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1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
THE MOSLEM EMPIRE.
The Euphrates is the name of the river indicated as the eastern boundary of the land promised to Abraham and his seed, i.e., to the Christ and all, individually and nationally, constitutionally "one in him." It is termed by eminence "The River," being the most conspicuous, politically, of all the Bible rivers, not excepting the Jordan. It was the eastern boundary of the Roman Empire, and for a considerable period before the fate of its Greek Dynasty, the dividing line between it and the Turks. During this time the Catholics, subject to Constantinople and Rome, were in an excessively corrupt state, "worshipping demons, and idols of gold and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which can neither see, nor hear, nor walk." (Rev 9:20)
This is the language of Scripture as descriptive of the Catholic adoration of saints and images west of the Euphrates. The Turks despised it, and rightly designated the Greeks and Italians as "idolaters." The Turks were ferocious, but more rational in their creed, adopting the one article of the unity of God, and the divine mission of Mahomet. There can be no doubt that both they and their predecessors, the Saracens, were the sword of God upon the idolaters of the eastern Roman empire. The Saracens "tormented" its citizens; while the Turks extinguished their independence and abolished their sovereignty, or, in Scripture style, "slew the third part of men."
Beyond the limits of this third part they were never able permanently to establish their dominion. They made inroads upon their Popish neighbours, even to the gates of Vienna, and inflicted upon them terrible vengeance; but, saith the Scripture, "They repented not of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts."
The Papists still continued to murder the saints, slaying, with indiscriminate massacre, men and women, and their unoffending offspring. The incantations, adultery, and thievery of the priests were unmitigated. The judgment of God made no salutary impression upon them, so that what they were at the fall of Constantinople they continue at this day. "They repented not of their works."
The Turks were a much more honest, dignified, and spiritual people than the Catholics, Greek or Latin; for it is more, far more, spiritual to believe in only one God, than to adore thousands of dead men and women, and to receive with implicit faith the absurd fables of the Romish priesthood. The Turks were ignorant and barbarous; but the Catholics were ignorant and excessively vicious: hence God appointed the barbarous to chastise the criminal. The Turks were, therefore, his messengers, or "angels" - apocalyptically; whom he sent against the Greco-Roman empire to extinguish it in a third of its extent.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, May 1853
10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.
An Arab writer in the Escurial collection, about the year 1249, thus speaks of the scorpions used by the Saracens of Mauritania:
"The scorpions, surrounded and ignited by nitrated powder, glide along like serpents and hum, and when exploded they blaze brightly and burn. Now to behold the matter expelled was as a cloud extended through the air, which gave forth a dreadful crash like thunder, vomiting fire on every side, and breaking down, burning and reducing all things to ashes."
"The wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just."
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, May 1854
15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.
There were "four" sultanies of them, whose people for an appointed time were limited to the east bank of the Euphrates. This is expressed by the words, "the four angels confined by the great river Euphrates"-Revelation 9: 14. It was the western confine of the Moslem empire, whose capital was at Baghdad, where Togrul Beg was inaugurated its secular chief Dzoulcad 10th, A. H., 448, corresponding to January 18, 1057. The forces of the empire, which were chiefly cavalry, continued within their bounds till April 29, 1063, when Alp Arslan, "the Valiant Lion," with a great army crossed the Euphrates, and invaded the Roman empire. This was the commencement of the sounding of the sixth trumpet, or that of the Second Woe; and is signalised in the prophecy by the command,
"Loose the Four Angels which are confined by the great river Euphrates."
Prophetic arithmetic is corrected by time and its peculiar events. The loosing of the Turks against the object of their vengeance, has generally been fixed at the taking of Constantinople, May 29, 1453: and their preparation consequently as expiring with the recovery of that city out of their hands, "an hour, a day, a month, and a year" afterwards. Upon this hypothesis, Constantinople ought to have fallen on June 29, 1844. But it did not: therefore the preparation cannot have referred to the interval between May 29, 1453 and June 29, 1844; consequently the loosing must have belonged to a former epoch. It is remarkable, however, that Moslem religious despotism was enthroned in Constantinople May 29, 1453, and in 391 years and 30 days after, or June 29, 1844, religious liberty was restored there, at the instance of England, France, and Russia. This was a shadow of coming events; but not the loosing of the text.
On reference to the original, I perceive that the loosing, and not the preparation, was for 391 years and 30 days. The words are-elutheesan hoi tessares angeloi hoi eetoimasmenoi eis teen hooran, &c. -that is, "the four prepared angels were loosed for an hour," &c. The preparation of the "angels" preceded their loosing; and consisted in the organization of the Moslem empire under Togrul Beg. Six years afterwards the loosing was decreed by a successor, Alp Arslan, the renowned. The binding of the Turks or Moslems being the restriction of their empire to the Euphrates; the loosing of them for a period consisted in their advancing their dominion westward until the time indicated should expire, when they would be confined, bound, or restricted, to a new western frontier. They may, therefore, be said to be bound at this time by the Danube and the Save, beyond which their dominion does not extend; but not by the Euphrates, because it stretches beyond.
The period of their advance into the Roman empire was "for an hour, a day, a month, and a time." At the end of this the extinction of the third part of that dominion would be effected. This implied the capture of Constantinople, because until that was accomplished the third part was not slain; for that city is the throne of the third part. I see no reason to question the accuracy of the conclusion arrived at respecting the above symbol being equal to 391 years and 30 days. An eniautos is that which returns upon itself; enos is a year. I have rendered the former eniautos, by "a time," or revolution. A month of this revolution of time would be a twelfth part; a day, a three hundred and sixtieth part; and an hour, the twelfth part of this. Now, the career of the Moslems shows that the revolution, or "time," could not have been less than 360 years, because their empire continued to advance. This being the greatest whole number, the month, day, and hour, are fractions of it; so that the statement will stand thus:
A Time, 360 years.
A Month, or twelfth of a Time, 30 years.
A Day, or a three hundred and sixtieth of a Time, 1 year.
An Hour, or a twelfth of a day 0 30 days.
391 years 30 days.
History confirms the accuracy of this computation. Alp Arslan, as I have said, invaded the Catholic empire A.D.1063. He and his successors continued their encroachments during 391 years and 30 days, which includes the capture of Constantinople, by Mahmoud II. With the fall of the Greek empire the progress of the Moslems was stayed and their loosing accomplished they were a river overflowing its banks, and sweeping everything before it, until it attained its highest level. What name, then, could more fitly designate this Moslem inundation than "Euphrates," the former boundary of their empire, and arising in the territory they now possess? None. Their power and dominion are therefore styled "the great river Euphrates," whose subsidence within its banks is the result of the outpouring of the sixth vial.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, May 1853