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Prophecy of the Trumpets continued-Fifth and Sixth Trumpets considered.-Rev. viii. 13, and Rev. ix.
The three last trumpets are introduced with a notice, that they bring temporal judgments upon the earth and this circumstance will confirm the opinion, that the four trumpets which precede, refer to judgments in spiritual things. The fifth and sixth trumpets occupy Chap. ix. of the Apocalypse, and the notice alluded to, closes Chap. viii.
Rev. viii. 13.—" And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying, with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth, by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound."
Rev. ix. 1 to 12.—" And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth, and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit; and he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. 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. And 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. And to them it was given that they should
not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months; and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. And the shape of the locusts was like unto horses prepared unto battle, and on their heads were, as it were, crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women; and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breast-plates, as it were breast-plates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses, running to battle. 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 had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name, in the Hebrew tongue, is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue, hath his name Apollyon. One woe is past, and behold, there come two woes more hereafter.'
The Apocalypse, like the book of Daniel, traces the history of the Church under the Greek Empire, before it enters into any particular detail of the Latin Church and Kingdom. And the ninth chapter of Revelations appears to run parallel with the eighth chapter of Daniel.
The star in verse 1, does not seem to be one which the apostle saw falling, but which had already fallen to the earth, (TTTWXOTα,) and for (πεπτωκότα;)
any thing that appears to the contrary, it may be, and probably, it is the same star, the fall of which he observed, as before described in verse 10 of the
preceding chapter. It seems intended to represent an ecclesiastical establishment, which had fallen away from the true faith. The experience of modern, as of ancient times, demonstrates that darkness and superstition are the parents of infidelity; and the symbol here represents the progress, and effects of that infidelity, to which the multiplied idolatries of Christendom gave birth. The great Church establishments of the Christian countries, being sunk in idolatry and image worship, the impostor Mahomet came forth, proclaiming himself the prophet of the one true God; and assuming to himself in that capacity, the office of recalling the nations to what he alleged to be the only true faith. Infidelity is aptly symbolized as a bottomless pit; for it affords no resting place for the sole of the sinner's foot and the figure represents the fallen angel, or ruler of an apostate Church, opening the pit of infidelity; inasmuch as his superstitions and corruptions of the truth, lead men to doubt and to disbelieve God's revelation. From this darkness and infidelity, sprang up the Mahometan locusts; and their commission was not to hurt the green herb, or the true Israel of God, but only those who, not having the seal of God in their foreheads, professed a spurious faith and thus, in tracing the early Mahometan conquests, it will be found that they extended over those countries of
Asia, of Africa, and of Europe, which were most immersed in idolatry; whilst Savoy, Piedmont, and the south of France, which remained most free from the general infection, were preserved from their violence. They were to hurt, and to torment, but not to kill; and thus, although they harassed both the Greek and Latin empire, they were not permitted to destroy either.
The description of the locusts, adapts itself readily to the first followers of Mahomet. The locusts were like horses prepared unto battle; and so the Arabians were great, as horsemen, and their cavalry was the strength of their armies. Crowns were on their heads, and so they over-ran and subdued, to a greater or less degree, many countries; for Palestine, Syria, Armenia, the greater part of Asia Minor, Persia, India, and Egypt, and the islands and borders of the Mediterranean may be reckoned among their conquests. They had faces as the faces of men, and hair as the hair of women; and thus it is remarked, that they wore beards and whiskers as men, whilst their hair was long and flowing, and sometimes plaited
Like scorpions, they had
after the manner of women. stings in their tails; and so the poisonous effect of their false religion was left behind them, in all countries to which their arms extended. The name of
their king, Apollyon-the destroyer, is another remarkable feature, and serves to identify them with the king spoken of in Dan. viii. who was ordained to "destroy wonderfully." See page 81.
It is mentioned twice, that they should torment men for five months, being the length of time observed by naturalists, as the period for the yearly ravages of the locust, viz. from April to September. And so the Saracenic conquests were chiefly effected during the five summer months, and then they would retire for the winter. But if the five months are intended to mark a prophetical period of 150 years, viz. five months of thirty days each, the day signifying a year, it will be found that the chief exploits of the Saracens were accomplished within that space of time, viz. from 612, when Mahomet commenced his imposture, to 762, when the Caliph Almansor built Bagdad, where he fixed the seat of his empire, calling it, the city of peace. Thus the establishment of the power and religion of Mahomet in the east, was the fulfilment of the first woe trumpet, "and behold there come two woes more."
Verses 13 to 21. " And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar, which is before God, saying, to the sixth angel which had the trumpet; Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.