THE SEVEN TRUMPETS OF REVELATION

The seven trumpets of Revelation is one of those prophecies that receives all sorts of interpretations. But here we are not interested in the interpretations of man, but the truth of God. We do not build vague speculations of the future, but upon the immutable foundation of the past. And this is the only way to understand Bible prophecy. So what do the seven trumpets represent? Well, there are many people who place the seven trumpets in the very end times. But there is a problem with that interpretation. Look at what we are told right in the very first verse of the book of Revelation:

Revelation 1:1 ...'The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.'

Do you see what it says? The events in Revelation were to 'shortly come to pass', or shortly BEGIN to come to pass. So the events were to begin soon after the time of John. And we know that Revelation takes us to the second coming of Christ. This means the trumpets, just like the seven seals and seven churches, span thousands of years, giving us a history of the world from the time of John, until the second coming of Christ. The seven churches, seals and trumpets give us a history, from the time of John, of the religious (church) and political world. But on this page we are focusing on the trumpets. For an understanding of the seven churches, please see our page HERE.

What does a trumpet symbolize in the Bible? - "the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war." (Jeremiah 4:19). When the Israelites marched around Jericho, what did they do before the walls fell? They blew the trumpets! So clearly, a trumpet is a warning of war and calamity that is soon to take place.

So where do we start? Well, which empire was ruling in the day of John? It was the Roman Empire. And in Revelation 8:5 we are told that an angel takes his censer, filling it with fire from the altar and cast it to the earth, wherein there results 'voices and thunderings, and lightnings and an earthquake.' This is language of judgment, and following this is the blowing of the seven trumpets. Now Rome was that empire which (at the request of the Jews) crucified our Lord and Saviour, and also persecuted the saints of God, in both it's Pagan AND Papal form. So the seven trumpets are warnings of war and judgment against the Roman Empire which are about to take place soon after John's day.

In 329 A.D., emperor Constantine moved the capital of his empire from Rome to Constantinople in the East. Thus creating an Eastern and Western division of the Roman Empire. The trumpets are God's judgments against the Roman Empire, bringing about it's complete fall. The first four against the Western Empire and the 5th and 6th against the Eastern Empire. Under the 7th and final trumpet, the utter destruction of Babylon the Great, Papal Rome, along with all her 'daughters' will take place.

The following is a brief exposition on the seven trumpets. If you would like a deeper study, then please see this paper entitled An Exposition of the Seven Trumpets of Revelation VIII and IX from our church pioneers in 1866. Also, another good read on the seven trumpets is the chapter on the trumpets from S.N.Haskell's book 'The Seer of Patmos' - You can read that chapter HERE.

THE FIRST TRUMPET

Revelation 8:7 ...'The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.'

The first four trumpets sound the alarm of war at the hands of the Barbarian tribes, which sacked the Western Roman Empire for hundreds of years. This first trumpet describes the war with the Goths, under the leadership of Alaric, who was known as "the scourge of God." In 395 A.D., before the end of winter, the Goths, under Alaric, were in arms against the Western Empire. And the following quote from Gibbons explains the 'hail and fire mingled with blood.'

"The savage warriors of Scythia issued from their forest; and the uncommon severity of the winter [that season of the year in which natural HAIL and SNOW occur] allowed the poet to remark that they rolled their ponderous wagons over the broad and icy back of the indignant river' ... The Goths were directed by the bold and artful genius of Alaric ... Alaric traversed, without resistance, the plains of Macedonia and Thessaly. The troops which had been posted to defend the straits of Thermopylae, retired, as they were directed without attempting to disturb the secure and rapid passage of Alaric; and the fertile fields of Phocis and Bceotia were instantly covered with a deluge of barbarians, who massacred the males of an age to bear arms, and drove away the beautiful females, with the spoil and cattle of the flaming villages. The travelers who visited Greece several years afterward could easily discover the deep and bloody traces of the march of the Goths. The whole territory of Attica was blasted by his baneful presence; and if we may use the comparison of a cotemporary philosopher, Athens itself resembled the bleeding and empty skin of a slaughtered victim." (Gibbon, Vol. III, pp. 190-194, Phillips, Sampson & Co., Boston, 1854) - [quoted in 'An Exposition of the Seven Trumpets', 1866 - source]

So the 'hail' represents from where the invaders came from - the frozen north. The 'fire' represents the destruction by fire of both land and dwellings at the hands of the Goths. And the 'blood' represents the terrible slaughter by the Goths, under Alaric. It was truly a destruction like 'hail, fire an blood.' Well apt symbols to represent the invaders from the north upon Western Rome.

"Large extracts show how amply and well Gibbon has expounded his text, in the history of the first trumpet, the first storm that pervaded the Roman earth, and the first fall of Rome ... A secluded 'old man of Verona,' pathetically lamented the fate of his contemporary trees, which must blaze in the conflagration of the whole country. And the emperor of the Romans fled before the king of the Goths.The pastures of Gaul, in which flocks and herds grazed, and the banks of the Rhine, which were covered with elegant houses and well cultivated farms, formed a scene of peace and plenty, which was suddenly changed into a desert, distinguished from the solitude of nature only by smoking ruin." (Alexander Keith, The Signs of the Times, Vol.1, 1832, p.234-235)

And thus we see the destruction of also the trees and grass in this first trumpet at the hands of the Gothic barbarians from the frozen north. This attack of the Goths continued until the early 5th century when Alaric died in 410 and they thus withdrew in 412.

THE SECOND TRUMPET

Revelation 8:8-9 ...'And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.'

A 'great mountain ... cast into the sea'? 'Sea becomes blood'? 'Creatures in the sea die'? 'Ships destroyed'? This trumpet must then point to the NAVAL conquests of Genseric, against the African portion of the Roman Empire, and later the conquests against Italy, as opposed to the land conquests of Alaric in the first trumpet. There is no doubt that this trumpet points to a fierce maritime warfare, that would follow the attacks of Alaric and his Goths in the first trumpet. The next great invasion upon the Western Roman Empire was that of 'the terrible Genseric' at the head of the Vandals. His career was marked by the years 428-468 A.D.

"Unlike the storm of hail and fire, which consisted of various elements, the great mountain was a single or individual object, and was the symbol of Genseric alone, or of the destruction which he wrought along the whole coast of Africa, and on the fleets of Rome. The maritime colonies of Rome in Africa were for ever separated from the empire. The ports from which three thousand and two hundred vessels are said to have issued, in a previous revolt against Rome, were all finally reduced to the sway of Genseric, a. d. 439; a great part of the commerce and naval power of Rome was thus extinguished; its revenues and maritime supplies, as chiefly derived from Africa, ceased ; a line of coast extending to ninety days' journey, formed no longer a part of the Roman empire; the third part of the sea became blood, and the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died: and, lastly, it is said, the third part of the ships were destroyed." (Alexander Keith, The Signs of the Times, Vol.1, 1832, p.241)

"The whole expense of the African campaign amounted to the sum of one nundred and thirty thousand pounds of gold, about five millions two hundred thousand pounds sterling. The fleet that sailed from Constantinople to Carthage consisted of eleven hundred and thirteen ships, and the number of soldiers and mariners exceeded one hundred thousand men ... The wind became favourable to the designs of Genseric. He manned his largest ships of war with the bravest of the Moors and Vandals, and they towed after them many large barks filled with combustible materials. In the obscurity of the night these destructive vessels were impelled against the unguarded and unsuspecting fleet of the Romans, who were awakened by a sense of their instant danger. Their close and crowded order assisted the progress of the fire, which was communicated with rapid and irresistible violence; and in the noise of the wind, the crackling of the flames, the dissonant cries of the soldiers and marines, who could neither command nor obey, increased the horror of the nocturnal tumult. Whilst they laboured to extricate themselves from the fire-ships, and to save at least a part of the navy, the gallies of Genseric assaulted them with temperate and disciplined valour ; and many of the Romans who escaped the fury of the flames were destroyed or taken by the victorious Vandals ... Genseric again became the 'tyrant of the sea.'" (Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of Rome. pp. 203, 205 - [Quoted in Alexander Keith, The Signs of the Times, Vol.1, 1832, p.243-244)

Thus we have the "great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed."

NOTE: Why does it mention a 'third part' so often in the trumpets? Well, after Constantine moved the capital to Constantinople, the empire was divided into East and West. But for a time there was a 'third' division of the empire ... "Twice, at least, before the Roman empire became divided permanently into the two parts, the Eastern and the Western, there was a tripartite division of the empire. The first occurred A. D. 311, when it was divided between Constantine, Licinius, and Maximin; the other, A. D. 337, on the death of Constantine, when it was divided between his three sons, Constantine, Constans, and Constantius." (Albert Barnes, Notes on Rev. xii, 4)

THE THIRD TRUMPET

Revelation 8:10-11 ...'And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.'

We are now brought to the third event or 'judgment' against the Roman Empire and it's fall. The first trumpet judgment fell upon the land, with the Goths ravaging great areas of land of the Western Roman Empire. The second trumpet judgment fell upon the sea, with the Vandals laying waste to the naval fleet of Rome. And next, the third trumpet judgment is to fall upon the "rivers, and upon the fountains of waters." This 'great star' is none other than Attila the Hun, whose war on the Roman Empire focused on that area from which the 'rivers and fountains of waters' flowed from - the Alps and other regions of rivers and fountains of waters.

"It is said particularly that the effect would be on 'the rivers' and on 'the fountains of waters.' If this has a literal application, or if, as was supposed in the case of the second trumpet, the language was such as had reference to the portion of the empire that would be particularly affected by the hostile invasion, then we may suppose that this refers to those portions of the empire that abounded in rivers and streams, and more particularly those in which the rivers and streams had their origin - for the effect was permanently in the 'fountains of the waters.' As a matter of fact, the principal operations of Attila were on the regions of the Alps, and on the portions of the empire whence the rivers flow down into Italy. The invasion of Attila is described by Mr. Gibbon in this general language : The whole breadth of Europe, as it extends above five hundred miles from the Euxine to the Adriatic, was at once invaded, and occupied, and desolated by the myriads of barbarians whom Attila led into the field." (Albert Barnes, Notes on Rev. viii)

"On such plain and preliminary observations we may look to the intimation given in the third trumpet, and to the achievements of Attila, the third name mentioned by Gibbon, and associated in equal rank with those of Alaric and Genseric, in the decline and fall of the Roman empire ... A great star is the symbol of which the significance has to be sustained; burning as it were a lamp, is the character of the warfare. The locality is neither the earth, in the full extent of the term as applicable to the Roman empire, and the wide scene over which the storm of hail and fire swept on the sounding of the first trumpet, nor yet the third part of the sea, as expressive of the second, by which the African coast was for ever separated from the empire, and the ships finally destroyed,-but, as referring to a portion of the remains of the empire of Rome-the fountains and rivers of waters. (Alexander Keith, The Signs of the Times, Vol.1, 1832, p.245-246)

"Neither the spirit, nor the forces, nor the reputation of Attila, were impaired by the failure of the Gallic expedition. He passed the Alps, invaded Italy, and besieged Aquileia with an innumerable host of barbarians ... After this dreadful chastisement, Attila pursued his march ; and, as he passed, the cities of Altinum, Concordia, and Padua were reduced into heaps of stones and ashes ... Attila spread his ravages over the rich plains of modern Lombardy ; which are divided by the Po, and bounded by the Alps and Appenine. He took possession of the royal palace of Milan ... The Roman ambassadors were introduced to the tent of Attila, as he lay encamped at the place where the slow winding Mincius (Mincio) is lost in the foaming waves of the lake Uenacus, and trampled with his Scythian cavalry the farms of Catullus and Virgil." (Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of Rome. pp. 130, 131 - [Quoted in Alexander Keith, The Signs of the Times, Vol.1, 1832, p.248-249)

"Attila advanced not farther into Italy than the plains of Lombardy, and the banks of the Po. He reduced the cities situated on that river and its tributary streams, to heaps of stones and ashes. But there his ravages ceased. The great star, which burned as it were a lamp, no sooner fell upon the fountains and rivers of waters, and turned cities into ashes, than it was extinguished. Unlike to the great mountain burning with fire, the great star that fell from heaven, after suddenly scorching a part of Italy, rapidly disappeared. During the same year in which Attila first invaded the Italian territories, and spread his ravages over the rich plains of modern Lombardy, which are divided by the Po, and bounded by the Alps and Appenine, without advancing beyond the rivers and fountains of waters, he concluded a treaty of peace with the Romans "at the conflux of the lake and river," on the spot where the Mincius issues from the lake Benacus (L. di Garda.)." (Alexander Keith, The Signs of the Times, Vol.1, 1832, p.249)

Can you see the amazing symbolism which is employed in these trumpets, and how perfectly well they fit with the various barbarian tribes that attacked the Roman Empire? What does a 'falling star' do? It burns brightly for a very short time and then goes out as quick as it lights up. This perfectly fits the movements of Attila the Hun, who 'burned bright as a great star' with his attacks on Rome. But 'went out' just as quickly. And what area of the Roman Empire did Attila focus his efforts? On the 'rivers and fountains of waters.'

"After the last naval wars of the Vandals had ceased, the embittered waters were as wormwood to the empire of Rome, new enemies arose from the very region of Italy which Attila had ravaged, or where the great star fell ; when none died any longer in the sea, many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter; and, from the first sound of the Gothic trumpet to the extinction of the western empire, the connexion is closely established to the last between each succeeding trumpet." (Alexander Keith, The Signs of the Times, Vol.1, 1832, p.253)

THE FOURTH TRUMPET

Revelation 8:12 ...'And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.'

We now enter upon the trumpet judgment that was to bring about the final fall of the Western Roman Empire. But what could it mean that a 'third part' of the sun, moon and stars were smitten with darkness? Well, when studying the Bible, we are to take God's Word as it reads and apply it as literal, unless it does not make sense for it to be literal. Then in that case, it is to be taken as symbolic. Well, does it make sense for a 'third part' of the literal sun to be smitten? Or a 'third part of the moon and stars' to be 'darkened'? Has that happened in history? No. So then we must take this as being symbolic of something else. And as we are dealing with the Roman Empire, then it must be something to do with Rome.

"We understand this trumpet as contemplating the career of ODOACER, the barbarian monarch who was so intimately connected with the downfall of Western Rome. The symbols-sun, moon, and stars-evidently denote the great luminaries of the Roman government,-its Emperors, Senators, and Consuls. Bishop Newton remarks that the last emperor of Western Rome was Momyllus, who in derision was called Augustulus, or the 'diminutive Augustus.' Western Rome fell A. D. 476. Still however though the Roman sun was extinguished, its subordinate luminaries shone faintly while the senate and consuls continued." (An Exposition of the Seven Trumpets of Revelation VIII and IX, BATTLE CREEK, MICH., 1866, p.21)

You will notice from this fourth trumpet that there is no 'hail and fire' from the north. There is no 'great mountain cast into the sea.' And there is no 'great star' burning like a lamp falling upon the Roman Empire. In fact, there is no mention of any enemy attack. The previous barbarian attacks were so furious in nature, which is why they were symbolized by such great elements, that the power of Western Rome was broken and the last remaining hordes from the previous invasions, led by ODOACER (a remnant of the host of Attila), was enough to bring an end to Western Rome.

"The throne of the Caesars had for ages been the sun of the world ; while other kings were designated as stars. But the imperial power had first been transferred to Constantinople, by Constantine; and it was afterwards divided between the east and the west. And the Eastern empire was not yet doomed to destruction. Even the western empire was afterwards revived; and a more modern dynasty arose to claim and maintain the title of emperor of the Romans. But, for the first time, after sudden, and violent, and distinctly marked and connected convulsions, the imperial power in Rome, where for so long a period it had reigned triumphant, was cut off for ever; and the third part of the sun was smitten." (Alexander Keith, The Signs of the Times, Vol.1, 1832, p.259-260)

And so under the fourth trumpet, under the lead of Odoacer, the Western division of Rome, or 'third part' was 'smitten'!

"Odoacer was the first barbarian who reigned in Italy, over a people who had once asserted their just superiority above the rest of mankind ... One third of these ample estates to which the ruin of Italy is originally imputed, was extorted for the use of the conquerors." (Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of Rome. vol. vi., pp.231, 236 - [Quoted in Alexander Keith, The Signs of the Times, Vol.1, 1832, p.263)

And thus, under the first four trumpets, Western Rome is 'sacked' and given over to the Barbarian tribes. It is well known that Constantine professed 'conversion' to Christianity. But his conversion was only a cloak to unite Christianity with Paganism. The 'faith' of Rome was not that Christianity of the pure gospel message. Yes, salvation was preached and faith was professed. But men were not led to repentance of their sins and idol worship. Righteousness was not practiced as becometh a follower of Jesus Christ. Therefore the trumpets sounded and judgment came upon Rome. This then made way for that 'wicked', that 'man of sin' - the Papacy, to gain control and fulfill the prophecy of Paul in 2 Thess. 2:

2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 ...'For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.'

Pagan Rome was being 'taken away' in order for that 'wicked', Papal Rome, to take the throne!

THE FIFTH TRUMPET

Revelation 8:13 - 9:12 ...'And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!. And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon. One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.'

It is interesting to note that these last trumpets are called 'WOES.' This denotes a change in the judgments. But what change? The first four trumpet judgments were against the Western Empire of Rome. But what did the fall of Western Rome give rise to? The Papacy! The Popes now took the place of Emperors and apostate Christianity began to lead the world. Thus these 'woes' are pronounced against the apostate Roman church and it's lands.

"There is scarcely so uniform an agreement among interpreters concerning any part of the apocalypse as respecting the application of the fifth and sixth trumpets, or the first and second woe, to the Saracens and Turks. It is so obvious that it can scarcely be misunderstood. Instead of a verse or two designating each, the whole of the ninth chapter of the Revelation, in equal portions, is occupied with a description of both. The Roman empire declined, as it arose, by conquest; but the Saracens and the Turks were the instruments by which a false religion became the scourge of an apostate church; and, hence, instead of the fifth and sixth trumpets, like the former, being marked by that name alone, they are called woes. It was because the laws were transgressed, the ordinances changed, and the everlasting covenant broken,-that the curse came upon the earth or the land." (Alexander Keith, The Signs of the Times, Vol.1, 1832, p.272)

The Western Empire of Rome is broken under the Barbarian tribes. The Popes of the Roman Church now take to the throne, with the help of Justinian. And now woes are declared upon apostate Christianity at the hands of the Saracens and the Turks (Islam). Which leads also to the final fall of the Eastern Empire of Rome.

Constantinople was besieged for the first time after the extinction of the western empire, by Chosroes, the king of Persia. He was that 'star' that 'fell from heaven unto the earth', and he also was that 'key' that was to 'open the bottomless pit.'

"Chosroes subjugated the Roman possessions in Asia and Africa. And 'the Roman empire,' at that period, 'was reduced to the walls of Constantinople, with the remnant of Greece, Italy, and Africa, and some maritime cities, from Tyre to Trebisond, of the Asiatic coast." (Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of Rome, p.232 - [Quoted in Alexander Keith, The Signs of the Times, Vol.1, 1832, p.276)

"While the Persian monarch contemplated the wonders of his art and power, he received an epistle from an obscure citizen of Mecca, inviting him to acknowledge Mahomet as the apostle of God. He rejected the invitation, and tore the epistle. 'It is thus,' exclaimed the Arabian prophet, 'that God will tear the kingdom, and reject the supplication of Chosroes.'" (Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of Rome, vol. viii., pp.228,229 - [Quoted in Alexander Keith, The Signs of the Times, Vol.1, 1832, p.275)

Chosroes not only subjugated the Eastern Empire of Rome, he also kept in check the progress of the Saracens, due to his rejection of that 'prophet of Mecca.' So what was the 'key' to which Chosroes was to open the 'bottomless pit'? His fall from power!

"The Persian and Roman monarchies exhausted each other's strength. And before a sword was put into the hands of the false prophet, it was smitten from the hands of those who would have checked his career, and crushed his power." (Alexander Keith, The Signs of the Times, Vol.1, 1832, p.276)

"The revenge and ambition of Chosroes exhausted his kingdom." (Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of Rome, vol. viii., pp.245,246)

"While Chosroes of Persia was pursuing his dreams of recovering and enlarging the empire of Cyrus, and Heraclius was gallantly defending the empire of the Caesars against him; while idolatry and metaphysics were diffusing their baleful influence through the church of Christ, and the simplicity and purity of the gospel were nearly lost beneath the mythology which occupied the place of that of ancient Greece and Rome, the seeds of a new empire, and of a new religion, were sown in the inaccessible deserts of Arabia." (Outlines of History, p. 168 - [Quoted in Alexander Keith, The Signs of the Times, Vol.1, 1832, p.281-282)

With both empires exausted, the way was prepared for that 'smoke to rise from the bottomless pit' and for the 'locusts' to rise 'upon the earth.' Those locusts were the Saracens from Arabia, speedily overspreading both the Persian and Roman empires, bringing judgment upon the apostate church, for it's idolatry.

"The first woe arose at its time, when transgressors had come to the full, when men had changed the ordinances and broken the everlasting covenant, when idolatry prevailed ... "And there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit." Like the noxious and even deadly vapour which the winds, particularly from the southwest, diffuse in Arabia, Mahometanism spread from hence its pestilential influence-and arose as suddenly, and spread as widely, as smoke arising out of the pit, the smoke of a great furnace. Such is a suitable symbol of the religion of Mahomet, of itself, or as compared with the pure light of the gospel of Jesus. It was not, like the latter, a light from heaven ; but a smoke out of the bottomless pit." (Alexander Keith, The Signs of the Times, Vol.1, 1832, p.282)

Even though Mohametanism (Mohammedism) was used as a judgment against apostate Christianity, the religion itself, as told by this revelation is as 'black as smoke.' It is a false religion, which cannot impart any light into the world. All it can do is cover the world with the darkness of smoke. Contrast this with the pure light of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which imparts real light to the world. What a contrast! But because men had united Paganism with Christianity and were proclaiming a false gospel, then God allowed this false religion of Mohammed to rise and spread over the earth, as a judgment against the apostate church - against the lands and people who supported the apostate church!

"The Christians of the seventh century had insensibly relapsed into the semblance of paganism ; their public and private vows were addressed to the relics and images that disgraced the temples of the east; the throne of the Almighty was darkened by a cloud of martyrs, and saints, and angels, the objects of popular veneration ; and the Collyridian heretics, who flourished in the fruitful soil of Arabia, invested the virgin Mary with the name and honour of a goddess." (Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of Rome, Ib. p. 261 - [Quoted in Alexander Keith, The Signs of the Times, Vol.1, 1832, p.285)

It is fascinating to note how this first woe trumpet explains the advance of the Saracens. That they were "commanded that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads." (Rev.9:4). History confirms that very prophecy. Gibbon confirms that the then leader of the Saracens commanded them ... "Destroy so palm trees, nor burn any fields of corn. Cut down no fruit trees, nor do any mischief to cattle, only such as you kill to eat." (Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of Rome, vol. ix. pp. 379-381, c. 51). The Saracens were also commanded to leave the 'godly' alone and only kill those who "belonged to the synagogue of Satan." (Ibid).

Thus the true people of God, who were 'sealed' were protected and only the apostates were 'tormented' by the Saracens. A lesson for us today, being under the 'third woe'!!

The description of these 'tormentors' in Revelation 9 - "And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle." - is an apt description of the vast armies of Saracens riding upon their horses and waging war upon the last standing Eastern Empire of Rome and it's apostate church.

"And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails" (Rev.9:10)
Isaiah 9:15 ...'The ancient and honourable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail.'

Proverbs 30:27 ...'The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands.'

And this is true of the Mohammedans who had no king over them, until the time of Othman, who would fulfil Revelation 9:11 when they would "have a king over them" - "From the death of Mohammed until near the close of the thirteenth century, the Mohammedans were divided into various factions under several leaders, with no general civil government extending over them all. Near the close of the thirteenth century, Othman founded a government which - has since been known as the Ottoman government, or empire, extending over all the principal Mohammedan tribes, consolidating them into one grand monarchy." (Uriah Smith, Daniel and the Revelation, 1897, p.478).

This leads us into the Ottoman Empire and the sixth trumpet and second woe.

THE SIXTH TRUMPET

Revelation 9:13-21 ...'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. And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.'

The first woe of the fifth trumpet was to continue from the rise of Mahometanism (Mohammedism) until the end of the '5 months' of torment, which is prophetic time and is a literal 150 years (a day for a year). Othman, that 'king from the bottomless pit', first entered into attack against the Eastern Empire of Rome in 1299. The '5 months' of torment or 150 years then takes us to 1449, which is the ending of the first woe and beginning of the second woe. And what is the command given under the sixth trumpet? To "loose the four angels" that were "bound in the great river Euphrates."

"And when the sixth angel sounded, it was commanded to take off the restraints which had been imposed on the nation, by which they were restricted to the work of tormenting men, and their commission extended to slay the third part of men. This command came from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God. 'The four angels,' are the four principal sultanies of which the Ottoman empire is composed, located in the country of the Euphrates. These sultanies were situated at Aleppo, Iconium, Damascus and Bagdad. Previously they had been restrained; but God commanded and they were loosed." (An Exposition of the Seven Trumpets of Revelation VIII and IX, 1866, p.40)

The four angels, or four sultans of the Ottoman empire were loosed for "an hour and a day and a month and a year" to slay the 'third part of men.' This equates to three hundred and ninety one years and fifteen days. Constantinople was to finally be overthrown, the Eastern Empire of Rome crushed and an apostate church judged! Now if the first woe ended in 1449 and this second woe was to last for 391 years, 15 days, then we would expect the power of the Turks to be broken in 1840. Our Adventist Church pioneers preached on this in the years leading up to 1840, and sure enough, in 1840 the Ottoman empire lost it's independance and was subject to the European nations (see An Exposition of the Seven Trumpets of Revelation VIII and IX, 1866, p.46-53 - source).

The description of these 'horsemen' and 'horses' that John sees in vision, is an apt description of the countless Turks riding forth to war with their guns firing as if like "fire and smoke and brimstone." Going forth to slay a third part of men, under divine judgment from God. And we know this is a judgment from God, because the command to loose these sultans came from the altar of God (vs.13) and in vs 20, we are told that the slaying at the hands of the Turks were 'plagues.' And as we know, plagues are sent from God to judge!

"Gibbon describes the first invasion of the Roman territories by the Turks, thus: "The myriads of Turkish horse overspread a frontier of six hundred miles from Tauris to Azeroum, and the blood of 130,000 Christians was a grateful sacrifice to the Arabian prophet." (An Exposition of the Seven Trumpets of Revelation VIII and IX, 1866, p.42)

Under the first woe, the Western Empire of Rome finally fell and the apostate church was judged, but with restraint. This did not work any change in the church of Rome and apostate Christians, or any repentance for their idolatry and apostasy. Therefore the restraint was taken off under the second woe, and the blood of apostate Christianity flowed even more! And Let this be an important lesson for us today, as there is yet a 'THIRD WOE' which the world is under today!

And STILL they do not repent! ... "And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts." (Rev.9:20-21)

THE SEVENTH TRUMPET

Revelation 11:14-19 ...'The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly. And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.'

Two woes are past, ending in 1840, and the third woe was to 'come quickly.' Thus we are now under the third woe. Are the nations angry? Are people destroying the earth? Yes. Therefore, we are very near the time wherein God will 'destroy those who destroy [even corrupt] the earth.' So can we expect a time of 'peace and safety', like the world leaders and apostate churches are looking for? Not a chance! "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape." (1 Thess.5:3).

In the verses above, John sees the temple of God opened in heaven, and in God's temple, was seen the 'ark of His testament.' This is none other than the ark that contains the law of God, the ten commandments. Showing the world that God has not 'done away' with His commandments, nor changed any of them. And it is by these commandments that we are judged as a people. Yet the Roman Catholic Church and her apostate 'daughter' churches, the fallen Protestant churches, continue to trample upon the law of God, by rejecting the very commandment that tells us of our Creator - the 4th commandment - the 7th day Sabbath. Idolatry prevails in the majority of churches in this world today, as warned in the prophecy of Revelation 18:

Revelation 18:1-5 ...'And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.'

Babylon is none other than the Roman Catholic Church and her fallen daughter Protestant churches. And Revelation 18 tells of the destruction of Babylon and how the world will 'mourn' over her. Just as apostate Christianity received judgment from God under the first two woes, it will again receive judgment from God under the third and final woe. But this time, the judgment and destruction will be COMPLETE. Will God use Islam once more as a scourge against apostate Christianity? We will see. But one thing is for certain. The wrath of God is coming upon the apostate Christian world. While God is calling His people OUT of Babylon, the church leaders are calling the people IN! And the seven last plagues are reserved especially for Babylon, as we are told in Revelation 18:4 that they are 'HER plagues.'

Ezekiel also prophesied of the destruction coming to the apostate churches:

Ezekiel 9:4-6 ...'And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary.'

We know this is a prophecy for the end times, because those who 'sigh and cry for the abominations' receive a 'mark upon their foreheads.' This is the 'seal of God' which the end time saints receive, as Revelation 7 and 14:1 says. But those who commit the abominations will be utterly destroyed. And where did God say for the destruction to begin? 'In My sanctuary.' In other words THE CHURCH!

Please heed the warning. The final judgments of God are soon to fall upon this world and especially upon the apostate churches. God is calling His people to COME OUT OF HER! Please heed the call. Turn from your sins. Come out of the fallen churches and surrender your life to Jesus Christ before it's too late.