Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.  Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. © Copyright 2010 - 2015   All rights reserved. Ottomans in the Bible      The Ottoman’s were Sunni Turks who became very powerful and united the Middle East for about 400 years.  Their founder had a vision, which is covered in verse 14.   The Ottoman’s rise and fall is described in the next 5 verses (all on this page). Rise of the Ottomans Daniel 11: 15-16 (15) Then the king of the North will come and build up siege ramps and will capture a fortified city. The forces of the South will be powerless to resist; even their best troops will not have the strength to stand. (16) The invader will do as he pleases; no one will be able to stand against him. He will establish himself in the Beautiful Land and will have the power to destroy it.      In 1453, at age 21, Mehmed II “the Conqueror” became sultan of the Ottoman Empire.  Two years later, he captured the fortified city of Constantinople and made it the capital of the Ottomans.  They changed the name to Istanbul, which it remains today.  The conquest of Constantinople was significant because it was the first time the city had changed hands since it was built by the Roman Emperor, Constantine, in 330.  For that reason, Mehmed declared himself Roman Emperor and set out to legitimize his claim by conquering the western capital of Rome also.  By 1480, the Ottomans occupied parts of the Italian peninsula but the campaign was cancelled due to Mehmed’s death the following year.  Yet, because of Mehmed’s efforts, the Ottomans retained a significant portion of south- eastern Europe.       In 1512, Selim I became Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and started their expansion into the Middle East.  By 1516, he controlled Syria and Palestine, including Jerusalem, also called the Beautiful Land.  Perhaps, God makes a specific reference to Jerusalem in this verse because the Mamluks had allowed it to become a place of worship for many religions.  For centuries, they had allowed the Latin clergy to serve in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which attracted many Christians during Easter.  They also established new sanctuaries to Moses and Salih to encourage Jewish and Muslim pilgrims as well.  Perhaps that is why they were saved from the Mongols several times by unusual circumstances.  Anyway, the Ottomans had the power to destroy the religious freedoms but they chose not to.  Instead, they established a church for the Greeks and built hospitals to serve the communities there.  Later, they even allowed the Jews to pray at the Western Wall.  Indeed, the Ottomans established themselves in the Beautiful Land but they were civilized such as the Mamluks had been in previous centuries. sitemap home
Ottomans unite the Middle East Daniel 11:17 He will determine to come with the might of his entire kingdom and will make an alliance with the king of the South. And he will give him a daughter in marriage in order to overthrow the kingdom, but his plans will not succeed or help him.      According to William Muir (1896), the Ottomans proposed an alliance with the Mamluks even though they were far superior in power.  Perhaps it was because they were both Turkish and Sunni, as I pointed out earlier.  In 1517, Selim sent a delegation of messengers to the Mamluk sultan, Tuman bay II.  Selim demanded that his supremacy be acknowledged in the coinage and public prayers, for which, the Mamluks would be spared.  According to Muir, Tuman wanted to grant the requests but his Emirs overcame his better judgment and the messengers were put to death.  I find no mention of a marriage but that was a common way to make an alliance between two kingdoms.  Perhaps, the marriage is not well known because the plan did not succeed.  Whatever the case, the Ottomans took control of Egypt anyway.       From 1520-1566, Suleiman “the Magnificent” reigned as sultan of the Ottomans and expanded the empire to its peak of power (left).  By 1535, he had taken Baghdad and the rest of Mesopotamia from the Safavids, which effectively gave him control of the entire Middle East.  In terms of land area, the Ottoman Empire was not the biggest because they did not control Persia or Arabia.  Yet, they controlled Egypt and Mesopotamia at the same time, which in the context of Daniel 11, was the whole Middle East.  That had not been done since the Abbasids ruled in the 9th century or the end of verse 6.  Notice that the next few verses do not distinguish between the North and South because the Ottomans held both regions for the next 350 years.  Notice the Safavids (Shiites) in Persia click to enlarge Ottoman’s turning point Daniel 11:18 Then he will turn his attention to the coastlands and will take many of them, but a commander will put an end to his insolence and will turn his insolence back upon him.      This verse is divided into two parts and describes the turning point of the Ottoman Empire.  After the death of Suleiman, the succeeding sultans did not participate directly in combat.  They left the military decisions to a “grand visor”, who answered only to the sultan.  That variation would eventually lead to the decline of the Ottoman Empire.        The first “grand visor” was an effective leader because he had served under Suleiman.  By 1571, he had strengthened the navy and established dominance along the “coastlands”  of the Mediterranean.  Pope St. Pius V formed an alliance of Catholic maritime states called the Holy League to oppose the Muslim Ottomans.  At the Battle of Lepanto, they succeeded in destroying most of the Ottoman’s ships .  However, that just angered the Ottomans who built 250 ships in the next six months, including eight of the largest ships ever seen in the Mediterranean.  That quick resurgence prompted the Pope to sign the “Treaty of Peace” in 1573.  The treaty ended the Holy League and allowed the Ottomans to expand their positions in North Africa, which explains the first half of verse 18.  After that, the Ottomans eased their expansionist policies for almost a century.       The turning point came when a series of “grand visors” from the Koprulu family emerged between 1656-1703.  The Koprulus received unprecedented authority and freedom from the sultan’s interference.  They reignited the empire’s military ambition and by 1676, they had taken Transylvania, Crete, and the Polish southern Ukraine.  Their insolence was turned back upon them when the “grand visor” led a huge army for a second attempt to siege Vienna in 1683.  The Ottoman forces were badly beaten by armies from Germany and Poland, led by Polish king, Jan Sobieski.  Fifteen years of see-sawing warfare finally forced the Ottomans to sign the Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699.  In the agreement, they surrendered a significant portion of Europe, including all of Hungary, which explains the second half of verse 18. Fall of the Ottomans Daniel 11:19 After this, he will turn back toward the fortresses of his own country but will stumble and fall, to be seen no more.      After the defeat, the Ottomans were forced to adopt a defensive strategy against their European rivals.  They defended against Russia one more time, in 1711, but then entered a peaceful era.  They began fortifying the cities bordering the Balkans to act as a defense against their European neighbors.  However, that strategy did not last.       In the 1800’s, the Ottomans began to lose territory on all fronts because of governmental instability, despite efforts to reform.  The empire ceased to enter conflicts on its own and began to forge alliances with European countries.  For example, Napoleon occupied Egypt from 1798-1801 but it was liberated by a joint, Ottoman-British force.  However, as a result, the British kept a supply of troops in Egypt.       The Ottoman’s downfall began in 1914 when they formed an alliance with Germany against their common enemy, Russia.  Shortly thereafter, they gave “safe harbor” to two German ships at Constantinople when they were fleeing from British ships.  Consequently, they were pulled into WWI on the side of Germany and the Central Powers, which is not what they had intended.  Britain immediately seized Egypt, Sudan, and Cyprus as a result.  In 1915, Russian armies attacked Anatolia, sending a flood of Armenian refuges into Syria and Mesopotamia.  That sparked an Arab revolt against the Ottomans in 1916.  Finally, in 1919, the British took control of the Middle East to restore order.  At the end of WWI, the Allied Forces partitioned the Ottoman Empire into individual countries.  The Turks rejected the first treaty and fought for their independence for three years.  Finally, in 1923, a treaty was signed that created the Republic of Turkey and the Ottoman Empire was seen no more, just as God said.  Next Page: The British Mandate Daniel 11:20 Chart of Daniel 11 this was: Page 9 on Daniel 11 click chart to enlarge
NEW:  Daniel 11 Explained  Condensed “one page” Commentary Updated:  Let me repeat: “seen no more”     Since people did not understand Daniel 11, Uriah Smith, a Seventh Day Adventist, proposed a timeline, in the mid-19th century, which made the Ottomans into the ‘final’ empire.  Obviously, he was wrong.  However, modern ‘post-tribulationists’ continue to pick ‘Turkey’, as the final empire, for no apparent reason.  They are wrong because they are using an incorrect interpretation of Daniel 11. (Plus, they manipulate Revelation, which is very wrong.)  I explain more about that in ‘past theories of Daniel 11’ (only two others to choose from).  The same page contains recent “Turkey News”.  Post-tribs, in general, are discussed on a separate page The Iranian dream of a reborn Persian Empire New York Post – February 1, 2015 Quote: A Turkish attempt to establish a neo-Ottoman Empire failed  (none of their neighbors wanted the Turks back), but three other imperia have gotten at least one foot out of the grave: the Persian Empire, the Arab Caliphate and the Russian Empire.    Besides, current events  are leading to the ‘abomination’, in verse 31, just like Jesus said, not verse 45, as post-tribs say.