Revelation 9:13-19 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. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. 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. 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. 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.
Verse 13 begins by mentioning that the 6th trumpet has sounded and is followed by a voice that comes out from a golden altar in heaven. Referring to a previous verse in Revelation we recall that this specific golden alter contains the prayers of the saints, so this voice that comes out of the golden altar in Rev. 9:13 may refer to this. This coupled with the fact that God can make inanimate objects or animals talk (i.e. rocks and Balaam’s donkey) makes us take this portion of scripture literally.
Verse 14 gives us insight into what the voice from the altar commanded, which was to release 4 angels from the Euphrates river. The release of these angels signifies another portal (of Hell) being opened. Refer to the book of Matthew where it mentions the gates (plural) of Hell which alludes to there being more than one gate or entryway into Hell. The verse also mentions that these angels are bound to the Euphrates or rather, underneath it. Comparing this to the angels in the book of Jude, we realize that these angels are fallen angels burning in Hell. Therefore, the four that are release in verse 14 also come from Hell in order to cause chaos and destruction on the earth. 2 Peter 2:4 also matches Jude 1:6 in that evil angels are bound in Hell.
Jude 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
2 Peter 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
Verse 15 mentions that these 4 angels are released into the world on a specific time and date that God has in mind with the command to kill a third of the global population. For chronological purposes, we compare the events from the 6th trumpet to the events in Revelation 6 where the 4th seal is opened, to establish which event comes first. During the opening of the 4th seal, we see that a quarter of the world is killed by the powers of Hell and death. After this, another third of the remaining population is killed through the events of the 6th trumpet.
Verse 16 mentions an army of horsemen that comes along with the fallen angels. Some believe it is possible that these horsemen are the locusts from Revelation 9:7 since they were described as horses prepared for battle. Although it is not certain that these creatures are locusts, However, it is possible that these creatures are some type of demoniac creature or horsemen (not necessarily locusts) that follow the angels out of Hell. The verse also mentions how many of these horsemen accompany the 4 angels, which is in the millions.
When John hears the number of them, it could mean that he heard God say how many of them came out (i.e. 2 million) or similar to verses 7 and 9 where he hears the sound of an army of locusts (how many horsemen he literally heard, very noisy). This army matches the one mentioned in Revelation 16:12, where the 6th angel pours his vial on the river Euphrates. Because of this, it is possible that these 4 angels and the army of horsemen mentioned in Revelation 9:16 help the kings of the East or Asian countries (specifically China) during this time.
Revelation 16:12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
Verse 17 mentions the horses and those that ride on them. This differs from the demoniac creatures from Revelation 9:7 where they do not have riders on them. The verse goes on to describe the breastplates of the riders which have fire, jewelry, and brimstone (fire and brimstone are characteristic of Hell). The heads of the horses are described as lions. Compare this to the verse where Satan is likened to a roaring lion (possible literal interpretation for verse 17).
Verse 18 states that these horses release fire, smoke, and brimstone from their mouths similar to the red dragon (Satan), and through this, a third of the world is killed. Some believe that this verse is referring to modern-day tanks, however, the fact that they come from Hell along with the 4 angels makes us believe that it more on the literal side. In spite of this, with modern day advancements to gene manipulation and technology, it could be something with a mixture of both demoniac and machine elements. Refer to verse mentioning clay and iron intermingling.
Verse 19 describes the mouths and tails of the horses and how lethal they are. Similar to the locusts in Revelation 9:3, the tails of these horses are compared to an animal, in this case, serpents which characterizes these ‘horses’ as demonic. The serpentine tail is described as having many heads (where the idea of Hydra comes from) and that by that tail (snakes), many people will be injured.