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    AFTER the Fourth Trumpet had ended its sounding, and before the Fifth Trumpet began to sound, the prophet “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. Each of the last three of the Seven Trumpets is a woe, even as compared with the dreadful times of the first four of them. The reasons of this can be seen in the course of these last three trumpets.GNT 60.1

    As the first four of the Seven Trumpets mark the ruin of the Western Empire of Rome, and the planting, in its place, of the peoples that form the nations of Western Europe to-day; so the Fifth and Sixth Trumpets mark the ruin of the Eastern Empire of Rome, and introduce the peoples by whom that ruin was accomplished; and who are the modern nations of Eastern Europe and of Asia.GNT 60.2

    “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. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and 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. And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails; and their power was to hurt men five months. And 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 tongue hath his name Apollyon [“that is to say, a destroyer,” margin].” Revelation 9:1-11.GNT 60.3

    This trumpet covers a period of eight hundred and seventeen years,—A. D. 632-1449,—and shows the rise and work of the Mohammedans in the destruction of Eastern Rome—first the Arabian Mohammedans and later the Turkish Mohammedans. Of this Albert Barnes remarks that, “with surprising unanimity, commentators have agreed in regarding this as referring to the empire of the Saracens, or to the rise and progress of the religion and the empire set up by Mohammed.” We can not see how anyone who will read the prophecy, and Gibbon’s history of Mohammed and his successors in the light of it, can disagree with the application of the prophecy to the Mohammedans.GNT 61.1

    The term “bottomless pit,” which denotes the place of their rise, is from the Greek word abussos, and signifies a waste, desolate region. And a brief sketch of Arabia makes plain the significance and aptness of the term as applied to that country.GNT 62.1

    Arabia is about fifteen hundred miles in extreme length; is about half this distance in width at the middle; but its extreme width on the Indian Ocean is a thousand miles. “The entire surface of the peninsula exceeds in a fourfold proportion that of Germany or France; but the far greater part has been justly stigmatized with the epithets of the stony and the sandy. Even the wilds of Tartary are decked, by the hand of nature, with lofty trees and luxuriant herbage; and the lonely traveler derives a sort of comfort and society from the presence of vegetable life. But in the dreary waste of Arabia, a boundless level of sand is intersected by sharp and naked mountains; and the face of the desert, without shade or shelter, is scorched by the direct and intense rays of the tropical sun. Instead of refreshing breezes, the winds, particularly from the southwest, diffuse a noxious vapor; the hillocks of sand which they alternately raise and scatter, are compared to the billows of the ocean, and whole caravans, whole armies, have been lost and buried in the whirlwind. The common benefits of water are an object of desire and contest; and such is the scarcity of wood, that some art is requisite to preserve and propagate the element of fire.GNT 62.2

    “Arabia is destitute of navigable rivers, which fertilize the soil, and convey its produce to the adjacent regions; the torrents that fall from the hills are imbibed by the thirsty earth; the rare and hardy plants, the tamarind or the acacia, that strike their roots into the clefts of the rocks, are nourished by the dews of the night; a scanty supply of rain is collected in cisterns and aqueducts; the wells and springs are the secret treasure of the desert; and the pilgrim of Mecca, after many a dry and sultry march, is disgusted by the taste of the waters, which have rolled over a bed of sulphur or salt. Such is the general and genuine picture of the climate of Arabia.”—Gibbon, Chap. L, par. 2. Along the coast there is a narrow region of fertile land, which is distinguished from the great body of the country by the term of “the happy.”GNT 63.1

    “While the State was exhausted by the Persian war, and the Church was distracted by the Nestorian and Monophysite sects, Mahomet, with the sword in one hand and the Koran in the other, erected his throne on the ruins of Christianity and of Rome. The genius of the Arabian prophet, the manners of his nation, and the spirit of his religion, involve the causes of the decline and fall of the Eastern Empire; and our eyes are curiously intent on one of the most memorable revolutions which have impressed a new and most lasting character on the nations of the globe.”—Id., par. 1.GNT 63.2

    The vast hordes of the Mohammedans are signified by the symbol of a cloud of locusts; and in verses 7-9 the meaning of the symbol is made plain: “The shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; ... and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.”GNT 64.1

    “Arabia, in the opinion of the naturalist, is the genuine and original country of the horse; the climate most propitious, not indeed to the size, but to the spirit and swiftness of that generous animal. The merit of the Barb, the Spanish, and the English breed, is derived from a mixture of the Arabian blood; and the Bedoweens preserve with superstitious care the honors and the memory of the purest race. These horses are educated in the tents, among the children of the Arabs, with a tender familiarity, which trains them in the habits of gentleness and attachment. They are accustomed only to walk and to gallop; their sensations are not blunted by the incessant use of the spur and whip; their powers are reserved for the moment of flight and pursuit; but no sooner do they feel the touch of the hand or the stirrup, than they dart away with the swiftness of the wind.”GNT 64.2

    “And on their heads were, as it were, crowns like gold.” When Mahomet entered Medina (A. D. 622), and was first received as its prince, “a turban was unfurled before him to supply the deficiency of a standard.” The turbans of the Saracens, like unto a coronet, were their ornament and their boast. The rich booty abundantly supplied and frequently renewed them. To assume the turban, is proverbially to turn Mussulman. And the Arabs were distinguished by the miters which they wore, in which yellow was the most prominent color.GNT 65.1

    The Mohammedan era began July 16, A. D. 622. In the ten years that passed between that date and the day of his death, June 7, A. D. 632, Mahomet made the conquest, and secured the allegiance, of Arabia. He was immediately succeeded by Abubeker as Khalif, Caliph, or Commander of the Faithful; and with his accession the real conquests and spread of Mohammedanism began. And as to that which “was commanded them,” it is found in the speech of Abubeker to the first army of Mohammedans that he sent forth. For “no sooner had Abubeker restored the unity of faith and government than he dispatched a circular letter to the Arabian tribes” as follows:—GNT 65.2

    “This is to acquaint you that I intend to send the true believers into Syria to take it out of the hands of the infidels, and I would have you know that the fighting for religion is an act of obedience to God.”GNT 65.3

    “His messengers returned with the tidings of pious and martial ardor, which they had kindled in every province; the camp of Medina was successively filled with the intrepid bands of the Saracens, who panted for action, complained of the heat of the season and the scarcity of provisions, and accused, with impatient murmurs, the delays of the caliph. As soon as their numbers were complete, Abubeker ascended the hill, reviewed the men, the horses, and the arms, and poured forth a fervent prayer for the success of their undertaking. His instructions to the chiefs of the Syrians were inspired by the warlike fanaticism which advances to seize, and affects to despise, the objects of earthly ambition.”GNT 65.4

    To the assembled hosts, Abubeker said:—GNT 66.1

    “Remember that you are always in the presence of God, on the verge of death, in the assurance of judgment, and the hope of paradise. Avoid injustice and oppression, consult with your brethren, and study to preserve the love and confidence of your troops. When you fight the battle of the Lord, acquit yourselves like men, without turning your backs; but let not your victory be stained with the blood of women and children. Destroy no palm trees nor burn any fields of corn. Cut down no fruit trees, nor do any mischief to cattle, only such as you kill to eat. When you make any covenant or article, stand to it, and be as good as your word. As you go on, you will find some religious persons who live retired in monasteries, and propose to themselves to serve God that way: let them alone, and neither kill them nor burn their monasteries. And you will find another sort of people, that belong to the synagogue of Satan, who have shaven crowns; be sure you cleave their skulls, and give them no quarter till they either turn Mohammedan or pay tribute.”—“Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” Chap. LI, par. 10.GNT 66.2

    Abubeker died, July 24, A. D. 634, and was succeeded by Omar; and in the ten years of his administration, “the Saracens reduced to his obedience thirty-six thousand cities or castles, destroyed four thousand churches or temples of the unbelievers, and erected fourteen hundred mosques, for the exercise of the religion of Mahomet. One hundred years after his flight from Mecca, the arms and the reign of his successors extended from India to the Atlantic Ocean, over the various and distant provinces which may be comprised under the names of, I. Persia; II. Syria; III. Egypt; IV. Africa; and V. Spain.”—Id., Chap. LI, par. 3. The consequence was that “at the end of the first century of the Hegira, the Caliphs were the most potent and absolute monarchs of the globe ....GNT 67.1

    “Under the last of the Ommiades [A. D. 750], the Arabic Empire extended two hundred days’ journey from east to west, from the confines of Tartary and India to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. And if we retrench the sleeve of the robe, as it is styled by their writers, the long and narrow province of Africa, the solid and compact dominion from Fargana to Aden. from Tarsus to Surat, will spread on every side to the measure of four or five months of the march of a caravan. We should vainly seek the indissoluble union and easy obedience of Augustus and the Autonines; but the progress of the Mahometan religion diffused over this ample space a general resemblance of manners and opinions. The language and laws of the Koran were studied with equal devotion at Samarcand and Seville; the Moor and the Indian embraced as countrymen and brothers in the pilgrimage of Mecca; and the Arabian language was adopted as the popular idiom in all the provinces to the westward of the Tigris.”—Id., Chap. LI, last paragraph.GNT 67.2

    And, says the Scripture, “Their power was to hurt men five months.” Five months are one hundred and fifty days; this, being prophetic time,—a day for a year (Ezekiel 4:3-6),—equals one hundred and fifty years, during which they were to hurt men.GNT 68.1

    This one hundred and fifty years is to be counted from the time when they first had a king over them, as verse 11: “They had a king over them, ... whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon [“a destroyer,” margin].” For more than six hundred years the Mohammedans had no regularly organized government, and recognized no such dignitary as that which answers to the title of king. “The authority of the companions of Mahomet expired with their lives; and the chiefs or emirs of the Arabian tribes left behind, in the desert, the spirit of equality and independence.”—Gibbon, Id. Each tribe, under its own chief, was independent of all the others, and came and went as it pleased. While this was the case, it is evident, as it is the truth, that their character as “a destroyer” was not, and could not be, such as it was after they were solidly united in one government under the sway of a ruler recognized by all.GNT 68.2

    This is made more apparent when it is seen what was to be destroyed by this “destroyer.” The first four trumpets show the ruin of the Western Empire of Rome; and the fifth relates to the destruction of the Eastern Empire. And it is in the character of the destroyer of the last remains of the Roman Empire that this power acts. It was not as a destroyer of men as such, for of them it is said “that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months,” “and their power was to hurt men five months.” It is evident, then, that this character and work as “a destroyer,” relates to the final destruction of the Roman Empire, which was then represented in the Eastern Empire, with the capital at New Rome—Constantinople.GNT 69.1

    Othman was the caliph who established the organized government of the Mohammedans; and thus it is from him that there has descended the name and title of the Ottoman Empire. It was under the organized power of Othman that the work of the destroyer began. In closing his account of the devastating rage of the Moguls and Tartars under Zingis Khan and his generals, Gibbon says: “In this shipwreck of nations [A. D. 1240-1304], some surprise may be excited by the escape of the Roman Empire, whose relics, at the time of the Mogul invasion, were dismembered by the Greeks and Latins.”—Id., Chap. LXIV, par. 31.GNT 69.2

    But when the decline of the Moguls gave free scope to the rise of the Moslems, under Othman, of this he says: “He was situate on the verge of the Greek Empire; the Koran sanctified his gazi, or holy war, against the infidels; and their political errors unlocked the passes of Mount Olympus, and invited him to descend into the plains of Bithynia .... It was on July 27, A. D. 1299, that Othman first invaded the territory of Nicomedia; and the singular accuracy of the date seems to disclose some foresight of the rapid and destructive growth of the monster.”—Id., par. 14.GNT 70.1

    Several points in this quotation must be noticed:—GNT 70.2

    1. Othman was the man who succeeded in bringing the disjointed elements of the Mohammedan power into a compact and distinctly organized governmental shape. From him dates the time when, as never before, “they had a king over them.”GNT 70.3

    2. Note the expression of the historian—“the destructive growth of the monster.” Thus he distinguishes the very characteristic of “destroyer,“ which is predicted of it in the Scriptures.GNT 70.4

    3. The historian emphasizes “the singular accuracy of the date.” In the original documents from which he drew his material, he found this date made so specific that he himself is forced to remark its “singular accuracy.” Yet to those who recognize God’s dealings with the nations and kingdoms, and who consider that from the time when these had a king over them, a period of a hundred and fifty years is given in which to do a certain work, it is not surprising that the date should be indicated with such singular accuracy.GNT 70.5

    The work of destruction, then, which was to subvert the last remains of the Roman Empire, began July 27, 1299, and was to continue one hundred and fifty years, which would reach to July 27, A. D. 1449. November, 1448, the Greek Emperor John Paleolagus died. There were rival claimants to the succession—Demetrius and Constantine. Demetrius was present to seize the throne; Constantine was absent. “The Empress-mother, the Senate, and soldiers, the clergy, and people were unanimous in the cause of the lawful successor,” Constantine. Yet with all this power in his favor there was at that moment another power that must be consulted—the Turkish Sultan, Amurath II. Accordingly in 1449, an ambassador was sent to the Court of Amurath at Adrianople. “Amurath received him with honor, and dismissed him with gifts; but the gracious approbation of the Turkish Sultan announced his SUPREMACY, and the approaching downfall of the Eastern Empire.”—Id., Chap. LVII, par. 14.GNT 71.1

    And “one woe is passed; and, behold there come two woes more hereafter.”GNT 71.2

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