Revelation Chapter 9:18
Revelation 9:18 – By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed…
The 200 million horsemen and horses will kill a third of the human population by three plagues. Recall from Revelation 8:12, the number three speaks of God’s divine nature, but also shows perfection or completion in God’s plan. While three shows perfect completion, a fraction in thirds shows less than completion. God shows restraint in the Trumpet judgments by destruction in thirds as shown below, but will complete judgment in the Bowls with unrestrained destruction in Revelation 16:
The end result of this demonic 200 million was that a third of the remaining mankind would be killed. Note that a quarter of mankind was killed during the seal judgments, leaving three quarters of the remaining population. As one third is now killed, 50% of mankind now has been killed.
The death of one third of the earth’s remaining inhabitants will be the most catastrophic disaster to strike the earth since the flood during the days of Noah.
|Third of the trees burned up||Revelation 8:7|
|Third of the sea became blood||Revelation 8:8|
|Third of the living creatures in the sea died||Revelation 8:9|
|Third of the ships destroyed||Revelation 8:9|
|Third of the rivers and springs became wormwood||Revelation 8:10-11|
|Third of the sun struck||Revelation 8:12|
|Third of the moon struck||Revelation 8:12|
|Third of the stars struck||Revelation 8:12|
|Third of the luminaries darkened||Revelation 8:12|
|Third of the day did not shine||Revelation 8:12|
|Third of mankind killed by fire, smoke and brimstone||Revelation 9:15-18|
The three plagues that come out of the horses’ mouths which kill a third of the human population on earth are: fire, smoke, and brimstone. As discussed in the last section, the breastplate with the colors of the plagues symbolizes judgment. These three plagues found together in Scripture elsewhere reiterate that judgment is in view.
Angels destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone, which caused smoke like a furnace:
Genesis 19:1, 12-13, 24-25, 28 – Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground…. Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Son-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whomever you have in the city – take them out of this place! For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it….” Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens. So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground…. Then he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain; and he saw, and behold, the smoke of the land which went up like the smoke of a furnace.
God will destroy Babylon by the same plagues as Sodom and Gomorrah with a heavenly army at the end of the Tribulation, and Babylon will become a holding place for demons:
Isaiah 13:1-6 – The burden against Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw. “Lift up a banner on the high mountain, raise your voice to them; wave your hand, that they may enter the gates of the nobles. I have commanded My sanctified ones; I have also called My mighty ones for My anger – those who rejoice in My exaltation.” The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like that of many people! A tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together! The LORD of hosts musters the army for battle. They come from a far country, from the end of heaven – the LORD and His weapons of indignation, to destroy the whole land. Wail, for the day of the LORD is at hand! It will come as destruction from the Almighty.
Isaiah 13:19-22 – And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans’ pride, will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It will never be inhabited, nor will it be settled from generation to generation; nor will the Arabian pitch tents there, nor will the shepherds make their sheepfolds there. But wild beasts of the desert will lie there, and their houses will be full of owls; ostriches will dwell there, and wild goats will caper there. The hyenas will howl in their citadels, and jackals in their pleasant palaces. Her time is near to come, and her days will not be prolonged.”
Revelation 18:2, 8, 17-18 – And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! Therefore her plagues will come in one day – death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her…. For in one hour such great riches came to nothing.’ Every shipmaster, all who travel by ship, sailors, and as many as trade on the sea, stood at a distance and cried out when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What is like this great city?’
While supernatural forces, perhaps even God’s heavenly army, undoubtedly worked through the Medes to destroy Babylon, there are parts of the Isaiah prophecy that are yet to find complete fulfillment at the end of the Tribulation like the perpetual desolation of the area that will become a holding place for demons (aka wild beasts) when God destroys it, as shown in both passages above. Jeremiah also shows us that God will use a heavenly army to destroy Babylon at the end of the Tribulation with the same plagues He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah:
Jeremiah 50:25-28, 39-40 – The LORD has opened His armory, and has brought out the weapons of His indignation; for this is the work of the Lord GOD of hosts in the land of the Chaldeans. Come against her from the farthest border; open her storehouses; cast her up as heaps of ruins, and destroy her utterly; let nothing of her be left. Slay all her bulls, let them go down to the slaughter. Woe to them! For their day has come, the time of their punishment. The voice of those who flee and escape from the land of Babylon declares in Zion the vengeance of the LORD our God, the vengeance of His temple…. “Therefore the wild desert beasts shall dwell there with the jackals, and the ostriches shall dwell in it. It shall be inhabited no more forever, nor shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation. As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighbors,” says the LORD, “So no one shall reside there, nor son of man dwell in it.
Since God uses the same plagues to kill a third of the human population in the sixth Trumpet judgment and destroy Babylon before the end of the Tribulation, it is possible God uses the same supernatural army for both judgments. We are not told exactly when God destroys Babylon, but the placement in Revelation 18shortly before Jesus returns suggests it is toward the end of the Tribulation. The sixth Trumpet is also near the end of the Tribulation, but it is not clear if the army of the sixth Trumpet judgment is God’s heavenly army that destroys Babylon, or if it is a demonic horde. The rest of this section may give some insight on the army’s identity.
In the first destruction of Babylon, God described the Medes army as a “destroying wind”:
Jeremiah 51:1-2 – Thus says the LORD: “Behold, I will raise up against Babylon, against those who dwell in Leb Kamai, a destroying wind. And I will send winnowers to Babylon, who shall winnow her and empty her land. For in the day of doom they shall be against her all around.”
Jeremiah describes Babylon’s army against Jerusalem during the time of Nebuchadnezzar as a “strong wind”, and its chariots a “whirlwind”:
Jeremiah 4:11-13 – At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, “A dry wind of the desolate heights blows in the wilderness – toward the daughter of My people – not to fan or to cleanse – a wind too strong for these will come for Me; now I will also speak judgment against them.” “Behold, he shall come up like clouds, and his chariots like a whirlwind. His horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us, for we are plundered!”
God also describes the chariots of His heavenly army as a whirlwind:
Isaiah 66:15 – For behold, the LORD will come with fire and with His chariots, like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by His sword the LORD will judge all flesh; and the slain of the LORD shall be many.
Elijah’s departure to Heaven shows us that the heavenly chariots are fiery, but move like a whirlwind:
2 Kings 2:11 – Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
Interestingly, God said that during the Tribulation, or the “time of Jacob’s trouble,” God’s whirlwind would come upon the wicked. Based on the passages above, God’s whirlwind, which comes during the “time of Jacob’s trouble,” is an army with chariots of horses:
Jeremiah 30:6-7, 23-24 – Ask now, and see, whether a man is ever in labor with child? So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins like a woman in labor, and all faces turned pale? Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it…. Behold, the whirlwind of the LORD – goes forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind; it will fall violently on the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of the LORD will not return until He has done it, and until He has performed the intents of His heart. In the latter days you will consider it.
If the army has chariots of fire like the one that took Elijah to Heaven, the chariots with their spirit riders could be described as a “burning wind.” The Hebrew word for “burning wind” is “burning spirit,” which could be a spirit horse and chariot of fire. In addition, the four winds held back by the four angels in Revelation 7:1 are the four spirit horses with horsemen who are spirits that go to and fro throughout the earth but come from Heaven (Zechariah 6:5-7). This supports the 200 million horsemen with their horses being the whirlwind of the Lord, or His heavenly army in Scripture.
The following passage shows the Lord judging the wicked from His throne in Heaven with the fire and brimstone plagues of the sixth Trumpet judgment along with a “burning wind”:
Psalms 11:4-6 – The LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. The LORD tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the wicked He will rain coals; fire and brimstone and a burning wind shall be the portion of their cup.
The following passage might be a parallel to the sixth Trumpet judgment. Note that judgment is against all flesh, and a whirlwind is “raised up” to make a great slaughter around the world:
Jeremiah 25:29-30 – ‘”For behold, I begin to bring calamity on the city which is called by My name, and should you be utterly unpunished? You shall not be unpunished, for I will call for a sword on all the inhabitants of the earth,” says the LORD of hosts.’ “Therefore prophesy against them all these words, and say to them: ‘The LORD will roar from on high, and utter His voice from His holy habitation; He will roar mightily against His fold. He will give a shout, as those who tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth.
Jeremiah 25:31-33, 38 – A noise will come to the ends of the earth – for the LORD has a controversy with the nations; He will plead His case with all flesh. He will give those who are wicked to the sword,’ says the LORD.” Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Behold, disaster shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the farthest parts of the earth. And at that day the slain of the LORD shall be from one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth. They shall not be lamented, or gathered, or buried; they shall become refuse on the ground. He has left His lair like the lion; for their land is desolate because of the fierceness of the Oppressor, and because of His fierce anger.”
The Babylonian conquest fulfilled the first part of Jeremiah 25, but the end of the chapter in the passage above speaks of a global judgment that could be fulfilled by the 200 million horsemen and horses in the sixth Trumpet judgment. If this passage is a parallel to this Tribulation judgment, then the role of the four angels is to “raise up” the whirlwind army of horses with their horsemen from the farthest parts of the earth.
Recall from Zechariah 6:5-7 that God’s spirit horses like to travel to and fro on the earth, but their station is in Heaven. The farthest parts of earth could also be described as the four corners of the earth. Perhaps each angel goes to a different cardinal direction from the Euphrates River to gather the 200 million horsemen. This role would be similar to gathering of the kings of the earth in Armageddon by the three unclean spirits (Revelation 16:14-16).
The evidence thus far points to the supernatural army being God’s heavenly army. The plagues themselves may give us clues as to whether the supernatural army consists of unclean or clean spirits. Let’s consider how the three plagues are found and used elsewhere in Scripture.
Fire is generally depicted as a way to purify things like metal in Scripture. In the same way, God’s refining fire will burn away unworthy works of a believer, and perpetually torment unbelievers in spiritual death due to their rejection of Christ’s payment for sin, as discussed in Revelation 9:2-3. While Satan can throw fiery darts against believers, God provides faith to quench them (Ephesians 6:16). On the other hand, God makes arrows into fiery shafts of death to judge the wicked:
Psalms 7:11-13 – God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day. If he does not turn back, He will sharpen His sword; He bends His bow and makes it ready. He also prepares for Himself instruments of death; He makes His arrows into fiery shafts.
Smoke is a by-product of fire consisting of a mixture of gases and carbon particles from combustion of organic matter, as discussed in Revelation 9:2. Smoke can also kill by suffocating a person and/or cause fatal lung damage from the heat and chemical content of the smoke. Moses describes God’s manifestation of His glory as smoke at Mount Sinai and in the wilderness; Isaiah also described God’s glory as smoke in the temple, as discussed in Revelation 9:2. Smoke is also tied to God’s refining fire of wrath and judgment:
Psalms 18:7-8 – Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of the hills also 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.
Isaiah 65:3-6 – A people who provoke Me to anger continually to My face; who sacrifice in gardens, and burn incense on altars of brick; who sit among the graves, and spend the night in the tombs; who eat swine’s flesh, and the broth of abominable things is in their vessels; who say, ‘Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am holier than you!’ These are smoke in My nostrils, a fire that burns all the day. “Behold, it is written before Me: I will not keep silence, but will repay – even repay into their bosom….”
Brimstone is solely used in the context of God’s judgment against the wicked humans, but also against fallen spirit beings and on places like Sodom and Gomorrah and Babylon, who had wicked inhabitants. Nowhere do we see brimstone used by those who are evil, only by God in judgment.
Incidentally, the word brimstone comes from the same Hebrew root word for gopher. “Gopher” is only found in the Bible where God told Noah to build the ark with gopherwood. God protected everyone inside the ark made of gopherwood, but destroyed everyone outside the ark in judgment by the Flood:
Genesis 6:13-14 – And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.
Similarly, in the “Gog and Magog War,” at the beginning of the Tribulation, God will protect Israel from the brimstone and other weapons of indignation He will pour on Gog’s wicked army before they can harm His people:
Ezekiel 38:21-22 – “I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains,” says the Lord GOD. “Every man’s sword will be against his brother. And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone….”
Ezekiel 39:2-5 – “…and I will turn you around and lead you on, bringing you up from the far north, and bring you against the mountains of Israel. Then I will knock the bow out of your left hand, and cause the arrows to fall out of your right hand. You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. You shall fall on the open field; for I have spoken,” says the Lord GOD.
It is evident, that fire, smoke, and brimstone are not weapons of the enemy, but clearly describe plagues that God pours out on the wicked in His wrath. God certainly uses fallen vessels to judge others. He used the “four horns,” or the four nations that exiled Judah, who themselves were evil nations (Zechariah 1:18). But God can also use a fallen vessel to direct holy vessels in judgment.
Recall from Revelation 9:1 that Satan is likely the fallen star that releases the tormenting locusts from the bottomless pit, but the locusts themselves are clean creatures that are holy and not unclean or fallen, as discussed in Revelation 9:11. While God allows fallen spirits to deceive or have authority to harm humans to fulfill His judgment, ultimately God will judge them too with the same fire, smoke, and, brimstone (Revelation 14:9-11):
Matthew 25:41 – …Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels….
Revelation 14:9-11 – Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
Revelation 19:20 – Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.
Revelation 20:10, 15 – The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever…. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Revelation 21:8 – But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
While it is not definitive that the 200 million horsemen are from God’s army of the heavenly hosts, the evidence supports it. Just as Satan was given authority over the tormenting locusts, it is possible that the four fallen angels who are bound are given permission to use God’s army to carry out their mission after their release. As discussed earlier, perhaps these angels are the ones who “raise up” the great whirlwind or supernatural army of God, creating the great slaughter prophesied by Jeremiah, which might be a parallel to the sixth Trumpet judgment:
Jeremiah 25:32-33 – Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Behold, disaster shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the farthest parts of the earth. And at that day the slain of the LORD shall be from one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth. They shall not be lamented, or gathered, or buried; they shall become refuse on the ground.”
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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.