Revelation Chapter 9
Smoke and locusts from the abyss, the fifth trumpet
V 1. "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. At the decline of the Roman Empire, the false prophet Mohammed appeared as send by God to be a scourge to an apostate Roman Church claiming to be Christian, i.e. followers of Christ.
V 2. 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.
Like the noxious and even deadly vapor which the winds, particularly from the southwest, diffuse in Arabia, Mohammedanism spread from there its pestilential influence as wildly as smoke arising out of a pit, the smoke of a great furnace. Such is the suitable symbol of the religion of Mohammed, of itself, or as compared with the pure light of the gospel of Jesus. it was not like the light from heaven, but a smoke out of the bottomless pit.
V 3. 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.
A false religion was set up, filled the world with darkness and delusion; and swarms of Saracens, like locusts, overspread the earth, and speedily extended their ravages over the Roman Empire, from east to west. They came a destroyers, propagating a new doctrine.
V 4. 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.
Mohammed was succeeded by Abubeker, a.d. 632, ordered all Arab soldiers not to be stained with the blood of women and children [ and not as the prophet had done], destroy no palm trees, nor burn any fields of corn. When you find retired religious persons living in monasteries to serve God that way, leave them alone, but those who have shaven crowns, be sure you cleave their skulls, and give them no quarter till they either turn Mohammedans or pay tribute. as we have shown in chapter 7, the seal of God is His seventh-day Sabbath. Moslems used to keep Sabbath but changed to Friday. Christians use to worship on the Sabbath but changed to Sunday. The Holy Spirit is not the seal itself, but does the sealing. A seal must have the name of the owner:-Creator God- the territory: heaven and earth found in the Sabbath command [Exodus 20:8-12]. We find the terms seal, token, sign, and mark synonymously used. "Verily, My Sabbath you shall keep, for it is a sign between you and Me.---Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20:12,20.
V 5. 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.
Their constant incursions into the Roman territory, and frequent assaults on Constantinople itself, were an unceasing torment throughout the Empire and to afflict an idolatrous church, of which the pope with his shaven crown was the head.
V 6. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
Man became weary of life, when life was spared only for a renewal of woe, and when all they counted sacred was violated ever liable to be suddenly interrupted, as if by a sting from a scorpion.
V 7. 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.
The Arabian horses take the lead throughout the world; and skill in horsemanship is the art and science of Arabia. To assume the turban is proverbially to turn Mussulman. The gravity and firmness of the mind of the Arab is conspicuous in his outward demeanor; his only gesture is that of stroking his beard, the venerable symbol of manhood.
V 8. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.
"Long hair" is an ornament esteemed by women. The Arabs had long hair like women, but there was nothing effeminate in their character; for as denoting their ferocity and strength to devour, their teeth were like lions.
V 9. 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.
The cuirass [or breastplate] was in use among the Arabs in the days of Mohammed. The charge of the Arabs was not like the Greeks and the Romans, their military force was chiefly formed of cavalry and archers, no infantry. The horses darted like with the swiftness of the wind.
V 10. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.
Question: "What men were they to hurt five month?."The same they were afterwards to slay in verse 15. "the third part of men", or third of the Roman Empire, the Greek division of it. Five month, 30 days in a Jewish month, give us 150 days being symbolic amount to 150 years. according to historian Gibbon, the date that Othman first entered the Greek territory of Nicomedia was on the 27th July 1299 reaching to 1449 A.D. In 1449, the Greek Emperor Palaeologus died and his brother Constantine did not ascend the throne until he got permission from the Turkish sultan Amurath.
V 11. 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.
His name in Hebrew Abaddon the destroyer. The Greek name is Apollyon one that exterminates, or destroys. The character of the king is the angel of the bottomless pit. Othman founded a government known as the Ottoman empire extending over all the principal Mohammedian tribes consolidating them into one grand monarchy.
V 12. One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
V 13. And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,
V 14. Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.
V 15. 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.
The first woe was to continue from the rise of Mohammedanism until the end of the five month. Then the first woe was to end, and the second to begin. 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 was enlarged so as to permit them to slay the third part of men. The four horns were the four leading sultans comprising the Ottoman Empire, located in the country watered by the river Euphrates situated at Aleppo, Iconium, Damascus and Baghdad. Permission was given to slay the Greeks, but never carried out because the Greek Emperor surrendered.
V16. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.
Innumerable hordes of horses, and them that sat on them! Gibbon so describes the first invasion of the Roman territory by the Turks, and the blood of 130 000 Christians was a sacrifice to the Arabian prophet.
V 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.
Fire, representing a color, stands for red, jacinth or hyacinth for blue, and brimstone for yellow. The Turkish uniform was composed largely of red, or scarlet, blue, and yellow. the heads of the horses were in appearance, as the heads of lions, to denote their strength, courage, and fierceness; while the last part of the verse no doubt has reference to gunpowder and firearms recently introduced. Firing from near the horses head by the rider would appear as if coming from the horses mouth.
V 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.
This verse express the deadly effect of the new mode of warfare introduced. By the means of gunpowder, firearms and cannons, that Constantine was finally overcome, and given into the hands of the Turks. See also verse 17.
V 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.
Muskets would also be fired from the rider turning backwards. See also verse 17.
V 20. 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, not hear, nor walk:
V 21. Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
Tormented by Locusts for 5 month. The fifth trumpet is being referred to as the first of the "three woe trumpets". It commences with a star falling from heaven to earth. in Scripture, a star denotes a leader. in this prediction it is a falling star and therefore represents an apostate religious leader. He has the key to the bottomless pit. He is Satan.
Many Christian Expositors including Martin Luther, Joseph Mede [Cambridge Uni Proffessor], Sir Isaac Newton [Scientist] have seen the fifth and sixth trumpet as the rising and progress of Islam and Mohamadism.-source, Le Roy Edwin Froom, "The prophetic Faith of our Fathers", Vol.II,p. 273-5.
Trumpets announcing the judgment. The feast of trumpets took ten days of repentance and deep searching of hearts for sin before the annual day of judgment [Yom Kippur] also known as the day of Atonement. A call for repentance see vv. 20, 21.
Locusts and scorpions original habitat is the Arabian desert. GOD used locusts to punish apostates [Joel 2:25]. the range of the desert locust is notable for our purposes. It spreads over some sixty different countries-all over northern Africa, up into Spain in the west, northward into Asia Minor [Turkey] in the east, and eastward through Iran into Pakistan and India. it is roughly comparable to the spread of Islam.
Mahomet [A.D. 612] was a salesman or merchants. The Roman Empire would not have opened the door for Mahomet but Satan had the key. The obscure prophet from the desert used the opportunity after The Roman and Persian empires had exhausted each other's strength in battle.
V 4. And he commanded them: After the death of Mahomet, Abu-bekr in A.D. 632 instructed his chiefs: "When you fight the battles of the Lord, acquit yourselves like men, without turning your backs; but let not your victory be stained with blood of women or children. Destroy no 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.
When you make any covenant, or article, stand to it, and be as good as your word. As you go on, you will find some religious persons who live in monasteries, and propose to themselves to serve God that way; let them alone, and neither kill them nor destroy their monasteries: and you will find another sort of people that belong to the synagogue of Satan, who have shaven crowns; be sure you cleave their skulls, and give them no quarter till they either turn Mahometans or pay tribute."---Edward Gibbon [Historian] "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. V, chap. 51, pp. 189, 190.
V 5. Their constant incursions into the Roman territory, and frequent assaults on Constantinople itself, were an unceasing torment throughout the empire, which yet they were not able to effectively to subdue, not withstanding the long period to afflict an idolatrous church, of which the pope was the head. Their charge was to torment but not to kill. Mahomet second successor, Omar, reduced 36 000 cities or castles, destroyed 4 000 churches and built 1400 mosques
5 month. Following the Protestant principle, a year is 360 prophetic days or 360 literal years. Five month would equal 150 days of years. From 612 A.D. when the false prophet started till 762 A.D. when the Islamic caliphates were formed. A sharp division occurred between the new caliph reigning in Damascus [Syria] and the founders of a new city, Bagdad.-"Medinat al Salem" - City of peace.
The word "Arab" and "Locust" in Arabic are very similar in sound. The word Arab is pronounced "Arbi" and the word locust, "Arbeh". A famous traveller in his journey through Arabia described the appearance of the swarms of locusts that afflict that particular area of the world: "The swarms of these insects darken the air and appear at a distance like clouds of smoke."---Niebuhr, Travels, Vol. II, p. 337.
"There were stings in their tails." This key is found in Isaiah: "The ancient and honourable he is in the head and the prophet that teaches lies is the tail."----Isa. 9:15. "Thou that dwell among scorpions, be not afraid of their words nor be dismayed by their looks."---Ezekiel 2:6.
"The seal of GOD in their foreheads."
Those who are sealed by the Holy Spirit, but that is not the seal itself. GOD'S seal is His holy Sabbath. "In the early centuries of the Christian era, the Church of the East [not the Western or Latin Church] sometimes called the Assyrian Church, sometimes the Nestorian Church [who were observers of the true Sabbath] very effectively spread throughout Asia and the East, but remained separate from the Church in the West, especially the apostate.---Dr. B. G. Wilkinson, truth Triumphant, p.268.
5 Month [verses 5&10]. These were not for physical but mental torment.
An hour, a day, and a month, and a year [v.15] was the killing or slaying of the third part of men, the Eastern Roman Empire. Cambridge Lecturer E. B. Elliot in his "Horae Apocalypticae" pp.516-522, has closely examined the original Greek that it represents a period of time and not an appointed time. This being so, it means that the period allotted amounts to 391 years and 15 days.
Let us reverse the order for the sake of clarity. A Bible year is 360 days which equals 360 years. A Bible month is 30 days which equals 30 years. A day is a year. An hour is 24th of a year or 360 days.
One year = 360 Bible days = 360 solar years
One month = 30 Bible days = 30 solar years
One day = 1 Bible day = 1 solar year
One hour = 1/24 of a day = 1/24th of a year
Total = 391 years, 15 days
In 1840, Josiah Litch, an associate preacher of the great Advent awakening with William Miller predicted on the basis of this prophetic time period, that the Turkish Ottoman Empire would come to an end. While William Miller had concentrated on the prophetic book of Daniel, Litch and later Uriah Smith dealt with the mighty book of Revelation.
The historian Edward Gibbon othman began his career of conquest on July 27, 1299 A.D. On that date John Palaeolgus, the Roman Emperor died and his brother Constantine XI was elected in his place. But he could not be crowned without permission from the Turkish Sultan. this then revealed that the Eastern Roman Empire had lost its power and independence. It meant that the Turks were now in control.
By adding 391 years and 15 days to July 27, 1449 Litch obtained the date of August 11, 1840. His conclusion was historically correct as far as the dates were concerned. When it was fulfilled to the very day, hundreds of infidels were converted to the Christian faith.
The Author of the Great Controversy refers to this like so: Another remarkable fulfilment of prophecy. At the very time specified, Turkey through her Ambassador accepted the protection of the Allied powers of Europe and Russia and thus placed herself under the control of Christian nations.--p.334.
Bottomless pit or Abyss. Many Scholars believe this to be the domain, the arsenal and stronghold of Satan. Any power emerging from below is inspired by him. Powers inspired of GOD are represented as coming from above. After the fall of Western Rome in 476 A.D. [after the first four trumpets] did a falling star, a leader of false religion, arise in Arabia and obscure the Christian faith and bring torment to a significant proportion of mankind?
"The Arabs had languished in poverty and contempt, till Mahomet breathed into those savage hordes the soul of enthusiasm."--Gibbon, "Decline and Fall."
The key. the Koran [the Moslem Bible] continually speaks of the key of God which opened to them the gates of the world and of religion. With the key, did he not give him the title and power of a porter?---Peyron's Essays Sar L'Espagne,p.189.
It is a pretended key of heaven because they have an angel over them which is the angel of the bottomless pit whose name is ABBADON or "Destroyer."
The more we learn about that religion we see that has a terrific appeal to the carnal heart and desires. The warrior who dies in battle is assured of paradise. The Moslem heaven that is promised them, is a paradise of sexual and intellectual pleasures:
"Seventy-two black eyed girls of resplendent beauty, blooming youth, virgin purity, and exquisite sensibility, will be created for the use of the meanest believer; a moment of pleasure will be prolonged a thousand years, and his faculties will be increased an hundred fold, to render him worthy of his felicity."---Gibbon, Fall and Decline, Vol.V pp. 413-414.
V 7. The faces of men. the answer is that man grows hair in his face. The gesture of the Arab is that of stroking his beard, the venerable symbol of manhood. the Arab were noted for the wearing of beards, whereas the Gothic tribes of the first four trumpets were recognized as having smooth and shaven faces.
Their heads were like crowns of gold. Wealthy Arabs wear turbans embroidered with gold.---Alwood, Key to Revelation, Vol.I, p.340
The hair of women. he Bible says that it is a shame for man to wear long hair [1.Cor.11:14,15]. in the famous "Antar" poem, written in the time of the invasion, it says: "He adjusted himself properly, twirling his wiskers, folded up his hair under his turban drawing it from off his shoulders."
Shaven crowns. The circular tonsure of the Roman Catholic priesthood is in the form of the sun disc and inherited from ancient Babylon. The halo is also of the very same origin and symbol.
The River Euphrates according to Dr. Strong, means "to break forth - rushing." The Bible represents this as the Assyrians overflowing Israel. See Isa.8:7,8; 17:12,13.
For further study, see also the Islam and Moslem