“200 Million, I heard their number”
(Revelation 9:13-16) “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 mankind. The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number.”
Preparing for War!
On September 27 2023 a headline appeared in the online edition of the Gatestone Institute that read;” While China and Russia Test Nukes, Biden Wants to Ban U.S. Testing.” In an extract from the article it stated that Richard Fisher of the International Assessment and Strategy Centre said to Gatestone; “Learning from Russia, China is likely developing Low Yield and Very Low Yield nuclear weapons…. to which the U.S. is not prepared to respond.” According to the article it stated;” In short, China is almost certainly detonating nuclear devices and definitely fast building its nuclear arsenal. The Pentagon in a November 2022 report forecast that China would quadruple its warheads from about 400 then to 1,500 by 2035.
Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall, in testimony referring to China; on March 28, 2023 said; “For decades, they were quite comfortable with an arsenal of a few hundred nuclear weapons to act as a deterrent. That expansion they’re undertaking puts us into a new world that we’ve never lived in before, where you have three great powers, essentially with large arsenals of nuclear weapons. China is already thinking of first strikes with nukes. We do not have to speculate.” The article went on to mention that “Xi Jinping is removing officers in the Chinese armed forces and especially two top officers of the Rocket Force the branch of the Chinese military in charge of almost all of the country’s nuclear weapons, and 11 Rocket Force generals overall, suggest that Xi is installing officers who will obey commands to launch nukes.”
According to the article it also stated that; “There are other interpretations for these moves, but all of them are ominous. War, likely to be fought with nuclear weapons, looks increasingly likely. To deter, the U.S. needs to go beyond subcritical testing and detonate a nuclear device.” Peter Huessy, GeoStrategic Analysis, to Gatestone, September 2023 states; “We do not have the luxury of time as we have not modernized our nuclear forces for nearly four decades and our legacy systems are nearing the end of their already extended lives. America needs to make sure that new systems work and old warheads still function.”
According to this report in Gatestone it also states; “America’s survival depends on its nuclear arsenal. As Huessy points out, disarmament advocates think the U.S. can deter adversaries and enemies with conventional forces only. That, he points out, ignores the reality of the battlefield: “Any use of nuclear weapons in a conflict would render the combat plans of our conventional combat commanders ineffective. Although the U.S. can learn much from computer simulations and other techniques, at some point the U.S. will have to detonate a nuclear device at least to validate three decades of assumptions. The United States, therefore, must resume testing nuclear weapons now.”
Revelation Chapter 9:13-21
In the Book of revelation Chapter 9:13-21 the Apostle John saw a war at the end of this present age where a third of mankind will be destroyed by a force of two hundred million mounted troops. The three plagues mentioned associated with this mobilized army that kill a third of mankind are fire, smoke and sulphur. John was a first century man who knew nothing about nuclear weapons, armoured tanks, drones, missile launchers, modern warfare and the terrible effects of fallout due to nuclear detonations. How could a first century man describe such a vision of the end times? He knew about horses and weapons and shields, and the use of fire which armies of the first century used in fighting battles at sea as well as on land, but in describing the things he saw he could only relate to warfare of his own century using his own language to try to describe what he saw. Never the less he wrote down what he saw in the vision using first century words to describe this Great War at the end of the age.
God works His Prophetic Purposes through History:
We always need to keep in mind that God’s prophetic purposes for Israel, for the wider Body of the Messiah and for the world at large are achieved through historical events. He is the God of history and works His prophetic purposes through men on earth. As God Himself says through the prophet Isaiah; “Remember what happened long ago, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me. I declare the end from the beginning, and ancient times from what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and all My good pleasure I will accomplish.’ I summon a bird of prey from the east, a man for My purpose from a far-off land. Truly I have spoken, and truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, and I will surely do it” (Isaiah 46:9-11).
In the Bible we see this pattern where God uses kings, empires and nations to achieve His pre-determined purposes according to His foreknowledge of all things even if those nations do not know Him. He uses nations to judge other nations. There is no power on earth, above the earth or under the earth that can alter or change what God has ordained. He is absolutely sovereign and does what He wants, when He wants, in the way He wants and with whomsoever He wants and asks no man’s permission.
The Judgment of God:
God permits this army of 200 million to be unleashed upon a Messiah hating, Messiah rejecting world to wreak havoc across the surface of a planet in rebellion against Him and despite this judgment men will still refuse to repent (Revelation 9:20-21). It is the sixth trumpet which announces this Great War that will happen just before the Second Coming of the Messiah to establish His Millennial Messianic Kingdom which is heralded by the blast of the seventh and last trumpet (Revelation 11:13-15). Let’s now look briefly at these verses from God’s Word.
Revelation Chapter 9:13-21
(Vs. 13) “The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns of the golden altar that is before God.
The altar of incense was part of the furniture prescribed in the orders God gave to Moses for the construction of the Tabernacle in the wilderness (Exodus 30:1-11). The high priest was directed to burn incense on it every morning and evening, but to offer no sacrifice or pour no libation upon it. The position of this altar in the Tabernacle seems to have been within the inner sanctuary just before the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 40:5) (Leviticus 16:11-14), on which the high priest sprinkled the blood of atonement once a year (Exodus 30:10). The golden altar of Solomon’s temple was placed in the inner sanctuary (1 Kings 6:20, 22), but in the third Temple it seems to have been outside the veil within the “Holy Place” (Luke 1:10). Revelation speaks of an altar of incense that stood before the throne of God (Rev 8:3). The reference to the golden altar in Hebrews (9:3) agrees that it was within the inner sanctuary. We also know that incense offered in the temple represented the prayers of God’s people on earth (Revelation 8:3-4).
The voice that came from the golden altar before the presence of God in heaven issued a command to the sixth angel. It was a command to be obeyed. It would see an event that would change the whole course of humanity and every nation on earth would be shaken (Haggai 2:6-7). Isaiah the prophet writes; “The earth is utterly broken apart, the earth is split open, the earth is shaken violently. The earth staggers like a drunkard and sways like a shack. Earth’s rebellion weighs it down, and it falls, never to rise again. In that day the LORD will punish the host of heaven above and the kings of the earth below” (Isaiah 24:19-21). The final and ultimate shaking for the whole world will come when the Messiah our Lord Jesus comes back! (Revelation 6:12-17).
(Vs.14-15) “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 mankind.”
These four angels were not good angels but principalities who are bound and confined to the region of the Euphrates River. These have been ordained by God to go forth at a specific hour, day and month to unleash His Divine judgement upon the inhabitants of the earth and their sphere of operation is to start at the Euphrates River. A third of mankind will perish once these angels have been released and these angels will use an army of 200 million mounted troops to execute this judgement. We see this army also described in the sixth bowl of God’s wrath where we are told that this bowl of wrath will be poured out on the great river of Euphrates and that its water will be dried up to prepare the way for the kings of the east, being a middle-eastern army empowered by a satanic trinity (Revelation 16:12-14). In the seventh bowl we see the end of the nations of the world being split apart that have united against the Triune God by a devastating earthquake that occurs followed by huge hailstones about 100 pounds each. Men will curse God because the plague of hail will be so terrible (Revelation 16- 21). So then, this 200 million man army will kill a third of mankind.
To have an idea of a third of mankind we can estimate by the world’s population this year in 2023 which is estimated to be around 8.1 billion and possibly even more than that. If you take a round figure of 8 billion and divide it by three you have 2.67 billion. No war in history has ever killed this amount of people. It would take a nuclear war of global proportions to kill this many people. Today the River Euphrates is drying up. Untold thousands of people depend on the water for their survival. The River Euphrates is located north of Israel and on the other side bordered by the geographical regions of Turkey and Iran, both nations which are specifically named in the Ezekiel 38 invasion of Israel. The invading army will cross the Euphrates River and pass through Syria on their way to attack Israel over its Northern border on the Golan Heights. Already we have Turkish and Iranian military personal and armed forces and in Syria.
(Vs.16) “The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number.”
It is doubtful whether Russia and China combined could field 200 million mounted or mobile vehicles which John seems to describe. In 2019 China’s military size was estimated to be around 2.5 million. Today it would be more and growing. Russia plans to expand its active personnel force to 1.5 million by 2026. Even Europe combined would not produce a 200 million military force equipped with missile launchers and heavy armaments. Having said this, a 200 million army of Islam would be a real possibility when you consider the Islamic countries combined. The Islamic Jihad mindset would have no compulsion to press the nuclear button. While Islam remains divided at present when the Islamic Antichrist comes who will be indwelt personally by Satan himself the whole Islamic world will follow him on a Jihad unequalled in past history. The only one who will stop it will be the Messiah our Lord Jesus when He returns to earth. He will destroy the power of Islamic military might (Isaiah 63:1-6).
In the prophet Joel we see an army of ‘locusts’ which prophetically is the armies of the Antichrist that invade Israel at the end of this age and that effects the nations of the world (Joel 1:1-12). Locusts in the Bible also represent demonic powers. These ‘locusts’ are directly connected to this end-time satanically empowered army (Revelation 9:1-11). Historically, the ‘locusts’ referred to the Babylonian Invasion of the land of Israel. Joel tells us that there were four types of ‘locusts’ that stripped everything bare. Historically, there were four Babylonian invasions and the last one was the final one that saw the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem ransacked by the Babylonians in 586 BC. The Babylonians even chopped down the trees.
We are also told that the Babylonians was God’s army but it was one He used to judge spiritually backslidden Israel. Prophetically this army is also a Middle-eastern army that will arise in the end-times, the likes of which have never been seen before (Joel 1:2; 2:11, 25). This is a northern army that God will destroy after they have served His purposes (Joel 2:20; 3:1-16). The Second Coming of the Messiah our Lord Jesus will see this occur. Joel also describes how God will spiritually revive the nation of Israel, completely deliver the nation and the persecuted Body of Messiah from the armies of the Antichrist, and through Israel the nations will be blessed and the Messianic kingdom will commence under the reign of the Messiah our Lord Jesus who will have returned to earth (Joel 2:18-27; 3:17-21).
2OO million mounted troops is no problem for the LORD to deal with and He will deal with them decisively and completely. At the Second Coming of the Messiah our Lord Jesus these armies of the Antichrist will meet their demise on the mountains of Israel at Jerusalem and Israel will also fight at Jerusalem as well (Joel 3:1-3) (Zechariah 12:1-9) (Zechariah 14:12-15) (Ezekiel Chapter 38; 39:1-6) (Isaiah 63:1-6) (Revelation 19:11-21). Now John describes these ‘mounted’ troops.
(Vs.17) “The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulphur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulphur.
In the first part of Revelation Chapter 9 we see these ‘locusts’ described and the description leads us to see that these are demonic forces having come out of the Abys that torment but do not kill (Revelation 9:1-11). However, John seems to describe modern weapons. The ‘horses’ and ‘riders’ had breastplates that were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulphur.” These would have to describe the metal and metallic colours of modern tanks or mobile missile launchers, a land invasion of an armoured force. John also tells us that ‘the heads looked resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulphur.” These it would seem are not literal horses as such but mobile machines that resembled horses to John, a first century man trying to describe modern weaponry. The fire, the smoke and the sulphur most likely in the context of the end times in which we are living can describe nuclear detonations by nuclear warheads on missiles. Their destructive power John continues to mention.
(Vs.18-19) “A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulphur that came out of their mouths. The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury.
These ‘plagues’ will result in the third of mankind being killed. In Revelation Chapter 6 we see the four horsemen of the Apocalypse taking their final ride across the surface of the earth. The first one is the rider on the White Horse being the gospel of the Kingdom (1-2). The Second rider on the Red Horse describes war and bloodshed (3-4). The Third rider on the black horse describes famine and pestilence (5-6). The Fourth rider on the pale horse represents death and Hades (Hell). John describes that the fire power “was in the horse’s mouths and in their tails.” These may well describe armoured tanks and mobile missile launchers with very powerful machine guns or rockets mounted on them as well. When we look at the descriptions combined it would seem that nuclear detonations will produce death, famine, pollution and fallout causing death and multitudes going into hell.
The prophet Ezekiel actually tells us who these nations will be that go down into the pit. They are the armies and followers of the Antichrist. The nations are mentioned by name and today they are all Islamic nations (Ezekiel 32:17-32). This last war will be the final judgement upon the world for its rejection of the Messiah and the salvation God has provided for man through His One and Only begotten Son our Lord Jesus, the Messiah of Israel (John 3:16-18). In the next verses it is clear why this war has occurred and permitted by God.
(Vs.20-21) “The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping 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.”
Notice the things that are mentioned which fallen humanity produces by their own wickedness and are conspicuous marks of this generation we now live in on a global scale. Firstly we see the worship of demons connected to idols. In the Bible idolatry is in fact the worship of demons (Deuteronomy 32; 16-17) (Psalm 106:36-37) (1 Corinthians 10:20). An idol is anything or anyone we give the priority to above the LORD. The world is full of ‘idols’ that people worship in place of worshipping God.
Some examples are to look at the addiction people have to mobile phones, iPads, and computer games in cyber space, entertainment, money and materialism for starters. All of us who belong to the Lord Jesus have to also at times battle against idolatry and if we do fall into an act of idolatry it does not mean that we will be possessed by a demon. Through confession and repentance God will deliver us from an idol and its grip on us. However, to persist in idolatry will ultimately open us up to be spiritually defiled by demonic power.
Now it needs to be said that there is nothing wrong with technology and the internet in itself when used for God’s purposes, or for watching sport of programmes or even some movies that are not spiritually defiling. Technology itself used appropriately can be very useful for the general well-being of man and especially in spreading the gospel of the kingdom to the masses of tossing and turbulent humanity. However, technology in the hands of wicked and unprincipled men and women can be used for evil purposes. We see this happening in an increasing abundance today with the movies and programmes that draw people away from God into the sin of idolatry and the glitzy and glamorous advertising campaigns that feed the covetousness in people’s hearts. The first sin mentioned in the Ten Commandments is the sin of idolatry. God does not want any rivals.
Notice also that people do not repent of murder, a conspicuous mark of society today in every nation of the world as it was also in the days of Noah before the flood (Genesis 6:11-13). Also people did not repent of their magic arts, being the occult, especially through the influence of drugs which when consumed open one up to demonic possession. We also know that this produces the imagination to hallucinate.
In the time of Noah we are also told that every inclination of the thoughts of people’s hearts was only set on evil constantly (Genesis 6:5). It was aimed at the imagination of people’s hearts and mindset. God’s heart was grieved by this and so He sent the flood because they would not repent and go into the ark of salvation He had provided for them. Our Lord Jesus said that as things were in the days of Noah before the flood so they will be in the last days before the fire falls as it did on those wicked cities on the plain Sodom and Gomorrah (Matthew 24:37-39) (Luke 17:28-29). Also we see sexual immorality and thievery mentioned.
Again it needs to be said that God has ordained sexual fulfilment in marriage and in that context it can be erotic for the married couple as well as for the procreation of babies, which is something that God gets great pleasure in seeing happen within the marriage bond, which He Himself has ordained. God has drawn a boundary around appropriate sexual activity for the physical, spiritual, mental and emotional well-being of men and women. When people go beyond these boundaries they are drawn away from God and into a form of addictive idolatry which when not checked can also lead into sexual deviations which God has not ordained. This also was a prominent feature in the time of Noah where we are told that God saw how corrupt the world had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways (Genesis 6:11-13). Thefts relate to all forms of dishonesty, cheating, and outright robbery.
Whatever happens in the future our destiny is set; our eternal future assured, if we are New Covenant believers in the Messiah our Lord Jesus and beneficiaries of His salvation. If we have been redeemed by His blood by faith in Him to save us from the power and penalty of sin and from the coming wrath, and have repented of our sin and rebellion, and have invited Him into our lives to be our saviour and Lord, and have been sealed with the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption, then nothing will separate us from the love of the Messiah.
Nothing can separate us from God’s Love
Whether it is tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword we will not be separated from the love of God that has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). Just as it is written, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. We have the inner conviction by the Holy Spirit that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in the Messiah Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35-39).
A Kingdom of priests forever!
In these last of the last days this must be our focus as blood-redeemed New Covenant believers in the Messiah our Lord Jesus, who in His covenant love, has loosed us from the power and penalty of our sins by His blood and made us to be a kingdom, and priests to serve His God and Father – to Him be the glory and power for ever and ever! Amen (Revelation 1:5b-6).
Co-reigning with the Messiah
There is a new age is coming after this one has finished. The Second Coming of the Messiah our Lord Jesus will see every institution of man that God has not established shaken and all opposition to His kingdom destroyed. This new age will commence where the Lord Jesus, the king of Israel, having returned to earth, will reign from Jerusalem over the nations of the world that have survived the time of Great Tribulation and the bowls of God’s wrath. New Covenant believers, the Israel of God, the redeemed of the LORD, having been raptured and resurrected at the Second Coming with co-reign with the Messiah in glorified, immortal bodies free from the very presence of sin. Israel as a nation will be the head and not the tail of the nations in that day. Jerusalem will be the capital of the world and all Israel will have been saved. Not one Jew left living on earth will be unsaved! (Romans 11:25-29).
Focus on ‘the birth’, not ‘the contractions’
In His discourse on the end-times on the Mount of Olives our Lord Jesus spoke about the ‘birth pains’ of wars, spiritual deception, famines earthquakes and disease and false Messiahs of one sort or another that He likened to contractions of a pregnant woman that they would increase in frequency and intensity. However, when we see these ‘contractions’ coming one after another in rapid succession we know that the birth of God’s Kingdom on earth is about to occur. Our focus as New Covenant believers redeemed and cleansed by the Messiah’s blood and sealed with His Holy Spirit need to focus on the birth rather than on the contractions. Once ‘the baby’ has arrived who remembers the ‘contractions?’ No matter how things deteriorate in the world we have the hope of the new age to come which we will enter at the rapture and resurrection when the Lord Jesus comes back to establish righteousness and justice on earth which are the foundation of God’s throne in heaven (Psalm 89:14).
“Arise and shine for your light has come!”
When spiritual darkness spreads across the face of the earth, the light of God’s redeemed people will burn with increasing brightness through their witness and many, even at this end time of disaster, despair and darkness will be saved! As Isaiah the prophet writes; “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. For behold, darkness covers the earth, and thick darkness is over the peoples; but the LORD will rise upon you, and His glory will appear over you” (Isaiah 60:1-2).
The House of the Lord will be established
The prophet Isaiah also writes; “The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. Now it will come about that In the last days The mountain of the house of the Lord Will be established as the chief of the mountains (kingdoms), And will be raised above the hills (rulers or kings); And all the nations will stream to it. And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For the law (the Torah) will go forth from Zion And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He will judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples; And they will hammer their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war. Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:1-5).
“The Lord dwells in Zion!”
The prophet Zechariah also writes; “So many peoples and mighty nations will come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favour of the Lord.’ Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” (Zechariah 8:22-23).
The prophet Joel put it this way; “But Judah will be inhabited forever And Jerusalem for all generations. And I will avenge their blood which I have not avenged, For the Lord dwells in Zion” (Joel 3:20-21).
“And He will dwell among them”
After the Millennium has finished and the final overthrow of Satan has occurred, the Final and eternal state will come. As John also writes; “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Revelation 21:1-5).
The garments salvation and the robe of righteousness
In closing, if you have repented of your sin, and by faith and through God’s enabling grace have accepted the Messiah our Lord Jesus as you Saviour and Lord and have been washed in His redeeming blood from all of your sins, and have received the blessed Holy Spirit into your life to seal you for the day of redemption, then you are destined to be a part of the coming Messianic age clothed with the garments of salvation, wrapped in the robe of Jesus’ righteousness with a glorified immortal body to enjoy the pleasures of the LORD that are awaiting you at the right hand God for all of eternity. King David expressed our hope for the future when he wrote; “For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol, nor will You let Your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand” (Psalm 16:10-11).
If anyone suffered at the hands of the devil Job did yet through the revelation of the Spirit of God and by faith he anticipated the resurrection to immortality and made this declaration; “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another” (Job 19:25-27).
Stand up and look up!
When we see the signs of the end of the age and the total collapse of society rapidly approaching we need to remember the words of our Lord Jesus who said that when these things begin to take place, to stand up straight and not to buckle over at the knees with fear, and to lift up our heads towards heaven with expectant faith, because our redemption is about to happen (Luke 21:31).
He cares for us and will deliver us!
Let us continue to wait with expectant faith upon the coming of the Messiah our Lord Jesus with a willing and obedient heart empowered by the grace of God and in these dark days we are facing continue to cast all of our anxieties and all of our tomorrows upon Him, and rolling off our burdens onto His broad shoulders as our faithful chief shepherd because He cares for us and will deliver us. (1 Peter 5:7). David also wrote; “Cast (and keep on casting continuously) your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken” (Psalm 55:22).
“They will never perish”
As the Lord Jesus Himself said; “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand. My Father who has given them to Me is greater than all. No one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand” (John 10; 27-29).
The Lord Jesus is coming back soon and while we cannot know the day or the hour of His return we can certainly discern the signs of the times knowing that when the ‘contractions’ are coming one upon another His return is near, even at the very gates of the city and that our rescue out of this present evil age according the Will of God our Heavenly Father is at hand! Amen!