After reading Part 1 an anonymous reader questioned whether 200 million horsemen is possible given that it is hard to imagine that there are 200 million horses available in the world. The reader had good reason to question whether 200 million literal horsemen can be mustered since the world’s horse population is estimated to range between only 58 to 75 million.1 2 This fact would argue against the idea that there are going to be 200 million people who will each ride their own horse on the battlefield…

One theory I’ve seen posed is that the 200 million horsemen are spiritual beings rather than human beings. Theoretically, there could be 200 million spiritual horsemen riding around and slaying people. However, I don’t think this theory could be completely proven. But I wouldn’t rule it out either…

Another possibility comes from viewing John’s description of the 200 million horsemen from his perspective. John lived in the first century A.D. when motorized vehicles, guns, computers, etc did not exist. Consequently, John probably faced the difficult task of describing things that people in his era had no conception of. Imagine if you were in John’s position and had to describe technological advances that won’t be around for another 1900 years… I think it’d be a very difficult task… Some people who adopt this viewpoint attempt to figure out what modern day technology(s) John saw using the following details:

(17) And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. (18) By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. (19) 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.” (Rev 9:17-19)

For instance, my dad mentioned to me recently that he thought John could have saw tanks and armored personnel carriers…

I’ll let you decide whether to believe the 200 million consist of human beings or spiritual beings. What I’m going to do today is to provide you information about troop levels around the world to show whether it is currently possible to have 200 million humans engaged in combat in case you tend to believe the 200 million consist of human beings.

  • If you believe the 200 million are spiritual beings I still think you’ll find the numbers I present interesting…

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) monitors the military capabilities of more than 170 countries around the world. One of the items the IISS tracks is the troop levels of each country it monitors. The following table shows the Top 10 biggest militaries on Earth at the moment in terms of total troop levels:

Table 1: Top Ten Militaries By Total Troop Levels

North Korea1,106,0008,200,000189,0009,495,000
South Korea687,0008,000,000Ê4,5008,691,500
People's Republic of China2,285,000510,000660,0003,455,000
United States1,580,255864,54711,0352,455,837
Republic of China (Taiwan)290,0001,657,00017,0001,964,000
Source: Hackett, James (ed.) The Military Balance 2010 London: Routledge, 2010


There are several items that standout from the above table:

  • Russia has a gigantic number of troops in reserve. The reason for this is that Russia has the world’s biggest mandatory, peace-time conscription (draft) program.
  • It’s somewhat surprising that China and India have so relatively few military personnel given the size of their respective populations. Neither of these countries is even close to fielding an army of 200 million troops at the moment (in case you believe only one country is responsible for the existence of 200 million troops instead of a group of countries).
  • North Korea and South Korea’s high troop levels are unsurprising since there is a lot of tension between the two countries and the risk for renewed conflict is high.
  • The United States currently has fewer total troops available than Iran. This result should be a warning that total troop levels is not the sole determinant of how strong a country’s military is. The United States military is vastly superior to the Iranian military partly because the United States possesses a huge technological advantage.

I added up troop level totals for over 170 countries to come up with a rough estimate of the total number of troops currently available to fight. After aggregating the data, the total number of troops in the world is estimated to be a little bit above 89 million.

Table 2: Aggregated Troop Totals


The troop numbers above show that the world is not yet ready to have a war consisting of 200 million human troops if one eventually takes place. However, much of the world is not at war or near a state of war at the moment. Consequently, many countries have the potential to train and prepare many more troops if it becomes necessary.

  • As an example, the United States had nearly 13 million people in uniform (over 8 million of them were soldiers) by the end of World War 2. The United States’ population has more than doubled since then so the United States could potentially field a military of at least 20 million people and 15 million combat soldiers if it was necessary. This would represent at least an 800% increase in the size of the U.S. military over current levels.
  • The world’s troop levels only have to increase by 2.25 times to surpass 200 million. If the United States could increase its troop levels by 800% or 8 times then it should be easy for many other countries to increase their respective troop levels by at least 2.25 times.

Troop levels are likely going to increase dramatically in the future as the prevalence of wars and rumors of war increase. Countries engaged in war or face the threat of war may institute conscription (the draft) to prepare their citizens for battle.

  • I tinkered with the data to see how many troops might hypothetically be available if every country had the same ratio of troops per 1000 people as South Korea, whose ratio is 173.6 troops per 1000 people and who faces the threat of renewed conflict with North Korea (whose ratio is at 418.9).3 4 If every country had a 173.6 troops per 1000 people ratio like South Korea, total global troop levels would exceed 1.1 billion. In addition, countries like China and India would each have more than 200 million troops.

Table 3: Extrapolated Troop Levels If Every Country Resembled South Korea

United States53,966,241

Big Word of Caution: Don’t put a lot of faith or stock into in the projections above because these numbers don’t take demographics into account and many other key factors that help to determine the maximum number of troops a country potentially can raise. In addition, the world’s population after many End Times events may be much lower than it is today, so it could be far more difficult to have troop levels as high as these extrapolated levels… Also, it’s unclear from these numbers how many troops would participate in a direct combat role vs. a combat service support role… These numbers were produced to provide a very crude illustration of how dramatically troop levels can increase if there was a period of world war that necessitated countries throughout the world to train and prepare a large percentage of their citizens for battle like South Korea currently does.

Again, I’ll let you decide whether the 200 million troops are spiritual beings or human beings.

  • This study showed that it is feasible for a future conflict to involve 200 million troops if multiple countries are involved. The only two countries who have a chance of amassing a force of 200 million troops are India and China, but whether these countries could actually do so after enduring many costly End Times events is unclear despite the extrapolated troop levels I presented.
  • The issue that probably still remains for people who believe the 200 million troops are human and believe John described modern day military technology is whether there is enough military equipment to support 200 million troops at war…

Regardless of who comprises the 200 million, those who have the Mark of the Beast will be punished. I think people who believe the 200 million troops are spiritual beings and people who believe the 200 million troops are human beings can certainly agree to that.


Show 4 footnotes

  1.  “World Horse Population Estimated at 58 Million”. 12 Sept. 2007. Last Accessed Jan 5. 2011.
  2.  “All Horses”. 2009. Last Accessed Jan 5. 2011.
  3.  Hackett, James (ed.) The Military Balance 2010 London: Routledge, 2010 413-416
  4. Ibid. 411-413