The Meaning of Revelation 9:16 Explained

Revelation 9:16

KJV: And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.

YLT: and the number of the forces of the horsemen is two myriads of myriads, and I heard the number of them.

Darby: and the number of the hosts of horse was twice ten thousand times ten thousand. I heard their number.

ASV: And the number of the armies of the horsemen was twice ten thousand times ten thousand: I heard the number of them.

What does Revelation 9:16 Mean?

Verse Meaning

The "horsemen" may be humans under the control of these four evil angels (cf. Daniel 11:44), or more likely the horsemen are demons. The description of the horses ( Revelation 9:17) argues for an angelic army, as does its leadership, namely, four angels ( Revelation 9:14-15). Most interpreters take their number as meaning innumerable, but their number could be literal even if these are human warriors.
"Years ago Red China claimed to have an army of200 million (cf. Time, May21 , 1965 , p35)." [1]
Many interpreters take the number200 million as symbolic or as representing demonic forces. The combined Allied and Axis forces at their peak in World War II totaled about70 million. [2] An angelic army of200 ,000 ,000 demons is not hard to imagine. [3]

Context Summary

Revelation 9:12-21 - Impenitent In Spite Of All
The river Euphrates possibly stands for nations and hordes of men emanating from that region; and these verses are held by a large number of expositors to foretell the invasion of Europe by the Turks, who have desolated and held the sacred places of the Jewish faith. The Church of that time was eaten through with idolatry. Image worship had become almost universal, and the invariable consequence of this relapse from the noble spiritual ideals of the Jewish and Christian dispensations was materialism, sensuality, and the greed of the priest. On the other hand, the Turks were fierce iconoclasts, and their progress everywhere was marked by the demolition of Christian emblems.
Demons contrive to get themselves worshiped under the effigies of idolatry; and murders, sorceries, fornication, and theft infest their temples. There is perpetual controversy between the spirit of truth and these perversities; and this conflict must continue, not only in the Church, but in the heart, until everything that opposes the reign of the Spirit is overthrown, and every thought is brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:5. Is this supremacy of the Spirit secured for thee, my reader? [source]

Chapter Summary: Revelation 9

1  At the sounding of the fifth angel, a star falls from heaven, to whom is given the key to the bottomless pit
2  He opens the pit, and there come forth locusts like scorpions
12  The first woe past
13  The sixth trumpet sounds
14  Four angels who were bound are let loose

Greek Commentary for Revelation 9:16

Of the horsemen [του ιππικου]
Old adjective ιππικος — hippikos from ιππος — hippos (horse), equestrian. The neuter articular singular το ιππικον — to hippikon the horse or the cavalry in contrast with το πεζικον — to pezikon (the infantry), here only in N.T. For the numbers here see Revelation 5:11; Revelation 7:4. [source]
Of the horsemen [τοῦ ἱππικοῦ]
Singular number, like the English the horse or the cavalry. [source]
Two hundred thousand thousand [δύο μυριάδες μυριάδων]
Lit., two ten-thousands of ten-thousands. See on Revelation 5:11. Rev., twice ten-thousand times ten-thousand. Compare Psalm 68:17; Daniel 7:10; Hebrews 12:22; Judges 1:14. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Revelation 9:16

Acts 21:20 How many thousands [ποσαι μυριαδες]
Old word for ten thousand (Acts 19:19) and then an indefinite number like our “myriads” (this very word) as Luke 12:1; Acts 21:20; Judges 1:14; Revelation 5:11; Revelation 9:16. But it is a surprising statement even with allowable hyperbole, but one may recall Acts 4:4 (number of the men--not women--about five thousand); Acts 5:14 (multitudes both of men and women); Acts 6:7. There were undoubtedly a great many thousands of believers in Jerusalem and all Jewish Christians, some, alas, Judaizers (Acts 11:2; Acts 15:1, Acts 15:5). This list may include the Christians from neighbouring towns in Palestine and even some from foreign countries here at the Feast of Pentecost, for it is probable that Paul arrived in time for it as he had hoped. But we do not have to count the hostile Jews from Asia (Acts 21:27) who were clearly not Christians at all. All zealous for the law (παντες ζηλωται του νομου — pantes zēlōtai tou nomou). Zealots (substantive) rather than zealous (adjective) with objective genitive (του νομου — tou nomou). The word zealot is from ζηλοω — zēloō to burn with zeal, to boil. The Greek used ζηλωτης — zēlōtēs for an imitator or admirer. There was a party of Zealots (developed from the Pharisees), a group of what would be called “hot-heads,” who brought on the war with Rome. One of this party, Simon Zelotes (Acts 1:13), was in the number of the twelve apostles. It is important to understand the issues in Jerusalem. It was settled at the Jerusalem Conference (Acts 15; Galatians 2) that the Mosaic ceremonial law was not to be imposed upon Gentile Christians. Paul won freedom for them, but it was not said that it was wrong for Jewish Christians to go on observing it if they wished. We have seen Paul observing the passover in Philippi (Acts 20:6) and planning to reach Jerusalem for Pentecost (Acts 20:16). The Judaizers rankled under Paul‘s victory and power in spreading the gospel among the Gentiles and gave him great trouble in Galatia and Corinth. They were busy against him in Jerusalem also and it was to undo the harm done by them in Jerusalem that Paul gathered the great collection from the Gentile Christians and brought it with him and the delegates from the churches. Clearly then Paul had real ground for his apprehension of trouble in Jerusalem while still in Corinth (Romans 15:25) when he asked for the prayers of the Roman Christians (Romans 15:30-32). The repeated warnings along the way were amply justified. [source]
Revelation 9:17 In the vision [ἐν τῇ ὁπάσει]
Or “in my vision.” See on Acts 2:17. The reference to sight may be inserted because of I heard in Revelation 9:16. [source]

What do the individual words in Revelation 9:16 mean?

And the number of the armies of the cavalry [was] twice ten thousand ten thousands I heard the number of them
καὶ ἀριθμὸς τῶν στρατευμάτων τοῦ ἱππικοῦ δισμυριάδες μυριάδων ἤκουσα τὸν ἀριθμὸν αὐτῶν

ἀριθμὸς  number 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ἀριθμός  
Sense: a fixed and definite number.
τῶν  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Neuter Plural
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
στρατευμάτων  armies 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Neuter Plural
Root: στράτευμα  
Sense: an army.
τοῦ  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Neuter Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ἱππικοῦ  cavalry  [was] 
Parse: Adjective, Genitive Neuter Singular
Root: ἱππικός  
Sense: equestrian, the horse(men), cavalry.
δισμυριάδες  twice  ten  thousand 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Plural
Root: δίς  
Sense: twice.
μυριάδων  ten  thousands 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Plural
Root: μυριάς  
Sense: ten thousand.
ἤκουσα  I  heard 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 1st Person Singular
Root: ἀκουστός 
Sense: to be endowed with the faculty of hearing, not deaf.
ἀριθμὸν  number 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: ἀριθμός  
Sense: a fixed and definite number.
αὐτῶν  of  them 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive Neuter 3rd Person Plural
Root: αὐτός  
Sense: himself, herself, themselves, itself.