards the beginning, chapter 39 is flash forwarding to the end, but there are many, many people that will tell you that this has to happen before the tribulation period even starts. A lot of people, a lot of my friends put it in between the rapture, after the rapture, but before the tribulation even starts and their basic logic is the weapons have to burn for seven years. Seven years means seven years and you can’t have weapons burning during the millennial kingdom, they say. They argue that the millennial kingdom is going to be, you know, something that’s totally unique and we can’t have a bunch of weapons burning during the millennial kingdom and so what people do is they say, given that premise, this is something that has to happen before the seven-year tribulation period even starts. Now as you guys know, particularly if you’ve been tracking with us in Genesis, I quote Arnold Fruchtenbaum constantly, in agreement with him. But here is an area where I’m not on the same page with him, because he’s using these weapons burning for seven years as a basis for saying, this is an event that will happen before the tribulation even starts. So, in his book footsteps of the Messiah, he says:
Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum – Footsteps of the Messiah, 120
“Furthermore, this view…” Now the view he’s critiquing is chapter 39 is towards the end… “This view fails to solve the problem of the seven months (burial)…” Which we haven’t spoken of yet… “and the seven years (weapons burning), since both would have to continue in the Millennium to be accomplished…” So, we’ve got to put this before the tribulation starts, because if this happens in the tribulation period and the weapons start to burn at that point, the burning is going to keep taking place during the millennial kingdom. Arnold Fruchtenbaum says: “Again, this is inconsistent with other revelation regarding the Kingdom, which starts out with a thoroughly cleansed earth.”
So, there’s this assumption that many people make that weapons cannot burn during the thousand year reign of Christ and that is a point of disagreement. 24:19
You’ll notice our prophecy panorama chart, you’ve got the rapture and then the seven year tribulation period and then the second advent of Jesus Christ, then the thousand year kingdom. Well, it says here the weapons are going to burn for seven years and if you put this the way some do, like myself, as something that’s happening in the tribulation itself, then you’re going to have to just do the math. Weapons will have to burn during the thousand year reign of Christ, which is an impossibility. So, I think my reaction to what they’re saying is, I think their premise is wrong. There is no problem with weapons burning during the millennial kingdom. Why? Because what is the millennial kingdom exactly? It’s a renovated earth. It’s very different than the Eternal State which you see at the far right there of the chart, which is an ex nihilo, new creation. Now, I would have a problem with weapons burning in the Eternal State. I mean, that’s not going to happen. But it’s completely possible for weapons to burn during the millennial kingdom, because the millennial kingdom is very different than the Eternal State.
The millennial kingdom is a renovation over this current earth, the Eternal State is a brand new earth entirely. So here is a chart I put together some time back, that shows you the differences between the millennial kingdom and the Eternal State. The millennial kingdom, the one thousand year reign of Christ is described in Revelation, 20. The Eternal State is described in Revelation, 21 and 22. Now in the millennial kingdom you still have sin, but it’s restrained. In the Eternal State, based on passages like Revelation, 21, verse 4, sin will not be in existence anymore. In the millennial kingdom you will have death. In fact, Isaiah, 65, and verse 20 (Isa 65:20) specifically says, that if someone dies in the millennial kingdom before they reach the age of one hundred, everybody’s going to sort of sit around and say, oh! So tragic such a young man died. So, it’s interesting the lifespans of people are prolonged or elongated, kind of like how it was prior to the flood, when I believe the canopy of water surrounded the earth and filtered the sun’s harmful rays. So people in the pre flood world lived a lot longer. Adam lived to nine hundred and thirty years of age. Methuselah, the oldest living man, lived to nine hundred and sixty nine years of age, but there was still death in the pre flood world. In fact, the only pre flood patriarchs that didn’t die was who? It was Enoch. So the millennial kingdom is like that, death is happening but the lifespans of people are prolonged. In the Eternal State, according to Revelation, 21, verse 4 (Rev 21:4) there’s no death at all. In the millennial kingdom, you’re going to have mortals and resurrected people dwelling together. Now, who are these mortals? Well they will be survivors of the great tribulation period, that are called sheep by our Lord in Matthew, 25, verses 31 through 46 (Matt 25:31-46), because they’re believers, surviving unbelievers are goats and they’re cast off the earth into Hades, but the surviving mortal believers are sheep and they enter the millennial kingdom in their mortal bodies. You’ll see all of this described in Matthew, 25, verses 31 through 46 (Matt 25:31-46) and they begin to repopulate the earth and as they repopulate the earth, what just got passed down through the genetics? The sin nature. But the sin nature is in check because Jesus is ruling the world with a rod of iron at that time. Where any sin that takes place is dealt with immediately by Jesus in terms of instantaneous justice. So the age of grace is over. We’re now dealing with the age of justice with Jesus no longer at the Father’s right hand functioning as high priest, the way he functions today, but ruling this world with a rod of iron and so there will be mortals that sin in the millennial kingdom. You see examples of it in scriptures like Zechariah, 14, verses 16 through 18 (Zech 14:16-18) where many will not want to go to Jerusalem to worship the Lord and the Lord deals with them immediately by refusing to send moisture on their crops. You see it in other passages like Ezekiel, 45, I want to say around verse 22 (Ezek 45:22) where the high priest is going to have to offer an animal sacrifice for his own sin and that that’s a millennial passage, that can’t happen in the Eternal State and you see it in passages like Revelation, 20, verses 7 through 9 (Rev 20:7-9) where at the end of the millennium, when Satan is released from his prison and he goes out to deceive the nations, there’s a worldwide rebellion against the Lord there and that the number of the attackers against Jerusalem in that day, will be as numerous as the sand of the seashore, the Bible says. So very clearly, in the millennial kingdom, there is sin of some kind, because you have mortals that repopulated the earth, following the tribulation and they passed down the sin nature to their descendants, but you have other people that won’t be able to sin. That’ll be people like you, because you receive what at the rapture? Your resurrected body and as you return with the Lord to rule and reign, you will be in a resurrected body that has no ability to sin and at the beginning of the millennial kingdom, there’s going to be a resurrection of Old Testament saints and tribulation martyrs there, in resurrected bodies too, but at the same time there is this other completely different class of people with sin natures, that will have the ability to sin, tracing their linkage back to the believing mortal survivors of the tribulation period, who repopulated the earth. 31:40
So the millenium, boy! That’s an interesting time. You’ve got mortals and resurrected people living together and you say, this is the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard of. There’s actually a biblical precedent for it. When you study the forty day ministry that Jesus had in between His resurrection and ascension, the book of Acts talks about it. He’s in His resurrected body, He’s interacting with His disciples who are non-resurrected and they’re talking back and forth, they’re asking Him questions, they’re eating together. He’s saying to them, you know, feel my hands and feet, the wounds that are there. So you have this forty day interaction between non-resurrected and resurrected people and that sort of interaction is something that’s going to happen for a thousand years during the millennial kingdom. But as the chart indicates, that will not be a reality in the Eternal State, everyone will be resurrected. In the millennial kingdom you’ll still need to evangelize, because the mortals that entered the millennial kingdom in mortal bodies as believers and began to repopulate the earth, they’re all believers, or they would be goats and purged from the earth. But their children and their grandchildren and their great grand grandchildren and their great great grandchildren, etc., etc., etc., will not necessarily be believers. So they’ll need to be evangelized. So in the millenial kingdom, mortal destinies to some extent are still undecided, but that will not be the case in the Eternal State, once we get into the Eternal State, everyone’s destiny is sealed. You see, there are some things that you can do right now that you won’t be able to do in eternity and one of those is evangelism and even that privilege of evangelism will take place during the thousand year kingdom but even that is limited, because by the time you get into the Eternal State, everyone’s destiny is decided. The millennial kingdom is not a destruction of this present earth; this earth cannot go out of existence until Jesus reasserts authority over it. He has to demonstrate that what was lost in the Eden through the first Adam, has now been restored by the who? Last Adam and if the earth goes out of existence before that transpires, then Jesus loses, which can’t happen. He has to reassert His authority over exactly what was lost in Genesis, 3. So the millennial kingdom is not a new earth, it’s a renovated earth, but it’s the same earth. But by the time you get to the Eternal State, you’re not dealing with a renovated earth anymore. You know, God is not taking some paint and slapping it on a wall. It’s a completely new earth, it’s an ex nihilo new creation. Well, what happened to the old earth? Between the millennial kingdom and the Eternal State, the Lord destroyed it by fire and He only destroys it by fire after Jesus has reasserted His regal authority over it for a thousand years. So the millennium is a renovation and the Eternal State is a recreation; the millennium is temporary, it only lasts a thousand years. The Eternal state, on the other hand, is forever, that’s why we call it the Eternal State. Revelation, 22 says, they will reign, I think it’s around verse 5 (Rev 22:5), forever and ever. The millennium is a transitional time period. It transitions us from the second advent of Christ into the eternal state, but there’s this transitionary time period called the millennial kingdom. The Eternal State is non transitional, it lasts forever. Something I don’t have here on the chart, but you can add it there at the bottom, the millennium is a dispensation. In each of the seven dispensations, man is being tested and in the millennial kingdom man is being given one more test. Can he live under the authority of Christ in perfect circumstances? And the answer to that, is man, just like in all the other dispensations, fails that test dramatically. You won’t fail it cause you’ll be in a resurrected body, but the mortals living on the earth at the time, will fail it and the Lord proves once and for all that man’s problem is not his environment, because he’s been living in a perfect environment for a thousand years, man’s problem is his nature, that’s at war with God. That’s why Christianity is about changing by the power of the Holy Spirit, people from the inside out. But the Eternal State by way of contrast, is not a dispensation, because there is no test in the Eternal State. Man’s tests given by God have already run their full course. 37:30
So I notice that what’s happening in theological circles is people are just sort of using the ram, jam and cram method and they’re just running all these chapters together and they’re calling it the eschaton. I mean, that sounds scholarly, right? Oh! I believe in the eschaton and they’re not drawing distinctions between the millennium and the Eternal State. You say, boy! I’m glad we’re done with that chart. That chart was so long and you actually added one at the end. It’s not even there. Well, don’t celebrate yet cause there’s another chart.
In the millennial kingdom there’s time, it lasts a thousand years it says, a thousand years six times in Revelation, 20, verses 1 through 10 (Rev 20:1-10) but the Eternal State is largely timeless in this sense it goes on forever. In the millennial kingdom there are luminaries, the sun and the moon and the stars will still be in existence. In fact, Isaiah chapter 30, verse 26 (Isa 30:26) says during this time period the sun, S-U-N will be seven times brighter than what it is right now, if you can imagine that. So if you want to make some money in the millennial kingdom, you might go into the sun tanning, sunscreen business. But in the Eternal State, the sun and the moon and the stars are gone and what illumens it is Jesus Himself. In the millennium there’s a functioning temple. It’s described in Ezekiel, 40 through 48, but by the time you get to the eternal, John says, I saw no temple. In the millennium as I said before, there’s death to some extent, Isaiah, 65, verse 20 (Isa 65:20), but there will not be death in the Eternal State. In the millennium there’s satanic activity, in the sense that Satan has been incarcerated for a thousand years and when God allows it, Satan is let loose from his abyss, the abusso where he’s been locked up, to test man one more time and this becomes the explanation why when Jesus Christ returns, He doesn’t immediately throw Satan into the lake of fire, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. He takes Satan and puts him in a different venue, a different location because God has one more purpose for Satan to test mankind and so Satan comes out, he starts a worldwide rebellion that’s as numerous as the sand of the sea shore and then the rebellion as quickly crushed as fire comes down from heaven and then we’re finally finished with Satan at that point, but in the Eternal State, you won’t have a prospect of Satan coming back, he’s gone forever. In the millennial kingdom, there’s rebellion, as I tried to describe, not amongst the resurrected, but amongst the mortal descendants of those who repopulated the earth after the tribulation, but in the Eternal State there will be no more rebellion at all. 41:00
So since the millennial kingdom is completely different than the Eternal State, I have no problem seeing weapons burning during the millennial kingdom. I mean, that’s not a problem for me, it would be a problem if the weapons were burning in the Eternal State. But weapons burning during the millennial kingdom is not a problem. Why is that? Because the millennial kingdom is a renovation. It’s not a new creation and by the way, during the millennial kingdom other things are going to be burning besides weapons. One of the things that will be burning is Babylon herself. The great city of the antichrist, because it says in Revelation, 19, verses 2 and 3 (Rev 19:2-3): BECAUSE HIS JUDGMENTS ARE TRUE AND RIGHTEOUS; for He has judged the great prostitute who was corrupting the earth with her sexual immorality, and HE HAS AVENGED THE BLOOD OF HIS BOND-SERVANTS ON HER, And a second time they said, Hallelujah! HER SMOKE… that’s the city of Babylon… RISES FOREVER AND EVER… So throughout the millennial kingdom, Babylon is going to be burning. Why would God allow Babylon to burn during the millennial kingdom? It’s for the simple reason that it’s a memorial. You’re looking backward to the destruction God brought to evil, as a reminder to submit to the authority of Jesus Christ. So if Babylon is going to be burning throughout that time period, what’s the problem with weapons from this war burning for seven years? I mean, it’s really no problem at all. Something else that’s going to happen during the millennial kingdom is there’s going to be a temple. It’s described in Ezekiel, 43, verses 18 through 27 (Ezek 43:18-27), most clearly as animal sacrifices during the millennial kingdom in a millennial temple. Ezekiel 43:18, says: And He said to me, “Son of man, thus says the Lord GOD, ‘These are the statutes for the altar on the day it is built, to offer burnt offerings on it and to sprinkle blood on it… Ezekiel, 43, verse 22 (Ezek 43:22): On the second day you shall offer a male goat without blemish for a sin offering, and they shall cleanse the altar as they cleansed it with the bull… Ezekiel, 43, verse 24 (Ezek 43:24): You shall present them before the LORD, and the priests shall throw salt on them, and they shall offer them up as a burnt offering to the LORD… It’s very clear that animal sacrifices are in existence during the millennial kingdom itself. Now, people say, well why is God going to allow that? Well, think about this for a minute. In a world where death is almost a foregone reality, it’s easy to forget about the sacrificial death of Jesus, isn’t it? I mean, it’s easy to forget about the sacrificial death of Jesus and the church, because we’re so accustomed to God’s grace, that we forget the price that was paid to give us this grace. This is why the Lord instructed us to celebrate the Lord’s table regularly, because when you take the bread, you’re thinking about His body that was sacrificed for us, when you take the Cup, you’re thinking about His blood that was sacrificed for us and if you don’t have that pictorial reminder, you just forget what Jesus did to procure for us our salvation. We need that, because it’s easy to become so accustomed to God’s grace that we forget that someone else had to pay the price and if we can forget it, living in our world in the church age, think how easy it is to forget it in the millennial kingdom. I mean, death is such a foregone reality that, Oh! Yeah, didn’t Jesus died at some point to get us all here? I think I read something in the Bible about that. But you see, when you go into the millennial temple and you see the slaughter of these animals, in a world where death has almost disappeared, you say to yourself, Oh yeah! Thank you, Jesus, for what you did. So the animal sacrifices aren’t there so much as to supplement the death of Christ, nothing ever could, but they’re there like communion to cause us to reflect and to look backward to what Jesus did. Now, there are many theologians, if they were ever to listen to this, they would immediately denounce it as heresy, because to them any resurgence of animal sacrifices is hostile to the finished work of Jesus and that’s their basis for taking the millennial temple with its sacrifices and waving a magic wand and making it disappear, that’s called allegorical interpretation. But if you look, you can hold your place here in Ezekiel and if you just look for a moment at Acts, 21, and verse 26 (Acts 21:26) you see something that Paul the apostle did. 47:08
Now, I want you to understand something: there’s nobody that talked about the finished work of Jesus more than the apostle Paul. All of his letters are arguing for the finished work of Jesus Christ and you don’t have to go back under the Law of Moses for purposes of justification. But Paul himself, and it’s almost like this verse is not even in the Bibles of the reformed theologian, they don’t even know this is here and when you show it to them, they’re sort of shocked, because in Acts 21:26, you will see Paul post-cross, post-ascension, post-resurrection, the church age has well started, you’ll see Paul himself involved in an animal sacrifice. So in Acts, 21, verse 26 (Acts 21:26) it says: Then Paul took the men, and the next day, purifying himself along with them, went into the temple giving notice of the completion of the days of purification, until the sacrifice was offered for each one of them… Why in the world would Paul who spoke so aggressively about the finished work of Jesus Christ, get involved here with issuing an animal sacrifice? He was involved with it, not to add to the finished work of Christ, but to avoid being an offense to the Jews. He said, okay, if you’ll give me a hearing, I’ll submit to your customs. Now, that verse in and of itself, shows me that you can have animal sacrifices in some form or substance without chipping away at the finished work of Jesus, because that’s what Paul, who talked about the finished work of Jesus more than anyone else, did. So if this can happen with Paul, certainly it can happen during the thousand years. You can have animal sacrifices taking place that aren’t doing anything to chip away or chisel away or contribute to the finished work of Jesus and I’ve tried to give you an explanation as to why I think those animal sacrifices will be there. They’re not there to add to what Christ did, they’re there to contribute to memory of the reality of sacrificial death in a world that doesn’t even know what death is like anymore. They are not propitiatory in nature, they are memorial in nature and so, if you can have animals being slaughtered throughout the thousand year kingdom and you can have the Babylon burning throughout the thousand year kingdom, well, then what’s the big deal with having weapons burning for seven years. I mean, that’s really no problem at all and if that’s true, because we’re dealing with a renovated earth rather than a new earth in the millennial kingdom, out the window goes my justification for saying, well, we’ve got to make this a pre-tribulation event, Ezekiel, 38, 39, cause if we don’t do that, we’re going to have weapons burning during the thousand year kingdom and we can’t do that. Well, what I’ve tried to do is just take away that premise. I tried to explain why I think you can have weapons burning during the thousand year kingdom and it’s really no problem at all and if that problem disappears, I don’t have the pressure of putting this prophesied invasion before the seven year tribulation period starts so I don’t have weapons burning at all during the millennial kingdom. 51:10
So when you go back to verse 9 of Ezekiel 39 (Ezek 39:9), it says: Those who inhabit the cities of Israel will go out and make fires with the weapons and burn them, both.. Now here we have another problem… shields and bucklers, bows and arrows, war clubs and spears… They are burning this for seven years. We’ve sort of dealt with that and made fires of them, but as I look at these weapons, they look like ancient weapons to me. I mean, I don’t see tanks, you know, hand grenades and all the kind of things that you would associate with modern day warfare. So what do you do with this? This becomes the logic for preterists, preterist means past, where they try to tell you that this battle already happened in the distant past some time. Look at these ancient weapons and you can’t put that in the future; only an idiot would put that into the future because look at these ancient weapons. Well, when you come to these ancient weapons you really have two choices. You can say Ezekiel, when he wrote this, didn’t know what a tank or hand grenade was and so he is describing things that God is showing him in a vision with weapons from his own time, just like he doesn’t say Iran, he says Persia. Just like he doesn’t say Russia, he says Rosh, etc. and so a lot of people handle these weapons that way. It’s just Ezekiel trying to describe what he sees in a future vision, using language from his own sixth century BC time period and that’s a reasonable way of handling it. I know a lot of people that handle these that way, but then there are those of us that see a little differently. I think when it says shields that’s what it means. When it says bucklers that’s what it means. When it says bows and arrows and war clubs and spears, that’s exactly what it means. Now, why is that? I don’t know why. But someway, somehow, humanity will be rolled back when this event occurs to ancient forms of weapons. Now, you’re already familiar with EMP’s, right? EMP technology. What is it? Electromagnetic pulse? Something like that. It’s a real technology, where if used on an enemy, it shuts down everything. I mean, it would shut down the lights in this church, it would shut down my powerpoint and how is the Holy Spirit supposed to work without my powerpoint? It would shut down this wonderful fan that has been provided here so I don’t sweat like a pig up here, even though I am anyway. It would shut down the microwave oven that I used to reheat my coffee this morning, it would shut down the car that we got in to drive here this morning, it shuts down everything. Just study electromagnetic pulse technology and you’ll see it’s a very real technology. So maybe, at this point in the tribulation towards the end of it, this kind of technology has been employed. 54:53
Let me give you this quote from Albert Einstein, this is attributed to Albert Einstein and his quote is: I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones… It’s what he said. So maybe this is not World War III, as many people anticipate, maybe this is World War IV. Where somehow the human race has gone back to these ancient weapons at least at this point in the tribulation period. Now, do I know that that’s how it’s going to work out for sure? No, I don’t, it’s speculation. As I like to say, would I start a new church over this? You know, we’re the first church of the weapons being spears and bows and arrows. I probably wouldn’t start a new church over the issue, it’s an area where people disagree. I’m just of the mindset that I try to take the Bible at face value whenever I can and if there’s a scenario that can be advanced allowing God’s word to say exactly what it wants, I’m more prone to that. Not all Bible interpreters use the methodology that I’m using. They would see these as sophisticated weapons and, you know, we can all get along, right? We’re all going to the same heaven; this is not a salvation issue. I don’t have to call into question someone’s salvation over something like this. But it is interesting to me that you’ve got these weapons burning for seven years, well, what does that mean? Well, they’re going to burn for seven years. Are you going to have weapons burning in the millennial kingdom? Yeah, not a problem, no big deal. But what about these bucklers and bows and arrows and clubs and spears, you don’t really believe those are ancient weapons, do you? Yeah, I do and if I’m proven wrong, I’ll be the first to say I was wrong. In fact, in heaven there’s silence for one half an hour, did you know that? It’s in Revelation, 8, it says, there was silence in heaven for half an hour and I always wonder what’s going on during the half hour? And I think that’s when we readjust all our charts and I say, well, I’ve may have erase that, it didn’t have that exactly right and there are other people who have their chart perfect, of course and they can come and correct the rest of us and they won’t do it in pride, because they’ll be in a resurrected body that can’t sin, right? 57:39
So anyway, let’s go to verse 10 (Ezek 39:10), shall we? It says: They will not take wood from the field or gather firewood from the forests, for they will make fires with the weapons… and watch this… they will take the spoil of those who despoiled them and seize the plunder of those who plundered them, declares the Lord GOD… What is happening here? The plunderers are plundered. Why did this invasion occur to begin with? Ezekiel, 38, verse 12 (Ezek 38:12) It’s plunder. This gives the motives of the attackers to capture spoil, to seize plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places, which are now inhabited and against the people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods, who live at the center of the world… Ezekiel, 38, verse 13 (Ezek 38:13) says: Sheba and Dedan of Tarshish with all its villages will say to you, Have you come to capture spoil? Have you assembled your company to seize plunder… There it is again… to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to capture great spoil?… So the whole purpose of this invasion from Gog’s perspective is to plunder Israel’s wealth, that’s why the invasion occurs in his mind. Of course, ultimately it’s God hooks in the jaws drawing these nations in the Middle East, but in their mind it’s plunder. They come to plunder Israel and isn’t it interesting that when you look at verse 10 (Ezek 39:10), it’s actually the plunderers who are plundered: They will not take wood from the field or gather firewood from the forests, for they will make fires with the weapons; and they will take the spoil of those who despoiled them and seize the plunder of those who plundered them, declares the Lord GOD… That is an outworking of Genesis chapter 12, verse 3 (Gen 12:3) where God says, I will curse those who curse you in kind. I mean, do you realize that in the book of Esther when Haman developed the plot to exterminate the Jews and to hang Mordecai from the gallows that Haman himself was hung on the exact same gallows that he designed for Mordecai, that’s an outworking of Genesis, 12, verse 3 (Gen 12:3) I will curse those who curse you. The curse that you have aimed at Israel will come back in kind. When God made the decision to drown the Egyptians in the Red Sea, Exodus, 14. Why did God do that? You go back to Exodus, 1 and it was the Egyptians that were drowning his people. When God made the decision to, in plague ten, in the book of Exodus, kill all the first born, all over Egypt, God deliberately designed that plague, because Israel was God’s firstborn son, that Egypt had taken into captivity, Exodus, 4, verse 22 (Exo 4:22). So when Genesis, 12, verse 3 (Gen 12:3) says, I will curse those who curse you, that’s exactly what it means. I mean, the curse that the nations have aimed at Israel, will come right back at them in kind and here it is again. They went to do the plundering, verse 12 and verse 13 both mention plundering and they’re the ones that actually get plundered, because they’re destroyed by God, their weapons are burned for seven years and whatever is left the nation is going to use that for their own plunder during the millennial kingdom.
So we are finished talking about weapons burning and what about soldiers being buried? We’ll get to that next time, of course next week in this particular session, Olivier Melnick will be presenting so we’ll have to return to this two weeks from now and so we’ll look at that the next time we resume this teaching. Let’s pray. Father, we’re grateful for your truth, your word, even these sort of obscure areas. I pray that you would help us to learn things about your nature and your character and to walk these things out this week. We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name and God’s people said, Amen.