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The Probability of the Second Coming of Christ About A.D. 1843

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    CHAPTER VI

    SECTION I

    We have now again, been brought down to the Great Day, and find the redeemed family before the throne of God, and He that sitteth on the throne dwelling among them. Now a new series of events are about to take place.PSC 146.1

    Revelation 8:2. “The seven angels, having seven trumpets, stood before God. And the angels prepared themselves to sound.”PSC 146.2

    This trumpet sounded about A. D. 64, when Nero commenced his persecutions against Christians. This persecution was of short duration, for Nero died A. D. 68, which put an end to the calamities of that persecution, by which, for four years, Christians suffered every indignity and torment, throughout the Roman empire, which ingenious cruelty could invent. The torments are represented as hail and fire mingled with blood. Some of the sufferers are said, by historians, to have been wrapped in combustible clothes, and in the darkness of night they were set on fire. Others were fastened to crosses, and torn to pieces by wild beasts. Thus, like a dreadful tempest of hail, fire, and blood, this persecution burst upon the church. The third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. By trees, and green grass, living soul, living thing, etc, I understand Christians of various degrees of eminence to be meant. By a third part of any thing, as the expression is so frequently used in this book, I understand a large number, but not all, or even the majority.PSC 146.3

    It is believed, that in this persecution St. Paul and St. Peter both suffered martyrdom, and with them, many other eminent ministers-I know not but one third,-also, an incredible number of Christians, so that it might almost literally he said, that every green thing was burnt up.PSC 147.1

    “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.” Sea denotes any country in a state of agitation or commotion. The sea here spoken of was the Roman empire. This trumpet sounded when the persecution of the Christians commenced under Domitian, A. D. 94, which continued to rage for most of the time with greater or less rigor, until the days of Constantine, A. D. 312, During that period, it is probable that one third of the Christians who lived, were put to death as martyrs. Ships would mean, if the figure is carried out, churches; one third of these were destroyed. We have no data to get the exact proportion of Christians and churches which suffered; but probably, if the truth could be known, it would not fall much short of one third of the whole number who lived during that period.PSC 147.2

    “The third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp.” A fallen star, in figurative language, denotes an apostate minister of the Gospel. This angel sounded as the Arian heresy made its appearance, in the reign of Constantine. Arius fell into grievous and fatal errors, yet he maintained his moral character unimpeachable, burning as it were a lamp. Although he had fallen on an important point of doctrine, yet he shone, or shed some light-if not the brilliancy of a star, yet as the more dim light of a lamp. Says Dr. Miller, “Had he not possessed some apparent virtues, he would not have been able to form so great a design, nor to have proved so formidable an adversary. He who does much mischief in deceiving souls, must at least have a fair appearance of morals.” This star fell on a third part of the rivers and fountains of waters. By rivers and fountains of waters, we may understand those streams and fountains of water which feed or are tributary to the sea. The Arian heresy spread itself all over the Christian world, and probably one third of the provinces which were tributary to the Roman empire embraced Arianism. The bitter waters of party strife were engendered in the bosom of the church, and the result of the contention was the death of many of both parties. Also, many of the churches were divided and destroyed. This trumpet ceased sounding about A. D. 538.PSC 148.1

    “The fourth angel sounded, and a third part of the sun, moon and stars, were darkened; so that the day and night shone not for a third part of them.” The sun represents the Gospel, or New Testament; the moon, the Old Testament; the stars, ministers of the Gospel. This trumpet sounded about 538, when the bishop of Rome obtained the supremacy in the church, and began to prohibit the laity from reading the word of God for themselves, or more than some detached passages, prepared or selected for the purpose, with notes. There was a state of darkness came on the church. The word of God was obscured, and the clergy were ignorant and bigoted. This event is the same as the clothing the two witnesses with sackcloth. See the explanation of that event. An angel was then seen flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, by reason of the other trumpets which are yet to sound.PSC 149.1

    “The fifth angel sounded, and a star fell from heaven unto the earth.” A star is a fallen minister. The sounding of this trumpet took place about A. D. 606, when the Mahommedan imposture took its rise. This imposture was more the work of a Jew, whom he met in his Syrian journeys, and a Nestorian monk who had been expelled from his cloister, than the work of Mahommed himself. His system is a confused medley of Judaism, Christianity, and heathenism. The exiled monk was probably the principal agent in the work of forming this imposture, and might with propriety or without violence to the figure, be denominated a fallen star. The key of the bottomless pit was given him, and he opened the pit, and there arose a great smoke out of the pit, and the sun (the Gospel,) and the air (the moral influence of the Gospel,) were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came locusts out of the smoke upon the earth. Smoke denotes errors, and locusts destructive armies. Mahommed, after he and his accomplices had framed their system, began at first to propagate his religion by peaceable means. But not succeeding to his mind, he soon began to meditate more violent measures, and to do by the sword what he could not do by argument. They, (the armies of Mahommed) had power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. They tormented men by their sudden attacks, and the wounds and tortures which they inflicted. It was commanded that they should not hurt the grass PSC 150.1

    This scene changes in the fifth verse, and power is given them to torment, but not to kill the men who had not the seal of God in their foreheads, for five months. To kill, is to conquer, in figurative language; and to torment, is to harass by sudden excursions and assaults. Five prophetic months are one hundred and fifty years, there being thirty days in a Jewish month. This change in the power of the locusts, when it was given them to torment men for five months, is noticed in the tenth and eleventh verses. It was at the time when they had a king over them whose name is, in Hebrew, Abaddon, but in Greek, Apollyon, which signifies destroyer. For near seven hundred years the Mahommedans were divided into several factions. About the close of the thirteenth century, a powerful leader arose by the name of Ottoman, and united the contending parties under one government, which is still known by the name of the Ottoman empire. This was the first government, since the death of Mahommed, under which his followers were united. and as the name Apollyon signifies, great has been the destruction of human life under this government. But to return to the description of these warriors. Their torment was as the torment of a scorpion when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it, and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. Says a noted author, “Their military laws adjudged such a portion of their captives to bondage; and the condition of these, particularly of the women, was so deplorable (being in the power of the most licentious men,) that many would prefer death to their condition.” Their treatment of their enemies “was the most stinging that could well be imagined. The appearance of the locusts we will note. “The shape of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle.” The Turkish armies were principally horsemen. Probably more generally so than any other army which ever existed. “And on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces as the face of a man.” The horses were each mounted by a man who wore on his head a yellow turban. “They had hair like the hair of women.” They wore their hair long like women, and gave it different twists and dresses, to distinguish different bands of soldiery. They fought with javelins like the teeth of lions. “They had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings were as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.” Their breastplates were shields which the Turks carried with them in battle. It is said, that when they charged an enemy, they made a noise on them like the noise of chariot wheels. “They had tails like the tails of scorpions.” Each Turkish horseman had a scimitar hung at his wrist, with which they were so expert, as that, when engaged in close combat, they would sever a man’s or even a horse’s head at a blow.PSC 151.1

    It was given them after the rise of the Ottoman empire, to torment or harass and weaken men (the Roman empire in the east) five months. If these are prophetic months as is probable, it would be one hundred and fifty years. But when did that empire rise? Mr. Miller has fixed on A. D. 1298. Others, among whom is Gibbon, in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 1299. He says—Othman first invaded the territory of Nicomedia on the 27th of July, 1299. He also remarks on the singular accuracy of the date, a circumstance not often found in the history of those times. He says—“The singular accuracy with which this even, is given, seems to indicate some foresight of the rapid growth of the monster.”PSC 153.1

    If we date the origin of this empire in 1299, the hundred and fifty years would end 1449. During that length of time, the eastern empire of Rome was harassed beyond measure by the Ottoman power, but was not subjected entirely to it. The year 1448, Amurath the Turkish sultan, besieged Coria, one of the strongest cities in the Roman empire. The end of the five months would come the next year. We should naturally look for some great defeat of the Christian emperor’s army. But was it so? So far from it, that after a long summer’s siege and a great loss of men, the fall coming on and rains setting in, the Turks raised the siege and retired. The empire was now left in peace. One would be almost inclined to think the word of prophecy must now fail.PSC 154.1

    But the time came, and the word of God was confirmed by the event. “John Paleologus emperor of Constantinople, was dead, and his brother, Constantine Dracozes,*The original publication had the spelling “Deacozes.” would not venture to ascend the throne without the permission of Amurath, the Turkish sultan. He sent ambassadors to ask his consent before he presumed to call himself sovereign. This happened A. D. 1449. This shameful proceeding seemed to presage the approaching downfall of the empire. Ducas, the historian, counts John Paleologus for the last Greek emperor, without doubt, because he did not consider as such, a prince who had not dared to reign without the permission of his enemy.” Hawkins’ Otto. Emp. p. 113. Gibbon, an infidel, is so struck with the singular accuracy of the record of the origin of this empire, that he attributes it to some foresight in the historian, of the rapid growth of the monster. But would it not become Christians better, to attribute it to the superintending providence of that Being who had set a bound for that and other empires, which they may not pass? who had given them power to harass and torment the empire of Constantinople five months; and to kill or subject it to their own sway, an hour, a day, a mouth, and a year; the whole being five hundred and forty-one years and fifteen days.PSC 154.2

    The sixth trumpet sounded; and a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, said to the sixth angel which had the trumpet—“Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.” And the four angels were loosed which were prepared for an hour, a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. The four angels denote ministers of judgment. They refer to the four nations of the Seljukan Turks of which the Ottoman empire was composed, located near the river Euphrates, at Aleppo, Iconium, Damascus and Bagdat. Up to the period of 1449, they had indeed tormented the Christian empire, but could not subject it. When the sixth trumpet sounded, God seems to have overawed the Greek emperor, and all power of independence seems, as in a moment, to have fled. He, in the most strange and unaccountable manner, voluntarily acknowledged that he reigned by the permission of the Turkish sultan. The Turks very soon after this addressed themselves to the work of reducing Constantinople. This they effected, A. D. 1453, four years after the emperor obtained permission to ascend the throne. The last third of the ancient Roman empire was now reduced by Turkish arms. The number of horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand; what this number means, expositors have been at a loss to determine. But I am inclined to believe with Mr. Miller, that it means two hundred thousand twice told, making four hundred thousand in all. What makes this probable, is the fact, that the Turks usually had from three to four hundred thousand horsemen in their army. They had, when Constantinople was taken, three hundred thousand, and some say four hundred thousand horsemen, beside many foot, and a fleet.PSC 155.1

    Since the fifth trumpet sounded, there has been an astonishing change in the arms of the Turks. They then had breastplates of iron, and were armed with dirks and scimitars. Now the scene is changed, and they are prepared with breastplates of fire, and of jacinth and brimstone. And out of the mouths of the horses, proceeded fire, and smoke, and brimstone. Their power was in their mouth and tail; their tails were like serpents; long, cylindrical instruments like serpents with heads in them, (bullets) with which they did hurt. This description has long been considered by expositors as a description of fire arms and gunpowder. And, indeed, I do not know how any one who knew nothing of such instruments, could describe them more clearly. The design of these plagues is stated in the twentieth verse. It was to lead the people on whom these plagues were inflicted, to repent of their sins and break them of devil worship, etc. But they did not repent, neither of their murders, nor their sorceries, nor fornications, nor of their thefts. They, like most on whom the judgments of God fall, remain impenitent to this day; and the Turks continue to oppress them.PSC 156.1

    But when will this power be overthrown? According to the calculations already made, that the five months ended 1449, the hour, fifteen days, the day, one year, the month, thirty years, and the year, three hundred and sixty years; in all, three hundred and ninety-one years and fifteen days, will end in A. D. 1840, some time in the month of August. The prophecy is the most remarkable and definite, (even descending to the days) of any in the Bible, relating to these great events. It is as singular as the record of the time when the empire rose. The facts are now before the reader, and he must make what disposition of them he thinks best. The sixth woe yet continues, and will till the great river Euphrates is dried up, and the seventh trumpet sounds.PSC 157.1

    Chapter 10. We are here presented with new scenes. A mighty angel from heaven, clothed with a cloud; and a rainbow on his head, and his face shining as the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire. In his hand was a little book open; he set his right foot on the sea and his left on the land, and cried as when a lion roareth. Seven thunders then uttered their voices, and John was about to write. But a voice from heaven said—“Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.” “And the angel which I saw stand on the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven and the things that these are therein, and the earth and the things that therein are, and the sea and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer. But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.”PSC 158.1

    There shall be time no longer. This scene is to take place immediately after the end of the three hundred and ninety-one years and fifteen days, or the drying up of the great river Euphrates. There shall be no more season of mercy; for in the days of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God shall be finished. The great mystery of salvation by faith shall be ended, and the year of his redeemed will come.PSC 158.2

    Reader, are you prepared for that event? Have you on a wedding garment? Have you your lamp trimmed and oil in your vessel? O be wise now, for then the master will have shut to the door.PSC 159.1

    The divine apostle now almost began to imagine his work done. But he heard the voice from heaven the second time, saying, “Go and take the little book, which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. And I went unto the angel and said, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey, and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, Thou must prophecy again before many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.” These events were distant, and John’s prophecy of them must go through all the earth.PSC 159.2

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