Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand; I heard their number. And this is how I saw the horses in my vision and those who rode them: they wore breastplates the color of fire and of sapphire and of sulfur, and the heads of the horses were like lions’ heads, and fire and smoke and sulfur came out of their mouths. By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths. For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails, for their tails are like serpents with heads, and by means of them they wound. Revelation 9:13-19
We will use, for history reference, Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, for he describes the Turkish invasion in great detail, and H.G. Wells Outline of History. Now no one would accuse either of these men of being Christians. Gibbon was an ardent unbeliever, whose opinions shocked the society of his day. H.G. Wells was well known as a secular humanist, a socialist, even an anarchist whose hope for the salvation of mankind lay in a one- world government run by an intelligent and educated elite. He was also a convinced evolutionist, having had T. H. Huxley as a professor of biology at university. Neither of these men would knowingly doctor their history to make it agree with the prophecy; but rather, both reported the facts as they found them.
“Since the fall of the caliphs, the discord and degeneracy of the Saracens respected the Asiatic provinces of Rome; which, by the victories of Nicephorus, Zimisces, and Basil, had been extended as far as Antioch and the eastern boundaries of Armenia. Twenty-five years after the death of Basil, his successors were suddenly assaulted by an unknown race of Barbarians, who united the Scythian valour with the fanaticism of new proselytes, and the art and riches of a powerful monarchy.” Gibbon, chapter 57.
The Saracens are the Arabian Mohammedans. Nicephorus, Zimisces, and Basil are Byzantine emperors. The Turks crossed the Euphrates in 1056, the year following the deliverance of Baghdad, as Gibbon had already told. 1056 was not 25 years after the death of Basil (who Gibbon reports died in 1025), but 31 years. Gibbon names the Turks Scythians. Josephus tells us that the people the Jews called Magogites, the Greeks called Scythians. Magog was one of the sons of Japheth, the son of Noah, who settled in central Asia, and from whom sprang the Tartars.
“The myriads of Turkish horse overspread a frontier of six hundred miles from Tauris to Arzeroum, and the blood of one hundred and thirty thousand Christians was a grateful sacrifice to the Arabian prophet.” Gibbon, chapter 57.
Now Revelation makes it clear that the power unleashed from the Euphrates would be a great army of horsemen. The number of them from Revelation, in the Greek, reads “twice myriad times myriad,” and Gibbon uses the same number to describe the Turks, myriads, and even makes it plural, as John takes pains to do.
“Very early they [the Turks] conquered Armenia from the Greeks, and then, breaking the bounds that had restrained the power of Islam for four centuries, they swept on to the conquest of Asia minor, almost to the gates of Constantinople.” Wells, Outline of History, 32.8, emphasis added.
Here H.G. Wells echoes the very words of Revelation to describe the Turks as breaking the bounds which had held them beyond the Euphrates.
To be continued …
Update: continued in Revelation 9: the duration of the sixth trumpet