America’s Military: Beyond Horses and Bayonets
How concerned should Americans be about U.S. military strength in today’s dangerous world? What does the Bible say about America’s military and its future?
In the last debate, presidential candidate Mitt Romney said that the U.S. Navy is the smallest it’s been since 1917. President Obama fired back that “we also have fewer horses and bayonets.” Modern warfare is indeed different from warfare a century ago.
Although today’s sophisticated weapons are much more destructive, the world today is more volatile. And that is why many in the U.S. believe America needs a stronger and larger military. After all, America has taken on much more global responsibility since 1917, taking over the position of policeman of the world from Britain.
Where do we place our trust?
Without a doubt, the United States has the strongest military on earth. But should Americans place their trust solely in their military?
During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt asked all Americans to pray with him during his D-Day Prayer, seeking God’s help.
On June 6, 1944, Roosevelt and the nation prayed, “They [the soldiers] will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.”
President Roosevelt knew that, as powerful as America’s military was, it wasn’t enough.
Americans today, too, should realize that there is a more important factor than the number of “horses and bayonets” we have. America needs to first come to know and then put its trust in God for help and guidance. The same is true for all nations.
As the psalmist said, “Through You we will push down our enemies; through Your name we will trample those who rise up against us. For I will not trust in my bow, nor shall my sword save me. But You have saved us from our enemies, and have put to shame those who hated us” (Psalm 44:5-7).
Why America and Britain have prevailed militarily
Those who study America’s and Britain’s success in World War I and II can’t help but notice that Germany and the Axis powers lost many battles they should have won, including D-Day. The evidence is convincing that the reason America and Britain prevailed was because God was with them, not because of their righteousness but because He was fulfilling promises made thousands of years ago. The ultimate fulfillment of these promises will eventually lead to the return of Jesus Christ in the near future.
The patriarch Jacob, whose name God changed to Israel, spoke about the latter days. Notice what Jacob prophesied about the descendants of his son Joseph. “The archers have bitterly grieved him, shot at him and hated him. But his bow remained in strength. And the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob” (Genesis 49:23-24).
Notice Joseph’s descendants would have military superiority because of God’s strength, not their own.
Joseph had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Their descendants are many of the English-speaking countries today, primarily America (Manasseh) and Britain (Ephraim). (See more about this in our article on “Who Are the United States and Britain in Prophecy?”)
That means America’s military success depends on God, not on horses and bayonets.
God’s military help is conditional
Although it is God who made Joseph’s descendants the most prosperous countries on earth, He does say that the continuation of His special blessings are conditional. Those conditions are following His way of life as defined in the pages of the Bible.
Speaking of ancient and modern Israel’s military strength, God says, “And after all this, if you do not obey Me … I will break the pride of your power” (Leviticus 26:18-19).
When America ended World War II by dropping atomic bombs on Japan in 1945, the world feared the military of the United States.
But just as America’s morality rapidly declined in the 1960s, so did the pride of its military power.
Today, countries like Iran have little regard for America’s power. Not only have we lost the pride of our power, but we have discarded the source of our power—God.
The coming white horse and two-edged bayonet
Unless the modern descendants of Israel—including the United States and Britain—repent and turn to God, Bible prophecy says they will be militarily conquered and taken into captivity. And during this “time of Jacob’s trouble,” humanity will bring itself to the point of destroying all life (Jeremiah 30:7; Matthew 24:21-22).
But, just before mankind destroys itself, Jesus Christ will return on a white horse with a two-edged sword and defeat the armies that turn to fight against Him (Revelation 19:11-16).
After Christ destroys these armies, He will bring back the descendants of Israel from their captivity and again make them a prosperous and world-renowned people (Zephaniah 3:16-20).
And from that time on, beginning with Israel, there will be no more military spending, no more battle horses and no more bayonets.
Rather, God says, “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. But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree. And no one shall make them afraid, for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken” (Micah 4:3-4).
May God speed that day! Read more about that time in our section on the “Kingdom of God.”