(1) Fifth Trumpet: The Abyss is Opened
Revelation tells us when the beast of Rev. 13 will rise to power within the framework of the Seals and Trumpets, and it’s not Rev. 6:1, with the white horse. Notice what chapter 11 says about the beast:
When they have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends from the bottomless pit will wage war against them and overcome them and kill them. (Rev. 11:7)
Many modern translations use the literal and calls the pit, “the Abyss.” It says the beast will come up out of the Abyss. Coming up out of the Abyss is a way to metaphorically describe its rise to power as an evil empire. This is also seen in Rev. 17:
The beast, which you saw, was, and is not, and is to ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to destruction. (Rev. 17:8)
The NIV says, “The beast . . . will come up out of the Abyss.” Therefore, there is no doubt that the beast will rise up out of the Abyss. At the present time the Abyss is closed and locked. And Revelation tells us when the Abyss will open:
The fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. The star was given the key to the bottomless pit. 2 He opened the bottomless pit, and smoke ascended from the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace. The sun and the air were darkened by the smoke from the pit. (Rev. 9:1-2)
Some translations say the key was given “to him,” making the star a person, but in the Greek it says “it.” Some translations of this passage say that John saw a star fall from heaven, but the original Greek indicates that he saw a star that had already fallen.
Roberts Word Pictures says, “Fallen (πεπτωκοτα). Perfect active participle of πιπτω, already down.” Young’s Literal Translation says, “I saw a star out of the heaven having fallen to the earth.” Therefore, it refers back to the asteroid of the 3rd Trumpet.
The asteroid of the 3rd Trumpet is called a star, as this is called. The smoke of the 4th Trumpet is doubtless the result of the 3rd Trumpet asteroid, but the smoke spoken of here in Rev. 9 is symbolic. The Abyss refers to hell, or abode of darkness in the spirit world. This asteroid opens the Abyss, figuratively speaking.
Because the Abyss is not opened until the 5th Trumpet, this proves that the beast and Antichrist do not rise to power with the rider of the white horse of the 1st Seal. This one point destroys one of the major points on which the Pre-tribulation Rapture theory is built, which is that all of Rev. 4 onwards takes place after the Rapture, and that the Antichrist is the rider on the white horse of the 1st Seal.
The Seals and Trumpets are not concurrent; the 1st Seal does not take place at the same time as the 1st Trumpet, as some commentators believe. The events of the Seals take place before the events of the Trumpets. Revelation 9 continues:
And out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. Power was given them 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, but only those men who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5 They were given authority, not to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man. 6 In those days men will seek death but will not find it. They will desire to die, but death will elude them. (9:3-6)
The locusts would have to be giant to represent helicopters, as some interpreters have suggested. But no one is killed, so the locusts cannot represent warfare. Notice also that no Christians (or Jews) are stung. I will give more information shortly, but pay careful attention to the next block of verses, as they are important to understand the meaning of the above passage. Rev. 9 continues:
The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle. On their heads were something like crowns of gold, and their faces were like faces of men. 8 They had hair like the hair of women, and their teeth were like the teeth of lions. 9 They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running to battle. 10 They had tails like scorpions and stings in their tails. Their power was to hurt men for five months. 11 They had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek his name is Apollyon.
12 The first woe is past. Now, two more woes are yet to come. (9:7-12)
Abaddon and Apollyon mean “the Destroyer.” How could their king be called “the Destroyer” if they do not kill people? This is very puzzling. The locusts appear to describe an army of soldiers with breastplates and helmets, with “power to hurt people” (v10) (ISV, ESV, GNB); an army has power to hurt people. The key to understanding the passage is the statement that they are “prepared for battle.” This means the war has not yet started. These verses describe five months of preparation for war.
1 Kings says, “My father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions!” (12:11). The NIV Study Bible says scorpions refers to, “Metal-spiked leather lashes.” The main emphasis of the 5th Trumpet is preparation for war; therefore, the scorpion stings represent the final empire forcing people into its military. Since the locusts will only sting people for five months, it means they will spend five months drafting men into the army, buying weapons, and getting ready for war. So, there will be five months between the 5th and 6th Trumpets, the 6th being the start of World War 3.
It does not say that they sting all people without the seal of God; it says the only people who are stung do not have the seal. The reason that those with the seal of God are not stung is because they are Christians who are not allowed in the armies of Islamic nations. The beast of Rev. 13 will be a revived Islamic Empire that was wounded in the 1800s and given the death blow in World War 1. It will likely be led by the Mahdi, which is a mythical future leader of the Muslims who is supposed to rise to power during a time of chaos and confusion, which is what we have here in Rev. 8 and 9.
It is likely that several of the 10 horns will have already formed a commonwealth before this; if so, they will be an association of Islamic nations. Then at this point they will appoint a single leader who will call all Muslims to join in jihad, and other nations also join to make 10. So even if a commonwealth exists before this, they do not actually form an empire until this point. This is the point in time when the beast rises out of the Abyss and not before. Rev. 9 continues:
In those days men will seek death but will not find it. They will desire to die, but death will elude them. (Rev. 9:6)
It helps to see the meaning by reading it in another translation:
And in those days men will be hoping for death, and it will not come to them; and they will have a great desire for death, and death will go in flight from them. (BBE)
Do you know a group of people who desire to die and look forward to dying? Yes, we all know who they are, the Muslim jihad warriors who believe that if they die in war they are guaranteed a ticket to heaven where they will each get 70 virgins. But they are not able to die yet, because the war has not yet started.
The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle. On their heads were something like crowns of gold, and their faces were like faces of men. (Rev. 9:7)
Muslims have always worn various types of headdress, which they still wear. In addition, the Janissaries of the Ottoman Empire wore elaborate head coverings that looked even more like crowns.
Edward Lawrence of Arabia
(2) The Destroyer
They had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek his name is Apollyon. The first woe is past. Now, two more woes are yet to come. (9:11-12)
Abaddon and Apollon both mean “the Destroyer,” therefore, the name of the ruler of this revived empire is “the Destroyer.” In the Quran, Allah is described using many different names, much the way that Yahweh has many names in the Bible such as El-Shaddai, God Almighty. One of the names of Allah, depending on who does the translation from Arabic, is “the Destroyer.” I will not include all 99 names, but here is a sampling:
- Ar-Rahman: The All-Merciful
- Al-bbar: The Compeller
- Al-Qahhar: The Subduer
- Al-Mumeet: The Creator of Death, The Destroyer, The One who renders the living dead. (www.faizani .com/articles /names. html www. ahadith. co.uk/99 namesof Allah.php? )
Some websites have the names numbered one digit differently and spelled differently; wikipedia.org has it this way:
- Al-Mumit: The Destroyer, The Bringer of Death . . . (en. wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_God_in_Islam)
So this passage in Rev. 9 literally names Allah as being the power behind the beast of Revelation! Given the history of what Islam has done to the nations it invaded and conquered, and is still doing today, “the destroyer” exactly describes radical Islam.
The word “angel” does not mean only spiritual beings from God, but it literally means “a messenger.” Therefore, this passage not only names Allah, it names Muhammad who is officially referred to as, “the Messenger of Allah.” (Many of the names and attributes of Allah also fit Muhammad.)
(Rev. 9:11 points us to Allah, and it was the followers of Allah who carried out the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in the U.S.)
(3) The Abyss in Arabia
The Greek for “pit” is phrear (5421), sometimes translated “shaft,” and means “A well or pit dug in the earth for water or other purposes” (CWD). Even though the Abyss in Rev. 9 is not a literal earthly location, it is truly amazing that the Ka’ba actually covers a pit where a snake once lived! Yes, it’s true. The Ka’ba is Islam’s holiest temple, which is just a small cube-shaped building covered with a black cloth. F.E. Peters wrote about the Ka’ba in his book, The Hajj: The Muslim Pilgrimage to Mecca and The Holy Places, Princeton Univ. Press, 1994. He quotes two Muslim historians:
In a chapter entitled “The Building of the Ka’ba by the Quraysh in the Age of Barbarism,” the Meccan historian al-Azraqi (d. 834 C.E.) collected some of the traditions still extent on the early appearance of the House before its substantial reconstruction during the early manhood of Muhammad. … On the right as one entered the Ka’ba there was a pit where gifts of money and goods for the Ka’ba were deposited. In this pit sat a snake to guard it, which God had sent at the time of the (tribe of) Jurhum…. The horns of the ram that Abraham had slaughtered (in place of Isaac or Ishmael) were hanging on the wall facing the entrance. . . . (Azraqi 1858, p. 106) (Peters, p. 12)
Peters goes on to say:
In 605 C.E., when, if we follow the traditional chronology, Muhammad was thirty-five years old, a memorable event occurred in Mecca: the reconstruction of the Ka’ba, the only stone building in that town. We follow Ibn Ishaq’s account:
. . . Now a snake used to come out of the well in which the sacred offerings were thrown and sun itself every day on the wall of the Ka’ba. It was an object of terror because whenever anyone came near it, it raised its head and made a rustling noise and opened its mouth, so that they were terrified of it. While it was thus sunning itself one day, God sent a bird which seized it and flew off with it…. (Ibn Ishaq 1955: p. 84-85) (Peters, page 46)
I do not believe it is a coincidence that there was a pit inside Islam’s most holy temple, or that a snake lived in it, or that it terrorized people, since Islam has terrorized many people through the centuries. Peters also states that there is even a location in Arabia named, “Valley of the Abyss” (Peters, p. 102)!
(4) The Dogs of War
In Revelation chapters 8 and 9 we have the first 6 of 7 Trumpets that will herald terrible events during the Great Tribulation; the first four are natural disasters. If billions could die in famine, why not just kill your neighbors and take what food they may have so that your country or village will not starve? So, famine has historically been an instigator of war, and it will at least be a contributing factor in WW3.
It is a little-known fact that war does not increase mortality; mortality is 100% in every generation; it just brings death a few years sooner. Since some nations may be facing starvation, they will think to themselves that it is better to go out in a blaze of glory by dying for a cause they believe in such as the spread of Islam, the annihilation of Christians and Jews, the annihilation of Capitalism, the destruction of white people, a neighboring country or city, or just the people next door. So, it will unleash the dogs of war upon the world as wars break out among many nations.
There will be no better time to invade Western Europe, the United States, or the country next door. Muslims may think to themselves that Allah has provided this opportunity for them to conquer the world.
Several passages in the Bible that refer to World War 3 say that war will rage between nations, cities, even neighbors and relatives. It will be like a city with a hostile population that has suffered a power failure or government collapse, and the populace then goes on a rampage of looting and killing and setting fires, only it will be global, “Every man’s sword shall be against his brother” (Ezekiel 38:21). This is not merely battlefield confusion, because other passages make it clear:
“I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians, and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbor, city against city, and kingdom against kingdom.” (Is. 19:2)
[E]ach person will seize the hand of his neighbor, and the hand of one will be raised against the hand of another. (Zechariah 14:13)
This concept is also found in the writings of the Apocrypha:
Behold, the days are coming when the Most High will deliver those who are on the earth. 30 And bewilderment of mind shall come over those who dwell on the earth. 31 And they shall plan to make war against one another, city against city, place against place, people against people, and kingdom against kingdom. (2 Ezra 13:29-31)
(5) Sixth Trumpet: Missiles and Rockets
When the angel blows the 6th Trumpet in Rev. 9, John sees fire-breathing horses. John’s description was not an attempt to describe a modern weapon. John described exactly what he saw, but it is symbolism that must be interpreted; but when properly interpreted it turns out to be modern missiles and rockets:
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 who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great Euphrates River.” 15 And the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. 16 The army of horsemen numbered two hundred million. I heard their number. (Rev. 9:13-16)
The Euphrates River begins in Turkey and flows through Syria and Iraq, but the major portion is in Iraq. The four angels of destruction being released from the Euphrates tells us that the final war of this age will begin in Turkey, Syria, or Iraq, or at least is caused by the people living in that region. And we just learned that the beast will be based in Islam, because Islam is the religion of that region. Armageddon will be the last battle of this war and is seen in Rev. 16.
That said, it is POSSIBLE that since this beast is based in the Middle Eastern / Mediterranean world that it only refers to that region, not the whole planet. That is another detail that is difficult to know. Rev. 9 continues:
Thus I saw the horses in the vision: Those who sat on them had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow. The heads of the horses were like the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire and smoke and brimstone. 18 A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues—by the fire and by the smoke and by the brimstone, which came out of their mouths. 19 The power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails. For their tails are like serpents, with heads by which they inflict injury. (Rev. 9:17-19)
One-third of all people on Earth (or perhaps the region of the beast nations) will be killed in this war. It appears to include a nuclear war, because the 7 Bowls of Wrath describe the aftereffects of nuclear weapons. It also appears that the destruction of Babylon the Great takes place during this war (Rev. 17 & 18), which likely includes nuclear weapons.
Notice that it says the “power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails.” This describes two different power sources. It is the power at the tail that kills people.
The rider (not shown in the drawings) tells us it is controlled by humans. The verse says the tails have heads on them like snakes; and since the tail’s head inflicts injury with fire, smoke and brimstone– which is sulfur, then the head of the tail must explode. So we find that a missile’s payload of explosives is in the nose-cone and is actually called a warhead.
The power of the mouth is at the opposite end and propels the missile to its target. The metal breastplate of the rider represents the outer metal covering of the missile. The breastplates have colors on them, as do missiles that identify their intended purpose, and the type of explosive they are carrying, and so forth.
Rockets travel up then down as they travel toward their targets, like an artillery shell; but guided missiles have the ability to make turns as they travel. Consider the tail of these horses that are like snakes. The snake-like tail is what turns the tail’s head. Directly behind the missile’s warhead is the guidance and control section.
John’s description is not specific enough to refer to one particular missile; it refers to all self-propelled missiles and rockets regardless of size, from the small shoulder-launched missiles to the intercontinental. There will be 200 million missiles and rockets used in this war.
I would expect a full-scale nuclear war to also cover the world with dark clouds and threaten to bring a nuclear winter that would destroy most humans on Earth and end human civilization; but it appears that either the full scale nuclear war will not bring that about, or this does not include a full-scale nuclear war. In previous editions of this book I had this war taking place at the very end of the GT, but other events just did not fit, so more pieces of the puzzle fit better with this war taking place right after the beast comes to power (only time will tell). Though there may be a small nuclear war near the beginning and at the end.
Notice that the command to release the angels of destruction come from the altar before God. Because of the large number killed and the specific date given, “the hour and day and month and year,” we know that this war will not and cannot start until this exact point in time. There is security in knowing that World War 3 and nuclear war cannot happen today, except this specific day and hour that God has appointed.
The 6th Trumpet blast signaled the start of WW3; so it is no surprise that the 7 Bowls of Wrath (Rev. 16) describe the aftereffects of nuclear war. However, it is possible the U.S. will be hit by one or two nuclear bombs as part of a terrorist attack long before the actual nuclear war.
(6) The Prophet Joel
This may come as a shock to you, but the army of the Lord in Joel 2 is not resurrected saints, or angels, it is missiles and rockets! The prophet Joel saw the same army of horses that John saw. In the following Scripture, notice that the horses leap over the mountain tops, destroy with fire, cause the earth to shake, and cause clouds and darkness that will darken the sun and moon. Also notice the term “the day of the Lord,” which makes it part of God’s end-time judgment:
Blow the ram’s horn in Zion, sound the alarm on My holy mountain!
All the inhabitants of the earth will tremble, because the day of the Lord has come, because it is near— 2 a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness.
Like blackness spreading over the mountain, a great and mighty army comes, such as was never before, and will never be again, even through the years of all generations.
3 Before them fire devours, and behind them a flame blazes; (Joel 2:1-3a)
This describes the same two power sources that John described. The fire that devours is caused by the explosion of the rocket; the flame that blazes behind them is the burning fuel that propels the rocket. Joel 2 continues:
the land is like the garden of Eden before them, but behind them a desolate wasteland, and nothing escapes them. 4 They have the appearance of horses, and like cavalry they run.
5 As with the sound of chariots, they leap on the mountaintops, as with the sound of a flame of fire consuming stubble, as a mighty army arrayed for war. 6 Before them, peoples are tormented; every face turns pale.
7 Like mighty men they run, like men of war they scale a wall; each marches on his way, they do not swerve from their paths. 8 They do not jostle one another; each marches in his track. Through the weapons they plunge; they do not break rank.
9 They rush on the city, they run on the wall; they climb up into the houses, they enter through the windows like thieves. (Joel 2:3-9)
The NIV says, “they leap over the mountain tops.” This can only describe nuclear missiles. The statement that the land is like the Garden of Eden before them and after them is like a desert waste, refers to the great destructive ability of these symbolic horses; it does not literally mean that the land will be like the Garden of Eden before the destruction. The statement that “nothing escapes them” also refers to their destructive ability. A nuclear explosion can turn steel beams into fine dust!
Notice that it says they “they do not swerve from their paths.” Missiles have guidance systems but rockets do not, so rockets can only go straight. So it includes non-nuclear rockets, because all nuclear weapons have guidance systems. It also says that never before has there been such an army, and there will never be another. Humanity will never again build rockets and missiles of any type.
Before them the earth quakes, the heavens shake; the sun and moon darken, and the stars withdraw their radiance. (Joel 2:10)
It is a known fact that earthquakes accompany nuclear explosions. What is not known is whether the explosions create earthquakes or trigger earthquakes waiting to happen. About one day after the nuclear test in North Korea Oct. 9, 2006, there was a strong quake in Japan. Japan gets frequent quakes, but on Oct. 15th there was also a strong quake in Hawaii. The NIV says, “the stars no longer shine.” So dark clouds result from these horses. Joel continues:
The Lord has sounded His voice before His army, for His camp is exceedingly great; mighty is the one who accomplishes His word. For great is the day of the Lord, and very awe-inspiring. Who can endure it? . . . 31 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. (Joel 2:11, 31)
Most translations use the word “terrible” or “terrifying” instead of “awe-inspiring.” That is a bad translation. The NIV says, “The day of the LORD is great; it is dreadful.”
The prophet Jeremiah records the words of God speaking about WW3 and the final battle of Armageddon:
At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem: A dry wind of the high places in the wilderness toward the daughter of My people, not to fan or to cleanse, 12 even a full wind from those places, will come to Me. Now also I will pronounce judgments against them.
13 Look! He shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind. His horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us, for we are ruined! . . . Destruction upon destruction is proclaimed, for the whole land is devastated. Suddenly are my tents devastated, and my curtains in a moment. (Jer. 4:11-13, 20)
The NIV says, “He advances like the clouds” which doubtless refers to a squadron of planes. Helicopters are probably the chariots that are “as a whirlwind” because the blades spin around and create a strong circular wind. The horses that are “swifter than eagles” are missiles and rockets. And the destructive force of an explosion is released in less than a second, “in a moment.” These prophecies clearly point to modern warfare.
The prophet Isaiah said:
Moreover the multitude of your enemies shall become like fine dust, and the multitude of the ruthless ones as chaff which blows away; and it shall happen in an instant, suddenly. 6 You shall be punished from the Lord of Hosts with thunder and earthquake and loud noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire. (Isaiah 29:5-6)
The literal translation of “the Lord of Hosts” is “the Lord of Armies” which is the way the GW translation reads. Just one hydrogen bomb, also called thermonuclear, is 1,000 times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. We have bombs today that are 4,000 times more powerful than the one at Hiroshima! One American submarine can carry 24 nuclear missiles, each with 14 independently targeted warheads totaling enough explosive power to equal 24,000 Hiroshimas.
Eight nations are known to have nuclear weapons: United States, Russia, England, France, Pakistan, India, North Korea, and China, but several others are believed to have them, including Brazil and Israel. Even though Turkey does not currently have nuclear weapons, when it joins the 10-nation beast they could get them from Pakistan or Russia, or Iran if Iran gets them.
The radiation from an explosion can travel for hundreds of miles in all directions, so if you do not want to die in nuclear war, and you are not one of those judged worthy of going in the first Rapture, then you should be far away from the high population centers of the USA, Russia, China, and Turkey. Nuclear “fallout” can fall on land hundreds or thousands of miles away. Nuclear fallout is radioactive particles of dirt and material destroyed in the blast that get taken up into the mushroom cloud and gradually falls out over a period of months. The first week is the most critical. After the first 24 hours, the radiation begins to decay and in just one week it will be 1/1000th as strong. So, you must remain in a shelter for at least one week after the nuclear war.
Since nuclear explosions will not be in every city or nation, the real danger will be the radioactive fallout, or from the poison air. The nuclear explosions will burn up many cities and the burning toxins will create toxic air that will kill people within minutes or seconds, much quicker than from radioactive fallout (see The Approaching Apocalypse).
The prophecies of the missiles and rockets are of great importance, for several reasons:
(1) They can be used by Christian apologists to prove the Bible.
(2) They prove that God exists, mere beings of flesh and bones could never see 2,500 years into the future, as Joel did.
(3) The prophecies also prove that there will in fact be a final war that will kill billions of people, that God will have a people which will fight in this war, and that God will fight along with them, “The LORD thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty are those who obey his command” (Joel 2:11) (NIV). (This passage also proves the Pre-trib Rapture theory is false because how could God have an army after the Church is removed?)
(4) It proves that the doctrine of Preterism is wrong.
(5) It also proves the doctrine of the imminent return of Christ is wrong, because no war that uses these modern missiles and rockets could ever have been fought before the 20th century.