DATESETTING STUPIDITY

NOTE:
I personally DO NOT believe in DATE SETTING, everyone should be aware that the day and hour of Jesus' Return is UNKNOWN to ALL BUT THE FATHER GOD. So BE PREPARED IN YOUR HEART FOR that return WHENEVER IT COMES!

End Time Delusions Exposed!


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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

CHAPTER IX. THE ARABIAN LOCUSTS.


CHAPTER IX.
 
 
THE ARABIAN LOCUSTS.
 
 
The State of Christianity.--

The Dying World.--

The Eastern Symbols.--

The Fallen Star.--

The Key of the Caaba.--
 
The Locusts.--
 
The Scourge of the World.--
 
The Duration of the Scourge.
 
 
The blast of the fourth trumpet, the last of the series of trumpets, representing the four winds that were held back, marks one of the most important eras in history.

As the trumpet angels come forth in succession the mighty tide of invasion rolls upon the vast empire that had long ruled the world, and after the fourth trumpet, Rome, for twelve hundred years a seat of power, and for over five hundred years the capital of the world, was overwhelmed and hopelessly crushed beneath the barbarian wave.


 Ancient history ends with A. D. 476, when the Roman fabric finally gave way before the Goths, the Vandals, and the Huns. From that period a new Europe begins.

The fresh blood of the northern hordes, [150] mingled with that of the civilized inhabitants of western Europe, begins the formation of the new races that lead the world at this day.


The Saxons, the Franks, the Goths, and the Lombards are represented in the nineteenth century by the Anglo-Saxon, the French, the Spanish, and the Italian.


 The Christianity of the West was deep-rooted and vigorous enough to overcome the Pagan faith of the northern invaders, and the new kingdoms which were formed out of the fragments of old Rome, all became Christian states.


It has already been seen that the trumpet angels are divided into two groups. There remain the three who have been called the woe angels, on account of the language applied to them in Chap. 8:13.


It is manifest that the first four have completed their work, and that the others are devoted to another and a distinct work, which shall be the source of great woe to a part of the inhabitants of the earth. This work must be at a later period, and hence must be after the year 476.


In order to enable the reader who is not well read in history to appreciate what will follow, it will be needful to give a short view of the condition of the world about one hundred years later. In all western and southern Europe, as far east as the Adriatic Sea, and in [151] northern Africa, the, Gothic nations were moulding their new kingdoms.


 In the East there existed a fragment of the old Roman Empire, with Constantinople as its capital. Its dominions embraced a part of the territory of modern Turkey in Europe and in Asia, and also Egypt in Africa.


 It professed the Christian faith, but there has seldom been a more corrupt state of society than existed in A. D. 600. Idolatry and saint worship had supplanted the simple faith of the apostles; luxury had undermined society; frivolity, effeminacy and licentiousness had taken the place of manhood.


The hierarchy ruled the Church, instead of Christ, and bishops were more ambitious to supplant rival bishops than to convert heathen, or to promote the spiritual condition of their dioceses.


The worldliness, excesses, license, and corruption which held unchecked sway in the cities and towns had caused tens of thousands who sighed for a purer life to flee from the haunts of men and to hide themselves, as hermits, in the recesses of the desert, or to bury themselves, as monks and nuns, in monasteries. Monasticism, unauthorized by the letter or spirit of Christianity, and destined finally to become utterly corrupt, was born of a yearning for a holier life.


In the two centuries that had passed since [152] the triumph of Christianity over Paganism, the unholy alliance of Church with State had led the former into practical apostasy from her ancient faith. The spiritual despotism which had overthrown the liberty of the children of God seemed to be almost universal, but the corruption of society was far greater in the East than in the West.


 The hierarchy ruled absolutely, and idolatry prevailed in both quarters of the world, but the recent acceptance of the Christian faith by the conquerors of the West, and their pure, vigorous blood, saved them from the effeminacy of the luxurious East.


Western rulers had little taste for theatres, eunuchs, dances, and harems. In the East a rottenness prevailed of which it is hard for us in this nineteenth century to form even a conception. The Western world had died and risen again. The East was slowly dying of corruption.

THE FIFTH TRUMPET.
 
 
We are now prepared to listen to the trumpet of the fifth angel, and to behold the symbolism described by the prophet. I quote:
And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth; and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.


And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And [153] there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.


And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of the scorpion, when he striketh a man.

And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. And the 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.


And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. 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. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.


And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon. One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes, more hereafter. 9:1-12.
When the angel blows his trumpet, the apostle sees a key given to a falling star. This is used to open a pit. From it a smoke ascends, and the heavens are filled with darkness; from out of the smoke there emerge swarms of locusts that descend upon the earth to devour.


 It is needless that I should pause to describe the insect now mentioned. The grasshoppers that sweep down from the rainless deserts near the Rocky Mountains are the American [154] representatives of the Asiatic locust. But these locusts are peculiar, and John describes their features with great minuteness.

These are instruments of destruction under the fifth trumpet, and it will be well with us to note closely the characteristics that he names.


The locusts go forth in countless numbers to destroy wherever they descend. We would expect them to symbolize a numerous and destructive host. The term is often used by the prophets as an emblem of a numerous and destroying army.

We quote from Nahum 3:15. "The sword shall cut thee off.


 It shall devour thee as the locust. Thy crowned princes are as the numerous locust, and thy captains as the grasshoppers," etc. John notes a remarkable circumstance. Other locusts destroy every vestige of vegetation. These destroy no green thing.


Their hurtful power is turned upon men,--men who are not engaged in the service of God. Whatever may be signified, they shall spare the fields and turn their rage upon the inhabitants of the earth. Still, while they shall torment men, their object shall not be to kill them.


 They will not blast nations from the face of the earth. They shall continue this work of torment for five months. We are told in Ezekiel, that a day shall stand for a year. It does commonly in prophetic language. We [155] will find that such is its usual meaning in the book of Revelation. This torment would then be continued for a period of one hundred and fifty years.


It has been seen, thus far, that each angel represents the movement of some people upon the Roman Empire. Though Rome had fallen, still the Eastern Empire remained, and it would be entirely in harmony with the probabilities if the next movement should strike it with overwhelming force.

It will be needful to inquire, from what quarter of the world the blow will come, what people will strike the blow, and what is the meaning of the various symbols. It is manifest that the scene is transferred from the West to East, and all the symbolism points with unerring precision to one country which had not before this figured in history. That country is.
 
 
The locust, the groundwork of the symbolism, is peculiarly Arabic. It was the "east wind," the wind that swept from Arabia, that brought the locusts into Egypt, at the time of the exodus of the children of Israel.


 The inhabitants of Syria declare that the locusts come to them from Arabia. Like the American grasshopper, they are bred in rainless deserts, [156] at irregular intervals, sweep down with resistless power upon more fertile lands.


The sandy wastes of Arabia have always been a breeding ground for locusts. The locusts of the vision have teeth like lions; the lion has always had its home upon the Arabian deserts.


They also have a shape like horses; naturalists consider Arabia the native country of the horse, and from time immemorial it has produced the most famous horses of the world. Finally, the tail and sting of the locusts is like that of the scorpion, another animal bred on the Arabian sands.


 The zoology of the symbolism points beyond a doubt to the portion of the world in which Arabia is located. I will presently inquire whether any mighty movement, fitly described by the imagery, was inaugurated in Arabia in the age to which we have been led.


Not only the facts just mentioned, but the description of the men symbolized by the locusts, point to Arabia. The locusts "were like unto horses prepared for battle." The Arabians, unlike the Goths, Vandals, and Huns, were an army of horsemen, and moved over a country almost with the swiftness of the locust.


 Let the reader note the following facts concerning the Arabs:

 1. They came forth from the home of the locust.

2. They all fought on horseback. There was not a foot-soldier in the [157] armies which in A. D. 632, assailed the Eastern Empire.

3. They wore upon their beads something like crowns of gold. The historians of the period often speak of them as the "turbaned Arabs."

 Ezekiel (Chap. 23:42) speaking of the Sabeans, which were an Arabian tribe, says, "The Sabeans of the wilderness who put upon their heads beautiful crowns." The yellow turbans of the Arab horsemen, at a little distance, would strikingly resemble "crowns of gold."


4. The locusts had "the faces of men." The Jews and Arabs wore long, patriarchical beards. The Roman and northern races shaved the face. John notes that these locusts have the distinguishing mark of manhood in the East,--the unshorn board.


5. But to the faces of men is added "the hair of women." The female distinction is long hair, and evidently John beholds, as the riders rush by, long hair flowing from their shoulders and streaming in the air. Did the Arabs in the seventh century wear long hair?


Pliny, who was the contemporary of John, speaks (Nat. His. 7:28) of "the turbaned Arabs with their uncut hair." Ammianus Marcellinus in the fourth, and Jerome in the fifth century, each speak of the long-haired Arabs.


An Arabian poem, Antar, written in Mahomet's time, often speaks of the hair of its heroes flowing down upon their [158] shoulders. We quote: "He adjusted himself, twisted his beard, and folded his hair under his turban, drawing it up from his shoulders." 6. But the locusts had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron."


 The historians of the Arabian wars constantly speak of the iron coats of mail. Gibbon, Vol. V., p. 132, speaks of seven hundred horsemen with steel cuirasses. Again, Vol. V., p. 13: "Three hundred cuirasses were a part of the spoil." Mahomet, in the Koran, 11-104 says: "God hath given you coats of mail to defend you in your wars."


From this array of facts it seems certain that we are pointed to Arabia, and that we must look there to see the locusts gather that rush upon the earth. Do we find any remarkable historical movement arising in this region and subsequent to the fall of Rome?

THE SARACENS.
 
 
Before the beginning of the seventh century the Arabs were little known to the historian. Occasionally they had made a marauding excursion beyond their borders, but they were only feared, as troublesome robbers who could hide themselves from pursuit in their deserts.


 While their trackless sands and poverty had protected them from conquest, they had never proved formidable to neighboring states, and had exercised as little influence upon the political destinies of the world as the blanketed Indians of the Northwest.


But early in the seventh century they rush out from their native wastes, and throw themselves upon the world with a swiftness, a fury, and a success that hardly finds a parallel in the history of nations. The creation of the Arabian, or Saracen Empire as it is usually called, was due to the work of Mahomet.


About A. D. 609, in the deserts of Arabia, one of the most remarkable, most talented, most brilliant leaders of men that the world has ever known, began his work. He claimed to be the prophet of God. He was a star, but a fallen star; a prophet, but a false prophet.


 To extend his religion and reign he resorted to the sword, and his converts became a race of warriors. By the year 632, all Arabia had been subjected to his dominion, and in that year, the Arabian armies, countless as the locusts of their own deserts, all on horseback, not a foot-soldier among them, all the fierce followers of Mahomet rushed forth from the country of the locusts to assail the world.


They appeared with "horses prepared for war."
In the year 632, the Saracens marched out of Arabia to subvert the world to the sway of the Koran. Syria, a part of the Eastern Empire, [160] was instantly overrun by the swift bands of cavalry who dashed in every direction, with a rapidity unknown before in war. In A. D. 634, the city of Damascus was taken, and has ever since been a Mahometan city. In 637, the city of Jerusalem fell, and the churches were converted into mosques.


In 638, Egypt was conquered, and their armies then pushed westward to the banks of the Atlantic Ocean. In 675, they had poured northward to the borders of Europe, had crossed the Hellespont, besieged Constantinople, and after a long siege had been driven back from its walls.


 In 711, they crossed the Straits of Gibraltar into western Europe, and conquered Spain. In 716, they laid siege to Constantinople a second time, and were, a second time baffled. In 721, they crossed the Pyrenees into France to attempt the conquest of northwestern Europe.


At this period the Saracen dominion extended from Central Asia over Persia, Arabia, Syria, westward over Africa to the Pillars of Hercules, and in Europe it embraced Spain and Portugal. Within a hundred years from the time that the Arabs emerged from the desert they had secured the dominion of Asia, Africa, and southwestern Europe.


As a mighty conquering force, history makes no record of one more remarkable than the establishment of the [161] Arabian dominion. Surely we have a movement significant enough to meet the demand, springing from the very country, and carried on by the very people indicated by the prophet. It remains for me, to inquire whether this movement corresponds to the details of the inspired description.

THE DETAILS.
 
 
I have shown that the rise of Mahometanism. corresponds, in its time, country, people, and character, fully with the general features of the prophecy. I will next take up the various features of the symbolism in the order they are presented.


The first thing that we notice is that the apostle saw a falling star which inaugurated the invasion of the locusts. We have already found that a star is symbolical of a leader. Attila was represented by a burning star.

This falling star would evidently refer to some brilliantly endowed, but wicked leader of men. That a man, and not a literal star, is referred to is shown by the next statement that to him were given the keys of the bottomless pit.


The fact that the star had fallen would seem to indicate that, at the time the keys of the pit were given to it, it did not possess the pre-eminence it once enjoyed. If a star represents a king or prince, a fallen star would [162] represent a prince who had been shorn of his power.


It is remarkable how these details are fulfilled in the case of Mahomet. He belonged by birth to the princely house of Koreish, the ruling family of Mecca. At his birth his grandfather was the ruling prince.


 His grandfather and his father, in the view of surrounding nations, were prominent stars. But, just after his birth his father died, and very soon after, his grandfather also. The boy, apparently destined to rule his country, was set aside, and a different family received the headship of the tribe, the governorship of Mecca, and the keys of the Caaba.


Though by birth a star, he becomes now a fallen star, his prospects for life apparently blasted, and at manhood he entered into the service of a rich widow as a servant, in which capacity he visited Damascus, to traffic in the markets of that great city.


 It is probable that be brooded over the thought that he was a servant in a city where his ancestors ruled at his birth, and that this thought caused him to devise the means by which he should attain to power. Thus it is seen that he was a star, a fallen star, and his history shows us that he again attained to the prominence of a star of the first magnitude, though shining with a baleful light. [163]


THE KEY.--

To this star was given a key. The key can have only two uses. It may indicate that the doors of the bottomless pit shall be closed, or that they shall be opened. The sequel shows that they were opened, and the language evidently foreshadows that the hosts of hell shall come forth, or that there shall be a gathering of the instruments of wickedness.


Perhaps the term has not only this, but still further significance. The "star," or ruler of Mecca, held the key of the Caaba, a kind of idol shrine, and the possession of that key in a family was significant of its princely power. The loss of the key had made Mahomet a fallen star.


The key of the bottomless pit now given him, not only restores him to the position of ruler of his own countrymen, but makes him a prince among the kings of the earth.


THE BOTTOMLESS PIT.--

The term translated pit is used in Ezekiel 31:17, Luke 8:31, and Rev. 20:1, in the sense of hell, or the abode of the prince of darkness.

That is evidently the sense here, and it is implied that the fallen star shall employ hellish agencies to aid him in his work. This could not be fulfilled more effectively than by a system of imposture, or false religion, proceeding from the father of lies, and deceiving a large part of the race.


This idea is confirmed by the statement that a [164] smoke should come forth that darkened the earth. It is a fact that at this period a false religion arose, led by Mahomet, an impostor; a vile system which taught men inhumanity and lust, to live bloody and sensual lives, and to look for a sensual heaven.


This false and hellish system "darkened" a large portion of the world, and there are still vast regions where the light of Christianity once prevailed which have exchanged the Bible for the Koran. The Christian faith was buried under the ruins of a country tracked and desolated by the Arabian locusts.


 I wish the reader to distinctly note that it is not stated in the case of any other trumpet that the powers of the pit are employed. No other leader appears as the prophet of the new and false religion. It is Mahomet alone who employs the powers of the bottomless pit to secure empire and rule the earth.


THE LOCUSTS.--

It is said that the "locusts came out of the smoke." This is a statement of great importance. It means that the armies symbolized by the locusts were gathered by means of the imposture indicated by the smoke which Mahomet let out of the pit.


Never was a prophecy more accurately fulfilled. The Arabians were unknown as a conquering power until they had been filled with the fierce, stern, pitiless fanaticism taught by the Koran. Out of [165] the "smoke of the new religion" they emerged and rushed upon the world to torment, to sting, and to darken. Let us observe the work of the locusts as described by the apostle.


1. They do not destroy the grass of the earth, or trees, or any green thing. They injure men. Did the Saracen hosts adopt such a policy? Moses (Deut. 20: 19,) from motives of mercy had commanded the Jews to abstain from devastation in time of war. Mahomet adopted the same course from policy.


At the very time when the Saracens rushed forth upon the Eastern Empire, the Caliph Abubeker, the successor of Mahomet, commanded, (Gibbon Vol. V., p. 189,) "Cut down no palm trees, nor burn fields of corn. Cut down no fruit trees."


They shall not endeavor to destroy lands, but shall attack the human race. The policy of the Saracens was in great contrast with that of the Goths. They destroyed "the trees of one third of the earth, and every green thing." The historians speak continually of the "desert places" that they had made; but the Arabs had learned in their almost treeless deserts to cherish the tree as heaven's choicest blessing, and they went forth with the avowed purpose to conquer and occupy the countries they assailed.


Hence, in their own interest they sought, and were commanded, to preserve the trees in the regions which they [167] invaded. It is a remarkable circumstance that the opposite course of both the Goths and the Saracens should be so particularly noted in Revelation.


2. It is also stated that they "shall not kill them." It is remarkable that these warriors did not go forth to slay. They were missionaries. They went to save. They attacked their enemies upon the battle-field, but when resistance ended, and their foes were converted, they ceased the work of destruction.


A part of the same marching orders from which we have just quoted, also gave command that they "should not kill religious persons who were trying to serve God in another way." Gibbon, Vol. V., p. 189.


Perhaps, however, this has another meaning. It may mean that they did not politically kill, or annihilate either Church or State in Christendom. Though they besieged Constantinople twice, the Eastern Empire still survived, and the Eastern Church continued to exist.


3. But their torment should be terrible, like the sting of a scorpion. Though the Saracens did not seek to exterminate, they sought to reduce all to slavery or to submission to the Koran. They gave to the nations where they marched their choice of three things.

(1) The Koran;

(2) the payment of tribute and [167] subjection to slavery; or,

(3) to be put to the sword. Abubeker commanded, "Cleave the skulls of the priests unless they will become Mahometan." Gibbon, Vol. V., p. 189. The condition of Christians in the countries overrun was terrible. Under the fierce sting of the scorpions of the desert the torment was almost unendurable.


 It was so hard to bear that perhaps the majority of the population abandoned their old faith, which they regarded true, and accepted one that they esteemed false. Those who did not, no doubt, were often constrained "to seek death" as a refuge, but instead of being slain, were reduced to a pitiless slavery.

THE FIVE MONTHS.
 
 
We will next consider the duration of this torment. It was to continue five months, or one hundred and fifty days. We have already stated that in Revelation uniformly, and usually in all the prophets, the day is the symbol of a year. This would imply that the locusts should scourge the world for one hundred and fifty years.
It has been seen already that, although Mahomet began his work earlier, it was not until about A. D. 632, that the Arabs had been compacted, organized, and filled with the fanatical fury needful to enable them to burst [168] forth upon the world.


Before this they did not begin their "torment." Marching forth in that year, they began an almost uninterrupted series of conquests in the countries then occupied by the Church. Within a few years the congregations planted by the apostles, those of Palestine, Syria, Egypt and Asia Minor, had been crushed under the tread of the Arabian horsemen, and within a century, the "torment" had extended from the Euphrates to the Pyrenees Mountains.


 In 732, just a century after they emerged from the desert, their armies crossed into France, were met by Charles Martel in the battle of Tours, defeated, driven back over the Pyrenees, and their progress stayed. In 750, the vast empire of the Caliphs was rent by dissensions and divided.


The family upon the throne, the Ommiades, was supplanted by the Abassides, and fled from the East to Spain, where it established a new capital; and in the year 762, the usurper removed his capital from Damascus to Bagdad, upon the Tigris.

 Thus moved to a distance from Christendom, and weakened by division, the Saracens gradually gave up their designs of universal conquest, and the rude Ishmaelites whose hands had been against every man, who had sought to conquer the world, now began to cultivate the arts of peace, and to think of living on [169] friendly terms with other nations. In 781, the Caliph Haroun Al Rashid was their ruler.

 This is the golden age of the Saracen power. This is the era of the Arabian Nights. Bagdad was called the "City of Peace." How long is this from the time when the torment that had stricken half the world began? In A. D. 632, the Arabs assailed the nations, to which date one hundred and fifty years may be added. This would bring us to 782, the second year of Haroun Al Rashid's reign. Did the torment continue longer?


 Nay. He was engaged in friendly correspondence with the Christian rulers of Europe, and from this time the Saracens ceased their efforts to make the world Mahometan. Their aggressive wars were forever ended.

 Their weakening effect upon the Eastern Roman Empire was over. As far as they have to do with its destruction their work was finished,--completed one hundred and fifty years after it began!


Thus we find, next in order after the fall of Rome in 476, signified by the fourth trumpet, that the scene of the mighty events is transferred to the East. From the deserts, the home of the locusts, there emerge a people corresponding in all respects to the symbolism.


That people changed the map of the world and founded a mighty religious empire. For a [170] period of one hundred and fifty years they continued to torment the nations of the earth by their conquests, but after that period the Saracen Empire abandoned the attempt to conquer the Christian world. Its aggressive warfare was forever ended.


Other questions might arise, but I will only take space to ask: Did they assail men who had not the seal of God in their foreheads?


 They assailed an apostate Church. Of the condition of the Eastern Church at this time I will have more to say under the discussion of the next trumpet, but the remarks in the introduction to this chapter indicate its lamentable corruption.

 I believe that every candid reader will admit that prophecy was never fulfilled more surprisingly than John's prediction of the scourge of Arabian locusts. [171]


[VOTA 150-171]

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

CHAPTER VIII. THE FOUR WINDS LET LOOSE.


CHAPTER VIII.
 
 
THE FOUR WINDS LET LOOSE.
 
 
The Silence in Heaven.--

The Prayers of the Saints.--

The Western Roman Empire, the Theatre of
the Four Angels.--
 
The Rush of the Goths upon Rome.--
 
The Land Scourged, Red with
Blood and Blackened with Fire.--
 
The term Third Part Discussed.--
 
The Second Angel
and the Scourge of the Sea.--
 
The Vandals.--
 
The Romans Swept from the Seas.--
 
The City Pillaged.--
 
Wormwood.--
 
Attila, the Hun; Buried Under the Danube.--
 
The Fourth Angel.--
 
Rome Overwhelmed.--
 
The Sun, Moon and Stars of a Third Part of the Earth
Smitten.--
 
The Dark Ages.
 
 
We now pass down the records of the world's history to the beginning of a new period. In the seventh chapter the prophet has portrayed the four winds as held back from the work of destruction until the servants of God are sealed.


 That work has now been accomplished. They can be held back no longer, but will now burst upon the world in fury. Their movement and the consequences that follow when they are let forth, are presented in the opening of

THE SEVENTH SEAL.
 
 
I quote from the beginning of the eighth chapter: [130]
And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.

And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.

And the smoke of the incense which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. 8:1-6.
The Lamb opened the seventh and last seal of the mysterious book. This is not followed by immediate action as in the other seals, but there fell upon heaven and earth an awful silence. A hush is in the heavens for half an hour.

It is the calm, before the storm; the hush before the rush of battle; the quiet that precedes and presages the awful play of the stormy elements. Then seven angels appear with seven trumpets in their hands. As there have been seven seals, so now under the last seal there are seven trumpets.


The last of these seven trumpets, the seventh trumpet under the seventh seal, will be the trumpet of the great archangel who shall summon the tribes of earth, the sleeping as well as the living nations, to the bar of eternal judgment. The seventh seal will not be completed until the [131] last trumpet contained under that seal is blown.

I wish every reader to note particularly that the full period embraced under the seven seals, does not close until the seventh trumpet effects its mission. The trumpet is a warlike instrument used to sound the charge of armies.

It is a symbol, therefore, of the rush of hosts of war. We have found that four angels held the four winds; it will be found that four angels with four trumpets stand arrayed first, separated from the remaining three angels, and that these four correspond to four invasions that crushed Rome, the mistress of the world, into final ruin.


Before the awful blast is blown an angel is seen with a golden censer filled with incense to which are added the prayers of all the saints, and "the smoke of the incense from the prayers of the saints ascended up before God out of the angel's hand," a cheering assurance to the Church that, during the terrible scenes through which she should pass, God would hear the prayers of his people and deliver them from every evil.


 Voices and thunderings, and earthquakes might move the earth, but they would be safe. Then the seven angels prepared to sound. The awful hush before the storm is over. The prayers of the saints are heard.


Before I proceed to explain the meaning of each trumpet, it will be well to give some [132] general idea. It has been found that the symbolism thus far has mostly referred to the history of that great empire which held the Church in its bosom, and was equivalent to the ancient civilized world.


 A period about the close of the fourth century has been reached, and the forces that shall bring the empire to dissolution are now ready to burst upon it in fury. These are symbolized by the trumpet angels.

 There are four winds that were held back, represented by four angels, and when these blow their trumpets there move, in succession the four great invasions that bring the old Roman Empire, the Western Empire, with Rome as its capital, to ruin.


The date, of the first of these invasions, or rather the sack of the Imperial City, was A. D. 409. The second began earlier, but reached its culmination in A. D. 422, when Rome was a second time pillaged. In the third invasion eight hundred thousand fierce warriors scourged and scathed and blackened all Gaul and Italy until about A. D. 440, and in 476 the last vestige of the imperial power passed away forever.


In the East, however, there remained another Roman Empire, with Constantinople for its capital. There remain three trumpet angels, called the woe angels. Of these, two symbolize [133] the Saracen and the Turkish invasions, which resulted in its overthrow.

THE FIRST TRUMPET.
The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. 8:7.
The angel sounds and the trumpet blast of battle is blown. Then the apostle sees hail and fire mingled with blood cast upon the earth, and they destroy one-third part of the trees and the green grass of the earth. It is not hard to discover the meaning.


The trumpet must refer to the rush of armies. Hail is a destroying agency sent of old by God upon Egypt in the days of its sin. This would imply that God was sending elements of destruction of some kind. Fire and blood point directly to war.


Look upon a scene of war. See the running blood of the slain, the burning towns and cities, the trees leveled with the earth, the blackened, scathed, and desolated lands. Look upon the desolation in the lands torn and rent by contending hosts, and then see how appropriately these figures describe the ravages of war.


Have we corresponding facts of history?

 About A. D. 400, the "four winds" could be held no longer. The Goths gathered out of the mysterious lands of the unexplored North, and, like [134] a mighty torrent throw themselves, a mighty, dauntless, savage host, upon Rome.

 Barbarous as the Indians of the desert, they left behind their march, scarred, scorched, blackened, bloody and desolated lands. Countries blooming like gardens were turned into treeless deserts. In A. D. 409, under Alaric, their king, they descended on Italy.


 It had not seen the face of a foreign enemy for eight hundred years. At last the hosts gathered around the Imperial City. After a long siege, in the dead hour of night, the gates were opened by the hands of traitors and the barbarians rushed in.

 For three days the sack went on before they were glutted with blood and spoil.


Rome was taken, but this did not end the Roman power. Eight days after the fall of the great city, Alaric was dead, and the Goths, bereft of their king, left without a leader, hurried from the country and buried themselves from sight in the regions of the North. Rome was dreadfully weakened, but still survived.


The iron hail of war, the fire of burning towns and cities mingled with the blood of the slain defenders, the scorched and blackened lands denuded of their fruit trees, and the grass trodden under foot by the march of armies, all correspond surprisingly with the language of the Scripture.

 It is strange, also, how the [135] infidel Gibbon has chosen the very language of inspiration to describe some of the events of this period. I will quote a few phrases found in his thirty-first chapter and descriptive of the great invasion of Alaric and the Goths.


 "The tremendous sound of the Gothic trumpet" stirred the hosts to invasion. "At the first sound of the trumpet the Goths left their farms" to rush on in invasion. "The Gothic conflagration" consumed the empire. "Blood and conflagration and the burning of trees and herbage marked their path."

THE THIRD PART.
 
 
There is one expression that I have not yet noticed, which occurs several times in the book of Revelation, and about which there has been considerable discussion. Under the first of the trumpet angels "one third part of the trees was burned up, and all green grass."


As we have already found that the "earth" meant by John, is the Roman Empire this would imply that one-third of that empire was particularly scourged.

When the second angel sounds (verses 8 and 9) the third part of the sea became blood, a third part of the creatures in the sea died, and a third part of the ships were destroyed. When the third angel (verses 10 and 11) sounded, a burning star fell upon a third [136] part of the rivers, and a third part of the waters became wormwood.

 When the fourth angel sounded (verse 12) a third part of the sun, and or the moon and stars was smitten. If the reader will observe the reading closely he will see that these four "third parts" described may all refer to the same third of the Roman world.


The first third refers to the scourging of one third of the land; the second, to one third of the sea; the third, to one third of the rivers, and the fourth, to one third of the heavens above. All combined, land, sea, rivers, and sky, would imply the scourging of one third part of the world.


 Let it be noted particularly that these need not be in different quarters of the earth, but all together, and that the first four of the trumpet angels may unitedly scourge the land, sea, rivers and heavens of one third of the earth which was present to the mind of the prophet, or one third of the Roman Empire.


In the ninth chapter we have a description of the work of devastation wrought by the fifth and sixth trumpet angels, called also the woe angels. It is stated of the sixth angel that, by the agencies loosed when his trumpet is blown, one third part of men were killed.

This angel, therefore, scourges a second third of the world inhabited by civilized men. As the first [137] four have together scourged one third, these, united with the sixth angel, scourge two thirds of the earth. There remains one third, and there also remains the fifth angel, whose work is described in chap. 9:1-11.


 It is not expressly stated that he scourges the remaining third, but is apparently implied, and the implication is confirmed by the facts.
I now inquire if the earth of John, or the Roman Empire, was divided into three distinct parts at the period when these prophecies were fulfilled. I quote from Gibbon, Chap. LIII:
From the age of Charlemagne to that of the Crusades, the world (for I overlook the remote monarchy of China) was occupied and disputed by the three great empires, or nations of the Greeks, the Saracens, and the Franks.
The common appellation of Franks was applied by the Greeks and Arabians to the nations of the West, who stretched beyond their knowledge to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

The three great nations of the world, the Greeks, the Saracens, and the Franks, encountered each other on the plains of Italy. Chap. LVI.

After the restoration of the Western Empire by Charlemagne and the Othos, the names of Franks and Latins acquired an equal signification and extent--Ibid.
We may still farther quote Harris (Philological Inquiries. Part III. Chap. I.), who, in discussing the literature of the Middle Ages, speaks of the division of the world into three parts, from the fifth to the fifteenth centuries. It will [138] be seen that he makes the same divisions that are noted by Gibbon:
A cursory disquisition illustrated by a few select instances, will constitute the subject of the present essay; and these instances we shall bring from three classes of men, who each had a large share in the transactions of those times; from the Byzantine Greeks, the Saracens or Arabians, and from the inhabitants of Western Europe, at that time called Latins. * * * Three classes of men during that interval are conspicuous, the Saracens or Arabians, the Latins or Franks, inhabitants of Western Europe, and the Byzantine Greeks.
It is thus apparent that during the long period of a thousand years, a period embraced in the fulfillment of the visions of John, the civilized world was divided into three distinct parts, and that these were clearly marked in history.

According to this view the first four of the trumpet angels combine to scourge one part, the sixth angel scourges a second part, and the fifth scourges the remaining third.

As we trace, the fulfillment of prophecy this will be found to be in harmony with the facts. The first four angels desolate Western Europe, the Latin portion of the earth, and the Mediterranean sea, and together put an end to the western Roman Empire.


 The fifth angel lets loose the Saracen invasion which scourges and conquers the Saracen third of the world. With the blast of the sixth angel the Euphratean horsemen are loosed to pour their myriads, [139] on the Greek third of the world, to overthrow it and to establish the Turkish Empire upon its ruins.


I have been thus particular in explaining the term third part, because it occurs a number of times in Revelation, and may be explained once for all.

THE SECOND TRUMPET.
And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; and the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed. 8:8, 9.
When the second angel sounds, the apostle sees a great burning mountain cast into the sea, and one-third part of the sea becomes blood. There follows a destruction of one third of the ships, and all the inhabitants of the sea.


The trumpet, the blood, and the destruction all point us again to war. The theatre will now be the sea; before, it was fixed on the land. The third part has already been explained, and implies that the scene of these ravages will be in the western Roman Empire, the Latin "third part of the world."


 The devastation will be mainly upon and around the Roman Seas, the Western half of the Mediterranean. The "burning mountain cast into the sea" will scourge and ruin the seas and sea coasts of the [140] Latin "third part" of the world. The terms employed indicate that the destruction will be very great.


We are to ever bear in mind that this is a vision. The apostle sees a mighty mass of fire like a burning mountain cast into the sea, and then he beholds the sea turning the color of blood. In that bloody sea death reigns, and it appears to him that one third of the ships and of the inhabitants of the sea are destroyed.

 A part of the symbolism is plain, but what does the burning mountain signify?

We have before said that a mountain signifies a great kingdom or power. It may mean a mighty, conspicuous king or kingdom. The Savior's kingdom is so alluded to in Daniel's vision:

"The stone that smote the image became a great mountain." This burning mountain would then indicate a raging volcanic power that should smite from the sea. Is there such a power that had a part in the overthrow of Rome?

About A. D. 422, another mighty horde poured down from the North, whose savage desolation and destructive course have added their name, as a new word, to our language. The principal tribe was called the Vandals, from whence our word vandalism.

 They rushed over Gaul, swept through Spain, leaped over the narrow straits [141] of Gibraltar, and wrested northern Africa from the Roman dominion. Then, in order that they might assail Rome on the seas and carry their armies to the islands and to Italy, they built fleets and struggled for the mastery of the Mediterranean.

For six hundred years no ship hostile to Rome had disputed the mastery of the sea, but now it becomes the theatre of war. Fleets meet in the shock of battle; the sea is reddened with the blood of the slain; the Roman ensign goes down, dyed in blood; the islands of the sea fall into the hands of the fierce barbarian, and at last, near thirty years after the contest began, their fleets land their armies in Italy, and they rush upon Rome.

 The city is besieged, falls, and for fourteen days a pitiless barbarian soldiery spare neither age nor sex. The spoil gathered for eight hundred years, from a hundred conquered nation, is carried away and loaded upon the Vandal fleets, and the blasted, scourged, and pillaged Capital is abandoned as unworthy to be held as a permanent possession.


The second of the "four winds" held back by the great angel has rushed forth, a second "trumpet" has blown; Rome has been terribly smitten from the sea, but she is not yet destroyed. In a few months Genseric, the Vandal king, was dead, and Rome was again for a [142] little season, free from its invaders.

The reader will not fail to note that this great disaster to Rome comes from the sea, that the, seas of the "third part" of the world are conquered, and that their dominion passes out of the hands of the Romans after being held six hundred years.

THE THIRD TRUMPET.
And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon a third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; and the name of the star is called Wormwood; and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter. 8:10, 11.
The third angel sounds the charge of battle. Now the apostle beholds a mighty meteor, a burning star, a shooting star, that falls upon the rivers and fountains of waters. Where it falls they become bitter as wormwood, and are full of death.

 This evidently presages a time of great calamity and death in some way connected with the rivers of the Roman Empire. A star, as I have before said, would refer to some mighty chieftain. This is a blazing meteor that flashes with brilliancy and then expires.


Who can be meant? None other but Attila, who styled himself the scourge of God. The next of the series of the four invasions that precipitated the downfall of Rome was that led by Attila the Hun.


Before A. D. 440, the Roman had never heard of [143] the Hungarian nation. About that time there suddenly appeared, as a meteor would flash in the sky, a warrior upon the banks of the Danube, with eight hundred thousand fighting men under his banners.

 They had come from the depths of Central Asia, marched north of the Euxine Sea through Russia, and now knocked at the river boundary of the Roman Empire. Overcoming opposition to their passage of the Danube, they rushed westward, crossed the Rhine, and on the river Marne were met in conflict by the hosts of Rome.

 The historians tell us that the blood of slaughtered heroes made the river run with blood, and that from one hundred and fifty thousand to three hundred thousand bodies of the dead attested the fury of the conflict.


Turning southward, on the banks of the river Rhone, the hosts met again in fury. Then, descending from the Alps, the fierce warrior, on the banks of the river Po, contended for the mastery of Italy. Victorious, he marched southward to seize the imperial prize.


Unable to contend longer, Rome sent a priestly deputation to ask him to depart. They told him that Alaric had pillaged Rome, and in three days after was dead, that Genseric had sacked it again, and in a few months had expiated his crime by death.


 They worked upon the [144] superstitions of the fierce warrior. Loaded with spoil, he turned his armies from a ruined country, and, leaving Italy behind, made Buda on the river Danube his capital, and founded the Hungarian nation.

 When he died, his followers turned the waters of the Danube from its course, buried him in its bed, and then let them return to flow over the grave of the hero. Beneath the waters of the river Danube still lie the bones of the star called Wormwood, that fell upon the rivers. Rome, weakened, ready to topple to ruin, was left standing to await the blast of the fourth trumpet.


The first trumpet sounds the invasion of Alaric the Goth, who sacked Rome in 410. The second trumpet sounds the Vandal conquest of the sea, and the second sack of Rome by the pirate Vandals, who assailed it from their ships.


 The third trumpet sounds the fierce rush of Attila the Hun, the Wormwood of the rivers, the fierce warrior who first appeared to Roman view on the river Danube, then fought mighty conflicts on the Rhine and Marne, then in the river system of Italy, on the Po, ruined the Roman armies, and, at last, was buried under the turbulent current of the river Danube, where his moldering ashes will rest until the resurrection.

How much like a "burning star," a meteor, was Attila, when we remember that in [145] three years from his first appearance on the borders of the Roman Empire he had run his brilliant course and was dead! How much like wormwood of the rivers when we remember that he made them bitterness and mourning and death to the Roman world!


One of the four hurtful angels yet remains. Rome, scarred, bleeding, pillaged, great in her mighty past, trembling with weakness and fear, yet survived.

The feet of iron seen by Nebuchadnezzar in the image of the vision interpreted by Daniel, had become weak as miry clay. The empire that had given its official sanction to the crucifixion of Christ, had carried the great apostle to the Gentiles a prisoner in chains to its capital city, had sent him to the dungeon and to the scaffold, and had striven in vain to "abolish the Christian name from the earth," still showed the breath of life in its decaying body, but required only the rush of the fourth wind to fall into helpless ruin.

THE FOURTH TRUMPET.
And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars, so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise. 8:12.
The fourth "wind" rushes forth as the fourth angel blows the charge of battle. The effect is [146] darkness. The smitten sun, moon, and stars refuse to give their usual light, and a third part of the day and night is filled with darkness.


I have before stated that, in the interpretation of symbolism, the sun, moon, and stars are the symbols of kings, dignitaries, and great men of the earth.

The blast of the fourth trumpet then, evidently shows that there shall again be the rush of war, that the shock of battle shall overthrow a multitude of these earthly luminaries and the result shall be darkness.

 As we have found that this is still limited to the Latin third part of the world, this would be fittingly fulfilled if a period of calamity and mourning was inaugurated by the overthrow of the kings and great men of the Roman Empire, the extinguishment of its government, followed by ages in which the human mind was shrouded in mental and spiritual darkness.


This is just what we find to have occurred in the last series of events that led to the final overthrow of Rome. We are to seek the fulfillment in the next final invasion of Rome.

 It occurred A. D. 476. Odoacer, king of the Heruli, a Northern race, encouraged by the apparent weakness of the falling empire, besieged and took the almost helpless city.


Augustulus, the feeble emperor, was hurled down, the Roman Senate that had met for twelve hundred and [147] twenty-eight years, was driven from the Senate chambers, the mighty fabric of empire fell to the dust, and the great men were humbled never to rise again. Sun, moon, and stars, emperor, princes, and great men, are smitten, lose their power, and cease to give light.

 Nay, more. There now began the period called by all historians the "Dark Ages." The fall of Rome introduced the period when, intellectually and spiritually, the day and night were darkened; when the minds of men were blinded, and when the Church, falling gradually into apostasy, gave forth for ages only a feeble light to human souls.

In the period that follows, the barbarians who had ruined Rome fell gradually under the sway of an artful priesthood, the Bible was wrested from the hands of the people, and buried in the recesses of monasteries, superstition usurped the place of religion, and the gloom of the "Dark Ages" diffused itself over the Latin third part of the world.


Thus, in the overthrow of the western Roman Empire, ends the work of the four hurtful angels, who were held back, for a season, from destruction.

There remain three angels, the woe angels, who are grouped together by the angel that flits across the heavens and who foreshadows the [148] terrible calamities that shall fall upon the earth when they blow their trumpets. These will be considered in the next chapter. [149]


[VOTA 130-149]

Monday, June 27, 2011

CHAPTER VII. THE ERA OF REVOLUTION.


CHAPTER VII.
 
 
 
THE ERA OF REVOLUTION.
 
 
 
The Sixth Seal Opened.--

The Startling Phenomena in Earth and Sky.--

The Meaning of the Symbols.--
 
A Period of Revolution.--
 
The Political and Religious Agitation of the Reign
of Constantine.--
 
Paganism Destroyed.--
 
A New Civilization.--
 
The Mightiest Change Known to History.--
 
Rome no Longer Capital of the World.--
 
The Four Winds Held.--
 
The Sealing.--
 
The Song of Salvation.--
 
The Triumph of the Church over Paganism.

THE SIXTH SEAL.
 
 
 
I must ask the reader to attentively examine the latter portion of Revelation, chapter VI., before reading what I have to say under the head of the sixth seal. It runs as follows:

And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.


And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every [109] freeman, bid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?--6:12-17.
The scenes beheld by the apostle are startling, and calculated to fill the soul with awe and consternation. The earth reels in a mighty earthquake, that hurls mountains and islands from their places, and the awful agitation extends from the earth upwards to the heavens.


 The sun is black as sackcloth, the, moon is red as blood, stars fall from their places in the the heavens, and the heavens themselves are rolled away as a scroll. As he gazes, the face of the earth and sky is so changed that there might be said to be a new heavens and a new earth. At the same time he hears the agonized cries of men, both great and small, who cry to the hills to fall upon them and hide them from the face of the Lamb.


The imagery described is most striking, and certainly portrays remarkable changes. We have already found that this is symbolism, and we are not to look for a literal fulfillment, but for historical events which would correspond to the symbolical pictures.

We are not to expect that this seal will be fulfilled by literal earthquakes, falling stars, blackened sun and [110] moving islands and mountains, but by the events of which these physical signs are symbols.


Before we point out the fulfillment we must pause to indicate the symbolical meaning of some of the terms which are employed. These may be gathered from any good dictionary of symbols, and, indeed, the signification of most of the terms must be apparent.


An earthquake, in agitation of the earth, must refer to great political or religious commotion upon the earth. As John's "earth" is constantly the Roman Empire, this commotion will be within its limits.

 The Lord, speaking of the revolution which would be effected by Christ, says, Haggai, 2:6-7: "Yet once, it is a little time, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land, and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come."


 The earthquake is often used by the prophets as a symbol of political or religious agitation.

The sun, moon and stars refer to earthly dignitaries, great lights in the political or religious heavens. In the dream of Joseph, which so maddened his brethren, these terms are used in this meaning, as well as by the ancient prophets. In the East it was common to liken the king or emperor to the sun, and stars are the symbols of princes and rulers.


For the use of the term we refer the reader to [111] Dan. 8:10. The blackness of the sun and the bloody hue of the moon point out scenes of sorrow and bloodshed. The, falling of the stars would indicate the downfall of those who had held high places on the earth, or rather within the Roman Empire.


Mountain and island are used to denote earthly the latter referring more especially to European provinces which were often called "the isles of the sea." From the period of Diocletian, the great persecutor, the title, "Your Eminence," or, in other words, "mountain," was bestowed upon princes.

As a mountain stood above the plain, so the rulers or the earth were exalted.


With these definitions before our minds, it is easy to discover that the sixth seal is a period of mighty and startling revolutions, not in the heavens, but upon the earth, which are wrought out amid scenes of sorrow and blood.


The various phenomena in earth and sky, the earthquake, the falling stars, the heavens rolled away, the mountains and islands moved out of their places, all foreshadow a violent, bloody, remarkable upheaval of systems, rulers, government, kingdoms, and the establishment of a new order upon the earth.


It is on earth, it is in history that we are to look for the fulfillment of the prophecy. And since the "earth" that is present to the mind of John is the [112] civilized world known to the ancients, the Roman Empire, it is within its boundaries that we must look for the fulfillment. There can be no doubt that this is "the seal of revolution."


Some who have held that we were to look in history for the explanation of John's symbols, have thought that the sixth seal was fulfilled in the rush of the savage nations of the North down upon the decaying Roman Empire, a movement which resulted in the destruction of the old nations and the establishment of new kingdoms and races.


 We shall take a different view, for the reason that there is another revolution, nearer in point of time, closely following the great persecution of the fifth seal, that in a surprising manner fulfills the imagery; and, in addition, the invasions and destruction wrought by the savage hordes from the North are symbolized by, the events connected with the blowing of the first four trumpets, as narrated in the eighth chapter.


Several circumstances help us to fix the meaning. 1. The time. It follows immediately after the great persecution indicated by the fifth seal, which closed in A. D. 311.


These events occur, then, near that time. 2. It is a time of blood and mourning. Who are the mourners? Kings, great men, rich men, bondmen and freemen. Are these Christians? They are enemies [113] of the Lamb, who fear his wrath and mourn over his power.


 The mourners are the opposers of the Church.--

(Verse 16.) 3. The seal is followed by a period of great joy and prosperity on the part of the Church.--(See chapter VII.) An innumerable multitude are sealed with the seal of the Lamb, of which the next chapter gives record. Have we, near A. D. 311, the time when the great persecution closed, a period of mighty revolution, that filled the unbelieving world with mourning, and which was followed by a time of triumph, prosperity and glory to the Church of Christ?

 We ask the reader's attention to the history of that epoch.


Three years before, or A. D. 308, the vast Roman Empire had been broken up between no less than six emperors. Jealous of each other, each determined to grasp an undivided power, they watched one another, and prepared for mortal combat.


They hesitated four years before the Roman world was dyed in blood. We will observe the course of only one of the six, Constantine, afterwards called Constantine the Great.


In the year 312, leaving Britain, marching through Gaul, he launched his armies upon Italy. The Church watched his progress with singular interest; for although he bad, as yet, made no profession of Christianity, his mother, [114] Helena, was a Christian, and it was felt that he was favorable to his mother's faith.


 The Italian emperor opposed to him, Maxentius, was a firm Pagan, and around him centered the interests of the Pagan faith. Indeed, he gave public assurance that he would extirpate the Christian religion, and vowed to Jupiter that, in the event he was successful, he would make his worship universal on the ruins of Christianity.


 He and his adherents were the avowed enemies of Christ, and Paganism staked all upon his success. Three great battles were fought, the last in the suburbs of Rome.


 In the retreat Maxentius was slain, and Constantine was master of Italy and the West. In the meantime Licinius, also a Pagan, another of the six, had made himself master of the East by the overthrow and death of rivals, and in A. D. 314 the armies of the West and East were arrayed against, each other, to determine who should be the master of the world.


With some truces and treaties, which were made only to be broken, the mighty contest that convulsed the civilized world lasted until A. D. 324, when Licinius, defeated, powerless, a prisoner, was put to death, and Constantine remained the sole master of the possessions of the six emperors.


We have, then, surely a time of blood, a time of mourning, a time when kings and earthly [115] dignitaries fall and mourn, a time when the kingdoms, signified by mountains and islands, are moved out of their places.


But these are not the most remarkable changes of this period. Let us note these:

1. The votaries of the old Paganism had rallied around the enemies of Constantine, because he was felt to be its unrelenting foe, who would compass its destruction. When he was seated in triumph upon the ruins of six imperial thrones, there was great mourning from the enemies of the Cross. They felt that theirs was a doomed religion. They were right.

2. In the year 319, before his final triumph, he had decreed that his mother's religion should be tolerated as an acknowledged faith of the empire.

3. In 321 he decreed that Sunday, the sacred day of Christianity, should be observed in all the cities by the cessation of trade and labor,

4. In 325 he abolished by decree the bloody combats of the gladiators, where men killed each other to amuse the populace, a Roman institution that had existed for a thousand years.


5. He convoked, by imperial authority, a great council of Christian bishops, the one known in history as the Council of Nice.


6. In 331 he decreed that the Pagan religion should exist no longer, and that all the heathen temples should be leveled, or converted into churches,

7. At the same [116] time the old Roman laws were remodeled according to the precepts of the Christian religion, and a Pagan empire was transformed into an empire of the Christian faith, under new institutions. Surely the old heavens were moved away as a scroll is gathered together. But this is not all. I name another wonderful change of this age of revolution. It was not enough that he was determined to destroy the old Roman faith and the old Roman customs and laws--he aimed a blow at Rome itself.


For near eleven hundred years it had been the seat of empire, growing from a village, with a few miles of territory, to be the mighty capital of the world.

In 324 he determined to shake the Roman world to its very center, and to deprive the imperial city of the crown worn for eleven centuries by removing the capital from Italy to a new city upon the banks of the Hellespont, that should henceforth be called Constantinople, from his own name. The mighty mountain of the West is moved from its place.


In these events, constituting the most remarkable revolution that has occurred in the history of the world, we realize a complete fulfillment of the symbolism.


Sun and moon are dark and bloody, the stars fall, and mountains and islands are removed; but it is proper to ask whether, in the mourning of great men, and freemen [117] and bondmen, there was a feeling that they were suffering from the wrath of the Lamb?


 It is apparent that all regarded the great contest as one between Christianity and Paganism, though Constantine did not proclaim warfare in behalf of the Church. It was also entirely in accordance with Pagan superstition for them to believe that Christ was fighting against them.


 It was held by Pagans that their gods fought upon the fields of battle by giving strength to the arms of those whom they feared; and when Pagan hopes were blasted by the success of Constantine, it was recognized as the triumph of Christ.

The vengeance that was wrought, the sweeping revolutions that took place, the upturning of the old order, and the overthrow of the heathen temples, were all recognized as exhibitions of the wrath of the Lamb; and we are told that more than one imperial champion of Paganism called, in his hour of distress, to Christ, to have mercy.


 Some of the Pagan writers almost adopted the language of Revelation in describing this period. The ruin of the Pagan religion is described by the Sophists, says Gibbon, "as a dreadful and amazing prodigy, which covered the earth with darkness, and restored the ancient dominion of chaos and night."

THE FOUR WINDS WITHHELD.
 
 
 
While the sixth seal may be styled the seal [118] of Revolution, the mighty changes of this period are not all violent. If the reader will turn to the seventh chapter he will find that it is a record of visions witnessed by the apostle which precede the opening of the seventh seal. The events of this chapter, however, belong properly to the period embraced by the sixth seal. We quote the beginning of Chap. VII.:
And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.


And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed a hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. 7:1-4.
It is "after" the events described in the preceding chapter, that these things are seen. Events are therefore described which follow, at least in their consummation, the great political revolution effected by Constantine.

Four angels are seen standing at the four corners of the earth holding the four winds, lest they should be blown upon the earth. It is as though four dark storm clouds, charged with fury, were about to rush upon a land, and then some mighty hand was [119] reached forth to stay them in their career and hold them suspended in the heavens, until another work was done.

These four angels represent four hurtful agencies which are to do a work of destruction. This impending ruin is arrested and held back until some work of God is accomplished, which is described as the sealing of his servants. These four hurtful angels are ordered to suspend their proposed work by another angel, who is seen arising from the East, having the seal of the living God.

He cries with a loud voice, commanding them to withhold their hurtful power until the servants of God should be sealed in their foreheads. Then there were sealed of Israel one hundred and forty-four thousand; and besides these, John says, "I beheld, and lo, a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations and kindreds and peoples and tongues stood before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands, who cried, Salvation to our God who sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb."


It will be observed that there are two classes here represented. There are twelve thousand who are sealed from each tribe of Israel, and then a great multitude, out "of all nations." The first company is composed of Jews, while the second and larger company is composed of [120] Gentiles.


 In the fourteenth chapter we find again a company of one hundred and forty-four thousand with the Lamb upon Mt. Zion, evidently, from the same number, to be identified with these. We are there told that they were a term whose spiritual signification is that they had never been defiled by idolatry, and that they were "the first fruits" unto the Lamb.


These marks, as well as the literal statement here that they were of the tribes of Israel, identify them as the Jewish members of the Church. These had never been guilty of idolatrous fornication, and had been the first fruits of Christianity.


Though, at the period we have reached, the original first fruits were no longer upon the earth, yet they were represented by the Jewish Christian element The thought, as it appears to me, is to bring before the wind that ,it this period of triumph there were the Jew and the Gentile elements.


 I am aware that many commentators have held that this refers to spiritual Israel. All Christians belong to this spiritual Israel, but it is evident that a different meaning is intended here.


1. Those sealed are taken out of the tribes of Israel.

They are a remnant, while the great body of the membership of the tribes is left unsealed.

2. The Gentile Christians are named immediately after.

These are of the spiritual [121] Israel also, but since they differ from the one hundred and forty-four thousand, the latter must belong to the literal Israel. There are twelve thousand from each tribe, except Dan, which is omitted, and the number twelve is completed by enumerating Levi and the two sons of Joseph. I suppose that this number, small compared with the whole number of Israel, is chosen to show that it was only a remnant of Israel which had accepted Christ.

These are said to be sealed in their foreheads. The sealing of the servants of God with the seal of God in their foreheads, must refer to an open and real acknowledgment of Christ by men. The seal is the mark of God, as the seal of the United States is the mark of the United States.

This mark is not in some secret place, but where it may be seen by all who meet and behold the sealed face. In Chap. XIII. the servants of the beast receive his mark on their foreheads and their hands. Here a mark on the forehead is understood to be an open profession, while a mark in the hand indicates service.


In our present passage the mark on the forehead evidently refers to an open profession of service. It is not a seal in the heart or spirit, which would refer to the Holy Spirit, but a visible mark, seen of all men.

An open profession of Christ, an acknowledgment of his name, a [122] public testimony of his grace, a life devoted to his service, a warfare that kept continually unfurled the banner of the Cross, the fellowship of the sufferings of the Master, would be equivalent to the seal of God in the forehead.

The four angels of destruction are held back until a countless multitude are thus sealed. This can only be satisfactorily explained by regarding it as foreshadowing a glorious triumph of God and the Lamb.


The same meaning must be attached also to the song of salvation. An innumerable multitude, from all nations and tongues ascribe praise to God, who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb. I regard this as susceptible of no other explanation than the one we have already given.

We quote:
After this I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.


And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshiped God, saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. 7:9-12.
Here is,

1. An innumerable multitude.

2. They are of every nation.

3. They are [123] clothed in white robes. White robes are the mark of triumph.

4. They have palms in their hands. Palms belong to victors.

5. They join in a song of praise to the Lamb as the author of their salvation.

This is evidently a heavenly picture, representing a great triumph of the saints immediately after the events last described. The subsequent portion of the chapter is in harmony.

"Who are these," it is asked, "arrayed in white garments?" It is answered: "These are they who have come up through great tribulation and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."

Then, in the remaining verses of the chapter, the constancy of these saints in the service of God, their enjoyment of the presence of God and the Lamb, the fulness of their souls fed upon the bread of Heaven, and the blessedness of their present and everlasting state, are outlined, presenting a sublime picture of a triumphant Church,--triumphant on earth, triumphant in heaven.

Those who have come through the (there is an article in the Greek) great tribulation of a suffering and persecuted Church, are permitted to witness its justification and victory.


Having indicated that the chapter describes a suspension of four destructive powers which were about to be let loose, until a great triumph of the Church was accomplished, I return to [124] inquire concerning these powers.


There are four angels of destruction that are restrained from their work until a great triumph of the Christian religion has been wrought. An angel is a messenger. The term may represent a pure spirit sent from the skies, or any earthly agency chosen to accomplish certain work.


 "He maketh the winds his messengers," as well as the spirits of the sky. There are here four angels--four agencies of destruction. They are appointed to a certain destructive work, but are held back for a time.

Will the reader turn to the eighth chapter and examine the events that occur upon the opening of the seventh seal?

He will find seven angels with seven trumpets. The angels are divided into two bands; the first, of four angels, and the second, of three (verse 13). The first four trumpet angels of the eighth chapter are the four hurtful angels of the seventh.


Both evidently represent four instruments of destruction. There is, then, a work of destruction that will be accomplished. There are four instruments of destruction that will accomplish it. These four instruments are restrained until another work is done.


What is doomed to destruction?

 We will find in the sequel that it is the Roman Empire, which is now in its decline and hastening to [125] dissolution; and we will discover also what the four angels signify who wrought its destruction.

What is the work which must be accomplished before the angels are let loose to destroy?

The four agencies or invasions that utterly overthrew the Roman Empire, ended ancient history and gave birth to modern nations.


 Before we listen to the trumpet angels and behold the tides of invasion pour down upon the Roman world, we must ask if these agencies were kept back from their destructive work until a glorious triumph of the Christian religion took place?


Before the trumpet angels begin to blow, was there of every nation, kindred and tongue, a countless multitude who ascribed the glory of their salvation to the Lamb?

Did Christianity effect a great conquest in connection with the reign of Constantine and before the tide of Barbarian invasion set in?

We ask these questions concerning the records of the history of the Church, for we think there can be no doubt in the mind of any candid and discriminating reader concerning the meaning of the symbolism of this chapter.

Let the student of prophecy always bear in mind, first, that this is a symbolical picture of great historical events connected with the history of the saints; and, second, that the scene of these events is not heaven and eternity, but the earth and [126] time.

 These hurtful winds are held back that they may not blow upon the earth. Hence, sure or the meaning of the symbolism, we repeat the question:

 Does history record such a triumph before the accomplishment of the destruction to be wrought by the hurtful angels?


 Was there such public recognition of Christianity as signified by the mark of the seal of God upon the forehead, upon the part of the civilized world?

THE FALL OF PAGANISM.
 
 
We have already found that the religion of the Roman Empire was revolutionized in the reign of Constantine. For three centuries the ceaseless conflict between the old and the new faith had gone on. Christianity had grappled with hoary religions, entrenched in.


 the superstitions and affections of men, with the mighty Roman power, and with sin in the human heart. It had been crushed to the earth, but, bruised and bleeding, had risen and continued the conflict.

 At last, after ages of trial and suffering, it had triumphed over all opposition and become the religion of the civilized world. The temples of Jupiter and Mercury and Mars had been. closed, and their idols broken into dust, never to be restored.


An old religion had been utterly destroyed. One century before, if [127] Paul had returned to the earth, he would have looked upon a Pagan world.


Had he returned in the last half of the fourth century, he would have looked upon a land of churches and Christians, probably more generally devoted to the Christian religion than any country now upon the face of the earth.


Until this sealing, this mighty triumph, is effected, the four winds are held. We repeat that it is significant that we will find following close upon the, triumph of Christianity the Roman Empire utterly overthrown by four agencies, symbolized when four angels blow their trumpets under the seventh seal.


It was a part of the providence of God that these agencies should be restrained until the empire was converted to Christianity. Indeed, to this providence we may attribute the fact that Europe at this day and for a thousand years, as well as the descendants of Europeans in America, acknowledge the Christian faith.


Had the overwhelming hordes of northern barbarians rushed down upon the civilized world before the new faith had been firmly planted, it could hardly have survived the wreck of empires and civilization; but, deeply rooted in the hearts of the vanquished, when all else was lost, Christianity rose above the ruins of the past and pointed the ferocious invaders to the [128] Cross of Christ.

 The conquerors, in their new lands, laid aside the Paganism of their fathers and accepted a new religion from those whom they had vanquished. The new nations that emerge from the darkness of the Middle Ages, seated within the vast boundaries of the old Roman Empire, all acknowledge the Christian faith.


 We have thus briefly explained what events were predicted by the four hurtful angels who were restrained, and have shown the fulfillment in the glorious triumph of the Cross of Christ before the downfall of the Roman Empire. [129]


[VOTA 109-129]

Surviving Off Off-Grid by Michael Bunker

Michael Bunker’s book was first published from this page in 2009. New chapters were generally added each Thursday.

You can now buy the full book from Amazon here

Introduction

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Please note that all material is Copyright Michael Bunker 2009 and Not for Syndication