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 of the golden altar that is before God. It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, 'Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.' And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of humankind. The number was 200 million troops mounted. I heard their number. The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this, 'Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and sulfur.' A third of humanity was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke, and sulfur that came out of their mouths. The power of the horses was in their mouths and their tails, for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury. The rest of humanity who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands, 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, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts." (Revelation 9.12-21)✞

Mighty Force

Chinese armiesThere then comes in Revelation 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 armies of the horsemen was twice ten thousand times ten thousand." In the Greek, this number is two myriads of myriads or two hundred million, which by any estimation is an exceedingly large number and a frightening military force.

Other Troop Movements

DemonsIn John of Patmos' day, millions of troops in an army is almost inconceivable. However, an enormous army assembled in ancient times is likely that by the fourth king of Persia, King Xerxes 1 (BC 519-465), when he invaded Greece. King Xerxes or "Ahasuerus" or "Artaxerxes" appears in the Book of Esther. The Greek historian, Herodotus, says that Xerxes brings 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. And in more recent times, the thirty-four nation coalition that liberated Kuwait deployed roughly one million troops."

Demon Leaders

Armies on March in CompaniesBy some accounts, an army of 200 million mounted soldiers 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 army, led by the four demons, is to be sent out to destroy one-third of humanity.

Humanity Destroyed

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

Fire Smoke Sulfur

A Repentant FigureThe Earth's inhabitants in Revelation are so hardhearted that they do not repent even despite fire, smoke, and sulfur. The remaining people on earth are so hardhearted that, like the Egyptian pharaoh in Exodus, they do not repent. The Revelation fire, smoke, and sulfur are reminiscent of a violent earthquake such as happened at Sodom and Gomorrah. Sulfur is a pungent yellow chemical spouted up from deep in the rock as the edges of a volcanic plate violently rub together. Fire and smoke emerge with the molten lava. The people, however, "did not repent of the work of their hands" despite these violent natural disasters from God. People don't usually fall into immorality and evil suddenly, but they slip into it a little bit at a time until, hardly realizing what has happened, they are mired.✞

Death and Separation

Fire PlagueAnyone who allows sin to take root in their life 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 © 2019

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