Eastern Question
Is the King of the North in Daniel 11:40-45
The Turks or the Papacy?

by Elder James S. White

(Note: The Russo-Turkish War of 18771878 was in full swing at this time.
Uriah Smith was enthusiastically preaching that
Daniel 11:40-45 was being fulfilled.
The Turks, according to U.Smith, were the "king of the North" of that prophecy.
James White, as we will see in the following articles, did not agree.)

Advent Review and Sabbath Herald,
Vol. 50 #22, November 29, 1877 p172

Fulfilled prophecy may be understood by the Bible student. Prophecy is history in advance. He can compare history with prophecy and find a complete fit as the glove to the hand, it having been made for it. But in exposition of unfulfilled prophecy, where the history is not written, the student should put forth his propositions with not too much positiveness, lest he find himself straying in the field of fancy.

There are those who think more of future truth than of present truth. They see but little light in the path in which they walk, but think they see great light ahead of them.

Positions taken upon the Eastern question are based upon prophecies which have not yet their fulfillment. Here we should tread lightly, and take positions carefully, lest we be found removing the landmarks fully established in the advent movement.

It may be said that there is a general agreement upon this subject, and that all eyes are turned toward the war now in progress between Turkey and Russia as the fulfillment of that portion of prophecy which will give great confirmation of faith in the soon loud cry and close of our message. But what will be the result of this positiveness in unfulfilled prophecies should things not come out as very confidently expected, is an anxious question. Wars, pestilences, famines, and earthquakes are not the surest signs of the end. These have ever existed. We may have war, then peace, pestilence, then health, famine, then plenty, earthquakes, then the bowels of the earth may be quiet ; but the message of the third angel is given but once. The progress of this work in fulfillment of prophecy is the highest and brightest light now shining in the religious heavens.

Those looking at the Eastern question will probably be disappointed ; but we may bear our whole weight upon the last message without fear of disappointment. As we now see our world-wide message extending to the nations, we see the fulfillment of prophecy, and the clearest sign of the close of the work, and the consummation of the hope of the church.

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 gold, 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.

" And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seat in the glorious holy mountain, margin, of delights of holiness, yet he shall come to his end and none to help him." Dan. 11 :45.

Is it said that Palestine is such a glorious land, and that the Turkish seat of government is to be removed to that land, then we will remark that:

Palestine has had the curse of God resting upon it ever since the death of the Son of God. Whatever it may have been, it is not now at the time the prophecy speaks to us any such a country. If there is any portion of our world that God has forsaken more than another, it is that which drank up the blood of prophets, the Son of God, and his holy apostles.

But the western continent is now at the time of the fulfillment of the prophecy just such a land. Here, stretching between the Atlantic and the Pacific is a country which is the desire of all nations. Even the poor Chinaman with all his idolatry and filth flocks to our comparatively delightful land by thousands. It is here that all nations are represented.

Three years since, in a Catholic procession which was three hours passing a given point, one carriage flung to the breeze thirty-two flags, representing that number of nations. Our free schools, the freedom of the press, and freedom of religious liberty, added to the fertility of our vast country, make it at this time the land of delight. We close this article with the inquiries : Viewing the past and present, is there not more probability that the seat of the beast will be moved to our country, than that the seat of the Turkish government will be moved to Palestine? And in advancing opinions upon unfulfilled prophecy, is it not safer to move slowly ? J. W

Advent Review and Sabbath Herald,
Vol. 51 #15, Oct.3, 1878 p. 116


We were very happy to again stand before the people of our charge, and speak to them the words of life. We spoke seventy minutes with ease, answering the important question, "Where are we?" We traced down tbe several linos of prophecy in Daniel two, seven, eight, and eleven, showing that all the specifications of these prophetic chains have been fulfilled excepting the crowning event of prophecy, the coming of the Son of man.

And while the prophecy of Daniel has to do with four empires, Babylon, Persia, Grecia, and Rome, the book of the Revelation has to do with the fourth only, Rome. We trace down the four leading chains of symbols in this book and find ourselves standing before the Judgment of the last day, waiting for the second appearing of Christ. And although we had done this a thousand times, yet on this occasion the field seemed new, and the evidences more conclusive than ever before. As we followed down the seven seals to the opening of the seventh, we stood before the naked scenes of the last Judgment. And the churches brought us to the preaching of the coming of Christ in the sixth, while the seventh [church] reveals our real, condition. Here the inquiry was again raised, in view of the description given of the church of the Laodiceans, " Where are we ? " Or, what is our real condition before God ? The danger of self-deception was pointed out, references to cases of great deception in Old-Testament history were made, and the church was exhorted to new consecration and devotion to the work of God.


We trace down the line of prophecy represented by the metallic image of the second chapter of Daniel, from the golden head, Babylon, the silver breast and arms, Media and Persia, past the sides of brass, Grecia, to the feet and toes, Rome in its divided state, and there we find ourselves waiting the utter destruction of all earthly governments, represented by the stone dashing the image in pieces.

What next ?
Answer : The establishment of the everlasting kingdom of God, which includes the coining of the Son of man to destroy his enemies, raise the righteous dead, restore the earth to its Eden glory, and reign with his people upon it " forever, even forever and ever."

The same field of prophecy is occupied in the seventh chapter of Daniel with the use of another class of symbols, the lion, the bear, the leopard, the beast with ten horns, and the same beast with three horns plucked up by the little horn. The kingdom of Babylon is symbolized by the lion of this chapter, the same as by the golden head of chapter second. Persia by the bear, Grecia by the leopard, and Pagan and Papal Rome by the two forms or conditions of the great and terrible beast. The specifications of this prophetic chain are more minute than those of chapter second. The time of the persecuting rule of Papal Rome is given in a manner so very plain, its twelve hundred and sixty years bounded at each end, commencing A. D. 538, and terminating A. D. 1798, that it can hardly be misunderstood.

What next ?
Answer :
The second appearing of Christ, the destruction of the beast, his body given to the burning flames.

We have passed all the light-houses on the coast of time, and are entering the eternal haven by the light of the judgment fires of the burning day and the blazing glory of the coming of the Son of man.

Again, the last three of those four universal empires are symbolized in the eighth chapter of Daniel by the ram with two horns, Media and Persia ; the goat, Grecia ; and the little horn, Rome. This horn was to become exceedingly great, stand up against the Prince of princes in his first advent, and be broken without hand at his second advent. We wait the destruction of the man of sin by the brightness of the coming of the King of kings.

And there is a line of historic prophecy in chapter eleven, where the symbols are thrown off, beginning with the kings of Persia, and reaching down past Grecia and Rome, to the time when that power " shall come to his end and none shall help him."

If the feet and the toes of the metallic image are Roman, if the beast with ten horns that was given to the burning flames of the great day be the Roman beast, if the little horn which stood up against the Prince of princes be Rome, and if the same field and distance are covered by these four prophet chains, then the last powor of the eleventh chapter, which is to " come to his end and none shall help him," is Rome. But if this be Turkey, as some teach, then the toes of the image of the second chapter are Turkish, the beast with ten horns of the seventh chapter represents Turkey, and it was Turkey that stood up against the Prince of princes of the eighth chapter of Daniel.

True, Turkey is bad enough off; but its waning power and its end is the subject of the prophet of John and not of Daniel.

The fulfillment of these lines of prophecy constitutes signs of the approaching end.


While the lines of prophecy in the book of Daniel have to do with the four kingdoms, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome, that of John pertains to the fourth only, Rome. The Revelation contains four distinct lines of prophecy, measuring the period of the fourth universal empire, covering the history of the church until her Lord shall come.

Signs of the Times,
Vol. 6 #28, July 22, 1880 p. 330


" But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." Dan. 12 :4.
THE field of Daniel's prophecy embraces five universal kingdoms. These are Babylon, Media and Persia. Grecia, Home, and the eternal kingdom of God The ground of the four perishable kingdoms, reaching to, and introducing the immortal kingdom, is covered by four distinct lines of prophecy. These are given in chapters two, seven, eight and eleven. The eleventh chapter of Daniel closes with the close of the fourth monarchy, with these words:-
" And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; [mountain of delight of holiness, Heb. Marg.;] yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him."

The twelfth chapter continues:

" And at that time shall Michael [Christ] stand up [reign], 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. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever."

The student of prophecy is thus borne down the stream of time from Babylon in the height of the glory of that kingdom, past Media and Persia, the kingdom of Grecia, and the Roman Empire which comes to its end at the second coming of Christ and the resurrection of the dead, and out into the ocean of eternity, when the truly wise "shine as the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever."

Prophecy is history in advance. The prophetic pencil sketches the future history of nations. The car of Providence rolls down the track of prophecy, bearing the secular historian, who writes a second history of the rise and fall of empires. The student of prophecy compares the two histories, and learns his position on the highway of time.

Prophecy, reaching into the sealed future, could not be understood by the prophets themselves. Time, in its rapid flight, marking the fulfillment of each specification, unseals prophecy. Hence the words of the angel to the prophet: "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end."

The time of the end is not the end itself. It is evidently a period of time just prior to the end. In this time many run to and fro and knowledge upon the subject before the mind of the prophet increases. The prophecy of the book of Daniel, sealed in the day of the prophet from the nature of the case, as it related to the future history of kingdoms, is not to be sealed to the end, but to the time of the end. In the time of the end it is to be unsealed, and in the light of this open book many are to be engaged in proclaiming the increasing knowledge contained in the book, relative to the end.

James White and Seven Churches

James White and Seven Seals

James White and Seven Trumpets

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