And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. (Rev 16:12-16)
§ 1. Commencement and Progress of the Drying Up of the Turkish Flood from the Euphrates.
So the year 1820 drew on, which seemed marked out as the destined epoch for the breaking up of the Turkman power, and drying up of its flood from the Euphrates. During the progress of the revolutionary wars in Europe, which we have been just reviewing, though not without an early sprinkling of the Vial, it had yet remained comparatively uninjured. For the French expedition of 1798, which conquered Egypt, was soon expelled by the English under Abercrombie; and the political state of the Turkish Empire became as before. Insomuch that in 1802 a Christian commentator, musing on this prophecy, expressed his marvel as to the means by which the Vial was to take effect; and an empire, still so populous and mighty, to be wasted and dried up. So things continued in the main until the very beginning of 1820. “That year the Ottoman empire, by unwonted good fortune,” it has been said, “found itself freed at once from foreign war and domestic rebellion.” But before the year ended how was the scene changed; and what causes introduced of exhaustion and distress that have since then never ceased to operate!
I here proceed to sketch them in brief, abstracting almost entirely from Dr. Keith, who has himself abstracted from the Annual Register: The first cause that so operated was internal revolt and insurrection. In the summer of 1820 Ali Pasha of Yanina asserted his independence: and by his revolt precipitated the Greek insurrection, which had been for some time silently preparing. In October the Greek islanders called in their merchant ships. In November the Suliot Greeks returned to their country from the Ionian Islands, and raised the standard of revolt against the Sultan, in alliance with Ali Pasha their former oppressor. In February, 1821, Chourshid Pasha, of Tripolizza, having marched from thence against Yanina, leaving the Morea almost destitute of Turkish soldiers, the Moreote Greeks broke out in insurrection. This was early in April. The insurrection quickly extended to the Aegean isles, and districts of Northern Greece, Epirus, and Thessaly; while at the same time the standard of revolt was raised also in the trans-Danube provinces of Wallachia and Moldavia.
The progress and successful issue of the Greek insurrection is well known. An eruption of the Persian Prince Royal into the Asiatic provinces of Turkey in 1821, and then in 1822, favored it. Moldavia and Wallachia were indeed reduced. But in the Morea the Greeks held the country, the Turks being shut up in the fortresses; and a Turkman army of near 30,000 that entered to re-conquer it, having been destroyed in 1822 in detail, the freedom of the peninsula was nearly completed by the insurgents. By sea the islander Greeks emulated their ancestors of Salamis and Mycale; and, attended with almost uniform success, encountered and vanquished the superior Turkish and Egyptian fleets, especially in the battles of September 1824. Meanwhile the sympathies of Western Christendom were awakened in behalf of their brother Christians struggling for independence; above all after the dreadful massacres made by the Turkish admiral in the conquest of Scio. And, just when at length the tide of success had been turned by the Egyptian armament of Ibrahim Pasha against them, and the Morea was again all but subjected by him, the united fleets of England, France, and Russia, in contravention of all their usual principles of policy, interposed in the Greek favor; attacked and destroyed the Turco Egyptian fleets in the battle of Navarino, Sept. 1827; and so both saved Greece, and, by destroying the Turkish fleet, prepared the way for other disasters quickly to follow on that devoted empire.
For, not to dwell on the awful scene of the massacre of the Janizaries at Constantinople, whereby, in the vain hope of reforming and so resuscitating the Turkish military power, the Sultan swept away some 30,000 of those troops whose ancestors had been to the Porte its chief arm of victory, I say, not to dwell on this, the scourge of the most disastrous foreign war was added by its own infatuation to all its other woes. The Sultan appealed to the fanaticism of the Moslem population against Russia: and in 1828 Russia insulted declared war. From the Caucasian frontier of the Russian dominion, in the East Prince Paskewitch pressed on his victorious career to Erzeroum. From the North, Count Diebitch, after a primary less successful campaign, in a second 1829, took the entrenched camp of Schumla on the Danube; crossed the Balkan; entered Adrianople; and in spite of the unfurling of the Prophet’s banner against him, threatened the immediate investment of the Turkish capital.
The prophetic saying was in many a mouth (whether correctly, or incorrectly, as an application of the prophecy), “And tidings out of the North and out of the East shall trouble him.” The ambassadors however interposed, and peace was made. But it was a peace by the articles of which the drying up of the Euphrates Turkman flood greatly progressed. Freedom was secured by it from the Turkish yoke to the Christian principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia, under Russian Protectorate; the independence of Servia also assured, and not a Turk permitted to reside north of the Danube. This was in October, 1829. Moreover, that same year, a French army of 40,000, having landed on the African coast, and defeated an equal force of Turks and Arabs, took Algiers; converted the Turkish province into a colony of France; and so, in that distant quarter also, dried up another of the sources of the Turkish power.
And then followed the rebellion of the great Egyptian Pasha, Mehemet Ali. The French invasion of Egypt first prepared him for it; as having taught him the superiority of European discipline, and led him to the formation of a regular army. Again, his co-operation in the re-subjugation of Greece, to which the Sultan had commissioned him, helped forward the issue. For, though unsuccessful in its primary object, through the intervention of the great Christian powers, the war served both to exercise and discipline his army, and also to show its superiority to the less regular troops of the Sultan. Thus, very soon after the Russian war had ended, the Pasha asserted his independence; attacked and conquered Syria; and defeated the Sultan’s armies sent against him in three great battles, of Hems, of Nezib, and of Iconium.
The interference of the ambassadors of Christendom was again successful in warding off the danger, and preventing the victorious army from marching on Constantinople: in which case resistance seemed hopeless, and the Turkish Empire in all probability must have fallen. And at length, as we have lately seen, England, Russia, Prussia, and Austria, weary of the state of suspense and peril to the European balance of power, arising from the war between the Sultan and his revolted vassal, interposed with their own armaments in the Sultan’s favor; drove the Egyptians out of Syria, took Acre, and forced back the Pasha within his proper domain. Yet Egypt, though now again nominally dependent on the Turkish Sultan, remains conscious as before of the strength of independence, and yields him but a divided allegiance. The Euphrates flood, which three centuries ago overflowed Egypt, has also there been drying up.
Once more, there were manifested from time to time very strikingly, during this period, the depopulating judgments of God himself. Depopulation had indeed been long silently going on in the empire, from the Turkish anti-social habits of vice and polygamy, and their political oppression and misrule. But I speak now of other and additional causes; of earthquake, famine, and pestilence. In 1822 happened the great Syrian earthquake, in which the walls of Aleppo the Syrian capital were thrown down, and 14,000 buried in the ruins: and at Antioch, and other towns and villages in the province, the sufferings and loss of life were in proportion. Near about the same time AD. 1821 the cholera broke out at Bussora, and carried off some 16,000 persons, near a fourth of its population: then ascending the Tigris to Bagdad, swept away, it is said, one third of its inhabitants: and then in 1822 advanced into Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt, with a similarly fearful mortality everywhere attending it. The plague at the same time was taking its usual part in the wasting of the Turkish population; and besides it, other extraordinary and mysterious epidemics. From the cities of Mecca and Bagdad, more especially, the cry was heard of desolation.
In the Bombay Gazette of August, 1831, the report is given that Mecca and Medina had been completely depopulated by a dreadful disease, of which the nature was unknown; that it broke out in the May preceding, when the Mohammedan pilgrims were collected at Mecca; that 50,000 had been carried off by it, and among them the Governor of that Holy City of the Mohammedan. Yet again, in Bagdad, the city of Seleucus and of the Caliphs, there where the Turk received his commission, and whence he issued on his course of destruction against apostatized Christendom, the commission of the destroying angel had been as awfully severe: 50,000 of the inhabitants having perished by the plague. To the horrors of disease there were here added the desolation of the flood and of the sword. The missionaries Groves, Parnell, and Kitto, then resident in Bagdad on their self-denying mission of love, thus wrote the sad and affecting story. “The plague prevailing to a fearful extent among the inhabitants, part of them attempted to escape into the country: but they were arrested by a sudden inundation of the Tigris, by which numbers perished; and the rest were driven back into the city… When at length it pleased God to stay the hand of the destroying angel, it was found that out of 80,000 human beings not more than 25,000 survived.”
Then followed God’s judgment of the sword. “The plague had scarce ceased, and the waters subsided, when troops arrived in the name of the Sultan to depose the Pasha; and fierce and bloody contests succeeded.” So again another Letter, bearing date Bagdad, April 23, 1831. “Surely every principle of desolation is operating in the midst of the Ottoman… empire; plagues, earthquakes, and civil wars. The Pasha’s palace is left open, without a soul to take care of anything. His stud of beautiful Arabian horses are running about the streets.” “May 5. Inquire where you will, the answer is, The city is desolate.” With regard even to Constantinople, the glorious capital of the Ottoman Empire, Mr. Walsh, the Chaplain of the British Embassy, resident there during the period referred to from 1821 to 1831, thus writes. “Within the last twenty years Constantinople has lost more than half its population. Two conflagrations happened while I was in Constantinople, and destroyed 15,000 houses. The Russian and Greek wars were a constant drain on the Janizaries of the capital. The silent operation of the plague is continually active, though not always alarming. It will be no exaggeration to say that, within the period mentioned, from 300,000 to 400,000 have been prematurely swept away in this one city in Europe, by causes which were not operating in any other: conflagration, pestilence, and civil commotion.”
On the whole, it must strike even the most careless observer, that from the epoch of the year 1820, the exhaustion of the Turkish power, and drying up of the flood with which for near 400 years it had inundated half of Christendom, has been going on with a rapidity beyond what any sober mind could a priori have anticipated: Moldavia, Wallachia, Greece, Algiers, all having now emerged from it as Christian principalities or provinces, and the Christian (professedly Christian) population in them become again dominant. Nor has the drying up yet ceased. East and West, North and South, rebellions of pashas and insurrections of people are rife or threatening; and everywhere the process of internal decay and depopulation goes on. The Persian and Curd from the East, and yet more observantly, the Russian and French, look on and watch the process. It is evident that nothing supports what remains of the once mighty power of Turkey, but the policy of the Princes of Christendom. And how much longer will even that be able to effect its object? How much longer the Russians from the North, and French from the West and South, exercise forbearance? Most truly, said the “Times” in 1853 on this subject, “The power of the Turks over their European territories is ebbing as steadily as the tide.”
And still in 2023, 170 years later, Turkey remains no threat to her neighbors while still suffering internal woes of its own. We have this news of current a crisis: Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on April 5 that the death toll [from the February earthquake] had risen to 50,399 in Turkey. And after more than a century and a half from our original authors time, the Euphrates flood remains no threat to the European powers, but at the same time the powers of the kings from the East are mightily rising up.
§ 2. The Kings from the East.
But who are the Kings from the sun-rising, whose way is to be prepared by this drying up of the symbolic overflow of the Euphrates? And what the character and result of their movement of advance, on the way thus prepared for them? This is a question which, as having reference to events as yet unfulfilled and future [as of 1862], might seem rather to belong with and to the last Part of this Work, than to that which we are now unfolding. Connected however as it is, and in but one brief clause, with the prediction of the sixth Vial, it may perhaps be as well not to pass it by: especially considering that it will not long detain us.
The reader is doubtless familiar with the predictive clause as one most generally explained of the restoration of the Jews to their own land, following on the decay and fall of the Turkish empire: an explanation to which the recent political changes , and present troubled aspect of things, in Syria and Palestine, must be allowed to have lent not only a new interest, but perhaps also an increased probability. Yet I must confess that, though a priori inclined to the same view of the prophecy, and still almost wishing it to be the true one, I cannot on investigation find clear Scripture warrant to support it. For, first the Jews are nowhere represented by inspired prophecy to be so concentrated in eastern countries at the close of their dispersion, as to be a people gathered therefore emphatically from the East. Each point of the compass is depicted as alike at that time a locality of Jewish movement and emigration.
“The Lord,” it is said, “shall set his hand again the second time, to recover the remnant of his people which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elim, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah, from the four corners of the earth.” And again: “I will bring thy seed from the East, and gather thee from the West: I will say to the North, Give up, and to the South, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth.” So wrote Isaiah; and other prophets also similarly describe the matter. Besides that the now existing state of things agrees well, and only, with this view of the case: I refer to the wonderful fact of the universal dispersion of the Jewish people still continuing, as before, in every quarter and country of the globe.
Let it however not be forgotten, that every reference here used for a future regathering of National Israel was written before the regathering out of the Babylonian dispersion, and that any reference of a part in the Millennial kingdom of Jesus with his church may be only that which is the inheritance of the true faithful who rested on the promises that would come through their long-awaited Redeemer Messiah in that resurrection kingdom. Again, the Jews, at the time of their final restoration, and on their way to, and first re-establishment in their own land, are not spoken of in prophecy as kings. Rather the contrary. “Go,” says the prefigurative voice in Isaiah, “Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation scattered and peeled, a nation meted out and trodden down:” and Zephaniah, “I will leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people; and they shall trust in the name of the Lord.” Nor does the circumstance of their subsequent superiority and religious eminence, under the millennial dispensation (if such they are to enjoy, a question for subsequent discussion), seem to justify their being called kings, on this presumed mention of them, with reference to a time before the restoration has begun. It is their Gentile gatherers and nursing-fathers that have the appellation of kings distinctively given them in prophecy, up to the time of the completion of the restoration of the Jewish people.
Of other explanations of the clause, ancient or modern, there does not seem to be any one so probable prima facie as to call for particular inquiry and discussion. I shall therefore at once proceed to state what I incline to think may be inferred from the context as its simple meaning. We have already seen, and shall soon have to recur to the fact, that the opening of the temple gate, on the, Apocalyptic scene, was one of the notable concomitants of the sounding of the seventh Trumpet; and explained it of the opening of the Church (the Reformed Church, it is to be observed), and discovery to the world of the holy mysteries, and divine tutelary presence, which its ark symbolized. Further, in a passage which will constitute one of the subjects of my next following Chapter, we read of a song of certain of God’s faithful servants, some way chronologically connected with the era and events of the Vials, one clause of which thus anticipates the coming future: “For all nations shall come and worship Thee; for thy judgments have been made manifest.” With which their anticipations as to the conversion of the heathen at this time of the end to Christianity, and the confluence of its princes and people to worship in the Christian temple, all prophecy agrees. “The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents; the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts: yea, all kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him.” Who does not recall a hundred predictions of similar import?
Now it is almost needless to say that Mahommedism, reigning and supreme, had been the most formidable obstruction to the Christianization of the Eastern world; that is, in the symbolic phraseology of the Apocalypse, to its entering within the opened gates of the Temple, and worshiping: or again, that the Turkish power has been the greatest bulwark to the Mohammedan religion. By its law, until quite of late, it was death to a Muslim to apostatize from his faith, and become Christian; and examples not a few, even in recent times, have occurred to illustrate it. Besides that the furious popular bigotry against such conversions, in all but a few of the more Westernized parts of the Empire, still continues. Also, what then so signal a removal of obstructions to the Christianization of a great part of the East as the drying up of the flood of the Turkman host and power? What so notable a preparation of the way for princes and peoples from the East, like the Magi from the sun rising of old, to come to the Christian temple, and enter, and worship? Such seems to me a sufficient and not improbable consequence of the clause.
However, now entering upon the 21st century, has seen a 50-year shift in wealth and power from America (the 7th Beast, having already accomplished its prophetic destiny, see chapter IX) at its height of wealth, power, and world influence, this shift in wealth and power to China and the nations of the East, so that by 2023 the wealth and influence of the former is noticeably dwindling at the same time that especially China and India are rising. The question which must now be asked is this: What is it “that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared” exactly for? The terminal clause of the 6th vial text gives the answer, that with “the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” After which the 7th vial is to be poured out.
Compare on the figure here used Ezek. xxx. 12, ” I will make the rivers dry” said of Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest of Egypt: also Isa. xliv. 27, “That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry thy rivers:” – the figure being taken from the overflowing Nile in the one case, the overflowing Euphrates in the other. Tillinghast, a commentator who wrote 200 years ago, thus expounded the symbol in this Vial of the Turks. “By the river Euphrates we are to understand the Ottoman or Turkish empire. It is called the great river because of the multitude of people and nations therein. The people who at this present time are of all others accounted the greatest are the Turks; who therefore, and no other, are here to be understood; especially as the Euphrates in Rev. ix., under the sounding of the 6th Trumpet, by general consent of expositors has reference to the Turkish power.” (ap. Bickersteth’s Divine Warning, p. 13.).
The dates were as follows. In May, 1798, the French expedition sailed: in July it took Alexandria: then, in the same month, followed the battle of the Pyramids, and capture of Cairo.
“By what means the Turkish empire shall be reduced to this helpless state (an empire formerly distinguished for its enthusiastic loyalty, ferocity, and valour,..and which is even at this day as populous as any other upon the earth, the Chinese excepted), is not intimated in this verse; and will perhaps remain concealed until the events themselves shall remove the veil…However this is certain, from the evident purport of the text, that a very extraordinary indifference or disaffection in the people to the government must take place to fulfill this part of the prophecy” (i. e. of the 6th Vial). Galloway on the Revelation, p. 258.
Keith ii. 337.
It was at the close of summer of 1821 that the Prince Royal first advanced into Turkey, by way of Van on the Euphrates, as far as Bayazid; and the next summer again, nearly as far as Erzeroum, having defeated an opposing army of 50,000 Turks. In either case his further progress was stopped by the cholera breaking out fearfully in his army.
“In the engagements of the 16th 18th 26th and 30th September the Turks are said to have lost twelve frigates, twenty brigs,and more than eighty transports” Annual Register for 1825.
Ibrahim first landed in Greece, on the Sultan’s requisition in 1825.
July 15, 1826. The Janizaries had revolted on the Sultan’s attempting to force on them the Nizam Djedid, or new system of military discipline: on which they were surrounded in the square of the Etmeidan, massacred by discharges of grapeshot; and, on their retiring to their barracks, the barracks set on fire, and cannonading continued against them through the whole night following, until there remained no more victims or fuel for the one and the other. “The next morning,” says Mr. Walsh, “presented a frightful scene of burning ruins slaked in blood; a huge mass of mangled flesh and smoking ashes.” Walsh’s Narrative quoted by Keith ii. 344.
Dan. xi. 44. I shall in the next Part of my Work, ” On things future,” not omit to give my exposition of this prophecy.
So Keith, ii. 346-349.
The dates stand thus: A.D. 1832, May, Ibrahim Pasha takes Acre: June 7, war declared by Sultan Mahmud against Mehemet Ali: June 25, defeat of Turks in the battle of Hazib, or Hems, near Aleppo: 1833, January, defeat of Turks at Iconium.
In the autumn of 1840.
Dan. xi. 40, 42: “He shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over… and the land of Egypt shall not escape.”
The Mahommedan power has also been manifestly drying up in other countries, as in Persia, Bokhara, and Affghanistan.
In 1843 so near seemed the end of the Turkish empire that more than one prophetic expositor, e. g. Habershon, speculated on a calculation and dating of “the hour month day midyear” of the Apocalyptic prophecy, from the taking of Constantinople; as if intended to mark not so much the period of the Turkman’s earlier course of conquest, but rather the appointed time for the Turks retaining their capital and empire: and, agreeably with this calculation, numbering 391 or 396 years (the equivalent of the Apocalyptic period, according as the year might be reckoned as of 360, or of 365 days) from 1453, the date of the fall of Constantinople, looked to 1844, or else 1849, as the year of their fall. In my earlier Editions, while expressing my conviction of the correctness of the historic solution given by me, Vol. i. pp. 524 – 532, of the prophetic period, as terminating with the Turk’s capture of Constantinople,*[ ήτοιμασμενοι εις την ώραν και ήμεραν και μηνα και ενιαυτον ίνα αποκτεινωσι το τριτον των ανθρωωπων. The killing, being a momentary act, cannot properly, I conceive, have subjoined to it a period of duration, expressive of the time during which the killing is to have effect. If exceptions here and there seem to occur to the rule in sentences not very dissimilar from the present, – e. g. in Luke xiii. 16, ήν εδησεν ό Σατανας ιδου δεκα και οκτω ετη. ” Satan hath bound, or kept bound, these eighteen years,” and again, Rev. xx. 2, Και εδησεν αυτον χιλια ετη, ” lie bound him for (i. e. to continue bound for) one thousand years,” – it should be observed that the εις is not in these passages.] I observed that it was possible that the other might possibly be also additionally intended: and that, if so, time would soon show. But 1844, and then 1849, past successively before the publication of my 4th Edition, without the expected destruction of the Turkish empire.
As I revise this for my 5th Edition in 1861, how frequent and anxious continues to be the asking of this question about “the sick man!”
No. for Mar. 7, 1853.
απο ανατολης ήλιου. The reader must remember that the preposition απο,from, here precedes the genitive; so that the authorized translation is evidently incorrect, “Kings of the East.” It is also to be observed that the word ήλιου is added, perhaps emphatically, to the ανατολης; which latter word is often used by itself to signify the East.
This is the explanation of Mede and Brightman. Bishop Newton gives it as an alternative; ” Whether by the Kings of the East be meant the Jews in particular, or any Eastern potentates in general.” Mr. Cuninghame, the representative of one class of modern interpreters, inclines to the same explanation; Mr. Burgh, the representative of another, fully embraces it.
This was written originally in 1843; and certainly now, in 1861, as I am passing my 5th Edition through the press, the interest of the prophecy on this account has not diminished.
Isa. xi. 11-12; xliii. 5-6. And so elsewhere, xlix. 12: “Behold, these shall come from far; and, lo, these from the North and from the West, and these from the land of Sinim.”
E. g. Psalm cvii. 3; “And gathered them out of the lands, from the East and from the West, from the North and from the South:” Zech. viii. 7; “Behold, I will save my people from the East country, and from the West country; and I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem:” also Dent. xxx. 3; &c. &c. On one of the above quoted prophecies of Isaiah, viz. xi. 11, Jerome thus comments “Ac, ne solum orientates populos significare videatur (Esaias), jungit et reliqua, ‘ et db insulis maris. Insulis autem maris occidentalem plagam significat, quae oceani ambitu clauditur.” And Bishop Horsley, on the same passage, after citing Jerome, observes that Jerome does thus by anticipation confute “the senseless criticism of Mr. White,” to the effect that ” the prophet mentions no return of the Jews from England, Holland, and Germany.”
The only possible way that I can see of overcoming this objection to the Jewish application of the prophetic clause before us, is by reference to their original calling from the East in the person of Abraham the father of the Jewish people. In Isaiah xli. 2 we read; “Who raised up the righteous man from the East, (lit. the sun rising, as here,) called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him ruler over kings?” where the righteous man is explained by some expositors indeed as designating Cyrus, but by others as designating Abraham. So A. Clarke, &c. If so the exaltation predicted of him would be explicable by reference to the triumph and elevation of his descendants, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon.
Isa. xviii. 2. The prophecy is obscure; but it is, I believe, now very commonly explained as above, with reference to the outcasts of Israel, on the eve of their regathering. See especially Bishop Horsley’s full and learned Dissertation on it.
Zeph. iii. 12.
“Thus saith the Lord God; I will lift up my hand to the Gentiles,..and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried on their shoulders: and kings shall be thy nursing-fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers.” Isa. Xlix. 22, 23. Mr. Faber (S. C. iii. 288 – 290), admitting the force of the objection against the Jews being the parties meant, from the fact of their universal dispersion, would explain the Apocalyptic prediction of the ten tribes distinctively, whom he supposes to be still, as of old, in Central Asia, beyond the Euphrates. But are the two tribes of Judah then to be excluded from the restoration? or those of them only to participate in it who, as Faber says, “may have wandered far into central Asia?”
Of the ancient fathers Primasius takes the clause as if written in the singular, King from the East, and explains it of Christ; ” lit praepararetur via venienti Regi ab oriente sole; id est Christo, (de quo legimus, Ecce vir; oriens nomen ejus,*[Zech. iii. 8. ” Behold my servant the Branch” is in the Septuagint, Ιδο εγω αγω τον δουλον μου Ανατολην.]) cui venturo ad judicandum via praeparatur: ” the Euphrates (I suppose as the river of the mystic Babylon) signifying “homines immundos,” its drying up the exhaustion of all good out of it, and so its preparation for judgment.” B. P. M. x. 324. Similarly Ambrose Ansbgrt, expressly understanding the Euphrates mystically as the river of the anti-christian Babylon, †[Mr. Jukes published a Pamphlet in advocacy of the same solution, just as I was revising this passage for my 2nd Edition. But most strangely he takes no notice of the usual explanation of the Euphratean Horsemen of the 6th Trumpet as meant of the Turks; which is the very foundation for the Turkish application of the Euphratean flood in this 6th Vial. – He seems too to have forgotten that Papal Rome is in the Apocalypse figured not only as the mystic Babylon, hut as the mystic Sodom, and mystic Egypt, also: in which last view indeed it is chiefly regarded during the five first Vial-plagues; these being like the plagues of Egypt.] explains its drying up of the diminution of that Babylon’s power for opposition to the truth; and that the Kings from the East signify Christian preachers, commissioned from Christ the Sun of Righteousness, for whom an opening is thus made; and who are called kings, from their zeal in ruling both themselves and the Church. B. P. M. xiii. 580. Andreas interprets it of kings coming from the East to take part, as actors and sufferers, in the slaughters of the great day of slaughter: – perhaps, he says, Gog and Magog from Scythia; perhaps Antichrist out of Dan’s tribe from Eastern Persia. B. P. M. v. 618. And so too Aretas. Of the later Protestant expositors Vitringa, (pp. 968 – 973,) (somewhat like Ans- bertus,) preferring to understand the Euphrates, which was the Eastern frontier defence of the old Roman empire, mystically, applies it to France, as the greatest bulwark and defence of the New Testament Babylon, or Popedom; by whose drying up, he thinks, a way would be made for the advance of kings illuminated by the light • of the Gospel. – Daubuz, (pp. 710 – 712,) in whose system this Vial strangely precedes the 6th Trumpet, explains the drying up of the Euphrates of the exhaustion of the power of the Byzantine or Greek empire, especially on its Eastern frontier, by intestine wars, famine, pestilence, &c.; so as to prepare a way for the Othman Turks getting entrance within the precincts of the corrupted Church, and pulling down the Greek monarchy. – And, just of late, one work has been published which explains the kings to mean the East India Company, as the greatest present power in the East and another which explains them of Nestorian Christians in Kurdistan; the descendants, Dr. Asahel Grant thinks, of the ten tribes.
The temple (ναος ) was spoken of previously (xi. 2) as solemnly reformed: and its Paganized outer court, being then cast out by St. John under Divine direction, seems thenceforth no more to have been recognized in the Apocalyptic visions as a part of the ναος.
Psalm lxxii. 10, 11.
A case was brought under the author’s own observation, while in Greece before the Greek Revolution, of a Mussulman (once a Christian), on conviction of the truth of Christianity, preparing to make a public confession of his faith, and to suffer martyrdom. A little after, as a friend and fellow traveler was passing by the great square of Smyrna, the head of one who had made the confession, and could not be induced by the Cadhi to retract it, was rolled, all bleeding from the block of execution, before the feet of his horse. – Doubtless many of the readers of this Work will remember the similar case of the Arabian Abdallah, so touchingly and beautifully related in Dr. Buchanan’s ” Star in the East: ” when, as Sabat, his former friend but betrayer, described it, ” All Bokhara seemed to say, What new thing is this? ” (So written in 1843.) The Sultan’s repeal of the law referred to, March 1844, in favor of Christian apostates, the result of conscious weakness in his relation to the Christian powers, has furnished a striking illustration of my remarks, since my first Edition. See on this the diplomatic Papers, and some interesting illustrations of the subject, in the Appendix, No. ii., to Bickersteth on the Prophecies; 7th Ed.
Matt. ii. 1,μαγοι απο ανατολων.
Since the above was sketched out I have seen a somewhat similar explanation both of the opening of the symbolic temple in the Apocalyptic scene, and of the preparing of the way of the kings from the East, in the Critici Sacri, Vol. ix. On the first, Zegerus writes: – ” Per hoc significatur quod verum et spirituale templum Dei, apertis mysteriis, toto mundo cceperit reserari et ostendi; ut Dominus a. cunctis possit gentibus adorari.” On the second; ” Significatur apertam esse viam omnibus libere currendi ad Christum.” The occasion, however, supposed byZeger to be represented, is that of the opening of the Gospel to Gentiles, as well as Jews, in the apostolic times.