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This series of three lectures on the first, second and third woes, as they exist in prophecy and their chronological fulfillment in history, cannot be comprehended without an understanding of the historic fulfilment of the seven trumpets of Revelation 8 and 9. I refer you to Uriah Smith’s Thoughts on Revelation as a ready reference to this topic. It is the standard work that reflects Adventist understanding on these prophecies. I do not depart from that understanding, though I add some supporting arguments. Since his time, many new arguments have been brought against the pioneers’ understanding of the trumpets. Especially of concern is the attack upon Josiah Litch’s interpretation of Revelation 9:15 that places the end of the second woe on August 11 th , 1840. An example of this attack can be found in the book by Heidi Heiks called Satan’s Counterfeit Prophecy. This book contains a systematic attack upon this foundational prophecy and Sister White’s endorsement of it. Various authors attack the trumpets is a variety of ways (some even while trying to endorse traditional views), while many look for a future fulfilment of the trumpets. Be that as it may, I will not be dealing with all of the errors but only with the attacks upon the trumpets that affect our understanding of the first and second woe. My aim is to show that the chronology of the first and second woe is sound. The unsealing of the seven thunders not only includes an understanding of the history of the Millerite time period that is a figurative delineation of events that to transpire under the proclamation of the first, second and third angels’ messages in our time but also includes an increase of light upon the foundational prophecies that were only partly comprehended by the Millerites. We are guided in our study of this increase of light by this statement of Sister White’s.

In every age there is a new development of truth, a message of God to the people of that generation. The old truths are all essential; new truth is not independent of the old, but an unfolding of it. It is only as the old truths are understood that we can comprehend the new. When Christ desired to open to His disciples the truth of His resurrection, He began "at Moses and all the prophets" and "expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself." Luke 24:27. But it is the light which shines in the fresh unfolding of truth that glorifies the old. He who rejects or neglects the new does not really possess the old. For him it loses its vital power and becomes but a lifeless form. Christ’s Object Lessons, 128.

Sister White’s support of Josiah Litch’s interpretation is unequivocal. Her statement in the Great Controversy is not only a resounding endorsement of this prophecy, and the principles of prophetic interpretation as understood by the Millerites, but declares that its fulfilment provided an needed impetus to the Millerite movement in its proclamation of the first angel’s message. If Litch’s interpretation was false, or as Heik’s suggests is Satan’s counterfeit prophecy, we belong to a movement based upon a false interpretation of prophecy and false principles. Here is her quote,

In the year 1840 another remarkable fulfillment of prophecy excited widespread interest. Two years before, Josiah Litch, one of the leading ministers preaching the second advent, published an exposition of Revelation 9, predicting the fall of the Ottoman Empire. According to his calculations, this power was to be overthrown "in A.D. 1840, sometime in the month of August;" and only a few days previous to its accomplishment he wrote: "Allowing the first period, 150 years, to have been exactly fulfilled before Deacozes 1 ascended the throne by permission of the Turks, and that the

1 In copying this quote over time, an error in spelling has occurred in regard to the name of Constantine XI. His full title is Κωνσταντίνος ΙΑ' Δραγάσης Παλαιολόγος [transliteration. Konstantinos IX Dragases Palaiologos]. The original source that Litch was referring to was from Hawkins, The History of the Turkish or Ottoman Empire, published in 1787. The original quote read, "John Paleologus was dead without children, his brother, Constantine Dracozes, [not Deacozes] would not venture to ascend the throne,

391 years, fifteen days, commenced at the close of the first period, it will end on the 11th of August, 1840, when the Ottoman power in Constantinople may be expected to be broken. And this, I believe, will be found to be the case."--Josiah Litch, in Signs of the Times, and Expositor of Prophecy, Aug. 1, 1840. At the very time specified, Turkey, through her ambassadors, accepted the protection of the allied powers of Europe, and thus placed herself under the control of Christian nations. The event exactly fulfilled the prediction. (See Appendix.) When it became known, multitudes were convinced of the correctness of the principles of prophetic interpretation adopted by Miller and his associates, and a wonderful impetus was given to the advent movement. Men of learning and position united with Miller, both in preaching and in publishing his views, and from 1840 to 1844 the work rapidly extended. The Great Controversy, 334-335.

Heik’s pretends that this quote is merely stating the facts of history and cannot be construed as an endorsement of Litch’s interpretation. I do not see how this is possible. Also, Heik’s is critical of the quote, as it stands in the 1888 edition of the Great Controversy, where Sister White says, “Two years before, Josiah Litch, one of the leading ministers preaching the second advent, published an exposition of Revelation 9, predicting the fall of the Ottoman empire, and specifying not only the year but the very day on which this would take place.” The Great Controversy (1888), 334. Sister White, in simplifying the story, conflates Litch’s prediction in 1838 with that of a few days prior to its fulfilment. Simply put, he tries to discredit Sister White’s endorsement of Litch’s prediction, on the basis that she gets it wrong. Of course, she clarifies the statement in the 1911 edition. This comes too late, however, for Heik’s. Of course, Heik’s criticisms are not all we have to contend with. I hope to demonstrate that the attacks on this prophecy, both within and without Adventism, are groundless. It is my hope that an understanding of this prophecy will once again empower the message and secure our faith in God’s messenger, as we approach the closing scenes of this world’s history.

without the permission of Amurath. He sent ambassadors to ask his consent, before he presumed to call himself sovereign.This shameful proceeding seemed to presage the approaching downfall of the empire. Ducas, the historian, counts John Paleologus for the last Greek emperor, without doubt, because he did not consider as such, a prince who had not dared to reign without the permission of his enemy." Sister White, in quoting Litch, quotes him correctly, mistake and all. Here is Litch, "But the time came, and the word of God was confirmed by the event. "John Paleologus emperor of Constantinople, was dead, and his brother, Constantine Deacozes, would not venture to ascend the throne without the permission of Amurath, the Turkish sultan. He sent ambassadors to ask his consent before he presumed to call himself sovereign.This happened A. D. 1449. This shameful proceeding seemed to presage the approaching downfall of the empire. Ducas, the historian, counts John Paleologus for the last Greek emperor, without doubt, because he did not consider as such, a prince who had not dared to reign without the permission of his enemy." Hawkins' Otto. Emp. p. 113. Gibbon, an infidel, is so struck with the singular accuracy of the record of the origin of this empire, that he attributes it to some foresight in the historian, of the rapid growth of the monster. But would it not become Christians better, to attribute it to the superintending providence of that Being who had set a bound for that and other empires, which they may not pass? who had given them power to harass and torment the empire of Constantinople five months; and to kill or subject it to their own sway, an hour, a day, a mouth, and a year; the whole being five hundred and forty-one years and fifteen days." Josiah Litch, The probability of the Second Coming of Christ about the year A.D. 1843, 155.



One of the objections to the seven trumpets being fulfilled in the past is this statement of Sister White’s, "Trumpet after trumpet is to be sounded, vial after vial poured out one after the other upon the inhabitants of the earth." 2 The suggestion is that Sister White is placing the trumpets in the future and that the trumpets and the plagues occur simultaneously. Here is the statement in full.

"The agency of the Holy Spirit is to combine with human effort and all heaven is engaged in the work of preparing a people to stand in these last days. The end is near and we want to keep the future world in “In this last conflict the Captain of the Lord's host [Joshua 5:15] is leading on the armies of heaven and mingling in the ranks and fighting our battles for us. We shall have apostasies, we expect them. "They will go out from us because they were not of us" (see 1 John 2:19). "Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up" (Matthew 15:13). “The angel, the mighty angel from heaven, is to lighten the earth with His glory

(Revelation 18:1), while he cries mightily with a loud voice, "Babylon the great is fallen,

We would lose faith and courage in the conflict, if we were not

sustained by the power of God. “Every form of evil is to spring into intense activity. Evil

angels unite their powers with evil men, and as they have been in constant conflict and attained an experience in the best modes of deception and battle and have been strengthening for centuries, they will not yield the last great final contest without a desperate struggle and all the world will be on one side or the other of the question. “The battle of Armageddon will be fought. And that day must find none of us sleeping. Wide awake we must be, as wise virgins having oil in our vessels with our lamps. The power of the Holy Ghost must be upon us and the Captain of the Lord's host will stand at the head of the angels of heaven to direct the battle. Solemn events before us are yet to transpire. Trumpet after trumpet is to be sounded; vial after vial poured out one after another upon the inhabitants of the earth. Scenes of stupendous interest are right upon us and these things will be sure indications of the presence of Him who has directed in every aggressive movement, who has accompanied the march of His cause through all the ages, and who has graciously pledged Himself to be with His people in all their conflicts to the end of the world. He will vindicate His truth. He will cause it to triumph. He is ready to supply His faithful ones with motives and power of purpose, inspiring them with hope and courage and valor in increased activity as the time is at hand. 3 Selected Messages, 425-426

is fallen" (verse

There are two things to note, in the above quote. First, she is not declaring that the seven trumpets are the seven last plagues. She is merely connecting trumpet warnings with the plagues. Second, the warnings precede the plagues. If they occurred together, how would the warnings have any meaning? Further, it should be noted that the seven trumpets and the seven last plagues do have parallels. We propose that these are not evidence of their contemporaneity but as a pattern of design on the part of God. The judgments against literal Rome parallel the judgments against spiritual Rome. Note the parallels and differences listed below.

2 3 Selected Messages, 426.

1 Upon the earth
Upon the earth
2 Upon the sea
Upon the sea
3 Rivers & fountains of waters
Rivers & fountains of waters
4 Sun smitten
Upon the sun
5 Air darkened
6 Great River Euphrates
Great River Euphrates
7 Mystery of God finished
"It is done"
8 Lightnings, voices,
thunderings, earthquake,
great hail
Rev.11:19 Voices, thunders, lightnings,
great earthquake, hail






6 symbolic. 1 literal

6 literal. 1 symbolic



Hail, fire & blood affects 1/3 trees, all grass


'Noisome & grievous sore'



1/3 sea to blood, 1/3 creatures die


Sea as blood of dead man



1/3 waters bitter


All drinking water blood



1/3 sun, moon, stars smitten, 1/3 day in darkness


Sun more active; men smitten with fierce heat



Smoke from pit darkness; locusts torment for 5 months


Papal kingdom filled with darkness



Angel (spirits) loosed from Euphrates; myriads of horsemen kill 1/3 of men.


Euphrates dried up & evil spirits unite whole world against God.

7 Cleansing of the sanctuary commences; extends to close of probation. 7 Probation closes; events
Cleansing of the sanctuary commences;
extends to close of probation.
Probation closes; events extend to
the coming of Christ.

If Ellen White was placing the trumpets as being in the future, this would contradict her statement in the Great Controversy placing the fulfilment of the second woe (part of the sixth trumpet) as being in the past. Some would argue for a repeat of the trumpets in our time. We are, however, in the seventh trumpet. It has not yet finished sounding. Also, in a sense, the plagues are a repeat of that history already. As noted above, these are judgments against spiritual Rome and spiritual Babylon. 4

3 Taken from http://www.666man.net/Revelation_8_Trumpets_1_Through_4.html and modified by the author. 4 Both Babylon and Rome besieged and destroyed Jerusalem. These are prophesied in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 and fulfilled in 597 and 70 AD respectively - 666 years apart. A more detailed analysis can be found in Biblical Chronology Arkansas Notes by the author (Behold the Bridegroom Cometh notes for the Arkansas prophecy school held in the fall of 2014). http://www.futureforamerica.org/media/notes/fall_2014/behold_the_bridegroom_cometh.pdf The video can be found on Future for America’s You Tube channel and is entitled 9. Biblical Chronology and the Cycle of Sevens.

A further argument against the trumpets being future is that the sixth trumpet occurs while Christ is still ministering in the holy place of the heavenly sanctuary. This will be seen later when we look at the first and second woes. Suffice it to say, no Seventh-day Adventist, at least, has any reason to place the trumpets in the future. Yet somehow, we have adopted and adapted this notion from the protestant Churches who, in turn, have inherited this from the counter-reformation teachings of the Catholic Church.


The eighth chapter of Revelation presents the first four trumpets showing the progressive destruction of the Western Roman Empire.

And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. 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. 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. 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. 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. (Revelation 8:6-12)

We see their fulfilment outlined below.

day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise. (Revelation 8:6-12) We


What does the constant reference to “the third part” in Revelation 8 imply?

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 Illyricum, Africa, and Italy.Uriah Smith, Thoughts on Daniel and Revelation, 473-474.


473-474. T HREE D IVISIONS OF THE R OMAN E MPIRE 5 We see then that

We see then that the first four trumpets are judgments against the two western portions of the Constantine’s divided empire. The first trumpet is fulfilled by the slaughter of the Goths that encompassed the two-thirds of the empire. All green grass (people) was burnt up. The destruction is likened unto hail mixed with fire and blood. This is an apt description of the slaughter that ensued from 395 to 410 under the leadership of Alaric. Only a third part of the trees (government of Rome) was burnt up, as Alaric’s main war was waged against the city of Rome itself in a series of sieges (408, 409 and 410), with Rome being sacked in the final siege. The second trumpet is fulfilled by the invasion of the Vandals, under the leadership of Genseric. The symbols employed have both a literal and spiritual application. The territory conquered by Genseric encompasses the Mediterranean Sea. The third trumpet is contemporaneous with the second and is fulfilled by the invasion of the Huns under the leadership of Attila. The fourth trumpet is fulfilled by the Heruli invasion that ended with the fall of Rome in 476. I employ the following maps below to show the course these invasions took. We can see clearly that they fulfill the conditions of the prophecy, as they relate to the “one-third”.

5 All maps, including this one are taken from http://www.666man.net/Revelation_8_Trumpets_1_Through_4.html


While various interpretations of the trumpets can be found in Adventism, we can find no reason to abandon the basic understanding that the pioneers of Adventism bequeathed to us. Though there is much they could not have understood, any new details must accord with what they taught and follow the principles of prophetic interpretation they employed. Truth is unfolding and any “new light” must make the old truths shine brighter. Attempts to have Sister White herself reject the pioneer understanding are misguided and dangerous. We must study these truths for ourselves. The light of the midnight cry is to shine all along the path to the celestial city. Let us follow it.

While praying at the family altar, the Holy Ghost fell on me, and I seemed to be rising higher and higher, far above the dark world. I turned to look for the Advent people in the world, but could not find them--when a voice said to me, "Look again, and look a little higher." At this I raised my eyes and saw a straight and narrow path, [Matthew 7:14.] cast up high above the world. On this path the Advent people were travelling to the City, which was at the farther end of the path. They had a bright light set up behind them at the first end of the path, which an angel told me was the Midnight Cry. [Matthew 25:6.] This light shone all along the path, and gave light for their feet so they might not stumble. And if they kept their eyes fixed on Jesus, who was just before them, leading them to the City, they were safe. But soon some grew weary, and they said the City was a great way off, and they expected to have entered it before. Then Jesus would encourage them by raising his glorious right arm, and from his arm came a glorious light which waved over the Advent band, and they shouted Hallelujah! Others rashly denied the light behind them, and said that it was not God that had led them out so far. The light behind them went out leaving their feet in perfect darkness, and they stumbled and got their eyes off the mark and lost sight of Jesus, and fell off the path down in the dark and wicked world below. It was just as impossible for them to get on the path again and go to the City, as all the wicked world which God had rejected. A Word to the Little Flock, 14.



The eighth chapter ends with the proclamation of an angel flying in the midst of heaven, “Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!” The first two of these three woes describe the history in connexion with the judgments that fall upon the Eastern Roman Empire or the final “third part” of Rome that was relatively untouched by the barbaric invasions. Why are these final trumpets woes? It can be argued that the division of the western empire is accomplished by barbaric tribes that, in the end, become Christian. The woes, on the other hand, are accomplished by Islam, a satanic power (as will be shown). It is Islam that brings the whole world into one great conflict.

And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth [Mohamed, after the manner of Satan]: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit [earth, in this case Arabia]. And he opened the bottomless pit [as opposed to closing it as in Revelation 20:1]; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace [affliction; false teaching]; and the sun and the air [the gospel] were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth [Muslim hordes]: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them [by Abu-Bakr] 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 [non-sabbathkeepers]. And to them it was given that they should not kill them [end their authority], but that they should be tormented five months [150 years]: and their torment was as the torment of a 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 [turbans] like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men [they had beards]. And they had hair as the hair of women [Arabians did not cut their hair], and their teeth were as the teeth of lions [persecuting power]. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron [a reference to the military nature of Islam]; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle [Islam are noted for their use of horses and chariots in battle with few footmen]. And they had tails [teachings of Mohamed] like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails [teachings of war]: and their power was to hurt men five months [150 years]. And they had a king over them [Othman], which is the angel of the bottomless pit [Satan], whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon [destroyer]. One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter. (Revelation 9:1-11)

There is no doubt, as you read through Revelation 9, that the woes are military in nature. The symbols used to describe the characteristics of the instrument of war and destruction is an obvious reference to Islam; locusts, scorpions, horses, chariots, etc. The description so readily depicts the invading armies of Islam that it almost appears to be a literal description of history. The mode of warfare, the territory covered, the period when the locusts thrive (5 months, May to September inclusive), the visual description, etc. allow for no other interpretation. Further, the rise of Islam fits the time period exactly. Pagan Rome has fallen and a new power has arisen from the ashes. It has converted the means of Pagan Rome’s destruction to its religion. The Papacy has become a persecuting power,

trampling down God’s Church. It will continue for 1260 years in this work. Islam is a thorn it its side. Revelation 9 gives the framework of this history. The role and influence of Islam is instrumental in the tempering and final removal of Rome’s ability to persecute God’s people. What we are concerned with here is the prophetic periods connected with Islam and the significance of their fulfilment. Most commentators place the rise of Islam in 629 AD, when, according to Wikipedia, “Muhammad, Islamic prophet, succeeds in unifying all of the nomadic tribes of the Arabian Peninsula. He converts them to Islam and prepares an expedition against the Jews.” (Wikipedia article 629 AD) It matters not whether one takes this date or an earlier date in Mohamed’s conversion, since it is his death and the first Caliphate under Abu-Bakr in 632 AD that marks the first period of “five months” of “hurting”. Also, as noted earlier, the language of the rise of Islam parallels that language used in reference to Satan and his work. The referencs to the star falling from heaven, the bottomless pit, the smoke arising from it, its obscuration of the sun and air, etc. are symbols of Satan that for some commentators compels them to see the fulfilment as having to do with the work of Satan directly (or even the Papacy). We recognise, however, that Islam (like France that is also represented with satanic imagery) is a power that is directly opposed to the gospel and to Christianity. That is, Islam is a spiritualistic power. There are some within Adventism who, in order to reach Muslims, down play the negative aspects of Islamic religion and portray Islam in a sympathetic light. This is a great danger. Obviously we need to present the gospel to Muslims but this should not be at the expense of truth. In fact, it is the truth that will help Muslims to recognise the deception they are in and to embrace Christianity.


Many commentators have noted that the length of period under which Islam has power to “hurt men” is the same length of period that the desert locusts are active (May through September). We will see that this power is “given to them” as an attribute and does not refer to a single period. Also, the territory that the locusts cover is almost identical to the territory of conquest of Islam. Five months is mentioned in Revelation 9 twice and there are two periods to which this can apply. 6 We take these as periods of 150 years. The focus of the Millerites was the second period that spans from 1299 to 1449. This period marks the end of the fifth trumpet. There is also a 150 year period that marks the beginning of the fifth trumpet. This period is little known but is important in establishing the beginning of the trumpet and distinguishing the period when Islam has no king (or empire) over them from the period where they have a king (Othman and the Ottoman Empire). It is this second period that is referred to as the first woe. The first period of “five months is mentioned in Revelation 9:4-5, “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 a scorpion, when he striketh a man.” This period of hurting is commences with the command of Abu-Bakr who arose to power at the death of Mohamed in 632 BC, where the command of Abu-Bakr is obviously that referred to by the fifth angel.

As soon as their numbers were complete, Abubeker [Abu-Bakr] ascended the hill, reviewed the men, the horses, and the arms, and poured forth a fervent prayer for the success of their undertaking. 'Remember', said the successor of the prophet, 'that you are always in the presence of God, on the verge of death, in the assurance of judgement, and the hope of paradise. Avoid injustice and oppression; consult with your brethren, and study to preserve the love and confidence of your troops. When you fight the battles

6 I have not been the first to notice this. John C. Witcombe, in his book Jerusalem Caliphate and the Third Jihad, recognises two 150 year periods. However, he fails to apply a consistent interpretation (that of loosening and restraint) in commencing and ending these prophetic periods. As a result, he incorrectly places the first 150 year period as reaching from 612 to 762 AD.

of the lord, acquit yourselves like men, without turning your backs; but let not your victory be stained with the blood of women or children. Destroy no palm trees, nor burn any field of corn. Cut down no fruit trees, nor do any mischief to cattle, only such as you

kill to eat. When you make a covenant

go on, you will find some religious persons, who live retired in monasteries, and propose to themselves to serve God that way: let them alone and neither kill them nor destroy their monasteries. [These were Sabbath keepers and had the “seal of God on their foreheads”.] And you will find another sort of people that belong to the synagogue of Satan [these are the one who “have not the seal of God in their foreheads”], who have shaven crowns; be sure you cleave their skulls, and give them no quarter, till they either turn Mahometans or pay tribute. Abu-Bakr's command; Edward Gibbon 'Decline & Fall'!, Vol.V:489-490. [Words in brackets are mine.]

stand to it and be as good as your word. As you

are mine.] stand to it and be as good as your word. As you Five months

Five months - So far as the words here are concerned this might be taken literally, denoting five months or one hundred and fifty days; or as a prophetic reckoning, where a day stands for a year. The latter is undoubtedly the correct interpretation here, for it is the character of the book thus to reckon time. If this be the true method of reckoning here, then it will be necessary to find some events which will embrace about the period of one hundred and fifty years, during which this distress and sorrow would continue. The proper laws of interpretation demand that one or the other of these periods should be found - either that of five months literally, or that of 150 years. Albert Barnes Commentary on Revelation 9:5

According to Gibbon under in the first ten years of the Caliphate of Abu-Bakr’s successor Omar, " T he Saracens reduced 36,000 cities or castles, destroyed 4,000 churches and built 1,400 mosques ”. 7 If this first period of 150 years begins with the first Caliphate, its end must be seen in 782 AD with Treaty of Constantinople. 8910

7 Gibbon 'Decline & Fall!' Vol.V:474-475.

8 See Harold Hemenway’s 2007 book, European History Foretold, 60.

9 Of an interesting chronological note, the year 782 is twice 391 years. I will comment more on this number later.

10 See also Wikipedia article, Abbasid invasion of Asia Minor (782).

Between the end of the first period of “five months” and the beginning of the second period are 517 years. 1112 According to Wikipedia, “Osman [Othman] announced the independence of his own small principality from the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum in July 27, 1299, and was acclaimed the Khan of the Kayihan tribe. The Ottoman principality was just one of many small Turkish principalities in Anatolia at the time that emerged after the dissolution of the Seljuks, all of which the Ottomans would eventually conquer to reunite Anatolia under Turkish rule. The westward drive of the Mongol invasions had pushed scores of Muslims toward Osman's principality, a power base that Osman was quick to consolidate. As the Byzantine Empire declined, the Ottoman Empire rose to take its place.13 This second period of 150 years that commences is on July 27 th 1299 is what is commonly referred to as the “first woe”. If it begins in 1299, it must therefore end in 1449. In proceeding further, we must take a look at how the Bible marks the beginning and end of these prophetic periods.




Understanding the beginnings and endings of the prophetic periods, in connexion with the woes, is instrumental in placing them correctly in time. One of the reasons those who object to (and subsequently reject) the pioneer understanding of the seven trumpets (and the woes) is that they fail to understand the reasoning used to mark their commencement and termination of these periods. These periods are marked by either a restraint or loosening of Islam’s power to wage destructive force upon the eastern portion of the Roman Empire. We noted that the first 150 year period begins with Abu-Bakr. The Bible describes this as the locusts coming out of the smoke of the pit. This period (632 - 782) ended with a treaty that limited the power of Islam to persecute. Likewise, the second period resumed persecution with the rise of Othman

11 This is equal to 126 plus 391 years. Again, I will comment more on this later.

12 It is during this intervening period that the crusades over the control of Jerusalem occur from 1095 - 1291

13 Wikipedia article, Osman I.

uniting the Arab peoples in beginning once again destructive warfare upon the eastern portion of the remnants of the Roman Empire. This power to “hurt” was tempered (restrained) during this 150 year period. The second woe began where the first woe ended. This partial “restraint” of Islam was removed when Constantine XI, the last "Christian" emperor, voluntarily refused to accept his throne without the permission of the Turkish power, and thereby loosed the "four angels", the four leading Turkish Sultans (these were situated at Aleppo, Iconium, Damascus, and Bagdad), who then invaded and conquered Constantinople in 1453. It is this yielding of Constantine XI to the Sultan that marks the beginning of

this period (and thus the end of the first woe) and not the capture of the capital of the Eastern Empire,

as our minds would naturally assume. Again, it is the actions that lead to the loosening or restraint of

Islam’s destructive power that are important to note and not the destructive acts themselves. We will see, as we look at the remaining verses of Revelation chapter 9 that this loosening and restraining of Islam is clearly marked in the period of the second woe. The angel declares to John, “One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.” (Revelation 9:12) It is the beginning and end of this second woe over which there is so much needless controversy. In my final lecture I will address the events that mark the beginning and ending of the third woe. Since we are in the midst of this fulfillment, there may be details that we have not yet seen. Like the Millerites, we may be too close to the picture, caught up in the present details, to see the broader scope. More importantly, it is in understanding the historic fulfillment of the first and second woe that will allow us to discern the fulfillment of the third. This cannot be emphasized enough. Any new light is merely an unfolding of old light. The modern interpretations of the trumpets that place these in the

future are bound to be misguided and subject to the whims and wishes of man. These are foundations

of sand. The pioneer understanding is a solid foundation upon which we can build our understanding.


Revelation 9:14-15 declares. “Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.

And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.” As mentioned above, these “four angels” are loosed when Constantine

XI voluntarily yields to the power of the Turkish Sultans. The period under which these four angels are

to complete their work in the slaying of the “third-part” of men is reckoned as 391 years and 15 days. 14 The number of the horsemen that are to do this work is given as 200 million. It is probable that this refers to the total number of horsemen involved in the destruction that spans this period. The use of gunpowder (brimstone) is of particular note. As early as 1260 AD, the use of gunpowder was known to be used by the Arabs in war. During this period the Muslim armies has become adept in the use of firearms while riding their horses in battle. However, in spite of all this destruction, they repented not.

And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt. And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts. (Revelation 9:16-21)

14 An hour (1/24 of a prophetic year or 15 days), a day (one year), a month (30 years) and a year (360 years) equals 391 years and 15 days.


Heidi Heiks sums up, in a strong rhetorical manner, the position of Josiah Litch and the pioneers quite well, in spite of his objections to their interpretation of Revelation chapter 9.

The prophetic 391-plus-15 day-years claimed for the sixth trumpet had to commence on July 27, 1449, as well, in order to precisely fulfill the total span allotted to the prophecy of 541 years and 15 days. That is because William Miller, Josiah Litch and the Millerites combined the two claimed prophetic time periods together as one continuous whole. This then demanded that the prophecy be terminated not only in the year of 1840, but also to the very day of August 11th, as Ellen White recounted of the Millerites’ belief and teaching at that time. “Unfortunately, Josiah Litch overlooked one very important point in his calculation of the prophetic periods, as you well know. The Gregorian calendar by Pope Gregory XIII replaced the Julian calendar by a papal bull signed into effect on February 24, 1582. When introduced, it immediately omitted ten days in order to realign the calendar with the spring equinox, which was tied by the Roman Catholic Church to the celebration of Easter. The Millerites failed to take this ten-day discrepancy into account when they fixed the date for the termination of the sixth trumpet on August 11, 1840. Many Seventh-day Adventists today do not remember or know that their history has been falsely colored with numerous apologies and adjustments, until Josiah Litch’s prophecy has become almost unrecognizable to the historian. It’s almost as if we Adventists have picked and chosen what we want to keep and have disposed of what we don’t. That is exactly what Treiyer blatantly does today, and it is all presented as fully supportive of the historic position. Incredible!Heidi Heiks, Response to Dr. Alberto R. Treiyer (His Review Of Satan’s Counterfeit Prophecy), 4.

(His Review Of Sat an’s Counterfeit Prophecy ), 4. We can see in the chart above

We can see in the chart above that reckoned 541 years and 15 days from the rise of the Ottoman Empire on July 27 th 1299 to August 11 th 1840. They did not look for an event in 1449 to occur on July 27 th to mark the end of the 150 years and the commencement of the 391 years and

15 days, as Heiks implies. Another point that Heiks fails to realise is that Litch provided the correct date of August 11 th , in spite of himself. He was unaware, as we now are, that July 27 th 1299 and July 27 th 1840 are aligned on the Karaite calendar. This was not understood by the Millerites and it was not until a couple of years later that they even discovered the Karaite calendar. This they used in establishing the end of the Jewish year 1843 (April 18 th 1844) and the setting of the date for the cleansing of the sanctuary on October 22 nd 1844 (the10th day of the 7 th month on the Karaite calendar).

(the10th day of the 7 th month on the Karaite calendar). Heiks’ uses further rhetoric in

Heiks’ uses further rhetoric in referring to what he calls, “numerous apologies and adjustments. This could be said of all of the teachings of Adventism, in that we were given more light in our understanding of these prophecies after the disappointment. Also, many who are trying to support the pioneer position have been influenced by the errors of prophetic and scriptural interpretation that is used in the Protestant Churches. As we have looked closely into the pioneer understanding of the trumpets, we find that there is much less that needs to be adjusted from the original understanding than many suppose. Obviously, there were a few things that the Millerites could not have understood, since they were looking for Christ’s coming so soon. For instance, the Millerites believed that the sixth trumpet ended on August 11 th 1840 and that the events of the seventh trumpet were to occur in the intervening period to the second coming in 1843. Obviously, as to this point, they were wrong. We understand that the seventh trumpet began to sound on October 22 nd 1844. Even after the Adventists came to understand that the sixth trumpet ceased sounding, while the seventh trumpet began to sound, on that date, there was no clear teaching in regards to the commencement of the third woe. 15 This fact, and the lack of its use in evangelism, has led to the trumpets and woes being a neglected and misunderstood teaching. This has made it ripe for the picking, by minds like Heiks, to distort the history of this teaching and discourage those from trusting in the pioneers’ position. These types of attacks merely insinuate doubts in the minds of Adventists and lead to the rejection of the gift of the Spirit of Prophecy and Adventism’s foundational truths. Heading down this path leads to one end only, the total rejection of Adventism. Whatever criticisms we may have of the past, all should be approached with the greatest respect. The LORD has led His church from the very beginning.

15 J. N. Andrews taught that, “The seven plagues are poured out under the sounding of that angel; hence the plagues are future, and constitute the third woe.” (The Three Angles of Revelation 14:6-12, 119.) Joseph Bates, on the other hand states, “We believe that the seventh trumpet began to sound on the first day of the seventh month. Then the Mystery was finished, and the third woe came.” (Past

and Present Experience, 186.) “In 1844 the third woe began.”


.N. Haskel: The Story of the Seer of Patmos, 205.

The warning has come: Nothing is to be allowed to come in that will disturb the foundation of the faith upon which we have been building ever since the message came in 1842, 1843, and 1844. I was in this message, and ever since I have been standing before the world, true to the light that God has given us. We do not propose to take our feet off the platform on which they were placed as day by day we sought the Lord with earnest prayer, seeking for light. Do you think that I could give up the light that God has given me? It is to be as the Rock of Ages. It has been guiding me ever since it was given. Brethren and sisters, God lives and reigns and works today. His hand is on the wheel, and in His providence He is turning the wheel in accordance with His own will. Let not men fasten themselves to documents, saying what they will do and what they will not do. Let them fasten themselves to the Lord God of heaven. Then the light of heaven will shine into the soul-temple, and we shall see the salvation of God. General Conference Bulletin, April 6, 1903.


General Conference Bulletin , April 6, 1903. A PPENDIX 1 6 1 6 taken from NASA

16 taken from NASA Six Millennium Catalogue of Moon Phases . We can see that the astronomical new moon falls on April 2 nd in both 1299 and 1840. In both cases the first day of the irst month (Nisan 1) would fall on April 4 th in those years. That is, in 1299 and 1840 Tammuz 26 is July 27 th . This means that August 11 th 1840 is truly 150 plus 391 years 15 days after July 27 th 1299.



As we have seen, the understanding of the trumpets is not just an intellectual exercise. It is instrumental in understanding where we are in history and in avoiding the false interpretations of prophecy that involve Islam and current affairs. It was God who led our pioneers to understand that the trumpets were an instrument used by Him to punish both pagan and papal Rome. These trumpets are naturally separated between the first four (which were judgments against Western Rome), and the last three (which were judgments against Eastern Rome, Papal Rome and, at present, Modern Rome, which includes the entire world, see Revelation 16:19-13). These three final trumpets are designated as "woes" (Rev. 8:13) because of their severity and the satanic nature of Islam. As we have seen, the first "woe" or fifth trumpet was Islam (Arab Saracen Turks). The second "woe" or sixth trumpet was Islam (The Ottoman Turks). Therefore we should expect Islam to be involved in the third "woe" (under the period of the seventh trumpet). Based upon the triple application of prophecy, the characteristics of the first two woes should be combined in the third. 17 We also need to consider the connexion between Islam and the sealing (those men who have not the seal of God in their foreheads, Revelation 9:4). Notice also that they were commanded to not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree. Now go to Rev. 7:1-3, "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." We cannot help but see the contextual connexion between these two passages; between Islam and the sealing of God's people. Look at Isaiah 27:8; "he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind." As we have read in Revelation 7:1-3, angels are holding the four winds. These four winds are His rough wind but the question arises; what is the east wind? Exodus 10:13 says, “And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts.Genesis 41 provides us yet another example (type) where an "east wind" destroys the economy. In that passage we are told that Pharaoh the ruler of Egypt (typifying the world) had a dream in which he saw seven fat cattle devoured by seven thin ones who arose subsequently, and then for emphasis he was next shown seven very good ears of corn that were devoured by seven thin ears blasted with the east wind that came up after them. Joseph was used by God to avert disaster for His people as well as to fulfill prophecy; however many of the Egyptians, after exhausting their funds had to sell their cattle, their lands and finally themselves into slavery. So the question arises; who or what is this east wind that God uses to destroy the economic structure here at the end of this earth's history? Where can we find a connection to the east wind?

And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years…. And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites (from Arabia) came up, and the Amalekites (from Arabia), and the children of the east, even they came up against them; And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass. For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were

17 The first woe is noted for its suddenness and unexpectedness. The second woe is noted for the use of explosives. These two characteristics are combined in the attacks on 9/11.

without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it. And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD." Judges 6:1, 3-6.

We see above, the children of the east along with the Amalekites and the Midianites (peoples occupying the Arabian Peninsula east of the Jordan) along with their camels are portrayed as grasshoppers in number. We can see this connexion with Revelation 9:3, "And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth." Consider the following, "Angels are holding the four winds, represented as an angry horse seeking to break loose and rush over the face of the whole earth, bearing destruction and death in its path." 20 Manuscript Releases, 216-217. This passage is also referencing the sealing of the 144,000 found in Revelation 7:1-3. Not only is Islam portrayed as an "angry horse", or war-horse, on both the 1843 and 1850 charts but that is also exactly how they are represented in Rev. 9:7. "And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle." These are clear references to Islam and its connection with Revelation 7:3 or the sealing of God's people. We must conclude that the message concerning Islam is designed by God to awaken, and seal, His Laodicean people.


Revelation 9:11 states that, "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." Both Abaddon and Apollyon are defined as "destroyer" and as such are a reference not only to Satan but Mahomed as well. Let us now look at Testimonies volume 9 in the chapter entitled "The Last Crisis" beginning on page 11,

"We are living in the time of the end. The fast-fulfilling signs of the times declare that the coming of Christ is near at hand. The days in which we live are solemn and important. The Spirit of God is gradually but surely being withdrawn from the earth. Plagues and judgment are already falling upon the despisers of the grace of God…. On one occasion, when in New York City, I was in the night season called upon to behold buildings rising story after story toward heaven. These buildings were warranted to be fireproof, and they were erected to glorify their owners and builders…. The scene that next passed before me was an alarm of fire. Men looked at the lofty and supposedly fire- proof buildings and said: "They are perfectly safe." But these buildings were consumed as if made of pitch. The fire engines could do nothing to stay the destruction. The firemen were unable to operate the engines." 9 Testimonies 11-13.

"How comes the word that I have declared that New York is to be swept away by a tidal wave? This I have never said. I have said, as I looked at the great buildings going up there, story after story, 'What terrible scenes will take place when the Lord shall arise to shake terribly the earth! Then the words of Revelation 18:1-3 will be fulfilled.' The whole of the eighteenth chapter of Revelation is a warning of what is coming on the earth. But I have no light in particular in regard to what is coming on New York, only that I know that one day the great buildings there will be thrown down by the turning and overturning of God's power. From the light given me, I know that destruction is in the world. One word from the Lord, one touch of his mighty power, and these massive structures will fall. Scenes will take place the fearfulness of which we can not imagine." Review and Herald July 5, 1906.

Anyone having seen a before and after 9/11, 2001 image of the skyline of New York City will know

for a certainty what "great buildings" these two passages are referencing. The whole world was shocked on 9/11 when those two planes controlled by radical Islamists, directed by their Imams ("the prophet that teacheth lies"--Isa. 9:15) flew into the twin towers (the economic center of the US/ false prophet) causing economic ripples throughout the world. However George W. Bush, the president of the United States announced to the world that "you are either with us or against us" and threw all of the America's political, economic and military strength against Al Qaida. In this act, Islam was restrained. Momentarily, the four winds are now being held in check.

In the chart below, I have outlined the three woes chronologically. The date for the loosing of Islam can be debated. It is not connected to a time prophecy. There is no doubt that the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989 led to the conflicts between the United States and the Islamic states. We could also see the final woe chiastically, with the restraint commencing the third woe and the close of probation (the letting loose of the four winds) ending it, as occurs in the first woe.

of the four winds) ending it, as occurs in the first woe. M ILLERITE H ISTORY


Of course, many of you who are reading this paper are familiar with the reformatory lines. An analysis of the second and third woe cannot be addressed without reference to it. That is, we see that the empowerment of the message on the time of the Millerites occurred in connexion with the restraint of Islam on August 11 th 1840. In our time period, the empowerment of the message occurred on September 11 th , 2001. Ellen White speaks of these parallels, “The work of God in the earth presents, from age to age, a striking similarity in every great reformation or religious movement. The principles of God's dealing with men are ever the same. The important movements of the present have their parallel in those of the past, and the experience of the church in former ages has lessons of great value for our own time.18 She speaks of this further in specific reference to the giving of the first and second angels’ messages that will be repeated in our time. “After these seven thunders uttered their voices, the injunction comes to John as to Daniel in regard to the little book: "Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered." These relate to future events which will be disclosed in their order. Daniel shall stand in his lot at the end of the days. John sees the little book unsealed. Then Daniel's prophecies have their proper place in the first, second, and third angels' messages to be given to the world. The unsealing of the little book was the message in relation to time.19 The first and second messages were given in 1843 and 1844, and we are now under the proclamation of the third; but all three of the messages are still to be proclaimed. It is just as essential now as ever before that they shall be repeated to those who

18 The Great Controversy, 343.

19 7 Bible Commentary, 971.

are seeking for the truth. By pen and voice we are to sound the proclamation, showing their order, and the application of the prophecies that bring us to the third angel's message. There cannot be a third without the first and second. These messages we are to give to the world in publications, in discourses, showing in the line of prophetic history the things that have been and the things that will be.20

The chart below is an older one (and may be hard to read) but covers the main lines quite well.

below is an older one (and may be hard to read) but covers the main lines
below is an older one (and may be hard to read) but covers the main lines

20 1 Manuscript Releases, 43.

"How comes the word that I have declared that New York is to be swept

"How comes the word that I have declared that New York is to be swept away by a tidal wave? This I have never said. I have said, as I looked at the great buildings going up there, story after story, 'What terrible scenes will take place when the Lord shall arise to shake terribly the earth! Then the words of Revelation 18:1-3 will be fulfilled.' . I have no light in particular in regard to what is coming on New York, only that I know that one day the great buildings there will be thrown down by the turning and overturning of God's power. From the light given me, I know that destruction is in the world. One word from the Lord, one touch of his mighty power, and these massive structures will fall. Scenes will take place the fearfulness of which we can not imagine." Review and Herald, July 5,

will fall. Scenes will take place the fearfulness of which we can not imagine." Review and

IN DECLARING A CALIPHATE, ISIS NOW CLAIMS TO LEAD ALL MUSLIMS A caliphate is an Islamic state ruled by a 'caliph' - in this case Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi - who is seen as the successor to Prophet Mohammed by those swearing allegiance. In much the same way as the Pope is considered the head of the Catholic church, a caliph would consider themselves leader of the world's Muslims. They would hold themselves responsible for establishing policy - based strictly on the Quran - for all Muslims and territories. One of the first things ISIS did after announcing a caliphate was to declare all emirates and sultanates illegal. Therefore anybody swearing oath to the new Islamic state would simultaneously be declaring that they no longer recognise either the borders, laws or authority of current Muslim-led states. On announcing the Islamic state, the militants repeatedly described it as being 'restored'. This is a reference to the last widely-acknowledged caliphate - which existed under the Ottoman Empire and effectively ended with the founding of Turkey in 1923. Many Islamists - including ISIS - blame this collapse on the geographical carving-up of the Ottoman Empire by Allied Forces after the First World War. In declaring a caliphate, ISIS now claims to partly 'corrected' the century-old dispute. (www.dailymail.co.uk, July 1, 2014.)

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (Arabic: و بأ رك ب يدادغ ب لا, ʾabū bakri l-baḡdādī) is the ringleader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an Islamic extremist group in western Iraq, Libya, northeast Nigeria and Syria self-styled as the "Islamic State". It is believed that he has been proclaimed by his followers to be a Caliph. On 29 June 2014, ISIL announced the establishment of a worldwide caliphate. Al-Baghdadi was named its caliph, to be known as "Caliph Ibrahim", and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant was renamed the "Islamic State" (IS). In an audiotaped message, al-Baghdadi announced that ISIL would march on "Rome"generally interpreted to mean the Westin its quest to establish an Islamic State from the Middle East across Europe. He said that he would conquer both Rome and Spain in this endeavor and urged Muslims across the world to immigrate to the new Islamic State. (from Wikipedia article Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi)


There is no doubt that there is light that is coming to God’s people in the study of the prophetic foundation of Adventism. The understanding of the three woes, in connexion with the trumpets, yields many basic principles of prophetic interpretation that guided the pioneers in establishing the teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. To neglect their study is to neglect your own soul. As we noted earlier, Sister White considered the messages that “came in 1842, 1843, and 1844…. to be as the Rock of Ages.” 21 Let us stand on this platform of truth. Let us open God’s Word and search for light, as if our life depended on it.

21 General Conference Bulletin, April 6, 1903.