Psalm 2:9 begins with, “You shall break them with a rod of iron.” The “rod of iron” phraseology shows up four times in the Bible. In Psalm 2:9 the rod of iron is wielded as a weapon to dash the rebellious Gentile nations into pieces. However, the other three uses of this iron rod are for governing purposes in the MILLENNIUM.
Because this rod is cast in iron, rather than woven in willows, it implies that Messiah the Monarch will rule the global government with an iron fist. Even though Isaiah 9:6-7 identifies him as the “Prince of Peace” and says, “of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end,” this peace apparently requires the skillful use of the rod of iron to establish and maintain it throughout the MILLENNIUM.
The rod of iron first comes out of its sheath when Jesus Christ rids the world of the Antichrist, his rebellious armies and the unsaved Goat Gentiles. Psalm 2:9 says that the rod of iron is used to “break them.” The Hebrew word for break is ra’a’ with a phonetic spelling (raw-ah‘). It can be interpreted “to break the good for nothing into pieces.” (1)
The same rod remains actively in use throughout the MILLENNIUM, but to shepherd people rather than break them into pieces. The uses in the following three passages display the rod functioning as an instrument for ruling or shepherding, rather than breaking or dashing. These verses all use the following Greek words for ruling (poimaino) with a rod (rhabdos) of iron (sidereos). These words will be defined following the pertinent passages.
(Proof Text #1) “She bore a male Child who was to rule (poimaino) all nations with a rod (rhabdos) of iron (sidereos). And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.” (Rev. 12:5, NKJV; emphasis added)
(Proof Text #2) “Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule (poimaino) them with a rod (rhabdos) of iron (sidereos). He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Rev. 19:15-16, NKJV; emphasis added)
(Proof Text #3) “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations— ‘He shall rule (poimaino) them with a rod (rhabdos) of iron (sidereos); They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels.’” (Rev. 2:26-27, NKJV; emphasis added)
The Greek words poimaino, rhabdos and sidereos are defined below. (2)
• Poimaino: G4166 to shepherd or pastor.
• Rhabdos: G4464 a stick, wand, rod, scepter, or staff.
• Sidereos: G4603 made of iron.
These three references above to the rod of iron in the book of Revelation point out that the Messiah Monarch will be pastoring the peoples in the MILLENNIUM like sheep with a shepherd’s staff. However, this specific staff is not the typical standard shepherd issue made of wood, but is a special edition forged in iron.
But why iron, rather than wood? Before answering this, it’s helpful to understand the biblical role of a corrective rod. The Hebrew word commonly used for rod in the Old Testament is shebet. (3) It is translated as a rod, staff or scepter, but the term also applies to a stick used for punishing and correction. The passages below point out why the rod of correction is important.
“Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him.” (Proverbs 22:15)
“Do not withhold correction from a child, For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, And deliver his soul from hell.” (Proverbs 23:13-14)
“The rod and rebuke give wisdom, But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” (Proverbs 29:15)
The disciplinary instructions in these Proverbs passages find application now and should also apply in the MILLENNIUM. This is because the mortals who enter into the MILLENNIUM will have a sin nature that they will pass on through their offspring.
Proverbs 22:15 pointed out that a child born with a sin nature inherently has foolishness bound up in its heart. Proverbs 23:13-14 instructs a parent to correct a foolish child in order to deliver his soul from hell, which is where foolishness leads. Proverbs 29:15 warns that a child left to himself remains foolish and as such, behaves shamefully.
Isaiah 65:20 warns that in the MILLENNIUM, “the child shall die one hundred years old, but the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed,” which means there is an age of accountability. The one-hundred-year-old unsaved sinner that dies accursed, goes to Hades. This unsaved sinner began as a foolish child in need of the rod of correction in order to deliver his soul from Hell.
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.” (Hebrews 12:5b-8)
The point of providing all of these disciplinary passages under this section is to qualify the need for the Messiah Monarch to shepherd the global government with a rod of iron in order to maintain world peace. There will not only be individual sin issues, but apparently there will be power struggles among peoples and nations that will require His iron hand for just and righteous deliberations.
“He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; 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 2:4)
“Many nations shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion the law shall go forth, And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, And rebuke strong nations afar off; 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.” (Micah 4:2-3)
These two above passages explain that in the MILLENNIUM international disputes will no longer be resolved militarily. This is because at the inception of the MILLENNIUM all of the world’s existing conventional weapons, which were not destroyed previously in the multiple wars of the last days, will be broken into pieces and then converted into useful farm implements, such as plowshares and pruning hooks.
The Hebrew word for beat is “kathath” and it can be translated, to crush by beating with a hammer to the point of being broken into pieces. (4) It alludes to a two-step process, first break down the weapons and then recycle the materials into useful farming tools. Without weapons, conventional wars will no longer be waged rather, the Lord will use His rod of iron to judge between many peoples, And rebuke strong nations afar off.
This iron fist policy will be the backbone of Messiah’s global government. All of those placed in political power will be required to execute their duties in strict compliance with His laws. This includes all governing Church Saints. Proof text #3 above, which addressed overcomers in the Church, pointed out that “he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations.” ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron.’” (Rev. 2:26-27)
This is one of the passages that informs the Church Age Saints will be reigning in the MILLENNIUM alongside Jesus Christ. Below is a quote from the Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament that speaks to this point.
“Christ promises believers who are faithful that they will join Him in His millennial rule (Ps. 2:8-9; 2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 20:4-6). The word in verse 27 translated “rule” poimaino means “to shepherd,” indicating that they will not simply be administering justice but will also, like a shepherd using his rod, be dealing with his sheep and protecting them as well… Believers will have authority just as Christ does.” (5)
Lastly, at the end of the MILLENNIUM a multitude of unsaved people will rebel against the iron fisted rule of Messiah the Monarch.
“Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 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. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.” (Revelation 20:7-9)
Isaiah 2:4 and Micah 4:2-3 said that people in the MILLENNIUM would not learn war anymore, but that they allow Jesus Christ to judge between many peoples, And rebuke strong nations afar off. Apparently by the end of the MILLENNIUM there will be a multitude of unsaved people that are fed up with the iron fisted method of governing and will prefer war.
In summary, Jesus Christ as Messiah the Monarch will govern over a peaceful planet during the MILLENNIUM. In fact, “of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.” This world peace will be maintained by Jesus Christ Who, with a rod of iron, will judge and rebuke nations and chastens those He loves. In conclusion, why the rod of iron? Because mankind will still have his sin nature in the MILLENNIUM.
1. H7489 Hebrew word ra’a’ defined in the Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries at this weblink: https://www.htmlbible.com/sacrednamebiblecom/kjvstrongs/STRHEB74.htm.
2. Greek word definitions from Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries.
3. H7626 shebet is defined in the Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries at this weblink: https://www.htmlbible.com/sacrednamebiblecom/kjvstrongs/STRHEB76.htm.
4. Kathath: 3807 in the NAS Exhaustive Concordance.
5. Quote from John Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck on Revelation 2:26-27.