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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," Winter Edition 2006

When Christ Rules The Nations With A Rod Of Iron

Revelation 12:5 is one place where folks get the idea that Christ will literally "rule the nations with a rod of iron"--ancient oriental monarch despot-style--in some future millennial kingdom after His second coming. Such a "carnal conception" of the nature of our loving Saviour's supposed future rule, however, is a gross caricature of Christian truth, and not the right interpretation of that expression used in this text.

Let look at the evidence. The facts are these. Jesus Christ now has all power in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18). He is now plainly declared to be the Lord of all (Acts 10:36). The "rod of iron" by which Jesus now rules the nations, therefore, is the unbreakable and binding decree of the gospel: "He that believeth and is baptize shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mk. 16:16).

The proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom is an ultimatum to the human race as inflexible as steel, for the objective acceptance or rejection of it consigns men to eternal bliss, or to eternal damnation. No gray areas, in terms of absolute authority on issues relative to salvation are possible under the present rulership of King Jesus. Men will either bow the knee to Him now, in this present age, and while they yet have within them the breath of life, or they will nevermore see the grace of light (Heb. 10:28-29). The biblical doctrine of the eternal damnation of the ultimately unrepentant is proof that Christ does indeed ruled this present age with a rod of iron.

Obviously, the broader latent issue that informs interpretational presuppositions here is the question of free moral agency. What choices have you been making in the light of the gospel call to repentance, faith, and obedience to Christ?

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