“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.”[Ezekiel 39:10]
Once the great Day of God’s wrath is finished and the last wicked warrior falls to the ground at the battle of Armageddon, the LORD will roar from Zion and all the saints will shout for victory! As King Jesus takes His seat on His glorious throne, the administration of His government will begin.
One of the most practical details about the Day of the LORD that often is overlooked involves the spoils of war. The Lord Jesus will put an end to the war of all wars at His coming, and the aftermath will leave the earth desolate in ruins, scattered with countless dead bodies and weapons.
The spoils will be for the taking, but the task of cleaning up will be overwhelming. Interestingly enough, the Scriptures provide details about the aftermath of the war and the process of cleansing the land.
There is a Stench in the Land
I have written extensively about the catastrophic loss of life on the Day of the LORD. As Jesus comes to tread the winepress of God’s wrath upon the nations, untold millions will die, leaving a river a blood in His wake. These horrid details are often difficult to process and just as easily ignored altogether.
But the reality of death on that Day will be inescapable. Not only will the wild beasts and birds gather to feed on the carrion (Revelation 19:17-21), but also a foul stench will arise, filling the air with the repulsive odor of decaying flesh.
Both Joel and Isaiah spoke of this Day.
“I will remove the northerner far from you,[Joel 2:20]
and drive him into a parched and desolate land,
his vanguard into the eastern sea,
and his rear guard into the western sea;
the stench and foul smell of him will rise,
for he has done great things.”
“For the LORD is enraged against all the nations, and furious against all their host; he has devoted them to destruction, has given them over for slaughter. Their slain shall be cast out, and the stench of their corpses shall rise; the mountains shall flow with their blood.”[Isaiah 34:2-3]
7 Months for Burial
Cleansing the land of these dead bodies will be no small task. Ezekiel provides exclusive insight about how long this process will actually take.
“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. They will set apart men to travel through the land regularly and bury those travelers remaining on the face of the land, so as to cleanse it. At the end of seven months they will make their search. And when these travel through the land and anyone sees a human bone, then he shall set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon-gog. (Hamonah is also the name of the city.) Thus shall they cleanse the land.”[Ezekiel 39:11-16]
Although I can’t be certain, this passage seems to designate this grueling job to “the house of Israel,” which I understand to be the survivors from Israel who turn to Jesus in repentance and faith at His coming and are saved [see Zechariah 12-13, Joel 2].
The cleansing of the land will be one of the very first steps of restoration in the Millennium.
7 Years of Fuel
In a future post, I plan to emphasize how all the nations will pay tribute to the LORD in Zion and bring their treasures to Israel during the Millennium. The nations will flow to the mountain of the LORD each year to honor the King of kings. But Zechariah seems to imply that there will be some immediate spoils of war in the aftermath of the Day of the LORD.
“And this shall be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. And on that day a great panic from the LORD shall fall on them, so that each will seize the hand of another, and the hand of the one will be raised against the hand of the other. Even Judah will fight at Jerusalem. And the wealth of all the surrounding nations shall be collected, gold, silver, and garments in great abundance. And a plague like this plague shall fall on the horses, the mules, the camels, the donkeys, and whatever beasts may be in those camps.”[Zechariah 14:12-15]
Ezekiel also indicates that the immediate spoils of war will provide enough fuel to sustain the land during the first seven years of the Millennium!
“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.”[Ezekiel 39:9-10]
This passage reinforces the idea that there will be many survivors from both Israel and the nations that will enter the Millennium in natural bodies and will have the same basic needs that we do in this present age, such as food and shelter. Only those who receive resurrected bodies at the return of Christ will enter the Kingdom in a glorified state like that of Jesus Himself.
As I begin to shift my focus to the Millennial Kingdom, I will do my best to address all of these issues from a Biblical perspective.