Revelation Chapter Nine

Author’s Introduction: It should be clear just by the data that God wants us to focus on the Fifth and Sixth Trumpets. There is something very important here and He wants us to examine these trumpets in great detail. For those of you reading this chapter before chapter eight should go to Chapter Eight and get some understanding of the principles involved in this interpretation.

Again, I will be sharing the views of the interpreters before 1844 AD during the Holy Place of the Temple in heaven and the view of these Trumpets after 1844 during the time of the Most Holy Place in the Temple in heaven.

1And 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.

Author: The pre – 1844 interpreters believed that the star falling from heaven was Mohammed and that eventually led to the Saracen Empire and this empire had its greatest impact around 1299 when the Saracen’s attacked the Eastern Roman Empire at Constantinople. This started a period of dominance of 150 years, or the 5 months of verses 5 and 10. This prepared the way for the Ottoman Turks in July 27 1449. The general principle is that the Saracens attacked the existing kingdoms like locusts for their numbers.

The post 1844 view of the Fifth Trumpet is that the fallen star is a church leader. See Revelation 1:20 where a star is an angel of the churches and that Paul, a church leader, was viewed as an angel in Galatians 4:14. This leader was given the key, or authority (Isaiah 20:20-25; Matthew 16:19; Luke 11:52; Desire of Ages 413; II Spirit of Prophecy 273), over the grave (Genesis 37:19-28; Numbers 16:30; Proverbs 1:12; Psalm 88:1-6) to deliver into the pit or to keep from going into the pit. This pit is bottomless, meaning it can never be filled up. (Proverbs 30:15-16). So the church leader has authority over who lives or who dies.

In the time period of the Fifth Trumpet (1216 AD – 1537 AD) it covers the first half of the time mentioned in the Fifth Seal. The reason for the date of 1216 is that this date is the beginning of the Dominican Monks under the guidance of the fallen angel Pope Gregory IX. The Dominican monks were a special group of monks who offered their services to the Pope to go around begging for money and food, so they would be no financial burden upon the church. In addition their specialty in life was to persuade the Catharii, or also known as the Albigenses, to turn from their beliefs and to accept the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Eventually the Pope gave the responsibility of the Inquisition to the Dominican Monks. Thus this was one of the first major responses of the Roman Catholic Church to the calls for repentance from God through the early reformation people. Many Christians would be persecuted in the early phases of the development of the inquisition.

 2And 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.

Author: When the bottomless pit is opened there came up a smoke out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. This smoke can be compared to the smoke of the great furnace of the sufferings of Israel in slavery to Egypt. (Genesis 15:12-18; Exodus 9:8-10; Deuteronomy 4:20; Patriarchs and Prophets 267). Thus suffering and confusion was in existence in the time of this phase of the Roman Catholic Church’s response to the early messages of the Reformation. Jesus was calling and the church was not willing to hear Him.

 3And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

Author: Here is one of the interesting interpretations of the Scriptures. How we see the term locust will influence the awareness of this Trumpet and many other aspects of Scripture. Locusts in the Bible can mean the insect and its devastating effect on the food and resources of a land. This was revealed in one of the plagues of Egypt in 10:1-20. This plague on Egypt was similar to the purpose of the Trumpets of Revelation 8-11. This plague called to Pharaoh to repent and let God’s people go, but he would not. This response led to greater calls and more refusals until death was in the land.

Locusts can also be the armies of nations sent to conquer and to devastate another land. Joel 1:1-7. The Locusts of Joel 1 are similar to those of Revelation 9:3. The Locusts of Revelation 9:3 are armies of peoples. It is this writer’s perspective that the Locusts of Revelation 9:3 are described in the following quotation from the writings of Ellen White in The Great Controversy    :

“Another evil against which the Reformer waged long and resolute battle was the institution of the orders of mendicant friars. These friars swarmed in England, casting a blight upon the greatness and prosperity of the nation. Industry, education, morals, all felt the withering influence. The monk's life of idleness and beggary was not only a heavy drain upon the resources of the people, but it brought useful labor into contempt. The youth were demoralized and corrupted. By the influence of the friars many were induced to enter a cloister and devote themselves to a monastic life and this not only without the consent of their parents, but even without their knowledge and contrary to their commands. One of the early Fathers of the Roman Church, urging the claims of monasticism above the obligations of filial love and duty, had declared: "Though thy father should lie before thy door weeping and lamenting, and thy mother should show the body that bore thee and the breasts that nursed thee, see that thou trample them underfoot, and go onward straightway to Christ." By this "monstrous inhumanity," as Luther afterward styled it, "savoring more of the wolf and the tyrant than of the Christian and the man," were the hearts of children steeled against their parents.--Barnas Sears, The Life of Luther, pages 70, 69. Thus did the papal leaders, like the Pharisees of old, make the commandment of God of none effect by their tradition. Thus homes were made desolate and parents were deprived of the society of their sons and daughters.” GC 82.2

In the history of the church of the Dark Ages the mendicant monks have an unusual place. There were at least two orders of Mendicant (monks that begged for food and money) and they started in the early 1200s – the Franciscan Monks that begged for food and money to be able to work with the poor of the land. The other and more interesting historical group was that of the Dominican Monks. The Dominican Monks were established to help heretics come back to the church. There job was to influence the Albigenses (then name Catharii) to give up their protests against the evils of the church and return to their Mother – Rome. This call from the Albigenses/Catharii was a trumpet call to the church to return to the purity of their relationship with Christ. (See the Fourth Church and the Fourth and Fifth Seals.) A fascinating part of this history is that the Dominican Monks continued and they were the founding group that the Pope assigned to the development of, care of, and implementation of the Inquisition.

In addition to being like locusts the verse 3 also states that these people were like Scorpions. In Ezekiel 2:1-6 describes Scorpions as being the rebellious people of Israel. These people, who should have known better because they had the Word of God, were rebellious, stiff hearted, and disobedient to the commandments of God. Ezekiel functioned as the watchman on the tower and was to trumpet the call to come back to God. The Early Reformers, the Catharii/Albigenses did this same thing for Rome, but the Scorpions/Locusts refused the call and turned on God’s people.

 4And 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.

Author: The original intent of the Dominican Monks was not to kill but to persuade people to give up the Reformation views.

 5And 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.

Author: Verse 5 again reinforces the idea that the goal of the initial impact of the Dominican monks was not so much to kill as to torment them into changing their allegiance from Jesus to the Roman church. In Ezekiel 2:6 the impact of the Scorpions was their words and their looks – to discourage and to turn away ones allegiance to God.

Verse 5 also has a time period in it which was one of the key concepts for the pre-1844 interpreters. This time period was important in the development of the time interpretations for the location and confirmation of the 1844 date for the completion of the 2300 day prophecy of October 22, 1844. This date (150 years) in conjunction with the time of Revelation 9:15 (391 years and 15 days) formulated the date of August 11, 1840 and the transfer of power from the Ottoman Empire to the European powers spoken of in The Great Controversy pages 334-335.

For the post – 1844 interpretation this date is of lesser importance. The focus of this interpretation is the development of the Reformation, its call to the Roman Catholic Church and the refusal of the Church to respond to the trumpet calls of Jesus.

 6And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.

Author: As the Inquisition was established the use of torture was confirmed and applied by the Pope and this increased the agony of people and death was withheld from many. This led to the cry of the saint’s blood from beneath the altar in Revelation 6:9-11.

 7And 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.

Author: The Locusts, the Dominican Monks were likened to church movements – horses in battle equaling the church. (Zechariah 10:3). These Locusts went to war against the people of God.

 8And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.

Author: The Locusts were similar to those of Joel 1:6 who were a nation with teeth like lions. But these Locusts also had hair like that of a woman. A hair is a symbol of a connection with God (See Samson) and their hair was like that of a woman – a woman being a symbol of a church. So the Locusts were a church people who were trying to dissuade from a commitment to God but their end product was destruction and pillage as in the persecutions of the Catharii and the Waldenses.

 9And 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.

Author: These Locusts were offering a form of intercessory ministry but it was of warfare and torture, and eventually death and destruction. The Dominican Monks offered the people of the Reformation the intercessory ministry of Rome, and the dead saints, but would not, and could not offer the intercessory ministry of Jesus.

 10And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.

Author: In this verse the Locusts had tails like Scorpions. As we have previously noted Scorpions are rebellious religious people. (Ezekiel 2:1-6). The tail is identified as a false prophet – one who tells lies rather than the truth. (Isaiah 9:15. This is also noted in Revelation 12:4 where Satan’s tail drags down a third of the angels to sin. (II Peter 2:4). So the ministry of the Monks during their time of influence was a tormentor of the Reformers for a significant period of time.

 11And 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.

Author: This king of the Locusts was the Destroyer which is what Abaddon and Apollyon mean. Satan, and his representatives on Earth, was the destroyer, and the Great Adversary against all that is of God.

 12One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.

 13And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,

Author: This text is important for it shows that the Golden Altar of Incense, indicating the intercessory ministry of Jesus is still active and functioning. Jesus is still calling to His people to repent and come unto Him before the Great Day of Judgment would find them wanting.

 14Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.

Author: The Sixth Trumpet is perceived by the Pre – 1844 interpreters to be the Ottoman Empire. They were powerful and active for 391 years and 15 days which would be from July 27, 1449 to August 11, 1840. This period of time was commented to by Ellen White in her book The Great Controversy pages 334-335. She reports that Josiah Litch, a Millerite preacher, wrote an exposition on the idea that the Ottoman Empire would turn itself over to the care of the European leadership on August 11, 1840 effectively ending the Empire. The Ottoman Empire surrendered itself to the care of the European rulers on this date thus confirming the correctness of the principles of the prophetic interpretation used by Miller and his associates. Thus the year 1844 was established as the end of the 2300 days prophecy of Daniel 8:14.

In the Post – 1844 interpretation of the Sixth Trumpet (1537 AD – 1844 AD) would indicate that there is another great call to the Church of the middle Ages – the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). God is calling the Reformers to arise and to call the Roman Catholic to come back to Jesus to repent and allow Him to help them change and come back into harmony with the simplicity of the Word of God. In response to this call Rome will attack the Reformers from all part of the world. She will attack with her weapons of error and destruction – the full capacity of the support of her people the Babylonian river of error – the Euphrates. Waters and rivers in prophecy are peoples, nations, and tongues. Each of the peoples of this river would be carrying the gospel message, as they understand it. Satan seeks to drown the Reformers, and their trumpet call, with error and persecution but God rose up a variety of ways to swallow up this river of error and protect His people. (Revelation 12:14-17; Numbers 16:1-34)

 15And 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.

Author: See the application of this prophetic time period to the Ottoman Empire in verse 14. The prophetic time period is not the focus of the Post – 1844 interpretation, the role of God’s people in calling for repentance, and the reaction of the church to this call is the focus of this interpretation.

 16And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.

Author: This is a description of a large host of people given to the Church of the Middle Ages try to overcome the Reformers. This is the time when the crusades are functioning and the RCC is trying to overcome all Protesters against His power.

 17And 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.

Author: In this text we see again an attempt at introducing an intercessory ministry. Those that sat on the horses, and controlled the armies, had breastplates of fire - judgment, and of Jacinth or of a red stone, the first stone of the breastplate of the High Priest in Exodus 39:10 – the Sardis stone. In addition there is also brimstone – an element almost always used by God in the destruction of the wicked. The horses, or churches, were like lions – fierce and destructive, and out of their mouths came only judgment, confusion, and destruction. This is a description of the development of the Jesuit order. They spread all over the world seeking to counteract the Trumpet call of the Reformation. They proposed truth but their truth was mixed with error and was a destructive force on the world.

 18By 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.

Author – By these elements the fire of judgment with no mercy, the smoke of servitude and error, and the condemnation a portion of the men of the earth were killed through wars, and from the further development of the Inquisition and the crusades.

 19For 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.

Author – This verse is another statement of the error proceeding from the mouths of the Jesuits. They were like unto serpents, and with them, their mouths, they do hurt the world. This is a comparison between the Jesuits and the pre-Jesuit group, the Sanhedrin, that Jesus, and John the Baptist, condemned as serpents and vipers giving out error and turning away people from the Trumpet messages of Jesus, and His prophet John. (Matthew 23:33; Matthew 3:7).

Notice the following comparison written Ellen White in The Great Controversy page 568:

“There is a striking similarity between the Church of Rome and the Jewish Church in the time of Christ’s first advent…”

The doctrine’s of serpents is what led many to turn away from God both in the time of Jesus and during the middle Ages. The woes in the time of Jesus are comparable to the woes during the middle Ages. All must turn away from these errors and respond to the Trumpet calls to repent and get right with God.

 20And 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:

Author: Here God confirms the call of repentance in the Trumpets. There call is to come back to Jesus. Anyone who is sinning can still return and surrender their idolatry and their works and God will heal them of their sins. The Altar of Incense, and the merits of Jesus, is still available to sinners no matter what kinds of sin they participate in.

 21Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

Author: God reveals this list of sins and this list is comparable to the lists in Revelation 21:8 and Revelation 22:15. God contrasts these with the people of God who keep His commandments and they have a right to partake of the tree of life. (Revelation 22:14).

Summary: We have now finished the basic outline of Six of the Seven Trumpets. The Sixth Trumpet is not completed for it is still discussed in Revelation 11:1-14. Then God describes briefly the Seventh Trumpet in Revelation 11:15-19. We will next be discussing the Seven Thunders which is an interlude between the Sixth Trumpet and the Seventh Trumpet. We will see that the Seven Thunders covers the time from 1755 AD to 1844 AD.

The Trumpets cover the time from 31 AD to the Second Coming of Jesus but the first Six Trumpets primarily cover the time period from 31 AD to 1844 AD. God was calling the people to come to Him and to respond to the gospel call given to Earth by His church. The Trumpets calls are given by His church and they are to alert the world of the availability of the intercessory ministry of Jesus. All who respond to the call will be saved, and all who refuse it will be destroyed in the end.  We have seen the end of the Jewish Church who failed to respond to the call of God’s people. We have seen the end of the Pagan Roman Empire who failed to respond the calls of God’s people. We will soon see that the Roman Catholic Church would be punished as well for its part in refusing the call from the Reformation church. This will be amplified in the finishing parts of the Sixth Trumpet in Revelation Eleven. May God grant you deep understanding of His gospel and His calls to redemption.