What the Bible Says About The Rise of Islam (Revelation 9 - 5th and 6th Trumpet)

Posted by Samuel Kadyakale  |  at  18:47 No comments

Please click here for the previous study on Revelation 8 Commentary:  The Seven Trumpets.

 Revelation 9:1-4 Commentary
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. Rev 9:1-4. KJV

Here a new religion is brought to view: a star fallen from Heaven. It mixes some good teachings with some evil ones like 'smoke' out of the 'bottomless pit'.

Islam began by condemning the evil of idolatry as practised in the Roman Catholic Church; and in that it was right. Indeed there is only one God; and no one is to be worshipped but Him. But the teachings of Islam, which were a necessary scourge to an apostate Church, brought further 'smoke' into the world.

In the Greek the 'bottomless pit' means any desolate wilderness, and thus fitly represents the desert of Arabia where the Muslim invaders came from in such numbers that they looked like locust swarms.

One day King Chosroes II of Persia received a letter from an obscure citizen of Mecca, inviting him to recognise Mohammed as the prophet of God. The king contemptuously tore the letter up, and rejected the prophet's claims. Little did he know that soon he himself would be deposed, and his kingdom destroyed, and that this strange prophet prophet from Mecca would dominate the world. The fall of Chosroes is said by some to have been the 'key of the bottomless pit', because Mohammed could not have arisen to power without the Persian kingdom falling first. Then the Saracens from Arabia were 'given power', and multiplied immensely until they became as numerous as swarming locusts. One writer, not thinking of the book of Revelation, said of these followers of Mohammed: 'Like locusts, the Osmanlis swarmed in all directions, and no village missed their notice up to the very walls of Constantinople.'1 They struck like angry scorpions, using cruel and vengeful forms of warfare.
Gold Coin of Khosrow (Chrosoes) II

When Mohammed died, he was succeeded in AD 632 by Abu Bakr, who gathered the Arabian tribes for further conquests. He instructed his followers to respect the religious convictions of people who observed the law of God faithfully. His men were to scourge only those who worshipped idols. He commanded his soldiers: 'Let not your victory be stained with the blood of women or children. Destroy no palm trees, nor burn any fields of corn. Cut down no fruit trees, nor do any mischief to cattle, only such as you kill to eat... As you go on, 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 skull and give them no quarter till they either turn Mohammedans or pay "tribute".'2
Mecca Birthplace of Muhammad

Who were the people with the 'seal of God in their foreheads' that Abu Bakr's soldiers were commanded to spare? All through history there have been faithful observers of the Lord's true Sabbath, which is the 'seal of God' (see chapter seven). In the days of Mohammed and Abu Bakr there were such faithful ones. It seems that a higher authority than Mohammed overruled for the protection of His faithful people!

The Arabians used horses extensively in their wars of conquest. The 'crowns; may be the turban, which was for a long time a national head-dress of the Arabians. The soldiers had long hair.

Revelation 9:5-11 Commentary

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. Revelation 9:5-11 KJV

Here we have a test on the accuracy of the prophecy and its historical fulfilment. In Bible prophecy a day is a symbol of a year (see notes on chapter 2:10). There are thirty days to a month in Bible prophecy (compare Genesis 7:11; 8:4; and 7:24; also compare the forty two months of Revelation 11:2; and the 1,260 days of 11:3 and 12:6). Thus 'five months' of prophetic time would equal 150 years.


The Saracens (Muslims) were 'given' to 'torment' the civilised Eastern Roman Empire for these 150 years, but not to 'kill them', that is, not to conquer them. The 150 years should begin from the time that 'they had a king over them'. The book of Proverbs says, 'The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands' (Proverbs 30:27). But the 'locusts' of the Muslim invaders were highly organised in a destructive work, for they had a ruler whose commands they followed. For hundreds of years after Mohammed's death, his followers were divided into various groups and factions with no central government or king. But near the end of the thirteenth century, Osman founded an organised government which has been known as the Ottoman Empire. 'The angel of the bottomless pit' is called an 'angel' in the sense that the Greek word also means 'messenger' or 'minister'. The Sultan became chief minister of the Muslim religion. The name in Hebrew, 'Abaddon', and in Greek, 'Appollyon', means 'one who destroys', which is an apt description of the Ottoman rulers.

We ask, when did Osman, as the first king of Muslims, make his first attack to 'torment' the civilised world of the Eastern Empire? Edward Gibbon, an historian who did not believe the Bible, recorded the date for us with great accuracy as 27 July 1299, when Osman first invaded Niccaedia.

Gibbon says: 'The singular accuracy of the date seems to disclose some oversight of the rapid and destructive growth of the monster [the Ottoman Empire].'3

We ask again, Did the Ottoman Turks 'torment' the Eastern Roman Empire for 150 years? Yes, history tells us that they maintained an almost constant war of harassment and torment form AD 1299 to 1449, exactly 150 years, but without completely dominating it. Then a great change came, the Eastern Roman emperors had become gradually weaker and more corrupt until it became clear to everyone that they would soon lose their independence. When Emperor John VIII died on 31 October 1448, his brothers humbly sought the consent of the Turkish Sultan, Murad II, to choose their elder brother to be crowned as the new emperor in January 1449. Thus, in bowing to the Sultan of Turkey, they acknowledged that their independence was at an end.

Revelation 9:12-15 Commentary

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. Revelation 9:12-15 KJV


The 'one woe' was the rise of the Muslim power. The second 'woe' was to follow, and was to be great trouble in Europe (see chapter 11:14). The 'third woe' was to be the frightful anger of the nations, with God's judgement wrath, which will bring a close to our world's history (see chapter 11:18)

Now, in AD 1449, the 'sixth angel' looses the restraint which had heretofore prevented the Muslims form actually conquering the wealthy and powerful Eastern Empire. The 'four angels...bound in the great river Euphrates' must refer to the four separate Muslim provinces of Aleppo, Iconium, Damascus, and Baghdad. The way was open for the Sultan later to wage successful war against Europe. Constantinople actually fell to the Turkish armies in AD 1453. But note this: In 1449, when the 150 years came to an end, the independence of the European empire was lost not by force of arms, but by the deceased emperor's family meekly and voluntarily surrendering their independence into the hands of the Turks. In effect they said, 'We cannot reign unless you first permit.' Remember this, as we proceed, for you will see something most important.

How long was the Ottoman Muslim Empire to continue ruling in independence?

One 'year' of 360 days is 360 literal years.
One 'month' of 30 days is 30 years
One 'day' of 24 hours is 1 year
One 'hour' is 1/24th of a year, or 15 literal days
Add these up and the total is 391 years and 15 days.

When did this period of 391 years and 15 days begin? Clearly, at the end of the 150 years when the Muslims ceased 'tormenting' the Eastern Empire and conquered it! After we have added the 150 years to our beginning  date of 27 July 1299, we come naturally to 27 July 1449. Then if we add 391 literal years to 27 July 1449, we come to 27 July 1840. Then we must add another 15 days. What do we get as our complete and final answer? 27 July plus fifteen days equals 11th August 1840.

Did the Turkish Sultan lose his independence on that very day by meekly and voluntarily surrendering it to the European rulers in the same way that the Eastern Roman Emperor lost his to the Sultan in 1449? We shall see.

If history says 'yes' to that question, we shall have positive and amazing proof of two things: first, that the year-day principle of interpreting Bible prophecy is absolutely correct; and second, that the awesome finger of God is pointing to something vastly important than studying about the rise and fall of Muslim or European empires -- we shall find that this study is the key that God places in our hands to unlock the mystery of His judgement upon our modern rebellious world. Where the careless reader sees nothing but desert wastes without meaning, we find in the book of Revelation hidden riches of vast importance to the people of God. In a moment we shall see what history says happened on 11th August 1840.

First, let us look briefly at what John says as to how the Turkish Muslim armies once terrified the Europeans for centuries.

Revelation 9:16-19 Commentary

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. Revelation 9:16-19 KJV


Here the use of gunpowder is described for the first time in human history. To John, who of course had never seen guns or gunpowder, the sight of Muslim warriors on horseback shooting their guns would look as if the 'fire and smoke and brimstone' issued out of the horses' mouths!

Until AD 1453 the walls of Constantinople had resisted attack by many armies. Thus the empire had survived. But now the Ottoman Turks used their newly invented massive cannon and gunpowder to demolish those once impregnable walls. The use of gunpowder  and cannon finished off the last defence of the proud old Roman Empire. Selfishness and corruption had ruined the old civilisation.

But by 1840 selfishness and corruption  has also paralysed the once proud Muslim empire. In 1838 war raged between the sultans of Turkey and Egypt, with Egypt being victorious. In 1840, four powerful European nations interfered for fear that Egypt would soon take the Sultan's throne. In his distress, the weak sultan voluntarily surrendered his independence into the hands of these four European nations, leaving them to manage his affairs. He then sent an envoy to the ruler of Egypt to deliver a message from the four European nations, placing his affairs in their hands.

The date? It was on 11th August 1840 that this messenger arrived in Alexandria, and on that day placed the message in the hands of the ruler of Egypt.

On that day, the Sultan's independence was lost.5 When this fact became known, multitudes of Bible lovers were convinced of the correctness of the year-day principle of interpreting Bible prophecy. What seemed to be unimportant history provided the most convincing proof that the books of Daniel and the Revelation were inspired by God, and present a message of the utmost importance to all the inhabitants of the earth today.

Since then the Ottoman Empire went into steady decline, losing many of its territories, including Greece, the Balkans, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. This situation changed with the formation of the Turkish Republic in 1923.6

Revelation 9:20, 21 Commentary

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. Revelation 9:20,21 KJV


Although the hordes of Muslims were let loose upon the apostate Christian world, men refused to learn the lesson of repentance. Thus we see that God permits 'woes' to come upon the world to bring sinful men to their senses, and to lead them to repentance. Woe after woe comes, yet still men love their sin. Will the 'third woe' lead them to repentance? When that time comes it will be too late! Will you, dear reader, yield your hear to repentance today?

Footnotes

  1. Herbet Adams Gibbon, The Foundation of the Ottoman Empire; A History of the Osmanlis up to the Death of Bayezid I, page 198.
  2. Edward Gibbon, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Volume - 5 , chapter 51 (quoted in Smith, page 498).
  3. Ibid, volume 6, chapter 64, page 226 (quoted in Smith, page 503).
  4. Compare Scripture reckoning of time in Revelation 13:5; 12:6, 14. It is evident that a Bible 'year' is 360 days , and a Bible 'month' is thirty days.
  5. The reader who would like to see excerpts from the newspapers of August and September 1840, giving detailed information of the events of 11 August 1840, can consult the book Daniel and the Revelation, by Uriah Smith, pages 513, 516.
  6. History of Turkey, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Turkey
Below is an alternatie view on the interpretation of the fifth trumpet as presented by Professor Ranko Stefanovic of Andrews University in the US.




Please click here for the next study on Revelation 10 Commentary: The Little Book



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