“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 which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. 15 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. 16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. 17 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. 18 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. 19 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.” (Revelation 9:13-19)
As I have attempted to show in my “Revelation 9’s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9’s Beatles” series of blog posts the events of Revelation chapter 9 are not still future and are not to be fulfilled in a short period of time (e.g. within 7 years or 3.5 years). Neither did the prophesied events symbolized happen in or prior to 70 AD. The prophesied woes properly interpreted are SYMBOLICALLY associated with Islam. The first phase of its growth and then in its Ottoman Empire phase. The Islam of the Middle Ages. This is what many Baptists and Protestants of the past believed. I’m not advocating anything new or arbitrary. As a new believer who was “dispensationally-inclined” (and consequently hermeneutically challenged) I used to think that the sixth trumpet pointed toward something future : a massive army of 200 million Chinese soldiers riding on horses.
I recently watched a video concerning the sixth trumpet which learned Protestant commentators believed pointed to the Ottoman empire and its devastation of the Byzantine empire (fall of Constantinople in 1453). I had already read in the past the interpretation that “the mouths” which put out fire and smoke and brimstone were cannons (Rev. 9:17-18). Without looking into it too carefully I believed historically that the interpretation was valid because of the fulfillment of the earlier parts of chapter 9 and because the Turks did use cannons in their warfare. “For their power is in their mouth and in their tails” : to power a cannon one needs to light “the tail” so that “fire” comes out of its mouth.
Here is some information taken from Wikipedia:
“Scholars consider the FALL OF CONSTANTINOPLE as a key event ending the Middle Ages and starting the Renaissance because of the end of the old religious order in Europe and the use of CANNON and gunpowder.”
“Before the siege of Constantinople, IT WAS KNOWN THAT THE OTTOMANS HAD THE ABILITY TO CAST MEDIUM-SIZED CANNONS, but the range of some pieces they were able to field far surpassed the defenders’ expectations. Instrumental to this OTTOMAN ADVANCEMENT IN ARMS PRODUCTION was a somewhat mysterious figure by the name of Orban (Urban), a Hungarian (though some suggest he was German). One cannon designed by Orban was named “Basilica” and was 27 feet (8.2 m) long, and able to hurl a 600 lb (272 kg) stone ball over a mile (1.6 km).”
“Archival evidence supports the notion that THE OTTOMAN ARTILLERY WAS FAMOUS FOR THE SIZE OF ITS CANNON, and their number; from the highly mobile antipersonnel Abus gun to the massive Great Turkish Bombard.”
What about the “heads of lions” part (Rev. 9:17)? I found these interesting photos of old cannons with interesting shapes on them:
The previous two photos show that some cannons in the past had animal faces at the front end (“the mouth”) and at the back end (“the tail”). Here are a few more interesting photos:
No other weapon with a “lion’s head” shooting out fire and smoke exists to my knowledge. Does anyone use such cannons (with lion faces) today? Am I to expect in the future some genetically modified lions who will spue out fire? When one looks at the other details (e.g. colors) of the vision of chapter 9 it’s hard not to see the Ottoman empire, the most important “woe” to professing (but apostate) Christianity which followed the first rise of Islam.