CHAPTER NINE



To introduce this chapter, let's first briefly summarize the historical aspect of Revelation as covered thus far:

1. We have seen the Roman Empire under Constantine's rule;

2. followed by the Empire's chief threat, Mohammadanism;

3. next came the widespread scarcity on earth;

4. and then death on a broad scale brought about chiefly by the "holy" wars and the Dark Ages,

5. during which occurred much Christian martyrdom.

6. We then saw the emergence of the modern era in the Sixth Seal, World War One.

7. Following that was the "half-hour" (20.8 year) quiet time between WW1 and WW2, which introduced the first four Trumpets covered in chapter 8, where we saw...

8. vegetation struck, followed then by

9. sea pollution,

10. fresh-water pollution and

11. air pollution.

So, we note the above 11 identifications include seven Seals and four Trumpets which now brings us to the 12th major piece of the prophetic puzzle, Trumpet Five.

FIFTH TRUMPET: The Locusts from the Bottomless Pit

1 "And the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fall from heaven to the earth. And to him was given the key to the bottomless pit.

2 And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. And the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit.

3 And locusts came out of the smoke onto the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

4 And they were commanded that they should not harm the grass of the earth, any green thing, nor any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.

5 And it was granted to them that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months. And their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man.

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

7 And the shapes of the locusts were like horses prepared for battle; and on their heads, as it were, crowns like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men.

8 And they had hair like women's hair, and their teeth were like lions' teeth.

9 And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running into battle.

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

11 And they had a king over them who is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon.

12 One woe is past. Behold, still two more woes are coming after these things."

Now let's see how John's account of this first woe fits into the overall picture. We've already learned that the water and air pollution was associated with the growing industrial revolution, becoming particularly evident in the late 30s and early 40s, which was the prelude to this Fifth Trumpet. Therefore, because of the perfect agreement, time-wise, and because of John's beautiful, symbolic word-picture as described in the above verses, I am convinced Trumpet # 5 stands for World War Two. Take a look at these seven points:

1. THE "STAR" (Vs. 1)

The "star" can only be Satan for he is the one who fell from heaven as described in Isaiah 14 and Revelation 12. Note in verse 1 that he fell from heaven, not sent. Recall also, he drew 1/3 of the other angels of heaven with him. Satan is behind all evil, including being in charge of the "bottomless pit" (although Jesus holds the key to it).

(I do not believe the bottomless pit need be taken as a single place somewhere but more likely represents a conglomerate of all those in rebellion towards God, including both man and angelic demons. Fallen man has little appreciation of the depth of his own depravity, hence the name bottomless pit. But the prophet Jeremiah aptly described it for us when he said, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?") [Jer. 17:9]

Satan (the "star" of the "pit") identifies with all rebellion. Although restricted by God's sovereignty, it seems he has certain rights and authority over these in the "bottomless pit". Satan wants us all but he seeks out especially vile, intelligent men --- those whose character is most like his own. He inspires them to reach high positions of power and influence in the world's ungodly systems. No human agency or office is off limits. It may include ruling positions of all types: kings, presidents, senators, judges.....you name it.

Note what happened when the "bottomless pit" was opened. The sun and air were "darkened". This simply says to me that the sky would once again be filled with smoke. Explosive smoke! Our first hint of WW2.



2. "LOCUSTS" (Vs.3)

Locusts fly. But these locusts (the "scorpions of the earth") could also kill men! What kind of natural locust are you aware of that can fly + has the capacity to kill? (John is not talking about grasshopper plagues.) This means something altogether different. Airplanes maybe!? More on this in a moment.

3. THE "SEAL OF GOD" (Vs. 4)

Verse four refers to those who have the "seal of God" in their foreheads. Those without the seal were not to be killed, only "tormented". Casual reading would cause one to think those with the seal would refer to Christians. But the longer I looked at the passage the less I felt this was correct. Remember, the "star" of the "bottomless pit" is Satan. It was he who loosed the "locusts" which are to hurt those who do not have the "seal of God" in their foreheads. I have trouble seeing the true God or Christians implicated here. The fallen "star" was the one who would issue the command. I don't want to be dogmatic here but I have other ideas on just what this passage may mean. So stay with me and see if the logic makes sense to you too.

I believe these verses allude to the "supermen" of Germany, the Nazis. They bought the lie of the devil that there were certain people who hindered the path of their "march of supremacy" and therefore ought to be destroyed. Namely, the Jews. According to Adolph Hitler's reckoning, Jews were an inferior race, a race without the 'seal of God' upon them.

Hitler was religious. (He was a baptized Catholic.) But his 'religion' was a distorted caricature of true Christianity. He believed the Jews should be removed from the human race so as not to further 'contaminate' the superior race he visualized. People that did not measure up to Hitler's perspective of a perfect race did not have the "seal of God", by his reckoning, upon them, chief among whom were the Jews!

Of course, Hitler served the 'god' who wanted the Jews annihilated and this is what Satan put in the hearts of the cruel Nazis. They sought to create a 'superhuman' race --- a 'purer' race with the "seal of God" in their foreheads, whatever that meant in Hitler's mind. Those who did not have the seal were to be hurt. It mainly started with the Jews but actually turned out later to include anyone who got in the way of his intent to destroy natural Israel.

And thus began Hitler's plot against the Jews. Satan had convinced Hitler the Jews were evil. The Jews, through whom God gave the Holy Scriptures and His Messiah, were always the object of Satan's hatred. Satan figured if he could get rid of them, he would have no trouble setting up his earthly kingdom. (Of course, this later got out of hand as Hitler and his regime realized others too would have to be destroyed, namely all those who resisted his endeavor. In fact, this would eventually involve the whole world! But we must remember it was his intense hatred of the Jews which ignited, and fed, his evil mind.)

But, you may have noticed my explanation of the seal of God presents kind of a paradox. Verse five says that those without this seal (the Jews according to Hitler's view) were not to be killed, only "tormented". How do we reconcile this in light of the fact that 6,000,000 Jews were later slaughtered? Could it not simply mean Hitler's initial order was that the Jews were not to be killed (which of course turned out to be a lie)?

But why should this surprise us? Satan is a liar and the "father of lies". His regimes always center around lies. As Satan's puppet, Hitler simply fell right in line with the whole delusion. Although at first he told his cronies that the Jews would only be "tortured", he obviously had murder in his heart from the beginning.

4. MEN WOULD SEEK DEATH (Vs. 6)

Verse six says men would seek but not find death. I believe this refers to the awful conditions which developed in the thirties, especially in Germany. I've seen documentary films of the long food lines which existed there in the years just preceding the war. The poverty conditions were severe and I imagine that's what helped mold the thinking of the German people who finally got behind Hitler and supported him. To them he was a 'messiah', promising them deliverance from hard times; times dreadful enough that men wished they could die. But death would "flee from them".

(Recently, I heard the leader of a nation-wide, Christian Seminar say that Hitler used the aged people to build his base. That was a clever move. He obviously reasoned if he could get the elderly behind him, others would fall in line. It worked. This present humanistic age with its sick euthansia programs is forgetting the elderly. We Christians should consider the principle Hitler discovered, only in our case motivated by a sincere desire to love our more mature citizens, meet their needs, and, include them in ministry activities. I'm convinced God would bless the effort.)

5. THE "LOCUSTS" (Vs. 7)

John said these "locusts" (flying machines) were like "horses prepared for battle". I believe he was thinking of the way soldiers poised their horses in a straight-line manner before a battle in those days. Similarly, in WW2, squadrons of aircraft fighters and bombers often lined up like this in order to be ready for immediate take-off as soon as the order came to "hit the skies". Not a bad parallel, John!

These "locusts" had "heads" like "crowns of gold". This is a description of the bright metal surrounding the cockpit. In it John saw faces which were like the "faces of men". Why do you suppose those faces looked like faces of men? Because they were the faces of men! Of course John had never seen a man inside such a monstrous creature as an airplane so he called it like he saw it.

Then John noted the "locust" had a breastplate like "iron". Iron is one of the few metals John had seen. What he saw in the vision resembled it. The metallic fuselage of the airplane John saw was more like "iron" than anything else he had ever seen.

Now it's really getting exciting. Next, John heard the noise which the wings produced. (Verse 9.) In John's day, nothing flew which had wings that produced loud noises. But in our day we've got all kinds of them! To make it even clearer, John also said the "locusts" sounded like many horses "running to battle". Have you ever heard many horses running together? They make a thundering, pounding noise. WW2 aircraft had piston engines. Piston engines pound. On the other hand, jet engines whir and these weren't around until the 50s. This difference (i.e., the pounding engine) directs our attention towards the technological age of the 30s and 40s which makes WW2 the more likely period John is describing, not some war yet to come which will surely involve jet planes.

The description goes on: The rear of these "locusts" had "stings in their tails". I believe these "stings" represent bombs which came out of the "tails". Several of the WW2 planes also had what were called tail gunners. In the rear was a little plastic, bubble cabin just large enough to house one man and his machine gun. He was in this strategic position mainly to ward off approaching aircraft from the back and occasionally to fire at the enemy below.

[Recently, I was having dinner with my wife Cindy at The Nut Tree, a well-known restaurant in Vacaville, California. There is a small airport there and inside the building complex is a bookstore with the largest selection of WW2 books I'd ever seen --- literally a whole wall of them. I fingered one off the shelf and glanced through it. It contained beautiful, illustrative pictures of WW2 aircraft used by all sides. I 'just happened' to go to a page which pictured the most strategic plane Germany used in its bombing missions---the HE-111. It was a fighter-bomber which had the bubble, machine-gun nest (the sting in its tail) I mentioned above. I am convinced this is the very object the apostle John saw. The aircraft fits the picture of John's vision, in terms of appearance and function. The article said the Germans had thousands of these bomber-fighters.]

6. "HAIR" LIKE WOMEN AND "TEETH" LIKE LIONS (Vs. 8)

Sometimes the strangest things have gotten my attention which I have later become convinced were timed and related to my on-going prophecy study. Even Halley's Comet streaking by a few years ago brought with it new insights. A secular article I read at the time said that the word "comet" derives from the Greek word meaning "hair". Ancient astronomers likened comets to a running, screaming woman with her hair trailing behind her. (Also keep in mind, John is still talking about the noisy-winged, brightly-headed object, in which he saw faces like men.)

But what new evidence does the "hair" tell us? I'll answer with another question: What produces a con-trail in the sky besides a comet? It becomes increasingly clear that John is talking about an airplane. The only thing John had ever witnessed which resembled what he saw in his vision was a comet (or falling star) streaking across the sky. So what else could he use to describe the con-trail (or smoke) of an airplane other than what he had probably heard astronomers of his day call the hair streaks eminating from the rear of a comet? Hmm! Only God knows how something so simple can remain so obscure for so long.

Now remember we are still talking about "locusts" and John had even more to say. The "locusts" had "teeth like lions"! (Verse 8.) What could this mean? I believe John is referring to the airplane propellers. As with the other clues, he certainly wouldn't know exactly what to call them. All he knew was that they were long, sharp (like teeth), could move and appeared destructive. In his environment, lions' teeth were the best he could come up with. Good enough, John! I like it.

Now let's summarize the characteristics of what John called "locusts" and compare them to the German, WW2 aircraft --- the HE-111:

1. They were like "horses prepared for battle", (lined up at the airports);

2. had "crowns like gold" (the shiney cockpit);

3. had "faces like men" (because they WERE men---in the cockpit);

4. could "torment" (with the bombs);

5. had "stings in their tails" (the machine-gun nests);

6. had "hair like women" (the con-trails produced by engine smoke or by condensation when flying high);

7. had "breastplates of iron" (the overall metallic appearance of the aircraft);

8. and their wings produced "sounds like the sound of chariots with many horses running to battle" (the pounding piston engines). Clear enough? There's more.

7. THE "ANGEL OF THE BOTTOMLESS PIT" (Vs. 11)

Now some skeptics will say, "Lance, our side had airplanes which also fit the above description. How do you know these refer to Hitler's regime?" The difference is this: the U.S. and allied forces represented retaliation against evil; Hitler's was initiation of an evil plot from the beginning. In this seventh point, John reveals the identity of that nation's leader. He says he is the "angel of bottomless pit", which, of course, is none other than Satan. But Satan doesn't reveal himself in his own person. He usually does it in the disguise of a man.

"ABADDON" & "APOLLYON"

John called this angel by the names of Abaddon (Hebrew) and Apollyon (Greek). Abaddon means 'destroyer'and Apollyon means 'exterminator'. What a perfect description for Adolph Hitler! I know of no man in history who equals him in vileness, hatred, viciousness, cruelty, pride, selfishness and utter disregard for the sanctity of life. These are the very traits of Satan! Adolph Hitler is a shining example of what it means to be satanically possessed. Satan was literally living out his character in and through the life of this man. (Surely Hitler was a forerunner-type of the anti-Christ who will rise in the final tribulation period.)

Now let's look a little closer at the words John used to describe this angel from the bottomless pit: Abaddon = Destroyer and Apollyon = Exterminator. The word 'destroyer' reveals what Hitler would do --- kill; while Exterminator tells how. To fulfill this, Hitler and his 'super-race' came up with the idea of the exterminator furnaces, which were used to destory 6,000,000 Jews. Now, look at verse 2 again, "...and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace". Plain enough?

Next, let's look at some historical facts about Hitler. Once again I found Michael Hart's book, THE 100, a very sufficient 'person' manual:

"Hitler's greatest year was 1940. In April, his armies gobbled up Denmark and Norway. In May, they overran Holland, Belgium, and Luxembourg. In June, France capitulated. But later that year, the British withstood a long series of attacks by the German Air Force and Hitler was never able to launch an invasion of England. "In the middle of 1940, Germany ruled a larger portion of Europe than had ever been controlled by any nation in history." (This statement bears witness to my previous comment that Hitler was a type of the final anti-Christ. Satan was probably prematurely prompting Hitler to be the "man of sin" who would restore and solidify the ancient Roman Empire. The timing wasn't yet right for that eventuality but Hitler clearly foreshadowed it.)

Mr. Hart goes on:

"During his regime, the Nazis constructed large EXTERMINATION camps (note Mr. Hart's choice of words keeping in mind too that he is not writing from a theologian's position), equipped with massive gas chambers for this purpose. In every territory that came under his control, innocent men, women, and children were rounded up and shipped off in cattle cars to be killed in these chambers. In the space of just a few years almost 6,000,000 Jews died in this way. The Jews were not Hitler's only victims. During his regime, staggering numbers of Russians and Gypsies were also massacred, as well as many others who were deemed to be racially inferior or enemies of the state." (All these would be those without the "seal of God", according to Hitler's philosophy.) "It should never be imagined that these murders were spontaneous acts, performed in the heat of passion of battle; Hitler's death camps were organized as carefully as a great business enterprise." (My emphasis.)

Note carefully what Mr. Hart just said. This was a purposeful, widespread attempt to rid this planet of all the 'wrong kinds' as Hitler defined them. I want to emphasize again that Hitler thought he was acting as God's agent to eliminate all who did not bear the seal of his godthe master race. This understanding is vital. The reason I'm harping on this so much is that most prophetic writers will say this Fifth Trumpet is a plague against all unbelievers in the world except those who bear the true "seal of God", i.e., the future "Tribulation" saints. I do not believe that's what this Scripture is saying. It's a very 'tricky' passage, so please pardon my repetitious-ness. Mr Hart continues:

"Hitler is widely considered to be the most evil man in all of history and judging by his ability to move people to significant action, it is likely that Hitler was the most effective orator in all of history. It is probable that no figure in history has had more influence upon his own generation than Adolph Hitler. In addition to the tens of millions of people who died in the war that he instigated, or in the Nazi concentration camps, there were millions more who were made homeless or whose lives were entirely disrupted as a result of the fighting."

It is significant to note that even a secular historian arrived at basically the same conclusions I have, mine gleaned from seeing it in God's Word, his from the facts of history. Mr. Hart makes clear reference to Hitler as an exterminator-destroyer. Recall these are the precise meanings of the words the apostle John used to describe the 'angel' --- Abaddon-Apollyon.

I want to again remind the reader that the purpose of this book is to identify meaningful, real-life, historical situations which seem to fit what Biblical prophecies portray. Remember, while I'm also a believer of a final end-of-the-age, seven-year, prophetic 'countdown' time, I have here elected to concentrate on that which has been overlooked, or totally disregarded, by other writers: the Historical.

Trumpet Five was, for me, one of the more recognizable prophecies. It still continues to amaze me, as I search for (and find) 'hidden' revelations. One day a prophetic passage will appear dark and blurred, the next day (as God allows) a word or a phrase will suddenly come to life giving new meaning to the Scripture, then it all begins to come together. As one classical music composer once gave his explanation of how he wrote music, "...first a few notes, next a little melody, then comes the harmony, and finally...the whole grows together." Now, let's move on in to the 'harmony' --- the second "woe", Trumpet Six.

SIXTH TRUMPET: The Angels from the Euphrates

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

14 saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.:"

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 And the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million, and I heard the number of them.

17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision: those who sat on them had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow; and the heads of the horses were like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and brimstone.

18 By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed - by the fire, by the smoke, and by the brimstone which came out of their mouths.

19 For their power is in their mouth and in their tails; for their tails, having heads, are like serpents; and with them they do harm.

20 And the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, still did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk;

21 and they did not repent of their murders nor their sorceries nor their sexual immorality nor their thefts."

ASSUMING THE HISTORICAL PICTURE IS TRUE, WHERE ARE WE TODAY?

Obviously at some point along the way through the Historical Seals and Trumpets we will reach the prophetic-place of our own day. In my opionion, we are now there!

I think we are presently living in the days of the second "woe", Trumpet Six, part of which I view as the next major war conflict. WORLD WAR THREE is a fitting title. If this is so, all of a sudden Biblical prophecy gets a little more real and exciting, doesn't it? Let's look at some details of the Sixth Trumpet and see if there's any more pieces of the puzzle here which would fit with what has been assembled so far.

The first significant point to note is the "loosing" of the angels who have been bound at the River Euphrates. The Euphrates serves as the northeast border of the land of ancient Israel. It separated the people of God from the rest of the world. It also was the eastern divide of the ancient Roman Empire. It is believed to be the line between the east and the west. There have been "world wars" but never have the far eastern nations of the Orient came across the Euphrates divide to invade the west. But the above Scripture says this will not always be the case.

The apostle John reports there have been four "angels" bound up at that crossing but that some day they will be "loosed". I believe that day is almost upon us. And when those angels are freed, an army of 200,000,000 men will come across the Euphrates into the heretofore protected West. Their job? --- to slay one-third of mankind! (See verse 15.)

Ironically, the now-deceased leader of Communist China, Mao Tse Tung, actually once boasted he could activate an army of the exact number called for in this Scripture. But, there will be more Oriental countries than China coming from the East. In the Sixth Bowl (or Vial) to be discussed in chapter 16 we will see the Euphrates mentioned again. There it says once the Euphrates is "dried up", it paves the way for the "KINGS" of the East to come. So, we can expect there will eventually be a confederation of nations which will unite together for this great, coming invasion of the East against the West.

So, at this point in time, it would be good to know if there is anything going on in and about the river Euphrates now, which might give us any clues as to whether the "angels" who have been bound at that river may already be in the process of being loosened. I think there are at least four things which may relate. Only one of them applies specifically to the Euphrates but all may be considered a part of the same 'package', when we see the links.

1. The river Euphrates can now be shunted by a dam which has been built in the northern region which could literally cause the river to be dried up. (This may relate to the Sixth Vial which we will discuss in Rev. 16; it says that the Euphrates will be dried up in order to prepare for the "kings of the east". No matter how this Sixth Trumpet is viewed, literal or figurative, it's hard to get away from seeing that this reference is to the Orient nations.)

2. Next, a highway was completed in July 1978, extending from China through Pakistan into the Middle East. It has taken many years to build this road and one wonders what the motivation was behind the builders! Hmm! Only with Biblical prophecy in mind does it make any sense --- to prepare the way for "the kings of the east".

3. Diplomatic relations were re-established between the United States and China in January 1979. The essence? China is "crossing the Euphrates" --- the divide between east and west. She considers herself ready to be "westernized", which will result, of course, in an increased need for natural and other resources, many of which are found in the Middle East region.

4. The "Dead Sea" in Israel is a super-rich mineral resource. I don't know if the information is accurate but I've read that it contains three times the entire wealth of the United States if only it could be acquired! Apparently ways are being learned how to get it out. As this resource becomes easier to produce, it will become an increasingly valuable and sought-after asset by those who need it. Make no mistake, some will purpose to take it by force. These are the kinds of thing which motivate men to go to war. Will it perhaps be the "kings of the east"?

This completes the discussion of the Sixth Trumpet and concludes chapter nine. One final word: It may be that this war, which is initiated by the invasion from the east, doesn't actually come until we get to the Sixth Vial. The reason I say that is because we'll see that the language of Vial Six is very similar to what is said here in Trumpet Six, thus indicative of some kind of connection between the two events.

It seems that the main point we are to see in chapter nine is not the actual war yet but the "loosing" of the four angels which prepares the way for the eventual war that is later to come. Perhaps the reason for God giving the advance notice here is so that we can determine a little more accurately where we are now on His time clock. We have done this by discussing those events which have been happening in and about the Euphrates and with regards to China, all of which seem to give adequate and relevant information in fulfilling the prophecy, the "loosing of the angels" at the River Euphrates.