Revelation 9:16 MEANING

Revelation 9:16
(16) And the number . . .--Translate, And the number of the armies of the cavalry was two myriads of myriads. I heard the number of them. The writer heard, perhaps from some herald angel, the number of this vast army of horsemen; it was twice ten-thousand times ten thousand--i.e., two hundred millions. The number is like an echo from Psalm 68:17--"The chariots of God are twenty thousand (two myriads), even thousands (or, thousands of thousands) of angels." This utterly bewildering number might have been sufficient to keep interpreters from loVerse 16. - And the number of the army of the horsemen; and the number of the armies of the cavalry. No horsemen have hitherto been Minded to; but they are apparently the destroying host under the direction of the four angels. The symbol is, no doubt, chosen to signify power, of which horsemen or cavalry are an emblem. Were two hundred thousand thousand; or, twice myriads of myriads (cf. Jude 1:14-16, which is a quotation from Enoch; also Daniel 7:10). The number is, of course, not to be taken literally, but as signifying an exceeding great multitude. And I heard the number of them. Omit "and." St. John "heard the number" possibly from one of the elders, who had before instructed him (cf. Revelation 7:13). He states this, since so vast a multitude would be innumerable.

9:13-21 The sixth angel sounded, and here the power of the Turks seems the subject. Their time is limited. They not only slew in war, but brought a poisonous and ruinous religion. The antichristian generation repented not under these dreadful judgments. From this sixth trumpet learn that God can make one enemy of the church a scourge and a plague to another. The idolatry in the remains of the eastern church and elsewhere, and the sins of professed Christians, render this prophecy and its fulfilment more wonderful. And the attentive reader of Scripture and history, may find his faith and hope strengthened by events, which in other respects fill his heart with anguish and his eyes with tears, while he sees that men who escape these plagues, repent not of their evil works, but go on with idolatries, wickedness, and cruelty, till wrath comes upon them to the utmost.And the number of the army of the horsemen,.... This shows that the four angels before mentioned were men, and design generals of armies, or armies of men, even of horsemen; and manifestly point at the Turks, who were not only originally Persians, and had their name, as some say (e), from Turca in Persia, and from whence the Persians have their name, signifies an horseman; but the armies of the Turks chiefly consisted of horse, and what for show and for use, they had generally double the number of horses and mules as of men (f); and they are very good horsemen, and very dextrous at leaping on and off (g); and the horse's tail is still carried before the general, and principal officers, as an ensign expressive of their military exploits, and showing where their main strength lies. And the number of this mighty army, it is said,

were two hundred thousand thousand; or "two myriads of myriads"; two hundred millions, or twenty thousand brigades of ten thousand each; that is, a very large and prodigious number, almost infinite and incredible, like the army of Gog and Magog, as the sand of the sea, Revelation 20:8. The Turks used to bring, and still do bring vast armies into the field: in the year 1396, Bajazet, with three hundred thousand men, fell upon sixty thousand Christians, killed twenty thousand of them, and lost sixty thousand of his own: against him afterward, in the year 1397, came Tamerlane the Tartar, with four hundred thousand horse, and six hundred thousand foot, and having killed two hundred thousand Turks, took Bajazet prisoner, and carried him about in a cage, in golden chains. In the year 1438, Amurath entered into Pannonia, with three hundred thousand horsemen: and in the year 1453, Mahomet took Constantinople with the like number (h); yea, it is said, that the army at the siege of that city consisted of forty myriads, or four hundred thousand men (i). It is reported, that the great Turk contemptuously sent to the emperor of the Romans a camel, or a dromedary, loaden with wheat, with this vow by a message, that he should bring against him as many fighting men as there were grains of wheat therein (k). And it is related (l), that when Ladislaus, king of Hungary, went out against Amurath with four and twenty thousand horse, Dracula, governor of Walachia, advised him not to attack the emperor of the Turks with so small an army, since he went out every day a hunting with more men than such a number:

and I heard the number of them; expressed by some angel, and therefore John was certain of it, otherwise he could not have told them.

(e) Laonic. Chalcocondylas de reb. Turc. l. 1. p. 6. (f) Ib. l. 7. p. 227, 255. (g) Laonic. Chalcocond. l. 2. p. 65. (h) Alsted. Chronol. p. 321. (i) Laonic. Chalcocond. l. 7. p. 255. (k) Napier in loc. (l) Bonfinius apud Pareum in loc.

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