Sins of our Forefathers, Part 9
The Roman Empire and the Blessings of the Pope
Daniel 7, and Revelation 13, and 17, all point to an interesting sequence of events that could easily be considered as the Roman Empire. Here is only a part of each segment of Scripture. Let’s see if you agree. Daniel 7:24-25, “As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will humble three kings. And he will speak against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be handed over to him for a time, times, and half a time.” Revelation 17:9-10 could this mean seven resurrections of the Roman Empire? “Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains upon which the woman sits, and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while.” Revelation 13:1,3, “Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten crowns, and on his heads were blasphemous names.” “I saw one of his heads as if it had been fatally wounded, and his fatal wound was healed.”
The Western Empire fell in 476 CE and in 553 CE the eastern Roman Emperor Justinian and his armies had succeeded in reconquering Italy and all of the Western Empire. Justinian looked to the church and decreed that the proper people be chosen to govern by the bishops(who later would be called popes) and those influential people in each province. The church and the state reunited once again in the west. This was called the “Imperial Restoration”. Revelation 13 says, “I saw one of his heads as if it had been fatally wounded, and his fatal wound was healed.” The deadly wound that Rome’s Empire felt in 476 was now revived and brought back to life by Justinian, but there would be six and even seven times more attempts to bring back the “Eternal City” called Rome, the Holy Roman Empire ruled by the Church of Rome which began in 554CE to even today.
The protection that the east was giving the west now became negotiable and King Charles, king of the Franks and Leo, Bishop of Rome, held negotiations to resolve this problem. In 800 CE, on Christmas day, Charlemagne, the king of the Franks knelt before St. Peter’s altar and Pope Leo placed a jeweled crown on his head and anointed him with holy oil. So was the coronation of Charles the Augustus as the pope saluted him, “Charlemagne as Emperor and Augustus.” So we see first Justinian and now Charlemagne second. Charlemagne King of the Franks now became part of the Holy Roman Empire. In 936 CE, the German Saxons became the most powerful group in central Europe. In 955 Otto, Duke of the Saxons and king of the Germans entered Italy at the request of Pope John XII and crowned him with the imperial crown at Pavia in 962 and so the restoration of the Roman empire continued with King Otto being the third. The Holy Empire was now to a large extent German in its ways and politics , but definitely Rome in its legacy. Rome was out to conquer the world. The church was now a political machine, and there was no stopping it. Otto had imperial symbols like the imperial apple, filled with the earth from the four corners of the world. He called the crown, the crown of Rome and of the globe and he called himself the head of the world and ruler of the globe and of Rome and the empire went on for another 300 years till Rudolph I was elected emperor in 1273.This was the first for the Hapsburg family to be placed on the imperial throne and it came with Rudolphs’ descendant Charles V in 1530 when Pope Clement VII crowned him king. He was now the fourth to receive the blessings of the pope, and this was the fourth revival of the Roman Empire. By the 18th Century the title “Holy Roman Emperor” became an empty title. By the end of the 18th Century life was about to change and it was called the French Revolution. An ambitious man from France rose up whose name was Napoleon Bonaparte and his goal was to be the head of a French Republic, even king of all of France. He considered himself to be a successor of Caesar and Charlemagne. In 1791 Avignon had removed itself from the papal control and annexed themselves with France. In 1797 Napoleon had taken several papal territories and in 1791 he had taken control of the rest of the papal territories and claimed the Roman Republic. The Hapsburg Family of Austria joined with Napoleon and even helped him to gain the imperial title. The Holy Roman Empire was seeing itself fall apart. Napoleon gained land from Spain and France, Holland , Belgium and western Germany and even Italy. Is this beginning to look like something familiar? It should and we will see as we go on that it was all too familiar. In 1804 Pope Pius sought peace with France and presided over the imperial coronation of Napoleon, thus making him the fifth crowned by the pope and the fifth revival of the western Imperium since Justinian. This was in fact a period of 1,260 years since the imperial restoration under Justinian in 554, thus fulfilling Revelation 13:3-5 The beast was given authority for forty-two months which equals 1260 days, but there were still two more attempts to be made in this prophecy regarding ancient Rome. By 1871 Bismark united all of the non- Hapsburgs of Germany under the Prussian king while Garibaldi united all of Italy under the northern king Sardinia-Piedmont. Fifty years after Garibaldi’s inauguration, he too, had visions of restoring the glory of ancient Rome. Well, it happened and it was led by a man named Benito Mussolini. He led his Fascist to power in 1922. Fascists derived their name from the faces of Imperial Rome. The “Faces” was an ax wrapped in a bundle of rods signifying unity and authority. Back in the day it was carried by Roman consuls as a symbol of their office. In 1870 King Victor Emanuel defeated the armies of the pope and captured Rome. Needless to say that the pope and it’s new rulers were cold to each other, but in 1929 Mussolini signed the Lateran Treaty with the pope which gave the papal sovereignty over the Vatican City which made Mussolini’s government the first Italian government in modern history to be recognized officially by the pope. This treaty was just a prelude to the one that would be signed four years later, in July 1933, between the pope and the Nazi government of Germany. Mussolini went and conquered Ethiopia and Somaliland in 1896 and in 1936 Mussolini proclaimed from the Palace of Venezia that after 15 centuries, the reappearance of the Empire on its hills of Rome. Mussolini entered into an alliance with Adolf Hitler that resulted in the Rome-Berlin Axis of World War II. This was the sixth attempt at uniting Europe by reviving Imperial Rome, but it was short-lived by the defeat of Germany in 1945. After the war Stalin made himself known in Europe but after defeating Nazsism, the world did not want communism either. IN 1957 with the Treaty of Rome a Common Market began with France, West Germany, Italy and three Benelux states. This became what we know today as the European Union. So is it true that the popes played a role in the end times scenario? Six attempts have been made to restore ancient Rome with the help of the popes and there will be one more attempt. Keep your eyes open, and maybe we will see this last attempt to fulfill the prophecies in the Book of Revelation.
Next we will go back a few years and look at the Reformation.