200 Million Troops
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41. 200 Million Troops
Revelation 9.12-21

"The first woe is past. Two other woes are yet to come. The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns before God's golden altar. It said to the sixth angel with the trumpet, 'Release the four angels bound at the great river the Euphrates.' And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour, day, month, and year were released to kill a third of humankind. The number was 200 million troops mounted. I heard their number. I saw the horses and riders in my vision. They looked like this, 'Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled those of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and sulfur.' The three fire, smoke, and sulfur plagues that came out of their mouths killed a third of humanity. The horses' power was in their mouths and tails, for their tails were like snakes, having heads to inflict injury. The rest of humanity not killed by these plagues still did not repent of their work. They did not stop worshipping demons and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood, idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, magic arts, sexual immorality or thefts." (Revelation 9.12-21)✞

Two Myriads of Myriads

Chinese armyIn Revelation, there then comes a series of destructions upon the earth by a potent force of 200 million troops. The American Standard Version translates this verse, "The number of the horsemen's armies was twice ten thousand times ten thousand." In Greek, this number is two myriads of myriads or two hundred million, which by any estimation is an exceedingly large number and would have been a frightening military opponent.

How big can an army get?

DemonsIn John of Patmos' day, millions of troops in an army were almost inconceivable. However, the fourth king of Persia, King Xerxes 1 (BC 519-465), assembled such an enormous army in ancient times to invade Greece. King Xerxes (BC 486-465), otherwise called "Ahasuerus" or "Artaxerxes," appears in the "Book of Esther" and Daniel 9.1. It begins, "In the first year of Darius the son of Xerxes (or Ahasuerus) (a Mede by descent) made ruler over the Babylonian (or Chaldean) kingdom." The Greek historian, Herodotus (BC c484-425), later referred to him as "The Father of History," said that Xerxes brought two and a half million men. We may compare that with the "one hundred and fifty-six thousand American, British, Canadian and other Allied troops who landed at Normandy on D-Day during the Second World War. In more recent times, the thirty-four nation coalition that liberated Kuwait deployed roughly one million troops."

How large is the Revelation army?

Army on MarchBy some accounts, an army of 200 million troops would cover an area one mile wide and eighty-five miles deep. Today, however, there are countries, like China or India, that could gather this many soldiers. This vast Revelation army, led by the four demons, was sent out to destroy one-third of humanity.

What is the death toll?

AngelThe judgment is still not complete, for four angels appear who are "exceedingly destructive." They do not, however, have the power themselves to inflict their evil work on earth. They are held back by God to be released at a specific date and time, doing what God allows them to do and only when he wants them to act. Here, God destroys one-third of all humanity. "A third of humanity perishes by the three plagues of fire, smoke, and sulfur." In earlier chapters, one-fourth of humanity died. Thus, half of the world's population dies during God's great judgment. If God had not set the limits, even more would perish.

Where do the fire smoke and sulfur originate?

Fire PlagueThe earth's inhabitants in Revelation are so hard-hearted that they do not repent despite fire, smoke, and sulfur from the horses and riders. Like the Egyptian pharaoh in Exodus, the remaining people on earth do not turn back from their sins. The Revelation fire, smoke, and sulfur are reminiscent of the violent earthquake in Sodom and Gomorrah. Sulfur is a pungent yellow substance spouted up from deep in the rock when volcanic plates violently rub together. Fire and smoke emerge with the molten lava. However, the people "did not repent of the work of their hands" despite these violent natural disasters. People don't usually fall into immorality and evil suddenly, but they slide into it a little bit at a time until they hardly realize what has happened. Anyone who allows sin to take root can find themselves in this predicament. Temptation entertained today becomes sin tomorrow, then a habit the next day, then death and separation from God for eternity.

"200 Million Troops"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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