Last week one of my email contacts received an odd email from me. Since he didn’t figure that I’d sent it, he replied, “I think your account has been hacked.” And, sure enough, he was right. I went to my “sent” file and learned that the same email had been sent out to each of my contacts. As best I could tell, if someone clicked on the email and opened it, it led them to some kind of telemarketing ads.
So what did I do? Oh, some of you know the drill all too well, don’t you? First, I sent out a new email to each of my contacts informing them not to open the previous one if they hadn’t already done so. Second, I changed the password on my email account. For those of you who might not understand, your account gets hacked by someone who figures out your password. Since my password was our old land-line telephone number, it wasn’t too difficult to hack. The sad thing is that we hadn’t even had that number in months. We’ve been completely cell-phone for some time now.
Anyway, the whole incident served to remind me of just how dangerous our computerized world is. What if the hackers had sent out a link to some pornographic site? That wouldn’t exactly have helped my reputation would it? Or what if the hackers had hit my bank account or credit card account rather than my email account? That’s scary stuff.
Every so often we hear about some lethal computer virus that has been created, a virus that has the potential to render any computer that it gets into useless. Whenever I hear about something like that I have to ask, “Who are these teams of evil geeks who create these doomsday viruses? Haven’t they got anything better to do? Are they trying to take us all back to the stone age? Is it anarchy they want? Is it chaos? Is it the thrill of having the power to mess with peoples’ lives?” I don’t know. Their logic escapes me.
I’m just spitballing and theorizing a little today, but I have to admit that hacked computers always take my mind to the book of The Revelation. As best we can understand right now, the “mark of the beast” (Revelation 13:16-18) the Anti-Christ will use to control all buying and selling worldwide in the coming tribulation period will involve some kind of computer technology. The common interpretation is that the technology will be some version of the bar-code scanning circuitry that stores use today.
And, for the record, the chronological order of The Revelation indicates that the “mark of the beast” will be implemented at the midway point of the seven-year tribulation period. Along these same lines, a few chapters earlier in chapter 9, we find what seems to be even more description of modern technology being used in the first half of the tribulation period. In that chapter, the apostle John talks about an army of 200 million men who will march out and reek havoc upon the world (verse 16). Most commentators take this army to be the allied army of “the kings from the east” who are mentioned in Revelation 16:12. If this interpretation is correct we’re talking about an alliance between the leaders of China, Japan, India, etc. Such an alliance could easily put together an army of 200 million soldiers. Getting back to the point, though, when John describes the “horses” these soldiers ride, he makes it clear that they aren’t regular horses. Their heads are “like the heads of lions” (9:17), and out of their “mouths” come fire, smoke, and brimstone (9:17). Even their “tails” have “heads” that do harm (9:19). Let’s just admit that our generation finds it hard to read such a description and not think of modern tanks.
And so all the wonders of our modern technology certainly seem to be on display during the first half of the tribulation period. Ah, but could it be that something strange happens during the period’s last three-and-a-half years? As evidence of it, I’ll point out that John again uses the word “horses” in relation to the battle of Armageddon that brings an end to the seven years. That battle, of course, is won by Jesus as He returns during it, slays all the soldiers gathered together for the battle, and then sets up His 1,000 year reign upon this earth. But this time when John talks about horses he seems to have literal horses in mind. I say this because in Revelation 19:17-18 he describes how thousands, perhaps millions, of scavenging birds will feast upon the corpses and carcasses in the aftermath of the battle. He tells us that the birds will feast on, “…the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them…” (Revelation 19:17-18).
So, do you understand what I’m getting at? A vulture can’t feast on a tank! Therefore, John must be talking about literal horses being used during the battle of Armageddon. And my simple question is, In a world where the weapons of modern warfare have become so technological (tanks, guided missiles, jeeps, Hummers, helicopters, etc.), why would men be riding out on thousands of horses to do battle? Could it be that somehow, during the last half of the tribulation period, all the technology crashes? Could it be that everything computerized becomes useless? Could it be that the hackers finally achieve the end-game goal of their sinister work?
Think about it, would it really be all that hard to bring it all down? Go ask someone who’s had their email account hacked, their bank account gutted, their home computer hit with a virus, or their whole identity stolen online. Please understand that I’m not preaching any of this as fact. Like I said, I’m just spitballing today. But, boy, it sure does make you wonder why all those horses will be in use at such a futuristic battle as the battle of Armageddon. As I pointed out, John certainly knew how to write about horses that won’t be literal (9:17-19), but that’s not how he described the horses of Armageddon. And so we are left to wonder, aren’t we? And, as I said, a hacked computer has a way of taking my mind to that place.