The last three trumpets are also called the ‘three woes’. Why? Because they were even more terrible than the four before them, and also, they were different because a new religion is here introduced into the world, a religion of darkness, almost the exact opposite to the teachings of Jesus. The ravages of these warriors of Islam were to be seen in the ‘woes’, of the last three trumpets.
The western part of the former Roman Empire has been brought down in the first four trumpets. There is no emperor on the throne in the city of Rome any more. Instead the Bishop of Rome sits on the throne and rules over both the church and the government. So now the 5th and 6th trumpets bring attacks on the eastern part, where there still is a Roman Emperor ruling. By the end of the 6th trumpet, the eastern Roman Empire is destroyed completely also.
The word ‘woe’ or ‘wo’ here, is a cry of sorrow. The evil ways of men bring suffering and misery on themselves and others. Only in loving and obeying Jesus is real joy to be found.
“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.” Revelation 9:1, 2
If you look back at the first chapter of Revelation, you will see there that Jesus had seven ‘stars’ in His hand and we learned that these were messengers to the churches. Here we see a fallen star; a religious messenger, but a fallen or false one. He has a key to turn something loose on the earth. This is a key of circumstances; long wars in other areas of the world allowed the development of this dark power.
Here we see him open up a pit, and smoke comes out so thick that the sun and air is made dark. Now remember these are all symbols, so what does it mean? This is telling us about when the religion of Mohammedanism was invented by the man that claimed to be a prophet. His name was Mohammed, and though he could not write, his teachings were remembered and written down by others, and later, after he died, these bits and pieces were gathered together into a new ‘bible’ called the Koran.
The ‘Bottomless Pit’ here can mean the dark and evil elements of the world, or any wild and desolate area. Mohammedanism poured upon the world from the desert lands of North Africa. Just as the gospel of Jesus is well described as light to the world, this religion is well described as darkness. Jesus taught us to seek peace, and love our enemies; this darkness teaches men that war and killing their enemies is the highest and best thing they can do for their god.
Christianity was never to be forced on people; God can only accept willing service; but Mohammed taught that all should be forced to obey his religion or they should be killed. These people were taught that to die in battle while forcing people to worship Mohammed or ‘Allah’ as they called their god, was the best thing they could ever do.
They were told that they then go straight to a wonderful place where, they would have all kinds of beautiful women, wine to drink, and fancy food to eat forever. So they were happy to make war and didn’t mind getting killed fighting for their ‘faith’. This ‘smoke’ made it almost impossible for people taught like this to see the light of Jesus’ Gospel or breath the pure air of Bible truth. Jesus longs to have these people who are blinded by the ‘smoke’ to come to Him and be saved.
“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.” Revelation 9:3
Here we see two more symbols that make us think of the desert; the locusts that would come out of the deserts at certain times and eat up all the crops; and the scorpion, a nasty, poisonous creature like a long-tailed spider with a sting, that would strike with the sting in his tail and it would really hurt.
“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.” Revelation 9:4
‘Green things’ here means God’s true people, who were not attacked by this power; but ‘those that had not God’s seal’ referred to Papal Rome. Remember, by now they no longer had God’s ‘seal’, His true Sabbath. They had set up, and were enforcing a false sabbath.
“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.” Revelation 9:5, 6
This power tormented the Eastern Roman empire but did not manage to destroy it completely, so the verse says ‘they should not kill them’.
Notice the five months; this is prophetic time, so a day equals a real year. This means for 150 years this force would be coming out of the deserts and striking the eastern part of the former Roman Empire. This time started in July 27th, 1299, so the one hundred and fifty years reach to 1449. Mohammedans of course, started long before that but this five months was when they had ‘a king over them.’
The tormenting power of these raiders made life a burden for the eastern empire, who were getting attacked by them; they would rather have been conquered by them and thus stop the torment.
“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.” Revelation 9:7-10
Here we have a description of what these desert warriors were like. It talks about their battle horses. The Arabian desert horses were amazing animals. They were raised by their owners in the tents right along with the family and were treated with gentleness, so they were very highly trained. At a word or touch from their master they would run like the wind into battle, or flee away across the sand.
The ‘Crowns of Gold’ were the yellow turbans these men wore. They had long hair, either braided up, or loose, and the ‘teeth of lions’ meant their fierceness in battle.
Again it talks about ‘many horses running to battle’. The Arab warriors did not march in rows or ranks like Greek or Roman soldiers; they swarmed down onto their enemies on their swift horses, almost as quickly as if they were flying. Before the blood soaked into the ground they were gone again, galloping like the wind.
What was this about their ‘tails’? Isaiah 9:15 “The ancient and honourable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail.” The teachings of their prophets indeed had a sting in them!
“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.” Revelation 8:11
The rise of Mohammed was in 606 AD and for a long time after his death, there was no central king over them. Proverbs 30:27 “The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands.” Each tribe had its own ruler; but in July 27th, 1299, Othman became king over them, and what we call the ‘Ottoman Empire’ was set up. We know that the five months begins at this time because the prophecy says ‘they have a king’. The ‘names’ given here are symbolic as both of them mean ‘destroyer’, and signify the destructive attacks of this power.
This ‘woe’ ends in 1449 and the second ‘woe’ starts.
“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.” Revelation 9:13-16
Now we see this same dark, fanatical, religious power but this time coming from the ‘river Euphrates’, which referred to the area of the country of Turkey. The ‘four angels’ refer to the four great sultanies, Bagdad, Damascus, Iconium, and Aleppo, of which at that time the Mohammedan power was composed.
Notice this amazing time period; an hour, a day, a month, and a year, and when it is all added together in that order, it reaches from the end of the Fifth Trumpet, July 27, 1449; all the way to August 11, 1840. Then this period of an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, would end. For this length of time, and to this date, the power of the Ottoman Empire was to continue. Did this empire loose its power at that time? Yes, it did.
On the 11th of August 1840, on board a British ship, the Turkish leader signed a paper that took away the independence and power of the Turkish Sultan forever. Where was Turkish supremacy after August 11, 1840? It was gone. Who now held that power? It was the four great nations of Europe.
Up until that time, they had continued to attack the eastern part of the Roman Empire, until the last remains of it were gone, and the modern nations ruled.
This amazing prophecy was pointed out and written up in the newspapers by Josiah Litch before August 11,1840, and when it really happened right on time, many people, even former atheists and skeptics, believed that God’s Word was true and that prophecy could be interpreted correctly by using the rule that a prophetic day equaled a literal year.
“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.” Revelation 9:17-19
What is this? Fire-breathing horses? That’s silly.
Oh, no it isn’t; at this time gunpowder and guns were used for the first time against the people in Eastern Europe. When the pistols were held close to the horses as they rode to the attack, it looked like fire and brimstone came from the mouths of the horses. This is also the time that knights in armor weren’t much use any more, as the armor would not stop the bullets.
Notice here that it now says the third part of men were killed, where before they were only tormented. This power brought the Eastern Roman Empire finally to its political end. In this woe we see the forces of Islam again attacking, suddenly, without warning, but now with explosives.
“Having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone.” These three colors, red, yellow and blue, were the ones the Turkish warriors wore. Again we also see the amazing war-horses of these desert people; even their horses were trained to attack and be fierce.
They also made great cannons, and using their power, managed to overthrow Constantinople, where the eastern Roman Emperor had for so long had his throne.
And what was all this about their ‘mouths’ and their ‘tails’? Again the Bible can be used to interpret itself: Isaiah 9:15 “The ancient and honourable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail.”
This is talking about the religious leaders, and the men who claim to be the teachers and prophets in their mosques. These are the ones who direct the battles, and give violent instructions to the warriors to carry out.
“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.” Revelation 9:20-21
Sadly, the Roman ecclesiastic power did not learn its lesson from these woes. If we have hard times, or when trouble comes into our lives, it is good to consider whether there are some lessons that God wants us to learn.