The River Euphrates
By Stephen Haskell
The prophetic guide carried the prophet still farther, and revealed the contest between modern nations; he saw the final struggle between the north and the south, and pointed to Constantinople as the seat of contention in the last days. Nations should turn their gaze toward the present occupants of that city and patiently await the removal of the Turk into the “glorious land.” For “he shall come to his end and none shall help him.” The Story of Daniel the Prophet, p. 285.
The River Euphrates
The restraining hand of God had held contending forces in check, waiting, waiting, until the extreme limit of time, for men to acknowledge the righteousness of Jehovah. But at the sounding of the sixth trumpet a voice was heard from the four horns of the altar, — the altar before which Christ offers the prayers of saints, — saying, “Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.” During the one hundred and fifty years, the Turks had power to torment, but when their armies seemed on the very verge of victory over the Greek Empire, their force was abated by troubles from the regions of the Euphrates. (See Gibbon, Chap. 65). The time was coming when they would not only torment, but kill. In 1448 the death of John Palaeologus left the throne of Constantinople in a weak and precarious condition. Constantine, his successor, could claim no territory beyond the limits of the city, and the throne was already held by virtue of the grace of Amurath, the Turkish ruler. The gracious approbation of the Turkish sultan announced the supremacy of Constantine, and the approaching downfall of the Eastern Empire. The Turkish power had been bound, in a measure, by Rome; for as long as Rome held Constantinople, the Saracen power was limited in the East. When the sultan dictated to Rome, then, were fulfilled the words, “Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.” These words seem especially to refer to Bagdad, Damascus, Aleppo and Iconium, — four sultanies bordering on the region of the Euphrates. No power could now resist, and the Moslem ruler soon gained the long coveted fortress on the Bosporus.
But when the sixth plague is poured out, there is no restraining hand. The Turkish power designated as the River Euphrates, which has separated between the East and the West, gives way; and like the rushing together of mighty storm clouds, the armies of the earth, striving for the territory, meet in the valley of Jehoshaphat, — the ancient meeting place for Egypt and Assyria, known in the Hebrew as Megiddo, and in Greek as Armageddon. The word itself means “the place of the troops,” and the history of battles fought there, typifies the last great contest between nations under the sixth plague. In the days of Deborah, the prophetess, the armies of Israel fought against Jabin, the king of the Canaanites whose captain was Sisera. God wrought for Israel, and the victory called forth the song of Deborah and Barak. “The kings came and fought, then fought the kings of Canaan in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo; they took no gain of money. They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera.” In the valley of Megiddo, Josiah, king of Israel, was slain by Pharaoh Nechoh, who was passing by that valley to the stronghold of the Abyssinians on the Euphrates. The death of the Jewish king caused great lamentation, called “the mourning of Hadadrimmon”; and looking forward to the time of the end, the prophet Zechariah says, “In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddo. The Story of the Seer of Patmos, p. 284,
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