“Rod of Iron”

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“Rod of Iron” – 28 November 2006

I have often wondered about the use of the expression “rod of iron” that is found in the Bible. “Rod of iron” is used once in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and three times in the New Testament.

In Psalm 2:9 David speaks prophetically of the Messiah who will be of the line of David:

9 'Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron (my emphasis),
Thou shalt shatter them like earthenware.' "
~ New American Standard Bible

“Rod of iron” appears three times in the Revelation to John:

In Revelation 2:26-29, John quotes the Lord:

26 'And he who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations;

27 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron (my emphasis), as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father;

28 and I will give him the morning star.

29 'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'
~ New American Standard Bible

Revelation 12:5-6 continues with the end-times prophecy:

5 And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron (my emphasis); and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.

6 And the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she might be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
~ New American Standard Bible

Revelation 19:15-16 is the last Bible passage in which “rod of iron” is used:

15 And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron (my emphasis); and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.

16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."
~ New American Standard Bible

I have also wondered why the imagery of the Book of Revelation is violent. In my opinion, the “sharp sword” (Revelation 19:15) refers to His Word (Hebrews 4:12):

12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
~ New American Standard Bible

Thinking about all the evil and corruption that has always been rampant in the world since the fall, and the intense pain of the billions of innocent creatures unnecessarily abused and slaughtered round the clock, I begin to understand why a gentle Jesus who teaches love and compassion would in the end times return wielding a metaphorical “rod of iron.”

My interpretation is that those who have truly repented and have experienced a “change of heart” – who have “the fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23) – will be with the Lord. Those who are “hard of heart” (those who stubbornly continue to lack love and who mock true kindness and compassion) will be the recipients of rule by a “rod of iron.”

When one stops to think of the wars, the starvation, the destruction of the earth, the greed, the corruption, the lies with which the powerful flesh and dairy, pharmaceutical, and other industries bombard the public, and the political power that they wield, it is not so difficult to understand God’s “enough is enough” stance.

The Lord, who is patient (2 Peter 3:9-10), will give the hard of heart one thousand years to repent. At the end of that time, those who persist in their resistance to positive change will be sent to be with Satan.

2 Peter 3:9-10

9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

10 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 burned up.
~ New American Standard Bible

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"Joyful Curmudgeon"
An oxymoron?
No! I see all the beauty of God's creation and I'm joyful.  At the same time, I see all the suffering and corruption going on in the world, and feel called to help expose and end it so that we may have true peace and compassion.

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