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Revelation Chapter 8

The Revelation of Yahshua Christ

Chapter 8

VIII 1 And when He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2 And I saw seven messengers who stood before Yahweh, and they had given to them seven trumpets. 3 And another messenger having a golden censor came and stood upon the altar, and much incense had been given to him, that he may offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense with the prayers of the saints ascended from the hand of the messenger before Yahweh. 5 And the messenger took the censer and filled it from of the fire of the altar and cast it into the earth, and there were thunders and noises and lightnings and an earthquake. 6 And the seven messengers who having the seven trumpets prepared them in order that they may sound.

7 And the first sounded the trumpet, and there came hailstones and fire mixed with blood and it had been cast into the earth, and a third of the earth had been burnt, and a third of the trees had been burnt, and all the green grass had been burnt.

The Roman Empire had been threatened by the Germanic tribes for quite some time, and even Julius Caesar in his own description of the Gallic Wars complained that the Germanic tribes were forever pushing west of the Rhine. Throughout the centuries of the Empire there were emperors who attempted to buy off the invading Germanic tribes. The examples are numerous. Augustus offered many tribes land, or bribed their chieftains, in order to gain them as allies. In the third century Caracalla fought against and then bought off the Alamanni with a large sum. In the fourth century Constantine bribed the Vandals with the land of Pannonia, which they inhabited for quite some time before becoming restless once again. Discussing Chapter 6 and the invasions of Rome by the Goths and Vandals, the following was mentioned, and here I will elaborate a little further: With the anarchy of the mid-third century, the city of Rome itself began to lose its lustre, and with Constantine in the early 4th century the capital was moved eastward. In 364 AD the empire was divided east and west, and this represents the beginning of the dissolution of the ten toes: the splitting of the original provinces of the empire as it existed under the first Caesars. The eastern portion would last another thousand years, however the west fell quickly. Later in the fourth century the Visigoths, after defeating the Romans in a large battle, were given leave to cross into the lands of the Empire. Eventually they were mistreated by Rome, and rebelled against the empire. Around 406 AD tribes from out of the Vandals, Alans and Suebi crossed the Rhine into Gaul and began to loot and pillage the empire, and take much of its lands in Gaul and Iberia, which were never recovered. The Visigoths at this same time raided Greece, and then invaded Italy. At first the western empire attempted to buy off the Goths with a large sum of gold. Rome was then sacked by the Goths under Alaric in 410 AD. The years from 433-453 AD saw the Hunnic Empire under Attila and Bleda, who raided the Balkans, Gaul, and Italy, threatening both Constantinople and Rome. The Vandals then sacked Rome in 455 AD. The Huns were bought off in the east with a large grant of land which eventually became Hungary. But looting and bribes were eventually not enough for the Goths, who really wanted the fertile soil of Italy and the treasures of the empire for themselves, and so finally in 476 AD they took it, when the Gothic chieftain Odoacer declared himself ruler of Italy. Rome could no longer defend herself first because the empire was completely corrupt and decadent, but more importantly, as Daniel 2:43 attests, because there was little unity in the citizenry, which was now made up of people of diverse and mixed races.

8 And the second messenger sounded the trumpet, and thus a great mountain burning with fire had been cast into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood 9 and a third of those creatures having souls of those in the sea died, and a third of the ships had been destroyed.

The Vandals, along with the Goths were indeed descended from the Israelites of the Assyrian deportations, yet it had been quite a long time in their history since they had ever been sailors or had any sort of maritime tradition. Upon the invasion of Spain, the Vandals had taken the Balearic Islands off of the Spanish coast. From there, along with many of the Alans, they crossed to Africa, and Procopius states that there were no Vandals left in Europe – or at least in those parts of Europe which he was acquainted with - in his time, which was about a hundred years later. In Africa the Vandals eventually made a treaty with Rome, in 435 AD, dividing the coastline. Yet the Vandals still did not cease from their looting and pillaging of the coasts of Africa and Sicily. In October of 439 AD, the Vandals under Gaiseric made a successful surprise attack on Carthage. He had his designs on both the city and the large port. They took the city and found a large Roman fleet laying in the harbor waiting for them. This was a devastating strategic mistake on the part of the Romans, to allow such a large supply of ships to fall into the hands of their enemies.

The fall of Carthage to the Vandals greatly disturbed both the western and the eastern empire, as there was a large number of galleys and a great shipyard in Carthage, creating a Vandal fleet as great as the joint navies of both empires. That the Romans allowed for so many ships to be left in Carthage's port while the Vandals were so close by, must be one of the greatest errors of Roman history. The very next Spring, that of 440 AD, a vast fleet manned by Vandals and their allies (Alans, Goths, Romanized Libyans, and even Moors) set out from Carthage for Sicily, which at the time was the principal supplier of oil and grain to Italy after the loss of North Africa. All the coastal towns were looted and Palermo was besieged. Ships heavily laden with plunder returned to Carthage. The powerful eastern imperial fleet responded by sailing into Sicilian waters in 441 AD, taking the Vandals by surprise. This was under the command of the Romano-Goth Areobindus, but a major invasion of the Balkans by the Huns and the threat of a Persian attack, forced him to take his fleet back home. After this Gaiseric allowed his fleets to continue plundering throughout the western Mediterranean Sea. The Vandals then plundered Rome itself in 455 AD.

The Western emperor Majorian was the last to try to hold onto the old Roman Empire against the invading barbarians. Gibbon said of Marjorian that he “presents the welcome discovery of a great and heroic character, such as sometimes arise, in a degenerate age, to vindicate the honor of the human species.” Marjorian planned a naval campaign against the Vandals to reconquer northern Africa in 461, but word of the preparations got out to the Vandals, who took the Roman fleet by surprise and destroyed it. A second naval expedition against the Vandals, sent by emperors Leo I and Anthemius, was also defeated, in 468.

10 And the third messenger sounded the trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, burning as a lamp, and it fell upon a third of the rivers and upon the springs of waters, 11 and the name of the star is called Wormwood, and a third of the waters came to be wormwood and many of the men died from the waters because they had been made bitter.

Bertrand Comparet in his own Revelation sermons identified this star with Attila the Hun. That is based on the idea that somehow the Huns were not White, and that is wrong on both counts. The Huns were indeed White, and this is not referencing Attila. When Clifton Emahiser had put together his transcriptions of Comparet's Revelation series along with a lot of my notes, I disputed the identification of this passage with Attila. Now I can do so much more effectively.

First, this passage is after the one which describes the invasions of the empire by the Goths and Vandals, and yes, the Huns. Yet the Huns had already come to relative peace with the eastern empire, and were no longer a threat to the west, when the Vandals had their maritime escapades, which we have seen described before this. Secondly, Procopius describes the Huns as tall and very fair. Procopius also equates the Massagetae and the Kimmeroi to the Huns on several occasions, therefore esteeming them to be of Germanic stock.

Now the depictions of Attila as a short Asiatic runt come from Jordanes, the Gothic historian, but he wrote in the seventh century – a hundred years after Procopius – and his main source was the Gothic propagandist Cassiodorus, whose work has hardly survived. Cassiodorus, a Roman Senator under Gothic rule, wrote his history in a manner very flattering to the Goths, who were once ruled over by and therefore despised the Huns. The depictions of Attila by Cassiodorus and Jordanes are clearly little but propaganda. However other records of Attila exist, where he is often mentioned in Germanic writings such as the Edda and the Nibelungenlied. In Germanic poetry, Attila is depicted as a much more noble character, and in the Nibelungenlied he even receives the widow Kriemhild – the wife of the slain Burgundian prince Siegfried, as a wife.

So with Attila discounted, let me repeat the passage:

10 And the third messenger sounded the trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, burning as a lamp, and it fell upon a third of the rivers and upon the springs of waters, 11 and the name of the star is called Wormwood, and a third of the waters came to be wormwood and many of the men died from the waters because they had been made bitter.

It can be told from Daniel Chapter 7 that upon dissolution of the toes, from one of them would arise ten horns, and then an eleventh which would subdue three kings. This describes Justinian, the eleventh emperor of the eastern empire, during whose reign the Vandal King Gelimer was defeated in Carthage and the Gothic kings Witiges and Totila were defeated in Italy. During the wars of this period, much of Italy and Sicily were laid bare, the Vandal kingdom of North Africa was wasted and many of the Vandal soldiers were forcibly relocated to the east in the service of the conquering Byzantines. The city of Rome was practically deserted for an extended period of time. This, it can be ascertained, is the wounding of the head in another vision – that of the beast of Revelation Chapter 13. The empire is dead, but the beast and the dragon which gives its power to the beast still live to rise again – as the Roman Catholic Church! When we get to Revelation Chapter 13, the correlations with Daniel 7 will be discussed at great length. This star which fell from heaven made a third of the waters bitter because Justinian would prevail over the Germanic peoples in Italy and Africa, and this in turn would also pave the way for Catholicism in Western Europe. Therefore, it is evidenced that this passage in the Revelation also refers to Justinian, just as the little horn of Daniel Chapter 7 does.

12 And the fourth messenger sounded the trumpet, and a third of the sun had been struck, and a third of the moon and a third of the stars, that a third of them had become darkened, and the day did not shine for a third part of it, and likewise the night.

While it is not esteemed that the symbolic language of the Revelation should always be interpreted literally, here we do have a physical proof of the veracity of the interpretations of the Revelation which we have seen thus far. And while the references to the sun, moon and stars are not to the mere objects in heaven, but rather they are symbols of organized government and people, there is still an absolutely striking occurrence which happened in 536-537 AD, which points to a certain and literal fulfillment of this passage. Of the very time when the great general Belisarius had defeated the Vandals and taken Carthage for the Byzantines. Procopius writes thus: “For the sun gave forth its light without brightness, like the moon, during this whole year, and it seemed exceedingly like the sun in eclipse, for the beams it shed were not clear nor such as it is accustomed to shed. And from the time when this happened men were neither free from war nor pestilence nor any other thing leading to death. And it was the time when Justinian was in the tenth year of his reign.” This is found in the Loeb Classical Library edition of Procopius, Book 4 Chapter 14 Section 5. By this we also know that the interpretation of these passages as having to do with the wars which destroyed the old Roman empire, but also brought great harm to the people of God who brought that empire down, is absolutely certain. Yet the dulling of the Sun during this year only represents and reflects the events as they were happening upon the earth, for after the passing of Rome, much of Europe also fell into the so-called Dark Ages.

13 And I saw and heard one eagle flying in mid-air saying with a great voice: “Woe, woe, woe for those dwelling upon the earth from the rest of the sounds of the trumpets of the three messengers who are about to sound!”

Thus ends Revelation Chapter 8, and from this I hope that it is made evident, that the historical view of this prophecy is the only legitimate view. The Chapter that follows should make this even more evident, for it describes perfectly the Arab and Turkic invasions of the Adamic oikoumenê. Here we see that three woes announced

[During the audio program I made some extemporaneous remarks about the location of Pannonia, but I confused it with Dalmatia. Here is a map to clarify things. Click it to get a larger copy.]

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