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Dr. Josiah Litch, a 19th Century physician and itinerant minister for the Methodist Episcopal Church, accurately predicted two years in advance, the fall of the Ottoman Empire in August of 1840 (a formidable alliance of Arab nations governed from Turkey). This was an exact fulfillment of Bible prophecy in “Revelation” chapter nine. Continuing his research, two months before the event he predicted the exact day, August 11, 1840, and it was widely circulated in Christian journals and newspapers.
A REVIEW OF ISRAEL WARREN’S PRETERIST BOOK:
The Parousia: A Critical Study of the Scripture Doctrines of Christ’s Second Coming, His Reign as King ; The Resurrection of the Dead ; and the General Judgment
The work of Rev. Dr. Litch, meeting and answering the arguments of ” Parousia,” by Rev. Dr. Warren, we regard as timely and valuable. It is not a discussion relating to a single book, or to the views of a single man. The theory presented in “Parousia” is undoubtedly gaining a wide currency ; and this work, with all respect to its author, may be said to be a result rather than a cause. To it belongs the honor of having condensed and crystallized views that are held in solution by a multitude of minds. Doubt is always restless till it has formulated itself into a creed. Incredulity must put its denials into a theological affirmation before it can be easy ; negations must become assertions if one’s orthodoxy is to be preserved.
And we regard ” Parousia” as a clever exposition of the latest current doubt upon the subject of Christ’s Second Advent. The grip of modern faith is inadequate to hold this doctrine as it is taught by Christ and his apostles. The stupendous facts of a future, literal advent of the Lord from heaven ; of a veritable resurrection of mortal bodies at the sound of the last trumpet, and of the rapture of the church into the air to meet the descending King, are such as require a very stalwart belief to hold them fast. Of course the Liberal and Broad Church theology has long since let go of such hard literalisms. And now the most orthodox theology is following in the same course. We find in the church a very widespread revolt against the doctrine of a literal second advent of Christ and a literal resurrection of the body. There is an awful deflniteness, a vivid realness, an intense literalness about these truths that frightens a timid and sentimental faith.
The craving is for something more vague and nebulous, something about which men can dream deliciously, without being startled with the possible appearance of the literal, personal Christ, or the literal risen body. “Behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also that pierced him,” is, say what we will, an awful declaration to many Christians, as well as to unbelievers. But tell men that this is not the prediction of a literal fact — tell them that this event has already taken place ; assuage the terror of the scene by obscuring it in the dust and tumult of the siege of Titus, and ‘ drown the sound of the last trumpet in the crash of the falling city of Jerusalem, and a fearful strain of dread and expectation has been lifted from the mind. We do not charge the author of ” Parousia” with catering to men’s skepticism and aversion on this matter. We only say that his theory is one after which multitudes will ” run greedily,” since it so happily puts behind them what they so dreaded as before them. But this is not the gravest objection to the book. We regard it as utterly untenable exegetically. It has confounded the “ages” of which the New Testament speaks, taking the end of the Jewish age for the end of the Christian age. It is a style of exegesis which has no eye for perspective. It has huddled distant events and near events all into the foreground, and given us a Chinese picture of the facts of eschatology, instead of conforming the sketch to the rules of Christian art.
There is ” the end of the age ” which came at the destruction of Jerusalem — the termination of the Jewish economy ; and there is “the end of the age ” which is the harvest, when ” the Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend,” etc. — the termination of the Christian economy. It seems to us that these are so clearly distinguished and so distinctly separated, that it is utterly impossible to confound them. All our ordinances, all our commissions, all our endowments as the Church of Christ, are timed and terminated by the end of the age and the return of our Lord. If the end of the age has come, and if Christ’s advent has really taken place, then these commissions have run out, and these endowments are outlawed.
We were commanded to celebrate the Lord’s Supper ” till he come.” If he has come, we are as much at fault in keeping up this commemoration as the Jewish Christian was in holding on to circumcision after the age of Judaism had terminated.
We have the Spirit given to the church as the third person of the Trinity, the invisible manifestation of Christ among his people, with the promise that he should abide with us ” forever.” “For the age,” or “unto the end of the age,” is the language of Scripture. If the age has terminated, and Christ has come, we cannot see what right we have to claim that the dispensation of the Spirit is still continued. Indeed, there is nothing simpler than the Scripture presentation of the ages or dispensations. These open out of each other like the successive lengths of the barrel of a telescope ; and looking through them we get a clear sight of ” the bright and morning Star.” The work which we are criticising “telescopes” the ages, shuts them all together, and looking through them now we can see nothing definite or clearly defined in the future— we cannot fix our place in hjstory because we have lost sight of the “day star.”
But it was not our purpose to criticise ” Parousia,” but to write a few lines of introduction to the able review of the work herein presented by Dr. Litch. The critic we believe has the best scholarship of the ages on his side. He is simply defending the historic faith of the church.
When Dr. Whitby, the Arian, had published his “new hypothesis,” as he named it, which was the first formulated presentation, so far as we have found, of post-millenarianism — the doctrine now generally in vogue in the theological schools of this country — a Bishop of the English Church expressed his dissent from the hypothesis on the ground that it tended to destroy the doctrine of the resurrection by making the time of each man’s death equivalent to the coming of Christ and the day of resurrection.
This tendency culminates we conceive in Dr. Warren’s work. In it death and resurrection have at last been reconciled.
To die is to rise from the dead : to lie down in corruption is to put on incormption. Then waiting for God’s Son from heaven is a needless attitude and an obsolete duty. The crown which belongs to Immanuel is put upon the ghastly head of death — and we are to wait for the coming of death instead of watching for the coming of Christ in glory. This teaching we do not charge exclusively, however, upon “Parousia.” It is in the air — ” Parousia” has condensed it and put it into tangible shape. Those who feel the untenableness of modern Post-millennialism will fly for refuge to this theory. Those who wish to stand on the securer foundation of the Pre-millennial faith, — the doctrine of the advent which even so prejudiced a witness as Dr. Whitby himself admits passed unchallenged for the first two hundred and fifty years of the church as the belief of “all Christians who were exactly orthodox,” — will do well to follow the lines of criticism which Dr. Litch has so ably marked out.
A. J. G. Boston, May, 1880.
As of liberty so of evangelical doctrine, its price is ” eternal vigilance.” The tendency of human nature has always been downward ; and Satan’s tares are profusely scattered in every field where the wheat of Christ is sown. After the experience of Orthodoxy some fifty years ago, in its struggle with Unitarianism, and the battles fought and victories won by Drs. Griffin, Beecher, and their associates, and the establishment of orthodox principles, churches and schools over New England, there was good reason to hope that at least for the nineteenth century the ground would have been maintained and the work of God have been carried on upon the same basis.
But such hopes have been doomed to disappointment. A leading journalist, editor of a professedly Orthodox periodical, the leader of the denomination in a New England State, puts forth before Christendom a labored work to prove that Jesus Christ is never to return visibly in the clouds of heaven ; that instead of the resurrection of the dead being (as the Scriptures plainly teach) at the close of this dispensation, when “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven,” each human being is resurrected at the moment of death, by an elimination of a ” non-atomic enswathement of the soul ” ; that instead of a day, or period, of general judgment, when the human race shall be arraigned and judged — each receiving his final doom, the judgment is now ; and that instead of the dissolution of the material world, the aerial heavens and the earth, by the action of fire at “the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men,” to give place to ” a new heaven and a new earth,” as Peter wrote the, great foretold change is to be brought about by human agency.
Had these utter perversions of God’s most holy word been the work of an open enemy, I had held my peace ; but when Christ is thus betrayed and pierced in the house of his professed friend, and the leaders of professed orthodoxy, from professor’s chair, press and pulpit, either pass lightly, or else endorse and commend such betrayal of a sacred trust, feeble though the effort may be, the reviewer of Dr. Warren’s PAROUSIA felt constrained to do what he could to expose such heresy and neutralize the virus thus infused into the sacred mystical body of Christ.
Let the principles of hermeneutics involved in Dr. Warren’s book be adopted and the Bible, as a standard of faith, is of no value whatsoever. There is not a heterodox sentiment extant but what may be sustained by it ; nor is there a doctrine taught in its pages that is of any force whatever. If the Book of God does not mean what its words express, who is the pope that shall tell us authoritatively what it does mean ? If the sin-sick soul cannot be assured that the Holy Scriptures mean what the obvious import of the words express, on what shall its confidence be based in order to find peace and rest ? When Jesus Christ says to a sinful world : ” This is the will of the Father which sent me, that every one which seeth the Son and believeth on him should have everlasting life ; and I will raise him up at the last day,” if the last clause of the promise does not mean what it says, what perishing, sinking soul will dare to risk his eternal interests on the testimony of the first part of the verse ?
Believing most firmly as the reviewer does, that Dr. Warren’s PAROUSIA is jeopardizing immortal interests, and undermining the faith of those who embrace his sentiments, he has undertaken this review, and now sends it forth in this form, in the. name of the Lord, on its mission of protest, wherever it shall find a reader, against a system of grievous and dangerous error. For Dr. Warren himself, the author has only the kindest of feelings ; and only wishes that his valuable talent might have been employed in a better cause than thus shamefully perverting the word of God, removing the old landmarks of the Church, and sowing broadcast the seeds of Swedenborgianism over the land. To one who carefully watched the downward course of that bright star, as it waned into darkness — the late Prof. Bush, the course of Rev. I. P. Warren, D.D., can but seem full of peril to himself and to those under his influence.
The Summary of Eschatology appended to the Review, the author trusts may prove an assistance to inquirers after truth, as opening to their minds the scheme of Redemption and its final outcome.
In the Appendix will be found the author’s Rejoinder to Dr. Warren’s Reply to the Review of his book. It will be found to contain considerable repetition of what was said in the Review,. But this is inevitable in such a work. Invoking the divine blessing on this feeble effort to subserve the cause of truth, the work is sent forth in this more permanent form and respectfully dedicated to all evangelical churches in Christendom, by
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH BY WIKIPEDIA
Dr. Josiah Litch (1809–1886) was a Methodist Episcopal preacher in the New England region of the United States, who was most well-known for his connections with the Millerite movement, and for using Bible prophecy to predict a loss of power for the Ottoman Empire.
Litch then wrote his own book, The Probability of the Second Coming of Christ About A.D. 1843. In a comment on Revelation 9, Litch predicted that the Ottoman Empire would lose power in August 1840. When on August 11, 1840, the Ottoman Empire accepted guarantees from the Great Powers, it was interpreted as a fulfillment of Bible prophecy and Litch’s interpretation thereof.
One of Litch’s most notable converts was Charles Fitch, who later became one of the foremost preachers in the Millerite movement.
Around 1841, the Millerite movement requested Litch to become the first general agent. Litch was granted release from his pastoral duties, and became the first paid Millerite worker. Litch was successful as a promoter and secretary for the movement.
Another idea that Litch developed was the idea of a pre-advent judgment. According to Litch, “no human tribunal would think of executing judgment on a prisoner until after his trial; much less God.” He began to develop the idea in 1840, but didn’t publish until 1841. After the Great Disappointment, some Millerites applied Litch’s pre-advent judgment to October 22, 1844, the Millerites’ predicted date of Jesus’ return (the Seventh-day Adventists later developed this into the investigative judgment doctrine).
After the Great Disappointment, Litch joined William Miller in setting dates, then waiting for the soon return of Jesus.
THE THREE WO TRUMPETS. WO! WO!! WO!!!
by Josiah Litch
The book of Revelation has long been looked upon as a book of inexplicable mysteries, altogether beyond the reach of the comprehension of mortals. And this opinion has received too much encouragement from professed teachers and expounders of the word of God, many of them of eminent talents and various learning. . .much evil has been done by their unguarded remarks respecting the obscurity of unfulfilled prophecy in general, and the book of Revelation in particular. . . . The Holy Spirit is grieved, and the God of Revelation slighted and insulted, by such insinuations and remarks. . . . How differently has the author of the book expressed himself in reference to it! He calls it, “The Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass . . . .”
If it is a revelation, then it is not an inexplicable mystery, but the mind of God made known to man. “Blessed,” then “is he that readeth, and they which hear the words of the prophecy of this book.” If God, then, has pronounced a blessing on the reader of this book, who shall disannul it?
Rev. 8:13. “Wo [sic], wo, wo to the inhabiters of the earth, by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels which are yet to sound.”
Rev. 9:1. “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.”
A star, in the figurative language of Revelation, is a minister of religion. See Rev. 1:20…. A fallen star, then would signify a fallen or heretical minister of religion. This was undoubtedly the Arabian imposter, Mahomet. [Mohammed] There is so general an agreement among Christians, especially protestant commentators, that the subject of this prediction is Mahommedism [Islam], I shall not enter into the argument at large to prove it; but in passing, shall merely give a brief exposition of the emblems used, and their application in the text.
Verse 2: “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. . . . “
The smoke was the cloud of errors which arose through his instrumentality, darkening the sun, (gospel light,) and the air, (the influence of Christianity on the minds of men.) In this enterprise, he and his followers were so successful that the light of Christianity almost disappeared wherever he gained an influence; and the smoke of the pit produced nearly total darkness throughout the eastern church.
Verse 3: “And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth; and unto them was given power as scorpions of the earth have power. . . . “
That these locusts were emblems of an army, is clear. . . : “And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were crowns like gold, and their faces were the faces of men. And they had hair like the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions,” &c. . . . Such is the description of a Mahommedan [Muslim] horseman prepared for battle. A horse, a rider with a man’s face, long flowing beard, woman’s hair, flowing or plaited, and the head encircled with a yellow turban, like gold.
“Was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. . . .” Martinicus says, Scorpions have nippers, or pincers, with which they keep hold of what they seize, after they have wounded it with their sting…. ”
Like the scorpion, Mahomet stung the subjects of his proselytism, and infused the poison of his doctrines, and continued to hold them by the force of arms, until it had affected the whole man, and the subject settled down in the belief of his delusive errors. . . . Wherever his arms triumphed, there his religion was imposed on men, whether they believed it or not. . . .
“The successors of the prophet propagated his faith and imitated his example; and such was the rapidity of their progress, that in the space of a century, Persia, Syria, Egypt, Africa, and Spain had submitted to the victorious arms of the Arabian and Saracen conquerors.” Ruter
Verse 4: “And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth neither any green thing, neither any tree [a direct command found in the Koran]; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. “
“Grass, green thing, and tree” are here put in opposition to those men who have not the seal of God, &c. If so, they must mean those who have the seal of God – his worshipers.
“. . .Infidels, who rejected the Christian religion, and also all idolaters, they forced to receive the Mahommedan religion [Islam], upon pain of death. But Jews and Christians, who had their Bibles and their religion, they left to the enjoyment of them, upon their paying large sums, which they exacted. But where the payment of such sums was refused, they must either embrace the new religion or die.” Smiths Key to Revelation.
Verse 5: “And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months.”
As the language thus far has been figurative, so it must be here also. To kill, signifies, a political death, or subjection. The nation of Christians who were the subjects of this plague were to be tormented five months, but not politically slain. Five months is one hundred and fifty days; each day a full solar year; the whole time, one hundred and fifty years.
Verse 6: “And in those days men shall seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.”
This, of course, is the same death as that in verse 5, viz., political. Such was the misery of the Greeks, occasioned by the wars in which they were almost continually embroiled with the Mahommedan powers, that very many would have preferred an entire subjection of the empire to them, to the protracted miseries the war occasioned. But this was not permitted; political death fled from them.
THE EXTERMINATOR TORMENTS THE GREEKS ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS
Verse 10: “Their power was to hurt men five months. “
1. The question arises. What men were they to hurt five months? Undoubtedly the same they were afterwards to slay; (See verse 15.) “The third part of the men,” or third of the Roman empire – the Greek division of it.
2. When were they to begin their work of torment? The 11th verse answers the question: “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 hath his name Apollyon [meaning destroyer].”
a. “They had a king over them.” From the death of Mahomet. . .the Mahommedans were divided into various factions, under several leaders, with no general civil government extending over them all. Near the close of the 13th century, Othman founded a government, which has since been known as the Ottoman government, or empire, extending over all the principal Mahommedan tribes, consolidating them into one grand monarchy.
b. The character of the king. “Which is the angel of the bottomless pit.” An angel signifies a messenger, or minister, either good or bad; not always a spiritual being. “The angel of the bottomless pit,” or chief minister of the religion which came from hence when it was opened. That religion is Mahommedism [Islam], and the Sultan is its chief minister.
“The Sultan, or Grand Signior, as he is indifferently called, is also Supreme Caliph, or high priest, uniting in his person the highest spiritual dignity with the supreme secular authority.” Perkins, “World as it is,” p. 361. . . .
3. His name. In Hebrew, “Abaddon,” the destroyer; in Greek, “Apollyon,” one that exterminates or destroys. Having two different names in the two languages, it is evident that the character rather than the name of the power is intended to be represented. . . . Such has always been the character of the Ottoman government. . . .
But when did Othman make his first assault on the Greek empire? According to Gibbon (“Decline & Fall,” &c.) “Othman first entered the territory of Nicomedia on the 27th day of July, 1299. . . .”
“And their power was to torment men five months. . . .” Commencing July 27th, 1299, the one hundred and fifty years reach to 1449. During that whole period the Turks were engaged in an almost perpetual war with the Greek empire, but yet without conquering it. They seized upon and held several of the Greek provinces, but still Greek independence was maintained in Constantinople. But in 1449, the termination of the one hundred and fifty years, a change came. Before presenting the history of that change, however, we will look at verses 12-15…: “One wo is past; and behold, there come two woes more hereafter. And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice, from the four horns of the golden alter which is before. Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed which were prepared for an hour, a day, a month, and a year, for to slay a third part of men.”
The first wo was to continue from the rise of Mahommedism until the end of the five months. Then the first wo was to end, and the second begin. And when the sixth angel sounded, it was commanded to take off the restraints which had been imposed on the nation, by which they were restricted to the work of tormenting men, and their commission extended to slay the third part of men. This command came from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God. “The four angels,” are the four principal sultanies of which the Ottoman empire is composed, located in the country of the Euphrates. They had been restrained; God commanded, and they were loosed.
In the year 1449, John Paleologus, the Greek emperor, died, but left no children to inherit his throne, and Constantine Deacozes succeeded to it. But he would not venture to ascend the throne without the consent of Amurath, the Turkish Sultan. He therefore sent ambassadors to ask his consent, and obtained it, before he presumed to call himself sovereign . . . . Let this historical fact be carefully examined in connection with the prediction above. This was not a violent assault made on the Greeks, by which their empire was overthrown and their independence taken away, but simply a voluntary surrender of that independence into the hands of the Turks, by saying, “I cannot reign unless you permit.”
The four angels were loosed for an hour, a day, a month, and a year, to slay the third part of men. This period amounts to three hundred and ninety-one years and fifteen days; during which Ottoman supremacy was to exist in Constantinople.
Commencing when the one hundred and fifty years ended, in 1449, the period would end August 11th, 1840. Judging from the manner of the commencement of the Ottoman supremacy, that it was by a voluntary acknowledgment on the part of the Greek emperor that he only reigned by permission of the Turkish Sultan, we should naturally conclude that the fall or departure of Ottoman independence would be brought about in the same way; that at the end of the specified period, the Sultan would voluntarily surrender his independence into the hands of the Christian powers, from whom he received it.
When the foregoing calculation was made, it was purely a matter of calculation on the prophetic periods of Scripture. Now, however, the time has passed by, and it is proper to inquire what the result has been – whether it has corresponded with the previous calculation.
1. Has the ottoman independence in Constantinople departed, and is it in christian hands? Let the following testimony answer the question. . . .
The London Morning Herald, after the capture of St. Jean dAcre, speaking of the state of things in the Ottoman empire, says: “We have dissipated into thin air the prestige that lately invested as with a halo the name of Mehemet Ali. We have in all probability destroyed forever the power of that hitherto successful ruler. But have we done aught to restore strength to the Ottoman empire? we fear not. we fear that the sultan has been reduced to the rank of a puppet; and that the sources of the turkish empires strength are entirely destroyed.
“If the supremacy of the Sultan is hereafter to be maintained in Egypt, it must be maintained, we fear, by the unceasing intervention of England and Russia . . . .”
2. When did Mahommedan independence in Constantinople depart?
In order to answer this question understandingly, it will be necessary to review briefly the history of that power for a few years past.
For several years the Sultan has been embroiled in war with Mehemet [Mohammed] Ali, Pacha [sic] of Egypt. In 1838 there was a threatening of war between the Sultan and his Egyptian vassal. Mehemet Ali Pacha, in a note addressed to the foreign consuls, declared that in the future, he would pay no tribute in the Porte, and that he considered himself independent sovereign of Egypt, Arabia, and Syria. . . . In 1839, hostilities again commenced, and were prosecuted, until, in a general battle between the armies of the Sultan and Mehemet, the Sultans army was entirely cut up and destroyed, and his fleet taken by Mehemet and carried into Egypt . . . . This fleet Mehemet positively refused to give up and return to the Sultan. . . . In 1840, England, Russia, Austria, and Prussia, interposed, and determined on a settlement of the difficulty; for it was evident, if let alone, Mehemet would soon become master of the Sultans throne. . . .
The Sublime Porte, with a view of putting a stop to the effusion of Mussulman blood, and to the various evils which would arise from a renewal of hostilities, accepted the intervention of the great powers….
Here was certainly a voluntary surrender. . . ,[part of the official document reads:] The powers have, together with the ottoman plenipotentiary, drawn up and signed a treaty, whereby the Sultan offers the Pacha, the hereditary government of Egypt, and all that part of Syria extending from the gulf of Suez to the lake of Tiberias, together with the province of Acre, for life; the Pacha, on his part, evacuating all other parts of the Sultans dominions now occupied by him, and returning the Ottoman fleet. A certain space of time has been granted him to accede to these terms; and, as the proposals of the Sultan and his allies, the four powers, do not admit of any change of qualification, if the Pacha refuse to accede to them, it is evident that the evil consequences to fall upon him will be attributable solely to his own fault.
“His Excellency, Rifat Bey, Musleshar for foreign affairs, has been despatched in a government steamer to Alexandria, to communicate the ultimatum to the Pacha.” [Moniteur Ottoman, Aug. 22, 1840.]
The question now comes up, when was that document put officially under the control of mehemet ali?
“By the French steamer of the 24th, we have advices from Egypt to the 16th. . . . The Turkish government steamer, which had reached alexandria on the 11th, with the envoy rifat bey on board, had by his (the Pachas) orders been placed in quarantine, and she was not released from it till the 16th. . . however. . .on the very day [August 11, 1840] on which he had been admitted to pratique, the above named functionary had had an audience of the Pacha, and had communicated to him the command of the Sultan, with respect to the evacuation of the Syrian province, appointing another audience for the next day, when, in the presence of the consuls of the European powers, he would receive from him his definite answer, and inform him of the alternative of his refusing to obey; giving him the ten days which have been allotted him by the convention to decide on the course he should think fit to adopt. . . .” The London Morning Chronicle, Sept. 18, 1840.
According to previous calculation, therefore, ottoman supremacy did depart on the eleventh of August [August 11, 1840] into the hands of the great Christian powers of Europe.
Then the second wo is past, and the sixth trumpet has ceased its sounding; and the conclusion is now inevitable, because the word of God affirms the fact in so many words, “Behold, the third wo cometh quickly.”
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