Scripture Text: Revelation 9:13-16 Title: Numbers in Revelation
Question of the Day: What do we make of all the numbers given in the book of Revelation?
When we try to get a grasp on the death, destruction, devastation, catastrophes and cataclysmic events mentioned in this book, it takes our breath away. Many have tried to count the numbers of people killed compared to the population of the world today and have come up with a varieties of numbers. Let’s look at some of the references to numbers and some of the other comments given about people on earth during the tribulation and see what conclusions we can come up with.
In today’s text one of the various numbers in Revelation is given. Here is the text: “When the sixth angel sounded, I heard a voice coming from the four horns of the gold altar, which stands before God, which said to the sixth angel that was ready to blow its trumpet, “Cut loose the four angels that are in chains in the great river, the Euphrates.” The four angels that were unchained were loosed for one hour, one day, one month, and one year to destroy one-third of the people on earth. The number of the army that assembled was 200 million: and I heard their number given.” The following are some other numbers given throughout the book of Revelation:
Around the throne in heaven, mentioned in chapter 4, are four “living creatures”, twenty-four elders, One “sitting on the throne, one Lamb, myriads of myriads and thousands of thousand of angels, and in chapter 7 under the altar are the souls of those who had been slain for the Word of God and for their witness, “a great multitude that could not be numbered” is mentioned, 144,000 fiery Jewish evangelists were commissioned to complete the Great Commission in chapter 7, and in chapter 14 after many events had transpired and many saints had been martyred, the 144,000 are listed—and evidentially not one of them is missing!
In chapter 6:8 we are told that the rider on the pale horse were given authority to kill one fourth of the people on earth with the sword, with famine, with pestilence, and by the wild beasts of the earth.
In chapter 8 the mention is made of seven trumpets, after the first trumpet burned up a third of the trees and all the green grass, after the second, one third of the fish in the ocean died and a third of the ships were destroyed, after the third trumpet one third of the waters of the world became bitter and many died, and after the fourth trumpet a third of the sun, moon, and stars had their light blocked from reaching the earth.
In chapter 9 the creatures that looked like horses with a scorpion-like sting tormented people for five months, and then in today’s text the number of the mounted troops totaled 200 million.
The number seven appears again in chapter 10 with the seven trumpet judgments, but no details are given (it must be very devastating and too horrible to describe).
In chapter 11 the two witnesses come to do their work, and when they are killed, their bodies laid on the streets of the city for three and a half days, and when they were resurrected and taken to heaven, a great earthquake destroyed one tenth of Jerusalem and 7,000 people were killed in the quake.
In chapter 12 Satan is thrown down from heaven and the people of Israel who were godly were protected for 1,260 days while Satan tried to destroy them.
In chapter 14 three angels gave their judgments and “one like the Son of Man” came to harvest the earth and destroy those who gathered for that great battle. In chapter 15 there were seven angels who, in chapter 16, went forth to pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on those who had taken the mark of the beast.
In the next chapters the wrath of God is poured out on Babylon and that “great city” is wiped out in one hour.
When we get to chapter 19, the Rider on the White Horse comes and wipes out the rest of the nations and the peoples of the world who have taken the mark of the beast—and all who had taken the mark of the beast were killed (chapter 14:11; 16:2; and 19:20).
The bottom line is this: from the numbers given it seems obvious that all of the people who had received the mark of the beast during the tribulation period were eventually wiped out—and that includes every non-believer. And that is how God concludes the judgment on this world as we know it today. There are more judgments later just after the nations of the world gather together for one last battle after the millennium and then there is the Great White Throne judgment in which all unbelievers are cast into the Lake of Fire. And it is then we will fully understand the judgment of God men who have rejected the gift of salvation and on all the demonic angels. We will understand fully what it means to have the wrath of God poured out and to see His holiness shine and dominate the universe—both the new heaven and the new earth. The numbers are staggering; the devastation overwhelming and complete; and then the judgment of God will be complete.
Prayer: O God, when we look at the advanced copy of the prophecy of what will happen in destroying the sin and wickedness of this world, we are in awe and stunned at the wiping out of all evil and the eternal punishment of those who have rejected You. We are sobered by this staggering information! Amen!
David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.” It is available by calling 615-945-0611.