Chapter eight saw the four waves of judgement and destruction that came upon the Western part of the Roman empire and now in chapter nine we see the two mighty powers that arose thereafter, which over time brought down the East. In AD 610 Mohammed was declared to be the ‘Prophet of God’ and so began the subjugation and sometimes annihilation of surrounding populaces and nations as the Arabian Saracens swept across the Middle East and North Africa, extinguishing Roman rule in these regions. In accordance with strict religious instruction, and in contrast to the policy of the Goths, trees and plants were under strict preservation orders.
The major heights of the Saracen conquests were achieved over the next 150 years (five prophetic months) and essentially plateaued thereafter. Later the Ottoman (Turkish) armies, which had adopted Islam, arose from the borders of the River Euphrates and became the dominant force. Centuries of conflict with the remaining portion of the Eastern Roman empire (about a third of what it once was) eventually saw the ultimate Turkish victory. Their horse-drawn canons brought a power of destruction to warfare that was like the sting of a scorpion’s tail and with such power, in AD 1453, they conquered the unconquerable city of Constantinople. This was the final end of what remained of the old Roman empire.
Thinking back to the four trumpets of destruction upon the Western empire just one figure was likened to a ‘star’, that was Attila (the Hun) and he is still to this day the most famed among the ‘big name’ invaders of the West. So now we have two successive waves of destruction that came upon the East and again we have one outstanding ‘star’ whose name everyone knows to this day – Mohammed. It is interesting to note that it was during the era of Attila that we have a record of a celestial event passing over the earth – most likely the first recorded sighting of Halley’s comet. So also was the rise of Mohammed associated with a ‘stone from heaven’. The Black Stone, possibly a fallen meteorite, is still at the centre of Islamic veneration to this day.
Remember, the ‘year-for-a-day’ principle is used by historicists when interpreting Revelation time measures. In the summary above I’ve already stated that the five months (of the fifth trumpet) equals 150 years. One month = 30 days x 5 = 150 days (years). The 30 day month is used and this is more clearly verified later in Revelation (as also it is in Daniel). The period of the sixth trumpet has a slightly more complex timeline, let’s look at it…
“And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.”
360 (a year) + 30 (a month) + 1 (a day) + ? (an hour – a very small period of time in this context) = 391 years (and a little bit). AD 1062 is reckoned to be a pivotal moment in the crossing of the Euphrates. So: 1062 + 391 = 1453 – that is, in AD 1453 the Ottomans reached their pinnacle moment in the overthrow of Constantinople.*
*(Historicists may offer some slightly different variants of this particular timeline, I have used the one presented by Robert Caringola)
We asked in the last chapter, why was God judging the Western ‘Christianised’ empire. In a simple, single word summary the answer is idolatry and so is the answer once again in the East. This period of judgement on the East took far longer than in the West. Perhaps God had allowed them time to repent in-between the fifth and the sixth trumpet and it does seem that there were some periods of reform during this time, a house cleaning drive took place with many idols being cast out of church buildings but clearly it neither went all the way nor lasted.
The end of the West (AD 476) and the slow dying of the East (starting from AD 610) mark a period of history lasting approximately a 1000 years, until the time of the Reformation, known to all as ‘The Dark Ages’. Merciless papal rule in the West meant that all people they considered to be ‘heretics’ were either ‘persuaded’ to convert or annihilated. In the East generation after generation were at the mercy of marauding Islamic forces offering their three options to those who survived – convert, pay a crippling taxation or die.
As throughout this simple Revelation overview I am not attempting to go into any fine level of detail or tackle all points made in each verse of the Book. There are reams of historical analysis and quotations from both well studied historicists to well acknowledged secular historians that show an uncanny level correlation. Here’s just a few from the current chapter, concerning the fifth trumpet… Locusts speak of the region (The East/Arabia), the vast numbers and destruction. The customary yellow turbans worn by the Saracens were like golden crowns. Unlike the clean shaven Romans (of Greek culture), all had beards and were also well known for their long, uncut hair. Expert horsemanship, including rear-facing techniques, provided a special sting in their tails. Coats of chainmail – “breastplates or iron” – were worn in battle. There is much more detail that ties the imagery of Revelation to well known facts about the Saracens, the rise of Islam and likewise with the sixth trumpet of the Turks.