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Looking at Revelation 14:19-20 it describes a large amount of people being trampled with a winepress and blood flowing out for 1600 stadia. How many people would be needed for this? Does the blood rising as high as "a horses bridals" help calculate this? Is it possible to calculate this?

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    Some have noted that the dimensions of the blood flow would cover the entire land of Israel. Up-voted +1.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 5, 2023 at 10:40
  • The allegory links to the multitudes in the valley of decision (outside earthly Jerusalem) which, spiritually," is called Sodom & Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified" (Rev.11:8). So also the land of Israel, promised to Abraham, spiritually refers to the whole world throughout all time. Rev.14:20 does not speak of 'the land'. It implies it. 160 miles = the length of the land of Israel. Spiritually, that answers to the whole world covered by God's wrath on that Last Day of judgment.
    – Anne
    Jan 7, 2023 at 18:43
  • Moses turned the water of Egypt into blood in Ex 7 Dec 24, 2023 at 8:53

5 Answers 5

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To answer the literal question you asked:

In my opinion, there are two 'useful' interpretations of the 1600 Stadia: Either as the length of a road or as the radius of a circle. The "actual" number will be somewhere in between most likely:

First of all, 1600 Stadia is about 300 km. For convenience, I will assume that a horse's bridle is about 1.5 m above the ground. For the circle:

(150 km)² * pi = 471.2 km². 471.2 km² * 1.5 m = 0.702 km³ = 7.07 * 1011 litres

For the road, I will assume the width of a road to be about 4 metres:

300 km * 4 m * 1.5 m = 0.0018 km³ = 1.8 * 109 litres.

Now a human has about 5 litres of blood meaning for the circle we need 7.07/5 * 1011 ≈ 140 billion humans, which is more than the number of humans that have ever lived.

For the road we have: 1.8/5 * 109 humans = 3.6 * 108 humans = 360 million humans.

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  • So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind. - Revelation 9:15. These are the four horsemen, which explains the reference to horses and trampling
    – mbomb007
    Jan 5, 2023 at 16:15
  • This makes sense. In my imagination I figured it would look exactly how blood would flow out of a winepress. Somewhat of a semi circle. Though it is impossible to know. Keep in mind when I asked this question I just wanted to know in relation to the vision. As in literally how much blood did John see? Whether this will this will/did happen literally is not what I was intending to ask. Jan 5, 2023 at 18:15
  • I would consider the circle too, but the depth to be near 'the winepress' only --- 300 stadia far, it's just a droplet deep. Because liquids run from high to low ground... This makes the calculation much harder (the cross section is a triangle, but the volume you have to integrate around a circle), but it makes more sense than the current "A swimming pool diameter 300km, with no edge yet staying that shape". Jan 6, 2023 at 11:16
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    CORRECTION (outside of edit time limit): it's simple, integration just needed for proof, not for formula: Volume of a cone = ground-surface x height / 3, so if the pool is 1.5 deep at the centre extending to zero depth at 300km further, it's just 1/3rd of @SirHawrk's result. Jan 6, 2023 at 14:40
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I suggest that the numbers need to be understood symbolically, which makes any calculation impossible.

1600 works out as 4x4x10x10.

In the system of symbolic numbers which, I believe, works in the texts of Revelation, "4" indicates "to or from all directions", and "10" indicates "completeness" or "the whole world". E.g "Four horsemen/ four winds" (chs 6-7) and "ten kings" (ch17). In other words, the blood spreads out over the entirety of the world in all directions.

I suggest also that this image is an echo of Joel ch3 v13 ("The winepress is full, the vats overflow, for their wickedness is great" RSV), in which the overflow is a measure of the wickedness of the world. Literal interprtation hinders the reading of Revelation more frequently than it helps.

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    1600 and 4x4x10x10; you have an extra factor of 10 in both places.
    – chepner
    Jan 5, 2023 at 15:23
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    Quite right. My apologies. Corrected. Jan 5, 2023 at 15:33
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    Just a typo; it doesn't affect your answer in any meaningful way.
    – chepner
    Jan 5, 2023 at 15:39
  • 1600 is also 40 x 40, where 40 is a number associated with testing.
    – Dieter
    Jan 3 at 23:11
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The language is hyperbolic, and metaphorical. The 1600 stadia is representative of the race course pattern that Vespasian rode through Judea and Galilee circling inward toward Jerusalem. The word "stadia" is the picture of a Roman stadium, and works out to be about 200 miles. It is not that the blood would flow out 1600 stadia. The 1600 stadia was the distance of the path through Judea which Vespasian took on his campaign during the Roman-Jewish wars of AD 67-70.

"And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs." (Rev. 14:20, KJV)

The word translated as "furlong" is Strong's Gr. 4712, "stadion" and means a racecourse used for public games, about 1/8 of Roman mile. Source: Biblehub

The blood was going to be spilled "outside the city," meaning without Jerusalem. The imagery was of the no-holds-barred warfare that the Roman legions used to put down rebellions in a scorched earth policy to dissuade others from rebelling. Blood up to the horses bridles indicated that few would survive that Roman war.

Excerpt from my post "Ezekiel in Revelation - Part III: Jerusalem, The Vine Tree, and The Winepress -

"Vespasian marched from Antioch south to Ptolemais on the eastern Mediterranean shore in AD 67 where he concentrated his forces with those of his son Titus for an approx. total of 60,000 Roman soldiers. He then marched inland to Galilee to put down resistance throughout all of Judea before attempting the siege at Jerusalem. His plan to subdue the will of the people via scorched-earth warfare was a bloody campaign with an estimated 100,000 people slaughtered just throughout Galilee. (See map at Note 1))

The path of his campaign through Galilee, and on through Idumea and Samaria toward Jerusalem encompassed approx. 200 miles.(6) He marched through Meggido in 67 AD. By early 68 AD Vespasian had defeated all of the Jewish strongholds in the north and had isolated Jerusalem. And the imagery of the blood up to the horse’s bridles is very clear." Source: ShreddingTheVeil

Vespasian attacked Gabara first, killing all of the men, and then burned the city, and the surrounding villages and towns. Estimated dead in the siege of Jotapata was 40,000, where Josephus was captured. Women and children were slaughtered in the sack of Gamala where an estimated 9,000 were killed and only two women survived. The people knew of Vespasian's attack on the towns of Perea when they saw the thousands of bodies floating down the Jordan to the Dead Sea. (Source: History.net)

An estimated 100,000 were killed throughout Galilee before the siege of Jerusalem where Josephus estimated another 1.1-Million people died. Thus, the imagery of blood up to the horses' bridles.

See also the posts:

Ezekiel in Revelation - Part V: The Time of Gog ShreddingTheVeil

Ezekiel in Revelation - Part VI: The Land of Gog here

Ezekiel in Revelation - Part VII: Who Was Gog here

Note:

  1. Insurgency in Ancient Times: The Jewish Revolts....by LTC William T. Sorrells, US Army Ft. Levenworth, KS, p 41 here

  2. Josephus' War Chronology - here

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I think that this refers to the destruction of Israel after building the new temple at the Dome of the Rock. It would be logical that there would have to be more people in Israel than current numbers. I think this would suggest that there would be a gathering like what is witness with Arabs going to Mecca . Jews from all over the world wanting to come and participate in something that hasn’t happened in over 2,000 years. An out break of Ebola could have them bleeding? Or some weapon current or yet to be used? Or God creates a vacuum and they explode like eggs in a microwave. The irony is that Israel’s military still have those that ride horses.

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To address the question posed of how many people would have to be trampled for the resulting blood flow to reach 1600 stadia (approx 200 miles) at a height of (approx 4 1/2 ft), in addition to mathematical calculations, there are other considerations that are needed for a sound hermeneutical response. The helpful answers given, must be understood in the context of their differing theological & eschatogical underpinnings, employed. It would be useful to identify these with the answers, to better understand why they interpret this question, a certain way? One,the Preterist view, which interprets Revelation as having already taken place, primarily in the 1st Century. Two, Historicism, looking for Revelation in historical events thru out Church history. Three, Idealism, interpreting Revelation as symbolism, the battle between good & evil. Four, Futurism, interpreting Revelation as something that happens in the future. I personally believe that to interpret the Bible, with sound hermeneutics, the Holy Spirit is necessary, as in getting inspiration, as all four methods of interpreting Revelation can be true & valid. ie: The conquering of the Jewish Rebellion by Vespasian & destruction of all the Jewish strongholds, then Jerusalem & millions of its inhabitants, was a historical fact, that had occurred about 20 yrs prior to John’s Vision from God on Patmos, so the early Church knew about this & this would give them hope, encouragement and/or admonishment, that God is still in charge, that He wins in the end. This historical event doesn’t mean that this was not also a foreshadowing of the End of Days scenario, that at this time is still in the future. The Bible is the Living Word of God, thus it can apply to one personally, give account of historical events, give prophetic vision of things to come, all at the same time!

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    Jan 3 at 4:09

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