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Prophetic Expositions, vol. 2

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    THE TORMENT OF THE GREEKS ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS

    Verse 10: “Their power was to hurt men five months.”PREX2 178.4

    1. The question arises, What men were they to hurt five months? Undoubtedly, the same they were afterwards to slay; [see verse 15.] “The third part of men,” or third of the Roman empire-the Greek division of it.PREX2 178.5

    2. When were they to begin their work of torment? The 11th verse answers the question:—“They had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek hath his name Apollyon.”PREX2 179.1

    1. “They had a king over them.” From the death of Mahomet until near the close of the 13th century, the Mahommedans were divided into various factions, under several leaders, with no general civil government extending over them all. Near the close of the 13th century, Othman founded a government, which has since been known as the Ottoman government, or empire, extending over all the principal Mahommedan tribes, consolidating them into one grand monarchy.PREX2 179.2

    2. The character of the king. “Which is the angel of the bottomless pit.” An angel signifies a messenger, or minister, either good or bad; not always a spiritual being. “The angel of the bottomless pit,” or chief minister of the religion which came from thence when it was opened. That religion is Mahommedism, and the Sultan is its chief minister. “The Sultan, or Grand Signior, as he is indifferently called, is also Supreme Caliph, or high priest, uniting in his person the highest spiritual dignity with the supreme secular authority.” 2See Perkins’ “World as it is,” p. 361.PREX2 179.3

    When the address of “The World’s AntiSlavery Convention” was presented to Mehemet Ali, he expressed his willingness to act in the matter, but said he could do nothing; they “must go to the heads of religion at Constantinople,” that is the Sultan.PREX2 179.4

    3. His name. In Hebrew, “Abaddon,” the destroyer; in Greek, “Apollyon,” one that exterminates or destroys. Having two different names in the two languages, it is evident that the character, rather than the name of the power, is intended to be represented. If so, in both languages he is a destroyer. Such has always been the character of the Ottoman government.PREX2 180.1

    Says Perkins,—“He,” the Sultan, “has unlimited power over the lives and property of his subjects, especially of the high officers of state, whom he can remove, plunder or put to death at pleasure. They are required submissively to kiss the bow-string which he sends them, wherewith they are to be strangled.”PREX2 180.2

    All the above marks apply to the Ottoman government in a striking manner.PREX2 180.3

    But when did Othman make his first assault on the Greek empire? According to Gibbon,(“Decl. and Fall,” etc) “Othman first entered the territory of Nicomedia on the 27th day of July, 1299.”PREX2 180.4

    The calculations of some writers have gone upon the supposition that the period should begin with the foundation of the Ottoman empire; but this is evidently an error: for they not only were to have a king over them, but were to torment men five months. But the period of torment could not begin before the first attack of the tormentors, which was as above, July 27th, 1299.PREX2 180.5

    The calculation which follows, founded on this starting-point, was made and published in “Christ’s Second Coming,” etc., by the author, in 1838.PREX2 180.6

    And their power was to torment men five months.” Thus far their commission extended, to torment, by constant depredations, but not politically to kill them. “Five months;” that is, one hundred and fifty years. Commencing July 27th, 1299, the one hundred and fifty years reach to 1449. During that whole period the Turks were engaged in an almost perpetual war with the Greek empire, but yet without conquering it. They seized upon and held several of the Greek provinces, but still Greek independence was maintained in Constantinople. But in 1449, the termination of the one hundred and fifty years, a change came. Before presenting the history of that change, however, we will look at verses 12-15.PREX2 181.1

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