Troublesome Topic: An Army of 200 Million

Revelation 9:13


The sixth angel

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sounded his trumpet and

I heard a voice

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coming from

the four horns

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of the golden


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is before GOD;


The sixth messenger presented his message of warning in which was revealed

all the power that is pure and acceptable and connects us to God,

and to the presence of THE CREATOR AND OWNER OF ALL THINGS;

Revelation 9:14


the voice

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was saying to the sixth angel, the one with the trumpet, “Release the


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the four

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of them,

who were bound

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at the great river Euphrates.

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This revelation was saying to the messenger who brought the message of warning, “Release the empowered ones whose sphere of authority covers the entire world,

and who have been kept from acting until this time,

held back by a great barrier.

Revelation 9:15


Then the angels,

the four of them,

were released, having been prepared for

this hour, and day and month and year,

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in order to kill a third

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of mankind.


Then the empowered ones whose sphere of authority covers the entire world were released, having been prepared for this very moment

in order

to kill a portion of


Revelation 9:16


And the number of the armies of horsemen

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was twice ten thousand and ten thousand; I heard their number.

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And the number of the swift and powerful troops was an innumerably vast horde, too vast to fathom, I heard their number described.

The next lesson is: Babylon



The narration of the sixth trumpet actually goes through 11:14 but for the sake of helping the reader find things more easily I have placed headings at relatively close intervals, a decision which has caused the message of this trumpet blast to be interrupted by two other “scenes.” The vision John received often has these types of interruptions.

2: “a voice coming from the four horns”

Don’t get hung up on little things: This is one of the instances in Revelation in which a voice comes from an inanimate object. But we should not over-analyze these things; they are word pictures which represent something deeper.


“Horns” were usually seen as a sign of power and strength.


The altar is where we connect with God. This is the altar of incense, which stands for one’s entire life, with prayer being an important part of that. The prayers of the saints for justice will finally be answered, their entire lives standing as condemnation for those who were rebellious against God. The power to connect with God and live as God desires is available to all; those who have not availed themselves of it will be punished, some at this point in the vision as a warning to others, and others later.


This refers to the voice from the previous verse.


While angels are usually thought of as messengers, we need to remember that they can do more than just deliver messages; they can also act on commands given to them and exercise the power and authority granted them to fulfill a task. They never act on their own, but must be empowered and commanded by their Lord. I have chosen “empowered ones” for this usage instead of “messengers” because it fits their mission more accurately.


Here the number four (which means all) is referring to their sphere of activity and the authority to make things happen. This is indicating that no one whom they intend to kill will be able to escape.

8: "bound"

Their intent is to punish; however, they can only act when God releases them to do so. Even though mankind deserves punishment, they have been kept from punishing in order to show God’s patience and mercy.

9: Euphrates

The name is from uncertain origins but possibly means “great stream.” Here it indicates a great barrier, much like the Red Sea was a barrier that bound in the Israelites, keeping them from fleeing the Egyptian army until God opened a way for them. In those days they did not have bridges over large rivers, so such bodies of water presented serious obstacles.


Why this exact time? The highly specific time for this action indicates that God is completely in control of this punishment, it is not random but carefully planned. It also shows that this punishment fulfills a specific purpose.

11: “a third of mankind”

Even though a large number of people will be killed, it will be limited and will not be the full judgment that mankind deserves. This is yet another warning coupled with an opportunity for people to repent.

12: “the armies of horsemen”

These were not just any troops, but warriors on war horses. The horses combined the qualities of speed and strength making a horseman more powerful than several foot soldiers.


Some people think that because John says he “heard their number” that it is a literal number and not symbolism. However, nothing about that phrase requires that it be literal rather than symbolic. To my knowledge, all the numbers in Revelation have some degree of symbolic meaning, this one is no exception. Also, almost everything in Revelation is symbolic, therefore this is also symbolic. This is indeed as a form of emphasis, but emphasis does not equal literalism.