Bible Commentary on the
The Trumpets (continued)
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.
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.
Mohammed a deeply religious man, spent much time in fasting and prayer, sometimes as much as a full month. It was after one of these seasons of seclusion he announced his belief in one God and that Mohammed was the prophet of God. This was the beginning of Islamism. Mohammedanism was the power which transformed the simple Arabs into a united and powerful military force. Up to this time the Arabs, or the Saracens, had never exercised any influence in the affairs of men. In the history of the nations, these free men of the desert had hardly been noticed. Mohammedanism united the scattered tribes and sent them forth as the conquerors of nations.
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 the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth
There is a difference between this Star, which fell from heaven to the star of the third Trumpet. The Star of the third Trumpet was a meteor, which appeared suddenly and then disappeared almost as quickly. This Star is the angel of the bottomless pit, in verse 11 he is called Abaddon and Apollyon (means a destroyer).
We have already noticed that in Scripture, Angels are symbolised as Stars.
Revelation 12:4 says, "And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven…"
Verse 9 says, "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan … he was cast into the earth and his angels with him."
This harmonises with what Jesus said in
Luke 10:18, "And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." The Star that fell from heaven is none other than Satan and in the role of the destroyer, was and is, responsible for the terrible bloodshed and carnage that has come upon the earth.
And to him was given the key of the bottomless pit
The key was a symbol of power and control. It was Satan's master mind that invented and loosed upon the world the false religion of Mohammedanism. It was a religion of force and not of love. Wherever the followers of Mohammed went, there was a single rule of action, "confess that there is but one God, and that Mohammed is His prophet; pay tribute, or choose death." They regarded Jesus Christ as a prophet inferior to Mohammed, there was no atoning blood, but rather they shed the blood of those who resisted their religion.
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 he opened the pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace
The bottomless pit is a symbol of darkness, for the smoke that issued forth from it, obscured the sun and darkened the air. The term 'bottomless pit' is used several times in Scripture, in each case it implies desolation and darkness. Mohammedanism was the power that was released as the Key opened the pit. Without question the Key was the Koran, the Mohammedan Bible. Mohammed claimed that he received the Koran from the angel Gabriel by revelation, that it was inspired. Philip Mauro said, "Mohammedanism has a superman and a book. It is a Satanic imitation of Christianity. It as spread over a great part of the Christianised world. At this time it embraces in its curse 200 millions of souls."
It is a well-known fact that the Koran or the religion which Mohammed claimed to have received by divine revelation, was the secret of his power over the Saracens. However the prophecy very clearly says that the Key was not given to Mohammed by the angel Gabriel but rather to the fallen angel Satan.
And the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit
The smoke darkened the light of the sun. The SUN is symbolic of the Gospel light. Christ said "I am the Light of the World." The black smoke of the furnace that obscured it fitly represents the false religion of Mohammed. Dr Adam Clarke, well known Bible commentator says, "There arose a smoke (false doctrines), obscuring the true light of heaven."
Locusts are destructive; this is a perfect symbol of a desolating army. The eighth plague God sent upon the land of Egypt was that of locusts.
Exodus 10:14 says, "And the locusts covered the land of Egypt from border to border; it was the worst locust plague in all Egyptian history; and there will never again be another like it."
Verse 15 says, "for they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened: and they did eat every herb, of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field through all the land of Egypt" (The Living Bible). "Like locusts, the Osmanlis swarmed in all directions and no village missed their notice up to the very walls of Constantinople" (Herbert Adams Gibbons 'The foundation of the Ottoman Empire'). "Onward and still onward, like swarms from the hive, or flights of locusts darkening the land, tribe after tribe issued forth, end hastening northward, spread in great masses to the east, and to the west" ('The Caliphate', Sir William Muir page 44).
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 there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth
And unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power
Scorpions is another symbol used in this prophecy and in the Scripture it represents demons.
Notice what Jesus says in Luke 10:18-20 particularly verse 19, "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt you."
Normally locusts do not attack human beings, but these symbolic locusts are portrayed as being like scorpions, a rather vicious, a rather vicious and much feared creature. This of course was very true of the Saracens. Edward Gibbon wrote that they were "armed against mankind, and doubly inflamed by the domestic license of rapine, murder, and revenge."
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 it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree
Locusts are one of the worst destroyers of vegetation on the face of this earth. They are greatly feared almost anywhere. However these are symbolic locusts, representing the Saracen warriors. Grass and trees are also symbols of God's people. There are many passages of Scripture telling us that. However it would seem that real literal vegetation is meant here as we notice in the next part of the verse.
But only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads
We noticed in the seventh chapter that God has a special seal placed in the foreheads of His people. In
Ezekiel the ninth chapter, we are told that those who are sealed are those who sigh and cry for the abominations done in God's church. In every age God has those who are loyal to Him and who refuse to compromise truth with error, who are firm to principle.
It is interesting to notice how this order was carried out by the Saracens. Abu-bekr, the leader of the Arabian tribes after the death of Mohammed, gave this order as the tribes gathered for the conquest of Syria 632 A.D.: "When you fight the battles of the Lord, acquit you 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 some religious persons who live retired 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…" (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Vol V. chap 51, pp.189, 190). God put it into their hearts to spare His people and to kill without mercy the tonsured priests and monks.
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 STIKETH A MAN.
And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months
The Saracens were not to destroy Eastern Rome but they were to hurt or torment (attack) for 5 prophetic months. Fortunately there is no difficulty in finding the starting point of this period for Edward Gibbon supplies the date. "It was on the 27th July in the year 1299 A.D. that Othman first invaded the territory of Nicomedia; and the singular accuracy of the date seems to disclose some foresight of the rapid and destructive growth of the monster." (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol V1, p.226)
Seeing we have the starting date it is a very simple matter to find out when this period ends.
During the 150 years, the Ottoman Empire engaged in almost continuous warfare against the Greek Empire, however they did not conquer it until 1449 when the last of the Greek emperors Constantine took the throne. This was a striking fulfilment of the prophecy that they should hurt men for 5 months or 150 years.
||= 1 Year
||= 30 Days
||= 30 Days x 5
= 150 Days or Years
||= 1299 A.D. + 150 Years = 1449 A.D.
Dr Thomas Newton gives an excellent comment on this text. The fifth Trumpet: the locusts not to kill but to torment, "Not that it could be supposed that the Saracens would not "kill" many thousands in their incursions. On the contrary, their angel hath the name of "the destroyer" (Rev. 9:11). They might "kill" them as individuals, but still they should not "kill" them as a political body, as a state or empire. They might greatly harass and "torment" both the Greek and the Latin churches, but they should not utterly extirpate the one or the other. They besieged Constantinople, and even plundered capital cities. The Greek Empire suffered most from them, as it lay nearest to them" (Dissertations on the Prophecies, Thomas Newton D.D. p.544).
And their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man
The sting of a scorpion may be exceedingly painful, but it is seldom fatal to man. As we have noticed in the last quotation, that the Saracens stung the Empire but did not really kill it until the end of the 150 years or in the year 1449 A. D.
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 statement is well explained by Thomas Scott in his Explanatory Notes on Revelation. "It was also foretold, that these tremendous conquerors would cause extreme calamities and miseries to the inhabitants of the countries which they ravaged, by giving the utmost licence to the cruelty, rapacity, and lust of the soldiers. So that death would appear to vast numbers more desirable than life; and the conquerors would have been more merciful, if they had dispatched the wretched victims of their unbridled passions than by constraining to drag on an unwilling life; and so prolonging those miseries which they ardently wished for death to terminate."
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 the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle
The shape of these figurative 'locusts' is next described. It says that they resembled horses; as indeed locusts do, especially in their heads. It certainly is a very fitting symbol, for the Arabs are famous as horsemen.
Arabia is considered to be the home of the horse and the historian tells us that the horses were educated among the children of the Arabs, and there developed a very close attachment between horse and rider. Spur and whip were not used as the horse was taught to respond immediately to the touch of the hand or the stirrup. Seeing that so much of the success of these human locusts depended upon the steeds they rode, it is not surprising that the prophet John saw them "like horses prepared unto battle."
And on their heads were as it were crowns like gold
This is a description of the colourful turbans which they wore. Ezekiel the prophet describes the turbans of the Sabaeans or Keturite Arabs. "Sabaeans from the wilderness, which put bracelets upon their hands, and beautiful crowns upon their heads." "And on their heads were as it were crowns like gold." It is very interesting to read of the time when Mahomat entered Medina (A.D. 622) and was first received as its prince, 'a turban was unfurled before him to supply the deficiency of a standard.' The turbans of the Saracens, like unto a coronet were their ornament and their boast.
And their faces were as the faces of men
These symbolic locusts certainly had an unusual appearance. They resembled horses, they wore colourful headdress and they had the faces of men. The Arabs wore beards, which gave them a distinguished appearance and at the same time a manly bearing. There was nothing feminine about their faces.
AND THEY HAD HAIR AS THE HAIR OF WOMEN, AND THEIR TEETH WERE AS THE TEETH OF LIONS.
And they had hair as the hair of women
They had 'faces' like men; but they wore their hair like women, plaited, or flowing down their backs. Yes under the colourful turbans they had long hair, however the Scripture hastens to add that they were fearless fighters.
And their teeth were as the teeth of lions
The 'teeth' like lions represented their strength and fury to destroy. Just as the lion uses his teeth to rip and tear his victims, so these Arab warriors in their cruelty literally tore their victims.
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 breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron
The Saracens wore defensive armour, they had breastplates of iron as body protection.
And the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle
Their conquests were carried out with great speed and extended over wide areas. As their military forces were made up mostly of cavalry and archers, plus very speedy horses, they were able to cover large distances in a comparatively short time.
Before we move on to the next part of the text under consideration, it is worth noting several points that clearly indicate why the Saracens are considered to be the power mentioned in this prophecy.
||Because they came from the East, as the
||Because of their vast numbers, and their
wandering state and condition, living in tents,
and roaming from place to place (Nahum 3:15,16).
||Because they are expressly likened unto
grasshoppers or locusts (Judges 7:3-5).
||From the suddenness of their invasions, and the prodigious swiftness of their conquests, and the great havoc and ravages made by them (An Historical Exposition of the Prophecies of the Revelation of St John, Matthew Habershon pp. 153,154).
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 tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails
They were like locusts for they ate up and depopulated the countries through which they had passed. Also they had tails like scorpions for there was poison in their tail. This point is well taken by Peter Jurieu, "These locusts had tails like scorpions, and stings in their tails. All the world knows that the tail and the sting in the serpent (scorpion) is the seat of venom and poison. And poison is the emblem of false doctrine. Which signifies not only that the Arabians would carry desolation and death everywhere, but also the venom of a detestable religion" (Accomplishment of the Scripture Prophecies, part 1 chap 7, p.70 London 1687).
And their power was to hurt men five months
During these 150 years the Ottoman Empire engaged in almost continual warfare against the Greek Empire. They did not conquer it until 1449, when the last of the Greek emperors, Constantine, took the throne, but only after seeking permission of the sultan of the Ottoman Empire! This was a striking fulfilment of the prophecy that they should hurt men for five months, or 150 years and then in the very year of its termination their power would decline.
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.
And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit
The king who is the angel of the bottomless pit is the STAR who fell from heaven. Isaiah the prophet identifies him in
Isaiah 14:12, "How art thou fallen from heaven, 0 Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!" And Jesus said in
Luke 10:18, "...I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven."
The real KING was none other than Lucifer or Satan. Mohammed was a prophet, not a king, and it was not until the 13th century that they had a king. At the close of that century Othman consolidated the tribes and became king. It was then the Ottoman Empire was founded.
Whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon
Abaddon, Apollyon (margin says = a destroyer). Both these words mean 'destroyer', a fitting title for Satan who destroys both the bodies and souls of men. It also fits their Caliphs who were the chief priests of their religion, the commanders of their armies, and their emperors.
This is a remarkable prophecy which exposes the mastermind of evil for what he is, one whose every effort is directed to the destruction of men and the ruining of the Plan of Salvation.
ONE WOE IS PAST; AND, BEHOLD, THERE COMES TWO WOES MORE HEREAFTER.
The first woe was to continue from the rise of Mohammedanism until the end of the five months, then the first woe was to end, and the second begin.
AND THE SIXTH ANGEL SOUNDED, AND I HEARD A VOICE FROM THE FOUR HORNS OF THE GOLDEN ALTAR WHICH IS BEFORE GOD.
We are taken back to the throne room of God. I am sure the prophet must have been wondering why God was allowing these hordes of non-Christians to trample down the Christian Church. By way of encouragement he is reminded that Jesus is still at work before the golden altar. The restraining had of God had been holding the contending forces in check, in order that men may acknowledge the righteousness of Jehovah. Had men turned to God and no Longer corrupted the Gospel, these judgments would have been withheld. Because men desired evil and corrupted the truth, then this further plague must fall.
SAYING TO THE SIXTH ANGEL WHICH HAD THE TRUMPET, LOOSE THE FOUR ANGELS WHICH ARE BOUND IN THE GREAT RIVER EUPHRATES.
The four angels holding the four winds of warfare in the region of the Euphrates, or Middle East, are liberated by the divine watcher at the golden altar, which results in the final fall of Eastern Europe to the Turks. The Turkish power had been bound, in a measure, by Rome; for as long as Rome held Constantinople, the Saracen power was limited in the east.
Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates
These words seem to refer to the four principal sultanies of which the Ottoman Empire was composed. To Bagdad, Damascus, Aleppo and Iconium which were located in the in the Euphrates area.
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.
We will take up this time period at the close of our study of the Three Woes.
||= 1 Year
||= 30 Days
||= 360 Days
||= 391 Years
For to slay the third part of men
Here is a very interesting commentary on this point. "Among all the prophecies both of the Old Testament and of the New, there is none that painteth out the anti-Christian kingdom of the Turks better than doth the Revelation of St John, whose words let us weigh and consider... By loosing the angels who had rule of the great river Euphrates, is signified the letting out of the east, kings, that is, the Turks, out of Scythia, Tartary, Persia, and Arabia, by whom the third part of Christendom shall be destroyed, as we see it this day hath come to pass" (Written in 1563, with the Turks at the gates of Central Europe, 'Acts and Monuments', John Foxe, Vol 1V p.102).
AND THE NUMBER OF THE ARMY OF THE HORSEMEN WERE TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND THOUSAND: AND I HEARD THE NUMBER Of THEM.
This number must be symbolic rather than literal, as it is a vast number in all 200,000,000. There are some who are of the opinion that 200,000 twice over is meant, others think the 200,000,000 means all the Turkish warriors during the 391 years and fifteen days. Rev E.B Elliot has this to say on the matter. "Myriads of myriads: a numeral phrase indefinite, but according to its natural and not infrequent use in Scripture, expressive of large numbers" (Horae Apocalyticae, Rev. E.B.Elliot, A.M. Vol 1 pp.418, 479. 3rd edition).
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.
And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone
We are given a very detailed description of the appearance of these Turkish warriors. Now we are told the colours of their uniforms, 'fire' which 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.
And the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions
The lion is used as a symbol of strength, courage and fierceness. Just so the horses used by the Turks had the same qualities. Horses have been used a great deal in warfare in by gone days and have shown great courage. However these horses were more courageous than most as they were the first to be involved in a battle with firearms.
And out of their mouths issued fire, and smoke and brimstone
To the prophet it seemed as if the fire, smoke and brimstone came out of the mouths of the charging horses. It was the Ottoman Turk who largely introduced firearms into warfare. These old time cavalrymen fired their muskets from their hips as they rode along.
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.
It was by means of gunpowder, that Turkey captured Constantinople and 'killed' the Roman Empire. "It was to "the fire and the smoke and the sulphur", to the artillery and firearms of Mahomet, that the killing of the third part of men, i.e., the capture of Constantinople, and by consequence the destruction of the Greek Empire was owing... "Canst thou cast a cannon", was the question to the founder of cannon that deserted to him, "of size sufficient to batter down the wall of Constantinople?" Then the foundry was established at Adrianople, the cannon cast, the artillery prepared, and the seige began" (Horae Apocalypticae, Rev E.B. Elliott, Vol 1, pp. 483, 484).
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.
In addition to the fire, smoke, and brimstone, which apparently issued out of their mouths, it is said that their power was also in their tails. Peter Jurieu explains this very well, "These horses that vomit up flame and smoke; have also tails like unto serpents, with which they do hurt, viz., in spreading their poison. And this is common to them with the locusts of the fifth trumpet. Tis the venom of the wicked religion of Mahomet, which the Turks have established, and spread in all places where they have established their dominion" (Peter Jurieu, part 1, chap 7 p.75. London 1687).
It is very interesting to notice that the horse's tail is a well-known Turkish standard, or ensign. One historian mentions that on one occasion the Turks lost their ensign (the horses tail) in battle so the commander cut off his horse's tail, lifted it up on a pole, and so rallied his men to victory.
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.
You will remember that in the beginning of this chapter the judgments were continued from the previous chapter and these judgments were for the purpose of making men realise that God is behind the scenes directing the affairs of this earth.
And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands
Those who were not destroyed, or compelled to become Mohammedans, did not take the lesson to heart. There are always those who never heed the warnings either of God's Word or judgements, which God sends in the physical world. Even during the 7 Last Plagues we are told that there are those who "repented not to give Him glory" (Rev 16:9).
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
Thomas Scott gives an interesting comment on this verse "The Latin or Roman church, which escaped this destruction, still persisted in the idolatrous worship of demons, or angels and departed saints, … in their stupid adoration of senseless images, for which they have no better plea to use than the Pagans had ..." (Scott's Explanatory Notes, Revelation 9:20).
Vow of Mahomet 11, published in all the mosques, March 11, 1470 says, "I promise to the only God, Creator of all things, by my vow and my oath, that I will not seek out that which is pleasant, nor touch that which is beautiful, that I will not turn my face from the west to the east, till I overthrow and tread under the feet of my horses the gods of the nations; these gods of wood, of brass, of silver, and of gold, or of painting, which the disciples of Christ have made with their hands."
NEITHER REPENTED THEY OF THEIR MURDERS, NOR OF THEIR SORCERIES, NOR OF THEIR FORNICATION, NOR OF THEIR THEFTS.
Thomas Scott gives an excellent comment on this. "... in their 'murders', massacres, and bloody wars with hereticks, so called, and their execrable (abominable, hateful) persecutions; in their 'sorceries', or pretended revelations and miricles: and in their 'fornication'; forbidding marriage, yet conniving at concubinage in the clergy; binding numbers by vows to a single life, and yet licensing brothels by publick authority of the Pope, in Rome itself: and in 'their thefts', or those exactions, and impositions, by which they fraudulently, oppressively, and iniquitously drew immense treasures from the nations" (Scotts Explanatory Notes, Revelation 9:21).
Now let us go back to verse 15 and notice the period of time mentioned there.
REVELATION 9:15 (Reviewing)
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 phenomenal rise of the Turk has been only eclipsed by the speed of his decline. Western Rome fell under military attack. Eastern Rome fell under the religio-military onslaught of the Moslems. The religion of Islam penetrated in the East like 'the smoke of a great furnace', gaining so many converts that they are compared with a plague of grasshoppers. Moslem influence on Christianity was as deadly as the sting of scorpion.
But according to the prophecy these religious zealots would harass the church for a specific period. It was to be five prophetic months = 150 literal years. Othman I led the invasion of Eastern Rome on July 27th, 1299. The 150 years of the fifth Trumpet ended on July 27th 1499.
The sixth Trumpet describes the time when the Turks - allies of the Arabs - gained supremacy in the East. Just four years after the commencement of the sixth Trumpet, Eastern Rome collapsed when the Turkish Sultan Mohammed II captured Constantinople.
The time of the sixth Trumpet is given as an hour, a day, a month, and a year (verses 14, 15).
The fifth Trumpet ended on July 27, 1449. By adding 391 years and 15 days to that date we arrive at the very year and day of the end of the sixth Trumpet.
||= 1 Year
||= 30 Days
||= 360 Days
||= 391 Years
It is recorded that on that very day, this prophecy was fulfilled. The Turkish Sultan and Mehemet Ali, pasha of Egypt, were at war. In a general battle between the armies of the Sultan and Mehemet, the Sultan's army was cut off and destroyed and his fleet taken by Mehemet and carried back to Egypt. Mehemet refused to surrender the captured vessels. At this critical situation England, Austria, Prussia and Russia combined in the demand that the pasha should return the fleet and evacuate all other parts of the Sultan's dominions. A council of these four powers was held in July 15th, 1840. The ruler of Turkey agreed to abide by their decision, and was only too glad to have his life saved by their intervention. He thereby voluntarily surrendered all rights into the hands of the combined forces of Western Europe. An ultimatum was dispatched to Mehemet offering him the hereditary government of Egypt, territory in Palestine, and the Gulf of Suez for his lifetime. The offer was handed to and accepted by Mehemet Ali on August 11, 1840. A remarkable fulfilment of prophecy.