The Saracens and the Seal of God

Revelation 9:4 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.

The seal of God in the foreheads is in reference to the Sabbath keepers of that time. After Mohammed passed away, the next man to be the religious leader of the Saracens was Abu Bakr AD 632. Notice what he said as he gave order for his Saracen bands.

“When you fight the battles of the Lord, acquit yourselves like men, without turning your backs; but let not your victory be stained with the blood of women or 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 destroy 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 Mahometans or pay tribute.”2 .

Jesus would destroy those who are destroyers and desolaters. The pagan Roman empire was desolated by the Barbarian tribes of the west. The Catholic church with its monasteries and monks were being destroyed by the Saracens. Destroy them yet there are some who are not monks who devote themselves to the worship of God, don’t touch them. These people who were Sabbath keepers, they were not to be touched. Whereas the monks weren’t and were destroyed. A direction of hurting neither trees nor the grass and only destroying those who did not have the seal of God. That is precisely what happened.

Revelation 9:5 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.

9:6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.

As these Saracen bands came into the Roman empire and were attacking and destroying only those of Catholicism, but they were not killing them but giving them a really hard time. They wanted to die but they couldn’t. They were attacking the eastern Roman empire but they never really thoroughly conquered it. The eastern Roman empire would not be totally decimated until five months would be complete.

Revelation 9:7 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.

9:8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as [the teeth] of lions.

9:9 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.

Here is the description of the Saracen armies coming to do the devastation. What kind of horses did the Saracen armies ride? Arabian horses. In their battles they were more artillery orientated. As the sound as they came to battle was a whole lot of galloping horses. It was a different kind of battle. These Arabian horses could do that. They were noted for their sudden turning and disappearing.

The description was men on horseback. They had on their head what? What was the Arab especially noted for? The sign of the Arab was the turban. That is the reference that was made. It was like unto a crown. That was their glory, their turban. It was one of the items of the turban.

“When Mahomet fled to Medina and was first received as its prince, a turban was unfurled before him to supply the deficiency of 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 anciently distinguished by the miters which they wore.” Daniel and the Revelation page 501 The Moslem World.

“And their faces were as the faces of men.” “The gravity and firmness of the mind (of the Arab) is conspicuous in his outward demeanour;… his only gesture is that of stroking his beard, the venerable symbol of manhood… The honor… of their beards is most easily wounded.” Daniel and the Revelation page 501 The Moslem World.

Why does it say faces of men? How were men identified in the Old Testament.

Long hair is esteemed an ornament by women. The Arabs, unlike to other men, had their hair as the hair of women, or uncut, as their practice is recorded by Pliny and others. But there was nothing effeminate in their character; for, as denoting their ferocity and strength to devour, their teeth were as the teeth of lions.” Daniel and the Revelation page 501 The Moslem World.

This is the strange impact of these Arab Saracens as they came and swooped in and did their hurting suffering works that people didn’t want to live anymore.

Revelation 9:10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power [was] to hurt men five months.

9:11 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.

This name became the identification name of the empire because in the English it’s Othman. That is where the term Ottoman comes from. That was the king over the whole race. He was identified as the destroyer. The reference gained in verse 9;

Revelation 9:9 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.

“The cuirass (or breastplate) was in use among the Arabs in the days of Mahomet. In the battle of Ohud (the second which Mahomet fought) with the Koreish of Mecca (A.D. 624), ‘seven hundred of them were armed with cuirasses.”

The standard of the Arab was the horse’s tail. The Arab horses have a particular attractive tale. That was their identification mark of their sting.

The Five Months

As you look at five months in prophetic time, that works out to 30 days in a month, 150 days, and taking that into years, 150 years.

“But when did Othman make his first assault on the Greek empire? — According to Gibbon, Decline and Fall, etc., “Othman first entered the territory of Nicomedia on the 27th day of July, 1299.” p. 479, Para. 2.” Daniel and the Revelation Uriah Smith.

That was the beginning of his thrust.

The calculations of some writers have gone upon the supposition that the period should begin with the foundation of the Ottoman empire; but this is evidently an error; for they were not only to have a king over them, but were to torment men five months. But the period of torment could not begin before the first attack of the tormentors, which was, as above stated, July 27, 1299. p. 479, Para. 3.

Here is the beginning of the five months. 1299 and 150 years? Where does it take you to? 1449.

It was in the year 1449 that Constantinople was finally conquered. Not until then.

In those 150 years the Saracens were giving the eastern Roman empire a hard time but they didn’t conquer it. Just imagine it. No wonder it says they didn’t want to live anymore.

You can see how the orchestration of the wicked was such that those who were persecuting Gods people were being hurt and desolated by the other opposing forces. God pays back.

Verse 4. “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.” {July 22, 1858 UrSe, ARSH 74.14}

On the sounding of the first angel, the third part of the trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. {July 22, 1858 UrSe, ARSH 74.15}

After the death of Mahomet, he was succeeded in the command by Abubeker, A. D. 632, who, as soon as he had fairly established his authority and government, dispatched a circular letter to the Arabian tribes, of which the following is an extract: “This is to acquaint you that I intend to send the true believers into Syria to take it out of the hand of the infidels, and I would have you know that the fighting for religion is an act of obedience to God.” {July 22, 1858 UrSe, ARSH 74.16}

“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 Syria were inspired by the warlike fanaticism which advances to seize, and affects to despise, the objects of earthly ambition. ‘Remember,’ said the successor of the prophet, ‘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 battles of the Lord, acquit yourselves like men, without turning your backs; but let not your victory be stained with the blood of women or 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 destroy their monasteries; and you will find another sort of people that belong to the synagogue to Satan, who have shaven crowns; be sure you cleave their skulls, and give them no quarter till they either turn Mahometans or pay tribute.’ {July 22, 1858 UrSe, ARSH 74.17}

“It is not said in prophecy or in history that the more humane injunctions were as scrupulously obeyed as the ferocious mandate. But it was so commanded them. And the preceding are the only instructions recorded by Gibbon, as given by Abubeker to the chiefs whose duty it was to issue the commands to all the Saracen hosts. The commands are alike discriminating with the prediction; as if the caliph himself had been acting in known as well as direct obedience to a higher mandate than that of mortal man – and in the very act of going forth to fight against the religion of Jesus, and to propagate Mahommedanism in its stead, he repeated the words which it was foretold in the Revelation of Jesus Christ, that he would say.” {July 22, 1858 UrSe, ARSH 74.18}

Verse 5. “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.” {July 22, 1858 UrSe, ARSH 74.19}

“Their constant incursions into the Roman territory, and frequent assaults on Constantinople itself, were an unceasing torment throughout the empire, which yet they were not able effectually to subdue, notwithstanding the long period, afterwards more directly alluded to, during which they continued, by unremitting attacks, grievously to afflict an idolatrous church, of which the pope was the head. Their charge was to torment, and then to hurt but not to kill, or utterly destroy. The marvel was that they did not. To repeat the words of Gibbon: ‘The calm historian of the present hour must study to explain by what means the church and state were saved from this impending, and, as it should seem, from this inevitable danger. In this inquiry I shall unfold the events that rescued our ancestors of Britain, and our neighbors of Gaul, from the civil and religious yoke of the Koran; that protected the majesty of Rome, and delayed the servitude of Constantinople; that invigorated the defence of the Christians, and scattered among their enemies the seeds of division and decay.’ Ninety pages of illustration follow, to which we refer the readers of Gibbon. {July 22, 1858 UrSe, ARSH 74.20}

Verse 6. “And in those days shall men seek death, but they shall not find it; and shall desire to die, but death shall flee from them.” {July 22, 1858 UrSe, ARSH 74.21}

“Men were weary of life, when life was spared only for a renewal of wo, and when all that they accounted sacred was violated, and all that they held dear constantly endangered; and when the savage Saracens domineered over them, or left them only to a momentary repose, ever liable to be suddenly or violently interrupted, as if by the sting of a scorpion. They who tormented men were commanded not to kill them. And death might thus have been sought even where it was not found. ‘Whosoever falls in battle,’ says Mahomet, ‘his sins are forgiven at the day of judgment: at the day of judgment his wounds shall be resplendent as vermilion, and odoriferous as musk, and the loss of his limbs shall be supplied by the wings of angels and cherubim.’ The intrepid souls of the Arabs were fired with enthusiasm: the picture of the invisible world was strongly painted on their imagination; and the death which they always despised became an object of hope and desire.” {July 22, 1858 UrSe, ARSH 75.1}

Verse 7. “And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle.” {July 22, 1858 UrSe, ARSH 75.2}

“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; the Bedouins 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 the whip; their powers are reserved for the moments 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. {July 22, 1858 UrSe, ARSH 75.3}

“The Arabian horse takes the lead throughout the world; and skill in horsemanship is the art and science of Arabia. And the barbed Arabs, swift as locusts and armed like scorpions, ready to dart away in a moment, were ever prepared unto battle. {July 22, 1858 UrSe, ARSH 75.4}

“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 anciently distinguished by the mitres which they wore. {July 22, 1858 UrSe, ARSH 75.5}

“And their faces were as the faces of men. ‘The gravity and firmness of the mind of the Arab is conspicuous in his outward demeanor – his only gesture is that of stroking his beard, the venerable symbol of manhood.’ ‘The honor of their beards is most easily wounded.’ {July 22, 1858 UrSe, ARSH 75.6}

Verse 8. “And they had hair as the hair of women.” {July 22, 1858 UrSe, ARSH 75.7}

“Long hair is esteemed an ornament by women.” The Arabs, unlike to other men, had their hair as the hair of women, or uncut, as their practice is recorded by Pliny and others. But there was nothing effeminate in their character, for, as denoting their ferocity and strength to devour, their teeth were as the teeth of lions. {July 22, 1858 UrSe, ARSH 75.8}

Verse 9. “And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron.” {July 22, 1858 UrSe, ARSH 75.9}

“The cuirass (or breastplate) was in use among the Arabs in the days of Mahomet. In the battle of Ohud (the second which Mahomet fought) with the Koreish of Mecca, (A. D. 624,) ‘seven hundred of them were armed with cuirasses.’ And in his next victory over the Jews, ‘three hundred cuirasses, five hundred pikes, a thousand lances, composed the most useful portion of the spoil.’ After the defeat of the imperial army of seventy thousand men, on the plain of Aiznadin, (A. D. 633,) the spoil taken by the Saracens ‘was inestimable; many banners and crosses of gold and silver, precious stones, silver and gold chains, and innumerable suits of the richest armor and apparel. The seasonable supply of arms became the instrument of new victories.'” {July 22, 1858 UrSe, ARSH 75.10}

Verse 9. “And the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.” {July 22, 1858 UrSe, ARSH 75.11}

“The charge of the Arabs was not like that of the Greeks and Romans, the efforts of a firm and compact infantry: their military force was chiefly formed of cavalry and archers; and the engagement was often interrupted, and often renewed by single combats and flying skirmishes, etc. The periods of the battle of Cadesia were distinguished by their peculiar appellations. The first, from the well-timed appearance of six thousand of the Syrian brethren, was denominated the day of succor. The day of concussion might express the disorder of one, or perhaps of both the contending armies. The third, a nocturnal tumult, received the whimsical name of the night of barking, from the discordant clamors, which were compared to the inarticulate sounds of the fiercest animals. The morning of the succeeding day determined the fate of Persia.’ With a touch of the hand, the Arab horses darted away with the swiftness of the wind. The sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. Their conquests were marvelous, both in rapidity and extent, and their attack was instantaneous. Nor was it less successful against the Romans than the Persians. ‘A religion of peace was incapable of withstanding the fanatic cry of “Fight, fight! Paradise, paradise!” that re-echoed in the ranks of the Saracens.'” {July 22, 1858 UrSe, ARSH 75.12}

Verse 10. “And they had tails like unto scorpions: and there were stings in their tails; and their power was to hurt men five months.” {July 22, 1858 UrSe, ARSH 75.13}

“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. The legal and sacerdotal characters were united in the successors of Mahomet; and if the Koran was the rule of their actions, they were the supreme judges and interpreters of that divine book. They reigned by the right of conquest over the nations of the east, to whom the name of liberty was unknown, and who were accustomed to applaud in their tyrants the acts of violence and severity that were exercised at their own expense.'” {July 22, 1858 UrSe, ARSH 75.14}

“Thus far Keith has furnished us with illustrations of the sounding of the first five trumpets. But here we must take leave of him, and, in applying the prophetic periods, pursue another course.

Questions and Answers:

5. When and where was Mohammed born? From whom did he claim descent? What is said of the faith he founded? {1905 SNH, SSP 387.8}

6. What does Gibbon say of Arabia? Who were gathered in Arabia? How did Mohammed become acquainted with these people? {1905 SNH, SSP 387.9}

7. What is said of Mohammed? What is said of his flight from Mecca? Give date. How did the religion of Mohammed compare with the faith of others? Give some facts in regard to their worship. {1905 SNH, SSP 387.10}

8. What was the single rule of action? How do the Mohammedans regard Jesus? By what was the Bible replaced? In what respect did Mohammedanism seem to be a reform? What is the foundation of a Mohammedan’s faith? Compare it with the papacy. {1905 SNH, SSP 387.11}

9. What is said of the ancient history of the Arab? What did Mohammedanism do for them? To what was the rapid progress of the Saracen arms due? What was the result? {1905 SNH, SSP 387.12}

10. Give the result of the fall of modern Persia. Quote Rev. 9:3. What are the Saracens called? Show how the eighth Egyptian plague describes their work. {1905 SNH, SSP 387.13}

11. What did Solomon say of the locusts? Show the parallel in the history of the Saracens. How did Mohammed first gain adherents? What change was made? In a few years what conquests were made? Describe their mode of conquest. {1905 SNH, SSP 387.14}

12. Give Abubeker’s instruction to his chiefs. Who were protected? Who destroyed? When was the conquest of Egypt begun? When and by whom was an attempt made to conquer Africa? When were the Moors conquered? {1905 SNH, SSP 387.15}

13. When did the Moslems reach the Pyrenees? What did they hope to do? When and by whom was their progress checked? Give an account of their work in Spain. What was preserved by them? {1905 SNH, SSP 387.16}

14. What change was made in their mode of conquest in the South and West? Was this true of the East? State what is said of their warfare in the East.

15. When did they attack Constantinople? What inducement was held out to the army? What dismayed them? How long did they continue the siege? {1905 SNH, SSP 387.17}

16. What was done in 677? What took place between 716 and 718? State how the two Saracen armies were defeated. Why did they give up the second attempt to capture Constantinople? {1905 SNH, SSP 388.1}

17. In what way did the Saracens resemble the locusts? Why did they fail to capture Constantinople? State what is said of the Arabian horse. {1905 SNH, SSP 388.2}

18. What is the Arab’s crown? What is said of their customs and personal appearance? State what is said of their mode of warfare. {1905 SNH, SSP 388.3}

19. With what were the Arabs armed? Quote Rev. 9:11. Give the historical fulfillment. What is said of Othman? {1905 SNH, SSP 388.4}

20. What was done by the Crusades? What was approaching? When did Othman invade Nicomedia? What does Gibbon say of the date? {1905 SNH, SSP 388.5}

21. How long were the Saracens given power to hurt men? Five prophetic months equal how much literal time? Give dates for the beginning and end of the 150 years. {1905 SNH, SSP 388.6}

22. What does Gibbon state of Othman’s work? What demand was given and obtained by Orchan? What was accomplished between 1360 and 1389. {1905 SNH, SSP 388.7}

23. State what you can of the fourth king? What was the condition of Constantinople? With what other foes did the Turks have to contend? Did the Byzantine court gain strength? Quote Rev. 9:12. {1905 SNH, SSP 388.8}

24. For what was God waiting? How was the sixth trumpet opened? What altar is here referred to? Quote Rev. 9:13, 14. When on the verge of victory, how was the Turkish force abated? {1905 SNH, SSP 388.9}

25. State in full what took place in 1448 How were the “four angels” loosed? Name the four Sultanies. What was soon gained by the Turks? {1905 SNH, SSP 388.10}

26. What change of rulers was made in 1451? Relate in full what is recorded of Mohammed II. {1905 SNH, SSP 388.11}

27. When was the siege formed? What is said of the army? Give the result How did the Moslems treat the religion of Rome? What was affected by the fall of Constantinople? {1905 SNH, SSP 388.12}

28. What followed the fall of Constantinople? By what had the breastplate and scimiter been replaced? How did the discharge of the firearms appear to the prophet? Who does Isaiah say is the “tail”? {1905 SNH, SSP 388.13}

29. What is said of the military valor of the Turks? What other factor was equally potent? What prophetic period began July 27, 1449? State what is said of this period. How was the end marked? {1905 SNH, SSP 388.14}

30. Give date for the end of this prophetic period. Give the four waymarks in the history of Constantinople. {1905 SNH, SSP 388.15}

31. What conclusion was drawn by Josiah Litch and Wm. Miller? Was this published? Relate the historical facts that led to the fulfillment. What four powers held a council? When? {1905 SNH, SSP 388.16}

32. What did the Turkish ruler volunteer to do? Give the substance of the official document. {1905 SNH, SSP 388.17}

33. When was this signed by the Turkish ruler? How has Turkey been known since that time? {1905 SNH, SSP 388.18}

34. Give Daniel’s prophecy concerning Turkey. When will the Turks leave Europe? Of what will this move be a sign? {1905 SNH, SSP 388.19}

35. To what should these things lead us?

In what two places will we look for changes? What takes place in heaven when the capital of Turkey is removed to Palestine? {1905 SNH, SSP 388.20}

36. What is said of the closing words of the ninth chapter? Of what is the fall of nations a symbol? How are men affected by these things? Who are precious in the sight of the Lord? What work is being done to-day? {1905 SNH, SSP 389.1}

The Arabs, or the Saracens, had never exercised any influence in the earth. In the history of nations, these free men of the desert had passed with scarcely a notice. Mohammedanism united the scattered tribes, and sent them forth as the conquerors of nations. The rapid progress which attended the Saracen arms was due, in great measure, to the strife between the Romans and Chosroes, the head of the modern Persian Empire. This strife resulted in the fall Margin

of the latter. Modern Persia had stood as a barrier wall, keeping in check the power of Mohammed; but when that power fell, the barrier was gone, the “bottomless pit” opened, and the Saracens deluged the world. When the “bottomless pit” was opened, there arose a smoke which hid the face of the sun. The figure is a strong one, representing the darkening effect of Mohammedanism, as it spread over the face of the earth. {1905 SNH, SSP 164.1}

This same characteristic is emphasized in the symbols used throughout the history. “There came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth.” The Saracens themselves are called locusts by the prophet John, and the doctrine which impelled their actions was as a dense smoke, issuing out of a furnace. The work of these locust-like warriors is described in the eighth plague, sent upon the land of Egypt in the days when Pharaoh refused to let Israel go. “I will bring the locusts into thy coast: and they shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth: and they shall eat the residue of that which is escaped, . . . and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field: and they shall fill thy houses, and the houses of all thy servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians.” {1905 SNH, SSP 165.1}

The wisdom of Solomon led him to say, “The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands.” In using this one figure the divine historian tells the whole story of the Saracen conquest. There was no king, there was no organized government; but there was one common faith which bound the hordes of Arabia to their caliph. When Mohammed first advocated Margin his doctrine, he gained adherents by the power of argument; but this process soon became too slow for his ambition, and arms were taken to defend and extend the territory of the new religion. In the course of a few years, Persia, Syria, Egypt, Africa and Spain had been conquered by Saracen arms. It was in 632 that Caled, the lieutenant of the first caliph, began the conquest of Persia. His efforts were crowned with victory. To every man was offered death, or the acceptance of the Mohammedan doctrine. With the sword above their heads, multitudes thanked God for Mohammed, His prophet. {1905 SNH, SSP 165.2}

When the tribes of Arabia were gathered for the conquest of Syria, the caliph Abubeker instructed the chiefs of the army as follows: “When you fight the battles of the Lord, acquit yourselves like men, without turning your backs; but let not your victory be stained with the blood of women or 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. . . . 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 destroy 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.” {1905 SNH, SSP 166.1}

It would seem that God put a spirit of gentleness into the hearts of these warriors toward those Christians, who, in the solitudes of Syria, were keeping the law of God; but the tonsured priests and monks were to be slain without mercy, unless they accepted the faith of Mohammed and paid tribute. Syria was soon wholly in the hands of the Saracens. {1905 SNH, SSP 166.2}

In 638 the conquest of Egypt was begun. The conquest of Africa, from the Nile to the Atlantic, was attempted by the caliph Othman in 647; but the Moors were not conquered until the beginning of the next century, and then the Moslem faith was accepted from Syria to the Straits of Gibraltar. In 711 the Arabs crossed these straits into Spain, and the horn of the Crescent, the Moslem standard, reached the Pyrenees. Thus the power of their arms was extended. They had hoped to encircle the Mediterranean, and, having driven out the papacy, to seat Mohammedanism in place of Christianity in the City of Seven Hills. But in 732 a. d., the onward progress of the Saracens was checked by Charles Martel, in the battle of Tours, in France, and relinquishing the hope of gaining Europe on the west, the Mohammedans retreated into Spain. Here they established schools, and by the cultivation of the arts and sciences, won, by the intellect, what they had failed to gain by the sword. It was from Toledo, Salerno, and other Spanish centers of learning, that the light of scientific knowledge shone into the darkness of Europe during the Middle Ages, and acted its part in breaking the strength of the papacy at the dawn of the Reformation. {1905 SNH, SSP 167.1}

This is the history of the Saracens as they marched south and west. They gradually lost their warlike characteristics, and conquered by the power of the intellect. The attacks on the Eastern Empire were of a different character. The constant pressure and oft-repeated assaults of the Saracens led men to wish for death. To the Saracens who fell in battle was given the sure promise of a life in paradise. This made them unmindful of death, and especially in the East the Saracens stung men with their false doctrines, and tormented them by repeated attacks. {1905 SNH, SSP 167.2}

Only forty-six years after the flight of Mohammed from Mecca, (a. d. 668), the Saracen army appeared under the walls of Constantinople. They were especially anxious to gain possession of this center of wealth and commerce, and there was a saying among the followers of the prophet, that the first army which besieged the city should have its sins forgiven. With this inducement ever before them, the troops landed and formed the siege. But they had underestimated the strength of the fortress, and were dismayed by the use of fire, recently introduced into Grecian warfare. On the approach of winter, they retreated; but for six summers, in succession, the siege was carried on without success. Finally in 677 a thirty years’ truce was signed by the Greeks and Saracens at Damascus. {1905 SNH, SSP 168.1}

During the years 716 and 718 a Saracen army again overran Asia Minor, crossed the Hellespont, and for the first time, landed on European soil. History states, that the general stood at the head of one hundred and twenty thousand Arabs and Persians, and that one thousand eight hundred ships approached the Bosporus, both armies intending to attack the capital at the same moment. Again Greek fire saved the threatened empire. The citizens of Constantinople loaded ships with combustibles, sent these into the midst of the fleet of the enemy, and the Arabs with their arms and vessels were consumed by the flames or the waves. The following winter was unusually severe, and this, together with the aid rendered the Greeks by an army of Bulgarians, and the report of still stronger forces who were arming in the West, made it advisable to give up, this second attempt, to capture Constantinople. These were the “locusts” that spread over the face of the earth. Like the insect from which they are named, they devoured everything that came in their way, and stung men as a scorpion stings with its tail. {1905 SNH, SSP 169.1}

The failure of the Arabs to capture Constantinople during these years was due to the absence of a centralized government; for the Saracens were still controlled by caliphs; and jealousy had led to the elevation of several leaders, each faction having its following. They went, as Solomon said of the locusts, in bands without a king. The dash of the Arab cavalry is proverbial in history. Arabia is considered to be the home of the horse; and Gibbon says (chapter 50): “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 or to gallop; their sensations are not blunted by the incessant abuse of the spur and the whip; their powers are preserved for the moments 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; and if their friend be dismounted in the rapid career, they instantly stop till he has recovered his seat.” Since so much of the success of these human locusts depended upon the steeds which they rode, it is not surprising that the prophet John saw them “like unto horses prepared unto battle;” and it is also not surprising to find that the tail of a horse was often used as an ensign by the Bedouin chiefs. The crown worn by the Arab, was the turban which was unfurled when Mohammed became prince of Medina, and “to assume which is proverbially to turn Mussulman.” Personally the Arab is grave and dignified; “his speech is slow, weighty, and concise; he is seldom provoked to laughter, his only gesture is that of stroking his beard, the venerable symbol of manhood.” Though they wore long hair, which to the European has the appearance of effeminacy, yet from the days of Ishmael, a tenderness mingled with the savage nature of the lion, seems to have characterized the men of the desert Gibbon, in his. graphic description of the Arab, nicely illustrates this fact in these words: “If a Bedouin discovers from afar a solitary traveler, he rides furiously against him, crying with a loud voice, ‘Undress thyself, thy aunt [my wife] is without a garment.’ A ready submission entitles him to mercy; resistance will provoke the aggressor, and his own blood must expiate the blood which he presumes to shed in legitimate defence. A single robber, or a few associates, are branded with their genuine name; but the exploits of a numerous band assume the character of a lawful and honorable war. The temper of a people thus armed against mankind, was doubly inflamed by the domestic license of rapine, murder, and revenge.” The breastplates of iron, spoken of by John, refer to the cuirasses with which the soldiers were provided from the days of Mohammed. {1905 SNH, SSP 169.2}

Enough has been said to show the vividness of the prophetic description of the charge of the Arab cavalry, who were armed with scimiters, protected by cuirasses, and seated on horses swift as the wind. {1905 SNH, SSP 171.1}

“They had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name is . . . Destroyer.” This character might in truth be imputed to the Arab caliphs, who directed the armies for so many years after the death of Mohammed; but it is especially applicable to Othman, the founder of the Ottoman Empire. This, the first attempted centralization of government was the outgrowth of the doctrines of Mohammed. “Othman,” says the historian, “possessed, and perhaps surpassed, the ordinary virtues of a soldier; and the circumstances of time and place were propitious to his independence and success.” The close of the thirteenth century was near. The Crusades had Margin thrust Europe against the Turks in a most reckless manner. Constantinople had numerous emperors, but the Greek government grew weaker, and the time of its destruction was stealthily approaching. “It was on July 27 a. d., 1299,” says Gibbon, “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.” More than human foresight recorded this date with such definiteness. To the prophet on Patmos, it had been revealed that “their power was to hurt men five months.” {1905 SNH, SSP 171.2}

Five prophetic months is the equivalent of one hundred and fifty literal years, one day meaning a year, and counting thirty days to the month. Since the exact day for the beginning of this power is given, the expiration of the five months may be reckoned to the day. It closed July 27, 1449. It is these dates which enable the student of the trumpets, to locate the events which take place under each trumpet. These dates are “nails in a sure place” for both the first and the second woe. {1905 SNH, SSP 172.1}

To show that in 1299 power was given “to hurt men five months” we have the testimony of historians. After speaking of the invasion by Othman of Nicomedia, which was the eastern frontier of the Greek Empire, Gibbon continues: “The annals of the twenty-seven years of his reign would exhibit a repetition of the same inroads; and his hereditary troops were multiplied in each campaign by the accession of captives and volunteers.” The successors of Othman, the founder of the Ottoman Empire, each pushed his conquests hearer to the coveted seat of power. A regular standing army of twenty-five thousand Moslems was organized by the son of Othman. Asia Minor was completely in his hands, and the seven churches referred to in the first chapter of Revelation were desecrated by the religion of Mohammed. So near was the Turkish rule to the throne that in 1346 Orchan, the successor of Othman, demanded and obtained, as a wife, the daughter of the Greek emperor, and the princess left her home in Constantinople to live in the harem of the Turk. Between 1360 and 1389, the third sovereign of the Turks, conquered, Thrace, and fixed the capital of his empire and his religion at Adrianople, almost within the shadow of Constantinople. Never before had the Greek Empire been surrounded on all sides by the foe. The fourth king, Bajazet by name, was surnamed Ilderim, or “the lightning,” because of the fiery energy of his soul, and the rapidity of his destructive marches. Constantinople was sorely pressed, and were not the hand of God recognized, the fact that the downfall was delayed for another fifty years might seem a mere accident. Called to contend with a Scythian force from the East, the Turks were obliged to postpone activities in Greece for a number of years. The Byzantine court, instead “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].” Rev. 9:1-11. {September 4, 1900 ATJ, ARSH 568.3}

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 any one who will ready 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. {September 4, 1900 ATJ, ARSH 568.4}

The term “bottomless pit,” which denotes the place of their rise, is from the Greek word abussos, and signifies a waste, desolate region. And to any one who will read Gibbon’s chapter L, paragraphs 2-5, the significance and aptness of the term as applied to Arabia will readily be discerned. {September 4, 1900 ATJ, ARSH 568.5}

The vast hordes of the Mohammedans are shown under the symbol of a cloud of locusts; and in verses 7-9 the meaning of the symbol is made plain by the words, “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.” {September 4, 1900 ATJ, ARSH 568.6}

As to that which was “commanded them,” the history witnesses thus: “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,” LI, par. 10. {September 4, 1900 ATJ, ARSH 568.7}

And, says the Scripture, “Their power was to hurt man five months.” Five months are one hundred and fifty days; this, being prophetic time,—a day for a year,—equals one hundred and fifty years, during which they were to hurt men. {September 4, 1900 ATJ, ARSH 568.8}

This one hundred and fifty years is to be counted from the time that they had a king over them, as says verses 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. 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, and it is the fact too, 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. {September 4, 1900 ATJ, ARSH 568.9}

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. {September 4, 1900 ATJ, ARSH 568.10}

 

Posted on August 14, 2012, in Revelation, Short Studies. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Sabbath is the seal of the Most High God .

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