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Revelation 9:17

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17 And [kai] thus [houto] I saw [eido] the horses [hippos] in [en] the vision, [horasis] and [kai] them that sat [kathemai] on [epi] them, [autos] having [echo] breastplates [thorax] of fire, [purinos] and [kai] of jacinth, [huakinthinos] and [kai] brimstone: [theiodes] and [kai] the heads [kephale] of the horses [hippos] were as [hos] the heads [kephale] of lions; [leon] and [kai] out of [ek] their [autos] mouths [stoma] issued [ekporeuomai] fire [pur] and [kai] smoke [kapnos] and [kai] brimstone. [theion]   KJV-Interlinear



17 And this is how I saw in the vision the horses and those who sat on them: the riders had breastplates the color of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone; and the heads of the horses are like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone.    NASB



John is using descriptive terminology.He uses the word ‘like’ or ‘were as’ to indicate that this is not an exact description, but descriptive terminology to make it very clear that these demons were beyond terrible in their appearance, in their attitude, and in their actions against humanity.


Further the terminology is that used against the wicked – fire, smoke, brimstone, Rev. 14:10; 19:20; 20:10; 21:8, Gen 19:24; Job 18:15; Ps 11:6; Ezek 38:23; Isa 30:33; Luke 17:29.


Horses have been used in warfare and symbolically represent warfare, or a charging force, Ex 14:9, Deut 11:4; 20:1; Josh 11:4; 1 Sam 13:5; 2 Sam 1:6; 8:4; Ps 33:17; Prov 21:31; Isa 5:28; Jer 6:23; Ezek 23:23-24; 38:4,15; Dan 11:40; Hos 1:7; Joel 2:4; Nah 3:2-3.


The breastplates we studied earlier in the locust vision, represents the unconquerable attitude of impunity and arrogance of an undefeatable force.


The total picture represents the action of God bringing almost literally a hell on earth, which would certainly seem to some to represent a prelude to the actual hell that is to come.  The actual is of course far, far worse.


This picture simply states that the world is going to be in a very bad way, and note something that should be obvious, since so many people are going to die, that means that even the great militaries and the great technology that is certain to be around in the future, will be totally impotent against this demon attack.  Certainly civilians have no chance whatsoever.


The heads of lions, whereas earlier the symbolism was of lions teeth, but now it is the head of the lion which is being used symbolically, and that simply means the hunting, stalking and killing nature of the lion.  A hungry lion does not stop until he gets his prey.  Any prey that comes into the lion’s sight, has lost the fight before the chase has even begun.And when the lion catches her prey, then the violence of the kill is gruesome and worse. 


And again, there are no innocents.All are evil and wicked people.Whether they participated in gruesome acts themselves of were simply indifferent toward truth, makes no difference.


All rejection of truth, all disregard for authority, all disregard for honesty, all disregard for that which is right, no matter how minor, always leads to greater evil eventually.



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