Sure Word of Prophecy
The Seven Trumpets
FOLLOWING the seven seals, under what symbols was the next series of
thrilling events shown the Apostle John?
"And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were
given seven trumpets." Rev. 8:2.
With what do these trumpets deal?
With the wars, commotion, and political upheavals which result in the
breaking up and downfall of the Roman Empire the first four with the
downfall of Western Rome, the fifth and sixth with the downfall of Eastern
Rome, and the seventh with the final downfall of Rome in its broadest
sense, or all the kingdoms of the world. See Revelation 8 and 9 and
11:14-19. A trumpet is a symbol of war. Jer. 4:19,20; Joel 2:1-11.
Under what figures is the first trumpet described?
"The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire
mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the
third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up."
at least, before the Roman Empire became divided permanently into the two
parts, the Eastern and the Western, there was a tripartite division of the
empire. The first occurred 311 A.D., when it was divided between
Constantine, Licinius, and Maximin; the other, 337 A.D., on the death of
Constantine, when it was divided between his three sons, Constantine,
Constans, and Constantius."-Albert Barnes, on Rev. 12:4. To
Constantius was given Constantinople and the East; to Constans, Italy,
Illyricum, and northern Africa; and to Constantine 11, Britain, Gaul, and
This trumpet describes the first great invasion upon Western or ancient
Rome, by the Goths, under Alaric, from 395 A.D. to 410 A.D. In 408 he
descended upon Italy, the middle "third part," pillaging and
burning cities, and slaughtering their inhabitants. Says Gibbon in his
"Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," chapter 33, closing
sentence: "The union of the Roman Empire was dissolved; its genius
was humbled in the dust; and armies of unknown barbarians, issuing from
the frozen regions of the North, had established their victorious reign
over the fairest provinces of Europe and Africa."
What striking figure is used to describe the destruction wrought under the
"And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain
burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea
became blood; and the third part of the creatures which were in the sea,
and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed."
Verses 8, 9.
describes the invasions and conquests of the Vandals under the terrible
Genseric-first of Africa and later of Italy-from 428 to 476 A.D. His
conquests were largely by sea. In a single night, near Carthage, he
destroyed, by fire and sword, more than half of the Roman fleet,
consisting of 1,113 ships and over 100,000 men. See Gibbon's "Decline
and Fall of the Roman Empire," chapter 36.
What was to take place under the third trumpet?
"And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from
heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of
the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; and the name of the star is
called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and
many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter."
harassing invasions and conquests of Attila, the Hun, are foretold here.
His conquests were characterized by fire, sword, and pillage along the
Rhine, in Gaul, and northern Italy. He claimed descent from Nimrod, styled
himself the "Scourge of God" and the "Dread of the
World," and boasted that grass would never grow again where his horse
had trod. His greatest battle was at Chalons, in Gaul, 451 A.D., where of
his 700,000 men from 100,000 to 300,000 are said to have been left dead on
the field. See Gibbon's Rome, Chapter 35, and "Fifteen Decisive
Battles of the World," by Sir Edward Creasy, chapter 6.
Says Gibbon (chapter 34), "In the reign of Attila, the Huns again
became the terror of the world"; and he proceeds to describe
"the character and actions of that formidable barbarian, who,"
he says, "alternately insulted and invaded the East and the West, and
urged the rapid downfall of the Roman Empire."
What was to occur under the fourth trumpet?
"And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was
smitten, and a third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so
as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not f or a third
part of it, and the night likewise." Verse 12.
trumpet brings us to the fall of Western Rome, in 476 A.D., when the
Herulian barbarians, under the leadership of Odoacer, took possession of
the city and scepter of Rome; and the great empire which had hitherto been
the empress of the world was reduced to a poor dukedom, tributary to the
exarch of Ravenna. Its luminaries, or civil rulers, were smitten, and
ceased to shine. "Italy now became in effect a province of the empire
of the East. The Roman Empire in the West had come to an end, after an
existence from the founding of Rome of 1,229 years."- Myer's
"General History," page 348.
What was to be the character of the last three trumpets?
"And I beheld, and heard . an angel flying through the midst of
heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabitants
of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three
angels, which are yet to sound!" Verse 13.
After the fall of Western Rome, what power in the East arose to harass and
overrun the Roman world, East and West?
Mohammedanism, commonly known as the Turkish or Ottoman power, which arose
in Arabia, with Mohammed, in 622 A.D.
How is the fifth trumpet, or first woe, introduced?
"And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from
heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless
pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the
pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and, the sun and the air were
darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the
smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the
scorpions of the earth have power." Rev. 9:1-3.
is symbolized by the star of the third trumpet (Rev. 8:10,11); Mohammed,
by the star of this trumpet. The bottomless pit doubtless refers to the
wastes of the Arabian desert, from which came forth the Mohammedans, or
Saracens of Arabia, like swarms of locusts. The darkening caused by the
smoke from this pit fitly represents the spread of Mohammedanism and its
doctrines over Asia, Africa, and portions of Europe. Their power as
scorpions is strikingly seen in their vigorous and speedy attacks upon,
and overthrow of, their enemies.
"Over a large part of Spain, over north Africa, Egypt, Syria,
Babylonia, Persia, north India, and portions of Central Asia were
spread-to the more or less perfect exclusion of native customs, speech,
and worship-the manners, the language, and the religion of the Arabian
conquerors."-Myers's "General History," page 401.
What command was given these locusts?
"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." Verse 4.
the Arabian tribes were gathered for the conquest of Syria, 633 A.D., the
caliph Abu-Bekr, the successor of Mohammed, instructed the chiefs of his
army not to allow their victory to be "stained with the blood of
women and children;" to "destroy no palm-trees, nor burn any
fields of corn;" to "cut down no fruit-trees, nor do any
mischief to cattle;" and to spare those religious persons "who
live retired in monasteries, and propose to themselves to serve God in
that way;" but, he said, "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
Mohammedan or pay tribute." In this, Mohammedanism, itself a false
religion, is revealed as a scourge to apostate Christianity.
"In a short time they [the Mohammedan Saracens] had taken from the
Aryans all the principal old Semitic lands-Palestine, Syria,
Mesopotamia, Assyria, and Babylonia. To these was soon added Egypt."
-Encyclopedia Britannica, article "Mohammedanism."
What were these locusts said to have over 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 [margin, a destroyer]." Verse
hundreds of years the Mohammedans and invading Tartar tribes, like the
locusts (Prov. 30:27), had no general government or king over them, but
were divided into bands, or factions, under separate leaders. But in the
twelfth century Temuljin, king of the Mongols, or Moguls, who is described
as "the most terrible scourge that ever afflicted the human
race," built up an empire "at the cost," it is estimated,
says Myers in his "General History," page 461, of "fifty
thousand cities and towns and five million lives." This was followed
by the more permanent Tartar empire founded by Othman a century later,
commonly known as the Ottoman Empire, and ruled by the sultan.
From the first, the great characteristic of the Turkish government has
been that of a "destroyer." Speaking of a war by the Turks upon
the Byzantine Empire in 1050, Gibbon (chapter 57) says: "The myriads
of Turkish horse overspread a frontier of six hundred miles from Taurus to
Erzeroum, and the blood of one hundred and thirty thousand Christians was
a grateful sacrifice to the Arabian prophet."
In 1058 the Turks wrested the Holy Land from the Saracens, desecrated the
holy places, and treated the pilgrims to Jerusalem with cruelty. This
brought on the nine unsuccessful crusades of the next two centuries for
the recovery of the Holy Land.
What definite period is mentioned under this trumpet?
"And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in
their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months."
Verse 10. See also verse 5.
was on the twenty-seventh of July, in the year 1299," says Gibbon,
"that Othman first invaded the territory of Nicomedia," in Asia
Minor, "and the singular accuracy of the date," he adds,
"seems to disclose some foresight of the rapid and destructive growth
of the monster."-"Decline and Fall of the Roman
Empire," chap. 64, par. 14. This, then, we take to be the
beginning of the period referred to.
A Bible month consists of thirty days; five months would be 150 days.
Allowing a day for a year, 150 years from July 27, 1299 would reach to
July 27, 1449. During this period the Turks were engaged in almost
constant warfare with the Greek Empire, and yet without conquering it.
With what statement does the fifth trumpet close?
"One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more
hereafter." Verse 12.
What command is given under the sixth trumpet?
"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." Verses 13, 14.
four angels are understood to refer to the four leading Turkish sultanies--Aleppo,
lconium, Damascus, and Bagdad-of which the Ottoman Empire was composed,
situated in the country watered by the river Euphrates.
As a striking parallel it may be noted that under the sixth plague (Rev.
16:12-16) the four angels of Rev. 7:1-3 will loose the winds of war, the
waters of the river Euphrates (the Turkish Empire) will be dried up, and
the armies of the nations will assemble for the battle of Armageddon.
What warlike scene is given under this trumpet?
"The number of the armies of the horsemen was twice ten thousand
times ten thousand: . . . and the heads of the horses are as the heads
of lions; and out of their mouths proceeds fire and smoke and
brimstone." Verses 16,17, R.V.
the year 1453, Mohammed 11 the Great, sultan of the Ottomans, laid siege
to the capital [Constantinople], with an army of over 200,000 men. After a
short investment the place was taken by storm. The cross, which since the
time of Constantine the Great had surmounted the dome of St. Sophia, was
replaced by the crescent, which remains to this day."-Myers's
"General History" edition 1902, pages 462, 463.
Thus Constantinople, the eastern seat of the Roman Empire since the days
of Constantine, was captured by the Turks.
Reference also seems to be made here to the use of firearms, which began
to be employed by the Turks toward the close of the thirteenth century,
and which, discharged from horseback, would give the appearance of fire
and smoke issuing from the horses' mouths. In the battle of Armageddon, to
which allusion may here be made, an army of "twice ten thousand times
ten thousand," or two hundred million, will doubtless be assembled.
What was the result of this warfare by means of "fire and smoke and
"By these three was the third part of men killed." Verse 18.
shows the deadly effect of this new means of warfare. "Constantinople
was subdued, her empire subverted, and her religion trampled in the dust
by the Moslem conquerors."-Elliott's "Horae Apocalypticae,"
Vol. I, page 484.
What definite period is mentioned under this trumpet?
"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." Verse 15.
hour in prophetic time is equal to fifteen days; a day stands for a year,
a month for thirty years, a year for 360 years. Added together, these
amount to 391 years and fifteen days, the time allotted for the Ottoman
supremacy. Commencing July 27, 1449, the date of the close of the fifth
trumpet, this period would end August 11, 1840. In exact fulfillment of
the words of Inspiration, this date marks the fall of the Ottoman Empire
as an independent power. Wasted beyond hope of recovery in a war with
Mohammed Ali, pasha of Egypt, the sultan of Turkey submitted to the
dictates of the four great powers of Europe-England, Russia, Austria,
and Prussia,-and, through his minister Rifat Bey, on that very day,
August 11, 1840, placed in the hands of Mohammed Ali the decision, or
ultimatum, drawn up by these powers. Since then Turkey has existed only by
the help of sufferance of the great powers of Europe, and has commonly
been referred to as "the Sick Man of the East."
With what announcement does the sixth trumpet close?
"The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe comes
quickly." Rev. 11:14.
definite period under the sixth trumpet brings us to 1840, when Turkey
lost her independence. Her final downfall, we understand, will come at the
opening of the seventh trumpet.
What is to be finished when the seventh trumpet is about to sound?
"But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about
to sound, then is finished the mystery of God, according to the
good tidings which He declared to His servants the prophets." Rev.
mystery of God is the gospel. Eph. 3:3-6; Gal. 1:11,12. When this trumpet
is about to sound, therefore, the gospel will close, and the end will
come. The "time of trouble," of Dan. 12:1, and the seven last
plagues and the battle of Armageddon, spoken of in Revelation 16, will
take place when this trumpet begins to sound.
What events mark the sounding of the seventh trumpet?
"And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in
heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of
our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever. And
the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, f ell
upon their faces, and worshipped God, saying, We give Thee thanks, O Lord
God Almighty, which art, and was, and art to come; because Thou has taken
to Thee Thy great power, and has reigned." Rev. 11:15-17.
seventh trumpet, therefore, brings us to the setting up of God's
What is the condition of the nations, and what other events are due or
impending at this time?
"And the nations were angry, and Thy wrath is come, and
the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that Thou
shouldest give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the
saints, and them that fear Thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy
them which destroy the earth." Verse 18.
closing scenes of this world's history and the judgment are clearly
brought to view here. Ever since the loss of independence by the Ottoman
Empire in 1840, the nations have been preparing for war as never before,
in view of international complications and a world war which all fear is
inevitable upon the dissolution of Turkey and the final disposition of its
territory. Towering above all others, the Eastern question has been the
one of paramount concern to them.
The investigative judgment began in heaven in 1844, at the close of the
prophetic period of 2300 days. See readings in Chapters 53. thru 56. of
this book. When this is finished, the time of reward
will have arrived, the end will have come, and the saints will themselves
sit in judgment. See Rev. 20:4; 1 Cor. 6:1-3.
What scene in heaven was presented to the prophet as the seventh trumpet
was about to sound?
"And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was
seen in His temple the ark of His testament: and there were
lightnings and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great
hail." Rev. 11:19.
forcibly calls attention to the closing work of Christ in the second
apartment, or most holy place, of the sanctuary in heaven, which began in
1844. See readings referred to in preceding note. The reference to the ark
of God's testament is a forcible reminder also of that which is to be the
standard in the judgment,-the law of God, or ten commandments. See Eccl.
12:13,14; Rom. 2:12,13; James 2:8-12.
From its dosing words-the reference to "great hail"- the
seventh trumpet evidently embraces the seven last plagues (see Rev.
16:17,18); and from its opening words-"the kingdoms of this world
are become the kingdoms of our Lord"-it marks the setting up of
God's everlasting kingdom.
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