Friday Morning Manna
A Review of the First Three of the Seven Trumpets
Compared and contrasted to the hours given over to the multiplying distractions, deceptions and schemes of Satan for these last days, the dearth of interest in the seven trumpets (as with the seven churches, seven seals, and seven last plagues) of Revelation, should cause grave concern for the watchmen and light bearers of these last days—the faithful members of the remnant church of prophecy. These, and other present truth prophecies were designed to educate them for their sacred mission of dispelling the thick fog of error, confusion, and ignorance over the roles of the barbarian nations (Vandals, etc.), the Huns (who may have disappeared from history but not in prophecy!), and Islam (in the Saracens and Turks) in breaking up the old Roman Empire. Thus before returning to the closing details of the fifth, sixth, and seventh “woe” trumpets, which we covered in our last two issues, we will consider in more detail the first three trumpets here, if you previously missed them. Note:
“The blowing of the trumpets by the seven angels comes as a complement to the prophecy of Daniel chapters 2 and 7, beginning with the breaking up of the old Roman Empire into its ten divisions. In the first four trumpets, we have a description of the special events which marked Rome’s fall.” – Uriah Smith.
We will be quoting large extracts from Uriah Smith’s must-read non-fiction Daniel and the Revelation hereunder. Note:
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 were burnt up, and all the green grass was burnt up.” Rev. 8: 7.
“The blast of the first trumpet has its location about the close of the fourth century and onward, and refers to these desolating invasions of the Roman Empire by the Goths. After quoting at some length from Edward Gibbon’s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapters 30-33 concerning the conquests of the Goths, Alexander Keith (in Signs of the Times, Vol. I, p. 241] presents an admirable summary of the historian’s words emphasizing the fulfillment of prophecy: ‘Large extracts clearly show how amply and well Gibbon has expounded his text in the history of thefirst trumpet, the first storm that pervaded the Roman earth, and the first fall of Rome. . . .
“The Gothic nation was in arms at the first sound of the trumpet, and in the uncommon severity of the winter, they rolled their ponderous wagons over the broad and icy back of the river. The fertile fields of Phocis and Boeotia were crowned [sic] with the deluge of barbarians: the males were massacred; the female and cattle of the flaming villages were driven away. The deep and bloody traces of the march of the Goths could easily be discovered after several years. The whole territory of the Attica was blasted by the baneful presence of Alaric. The most fortunate of the inhabitants of Corinth, Argos, and Sparta were saved by death from beholding the conflagrationof their cities. In a season of such extreme heat the beds of the river were dry, Alaric invade the dominion of the West. A secluded ‘old man of Verona’ [the poet Claudian], pathetically lamented the fate of his contemporary trees, which must blaze in the conflagration of the whole country [note the words of the prophecy,–‘The third part of the trees were burnt up’]; the emperor of the Romans fled before the king of the Goths.
”The first sore and heavy judgment which fell on Western Rome in its downward course, was thewar with the Goths under Alaric, who opened the way for later inroads. The death of Theodosius the Roman emperor, occurred in January, A.D. 395, and before the end of the winter the Goths under Alaric were in arms against the empire.
“The first invasion under Alaric ravaged the Eastern Empire. He captured the famous cities and enslaved many of its inhabitants. Thrace, Macedonia, Attica, Peloponnesus were conquered, but he did not reach the city of Rome. Later, the Gothic chieftain crossed the Alps and the Apennines and appeared before the walls of the Eternal City, which fell a prey to the fury of the barbarians in A.D. 410. [The witness of true history exposes the myth created the Church of Church that that Rome is an “eternal city.”]
“Hail and fire mingled with blood were cast upon the earth.’ – “The terrible effects of this Gothic invasion was represented as ‘hail,’ from the northern origin of the invaders; ‘fire,’ from the destruction by flame of both city and country; and ‘blood,’ from the terrible slaughter of the citizens of the empire by the bold and intrepid warriors.’
The Second Trumpet. – “And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and 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.’ Rev. 8: 8, 9.
“The Roman Empire, after Constantine the Great, was divided into three parts. Hence the frequent remark, ‘a third part of men,’ is an allusion to the third part of the empire which was under the scourge. This division of the Roman kingdom was made at the death of Constantine, among his three sons, Constantius, Constantine II, and Constans. Constantius possessed the East, and fixed his residence at Constantinople, the metropolis of the empire. Constantine II held Britain, Gaul, and Spain Constans held Illyrium, Africa, and Italy.
D & R 479: “The sounding of the second trumpet evidently relates to the invasion and conquest of Africa, and afterward of Italy by Gaiseric (Genseric), king of the Vandals. His conquests were for the most part naval, and his triumphs were ‘as it were a great mountain burning with fire, cast into the sea.’ What figure would better, or even so well, illustrate the collision of navies, and the general havoc of war on the maritime coasts? In explaining this trumpet, we are to look for some events which will have a particular bearing on the commercial world. The symbol used naturally leads us to look for agitation and commotion. Nothing but a fierce maritime warfare would fulfill the prediction.
“If the sounding of the first four trumpets relates to the four remarkable events which contributed to the downfall of the Roman Empire, and the first trumpet refers to the ravages of the Goths under Alaric, in this we naturally look for the next succeeding act of invasion which shook the Roman power and conduced to its fall. The next great invasion was that of Genseric, at the head of the Vandals. His career reached its height between the years A.D. 428-468. This great Vandal chief had his headquarters in Africa. But as Gibbon states, ‘The discovery and conquest of the black nations [in Africa], that might dwell beneath the torrid zone, could not tempt the rational ambition of Genseric; but he cast his eyes towards the sea; he resolved to create a naval power, and his bold resolution was executed with steady and active perseverance.’ – The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. III, chap. 36, p. 459.
“From the port of Carthage [Genseric] repeatedly made piratical sallies, preyed on the Roman commerce, and waged war with that empire. To cope with this sea monarch, the Roman emperor,Marjorian, made extensive and naval preparations. . . .The kingdom of Italy, a name to which the Western Empire was gradually reduced, was afflicted, under the reign of Ricimer, by the incessant depredations of the Vandal pirates. In the spring of each year, they equipped a formidable navy in the port of Carthage; and Genseric himself, though in a very advanced age, still commanded in person the most important expeditions . . . The Vandals repeatedly visited the coasts o0f Spain, Liguria, Tuscany, Campania, Lucania, Bruttium, Apulia, Calabria, Venetia, Dalmatia, Epirus, Greece, Sicily. . . .Concerning the important part which this bold corsair acted in the downfall of Rome, Gibbon uses this significant language: ‘Genseric, a name which, in the destruction of the Roman Empire, has deserved an equal rank with the names of Alaric and Attila.’- Ibid, chap. 33, p. 370.
“The catastrophe announced in the second trumpet has been seen as the depredations of theVandals. Driven from their settlements in Thrace by the incursion of the Huns from Central Asia, the Vandals migrated through Gaul (now France) and Spain in the Roman North Africa and established a kingdom centering around Carthage. From there they dominated the western Mediterranean with a heavy navy of pirates, pillaging the coasts of Spain, Italy, and even Greece, and preying upon Roman shipping. The high point of their depredations came in A.D. 455, when for two weeks they looted and pillaged the city of Rome. . . . They achieved the destruction of the West. The dark cloud which was collected along the coasts of the Baltic, burst in thunder upon the banks of the upper Danube. The pastures of Gaul, in which flocks and herds grazed, the banks of the Rhine, which were covered with elegant houses and well-cultivated farms, formed a scene of peace and plenty, which was suddenly changed into a desert, distinguished from the solitude of nature only by smoking ruins. Many cities were cruelly oppressed, or destroyed. Many thousands were inhumanly massacred.The consuming flames of war spread over the greatest part of the seventeen province of Gaul. Alaric again stretched his ravages over Italy.”
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 the 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.” Rev. 8: 10, 11.
“There fell a great star.’ This has been interpreted as portraying the invasion and ravages of the Huns under the leadership of their king Attila, in the fifth century.. . . Entering Europe from Central Asia about A.D. 372, the Huns first settled along the lower Danube. Three quarters of a century later they were on the move again, and for a brief period raised havoc in various regions of the tottering Roman Empire. Crossing the Rhine in A.D. 451, they were stopped by a Roman and German troops at Chalons in northern Gaul. After a short period of marauding in Italy, Attila died in A.D. 453, and almost immediately the Huns disappeared from history. In spite of the short period of their ascendancy, so rapacious were the Huns in their devastations that their name has come down from history as synonymous with the worst slaughter and destruction.”
“In revealing the historical fulfillment of this third trumpet, we shall be indebted to the notes of Albert Barnes for a few extracts. In explaining this scripture, it is necessary, as the commentator says, ‘that there would be some chieftain or warrior who might be compared with a blazing meteor; whose course would be singular brilliant; who would appear suddenly like a blazing star, and then disappear like a whose light was quenched in the waters. That the desolating course of that meteor would be mainly on those portions of the world that abounded with springs of water and running streams. That an effect would be produced as if those streams and fountains were made bitter; that is, that many persons would perish, and that wide desolations would be caused in the vicinity of those rivers and streams, as if a bitter and baleful star should fall into the waters, and death should spread over the lands adjacent to them, and watered by them.’ – Albert Barnes,Notes on Revelation, p. 239.
Speaking of this warrior, particularly of his personal appearance, Barnes says: ‘In the manner of his appearance, he strongly resembled a brilliant meteor flashing in the sky. He came from the East gathering his Huns, and poured them down, as we shall see, with the rapidity of a flashing meteor, suddenly on the empire. He regarded himself also as devoted to Mars, the god of war, and was accustomed to array himself in a peculiar brilliant manner, so that his appearance, in the language of his flatterers, was such as to dazzle the eyes of beholders.’ – Ibid. NOTE: Attila’s flatters didn’t know they were helping fulfill details of this prophecy!
(Continued next week—Review of the Fourth Trumpet)