Revelation Chapter 9:17
Revelation 9:17 – And thus I saw the horses in the vision: those who sat on them had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow; and the heads of the horses were like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and brimstone.
“Breastplates” (see note on verse 9).
“Brimstone”: Brimstone is a yellowish, sulfuric rock that often attends fire and smoke in Revelation (14:10; 19:20; 20:10). Common in the Dead Sea region, when ignited such deposits melt and produce burning streams and suffocating gas.
Horses have been often associated with warfare in scripture. It is clear these are not actual horses judging the heads were as the heads of lions.
Many have tried to associate the meaning of this scripture with weapons of war, but this can’t be. John would have no problem with associating a lion’s head with what these appeared to look like.
John saw three ways the demon horses killed their victims and all ways depict the violent and devastating fury of hell. They incinerated them with fire, then asphyxiated with smoke and brimstone which proceeded out of their mouths.
The 200 million horses are barded with colorful breastplates described as fiery, hyacinth, and of sulfur or brimstone-like colors. The colors red, blue, and, yellow are not in the Greek, but put in by the translators to try to better describe what John saw. While “fiery” certainly includes hues of red, and sulfur or brimstone is definitely yellow (though it is blue when it burns), hyacinth can describe a range of colors including blue, purple, or jacinth, which is an amber or dark red color found on the breastplate of judgment described in Revelation 4:3.
Since the meaning of these colors is not explained elsewhere in Scripture, but only found here, it is reasonable to surmise that they point to the plagues of fire, smoke, and brimstone that comes out of their mouth. While the hyacinth color is uncertain, the fiery red and sulfur yellow colors definitely fit two of the three plagues. Recall from Revelation 9:9 that a breastplate in Scripture shows judgment, and in Revelation 9:18, we see these three plagues kill a third of the human population in judgment.
The horses have heads like lions that eject the three plagues of fire, smoke, and brimstone from their mouths. Incidentally, the Leviathan was a creature that lived at one time on the earth that spewed fire and smoke from their mouth:
Job 41:1, 7, 15-21 – Can you draw out Leviathan with a hook, or snare his tongue with a line which you lower…? Can you fill his skin with harpoons, or his head with fishing spears…? His rows of scales are his pride, shut up tightly as with a seal; one is so near another that no air can come between them; they are joined one to another, they stick together and cannot be parted. His sneezings flash forth light, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning. Out of his mouth go burning lights; sparks of fire shoot out. Smoke goes out of his nostrils, as from a boiling pot and burning rushes. His breath kindles coals, and a flame goes out of his mouth.
The word translated as “coals” means “hot embers,” which could be used to describe the blue hues of burning sulfur or brimstone (click for video). The following passage supports that notion, as “coals” includes both fire and brimstone:
Psalms 11:6 – Upon the wicked He will rain coals; fire and brimstone and a burning wind shall be the portion of their cup.
As a side note, for those who dismiss the Leviathan as a mythical creature because of its ability to spew fire out of its mouth, consider the bombardier beetle which attacks its prey with a hot spray of fluids that mix inside its abdomen, and forms a chemical reaction that brings the temperature near the boiling point of water and causes an explosive ejection of hot fluid that burns (Source). It’s possible the Leviathan had a similar mechanism, that when substances within the creature mixed and became exposed to air by its breath it could ignite and breathe fire out of its mouth.
The Leviathan is not described as a horse or a lion, like the 200 million horses, but as a sea dragon:
Psalms 104:25-26 – This great and wide sea, in which are innumerable teeming things, living things both small and great. There the ships sail about; there is that Leviathan which You have made to play there.
Isaiah 27:1 – In that day the LORD with His severe sword, great and strong, will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan that twisted serpent; and He will slay the reptile that is in the sea.
David similarly describes God in His wrath, spewing fire and smoke with kindled coals from his mouth, much like the Leviathan and the horses of the sixth Trumpet judgment:
2 Samuel 22:8-16 – “Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven quaked and were shaken, because He was angry. Smoke went up from His nostrils, and devouring fire from His mouth; coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down with darkness under His feet. He rode upon a cherub, and flew; and He was seen upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness canopies around Him, dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. From the brightness before Him coals of fire were kindled. The LORD thundered from heaven, and the Most High uttered His voice. He sent out arrows and scattered them; lightning bolts, and He vanquished them. Then the channels of the sea were seen, the foundations of the world were uncovered, at the rebuke of the LORD, at the blast of the breath of His nostrils.”
The only other place we see fire coming out of a mouth in Scripture is by the two witnesses, who kill those who try to harm them, but they do not kill with smoke or brimstone:
Revelation 11:5 – And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner.
As discussed in Revelation 5:5, the lion is the king of the beasts. Having the head or face of a lion shows power and might like the men of valor in David’s military:
1 Chronicles 12:8 – Some Gadites joined David at the stronghold in the wilderness, mighty men of valor, men trained for battle, who could handle shield and spear, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as gazelles on the mountains….
A lion’s head would also have lion’s teeth. Recall from Revelation 9:8, a lion’s mouth or teeth show its destructive power:
Joel 1:6-7 – For a nation has come up against My land, strong, and without number; his teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he has the fangs of a fierce lion. He has laid waste My vine, and ruined My fig tree; he has stripped it bare and thrown it away; its branches are made white.
image courtesy: Revelation 9-17 listverse
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We are now living in the absolute End Times as per biblical prophecy.
Our Lord Jesus Christ – King of Kings. 2nd Coming and return is IMMENENT!.
Please do not waist another a minute.
No matter what religion you serve, there is only one God.
If, you want to be assured that you will not have to endure the perilous times that will befall you.
Irrespective, of what sins you may have committed at any time of your life. If you humble yourself and ask for God’s forgiveness. He will forgive you and wash them all away and welcome you as his beloved son or daughter with open arms.
If you are not a child of Father God or have not asked Jesus Christ to come into your life yet?
I implore you to do this without delay.
Read this prayer of Salvation and ask God to forgive you now and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour and you will be assured of eternal life.