Three Angel's Messages shared with the world

Trumpet #2: The Roman Empire Divides Into Many Nations

Revelation Time Period #2:
217 AD - 486 AD

Revelation 8:8-9 "8 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; 9 And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed."

Mountain = Kingdom. The subject of this Trumpet is "a great mountain." A mountain, in the Bible, is used to symbolize a city or a kingdom. God often refers to Jerusalem as His holy mountain (Joel 3:17, Dan. 9:16) (see also Dan. 2:35,44-45). Jeremiah uses a mountain to symbolize the realm of Babylon:
"And I will render unto Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight, saith the LORD. Behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain, saith the LORD, which destroyest all the earth: and I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and roll thee down from the rocks, and will make thee a burnt mountain" (Jeremiah 51:24-25).
Later in Revelation, the seven heads on the beast are also said to be seven mountains (Rev. 17:9). Since a mountain represents a kingdom, the second head would thus be the second mountain, or the realm of Rome under its second successive political power (the Roman military). This mountain is burned, representing that this second political power is afflicted during this second Trumpet time period, resulting in it losing its position as the dominant political power (see more details about Linking the 7 Trumpets to the 7 Heads).

Sea = Masses of people. The great mountain is cast into the sea. The symbol of the sea is used to depict masses of people. "And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues" (Revelation 17:15). "But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt" (Isaiah 57:20).

This paints the picture of a great kingdom becoming enveloped by vast amounts of people. In the process, a significant portion (third) of the people are killed. The great influx of germanic tribes and the Roman military's taking of government into their own hands, resulted in chaos and fighting. It was a time of much killing and suffering. This was also a time when persecution of Christians intensified. Persecution had occurred for centuries, but serious official state pesecution of Christians intensified especially during the late third century. Beginning largely in 250 AD, persecution continued until 312 when the 10-year Great Persecution under Diocletian finally ended.

Ships = Economy. In addition, a significant portion (third) of the ships are destroyed. Ships represent the economy or trade. When the ships are destroyed, trading is harmed. The wealth of kings and success of nations were often dependent upon ships (see also 2 Chron. 9:21).

"For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate" (Revelation 18:17-19).
"And all that handle the oar, the mariners, and all the pilots of the sea, shall come down from their ships, they shall stand upon the land; And shall cause their voice to be heard against thee, and shall cry bitterly... And in their wailing they shall take up a lamentation for thee, and lament over thee, saying, What city is like Tyrus, like the destroyed in the midst of the sea? When thy wares went forth out of the seas, thou filledst many people; thou didst enrich the kings of the earth with the multitude of thy riches and of thy merchandise" (Ezekiel 27:9,29-34).
The economy rapidly declined in the Roman realm after the death of Severus Alexander (235 AD). The effects of the chaos and calamities experienced in the third century were especially shown in declining manufacturing and commerce. Travel and trade diminished. The former economic growth and successes of the realm in the first and second centuries were lost as industries fell apart, money was hoarded and property concentrated into fewer hands. "Every market was dislocated in a greater or lesser degree."2

Linking the 2nd Trumpet and 2nd Head

The same event (Clovis overthrowing Syagrius) that brought about the end of the ruling power of the Roman military (Head #2), also signalled the end of centralized Roman rule and the end of a process of dividing Rome into decentralized kingdoms (2nd Trumpet). Learn more about "Linking the 7 Trumpets to the 7 Heads".

Summary

Trumpet #2 = The Roman empire divides (217 to 486). The second time period encompasses the fall of Rome ("mountain" - Jer. 51:24-25, Joel 3:17, Dan. 9:16, 2:35-45) as central authority divided into various nations ("sea" - Rev. 17:15, Is. 57:20). This division was also prophesied in Daniel as 10 toes (Dan. 2) and 10 horns (Dan. 7). It coincides with the period of chaotic military dominance and a mass influx of Germanic peoples into the realm. The process involved much fighting and death ("blood") as the military took control of government. Rome's economy ("ships" - Rev. 18:17-19, Ez. 27:9,29-34) was greatly affected as the increasing number of Germanic people couldn't be absorbed and the army became unsustainable.

Continue to: Trumpet #3
  • 1. Roger Collins, Early Medieval Europe, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), page 12.
  • 2. M. Cary and H. H. Scullard, A History of Rome, (New York: St. Martinís Press, 1975), page 536-537.