Following the battle of Armageddon, the Promised Land will be littered with the bodies and weapons of the enemies of God, so much so that a traveler could not make his way. The birds and beasts will feed upon the carcasses and the bones will be everywhere. The Jews, restored to the kingdom, will employ search and burial parties who will spend 7 months burying the bones and cleansing the land. Indeed all the people of Israel will be burying the enemy.
The Jews will not cut down trees for a 7-year period after the battle. They will use the remnants of the weapons of war as fuel. The words given to Ezekiel do not say that forests will be decimated as the enemies of God are destroyed, but it is implied. Listen as God describes the fate of His enemies.
Ezekiel 39:4-17 (NKJ)
4 “You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured.
5 “You shall fall on the open field; for I have spoken,” says the Lord GOD.
6 “And I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in security in the coastlands. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.
7 “So I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel, and I will not let them profane My holy name anymore. Then the nations shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.
8 “Surely it is coming, and it shall be done,” says the Lord GOD. “This is the day of which I have spoken.
9 “Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out and set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and bucklers, the bows and arrows, the javelins and spears; and they will make fires with them for seven years.
10 “They will not take wood from the field nor cut down any from the forests, because they will make fires with the weapons; and they will plunder those who plundered them, and pillage those who pillaged them,” says the Lord GOD.
11 “It will come to pass in that day that I will give Gog a burial place there in Israel, the valley of those who pass by east of the sea; and it will obstruct travelers, because there they will bury Gog and all his multitude. Therefore they will call it the Valley of Hamon Gog.
12 “For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land.
13 “Indeed all the people of the land will be burying them, and they will gain renown for it on the day that I am glorified,” says the Lord GOD.
14 “They will set apart men regularly employed, with the help of a search party, to pass through the land and bury those bodies remaining on the ground, in order to cleanse it. At the end of seven months they will make a search.
15 “The search party will pass through the land; and whenever anyone sees a man’s bone, he shall set up a marker by it, till the buriers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon Gog.
16 “The name of the city will also be Hamonah. Thus they shall cleanse the land.”‘
17 “And as for you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Speak to every sort of bird and to every beast of the field: “Assemble yourselves and come; gather together from all sides to My sacrificial meal which I am sacrificing for you, a great sacrificial meal on the mountains of Israel, that you may eat flesh and drink blood.
This last verse is very complex. I will speculate on its meaning and pray that I am not in error. The sacrificial meal is God’s sacrifice of the sinful enemy for you, Israel. When the crucifixion of Jesus Christ occurred, The Son of God took upon Himself the sins of the world. He entered into the center of the earth, and suffered for us. Listen.
Ephesians 4:9-10 (NKJ)
9 (Now this, “He ascended”– what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
Remember that sin must be paid for and Jesus paid for our sin. When Christians celebrate communion they often repeat some of these verses.
1 Corinthians 11:23-29 (NKJ)
23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;
24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
In another verse Jesus said,
John 6:53-58 (NKJ)
53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.
54 “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
55 “For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.
56 “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.
57 “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.
58 “This is the bread which came down from heaven– not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”
These verses, even today, create great controversy with the Body of Believers. The entire notion that there is no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood is as hard for us to handle now as it was then. At one point, just after Jesus said the words above, the scriptures say…
John 6:60-66 (NKJ)
60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?”
61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you?
62 “What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?
63 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
64 “But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him.
65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”
66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.
Jesus said, It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. We tend to focus on the “flesh,” our human existence, as “important.” Getting past that “fatal error” is a matter of eternal consequence. We need to see that “sacrificing the flesh” is a means of destroying that which is temporal so that the spiritual can be “born.”
When we celebrate communion we are not only acknowledging the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins, but we are drinking of the cup of His Blood and His Body, that He who is Spirit may live in our hearts. The “offense” that the followers had was, at least in part, their failure to understand that the shed Blood of Jesus and His broken Body, were a sacrifice of what is temporal so that which is eternal can reign.
Yes, our bodies die but they are temporal and “drinking and eating” of the Body of Jesus, is an act of remembrance of the triumph His death provided, over death itself. He is Spirit. We who follow Him are willing to “crucify our flesh” as it were, in order to be “born of the Spirit.”
Those who arise from their graves to participate physically with Jesus Christ in the Millennium are those to whom the Gospel was preached while in their graves. Those who arise to participate with Jesus in the millennium as spiritual entities are those who received and acted upon the invitation of the New Covenant, that is they declared their faith, by grace, in the One who could forgive their iniquity. Listen to the Lord explaining the terms of the New Covenant.
Jeremiah 31:31-34 (NKJ)
31 “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah–
32 “not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD.
33 “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
34 “No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
Many souls had died before Jesus came and declared that a New Covenant was replacing the Old Covenant, the event foretold by Jeremiah. We who have existed since the death and resurrection of Jesus are under the New Covenant. Those who died before Jesus gave us the New Covenant were under the Old Covenant. There are three quotations that help us understand the fate of those under the Old Covenant. First, listen to the words of Jesus, the Christ, who will judge all men.
John 5:25-29 (NKJ)
25 “Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.
26 “For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself,
27 “and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.
28 “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice
29 “and come forth– those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
Since we know that “doing good” is not a means to salvation, Jesus was referring to those who were in the grave, as He spoke, that is, those who had died under the Old Covenant. Those who were obedient to the laws of the Old Covenant will be called forth to the resurrection of life and those who did evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. Peter offers further insight:
1 Peter 3:17-20 (NKJ)
17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,
19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison,
20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.
1 Peter 4:1-8 (NKJ)
1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,
2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles– when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.
4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you.
5 They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
6 For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
7 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.
8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”
The teachings the Scriptures offer about those who have died are very difficult, given our perspective. We who have not died yet can not fully understand the condition of the spirit of man whose physical body has perished. In general, it seems clear that all will be raised from the dead for judgment and we know that involves two groups. One who died under the Old Covenant and one who died under the New Covenant. Those who died under the Old Covenant and who were obedient, as judged by Jesus, will be resurrected and will yet declare their faith in the Messiah. Their sin must be removed from them for them to enter into the presence of the Father.
I will speculate that those who were obedient will populate the earth during the Millennium, living without temptation (Satan is bound) and they will yet acknowledge Jesus as their Redeemer. Failing to do so, they will fall victim to the judgment of Jesus after having been deceived by Satan at the end of the millennium when Satan is loosed for a season to capture whomever he can.
Now, those Jews who survive the tribulation and are alive on the day of the battle of Armageddon, are not, I don’t think, persons who have acknowledged Jesus as their Redeemer, the one who atoned for their sins. Therefore when God says,
“Assemble yourselves and come; gather together from all sides to My sacrificial meal which I am sacrificing for you, a great sacrificial meal on the mountains of Israel, that you may eat flesh and drink blood.,”
He said this to the birds and the beasts, not to Israel. Israel can not be redeemed without the shedding of blood for the remission of sins and only the unblemished Lamb of God can ultimately atone for sins. It appears that Israel will enter the Millennium without having partaken of the Blood and Body of Jesus. They will spend 1000 years in perfect obedience to the Law, with the prince, King David and the Sons of Zadok, God’s sanctified priests, continuing to obey the commandments, including sin offerings and offerings of righteousness.
Why sin offerings, given the presence of Jesus, who has made the one and only sacrifice that can redeem any soul? Because, and I speculate, Israel needs a period of purification, unfettered by Satan, in which they are completely obedient. The Spirit of God will be present. Joy and celebration will be present but those who were obedient to the Law and who were resurrected to participate in the millennium will be present as well. Not only in Israel, but in the other parts of the world, since only those pureblooded Jews of the seed of Abraham will be able to enter the Temple. When Satan is loosed at the end of the 1000 years he will not have victory over God’s chosen people, who have refused the mark of the beast, but he will summon the enemies of God to one final battle, the battle preceding the Great White Throne Judgment. Why cap’s? Because this moment will be the defining moment in the human history of man.
It will be the moment in which the sheep are separated from the goats, the moment in which those, whose names are written in the “Book of Life,” will be gathered together to New Jerusalem which will descend from the heavens. We who acknowledge our Savior and appropriate a personal relationship with our Redeemer will depart this earth to that eternal, perfect place, a place of unimaginable beauty and peace. The earth that we leave behind will be destroyed and every enemy of God will be cast into the lake of fire, eternally condemned to separation and suffering. They shall be in the position of the rich man, who looked to Lazarus and said,
Luke 16:24 (NKJ)
24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’
These views are most difficult for me, and anyone else who “loves his neighbor as himself,” to express. I consider the events of the Millennium a great mystery, in part, and particularly the continuing sacrifice, given the words in Revelation 20. I will speculate that the Saints who return “with Jesus Christ” will be in spiritual bodies, as will Christ during the Millennium.
Revelation 20:1-8 (NKJ)
1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;
3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison
8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea.
Perhaps the words in verse 4 are the key. Those who will reign with Jesus Christ, during this 1000-year period, will “judge.” How could they be in a “judging” role? Again, perhaps it is because they are in a spiritual body, not a physical body, a body like that of the Messiah, after the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension, when he appeared to many. Their “judgment” may well be that of oversight of those participating in the Millennium, not as The Judge, Jesus, but as one who is present, much in the same way that angels are present today.
1 Corinthians 6:2-3 (NKJ)
2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?
The Saints who return with Christ will not ever fall from grace. How do we know? First, the Scriptures say: Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. Then Daniel tells us:
Daniel 7:18 (NKJ)
18 ‘But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.’
Forever means forever in the kingdom and in eternity.
Since Satan is bound during these 1000 years, will Israel finally be able to fulfill the requirement that they are “obedient to the Law” and will their faith be accounted to them as righteousness? I believe the answer may be yes and no. Yes, they will be restored as a Holy Nation and will glorify God and will acknowledge Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah who has established God’s kingdom here on earth. No, the sacrifices prescribed during the millennium will not be sufficient for salvation. They will still be required to born again, to die to the flesh and to be resurrected in a spiritual body into an eternal Jerusalem. They will join with every believer and confess that Jesus Christ is the only means to eternal life.
Forgive me Father for offering such a presumptive scenario. I do so, but not with an air of certainty and not to encourage any reader to look forward to being a physical entity in the millennium, having survived the Tribulation. I do so in order to encourage them to believe now, in the Messiah that has come and will come again, and to choose eternal life now, and to reign with Christ in the Millennium as a Spirit filled entity.
You do not need to go through the tribulation or to place yourself in the position of a physical entity requiring atonement. The price has been paid and no further sacrifice of any kind will ever redeem you. O’ God, move now in the heart of the reader that feels they can be redeemed by obedience alone. The Old Covenant has passed.
If you want to think more about what it may be to be like to be a spiritual entity in the millennium, listen. These events occurred right after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Luke 24:13-53 (NKJ)
13 Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem.
14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.
15 So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them.
16 But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.
17 And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?”
18 Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?”
19 And He said to them, “What things?” So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,
20 “and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him.
21 “But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened.
22 “Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us.
23 “When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive.
24 “And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.”
25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!
26 “Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?”
27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
28 Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther.
29 But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them.
30 Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.
31 Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.
32 And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?”
33 So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together,
34 saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”
35 And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread.
36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.”
37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit.
38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?
39 “Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”
40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.
41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?”
42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb.
43 And He took it and ate in their presence.
44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”
45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,
47 “and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
48 “And you are witnesses of these things.
49 “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them.
51 Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.
52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
53 and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.
I realize that quotation covers a lot more territory than a description of a Spiritual body, but I trust you find the record both encouraging and enlightening.
I pray this topic has not distracted you from the simplicity of the Gospel. Speculation of the sort I have indulged in is intellectually stimulating, to some, but of no consequence at all as you make a decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. To overly focus on that which is obscure is to major in minor topics. Satan would love to have us argue over such matters. We often hear the expression “don’t even go there” from the mouths of those who are fearful of the dissension that follows a difficult subject. There are many issues to which we should respond as follows:
1 Corinthians 13:12 (NKJ)
12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
The verse above is followed by admonitions that should characterize the relationships of those who love God, first from Paul and then John.
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NKJ)
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 John 4:16-21 (NKJ)
16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
19 We love Him because He first loved us.
20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?
21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
Ask the Father to reveal to you what you need to know and to manifest Himself more fully to you, day by day. The land of Israel will be restored and cleansed and so can the heart of every child of God be restored and cleansed.