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    CHAPTER 21. The Seven Trumpets

    THE political events of this dispensation are properly symbolized by trumpets, those long-used heralds of war and revolution. A prophecy of great importance and interest, under the symbols of seven trumpets, is given in the 8th, 9th, and a part of the 11th chapters of the Revelation.SYNPT 210.1

    The record of the first trumpets begins with verse 7 of chapter 8. These trumpets are the counterpart of the prophecy of the second chapter of Daniel. That prophecy brings to view the dividing of the Roman kingdom into ten parts, as represented by the ten toes of the great image; and the first four of the seven trumpets embody the events by which this division was effected.SYNPT 210.2

    1. What do trumpets appropriately symbolize?
    2. What period is covered by the seven trumpets of Revelation?
    3. Where does the record of the first trumpet begin?
    4. Of what are these trumpets the counterpart?
    5. What do the first four trumpets introduce?
    6. How is the first trumpet described?

    1. The first trumpet represents hail and fire mingled with blood cast upon the earth. It was fulfilled by the invasion of the Roman empire by the Goths under Alaric, commencing A.D. 395. This invasion is represented by hail, from the fact that the invaders came from the frozen regions of the North. It is further described as fire mingled with blood, because the course of the invaders was marked by slaughter and conflagration.SYNPT 210.3

    2. The second trumpet brings us to a new location and another event. A great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea. The next great invasion of the Roman empire, which shook it to its foundation and conduced to its fall, was that of the Vandals under Genseric. The base of his operations was at Carthage in Africa. The date of his career is marked by the years 428 to 468. His warfare was carried on by sea; and his warfare against the Roman empire was well symbolized by a great mountain burning with fire cast into the sea. He ravaged and devastated all those provinces of the Roman empire which lie upon the Mediterranean.SYNPT 211.1

    The frequent reference to the third part, noticed in the trumpets, has allusion to the tripartite division of the empire. Twice it was divided into three parts before its permanent division into Eastern and Western Rome; and when the third part is spoken of in this prophecy, it refers to that division in which the events of the trumpet under consideration were taking place.SYNPT 211.2

    7. By what was it fulfilled?
    8. When did it commence?
    9. Why is it described as hail and fire mingled with blood?
    10. What scene does the second trumpet bring to view?
    11. What was the second great invasion of the Roman empire?
    12. What was the base of Genseric’s operations?
    13. What figures mark the date of his career?
    14. Why was a burning mountain cast into the sea a fit symbol of his work?
    15. What provinces did he ravage?
    16. What is meant by the expression, “the third part?”
    17. What conqueror and what people fulfilled the events of the third trumpet?

    3. The third trumpets brings to view another invading chieftain, who, like a comet or a blazing star, flamed over the Roman world. It was Attila at the head of his warlike Huns. The name of this star is called “Wormwood,” as describing the bitter consequences of the invasion and the terrors and miseries wrought by this war-like chief.SYNPT 211.3

    This star fell upon the third part of the rivers and fountains of waters. The scene of Attila’s operations was in the northern part of Italy, the region in which so many streams and rivers have their source. Attila styled himself “The scourge of God,” and made his boast that the grass never grew where his horse had trod.SYNPT 212.1

    18. Why is this star called Wormwood?
    19. What was the scene of Attila’s operations?
    20. What did Attila style himself?
    21. What was his boast?
    22. What is brought to view under the fourth trumpet?
    23. In what sense are the terms sun, moon, and stars here used?
    24. What do they signify?
    25. When was the Western empire extinguished?
    26. Who were the agents in its accomplishment?

    4. The fourth trumpet is described in the 12th verse, and brings to view the blotting out of the third part of the sun, moon, and stars. These are undoubtedly here used as symbols representing the three highest sources of authority in the Roman empire; namely, emperors, consuls, and senators; and the only inference to be drawn from the phraseology of the text is that the abolition of these three offices is intended. We have now come to the time when the Western empire of Rome was extinguished. The date, as given by Gibbon, is 476 or 479. It was accomplished by Odoacer, who was succeeded by Theodoric, the Ostrogoth; and the events of the trumpet were finally accomplished by Justinian. The Imperial office, the sun, was extinguished by Odoacer. Justinian abolished the Consulship, the moon; and Narses, the general of Justinian, extinguished the Senate, the stars. Thus in the third part of the Roman empire, the sun, moon, and stars were smitten, here represented as a third part of these luminaries.SYNPT 212.2

    Another angel, not one of this series of seven, is now introduced, declaring that the three remaining trumpets will be trumpets of woe.SYNPT 213.1

    Two of these trumpets, the 5th and 6th, occupy, in equal portions, the whole of the ninth chapter of Revelation. The prophet now turns from those agencies which were employed to scourge Rome, and break it up into political divisions, to those agencies which were employed to scourge it as an ecclesiastical power after its change from paganism to the papacy.SYNPT 213.2

    27. What may be said of the angel of verse 13?
    28. What chapter, and in what proportion, is occupied with the 5th and 6th trumpets?
    29. From what and to what does the prophet now turn?
    30. Who was the star of verse 1?
    31. By whom was he overthrown?
    32. What was his fall, and why?
    33. Of what is the bottomless pit here a symbol?

    5. The first 11 verses of Revelation 9 are used in describing the fifth trumpet. A star is first seen falling from heaven unto the earth. The star was Chosroes, the king of Persia. He was overthrown by Heraclius, the emperor of the East. His fall was the key by which the bottomless pit was opened. For Rome, in overthrowing Persia, utterly exhausted herself; and thus the only two powers which were capable of meeting and crushing Mohammedanism, namely, Persia and Eastern Rome, were virtually taken out of the way by this revolution. The bottomless pit, symbolizing the wastes of the Arabian deserts, poured forth a great smoke, or the dark and delusive doctrines propagated by Mohammed and his fanatical followers. Chosroes, after his loss of empire, was murdered in the year 628; and the year 629 is marked by Mohammed’s conquest of Arabia and the first war of the Moslems against the Roman empire. The locusts that came out of the smoke symbolized the Arabian horsemen, as they went forth to fight what they called the battles of the Lord.SYNPT 213.3

    34. What is issued from that pit?
    35. When was Chosroes murdered?
    36. What marks the year 629?
    37. By what are the Arabian horsemen here symbolized?
    38. How long a period is denoted by the five months?
    39. From what point are they to be dated?
    40. Why?
    41. When did Othman found his government?
    42. When was his first assault made upon the Eastern empire?

    Their mission was to torment men five months, but not to kill them. Verses 5, 10. This period is doubtless prophetic, denoting 150 years. If so, the question arises, From what point are these years to be dated? The 11th verse gives us the key to the solution of the query. They had a king over them, whose name is given both in Hebrew and Greek as “the destroyer.” The conclusion naturally follows that the five months of torment must have taken place under this Ottoman power after its consolidation into a kingly government. Previous to the time of Othman, the Mohammedan power was composed of separate and distinct tribes. Under the policy of this man, they were consolidated into one government, with himself as king, although he never took the title of Sultan. This was near the close of the thirteenth century; and that power has ever since been known as the Ottoman empire, after the name of Othman, its founder.SYNPT 214.1

    The first invasion of Roman territory by Othman took place on the 27th day of July, 1299. Commencing the five months’ torment from this event, they would end 150 years later, in 1449. As we inquire for the events which mark the termination of that period, we are brought to the sounding of the next trumpet.SYNPT 215.1

    6. When the sixth angel sounded, a voice was heard, saying, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. The river Euphrates must here be taken for a symbol of that kingdom of which it was the principal river, which was the Ottoman, or Turkish empire. The four angels are supposed to mean the four chief Sultanies of which that empire was composed. These were Iconium, Aleppo, Damascus, and Bagdad. They were “loosed;” that is to say, they were to have thereafter not simply the power of tormenting, but of destroying. This was accomplished by the following events:-SYNPT 215.2

    43. What was heard when the sixth angel sounded?
    44. What does the river Euphrates here symbolize?
    45. What are the four angels bound therein supposed to mean?
    46. What were these four Sultanies?
    47. Name the events by which they were loosed so as to have thereafter the power to destroy?
    48. By whom was Amurath succeeded, and when?
    49. What enterprise did he set his heart on accomplishing?

    When the last emperor of the Greeks, John Paleologus, died, leaving no children, Constantine Deacozes succeeded to the empire; but he would not venture to ascend the throne without asking the consent of Amurath, the Turkish Sultan. Thus he virtually surrendered his power into Turkish hands. And this was in the very year when the 150 years of the preceding trumpet ended, namely, in 1449. Amurath was succeeded by Mohammed II. in 1451, who set his heart on “destroying,” or making a compete conquest of, this division of the Roman empire, by taking its capital, the city of Constantinople. The siege commenced April 6, 1453, and the city was taken on the 16th of May following. The eastern seat of the Caesars thus became the seat of the Ottoman empire, and has so remained to this day.SYNPT 215.3

    The principal subject for exposition under this trumpet is the prophetic period brought to view in verse 15. The angels were loosed for an hour, a day, a month, and a year. This, reduced from prophetic to literal time, gives us the following period: A year, 360 days, 360 years; a month, 30 days, 30 years; a day, 1 year; an hour, a twenty-fourth part of a prophetic day, 15 literal days; making in all 391 years, and 15 days. This added to the date, July 27, 1449, where the 150 years of the previous trumpet ended, brings us to August 11, 1840.SYNPT 216.1

    50. When did the siege of Constantinople commence?
    51. When and how did it end?
    52. What is the principal point to be explained under this trumpet?
    53. How long a period of time is brought to view?
    54. Where did this period end?
    55. By what means did the Turks achieve their conquest?
    56. What event would be expected to mark the termination of the 391 years and 15 days?

    The means by which the Mohammedans achieved their wonderful conquests are described in verses 17, 18 as fire, and smoke, and brimstone; and it is a remarkable fact that in this revolution, gun-powder was first used as an implement of war. It thus appears that John, in A.D. 96, penned a prophecy of that notable invention which appeared as a new engine of destruction thirteen hundred years from his time, and has revolutionized the mode of warfare throughout the civilized world.SYNPT 216.2

    57. What event did take place on the day when this period ended, and what led to it?
    58. Where is the series of trumpets resumed?

    As the prophetic period of this trumpet commenced by the voluntary surrender of power into the hands of the Turks by the Christian emperor of the East, so we might justly conclude that its termination would be marked by the voluntary surrender of that power by the Turkish Sultan back again into the hands of the Christians. In 1838 Turkey became involved in war with Egypt. The Egyptians bid fair to overthrow the Turkish power. To prevent this, the four great powers of Europe, England, Russia, Austria, and Prussia, interfered to sustain the Turkish government. Turkey accepted their intervention. A conference was held in London at which an ultimatum was drawn up to be presented to Mehemet Ali, the Pacha of Egypt. It is evident that when this ultimatum should be placed in the hands of Mehemet, the destiny of the Ottoman empire would be virtually lodged in the hands of the Christian powers of Europe. This ultimatum was placed in the hands of Mehemet on the 11th day of August 1840! and on that very day the Sultan addressed a note to the ambassadors of the four powers, inquiring what should be done in case Mehemet refused to comply with the terms which they had proposed. The answer was that he need hot alarm himself about any contingency that might arise; for they had made provision for that. The prophetic period ended, and on that very day the control of Mohammedan affairs passed into the hands of Christians, just as the control of Christian affairs had passed into the hands of the Mohammedans 391 years and 15 days before. Thus the second woe ended, and the sixth trumpet ceased its sounding.SYNPT 217.1

    Passing over the 10th and a portion of the 11th chapters of Revelation, the series of trumpets is again taken up in verse 14 of chapter 11. The events of this trumpet are described in the five following verses. They are such as to show that this trumpet witnesses the conclusion of all earthly kingdoms and the beginning of the everlasting reign of Christ. Among the events introduced is the opening of the temple of God in heaven. Verse 19. This was the commencement of the work of cleansing the sanctuary, as explained in the exposition of that subject, - a work which constitutes the finishing of the mystery of God spoken of in Revelation 10:7, and marks the beginning of the sounding of the seventh trumpet. It is therefore evident that the seventh angel began to sound in the autumn of 1844; and the little space termed “quickly,” which was to intervene between the second and third woes, reached from August 11, 1840, where the sixth trumpet ceased to sound, to the autumn of 1844 where the seventh commenced. The 18th verse of Revelation 11 shows that this trumpet covers the concluding troubles of the last days, and reaches over to the destruction of the wicked at the end of the thousand years of Revelation 20.SYNPT 218.1

    59. What is shown by the events brought to view under it?
    60. What event is especially noted among others?
    61. What was this?
    62. How is it spoken of in Revelation 10?
    63. What does it there mark?
    64. When, therefore, did the 7th trumpet begin to sound?
    65. What space is covered by the term “quickly?”
    66. What does this trumpet cover?

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