What are the three woes of Revelation?


By BibleAsk Team

The Three Woes of Revelation

“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.”

Revelation 8:13

The three woes are mentioned in the chapters of the seven trumpets of Revelation. The seven trumpets (Revelation 8-11) retrace the periods of Christian history and emphasize the outstanding political and military events during each period. The first 4 trumpets reveal the history of how the Roman Empire was destroyed (Revelation 8). The last 3 trumpets (that deal with Islam) are called the woe trumpets because of the terrible events that were to take place under them.

According to Revelation 8, there are three woes. A woe represents great distress, sorrow, or trouble. The 5th trumpet of Revelation is the first woe, the sixth trumpet is the second woe, and the 7th trumpet is the third woe (Revelation 8:12,13; Revelation 9:12; Revelation 11:14).

Bible commentators like Matthew Henry, Albert Barnes, Adam Clark, John Wesley, John fox…etc., taught without a doubt that the fifth and sixth trumpets apply to the rise and actions of Islam.

The First Woe

Under the 5th trumpet or the first of the three woes (Revelation 9:1-12), Islam appears in Arabia – phase one. Moreover, the rise of Islam is dated from the “Hegira” (Muhammad’s flight to Medina) in 622 A.D. The various symbols of prophecy all point, to the Islamic Empire which established and extended its vast domains through military forces. This period escalated to the conflict between the Saracens and Islam versus Eastern Rome. According to Revelation 9:5, Islam in the Ottoman Empire scourged the Roman Empire for 150 years (1299-1449 AD).

The Second Woe

Under the 6th trumpet or the second of the three woes (Revelation 9:13-15), we read about the period that depicts the conflicts of the Turks and Muslims versus Eastern Rome (1449-1840 AD) – phase two. The Ottoman Empire fell on August 11, 1840—the exact date the preacher Josiah Litch predicted in the 1830s based on Bible prophecy. Furthermore, this Trumpet prophecy in Revelation 9:5,15 gave the exact duration of the rule of Ottoman’s (Muslim, Turks). Revelation 9:15 states that the Ottoman Empire would continue, “an hour, a day, a month and a year.” This prophetic time period equals 391 years and 15 days.

The Ottoman Empire was established as of July 27, 1449. Adding the 391 years and 15 days would reach to August 11, 1840. Based on this calculation, Josiah Litch predicted in 1838 that the Ottoman Empire would lose power on August 11, 1840! And that’s exactly what happened. Egypt was threatening Turkey and was well able to conquer her. Hopeless Turkey appealed to the European nations which agreed to protect her.

The ultimatum they sent to Egypt arrived on the exact day of prophecy, on August 11, 1840. The sultan voluntarily surrendered his independence into the hands of the great powers [i.e. England, Russia, Austria, and Prussia]. The Ottoman Empire ended. And God’s prophecy in Revelation 9 got fulfilled to the letter.

The Third Woe

As for the third of the three woes (Revelation 11:14), we have been living under the 7th trumpet since October 22, 1844. September 11, 2001 is a resurgent of the Islamic jihad – phase three. Today, we are seeing an increase in terrorist attacks from the fundamental elements of Islam around the world. The spread of ISIS (a splinter of Al Qaida) and their destruction is an ongoing fulfillment of the 3rd woe on the world. These terrorist attacks will continue until the return of Jesus (Revelation 11:15).

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In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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