There are some ministries so obsessed with guns that it has become a theological point for them. One, in particular, claimed that the “rod of iron” mentioned in Psalm 2:8-9 and Rev 2:27 is a reference to guns specifically AR-15s. This church leader teaches that Jesus is going to come back with a gun and that his people will use guns to fight the forces of evil, so his members are training for Jesus’ return. They also wear crowns made of bullets in reference to what Jesus says in Rev 3:11, but in context, it is a metaphor for righteousness.
Revelation chapters 1-3 are about Jesus visiting the apostle John while he is exiled on Patmos. Jesus gives a message to seven churches in Asia minor. revelation 2:18-29 is a message to the church in Thyatira. Jesus scolds them for allowing a false teacher that calls Jezebel to deceive them with teachings that promote sexual sin. Then in verses 24-29, Jesus talks to those who did not follow the false teaching.
Revelation 2:24 (NLT) “But I also have a message for the rest of you in Thyatira who have not followed this false teaching (‘deeper truths,’ as they call them—depths of Satan, actually). I will ask nothing more of you 25 except that you hold tightly to what you have until I come. 26 To all who are victorious, who obey me to the very end, To them I will give authority over all the nations. 27 They will rule the nations with an ‘iron rod and smash them like clay pots’ [Ps 2:8-9]. 28 They will have the same authority I received from my Father, and I will also give them the morning star! 29 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.
Verse 27 is actually a call back to a messianic prophecy in Psalm chapter 2.
Psalms 2:7 The king proclaims the Lord’s decree: “The Lord said to me, ‘You are my son. Today I have become your Father. 8 Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession. 9 You will break them with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots.’”
Verse 7 sounds a lot like what God says about Jesus when he is baptized in Matt 3:17, Mark 1:11, and Luke 3:22, so Jesus is using verses 8-9 in this Psalm to reference himself as the one with the iron rod who will break the nations like clay pots. He then transfers that privilege to his people in Rev 2:27. Followers of Jesus are joint heirs with him and will inherit what he inherits from the father (Romans 8:17), and since Psalms 2:8 it mentions giving the nations to the messiah as his inheritance to rule over, and he implies that his people will rule with him. This doesn’t mean Christians are to go and conquer non-Christians or start wars and revolts. An inheritance is not taken but received from the parent. This is something that God does at the return of his Christ, not something we should be preparing for by inciting a mutiny. Ep 6:10-18 reminds us that believers don’t fight with flesh and blood (humans) but rather against dark spiritual forces, and we use spiritual armor rather than natural armor.
Ep 6:10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we[d] are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
This idea is continued in 2 Corinthians 10:3 says we don’t fight a war with humans using man-made weapons but rather against spiritual darkness with spiritual weapons. In other words, we use our words and actions to change people’s minds about God and what he teaches in his kingdom so that they will want to leave the kingdom of darkness and Satan behind.
2 Cor 10: We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. 4 [a]We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. 6 And after you have become fully obedient, we will punish everyone who remains disobedient
In John 10, Jesus calls himself the shepherd (which is a reference to Ezekiel ch. 34, and even Psalms ch. 23). In this analogy, his people are his sheep. Satan and the evil empires on earth are often analogous to predatory creatures in prophetic references. There are various creatures representing Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome in Daniel 7, and a chimera Beast made up of lions, bears, and leopards, representing the anti-christ in Rev 13. In 1 Peter 5:8 Peter says the devil prowls like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. So humans are the sheep, God/Jesus functions as the shepherd, and Satan and his kingdoms represent the predators. These predators want all the sheep, and they don’t discriminate. However, from a strategic warfare point of view, he wants the domestic (righteous) sheep more because they tell the wild (unrighteous) sheep about the shepherd who will protect them, and if he can stop them first, then all the sheep will be his to devour.
John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. 12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.
The predatory chimera beast:
Rev 13:1 Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. It had seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on its horns. And written on each head were names that blasphemed God. 2 This beast looked like a leopard, but it had the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion! And the dragon gave the beast his own power and throne and great authority.
Dan 7:1 Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. It had seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on its horns. And written on each head were names that blasphemed God. 2 This beast looked like a leopard, but it had the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion! And the dragon gave the beast his own power and throne and great authority. 4 The first beast was like a lion with eagles’ wings. As I watched, its wings were pulled off, and it was left standing with its two hind feet on the ground, like a human being. And it was given a human mind. 5 Then I saw a second beast, and it looked like a bear. It was rearing up on one side, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And I heard a voice saying to it, “Get up! Devour the flesh of many people!” 6 Then the third of these strange beasts appeared, and it looked like a leopard. It had four bird’s wings on its back, and it had four heads. Great authority was given to this beast. 7 Then in my vision that night, I saw a fourth beast—terrifying, dreadful, and very strong. It devoured and crushed its victims with huge iron teeth and trampled their remains beneath its feet. It was different from any of the other beasts, and it had ten horns.
These beast symbols of government powers and empires:
Dan 7:16 So I approached one of those standing beside the throne and asked him what it all meant. He explained it to me like this: 17 “These four huge beasts represent four kingdoms that will arise from the earth. 18 But in the end, the holy people of the Most High will be given the kingdom, and they will rule forever and ever.”
Ancient Israelite shepherds traditionally carried a crook, a slingshot, a rod, and a musical instrument like a flute, shofar (horn), or lyre (harp). The rod and staff are alluded to in Psalms 23:4 because they bring comfort. The rod is a club that sometimes has nails in it, that is used to fight predators like lions and bears that attack the flock. The Slingshot is a projectile weapon that can be used to startle and want the flock as well attack enemies. The crook is for hooking the sheep that start to wander or for pulling them to safety when a predator is close. The instruments can be used for calming the sheep after they are startled (flute and lyre) or alerting other shepherds (horn).
In 1 Samuel 17:34-36, before slaying Goliath, David mentioned that he killed bears and lions to protect his sheep and will also successfully protect the “sheep” of Israel from the Philistines because of God’s power. This is what Jesus is referencing when he uses the Good Shepherd analogy he will defend his sheep just as David defended Israel. So in Revelation 2:27, he is referencing the same idea of him being the shepherd who will deliver his flock from the enemies. The meaning is that he will rescue his people from the dark spiritual forces of the world like the Anti-Christ and the False Prophet at his return (Revelation 19:19-21). It’s not a gun or any kind of projectile weapon, it’s an ancient melee weapon for clubbing predators.
The Bible does not teach that we need guns to fight for Jesus when he returns. Some people get carried away adding their own reinterpretations to the bible. We can change the meaning of something that is already defined, so when scriptures use symbolism we must make sure we understand the context of the original reference otherwise it can be twisted into strange new teachings.
An Example of this Teaching:
Guns For God: The Church of the AR-15 (Start at 9:25 for the iron rod reference)
More Articles on this teaching:
We Spent a Wild Weekend with the Gun-Worshipping Moonie Church That’s Trying to Go MAGA