THE HISTORICAL 7TH SEAL
(THE 7 TRUMPETS)
Modern day Bible expositors mostly teach that the seven trumpets introduced in Revelation chapter 8 denote events yet in the future.
In times past, the explanation of the seven trumpets was generally accepted as picturing a sequence of seven major events since the time of Christ. It is my purpose to show that this interpretation is correct. However, contrary to previously espoused explanations, I believe that the details of this prophecy give abundant indication that these seven historical events all concern Jerusalem, the city of God.
This article will show that the seven trumpets picture respectively:
1) The Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD
(following the First Jewish Revolt)
2) The rebuilding of Jerusalem as a Gentile Roman city in the second century, and the subsequent Second Jewish Revolt a.k.a the Bar Kokhba War
(Jerusalem was at this time renamed Aelia Capitolina. Israel became Syria Palaestina)
3) The "Christianisation" of Jerusalem, begun by Constantine in the fourth century
4) The Islamisation of Jerusalem, following Omar's conquest in the seventh century
5) The Crusader conquests and battles over Jerusalem, from the late 11th century until the middle of the 13th century
6) The World Wars, the Holocaust, and the subsequent return of the Jews to Israel and Jerusalem in the 20th century
7) The return of Christ to Jerusalem
It has been debated whether the seven trumpets are part of the seventh seal on the prophetic scroll unsealed by Christ in Revelation, or instead are totally separate from it. The logical conclusion must be that the trumpets together constitute the seventh seal, because the purpose of the removal of the seals is to reveal the sealed prophecies of Scripture, which are those of the book of Daniel (Dan 12:4 and 12:9). This is explained on the page "THE REAL SEVEN SEALS".
The first six seals describe the general conditions that would prevail. However, they do not of themselves unseal the full extent of the prophecies.
It is the passage of time involved with the seven trumpets that fully reveals the meaning of Daniel's prophecies.
Therefore the seven trumpets must constitute the seventh seal.
The Scriptures are a record of history. What is not covered by history is covered by prophecy, so that people need not lose their place in the Biblical timeline. We see this principle in the seven Church eras, in the seven heads of the Beast, and also in the seven trumpets of the seventh seal.
Absolutely crucial to understanding these prophecies is knowing that the focus of God and His Word is on Israel. More specifically, His focus is on Jerusalem. In Rev 5 it is stated that only Jesus Christ, "the Lion of the tribe of Judah", was able to loosen the seals of the prophecy. It has been commonly taught in the Church that Christ did this loosening or revealing of the seals in His Olivet prophecy. I totally agree with this.
However, what in often not taught is that the Olivet prophecy is a Jerusalem focused prophecy.
The Olivet prophecy begins with the apostles asking a question about the buildings on the Temple Mount. Christ responds by saying that not one stone of these will be left on top of another. The Temple of course is in Jerusalem. Christ goes on to talk about Jerusalem being surrounded by armies and Jerusalem being destroyed. He speaks of "those in Judaea" fleeing. This is the area surrounding Jerusalem. He says that there will be great distress upon "the land" and "this people" (Lk 21:23), meaning Israel and the Jews, not the world. Christ continues in the same vein with: "Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled". This is not about the Gentiles trampling down Gentile lands; Gentiles have always trampled down Gentile lands. The times of the Gentiles were the 2520 years during which Jerusalem was given over to the Gentiles as punishment for the sins of the Jews. These years came to an end in the 20th century with Satan's climactic last stand, the Holocaust, after which the Jews were given back their country and their capital city, Jerusalem. The Olivet prophecy concludes with the return of Christ, which other prophecies show will be a return to Jerusalem. So we see that from beginning to end, the main focus of the Olivet prophecy is Jerusalem.
The first four seals on the Rev 5 scroll are conditions that would afflict the Holy Land. Seals five and six would affect God's people wherever they were located.
Seal 1) False religion
Seal 2) War and violence
Seal 3) Famine and poverty
Seal 4) Untimely death
Seal 5) Persecution of the faithful people of God who accept Christ (true Christians)
Seal 6) Punishment of the unfaithful people of God who reject Christ (the Jews)
This leads us to Seal 7: Seven successive major events in the history of Jerusalem.
In the Olivet prophecy the first six trumpets of the seventh seal are summed up by Christ as "Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled" (Luke 21:24).
As there is such an abundance of figurative language used here in regard to the trumpets and elsewhere in Revelation, I feel that a legend of commonly used phrases will be helpful:
Seas - seas in prophecy usually denote the Gentile nations (Rev 17:15).
Earth - earth in prophecy usually signifies either Israel as a whole, or parts of Israel (see THE SEVEN DAY BLUEPRINT, specifically the third day of Creation, when the earth was separated from the seas, signifying Israel's creation and its separation from the nations in the third millennium).
Heaven - heaven in prophecy often denotes Jerusalem. The "third heaven" is where God resides in the heavens. Jerusalem is where He resides on Earth, making it heaven on earth.
Trees - trees usually signify the people of God. Throughout Scripture Israel is compared to a fig tree, a vine, an olive tree etc. The parables are full of this imagery. Trees were created on the earth on the third day, symbolising the people of Israel being created in the third millennium.
Grass - grass and vegetation are also often indicators of the people of God, created on the Earth on the third day.
Ships - ships commonly denote the people of God. They (are meant to) navigate the seas, i.e. give direction to the Gentiles (Rev 17:15).
Sun, Moon and Stars - in prophecy these usually signify the ruling powers, as seen in Isa 13:10 and Eze 32:7. Individually the sun pictures Christ, the moon pictures His bride, and the stars picture the angels. As the Rev 8-11 trumpet events relate to the Jews, in this prophecy these heavenly bodies together picture them, because the people of Israel were meant to be luminaries, spiritual leaders, directing the world to the knowledge of God. We see this confirmed in Joseph's dream in Gen 37 where we are told that the sun, moon and stars denote the family of Israel. See "THE SEVEN DAY BLUEPRINT" for more on this.
Rivers and Springs - frequently denote the pure teachings of God, which are meant to flow from the people of God.
Men - depends on the context of the prophecy. In the seals, which unseal Daniel's prophecies regarding "thy people and thy holy city" (Dan 9:24), it refers to the physical men God is working with, those who have retained the knowledge of their relationship with Him, i.e. the Jews. In the account of the seven plagues it refers specifically to Gentiles on the receiving end of God's plagues. When talking about all humanity, God uses phrases like "every tribe and tongue and people and nation" (Rev 5:9).
With this information, let's look at all seven trumpets and the prophecies of Daniel they unseal and reveal. My comments in the Bible text are in purple.
Rev 8:1 When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven (heaven on earth - Jerusalem) for about half an hour (this is the only place in the New Testament where the Greek word translated "half an hour" occurs. In general speech, an hour often denotes a specified moment, or period, in time, but without necessarily being of uniform duration, as in the saying "the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified" (Jn 12:23), which Christ spoke some days before He was crucified. However, an hour on a clock has a fixed duration, and here in Rev 8:1 a very specific period of time seems to be indicated. In prophecy, a day usually pictures a year in history. An hour is one twelfth part of a day, and so could be interpreted to denote a month, and "about half an hour" would therefore indicate around 15 days. If the opening of the seventh seal is meant to signify the beginning of 70AD, which was the fortieth inclusive year since Christ's crucifixion in 31AD, then around 15 days later would indicate the time of Passover. Josephus tells us that, after a long siege, the final Roman assault on Jerusalem began around the time of Passover in 70AD - The Jewish War 5.3.1).
2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.
3 Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand.
5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth (of Israel). And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake (signifying war).
6 So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
The First Trumpet
The destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD, after a four month siege by the Romans, in response to the First Jewish Revolt.
7 The first angel sounded: And hail (stones fired by catapults) and fire followed (burning of the city), mingled with blood (wholesale massacre upon its capture), and they (the hail and fire) were thrown to the earth (here meaning specifically Jerusalem and its inhabitants); and a third of the earth was burnt up (a third of the inhabitants were killed in the siege, through famine, pestilence and factional violence), and a third of the trees were burned up (another third was killed in the capture of the city), and all green grass was burned up (i.e. in this location: Jewish life in Jerusalem ceased after the entire city was levelled to the ground. Josephus estimated the total number of Jewish casualties as 1.1 million - The Jewish War 6.9.3).
This concludes and thereby unseals the remainder of the 70 week prophecy of Dan 9:24-27. The first half of the seventieth week was the three and a half years of Christ's ministry. The second half of the seventieth week was the three and a half year Roman campaign culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem, as Dan 9:26 makes clear: "And the people of the prince (Titus) who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood (a flood of troops), and till the end of the war desolations are determined".
Even more specifically, Christ here reveals the meaning of Dan 8:9-11: "And out of one of them came a little horn (the city-state of Rome grew out of the western division of the Greek Empire, as the fourth head of this third beast mentioned in Dan 7:6 (the sixth head overall, as described in Rev 13 and 17) which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land. And it grew up to the host of heaven (conquered Jerusalem); and it cast down some of the host (Jews) and some of the stars (Christians) to the ground, and trampled them. He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host (against Christ); and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down (Jerusalem and God's Temple were destroyed)".
Note that the curses of the sixth seal begin with the onset of the "great tribulation" in 67AD. Rev 7 then intervenes showing the protection of the people God is calling as firstfruits. This is exactly the order Christ gives us in the Olivet prophecy. He says "When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies........", that's when it's time to flee (as pictured by Rev 7). Then the destruction indicated by the first trumpet of the seventh seal follows.
The Jews thought they would find refuge in the city. In the 70AD assault however, the Romans bombarded Jerusalem with stones propelled by catapults (hail), burned down the Temple (fire), thereby gaining access to the rest of the city, and slaughtered innumerable Jews by the sword (blood). "The Jewish War" by Josephus is a must-read to get a grasp of the magnitude of this catastrophe.
Take special note of the word "all" here in Rev 8:7. At times in Scripture this word should be understood as "all manner of", "a great many" or "from all over", rather than "everyone" or "everything". For example, compare Mark 1:5 with Luke 7:30. The former verse says that ALL people from Judea and Jerusalem were baptised by John, but the latter verse says that the Pharisees and lawyers were NOT baptised by John, although Matt 15:1 states that Pharisees were living in Jerusalem and resided in Judea. Similarly, in Mark 11:32, the Pharisees reasoned that "all counted John to have been a prophet", but clearly they did not themselves regard him as that.
Ezekiel chapters 4 and 5 must also be noted in regard to the 70AD destruction of Jerusalem. In Eze 4, the prophet is instructed by God to portray Jerusalem under siege. He is told to lie on one side for 390 days and on his other side for 40 days, and informed that these days picture years of sin. The 390 years are said to pertain to the sins of the House of Israel and the 40 years to the sins of the House of Judah. The 390 years cannot just pertain to the northern Kingdom of Israel which split off from the House of Judah after the death of Solomon, as it only existed for about 245 years. This can be seen on the chart on the "HOME" page. Rather, as also shown there, the 390 years run from Solomon's descent into idolatry until the fall of Jerusalem when Zedekiah was king, and so involve the entire House of Israel. However, that still leaves the 40 years said to be specifically about the House of Judah's sins, that also lead to the capture of Jerusalem as punishment. This predicts the 70AD destruction. The evidence is striking:
God knew that when Christ appeared as a human being He would be rejected and killed by His own people. And God knew that He would punish them for this. Christ died at Passover in the year 31AD. Josephus records that the final siege in 70AD also began at Passover, exactly 40 inclusive years later. Therefore we see that the Roman siege of Jerusalem also appears to have been prophesied by Ezekiel. Eze 5:2 says "You shall burn with fire one third in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are finished; then you shall take one third and strike around it with the sword, and one third you shall scatter in the wind: I will draw out a sword after them". In verse 12 God elaborates on this and says "One third of you shall die of the pestilence, and be consumed with famine in your midst; and one-third shall fall by the sword all around you; and I will scatter another third to all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them". This is all remarkably similar language to what we find in Rev 8.
Note that Eze 5:16-17 mentions "famine", "pestilence", "wild beasts" and "the sword", which are the very same four things mentioned in the fourth seal as punishments coming upon Jerusalem!
Whereas Eze 5:1-8 seems to be referring to the fall of Jerusalem in Nebuchadnezzar's time, Eze 5:9 states "I will do among you what I have never done, and the like of which I will never do again, because of all your abominations". This must be referring to 70AD, when taken in context with Christ's Olivet statement regarding that time, where He says "for then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be". As stated previously, Christ must here be referring to tribulation in Jerusalem only, the usual focus of prophecy, considering the enormous loss of life in the Flood.
The first trumpet of the seventh seal clearly depicts the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD.
The Second Trumpet
Jerusalem's rebirth as a pagan city, leading to the Second Jewish Revolt (132-136AD).
8 Then the second angel sounded: and something like a great mountain (Jerusalem; see for instance Dan 9:16) burning with fire (showing God's judgement) was thrown into the sea (was, in about 130AD, turned into a Roman, Gentile city), and a third of the sea became blood (in the resulting "Bar Kokhba" war, named after the Jewish revolutionary leader of that time, a third of all Rome's forces were involved and saw bloodshed; see below).
9 And a third of the living creatures (a third of the Jews) in the sea (under Gentile rule) died, and a third of the ships were destroyed (another third of the Jews, meaning two thirds of the Jews living in the land were killed. Roman historian Dio Cassius, an early third century writer, put the number of Jewish casualties at 580.000).
This second trumpet of the seventh seal reveals the continuation of Jerusalem's occupation by the Roman Empire, which is the fourth head of the third beast mentioned in Daniel 7:6 (the sixth head overall).
This prophecy continues to fulfil and unseal the prophecy of Dan 8:13-14 in that this event is part of the 2300 year long religious defilement of Jerusalem by its Gentile occupiers, from which it is ultimately "cleansed". This specific defilement is elaborated on in "LOST TRUTHS OF LAODICEA", point 6.
Christ here also unseals Dan 8:23-24: “And in the latter time of their kingdom (the four divisions of the Greek Empire), when the transgressors (the Jews) have reached their fullness, a king (a kingdom, i.e. Rome) shall arise, having fierce features (full of aggression), who understands sinister schemes. His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power (clearly Satan inspired); he shall destroy fearfully, and shall prosper and thrive; he shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people" (up until the point of the Bar Kokhba war, Judea still existed as a Roman province, but at this juncture in history the name Judea was literally wiped off the map. The 67-70AD campaign had decimated the Jews and sent many into slavery. By the end of the Bar Kokhba war they were completely destroyed as a nation).
After the 70AD destruction of Jerusalem, Jews still continued to live in the land of Israel. Around the year 130AD, the Romans began rebuilding Jerusalem as directed by Emperor Hadrian. Jerusalem was renamed Aelia Capitolina and a pagan temple was constructed on the Temple Mount. In 132AD, Jewish leader Simon Bar Kokhba rebelled against Roman rule and their defilement of the Holy Land and Jerusalem. Despite initial success, by 136AD the rebellion had been crushed amid very heavy casualties on both sides. Bar Kokhba was in his day viewed by some Jews as the fulfilment of the promised Messiah of the Seventy Week Prophecy.
Because so little is taught about this in COG circles, I've quoted below some portions of the article "Bar Kokhba Revolt" on Wikipedia:
"Following a series of setbacks, Hadrian called his general Sextus Julius Severus from Britain, and troops were brought from as far as the Danube. In 133/4, Severus landed in Judea with a massive army, bringing 3 Legions from Europe (including Legio X Gemina and possibly also Legio IX Hispana), cohorts of additional legions and between 30 and 50 auxiliary units. He took the title of provincial governor and initiated a massive campaign to systematically subdue Judean rebel forces. Severus' arrival almost doubled the number of Roman troops facing the rebels.
"The size of the Roman army amassed against the rebels was much larger than that commanded by Titus sixty years earlier - nearly one third of the Roman army took part in the campaign against Bar Kokhba. It is estimated that forces from at least 10 Legions participated in Severus' campaign in Judea, including Legio X Fretensis, Legio VI Ferrata, Legio III Gallica, Legio III Cyrenaica, Legio II Traiana Fortis, Legio X Gemina, cohorts of Legio V Macedonica, cohorts of Legio XI Claudia, cohorts of Legio XII Fulminata and cohorts of Legio IV Flavia Felix, along with 30-50 auxiliary units, for a total force of 60,000–120,000 Roman soldiers facing Bar Kokhba's rebels. As noted above, it is plausible that Legio IX Hispana was among the legions Severus brought with him, and that its demise occurred during Severus' campaign, as its disappearance during the second century is often attributed to this war.
"(Roman historian) Cassius Dio also wrote: "Many Romans, moreover, perished in this war. Therefore, Hadrian, in writing to the Senate, did not employ the opening phrase commonly affected by the emperors: 'If you and your children are in health, it is well; I and the army are in health.' Some argue that the exceptional number of preserved Roman veteran diplomas from the late 150s and 160s CE indicate an unprecedented conscription across the Roman Empire to replenish heavy losses within military legions and auxiliary units between 133 and 135, corresponding to the revolt." "
After the conclusion of this war, Jerusalem was no longer officially called Jerusalem. Israel and Judea also no longer existed under those names, and the Roman Emperor Hadrian issued coins showing Jerusalem being ploughed like a field. This was Roman symbolism for the establishment of a new city. Jerusalem was rebuilt as a pagan Roman city by the name of Aelia Capitolina, with a Roman temple dedicated to Jupiter erected on the site of God's Temple. Judea at this time was incorporated into a new Roman administrative region called Syria Palaestina, and thus the Jewish province of Christ's time fully ceased to exist.
The Third Trumpet
Commencement of Constantinople's "Christian" rule over the Roman Empire, including Jerusalem (324AD).
10 Then the third angel sounded: And a great star (Satan) fell from heaven (upon Jerusalem), burning like a torch (a false light: false Christianity), and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water (violated and trampled down the true teachings which were meant to flow from Jerusalem. Approximately a third of all Jews must have been living within the confines of the Roman Empire).
11 The name of the star is Wormwood (meaning bitterness). A third of the waters became wormwood (false Christianity polluted, made bitter, the living waters of true religion), and many men (referring here to Jews) died from the water, because it was made bitter (died prematurely due to persecution by the forces of false Christianity and its author, Satan the Devil. Traditional Christianity has throughout history displayed a strong animosity and "bitterness" toward Jews).
This is the continuation of the fourth head of the third beast of Daniel 7:6, now having developed into, and unsealed as, false Christianity.
This prophecy specifically unseals Dan 8:25: "Through his cunning he shall cause deceit (a false version of the Christian religion) to prosper under his rule; and he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity ("their" is in italics. He destroys many by succeeding, prospering, in the practice of his false religion). He shall even rise against the Prince of princes" (against Christ, misrepresenting Him with false doctrines and abominable practices, and, over time, creating the Papacy). Note that the "Christianisation" of Jerusalem mentioned in Dan 8:25 comes after the destruction of the Jewish nation, mentioned in Dan 8:24.
Constantine gained full control of the Roman Empire after his final defeat of Licinius at the battle of Chrysopolis in 324AD. Constantine had converted to false Christianity about a decade earlier. From 326 till 328, Constantine's mother, Helena, visited the Holy Land and other areas of Biblical significance, supposedly identifying sacred sites and relics. The pagan Roman temple constructed around the time of the Second Jewish Revolt was torn down, and instead the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was erected at the supposed site of Christ's crucifixion. Other churches were also constructed.
The adoption of false Christianity as the Roman Empire's religion was a master stroke by Satan. It has polluted the living waters of God's true religion, thereby misrepresenting God to the vast majority of the world's population.
Emperor Constantine laid the foundation that made false Christianity the empire's religion, and so, from that time onward, a whole new set of obstacles emerged for both Jews and true Christians, although for a long time the Jews' right to keep the Sabbath remained enacted in Roman law.
The Fourth Trumpet
Commencement of Mecca's Islamic rule over Jerusalem (638AD).
12 Then the fourth angel sounded: And a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened (darkness fell over the "earth" (v13) of Jerusalem and Israel when it was conquered by Islam). A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night (approximately one third of the Jews, as well as true Christians, must have been located in countries that came to be under Islamic rule at, or soon after, the time of Jerusalem's conquest. Those who were meant to be a light unto the world were now overshadowed by the darkness of Islam).
13 And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!”
This event fulfils and unseals the prophecy of the emergence of the fourth beast, as described in Dan 7:7 and 7:23-24 (the seventh head of the overall Beast power shown in Rev 13 and 17).
This also leads into the unsealing of the "ten horns" of Dan 7:7 and Dan 7:24, which history shows to have been ten Islamic dynasties which ruled over Jerusalem (for a listing of these, see the page "THE TWO WITNESSES").
This event also unseals Dan 8:12: "And an host (another occupying power, i.e the seventh head of the Beast, which was Islam) was given him (him is in italics, and so is not part of the text) against the daily sacrifice (against the true religion) by reason of transgression (because of the Jews' transgression against God), and it cast down the truth to the ground (it introduced its own false religion to Jerusalem, and built a counterfeit temple, i.e. the "Dome of the Rock", in the place where God's Temple had stood); and it practised, and prospered (it captured Jerusalem in 638, and ruled the city until 1917, interrupted only for a total of about 100 years by two Crusades).
In 637 or 638, depending on which sources are relied on, Jerusalem fell to the Islamic forces of Caliph Omar after a four month siege. The city was fortified, but not heavily protected, and was reportedly captured without bloodshed after Jerusalem's leader, Patriarch Sophronius, negotiated a surrender.
For all their shortcomings, both Judaism and traditional Christianity have in common that they rely on the Holy Scriptures and consider them to be the Word of God. As such, both religions have an amount of light in them. Islam, on the other hand, has its own writings which ironically refer to "the people of the book", the "book" being the Holy Scriptures and the "people" referring to both Jews and Christians. Islam contains no light and therefore it brought only darkness to Jerusalem and the territories it controlled.
It is interesting to note that the practice of making Jews wear distinctive items of clothing was started by the Muslims, who also imposed many other restrictions and indignities on them.
The Fifth Trumpet or First Woe
The medieval Crusader battles over Jerusalem (1095AD - 1244AD).
9:1 Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star (Satan) fallen from heaven to the earth (of Israel). To him was given the key to the bottomless pit (to release demons).
2 And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit.
3 Then out of the smoke locusts (armies) came upon the earth (of Israel). And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
4 They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree (any of the people God is working with, physical or spiritual), but only those men (among those He is working with) who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads (true Christians have the seal of God, which is the holy spirit (Eph 1:13); however, Jews who reject Christ don't have the seal of God. The Jews were the proverbial "meat in the sandwich" during the long period of the Crusades).
5 And they (the Crusaders and Muslims) were not given authority (by God) to kill them (completely - i.e. annihilate the Jews), but to torment them for five months (a day for a year, so 150 inclusive years of battles over Jerusalem. Pope Urban called the First Crusade to liberate Jerusalem in 1095 and the final battle the Crusaders and the Muslims fought in Jerusalem ended in 1244). Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man (instantaneous, severe pain, like the result of being struck with a sword).
6 In those days men will seek death (a martyr's death) and will not find it (they found death, but not the kind of death they were seeking); they will desire to die (a martyr), and (but that) death will flee from them.
The Crusades were initiated to expel the Muslim occupiers of Jerusalem. Reports had flowed back to Europe about Christian pilgrims being harassed and hindered by the Muslims in the Holy City. Some sources say that this oppression came from Jews as well. One way or another, whenever a Crusade got underway in Europe, it began with severe persecutions of Jews. This involved false conversions, forced baptisms, extortion, displacement of people and widespread murder. Jewish historians record that those Jews who rejected "conversion" and baptism, and chose death instead, introduced a phenomenon that was new to Judaism: "the tradition of freely accepted martyrdom, Kiddush ha-Shem, martyrdom for the glory of God, thus became the exemplary answer of Jews threatened in their life and faith by the crusaders." (See: https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-crusades). The concept of martyrdom was of course part and parcel of the spirit of this period in history. The Popes had promised a full remission of sins and a glorious afterlife to the Christian crusaders if they died in their endeavours to liberate Jerusalem. Islam promised those who died fighting its holy wars an afterlife of debauchery in heaven. So we see that on all sides, the martyr's death was sought but not found, as none of these groups were being led by God.
7 The shape of the locusts was like horses (both the Crusaders and the Muslims used horses extensively) prepared for battle. On their heads were crowns of something like gold (horses' heads were protected by armour), and their faces were like the faces of men (like men, horses also had metal face plates).
8 They had hair like women’s hair (braided manes and tails), and their teeth were like lions’ teeth (components of a horse's bridle extending from the bit and protruding downward on either side of the mouth, creating a similar appearance to a lion's two large canine teeth at either side of its mouth.
Compare this image: https://www.britannica.com/science/canine-tooth
with this one: https://miniset.net/sets/ncm-mmf205358.
9 And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron (horses' body armour), and the sound of their wings (the clattering of all this armour) was like the sound of chariots, with many horses running into battle.
10 They had tails like scorpions (lances), and there were stings in their tails. Their power was to hurt men five months (150 years of suffering).
11 And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon (lit. "destroyer", i.e. Satan), but in Greek he has the name Apollyon.
12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
The fifth trumpet of the seventh seal unseals the prophecy of Dan 7:7-8 regarding the "little horn" gaining control of Jerusalem, as on three separate occasions it overthrew Islamic ruling dynasties, thereby interrupting, and finally ending, Mecca's long occupation of the Holy City. (Please see the page "THE TWO WITNESSES" for a full explanation of this).
This trumpet also unseals Dan 7:24-25, with Catholicism/Christianity now standing on its own feet, separate from the Roman Empire from which it had sprung forth. As per Rev 17:11, it is the eighth head of the Beast to rule over Jerusalem, but it is "of the seven" in that it is a continuation of the "Christianised" sixth head of the Beast.
This event continues the fulfilment and unsealing of the prophecy of Dan 7:25 concerning the little horn that shall "think to change times and laws", which it did by appropriating Christianity, but making foundational changes. This verse states that the Jews "shall be given into his hand" for 1260 years. The 150 year period of the Crusader battles over Jerusalem is part of that 1260 year period.
As stated previously, the 150 years pertain to campaigns fought over Jerusalem, the focus of prophecy. The Crusader wars did continue elsewhere for longer than 150 years, but the last battle fought in Jerusalem was in 1244, in the 150th year after Pope Urban initiated the first Crusade.
It says in Dan 7:24 that this horn (or eighth head) will "subdue three kings" (in Jerusalem). This refers to the following conquests: the first Crusade, which overcame the Fatimid Kingdom in 1099; the sixth Crusade, which replaced the Ayyubid Kingdom in 1229; and the so called "Last Crusade" of the largely Christian British Empire coalition, which defeated Ottoman Turkey in 1917 during WWI. This last Crusade is part of the sixth trumpet, described below. It is described in more detail on the page "THE TWO WITNESSES".
The Sixth Trumpet or Second Woe
The World Wars, the Holocaust and the Jews' return to Israel and Jerusalem (1914-1950).
13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels (arch demons) which are bound in the great river Euphrates (the Euphrates emanates from the mountains of Turkey; up until 1917 Jerusalem had been controlled by Ottoman Turkey. The removal of the four arch demons from guiding Turkey, prior to WW1, would have been instrumental in Turkey's defeat, and allowed these destroying demons to focus on Europe, with their efforts culminating in the destruction of the Jews through Hitler's Germany. Rev 7:1-3 also mentions four destroying "angels", who were about to unleash the carnage of the first trumpet on the Jews).
15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an (lit. the) hour (here a specific point in history), and (for) a day, and a month, and a year (a duration of 32 inclusive years, from the start of WW1 in 1914, until the end of WW2 in 1945. In prophecy a "day" pictures a year, a "month" pictures 30 years, and a "year" remains a year), for to slay the third part of men (a third of all Jews in the world were killed in the latter stages of this period, i.e. in the Holocaust).
16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand (200 million): and I heard the number of them (the number of mobilised men during WWI was in excess of 70 million. The website www.military-history.org has a chart of Allied and Axis army numbers of WWII which lists the total number of mobilised personnel as just over 127 million. See:
17 And thus I saw (some of) the horses (weaponry, such as tanks) in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates (armour - referring back to the weaponry) of fire (red), and of jacinth (lit. hyacinth, i.e. bluish), and brimstone (yellow-brown): and the heads of the horses (weapons) were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths (the openings of these devices) issued fire and smoke and brimstone.
(Did John see German weapons like these? : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sturmgesch%C3%BCtz_IV
18 By these three (these three substances, but using a variety of methods) was the third part of men (those who identified as God's chosen people) killed (there were approximately 17 million Jews in the world prior to this period; about 6 million died), by the fire (burning), and by the smoke (gas chambers and gas trucks), and by the brimstone ("sulfur" (NIV): gun fire of various types, sulfur being a component of gunpowder), which issued out of their mouths.
19 For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads (hoses entering gas trucks from their exhaust pipes), and with them they do hurt.
20 And the rest of the men (the Jews) which were not killed by these plagues (the killing only stopped because Germany was defeated) yet (still) 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 (this is figurative language, but by rejecting Christ, they are akin to the worst of the heathen):
21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts (The Jews in general never saw the Holocaust as a punishment permitted by God, in the way Daniel saw the Babylonian captivity, and have never repented of rejecting and killing their Messiah. Thus they have robbed their descendants of the truth and generally invalidated the essence of their religion).
Please read "THE TWO WITNESSES", where this sixth trumpet, or second woe, is described in further detail, as covered by Rev 11, taking events up to the return of the Jews to Jerusalem after the defeat of Nazi Germany.
These momentous events are foretold by Christ in His Olivet prophecy as "the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled" (Luke 21:24).
This crucial period in history fulfils and unseals the prophecy of the statue of Dan 2 which at this time has run its course and been struck on the feet by the "stone" which becomes a "great mountain". If God's Kingdom was going to be set up immediately upon the Beast powers' demise, the text would say that the statue's feet were struck by the great mountain, but it doesn't say that. Rather, it says that the statue was struck by a stone which became a great mountain. We are in this "became" stage today. Please read the page "THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES" for more information.
This also unseals the end of the "seven times" or 2520 years of Gentile occupation of Jerusalem, pictured by Nebuchadnezzar eating grass for 2520 days, as recorded in Dan 4. These same "seven times", or 2520 years, were earlier prophesied in Lev 26.
Additionally, the unveiling of the sixth trumpet unseals Dan 7:11: "I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn (which became the eighth head of the Beast, that is Catholicism/false Christianity) was speaking (its last pompous words came from Adolf Hitler. Satan, through Hitler, wanted to set up an alternative Millennium called the "Thousand Year Reich" with a new "chosen people", the Germans. How incredibly ironic!); I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame".
This event also unseals Dan 7:25-26: "Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time (This 1260 year period came to an end in 1945 - see the page "THE TWO WITNESSES"). But the court shall be seated, and they shall take away his dominion (over Jerusalem and the Jews), to consume and destroy it forever.
Lastly, this major event also fulfils and unseals Dan 12:7: "The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream, raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven; and I heard him swear by him who lives for ever that it would be for a time, two times, and half a time; and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be accomplished"(RSV). When viewed in conjunction with Dan 12:11, a 1260 year period can be seen to run from the setting up of an "abomination of desolation" until the restoration of Jewish sovereignty. In 1950, 1260 inclusive years since the construction of the Dome of the Rock in 691AD, "the shattering of the power of the holy people" came to an end when the Jews, having moved their seat of government, the "Knesset", to Jerusalem, passed the Law of Return, allowing all Jews in the world to return to Israel.
Please see the chart, which can be viewed and downloaded on the "HOME" page, for a better understanding of the timelines described here.
The Seventh Trumpet or Third Woe
Jesus Christ's return to Earth
This is the climax of all prophecy, concluding the unsealing of the prophecies of Daniel and the Olivet prophecy.
Rev 11:15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven (heaven on Earth, i.e. Jerusalem), saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever! (the announcement of Christ's return to Earth)”
16 And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God,
17 saying: “We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, because You have taken Your great power and reigned.
18 The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come (on the nations, i.e. the Gentiles), and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, and those who fear Your name, small and great, and should destroy those who destroy the earth (destroy those of the "earth" of all Israel, including the non-Israelites living among them, who together have destroyed everything God intended Israel to be, i.e. a reflection of Himself, and as such, a light unto the world)”.
19 Then the temple of God was opened in heaven (in Jerusalem), and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple (the presence of Christ and His resurrected firstfruits, who are with Him in Jerusalem). And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.
The seventh trumpet event is the only one yet to occur: the second coming of Jesus Christ and the third "woe" that will accompany His return.
Christ revealed this most major of happenings in Luke 21:27, and unsealed Dan 7:12-14:
As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away (their dominion over Jerusalem), yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time (the time between WWII and Christ's return). “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion (dominion administered from Jerusalem) and glory and a kingdom (the Kingdom of God), that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.
So we see that all seven trumpets symbolise major occurrences that take place in Jerusalem, the city of God, and....
All these major events were prophesied in the sealed writings of Daniel the prophet.
Just to recapitulate, the seven trumpets of the seventh seal denote:
1) The destruction of Jerusalem
(following the First Jewish Revolt)
2) The rebuilding of Jerusalem as a pagan Gentile city
(leading to the Second Jewish Revolt)
Jerusalem was renamed Aelia Capitolina and the country became Syria Palaestina
3) The "Christianisation" of Jerusalem
4) The Islamisation of Jerusalem
5) The Crusader battles over Jerusalem
6) The World Wars, the Holocaust, and the return of the Jews to Israel and Jerusalem
7) The return of Christ to Jerusalem
However, this logical explanation is not what the Churches of God are teaching, even though these are well known events, and milestones in Jerusalem's history.
Why the profound blindness?
Christ says to this Laodicean era "anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see".