Battling a wall of iron men without human feelings or weaknesses—the book of Joel clues us in on how future wars will be fought. In fact, in the final war, we may not be fighting men at all, but synthetic fabrications, all mere imitations of life!
Just read how this Old Testament prophet describes a nation of future invaders who will lay waste the land during the end times when a day called “the Day of the Lord” is near.
“The day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand….Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army comes, such as never was of old nor ever will be in ages to come.” Joel 2:2
According to Joel, these invaders are not ordinary soldiers; charging forth, they devour the people and the land, and nothing escapes them. At the sight of them, all mighty warriors, nations tremble and every face turns pale.
Nothing affects those who make up this army! They seem super-human, rushing on cities and moving more like army tanks than men as they scale buildings and mow down walls.
“They all march in line, never swerving from their course. They do not jostle each other; each marches straight ahead. They plunge through defenses without breaking ranks… Before them, the earth shakes; the sky trembles.” Joel 2:7-10
Can these soldiers be human? Or could they be the pre-programmed robots—Terminator-style killers--that are being developed today to wage future warfare?
It has been predicted that by the year 2025, the US military will have more robot soldiers on the battlefield than real ones. A top British intelligence expert, John Basset, said he sees deadly combat robots “rapidly becoming a reality of modern day warfare.”
At the same time, Newsline.com reported that the Pentagon has announced it’s investing millions to maximize this country’s performance on future battlefields. Their plan is to develop “combined-arms squads”--military units consisting of both human soldiers and robots.
While this investment in research and design of robotic systems may help the country gain military edge over rivals like China and Russia, those countries are not lagging behind. They’re being quick to jump on the bandwagon and create their own versions of robotic weapons.
Russian President Putin, speaking to a group of students in the fall, predicted that the country that masters artificial intelligence technology will excel in military might “and will rule the world.”
“The development of artificial intelligence raises colossal opportunities and threats that are difficult to predict now," Putin added.
We must wonder, then, what kinds of threats civilization will face as AI research continues and the “robot genie” is released from the bottle. Several academics and social science savants have already spoken up about the very real risks for civilization.
Peter Singer, a strategist for the New America Foundation, warned that while armies must brace themselves for battle against killer machines, the public needs to be prepared also.
“It’s not just about when robotic warfare is going to happen,” he said, “but we don’t yet know whether in a situation of war it is going to benefit the offense or defense. In the end, what will the effects be?”
Alvin Wilby, of the French defense firm Thales, warned of the "absolute certainty” that rogue states will be able to get their hands on robot armies in the near future.
Wilby also noted other dangers, such as the rise in self-driving cars that use on-board computers, giving international terrorists another way to carry out attacks. “AI experts have warned the House of Lords that terrorists are looking to hijack self-driving cars to mow down innocent people in a copycat Westminster Bridge-style attack," he reported.
"If someone's car is reprogrammed to kill pedestrians, it has become an autonomous weapons system and a credible terrorist threat.”
The moral question is, when machines are programmed to kill the masses, where is the reproach? Where is the victory? There are no heroes in a man-less war, and words like patriotism, courage, valor and loyalty to country become meaningless when the fighting is machine to machine.
And yet prophets like Joel and Isaiah continued to warn of a massive war to end all wars, one that will happen during this planet’s latter days. In this conflict, warriors are not pictured as living, breathing human beings, but more like mechanized automatons without emotion or feeling. With no heart for mercy, nothing can stand in their way!
The surprise is that in the book of Isaiah, this war machine is referred to as “the Lord’s Army.” But it is neither angelic or human in nature, seemingly composed of self-propelled mechanized creatures programmed to carry out a pre-set mission of destruction.
As Isaiah tells it, they charge straight ahead and don’t falter or fall; at a set moment when the Lord “whistles for them,” they answer from the ends of the earth.
“Here they come, swiftly and speedily! Not one of them grows tired or stumbles, not one slumbers or sleeps; not a belt is loosened at the waist, not a sandal thong is broken….They roar like young lions, they growl as they seize their prey and carry it off with no one to rescue.” Isaiah 5: 26-29
The scripture follows a series of “woes and judgments” against Israel preceding the period when they will go into exile for their disobedience as a nation. It also has been prophetically applied to our own end times, just before the world experiences the darkness of tribulation.
In other words, we may blame what we consider a “wicked” nation for sending its mechanized army against us, when in reality the hand driving the war is the Lord’s. As the Christian Courier notes, it is no secret that Jehovah may use an evil nation to chastise a relatively better one.
“There is no question but that the nations of Assyria and Babylon were far worse than both Israel and Judah, yet the Lord employed both of these pagan powers to punish his people drifting into apostasy,” the Courier observed.
“Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of my anger, in whose hand is he club of my wrath! I sent him against a godless nation, I dispatch him against a people who anger me…to trample them down like mud in the streets.” Isaiah 10:5,6
Since God used those fierce and ungodly nations as “rods of his anger” to implement judgment against the Israelites, is there any reason that he would balk at using advanced automated armies as weapons of war to judge idolatrous people today?
Of course, the answer is that God, being omnipotent, can use anyone—or any thing--he chooses for his purposes. And like the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, we are compelled to acknowledge his headship; never mind if he chooses to wield mindless iron assembly-line creatures as instruments of his chastening and deliverance.
“His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?” Daniel 4:34, 35
The views expressed by story contributors to All News Pipeline are their own and do not always align completely with those of ANP