Berean Bible Corner

THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST, Part III

JESUS THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGE

Chapters 8:2-11:19

 

In part three of our journey through the Revelation of Jesus Christ we will consider the seven trumpets’ vision as it is written by John the Apostle.

 

We have mentioned before that the visions of the Revelation have been given to John around sanctuary scenes.

 

The first vision about the seven churches started with items from the first apartment or holy place of the sanctuary. The emphasis being on the candlesticks and reminding us of the menorah in the OT tabernacle sanctuary set up in the desert during the exodus from Egypt.

 

The second vision of the seals gives us a throne vision and the place is the first apartment or holy place where we find the 24 elders active representing the 24 priests ministering in the OT sanctuary and Solomon temple. We also meet in that vision the Lamb as slain, the sacrificial offering. The Lamb of God, John 1:29. Also in the fifth seal the altar of sacrifice where the martyrs have been slain. Both the Lamb and the martyrs were slain outside the heavenly sanctuary on earth, as the sacrificial animals in the OT where slain on that altar outside the holy tent or tabernacle. Hebr.13:12

 

Now in the vision of the seven trumpets we find in its opening the altar of incense we are coming closer to the second apartment or Most Holy Place. Here entered the High Priest once a year on the Day of Atonement which was a judgment day, the termination of the one year sanctuary cycle.

 

The trumpets do remind us of the OT feast of trumpets. Lev.23:23-25; Numb.29:1 This was a ten days feast starting the first day of the seventh month. This feast was in preparation for the Day of Atonement on the tenth day of the seventh month. Lev.23:27;

Numb.29:7

 

F.C.Gilbert in his book: practical Lessons” (PL) writes as follows: “The Talmud teaches that the blowing of the trumpets signifies God’s loud call to repentance. Since this seventh month closes up the year’s work in connection with the sanctuary service, and with the harvest, how appropriate for the trumpet to blow, that the people should turn their attention more to the things of God, and prepare for the final work. Hence this is made one of the most sacred days to the Jews. They also teach that this day three sets of books are opened,  the book of life to examine the good deeds of the people, the book of death to examine the evil deeds and a sort of intermediary book to examine into the accounts of those whose cases are to be decided ten days later.” (Gilbert PL p.253)

 

How does that relate to the vision of the trumpets? We will learn later when dealing with the seventh trumpet that the temple was opened and the ark of the testament was seen, Rev.11:19. We also will learn that a message will be proclaimed regarding the judgment and that at such a time books are opened. Dan.7:9, 10; Rev.14:6, 7; Rev.20:12

Is it wrong to see in the trumpets’ vision another anti-typical fulfilment of the OT sanctuary feasts of trumpets? We don’t think so.

 

There were six annual feasts in the OT sanctuary yearly cycle as types of what Christ would fulfil in His life and ministry on earth and in heaven, spring and autumn festivals.

The spring festivals were:

Passover……… Christ our Passover, 1Cor.5:7, the Lamb slain in Rev.5:6

Wave sheaf…… Christ the first fruit from the dead, 1Cor.15:20; Rev.1:18

Pentecost……….Christ sending the Holy Spirit down, Acts 2; Rev.4:5; 5:6

Autumn festivals:

The blowing of the trumpets before the Day of Atonement, the annual judgment day

could be seen fulfilled in the vision of the seven trumpets leading up to the

anti-typical Day of Atonement, the last judgment for the whole world.

The Day of Atonement, as said before the annual judgment day for Israel and fulfilled in

the anti-typical day of atonement starting October 22, 1844. More about this when

we reach Rev.14:6, 7 announcing the hour of judgment.

The third autumn feast was the feast of tabernacles. Feast of joy and victory to be fulfilled

in the glorious return of Christ and the setting up of His glorious Kingdom.

Rev.14:14-20 is the final harvest of the world.

 

As we have noticed we have no problem in discovering these feasts hidden in the Bible book, the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

 

When Christ ascended into heaven to commence His ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, Hebr.8:1-3, we may believe that He commissioned the trumpets to be blown, announcing the coming day of harvest in the final Day of Judgment, the anti-typical Day of Atonement. For that reason we will see later that these trumpets visions are judgment events. For those living on planet earth it covers a period of about 2000 years, but not for the Lord dealing with eternity we know from 2Peter 3:8 a thousand years are as a day and a day as thousand years.

 

We also have to keep in mind that many prophecies or prophetic visions are better understood after the events than before. We my apply the word of Jesus in John 13:7

what I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt  know hereafter.” Or the word from Jesus in John 12:16 “ These things understood not His disciples at the first, but when Jesus was glorified then remembered they that these things were written of Him and that they had done these things unto Him.”.

 

Many things regarding the coming of the Messiah were misunderstood by Israel at the time Jesus was among them but they were correctly applied later. Remember the encounter of Jesus with the men walking home to Emmaus. Luke 24:13-32. When Jesus explained to them the scriptures in relation to the coming of the Messiah their minds were enlightened and their eyes opened.

 

The same could be applied to the vision of the seven trumpets. It is clear that the seventh trumpet, as we will notice later, announces the final Day of Judgment for the world. From that point going back into history we will notice judgment events in history taking us to the first judgment after Christ, the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70.

This is a clear reason that the seven trumpets are not the same as the seven plagues poured out upon the world after probation is closed. There may be similarities but they are not the same. Because of similarities we are further strengthened in our thought that the seven trumpets are of a judgment nature but not final as the seven plagues are. Also we must notice that when the seventh trumpet sounds the temple in heaven is open Rev.10:7; 11:19 while when the plagues are poured out the temple is full of smoke and no one can enter. Rev.15:8

 

The finishing or completion of the preaching of the mystery of God, the Gospel, will take place during the sounding of the seventh trumpet. This will be clearer when we give a few different translations:

KJV of Rev.10:7 the mystery of God should be finished

Moffatt:              the secret purpose of God be fulfilled.

NKJV                 the mystery of God be finished

Berkely              the mystery of God will reach completion

G.N.B.               God will accomplish His secret plan

JB                      God’s secret intention will be fulfilled

 

After the seventh trumpet has been sounding no more trumpets left to give their sound to the people of planet earth. This is an added reason that the previous sixth trumpets must have sounded before the seventh, announcing the end of times, the judgment day. The Revelation of Jesus Christ has been given to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass, Rev.1:1. Occasionally the Revelation takes us to the past as we will notice in chapter 12 when we reach that chapter.

 

We also take the position that the previous two visions of the churches and the seals do start with a sanctuary scene in heaven where Christ ministers as High Priest. Christ started His ministry in the heavenly sanctuary after His ascension to heaven. All three introductory scenes are from the first apartment or holy place in the heavenly sanctuary. For the trumpets sanctuary vision read Rev.8:2-5

 

We give the following quotation from Roy A. Anderson’s book about the Revelation:

Having studied the messages to the seven churches and unfolded the drama of the seven seals, we have seen that those two outline prophecies run parallel and cover the whole Christian era. The seven trumpets cover largely the same period of time, but in this prophecy we are enabled to view events from another angle. The seven churches unfold the religious history as God sees it; the seven seals, the religious history from the secular point of view, tracing especially the great apostasy; while the seven trumpets unfold the military history of the world, by which the church was so definitely effected in her witness for Christ. This prophecy climaxes with the coming of our Lord in glory when ‘the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever’ Revelation 11:15 (UR p.85/86)

 

We will notice later that Anderson is correct in stating that the trumpets are of a military nature. Trumpets were sounded to announce the coming Day of Atonement, judgment day for Israel as we have said here before, but they were also used for a coming alarm situation like war. Joel 2:1. They served then as a wake up call for repentance and return to the Lord. Some times Israel responded, some times not and finally it took the nation into 70 years of Babylonian captivity.

 

Trumpets were also used in Joshua’s time and God’s judgment against Jericho, read Joshua chapter 6

 

Gideon used trumpets in his war against the Midianites, read Judges chapter 7. In both cases these wars were divinely commanded in such away that God got all the honour. Humanly speaking Israel and Gideon could not have succeeded. But the blowing of the trumpets was sufficiently to give Jericho and the Midianites in Israel’s hands.

 

However Israel was not always deeply impressed and led to true conversion after such trumpet events and the same is told of the people going through the events of the Revelation trumpets, Rev.9:21, they repented not. See also Rev.16:9

 

If that is correct and we think it is, then we may regard the Revelation seven trumpets also as divinely prepared exercises over people who have fallen into apostasy. God used pagan nations to call Israel back into line with His covenant, but when these pagan nations did more than they were allowed to do, they in turn received heaven’s punishment. Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar was used to exercise judgment over Israel, but when it went too far in its own behaviour it was destroyed. Read the story in Daniel 5. A similar pattern we will discover in the vision of the seven trumpets. The final trumpet will blow because it is time that they who destroyed the earth now will be destroyed .Rev.11:17, 18. We will say more about this when we reach that point

 

First we will analyse the nature of the trumpet sounds and then find applications in history between the commencement of the NT Israel church and the end of time.

The trumpets are divided in 4 and 3, same as the seven churches 4 in Rev.2, and 3 in Rev.3. The seals also are divided in 4 and 3, four horses and three seals as events of a different nature and content.

 

The seven trumpets are divided as follows. Four in chapter 8, three in chapter 9-11 being called woes. We start with the first four trumpets of Rev.8.

 

The first trumpet is described in verse 7:

Hail, fire mingled with blood

Cast upon the earth

Third part of tree and all green grass burnt up

 

The second trumpet we find in verse 8 & 9.

A great burning mountain cast into the sea

Third part of the sea becomes blood

Third part of the sea creatures died

Third part of the ships destroyed

 

The third trumpet is in verse 10 & 11

A burning great star falls from heaven upon a third part of the rivers and fountains of

waters.

The name of the star is Wormwood

Third part of the waters became wormwood

Many died of the waters because they were made bitter

 

The fourth trumpet is in the next verse 12

Third part of sun smitten

Third part of the moon

Third part of the stars

The day shone not for a third part and the night likewise.

 

The next three trumpets are described in verse 13 as woes.

 

The fifth trumpet or first woe is described in Rev.9:1-11

An army of locusts coming out of smoke which rises up from the bottomless pit

The locusts have power like a scorpion. They are commanded not to hurt the grass or

the earth but only those who have not the seal of God(Regarding seal go back  to Rev.7)

They should not kill but torment them for five months

The locusts are further described as an army of men going to battle:

Like horses for battle

Crowns on their head

Faces like men

Hair of women

Teeth of lion

Breastplate of iron

Sound like chariots of many horses running to battle

Hurting like scorpions for five months

They have a king called Abaddon in Hebrew, and Apollyon in Greek

 

Rev.9:12 the first woe is past two more to follow.

 

The sixth trumpet or second woe starts in Rev.9:13 and ends in Rev.11:14. All that is written in between must have a bearing on the sixth trumpet.

The first part of this sixth trumpet in Rev.9:13-21 gives a description of a similar nature as the fifth trumpet, but we will notice also some differences. According to verse 13 we are still in the Holy place or second apartment of the heavenly sanctuary. The voice comes from the area where the golden altar or altar of incense is located.

Again an army with horses is described, but this time not coming out of the smoke of the bottomless pit but from the east, from the area of the Euphrates, 9:14

 

We also have a specific time element mentioned, not five months but an hour, a day, a month and a year, 9:15

 

In verses 16 & 17 we have a further description of an army, breastplates, heads of lions and mouths issuing fire and brimstone. Also its size or number in verse 16

 

Verse 18 tells us that by these three, as mentioned in verse 17, the third part of men would be killed, again a third part, which we have noticed before in chapter 8.

 

Verse 19 speaks about their power which does hurt severely.

 

Verses 20 & 21 inform that those who are not killed did not repent from their wrong doings related to idolatry, fraud and killings.

 

Chapters 10 and 11:1-13 are descriptions of more events which took place during the time of the sixth trumpet, the second woe.

 

The seventh trumpet or third woe is described in Rev.11:15-19. It is the great finale of the Great Controversy, the final judgment hour, the end of probation, the setting up of Christ’s kingdom in glory.

 

Now we must find acceptable applications for what we have here above. How can we make this meaningful? Which historical events are best fulfilling these descriptions which for obvious reasons can not be taken literal?

 

Let’s return to the beginning of this trumpet vision. As we have noticed before it starts again with a sanctuary scene from the Holy Place or first apartment in the heavenly sanctuary. It is the golden altar of incense where an angel is administering the prayers of the saints which have ascended before God. We met this also in Rev.5:8 and we can read about it in Ps.88:2; 141:2.

 

The KJV Bible commentary and Matthew Henry are of the opinion that this angel is Jesus Christ Himself. He is the only One who qualifies to be mediator between the saints and God, 1Tim.2:5.

 

Ellen G.White concurs with that in 19MR 215.Christ proclaims Himself our intercessor. He would have us know that He has graciously engaged to be our substitute. He places His merits in the golden censer to offer up with the prayers of the saints, so that the prayers of His dear children may be mingled with the fragrant merits of Christ’s perfections as they ascend to the Father in the cloud of incense.

 

“Believer’s Bible Commentary” writes about this point as follows “The angel in this verse is often understood to be the Lord Jesus. He is called the Angel of Jehovah in the OT (Gen.16:13; 31:11, 13); Judg.6:22; Hos.12:3, 4) the prayers of all saints ascend to the Father through Him. (Eph.2:18) (NUBR)

 

Whose prayers could be involved and receiving a response at this time? Could it be the prayers of the saints we have heard crying in Rev.6:9-11 under the sixth seal? This could well be true. Hear again what they are praying: How long, O Lord, Holy and True, doest Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

 

From the contents of the trumpets, as we have listed here above, it is not difficult to conclude that they are judgment scenes, judgment from God in heaven to those here on earth, Rev.8:5.Mighty events from God are often accompanied by thunders, lightning and earthquakes.

We have seen that when the Ten Commandments were spoken by God, Ex.20:18; when Christ yielded up the ghost at the cross, Matt.26:51; when He rose from His grave, Matt.28:2 The seventh last plague will also be accompanied by a similar noise,

Rev.16:18.

 

In Rev.8:5 the commencement of the sounding of the trumpets, we hear again the sound of thunder, lightning and earthquake.

If it is true, and we believe it is, that Christ is that angel casting down the fire from the censer, then Jesus Christ is acting here as the Righteous Judge acting “in judgment upon the evil deeds of men who murdered God’s servants” (Ev.Com.p.1212)

(Ellen G.White mentions in her book Early Writings p.279 that Christ is the one ministering before the ark which contains the Ten Commandments)

 

The first four trumpets are touching four different parts.

First one touches the earth, Second one the sea, third one the rivers and fountain of waters, the fourth one the heavens: sun, moon and stars.

 

The type of punishing is different in all four cases.

Hail, fire mingled with blood under the first trumpet.

A great burning mountain under the second trumpet

A great burning star falling from heaven when the third trumpet sound

When the fourth angel sounds its trumpet sun, moon and stars are just smitten but it is not mentioned how they are smitten. The result is that they are darkened.

 

In all cases only one third suffers indicating that it is not like the seven last plagues which involves the whole earth, Rev.16:1 It says repeatedly where the plagues are fallen, but no restrictions is mentioned with the trumpets repeatedly saying one third.

The seven last plagues are final, no restriction and unmixed with mercy. “When Christ ceases His intercession in the sanctuary, the unmingled wrath threatened against those who worship the beast and his image and receive the mark, will be poured out”

(EGW GC 627)

 

We should also agree on the fact that the Lord has no controversy with planet earth, sea, rivers, sun, moon or stars but with the people of planet earth who since the fall in Eden are living in apostasy, except His faithful remnant.

 

Now we can raise the question which era in time of history since the beginning of the NT Israel Church do these trumpets represent? Jesus accused the Jewish nation of being guilty of murdering the servants of God, Matt.23:34-38.Pagan and Papal Rome also have become guilty of murdering the servants of God.

 

When Pagan Rome split in two, Eastern and Western Rome, the Eastern Orthodox Church became involved in apostasy and persecuting the servants of God. This may give us clues to which periods in time we should apply the trumpet judgments.

We also like to draw attention to the biblical fact that in the OT times the OT Israel Church was often under divine judgment of God and the Lord using some of the surrounding nations to punish them. In the end they were taken into 70 years of captivity in Babylon. But then we notice that the nations who were used by God came under divine judgment for doing more then they were supposed to do. This is very much noticeable in the book of Ezekiel, (read my notes on Ezekiel in the OT Prophecies of this website.)

We will see that a similar course of action has taken place under the sounding of the seven trumpets, the seventh trumpet bringing the whole world under divine judgment.

 

.As for the commencement point for the seven churches and seven seals we are of the opinion that the seven trumpets should start from the same time, first century AD.

Like the vision of the churches and the seals are descriptive and not prescriptive we believe that the vision of the trumpets also is describing certain situations of a particular historical era in time and related to Christendom.

 

The seven trumpets can be divided in three pairs and number seven being the climax, the grand finale covering the whole world.

Dr.Mervyn Maxwell is using Dr.Ed.Thiele’s “Outline Studies in Revelation” for summing up the seven trumpets and this is confirmed by Dr.Jon Paulien in his dissertation entitled “Decoding Revelation’s Trumpets”, published by Andrews University.

 

The summing up of the three pairs goes as follows:

Trumpet 1 and 2 the termination of the Jewish nation as God’s covenant people and the destruction of Jerusalem during the first century AD and the downfall of the Western Roman Empire, which was instrumental in the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70, and completed in the fifth century.

 

Trumpet 3 and 4 The NT Israel Church falling into apostasy and going into the era of the dark ages. We will deal with this later and explain.

 

Trumpet 5 and 6 is the upcoming Islam world developing into the Turkish Ottoman Empire, and being a scourge to large sections of Asia, Africa and Europe where apostate Christendom was situated, and including the demise of the Ottoman Empire.

(For this summing up of the trumpets see Dr.Maxwell’s book” God Cares II, p. 232)

 

First Trumpet.

This deals with executing judgment. Hail, fire, blood being cast upon the earth, even trees and green grass. Everyone and everything seems to suffer, good and bad. This was the situation when Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD. We know that believing Christians escaped to Pella, but those of Jerusalem’s population who did not escape many died and others disappeared in the Diaspora. It was not a total eradication of the Jewish nation as other nations in the past have experienced, like Moab, Ammon and Edom. The words of Jesus in the parable of Matth.21:33-41 have been fulfilled, and. also what Jesus said in Matt.23:38 “Your house is left unto you desolate”, and in regard to the temple Jesus spoke in Matt.24:2 “There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

 

Dr.Jon Paulien concludes his study about the meaning of the first trumpet as follows: A number of commentators have suggested that in the first trumpet the author had in mind either the destruction of the city of Jerusalem in 70CE (AD, JTK) the decline and fall of grace of Judaism in the first century, or the scattering of the Jews by Hadrian. Although this particular range of related opinions has been in the minority, it appears to be justified by the allusive clues the author of revelation placed in the text.

In both old and new Testaments God scrutinises His own people even more carefully than He does outsiders because of their greater knowledge of His kingdom. (Jer.25:29; Ezek.9:6; Amos 3:2; 1Pet.4:17)

 

Increased knowledge leads to increased responsibility (Rom.2; John 3:18-21; James 4:17) Judgment begins at the house of God (1Pet.4:17) Thus the judgment on Jerusalem in 70CE (AD, JTK) heralds the beginning of judgments on the whole world; it is the first in a series” (Paulien, p.379)

(If the reader wants to know more about Israel, go to the subject” Israel in Scriptures” in the doctrinal section of this website)

 

Second Trumpet.

The next major event that took place after the fall of Jerusalem was the decline of the Roman Empire and eventually its complete break up as a secular empire. Rome was used by God as an instrument to execute judgment over the Jewish nation and its city Jerusalem with its temple. But as with other nations in OT history who were used in God’s hand and falling in grave sin and wickedness the time came that God exercised judgment against the secular empire of Rome. It is illustrated as a burning mountain cast into the sea. The scourger of the Jewish nation becomes scourged itself. Only a third suffers, it is not completely wiped of the face of the earth. The fall is from heaven, heavenly induced.

 

We quote Dr.Paulien The main point of the second trumpet, therefore must be seen as John’s prediction that the Roman Empire was soon to fall along with its entire social order. (Ib.p.488/9)

Mountains are often used as symbols for nations. Israel in Isa.11:19. The city of Rome built on seven mountains, Rev.17:9

Sea-waters are a symbol of nations, Rev.17:15. Some times sea function as a symbol out of which nations are coming up, Daniel 7. In the downfall of the Roman Empire nations were used. Eastern tribes invaded Rome and caused its downfall.

In Rev.18:21 we read that spiritual Rome/Babylon will be thrown into the sea as a millstone. What happened to secular Rome will eventually happen also to ecclesiastical Rome when its downfall is completed. More will be said about this when we come to Revelation 17/18

 

Third Trumpet

This is the first one of the second pair of trumpets, three and four. As we know from the little horn in Daniel eight, Rome is prophetically divided in Pagan and Papal Rome.

The first pair of trumpets deals with Pagan Rome in its rule of the destruction of Jerusalem and its own downfall as a secular empire.

Secular Pagan Rome was followed by Ecclesiastical Papal Rome. The first two trumpets cover the time of the first two churches, Ephesus and Smyrna and also the first two seals, white and red horse. The  next two trumpets, 3 & 4 cover the time of the Pergamos and Thyatira churches and the black horse of the third seal and we include also the pale horse of the fourth seal

 

The Ephesus church era blossomed in victory under Pagan Rome, but during the Smyrna period it suffered under Pagan Rome severe persecution. Under the first two seals illustrated as white and red horse.

 

 

How do we find Papal Rome or the apostate church illustrated under trumpet 3 & 4.

A star called Wormwood falls from heaven poisoning the waters or the people, according to Rev.17:15 waters are symbol of people. Satan is the one falling from heaven and poisoning what is good, and making it bitter which takes life and kills. Jesus saw Satan falling from heaven, Luke 10:18 He is also the dragon cast out from heaven and going after the church of Jesus Christ, Rev.12:9, 13, and 17

 

When Pagan Rome turned to nominal Christendom under Constantine the Great the church experienced a time of peace and freedom from persecution. But that also became a time of compromise, introducing pagan customs and covered with a Christian varnish making it look like acceptable and in harmony with God and His word, the Bible. These were poisonous arrows (errors) aimed at the church to destroy people. The apostle Paul calls them in Eph.6:16 the fiery darts of the wicked. Later to the Thessalonians Paul write in 2Thess.2:8-12 that a wicked one would be revealed as follows:

  1. Shall be revealed, will be openly exposed.
  2. Will eventually be consumed by fire
  3. Will act after the works of Satan
  4. Do lots of deception
  5. Many will follow and not accept the love of the truth to be saved
  6. The Lord will even sent or add strong delusions

 

About point ‘f’ the SDABC Vol.7-274 has to say the following: At the final stage in world history here forecast, the unregenerate have clearly chosen lies in preference to truth, and have placed themselves beyond redemption. God therefore abandon them to the course of their choosing (see on Rom.1:18, 24) In the scriptures God is often said to do that which he does not prevent (see 1Sam.16:14; 2Chron.18:18)

 

Read also Rev.17:17 God is seen active in the positive but also in the negative.

Maxwell writes “The western medieval church succumbed to the seductions of Satan, the fallen wormwood angel, step by step conforming to the patterns of secular and pagan

culture God allowed to do so. (GC II p.241)

 

In this manner it can be seen as divine judgment. Dr.Paulien writes: The judgments of God involve not only active intervention, such as the plagues on Egypt, but permissive judgments, such as Rom.1:18-32. (Ib.403)

Regarding the fallen star Dr.Paulien writes: the falling star which burns like a lamp probably symbolizes the spiritual fall of leading Christian teachers whose doctrines result in spiritual decline and death.”(Ib.403)

 

The burning star destroys the light of God’s word and turns society into darkness, which becomes known in history as the dark ages.

 

This leads us to the FOURTH TRUMPET in Rev.8:12, the second one of the second pair of trumpets. The sun, moon and stars of heaven created to give light are turned into darkness. Not complete only for a third part.

The compromising church of Pergamos was followed by the Thyatira church which had sunk deeper into apostasy compared to the time of Jezebel, Rev.2:20.But not all had fallen, as in Elijah’s time a faithful remnant, a rest was left.Rev.2:24 The so-called 7000 group, 1 Kings 19:18

The power of the pale horse, the fourth seal, was limited to one fourth of the earth.Rev.6:9 The fourth trumpet is limited to one third, all indicating that it is not universal.

The poison of wormwood, Satan from heaven poisoning the waters, the people, that they may die spiritually, develops under the fourth trumpet into the dark ages. The church of God supposed to be a light to the world, Matt.5:14 and shining as sun and moon, Sol.Song.6:10 is now a dark, dead and pale church..

But out of darkness light will shine again. The world will receive one more chance to make a choice for truth or error, Isa.60:1-3, we will meet that up turn later in the Revelation.

 

We quote again Dr.Paulien as we did for the other three trumpets and use his conclusion after his study: The fourth trumpet is, nevertheless, a development of the third. While wormwood represents a distortion of the truth of God, the fourth trumpet results in the obliteration of the truth of God, the fourth trumpet results in the obliteration of these gospel blessings. The truth that provides spiritual life is no longer visible. In the third trumpet people continue to drink from the springs, hoping to gain life; in the fourth trumpet the very presence of the life-giving sources is removed in part. (ib.415)

 

Four angels have now sounded their trumpets, three more to follow. Of these remaining three we read in Rev.8:13 that they will be like woes to the inhabitants of planet earth.

They are revealed to us in Rev.9 -11:19

.

We affirm again that the vision of trumpets is a judgment scene taking place in different parts of history and related to Christendom or God’s church on earth in good and bad times, being faithful and in other times in apostasy.

The historian Dr.Leroy Froom shows in his four volumes “Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers” that from the early days the trumpets were regarded as judgment scenes.

The men who preached during the time of the Advent awakening in the 19th century were of the same opinion, so was Uriah Smith, and  L.R.Conradi who also wrote extensively about the Revelation.

 

Then in the 20th century we have Alfred de Ligne in Belgium, F.J.Voorthuis in the Netherlands. Dr.Alfred Voucher in France they all confirmed the same.

 

In the USA we have Dr.Ed.Thiele, Dr.Mervin Maxwell, Pr.Roy Allan Anderson and Pastor Arthur Maxwell follow the same line of thinking. Dr.Jon Paulien did his dissertation on the trumpets and concludes in the same way as we have noticed from quoting from his dissertation.

 

The Biblical Research Institute of the General Conference of the Seventh day Adventist in their D/R studies dealing with the trumpets maintains the same character of judgment scenes.

 

Pastor Harold Metcalf wrote in 1980 a series of studies on the book of Revelation which was published in the back of the Family Bible issued by Bible House Charlotte North Carolina, also follows the same line of thinking.

 

In the evangelical community we have Dr.MacArthur, The Nelson Study Bible, KJV Bible Commentary, Dr.Vernon McGee, Word Bible Commentary who also see judgments in these trumpets scenes, but they are caught up in futurism and arrive at a different concluding interpretation

 

From Matthew Henry we learn that he views the trumpets as judgment activities regarding the separate Western and Eastern Roman Empire. We pick this idea up when dealing with the third pair of the six trumpets, trumpet five and six. We will notice that they take us to the Turkish Ottoman Empire in relationship to the Eastern or Orthodox Church of Christendom.

 

We know from history that the early Christian church had three or may be four centres, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Rome and later Constantinople. All these centres were headed by bishops. In the fifth century the emperor shifted his seat to Constantinople leaving the authority and control of Rome to the bishop of Rome. This shift started the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium and the Christian church in that part of the world also separated itself gradually from Rome not recognizing the bishop of Rome who later became pope of the Roman Church. The Eastern Christian Church maintained equality for all bishops in rank and authority. Today we have Greek, Rumanian, Bulgarian and Russian Orthodox churches not under the supremacy of the pope of the Roman church

with its seat in the Vatican..

 

However the separated eastern wing of Christendom, the orthodox churches did not go less into apostasy than their sister churches in the west. In Arabia, part of their territory a new religious movement came into being, called Islam under a person called prophet Mohammed. This movement was a mixture of Judaism, Christianity and ideas of their own invention or suggested by Mohammed who maintained he had received visions from heaven. All this has been laid out in their holy book the Koran which is their religious instruction book as the Bible for Christendom.

In later years Turkey under Othman became known as the Ottoman Empire ruling in Eastern Europe and Central Asia for many centuries to come, even threatening to overrun Europe. At one time they stood at the gates of Vienna.

 

Many Bible students throughout the centuries applied the activities of the Ottoman Empire to the fifth and sixth trumpet. We quote from Dr.Froom’s charts as follows:

Vol.IV p.848/9 In between 1830-1844 Froom lists 17 ministers from various denominations who apply the 5th/6th trumpet to the Ottoman Turkish Empire.

On page 1118 of the same volume Froom lists 12 ministers who lived between 1844-1875 doing the same.

Froom’s chart on pp.124-125 lists 134 names starting AD304 till AD1838 who applied the 5th/6th trumpet to the Mohammedans, Saracens, Turkish or Ottoman Empire.

The vast majority who studied this followed this line of thought. Very few make applications to the Papacy of that time. With this background information we will now start to go through chapter 9 of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

 

Fifth Trumpet.

This trumpet is described in Rev.9:1-12. A star falls from heaven who receives the key to open the bottomless pit. Smoke comes out of the pit which darkens the sun and the air.

The star is called “him” and is given the key; this may indicate it refers to an individual.

Star can be good or bad. As we have seen from our preview of the first four trumpets it covers mainly Western Europe where we have found the Pagan Roman Empire destroying Jerusalem, than being in decline itself and becoming the Papal Roman Empire.

 

We have also learned that there has been a power shift from Rome to Constantinople and the development of Eastern Rome and the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church

We suggest that these two trumpets, 5 and 6, cover this territory and that as Papal Rome steeped into apostasy so the Eastern Orthodox Church also went into apostasy and experiencing a time of judgment to bring them back from their wrong ways of doing. The Lord has His ways of calling people to attention, to arrest their falling away from Him.

 

We believe that early Mohammedanism was such an instrument to call for people’s attention. Dr.Ed.Thiele, Dr.Mervyn Maxwell, Pastor De Ligne write that Satan is a fallen star, read Isa.14:12; Luke 10:18; Rev.12:9. Islam was used to bring judgment over the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium. It started in Arabia spread through N.Africa, Minor Asia and part of Europe, halted at the gates of Vienna

 

Dr.Maxwell in his book “God Cares”II pp.242-261 elaborates widely about this point.

So does Dr.Thiele in his “Outline Studies of the Revelation”, pp.172-182. You may find a similar discussion in Uriah Smith’s book on Revelation and by Roy Allan Anderson.

All these men follow the historicist school to unfold the message of the Revelation.

 

The forces in action are described as locusts. How they look like is comparable to the way the Islam horse men in battle were dressed in that time.

 

We are dealing with the beginning or foundation of the Ottoman Empire. Dr.Thiele quotes from Herbert Adams Gibbons “Like locusts the Osmanlis swarmed in all directions and no village missed their notice up to the very walls of Constantinople”

(Thiele p.173)

 

There are a few more things to be noticed. It reads in Rev.9:2 that “sun and air were darkened”. Under Mohammed and Islam that followed instead of giving clearer spiritual light the world was plunged into deeper spiritual darkness. The Bible and the Christian Faith were replaced by other religious concepts. But Islam was restricted in their scourging, judging activities. They were not allowed to hurt grass or anything green and not those who have the seal of God. The Lord held His hand over His people, faithful to Him and His word and also faithful to the keeping of God’s commandments which has the seal of God in the fourth, the Seventh day Sabbath one. Rev.9:4

History tells us that these Islam forces did not touch sincere Christians, treated them with respect and left them alone.

 

Revelation.9:6.

That time in history was so severe that people would rather choose death than life.

 

Revelation.9:11.

The prophetic name for this activity is Abaddon or Apollyon which means destroyer. It was a time of great destruction and rampage.

 

Revelation .9:5 and 10

It mentions the same time element of five months. In prophecy time is often not literal. The day for a year principle often applies. We will say more about this when we deal with Revelation 12. Five months is 5×30 = 150. That means in this case 150 years.

 

There are two periods of 150 years in which Islam has been very active, AD674-823 the founding period of Islam and July 27, 1299 – July 27, 1449 the founding period for the Turkish Ottoman Empire.

 

Dr.Thiele quotes from Edward Gibbon “ It was on the twenty-seventh of July, in the year twelve hundred and ninety-nine of the Christian era, that Othman first invaded the territory of Nicomedia; and the singular accuracy of that date seems to disclose some foresight of the rapid destructive growth of the monster.” (Decline of Rome, V, VI, p. 226)

(See Thiele pp.174-176)

The date of 1449 is given in history also as the time of the beginning of the decline of the Turkish Ottoman Empire of which we will say more under the sixth trumpet.

Such readers who like to know more about the historical data should go to the resources mentioned here above and especially of Dr.Maxwell and Dr.Thiele.

 

Revelation.9:12.

The first woe is past, two more to follow. No doubt what has been described really has been a time of woe, a time of suffering and bloodshed. The Eastern Roman

Empire with the Eastern Orthodox Church in its territory went through a time of judgment for its apostasy and falling away from the truth of God’s word.

But what happened to the Ottoman Empire used in the exercise of this judgment? The next woe will give us its story.

 

Sixth Trumpet

Revelation 9:13-21 gives us the full content of what happened under the sounding of this trumpet, with some additional events mentioned in Rev.11.

 

Revelation 9:13.

The angel is still active in the Holy Place of the Sanctuary by the golden altar of incense which is before God. The sanctuary is not yet closed, probation still lingers. Also the Most Holy place is not open yet or Christ has not yet entered that place in the heavenly sanctuary. The events of the 6th trumpet are to take place before the anti-typical Day of Atonement commences, which would be October 22, 1844.

 

From the description we are again under the impression that we deal with an army of people out to torture and to destroy. There are similarities in description with the fifth trumpet

.

Revelation9:14.

The countries of the Euphrates are now included which may refer to the Near East.

The people are let loose. In Rev.16:12 The Euphrates is dried up, the people are brought to a stand still situation. Not here in 9:14

 

Revelation9:15.

A certain time is given in which they can do their work, more about this later.

 

The Islamic Turkish Ottoman Empire exists for a purpose. Heathen nations were used in OT Israel Church time to bring God’s people back from apostasy. We have seen similar situation under the former trumpets. Pagan Rome was used to bring judgment over Jerusalem but after that Pagan Rome’s own decline started.

However the desired result is not always obtained. We read in the end of Rev.9:20, 21 that they repented not. In OT times Israel did not repent but got into 70 years of Babylonian captivity and in the end lost its status as a covenant people of God, Matt.23:37-39 Read also Rev.2:21 regarding the Thyatira Church era, the dark ages.

As the Western Papal Roman church did not learn its lesson but suffered a long period of

dark ages so the Eastern Roman or Orthodox Church did not learn its lesson and suffered much under the Ottoman Empire and more later under other oppressive powers. Think about the 20th century 70 years of communist rule in Russia and Eastern Europe.

But the Lord in His grace and mercy gives a time of grace, lifting the oppression.

Communism came to an end similar to the Ottoman Empire which met its fate in time.

 

We quote the following from Dr.Maxwell: The Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire was closely allied to the Eastern Orthodox Church. Unlike the western church, the Eastern Orthodox Church chose to observe both Sabbath and Sunday and it did not venerate images, it did venerate elaborate pictures known as ‘icons’ and it, too, silenced “heretics” and interposed its priesthood between the people and Christ’s heavenly priesthood. Like the western Roman Church, it also became heavily involved in political scandals, often encouraging the empire to engage in injustice and in military aggression. God permitted Eastern Rome to be attacked by Islamic armies.

Looking on, many individuals advanced into a purer Christianity during the Reformation; but when Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant, the Christian nations, sad to say, continued in many ways to be just about as aggressive, unjust, and corrupt as other nations. They “

Did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshipping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood…; nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their immorality or their thefts “Rev.9:20, 21 The Moslem empires after filling their roles in prophecy suffered punishment like the Jewish and Christian entities. The lesson is plain that no one is better than another unless the worship of God is combined with genuine and generous relationship with people.”

(God Cares II pp 260/1)

 

Sabbath keeping did not last in the Orthodox Church. They turned to Sunday keeping like the Western Papal Rome Church. Some who remained faithful to the Sabbath did not suffer from the Islamic forces, read Rev.9:4 Seal of God is in His law, the fourth commandment It carries the three items for a seal: Name= God; title= Creator; territory= heaven and earth. Some in the Eastern, like in the Western Church remained faithful and enjoyed God’s protection.

 

Revelation 9:15, 18.

Again we notice here that not a total destruction was to take place, one third is mentioned again. This has to wait till the final Day of Judgment which starts with the blowing of the seventh trumpet.

 

Now we are ready to say something about the time factor mentioned in 9:15.  The text reads for an hour, and a day, and a month and a year. Questions have been raised regarding the understanding of this time statement. Some say it should be understood as a specific point in time, others say it is correct to understand it as a particular length of time, 391 years. Our three main resources Dr.Ed.Thiele, Dr.Maxwell and Pastor Roy Anderson do indicate to favour the 391 year period. Dr.Tarsee Li has published a paper on this matter in the “Journal of the Adventist Theological Society” 1997 page 100 after scrutinizing the Greek text he concludes his paper as follows “Suffice it to say here that

regardless how one may interpret Revelation 9:15 the Greek syntax alone does not allow a translation to prejudge the question of whether it refers to a point in time or a period of time”.

In my reading I have not come across any interpretation that it is to be understood as a point in time instead of a period of time. For that reason we cannot offer any comparison. Therefore we feel right to accept the period of time understanding. Pastor Roy Anderson in his book about the Revelation writes at length about this “period in time”, pp 92-96. Maxwell writes at length about it in his book GC II pp.262-265

 

We provide the following summary: History tells us as we read it from Maxwell and Anderson that the Ottoman Turkish Empire was well established by July 27, 1449 that was the time when Nicomedia was invaded. From that date we add 391 years and 15 days which takes us to August 11, 1840.

It was Josiah Litch, one of the preachers in the Millerite movement who predicted two years before it happened that based on this prophecy of Rev.9:15 the Ottoman Empire would come to an end and fall. Read “Great Controversy” pp.334/5. It happened exactly as Josiah Litch had predicted and calculated. This gave a tremendous boost to the credibility of the Millerite movement. Even hardened infidels were astounded about the accuracy of the prophecy. The Turkish Ottoman Empire fell at the mercy of Western Christian nations. There is no prophecy in the scriptures indicating that ever in future this would be reversed and Islam again becoming a world empire. The Ottoman Empire came to an end just before the date of October 1844 the commencement of Christ’s High Priestly ministry in the Most Holy Place of the Heavenly sanctuary or the anti-typical Day of Atonement. Read again we said about it here above, Rev.9:15 and 18.

 

There is another empire which received a deadly wound of which it is said that the wound would be healed and former glory and power be restored for a very limited length of time.

Islam is not that empire in spite of the fact it has spread itself world wide.

We will learn more about this later in our journey through the Revelation. Before we deal with the seventh trumpet we have to stop at Revelation chapter 10 and learn about something which happened at the time when the Ottoman Empire came to an end.

 

Revelation Ten

The scripture passage of Revelation 10-11:14 is an interlude before the seventh angel sounds its trumpet. It supplies more information regarding what happened during the time of the sounding of the sixth trumpet. Only when we arrive at Rev.11:14 it is stated that the second woe is past, the second woe being the sixth trumpet.

As from Rev.11:15 we are dealing with the third woe or seventh trumpet and what happens under the sounding of that trumpet.

 

What are we dealing with in Revelation ten? Reading through that chapter we are meeting an experience of disillusionment or disappointment. In the salvation history we have two serious disappointments. One in relationship to Christ’s first Advent, and later in history one related to Christ’s Second Advent.

 

In both cases we are dealing with a misunderstanding of prophecy regarding the coming of Christ and its nature of that event. In OT times we notice a great expectation of the coming of the Messiah. Even the time of His coming and appearing was given in prophecy, Dan.9:24-27. Jacob before dying spoke about the coming of the Messiah and that it would happen before the Jewish nation would loose its independence. Gen.49:10.

The Messiah came in time, was anointed in time, 27 AD, and was crucified in the year given in prophecy, AD31. But people thought it would be a deliverance from the Roman power. They hailed Him as the great future King taking possession again of the throne of David. Read Matthew 21:1-11 and Luke 19:28-44

A few days later He was hanging on a cross between two criminals. A sweet experience followed by bitterness. Read Luke 24:19-21. The two men said we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel. They had misapplied the nature of the coming of the Messiah. Jesus had to take them right through all the prophecies regarding the Messiah and open their eyes for the real nature of the coming of the Messiah, Luke 24:25-27. Then their eyes were opened, ib 31 and they saw it all in full clarity and rejoiced. All the disciples rejoiced when they saw the real nature of the Messiah and when endowed with the Holy Spirit they preached it far and near till Paul could write in Col.1:23 that it was preached to every creature which is under heaven.

 

Revelation ten reveals to us a similar experience but in relationship to Christ’s second return.  Sweetness at first followed by bitterness and then a world wide preaching again.

The sixth trumpet revealed to us the decline of the Turkish Ottoman Empire and being placed under the Western “Christian” nations  in August 11: 1840 At that time a worldwide movement was in process known in church history as the great 19th century Advent Awakening.. As a result of events happening like the darkening of the sun, moon coloured red, French revolution, the fall of Papal power followed by the stars falling from heaven serious Bible students in various Christian denominations paid more in-depth attention to Bible prophecies and in particular the book of Daniel.. They came to the conclusion that the time of the end had arrived and the Second Advent of Christ is about to take place.

 

But we will not run ahead of our story let’s start with the beginning of Rev.10:1. A mighty angel is seen coming from heaven. The angel is described as follows:

clothed with a cloud

rainbow upon his head

face as it were the sun

feet pillars of fire

vs.2 an open  little book (scroll) in his hand

right foot upon the sea

left foot upon the earth

vs.3 cries with a loud voice as of a lion

 

Who is this mighty angel? Bible scholars are divided. Some say Christ others say not Christ. But there are some features clearly pointing in the direction of Christ being that mighty angel.

The Mighty One, read Isa.9:6 Mighty God

Clothed with a cloud reminds us of Christ’s ascension into the heavens and a cloud received Him, Acts 1:9

Rainbow upon His head, a sign of grace, Gen.9:12, 13 and 1Cor.16:23 the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

His face as the sun, we have met that in Rev.1:16 and feet as pillars of fire in Rev.1:15

The cry as of a lion reminds us of the Lion of Judah in Rev.5:5

All these items points clearly to Christ being that Mighty Angel. It has clear similarities of what Daniel saw and described in Daniel 10:5, 6 and what we have seen in Revelation chapter1.  .

 

We have affirmation of this view from Ellen G.White: The mighty angel who instructed John was no less a personage than Jesus Christ. Setting His right foot on the sea, and His left upon dry land shows the part which he is acting in the closing scenes of the Great Controversy with Satan.  (SDABC 7-971)

 

Revelation.10:3, 4

Here it talks about seven thunders John hears and what they say but is not allowed to write it down but to seal it. We should stay away from speculation because it is sealed.

 

Revelation.10:5, 6

Here the Mighty Angel makes a strong declaration by swearing that there should be time no longer. The Greek word for time in this case is chronos that means chronological time. There still will be kairos time, special events of time, but not a long period of time. We may say there will be no more prophetic time.

In Revelation 1:3 and 11:18 the Greek word kairos is used meaning that the event is near

When it reads no longer or no more in other translations it indicates that a certain length of prophetic time has come to an end.

 

Revelation.10:7.

The mighty angel of verse 1 continues revealing what will happen when the seventh angel will give its trumpet voice, the mystery of God should be finished. The seventh trumpet is the last work of God on earth. The mystery of God will come to an end.

 

What is the mystery of God? No doubt the answer is in 2Tim.3:16. It is God revealed in the flesh. That is John 1:14 Christ the Word made flesh and preached in the world.

It is also what Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:9, 10 the mystery of His will to bring all together in Christ in the fullness of times. Paul uses the Greek word kairos in the plural; meaning when all the time events have taken place the great consummation in Christ will take place. More about this when we deal with the seventh trumpet in Rev.11:15-19

 

 

 

Revelation.10:8

John’s attention is called back to the book in the hand of the Mighty Angel. For the second time the book is said to be open. For obvious reason it can only mean that it was closed before. From verse 11, the conclusion of this chapter, we learn that the book contains something which must be preached worldwide, for that reason twice John writes that the Mighty Angel is standing upon sea and the earth. The message of that book must go over land and sea wherever people may be found living.

 

Is there a book which was closed or sealed and now is seen to be open? For sure there is.

We have to go to Daniel 8:26 where we learn that the vision given in Daniel 8 about the sanctuary how it will be abused and restored is for many days or as Dr.Maxwell writes

at the end of time (GC I p.179) NASB reads pertains to many days in the future,

Similar wording in the RSV

Then we read in Daniel 12:4 that he is told to shut up and seal the book till the time of the end. Daniel is also told that there would be a lot of running back and forth and that knowledge shall be increased.

 

For further clarification we quote from Dr.Maxwell: What is the little scroll? The document that is open in John’s vision is the same document that was sealed in Daniel’s vision. Its ‘words’ were in some sense ‘shut up’ in Daniel’s day, but not for all days; they were shut up only ‘until the time of the end.’ After ‘ a time, two times, and half a time’ – that is after three and half symbolic years or 1260 symbolic days – ‘ many shall run to and fro,’ Daniel was promised,’ and knowledge shall increase, Daniel 12:4-7. John’s vision expressed what Daniel’s vision implied, namely that an era would arrive, near the end of time, at the end of the 1260 years, when Daniel’s book would be opened.

(GC II p.275) It means that the book of Daniel would come to full understanding in the end of time, after the 1260 years.

 

Let’s go to Daniel 12:4-7 and read what is written there. Yes, we do read about the increase of knowledge, which has been fulfilled by increasing technical knowledge, but also knowledge in the understanding of the prophetic word and in particular the books of Daniel and Revelation. We also read about a man standing by Daniel and from the description we conclude it is the same one who is seen by John in Revelation 1 and 10

That person swares by Him that lives for ever about the three and half times.Dan.12:7 The Mighty Angel of Revelation 10 also swares by Him that lives for ever, Rev.10:6. That person is clothed in linen as Daniel saw in Dan.10:5

 

Ellen G.White after quoting Dan.10:2-6 writes: The description is similar to that given by John when Christ was revealed to him upon the Isle of Patmos. No less personage than the Son of God appeared to Daniel. Our Lord comes with another heavenly messenger to teach Daniel what would take place in the latter days. (Bible Sanctification p.49/50 edition 1889) Both Daniel and John have visions of Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

The 1260 years mentioned in the quotation here above by Dr.Maxwell came to an end in 1798. At that same time awhile before and after, certain events took place as we have learned about when dealing with the sixth seal, Rev.6:12, 13 A wave of in-depth study of the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation started, as we have mentioned before. It led these students to Dan.8:14 and 9:24-27. They concluded Christ would come in 1844. (Read more about this under Daniel section of this website,” Sanctuary Obscured and Restored”,”1844”; and “Tamid”.)

 

Hundreds of preachers from various denominations including the Roman Catholic community, preached worldwide about the coming of Christ in glory and judgment for planet earth. The leading minister was William Miller a Baptist preacher. The movement was called after his name, the Millerite Advent Awakening of the mid 19th century. It was a non Sabbatarian but Sunday keeping movement. They were 100% correct on the timing of 457BC – AD1844  but were incorrect regarding what would happen in 1844 It was a very sweet message for those who believed and accepted this message, but turned out in a very bitter disappointment. John was told in Rev.10:9, 10 to eat the book, it would be sweet as honey in his mouth but bitter in his belly. He did as he was told and experienced as was said by the angel. This eating of a book was not new. We read about it in Jer.15:16; Eze.2:8, 9; 3:1-3.

 

Christ did not come in 1844, not on the date they had set for it, being October 22, 1844,

but nevertheless the message of the Second Advent of Christ could not be stopped.

 

Revelation.10:11

After the disappointment they had to start all over again and prophesy or preach all over the world again. So it happened and is still happening today, more about this when we reach Rev.14:6, 7.

 

Nobody then and today could find any fault with the calculation of the time of the 2300 years, 457BC – AD1844 Even the enemies of the Millerite Movement, the best scholars of the time and chronologists could not find and have never found any error in the calculations of the prophetic times of Daniel and Revelation (Read “Prophetic Faith of Fathers” Vol.III & IV by Dr.Leroy Froom) The nature of the event to take place at that time was obscured and caused the bitter disappointment. Thousands left the movement in bitterness. But a significant few continued studying, aiming to learn what had been wrong. They learned about the sanctuary truth of the Bible and that Christ is High Priest in the Heavenly Sanctuary, Hebr.8:1, 2 They learned that the heavenly sanctuary had to be cleansed, Hebr.9:22, 23 They concluded that in AD31 Christ as High Priest had started His ministry in the first apartment of the sanctuary and that in 1844 He started His ministry in the second apartment or most holy place. The anti-typical Day of Atonement had commenced and that at the end of that ministry Christ would come in Glory to claim His own. They also discovered the truth of the Seventh day Biblical Sabbath of which Christ declared to be Lord, Mark 2:27, 28, the real and true Lord’s Day.

 

They discovered fresh and anew  the truth of being saved by grace through faith (Eph.2:8) but also that when we are save by grace  and love God for His saving grace we are willing to keep His commandments, Eccl.12:13,14; John14:15; 1John 2:3; Rev.14:12.

This new group started to preach these new found truths and organised themselves into the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist church in 1863, they preached again as it reads in Rev.10:11.The bitter disappointment was resolved and turned into joy as it did for the men on the way to Emmaus, Luke 24:32 when the scriptures were opened to them.

You may learn about the message preached by the Seventh-day Adventist church by going to the links of 3ABN and Hope TV, also via a satellite roof dish.

 

 

Revelation Eleven.

There is more to learn about what happened during the time that the sixth angel was sounding its trumpet. We turn now to chapter eleven. In the book “Last Day Events”, page 95 by Ellen G.White (LDA) we are admonished to read chapter eleven of the Revelation. This is what we will do now.

 

The chapter starts in verse 1 with judgment and ends with judgment in verses 18, 19 this must indicate its importance. The apostle Peter writes in 1Peter 4:17 that judgment begins at the house (household NASB) of God. This means judgment begins first with God’s people. Some may object to that idea but it is biblical. Deut.32:36; Hebr.10:30 God will judge His people Rom.14:10 we will all come before the judgment seat of God (go to study “Gospel and Judgment” in this website)

 

Revelation.11:1

A reed like a rod was given to John to measure. NASB reads a measuring rod.

That the rod is giving to John who is a human may indicate that we have to examine or measure ourselves how we stand before God, 2Cor.13:5

 

In Amos time Israel was going to be measured with a plumbline, Amos 7:7, 8

 

Zechariah also was to measure Jerusalem to see if all was straight and correct, Zech.2:1, 2

Before we will stand before the judgment seat of God it is wise to measure ourselves and see if we are in the faith of God and be in harmony with the Word of God. 2Cor.13:5

 

Regarding the temple B.W.Johnson as quoted in the NUBR writes “The temple of God (verse 1) throughout the New testament always points to the church. (1Cor.3:16; 6:19; 2Thess.2:4) See also 1Peter 2:4, 5 we are a spiritual house in which we have to serve and of which Christ is the corner stone, ib.6-8

 

The church has not always been faithful as it should have been. Remember the first vision about the seven churches and Christ’s letters to these churches in Rev. 2 & 3. We are in chapter 11 still at the end of the sixth trumpet which took us to the time of the end which is the time of judgment. First investigative judgment before there will be the executive judgment. But when the judgment will be manifest, Rev.15:4, that is to say to see the outcome of it, we will hear the angel say thou art righteous, O Lord, which art and wast, and shall be, because thou hast judged this. (Rev.16:5)

 

The judgment in which John is involved is only about those who worship in the temple. If they are found to be faithful the judgment will be in their favour, Dan.7:22 (NASB, NKJV)

 

But it says in Reve.11:1 that the temple itself should be measured as well. The temple is the church. The altar is the centre of worship in the church. According to the time line of the church as we have seen in Revelation 2 & 3 we are in the time of the Sardis church of which we read in Rev.3:1 that she is in a so-called dead position. It is a time for the plumbline to be taken and to see what the standing of the church is like. Ellen G.White writes:” If the church is to resemble a temple, let it be built according to the pattern shown in heaven, and not according to man’s genius. The invention of man often counteracts the working out of God’s plans. The golden measuring rod has not been placed in the hands of any finite man or any calls of men, whatever their position or calling, but is in the hand of the heavenly Architect. If men will not meddle with God’s plans, and will let Him work upon minds and characters, building them up according to His plan, a work will be accomplished that will stand through the severest of trial. (TM 209)

 

Barnes gives us the following interesting comment: “John is: a. to take a just estimate what constitutes the true church as distinguished from all other associations of men,

bto institute a careful examination into the opinions in the church on the subject of sacrifice and atonement – involving the whole question about the method of justification be fore God and, c. to take a correct estimate of what constitute true membership in the church. (NUBR)

 

It is interesting to note that just these matters as Barnes mentions in regard to atonement and sanctuary; the misunderstanding of these points had caused the great disappointment of 1844. After that event special study took place in regard to the sanctuary, atonement and later also to the matter of justification by faith to counteract legalism or justification by works.

 

Revelation.11:2

The court, the place where the gentiles are allowed to be, is not to be measured. We learn from the Revelation that there are two periods of judgment. One for the church, the saints, before probation closes to determine who are in Christ (Rom.8:1) and the other time of judgment of which we will learn more when we reach Rev.20, for those who are not in Christ and called here in Rev.11:2 gentiles.

 

You may remember that the apostle Paul was arrested under false accusation that he had brought Greeks, gentiles into the temple and had polluted the holy place, Acts 21:27-29

 

Gentiles are also the ones who tread the holy city under foot forty and two months. This is a similar expression as we found in Luke 21:24. The difference is that here in Rev.11:2

the time is given to be 42 months or 1260 days, a well known period of time in prophecy.

Going ahead of what we will discuss in Revelation 12 in detail regarding this time period, we are dealing with the 1260 years of Papal Rome supremacy from AD538-1798 . During that time the literal city of Jerusalem was out of focus as far as prophecy is concerned, having been destroyed in AD70. The NT Israel Church has become follow on of the OT Israel Church. All names in connection with OT Israel are now applicable to the NT Israel Church. Paul writes in Hebr.12:22, 23 that believers have come to the city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem the church of the first born.

 

What Christ predicted in Luke 21:24 covers that same period and Jerusalem having the same meaning as what Paul wrote. The 42 months is a period of unbelievers versus believers. Time of oppression and persecution, similar to the same prophetic time period mentioned in Dan.7:25 and in Revelation 12 and 13. Dr.Mervyn Maxwell, Dr.John T.Baldwin and Dr.Hans K.LaRondelle have written extensively about this time period and combined the two texts of Luke 21:24 and Rev.11:2 together as being one and the same period.

 

Revelation.11:3

The angel is not finished yet but has more to say regarding this time period of

1260 days/years, two witnesses will receive power to do their work, but under sackcloth.

We first have to find out who are these two witnesses. The angel says my two witnesses.

If we can agree that the angel speaking is the same as the one speaking in Revelation 10

Jesus Christ Himself, than we can conclude that they are Christ’s witnesses and that it is His Word which witnesses for Christ, bearing to the world Christ’s message of salvation.

John was for that word and witness banned to the Isle of Patmos.Rev.1:9 In Greek the same word for witness is used in each case, 1:9 and 11:3.

 

Revelation.11:4-6

In these verses more information is given about these two witnesses. Verse 4 is a direct link to Zech.4:2, 3. In the time period under discussion these two witnesses were known as the Bible, the Old and New testament, but in that time the people were not allowed to possess, preach from or distribute the Bible. They still did their work but under cover clothed in sackcloth.

 

Ellen G.White writes as follows: Concerning the two witnesses, the prophet declares further, ‘These are the two olive-trees and two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth’. ‘Thy word,” said the Psalmist ‘is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path’. The two witnesses represent the Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament.”(GCp.267)

 

In verse 5 and 6 we have more information about the character of these witnesses. It talks about calling fire from heaven. This may refer to what Elisha did in 2Kings 1:9-12

What is mentioned in verse 6 is about Elijah pronouncing 3.5 years of drought, no rain.

1King.17:1; Luke 4:25; James 5:17, 18. It is interesting that the 3.5 years equals 42 months or 1260 days the prophetic period of spiritual drought during the dark ages and the reign of Papal Rome. Then in the latter part of verse 6 there is a reference to Moses in Egypt and calling for the plagues to fall over Egypt, Ex.7-11

 

Revelation.11:7

After the witnesses shall have finished their testimony or witness, referring to verse 3 under sackcloth during the 1260 period, these witnesses will meet another more severe battle or war against them. A beast will come up from the bottomless pit.

In prophetic terms a beast stands for a power or kingdom. We learn that from Daniel 7.

Bottomless pit resembles a chaotic disorderly situation.

 

What kind of power are we dealing with here? What happened when the 1260 time period came to an end? When we deal with Revelation 12 we will learn that this period of time ended in 1798, and in that period of time we have what is known in history the French revolution.

 

Let’s read what Ellen G.White has to say about this: “The period when the two witnesses were to prophecy clothed in sackcloth, ended in 1798. As they were approaching the termination of their work in obscurity, war was to be made upon them by the power represented as ‘the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit.’ In many of the nations of Europe the powers that ruled in church and state had for centuries been controlled by Satan, through the medium of the papacy. But here is brought to view a new manifestation of satanic power.”(GC 269)

 

Revelation.11:8

The French revolution launched an open war against these two witnesses or the Bible. They would go out to kill them and led them be on the street as dead. The situation is called spiritual Sodom and Egypt. What took place in the past was repeated in the French revolution. Christ as it were would be openly, publicly crucified. The sins of Sodom were repeated during the French revolution and a God defying attitude as in Egypt took place, a strong mentality of atheism in the extreme. Read Ex.5:2 what Pharaoh had to say about God represented by Moses. The French revolution was a reaction to the dark ages expressed in hatred against religion, God and the Bible.

 

Revelation.11:9, 10

A period of 3.5 days, or years is mentioned in which time the people would have feast and joy over the fact that they had conquered religion and stilled the voice of God’s word, the Bible. (Read more about this under General Studies of this website, topic “Reign of Terror’)

 

Revelation.11:11, 12

But people could kill the Word of God and leave it for dead in the streets but they would not be given opportunity to burry it, see verse 9. Here in verse 11 we are told that the dead” bodies” would be given new life and stand on their feet again. People watching this would be filled with fear and amazement.

 

After the reign of terror the authorities in France realised that religion is necessary to the happiness and prosperity of a nation. New laws were put in place to give religious freedom. The Bible came to new life and in a relatively short period of time Bible societies and Mission organisations sprang up in many places in Europe carrying the message of these two witnesses, the Bible, everywhere. They ascended as it where up into the heavens indicating their world wide dissemination.

 

In later years the principles of the French Revolution were practiced during the 70 years of communism in Russia and other parts of the world. But that did not last either, it collapsed as well in 1991 and religious freedom returned to Russia and other parts of the world.

 

 

Revelation.11:13

Here is another description of what took place during the French revolution and described in prophetic graphic terms. The tenth part of the city would fall. We are dealing here with the city of Papal Rome, the spiritual power which had been ruling Europe or the so-called ten nations division of Pagan Rome. Dr.Ed.Thiele has an interesting quotation which we will use here: Now what is this tenth part of this city, which shall fall? In my opinion we cannot doubt that it is France. This kingdom is the most considerable part, or piece, of the ten horns, or states which once made up the great Babylonian city……This tenth part of the city shall fall, with respect to the Papacy; it shall break with Rome, and the Roman religion.”(Outline Studies in Revelation, p.194)

In Revelation we are dealing with two cities, Babylon the city of apostasy and Jerusalem the city of the saved.

 

The last sentence of verse 13 tells us that the remnant, the faithful, were affrighted, no wonder in such a situation as the French revolution, but at the same time when they saw the outcome, they gave Glory to the God of heaven So should we give glory to God and keep putting our faith and trust in God and in His word, the Bible.

 

Revelation.11:14

Now the second woe or the sounding of the sixth trumpet has come to a complete end. The time is now for the seventh trumpet.

 

Revelation.11:15-19.

This is the last part of the seven trumpets. The sixth trumpet took us into the time of the end or the last days of the salvation story. Each of the three visions given to John which we have dealt with has been ending with the time of the end or the time of judgment. Laodicea was the end of the seven churches “People’s court of justice or a people adjudged” (SDABC vol.8 p.258)

 

In the sixth seal we also reached the end of times and the unprepared unbelievers being afraid “for the great day of his wrath” Rev.6:17

 

We have learned that the sixth trumpet took us into the 19th century around 1840 also being the beginning of the time of the end. The first signs of the period of that time took already place in the latter part of the eighteenth century. The big earthquake of Lisbon in 1755,  the Dark day of 1780, the moon getting red thereafter and later in the 19th century, 1833 the stars falling from heave, all forerunners of the time of the end.

 

We have learned from Rev.10:7 that in the days of the seventh trumpet the mystery of God should be finished. We have learned that this refers to the consummation of the plan of salvation, which is the hour of judgment, (Rev.14:6, 7) and the glorious return of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

In the seventh trumpet description we are given some details of what will take place during that time. Dr.Ed.Thiele in his book “Outline Studies in the Revelation” gives a 10 point summing up of the events under the seventh trumpet. I will not quote verbally what he has written but will give a summary of his ten points.

  1. The mystery of God finished, Rev.10:7; Eph.3:3-6; Rom.16:25, 26

 

  1. Rev.11:15. 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. This is a clear reference to the second coming of Christ in glory and when he will take possession of this world. See also Rev.19:1, 6;Dan.2:44; 7:14

The rule of evil is broken; Satan’s time is finished for ever and ever

 

  1. 11:16,17. The 24 elders are falling down in an act of worship., see Rev.19:4

 

  1. 11:18. The nations are angry. The totality of war since the middle of the nineteenth century and in particularly during the 20th century is more than the totality of wars put together since the beginning of times. Think about the two big world wars and wars after WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, wars in Africa, Asia, revolutions in China, Cuba and other places with bloodshed and enormous loss of life. The nations are angry as never before world wide.

 

  1. 11:18.The hour of God’s wrath has arrived, judgment day.  Rev.15:7; 16:1 We will say more about this when we reach Rev.14:6, 7

 

  1. 11:18 Time of judgment for God’s people, the prophets, the saints. Hebr.10:30; 1Peter 4:17; Dan.7:22

 

  1. 11:18 Reward will be given for the faithful ones. Rev.22:12; Matth.25:14-23

 

  1. 11:18. Those who have destroyed the world, will be destroyed. Rev.19:2 How this will take place we will learn when we reach Rev.20

Many people today who are worried about the bad state of planet earth caused by           human activities and are campaigning for a change, should take note of this. God will step in soon and destroy those who are destroying the world. Are they ready to meet God in that day of executive judgment? Are we ready, are you ready reading these words?

 

  1. Rev.11:19. The temple of God is opened and the ark of the testimony is seen. In our journey through the Revelation we have reached the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary. In Revelation 1 we started in the Holy Place now we are in the Most Holy Place. It is also called the Ark of the Covenant as in ASV version.

In the OT sanctuary the Ark of the Covenant contained the words of the covenant

or the Ten Commandments Ex.34:28; Hebr.9:4 Everything was made by Moses according to the pattern given to him by the Lord.

 

The ark of the testimony also relates to the Ten Commandments which are the testimony, Exod.31:18; Deut 4:13. The Ten Commandments including the Sabbath commandment are in heaven.

 

In the OT sanctuary services the Most Holy Place was only opened and entered by the High Priest on the Day of Atonement We may conclude that here in Reve.11:19 we have reached the time of the anti-typical Day of Atonement which again is the end of time. More about this when we deal with Rev.14:6, 7

 

We quote from Dr.Maxwell: Because Revelation is a book that reveals Jesus and because Jesus is now in the heavenly sanctuary, we are not surprised that the heavenly sanctuary or temple is mentioned in Revelation repeatedly. In fact it is referred to fourteen times and especially located in heaven. (GC II p.164)

 

10.   Rev.11:19. The last point is that there were lightnings and voices and thundering       

and an earthquake and great hail. This is a clear reference to the seventh plague of Rev.16:18-21

 

These ten points will not happen in this chronological order. The executive events will take place last, while the opening of the temple is the beginning of the time of the end which took place according to Dan.8:14 in 1844 see related study to this year elsewhere in this website, and when we will learn more about the hour of judgment in Rev.14:6, 7

 

We must keep in mind that when the Lord will destroy those who destroyed the earth, the Lord also will create a new earth and a new heaven.

Read Revelation 21.Be looking forward to that time and by God’s grace and through faith in Christ the Lamb be ready for that great divine act of restoration. .

 

 

 

Jan T Knopper

July 2008,

Edited September 2010

Revisited September 2013

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