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    March 5, 1896

    “The Eastern Question. What Its Solution Means to All the World. No. 1.—A Look at the Past” The Present Truth 12, 10, pp. 148-151.

    ATJ

    NO RESPECT OF NATIONS WITH GOD

    “THERE is no respect of persons with God.” And there is likewise no respect of nations with God. There being no respect of persons with God, and nations being composed only of persons, it is impossible that there should be respect of nations with God. Now everybody who has ever read the Bible knows full well that in ancient times God dealt with nations, calling them by name, and sending them direct and special messages. Who does not know the story of Jonah and Nineveh? But Nineveh was the great capital of the mighty nation of the Assyrians.PTUK March 5, 1896, page 148.1

    Read carefully the following passage: “In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word unto Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Thus saith the Lord to me; Make thee bonds and yokes, and put them upon thy neck, and send them to the king of Edom, and to the king of Moab, and to the king of the Ammonites, and to the king of Tyrus, and to the king of Zidon, by the hand of the messengers which come to Jerusalem unto Zedekiah king of Judah; and command them to say unto their masters, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Thus shall ye say unto your masters; I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me. And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him. And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son’s son, until the very time of his land come: and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him. And it shall come to pass, that the nation and kingdom which will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and that will not put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation will I punish, saith the Lord, with the sword, and with the famine, and with the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand. Therefore hearken not ye to your prophets, nor to your diviners, nor to your dreamers, nor to your enchanters, nor to your sorcerers, which speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon; for they prophesy a lie unto you, to remove you far from your land; and that I should drive you out, and ye should perish. But the nations that bring their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him, those will I let remain still in their own land, saith the Lord; and they shall till it, and dwell therein.” Jeremiah 27:1-11.PTUK March 5, 1896, page 148.2

    There are no less than five nations distinctly called by name, and a definite message sent to each one as to His purposes concerning them and a sixth nation, Babylon. And no one can deny that in these messages the Lord, the God of Israel, made a perfectly fair proposition. He having made all things, His is the right to bestow any or all as seems best to Him. And now in the wisdom of His own counsels, for the accomplishment of His own great purpose, He had given all the nations to the control of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. Accordingly He sends to the people concerned the announcement of this fact, and calls upon them for their own good to accept this arrangement. He tells them that if they will willingly accept it and voluntarily submit to the government of the king of Babylon, it will be well with them,—they can remain in their own land in peace. But if they refuse to submit, then they will not only be subdued by the power of Nebuchadnezzar, but will be carried away from their own native country into a strange land.PTUK March 5, 1896, page 148.3

    Certainly no one could ask for a fairer proposition than this. But those people were like too many others, and thought their own way the best, and refused to believe the Lord, that it might he well with them and that they might so abide in peace; and so they were obliged by sorrowful experience to learn that they had better have believed the Lord, and in their sorrowful experience continually wish that they had believed the Lord. Even Jerusalem, the Lord’s chosen city, and Judah, the Lord’s own people, refused to believe the word of the Lord, and so refused to yield to the dominion of Nebuchadnezzar. They rebelled, joined in alliance with Egypt, and sustained a long and terrible siege before they would submit. But by Jeremiah the Lord repeated to them His purpose with the king of Babylon, and continually called upon them peaceably to submit, and assured them that Egypt and every other resource would be absolutely unavailing. For thus saith the Lord, “Behold Pharaoh’s army, which is come forth to help you, shall return to Egypt, into their own land. And the Chaldeans shall come again, and fight against this city, and take it, and burn it with fire. Thus saith the Lord: Deceive not yourselves, saying, The Chaldeans shall surely depart from us: for they shall not depart. For though ye had smitten the whole army of the Chaldeans that fight against you, and there remained but wounded men among them, yet should they rise up every man in his tent, and burn this city with fire. Jeremiah 37:8-10.PTUK March 5, 1896, page 148.4

    GOD’S OVERRULING PURPOSES IN THE AFFAIRS OF NATIONS

    ONE point in the great purpose of God in bringing all nations under the sway of Nebuchadnezzar, was that He might the better bring to them the knowledge of Himself and His great power and wisdom to lead men in the right way. For after Nebuchadnezzar had subdued all the kingdoms and nations unto himself, he published to “all people, nations and languages, that dwell in all the earth” “the signs and wonders which the high God” had wrought toward him. Read Daniel 4. God knew long before, to what point Nebuchadnezzar would come in the knowledge of Himself, and what use He could make of this king in spreading to the nations the knowledge of God. And for this cause He brought the nations in subjection to him. The nations did not know this, but God knew it, and the nations should have believed the message of the Lord when He sent to them the word that even for their own temporal good they should willingly submit to the authority of the king of Babylon. In all this God was showing to the nations in that time, and it is written to show to the nations in all time, that “God rules in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will;” and that God has His own wise purpose to accomplish with the nations and kingdoms, even though the people may not know it, and though they will not believe it.PTUK March 5, 1896, page 149.1

    Now it is impossible to think that God dealt so personally with the nations of old, and yet that He has nothing to do with the nations now. It is certainly true that, as God is no respecter of persons, He is no respecter of nations, and He has His thought upon the nations of to-day, and has His purposes concerning, these as really as of old, or at any other time in the world’s history. God’s ways have not changed; but the people and nations have forgotten or will not believe that God still rules in the kingdoms of men and works out through them His own deep counsels and wondrous purpose. And now the Government and people of England, yes of all the nations of Europe and even America, have, and have long had, their attention fixed upon the Government of Turkey. The Government of Turkey is a perplexity to the powers of Europe; and the powers of Europe are a puzzle to the people in their dealings with this perplexity. Is it true then that in this great question that vexes the mightiest powers and puzzles the peoples of the world, God has no part? Is it true that this world-absorbing question is outside the attention of God who of old time always ruled in the affairs of men? No; it is not true. God is “the same yesterday and to-day and for ever.” With Him “is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” His love and care is as great for the great nations of to-day as it ever was for nations great or smell in all time. His particular attention is not slacked with reference to these now any more than with those of old. In the words by His prophets were His counsels made known concerning the nations of old, and in these likewise are His counsels concerning the nations of to-day. And His purposes with the nations of to-day can be read in the books of the prophets of God, as certainly as they can be read there concerning the nations of old.PTUK March 5, 1896, page 149.2

    THE BREAKING UP OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE

    THREE distinct portions of Scripture are devoted to the Turkish power. Let us carefully and candidly examine these, that we may see what word the Lord has for us in this our day. The only organised nation within the bounds of history when the Bible record was closed—A.D. 98—was the Roman Empire. The one only nation therefore above all others that could be considered first of all was the Roman Empire and the Roman power. This power and such as might succeed it in the course of time were the only ones that could be directly dealt with, because Rome was not only the one great power of the world, but within its bounds was also the very centre and pivot of God’s work and purpose concerning the whole world for all time. The Roman Cesar Augustus had decreed that “all the world should be taxed,” when Christ the Saviour of the world was born. By the authority of Rome in the Roman governor of Judea Christ was delivered to be crucified. Roman soldiers watched the tomb, and the Roman seal was upon the tomb, that was burst at the resurrection of the Prince of Life. Rome therefore being the great power of the world, and being also the centre of God’s cause and purpose in the world for all time, it could not possibly be anything else than the first world-power to be dealt with by the Lord, and in the nature of things, the nations which should follow it to the end of time.PTUK March 5, 1896, page 149.3

    God had in old time foretold the fall of Babylon and the succession of Medo-Persia to her place of power in the world. He had told of the passing of this power from Persia and Media to Grecia, and from Grecia to Rome. And now, before closing the book of His counsels He would tell of the fall of Rome and the passing of power from her to others who should succeed. In the line of the Seven Trumpets of the book of Revelation is given the breaking up of the might, empire and power of Rome. There are three great lines of prophecy in the book of Revelation, that run by sevens, and all extend to the end of time—the Seven Churches, the Seven Seals, and the Seven Trumpets. The line of the Seven Churches is the Lord’s messages to the seven stages of the church to the end of time, and treats only of the church. The line of the Seven Trumpets marks the great events in the ruin of the Roman power, and what should follow to the end of time, and thus treats only of the world; while the line of the Seven Seals treats of the church and the world as they would be related to the end of time, and thus treats of both.PTUK March 5, 1896, page 149.4

    The trumpet itself is the symbol of war. And in this alone is a suggestion that the seven trumpets would announce wars. But as the Roman power was the centre of all, it would have to announce wars with Rome. The first four trumpets give the fall of the Western Empire of Rome. The fifth and sixth trumpets give the fall of the Eastern Empire of Rome. And the seventh trumpet gives the fall of all nations and of the world itself. Let anyone read Rev. chapters 8 and 9. and chaps. 11:15-19; 16:18-20, and he can see for himself that the seventh trumpet ends all things of earth. The best exposition of the first six of the seven trumpets is Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” in the accounts of the Goths, the Vandals and the Huns; and of the Mohammedan Arabs and the Turks. By reading of the first trumpets in the eighth chapter it will be seen that a dreadful state of things is contemplated. Yet the last three are so much worse than the first ones that “Woe” is the chief characteristic of these. “I beheld and heard an angel 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 voices of the trumpets of the three angels which are yet to sound.” Revelation 8:13.PTUK March 5, 1896, page 149.5

    THE RISE OF THE TURKISH POWER IN PROPHECY AND HISTORY

    THE fifth trumpet, the first woe, marks the rise and spread of the Mohammedan power; and the history that most clearly shows the fulfilment of the prophecy is found in chapters 50. and 51. of Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” Anyone reading together Revelation 9:1-4, 7, 8, and these two chapters of the history, cannot fall to see that the history is but the complement of the prophecy, especially Revelation 9:4 and Gibbon, chapter 2. par. 10. This portion of the Scripture, it will be seen, views the rise of Mohammedanism and the time when they had a king over them, and then there is appointed a period of “five months”—one hundred and fifty days, and each day for a year (as used in symbolic prophecy, Ezekiel 4:6), one hundred and fifty yeas—in which they were to hurt men. And from this time when they had a king over them they take on a specially destructive character, for the Word says, “They had a king over them ... whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.” Verse 11. The margin of the verse gives the meaning of this name in both tongues, which is “A Destroyer.” And as the Roman Empire is the leading thing contemplated in the prophecy, it is this, or what remained of it, which was to be destroyed by this destroyer.PTUK March 5, 1896, page 150.1

    In speaking of the events preceding the time when these men “had a king over them” the historian says:—PTUK March 5, 1896, page 150.2

    In this shipwreck of nations, some surprise may be excited by the escape of the Roman empire, whose relics ... were dismembered by the Greeks and Latins.—Chap. lxvi. par. 13.PTUK March 5, 1896, page 150.3

    But now that they have a king over them, and take upon them more than ever the character of a destroyer, the empire can no longer escape. Consequently, in the very next paragraph, the historian continues in the following important words:—PTUK March 5, 1896, page 150.4

    lt was on the 27th day of July, in the year 1209 the Christian era, 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.—Chap. lxiv, par. 14.PTUK March 5, 1896, page 150.5

    Several points in this quotation must be noticed.PTUK March 5, 1896, page 150.6

    1. Othman was the man who succeeded in bringing the disjointed elements of the Mohammedan power, into compact and distinctly organised governmental shape. From him consequently comes the term which still attaches to the government of the Turks, namely, the Ottoman Empire. From him dates the time when as never before “they had a king over them.”PTUK March 5, 1896, page 150.7

    2. Note the expression of the history—“the destructive growth” of this monster. Thus distinguishing the very characteristic which is the one given in the Scripture concerning this very power of the destroyer.PTUK March 5, 1896, page 150.8

    3. The historian emphasises “the singular accuracy of the date”—a thing almost if not altogether without parallel in historical writing. In the original documents from which the historian drew his material, he found this date made so specific that he himself is forced to remark its “singular accuracy.” Yet to chose who recognise 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 signified with such singular accuracy as to excite the particular attention and remarks of the historian.PTUK March 5, 1896, page 150.9

    FULFILLED TO THE VERY DAY

    JULY 27, 1299, then, this period in this “woe” began. One hundred and fifty years from this singularly accurate date, extends to July 27, 1419. Then the Word continues, “One woe is past and behold there come two woes more hereafter.” And now yet other elements of destruction are to be let loose. “And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying 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, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.”PTUK March 5, 1896, page 150.10

    An hour, and a day, and a month, and a year. Counting thirty days to the month, a year is 360 days, and “each day for a year” is 360 years. A month—30 days—is 30 years. A day is one year. These together give 391 years. From July 27, 1149 the 391 years reach to July 27, 1810. But there is “an hour” yet. An hour is the twenty-fourth part of a day. And (a day for a year) this would be the twenty-fourth part of a year, or fifteen days. Fifteen days from July 27 extends to August 11. Therefore on August 11, 1810, this period of an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, would expire. For this length of time and to this date, the power of the Ottoman Empire was to continue. And on that very day, the actual power of the Turkish government passed into the hands of the Great Powers of Europe, and from that day to this, the very existence of the Ottoman Empire has been, and is now, solely by the support of these Great Powers. Several times since 1810 the Turkish government would have ceased to be, had it not been upheld specifically by those other powers. In a little pamphlet on the Turkish-Armenian question, lately published by the Armenian Society in London, we find the following statement concerning England’s connection with this matter:—PTUK March 5, 1896, page 150.11

    “We are responsible for Turkey. We saved the Turk twice at least from the doom which he richly merited. The Duke of Wellington sixty years ago lamented that the Russians had not entered Constantinople in 1829 and brought the Ottoman Empire to an end. We have much more reason to lament that it was not destroyed in 1853 and again in 1878. On both these occasions we interfered to save it. But for us there would be no Sultan on the Bosphorus.”—Page 17.PTUK March 5, 1896, page 150.12

    Again on the same page is a quotation from an article by the Duke of Argyle in the Times in which the Duke says:—PTUK March 5, 1896, page 150.13

    “It is not too much to say that England has twice saved Turkey from complete subjection since 1853. It is largely—mainly—due to our action that see now exists at all as an independent Power. On both these occasions we dragged the Powers of Europe along with us in maintaining the Ottoman Government.”PTUK March 5, 1896, page 150.14

    We do not reproduce these statements for the purpose of attaching blame to England or to any other Power; but solely for the purpose of making clear the fact that the Ottoman Empire since 1840 has not existed by its own power but wholly by the action of the other Powers. In accordance with this fact teas pamphlet truly says:—PTUK March 5, 1896, page 150.15

    “It is impossible to balk of the Ottoman Empire as if it were a nation like the United States or like Holland. It is an artificial creation of treaties, that is kept in existence by the Powers for their own convenience.”PTUK March 5, 1896, page 150.16

    Thus on the 11th day of August 1810, the time set by the Scripture for the existence and work of the Ottoman Empire as such, expired; on that day the sixth trumpet ceased to sound, and the second woe ended; and of the seventh trumpet—the third woe—we read: “The second woe is past, and behold the third woe cometh quickly. And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of the Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, saying, We give Thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wert, and art to come; because Thou hast taken to Thee Thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that Thou shouldest give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear Thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.”PTUK March 5, 1896, page 151.1

    A. T. JONES.

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