Updated: Jan 7, 2020
The first four trumpets led to the fall of Western Rome in 476AD. The 5th & 6th describe the rise and purpose of Islam and the events leading to the fall of Eastern Rome...
Revelation Chapter 9
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as [the teeth] of lions.
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.
10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power [was] to hurt men five months.
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.
12 One woe is past; [and], behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,
14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.
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.
16 And the number of the army of the horsemen [were] two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.
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.
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, nor hear, nor walk:
21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
Read the comments on Chapter 8 to see that the Trumpets are a symbolic prophecy describing a series of warlike events that befell the Roman Empire. The first four led to the fall of Western Rome in AD476.
The fifth trumpet (Rev 9) describes the rise and spread of Islam from the wastelands of the Arabia and the torments it inflicted upon the apostate Eastern Roman Empire. The sixth trumpet (Rev 9) describes the overthrow of the apostate Eastern Roman Empire by the Islamic Turks.
In Godʼs providence Islam was allowed to rise on time for the purpose of protecting the true church and later the Reformation from the evil intentions of apostate Papal Europe.
“With surprising unanimity commentators have agreed in regarding this trumpet [5th] as referring to the empire of the Saracens, or the rise and progress of the religion and empire, set up by Mohomet [Mohammed].”Dr. Albert Barnes, Notes on Revelation, p254.
Martin Luther, Joseph Mede, and Isaac Newton are among many who saw the rise and progress of Islam in the 5th & 6th Trumpets. This commentary will present Biblical evidence which supports their view.
verse 1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall [or fallen] from heaven unto the earth... Stars = Angels or men (Rev 12:4; Job 38:7; Dan 8:10, 24; 12:3).
The text literally reads” a star FALLEN.” This star is a not seen falling but FALLEN. “And unto him.” This star is a “him.” Satan is the fallen “star.” (See Luke 10:18; Isa 14:12). See chart below.
verse 1 ...and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
Given key = Given power to open or shut. Christ holds the KEYS of HELL and DEATH (Rev 1:18). Christ has the key of David and power to open and shut anything (Rev 3:17). Christ “removeth kings and setteth up kings.” (Dan 2:21).
verse 2 And he opened the bottomless pit [Greek: abussos]... Satan opened the abussos The Greek word abussos, appears 9 times in the Bible and is translated “bottomless pit,” 7 times in Revelation, and “deep,” in Luke 8:31 and Rom 10:7.
The abussos is the place of that which “IS NOT,” a place of lifelessness (Rev 17:8). “Who shall descend into the deep (Gr. abussos)? that is, to bring up Christ again FROM THE DEAD.” Rom 10:7.
The GRAVE is a “PIT” which cannot be filled (See Isa 38:18; Isa 14:19; Hab 2:5; Prov 30:16) in other words a bottomless pit.
The abussos (“deep”) is the place that the devils/demons WILL BE SENT (Luke 8:31; cf. Matt 8:29). Satan, and the devils, are not YET in the bottomless pit (Rev 20; Isa 24:22).
The Septuagint (Greek translation) uses the Greek word “abussos” to refer to the LIFELESS “deep” in Gen 1:2.
In this trumpet the “abussos” is used to represent the uninhabited deserts of Ara- bia; the land from which Islam spread.
The Arabian deserts were a desolate uninhabited wilderness. Jer 2:6 “...the LORD that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of DESERTS and of PITS, through a land of drought, and of the SHADOW OF DEATH, through a land that NO MAN passed through, and where NO MAN DWELT” “Mount Sinai [is] in Arabia” Gal 4:5.
verse 2 And he opened the bottomless pit
At the time of Islamʼs rise (AD612) there were two superpowers to stop its progress. Eastern Rome (Byzantine Empire), and the Persian Empire (Sasanian Empire). For Islam to expand these powers needed taking out of the way. Satan, using the key, or power granted him, caused the Roman & Persian Empires to war with each other severely weakening both sides. This opened the way for Islam to spread from Arabia.
“Perhaps they [the warriors of Islam] would have been crushed if the superpowers had not recently been at war with each other and if they had known their opponents.”Cambridge, Illustrated History, Islamic World, p8.
“The Persian war ended in AD628. Five years later the cloud of Saracenic [or Arab] invasion rolled northward from the Arabian deserts.” W. S. Davis, A Short History of the Near East, p32.
“Persia and Byzantium, like Egypt, were quite unable to resist the attacks of the Arabs, for the two empires had spent most of the previous century locked in debilitating wars of atrition.” The World, An Illustrated History, (A Channel Four book), ©Times Books Ltd. p128
Islam originated in AD610-612 with Mohammed (b. 570 d. 632), a merchant living in the Arabian city of Mecca. Mohammed believed that the angel Gabriel had appeared to him and given him instructions. These became the Koran, the Moslem Bible. Mohammedʼs fundamental conviction was that there is only one God - Allah, who is identified as the God of Abraham. Mohammed taught that God has many prophets including Noah, Abraham and even Jesus but that Mohammed was the last and most important. Some of the Koranʼs teachings are good, others speak in favour of Jihad or holy war. The Koran “has promised all a good reward; but far richer is the recompense of those who fight for Him.” “Allah loves those who fight for His cause.” The Koran, Penguin Ed. p367, 104-105.
Today more than one billion people are Islamic. Considering its influence throughout history, and the part it is playing today, it is no surprise to see it described in Bible prophecy.
“After the year 612AD Mohomet sought to propogate his religion with all his might.” Modern Universal History.
verse 2 ...and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; Smoke of a furnace = Affliction (Isa 48:10; Dan 3). Torment and judgment (Rev 14:11). Smoke associated with destruction (Gen 19:28)
The smoke of a furnace is associated with the giving of laws and teaching (Exo 19:18).
verse 2 ...and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. Sun = Christ (Mal 4:2), or a ruler (Gen 1:16).
Air = Encompassing the world. That which is invisible. Satan is Prince of the air (Eph 2:2).
Darkness = The opposite of light, evil, misunderstanding.
verse 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.
Locusts = Large numbers of MEN. The view that the locusts from the bottomless pit are demons is false because the demons are not in the pit. See on verse 1.
Locust are migratory grasshoppers. The words translated locusts is also translated grasshopper. “For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as GRASSHOPPERS for multitude; [for] both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it.” (Jgs 6:5).
The Amelekites, an Arabian tribe, are likened to LOCUSTS. (Jgs 7:12). Crowned men and captains are likened to GRASSHOPPERS (Nah 3:17).
“The inhabitants of the earth are as GRASSHOPPERS.” (Isa 40:22). Grasshoppers are associated with great numbers (Jer 46:23; Nah 3:15).
Locusts are a devouring plague (Joel 1:4) that symbolize a “nation (Joel 1:6) to punish the apostate people of God.
Literal locusts come from the east of Egypt (Exo 10:13). Arabia is east of Egypt.
“The inhabitants of Syria have remarked that locusts come constantly from the desert of Arabia.” C. Volney “Voyage en Egypte et en Syrie, Chap. XX, Sec. 5.
“The swarms of these insects darken the air and appear at a distance like clouds of smoke.” Niebuhr, Travels, Vol. 2, p337.
Scorpions = The enemy (Luke 10:17-19), Scorpions live in the wilderness around Mt. Sinai (Deut 8:15), which is in Arabia (Gal 4:25). Scorpions are rebels against the truth (Eze 2:6). Scorpions have stinging tails. A tail = A false prophet (Isa 9:15).
Inspired by Mohammedʼs laws & teachings (the smoke which darkened the truth of Christ, the light of world. 2Cor 4:4), the Saracen cavalry, like locusts, swarmed out of the Arabian desert afflicting and conquering Persia, Syria, Egypt, North Africa and part of Spain.
Islam even entered France intending to conquer all of Europe but they were stopped at the battle of Tours (Poitiers) AD732. Had Islam won, Europe & the US would probably now be Islamic! Incidentally literal locusts swarm in the very same area Islam once overan and possessed! See map.
verse 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 fore- heads.
Green = Flourishing (Jer 17:8. In Ps 92:14 “flourishing” means “green.” See margin). Jesus likened Himself to a “green thing.” (Luke 23:31; cf. Jer 17:7-8).
Trees = People good or bad. Here the righteous who are spared. Trees may represent prominent leading people in comparison to smaller green things. (Psalm 37:35; Dan 4:20-22; Eze 31:3).
The Seal of God = The Lordʼs seventh day Sabbath as shown in the comments on Rev 7:1-3. History reveals that there have always been observers of the true Sabbath.
“Grass, green thing, and tree” are here put in opposition to those men who have not the seal of God etc.. If so, they must mean those who have the seal of God - his worshipers.
“. . .Infidels, who rejected the Christian religion, and also all idolaters, they forced to receive the Mahommedan religion [Islam], upon pain of death. But Jews and Christians, who had their Bibles and their religion, they left to the enjoyment of them, upon their paying large sums, which they exacted. But where the payment of such sums was refused, they must either embrace the new religion or die.” Smiths Key to Revelation.
The warriors of Islam were commanded to tolerate sabbath-keeping Christians, green things, and to hurt those without the seal of God. The following indicates that a certain class, possibly shaven Sunday-keeping monks, were destroyed by Islam:
Abubeker, Mohammedʼs successor, is said to have given the following command as his troops prepared to conquer Syria in AD623: “When you fight the battles of the Lord, acquit yourselves like men, without turning your backs; but let not your victory be stained with the blood of women and 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...you will find 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 Mohammedan or pay tribute.” E. Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chap. LI, par. 10.
While the grass, green things and trees here symbolized those with the seal of God it is remarkable that Abubekerʼs commanded his men not to hurt literal grass (corn) or trees (fruit trees) as well!
Those with shaven crowns sound like some class of monks. As the Roman church has robbed the law of God of its Seal, by tearing out the seventh day Sabbath and replacing it with their Sunday, they are appropriatelly described as those without the Seal of God.
See Appendix for proof that the Islamic Saracens spared Sabbath keeping Christians.
verse 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. As the language thus far has been figurative, so it must be here also. The nation of Christians who were the subjects of this plague were to be tormented five months, but not politically slain.
In this symbolic context 5 months or 150 “days” symbolize 150 years: “I have appointed thee each day for a year” Eze 4:6. Here then is described a 150 year period during which Islam “tormented” the Eastern Roman Empire but failed to “kill” it (i.e. conquer it politically.
When did this 150 years begin? Evidently not before they had a king over them. See on verse 11. Incidentally locusts are native to Arabia and actually swarm for a period of 5 LITERAL MONTHS! Locusts come from east of Egypt (Exo 10:13) and Arabia is East of Egypt!
The Saracenʼs constant incursions into Roman Territory, and their frequent assaults on Constantinople were an unceasing torment to the idolatrous Romans. Their charge was to “torment” for 5 months but not to kill. The marvel is that they did not.
verse 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.
This, of course, is the same death as that in verse 5, viz., political conquest. Such was the misery of the Byzantines caused by the almost continual war with the Islamic powers, that some would have preferred to be conquered rather than continue under the protracted miseries the war causes. But this was not permitted; political death fled from them.
verse 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.
ALL the Symbols are Arabian
verse 7 Locusts
Locusts = Many men, particularly Arabians (Jgs 6:5; 7:12). See comment on verse 2. Incidentally Apostate Rome was suffering this trumpet and the Roman word for locust is cavelleta - little horse.
verse 7 Horses prepared for battle
Horses for battle = Armies (Rev 19:11, 19).Incidentally horses are native to Arabia. Arabia is legendary for horses. “...[the Arabs] military force was chiefly formed of CAVALRY and archers.” Gibbon, Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol.5, p4478-479.
verse 7 As it were crowns
Crowns (Gr. stephanoi) = A victors crown. The Arabians had many victories in battle.Incidentally Arabians wore turbans, “as it were crowns.”
verse 7 Menʼs faces
Mens faces = Lacking Godʼs glory or character. To have an angelʼs face is to have Godʼs glory (Acts 6:15; Isa 60:1-3; 2 Cor 3:7). The eyes of a man are wicked (Dan 7:8).Incidentally the Arabian warriors had manly beards! Speaking of the Arabs Gibbon wrote, “He is seldom provoked to laughter, his only gesture is that of stroking his BEARD the venerable symbol of manhood.” Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. 5, p377-378.
verse 8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as [the teeth] of lions. Men with Hair like women = Shame. (1Cor 11:14-15). The locusts are not Godʼs ministers as Godʼs ministers did not have long hair(Eze 44:20).
Incidentally the Arabian warriors had long hair! The Antar Poem written at the time of the Arab invasion reads, “He adjusted himself properly, twirling his whiskers, folded up his HAIR under his turban drawing it from off his shoulders...His hair flowed down his shoulders...We will hang him up by his hair.” Elliot, Horae Apocalypticae, Footnote on Rev 9:7.
verse 8 Teeth of lions
Teeth as Lions = Strength (2Sam 1:23; Prov 30:30) and enemies of the truth (Ps 57:4; 1Pet 5:8). Incidentally lions were native to Arabia.
verse 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.
verse 9 Breastplates as it were of iron
Breastplate = Associated with priesthood, judgment (Exo 28:30). Here apparently military breastplates of iron. Iron = Strength (Dan 2:41).
Incidentally some Arabian warriors wore breatplates. Elliot claims that three Arab authorities confirm that the Saracens wore iron breastplates. Elliot, Horae Apocalypticae, Footnote on Rev 9:7.
verse 9 Wings
Wings = Speed (Jer 4:13; Hab 1:8). The Arabian cavalry moved swiftly. Incidentally winged locusts are native to Arabia.
verse 9 Chariots & Horses
Chariots = Military forces.
verse 10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails...
verse 10 Scorpions
Scorpions = Enemies of truth (Luke 10:19; Eze 2:6). Incidentally scorpions are native to Arabia and come from the wilderness (Deut 8:15) near Mt. Sina which is in Arabia (Gal 4:25).
verse 10 Tail
Tail = A false prophet, one who teaches lies. “...the PROPHET that teacheth lies, he is the TAIL.” Isa 9:15. Satan deceived a third of the angels with his lies - his tail (Rev 12:4). To those who were overrun, the enforced teachings of Mohammed were as a scorpionʼs sting.
verse 10 ...and their power [was] to hurt men five months. As the preceding has been symbolic so also is this period. The warriors of Islam tormented those they later slew (verse 15)
- the third part of men, i.e. the Eastern Roman Empire. In this symbolic context 5 months or 150 “days” symbolize 150 years: “I have appointed thee each day for a year” Eze 4:6. Here then is described a 150 year period during which Islam “tormented” the Eastern Roman Empire but failed to “slay” (conquer) it politically. When did this 150 year period of tormenting begin? Evidentlty 150 years before
the hurting or tormenting ceased and their victims were slain.
verse 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. As literal locusts have no king (Prov 30:27) this confirms that these locusts and the trumpets are SYMBOLIC.
This kingʼs name in Old Testament Hebrew is Abaddon “the DESTROYER.” In New Testament Greek it is Apollyon “the DESTROYER.” Satan is the desolating king of the Old & New Testaments. He is the angel of the bottomless pit and he rules through his earthly representatives.
“Satan is the destroyer; Christ is the restorer.” E.G. White, Medical Ministry, p291.
From the death of Mohammed until near the close of the 13th century the Islamic peoples were divided into various factions with no general civil government extending over them all. Near the close of the 13th century, Othman I (1299-1326), founded a government or empire, consolidating all the principle Mohammedan tribes into one grand monarchy - the Ottoman Empire. As Satan is the DESTROYER so Othman founded the Ottoman Empire which became the destroyer of Eastern Rome.
The Ottomans were Turks. The Turks came from central Asia, took over the territory
of the Islamic Saracens, and converted to Islam. According to the historian Gibbon, the Islamic Turks first attacked Eastern Rome under king Othman on July 27, 1299. For 150 years extending to 1449 the Turks tormented Eastern Rome with almost perpetual attacks or the threat of them, but failed to slay or conquer Eastern Rome politically.
In the year 1449, John Paleologus, the emperor of Eastern Rome, died, but left no children to inherit his throne, and Constantine XI (Deacozes) succeeded to it. However he would not ascend the throne without the consent of Amurath, the Turkish Sultan. He therefore sent ambassadors to ask his consent, and obtained it, before he presumed to call himself sovereign on July 27 1449...Let this historical fact be carefully examined in connection with the prediction above. This was not a violent assault made on the Greeks, by which their empire was overthrown and their independence taken away, but simply a VOLUNTARY SURRENDER of that independence into the hands of the Turks, by saying, “I cannot reign unless you permit.”
“The gracious approbation of the Turkish sultan announced his [own] SUPREMACY, and the approaching downfall of the Eastern empire.” Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chap. 67.
Where was the authority of Christian Eastern Rome? After 150 years of torment it was voluntarily given into the hands of the ISLAMIC power. July 27, 1299 to July 27 1449 is exactly 150 years.
verse 12 One woe is past; [and], behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
The 5th Trumpet or first “Woe” lasted from the rise of Mahommedism until the end of the five months. The first woe then ended and the second began. When the sixth angel sounded, it was commanded to take off the restraint to merely torment men, and their commission extended to slay the third part of men.
SIXTH TRUMPET verse 13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, When the sixth Trumpet angel sounded, a voice comes from the horns of the golden altar described in the introduction to the Trumpets (Rev 8).
verse 14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.
Euphrates means “rushing,” and is used to represent invading armies (Isa 8:7-8). The river Euphrates, on which Babylon sat, symbolizes “peoples, multitudes, nations and tongues,” worldwide (See Rev 17:1, 5, 15). The four angels are those which hold back to some degree, strife among the peoples of the world (Rev 7:1-4). Their loosing here results in the Islamic Turks slaying Eastern Rome politically. Incidentally the literal Euphrates begins in the territory of the Islamic Turks!
verse 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. Tormenting was turned to slaying the third part of men - Eastern Rome would be politically slain.This period amounts to three hundred and ninety-one years and fifteen days; during which Ottoman supremacy was to exist in Constantinople.
An hour (1/24th of a year) = 15 days. Total = 391 years 15 days.
Commencing when the one hundred and fifty years ended, on July 27 1449, the period would end August 11th, 1840. Judging from the manner of the commencement of the Ottoman supremacy, that it was by a VOLUNTARY acknowledgment on the part of the Greek emperor that he only reigned by permission of the Turkish Sultan, we should naturally conclude that the fall or departure of Ottoman independence would be brought about in the same way; that at the end of the specified period, the Sultan would VOLUNTARILY surrender his independence into the hands of the Christian powers, from whom he received it.
Litch wrote: “Allowing...that the 391 years 15 days, commenced at the close of the first period [i.e. began on July 27, 1449], it will end on the 11th, August, 1840, when the Ottoman power at Constantinople may be expected to be broken.” Josiah Litch, Signs of the Times, Aug 1, 1840.
In 1840 the Ottoman Empire was without hope in a war with Egypt. England, Russia, Austria & Prussia stepped in to sort it out. The Ottoman Sultan submitted to their dictates, VOLUNTARILY RECOGNIZING THEIR SUPREMACY. The ultimatum drawn up by these powers was handed to the Pasha of Egypt on Aug 11, 1840.
Where was Ottoman authority? In the hands of the CHRISTIAN powers. The event exactly fulfilled Litchʼs prediction. Many were convinced that the Advent Movement had correct principles of prophetic interpretation and a wonderful impetus was given to the Advent Movement. The Ottoman Empire limped along as the “sick man of the Europe” until the end of the first World War. Neither its existence nor its atrocities ended in every sense in 1840, any more than they had begun in every sense in the 1450s. But its period of dominance over Christian affairs, its power to slay, can be significantly identified with the 391 years here spoken of.
A year (360 days) A month (30 days) A day = 360 years = 30 years = 1 year
This remarkable fulfillment of prophecy contributed greatly to Advent Moverment which was then underway. Another of the last signs to preceed Christʼs return had been fulfilled. It greatly stimulated missionary zeal and helped convince people that the year day principle was valid. Years later one writer said that it was to “the advent movement what the power of steam is on the railroad locomotive. So from the 11th day of August, 1840, the advent cause and message, or angel, careered on its way with greater power than ever before.” Hiram Edson, The Time of the End, 1849, p8.
Returning to events near the beginning of the 391 years we read of an army and battle. Though the Emperor at Constantinople had submitted to Turkish supremacy in 1449 the next Sultan, Mohammed II, set his heart on conquering Constantinople, the capital of Eastern Rome...
verse 16 And the number of the army of the horsemen [were] two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.
As John had heard the number of the sealed saints in Rev 7 he “heard the number” of the Ottoman cavalry. In the Greek, “two myriads” - i.e. countless. Incidentally the Turks numbered using tomens which are the same as myriads!
“The myriads of Turkish horse overspread a frontier of six hundred miles, from Taurus to Erzeroum; and the blood of 130,000 Christians was a grateful sacrifice to the Arabian prophet.” Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
Some think 200,000 twice told is meant, and, following some historians they find this number involved in the overthrow of Constantinople. Others think that the 200,000,000 means the total of all the Turkinsh warriors during the 391 years and fifteen days of the triumph.
verse 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
John saw their uniforms of red (fire), blue (jacinth) yellow (brimstone - sulphur). The breatsplate of the High priest was gold (yellow?), blue, purple and scarlet (red) (Exo 28:15). The locustʼs breastplates are here described as of fire (red?), jacinth (blue), and brimstone (yellow).
Literal locusts can be be coloured red, yellow and blue. Red, yellow and blue are the primary colours. Incidentally red, yellow and blue were the prevalent colours of the Ottomans uniforms!
“From their first appearance the Ottomans have affected to wear warlike apparel of scarlet [RED], BLUE and YELLOW: a descriptive trait the more marked from its contrast to the military apperarance of the Greeks, Franks, Saracens [Arabs] who were contemporary.” Daubuz, Quoted in Elliott, Horae Apocalypticae, Chap. VII, p508.
verse 17 Fire smoke and brimstone out of their mouths As the command to fire came from their leaders mouths, the Ottoman artillery unleashed firery destruction. This is symbolized as “fire and smoke and brimstone” issuing from their mouths.
Fire, Smoke & Brimstone = Agents of destruction (Gen 19:24-28; Rev 14:10-11).
Under a barrage of enormous cannons blasting fire, smoke and brimstone (sulphur; a major ingredient of gunpowder) Constantinople and with it the 1/3 part of men = the third part of men, the Eastern Roman empire, was slain (conquered).
Long before they were invented John here beheld the use of firearms! At the time Constantinople fell firearms were releatively new weapons!
The Arabs actually invented the first gun, and possibly even gunpowder itself! See Britannica CD99, Std. ed., ©1994-99, art. Gun- powder.
The Turks used firearm which were relativelly new weapons and firearms, when discharged on horseback even appeared as fire from their horses mouths!
“The Moslems placed their canon in an effective position. The gates and ramparts of Constantinople were pierced in a thousand places. The FLAMES which issued from the mouths of these instruments of warfare, of brazen and FIERY jaws, cast grief and dismay among the miscreants. The SMOKE which spread itself in the air rendered the brightness of the day sombre as night; and the face of the world soon became as dark as the black fortune of the unhappy infidels.” Saadeddinʼs Diadems of Histories, cited by Dr, Keith, Aapoclypse. Vol. II, p46.
verse 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.
By the use of firearms the third part of men - the Eastern Roman Empire, was slain (conquered).
“The volleys and lances and arrows were accompanied with the smoke, the sound, and the fire of the musketry and cannon...the long order of the Turkish artillery was pointed against the wallsʼ fourteen batteries thundering at once on the most accessible places...the fortifications which had stood for ages against hostile violence, were dismantled on all sides by the Ottoman cannon, many breaches opened, and near the gate of St. Romanus, four towers levelled with the ground...from the lines, the galleys and the bridge, the Ottoman artillery thundered on all sides, the camp and city, the Greek and the Turk, were involved in a cloud of smoke, which could only be dispelled by the final deliverance or destruction of the Roman Empire,,,the double walls were reduced by the cannon to a heap of ruins,,,the Turks at length...rushing through the breaches...Constantinople was subdued, her empire subverted, and her religion trampled in the dust by the Moslem conquerers.” Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. VII, p203.
verse 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.
Power = Authority (Rom 13:1).
Mouth = A nationʼs voice, a leader, a spokesman (Exo 4:16; Rev 13:15). Tail = A false prophet, one who teaches lies. (Isa 9:15). Satan deceived a third of the angels with his lies - his tail (Rev 12:4).
The power of the Turks was in their civil (mouth) and religious leaders (tail).
Incidentally the horses tail was a well known Turkish standard, a symbol of office and authority! The horse tail standard was actually used as a military standards to rally around in battle. Apparently a Turkish “general,” not knowing how to rally his troops who had lost their standard, cut off a HORSES TAIL and fixed it to a spear. The troops rallying around the tail gained the victory and thereafter the HORSES TAIL became a symbol of office. Any one looking on a body of cavalry with such banners, or ensigns, would be struck with this unusual or remarkable appearance, and would speak of their banners as concentrating and directing their power.
“The ensign of one, two, or three HORSE TAILS that marks distinctivelly the dignity and power of the Turkish Pascha.” Elliot, Horae Apocalypticae, Chap. VII, p514.
“The recent overthrow of the Mameluc power [in Egypt] by the Ottomans [Turks] had extended the shadow of the HORSE TAILS far along the coasts of Africa.” Elliot, Footnote, Horae Apocalypticae, p514.
verse 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, nor hear, nor walk:
Sadly the fall of Western Rome under the first 4 trumpets and the fall of Eastern Rome under the 5th & 6th trumpets did not result in apostate Christian Rome repenting of their idolatry etc.
verse 21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts. Murders, and sorceries, fornications, and thefts, still exists in the apostate church today.
The hordes of Saracens and Turks were let loose as a scourge and punishment upon apostate Christendom. Men suffered the punishment, but learned nothing.
WHAT CAN WE LEARN?