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Gog and Magog, and the 2nd woe

February 9, 2011

The sixth trumpet, or the 2nd woe, is a great army of 200 million horses and horsemen. Some have wondered how this number compares with the total number of horses in the world.

According to the statistics provided at Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the 2009 world populations of horses, asses, mules and camels were:

Horses: 59,019,729
Asses: 43,620,601
Mules: 11,163,242
Camels: 25,385,468

Another estimate at http://www.allhorses.info/ says “there are approximately 75 million horses in the world.” The number is considerably less than would be needed for a literal interpretation of the horses of the 2nd woe.

Horses are also mentioned in Ezekiel’s prophecy of the invading army of Gog and Magog, in Ezekiel 38 and 39.

In John’s prophecy, the horses have heads of lions. Ezekiel does not mention lions, but he twice says the invaders seek to “take a prey.” A lion is a predator.

These and several other points of correspondence between the 2nd woe and the hordes of Gog and Magog in Ezekiel’s prophecy are indicated in the table below.

Ezekiel 38 & 39 Revelation 9
all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields [38:4]
Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: [38:5]
…having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: [9:17]
and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, [38:5]
And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army: [38:15]
And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them [9:17]
Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee. [38:9] And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: [9:16]
To take a spoil, and to take a prey; [38:12]
Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? [38:13]
and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; [9:17]
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee against them? [38:17] For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt. [9:19]
And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: [38:21] And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. [9:13-14]

In prophecy, horses may represent people who lack understanding, as David wrote, in Psalm 32:9:

Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.

The suggested correspondence between Ezekiel 38:17 and Revelation 9:19 is based on Isaiah 9:15:

The ancient and honourable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail.

John alludes to Ezekiel’s prophecy in Revelation 20:8-9, which describes an assault on the saints by deceived people from all parts of the earth, who are identified with Gog and Magog.

Ezekiel 38 & 39 Revelation 20
in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them. [38:8]And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, [38:11]

And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. [38:22]

And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city, and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. [20:9]

According to some expositors, the army described in Revelation 9, which is the 2nd woe, is an army of 200 million demons who kill people. Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice wrote: [1]

Sixth trumpet (Revelation 9:13-21)–The sixth trumpet judgment releases four angels who are specially created for this moment in history. These angels command angelic host of 200 million demons who go forth as horsemen to inflict death upon a third of the people on earth. (these horsemen are not 200 million Chinese, as has been suggested by some–they are clearly of demonic origin.) They, like the creatures in the previous judgment, come from the bottomless pit and are clearly not human. By this time in history, at least half of the earth’s population will have died in only a few years. Even after all these happenings, Scripture reports that people will “not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols.”

If the above interpretation were true, how could the horses and horsemen be eaten by the birds? If the prophecy of the 2nd woe corresponds to Ezekiel’s prophecy of the Gog-Magog invasion, as several points of correspondence seem to indicate, the fate of the invaders is to be devoured, at a great feast, to which the fowls of heaven are invited. It is called the supper of the great God. Does it make any sense, if at the supper of the great God, the fowls of heaven feast upon demons?

Ezekiel 38 & 39 Revelation 19
And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood.
Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan.
And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you.
Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord GOD. [39:17-20]
And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;
That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. [19:17-18]And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. [19:21]

The sword in the mouth of Christ in Revelation 19:21 is clearly metaphorical. It represents the word of God in scripture. The enemies slain with it are spiritual enemies; Paul said,”For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” [Ephesians 6:12]

Reference

1. Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice. Charting the End Times. Harvest House Publishers, 2001. p. 61.

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