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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 9

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

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Verses 1-21

Revelation 9:1-2 . The fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star, the vile impostor Mahomed, fall from heaven unto the earth. And to him was given the key of the bottomless pit: it should read, the keys of the abyss. This is the tartarus, as in the Greek of 2 Peter 2:4. The Waldenses understood this of papal darkness, and the overflowing of cruel persecution; but more sober wisdom confines it to the Saracen and the Turkish armies and conquests. And there arose a smoke out of the pit, as of a volcano before a dreadful eruption, denoting the loss of learning, the loss of wisdom, and of true religion.

Revelation 9:3 . There came out of the smoke locusts, countless in number; and as the east wind brings the locusts, so the Saracens came from the east. Locusts eat up all the verdure, and make the fields resemble deserts; but these locusts, being maraudering armies, were commanded not to hurt the fruitful fields, nor the trees, but only the men, the apostate Arians, who had not the seal of the living God.

Revelation 9:5 . Tormented five months, or as in Revelation 9:15, for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year. Reckoning a day for a year, this would be three hundred and ninety six years, and one hundred and six days, as in Mr. Whiston. This period is thought to commence in the year of Christ 1300, or the seven hundredth year of the Hegira, when the Ottoman power began to invade Europe. That power began confessedly in the course of that year, making 1301. To this we add the three hundred and ninety six years, amounting in all to 1697 years, the very time when prince Eugene gave the Ottomans a total defeat, which was followed by the peace of Carlowitz. Here their power to torment the christians of the western empire ceased.

Revelation 9:8 . They had hair as the hair of women, fine tresses of which they were proud.

Revelation 9:11 . They had a king over them whose name is אבדון Abaddon, the destroyer. Such indeed is the character of Satan in the spiritual world, and such also was the character of the Ottoman conquests.

Revelation 9:13-15 . And the sixth angel sounded Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. In bishop Burnett’s history of his own times, is found the following ingenious note. “Dr. Lloyd, bishop of Worcester, has been studying the book of revelation for twenty years with great exactness, and amazing diligence; and has said, long before the present year, that peace between the Turks and Papal christians was certainly to be made in the year 1698, which he illustrates thus.

“The four angels bound in the river Euphrates he expounds of four Turkish captains of forces, who till then were subject to the sultan of Babylon, [or Bagdad] were to be loosed, freed from the yoke, and to set up for themselves. And these were prepared to slay the third part of men, for an hour, a day, a month, and a year. He reckons the year in St. John as the Julian year of three hundred and sixty five days, a month is thirty of those days, and a day makes one; which when added to the former number, make three hundred and ninety six. Now, he proves from historians, that Ottoman came and began his conquests at Proussé, in the year 1302, to which the former number being added, in which they were to slay the third part of men, it must end in 1698! And though the historians do not mark the hour or the twelfth part of the day, yet the bishop is confident, if that ever is known, the prophecy will be found in that to be accomplished.

“After this [the year 1698] he thinks their time of hurting the papal christians will be at an end. They may indeed hurt the Muscovite (or Russian) christians, or persecute their own christian subjects, but they can do no more hurt to the Roman catholic communion.”

Certainly, these are calculations of admirable accuracy. The Ottoman power, since 1698, has certainly been enfeebled; and being less able to move its enormous limbs, it has made no advances on christian kingdoms.


The four barbarian trumpets or irruptions of the northern nations over all Europe, were sore calamities, but the three remaining woes were still greater. The fifth trumpet opens the bottomless pit of Mahomedan errors, impiety, and carnage; for that religion, designed to remove the christian candlestick out of its place, was fabricated in hell. The great smoke betokens the destruction of literature, and the awful darkness of the Mahomedan imposture. The sixth trumpet respects the Turkish empire in Asia. Mr. Mede gives us a list of the kings who established themselves, one at Bagdad, another at Iconium in Cappadocia, another at Aleppo, and another at Damascus. These four angels were bound about the Euphrates till the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, so as not to make any great conquests. The crusades of the christian powers checked and kept them in awe for a long time. They are the horsemen, or the Gog and Magog, of Ezekiel: Ezekiel 38:4. Now, the loosings of these kings is a permission of providence to push their conquests into Europe.

This may refer to the commencement of the Ottoman empire, under the high title of Sultan. The object of loosing these four angels was to slay the third part of men; and who can doubt but they did this wherever they came. We have only to read their history to recognise the fact. Besides, this trumpet reaches down to the use of gunpowder in war, plainly indicated by fire, smoke, and brimstone coming out of their mouths. The Turks at the siege of Constantinople bombarded the city, and made it the seat of their empire in 1453, when Mahomed the second took it by storm. D’Vigne places this in 1454. They took Egypt also in the year 1517, as Daniel had foretold: Daniel 11:42. It is true also, that the rest of the men, the church of Rome more especially than the Greeks, repented not of their worship of demons, whose idols were the work of their own hands. Neither was there any reformation of manners in regard to robbery, wickedness, and war. Mr. Mede refers the seventh trumpet to the battle of Armageddon, or the final fall of antichrist.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Revelation 9". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/revelation-9.html. 1835.
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