Ellen White, the Eastern Question and the King of the North

Sunday morning the weather was still cloudy, but before it was time for the people to assemble the sun shone forth. Boats and trains poured their living freight upon the ground, as was the case last year. Elder Smith spoke in the morning upon the Eastern question. The subject was of special interest, and the people listened with the most earnest attention. It seemed to be just what they wanted to hear. {RH, September 6, 1877 par. 11} She also said;


What is the Eastern Question?

Bible Readings for the Home Circle 1914 Edition Pages Chapter 65

1. WHAT, briefly stated, is the Eastern question?

The driving out of Turkey from Europe, and the final extinction of the Turkish Empire, with the world-embracing events that follow. It has been otherwise described as “the driving of the Turk into Asia, and a scramble for his territory.”

2. What scriptures are devoted to the Turkish power?

Dan. 11:40-45; Revelation 9; and Rev. 16:12.

NOTE.-In the eleventh chapter of Daniel Turkey is dealt with under the title of the “king of the north;” in Revelation 9, under the Bounding of the fifth and sixth ” trumpets; ” and in Revelation 16, under the symbol of the drying up of the water of the chief river of the Turkish Asiatic possessions, “the great river Euphrates.” The actual drying up of the river Euphrates was the signal for the overthrow of ancient Babylon.

Uriah Smith:

Turkey in Europe has been shriveled up in the last half century. It is shrinking back and back toward Asia, and, though all the ‘powers’ but Russia should unite their forces to maintain the Ottoman system in Europe, there is a manifest destiny visible in the history of the last fifty years that must defeat them.” {1897 UrS, DAR 315.2}

This much desired change in Turkish governmental conditions, however, can not prevent the inevitable. The Turk must depart from Europe. Where will he then plant the tabernacles of his palace? In Jerusalem? That certainly is the most probable point. Newton on the Prophecies, p. 318, says: “Between the seas in the glorious holy mountain must denote, as we have shown, some part of the Holy Land. There the Turk shall encamp with all his powers; yet he ‘shall come to his end, and none shall help him,’ – shall help him effectually, or deliver him.” {1897 UrS, DAR 318.1}

Time will soon determine this matter. And when this takes place, what follows? – events of the most momentous interest to all the inhabitants of this world, as the next chapter immediately shows. {1897 UrS, DAR 318.2}

This movement on the part of Turkey is the signal for the standing up of Michael; that is, it marks this event as next in order. And to guard against all misunderstanding, let the reader note that the position is not here taken that the next movement against the Turks will drive them from Europe, or that when they shall establish their capital at Jerusalem, Christ begins his reign without the lapse of a day or an hour of time. But here are the events, to come, as we believe, in the following order: (1) Further pressure brought to bear in some way upon the Turk: (2) His retirement from Europe; (3 His final stand at Jerusalem; (4) The standing up of Michael, or the beginning of the reign of Christ, and his coming in the clouds of heaven. And it is not reasonable to suppose that any great amount of time will elapse between these events.  {1897 UrS, DAR 319.2}

A. T. Jones:

In these studies we have seen that a number of times in the last fifty years the Turkish government would have come to an end had it not been distinctly “helped.” Indeed, we have seen that the Turkish government could not have existed at all these fifty years if it had not been distinctly “helped” by the Powers whose relations are the substance of the Eastern question. By all it is expected that the Turkish government must leave Constantinople. Many a time in these years it has been expected that the Turkish government must certainly leave Constantinople, the tabernacles of his palace will be planted in Jerusalem, “between the seas in the glorious holy mountain.” And when that time comes, which must inevitably come soon,—”at that time shall Michael stand up, the great Prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time.” Dan. 12:1. {October 2, 1900 ATJ, ARSH 632.12}

This final event in the Eastern question, with its accompaniments, is further described in Rev. 16:12: “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.” {October 2, 1900 ATJ, ARSH 632.13}

E. J. Waggoner

Following the exhibition of Turkish vitality in war, symptoms of unrest have been manifested in many widely separated districts, and the trouble along the North-western India frontier comes from the preaching of the priests and the idea of a “jehad,” or “holy war” against the infidel. All the Moslem world of Asia is seething, and only trouble can come of it. Instead of delaying the settlement of the Eastern Question, the temporary success of Turkey is likely on to hasten the end. The Scripture shows plainly that round this problem the nations will be gathering as the coming of the Lord draws near, and the question will be settled only by the destruction of all this wicked warring world. {August 19, 1897 EJW, PTUK 528.15}

Answer = the Arab World

Why Was James White Reproved?

Why was James White reproved for countering Smith’s interpretations on the ‘King of the North’ and thus failing to present a united front to the people?

One of the testimonies to individuals, delivered most likely only in oral form, was addressed to James White–a reproof for his course of action just before the combined camp meeting and General Conference session. He and Uriah Smith held conflicting views on the prophecy of the “king of the North” pictured in Daniel 11, and the power presented in verse 45 that would come to his end with none to help him. White, in his Sabbath morning address September 28 in the newly pitched camp-meeting tent, countered Smith’s interpretations. He felt that Smith’s approach, indicating that the world was on the verge of Armageddon, would threaten the strong financial support needed for the rapidly expanding work of the church. {3BIO 96.4}

Ellen White’s message to her husband was a reproof for taking a course that would lead the people to observe differences of opinion among leaders and to lower their confidence in them. For the church leaders to stand in a divided position before the people was hazardous. James White accepted the reproof, but it was one of the most difficult experiences he was called to cope with, for he felt he was doing the right thing. At no time did Ellen White reveal which man was right in the position he held. That was not the issue. The crux of the matter was the importance of leaders presenting a united front before the people.  {3BIO 97.1}

Why did Ellen White reprove James White and not Uriah Smith?

Answer = She agreed with Uriah Smith

The Key to the King of the North Is Daniel 11:40

Daniel 11:40 And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.

Who invaded Egypt at the time of the end 1798?  The French under the leadership of Napoleon.

On the 5th of March following, Bonaparte received the decree of the Directory relative to the expedition against Egypt. He left Paris May 3 and set sail from Toulon the 29th, with a large naval armament consisting of 500 sail, carrying 40,000 soldiers and 10,000 sailors. July 5, Alexandria was taken, and immediately fortified.  DR 155 Uriah Smith

Did the king of the south (Egyptian Mamelukes) push at him (Napoleon)?  In the battle of the pyramids the Mamelukes contested the field against the French.

In the vision of Daniel 11 and 12 the king of the south is in all cases the kingdom that occupies Egypt the land south of Palestine.  The time of the end in all cases being the year 1798 and the king of the north in all cases being the power that occupies Egypt.

In Daniel 11:5-15 the power occupying Egypt was the Ptolemaic dynasty.  In Dan 11:25 it was the Roman Power under the leadership of Mark Antony and Cleopatra.  While in Dan 11:40 it was the Mamelukes who ruled Egypt as a kingdom of the Ottoman Sultan.

This leads to the conclusion that the king of the north must be whatever power occupies the territories of Asia Minor, Syria and Mesopotamia (the land North of Palestine).  In Dan 11:6-15 it was the Seleucid dynasty while in Dan 11:40 it was the Ottoman Turks.

The key to the king of the north is Daniel 11:40 And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.

Who in 1798 declared war upon the French in Egypt?  The Ottoman Turks declared war on them.

…on September 2 of this same year, 1798, the sultan of Turkey, under feelings of jealousy against France, artfully fostered by the English ambassadors at Constantinople, and exasperated that Egypt, so long a semi-dependency of the Ottoman empire, should be transformed into a French province, declared war against France. Thus the king of the north (Turkey) came against him (France) in the same year that the king of the south (Egypt) “pushed,” and both “at the time of the end:” which is another conclusive proof that the year 1798 is the year which begins that period. DAR 304.

Did Napoleon attack Ottomans?  Yes in Syria.

At the time of the end in 1798 the Ottoman Turks occupied the territory of the king of the north.

Is it possible for the King of the north to be papacy?

What happened to papacy at the time of the end? The pope was made prisoner.

General Berthier by order of the French directory, moved against the dominions of the pope in January 1798.  Feb 10 he affected an entrance into the self styled Eternal City and on the 15th of the same month proclaimed the establishment of the Roman Republic.  The Pope, after this deprivation of his authority, was conveyed to France as a prisoner, and died at Vlanace Aug 29 1799. DR 117

What happened to the power of the papacy after 1798?  The power of the papacy was greatly diminished.

Stripped of his power, both civil and ecclesiastical, the captive pope, Pius Vl, died in exile at Valence in France, Aug. 29, 1799. But the deadly wound was healed when the papacy was re- established, though with a diminution of its former power, by the election of a new pope, March 14, 1800. (See Bower’s History of the Popes, pp. 404-428; Croly on the Apocalypse, London edition, p. 251.)

At the time specified 1798, is it possible for the papacy to be the ‘king of the north’?

The papacy cannot possibly be the king of the north because in 1798 the papacy had fallen and thereafter its power had been greatly diminished.  It neither had armies nor any dominion.  How could it possibly make war like a whirlwind against the least nation?

What will be the eventual outcome for the king of the north?

Daniel 11:45 he shall come to his end and none shall help him.

Have the prophecies of Dan almost reached their final fulfilment?  They are almost complete.

We have no time to lose. The world is stirred with the spirit of war. The prophecies of the eleventh of Daniel have almost reached their final fulfilment.  {RH, November 24, 1904 par. 8}

What powers currently occupy the territory of the king of the north?  Turkey, Syria and Iraq.

This is one of those subjects which is held in great conflict of argument in the Seventh Day Adventist church which they are no longer adhering to which what they once proclaimed in the book of Daniel and the Revelation.  They have an argument with Uriah Smith and the King of the north.

Sometimes I wonder how much of the book of Daniel and the Revelation that Seventh Day Adventists do accept as they don’t accept the king of the north, the daily nor the sealing of the 144,000.  How much of the book of Daniel are we going to accept when Sr White says this book has the truth for this time?  Sr White plainly identifies that Uriah Smith’s book is the book we are to go by.

When the King of the North comes to his end (Daniel 11:45) Michael (Jesus) stands up straight away and probation closes.

Daniel 11:45 And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.  12:1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [even] to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

The King of the North was the Ottoman Empire centred in Turkey which controlled all the Arab nations. When the Ottoman Empire lost its power it was still the Arab world – the king of the north.

The papacy comes to its end when Jesus literally comes back – not before probation closes.  By then it’s too late as probation has already closed. When the papacy finally does come to its end the whole world will realise they have been deceived.

Revelation 19:19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army (Armageddon, sixth plague).

19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

Revelation 18:18 And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What [city is] like unto this great city!

18:21 And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast [it] into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.

The above is after the close of probation, not before.

What Did Ellen White Say About the Book Daniel and the Revelation by Uriah Smith?

Of all the books that have come forth from the press, those mentioned are of the greatest consequence in the past and at the present time. I know that “Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation” has done a great work in this country. {PH079 10.2}

In Daniel and the Revelation, there is precious instruction. These books must be regarded as of special importance, and every effort should be made to get them before the people.–Letter 229, 1903.  {Ev 366.3}

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Posted on 05/06/2010, in Daniel, The King of the North and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Free Independent

    It’s my understanding that the king of the north in our time must be whatever power is occupying the same territory as the king of the north did in the earlier verses in Daniel 11, which would mean Turkey and exclude the papacy.

    • Le traducteur

      Hello brother, yes, this is the pioneer stance on the subject, which we have received from them and for which we can claim no credit. We are simply parrotting what the godly men of old had said and taught. Indeed the papacy is totally left out of the equation in the literal prophecy of Daniel 11.

  2. What Did Ellen White Say About the Eastern Question?

    Nothing — you won’t find it in any of her many articles and pages dealing with end time events.

    The two powers she DID write much on are:
    1. The papal power
    2. The United States apostate protestant power that alignes itself with t he papacy.

  3. EGW DID NOT agree with Uriah Smith on the King of the North! It is ridiculous to even suggest such a farce and takes very little knowledge or searching to see that Smith was absolutely wrong!

  4. In the Bible, the King of the North was always Babylon.. because from Israel one had to go north to go around the dangerous desert.
    Jer. 1:13And the word of the LORD came unto me the second time, saying, What seest thou? And I said, I see a seething pot; and the face thereof is toward the north.
    14Then the LORD said unto me, Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land.
    15For, lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith the LORD; and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah.
    Jeremiah 10:22,
    In Daniel 11 the last prophetic power portrayed, which comes to its end, is the King of the North.

    Uriah Smith initially believed the King of the North represented the papacy. Later he wrote articles on Daniel and Revelation in which he totally changed his views and felt that king to be Turkey.
    James White did not agree with this new position and wrote the following to oppose him.

    “Let us take a brief view of the line of prophecy four times spanned in the book of Daniel. It will be admitted that the same ground is passed over in chapters two, seven, eight, and eleven, with this exception that Babylon is left out of chapters eight and eleven. We first pass down the great image of chapter two, where Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome are represented by the fold, the silver, the brass, and the iron. All agree that these feet are not Turkish but Roman. And as we pass down, the lion, the bear, the leopard, and the beast with ten horns, representing the same as the great image, again all will agree that it is not Turkey that is cast into the burning flame, but the Roman beast. So of chapter eight, all agree that the little horn that stood up against the Prince of princes is not Turkey but Rome. In all these three lines thus far Rome is the last form of government mentioned.
    “Now comes the point in the argument upon which very much depends. Does the eleventh chapter of the prophecy of Daniel cover the ground measured by chapters two, seven, and eight? If so, then the last power mentioned in that chapter is Rome.” “Unfulfilled Prophecy,” Review and Herald, Nov. 29, 1877

    In 1949 Louis Were, a Seventh Day Adventist published the book THE KING OF THE NORTH AT JERUSALEM and proved conclusively that the King of the North is the Papacy, and from Daniel 11 predicted that the Papacy would conspire with the United States to bring down the king of the Communism, the USSR! I have yet to see a critical, thorough Bible student read this and not agree. I challenge you to read it. I have made it available here..

    God bless us!

  5. ‘At the time specified 1798, is it possible for the papacy to be the ‘king of the north’? The papacy cannot possibly be the king of the north because in 1798 the papacy had fallen and thereafter its power had been greatly diminished. It neither had armies nor any dominion. How could it possibly make war like a whirlwind against the least nation?’ – This is the strongest argument to support Turkey as the ‘King of the North’ I’ve read so far (apart from EW’s support for Uriah Smith’s book)!

    Does Uriah speak about the daily and the sealing of the 144,000 in ‘Daniel and Revelation’?

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