In Revelation Chapter 12 and Chapter 13 we focused on key events which occurred in the Church in the Middle Ages, or from the time of the fall of Rome and the seven ecumenical councils until the 15th Century and the fall of Constantinople. In Revelation Chapter 16, we pick up where we left off with this relative time period at the beginning of the Late Middle Ages and examine the “seven vials of God’s wrath.” These seven vials are used by the author of the Apocalypse to detail key historical events which would lead Europe out of the Dark Ages and into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery, and eventually into the Industrial Revolution and age of European Colonialism. All of these events would lead to the fall of great empires due to new political philosophies, leading the battling nations of the world towards a final great conflict and climax with the announcement of the Seventh Angel.
Black Death of the 14th Century
Vial #1 – Black Plague in Europe
Revelation 16:1-2 – “And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.”
The Black Death was the most devastating plague in all of human history. In the year 1346 AD, this pandemic spread throughout the “earth” as prophesied in the text of the first vial, which would represent the former lands of the Roman Empire and targeted at the first arriving on ships in Italy and spreading through the Holy Roman Empire. This was the largest pandemic in history and caused the death toll to reach abut 35 million people in Europe, which at the time was about one-third of the population that would perish to do the plague. Overall in Europe and Asia, about 75 to 200 million people died from this scourge. The Black Death would be the first vial of wrath poured on the late middle ages, and it’s disastrous effects would have a profound shaping of the events in European History from a social, economic and religious perspective.
Fall of Constantinople in 1453 AD
Vial #2 – Ottoman Empire Military Advances and Conversion of Christians
Revelation 16:3 – “And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea .”
It was previously explained that in many chapters and verses in the apocalypse, the “earth” represents the center of the great empire and civilization when John wrote the Apocalypse, and would represent the lands in Europe, middle East and North Africa based around the Mediterranean Sea. This reference to the “sea” is describing the moral waters and not a physical sea or ocean. The “sea” typically represents the barbarian regions in northern and eastern Europe, Middle East and Asia. The second vial describes the rise of a new and final Islamic Caliphate that would be much more ruthless than the first Islamic Jihad Caliphates. It was initially founded in northwestern Anatolia and capture many territories in southeastern Europe, the Balkans, the Caucasus, Western Asia, North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. After 1354 AD and the Black Plague, the Ottomans crossed into Europe and took possession of the Balkans. In 1453 AD, the Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the Fall of Constantinople. The Ottoman Empire would gain power as a multinational and multicultural empire and over time Islam would spread and gain converts. So who are the creatures that lived and died “in the sea?” The plague of the second bowl would cause many of these captured Christian lands to be subjected to a lower social status with many restrictions and taxation to the point to entice them leave there Christian faith for the convenience of the higher Islamic lifestyle. The pouring out of the second bowl would persecute the Christians in the lands in the “sea” and eventually many of them left the faith to convert to Islam. Those Christians who had the Holy Spirit breathed upon them at Baptism became a “living soul”. And the result of the bloodshed of the Ottomans is those Christians or “living creatures” in the “sea” who lacked faith in Christ “died” spiritually. Many other Christians who kept their faith would eventually suffer genocide in the latter stages of the decline of the empire. The spiritual death affected the converts to Islam. The rest were faithful to Christ were subject to physical death, but the second death would have no power over them as martyrs for Christ.
St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, 1572 AD
Vial #3 – The Protestant Reformation and Sola Scriptura
Revelation 16:4-7 – “ And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.”
The third angel’s vial is very analogous to that of the third angel’s trumpet in Revelation chapter 8 where the great star (Origen) fell from the sky and contaminated one third of the rivers and springs of water. Both the third trumpet and third vial would have similar fallout. This contamination of the living waters of scripture in both cases represents a new great heresy that would have a long lasting impact on the Church. The third angel’s vial was a punishment and scourge on the western church and the papacy due to the many perverted abuses of authority, and caused those who drank from this contaminated water of scriptures to drink blood. In the year 1517, Martin Luther would call for reform of the church of Rome, mostly driven due to his ire of papal indulgences, by posting his famous ninty-five theses against papal authority. While Luther intended to create reform and restoration from within the church, he would eventually change the water of the holy scriptures and the water of the fathers of the church into blood through new doctrines such as Sola Scriptura, believing all authority and teaching comes from the bible alone. Those who drank from this doctrine of Sola Scriptura became thirsty for blood like carnivores and beast of the forest and began to attack fellow Christians, convinced that their faith was the truth. The third vial therefore represents the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, which would challenge the authority and corruption of the papacy and transform the traditional religious teachings and sacraments of the church through bloody wars throughout Europe. Luther would be the first to challenge the second beast in Revelation 13 and open the scriptures to the common man through the translation and printing of the bible, causing many to reject the authority of the pope. As a result, the Roman church would fight hard to extinguish this lethal attack on her authority and would persecute and kill many “heretics” through various wars and inquisitions. Therefore, the “rivers and fountains” of water became “blood” and caused both the Protestants and Catholics to kill one another in the name of Christ. The Protestants were convinced that the new Sola Scriptura view of the bible would require that they should oppose and fight the “papists”, while the Catholics believed that these same scriptures required them to fight to eradicate the new heresy. Many cities and churches in Germany and France voted in favor of the Protestants. The Protestants would re-ignite a new “iconoclasm” movement and destroy many churches and monasteries, destroying icons and stealing an selling religious artifacts. The most horrific event occurred with the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, where the Catholics killed Protestants for three days, killing over 30,000. “For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.” St. John therefore gives us the reason for the punishment and scourge of the Protestants. For many centuries leading up to the Protestant Reformation, the Papacy let expeditions to the Eastern Byzantine Empire and caused many Christians to be persecuted and killed not recognizing the authority of Rome and for not “making an image to the beast.” With the ransack of Constantinople in 1204 AD, the Fourth Crusade would destroy churches and steal holy relics and take them back to the west so that they could gloat at the destruction of the two witnesses of Revelation 12 and send holy relic gifts to each other as the Orthodox faithful would lie dead in the Great City Constantinople for three and a half centuries. And over 50 million western Christians would die in the west as a result of the Inquisitions. Therefore, the angel proclaims: “true and righteous are thy judgments” in order for Rome to atone for these atrocities.
The Enlightenment of the 18th Century
Vial #4: The Age of Enlightenment and Age of Reason
Revelation 16:8-9 – “And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.”
The fourth vial contains some similarities to the fourth trumpet with it’s relationship to the sun. However they more contrast one another in that the fourth trumpet caused one third of the sun to become obscured with heresies, whereas the fourth vial is a case where the true understanding of the sun would cause great philosophical heresies which would lead to a rejection of the sun (or righteousness). The scorching of the sun would occur after the time when the waters would turn into blood and highlights events that would occur after the Renaissance and Protestant Reformation, which is often called the Enlightenment Period and Age of Reason. The Age of Enlightenment, also referred to as the “Century of the Lights” or “Century of Philosophy,” was an intellectual and philosophical movement that dominated the ideas in Europe during the 18th century. Many ideas centered on “reason” as the primary source of authority, which promoted the ideas of liberty, tolerance and separation of church and state, and the scientific method. The “great heat” of the Sun is the newer philosophy and physical sciences that reject the moral and metaphysical Sun, Jesus Christ. Descartes, Voltaire and other modern philosophers ranked the validity and authority of reason above the authority of the scriptures. Therefore, a bitter war was declared against the testimony of the scriptures in favor of reason and the new modern philosophy. This “heat” of the Sun also threatened the authority of the the Church in Rome in greater significance than the third vial’s “blood” of the scriptures, because the “enlightenment” philosophies and scientific methods denied the validity and authority of the Bible. In addition, the “great heat” of the “sun” is the advancements made by Galileo in 1632 of a heliocentric view of the solar system where all planets and the earth revolve around the sun. These new theories of the solar system were challenged by Pope Urban III and Galileo was forced to be put on trial of the Holy Inquisition and imprisoned as a heretic.
The statement: “and they blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory” reveals to us that these new scientific ideas lead to confusion in the Western Church, as the Papacy was unable to see the divine hand of science and fought hard to suppress the progress of the sciences. As a result, Christianity was viewed by the scientist and philosophers as the enemy of progress and light of scientific truth. The lights of the physical sciences were intended to bring about the repentance of men after the Reformation. However, an unintended consequence occurred, where instead of praising God’s creation and handiwork of the universe, they blasphemed God through the various modern philosophical writings (i.e. Voltaire, Rousseau), of which went on to influence and create poisonous atheistic political philosophies of the 19th century at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. These different political schools of thought would lead the world into revolution and global conflict at the beginning of the 20th century.
Vial #5: Revolution and the Decline of the Ottoman Empire
Revelation 16:10-11 – “And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.”
The fifth vial was poured upon the “seat of the beast” or Ottoman Empire. Following early military successes as a “gunpowder” empire through battles such as Kosovo and Constantinople, the Ottomans would first suffer their first critical defeat in an effort to further expand their empire into Europe. The Siege of Vienna in 1520 was the first attempt by the Ottomans to capture the city of Vienna in Austria, which signaled the peak of the Ottoman Empire’s territorial extend and push into central Europe. The final battle for Vienna occurred in 1683, and the Ottomans failed to capture the city, reversing a trend of conquest from previous centuries throughout eastern and central Europe. The empire began a period of slow and steady decline in the 18th and 19th centuries and is described as “full of darkness” to describe the period of it’s own “Dark Ages” in the empire similar to that of the West centuries earlier. The Ottomans were left out of the progress of the European Renaissance and Enlightenment periods and fell further behind at the start of the Industrial Revolution. The Western Europeans would surpass the Ottomans in military technology which would lead to it’s further decline and losses of territory. The Ottomans “gnawed their tongues for pain” as their territory began to shrink through the rise of nationalism and revolution starting with the Greeks and their war of Independence in 1821, followed by other Balkan nations such as Serbia and Bulgaria, and the wars with Russia such as the loss of Crimea. By the late 1800s and early 1900s the Turks would begin mass genocide of Christian populations, fearing their own eradication. The result of this mass genocide “blasphemed the God of heaven” and too this day the Turkish government denies any holocaust of the Greek and Armenians in Turkey, and they were never to “repent” of their despicable “deeds”. But any evil deed does not go unpunished, as we will see with the next two vials primarily aimed at the lands of the former Ottoman Empire.
Vial # 6 – Colonialism, the British Mandate and Return of the Jews to Palestine
Revelation 16:12 – “And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.”
The “great river Euphrates” is symbolic of the barbarian Turkic and Tartar tribes of Asia which provided power to the first Islamic beast of Revelation 13. Therefore, the “drying” of the “Euphrates” river represents the reduction and elimination of power of the Ottoman Empire through the 19th and early 20th century. The “water thereof was dried up” also represents the decline and drying up of the “flood” of heresy of the Dragon in Revelation 13. Authority was given to the beast for a period of “42 months” or “1260 days”. These “days” actually represent “year” as we discussed with the Day/Year Principle of prophetic interpretation. Satan, the Dragon is described as making war on the children of the woman for a period of 1260 years. So from the 7th century starting in the year 632, the first Islamic conquest would push into Egypt and Persia. Approximately 1260 years later, the final Islamic Caliphate would collapse with the Balkan wars and fall of the Empire in 1923. The Turks were found to be on the losing side of World War I with Germany, so the British and French divided much of the land in the middle east. Palestine was now under control of the British Empire. And this would lead to another significant event in Palestine that is of critical significance and importance to the author of the Apocalypse.
”The way of the kings of the east might be prepared.”
We must inquire the significance of the term “kings of the east” as it has a double interpretation. First and foremost, the British Empire at it’s height was so large that it had a global presence. By 1920 it controlled about 23% of the worlds population and about 24% of the worlds surface. The famous phrase “the empire on which the sun never sets” was often used to describe the British Empire. Because of it’s size around the world, this meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories and included lands in the far east such as colonies in India and Southeast Asia. Therefore, these “Kings of the East” would also enable the return of another group of Eastern European populations with the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which was the proclamation for the return and establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. In the midst of pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe, the Ashkenazi Jews would begin to return from the long 2520 or “Seven Times” diaspora. The Ashkenazi Jews in the middle ages shifted eastward, moving out of the Holy Roman empire into areas in present day Belarus, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia and Lithuania. It is also (falsely?) suggested that the Ashkenazi Jews are decedents of the converted Eastern Khazars. In either case, this group of people are called out by St. John as “kings of the east“, and their preparation to return was centuries in the making starting with the 16th century Puritans calling for their return back to the land of Palestine well before any political Zionist movement was founded. The Ashkenazi Jews of the East are acknowledged as having made important contributions to science, philosophy, art, music and literature and thus are called “kings of the east” noting their significant contributions and legacy. It is also likely that John calls them “kings” because the time is coming that their direct decedents will be the generation to accept Christ as Messiah and thus will “co-reign” with Christ at the start of the new millennium when they are resurrected/restored back from “spiritual death” (per Romans 11 and Ezekiel 37). The preparations for the return of the Kings of the East would be accomplished at the end of the “trampling of the holy city for forty-two months” by the Islamic Beast and the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1917 AD to 1923 AD. We can confirm in the calculations of Daniel and Revelation that the Jews would return and end the Gentile/Islamic Rule in Israel and Jerusalem after 1260 years:
- 637 (Invasion of Omar II in Jerusalem) + 1260 Years =1897 (Zionism Movement)
- 638 + 1279 (1260 solar years) = 1917 (Balfour Declaration)
- 688 (Dome of the Rock) + 1260 years = 1948 (Modern Nation of Israel)
- 688 + 1279 (1260 solar years) = 1967 (Jerusalem captured and annexed by Israel)
Time Period Between Vial #6 and #7 – Political Movements Leading the World Through Three World Wars
Revelation 16:13-16 – “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.”
The rise of Antisemitism from the latter 19th century and early 20th century would be the catalyst for the return of the Jews to Palestine, especially after the second world war and the Holocaust. The Jews would suffer at the hands of Protestants, Catholics and Orthodox with paranoia of a Jewish Zionist conspiracy. Protocols would be forged and attributed to the Jews due to the rise of new philosophies in the Age of Reason. This Age of Reason in the 19th century would spur new political movements that would be at constant odds with one another. These are described as “three unclean spirits” croaking “like frogs” which would be the last attempt by Satan to destroy the church through moral decay and modern logic. Marxism/Leninism would be the atheistic political thought promoted by Karl Marx who said “religion is the opium of the people”, coming from the mouth of the Dragon, which would attempt to be used to promote Communism over the “kings of the earth and whole world”. Nationalism/Fascism would be another political movement coming from the mouth of the beast, in which Nazism and Arab Nationalism would rise to create a new wave of Antisemitism and destruction of the Jews and Christians through genocide. Liberalism would come from the mouth of the false prophet, or Western Europe due to do the rejection of the authority of the Papacy, promoting separation of Church and State and leading to moray decay of nations under it’s influence. These three “croaking frogs” would contend with each other in an attempt to gain acceptance and adopted among all nations “of the whole world” World War I was to be fought between the forces of Nationalism and Liberalism. World War II was fought between Nazism and Liberalism allied with Communism.
“And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.”
The next war will continue to push variations of these political philosophies warring against the nation of Christ. We will have western democratic governments on one side, with Islamic nation on another front, fighting for the complete destruction and annihilation of Israel. Both of these will fight against the Christian nations of the east. What is most fitting of a place to fight and contend for the final battle between Islam and Christianity? Many futurist/dispensationalist interpreters point to the location of Mt. Megiddo in Israel to be the place of battle called Armageddon. However, the definition of Armageddon means “massacre mountain”, and many Orthodox Christian prophecies make it very clear that this battle will be waged over another city with many mountains, often referred to as the New Zion New Jerusalem. This is the City of Constantinople, the once “Great City” in which many prophecies speak of a great future battle which will be fought between the nations. The prophecy pundits have picked and identified the wrong mountain and country for this final battle! Let’s examine the prophetic evidence related to the seventh and final vial.
The Seventh Vial and Seventh Angel’s Trumpet
The seventh vial is the only one left in the apocalypse that still awaits fulfillment (along with the Armageddon reference in the sixth vial). All other vials have been historically fulfilled up to the point where we are getting close to the battle of Armageddon. The first, third and fourth vials were related to scourges on the Holy Roman Empire of the West, while the second, fifth and sixth vials were related to scourges on the Ottoman Empire of the East. Now let’s examine the final trumpet revealing the conclusion to the era of persecution and delusion by Satan.
Revelation 16:17-19 – “And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.”
The final battle of Armageddon is the climax of the mystery of God. It is prophesied to such a great battle that none other in history will rival it. The “great city” here refers to Constantinople, and there will be three primary alliances of nation battling for control of the city. In the midst of total destruction of all nations, something glorious beyond imagination will occur. “It is done” reveals the mystery of the seventh angel. According to some apocalyptic prophecies, perhaps a visible presence and audible announcement by the Angel. After that event, a great moral earthquake will shake the earth and a new religious and social order with spread across Europe and the world. We have a similar description of the angel of the seventh trumpet from Revelation Chapters 10, 11 and 14.
Revelation 10:7 – “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.”
After the 1260 “days” are fully completed, the seventh angel will sound his trumpet and reveal the mystery of God and Christ as was foretold through his scriptural and byzantine apocalyptic prophecies.
Revelation 11:15 – “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.“
Revelation 14:6-7 – “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”
After the final battle between Islam and Christianity in the city of Constantinople, the war will be stopped by the sound of the trumpet, and the mystery of God and Christ revealed, resulting in the spread of Christianity to all nations. Let’s examine the prophetic evidence of a future war and the cessation of the war by a trumpet.
The Anonymous Prophecy of 1053 AD (click here for complete text of the prophecy).
In this prophecy we have a description of a battle for Constantinople (prophecy #17 and #18) and the cessation of the war by an angel (prophecy #19):
- A battle of seven nations in Constantinople. Slaughter for three days and three nights. Victory of the greatest nation over the six nations.
- Alliance of six nations against the seventh one, slaughter for three days and for three nights.
- Cessation of the war through an intervention of an angel (of God and of Christ), and delivery of the city to the Hellenes.
The Prophecy Inscribed on the Cover of St. Constantine’s Tomb
“ And the Blond race along with it’s Agents will defeat the whole of Ishmael and will conquer the city of the seven hills with her privileges. Then they will provoke a savage civil war (to last) until the fifth hour; and a (heavenly) voice will thrice shout: Stand ye, stand in awe and most significantly run to the area on the right, and find there a valiant, wonderful and robust man, this man you shall have as your Ruler, because he is my beloved; so take him with you and fulfill my resolution.”
Prophecy Addressed To Byzantine Emperor Manual II Palaeologus
“But then, an Angel of the Lord God will descent from heaven through the merciful good will of God, and the Angel will hold in his hands the scepter and the sword of the most saintly Emperor Constantine and he will crown the Emperor of Peace. This King will already be in Constantinople, and will be a participant in the war along with the rest; and the Angel will offer to him the scepter and the sword and he will call him ‘Charitable One’, and he will say to him: ‘be strong and courageous and be victorious over the enemies of Christ and of His Holy Apostles and immediately that battle and war will stop; and three Angels will take the King and having escorted him to the great Church of the Holy Wisdom of God they will crown him Emperor.”
The Prophecy of St. Methodios of Patara (4th Century)
“(…) At that time the ox will cry out and the Xirolophos will wail; and then the horses will stand still and a voice from heaven will cry out: let us stop and stand aright, let us stand still, peace be unto you! There has been enough revenge against the disobedient and those who did not want to listen. Now, depart to the right-hand areas of the Seven-Hilled city and there you will find a man who is standing on two columns in very sober mood; (he will be bright in appearance, just, charitable, dressed modestly, severe in appearance but peace loving in character) he will have a sign: a corn in his right foot; and a voice from the Angel will be heard, make him your king!”
Prophecies of Emperor Leo the Philosopher – Emperor of Byzantium
“During a Friday, in the third hour of the day (3:00 o’ clock in the morning), while three are perturbed the third arrives first. And it is then that the Anointed One will be made manifest; he, who is destined to be revealed, will become manifest by means of arrows [arcs] and by signs emanating from the Lord. The King will hear the voice and the instructions by an Angel appearing to him as a man dressed in white, who is his Guardian Angel.”
© 2018 by Jonathan Photius