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The Book of Daniel – Number One Hundred Eight

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Unveiling Prophetic Symbolism: A Comprehensive Analysis of the Seven Trumpets in Revelation

 

Key Takeaways

William Miller, a prominent figure in the advent movement, provided significant insights into the prophetic symbols found in the book of Revelation, particularly regarding the seven churches, seven seals, and seven trumpets. He correlated these symbols with the historical progression of pagan and papal powers, laying the groundwork for understanding the internal and external history of the Christian Church. While Miller’s interpretations were foundational, subsequent scholars like Uriah Smith expanded upon them, albeit with some discrepancies. Smith’s work, notably “Daniel and Revelation,” though not on par with inspired writings, was endorsed by Ellen G. White for its instructive value. This article delves into Smith’s examination of the seven trumpets, showcasing how they symbolize significant political and warlike events throughout history, from the fall of pagan Rome to the rise of papal dominance and beyond. By dissecting Smith’s analysis, we gain a deeper understanding of the intricate prophetic tapestry woven into the book of Revelation, shedding light on past fulfillments and anticipating future events, including the impending judgment upon Modern Rome.

  • Millerite Prophetic Logic: William Miller’s interpretation of the seven trumpets laid the foundation for understanding prophetic symbols, aligning them with historical events from the early Christian era to the present day.
  • Uriah Smith’s Contribution: Despite some inaccuracies, Uriah Smith’s work “Daniel and Revelation” provides valuable insights into prophetic symbolism, endorsed by Ellen G. White for its instructive content.
  • Interpretation of the Seven Trumpets: Smith’s analysis of the seven trumpets reveals them as representing pivotal moments in history, from the decline of pagan Rome to the tumultuous reign of papal authority.
  • Symbolism of the Trumpets: Each trumpet blast symbolizes specific judgments upon Rome, with historical figures like Alaric, Genseric, and Attila representing divine retribution upon the Roman Empire.
  • Foreshadowing Future Events: The triple application of the three Woes in Revelation hints at future calamities, including the impending judgment upon Modern Rome, symbolized by the forthcoming Sunday law.
  • Historical Fulfillments: Smith meticulously traces historical fulfillments of the trumpets, demonstrating their accuracy in representing significant political upheavals and warfare throughout the ages.
  • Implications for the Present: Understanding the symbolism of the seven trumpets provides insight into contemporary events, including the role of Modern Rome and the impending Executive Judgment signaled by the Sunday law.

By examining Smith’s interpretation of the seven trumpets, we gain a deeper appreciation for the intricate design of biblical prophecy and its relevance to both historical and contemporary events:

 

William Miller was given great light upon the seven churches, the seven seals and the seven trumpets in the book of Revelation. He placed those prophetic symbols with the framework of the two desolating powers of paganism followed by papalism. He did not see every prophetic characteristic of those symbols, but what he did see established the foundational understanding of the internal history and external history of God’s church from the time of apostles until the end of the world. The internal history was represented by the churches, and the churches’ external history was represented by the seals. He saw that the trumpets were symbols of God’s judgment upon Rome, that typified God’s judgment upon Rome at the end of the world, though he did not see that Rome at the end of the world was made up of a threefold union.

The book written by Uriah Smith titled “Daniel and Revelation”, contains some erroneous ideas, but it was identified by Sister White as, “God’s helping hand.” She identified that it should be circulated along with “The Great Controversy”, “Patriarchs and Prophets”, and “The Desire of Ages”. Her strong endorsement did not mean that the book was on the same inspired level as her books, but that the book contained “grand instruction,” and had been responsible for “bringing many precious souls to a knowledge of the truth.”

The book employs Millerite prophetic logic, accompanied with concepts of prophecy that were unseen before October 22, 1844. We will refer to passages in the book as we set forth the triple application of the three Woes.

Miller stated that the “seven trumpets are a history of seven peculiar and heavy judgments sent upon the earth, or Roman kingdom.” The first four trumpets represent the judgments that were brought upon pagan Rome, and the fifth and sixth trumpets were God’s judgments that were brought upon papal Rome, but Miller would not have recognized that the seventh trumpet represented God’s judgment upon Modern Rome. Speaking of the seven seals and seven trumpets of Revelation, Uriah Smith wrote:

“Having taken the book, the Lamb proceeds at once to open the seals; and the attention of the apostle is called to the scenes that transpire under each seal. The number seven has already been noticed as denoting in the Scriptures completeness and perfection. The seven seals therefore embrace the whole of a certain class of events, reaching down perhaps to the time of Constantine, and the seven trumpets another series from that time farther on, cannot be correct. The trumpets denote a series of events which transpire contemporaneously with the events of the seals, but of an entirely different character. A trumpet is a symbol of war; hence the trumpets denote great political commotions to take place among the nations during the gospel age. The seals denote events of a religious character, and contain the history of the church from the opening of the Christian era to the coming of Christ.” Uriah Smith, Daniel and Revelation, 431.

 

A trumpet is a symbol of war and political commotion. Speaking of verse two of chapter eight of Revelation Smith states:

“‘VERSE 2. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.’

“This verse introduces a new and distinct series of events. In the seals we have had the history of the church during what is called the gospel dispensation. In the seven trumpets, now introduced, we have the principal political and warlike events which were to transpire during the same time.” Uriah Smith, Daniel and Revelation, 476.

 

The seventh seal is opened in the first six verses of Revelation chapter eight, and in the backdrop of the opening of the seventh seal, seven angels with seven trumpets are prepared to blow.

And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. Revelation 8:1–6.

 

There is a prophetic anomaly that we have been identifying in  previous articles, but which we have not yet specifically addressed its particular prophetic phenomenon. That anomaly is that symbols that represent a sequence of waymarks in prophetic history, are all brought together in the conclusion of the history they represent. We have shown that the four generations of Laodicean Adventism that is represented by the four abominations of Ezekiel chapter eight marked specific waymarks, but that each of them, as a test, repeat in the history of the sealing of the one hundred and forty-four thousand. This anomaly is also found in the seven trumpets, for though they represent specific judgments upon pagan, papal and Modern Rome, they all come together again when the Executive Judgment upon Modern Rome begins at the soon-coming Sunday law.

The seven trumpets have specific dates when they were fulfilled in the past, but Sister White also places the seven angels with seven trumpets in Revelation chapter eight, in the history of the soon coming Sunday law.

“‘And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, Holy and true, doest Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them [They were pronounced pure and holy]; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled’ [Revelation 6:9–11]. Here were scenes presented to John that were not in reality but that which would be in a period of time in the future.

Revelation 8:1–4 quoted.” Manuscript Releases, volume 20, 197.

 

In the previous passage Sister White applies the dialogue and fulfillment of the fifth seal to the period when the seven angels are about to sound in chapter eight, but she also places the same representation at the history of the two voices of Revelation chapter eighteen.

“When the fifth seal was opened, John the Revelator in vision saw beneath the altar the company that were slain for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. After this came the scenes described in the eighteenth of Revelation, when those who are faithful and true are called out from Babylon. [Revelation 18:1–5, quoted.]” Manuscript Releases, volume 20, 14.

 

The seven trumpets represent God’s judgment in the history of pagan, papal and Modern Rome, but they are also represented in the history of September 11, 2001, and the second voice of the soon-coming Sunday law. After addressing the first six verses of Revelation chapter eight, Uriah Smith begins to present the first four trumpets’ historical fulfillments.

“The subject of the seven trumpets is here resumed, and occupies the remainder of this chapter and all of chapter 9. The seven angels prepare themselves to sound. Their sounding comes in as a complement to the prophecy of Daniel 2 and 7, commencing with the breaking up of the old Roman empire into its ten divisions, of which, in the first four trumpets, we have a description.” Uriah Smith, Daniel and Revelation, 477.

 

Smith identifies that the first four trumpets were God’s judgments upon pagan Rome. He quotes verse seven that identifies the prophetic characteristics of the first trumpet, and then identifies its historical fulfillment.

“The first sore and heavy judgment which fell on Western Rome in its downward course, was the war with the Goths under Alaric, who opened the way for later inroads. The death of Theodosius, the Roman emperor, occurred in January, 395, and before the end of the winter the Goths under Alaric were in arms against the empire. {1897 UrS, DAR 478.3}

“The first invasion under Alaric ravaged Thrace, Macedonia, Attica, and the Peloponnesus, but did not reach the city of Rome. On his second invasion, however, the Gothic chieftain crossed the Alps and the Apennines and appeared before the walls of the ‘eternal city,’ which soon fell a prey to the fury of the barbarians.

“The blast of the first trumpet has its location about the close of the fourth century and onward, and refers to these desolating invasions of the Roman empire under the Goths.” Uriah Smith, Daniel and Revelation, 478.

 

Smith identifies Alaric as the symbol of God’s judgment upon pagan Rome represented by the first trumpet. Each of the trumpets have a historical figure that represents the trumpet, Alaric represents the arrival of the first trumpet from the end of the fourth century. Miller could not have seen that this trumpet was brought upon Rome because of Sunday enforcement, for Miller was a Sunday keeper. Smith missed this fact also, but Smith did recognize that the first enforced Sunday law was instituted by Constantine in the year 321. The prophetic rule of thumb associated with Sunday enforcement is always the same, for God never changes, and that rule is that “national apostasy is followed by national ruin”. Alaric represents the beginning of national ruin which began in the very period that Constantine passed the first Sunday law.

Smith continues on by quoting verse eight, which identifies the second trumpet, and then continues his commentary:

“The Roman empire, after Constantine, was divided into three parts; and hence the frequent remark, ‘a third part of men,’ etc., in 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 the Second held Britain, Gaul, and Spain. Constans held Illyricum, Africa, and Italy. (See Sabine’s Ecclesiastical History, p. 155.) Of this well-known historical fact, Elliott, as quoted by Albert Barnes, in his notes on Rev.12:4, says: ‘Twice, at least, before the Roman empire became divided permanently into the two parts, the Eastern and the Western, there was a tripartite division of the empire. The first occurred in A.D. 311, when it was divided between Constantine, Licinius, and Maximin; the other, A.D. 337, on the death of Constantine, Constans and Constantius.’” Uriah Smith, Daniel and Revelation, 480.

 

The historical phenomenon of Rome being divided into three parts, and also two parts that is referenced by the historians which Smith cites, are the elements of Rome that identify the threefold union of Modern Rome, that makes up a structure that is divided into two, representing the combination of church and state. When Smith continues he then identifies the historical figure associated with the second trumpet.

“The history illustrative of the sounding of the second trumpet evidently relates to the invasion and conquest of Africa, and afterward of Italy, by the terrible Genseric. His conquests were for the most part NAVAL; and his triumphs were “as it were a great mountain burning with fire, cast into the sea.” What figure would better, or even so well, illustrate the collision of navies, and the general havoc of war on the maritime coasts? In explaining this trumpet, we are to look for some events which will have a particular bearing on the commercial world. The symbol used naturally leads us to look for agitation and commotion. Nothing but a fierce maritime warfare would fulfil the prediction. If the sounding of the first four trumpets relates to four remarkable events which contributed to the downfall of the Roman empire, and the first trumpet refers to the ravages of the Goths under Alaric, in this we naturally look for the next succeeding act of invasion which shook the Roman power and conduced to its fall. The next great invasion was that of “the terrible Genseric,” at the head of the Vandals. His career occurred during the years A.D. 428–468. This great Vandal chief had his headquarters in Africa. . ..

“Concerning the important part which this bold corsair acted in the downfall of Rome, Mr. Gibbon uses this significant language: ‘Genseric, a name which, in the destruction of the Roman empire, has deserved an equal rank with the names of Alaric and Attila.’” Uriah Smith, Daniel and Revelation, 481, 484.

 

Smith, while quoting the historian Gibbon, who pointed out the historical symbols of the first three trumpets, identified that Genseric was the second trumpet and then said that Genseric, “deserved equal rank with Alaric and Attila.” Alaric is the first trumpet, Genseric the second and Attila the Hun was the third trumpet, which is addressed in verse ten. Smith pointed out that the second trumpet, represented by Genseric, represented the history of “428-468.” Then Smith quotes verse ten which identifies the third trumpet, and continues his narrative:

“In the interpretation and application of this passage, we are brought to the third important event which resulted in the subversion of the Roman empire. And in finding a historical fulfilment of this third trumpet, we shall be indebted to the Notes of Dr. Albert Barnes for a few extracts. In explaining this scripture, it is necessary, as this commentator says, ‘That there should be some chieftain or warrior who might be compared to a blazing meteor; whose course would be singularly brilliant; who would appear suddenly LIKE a blazing star, and then disappear like a star whose light was quenched in the waters.’— Notes on Revelation 8.

“It is here premised that this trumpet has allusion to the desolating wars and furious invasions of Attila against the Roman power, which he carried on at the head of his hordes of Huns. . ..

“‘And the Name of the Star is Called Wormwood [denoting the bitter consequences].’ These words—which are more intimately connected with the preceding verse, as even the punctuation in our version denotes—recall us for a moment to the character of Attila, to the misery of which he was the author or the instrument, and to the terror that was inspired by his name.

“‘Total extirpation and erasure,’ are terms which best denote the calamities he inflicted.’ He styled himself, ‘The Scourge of God.’” Uriah Smith, Daniel and Revelation, 484, 487.

 

The history of the third trumpet, represented by Attila the Hun, was the year 441, unto his death in the year 453. Smith then quotes verse twelve, which presents the fourth trumpet and describes the barbarian monarch Odoacer, where the threefold symbolism of Western Rome is represented by the sun, the moon and the stars. He identifies the three symbols as symbols of the “sun, moon, and stars—for they are undoubtedly here used as symbols—evidently denote the great luminaries of the Roman government,—its emperors, senators, and consuls. Bishop Newton remarks that the last emperor of Western Rome was Romulus, who in derision was called Augustulus, or the “diminutive Augustus.” Western Rome fell A.D. 476. Still, however, though the Roman sun was extinguished, its subordinate luminaries shone faintly while the senate and consuls continued. But after many civil reverses and changes of political fortune, at length, A.D. 566, the whole form of the ancient government was subverted, and Rome itself was reduced form being the empress of the world to a poor dukedom tributary to the Exarch of Ravenna.” Uriah Smith, Daniel and Revelation, 487.

Here we find another witness to the threefold division of Rome, that prefigures the threefold union of Modern Rome. With eastern Rome and emperor Constantine the threefold division was represented by his three sons, but with western Rome it was their threefold form of government. Smith then identifies that the sun. moon and stars represent a specific order in which western Rome was brought down. He concludes his narrative with the following introduction of the last three trumpets.

“Fearful as were the calamities brought upon the empire by the first incursions of these barbarians, they were comparatively light as contrasted with the calamities which were to follow. They were but as the preliminary drops of a shower before the torrent which was soon to fall upon the Roman world. The three remaining trumpets are overshadowed with a cloud of woe, as set forth in the following verses.

“‘VERSE 13. And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, 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.’

“This angel is not one of the series of the seven trumpet angels, but simply one who announces that the three remaining trumpets are woe trumpets, on account of the more terrible events to transpire under their sounding. Thus the next, or fifth trumpet, is the first woe; the sixth trumpet, the second woe; and the seventh, the last one in this series of seven trumpets, is the third woe.” Uriah Smith, Daniel and Revelation, 493.

 

We will continue with the three trumpet Woes in the next article.

“The calamities of imperial Rome, in its downfall, were told to the very last of them, till Rome was without an emperor, a consul, or a senate. ‘Under the Exarchs of Ravenna, Rome was degraded to the second rank.’ The third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars. The race of the Caesars was not extinct with the emperors of the West. Rome, before its fall, possessed but a portion of the imperial power. Constantinople divided with it the empire of the world. And neither Goths nor Vandals lorded over that still imperial city, the emperor of which, after the first transference of the seat of empire by Constantine, often held the emperor of Rome as his nominee and vicegerent. And the fate of Constantinople was reserved till other ages, and was announced by other trumpets. Of the sun, the moon, and the stars, as yet but the third part was smitten.

“The concluding words of the Fourth Trumpet imply the future restoration of the Western Empire: ‘The day shone not for the third part of it, and the night likewise.’ In respect to civil authority, Rome became subject to Ravenna, and Italy was a conquered province of the Eastern Empire. But, as more appropriately pertaining to other prophecies, the defense of the worship of images first brought the spiritual and temporal powers of the pope and of the emperor into violent collision; and, by conferring on the pope all authority over the churches, Justinian laid his helping hand to the promotion of the papal supremacy, which afterward assumed the power of creating monarchs. In the year of our Lord 800, the pope conferred on Charlemagne the title of Emperor of the Romans.’—Keith. That title was again transferred from the king of France to the king of Germany. And by the Emperor Francis the Second even this fiction was finally and forever renounced, Aug. 6, 1806.” A. T. Jones, The Great Nations of Today, 54.

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2 comments on “The Book of Daniel – Number One Hundred Eight”

  1. Patrick Rampy

    EGW said that not only should all SDAs be familiar with the D&R, but that we should also give it to our neighbors, but how few, even among SDAs today, have even heard of the book?

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