By now, even the most “old school” of us know about G.P.S. systems. G.P.S., as I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, stands for Global Positioning System. When these systems first hit the market, they were small devices that attached to a vehicle’s windshield or dash to give the driver highly specific directions on what roads to take and when to turn to reach whatever destination the driver had programmed into the system. The systems would even list local stores and restaurants in the area. Nowadays, of course, those mounted versions have been replaced by ones that are either built into our vehicles or our cellphones.
How do G.P.S. systems work? From what I hear, the system links up to a satellite somewhere out in space and computerized information is relayed via the connection. While I realize that is a very rudimentary explanation, frankly, that’s about as deep as I want to get into the technology. Beyond that, it starts to get a little too creepy for me.
You might be asking, “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 world can be stored in a device that I can hold in my hand 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 vehicle 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 book of The Revelation that has aroused my curiosity for years. That something is the fact that the book makes specific mention of horses being used in battle in the future.
The passage is Revelation 19:17-18, two verses which are found in the context of the book’s account of 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.” (N.K.J.V. emphasis mine)
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’ bridles (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. This brings me to the point I’m trying to make: A bird can’t eat the remains of a tank, a jeep, a helicopter, a fighter jet, or a 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?
Admittedly, this whole line of thought hinges upon the interpretation that the events of The Revelation are future events that should be understood literally, an interpretation that not everyone buys. For example, some people believe that the vast majority of the events were fulfilled when the Romans laid siege to Jerusalem and finally destroyed it in 70 A.D. Others believe that the events should be understood allegorically or figuratively rather than literally. But after studying The Revelation for many years now, preaching through it on multiple occasions, and writing blog posts about it, I side with the now predominantly held belief that the events should be taken literally and are still to come in the future. This world simply hasn’t yet seen the likes of all that is described in The Revelation.
So, 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? Well, 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, perhaps some type of EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) device that will render not only the world’s machinery but also the world’s computers inoperative? 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 presenting 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. Therefore, I’m guessing that all our machinery and computer technology will still be up and running at the halfway 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.