We are studying the wrath that we, as believers, are promised to be spared from. I mentioned in parts one and two of our study that the term “Tribulation” or “7-Year Tribulation” is a very misleading name. You can read that here: Tribulation, Great Tribulation, and Wrath – Part 1. and here: What is the Tribulation? Part 2.
In those posts, we found out that church age believers are only specifically promised to be spared from God’s wrath. Thus, we must define when God’s wrath begins if we want to know when our anticipated escape plan will come into effect.
“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:34-36 ESV
When Does God’s Wrath Begin?
The body of Christ is promised to be spared from God’s wrath. God has righteous wrath, which will be poured upon the earth in the Day of the Lord:
But on that day, the day that Gog shall come against the land of Israel, declares the Lord God, my wrath will be roused in my anger. For in my jealousy and in my blazing wrath I declare, On that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. (Ezekiel 38:18 ESV)
When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” Revelation 6:12-17 ESV
For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 ESV
For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 ESV)
In Ezekiel 38:18 we learn that God’s wrath is roused when Gog comes against the land of Israel. So we need to study the war of Gog/Magog described in Ezekiel chapters 38-39, and watch for this war to line up. When we see it approaching, we should look up for our redemption draws nigh!
Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. Luke 21:28 ESV
More on the Gog/Magog war can be found here:
- The Gog and Magog War of Ezekiel 38 & 39
- Ezekiel 38-39 Verse by Verse Discussion
- Connecting Isaiah 17, Psalm 83, Ezekiel 38&39
The Burning Weapons Key
Believers are not specifically promised to be spared from the 70th Week of Daniel or the Greatest Tribulation. However, we saw that believers are promised to be spared from God’s wrath, which is encompassed in the Day of the Lord. So, what we need to do is find out how the Day of the Lord and the 70th Week of Daniel fit together on a timeline. In part two of this series, we discussed how the Day of the Lord overlays with the 70th Week of Daniel. We thus found out that church age believers will be spared from the 70th Week of Daniel (“The Tribulation”) AS WELL AS the Day of the Lord.
Now let’s see if we can figure out where the Gog Magog war of Ezekiel 38-39 fits into place.
The connecting key we are looking for is found in Ezekiel Chapter 39:
Behold, it is coming and it will be brought about, declares the Lord God. That is the day of which I have spoken. “Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out and make fires of the weapons and burn them, shields and bucklers, bow and arrows, clubs and spears; and they will make fires of them for seven years, so that they will not need to take wood out of the field or cut down any out of the forests, for they will make their fires of the weapons. They will seize the spoil of those who despoiled them, and plunder those who plundered them, declares the Lord God. “On that day I will give to Gog a place for burial in Israel, the Valley of the Travelers, east of the sea. It will block the travelers, for there Gog and all his multitude will be buried. It will be called the Valley of Hamon-gog. For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land. All the people of the land will bury them, and it will bring them renown on the day that I show my glory, declares the Lord God. Ezekiel 39:8-13 ESV
At the conclusion of the war of Gog/Magog, the entire house of Israel will bury their bodies for a 7 month period. Israel will additionally burn the weapons from this war for a period of seven years. Whether they begin burning the weapons WHILE they are still burying bodies is unknown. Whether there is a supply of weapons that could be burned LONGER than 7 years is also unknown. What we are told is that they will burn the weapons for a period of 7 years, at which point the weapons burning will stop.
This 7 years is not defined by months or days, so it could be a little more or a little less than 7 years in theory. In Hebrew culture at that time (cultural and historical context), portions of time were rounded up. For example, Jesus’ “three days and three nights in the grave” were portions of days and nights, but rounded up. What we need to focus on is what we have been given – “7 years”.
There are two possible scenarios here. One, is that the weapons burning ends at the abomination of desolation, when the believing remnant of Israel flees to the wilderness as per Jesus’ instructions in Matthew 24. Remember this involves 1/3 or less of the Hebrews (per Zechariah 13:8). 2/3 or more will remain and not flee, so the other scenario is that the unbelieving Hebrews (who will likely follow the antichrist) continue burning the weapons until the Second Coming of Christ. I will try to illustrate this from minimum time to maximum time:
No Burning of Weapons in the Millennial Kingdom
Wait a minute, you say. Why does the weapons burning have to end at the Second Coming of Christ? A valid question. Yes, I am making the assumption that weapons burning does not continue into the Millennial Kingdom. This is based on the following Scriptures:
The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” And there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake. The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath. And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found. (Revelation 16:17-20 ESV)
The whole land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. But Jerusalem shall remain aloft on its site from the Gate of Benjamin to the place of the former gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s winepresses. And it shall be inhabited, for there shall never again be a decree of utter destruction. Jerusalem shall dwell in security. (Zechariah 14:10-11 ESV)
It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. (Isaiah 2:2-4 ESV)
The earthquake at Jesus’ second coming is so severe that ALL the cities in the world fall, EVERY island flees, NO mountains remain. Israel is turned into a plain, and the site of Jerusalem (which has been split into 3 parts) is raised up. Weapons will be turned into plowshares and pruning hooks (agricultural tools), not burned as per Isaiah 2. It doesn’t sound like weapons, whatever they are, will stick around and be burned for a little while in the 1000-year Kingdom (and if they did, why would it only be for a short time period?). God is refashioning the earth for Jesus’ Millennial rule, and I’m sure He will figure out how to provide for fuel in His Kingdom if it is needed.
Overlaying the Day of the Lord and the 70th Week of Daniel
Since the Gog/Magog war is when God rises in wrath, it begins the Day of the Lord. God mentions repeatedly through the prophet Ezekiel that the day He rises is “That Day” of which He has spoken hundreds of times (the Day of the Lord).
Behold, it is coming and it will be brought about, declares the Lord God. That is the day of which I have spoken. Ezekiel 39:8 ESV
Since we have been given a timeline of 7 years weapons burning, there must be at least ~ 7 years between the beginning of the Day of the Lord (Gog/Magog war) and the end of the Day of the Lord (Second Coming of Christ). Remember that the Second Coming of Christ ends The Day of the Lord, The 70th Week of Daniel, and the period of Greatest Tribulation.
While the Day of the Lord and Daniel’s 70th week are thus overlapping, the Day of the Lord could be LONGER or SLIGHTLY SHORTER than the 70th week. We have already discussed that the 7 years of burning could be an approximation, since it is nowhere also defined by months or days. Daniel’s 70th week, on the other hand, is specifically split into two halves of “42 months” or “1260 days” or “times, time, and half a time”. While the Day of the Lord could possibly be up to approximately 11 years in length, I am placing my bets that it happens to be about 7 years. The reason for this is that we need Elijah (2 Witnesses) to appear and the antichrist to be revealed in some fashion before it can begin, but Ezekiel 38-39 also seems to be connected to the rapture of the church.
The rapture of the church seems to occur near the conclusion of the Ezekiel 38-39 war. The process of God rising in wrath and defending Israel (and possibly the resurrection/rapture itself) would seem to cause the earthquakes and atmospheric disturbances that darken the sun and turn the moon blood red. As the war concludes, the 2 Witnesses (including “Elijah”) MUST appear and the antichrist MUST somehow be revealed. Then the Day of the Lord will begin.
So here is the important point.
The Day of the Lord is at least ~ 7 years long based on the 7 years of weapons burning AFTER God rises in wrath to save Israel from certain destruction. Thus, the Day of the Lord encompasses the 70th Week of Daniel.
Because we are promised to be spared from the wrath of God, we will ALSO be spared from the entire 70th week of Daniel (“The Tribulation”). We will ALSO be spared from the time of “Greatest Tribulation”, which comes in the last half of Daniel’s 70th Week. We will ALSO be spared from “Satan’s Wrath”, because satan’s wrath occurs during the 70th Week and for sure during the Greatest Tribulation.
Thus, although church age believers are not specifically promised to be spared from Daniel’s 70th week or the “7 Year Tribulation” or the “Greatest Tribulation”, we will be, because God’s wrath encompasses these same time periods.
Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt? Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape? If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.
The Bible is infallible. I am not. I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture. I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details. I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!