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Notes on the Book of Revelation

Chapter 9

Fifth Trumpet (First Woe)


The fifth and sixth trumpets depict the rise and progress of Islam. 


The fifth trumpet is the first woe. 


The sixth trumpet is the second woe. 


The seventh trumpet is the third woe. 


The events of this chapter must be before 1844, since in chapter 8 we saw from the heavenly sanctuary symbolism that Jesus moved from the courtyard to the Holy Place. Since Jesus moving to the Most Holy Place occurs in 1844, this must mean that these events are prior to 1844. This chapter deals with the prophecy of the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire which all occurs prior to 1844. The sanctuary symbolism and the events of history all line up perfectly. 


  • Revelation 9:1, 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.


9V1: Context of this trumpet, Isaiah 5:20-21, 26-30; rise of Islam (Islamic Arabs) which had a goal of fighting idolatry. This is referred to as the 1st Jihad, 622-750 A.D., although it falls under the fourth trumpet it is fulfilled in the fifth trumpet.1


9V1: Star fall = Angels, but probably refers to Satan, which is also depicted in the third trumpet (Revelation 8:10).


Revelation 12:4, 9, “And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”


Jude 6, 13, “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.”


9V1: Star = Leader. With this interpretation, the star is depicting Satan working through Mohammed (leader), the founder of Islam. 


Revelation 1:20, “The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.”


This depiction of stars/angels is probably symbolic and is referring to the ministers of each of the churches. God’s messengers to those churches.  


“These things saith He that holdeth the seven stars in His right hand.” Revelation 2:1. These words are spoken to the teachers in the church—those entrusted by God with weighty responsibilities. The sweet influences that are to be abundant in the church are bound up with God's ministers, who are to reveal the love of Christ. The stars of heaven are under His control. He fills them with light. He guides and directs their movements. If He did not do this, they would become fallen stars. So with His ministers. They are but instruments in His hands, and all the good they accomplish is done through His power. Through them His light is to shine forth.” (Ellen White, AA 586.3)


Revelation 22:16, “ I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”


Genesis 37:9-10, “And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?”


9V1: Key = Control. Satan was given control (allowed) to open the bottomless pit. 


9V1: Bottomless pit = Abyss, used 7 times in Revelation = In most instances it’s used to represent the domain of Satan, 9:1-2, 11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1, 3. Genesis 1:1-2, darkness on the deep (abusos) without form and void; spiritual darkness here, but literal darkness in Revelation 20; Isaiah 14:12, weakening the nations just like in chapter 8 and 9.


The alternate interpretation is that this is the vast desolate wastelands of present day Saudi Arabia, from which “the smoke” (in the next verse), the religion of Islam, issued forth.



  • Revelation 9:2, 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.


9V2: Sun = Christ and truth. Malachi 4:2 (Sun of Righteousness), see Revelation 8:2.


9V2: Air = Holy Spirit. Acts 2:2 (wind associated with the Holy Spirit), verse 4 (filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost), and John 3:8 (wind tied to the Holy Spirit and the new birth which is invisible).


9V2: Darkened = Spiritual darkness, see Revelation 8:12.


9V2: Smoke = Idol worship. In Hosea we see that smoke is tied to idolatry. Hosea 13:2-3 says, “And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves. Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney.”


If the secondary interpretation of star in the previous verse is Mohammed, then the smoke here is the religion of Islam which darkens the light of Christ and Christianity and the work of the Holy Spirit in all the lands that come under their control. 



  • Revelation 9:3, 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.


9V3: So this verse describes the enemies of God (the Arabs of Saudi Arabia) coming out of the idolatry (worship of Mohammad) and the smoke (Islam) to attack God’s people. 


Smoke = Is the religion of Islam which darkens the light of Christ and Christianity and the work of the Holy Spirit in all the lands that come under their control. See the previous verse.  


Locusts swarm, so here it is Islam conquering throughout their region and even into Europe. 


9V3: As the scorpions = They bite, but normally can’t kill a full grown man. They torment and annoy, but can’t kill, see verse 5. 


9V3: Locusts = Arab nations but without a king. 


Judges 6:5, “For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it.” 


This describes the enemies of God (the Midians in this case). Grasshoppers in the KJV but in most other translations it is locusts. 


Judges 7:12, “And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude.”



  • Revelation 9:4, 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.


9V4: Grass of the earth = People of the earth (or people of God), see Revelation 8:7.


9V4: Tree = Leaders and God’s people, see Revelation 8:7. Psalm 1:3 (God’s people as trees) and Psalm 92:12 (The righteous…shall grow like a cedar). These are God’s true people that bring forth fruit, Galatians 5:22-23 (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance). Since this fifth trumpet represents the Arabs fighting against idolatry (see 9V1), then it would make sense that they would not harm God’s true people who keep His commandments (Revelation 12:17) which includes the second commandment forbidding idolatry.


The ‘trees’ and ‘grass’ are here set as opposites to ‘those men which have not the seal of God’. The trees and grass represent the many groups of Christians who still preserved the true Biblical faith of early Christianity. 


The ‘locusts’ (Islam) were not to hurt these pure commandment-keeping people. The Islamic conquerors did not destroy property wantonly or kill Christians and Jews so long as they agreed to pay tribute. They did, however, relentlessly attack the remainder of the Roman Empire centered in Constantinople, at whom this judgment is directed. The judgment is against idolatry in the Roman Catholic Church. 


9V4: Not the seal of God = Lost or wicked or specifically those involved with idolatry or idol worship (Revelation 9:1). 


Joel 2:1-3 says, “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.” 


The Arabs would not hurt people that followed the Bible and abstained from idolatry. This first jihad focused on pagan and papal Rome which was full of idolatry. 



  • Revelation 9:5, 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.


9V5: Tormented five months = 150 years (5 months x 30 days in a month) = 27 July 1299 to 27 July 1449. Othman (Osman I) first invaded the territory of the Byzantine Empire (formerly the Eastern Roman Empire). There was a perpetual war for 150 years, but the Turks never conquered the Greeks (they just “tormented” them).


On 27 July 1299, at the Battle of Bapheum, the Turkish muslims began a persistent assault on the eastern Roman Empire. This was a perpetual war that lasted for 150 years. 


But on 27 July 1449, the last Greek emperor (Constantine XI) asked the Sultan for permission to ascend the throne and technically became a vassal state of the Turks. This was a voluntary surrender of independence on behalf of the Eastern empire, to ask permission to ascend the throne. 


Constantine XI needed help to ascend the throne to outmaneuver the other two claimants to the throne. When the last emperor, John Palaeologus, died he didn’t leave a successor. His brother (Constantine XI) and two sons of a previous emperor all claimed the throne. 


The sultan who agreed to the last Greek emperor died soon after and the next sultan decided to conquer Constantinople. 


Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire was finally captured in 1453 by the use of gunpowder and cannons, see verses 17-19.


9V1-5: The “earth” opens up and Islam is released on the world to fight idolatry. 


In Revelation 12:15-16, “And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.”


The earth opens up and redirects the flood (army of Islam) to give God’s church time. Islam and the Catholic church were warring with each other which took the RCC’s focus off of the protestants for awhile because they had to focus on fighting the spread of Islam. 


Water as a flood = Multitude of people/armies. Revelation 17:15 says, “And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.”


Isaiah 59:19 says, “So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.”


2 Samuel 22:5 says, “When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid…”


Psalm 18:4 says, “The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.” 


The flood is an army or a large number of God’s enemies hunting and persecuting His people. 


9V5: Torment of a scorpion = They bite, but normally can’t kill a full grown man. They torment and annoy, but can’t kill. The Turks attacked the Greek Empire (Byzantine Empire or Constantinople, the capital), but could not conquer the city for 150 years. 



  • Revelation 9:6, And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. 


9V6: Seek death = Frustration over the torment of the invading muslims destroying everything and then having to rebuild over and over again.



  • Revelation 9:7, And the shapes of the locusts were 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.


9V7: Like unto horses = Invading muslims used horses as their primary mode of transportation and for warfare.


The cavalry was a prominent feature of the Arabian and Turkish military.3 


9V7: Crowns like gold = The turbans worn by the invading muslims.



  • Revelation 9:8, And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.


9V8: Hair of women = Their turbans would hang down the back like hair and they also had long hair. 


9V8: Teeth of lions = The first jihad originated out of the same area as Babylon and the Turks came with the ferociousness and rapacity of lions. 



  • Revelation 9:9, And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.


9V9: Breastplates = Pieces of armor were of iron. They seemed unstoppable. 


9V9: Sound of their wings = Ottoman calvary, known for their swiftness like the wings of the leopard in Daniel 7. 



  • Revelation 9:10, And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.


9V10: Five months = See Revelation 9:5.



  • Revelation 9:11, 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.


9V11: King over them = Othman formed a government (see Revelation 9:5).


9V11: Abaddon/Apollyon = One who destroys or the destroyer which is represented by Islam.



  • Revelation 9:12, One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.




Sixth Trumpet (2nd Woe).

2nd Jihad, 1071-1683, Islamic Turks.


The sixth item in each series deals with the beginning of the investigative judgment in 1844. 

  1. The sixth church = The door to the Most Holy Place opens before Philadelphia.

  2. The sixth seal = Signs in the heavens announce the beginning of the investigative judgment.

  3. The sixth trumpet = The little book episode and the measuring of the temple.4


There is a link between Revelation 9:14, 16 and Revelation 7:1-3 which is a parenthesis in the sixth seal. 

  1. Both deal with a binding and loosing of four angels.

  2. Both contain a numbering of people. Revelation 7 numbers God’s people and Revelation 9 numbers their evil counterparts. 

  3. Both say “I heard the number of them”.5 


  • Revelation 9:13, And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,


9V13: Golden altar = Altar of Incense (located in the Holy Place of the sanctuary which means these events would occur prior to 1844). We know that Jesus as our High Priest moved from the Holy Place to the Most Holy Place in the heavenly sanctuary in 1844. See Annex C: Prophecy Chart for the verses associated with the 2300 year prophecy. This prophecy begins with Daniel 8:14 which says, “And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”


9V13: Since this imagery is of the Holy Place, then it shows that Jesus is still interceding for us and that probation has not closed on the world. There is still time to repent. Plus in Revelation 10:11, it says that the church must prophesy again, which also means that probation has not closed. 



  • Revelation 9:14, Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.


9V14: Four angels = The four principle sultanies of which the Ottoman Empire was composed; Aleppo, Iconium, Damascus, and Baghdad. Their country was watered by the Euphrates. 


This is opposed to the four angels in Revelation 7:1 which had world-wide power to restrain the winds. These four angels are bound and restricted, so are depicted here as earthly powers (leaders) and are localized.


9V14: Bound in the great river Euphrates = The four sultans were bound to just torment the Greeks (see verse 5). But now they are released by the command of God. This also reminds us of judgments against Babylon, Jeremiah 51:60, 63. Babylon was used to judge His apostate people (Israel). Now spiritual Babylon represents God’s apostate people at the end of time. God brings up a people to judge the apostate church.


The Byzantine empire was no longer a threat, so Islam focused on papal-dominated Europe. This allowed protestantism to become established. 



  • Revelation 9:15, 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.


9V15: Hour, day, month, year time prophecy = 391 years and 15 days, (a year = 360 days/years; a month = 30 days/years; a day = 1 year; the total is 391 years; an hour = 15 days), 11 August 1840, Ottoman Empire voluntarily surrenders independence to Christian powers by accepting the protection of European countries (England, Russia, Austria and Prussia). (Ezekiel 4:6, one day for a year in prophecy). 


The Ottoman Empire was in a conflict with Egypt (Mehemet) and lost the majority of their fleet to the Egyptians and lost a major battle and had to ask Europe for help in the matter. A deal was brokered by the European countries for Egypt to return the fleet and lands that they had taken and the Turks would give Egypt its full independence (it was a vassal of the Ottoman Empire). 


The start date is 27 July 1449 in verse 5 (the beginning of the power of the Ottoman Empire). 


Add 391 years and 15 days and you come to 11 August 1840 (the end of the supremacy of the Ottoman Empire). 


The papacy arose around 538 AD and Islam arose around 622 AD; the papacy received its deadly wound in 1798 and the Ottoman Empire ended in 1840. Both were raised at about the same time and ended at about the same time. When the papacy received its deadly wound, there was no need for its "thorn", so the Ottoman Empire was ended by God as well. 


This trumpet allowed God’s people to move forward because they saw that the prophecies were fulfilled (1798 and 1840). The end of the Ottoman Empire was predicted by Josiah Litch in 1838, and when it happened, it started a revival because people saw that the Bible prophecies were true and being fulfilled. This helped lead to the world-wide revival from 1840 to 1844 and the searching of Daniel and Revelation about prophecies, which led to the discovery of Daniel 8:14 and the 2300 year prophecy. 


9V15: Third part = Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine or Greek portion). After Constantine’s death, the empire was divided into three parts by his sons (Constantius - Eastern; Constans - Central; Constantine II - Western). 1100 years passed since the founding of the city by Constantine and it had survived invasions/attacks by Goths, Huns, Avars, Persians, Bulgarians, Saracens, Russians and the Turks. Constantinople was finally defeated on 16 May 1454 and the eastern city of the Caesars became the seat of the Ottoman Empire. It was finally defeated by the Turks using cannons, see verse 17.



  • Revelation 9:16, And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. 


9V16: Army of horsemen = Ottoman calvary, known for their swiftness.


9V16: The exact number is unknown to historians. Some believe the 200,000,000 refers to the number of the Turkish soldiers during the 391 years fifteen days of their triumph over the Greeks, see verse 15. One historian said that the Turkish cavalry spread over 600 miles. The exact number doesn’t really matter, just know that there were many in the Turkish cavalry that attacked Constantinople.6 



  • Revelation 9:17, And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.


9V17: Fire and brimstone are associated with judgment and the Turks (Islam) was being used as a judgment against the apostate Christian church. 


9V17: Fire, Jacinth, Brimstone = Red, Blue, and Yellow which were the predominate colors worn by the Ottomans.


9V17: Heads of lions = Ferocity and majesty or some say to denote strength, courage and fierceness.


9V17: Fire and smoke and brimstone = Musketry and gun powder was used by the Ottomans when conquering Constantinople. The Ottomans used cannons to blast their way through the walls of Constantinople to conquer the city.


9V17: Out of their mouths = As the Turks discharged their firearms on horseback, it would appear to the distant beholder that the fire, smoke, and brimstone issued out of the horses’ mouths. 



  • Revelation 9:18, By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.


9V18: By these three = The use of gunpowder, firearms and cannons which allowed the Turks to conquer the Eastern empire. 


9V18: Out of their mouths = As the Turks discharged their firearms on horseback, it would appear to the distant beholder that the fire, smoke, and brimstone issued out of the horses’ mouths. Similar to verse 17. 



  • Revelation 9:19, For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.


9V19: Tails, like serpents = Power in horse’s tails (Arabs believed there was power displayed in the horses tail); military tactics (of striking from many directions like serpents), Isaiah 9:15, Prophet that teaches lies is the tail (Arabs were a religious-political movement with a prophet at the head that denies the deity of Jesus).


9V19: Heads = Military tactics and leaders (use of gunpowder and muskets).


9V19: Do hurt = They conquered Constantinople with gunpowder and their reign of power would last for 391 years, see verse 15. In verse 5 they were only able to torment and now they conquered. 



  • Revelation 9:20, And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:


9V20: Rest of men = Those not destroyed in this visitation. This applies to the rest of Christendom, primarily the Catholic Church. 


9V20: Repented not = The Catholic Church was given time to repent of their wicked ways and did not. So the “thorn” of Islam was brought about to attack Christianity (the Catholic Church). When the papacy received its deadly wound in 1798, then there was no need for the “thorn”, so the Ottoman Empire was ended shortly thereafter in 1840. 


9V20: Refers to idol worship. God gave the Catholic church time to repent of their idol worship but they repented not, so the plague of Islam was brought unto them. The Catholic Church worships idols such as saints and Mary. 


9V20: Worship of devils = Spirit worship. This applies to any worship that is not worship of God. 



  • Revelation 9:21, Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.


9V21: Murders = Inquisition and other abominations committed by the RCC in persecuting Christians for their belief in Bible truth.


9V21: Sorceries = Spirit worship and superstitions within the RCC.


9V21: Fornication = Biblical fornication is when the church uses the state to slay (persecute) those not in harmony with her teachings and is also a symbol of doctrinal impurity.


9V21: Thefts = Stealing from God’s people in offerings (indulgences) that was committed by the RCC and the usurping of God’s authority.



Chapter 9 Resources and Notes

1.  Pastor James Rafferty and Pastor Ivor Myers, Salvation in Symbols and Signs (Program on 3ABN’s Dare To Dream Network), video series can be accessed here: The descriptions and explanations in this chapter are primarily from this series unless otherwise noted. 


2.  Uriah Smith, Daniel and the Revelation, pages 500-505. 


3.  Amazing Discoveries online commentary on Revelation,


4.  Pastor Stephen Bohr, Revelation’s Seven Trumpets video series.

5.  Ibid.

6.  Uriah Smith, Daniel and the Revelation, page 509.



Ellen White references can be found here:

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