- Christogenea Internet Radio
On the Revelation of Yahshua Christ, Part 12: The Condemnation of Roman and Byzantine Churches
As we proceed with our commentary on the Revelation, we shall hopefully be able to even more clearly elucidate the fact that its prophesies have foretold many of the most notable events of the history of these past two thousand years. But these are not singular events. Rather, most of them take place over several or even many centuries, so they really describe historical processes instead. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse describe four processes and sets of circumstances in the course of the history of the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, which from the time that it began extending overseas to the time of the fall of the western portion of the empire, which includes Rome itself, had lasted over seven hundred years. During the last three centuries of that process, the Germanic tribes were contending with the empire with increasing frequency until they were finally able to overrun it completely.
We may call these events processes because, as it is defined in common sources, a process is “a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.” Once men ever realize that Yahshua Christ and the prophets of Yahweh in the Old Testament have described these historical processes long before they actually began to unfold, then we must admit that the particular end of them which has been achieved is indeed the will of God, that He is true and He has set the course of the history of men to accomplish His purposes. Men must then admit that whether they submit to Him or not, they have no choice but to do His will, whether it be for their own good or for their own destruction, which is also something that He has already determined.
The entire process of the rise and fall of the Roman empire, as we have already discussed at length, was also prophesied by Daniel, in chapter 2 of the Book of Daniel in our Bibles. When we realize that Revelation chapters 6 through 8 parallel Daniel chapter 2 then the identification of these prophecies with the fall of Rome is irrefutable. However now we must digress to discuss another vision in Daniel which also describes the rise and fall of Rome, which is found in Daniel chapter 7. We had previously promised this discussion in relation to Revelation chapter 13, and we will reserve the greatest part of it for that time. But there are certain elements of it which we must comment upon here, because it foretells of historical events and circumstances leading up to things which we shall see prophesied here in Revelation chapter 9.
In Daniel chapter 7 the prophet describes a vision of a little horn. Then in a separate vision recorded in Daniel chapter 8, which Daniel had seen two years later, there is another little horn. But these horns have quite different attributes, so it is unlikely that they are one and the same. They must represent two different historical figures or entities, within the context of yet another prophecy of the series of beast empires and the fall of Rome which we had seen in Daniel chapter 2.
So in Daniel chapter 7, the prophet begins by explaining that he had this vision in the first year of Belshazzar, king of Babylon. This Belshazzar was actually co-regent with his father, Nabonidus, who for most of his own time as king was in the field waging war against his enemies. These were the last of the successors of Nebuchadnezzar, as they were defeated by Cyrus the king of Persia around 539 BC. So in part, in this vision Daniel describes a series of kingdoms which would rule over the earth: “2 Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. 3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. 4 The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it. 5 And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. 6 After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it. 7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. 8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.”
We shall not read or interpret the entire vision, however in the verses which follow this passage there is a description of Yahweh God as the Ancient of Days executing judgment upon the earth. But even that is not the absolute end of these beasts as the vision continues and Daniel wrote that: “11 I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. 12 As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.” Then Daniel described the coming of the Son of Man, who would receive the people and nations under His Own kingdom and authority forever. All of this parallels the prophesy concerning the series of empires which rule over the White Adamic world described in Daniel chapter 2, although it uses different language and symbols. This is a form of parallelism, whereby studying both visions we may attain an even greater insight into the meaning of either vision.
So as the description of the vision concludes, Daniel is grieved and asks one of the men near to him in the vision to explain it to him, something which we also see in the visions of John in the Revelation. So the answer, in part, reads: “17 These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. 18 But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. 19 Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; 20 And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. 21 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; 22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.”
Next Daniel describes things which were further explained to him concerning the fourth of this series of beast kingdoms, or empires, which also closely parallels the description of the fourth empire of Daniel chapter 2: “23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. 24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.”
Here we may identify the little horn of Daniel chapter 7 with the Byzantine emperor Justinian. Justinian was the eleventh Roman emperor in Byzantium, and he also ruled over a portion of the ten toes, which we identify with the senatorial provinces of the empire. In Book 17 of his Geography, written before 25 AD, Strabo of Cappadocia describes these provinces and they may be identified as Achaea, Asia, Bithynia and Pontus, Crete and Cyrene, Cyprus, Gaul, Spain, Macedonia and Sicily. While the Senate also ruled over Italy itself, it was not properly a senatorial province as it did not have an appointed governor. We may nevertheless see the ten toes as the former provinces of the broken empire. In another aspect of these ten horns, a few decades after the fall of the West, Justinian had subjected Italy, Africa and Cordoba in Iberia to himself. So they, or the kings who were ruling those places, Vitiges, king of the Goths in Italy who was taken prisoner to Constantinople, and then his successor Totilla, and the Vandal king Gelimer in Africa and the Gothic king Agila in Spain, represent the three horns which fell.
Where Daniel continues, Justinian is further identified where we read: “25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” Although this seems to describe a man, it may also describe the processes initiated with the institutions of one man, and Justinian initiated processes which would indeed accomplish what is described here. Justinian compiled a legal code under which all of Europe was governed until at least the time of Napoleon, and to which he added his own volume, called Justinian’s Novels or New Constitutions. Those same laws instituted the office of the papacy, which would oppress Christians for well over a thousand years. As we have already said, this we shall discuss at greater length in our commentary for Revelation chapter 13. Now we may see these prophesies in Daniel chapter 7 as having been fulfilled in the aftermath of the fall of Rome in the West, and they were. But as we shall see later, they also describe processes which only began at that time, and which also took many centuries to fulfill.
But now in Revelation chapter 9 we shall see a different vision of dread which was to come upon the Roman empire, and as we hope to illustrate here, this may be identified with the second little horn, which was prophesied in Daniel chapter 8.
IX 1 And the fifth angel sounded the trumpet, and I saw a star from heaven fallen to earth, and to him had been given the Key of the bottomless pit.
While the word translated as pit is φρέαρ, which is also a well, the word ἄβυσσος, which is literally bottomless but also unfathomable or boundless, was frequently used as a substantive by the Greeks to describe the underworld or Hades.
We had witnessed a falling star with the third trumpet in Revelation chapter 8, which had turned a third part of the waters bitter as Rome was being destroyed. That star we had also identified as the emperor Justinian, the little horn of Daniel chapter 7. But the star fallen from heaven to earth here, we shall identify with Mohammad, or with whomever had actually created Mohammadanism, and also with the little horn of Daniel chapter 8.
There is a difference in the language. The verb for fall relating to the star in chapter 8 is in the Aorist tense, so we translated it simply as fell. But here the verb is in a Perfect tense, expressing an action which had occurred and was completed in the past, so the star which John had seen was apparently already fallen. Justinian was a Dardanian by race and very likely of the Zarah branch of the tribe of Judah, so he was a descendant of the ancient Israelites. But Mohammad seems to have been a Jew, and for that reason and others, he was also a descendant of the fallen angels, the Nephilim, whose beginnings and origin are explained in Revelation chapter 12 in an allegory of fallen stars.
The historian of The Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon, had identified the paternal great grandmother mother of Mohammad as a Jewess, in Volume 5, on page 205, which is in chapter 50 of the work. That same assertion is even acknowledged at Wikipedia in an article on Mohammad’s genealogy. But William Alzog in his Universal Church History, volume 2, page 192, which was published in 1902, also asserted that Mohammad’s mother was a Jewess, where he wrote:
“Mohammed, who was the only son of Abdallah, a Pagan, and Amina, a Jewess, and was descended from the noble but impoverished family of Hashim, of the priestly tribe of Koreish, who were the chiefs and keepers of the national sanctuary of the Kaaba, and pretended to trace their origin to Ismael, the son of Abraham and Hagar, was born at Mecca, August 20, A.D. 570 …”
There are of course many similarities between Mohammadanism and Judaism, and even Talmudism, which are not necessary to discuss here. However we shall only state that first, it is not a coincidence that the rise of Mohammadanism came only after Jews had been virtually driven out of the Empire as a result of various Christian policies of the Byzantine emperors, and that they were also most likely the scribes of the Koran, since Arabs were predominantly illiterate at the time. There were large numbers of Jews in Arabia in the 7th century. But while the Jews within the empire were justly barred from holding public office or Christian slaves, and also from usury, the Churches nevertheless continued in many other sins for which they would be punished with these plagues, as it is announced towards the end of this chapter. But even though the antichrist Jews were excluded from these things, the empire would continue to be punished for its own sins.
The bottomless pit is opened once again in Revelation chapter 20, although in the interim others are able to ascend out of the pit, as it is described in Revelation chapters 11 and 17. The pit is certainly not a literal hole in the ground, but rather, the reference is an allegory describing a certain circumstance or state of being.
There are stars which fall from heaven, which may describe the fallen of the children of Israel as well as those angels who had fallen in antiquity. But there are also those who ascend from the bottomless pit, those whose origin is of the earth rather than of heaven, as Yahshua Christ had said to His enemies in John chapter 8: “23… You are from of those below; I am from of those above. You are from of this Society; I am not from of this Society.” Then elsewhere, in John chapter 3 He had attested that “Truly, truly I say to you, unless a man should be born from above, he is not able to see the Kingdom of Yahweh.” So there are people here who are of a heavenly race, and there are people whose origin is not from God, and allegorically speaking, they descend out of the bottomless pit.
2 And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke [0207 wants “smoke” where we may write “there” in its place] ascended from the pit like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air had become darkened from the smoke of [0207 has “from”] the pit.
The Codex Sinaiticus (א) and the traditional Koine Greek manuscripts of the Majority Text want the opening clause of verse 2 where it says “And he opened the bottomless pit”. At the end of the verse, the Codex Sinaiticus (א) wants the phrase “from the smoke of the pit”.
3 And [א wants “and”] from the smoke locusts came out into the earth, and authority had been given to them like the scorpions of the earth have authority.
The Greek word which we have translated as authority is ἐξουσία, and it also means power or license, among other things. If we imagine that it refers to literal locusts, then perhaps we should translate it as power. But here both locusts and scorpions are allegories for people. In the Gospel of Luke, there is an account in chapter 10 where Yahshua Christ had sent seventy-two of His disciples out to evangelize, and when their mission is completed we read: “17 Then the seventy-two returned with great joy saying: ‘Prince, even the demons are subjected to us by Your Name!’ 18 And He said to them ‘I beheld the Adversary falling as lightning from heaven! 19 Behold! I have given to you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and upon all the power of the enemy, and no one shall by any means do you injustice. 20 But in this you must not rejoice: that spirits are subject to you. Rather, rejoice that your names are inscribed in the heavens.’” So here we see that the “scorpions of the earth” are people who are among the enemies of Christ, and therefore also identified with demons and Satan, or the Adversary, whose fall is described in Revelation chapter 12. While the scorpions of Luke chapter 10 are a reference to the Edomite Jews and other Canaanites of Judaea who had rejected Christ, it can be demonstrated that the Arab people have also in part descended from the Nephilim, through the Kenites, Canaanites, Edomites and other alien tribes of the Old Testament.
The identification of these people as locusts informs us in part as to the nature of the abyss, and as to the origin of the people whom they represent. Arabia is famous for being a land of locusts. The locust eggs stay under the desert soil until it rains, and then they begin to hatch and swarm. Today such locust swarms are carefully watched and tracked regularly by political authorities throughout the Middle and Near East. As recently as February of 2021, millions of locusts invaded the farms of Saudi Arabia and destroyed all the crops. The article Locusts on the Arabian Peninsula which is found at the NASA Earth Observatory website documents the phenomenon, as does the Locust Watch website. This helps us identify the people being described in this vision, both who they are and where they come from.
4 And it had been spoken to them in order that they do [0207, א and the MT have “should”; the text follows A] not injure the grass of the earth nor any green thing nor any tree, except those men who do not have the seal of Yahweh [the MT manuscripts following Andreas of Caesareia want the words “of God”, which the King James Version does not follow here] upon their foreheads [literally “the foreheads” following א and A; the traditional MT manuscripts have “their foreheads”; 0207 has “their forehead”].
These words are another exhibition of what had been described in chapter 7, where we read that until the hundred and forty four thousand of the tribes of Israel were sealed, in his vision John had seen the angel say “Do not do wrong to the earth nor to the sea nor to the trees, until we should seal the servants of our God upon their foreheads!” So here we see that this also described part of a process which had begun with the fall of Rome. However here in the prophecy of Revelation chapter 9 Rome is actually still falling, as parts of the Eastern empire as well as some of the former provinces of the West are swarmed by these human locusts.
5 And it had been given to them that they should not kill them, but that they shall be tested [or perhaps “tortured”, βασανίζω] for five months, and their torment is as the torment [or “trial”, βασανισμός] of a scorpion when it strikes a man. 6 And in those days men shall [A wants “shall”] seek death yet they shall [A has “may”] not find it, and they shall desire to die yet death flees from them.
So these locusts from out of the abyss are used by Yahweh God to test men, meaning the men of the Adamic world which had been ruled by the series of empires ending with Rome. Here it is being prophesied that the locust swarm is going to invade the empire.
In the past, both Howard Rand and Bertrand Comparet have identified this passage as a depiction of the rise of Mohammadanism and the Arab conquests of the formerly White Christian regions of Mesopotamia, the Levant, and the northern coast of Africa. We believe that they were absolutely correct. But with this, it is also evident that Mohammad is the “little horn” of Daniel chapter 8. As we have said, this little horn is not to be confused with the little horn of Daniel chapter 7, which refers to the emperor Justinian, and we shall prove that further when we present our commentary for Revelation chapter 13. So it may be seen that just as Daniel in chapters 7 and 8 prophesied of the series of empires ending with Rome, and then of Justinian, and then of Mohammad, so does the Revelation in Chapters 8 and 9 prophecy of the fall of Rome followed by Justinian and Mohammad.
So in Daniel chapter 8, there is a more narrow prophecy related in a vision which concerns only two of the empires of the visions of chapters 2 and 7, which are the Persian and the Greek. So we read in part: “5 And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. 6 And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power. 7 And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand. 8 Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.”
Elsewhere in Daniel, in another similar prophecy of the coming of Alexander’s empire, found in chapter 11, we read: “2 And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia. 3 And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. 4 And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.” This prophecy was startlingly accurate, however here we only wish to speak of the four winds of heaven to which the kingdom of Alexander would be divided, as that is also historically accurate. Alexander’s kingdom was ultimately divided among four of his generals, and his own son, unborn when Alexander himself had died, was assassinated along with his mother.
Here in Daniel chapter 8, in verse 8 we read of Alexander’s kingdom, represented by the goat, that “the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.” This parallels the prophecy of the same event in Daniel chapter 11, where we read “his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven”. But now, continuing with Daniel chapter 8, we read of the little horn: “9 And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.” So Mohammad, who can be identified as a Jew at least in part, had evidently come from the portion of Alexander’s empire which fell to the Ptolemies in Egypt. The “pleasant land” must refer to the north and west, which are the portions of Europe and North Africa inhabited by the children of Israel in their various dispersions.
So in reference to them we next read: “10 And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them.” The host of heaven here are the children of Israel, and this is describing the Mohammadan conquests which began less than a hundred years after the time of Justinian. Continuing with Daniel chapter 8: “11 Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. 12 And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered.” In my opinion, the taking away of the “daily sacrifice” merely represents a change in the religion of the people as it would be described in Daniel's own terms, but in this case the change is from Roman Christianity to Mohammadanism, as the Mohammadans forced the conversion of nearly all those whom they had conquered. Sometimes those whom would not convert were killed, but at other times they were only burdened with oppressive taxes and other restrictions until they converted.
Now to move ahead in Daniel chapter 8 to verse 21, where we see the interpretation given to Daniel by the angel Gabriel: “21 And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. 22 Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.” As we have discussed, which can be verified in history, Alexander's kingdom was split into four pieces after his death. This is attested to, among others, by Diodorus Siculus, a historian of the first century before Christ, in Book 19 of his Library of History (19.105.2). There Diodorus also explained that after the murder of Alexander's wife and young son, under a general agreement between four of Alexander’s generals his kingdom was divided between them. Cassander obtained control of the Greek portions of Europe except for Thrace; Lysimachus received Thrace; Antigonus received all of Asia, which seems to have included the lands of Anatolia as far east as the Euphrates River; and Ptolemy received Egypt, Libya and Arabia. So Egypt and portions of Arabia were one of the four portions of Alexander's empire, from where the dynasty of the Ptolemies ruled until Roman times. The famous Cleopatra, a lover of both Caesar and Mark Antony, was a Ptolemy.
So now, as the vision continues, we shall see that the time of the fulfillment of this prophecy is also revealed by the angel: “23 And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. 24 And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. 25 And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.”
The Arab hordes of Mohammadanism were organized as conquerors under the guise of religion, the so-called “religion of peace”. Here it is evident that they had been used by Yahweh as a scourge against the “holy people”, which is Christendom – the children of Israel in Europe, to once again punish them for their iniquity. As for standing up against the Prince of princes, muslims still assert a claim that Mohammad is greater than Christ, and they seek to subdue Christians to their own idol, claiming that Christ is only a mere prophet, and a lesser prophet than Mohammad. While it is claimed that muslims “acknowledge Jesus”, they only do so in order to belittle and to mock Him. There is only one true Abrahamic religion, and that is Christianity. Both Judaism and Mohammadanism are ploys of the synagogue of Satan to marginalize and destroy Christianity.
Where it says in verse 5 that by this plague of locusts men would be tested for five months, we find the duration of the Mohammadan conquests was nearly that exact amount of time, prophetically speaking. That a day in prophecy can represent a year in actual time is evident in many places in Scripture. Here we shall offer two witnesses of the validity of such an interpretation:
Numbers 14: “34 After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.”
Ezekiel 4: “5 For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. 6 And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.”
The five month period of the locusts certainly seems to represent the approximate one hundred and fifty year period of Arabic conquests over the Byzantine lands. This period began around 622 AD when Mecca was entered by Mohammad and was eventually conquered, a process which ended in 632 AD. Within two years of Mohammad's death, his followers began their conquests outside of Arabia, first taking Syria, Persia and Palestine. In 652 AD they already began attacking Sicily, and Arabs occupied parts of the island for an extended period. By 670 they controlled the entire Middle East and began attacking even Constantinople itself, which they besieged in 674 and again in 717 AD. From this time they also began conquering Northern Africa, and by 711 they crossed into Spain. The Arab conquest of western Europe was only stopped when they were defeated by Charles Martel at the battle of Tours in 732, after which they retreated from France. But they held onto large parts of the Iberian Peninsula for the next seven hundred years. In 726 and again in 740 they captured Syracuse on Sicily, but never took the entire island until the 9th century. In 736 the Arabs took Georgia north of the Caucasus Mountains. In 751 they defeated Chinese armies in a battle near the Talas River in modern-day Kyrgyzstan. Various armies of Turks allied with the Chinese had switched sides, giving the Arabs the advantage in that battle. By 762 Baghdad was created as the capital of the Abbasid caliphs, and Arabic conquests are virtually finished. It is evident that the main period of Arabic conquest lasted for about five prophetic months, or nearly one hundred and fifty years.
From that time and until after 1048 AD, when the Turks began their attempts to take Anatolia from the Byzantines, the Arabs competed mostly among themselves, in lands which they had already occupied to some extent, such as the taking of Crete and southern Italy – portions of which some Arabs had already occupied from 820 AD. But the vision of the locusts is not yet completed:
7 And the likenesses of the locusts are like horses having been prepared for war, and upon their heads as crowns like gold [0207 and the traditional MT mss. have “as gold crowns”], and their faces as faces of men, 8 and they had hair as hair of women, and their teeth were as of lions’, 9 and they had breastplates as breastplates [0207 wants “as breastplates”] of iron, and the sound of their wings as a sound of many chariot-teams of horses running into battle, 10 and they had tails and stingers like scorpions, and their power [ἐξουσία] is in their tails to injure men for five months.
The traditional Majority Text manuscripts have the final clause of verse 10 to read “and stingers in their tails, and their power is to injure men for five months.” Those following Andreas of Caesareia read “and stingers and in their tails they have power for which to injure men for five months.” Our text follows the papyrus P47 and the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A) and 0207.
This is a poetic description of the long-haired and turban-wearing Arab hordes. It is evident that it is not describing actual locusts, so it must be describing men who are represented by these locusts in the vision so that they may be identified in prophesy and therefore, also in history. Now, where their king is described, we must understand that not every angel is an angel from heaven, but that many so-called angels are actually fallen angels, such as the angels of Genesis chapter 6:
11 They have over them a king: the messenger of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon but in Greek he has a name, Destroyer. 12 One woe has departed. Behold, there come yet two woes after these things!
For the second clause of verse 12, the uncial manuscript 0207 has “Behold, two woes come yet! Then after these things”, where the sentence continues in verse 13. The Majority Text manuscripts following Andreas of Caesareia have “Behold two woes come after these things!” The traditional Majority Text manuscripts have “Behold, there come yet two woes! After these things”, also continuing the sentence in verse 13. Our text follows the papyrus P47 and the Codices Sinaiticus (א) and Alexandrinus (A).
Here in the phrase “bottomless pit” the word for pit, φρέαρ, is actually wanting. However the word ἄβυσσος by itself is accompanied by a definite article, so it is a Substantive, whereby it was used by the Greeks to describe Hades, according to Liddell & Scott, as we have already mentioned at verse 3.
For the word Ἀβαδδών, which in this context appears as a name or title, in his Greek dictionary in Strong’s Concordance the reader is referred to the Hebrew dictionary entry at # 11, and the Hebrew word אבדון or abadown. He defines the word as a perishing, but used concretely (as a substantive) as Hades. The King James Version translated the word as destruction on six occasions in the Old Testament. Here we chose not to translate the word, as the context calls for a transliteration, so we were of course compelled to translate the Greek word Ἀπολλύων, and Destroyer is an accurate translation of its meaning in this context. Either of these names, the Greek or the Hebrew, may mean destroyer, and therefore it is translated in that manner here. This is how Christians should view Mohammadanism, even to this very day – as a force which is destructive to White Christian Civilization.
Now with the vision of the locusts being completed, there is an even more ominous vision of another woe announced with the next trumpet:
13 And [P47 and א want “and”, 0207 and the traditional MT mss. have “also”, continuing the sentence in verse 12] the sixth messenger sounded the trumpet, and I heard one voice [א has “a voice”] from the four horns [P47, 0207 and A want “four”, א wants “four horns”; the text follows the MT] of the golden altar before Yahweh, 14 saying to the sixth [A and 0207 want “sixth”] messenger, he having the trumpet: “Release the four [P47 wants “four”] messengers who are bound by the great river Euphrates!” 15 And the four messengers had been released, who had been prepared for that hour and day [א wants “and day”] and month and year, that they should [א inserts “not”] kill a third of the men. 16 And the number of the armies of the horsemen is two hundred million. I heard the number of them.
Once again, both Howard Rand and Bertrand Comparet correctly identified this second woe as a description of the Turkic invasions of Byzantine lands. This is the release of those bound by the Euphrates, which is an allegorical rather than a literal reference, inferring that the Turkic hordes – who were already converted to Mohammadanism by the Arabs in the 7th and 8th centuries – can now begin to cross into Syria and Asia Minor from the east. Wars between Byzantines and Turks began in 1048 with the Battle of Kapetrou in northeastern Anatolia. But the process began in 1055 AD, when the Seljuk Turks captured Baghdad. Eventually they came to control nearly all of the lands formerly taken by the Arabs, under the Ottoman Empire, but that is not the concern here.
The Turks began to move on Christian lands around 1064 AD when they once again clashed with Byzantine troops in Asia Minor. In 1067 they conquered Caesarea and then Iconium in central Asia Minor. Although initially repulsed, within thirty years they controlled all of Anatolia. This ushered in the period of the Crusades, but wherever the European nations were able to recapture lands for Christendom, the results were only temporary. Furthermore, the Normans had already been making war against Byzantium in diverse places since 1040 AD, although at various times Byzantium also hired Norman mercenaries to assist in the war against the Turks. However the persistent Norman raids in the Balkans and southern Italy and their sacking of Constantinople in 1204, along with the Venetians and others, severely weakened efforts to defend Roman Christendom, rather than helping them. By the 14th century the Turks occupied the Balkans, and occupied or subjected many of the nations around the Black Sea. In 1453 Constantinople, surrounded by lands already fallen to the Turks, finally also fell to them. Looking at Byzantine resources in this period, compared to Turkic resources, it is amazing that the city held out for so long.
It may be speculation to precisely identify the four angels who were bound by the river Euphrates, since there were several groups of Turks, and also Mongols, which had invaded Byzantine territory in the centuries following the Arabic conquest, and often they competed with or even made war against one another. The literal number of the horsemen is “twice ten-thousand ten-thousands”, which amounts to two hundred million. This number seems to be representative of the number of Turks who had participated in these invasions and the destruction of the Byzantine Roman Empire over its entire history, beginning from around 1048 AD.
Here in verse 15 the King James Version reads, in part, “for an hour and day and month and year”, rather than “that hour and day and month and year”. The Greek may be read either way, and the interpretation need not change. If we interpret this time period of “an hour and day and month and year” by the prophetic time scale of a year for a day, it would add up to around 391 years and 15 days. If we estimate that the Turkic conquests of Anatolia began around 1067 AD with the fall of Caesareia in central Anatolia, or better, with the beginning of that process in 1064 AD, and their conquest of the Eastern Roman Empire ended with the taking of Constantinople in 1453 AD, a that is a total of about 389 years, very close to the 391 years of this prophecy. The army of two hundred million men in verse 16 need only represent the number of invaders over this nearly four-hundred-year-long period.
The vision of the horsemen from beyond Euphrates continues:
17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and those sitting upon [P47 and א have “above”] them, having fiery-red and hyacinth and yellow breastplates, and the heads of the horses as heads of lions, and from their mouths came out fire and smoke and sulfur.
As we have stated earlier in this series of commentaries, the visions of the prophets were not like documentary newsreels, in which everything shown is expected to have literally happened. Rather, the visions of the prophets were series of symbolic images which convey some message or lesson from which Yahweh God wants men to learn something. So this fabulous image of these horses must represent something which we can identify in history, and by that we can better interpret the overall vision.
So for us, here in verse 17 this image is a means by which we can identify of the fulfillment of this prophecy, especially where it says “and the heads of the horses as heads of lions, and from their mouths came out fire and smoke and sulfur”, which seems to be a poetic description of certain cannon. Constantinople was the first major city in history to have been taken with the help of cannon. Sadly, it was a Christian gun-maker, Urban of Hungary, whom the Turks hired to build the cannons, seventy of them. In his book, Marvels of Prophecy, Howard Rand has a picture of one of these cannon which sat as a war souvenir on the banks of the Thames in Britain. A clearer copy of the image shall be presented here. This particular cannon is fashioned just like a lion, including its limbs which were cast along with the barrel of the cannon, and the mouth of the lion is the mouth - or muzzle - of the cannon, while its tail looks like a long serpent winding up its back, where the fuse was lit, just as John described.
18 From these [P47 has “the”] three plagues [the King James Version wants “plagues” here, which the NA27 attributes only to some 12th century and later mss. of the MT] a third of the men had been killed, from the fire and from the smoke and from the sulfur coming out from their [P47 has “the”] mouths. 19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails [the MT mss following Andreas of Caesareia want the phrase “and in their tails”, which the KJV does not follow], and their tails like serpents, having heads and with them they injure.
Apparently John received a vision of the actual firing of the cannon, the lighting of the fuse in the tail and the propulsion of the projectile from its mouth, and the destruction which came to Constantinople on account of it. Now more specific reasons are given as to why these plagues had come upon the Roman world:
20 And the rest of the men, those who had not been killed by these [P47 and א insert “their”] plagues, did not even repent from the works of their hands, that they do [the MT has “should”, the text follows P47, א, A and C] not worship demons and idols [P47 wants “idols”], things of gold and things of silver and things of copper and things of stone and things [P47 and P85 want “things” here] of wood, things which are able neither to see nor to hear nor to walk. 21 And they did not repent from their murders nor from their drugs nor from their fornication [א and A have “wickedness”, πονηρία rather than πορνεία] nor from thefts [P47 wants “nor from thefts”].
Here the Codex Alexandrinus and the Majority Text manuscripts following Andreas of Caesareia have φαρμακεία. According to Liddell & Scott it is the “use of drugs, especially of purgatives… generally, the use of any kind of drugs, potions, or spells.” The Greek word φαρμακεία also appears in Revelation 18:23 and in Galatians 5:20. But our text follows the papyrus P47 and the Codices Sinaiticus (א) and Ephraemi Syri (C) and the traditional Majority Text manuscripts which all have φάρμακον instead, and which Liddell & Scott define primarily as a drug, remedy or medicine.
This is a direct refutation and condemnation of Roman Christianity, whether it be either the Roman Catholic or the Byzantine Eastern Orthodox variety. And as it also states, in spite of that condemnation, men would still not repent. They have not repented to this very day. But even today we can observe a common phenomenon where men tend to blame all of their ills on their enemies, yet never consider their own sin and what they may change so that they stop suffering such punishments.
Neither the Roman Catholic nor the Eastern Orthodox religions are Christian, although they both claim to be Christian. Instead, they derive many of their beliefs from ancient Greco-Roman paganism and from Neoplatonism and other philosophies. They have soiled Christianity by adopting ancient pagan gods as “saints”, saints who never existed in Christian history. The ancient pagan gods were demons, fallen angels, as Paul of Tarsus explained in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 where he said of the nations “20… that whatever the Nations sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to Yahweh.” Then again, in Colossians chapter 2, Paul mentioned humiliation in the worship of the angels, ostensibly referring to fallen angels. So by adopting pagan gods as “saints”, the churches were indeed promoting the worship of demons, for which these punishments came upon them.
The churches also continue to worship idols, in the images of those demons and even in the images of actual New Testament and early Christian men and women. They claim to only venerate, rather than worship, such people, but there is no real difference in practice. To venerate someone to the extent of praying to a departed soul and seeking favor from it, is to worship that soul. But as Paul of Tarsus had written in chapter 2 of his first epistle to Timothy, “5 For Yahweh [God] is One, and one mediator of Yahweh and men: a man Yahshua Christ, 6 who gave Himself up a ransom for all, the proof in proper times.” There are no other mediators between God and man but Yahshua Christ, and the apostles would never have accepted praying to people, which is the worship of the creation rather than of the Creator.
Compounding their sin, the churches worship men in the form of constructing images, images made from silver and copper and stone and wood, “things which are able neither to see nor to hear nor to walk.” When they are told of their idolatry, they deny it and make excuses, but it is plainly not Christian. Likewise, the churches openly accepted the use of drugs from worldly sorcerers, and being universal in nature, they accepted fornication within their own artificial religious constructs and their peculiar definition of marriage. They had also substituted the commandments of Yahshua Christ with their own regulations and sacraments. When the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox religion is compared to ancient Greco-Roman paganism and the organization of social, civic and religious life under the Roman Empire, there is not much of a difference except in the labels.
The plagues of Arabic and Turkic Mohammadanism, brought upon Europe by demons emerging from the pits of hell, demons who still invade our lands and walk among us to this very day, are an explicit condemnation of both the Roman Catholic and Byzantine Orthodox Churches. With this historical interpretation of prophecy, where every description of events found in the Revelation can be related to both the Old Testament prophets and to the events of history, the sins of the organized churches are also exposed. For that very reason, when various Reformers began to illustrate some of these same things which we endeavor to elucidate here, they were persecuted by the Church, and in turn the Church began to promote the false doctrines of Preterism and Futurism, in order to evade any accusation of sin. However they cannot evade the judgment of God, and to a great degree that judgment still awaits them.
This concludes our commentary for Revelation chapter 9. Speaking of the Reformation, which is indeed the next significant event in our European history, that is also the subject of the prophecy in Revelation chapters 10 and 11.