Biblical Meaning of Furlongs: Exploring Scripture
When reading the Bible, we may come across a term that is not familiar to us: furlongs. What is a furlong in the Bible? Let's explore Scripture to find out.
What is a furlong?
A furlong is a unit of measurement used in ancient times to measure distance. It is believed to have originated from the length of a furrow in a plowed field. One furlong is equivalent to 220 yards or 660 feet.
Furlongs in the Bible
The term "furlong" appears in the Bible only in the New Testament, specifically in the book of Revelation. In chapter 14, verse 20, it says:
"And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs."
This verse is part of a larger passage describing the wrath of God and the judgment of the wicked. The use of the term "furlongs" here is meant to convey a great distance, emphasizing the extent of the bloodshed.
The Symbolic Meaning of Furlongs
While furlongs are a literal measurement of distance, they can also hold symbolic meaning in the Bible. For example, in the book of Zechariah, the prophet has a vision of a man riding a red horse who goes out to patrol the earth. In chapter 1, verse 8, it says:
"I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white. Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be. And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the Lord hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth. And they answered the angel of the Lord that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest. Then the angel of the Lord answered and said, O Lord of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years? And the Lord answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words. So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. Therefore thus saith the Lord; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the Lord of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem. Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the Lord shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem."
In this passage, the man riding the red horse is symbolic of God's judgment and his search for those who are righteous. The fact that he travels throughout the earth on horseback implies that his judgment is thorough and comprehensive, covering great distances.
While furlongs are a unit of measurement that may seem antiquated to us today, they hold significant meaning in the Bible. Whether used literally or symbolically, the term "furlongs" helps convey important messages about distance, judgment, and the extent of God's wrath and mercy.