The rise of Mohammed and Islam.
A.D. 632 to A.D. 932 = 300 years
The territory of the Dragon upon which the imperial "sun" shone before being darkened by the smoke.
SECOND SECTION OF THE SEVENTH SEAL
FIFTH TRUMPET; OR, FIRST WOE
A 'star' in 'the heaven' falling destructively upon the 'earth'
1 And the 5th angel sounded, and I saw a star [one who had acquired power, and become a king] <which had fallen out of the> heaven <into> the earth: and <there was given> to him the key [to this king was yielded the power of Arabia] of the <pit of the abyss> [the territory of the eastern Roman empire].
The star of the fifth trumpet may also be styled... when John saw it in vision, a fallen star. ... It was not a fixed star of the heaven, transmitting through the air" in "the night" of the Greek catholic world, the reflected light of the Byzantine "sun."
Had it been a fixed star of the eastern Roman firmament, its falling would not have been to receive power, but the deprivation of everything constituting the glory of a star.
... It had fallen, or descended, into the earth, as the Apsinthian Star had fallen, or descended into the rivers and fountains of water. It did not forsake the heaven as its place, because it had fallen into the earth; but being a power, a power of the heaven peculiar to itself, it retained its position there, but fell with destructive effect upon the people represented by "the earth."
By "the earth" in this vision is meant "the dwellers upon the earth;" or the grass, green things, and trees, which symbolized the unsealed. The eagle-angel community, constituted of the servants of the Deity sealed in their foreheads, was not to be tormented by this woe. The sealed servants of the Deity -- the enlightened believers who have obeyed the truth -- are nowhere in the apocalypse styled "the earth". They are "a Holy Nation."
... "The earth," in the prophecy of the fifth and sixth trumpets, is symbolical of the secular and ecclesiastical orders and people of the Catholic Apostasy; which, by the fifth trumpet were to be "tormented" and "injured;" and by the sixth, to be "killed," or deprived of all power, authority and rule, over the Eastern Third of the fourth beast dominion (ix. 15,18).
... In other words, "the earth" was fallen upon, or invaded, by the star-power.
Eureka 9. Introduction
Origin of the star
...It was in the reign of Heraclius that the fifth trumpet began to sound; and that "the abomination of desolation" established itself as the normal condition of things in the Holy Land.
The events transpiring in the Pit of the Abyss until it was opened by the Star, were contemporaneous with the first twenty-three years of the reign of Heraclius.
Mohammed, who was the principal agent in the development of the Star-Power, began his career at Mecca, A.D. 609, by proclaiming the unity of God, and his own apostleship. In three years he had made fourteen proselytes; and in 613, assumed the prophetic office. On this occasion he said: "Friends and kinsmen, I offer you, and I alone can offer, the most precious of gifts, the treasures of this world, and of the world to come. God has commanded me to call you to this service. Who among you will support my burthen?"
His uncle, Abu Taleb, tried to turn him from what he considered his impracticable design. "Spare your remonstrances," rejoined Mohammed; "if they should place the sun on my right hand, and the moon on my left, they should not divert me from my course."
Like Alexander and the Napoleons, first and third, he felt within an impulse irresistible, which impelled him blindly upon a course, which had been marked out for him to run in the preparation of a power, that should torment and destroy the corruptors and enemies of the truth.
The Pit of the Abyss
The pit... is an immense depression in the surface of the globe, confining upon Palestine, then a province of the Eastern Third, called the Greek or Byzantine empire.
It is the pit or reservoir, or basin in which lies the abussos, abyss, or Dead Sea. It is introduced here symbolically to represent the region styled Arabia, whose tribes inhabited it, and poured out of it "into the earth." The Arabic region is well represented as "the pit;" and locality of "a great furnace;" for the district of the Dead Sea, and of the whole valley of the Jordan northward to the Lake of Tiberias, is quite a phenomenon in physical geography, being below the level of the ocean.
...Owing to the great depth of this "pit," or depression of the surface, together with the heights which wall in the valley, the heat powerfully accumulates, or becomes as it were "a great furnace," by the concentration and reflection of the solar rays, while the bordering highlands prevent the admission of external breezes to relieve the temperature.
...So this Arabian Pit was the place of a fire burning as a furnace, which, when it should be "opened," would pour forth a woeful tormenting power upon the unsealed inhabitants of the earth.
... John saw the pit of the abyss in this fiery, or embattled, condition before it was opened; but he has revealed to us no details. He has simply informed us, that a power was developed that was able to open the pit of the abyss; and to let out the contents thereof, which he styles "smoke" and "locusts".
The Dead sea ''Pit of the Abyss"
The apocalyptic symbol of the region from which the the armies of Mohammed would emerge to torment the catholic
The Key of the Pit
A key is symbolical of governmental power and authority. The laying of the key of the house of David upon the shoulder of Eliakim, was representative of the bestowal of regal power upon ONE, who should be for a glorious throne to his father's house, and have the sole power of opening and shutting (Isa. xxii. 22).
With the Mohammedans, it is also symbolical of administrative power.
"The Koran," says M. Peyron, "continually speaks of the Key of God, which opened to them the gates of the world and of religion.
So in the Koran: "Did not God give to His legate the power of heaven which is above, and fire (the furnace-pit) which is beneath? With the Key, did he not give him the title and power of a porter, that he may open to those (the locusts) whom he may have chosen?"
The parentheses in this quotation are mine.
...The key was also an armorial bearing of the Mohammedans in Spain. When they crossed from Africa to Spain, it was on their standard; and was afterwards sculptured on the archway of the Alhambra
...On his establishment in Medina, this Unitarian Prophet assumed the exercise of the regal and sacerdotal office. He was now a Pontiff-King in the Pit of the Abyss, rising into great power and dominion, like that other Pontiff-King in Rome, who was at the same time, as the spiritual chief of the image-worshippers of "the abyss," assuming divine supremacy over "the earth."
Of the two, Mohammed was, doubtless, less of an impostor than the prophet of the west. The pope is an idolator, and the prince of idolators; but the Prince of Medina among his companions was the champion of the Divine Unity; and the uncompromising enemy of idolatry in every form. He was now "a star in the heaven," where he shone without a rival till A.D. 632.
After a reign of six years, fifteen hundred Moslems, in arms and in the field, renewed their oath of allegiance. The deputy of Mecca witnessed the review, and was astonished at the devout fervor of his attendants. "I have seen," said he, "the Chosroes of Persia and the Caesars of Rome, but never did I behold a king among his subjects like Mohammed among his companions."
...abussos is improperly rendered "bottomless pit." In Isa. xliv. 27, what in the Septuagint is abussos, or abyss, is in the Hebrew tzulah "deep;"
...Abyss is frequently used in the Greek version as synonymous with sea. The following passages show this sense of the word abussos. In Job xxxviii. 30 -- "the face of the abyss is frozen;" xli. 31, "he maketh the abyss to boil like a pot; he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment." In Isa. lxiii. 13, where is he "that led them through the abyss" by the hand of Moses? It is manifest that there is nothing bottomless in the abyss as used in these texts.
...The apocalyptic abyss is this troubled sea of nations, inhabiting the countries circumjacent to the Great Sea; and out of which Daniel's four beasts arose. Arabia is physically and politically "the pit" of this "abyss" -- physically, because it is a sandy sea-bottom; and politically, because its tribes may be regarded as the lowest, or worst of the peoples of the east.
...This key is power given to one to open the pit to let out clouds of tormentors and destroyers. Their mission is not to deliver the nations from official and clerical deceivers; but to torment and injure these blind leaders, and those who are blindly led by them. These all "have not the seal of the Deity in their foreheads;" and were therefore obnoxious to the stinging calamities inflicted by the bold, licentious, and ferocious swarms emergent from the smoke-clouds of the flaming pit.
The Pit becomes a Burning Furnace
The choice of an independent people had exalted the fugitive of Mecca to the rank of a sovereign; so that he was now invested with the prerogative of forming alliances, and of waging offensive or defensive war. In other words, being now the Star of the Pit he possessed the power of kindling within its limits a burning furnace, in which might be melted down into one homogeneous mass, all the tribes of Arabia.
This was the arduous work before Mohammed in the last years of his reign to eradicate idolatry, subdue the Jews, and to conquer the Arabs, so as to unite all under his standard. His former moderation, the effect of weakness, was superseded by a fiercer and more sanguinary tone; and he gave out that he was commanded to propagate his religion by the sword, to destroy the monuments of idolatry, and to pursue the unbelieving nations of the earth.
The martial prophet fought in person at nine battles, or sieges; and fifty enterprises of war were achieved in ten years by himself or lieutenants. "The Key of the Pit of the Abyss was given to him;" nor was he ignorant of the nature of the key bestowed upon him. "The sword," said he, "is the key of heaven and of hell."
2 And he opened the <pit of the abyss>; <smoke ascended> out of the pit, as <it were> smoke of a great furnace; and the sun <was darkened> and the air <from> the smoke of the pit.
[And he removed the barriers by which Arabia was shut up from the world without, and a fiery host issued forth, and, by reason of the smoking fierceness of their wrath, subverted the imperial Byzantine authority, and changed the political aerial constitution of the catholic countries they overrun].
The Smoke of the Pit
Until the power of the Prophet-King, or Star, was matured in "the pit of the abyss," the pit was shut; so that neither "smoke" nor "locusts" could issue forth upon "the earth" to torment and destroy the unsealed.
The furnace was roaring with flaming blast in the pit, from which nothing could come forth until the acquisition of undisputed authority and power by the star. This he at length acquired; for it is testified, that "he opened the pit of the abyss."
He had become a powerful star, ruling over the kingdom of the pit, styled historically, the kingdom of Arabia; the armies of which no longer in a state of civil war, but united under the yellow banner of the star, were prepared to rush through the opened portals of the pit, and to invade the world at large. And invade it they did; for when the pit was opened, smoke poured out in columns vast enough to darken the sun and the air.
... Smoke arising out of a pit, and darkening the sun and air, is symbolical of divine anger and wrath against the things represented by "the sun and air."
The Sun Darkened by the Smoke
The sun is here the symbol of the same imperial majesty as that which was darkened in its third by the judgments of the fourth trumpet. The darkened third had recovered its light in the process of re-annexing Italy and Africa to the Byzantine, Greek, or Constantinopolitan, empire in the reign of Justinian.
The "deadly wound" the Sixth Head had received, had been "healed;" and its affairs restored to order in Italy by the Pragmatic Sanction, A.D. 554. The sun now shining forth, "the third of the day and of the night," then recovered their brightness.
The sun, therefore, now shone upon Italy, Africa, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, Greece, and the islands of the sea. "The rest of the men not killed by" the fifth and sixth trumpet plagues, were found in Spain, Gaul, Britain, Germany, &c. When the sun was darkened by the smoke of the pit, its light, or power, was quenched in the countries of "the earth" where the locusts of the smoke established themselves.
The Air Darkened by the Smoke
Not only was the sun darkened, but "the air" likewise. In the darkening of the Roman luminaries by the fourth trumpet "the air" remained unaffected. In symbolic language, the air denotes the civil and ecclesiastical constitution of the world. This constitution was not changed when the Seventh Head superseded the Sixth in Rome. It still continued catholic.
The Gothic kingdom of Italy was a catholic monarchy administered by Arian catholic kings, who distributed civil and ecclesiastical offices both to Arian and Trinitarian members of the apostasy. But when the smoke of the pit darkened "the air" all this was changed where its locusts tormented the unsealed.
The aerial constitution became Arabian. Place and power, in the conquered countries, were only for the locusts of the smoke; so that if a catholic idolator would retain office, he must become a convert to the new superstition, which so darkened the air politically, that the rays of the spirituals of wickedness in the Byzantine heaven, could not pass through it for the illumination of their coreligionists in scorpion-like torment.
The Sun and the Air Darkened
After these things, the earth was invaded, and Damascus, the capital of Syria, attacked. An army of seventy thousand succors -- indifferently styled Syrians, from the place of their birth or warfare; Greeks, from the religion and language of their sovereign; and Romans, from the appellation still assumed by the successors of Constantine -- were encountered and dispersed; and, after a siege of seventy days, Damascus was taken by storm and capitulation, A.D. 634.
While being surrendered in one quarter, the city was betrayed and taken by assault in the opposite. Caled, the Sword of God, rushed in with his rapacious and sanguinary lion-toothed locusts. "No quarter," he cried, "no quarter to the enemies of the Lord;" his trumpets sounded, and a torrent of Mariolatrous blood was poured into the streets of Damascus.
A large majority of the people accepted the terms of toleration and tribute offered by Abu Obeidah, the general in chief; but Caled, "the lieutenant of the Commander of the Faithful," was for a general massacre. The fury of "the Sword of God" was at length appeased; nevertheless he sternly declared that, after a respite of three days, all who left the city as exiles, with Thomas, their valiant, though unsuccessful defender, might be pursued and destroyed by the Moslems.
On the fourth day, he issued from Damascus in pursuit. Having overtaken the promiscuous multitude of priests, monks and citizens, encamped in a pleasant valley, insufficiently provided with arms, and already vanquished by sorrow and fatigue, Caled and his cavalry rushed upon them, smoking with fury. Except a captive who was pardoned and dismissed, the Arabs enjoyed the satisfaction of believing that not a Virgin-Mary worshipper of either sex escaped the edge of their scymitars.
Thus, the Pit of the Abyss was effectually "opened" by the key-sword in the hand of the first of the Caliphs. The "smoke of the pit" was curling and drifting over "the earth" in the direction of the Great Sea. After the battle of Yermuk, the conquest of Jerusalem, and then of Aleppo and Antioch, Heraclius fled from the country, and bid an eternal farewell to Syria, which, A.D. 639, bowed under the sceptre of the Caliphs seven hundred years after Pompey had despoiled the last of the Macedonian kings.
Thus, the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit; and Syria, now become Arabian, became the seat and support of the house of Ommiyah; and the revenue, the soldiers, the ships of that powerful kingdom were consecrated to enlarge on every side the empire of the caliph-kings of the locusts, "the angel of the abyss," the ABADDON, in the land of the Hebrew tongue.
But the "torment" of the catholic worshippers of images and daemons was not to be confined to the land of Israel; it was to extend to the countries where Greek was the vernacular, and there the caliph-power was to be revealed as the most potent and absolute of the globe. It was to torment with an intensity that should acquire for it in Greek the name APOLLYON, the destroyer.
In the ten years of the administration of the caliph Omar, the Saracens reduced to his obedience thirty-six thousand cities or castles, destroyed four thousand churches or temples of the unbelievers, and erected fourteen hundred mosques for the exercise of the religion of Mohammed.
...But their preservation is attributable, not to the virtue, skill and power of those establishments, but to the fact that "to them it was given that they should not kill them." The Greek Church and State were not to be broken up and to become politically extinct; and therefore, though Constantinople was twice besieged by the Saracens, the first time for seven years, and the last for thirteen months, they could not capture it, and abolish its dominion.
They were not to inflict political death upon the Byzantine Empire, which they would certainly have done had they captured Constantinople. This consummation was reserved for the Four Angel-Powers of the Euphrates, under the sixth trumpet. The horse-like locusts were only to darken, torment, and injure, for a specific period; and when this was passed, according to the analogy of the insects to which they were likened, to settle down so as at length to be found no longer tormenting "the earth."
The Pit of the Abyss Opened
When Heraclius, emperor of the Roman world, returned victorious from the Persian war, A.D. 629, Mohammed having conquered and converted the idolators of Arabia, and thereby united them into one kingdom, judged that the time had come to invite the princes and nations of the Catholic Idolatry to abandon the worship of images and demons, commonly known among the ignorant as the ghosts of dead men and women.
...Though originally an ignorant pagan Arab, and afterwards but imperfectly instructed in the scriptures, he had become wiser than the whole catholic world. He not only spurned the gods of his native land, but he vindicated the Divine Unity against "the infidels" who darkened the Almighty's throne by the senseless objects of their disgraceful and demoralizing superstition. Being the providentially developed military apostle of the Divine Unity, he offered all idolators, or worshippers of demons, the alternative of conversion and peace, or idolatry and war.
...Mohammed now solemnly proclaimed war against the Romans. The Moslems were discouraged. They alleged the intolerable heat of the summer. "Hell," said the indignant prophet, "is much hotter." He advanced at the head of ten thousand horse, and twenty thousand foot. After a painful march, in which they suffered much from lassitude and thirst, aggravated by the scorching and pestilential winds of the desert, they arrived at Tabuc, midway between Medina and Damascus. Beyond this he did not advance.
Caled, however, spread around the terror of his name, and the prophet received the submission of the tribes and cities, from the Euphrates to Ailah, at the head of the Red Sea. The power, styled by Schlegel, "the new power of hell," was still restricted to "the pit of the abyss." An expedition against Syria had been set in motion, but was arrested in its march at Medina, by the death of Mohammed in that city, A.D. 632.
Mohammed was succeeded in the throne of the kingdom of Arabia by the venerable Abubeker, who was now "Successor of the prophet, Caliph, and Commander of the Faithful." But the death of Mohammed was the signal of independence; and Abubeker found himself the chief of a power and religion which tottered to its foundations. He forthwith assembled an army of forty thousand men to subdue the rebellion, which sought the reestablishment of the old idolatry.
Thus the furnace was rekindled in the pit of the abyss, and smoke ascended toward the heaven. After exhorting the Moslems to confide in the aid of God and his apostle, Abubeker attacked the idolators vigorously. Though unsuccessful at first, he at length broke the power of the rebels, who, without chief or cause, were suppressed by the power and discipline of the rising monarchy; and the whole nation again possessed, and more steadfastly held, the religion of the Koran.
The Smoke and Locusts Ascend out of the Pit.
The time had now arrived for the Star-Kingdom-Power of the Arabian Pit to "fall into the earth," and to open it completely and permanently for the egress of the smoke with its clouds of locusts, for "the darkening of the sun and the air."
At this crisis, as we learn from the fourth verse of the chapter under consideration, "it was commanded them (the smoke issuing locusts) that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree; but those men only who have not the seal of the Deity in their foreheads." This is explained by what follows.
...Abubeker, who was the first caliph, by his victory over the rebels had restored the unity of the faith and government; and he now resolved, A.D. 632, to provide immediate exercise for the restless spirit of the Saracens, in the prosecution of a holy war. He accordingly despatched a circular to the locusts of the pit, saying: "This is to acquaint you that I intend to send the true believers into Syria, to take it out of the hands of the infidels" (or to darken their sun and air); "and I would have you know that the fighting for religion is an act of obedience to God."
The summons was responded to by numerous intrepid bands of Saracens, who flocked to the camp at Medina, where they were reviewed by the Caliph. In his instructions to the chiefs of the army, he said: "Remember that you are always in the presence of God, on the verge of death, in the assurance of judgment, and the hope of Paradise. Avoid injustice and oppression; consult with your brethren, and study to preserve the love and confidence of your troops.
3. And <there came> out of the smoke locusts <upon> the earth, and <unto them> was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
Why were the armies of Mahomet symbolized by locusts? This seems to be answered by two facts: first, Arabia is the native country of locusts; armies issuing from which, are fitly represented in symbol as clouds of locusts: secondly, the Hebrew word for locust is the same as that for Arab, as regards its radical elements, locust being arbeh, and arab, arbi.
It is a third fact that in some parts of Arabian literature, the locust is introduced as the heraldic symbol of the Saracens.
It is a fourth fact -- (not very strong to be sure, but pointing in the same direction) -- that Mahometans say that in the course of his revelations, locusts dropped into the hands of Mahomet, bearing an inscription on their wings, describing them as the army of the Great God.
Palestine, in its eastern borders, fell before the sword of Mahomet, and he died while contemplating further military measures.
His death, however, instead of stopping, accelerated the opening of the abyss. His relative, Abu Beker, took the command as his successor, and entered with great ardour on the work that had been begun by Mahomet.
His army was principally composed of cavalry: cavalry was not merely an arm of his force, as in the case of the Romans, but cavalry was the army. The result was to give his movements a celerity that baffled Roman calculations. An immense body of horse flew from point to point, and carried all before them like a cloud of locusts.
Their devastations, however, were not general and indiscriminate, but confined to certain objects. You will observe in verse 4,
"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".
It is interesting to note the feature in the Mahometan enterprise corresponding to this command. The command was a providential command, of course: that is, a commission providentially assigned and not a command oral and express according to the ordinary meaning of the term.
...The command of God to the Mahometan locusts, to confine their depredations within a certain channel, though not direct and express, was well marked in the form it took in the natural course.
An address issued to the Saracen troops after Mahomet's death, by Abu Beker, Mahomet's successor, intimating his purpose to prosecute the war against the Romans, whom he styled the infidel, contained the following passage:
"Let not your victory be stained with the blood of women or children. Destroy no palm trees nor burn any fields of corn; cut down no fruit trees, nor do any mischief to cattle .... You will find another sort of people that belong to the synagogue of Satan, who have shaven crowns: be sure you cleave their skulls and give them no quarter till they either turn Mahomedans or pay tribute."
Thirteen lectures on the apocalypse
[The wrathful hosts that invaded the eastern Roman empire were Arabians like locusts for multitude; and they had power fatal as the power of scorpions. ]
"Out of the Smoke came forth Locusts into the earth"
"Locusts... are only seen at most during five months. They are wont to arise in such vast companies, that they form a kind of cloud which eclipses the sun and darkens the sky... they make a most terrible havoc of all the fruits of the earth; and therefore the people, when they see them flying, are in the greatest consternation. ... "As to the teeth of the locusts, ...nothing can resist them."
... locusts are the symbol of an army of enemies coming in great multitudes, with great speed and swiftness to make an excursion in order to plunder and destroy.
"It is further to be observed, that locusts are generated in the pits of the earth, out of which the new progeny arises in the spring."
..."the inhabitants of Syria have remarked that locusts come constantly from the desert of Arabia."
...etymologically, an Arab and a locust are almost the same in radicals, and in pronunciation arbeh, signifying a locust; and arbi, an Arab. In Judg. vi. 5, in the original, the locust is used to designate the number and character of invading Arab hosts --
"they (the Midianite Arabs and children of the east) came as locusts for multitude."
...The locusts of the first woe had faces of men, and tresses as those of women, and a king over them. These and other characteristics show that they were armies of men, whose main force consisted of cavalry, invincible, licentious, and tormenting; analogous in their destructive operations to clouds of locusts. They were fitly styled locusts as coming from Arabia, the native country of the locust, whose name, with the change of a single letter as arabah for arbeh, signifies a desert -- the Arab desert between the Dead and Red Seas.
As of the locust so of the "scorpion," whose native locality was considered by the Jews to be the Arabian desert. And they had good reason for this; for they were reminded by Moses on emerging from it, that it was
"a great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents and scorpions."
Eureka 9.1.6. (Quotations: Bro Thomas quotes other writers)
Locust swarms representing the Mohammedan hoardes
The image John saw - Locust swarms with faces like Men, Hair of Women, Yellow turbans (not crowns as in the resemblance), Teeth like lions, shapes like unto Horses, scorpion like tails.
"This plague began with the opening of the bottomless pit, which denotes the letting out of a false religion: the smoke which came out of the pit, signifying the multitude which embraced that religion; and the locusts which came out of the smoke, the armies which came out of that multitude. This pit was opened, to let out smoke and locusts into the regions of the four monarchies, or some of them. The King of these locusts was the Angel of the bottomless pit, being chief governor as well in religious as civil affairs, such as was the Caliph of the Saracens. Swarms of locusts often arise in Arabia and from thence infest the neighbouring nations: and so are a very fit type of the numerous armies of Arabians invading the Romans." - Isaac Newton
"Power was given to the Locusts as the Scorpions of the earth have power."
The bite or sting of the scorpion is generally fatal. Hence, the power of the locusts was a fatal power. They had scorpion-like tails, and in these tails was some of their power for destruction.
...An Arab writer in the Escurial collection, about the year 1249, thus speaks of what Joinville styles "a winged, long-tailed dragon," used by the Saracens: "The scorpions," says he, "surrounded and ignited by nitrated powder, glide along like serpents, with a humming noise, and, when exploded, they blaze brightly and burn. Now, to behold the matter expelled was as a cloud extended through the air, which gave forth a dreadful crash like thunder vomiting fire on every side, and breaking down, burning, and reducing all things to ashes."
4 And it was commanded them [by one, styled the Commander of the Faithful] that they should not <injure> the grass of the earth, <nor> any green thing, <nor> any tree; <except the men> only <who> have not the seal of <the Deity upon> their foreheads.
...When you fight the battles of the Lord, acquit yourselves like men, without turning your backs; but let not your victory be stained with the blood of women or children. Destroy no palm trees, nor burn any fields of corn. Cut down no fruit trees, nor do any mischief to cattle, only such as you kill to eat. When you make any covenant or article, stand to it, and be as good as your word.
As you go on, you will find some religious persons who live retired in monasteries, and propose to themselves to serve God that way: let them alone, and neither kill them nor destroy their monasteries. And you will find another sort of people that belong to the synagogue of Satan, who have shaven crowns: be sure you cleave their skulls, and give them no quarter till they either turn Mohammedans or pay tribute."
These shaven crowns of the synagogue of Satan were THE MEN WHO HAD NOT THE SEAL OF GOD IN THEIR FOREHEADS; and the alternative of death by the sword, conversion, or tribute, was the "torment" to which they were to be subjected during "five months" of years [150 years].
[Notwithstanding this precept, the Arabs are the implacable enemies of the monks, who, in the seventh century, were generally "laymen." They wore their hair long and dishevelled, and shaved their heads when they were ordained priests. The circular tonsure was sacred and mysterious: it was the crown of thorns; but it was likewise a royal diadem, and every priest was a king. This will explain to the reader the origin of the phrase "shaven crowns," which is figurative of catholic priests.]
The Torment and Injury
If they accepted the Koran, they were then fellowshipped as devout Moslems, and subjected neither to tribute nor death; but if they rejected the Koran, or refused to become Mohammedans, which was the same thing, then they must either pay tribute or be put to death. Such a touchstone as this could not seriously affect those who had the seal of the Deity in their foreheads.
The Saracens were particularly favorable to all who were persecuted by the constituted authorities of the Greeks. They became their protectors and allies, not their tormentors.
..." For ourselves, we are resolved to live and die in the profession of the gospel and unity of Christ. It is impossible for us to embrace the revelations of your prophet [Koran]; but we are desirous of peace, and cheerfully submit to pay tribute, and obedience to his temporal successors."
5 And <it was given> to them that they should not kill them [ they should not extinguish the sovereignty of these men, but that they should be tormented in war], but that they should <torment them> 5 months [150 years]: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.
Five Months (150 years) Torment
The entomology of the hieroglyphic required that it should be five months, and not ten; because locusts are only seen at most five months, namely, part of April, May, June, July, and August, with part of September.
Yet it would seem that they could not do all the tormenting and injuring they were appointed to do against "the shaven crowns" and their deluded votaries in one season of five months, but in two seasons.
The decorum of the symbols, therefore, rejected the record of ten months, and required the time to be expressed symbolically twice by "five months." This period is 150 days, and upon the principle of a day for a year, which is the basis of the symbolic times of the apocalypse, represents 150 years.
Hence, the locusts were to torment with scorpion torment "the men" of the apostasy until the end of 150 years; and they were to injure "the rest of the men" not included in the eastern or Byzantine third, which was politically "killed by the plagues" of the first and second woes, until another 150 years should have expired.
So that the sounding of the fifth trumpet would continue to harass the men destitute of intelligence in the truth, for not less than 300 years. A period to be dated from the commencement of the tormentation or military operation of the locusts in the Roman earth, A.D. 632-33.
The Torment and Injury
They were to torment, but not to kill. It is clear from this that killing was not an element of the torment. Basanidso signifies to rub upon the touchstone, or basanos; hence, to try the genuineness of a thing. The touchstone used by the Saracen Locusts was "the Koran, tribute, or the sword." They rubbed all the unsealed upon this; and according to the result, was the genuineness, or true character, of the party in their estimation.
Their torment was as the torment of a scorpion when he striketh a man."
"Unto them was given power as the scorpions of the earth have power."
Scorpions strike with their stings with tormenting and sometimes with fatal effects; but the scorpion power in this case was not to be unto death (verse 5).
"To them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months."
What was the scorpion power possessed by the Saracens? We find an answer in the fact that they employed in their military operations formidable missiles which they styled scorpions. These missiles were of a chemical mixture, which was the forerunner of gunpowder. An Arab writer thus speaks of them in 1249:
"The scorpions surrounded and ignited by nitrated powder, glide along like serpents with a humming noise, and when exploded, they blaze brightly and burn. Now, to behold the matter expelled was as a cloud extended through the air, which gave forth a dreadful crash like thunder, vomiting fire on every side and breaking down, burning, and reducing all things to ashes."
Armed with this power, known as Saracen fire and afterwards as Greek fire, because finally adopted by the Greeks, the Saracens had power to injure with scorpion-power; but their mission did not extend beyond the infliction of torment. They were not to kill the eastern Roman empire in the way the western had been killed by the Goths. They were only to injure.
The men of the eastern or Greek third of the Roman empire were to retain political life in the midst of their torment, but against the will of the majority; the bulk of the people were desirous for the sake of peace to submit to political death and accept the Saracen yoke.
But death fled from them: because it was not in the divine purpose that the locusts should kill in the symbolic sense of the term, but only injure five months twice over (see verses 5 and 10).
Why not ten months instead of twice five? Because locusts only appear five months in the year; and it would not have been in harmony with the natural history of the symbol to express it in any other way. But they could not be literal months as applied to the events of the symbol. Ten months are not one year, and the afflicting career of the Saracens in European countries extended over 300 years.
The explanation is found in the fact with which all present are more or less acquainted, that literal days in symbolic use stand for years.
To the Saracens, then, was assigned the mission of harassing and afflicting the countries of the Catholic apostasy for the long period of three centuries, but not to prevail to the extinction of its political independence. Let anyone read the history of the Saracens from the appearance of aggressive Mahometanism in A.D. 632, and he will recognize the features of this hieroglyph in their historical exemplification.
"They had a king over them."
This is not the star of verse 1, which opened the pit, but is rather to be taken as the official or head under which the Saracenic locusts were organized after their issue from the pit. The historic parallel is found in the Caliphs of the Mahometan system. The Caliph was styled the "Commander of the Faithful."
In the Papal system, you have the Pope: in the Mahometan, the Caliph. The Caliph was a destroyer: this was his providential function: his name is expressed in Greek and Hebrew (see verse 11) denoting that his destroying operations were principally to bear on the Hebrew and Greek areas of the Roman Empire, which historically was the case.
Thirteen lectures on the apocalypse
6 And in those days <the men shall seek the death> [shall these ignorant professors of christianity seek political extinction], and shall not find it ; and <they shall earnestly> desire to die [and shall earnestly desire to be a conquered people], and <the> death shall flee from them [political death by conquest shall flee from them].
"THE death" which "THE men" of the apostasy so earnestly desired (ver. 6) was not natural death. This death did not flee from them, but pursued them on every side, and overtook them by thousands. It was "the death" which could only be arrived at by the woe-plagues of the sixth trumpet, which was for the slaying of "the third of the men" of the catholic world. It was political death they desired, the bitterness of which they had not experienced.
Subject to this, they hoped to find peace and protection from the conqueror, who would cease to torment and injure them as enemies and foreigners to his rule and institutions. "The death" at length came in aftertimes; and, when it came, it reduced "the men" of the Greek catholic superstition and empire to the condition of Rayahs -- mere dogs and slaves in the estimation of their Ottoman superiors.
7 And the <resemblances> of the locusts [Arabians when embattled] were like to horses <which had been prepared for war>; and <upon> their heads as it <were chaplets> like <to> gold [Yellow turbans], and their faces as faces of men [bearded].
Chaplets like to Gold
...hos stephanoi. This was only an homoioma -- resemblance -- not literal golden circlets. They would be yellow so as to bear a resemblance to gold. They had a yellow headgear.
...Ezekiel, ... describes the head-dress of the Sabean and Keturite Arabs by atereth, rendered in Greek by stephanon, as "Sabeans from the wilderness, who put beautiful stephans or wreaths upon their heads" -- that is, turbans. It was a usual saying among them that Allah had bestowed four peculiar things upon the Arabs; and that one of them was, that their turbans should be to them instead of diadems. "Make a point," said their prophet, "of wearing turbans, because it is the way of angels."
Faces as the Faces of Men
This distinguished them [Moslems] from the Goths and other kindred barbarian hordes... the locusts did not shave. They wore beards, and so vindicated their relationship to the bearded race, and their antagonism to all shaven crowns.
Pliny, who was contemporary with John, speaks of the Arabs as wearing the turban, having the hair long and uncut, with the moustache on the upper lip, or the beard, that "venerable sign of manhood," as Gibbon, in Arab phraseology, calls it.
8 And they had hair as the <tresses> of women, and their teeth were as of lions [ their spirit was ferocious as lions]..
Tresses of Women
Pliny, who was contemporary with John, speaks of the Arabs as wearing the turban, having the hair long and uncut, with the moustache on the upper lip, or the beard, that "venerable sign of manhood," as Gibbon, in Arab phraseology, calls it.
Their Teeth were as of Lions
This indicated their ferocity. Nothing could successfully resist them in their ravening upon the prey.
The Star styled his first vizier, Ali, the Lion of God. "Who," says Mohammed, "will be my Vizier and Lieutenant?" "O prophet," replied Ali, "I am the man. Whoever rises against thee, I will dash out his teeth, tear out his eyes, break his legs, rip up his belly. O prophet, I will be thy Vizier."
"These words," says Hallam, "are, as it were, a text upon which the commentary expands into the whole Saracenic history." The spirit of Ali was the spirit of the lion, and became the spirit of the hosts he led to battle, who were equally entitled with him to the appellation of the lions of God.
9 And they had <breasts>, as it were <breasts> of iron; and the sound of their wings as the sound of <many> chariots of horses <rushing into> battle.
[And they had on polished steel cuirasses; and the sound of the right and left wings of their armies were of multitudes of cavalry rushing into battle].
And they had Breasts as it were Breasts of Iron
In the Koran, among God's gifts to the Arabs, their coats of mail for defence are specially mentioned; as, "God hath given you coats of mail to defend you in your wars." The Saracen policy was the wearing of defensive armour. The breastplate of iron, as symbolized by their iron breasts, was a descriptive feature answering literally to the Arab warriors of the sixth and seventh centuries.
10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.
[And they trailed in their rear, or tails of their hosts, scorpion-artillery for destruction; and their power to hurt the rest of men westward was also one hundred and fifty years.].
An Arab writer in the Escurial collection, about the year 1249, thus speaks of the scorpions used by the Saracens of Mauritania:
"The scorpions, surrounded and ignited by nitrated powder, glide along like serpents and hum, and when exploded they blaze brightly and burn. Now to behold the matter expelled was as a cloud extended through the air, which gave forth a dreadful crash like thunder, vomiting fire on every side, and breaking down, burning and reducing all things to ashes."
"The wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just."
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, May 1854
11 And they <have over them> a king over them, the Angel of the <Abyss>, <the name for him> in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, <and> in the Greek, <he> hath <the> name Apollyon.
[And they had over them a king styled a CALIPH, the Messenger of Destruction among the subjects of the eastern Roman empire, or "the abyss." In the land of the Hebrew, he earned the name Abaddon, or Destroyer; and in the land of the Greek, that of Apollyon, which signifies the same].
And they had over them a king
"The locusts," says Solomon, "have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands." As we must not set scripture against scripture, these opposite sayings concerning locusts must be interpreted so as to harmonize. The apocalyptic locusts who had a king are not literal locusts, as some ignorantly affirm who deny the symbolic character of the apocalypse. John records the truth of the locusts he saw in vision; and Solomon writes the truth concerning literal locusts. These have no king; but John's had, and he was apocalyptically named "the Angel of the Abyss;" not the angel of the Pit of the Abyss, but of the abyss at large.
The locust king-power is styled angel, because it was a messenger of heaven against the unsealed -- a destroying angel-power; and, therefore, named Abaddon, and Apollyon, names which signify in English, DESTROYER. The locust king-power was the destroyer of "the abyss" -- "the dwellers upon the earth," against whom the woe-plague was commissioned, and in the midst of whom it scattered destruction for three hundred years. In history, the succession of men who reigned over the locusts are styled CALIPHS and Commanders of the Faithful.
Abaddon -- Apollyon
But why are we informed that the destroying power is called "Abaddon in Hebrew, and Apollyon in Greek," and not told what it would be called in Latin, or any other tongue? The answer is, because it was commissioned primarily and chiefly against the countries to which the Hebrew and Greek belonged.
We are not told what its name was in Latin, because it was not sent against Italy to "torment" the Italians. It was the Greek empire, which included Palestine and Syria, upon which the locusts were to fall with their most destructive energy.
The Angel of the Abyss
The locusts had a king over them, the Angel of the Abyss -- not the angel of the pit of the abyss, but of "the abyss" at large. The star was especially related to "the pit"; and the Angel-king, to "the abyss. The star-power, as we have seen, was the kingdom of Arabia before its forces were precipitated upon "the earth"; while the Destroying Angel of the abyss was the Arabian Empire of the Caliphs, which, but for the Star-power of the pit, would never have existed in the world to torment and injure the nations of the abyss.
The caliphs united in their own persons the kingly and priestly characters. The first caliph was Abubeker, who began to reign on the death of Mohammed, A.D. 632. In A.D. 718, the end of the first century of the Hegira*, the caliphs were the most potent and absolute monarchs of the globe. They reigned by the right of conquest over the nations of the east.
*The flight of Mohammed from Mecca to Medina, AD 622 - Year 1 of the Islamic calendar.
...When did these five months begin?... they began when Abubeker, the first caliph, fulfilled the fourth verse of this ninth chapter, in commanding the generals and captains of his Syrian army to apply the touchstone according to his instructions. This was A.D. 632, which is doubtless the beginning of the five months of tormentation.
...In the sanguinary civil war between the Ommiades and the Abbassides, the Greeks had seized the opportunity of avenging themselves, and enlarging their limits: so that A.D. 781-2, found the Greeks arrogant, and the frontier of the Arabian empire diminished. This was five months of years, or 150 years, from Abubeker's command to torment, or "cleave the skulls" of the shaven crowns of the synagogue of Satan, and to give them no quarter till they turned Mohammedans or paid tribute.
... the time allotted for the Arabian and Greek empires to cease their sanguinary conflicts, in the beginning of the tenth century was drawing to a close. The destroying power of the caliph-angel of the abyss, as against the Greek empire, was limited to three hundred years, or the end of the second period of five months. It was to decline and fall. The luxury of the caliphs, the rebellion of the Carmathians, and the revolt of the provinces, at length deprived the Arabs of the sceptre of the east.
The revolt of the provinces circumscribed the dominions of the caliphs within the walls of Bagdad; until the independent Persic-Moslem dynasty of the Bowides interposing on account of factions prevailing there, advanced A.D. 933, to Bagdad; stripped the caliph of his secular office and supremacy; and reduced him to his spiritual functions as Chief Pontiff of Islamism, the mere phantom thenceforward of the departed power of the Destroying Angel of the Abyss. Thus died "Apollyon" by the suicide of his own hands twice five months of years, or three complete centuries, from the issuing of the smoke out of the pit of the abyss A.D. 632.
"The first woe is passed away," A.D. 933
Protestant and papal scribes are in the habit of applying the epithet "false prophet" to Mohammed, and therefore do not perceive its applicability to the Roman bishop. But neither Mohammed, nor his successors, are termed "the false prophet" in the apocalypse. The Arabian was false enough doubtless; but he was a far more respectable character than any pope that has ever reigned; and were I to choose between the two superstitions, I would rather be a Moslem than a papist. It
It was the glory of Mohammed to destroy, idolatry, it is the infamy of the popes to be the high priests of the "queen of heaven." The Saracens were God's locusts to torment, and the Ottomans, God's cavalry to slay with political death, the catholic image-worshippers of the Asiatic third part of the Roman dragon.
Mohammed was the star; and his successors, the "commanders of the faithful," the "angels of the bottomless pit; whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon (Rev. 9:1,11). These names in English signify destroyer, which is indicative of the mission of those who marshalled themselves under the standard of the Arabian.
Elpis Israel 3.3.
12 <The first woe hath passed away;> behold, there come <yet> two woes <after these things.>
[One woe, that of the fifth trumpet, is passed away after three hundred years; and, behold, there come two woes more before the consummation -- the sixth and seventh trumpets, after these things]
...The one hundred and thirty years that intervened between the Caliph-Angel's loss of temporal power, and the loosing of the first of the four angel-powers from its Euphratean boundary, were a period of supine superstition.
...What, then, could be done with such an incorrigible generation of daemonial and idol-worshippers, but to prepare powers, which when loosed against them, should proclaim idolatry a sin punishable with slavery or death? This was the course of the Eternal Spirit, as revealed in the vision of the second woe.
The Euphratean Powers were prepared powers -- powers prepared for a special mission, and therefore "angels" or messengers; and messengers are so called, because they are sent to perform, or execute missions. The mission of these Euphrateans was to make war upon idolatry with sword and gun, until the dominion of the Eastern Dragonic Third should be transferred to the Conqueror; and so, in relation to the daemonial and idol-worshipping community, to all intents and purposes, "killed."
SIXTH TRUMPET OR SECOND WOE
Between the predicted events of the first and second woes, that is, from the end of the first to the beginning of the second woe, there was an interval of about 130 years. Eureka 11.4.
1. Eastern Part
Still in response to the prayers of all saints, a voice from the four horns of the golden altar of incense commands the four messenger powers, confined by the great river Euphrates, to be loosed. They are prepared for successful aggression against the Byzantine empire during "the hour and day and month and year," that, at the end of this period, they may slay with political extinction, the power of the men who ruled the Eastern Third of the Roman orb, and worshipped demons and images, and were murderers, and sorcerers, fornicators, and thieves; and had not been smitten by the judgments of the four winds.
TIME OF EVENTS
From April 29, A.D. 1062, to May 29, 1453 -- 391 years 30 days.
The sixth trumpet brought up the four dynastic powers from the Euphrates, which was the western boundary of their domain. They crossed this river under Alp Arslan, who at the head of an immense cavalry invaded the Roman dragon.
After "an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year," from the invasion; that is, 360 years added to 30, added to, 1 year and 30 days, which is equal to 391 years 30 days -- the period of Turkish preparation to seize the dragon's throne was complete.
On May 29, 1493, Constantinople fell into the hands of the Turks, who have retained it to this day. The predecessor of Alp Arslan was Togrul Beg, who was constituted lieutenant of the prophet by the last of the Califs. Togrul's successors down to the present Sultan have inherited this lieutenancy, by which they are regarded as the political and spiritual head of the Mohammedan world.
...Now, when the Turks obtained possession of Constantinople, the catholics were doomed to one of three things -- to turn Musselmen, to pay tribute, or to suffer death; and for apostates there was no mercy.
Elpis Israel 3.3.
13 And the 6th angel sounded, and I heard <one> voice <out of> the four horns of the altar <of gold> which is < in the sight of the Deity, >
This is the same altar as that in the scene pictured in Apoc. viii. 3....This scene is, as it were, a general preface to the sounding of each of the seven trumpets. That is, each trumpet develops its judgments retributively upon the enemies of the saints, and responsively to their prayers.
14 Saying to the 6th angel <who> had the trumpet, Loose the 4 angels which <have been> bound <by> the great river Euphrates.
These are the symbols of the "two myriads of myriads of cavalry" by which "the third" is killed. The four angels, therefore, represent four powers. These were "bound".
...The four angel-powers of the sixth trumpet were bound territorially; for we are informed that they "had been bound -- Gk. dedemenous -- by the great river Euphrates." This river was the boundary of their dominion, and divided it from the territory of "the Third" which they were to kill. To loose these Oriental powers was to cause them to cross the Euphrates, to invade with their myriads of cavalry the Eastern Third of the Roman inhabited earth, and to extend their own dominion at its expense.
...While they were in preparation, or being prepared, they were confined, or bounded within confines, that did not extend further west or southwest than the Euphrates. The powers or angels were not contemporary. They were not all four being prepared at one and the same time. They were successively prepared messenger-powers, to be brought into action one after the other.
... lastly, the fourth angel was loosed, and he consummated the work of killing "the third."
... "the Great River Euphrates" is made the symbol of the fourth angel in the period coincident with the advent of Christ (xvi. 12,15).
15 And the 4 Angels <having been prepared were > loosed, <for the> hour, and day, and month, and year, <that they might kill> the <third> of <the> men.
Preparation of the First Angel
In tracing the preparation of the first angel-power, the reader must transport himself beyond the Caspian Sea, to the original seat of the Turkmans, against whom the first crusade was principally directed. One of the greatest of their princes, for whom the title of Sultan was first invented, was Mahmud the Gaznevide, who reigned in the eastern provinces of Persia from A.D. 997 to A.D. 1028.
His name is still venerable in the east, where he was very successful against the idolators of Hindostan. Ten millions sterling were offered him for the preservation of the idol of Sumnat by the Brahmins; but he refused it, saying, "Never in the eyes of prosperity shall Mahmud appear as a merchant of idols." The fame of his zeal reaching Bagdad, Mahmud was saluted by the Caliph with the title of Guardian of the Fortune and Faith of Mohammed.
The Eastern Turkmans whom he had introduced into the heart of his Persian kingdom were a cause of grief to him in the latter years of his reign.
...Massoud, the son and successor of Mahmud, had neglected too long the advice of his ministers. "Your enemies," they repeatedly urged, "were in their origin a swarm of ants; they are now little snakes; and unless they be instantly crushed, they will acquire the venom and magnitude of serpents." This he essayed to do, but with ill success; for, though for a time alternating between victory and defeat, he at length lost his crown and life in battle; and in Persia, as the result of his overthrow, was founded the dynasty of the shepherd kings, A.D. 1038.
The victorious Turks immediately elected Togrul Beg, the grandson of Seljuk, for their king. His ambition was equal to his valor, and both were great. He extended his dominion eastward to the Indus. In the west, he annihilated the dynasty of the Bowides, the Persian protectors of the caliphs; and by the conquest of Media he approached the confines of the Roman earth, from whence he despatched a herald to demand the tribute and obedience of the emperor of Constantinople.
From the Oxus to the Euphrates the military colonies of the Turks were protected and propagated by their native princes, under the royalty of Togrul, who promoted the most deserving of the Persians and Arabians to the honours of the state; and the whole body of the Turkish nation embraced with fervor and sincerity the anti-idolatrous religion of Mohammed.
With the belief of the Koran, Togrul imbibed a lively reverence for the caliph, the now feeble successor of Mohammed. On the fall of the Gaznevide dynasty, the caliph named the Seljukian sultan his temporal vicegerent over the Moslem world. In the palace of Bagdad, the Commander of the Faithful still slumbered, a venerable phantom. The prince of the Bowides could no longer protect him from meaner tyrants; and the presence of a conqueror was therefore implored as a blessing.
Togrul obeyed the holy summons at the head of an irresistible force. As conqueror of the east, he entered Bagdad, where, seated upon a throne by the side of the caliph's, his commission was publicly read, which declared him the temporal lieutenant of the Vicar of the Prophet. Two crowns were placed on his head; and two scymitars were girded to his side, as the symbols of a double reign over the east and west.
The alliance of the Caliph, the spiritual, and of Togrul, the temporal, chief of all faithful Moslems, was cemented by the marriage of Togrul's sister with the caliph, and the caliph's daughter with Togrul. The preparation of the first angel was now complete.
... Twenty-five years after the death of Basil, A.D. 1050, myriads of Togrul's horse overspread a frontier of six hundred miles from Tauris to Erzeroum, and the blood of a hundred and fifty thousand worshippers of daemonial relics, ghosts, and idols, was a grateful sacrifice by the children of the Arabian prophet.
This, however, was not a loosing of the angel-power; for the arms of Togrul made no deep or lasting impression on the Greek empire. The torrent rolled away from the open country; and he retired without glory or success within his Euphratean boundary; beyond which he had found it impossible for him permanently to extend westward the territory of the Turks.
THE SECOND WOE
Four angels bound within or on the eastern side of the Euphrates are summoned; not literally four angels of course, but military powers. That is shown by the fact that when they
were "loosed" in compliance with a command ordering them to be loosed, John saw, not four angels, but myriads of horsemen. Our attention (fixed upon the east, when the Saracenic torment had died away) beholds the Turkish hordes in muster, and sees them in four great waves pour into the provinces of the eastern third of the Roman Empire, spread over a period of nearly four hundred years.
...They are associated with names famous in history -- Togrul Beg, Alp Arslan, Timour, or Tamerlane, Bajazet, and so on, the leaders of the Ottomans or Turcomans.
...The four angel powers did not come into operation simultaneously but one after the other. Their mission was to "slay the third part of men". The Saracens were not allowed to kill the eastern empire with political death, but only to subject it to scorpion-torment. But the Turks were to "slay"; they were to prevail over and extinguish the eastern third of the Roman habitable as the western had been by the Goths.
To this end, they were employed to deliver four successive assaults, so to speak, the last accomplishing the work for which the way had been paved by the work of the first three. All four were necessary; the work to be done was therefore the mission of all; and for the performance of the work, they were prepared" for an hour, and a day and a month, and a year". This is symbolic time, which, reduced to literal time, gives the following result:--
An hour ... 1 month
A day ... 1 year
A month ... 30 years
A year ... 30 years
391 years 1 month
...As a matter of fact, the Turkish assault on the eastern remnant of the Roman Empire extended over nearly four hundred years. Constantinople, with the capture of which the Roman Empire in the east was extinguished, fell into the hands of the Turks, A.D. 1453.
This was the accomplishment of the mission of the four angels; and if we reckon backwards 391 years, the time "for which" they were prepared, we find ourselves at the beginning of the Turkish power when Togrul Beg, their first military leader, being married to the daughter of the Caliph of Bagdad, the head of the Saracenic or Mahometan religion, became the head of the Mahometan faith, from whom the Turkish Sultans have to this day inherited the title of Commander of the Faithful.
... It took 391 years from the time the Turkish power was fully organized to the extinction of the eastern Roman third by its means; and it has taken a similar period to fulfil the course of the Turkish power from the time of its establishment to the time appointed for its drying up.
If we add 391 years (the hour, day, month and year) to the date of the capture of Constantinople (1453), we are brought to the year 1844, when the Turkish Empire had fully entered on that downward course that at the present moment (1880) threatens its total extinction. This would give twice 391 years for the full work of the four angels -- of the sixth trumpet -- nearly 800 years.
Thirteen lectures on the apocalypse
The Loosing of the First Angel
or Seljukian angel power
The commencement of this loosing enterprise was the attempted separation of the Asiatic provinces of the Roman empire by Togrul, and perfected by Alp Arslan, A.D. 1071, by the capture of the emperor Romanus. Hence, the loosing covered a period of several years.
Togrul, the Temporal Chief of the Mohammedan World, dying childless, was succeeded by his nephew Alp Arslan, "the Valiant Lion." As soon as he was seated on the throne, he determined to continue the work of extending his dominion westward at the expense of "the third of the men," whom he very correctly denounced as idolators. "He passed the Euphrates," says Gibbon, "at the head of the Turkish cavalry," A.D. 1063, "and entered Caesarea, the metropolis of Cappadocia, to which he had been attracted by the fame and wealth of the temple of St. Basil." He carried away the doors of the shrine incrusted with gold and pearls, and profaned the relics of the guardian saint.
The final conquest of Armenia and Georgia, began by Togrul, was achieved by Alp Arslan, who by this success gave proof that the power of the Seljukian Turks was no longer "bound by the great river Euphrates," but emphatically "loosed."
...The Turks had penetrated into the heart of Phrygia; and their numerous detachments were scattered over Asia in the security of conquest. These were separately surprised and defeated by the Greeks under their emperor Romanus Disgenes; who, in three laborious campaigns, drove the Turks beyond the Euphrates; and then undertook the recovery of Armenia.
The report of this bold invasion brought Alp Arslan again into the field. He flew to the scene of action at the head of forty thousand horse. His hopes of victory were in the arrows of the Turkish cavalry. After wasting the greater part of a summer's day, fatigue compelled the Greeks and their Latin allies to retire to camp.
At this crisis, the Turkish squadrons poured in a cloud of arrows. The destruction of the army followed; the emperor was taken prisoner, and the Asiatic provinces of Rome irretrievably lost. "The third of the men" inhabiting the provinces "were killed." Their sovereignty was abolished, and they became the slaves of the victorious Turks, whose dominion was advanced from Antioch to the Black Sea (A.D. 1068-1071).
Alp Arslan fell by the hand of an assassin, A.D. 1072, and was succeeded by his son Malek Shah, who reigned prosperously twenty years. He was the first Turk who bore the title of "Commander of the Faithful." By his personal merit and the extent of his empire, he was the greatest prince of his age. From the Chinese frontier, he stretched his immediate jurisdiction or feudatory sway to the west and south as far as the mountains of Georgia, the neighborhood of Constantinople, the holy city of Jerusalem, and the spicy groves of Arabia Felix.
The Beginning of the 391 Years and 30 Days
The calculation must be made from the perfected preparation of the first angel power -- "having been prepared" for the work of killing. The tense of the participle passive proves this, indicating, not partial, but complete preparation before loosing.
We know the day and month and year in which the work of killing, with political death, "the third of the men" was accomplished. About this there can be no mistake. The Imperial Eastern Roman Third was "killed" with the slaying of its last emperor and the capture of the capital. This event came to pass, May 29, 1453. This was the last day of the 391 years and 30 days, which long period must consequently have commenced April 29, 1062, before the death of Togrul, and after, or at, his adoption by marriage into the domestic circle of the Caliph-Angel of the Abyss.
Symbolic Period of the Loosing
How are these 391 years and 30 days arrived at? In answer to this it may be remarked, that it is absolutely certain from the historical illustration of the fifth trumpet, that the two periods of "five months" each, were periods of 150 years; and that the whole ten months, or 300 years, was the aeon, or cycle, allotted to the tormenting and injuring ascendancy of the Caliph-Angel of the Abyss. Events having clearly demonstrated the duration of five months, we are thereby instructed as to the number of years contained in one month.
A symbolical month, then, is thirty years. When a month, therefore, is associated with "hour, day and year" in symbolic time, these must be relatively proportional.
...In the case of the five months events have proved that apocalyptic time is based upon the principle of a day for a year.
The First Interval
The second Euphratean angel power did not immediately follow the first. At the close of the eleventh century, and not more than forty years from the inauguration of Togrul, Constantinople and its empire were on the verge of ruin by the power of the Seljukian kingdom of Roum; and nothing less than a superhuman intervention seemed capable of averting it.
To have permitted "the killing of the third of the men" "worshipping the daemonials and idols" at that epoch, would have falsified the vision. They were to be killed, not by bows and arrows, but "by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the sulphur bursting forth out of the mouths of the horses."
This was a power of destruction, not in operation in the days of Soliman, the Seljukian king of Roum. An intervention, therefore, was a divine necessity, that the word of the Deity might be established. Nor was the necessity unprovided for. The daemonial superstition of the pope's barbarians of western Europe finding vent in the "crusades," though ultimately ineffective in Syria, was made the instrument of so crippling the Seljukian power, as for two hundred years to aid in upholding against it the Greek empire, which tottered on the verge of destruction.
...At the voice of the pope, the robber, the incendiary, the homicide, arose by thousands to redeem their souls, by repeating on the Moslems the same deeds they had practised against their papal brethren; and the terms of atonement were eagerly embraced by offenders of every rank and denomination.
They set out for Asia, A.D. 1096, early in the spring, under Peter the Hermit and Walter the Pennyless, a herd of nearly three hundred thousand of the most stupid and savage refuse of the people
...In the plain of Nice, they were overwhelmed by the Turkish arrows. Of these first crusaders 300,000 had already perished before a single city was taken from the kingdom of Roum; and a pyramid of bones became the memorial of their defeat.
This herd of savages was followed by the chivalry of the nations. Their principal force consisted in cavalry; and when mustered in the plains of Bithynia, the knights and their martial attendants on horse-back amounted to one hundred thousand fighting men, completely armed with the helmet and coat of mail. Besides these, the promiscuous crowd was lost in its own disorder.
...Provoked by the loss of his capital, Soliman collected the Turkman hordes against them to the number of three hundred and sixty thousand horse. But the battle went against him, and he found it necessary to evacuate the kingdom of Roum.
The crusaders at length obtained possession of Antioch, but with the annihilation of their splendid cavalry; and the loss of many thousands of every rank by famine, sickness, and desertion. In the month of May, A.D. 1099, the relics of their mighty host laid siege to Jerusalem, which they entered July 15. The capture of the city was followed by the foundation of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. The Latins now reigned beyond the Euphrates; and the four cities of Hems, Hamah, Damascus, and Aleppo, were the only relics of the Mohammedan conquests.
The Latin Kingdom was conquered by Saladin, A.D. 1187; but the expulsion of the Latins from Syria was delayed till A.D. 1295; when the Sultan of Egypt, at the head of sixty thousand horse, and a hundred and forty thousand foot, closed the age of the crusades with the capture of Acre, the expulsion of these forces from the Holy Land, and the death or slavery of sixty thousand worshippers of the daemonials and idols of the catholic aerial.
Preparation of the Second Angel
The rise and progress of the Ottomans are founded on a previous knowledge of the great eruption of the Moguls and Tartars; whose rapid conquests may be compared with the primitive convulsions of nature which have agitated and altered the surface of the globe.
The spacious highlands between China, Siberia, and the Caspian sea, the ancient seats of the Huns and Turks, were occupied in the twelfth century by many pastoral tribes, of the same descent and similar manners, which were united and led to conquest by the formidable Zingis Khan.
His private name was Temugin, but from a naked prophet, who claimed to be able to ascend to heaven on a white horse, he condescended to accept the title of ZINGIS, the Most Great; and a divine right to the conquest and dominion of the earth.
...His first and only article of faith was the existence of one God, the author of all good, who fills by his presence the heavens and earth, which he has created by his power. Such a potentate was an appropriate scourge for the idolators of the Roman world.
Zingis died in the fulness of years, A.D. 1227, leaving his empire to successors of his own race and family. In the sixty-eight years of the first four of these, the Moguls subdued almost all Asia, and a large portion of Europe.
Thus, a power was prepared eastward of the Euphrates, which, A.D. 1258, under Holagou, the grandson of Zingis, by the storm and capture of Bagdad, and the territory of its jurisdiction, extended to the Euphrates; the east of which the stream of Mogul hostility was driven back from the south by the Mamelucs of Egypt. Hence, it was a prepared power "bounded by the great river Euphrates."
Loosing of the Second Angel
... The Mogul inundation overflowed with resistless violence the Kingdom of Armenia, which was possessed by the daemonial worshippers of idols; and then crossing westward into the upper region watered by "the great river Euphrates," they flooded the Kingdom of Anatolia, which was possessed by the Turkish sultans of Iconium. These opposed some resistance to the Mogul arms, till Azzadin sought refuge in Constantinople, and his feeble successors, the last of the Seljukian dynasty, were finally extirpated by the Mogul Khans of Persia, A.D. 1272.
No sooner had Octai, one of the four sons of Zingis subverted the northern empire of China, than he resolved to visit with his arms the most remote countries of the west. Fifteen hundred thousand Moguls and Tartars were inscribed on the military roll. A third of these were intrusted to his nephew, Batou, the son of Tuli, who reigned over his father's conquests to the north of the Caspian; and such was the ardor of his innumerable cavalry, that in less than six years they had measured a line of ninety degrees of longitude, a fourth of the circumference of the globe.
They ravaged with equal fury the countries they hoped to possess, and those they were hastening to leave. They reduced the Russians to a servitude of two hundred years; made a deadly, though transient, inroad into the heart of catholic Poland; and penetrated as far as the borders of Germany.
They approached the shores of the Baltic; and in the battle of Lignitz, filled nine sacks with the right ears of the slain. From this extreme point of their march westward, they invaded Hungary with five hundred thousand horse. The whole country north of the Danube was lost in a day, and depopulated in a summer. Of all the cities and fortresses of daemonial and idol worshipping Hungary, three alone survived this Mogul-Tartar invasion.
The Latin world was darkened by this cloud of second-angel hostility to the idolators of the west; and the remote nations of the Baltic and the ocean trembled at the noise of their approach. Since the invasion of the Arabs in the eighth century, Europe had never been exposed to a similar calamity.
The Second Interval
On the dissolution of the Carizmian power by the Moguls, some of the Turkman chiefs engaged in the service of Aladdin, the sultan of Iconium; and among these were the obscure fathers of the Ottoman line. They had formerly pitched their tents near the southern banks of the Oxus. At the head of a Carizmian force, Soliman Shah was drowned in the passage of the Euphrates. His son Orthogrul became a soldier of Aladdin. He was the father of Othman. The Seljukian dynasty was no more; and the decline of the Mogul Khans soon freed him from the control of a superior.
He was situate on the verge of the Greek empire, which he first invaded, A.D. 1299. The conquest of Prusa by his son Orchan, A.D. 1326, may be dated as the true aera of the Ottoman power. The Seljukian coin was changed for the name and impression of the new dynasty. Orchan subdued all Bithynia to the shores of the Bosphorus and Hellespont; and A.D. 1341, crossed for the first time into Europe, where they established themselves in the province of Thrace, A.D. 1353.
They soon subdued the whole province from the Hellespont to Mount Haemus, and the verge of Constantinople. Adrianople was now their capital; and at this fatal hour, the Greeks were surrounded, both in Asia and Europe, by the arms of the same hostile monarchy. But Amurath I postponed for a while this easy conquest; and turned his arms against the Sclavonians between the Danube and the Adriatic.
His son Bajazet I, subdued his brother emirs from the Euphrates to the Danube, and after the conquest of Iconium, the ancient kingdom of the Seljukians was revived in the Ottoman dynasty. He now accepted the patent of sultan from the caliphs who served in Egypt under the yoke of the Mamelukes: a last and frivolous homage yielded by force to opinion, by the Turkish conquerors to the Abbassides, and the successors of the Arabian prophet.
Bajazet's ambition was inflamed by the obligation of deserving the august title; and he turned his arms against Hungary, the perpetual theatre of Turkish victories and defeats. In the battle of Nicopolis, he defeated a confederate army of 100,000 catholic idol worshippers, who had proudly boasted that if the sky should fall, they could uphold it on their lances. In the pride of victory, Bajazet threatened to subdue Germany and Italy; and that he would feed his horse with the bushel of oats on the altar of St. Peter at Rome.
The Roman world was now contracted to a corner of Thrace, between the Propontis and the Black Sea, about fifty miles in length and thirty in breadth. At length the ambition of the victorious sultan pointed to the conquest of Constantinople, which he claimed as his own. A refusal to surrender caused it to be more closely pressed by war and famine; and the savage would have devoured his prey, if, in the fatal moment, he had not been overthrown by another savage stronger than himself, A.D. 1402; an event that delayed the fall of Constantinople about fifty years.
Preparation of the Third Angel
The conquest and monarchy of the world was the first object of the ambition of Timour or TAMERLANE. He was born forty miles to the south of Samarcand in the fruitful territory of Cash, of which his fathers were the hereditary chiefs, as well as of a myriad or toman of ten thousand horse.
In the twenty-fifth year of his age he stood forth as the deliverer of his country: but not being duly supported, he retreated from the hills of Samarcand to the desert with only sixty horsemen. They were overtaken by a thousand foes, whom he repulsed with incredible slaughter, and they were forced to exclaim, "Timour is a wonderful man; fortune and the divine favour are with him."
...In the year 1380, he invaded the kingdoms of Persia; and the whole course of the Tigris and Euphrates, from the mouth to the sources of these rivers, was reduced to his obedience. He extended his conquests eastward into Hindostan, and made his triumphal entry into Delhi, the capital. While on the banks of the Ganges he was informed of the revolt of the catholics in Georgia and Anatolia, and of the ambitious designs of Bajazet, the Ottoman sultan.
He was now sixty-three years of age, and unimpaired by his innumerable fatigues, which had subjected the greatest part of Asia to his laws. The Mogul and Ottoman conquests now touched each other in the neighbourhood of Erzeroum and the Euphrates, by which Timour's dominion was "bound." Of these ambitious monarchs, Timour was impatient of an equal, and Bajazet was ignorant of a superior.
...After enjoying some tranquil months at Samarcand, Timour proclaimed a new expedition of seven years into the western countries of Asia. Complaints and menaces fermented two years before the final explosion; and though the political quarrel was embittered by private and personal resentment, yet in his first expedition, Timour was satisfied with the destruction of Sebaste, a strong city on the borders of Anatolia; and revenged the indiscretion of Bajazet on the garrison of four thousand Armenians, who were buried alive for their fidelity.
As a mussulman, he seemed to respect the pious occupation of the Ottoman, who was still engaged in the blockade of Constantinople; and after this salutary lesson, the Mogul conqueror checked his pursuit, and turned aside to the invasion of Syria and Egypt, A.D. 1400.
Thus was prepared the third Euphratean angel-power. The time was fast approaching for it to be loosed, that it might superadd its vengeance upon
"the worshippers of the daemonials and idols"
of the catholic church, and prevent the fall of their eastern empire by the arms of the Ottoman sultan, until the full expiration of the 391 years and 30 days.
The Loosing of the Third Angel
The sack of Aleppo and Damascus signalized the loosing of the Timour-Mogul power from its Euphratean boundary. In a peaceful conference with a doctor of Mohammedan law, he said: "You see me here a poor, lame, decrepit mortal. Yet by my arm has the Almighty been pleased to subdue the kingdoms of Iran, Touran, and the Indies. I am not a man of blood; and God is my witness, that in all my wars I have never been the aggressor, and that my enemies have always been the authors of their own calamities."
During this peaceful utterance, the streets of Aleppo streamed with blood, and re-echoed with the cries of mothers and children, and the shrieks of violated females; and the cruelty of his Moguls was enforced by the peremptory command of producing an adequate number of heads, which, according to his custom, were curiously piled in columns and pyramids.
After a period of seven centuries, Damascus was reduced to ashes; and in his return to the Euphrates, he delivered Aleppo to the flames. Bagdad shared the same fate, and upon its ruins he erected a pyramid of ninety thousand heads.
He again visited Georgia; and proclaimed his resolution of marching against the Ottoman emperor, whom he styled, the Kaissar of Roum the Caesar of the Romans. Conscious of the importance of the war he collected his forces from every province -- "myriads of myriads" -- variously estimated at from 800,000 to 1,600,000 men.
During the diversion of the Mogul arms into Syria, Bajazet had two years to collect his "myriads" for the encounter. John, doubtless, in vision, saw the myriads of myriads, which the Moguls counted by tomans of ten thousand each, collected by these rival destroyers of mankind for the slaughter upon the field of Angora; but without "the fire hyacinth and sulphur," which had not been introduced into Asiatic field warfare.
Timour himself fixes the Ottoman army at 400,000 men, horse and foot. He invested Angora, A.D. 1402, in the heart of the Ottoman kingdom, which became the scene of a memorable battle, which has immortalized the glory of Timour and the shame of Bajazet.
For this signal victory, the Mogul was indebted to the rapid evolutions of his numerous "cavalry," skillfully worked by a master hand. The genius of Bajazet sank under a stronger ascendant, and the unfaithfulness of his troops.
The fleetest of his horses could not place him in safety. He was pursued, and taken; and after his capture, and the defeat of the Ottoman powers, the kingdom of Anatolia submitted to Timour. The Mogul squadrons were only stopped by the waves of the Propontis. Smyrna was taken by storm; and the trunkless heads of the daemonial worshippers were launched from the engines of assault.
Third Interval, in which the Preparation of the Fourth Angel is Completed
Bajazet died in captivity, A.D. 1403; but the Ottoman Dynasty did not expire with him. "The massy trunk was bent to the ground, but no sooner did the hurricane pass away, than it again rose with fresh vigor and more lively vegetation." When Timour, in every sense, had evacuated Anatolia, he left the cities without a palace, a treasure, or a king.
The open country was overspread with hordes of shepherds and robbers of Tartar and Turkman origin; the recent conquests of Bajazet were restored to the emirs; and his five sons seemed eager, by their civil discord, to consume the remnant of their patrimony. There was as yet no fourth angel-power to be loosed. Its preparation, so far as it had progressed during the second interval, was interrupted, with little prospect of renewal and completion.
But the events of the ensuing eighteen years changed the face of affairs. This was a period of preparation, in which was completed the development of the fourth Euphratean angel-power. It was a period of war between the sons of Bajazet, which resulted in the destruction of them all, except Mohammed I.
This prince, before his father's captivity, had been intrusted with the government of Amasia, and the Turkish frontier. In his rapid career, Timour overlooked this obscure angle of Anatolia, "bounded by" Georgia on the east, the Greek kingdom of Trebisond on the west, and the "great river Euphrates" on the southwest; where Mohammed, without provoking the conqueror, maintained his silent independence.
He obtained Anatolia by treaty, and Thrace by arms. The last eight years of his reign were employed in banishing the vices of civil discord, and restoring on a firmer basis the fabric of the Ottoman monarchy.
He was succeeded by his son Amurath II, who, by the aid of the Genoese, captured Adrianople, and so reunited the Ottoman empire, A.D. 1421.
Loosing of the Fourth Angel
The conquest of Adrianople was followed in the ensuing spring, A.D. 1422, by the siege of Constantinople. The religious merit of subduing the City of the Caesars, attracted from Asia a crowd of volunteers, who aspired to the crown of martyrdom. It was besieged over two months by 200,000 Turks; and "the old resources of defence," says Gibbon, "were opposed to the new engines of attack" -- "the horses in the vision."
The credulity of "the worshippers of the daemonials and idols" beheld the Virgin Mary, in a violet garment walking on the rampart, and animating their courage. But their time for political death ("when Ephraim offended in Baal, he died," i.e. a political death) had not quite arrived.
It was not to their Daemonial Mother of God, nor to their own courage, that they owed their deliverance, at this time; but to the recall of Amurath by a domestic revolt, which demanded the presence of his arms for its suppression. When this was extinguished, he led his janizaries to new conquests in Europe and Asia; a diversion which obtained for the Byzantine empire a servile and precarious respite of thirty years.
The Killing of the Third
Amurath II was succeeded, A.D. 1451, by his son Mohammed II, styled by Gibbon, "the Great Destroyer." His passions were at once furious and inexorable. In the palace, as in the field, a torrent of blood was spilt on the slightest provocation. Constantinople has sealed his glory, and placed him among "the basest of men" whom the Eternal Spirit "sets up" to fulfil his will. Under his command the Ottoman "myriads" were always more numerous than their enemies; "yet," says the historian, "their progress was bounded by the Euphrates and the Adriatic."
Mohammed II, though the proudest of men, could stoop from ambition to the basest arts of dissimulation and deceit. Peace was on his lips, while war was in his heart; and he incessantly sighed for the possession of Constantinople. The indiscretion of the Greeks afforded the first pretence of a fatal rupture. Instead of laboring to be forgotten, they continually annoyed him with their demands, until patience being exhausted, his vizir addressed them in the following strain:
"Ye foolish and miserable Romans, we know your devices; and ye are ignorant of your own danger. The scrupulous Amurath is no more; his throne is occupied by a young conqueror, whom no laws can bind and no obstacles can resist; and, if you escape from his hands, give praise to the divine clemency which yet delays the chastisement of your sins. Why do you seek to affright us by vain and indirect menaces? Release the fugitive, Orchan; crown him sultan of Romania; call the Hungarians from beyond the Danube; arm against us the nations of the west; and be assured that you will only provoke and precipitate your ruin."
...His artillery surpassed whatever had yet appeared in the world. "Am I," said the sultan to a founder of cannon, who had deserted from the Greeks, "able to cast a cannon capable of throwing a ball or stone of sufficient size to batter the walls of Constantinople?" "I am not ignorant of their strength," replied the artist; "but were they more solid than those of Babylon, I could oppose an engine of superior power: the position and management of that engine must be left to your engineers."
At the end of three months, Urban produced a piece of brass ordnance of stupendous and almost incredible magnitude, capable of projecting a stone bullet weighing six hundred pounds. The explosion was felt or heard in a circuit of a hundred furlongs; the ball, by the force of gunpowder -- "the fire, the smoke, and the sulphur" -- was driven above a mile; and, on the spot where it fell, it buried itself a fathom deep in the ground.
For the conveyance of this destructive engine, a carriage-frame of thirty waggons, linked together, was drawn by a team of sixty oxen; two hundred men on both sides were stationed to poise or support the rolling weight; two hundred and fifty pioneers marched before to smooth the way and repair the bridges; and near two months were employed in transporting it one hundred and fifty miles.
...The siege began April 6, A.D. 1453, and lasted fifty-three days. The Propontis and the Harbor protected it on two sides, while the land side was defended by a double wall, and a ditch one hundred feet deep and four English miles in length. Against this the fourth angel-power directed its chief attack.
...The Spirit termed balls and bullets in the vision "heads," hissing like serpents from the lion-mouths of the pieces; and as Gibbon says, illustratively of the "hurt," that "they transpierced breastplates and bodies" of the Daemonial Virgin's troops, the idolatrous Greeks. Lastly, Gibbon is particular to explain to us what John terms "their powers." Projectiles were not new things at this siege; but the powers by which they were made to hurt were new. He says it was by "the force of the powder" that the bullet-heads, or shot, transpierced the bodies.
Here were two powers or forces -- the force of the powder, and the force of the shot; the one the propelling power, and the other the striking power; and both these powers, Gibbon says, were in the musketry and the cannon; and John says the same thing in other words:
"their powers," says he, "are in their mouths and in their tails; FOR their tails are like to serpents, having heads, and with them (the heads) they do hurt."
The serpent hiss of these heads is distinctly heard while they are whizzing through the air in their course from the mouth of the piece to their destination.
Now, if Gibbon was so particular to narrate these details to his contemporaries, who were as familiar with them in every day practice as himself, need we wonder that the Spirit should give them great prominence in the vision? Gibbon could no more dispense with his dissertation on gunpowder, musketry, and cannon, in treating of the fall of the Roman empire, than could the Spirit in representing the same event.
...By the aid of "the powers" of powder and shot, it took the Ottoman angel-power fifty-three days to take the city and overthrow the empire, so as to execute the work in the appointed limit; but without these it would have taken a much longer time, or have resulted in failure as before. The third of the men, then, was emphatically "killed" by gunpowder -- "by the fire, by the smoke, and by the sulphur bursting forth out of" the cannons' "mouths;" for, without this "force of powder," shot, cannon, and musketry, would have been perfectly harmless. Such is the strict accord between prophecy and history. Hence, "the vision is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure."
"The great cannon of Mohammed," says Gibbon, "has been separately noticed -- an important and visible object in the history of the times; but that enormous engine was flanked by two fellows almost of equal magnitude. The long order of the Turkish artillery was pointed against the walls; fourteen batteries thundered at once on the most accessible places; and of one of these it is ambiguously expressed, that it was mounted with one hundred and fifty guns, or that it discharged one hundred and fifty bullets, or "heads." The great cannon could only be loaded and fired seven times in one day and at length burst, destroying several engaged in working it.
The resistance of the idolators was so obstinate and surprising that the perserverance of Mohammed was fatigued, and he began to meditate a retreat. The reduction of the city appeared to be hopeless, unless a double attack could be made from the harbor as well as from the land. This he at length effected. He constructed a floating battery, upon which he planted one of his largest cannon. The fire of the Greeks was controlled and silenced by the superior fire of the Turks; and, after a siege of forty days, the fate of Constantinople could no longer be averted.
...the Greeks fled towards the city; and, in the heat of the pursuit, two thousand worshippers of the Virgin fell beneath the scymitars of the victorious Turks; and, thenceforth Constantinople became the capital of the Fourth Euphratean angel-power. Thus was killed the Eastern Roman Third of the men, at the full end of "the hour, and day, and month and year," or 391 years and 30 days from the perfected preparation of the first angel-power.
16 And the number of the <hosts of the cavalry was two myriads of myriads [200 million]>: and I heard the number of them.
Number of the cavalry
The number is enormous when literally stated; but, however great, is in strict accordance with the truth of history. A myriad is ten thousand. But this must be multiplied by two, for there are "two myriads," or twenty thousand. In the phrase "two myriads of myriads," this twenty thousand becomes the multiplier of "myriads," which is the multiplicand.
If muriadon, genitive plural, is to be taken as one myriad of ten thousand, then the "two myriads of myriads" will represent two hundred millions, or twenty thousand ten thousands. These 200,000,000 must not be taken as the numeration of the angel-hosts at any one time; but as the aggregate of the equestrian forces of the four angel-powers in all the 391 years and 30 days of the killing period -- their numbers were computed by millions.
The means by which this army prevailed to the extinction of eastern Rome, are illustrated--gunpowder. The Turks prevailed over the Romans by the use of gunpowder at a time when it had been recently invented. The Turks were the first to use cannon. It was by this they killed "the third."
Had their foes been similarly armed, their success, humanly speaking, would have been doubtful. Now the principal thing that would strike anyone witnessing an army of cavalry, using field guns, would be the three things mentioned by John,
"fire, smoke, and brimstone" v17
and a description of the new weapons dragged after the horses at a time when they had no name, would be a tail with a head to it, in which lay the power to hurt.
These same tails would, however, when the artillery came into action, become the mouths of the formidable horsemen of the vision; for of course, when the artillery vomited fire and smoke and brimstone, the horsemen would be in the rear of their pieces, which accounts for "their power" being said to be both
"in their mouth and in their tails." v17
The roaring of the guns would also account for their mouths being said to be like lions' mouths, and their breastplates or protection behind which they would fight, being of fire and brimstone.
"The rest of the men", we are told, "that were not killed by these plagues, repented not of the works of their hands" v20
-- a statement illustrated by the fact that notwithstanding the terrible affliction and the overthrow of eastern Rome by the Turks, as the instruments of God's vengeance, the populations of Western Europe continued addicted to the doctrines and practices of Mother Church, which God has stamped with His execration.
The eastern section of Christendom was given over to the desolating Turk, because of its long-standing and patiently-borne but increasing abominations; after the example of the seven nations of Canaan which, for a similar reason, were given over to the sword of Joshua.
The eastern section of Christendom comprises all the countries that were anciently the scenes of divine visitation in a special manner -- the Holy Land, where God wrought openly and the prophets delivered their messages; and Asia Minor where the apostles laboured and the Spirit shone in the midst of the ecclesias in the miraculous endowments it conferred on leading brethren.
Thus it comes to pass in our day , that all the lands of hallowed memory are blighted and desolate under Turkish rule. The horsemen of the sixth trumpet summoned by the trumpet blast of divine providence, swept over "the third", to its extermination and the consequent desolation of the lands over which they threw the blighting shadow of their subsequently established government.
Thirteen lectures on the apocalypse
17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and <those who> sat <upon> on them, having <breasts fiery and hyacinthine and sulphurous>: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths < there burst forth fire and smoke and sulphur >.
The Horses and their Riders
He saw the equestrian millions in vision. What a host to contemplate! He beheld them embattled, and vomiting forth fire and smoke, and deadly missiles. The horses he saw were not real horses, but horses in vision, or symbolical horses and symbolical riders; which in solid array and in action presented certain characteristics illustrative of the historical reality.
...As a horse is warlike, so he is also a swift creature, and is therefore not only the symbol of conquest, but also of the speediness of it (Joel ii. 4; Jer. iv. 13).
The following in Hab. i. 8, concerning the swift, fierce, and invincible career of the Chaldean against Judah, is expressive also of that of the four Euphratean angel-powers, as represented by the equestrian myriads in the sixth trumpet vision:
"Their horses are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle hasteth to prey. They shall come all for violence ... they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every stronghold; for they shall heap dust, and take it".
The Fire, the Smoke, and the Sulphur
The time had now arrived, which John saw illustrated in the vision by what Gibbon styles, "the new engines of attack."
...Having narrated the failure of Amurath's attack upon Constantinople, Mr. Gibbon calls the attention of the reader to the invention of gunpowder and balls as "the powers" by which "the new engines" became effective. He remarks, that the only hope of salvation for the Greek empire, and the adjacent kingdoms, would have been some more powerful weapon, some discovery in the art of war, that would give them a decisive superiority over their Turkish foes.
Such a weapon was in their hands, and such a discovery had been made at this critical period of their fate. The chemists of China or Europe, had found that a mixture of saltpetre, sulphur, and charcoal, produces, with a spark of fire, a tremendous explosion or bursting forth -- ekporeusis. It was soon observed that if the expansive force were compressed in a strong tube, a ball of stone or iron "heads," might be expelled with irresistible and destructive velocity.
... it was found impossible to circumscribe the secret within the pale of catholic idolatry... the sultans of the fourth angel-power had the sense to adopt, and wealth to reward, the talents of a catholic engineer.
It was probably by the hands of the Genoese that Amurath's cannon was cast and directed at the siege of Constantinople. The first attempt was indeed unsuccessful; it could not be otherwise, the time appointed for "killing the third" being yet distant upwards of thirty years.
18 By these three <were killed the third of the men>, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, <sulphur, bursting forth> out of their mouths.
19 For their <powers are> in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails <are> like unto serpents, <having> heads, and with <with these do they injure.>
Breasts Fiery and Hyacinthine
These horses were what is now styled horse-artillery: artillery drawn by horses, without which they would be of little use in war.
"The heads of the horses were as the heads of lions,"
because of their roaring,
"and out of their mouths burst, or roared forth the fire, smoke, and sulphur."
Hence, the horses in the vision besides being symbolical of the equestrian character, and of the swift and fierce invincibility, of the Euphratean angel-powers, are representative of the new and powerful artillery used by the fourth Euphratean Angel in putting to death "the third" -- the third that belonged to the men who were unsealed.
These lion-headed horses, roaring and vomiting fire, smoke, and sulphur out of their mouths, were cannons belching forth destruction. John saw them mounted on breastworks, which breasted the troops behind them; and from these "breasts," as well as from the "mouths," burst forth fire; for the riders had
"breasts fiery, hyacinthine, and sulphurous."
He saw these artillery mounted breastworks actively at work; and the nature of their activity he signifies by the sight and smell. They appeared to the eye "fiery and hyacinthine."
This is the symbolism of the flash seen on the discharge of loaded cannon. If a little saltpetre and sulphur be triturated together, and then thrown into the fire, the hyacinthine color will be seen in their combustion. In other words, this combustion will be "fiery and hyacinthine."
With the Heads They Do Injure
A cannon, in modern style, is divided into breech, barrel, and mouth. The Spirit only indicates the mouth and the breech, which he terms the tail, which is an appendage thereto. These "tails" were "like serpents," in the similitude of their destructive operation; for the tails were not headless. Had they been headless tails, they could have done no injury; no more than a serpent without a head.
When a serpent injures, it coils, and making a fulcrum of its tail, shoots forth its head from amid the coils, which are straightened by the spring, and with its head strikes its victim with a deadly stroke. Hence, the death-dealing powers of the serpent are in its head, or mouth, and in its tail.
So it is with flying artillery, and with artillery mounted on breastworks, compared herein to "serpents." Without the tail of the piece the mouth thereof could not injure; and without the mouth, or outlet, the tail could do no harm. As in the natural, "the powers" of these artillery serpents "are in their mouths and in their tails." The projecting power is in the tail of the piece; many pieces, therefore, in our time, being "breech-loading."
But until of late, the projecting power and the projectile were always mouth, or muzzle-loaded -- they went through the mouth into the tail; and being well rammed, they spring or shoot forth with the voice of a lion, straightening themselves from tail to mouth, out of which they rush in "fire, smoke, and sulphur," dealing death and destruction upon what things soever may be encountered by their "head," their tail-heads, or cannon balls; "for their tails have heads, and with these do they injure."
Thus, "by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the sulphur," as an exploding power projecting the tail-heads, were "the third of the men killed." The scorpions of the first woe were highly incendiary; but they did not make breaches in walls, and overturn lofty towers: the serpents of the second woe did all this; and in opening breaches by their tail-heads, gave admission to the fourth Euphratean angel-power into the capital of the Eastern Third, where he has been enthroned upwards of four hundred years, the observed of all observers; some of whom long for his decease, that they may be enriched by the division of his estate.
Fire, Hyacinth, and Sulphur
"Fire, hyacinth, and sulphur," and "fire, smoke, and sulphur,"
are symbolical of gunpowder, which is composed of charcoal, saltpetre, and sulphur.
These three substances in their normal, distinct, and quiescent state, have no resemblance to fire, hyacinth, and smoke; but while, in combustion, they are the appearances, which, with the sulphurous smell, most forcibly strike our senses. Hence, the phenomena resulting from the combustion, become symbolical of the projecting force, or power, which drives forth the power that strikes with the stroke of death.
Saltpetre, or nitrate of potassa, is symbolized by hyacinth-colour, because of the analogy it bears to it in color when in deflagration. Nothing could be more significant of this destructive agent, first used in the warfare of nations in the fourteenth century, than the terms employed by the Spirit in this vision. The hieroglyphic can mean nothing else than the great destroying machinery of modern warfare.
20 And the rest of the men < who> were not killed by these plagues <changed not from> the works of their hands, that they <might> not worship <the daemonials>, and idols of gold, and <of> silver, and <of> brass, and <stone>, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:
The Rest Of The Men
... the Spirit refers to hoi loipoi ton anthropon, "the rest of the men who were not killed by these plagues." The to triton ton anthropon, the third of the men were killed by the plagues. The former class who were not killed, though filled with consternation at the fate of "the third," still flourished in political existence.
The fourth Euphratean angel-power, though it injured them greatly in its wars upon them, was unable to kill them, as he had slain their brethren of "the third." The others, hoi loipoi, inhabit all those countries of the Roman orb not included in the Ottoman empire, or fourth Euphratean angel dominion. They are known as "the Latins," who in ch. xiii. 4,5, are said to worship the beast, and to be subject to his Mouth, which speaks great things and blasphemies. These are said in ch. ix. 20, to worship the Daemonials and idols, the works of their hands.
Notwithstanding the signal overthrow and political annihilation of their daemon and image-worshipping brethren of the eastern third, they, the Latins of the west, still continued the same abomination, as at this day. Hence, the work of judgment ceased not with the death of the third; but continues still, and will continue, until all "the daemons" are cast out, and "the idols" are thrown to the moles and the bats, and Yahweh alone is exalted in the glory of his majesty and might (Isa. ii. 17-21).
They [pagans / catholics] foolishly imagined that all men, women, and children have within them a genius, spirit or soul which they considered to be a particle of the essence of Deity, whoever or whatever he might be; and that, therefore, said genius, spirit, or soul, was absolutely and essentially immortal or deathless.
This was the daemon in a living man, such as Socrates surrendered himself blindly to the guidance and protection of. But, when men, women, and children, ceased to be creatures visibly existing, they supposed, that they still continued in being, only invisible to the naked eye. Their bodies they often burned to ashes, which they deposited in urns; nevertheless, they supposed that they were still in existence, only in a new form. They conceited that the real man was the indwelling soul; and that when the body ceased to breathe, said soul ascended into the air, or aerial, where it "hovered between heaven and earth."
These were deified souls -- souls made deities by human decrees, or apotheosis. They styled them "Immortal Gods," though but "an inferior race of divine beings." Of these gods were Darius, Caesar, Alexander, and a host of others, who had made themselves "great," in the estimation of the blind multitude, who decreed divine honours to their souls, and erected statuesque copies of their perished forms, for the glorification of their friends, and the factions they were supposed to have adorned.
The immortal soul in the aerial called Darius, and decreed to be a god, was what they called a daemon or a daemonion. Such daemons the heathen worshipped, and placed themselves, their families, their property, and countries, under the protection of. Hence, they styled them "tutelary deities," or divine guardians.
...The Greeks and Romans have never relaxed their hold upon daemonolatry or demon-worship to this day. They have only changed the character of their daemons and idols. When they became catholics they did not really cease to be pagans; they only "baptized" their daemons, and called them by other names. Jupiter, the Latins styled St. Peter, and the idol representative of "the father of the gods and men" became the image of St. Peter, "the Prince of the Apostles."
Jupiter's wife, Juno, the Queen of the Universe, was converted by the Collyridion "heretics," who changed her name to "Mary, Mother of Mercy, Queen of the whole world, Mother and Spouse of God." After this fashion, they have conferred the names of fabulous saints and angels upon the gods and daemons of ancient Greece and Rome. All that the old heathens affirmed of their deities, the modern heathens of the Greek and Latin communions affirm of their martyrs, saints, and angels. The daemonology of the ancient world is the daemonology of the Apostasy, catholic and protestant.
...Apotheosis was the deification of the disembodied ghosts, or soul-daemons, of pagan heroes and great men...
...Now, what apotheosis was among the worshippers of Jupiter, canonization is among the worshippers of the fictitious ghost which they call "the Virgin Mother and Spouse of God." It is the next process to what they style beatification. The ghost supposed to be a blessed or beatified ghost after a scrutiny of its embodied life, in the presence of the Roman bishop and his cardinals, is proclaimed a holy one, or what these "worshippers" of the daemonials and images term "a saint," upon which the Pontiff decrees the canonization and appoints the day.
...The clergy, who are in all ages the blind adherents and patrons of profitable errors, came to perceive that this polytheistic daemonialism would be more valuable to them than gold or precious stones. This stimulated them to a fraudulent multiplication of daemonial relics, such as the bones, hair, teeth, toe nails, blood, and so forth, of some fictitious saint or martyr; all of which were declared to be holy and endowed with miraculous powers for the healing of the sick, and even for the resurrection of the dead.
"Without much regard for truth or probability," says Gibbon, "they invented names for skeletons, and actions for names. The fame of the apostles, and of the holy men who had imitated their virtues, was darkened by religious fiction. To the invincible band of genuine and primitive martyrs, they added myriads of imaginary heroes who had never existed, except in the fancy of crafty or credulous legendaries; and there is reason to suspect that Tours might not be the only diocese in which the bones of a malefactor were adored instead of those of a saint."
...Thus, contemporary with the sounding of the fifth and sixth trumpets the latter of which did not cease to sound till A.D. 1794, the daemons of pagan Rome recovered their places in the aerial under new names; and became the patrons and protectors of the catholic apostasy. These trumpets were terrible judgments inflicted upon mankind because of their daemonolatry and idolatry. Protestantism appeared on the stage of action about the time of, or a few years before, the killing of the third of the men by the fourth angel power.
But, though it protested against some catholic abominations of the grosser sort, it still clung tenaciously to the beatified existence of the daemonials in the aerial. It holds to all the absurdities which flow from the dogma of hereditary immortality, and the disembodied existence of the immortal essence after death. It erects statues in honour of its departed great, and dedicates them with clerical prayers and other ceremonies; and proclaims the dead to be alive in heaven, whence they look down with pleasure and grateful satisfaction upon the demonstrations of their admirers.
Protestant daemonolatry is no more agreeable to heaven than the daemon worship of the catholic world.
...Erecting statues, and memorial windows in churches, in honor of "immortal souls in heaven," is worship, homage, or reverence, and they who practice such things are as much guilty of "worshipping the demonials," as are they who bow down before the image of a "saint."
...the ages contemporary with the fifth, and the interval preceding the sixth trumpet, were conspicuous for the legal establishment of the worship of daemonials, and their idolatrous symbols, called images or idols.
The introduction and establishment of daemonial and idol worship as an institution of the catholic apostasy, was progressive. It began with a "voluntary humility and worshipping of angels" -- and intruding into the unseen, and a vain inflation of the mind of the flesh, in the apostolic age, as appears from Col. ii. 17; and was established as early as the end of the sixth century, but more firmly by Greek and Papal authority in the eighth and ninth.
In the beginning of the eighth, the idol worship was in full magnitude...catholics and idolators were and are but different terms for the same thing.
...Images or idols are symbols. They are symbols which represent the things related to daemons -- ta daimonia. Hence, when a catholic idolator looks upon the statue or image of Jupiter, which he has been taught to regard as the image of Saint Peter, that Saint Peter upon which the catholic church is built, he immediately has before "the mind of his flesh," ho nous tes sarkos autou, a disembodied ghost, with a bunch of keys, at the gates of Paradise, called Saint Peter.
...The first introduction of this symbolic worship was in the veneration of the cross, and of relics. At first, the experiment of daemonial relic and image worship was made with caution and scruple.
...reformation was attempted by Leo III, surnamed Iconoclast, who ascended the throne of the Eastern Third, A.D. 726. After ten years, he proscribed the existence, as well as the use of religious pictures; the church-bazaars of Constantinople were cleansed from idolatry; the images of Christ, "the Virgin, and the saints," were demolished, or a smooth surface of plaster was spread over the walls of the edifice.
... They held a synod in Constantinople, A.D. 754, which, after a session of six months, decreed, that all visible symbols of Christ, except in the eucharist, were either blasphemous or heretical; that image-worship was a corruption of christianity and a renewal of paganism; that all such monuments of idolatry should be broken or erased
...the public and private worship of images was rigorously prescribed; and a solemn abjuration of idolatry was exacted from the clergy of the Eastern Third of the Roman orb.
The patient east abjured, with reluctance, her sacred images; while they were fondly cherished, and vigorously defended, by the Italians. Their popes were the chief advocates of "the daemonials and idols."
...When Leo's proscriptive edict arrived in Italy, the catholics trembled for their domestic deities; the images of Christ and the Virgin, of the angels, martyrs, and saints, were abolished in all the church-bazaars of the country
...Gregory refused to submit, and gave the signal of revolt. The Italians swore to live and die in the defence of the pope, and the holy images. ... In a hard fought day, the invaders were defeated, and the worship of images vindicated in a baptism of blood.
...While the popes established in Italy their freedom and dominion, the images, the first cause of their revolt, were restored in the eastern empire. The tree of superstition had been hewn down, but the stump was still enrooted in the soil. The idols were secretly cherished by the monks and women, whose fond alliance obtained a final victory over the reason and authority of man. The ambitious empress Irene, A.D. 780, undertook the ruin of the Iconoclasts.
In her restoration of the monks, a thousand images were exposed to the public veneration; and a thousand lying legends invented of their sufferings and miracles. The seventh general council was convened at Nice, A.D. 787. The legates of the Roman God, and the eastern patriarch, sat in the synod of three hundred and fifty bishops, who unanimously decreed, that the worship of images is agreeable to scripture and reason, to the fathers and council of the church.
The acts of this council are still extant; a curious monument of superstition and ignorance, of falsehood and folly. The comparative merit of image worship and morality in the judgment of these bishops, is illustrated by the following anecdote. A monk had concluded a truce with the daemon of fornication on condition of interrupting his daily prayers to a picture that hung in his cell. His scruples prompted him to consult the Abbot.
"Rather than abstain from adoring Christ and his Mother in their holy images, it would be better for you," said he, "to enter every brothel, and visit every prostitute in the city."
The final victory of "the daemonials and idols" was achieved by a second female, the empress Theodore, who was left guardian of the empire A.D. 842. Her measures were bold and decisive. She ordered the Iconoclast patriarch to be whipped with two hundred lashes. Upon this the bishops trembled, the monks shouted, and idolatry reigned supreme.
The churches of France, Germany, England, and Spain, steered a middle course between the adoration and the destruction of the idols, which they admitted into their temples, not as objects of worship, but as lively and useful memorials of faith and history. Among the barbarians of the west the worship of idols advanced with silent and insensible progress, because among them were "nourished the Woman and the Remnant of her seed" (xii. 14-17); but a large atonement is made for their hesitation and delay, by the gross idolatry of the ages which precede the protestant modification of Romanism, and of the countries, both in Europe and America, which are still immersed in the gloom of daemonial superstition.
Thus, having become inveterate idolators "the inhabitants of the earth" were given over to their delusions, and nothing remained but to inflict upon them the sanguinary judgments of the three woes, or fifth, sixth, and seventh trumpets.
As I have said, the second woe ended in A.D. 1794; and since then, the third woe has been doing its work upon the daemonialists and image worshippers of the European and American sections of the globe. Its judgments have not yet ceased; for "the rest of the men" have "not changed from the works of their hands, that they should not worship the daemonials and idols;" nor have they of the "religious world" abandoned murder, sorcery, fornication, and theft.
Therefore the judgments of the third woe will not cease, until all the catholic, protestant, and sectarian systems of Daemonialism shall be destroyed; and Yahweh be alone exalted as Elohim and King over all the earth in a peaceful and glorious reign of one thousand years (v. 10; xx. 4,6).