For our vacation this year, Tonya and I borrowed a G.P.S. from her parents to help us with the driving. For anyone out there who doesn’t know, G.P.S. stands for Global Positioning System. Basically, a G.P.S. is a small computer that attaches to your windshield or dash and gives you highly specific directions on what roads to take and when to turn. It will even list local stores and restaurants in the area. All this is made possible by the fact that the computer links up to a satellite somewhere out in space and computerized information is relayed via the connection. I don’t want to understand the device much more than that because, frankly, it gets a little too creepy for me.
“What do you mean by that last statement?” Okay, I’ll tell you. First, the fact that the data concerning virtually every interstate, highway, and site location in the United States can be stored in a satellite system that mounts in your car is too Star Trek for me. When did we get smart enough to devise such technology? Second, if a satellite up in space can tell exactly where my Dodge Caravan is at any given time and place, who knows what else the powers that be know about me and mine? That’s too Big Brother for me. Third, by living in a world that has become so dependent upon computers, we seem to have ripened ourselves for some kind of cataclysmic technological meltdown in the future. And that’s a little too book of The Revelation for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m really not the type to go around playing Chicken Little by saying, “The sky is falling.” I’m also not the type to grow a long beard, dress in weird clothing, and stand on a street corner holding a sign that reads, “The end of the world is near.” With that said, though, there is something about The Revelation that has aroused my curiosity for years. That something is the fact that the book seems to go out of its way to make mention of horses being used in battle in the future.
The passage I have in mind is Revelation 19:17-18, two verses which are found in the context of the book’s classic passage on the famous battle of Armageddon. They read:
Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.”
The bloody carnage that will be on display in the wake of the battle of Armageddon will be unfathomable. Revelation 14:20 speaks of blood flowing as high as the horses’ bridle (about four feet high) covering a distance of 1,600 furlongs (the approximate distance between the site of the battle of Armageddon and Edom in the south). Then, in addition to that verse, the words of Revelation 19:18 speak of untold numbers of corpses and carcasses that will become a great feast for the vulturous birds of the air. And here’s the point I’m trying to make: A bird can’t eat the remains of a tank, jeep, helicopter, fighter jet, or transport truck, but it can eat the remains of a horse. Because of this, how can we not interpret the horses at the battle of Armageddon to be literal horses?
Of course, I realize that this interpretation hinges upon the idea that the events of The Revelation are future events, and not everyone holds with this idea. But after studying the book for several years now and preaching through it twice, I side with the now predominantly held belief that the events are still to play out in the future. This world simply hasn’t yet seen the likes of all that is described in The Revelation.
And that brings us back to the matter of the literal horses at the coming battle of Armageddon. The question is, why will this world’s future soldiers be relegated to mounting horses? Could it be that there is coming a time when our vast array of military technology, technology which is based upon computers, will cease to function? Will someone invent a weapon that will render computers inoperative? Will this world one day be forced to endure a true Y2K-type event? While I freely confess that this is all mere speculation on my part, it’s certainly something to think about.
If it does happen, I suspect (and again I’m not preaching any of this as indisputable fact) that it will not take place until after the man the Bible calls the Antichrist has instituted his worldwide identification program known as “the mark of the Beast” (Revelation 13:16-18). That will take place at the midway point of the coming seven-year tribulation period. Students of prophecy puzzled for centuries as to how the Antichrist would be able to pull off such a worldwide program, but now, with computers having the power to store oceans of data and give us a cashless society, the puzzle is solved. So I’m guessing that all our computer technology will still be up and running at the half way point of the tribulation period.
You see, this is the kind of stuff that I think about when I use a device such as a G.P.S. I know, I know, I should just sit back and enjoy the ride, right? But give me credit for at least trying to understand how all of today’s computer wizardry factors into Bible prophecy. I may not have all the answers right, but at least I’m trying to take the test.