The Ten European Revivals of the Ancient Roman Empire
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Dramatic events are occurring in Europe that will have tremendous consequences for the entire world! In spite of this, many are blind to the significance of what is happening before their very eyes! They fail to see how to connect the dots and make sense of it all.
The key to correctly understanding the impact of current events lies in viewing the present and the future through the lens of the past. Only when we open the pages of history can we truly grasp the dimensions of the prophesied end-time scenario as it crescendos globally out of proportion and out of mankind’s control.
This booklet will help guide you through the maze of wrong prophetic speculations and false interpretations and viewpoints, and will help you see the truth as it is revealed in the Bible, and as substantiated by history itself.
In this booklet, we will draw from history and explain in detail how events in the distant past are actually connected to current events unfolding now, as well as future events yet to take place with regard to the Roman Empire.
As an overview, the books of Daniel and Revelation describe four world-ruling empires, identified as Babylon (compare Daniel 2:38; 7:17), Medo-Persia (compare Daniel 2:39; 7:17; 8:20), Greece (compare Daniel 2:39; 7:17; 8:21) and Rome (compare Daniel 2:40-43; 7:17).
The Roman Empire was to be divided into Eastern and Western Rome, and the Western part would fall (compare Revelation 13:3), but it was to be revived ten times and would endure until the time of Jesus Christ’s return. Proof for these statements can be found in our literature, including in our free booklet, Europe in Prophecy. In that booklet, we also state the following:
“The Roman Empire fell and the world believed it would never rise again (symbolized by the deadly wound [compare again Revelation 13:3]). But God revealed through Daniel and through the Apostle John that there would actually be ten revivals of the Roman Empire, nine of which have already occurred.
“After the destruction of Rome, three so-called ‘barbarian’ powers, who were all followers of an unorthodox nominally Christian faction called Arianism, revived the Roman Empire. This happened under King Gaiseric of the Vandals, under King Odoacer of the Heruli, and under King Theodoric of the Ostrogoths. These are the first three horns of the fourth beast that Daniel saw [compare Daniel 7:7-8, 24]—the first three resurrections of the Roman Empire.
“The fourth resurrection then occurred under Justinian in A.D. 554. At that time, lands of the old West Roman Empire were taken back from the Arian ‘barbarians’ by the Romans of the Eastern Empire under its emperor, Justinian. He also restored the rule of ‘orthodox’ Roman Catholicism to the West. Known in history as the Imperial Restoration, this is understood by many to be the biblical ‘healing of the deadly wound’ the Roman Empire had received from the barbarian powers.
“The fifth resurrection occurred under Charlemagne (Charles the Great) in A.D. 800. The sixth occurred under Otto the Great in A.D. 962. The seventh occurred under Charles V of Hapsburg in 1530, the eighth under Napoleon Bonaparte ruling from 1804 until 1814, and yes, the ninth has also already occurred, under Mussolini and Hitler. Thus, what is happening right now in Europe is the tenth and final resurrection of that same Roman Empire…”
Regarding the ten revivals of the Roman Empire, we stated in our free booklet, Is That in the Bible? The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation:
“According to Daniel 7:24, ten kings were to arise out of the Roman Empire. This could either describe a simultaneous or co-existing one-time revival under the leadership of ten kings, or it could refer to ten successive revivals—one revival following the next over time. Comparing the passage in Daniel 7 with the beast in Revelation 13, and based on what actually occurred historically, we conclude that successive revivals are intended here—the beast or the Roman Empire would have ten successive resurrections or revivals. Revelation 17:8 confirms this—the beast described there, which is similar to the beast of Revelation 13, is described as one that ‘was, and is not, and will ascend…,’ showing the successive nature of the revivals.”
We will now present many historical facts and shed additional light on the ten revivals of the Roman Empire, showing how these successive revivals relate to events unfolding in our lifetime.
Chapter 1 – The First Revival Under King Gaiseric of the Vandals
What does history tell us about Rome’s first revival under King Gaiseric or Genseric of the Vandals?
The website of historymedren.about.com states that “Gaiseric was known for: Sacking the city of Rome in 455. As King of the Vandals and the Alans (Alani), Gaiseric was a significant figure in the final decades of the Western Roman empire, leading his peoples to victory after victory and establishing a reputation as a feared warrior.”
The website of britannica.com adds that “Gaiseric[‘s] most famous exploit… was the capture and plundering of Rome, June 455.”
Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, informs us as follows:
“Genseric, whose name means ‘spear-king’, was an illegitimate son of King Godigisel… After his father’s death, Genseric was the second most powerful man among the Vandals, after the new king, his half-brother Gunderic. After Gunderic’s death in 428, Genseric was elected king…
“Taking advantage of a dispute between Boniface, Roman governor of North Africa, and the Roman government, Genseric ferried all 80,000 of his people across to Africa in 429. Once there, he won many battles over the weak and divided Roman defenders and quickly overran the territory now comprising modern Morocco and northern Algeria… The next year, Roman Emperor Valentinian III recognized Genseric as king of the lands he and his men had conquered.
“In 439, after casting a covetous eye on the great city of Carthage for a decade, he took the city, apparently without any fighting. The Romans were caught unaware, and Genseric captured a large part of the western Roman navy docked in the port of Carthage. The Catholic bishop of the city, Quodvultdeus, was exiled to Naples, since Genseric demanded that all his close advisors follow the Arian form of Christianity. Nevertheless, Genseric gave freedom of religion to the Catholics, while insisting that the regime’s elite follow Arianism. The common folk had low taxes under his reign, as most of the tax pressure was on the rich Roman families and the Catholic clergy.
“Added to his own burgeoning fleet, the Kingdom of the Vandals now threatened the Empire for mastery of the western Mediterranean Sea. Carthage, meanwhile, became the new Vandal capital and an enemy of Rome for the first time since the Punic Wars. With the help of their fleet, the Vandals soon subdued Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica and the Balearic Islands. Genseric strengthened the Vandal defenses and fleet and regulated the positions of Arians and Catholics. In 442, the Romans acknowledged the Carthaginian conquests, and recognised the Vandal kingdom as an independent country rather than subsidiary to Roman rule. The area in Algeria that had remained for the larger part independent of the Vandals turned from a Roman province into an ally.
“For the next 30 years, Genseric and his soldiers sailed up and down the Mediterranean, living as pirates and raiders. In 455, Roman emperor Valentinian III was murdered on orders of Petronius Maximus, who usurped the throne. Genseric was of the opinion that these acts voided his 442 peace treaty with Valentinian, and on May 31, he and his men landed on Italian soil and marched on Rome, where Pope Leo I implored him not to destroy the ancient city or murder its inhabitants. Genseric agreed and the gates of Rome were thrown open to him and his men…
“In 468, Genseric’s kingdom was the target of the last concerted effort by the two halves of the Roman Empire. They wished to subdue the Vandals and end their pirate raids. Genseric, against long odds, defeated the eastern Roman fleet… The Romans abandoned the campaign and Genseric remained master of the western Mediterranean until his death, ruling from the Strait of Gibraltar all the way to Tripolitania…”
We should take note from the foregoing that for all practical purposes, the Roman Empire had fallen to Genseric who revived it. Genseric was of the Arian faith which was different from the Roman Catholic faith. For instance, the Arians rejected, correctly, the concept of the Trinity, but they incorrectly rejected the truth of Christ’s divinity. As we saw, Genseric taxed the Roman clergy heavily, and insisted that the elite convert to Arianism. It is obvious that this conflict would have to be resolved somehow. In analyzing the events pertaining to the second revival of the Roman Empire, when the rule was given to King Odoacer of the Heruli, we will see how it was resolved.
Chapter 2 – The Second Revival Under King Odoacer of Heruli
The Wikipedia Encyclopedia writes about King Odoacer:
“Romulus Augustus… was the last Western Roman Emperor, reigning from 31 October 475 until 4 September 476. His deposition by Odoacer traditionally marks the end of the Western Roman Empire, the fall of ancient Rome, and the beginning of the Middle Ages in Western Europe.”
But as we saw, the fall of Rome had occurred much earlier. This conclusion is also supported by other sources.
The website of reference.com writes:
“Odoacer… deposed Romulus Augustulus, last Roman emperor of the West (until the coronation in 800 of Charlemagne). The date 476 is often accepted as the end of the West Roman Empire. However, Odoacer’s action made little difference in the status of Western Rome, which had long been prey to the barbarian armies; the emperors had been mere puppets.”
The fact that even before the “official” date of Rome’s fall in 476, Rome, for all practical purposes, had already “fallen”, is also stated in The History of Europe and the Church, where we read: “In June, 455, Geiseric (Genseric)—the Vandal king of North Africa—occupies Rome… the city of Rome is fast dying… The Empire lives only in a ceremonial sense. The Western emperors are merely puppets of the various Germanic generals…” (Worldwide Church of God, p. 12, copyright 1983).
Regarding Odoacer, the Columbia Encyclopedia states:
“Odoacer… or Odovacar… and his troops were mercenaries in the service of Rome, but in 476 the Heruli revolted and proclaimed Odoacer their king. Odoacer defeated the Roman general Orestes at Piacenza, took Ravenna (the West Roman capital), and deposed Romulus Augustulus … The Roman administration of Italy continued to function under Odoacer, who retained the chief officers of state. In 488, Zeno sent Theodoric the Great, king of the Ostrogoths, into Italy to expel Odoacer. Several times defeated, Odoacer consented (493) to a treaty by which he was to share his authority with Theodoric. Invited to a banquet by Theodoric, Odoacer and his son and chief officers were treacherously assassinated; thus Theodoric made himself master of Italy.”
As we will see, Odoacer was also an Arian, and as such, the conflict between Arianism and Roman Catholicism continued. The Catholic Church waited for the time of Odoacer’s replacement, and Emperor Zeno’s actions and “accomplishments” in this regard found the praise of the papacy. Here is what happened:
The website of nndb.com states:
“Odoacer was forty-two years of age when he… became chief ruler of Italy, and he reigned thirteen years with undisputed sway… In the history of the papacy Odoacer figures as the author of a decree promulgated at the election of Felix II in 483, forbidding the pope to alienate any of the lands or ornaments of the Roman Church, and threatening any pope who should infringe this edict with anathema. This decree was loudly condemned in a synod held by Pope Symmachus (502) as an unwarrantable interference of the civil power with the concerns of the church.”
The website of newadvent.org wrote:
“Following other German tribes the Heruli entered Italy, and their ruler Odoacer… assum[ed] himself the title of King of Italy… When the Emperor Zeno in 477 drove away the usurper and again gained the supremacy, he sent the pope a completely Catholic confession of faith, whereupon Simplicius (9 Oct., 477) congratulated him on his restoration to power and exhorted him to ascribe the victory to God, who wished in this way to restore liberty to the Church.”
The New International Encyclopedia, Vol. XVII writes about Odoacer:
“In matters of religion, though Arian himself, he acted with great impartiality; nevertheless he was intensely hated by the native Italians. The success of Odoacer excited the jealousy and alarm of Zeno, the emperor of the East, who encouraged the Ostrogoth King Theodoric… to undertake an expedition against Italy, hoping at the same time to get rid of the Goths, who were a menace to Constantinople.”
With the assassination of Odoacer, the second (Arian) revival of Rome ended, giving way to the third revival under King Theodoric of the Ostrogoths.
Chapter 3 – The Third Revival Under King Theodoric the Great of the Ostrogoths
The Gale Encyclopedia of Biography writes:
“Theodoric was the son of Theudemir, king of the Ostrogoths, a Germanic people who moved into the Roman Empire in the 5th century… Upon his father’s death in 474, Theodoric became king of the Ostrogoths. He was a vigorous and intelligent ruler, and although allied with Rome, he disliked Roman officials and possibly the terms of the treaty allying him with the Romans. On several occasions he threatened Roman settlements, and in 487 he began a march on Constantinople. The emperor Zeno convinced Theodoric that the Western part of the empire offered richer plunder than the East, and he commissioned Theodoric to go to Italy and to punish the barbarian general Odoacer, who had in 476 dismissed Zeno’s co-emperor and assumed his rule. Theodoric’s mission was to defeat Odoacer and pacify Italy.
“Theodoric marched into Italy, and by 493 he had defeated Odoacer’s army, killed the usurper, and established himself with the official title of Patrician and Master of Soldiers as the actual ruler of Italy… His titles did not prevent Roman aristocrats in both East and West from regarding him as an uncouth barbarian invader, little better than Odoacer. Moreover, Theodoric and the Ostrogoths were Arians, their heretical version of Christianity being particularly repellent to orthodox Romans…
“After 507… the Arianism of the Goths and their presence in Italy began increasingly to alienate the Romans. In a fit of cruelty, Theodoric imprisoned and later executed his secretary, Boethius. The growing hostility of the Emperor at Constantinople made Theodoric distrustful of the Romans, and he persecuted Pope John I in 526 and later demanded that all churches be turned over to the Arians… rebellions sprang up, his Gothic subjects grew restive under Roman rule, and the military power of the East fomented distrust and revolt among the Romans.”
These events led to the fourth revival of Rome under Catholic rule, after the first three Arian revivals were defeated. As an aside, Raymond McNair points out in his book, Key to North-West European Origins, ed. 1963, the words “German” or “Germanic” in ancient writings do not have to refer to modern-day Germans at all. The words just mean, “warrior.” He continues: “It would appear that many (if not most) of the Goths were not, racially speaking, true Germans as we think of them today, but were more ‘Nordic’ in type than are most Germans.” They had apparently settled in the British Isles and Scandinavia. This would mean that they (including King Theodoric) were descendants of the ancient house of Israel.
(For more information, please read our free booklets, The Authority of the Bible, and The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.)
Chapter 4 – The Fourth Revival Under Justinian I
After the first three revivals of the Roman Empire under Arian leaders had been suppressed and extinguished with the support of the Roman Catholic Church, the stage of world history was set for the fourth revival of ancient Rome.
The Wikipedia Encyclopedia explains:
“Justinian I… commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Roman (Byzantine) Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the empire’s greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire… [His] ambition was expressed in the partial recovery of the territories of the Western Roman Empire, including the city of Rome itself. A still more resonant aspect of his legacy was the uniform rewriting of Roman law, the Corpus Juris Civilis, which is still the basis of civil law in many modern states…
“While military efforts were directed to the East, the situation in Italy took a turn for the worse. Under their respective kings Ildibad and Eraric (both murdered in 541) and especially Totila, the Ostrogoths made quick gains. After a victory at Faenza in 542, they reconquered the major cities of Southern Italy and soon held almost the entire peninsula… Belisarius succeeded in defeating a Gothic fleet with 200 ships. During this period the city of Rome changed hands three more times, first taken and depopulated by the Ostrogoths in December 546, then reconquered by the Byzantines in 547, and then again by the Goths in January 550.
“Totila also plundered Sicily and attacked the Greek coastlines. Finally, Justinian dispatched a force of approximately 35,000 men… The army reached Ravenna in June 552, and defeated the Ostrogoths decisively within a month at the battle of Busta Gallorum in the Apennines, where Totila was slain. After a second battle at Mons Lactarius in October that year, the resistance of the Ostrogoths was finally broken… The recovery of Italy cost the empire about 300,000 pounds of gold.
“At the very beginning of his reign, [Justinian] deemed it proper to promulgate by law the Church’s belief in the Trinity and the Incarnation; and to threaten all heretics with the appropriate penalties; whereas he subsequently declared that he intended to deprive all disturbers of orthodoxy of the opportunity for such offense by due process of law. He made the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan creed the sole symbol of the Church, and accorded legal force to the canons of the four ecumenical councils.
“The bishops in attendance at the Second Council of Constantinople in 553 recognized that nothing could be done in the Church contrary to the emperor’s will and command… Justinian protected the purity of the church by suppressing heretics. He neglected no opportunity for securing the rights of the Church and clergy… He granted the monks the right to inherit property from private citizens and the right to receive solemnia or annual gifts from the imperial treasury or from the taxes of certain provinces and he prohibited lay confiscation on monastic estates… The recognition of the Roman see as the highest ecclesiastical authority remained the cornerstone of his Western policy…
“Justinian’s religious policy reflected the imperial conviction that the unity of the Empire unconditionally presupposed unity of faith… Contemporary sources… tell of severe persecutions, even of men in high position. The Jews, too, had to suffer; for not only did the authorities restrict their civil rights, and threaten their religious privileges, but the emperor interfered in the internal affairs of the synagogue…”
We say the following in our free booklet, Europe in Prophecy:
“Notice what historian Will Durant says in The Age of Faith, volume 4 of his renowned work, The Story of Civilization, about the Code of Justinian: ‘This Code, like the Theodosian, enacted orthodox Christianity into law. It began by declaring for the Trinity…. It acknowledged the ecclesiastical leadership of the Roman Church, and ordered all Christian groups to submit to her authority…. Relapsed heretics were to be put to death… and other dissenters were to suffer confiscation of their goods, and were declared incompetent to buy or sell, to inherit or bequeath; they were excluded from public office, forbidden to meet, and disqualified from suing orthodox Christians for debt’ (1950, p. 112). So those who were not orthodox Catholics were forbidden from buying and selling—i.e. conducting business. Indeed, those branded ‘heretics’ faced a death sentence.”
Also, note the following statements from the same booklet:
“Note that it is the seven last revivals of the Roman Empire that are [directed or supported by] a religious power. The first three were not. The first three revivals occurred under leaders with a different religion, that of Arianism, which was labeled a heresy by the Roman Catholic Church. But the last seven occur[red] under the control and with the approval of the Church of Rome… The first of the seven last resurrections of the Roman Empire occurred under Justinian in A.D. 554. He was the one mainly responsible for wiping out the barbarian tribes, but he did so at the behest of a succession of Roman popes.”
We add the following remark in our booklet Is That in the Bible? The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation:
“The Imperial Restoration in 554 A.D. under Justinian… occurred at the behest of the Roman pontiff or pope, especially Pope Pelagius and, to a lesser extent, previous Pope Vigilius.”
Arianism and any belief contrary to the Roman Catholic religion was suppressed and effectively destroyed under Justinian. The first three (Arian) revivals had been “plucked out” by the little horn, representing the Roman Catholic religion (compare Daniel 7:7-8, 23-24). Beginning with Justinian, a close “cooperation” between the Roman Church and the Roman State would continue and last, with intervals and interruptions, until the return of Jesus Christ. While the first three revivals of Rome were a “thorn in the flesh” of the Catholic religion, the last seven revivals (beginning with Justinian) are pictured in the Bible as the fallen woman (the Roman Church, see below) riding or sitting on the beast (the political and military Roman Empire, see below) (compare Revelation 17:3, 10).
So far, we have covered the first four revivals of the ancient Roman Empire, after its demise. The fourth revival under Justinian occurred about 554 A.D., but it also came to an end and went back into the “abyss” of history. History shows that it was nearly 250 years later before the world observed the next revival.
Chapter 5 – The Fifth Revival Under Charlemagne
The Living World of History states the following about the perhaps most famous of all European Emperors, Charlemagne, who revived the ancient Roman Empire and is viewed by many as the “father” of Europe:
“Charlemagne’s grandfather, Charles Martel, made 732 a memorable year in European annals. The Moslems, who were then the masters of Spain, surged into France with a great host. But Charles smashed their armies and destroyed their hopes for further conquests in the decisive battle of Poitiers. Charles’ son, Pepin the Short… presented the Papacy with certain districts in central Italy which he had captured from the barbarous Lombards. Thus the Pope, besides being the spiritual head of Western Christendom, became a territorial prince as ruler of the Papal States.
“From these victorious ancestors sprang the most illustrious hero of the Dark Ages, Charles the Great, or Charlemagne. He reigned over the reunited kingdom from 771 to 814 and he made it his aim to bring all the German peoples into one great Christian empire… His commanding figure… made him the idol of his warriors… His sword never rusted. He extinguished the Lombard kingdom; drove the Moslems from the buffer province he created south of the Pyrenees; and hounded the pagan Saxons till he had subdued them and forced them to accept Christianity… But the peak of his glory was scaled in Rome. The Roman Emperor of Constantinople, who reigned over the East and, nominally, over the West, had been dethroned. In 800, the Pope [Leo III] crowned Charlemagne emperor in his place…”
In the book, Kingdoms of Europe, we read the following about Charlemagne:
“On Christmas day of the year 800, as Carl the Frank [Charlemagne] knelt down before the altar of St. Peter’s [in Rome], the pope placed the crown on his head, and the Roman people cried out, ‘To Carlus Augustus, crowned by God, the great and peaceful emperor of the Romans, life and victory!’ So the empire of the West, which had died away for a time or been merged in the empire of the East at Constantinople, was brought to life again in the person of Charlemagne…”
Under the headline, “The Holy Roman Empire”, the book continues:
“Charlemagne succeeded through relentless military and missionary campaigns in bringing the areas of present-day Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, northern Italy and Low Countries within a precariously unified administration. His coronation as emperor by Pope Leo III in Rome on Christmas Day, A.D. 800, marked the emergence of a successor in western and central Europe to the defunct Western Roman empire, which could protect the papacy and assume equality with the Byzantine successor of the empire in the east… The death of Charlemagne in 814 was followed by the rapid dissolution of the empire…
“Charlemagne, who ruled Germany as king from 771 to 800, and then as emperor from 800 to 814, was considered by future historians as the greatest European ruler of all time. Even Napoleon and Kaiser Wilhelm admitted that they ‘dreamed of being another Charlemagne.’… Because he was crowned emperor in 800 by Pope Leo III, he is considered by many scholars as the father of the Holy Roman Empire.”
In P.M. History, 4/99, the following is stated:
“In the year 1000 A.D., King Otto III opened the tomb [mausoleum] of Charlemagne in the citadel in Aachen. According to legend, he found the great predecessor sitting on his throne, without any indication of decay.”
Following the death of Charlemagne, the fifth revival of the Roman Empire would gradually come to an end. It took over 150 years until the next revival would begin to occur under the German emperor, Otto the Great.
Chapter 6 – The Sixth Revival under Otto the Great
Under the headline, “Germany and the Holy Roman Empire,” the book, The Living World of History states the following:
“Otto had made himself the most powerful monarch in Europe… the ideal of the old Roman Empire, as a civilized community embracing all Christendom under the enlightened rule of Pope and Emperor, still lingered on. To Otto, with Italy already swallowed, it was a tempting banquet and in 962, he sat down to it; the Pope (John XII) crowned him Emperor. Thus begun the so-called Holy Roman Empire [of the German Nation] that was to stagger on till 1806.”
However, as the book also points out, it would not survive without interruption. Referring to the time after the demise of the empire under Otto and his successors, the book writes: “All hope of establishing a strong and united Germany was ruined, and not until the late fifteenth century did the empire, under the Habsburgs, again speak with its former authority in Europe.”
Returning to Otto the Great, the book, Kingdoms of Europe, explains:
“The formal revival of the Holy Roman Empire dates from 962, when Otto I (the Great) received the title Imperator et Augustus in Rome… [He] ruled until his death in 973. Under Otto I, the Great, Germany became the greatest nation in Europe in the tenth century.”
The book, The Rise of Europe, by Reader’s Digest, states: “[Under Otto], the brightness [of Europe] was renewed which the occidental empire possessed at one time under Charlemagne.”
The Wikipedia Encyclopedia states:
“Otto I is considered the first Holy Roman Emperor from the Kingdom of Germany, though Charlemagne of the Carolingian Dynasty was the first to receive papal coronation as Emperor of the Romans. Charles V was the last Holy Roman Emperor to be crowned by the Pope [but see our comments below]. The standard designation of the Holy Roman Emperor was ‘August Emperor of the Romans’ (Romanorum Imperator Augustus).
“When Charlemagne was crowned in 800, his was styled as ‘most serene Augustus, crowned by God, great and pacific emperor, governing the Roman Empire,’ thus constituting the elements of ‘Holy’ and ‘Roman’ in the imperial title. The word Roman was a reflection of the translatio imperii (transfer of rule) principle that regarded the (Germanic) Holy Roman Emperors as the inheritors of the title of Emperor of the Western Roman Empire, a title left unclaimed in the West after the death of Julius Nepos in 480.
“After Charlemagne was crowned Roman Emperor by the Pope, his successors maintained the title until the death of Berengar I of Italy in 924. No pope appointed an emperor again until Otto the Great (912-973). Otto is considered the first Holy Roman Emperor. Under Otto and his successors, much of the former Carolingian kingdom of Eastern Francia became the Holy Roman Empire.”
As we have seen, Charlemagne was also referred to as the “first” Holy Roman Emperor. It would therefore be more accurate to refer to Otto the Great as the “first” Holy Roman Emperor of the German Nation. (It is still hotly debated among historians whether Charlemagne, a Frank, belonged to the German, the Belgium or the French people.) As we will also see later on, Charles V of Habsburg was another Holy Roman Emperor who was crowned by a pope, establishing the seventh revival, but so was Napoleon (the eighth revival), even though he was technically crowned as Emperor of France, taking the crown from the pope and placing it himself on his own head.
The Holy Lance and the Imperial Regalia
The book The Rise of Europe also gives some interesting information about the “holy lance”:
“Otto I carried the holy lance which, according to legend, was used by the Roman soldier to pierce Christ’s side. It allegedly protected the warrior and gave him victory.”
The Wikipedia Encyclopedia confirms the existence of the belief in the “holy lance” and other “holy” insignia:
“The Holy Roman Emperors had a lance of their own, attested from the time of Otto I (912-973)… The Imperial Regalia, insignia, or crown jewels… are the regalia of the Emperors and Kings of the Holy Roman Empire. The most important parts are the Imperial Crown, the Holy Lance and the Imperial Sword… The Imperial Crown… was made probably somewhere in Western Germany, either under Conrad I or by Otto I…
“Along with the Imperial Cross, the Imperial Sword, and the Holy Lance, the crown was the most important part of the Imperial Regalia. During the coronation, it was given to the new king along with the sceptre and the Imperial Orb… Currently, the crown and the rest of the Imperial Regalia are exhibited at the Hofburg in Vienna — officially ‘until there is again a Holy Roman Emperor of the German Nation’…
“The Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire was… selected as the main motif for a high value commemorative coin, the €100 Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire commemorative coin, minted in 2008. The obverse shows the Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire. The reverse shows the Emperor Otto I with old St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome in the background, where his coronation took place.”
The dream of a Holy Roman Empire (of the German Nation) is still very much alive, and one may wonder whether the Imperial Regalia will play any role during the last revival (as we will see, they did play a role during the ninth revival). It is also worthwhile noticing a renewed interest in European monarchies, especially among Germans and Austrians. Revelation 17:9-10 speaks of the last ten leaders of the final revival of the Roman Empire as “ten kings.” Whether this is just a reference to ten “rulers,” who will give their power and authority to the beast, or ten literal “kings” or “emperors,” remains to be seen.
As will be explained below, the “beast” can refer to the ancient Roman Empire and its ten revivals, or to the final political leader of that system.
The dream of a unified Europe, patterned after the Roman Empire, never really died, even though Rome’s seventh revival did not begin to form until the end of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th century, over 450 years after Otto’s death.
Chapter 7 – The Seventh Revival under Charles V of Habsburg
Charles V of Habsburg was crowned in 1530 A.D. by pope Clement VII as Holy Roman Emperor, and Germany could speak again “with its former authority in Europe,” as it had done under Otto the Great. According to P.M. History, Charles V ruled over an empire which never saw the setting of the sun. The Book, The Living World of History, states:
“Charles V., who was crowned in , dominated Europe… His grandfather, the Emperor Maximilian, had gained the Netherlands by marrying the heiress Mary of Burgundy. His father, Philip the Handsome, had espoused Joanna… [the] future heiress of Spain, the kingdom of Naples (embracing southern Italy) and Sicily and the growing Spanish dominions in the recently discovered New World. And the Habsburg family inheritance included Austria and other districts, as well as the imperial crown of Germany. Such was the colossal empire that Charles possessed when, at the age of twenty, he was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in … [But] when the Pope was intriguing… against Charles, his… troops sacked Rome and imprisoned the Pope…”
What this shows is that the relationship between the Catholic Church and the State was not always without problems, since both sides wanted to have dominion over the other party. In Charles’ case, “peace” was established again between Church and State. The afore-mentioned book continues:
“The advancing Turks (who had captured Constantinople in 1453) were a growing menace… Taking the field in person, he drove the Moslems back in Hungary and in 1535 [he] was acclaimed as the shining champion of Christendom when he captured Tunis in North Africa… After forty years of sovereignty… [he] abdicated the imperial throne in favour of his brother Ferdinand and retired to a Spanish monastery where, in 1558, he died. Ferdinand… received the Habsburg Austrian inheritance; Charles’s son Philipp II got the rest. So the great Habsburg empire fell into two parts, the Austrian and the Spanish…”
The collaboration between the pope and Charles V is also seen in the following example, as stated in the above-mentioned work, when dealing with the Reformation:
“In the sixteenth century, Western Europe, despite all its political and religious quarrels, had been united for a thousand years on a fundamental matter… the West was a single Christian community acknowledging the spiritual authority of the Pope… in 1520, the Pope issued a bull, or decree, of excommunication against [Martin Luther]. Luther’s reply was to burn it. Next year the pope called on Charles V to suppress him. Luther, refusing to retract his words, was outlawed.”
Here we see how in the past, the Church would excommunicate someone or call him “anathema”, and the State would come in to prosecute or outlaw such a person. Similar events are going to happen in the near future.
The book, Kingdoms of Europe, adds the following:
“In 1556 Charles V divided his realms with his son, Philip II of Spain, and his younger brother, Ferdinand, who succeeded him as Holy Roman emperor in 1558. Until the dissolution in 1806 of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, as the loose German confederation came to be called, the Austrian Habsburgs were concerned with internal German affairs and with the problems raised by the Reformation, the rising power of France, the almost constant Turkish threat, and the necessity for reorganizing and developing an administrative system for their territories. Austria itself was merely a headquarters for their activities. Usually a Habsburg was chosen Holy Roman emperor by the electors of the empire.”
However, the Habsburg empire after Charles V was in name only a continuance of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. For all practical purposes, its power continually diminished after Charles V, until it only had a shadowy existence.
The above-mentioned work continues:
“The Habsburgs opposed the Reformation and made every attempt to destroy it; in the territory of Austria they were almost completely successful in preventing the new movement from gaining a foothold… Internally… the Habsburgs consolidated their rule and reestablished the supremacy of the Roman Catholic church…”
Even though the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation endured officially until 1806 when the last Habsburg emperor abdicated, it had long before ceased to exist as the seventh revival of the ancient Roman Empire. Another revival was to occur instead—the eighth revival under Napoleon Bonaparte.
Chapter 8 – The Eighth Revival under Napoleon
Many believe erroneously that Napoleon was French. However, this was really not the case.
In Living World of History, we read:
“It was only by chance that France’s greatest military genius was a Frenchman at all. Corsica, where he was born in 1769, had only been acquired by France from Genoa the year before. Actually Napoleon was the second son of a poor Corsican lawyer of noble and, probably, Italian decent… [Napoleon’s] whole career was to blaze him forth as a superman… He could work or ride for hours on end. Food and sleep seemed unnecessary to him. His ambitions, like his vanity and selfishness, were boundless. No moral scruples restrained him. No man must stand in his way… In 1804… Napoleon attained the glory of being crowned Emperor of the French.”
The work, Kingdoms of Europe, elaborates:
“… on December 2, 1804, he was crowned in Notre Dame in great splendor. The pope was present, but Bonaparte placed the crown on his own head [apparently with the prior consent of the pope, according to P.M. History]… and he gave his soldiers eagle standards, in memory of the old Roman Empire… [Subsequently] Napoleon’s desire was fulfilled, His new wife presented him with a little son to perpetuate his imperial line, and the boy was promptly crowned king of Rome… in 1814… the French Senate, which Napoleon himself had created merely to register the laws, sent notice to him that it had deposed him from the rank as emperor.”
In their tongue-in-cheek article, “Good that there was Napoleon,” P.M. wrote:
“In 1804 he crowned himself in the presence of the Roman pope as emperor of the French… by the grace of God and the will of the nation, out of his own will as Caesar, and anointed by the church as Charlemagne… He appeased the Catholics with a concordat… not only the French, but also more and more Europeans saw the empire of Napoleon I as the continuation of the Roman Empire such as the Empire of the Franks had been. Even and especially Germans supported and accepted the French Emperor (who deposed the German Emperor), including Karl Theodor von Dalberg of Mainz, the arch chancellor of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation… Soon, the new empire reached until the river Elbe—as had been the case under Charlemagne.”
P.M. History states that Napoleon believed to be Charlemagne—perhaps his reincarnation. He wrote in 1806: “Je suis Charlemagne” (“I am Charlemagne”). The magazine also states that three months before his coronation as Emperor, Napoleon travelled to Aachen to visit Charlemagne’s tomb and to pay homage to him.
Will and Ariel Durant, in The Story of Civilization—The Age of Napoleon, point out the following:
“But he also thought, and often spoke, of Charlemagne, who, in a reign of forty-six years (768-814), had brought order and prosperity… and had won—or commanded—consecration by a Pope; had not he, Napoleon, done all these things? Had he not restored in France the religion that was checking the pagan riot let loose by the Revolution? Did he not, like Charlemagne, deserve the crown for life?…
“By 1801, it was generally agreed that the Holy Roman Empire, as Voltaire had said, was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire; that no important state recognized its authority, or the authority of the pope; that some new form of order and cooperation amid the chaos would have to be devised, accepted, or imposed. Napoleon accepted the challenge…
“On August 6  Francis officially declared the Holy Roman Empire dissolved, and renounced the Imperial title, remaining emperor of Austria. The glory of the Hapsburgs faded, and a new Charlemagne, ruling from France, assumed authority over western Germany” (pp. 193, 588, 590).
The following is stated in The History of Europe and the Church (Worldwide Church of God, ed. 1984):
“In 1799 the young hero returns from an expedition against the English in Egypt. He seizes power in a bold move, setting up a new government of three members. Borrowing a title from ancient Rome, he calls them consuls. He himself is First Consul—a virtual dictator at age 30… He dreams of being another Caesar… Napoleon dreams of a resurrected Roman-European civilization dominated by France… ‘ The influence of Rome is incalculable,’ he declares. ‘It was a serious error to break with this power’… In 1801 a concordat… is concluded between France and the Papacy.
“The Catholic Church again becomes the official church of France [His nephew, Napoleon III—some claim that he was Napoleon’s illegitimate son—would continue in the tradition of close collaboration between the French state and the pope, rescuing and assisting him against Italian revolutionists, such as Garibaldi.]… [After his coronation through the pope in 1804] Napoleon crowns himself again [in 1806], this time with the celebrated ‘iron crown’ of Lombardy. One of the great historic symbols of Europe, this crown had previously been worn by Charlemagne, Otto the Great and other European sovereigns…”
Historical books will tell you that the Holy Roman Empire ceased to exist in 1806. They fail to mention that this was just the shadowy existence of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, under the Habsburgs, but that in the meantime, Napoleon had already revived the Holy Roman Empire, but under French leadership.
The above-mentioned booklet explains:
“… it becomes clear that the Austrian-led Holy Roman Empire is dead. Napoleon… has usurped the Holy Roman Emperor’s primacy among European monarchs… On August 6, 1806, Holy Roman Emperor Francis II formally resigns his title and divests himself of the imperial crown… Technically, Napoleon has swept away the moribund Holy Roman Empire… but he perpetuates it, under a different name, for another eight years…
“In April 1810 Napoleon marries Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria… [She] is a Habsburg princess, the eldest daughter of the last Holy Roman emperor… In March 1811 she bears Napoleon a long-desired son, who is given the title ‘King of Rome.’ … With the fall of Napoleon in 1814, the time-honored system of Roman-inspired government first resurrected by Justinian in A.D. 554 comes to an end after 1,260 years.”
The empire of Napoleon constituted indeed another revival of the ancient Roman Empire—in size and also in tradition. As mentioned, Napoleon wanted to be another Charlemagne and apparently believed that he was (the reincarnation of) Charlemagne. (As we will see, Hitler seemed to have believed something similar). But Napoleon’s empire fell apart in 1814. Another revival was to occur in due time.
The eighth resurrection of the Roman Empire under Napoleon had come and gone. According to the Bible, two more revivals would have to take place before Christ could come back. And so, the ninth, but short-lived revival occurred in the 20th century, over 100 years after Napoleon, under Mussolini and Hitler.
Chapter 9 – The Ninth Revival under Mussolini and Hitler
Technically, it was Benito Mussolini under whom the ninth revival of the Roman Empire took place, but he was, of course, greatly supported in this by Adolf Hitler.
Benito Mussolini—Il Duce
The Living World of History states the following about Mussolini:
“Benito Mussolini, the son of a blacksmith, was a man of violent and boastful character, fiery patriotism and flaming ambition. Supported by the bludgeon of his blackshirted Fascist gangs (named after fasces, or rods, which in ancient Roman times had been carried before the chief magistrates), he seized power in 1922 and set himself up as dictator… He even entertained fantastic ideas about reviving the glory of the ancient Roman Empire. In 1935-6, cynically disregarding the solemn covenant of the League of Nations, he invaded and annexed Abyssinia [modern Ethiopia]…”
John Kirshon, a journalist/editor with more than 25 years of experience at The Associated Press, The New York Times and CBS News, wrote the following in March of 2010:
“With financial support from employers squeezed by trade unions and corrupt politicians, Mussolini developed a loyal following among disenchanted, angry, mostly lower-middle-class conservatives and veterans, as well as the military, the business elite, and the right wing. He promised them he would end disorder and corruption, and recreate the glory of the Roman Empire… Among his admirers was Adolf Hitler, who introduced the Roman salute to his Nazis and dressed his bodyguard in black shirts… [Mussolini’s] dream of a new Roman Empire led to the conquest of Ethiopia in 1935-36 in defiance of the League of Nations. In 1936, he sent troops to support General Franco in the Spanish Civil War. In 1939, he invaded Albania. By the end of the 1930s, Mussolini had moved closer to Hitler and Nazi Germany.
“Although wary of German power, Mussolini agreed to the Rome-Berlin Axis, or Pact of Steel, and on June 10, 1940, led Italy into World War II on the side of the Axis… King Victor Emmanuel discharged Mussolini as head of state on July 25, 1943. He was arrested and jailed, but rescued by German commandos. Then, he became head of the Hitler-installed Italian Social Republic in northern Italy…
“Grandeur for Mussolini meant empire building. In 1934 Mussolini said, ‘After the Rome of the Caesars, after that of the Popes, today there is a new Rome, Fascist Rome’… His dream was to be called Mare Nostrum or, ‘Our Mediterranean’, extending from Palestine to Egypt and throughout parts of Africa… Mussolini’s recreation of a Roman Empire was commemorated by the monumental construction of the Via dell’Impero.
“Mussolini attempted to turn monuments of Augustan Rome into symbols of the fascist doctrine. His goals in doing so were to validate his role as the founder of a new Roman empire … He recognized in himself a parallel to the Roman emperors, Augustus in particular… During the speech he delivered upon the installation of the first fascist governor of Rome on December 31st, 1925, he made his plans for a new Rome public: ‘Within five years Rome must strike all the nations of the world as a source of wonder: huge, well organized, powerful, as it was at the time of the Augustan Empire….’
“The Via dell’Impero was opened in 1932 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the March on Rome. The overall point of the imperial boulevard was to establish and promote a relationship between the glory of ancient Rome and Mussolini’s Fascist Regime. The broad thoroughfare physically connects the most identifiable ancient symbol of the Coliseum with Mussolini’s Fascist headquarters in Piazza Venezia. More importantly it was a figurative symbol to seamlessly show the continuity of the Roman Empire.”
The following is stated in The History of Europe and the Church (Worldwide Church of God, ed. 1984):
“He perceived himself as a modern-day Caesar… He shaves his head to make himself look more like Caesar… He dreams of a modern Roman Empire, of repeating the great days of ancient Rome. The handshake is abolished and the old Roman salute with raised arm becomes the official greeting… Following the example of ancient Rome, some of Mussolini’s Fascist supporters even call him ‘divine Caesar.’ [As we will see, he even came to believe himself to be a god.]… [Following Italy’s defeat of Ethiopia] Mussolini now proclaims another resurrection of the Roman Empire.”
Mussolini’s Beliefs and Religious Ideas
Turning to Mussolini’s beliefs and his collaboration with the Catholic Church, we are introduced to remarkable facts.
The Wikipedia Encyclopedia writes:
“Mussolini was raised by a devoutly Catholic mother and an anti-clerical father. His mother Rosa had him baptized into the Roman Catholic Church, and took her children to services every Sunday… Mussolini would become anti-clerical like his father. As a young man, he ‘proclaimed himself to be an atheist and several times tried to shock an audience by calling on God to strike him dead.’… He believed that science had proven there was no God, and that the historical Jesus was ignorant and mad… Mussolini made vitriolic attacks against Christianity and the Catholic Church… Despite making such attacks, Mussolini would try to win popular support by appeasing the Catholic majority in Italy. In 1924, Mussolini saw that three of his children were given communion. In 1925, he had a priest perform a religious marriage ceremony for himself and his wife Rachele, whom he had married in a civil ceremony 10 years earlier.
“On 11 February 1929, he signed a concordat and treaty with the Roman Catholic Church. Under the Lateran Pact, Vatican City was granted independent statehood and placed under Church law—rather than Italian law—and the Catholic religion was recognized as Italy’s state religion. The Church also regained authority over marriage, Catholicism could be taught in all secondary schools, birth control and freemasonry were banned, and the clergy received subsidies from the state, and was exempted from taxation. Pope Pius XI praised Mussolini, and the official Catholic newspaper pronounced ‘Italy has been given back to God and God to Italy’…
“After the concordat… Mussolini reportedly came close to being excommunicated from the Catholic Church… Mussolini publicly reconciled with… Pope Pius XI in 1932, but ‘took care to exclude from the newspapers any photography of himself kneeling or showing deference to the Pope.’ He wanted to persuade Catholics that ‘[f]ascism was Catholic and he himself a believer who spent some of each day in prayer …’ The Pope began referring to Mussolini as ‘a man sent by Providence.’ Despite Mussolini’s efforts to appear pious, by order of his party, pronouns referring to him ‘had to be capitalized like those referring to God …’
“After his fall from power in 1943, Mussolini began speaking ‘more about God and the obligations of conscience’, although ‘he still had little use for the priests and sacraments of the Church.’ He also began drawing parallels between himself and Jesus Christ…”
P.M. Biografie wrote the following about Mussolini in March of 2008:
“As head of state, he reconciles with the Vatican, which increases his reputation among the people. Merely because of political reasons, he is married before the altar, and has his five children baptized. The pope… praises Mussolini as ‘the man whom Providence gave us’… Mussolini is worshipped as a god, his ministers are his high priests. He dreams of Rome as a metropolis as it existed during the times of Emperor Augustus… His headquarters is Rome and because of the immunity of the Vatican, he is safe from British bombs… Il Duce was during his glorious days more popular than anyone before or after him in the modern history of Italy.”
The book, Kingdoms of Europe, added the following:
“The Lateran Pacts of 1929 consisted of a treaty between Italy and the Holy See and concordat regulating relations between the Italian state and the Catholic church. The treaty created the independent state of Vatican City and recognized the sovereignty of the pope there. In the concordat the church was assured of jurisdiction in ecclesiastical matters, and canon law was recognized as superseding the civil code in such areas as marriage. The church was restored to its role in education and allowed unencumbered operation of its press and communication facilities.”
In spite of his personal feelings towards the Catholic Church and his ambitions to be worshipped as a god and to restore the Roman Empire, we still see that he collaborated with the Church so much so that the pope praised him as a man sent by Providence—obviously a reference to God Himself. The competition between Church and State, which lasted throughout the history of the revivals of the Roman Empire, was also existent during the time of Mussolini and Hitler, and it will again be observable during the tenth and last revival.
A Short-Lived Revival
Even though Mussolini actually declared publically the revival of the Roman Empire through him, this “revival” was short-lived and in no way comparable to the previous resurrections. This is the reason why the Bible describes it in Revelation 17:8-10 as the one which “is not, and yet is.” It says: “The beast [the system]… was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit… And those who dwell on the earth will marvel… when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is… The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. There are also seven kings. Five [previous Church-State resurrections of the Roman Empire] have fallen, one is [the one under Mussolini], and the other has not yet come [the last revival]…”
In our free booklet, Is That in the Bible? The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation, we state that the ninth revival was the “comparatively insignificant Italian-German resurrection under Mussolini and Hitler (compare Revelation 17:10–11. Although this resurrection existed when God’s Church understood the meaning of this prophecy at the time of the late Herbert W. Armstrong [Revelation 17:10: “one IS”], it was very insignificant, so that it is also characterized as not existing [Revelation 17:11: “is NOT”].)
“Neither Mussolini nor Hitler were crowned by a Pope (as Justinian had not been, either); nevertheless, a close partnership existed between the Catholic Church under Pope Pius [XI and also under Pope Pius] XII and Italy and Germany. This partnership can be seen by Mussolini’s signing the Lateran Treaty with the papacy in 1929 [under Pope Pius XI], establishing papal sovereignty of the Vatican City, affirming Roman Catholicism as the only religion of Italy and, in turn, having the papacy officially recognize Mussolini as the rightful Italian governor. Further, the Vatican [under Pope Pius XI] signed a concordat with Hitler in 1933, protecting the rights of the Church under Nazi regime and giving Hitler’s government an outward semblance of legitimacy.”
Pope Pius XI was pope from 1922 until his death in 1939, and his successor, controversial Pope Pius XII, was pope from 1939 until his death in 1958.
Adolf Hitler—the Fuehrer
So far, we have concentrated on Mussolini. We will now discuss some little-known facts about his ally, Adolf Hitler, and his magical beliefs and demonic powers.
In our free booklet, Europe in Prophecy, we list several incidents showing that Hitler was demon-possessed. Additional astonishing facts will be presented in this booklet, quoting extensively from Paul Roland’s book, The Nazis and the Occult.
Again… the Holy Lance
When addressing the revival of the Roman Empire under Otto the Great, we discussed the “holy lance” and other insignias of the Holy Roman Empire. Hitler had a morbid and superstitious fascination with the lance, as the aforementioned book explains:
“The spearhead, known officially as the Sword of St Maurice, was rumored to be the Holy Lance or Spear of Longinus with which a Roman centurion had pierced the side of Jesus… Charlemagne…, the first Holy Roman Emperor, was said to have attributed his unbroken string of victories to his possession of the spear. He died shortly after it had fallen from his hand… A similar fate befell the 12th-century German conqueror Frederick Barbarossa who dropped the spear while crossing a river in Asia Minor and was immediately struck down and killed. In between, no fewer than 45 emperors had carried it before them ensuring victory on the battlefield and in the senate… The first written reference to the Hofburg spear appeared in the ancient Saxon Chronicle recording the battle of Leck in which Otto the Great triumphed over the Mongols…”
The book goes on to report about Hitler’s fascination with the spear, which he visited twice in 1913, when it was kept in the library and treasury of the Hofburg Museum. He later wrote that “the spear appeared to be some sort of magical medium of revelation… I felt as though I myself had held it in my hands before in some earlier century of history—that I myself had once claimed it as my talisman of power and held the destiny of the world in my hands.”
This statement alone might point to Hitler’s possession with a demon that indeed would have lived in previous centuries.
Whether or not the “holy lance” can be traced back to the time of Jesus Christ, it would, of course, not have any magical powers. But those who believe in such “supernatural protection” can receive some temporary “protection” from demons, which was undoubtedly the case in many instances during the history of the revivals of the Holy Roman Empire.
Hitler claimed that he had a vision while gazing at the spear. Many feel this was “a vision of the future in which he saw himself entering Vienna in triumph on the day Austria was assimilated into the Reich on 12 March 1938… and it was on that day that he ordered the removal of the Hapsburg regalia [including the spear] to Germany aboard an armoured train…”
Hitler’s Demonical Contacts and Possession
The book also claims that during a séance which was attended, among others, by the future editor-in-chief of the official Nazi newspaper, the Voelkische Beobachter, a “disembodied head of [a dead German] prince [that is, a demon] declared that the new leader of Germany would claim the Holy Lance and embark on a campaign of world conquest.” During the same séance, another “female spirit” [that is, another demon pretending to be the spirit of a dead female person] announced “the imminent arrival of the messiah for whom they had been waiting so long. But she added a warning that their new leader would be exposed as a false prophet and would drag the nation into the abyss.”
That all of this was of demonic origin, there is no doubt. Demons are lying spirits, who sometimes pretend to be the ghosts of dead persons, as was the case of a demon pretending to be Samuel, when he appeared to the witch of Endor who was visited by King Saul. But demons know the future, and sometimes they do tell the truth [as the demon pretending to be Samuel accurately foretold Saul that he would die soon], but many times they lie or tell only portions of the truth, mingled with much error. The problem is, one never knows which is which, and the Bible warns us, of course, not to conduct or attend séances or consult mediums or to have anything to do with the demonic world.
As mentioned, when Hitler declared the annexation or “Anschluss” of Austria, he had the “holy lance” and the other insignias removed from Austria to Germany. When the Americans discovered and claimed them in 1945, Hitler coincidentally killed himself less than two hours later. Some say he did so since the “magical spell” of the lance had left him. All of this superstition can be traced back to a belief that the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire was himself holy.
An interesting episode is recorded, pertaining to Hitler’s desire to rescue Mussolini who had been imprisoned by rivals in Mussolini’s fascist party:
“Within days, Himmler ordered the SS Intelligence Service to locate Mussolini using every variety of ‘occult science’ at their disposal. This prompted the Gestapo to round up the most reliable astrologers and radiesthesists (pendulum diviners) in the Reich for a top secret summit at Wannsee, where they were plied with food and drink and ordered to identify the location within 24 hours—or face the consequences.”
This reminds us of Nebuchadnezzar’s demand of his astrologers to declare to him a dream and its meaning, but while the magicians at his time were unable to do this, the demon-inspired and possessed magicians at Hitler’s time were apparently successful, because they produced the required answer within hours, leading to the rescue of Mussolini through German paratroopers.
Before his death, Hitler had repeatedly denounced not only the Catholic Church, but also Christianity and the entire Bible, while announcing his intention to tear up Christianity and replace it with a pagan religion. “The new German religion would worship Wotan… and the congregation would accept Adolf Hitler as their messiah,” while rejecting Jesus Christ. He stated that the Bible is “the old Jewish swindle… one is either a German or a Christian. You cannot be both.” The purpose of his famous “Cathedral of Light” was to “create the illusion of a magical temple,” and the Nuremberg Rallies were actually “an invocation of Mars, the pagan God of War,” with Hitler being “the High Priest.”
Hitler’s beliefs, as well as his Nazi followers’ beliefs in astrology, the occult and witchcraft is well-known. The Bible shows that the final revival of the ancient Roman Empire will be brought about by demonic forces. Both major leaders—the beast [a political military leader] and the false prophet [a religious leader]—will be demonically possessed. Legend has it that the holy lance and the other insignias of the Holy Roman Empire are waiting for another “Holy Roman Emperor of the German Nation,” and who is to say whether they will not play a “mystical” role again during the last resurrection of the ancient Roman Empire under German or Austrian leadership.
The ninth resurrection of the Roman Empire under Mussolini and Hitler has ended, and one more revival is prophesied to occur. That last revival of the ancient Roman Empire has been in the making for quite some time, and its final configuration is not that far off.
Chapter 10 – The Tenth Revival of the Ancient Roman Empire
According to the book of Daniel and the book of Revelation, the last European revival of the ancient Roman Empire will be a unification of ten nations or groups of nations which will give their power to the “beast”—a charismatic political and military leader. This political power bloc will collaborate with a mighty Church organization, claiming to be Christian, but it is a fallen church that has rejected the truth of God and has aligned itself with the political powers of this present evil world.
Resurrecting the Ancient Roman Empire in Modern Europe
The last resurrection of the Roman Empire has already begun in Europe, and politicians KNOW that they are resurrecting the ancient Roman Empire!
On October 29, 2004, the member states of the EU signed the EU Constitution. Even though it was not ratified by all member states and therefore did not become law (it was later replaced by the Treaty of Lisbon, which became effective on December 1, 2009, and which included many of the provisions of the EU Constitution), it is still interesting to realize where the EU Constitution was signed.
The EUObserver wrote on October 29, 2004: “Symbolically, the ceremony [took] place in the same room as the signing of the original Treaty of Rome by the then six member states – France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg – in 1957.”
The original Treaty of Rome in 1957 gave birth to the unification of Europe. Der Stern Online wrote that that First Roman Treaty signalized “the beginning of the success story of Europe.”
The idea of a united Europe is very much alive. European politicians want it—it is the people who are concerned. But the time will come when the European politicians will have their say. Europe is destined to become a super power. The dream of a united Europe has been around for some time. According to Der Stern Online of March 25, 2004, “Voltaire said in 1767 that Europe will become a great republic of cultivated spirits. Shortly thereafter, Immanuel Kant spoke of a European House. In 1849, Victor Hugo coined enthusiastically the phrase, ‘United States of Europe’ – a slogan that was later used by Winston Churchill during a speech in 1943.”
But things really began to shape up with the introduction of the euro. On January 1, 1999, the euro was introduced. Today, it is one of the most powerful currencies in the world.
Business Week wrote on May 4, 1998: “The Euro will turn Europe into a Superpower.”
National Review wrote on October 26, 1998: “That monetary union is first and foremost a political project… French officials cite the Euro as a means by which to develop a global political counterweight to the world’s only superpower [the US]. Former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt says, ‘the arrival of the euro will… change the whole world situation so that the United States can no longer call all the shots.’”
Newsweek wrote in late 1998: “In January, the world will start getting used to a new currency. Whether you love the Euro or hate it, know this; nothing so big has ever happened before.”
Even though some European Eurozone member states have had to fight with economic hardship, it should have been clear to those who understand biblical prophecy that the euro was destined to survive from the start, as it is the glue that binds the Eurozone members together politically.
On May 1, 2004, the (then) 25 member states of Europe celebrated the coming unification of Europe. Der Stern stated: “Great Europe is to become a world power – economically, culturally and perhaps even militarily.”
Mark Leonard wrote in Why Europe Will Run the 21th Century (ed. 2005, page 7): “By creating the largest single internal market in the world, Europe has become an economic giant that, according to some calculations, is already the biggest in the world.”
The EUObserver wrote on July 16, 2008: “In 2005, the US was supplanted as the world’s largest single market by the EU… Many American firms suddenly had this new beast to deal with—the EU.”
And a beast it is—biblically speaking.
Core Europe—Europe with Two Speeds
Very soon, ten core nations or groups of nations will rule continental Europe. Although there are presently 28 member states in existence, there is already much talk about a Europe of two speeds, or of the necessity to establish powerful core nations to rule the rest of Europe. Remember, the Bible speaks about 10 nations or groups of nations—not 27 or more members.
Der Spiegel Online wrote on June 16, 2008:
“Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said… that it was time for a ‘Club of the Few.’ Former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer likewise wrote… that ‘those who want political integration should move forward and those who are happy with just a common market should be left behind.’”
According to The Local, dated June 7, 2012, “Chancellor Angela Merkel said… that she would work towards a European political union even if that meant a two-speed approach.”
The EUObserver wrote on June 29, 2012: “… the phenomenon of a two-speed Europe not only becomes a fact of increased likelihood, but it is more and more politically acknowledged and approved.”
In fact, a core Europe already exists.
Der Spiegel Online wrote on December 19, 2005: “When EU finance ministers meet, the 12 ministers from the euro zone hold talks among themselves before they meet the [other] colleagues whose countries haven’t adopted the euro. In that pre-meeting, the most important decisions for the euro zone are made.”
Mark Leonard wrote in 2005 in Why Europe Will Run the 21th Century, on page 108: “There are already three ambitious projects that do not include all of the EU’s… members: the eurozone…; the Schengen agreement, which allows passport free travel…; and the Western European Union, Europe’s defence identity…”
Notice this statement, which was published in Die Berliner Zeitung, dated July 2, 2008: “The idea of a core Europe or a two-speed Europe is not at all the heresy that some make it out to be. It has long been reality: Many states do not participate in one of the key issues of European integration: the single currency.”
There is strong historical and biblical indication that Britain will not be part of the final unification of Europe. The EUObserver hinted at this development, when it wrote on March 10, 2007: “The EU should go ahead and further integrate without the UK… Belgium’s prime minister Guy Verhofstadt has said. He added that [under certain circumstances], ‘the European Union must progress without Great Britain.’”
The Wall Street Journal wrote on May 24, 2007, that “Ms. Merkel’s team considers Britain one of the biggest obstacles to any agreement.”
According to a statement by former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt in 2004, core Europe might NOT include Britain, but he felt that it would include countries like France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. However, this assessment might not be entirely correct. Certainly, countries like Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Austria will be part of the core European configuration, and it is very likely that countries such as Poland and Hungary will be part of it. Whether Greece will be a part of it is not certain at all, but it is virtually assured that Britain won’t be a part of it.
In regard to Poland, Der Spiegel Online wrote on May 25, 2012: “Poland… has become the most astonishing success story in Eastern Europe. Relations between Berlin and Warsaw have never been better… Berlin is already Warsaw’s biggest [trading] partner.”
Regarding Italy, the EUObserver wrote on March 4, 2013: “Italy indeed is a difficult beast to understand—let alone tame—for the other European countries, but it is an anchor, not an iceberg, for the European integration process.”
Regarding Britain, The Associated Press wrote on January 24, 2013:
“British Prime minister David Cameron wants nothing to do with a United States of Europe… Many in the EU, particularly among the 17 countries that use the euro, are on a drive for closer political unification, and that’s raised particular concerns recently in Britain… Britain’s relations with Europe have been strained since the end of World War II… It has stood against many efforts to forge closer ties, notably the creation of the euro…” Mail Online added on January 18, 2013: “… the EU’s mission for ‘ever closer union’ has always meant ultimately creating a federal superstate, something that is unacceptable to most Britons.”
And so, while Italy—called a “difficult beast” in the media—will be part of the core nations of Europe, called a “new beast” in the media, it is highly unlikely that Britain will be part of it. In fact, more and more voices are being heard insisting that the UK should leave the EU voluntarily or involuntarily. A vast majority of the British people are against the idea that their country should even stay in the EU. In fact, Britain is not part of the 17 European states presently in the Eurozone, and it is virtually certain that it will not adopt the euro. (It is interesting that the media is also referring to the Eurozone as the “euro zone beast”; compare Reuters, July 3, 2013).
All of this is of great biblical significance, because the Bible says that in the very end, the European power bloc, under the leadership of the biblical “beast” (a military leader), will fight a war against Britain.
Europe, under its core member states, will also become a strong and powerful military union. Europe’s leaders realize that a strong political union necessitates a unified European army. We have seen Europe—and Germany—getting more and more involved militarily in non-European countries. As America’s influence diminishes, Europe sees the need to fill the vacuum.
Under the headline, “German Chancellor Favors Creation of European Army,” Deutsche Welle reported on March 23, 2007:
“The European Union should move towards forming a common army, Germany’s Angela Merkel said in an interview focusing on the chancellor’s vision for the future of the bloc. Just ahead of weekend celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, the foundations of the European Union, Chancellor Merkel said she envisioned a single European army for the future of the [then] 27-member bloc in the next decades. ‘We need to get closer to a common army for Europe,’ she told the mass-circulation Bild newspaper… The call for a European armed forces is not new. Last year, Polish President Lech Kaczynski said his country wanted a new 100,000-strong European army created to work with NATO in trouble spots in the world or to defend Europe.”
Under the headline, “European Army Backed,” The Sydney Morning Herald wrote the following on September 20, 2012:
“Germany, France and nine of Europe’s most powerful countries have called for an elected European Union president and an end to Britain’s veto over defence policy, in a radical blueprint for the continent’s future… As well as calling for a single, elected head of state for Europe, the bloc demanded a new defence policy, under the control of a pan-EU foreign ministry commanded by Baroness Ashton, which ‘could eventually involve a European army’. In order to ‘prevent one single member state from being able to obstruct initiatives’, a reference to British opposition to a European army, the German-led group demanded an end to existing national vetoes over foreign and defence policy… The plan, which has the backing of Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Holland, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg and Portugal, is likely to increase calls for a British referendum on EU membership.”
The core member states of Europe will become militarily strong (Daniel 2:42), but at first, they will not be totally unified. The Bible says that their unification will be “fragile” (same verse). It will take the arrival of the “beast” to create a short-lived military unification “of one mind” (Revelation 17:12-13), which will be hostile towards Jesus Christ (verse 14).
A Catholic Concept
As we will explain further, in much detail, the European political unification will be closely connected with the Roman Catholic Church. In a sense, the Roman Church has been influencing the European unification process to a certain degree all along. As The Telegraph wrote in 1991: “The Common Market itself started under the inspiration of Catholic politicians—such as Adenauer of Germany, Paul-Henri Spaak, Jean Monnet and Robert Schumann… They were all deeply influenced by Catholic social teaching.”
Monnet believed in the Catholic vision that Europe should become a federal superstate. The Financial Times wrote on May 22, 1995, that the “idea of a united Europe” has been viewed as “essentially a Catholic concept.”
We have seen, so far, that the final resurrection of the ancient Roman Empire has already begun in Europe. Core member states of Europe—ten nations or groups of nations—will unify and become militarily strong (Daniel 2:42). They will only rule for a short time and will give their power and authority to a charismatic political personage—the “beast”—(Revelation 17:12-13). That short-lived unification under the beast will be hostile toward Jesus Christ (verse 14). Other passages show us that the “beast” will work together with a religious figure called “the false prophet.”
What are some of the characteristics of the beast and important concepts associated with him, as revealed in Scripture?
We need to realize that the Bible uses the word “beast” for both the entire Roman system (the ancient Roman Empire and its revivals, including the final resurrection) as well as the final leader of that system. The passages that we will discuss below seem to indicate that the word “beast” refers in those passages—at least in part—to the end-time leader himself.
In Revelation 13:1-4, 8, 11-12, we are told that it is Satan who will give power to the beast (the system as well as the end-time leader), and that the false prophet, who deceives the nations, causes the nations to worship the beast (Revelation 14:9; compare 20:4). This reminds us of past Greek, Roman and European leaders who were literally worshipped and looked upon as God or a god, and this will also be true for the final military leader. For instance, as was pointed out before, it is well-known that Hitler was perceived by many as a messiah, or the “Messiah,” while other leaders, such as Charlemagne, Otto the Great, Napoleon and Mussolini, saw themselves as successors of the ancient Roman emperors (who, as we will see, were deified). Mussolini in particular was worshipped as a god by many Italians.
Deification of Roman Emperors
In the book, Dark History of the Roman Emperors, by Michael Kerrigan, the following is pointed out about the deification of several of the Roman emperors:
“The Second Triumvirate had the Senate acknowledge the late Julius Caesar as a god… It also had the consequence that, as ‘Divi Filius’ (‘son of god’), Octavian could claim to be ruling by divine right… After his death, Augustus was quite genuinely worshipped as a deity, as was his Empress, Livia Augusta… Caligula proclaimed himself a god in his own lifetime… Hadrian died in 138 C.E. As Emperor, his successor became known as Antonius Pius… because of his efforts to have his adoptive father deified… He adored his wife Faustina and was devastated by her death in 141 C.E.; he had her deified and built her a temple in the Forum.”
As will be explained, ancient Antiochus Epiphanes was a forerunner of the end-time beast. As the Wikipedia Encyclopedia points out, “He assumed divine epithets… such as Theos Epiphanes (… ‘God Manifest’).”
In the future, people will worship the beast during his lifetime. They will be deceived to do so by Satan and the signs of the false prophet (who will also be worshipped as God or a god).
In Revelation 13:6, we read that the beast will blaspheme God, His name, His tabernacle and the angels—in other words, everything that stands for the true worship of God and is associated with God. We note Ephesians 3:14-15, which points out that God’s people belong to the Family of God, and that “from the Father” God’s children “are named.” This shows, as it is confirmed in other passages, that the beast will become very hostile toward the true children of God and that he will severely persecute them.
Note the contrast in Revelation 13:16-18, which tells us that those who are not called by God and who do not understand the truth will accept the mark of the beast; the name of the beast, and the number of his name, which is 666. In following and worshipping the beast, who will blaspheme God’s name, they will accept the name of the beast and his mark.
The Mark of the Beast
Regarding the mark, the commentary of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown states that, “The mark may be, as in the case of the sealing of the saints in the forehead, not a visible mark, but symbolical of allegiance. So the sign of the cross in Popery. The Pope’s interdict has often shut out the excommunicate from social and commercial intercourse. Under the final Antichrist [the beast] this shall come to pass in its most violent form.”
In chapter 15 of our free booklet, Is That in the Bible? The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation, we state:
“Revelation 13:16–17 explains that ‘the image’ of the second (religious) beast will cause people to accept ‘a mark’ of the first beast ‘on their right hand’ or ‘on their foreheads.’ Without it, they cannot buy or sell (compare Revelation 14:9).
“This mark of the first beast is clearly associated in Scripture with the violation of God’s Sabbath commandment [the time from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset] (compare Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20:20; Isaiah 56:2; Isaiah 58:13; Amos 8: 5; Exodus 16:23, 26; Exodus 31:15). In the Bible, the ‘right hand’ is associated with work (Psalm… 137:5). The ‘forehead’ is the seat of thoughts (Ezekiel 3:8; 9:4; Revelation 7:3).”
In our free booklet, Europe in Prophecy, we state the following under the headline, “HOW WILL YOU BE IDENTIFIED?”:
“… the mark of the Beast apparently means general participation in the worship system of the revived Roman Empire…
“The little horn (in Daniel 7:25, referring to a religious power) intended to change times and laws—indeed, to change the law regarding holy times—and persecuted God’s people who did not accept its change. God has commanded His people to keep certain times holy and, during these holy times, His people are not to engage in commerce…
“The Bible is very clear about which days GOD has made holy—the weekly Sabbath (Friday sunset to Saturday sunset) and certain annual Holy Days, which are also called Sabbaths in the Bible (cf. Lev. 23). God commands His people in Exodus 31:13-17, ‘Surely My Sabbaths [plural—the weekly Sabbath and the seven annual Sabbaths] you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you…. You shall keep the Sabbath… for it is holy to you…. Whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people.’ So, in contrast to the mark of the Beast, we have a sign of God and His people—the observance of His Sabbaths.
“The Sabbath command, it must be understood, is not just for the Jewish people, as many today will argue. Rather, the Sabbath was made, as Christ said, ‘for man’ (Mark 2:27) at the very time when man was created—when there was no distinction between Jews and non-Jews. It was clearly made for both Israelites and Gentiles (Is. 56:6-7).”
It is also important to note that in Europe, the weekly calendar was changed in 1976 to the effect that Sunday is designated as the last day of the week. Most people have been misled and deceived to think that Sunday is the “weekly Sabbath”—not Saturday. Indeed, the “little horn” has been heavily involved in changing the law regarding holy times.
The Name and the Number of the Beast
We were also told in Revelation 13:17 that the nations will accept the name of the beast and the number of his name.
The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown commentary states that the “‘number of his name’ [implies] that the name has some numerical meaning.” The name can refer to a literal name, to an adopted name, or to a well-known expression associated with or describing the beast (such as “Heil Hitler” or “Il Duce”). In addition, when people accept his name, they accept what he stands for and what he does.
In chapter 16 of our free booklet, Is That in the Bible? The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation, we state:
“Verse 18 reveals that the famous ‘number of the beast’ is the ‘number of a man.’ We are told to ‘calculate’ the number, which is 666. King Lateinos was the founder of Rome. In the Greek, every letter has a numerical value. The numerical value for ‘Lateinos’ is 666. Therefore, the… beast is… clearly identified as the Roman Empire—the number 666 identifying the founder of the Roman Empire—Lateinos.
“Although the designation ‘beast’ in Revelation 13 describes the Roman Empire, it can also refer to the representative or ruler of the final revival or resurrection of that Empire (compare Revelation 16:13; 19:20). It is likely that the numerical value of the name of that final human leader of the revived Roman Empire—referred to as a MAN (compare again Revelation 13:18)—will also be 666.”
Many commentaries agree that the number of the beast—666—refers to Lateinos, the founder of Rome. In the Greek, L stands for 30, A for 1, T for 300, E for 5, I for 10, N for 50, O for 70, and S for 200. The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown commentary states that the beast “may have a close connection with Rome, and so the name ‘Lateinos’ (666) may apply to him.”
Barnes’ Notes on the Bible explains that it is indeed the Greek language and the numerical value of its letters that need to be consulted to determine the number, as John wrote in Greek; the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet are expressly selected to denote Christ’s eternity; i.e. Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:8, 11); and “the numerals by which the enigma is expressed… are Greek.” The commentary also explains that the number is indeed 666, and not 616, as sometimes proposed, as 616 is only contained in some falsified and corrupted versions.
The Ryrie Study Bible states that “Somehow, unknown to us, the number will play an important part in the identification of the Antichrist [the beast] in a future day.” And J.H. Blunt’s commentary writes that “the true and full application of it is not likely to be discovered until the personal Antichrist [the beast] himself has arisen, and then it may prove to be one of the signs by which he is to be readily identified.”
However, it won’t be a sign that will be readily discernable by most, since we specifically read in Revelation 13:18: “Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast…”
One will need to have godly wisdom and understanding to figure out the number of his name. Most people will not be able to do so, and they will not believe it when it is revealed, because they will be deceived by Satan and the false prophet to believe a lie.
Prior to Christ’s return, the beast and his armies will invade the Middle East and Jerusalem to take away the daily sacrifices. We read a prophecy in Daniel 8:9-12, which may very well be dual in nature. It first speaks about the ancient leader, Antiochus Epiphanes, who is described in that passage as a little horn (not to be confused with the little horn in Daniel 7, which describes a religious power). According to Daniel 8:9-12, that “little horn” persecutes God’s people, invades and casts down the “sanctuary” and opposes the daily sacrifices which are “taken away.”
Antiochus did all of that. He was born in 215 BC and died in 163 BC.
According to 2 Maccabees, “Raging like a wild animal, he set out from Egypt and took Jerusalem by storm. He ordered his soldiers to cut down without mercy those whom they met and to slay those who took refuge in their houses. There was a massacre of young and old, a killing of women and children, a slaughter of virgins and infants. In the space of three days, eighty thousand were lost, forty thousand meeting a violent death, and the same number being sold into slavery…
“Not long after this the king sent an Athenian senator to force the Jews to abandon the customs of their ancestors and live no longer by the laws of God; also to profane the temple in Jerusalem and dedicate it to Olympian Zeus, and that on Mount Gerizim to Zeus the Hospitable, as the inhabitants of the place requested… They also brought into the temple things that were forbidden, so that the altar was covered with abominable offerings prohibited by the laws. A man could not keep the sabbath or celebrate the traditional feasts, nor even admit that he was a Jew.”
We read in Daniel 8:23-25 that a fierce king or a king “having fierce features” (verse 23); i.e. Antiochus, would arise with sinister schemes and cunning and deceit; and that he would be broken without human means. Antiochus died suddenly of a disease, but if this is a dual prophecy, it would also refer to the death of the beast by the hand of Jesus Christ when the beast will be thrown alive into a burning lake of fire (Revelation 19:20). To point out a parallel with the king having fierce features in Daniel 8:23, we read in Deuteronomy 28:50 that the end-time army which will occupy the Middle East is described as a “nation of fierce countenance.”
… a Type of the End-Time Beast
Scofield’s Concordance states that “Antiochus is a remarkable type of the Beast.” In fact, much of what Antiochus did, the end-time beast will also do, and worse.
Daniel 11:21-23 describes Antiochus Epiphanes as having supplanted the ruler and having come into power through intrigue. The Wikipedia Encyclopedia tells us: “After King Seleucus was assassinated by Heliodorus, an usurper, in 175 BC, Antiochus in turn ousted him. Since Seleucus’ legitimate heir, Demetrius I Soter, was still a hostage in Rome, Antiochus, with the help of King Eumenes II of Pergamum, seized the throne for himself, proclaiming himself co-regent for another son of Seleucus, an infant named Antiochus (whom he then murdered a few years later).”
The Abomination of Desolation
The end-time beast might also obtain his rule over the ten nations or groups of nations through “intrigue” or “flattery.” Jesus Christ confirmed that the acts of Antiochus may be dual in nature, and that the abomination of desolation, which Antiochus set up in the temple (Daniel 11:31), will be set up again (Matthew 24:15). The abomination of desolation has been understood as describing a devastating army occupying Jerusalem as well as the erection of an idol, a statue or an “image,” an ungodly presence or pagan worship services in the Temple.
In Matthew 24:15, Christ refers to the abomination of desolation in the context of the destruction of Jerusalem through Titus’ devastating and abominable army in 70 AD, but He also speaks of a future military occupation of the Holy Land and of Jerusalem (Luke 21:20-21) and the desecration of the “holy place” just prior to His return. Daniel 12:11 contains an end-time prophecy and establishes that another prophetic “abomination of desolation” will be set up at the holy place (“where it ought not,” compare Mark 13:14) at the same time when the future Jewish daily sacrifices will be taken away.
Judging from the past and also from several passages in the Bible, the Jews will indeed build another Temple in Jerusalem, but it will be desecrated. Actually, something similar did occur in 131-133 AD (even though at that time, the Romans built the Temple “for the Jews”), while in the future, the Jews will do so themselves. As Michael Kerrigan writes in Dark History of the Roman Emperors, “In 131 C.E… [emperor] Hadrian had work on the Temple site commence… The Romans’ inauguration ceremony started with the ritual breaking of the ground, itself an act of sacrilege in Jewish law. Unperturbed, the emperor decided that this was a good moment to prohibit the practice of circumcision… “
In 133 C.E. the Romans marched on Judea to quench a Jewish “rebellion” under the followers of Simon Bar Kokhba (who was perceived to be the Messiah). His followers had taken control of Jerusalem and had established an independent Jewish state under the spiritual leadership of Rabbi Akiva. The Romans, under general Sextus Julius Severus, massacred at least half a million Jews (other estimates give the number as “millions”) and destroyed almost a thousand villages.
Kerrigan states that “Hadrian redoubled his efforts to stamp out Jewish religious practices. Sacred scrolls were burned, rabbis executed and the Torah… was banned. The temple was turned over to the worship of Jupiter, and of Hadrian himself… Judea became ‘Palestinae.’”
Commentaries agree that the events of the past, especially under Antiochus and, to a lesser degree, Titus and Hadrian, were just forerunners of end-time events.
We read in Daniel 11:31-39 that the “king of the north” [who is also called the beast in the Bible] will take away the daily sacrifices and place there the abomination of desolation; that he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God [or “god”] of gods; and that he “shall regard neither the God [better “god”] of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver”; and that he will “act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory…”
Even though this passage has been applied to Antiochus (as he did perform some of those prophesied events), it is also recognized that it cannot refer to him exclusively. The Ryrie Study Bible writes that “the scope [of this section] also requires reference to some details of Israel’s last days.”
The New Bible Commentary: Revised adds:
“Antiochus who persecuted the [Old Testament] church shortly before the first advent of Christ may be regarded as typical of the antichrist [the beast] who will persecute the church before the second advent of Christ… [Verse] 36 states that the king will ‘magnify himself above every god,’ a description which does not well apply to Antiochus… likewise it is difficult to see how Antiochus showed disrespect for the gods of his fathers…”
The Future King of the North
However, it is not difficult to see how it would apply to the end-time beast. He will worship a foreign god for a while, that is, the false prophet, who is described in places such as 2 Thessalonians 2 as the “man of sin” who will sit in the “Temple of God,” claiming to be God (verse 4). We can appreciate that the “abomination of desolation,” set up at a holy place, also applies to the false prophet himself, sitting in God’s very Temple, claiming to be “God.” Also, he may be instrumental in persuading the beast to invade militarily the Middle East and Jerusalem and to initiate the erection of a great “image to the beast,” which will be given the power to speak and to cause the murder of Christians (Revelation 13:14-15); hence, the beast will honor a “god of fortresses,” murder and war. He will make that “god” rich. His fathers did not know that “god” because the false prophet had not yet existed during their time.
Another statement about the king of the north is worthy of consideration. We have read that he “does not regard the desire of women” (Daniel 11: 37). Some say, the “desire of women” is a reference to the god whom the women worshipped; i.e. Tammuz (compare Ezekiel 8:14). Others claim that this means he does not love what women love, or that he lives in licentiousness with women and does not want to get married (since many women have the desire to get married).
However, a much more obvious explanation needs to be brought out. The old Luther Bible translates that he does not care for the love of or have love toward women (“Frauenliebe”). This could be a reference to other than normal sexual preferences. The commentary of Henry speaks of “unnatural lust” in this context. This might indicate that the beast will be homosexual (compare Romans 1:24-28). There is no indication that Antiochus was homosexual (nor that he had illicit affairs with other women, nor that he did not want to get married. In fact, Antiochus was married). If the reference is to the homosexual nature of the end-time beast, we could think, as a forerunner, of emperor Hadrian who massacred the Jews. He was married, but he was also homosexual. When his male lover died by drowning in the sea, a heart-broken Hadrian gave orders for his deification. So, judging by these examples, the beast could very well be married and still be homosexual. For instance, Austria’s former leader, the late Jörg Haider, was married and had a daughter, and it only became known after his death that he was homosexual.
The King of Assyria
In Daniel 11:44-45, we read that the end-time king of the north (verse 40), or the beast, will act with great fury. He is identified in Hosea 5:13 as the Assyrian King “Jareb,” which means “a fighter.” He is also identified in Isaiah 10:5-7, 12, as the end-time king of Assyria who has an arrogant heart and the will to destroy others. Isaiah 14:24-25 tells us that the king of Assyria will enslave the nations of Israel and Judah. Isaiah 30:30-33 adds that he will be thrown into Tophet—the lake of fire and brimstone (compare Isaiah 31:8-9). This shows, then, that the beast will be of Assyrian descent. The modern Assyrians can be found today in Germany and Austria. (For more information, please read our free booklets, Germany in Prophecy and Europe in Prophecy).
Another interesting reference to the beast can be found in the book of Habakkuk, which deals with the modern Chaldeans or Assyrians.
Isaiah 23:13 tells us that the ancient Assyrians founded the land of the Chaldeans. And so, it will be the modern Assyrians—mainly the German-speaking peoples—who will lead the final resurrection of the “Holy Roman Empire.” (For instance, we have seen that the German Otto the Great and the Austrian Charles V were previous emperors of the “Holy Roman Empire” or “the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.” Arguably, this is also true for Charlemagne or Charles the Great, who was crowned as Emperor in the German city of Aachen and who is viewed by the Germans as a German, by the French as a Frenchman, and by the Belgians as a Belgian. In addition, the collaboration of the Austrian Hitler and the Italian Mussolini with several popes constituted the sixth revival of the “Holy Roman Empire”).
In ancient times, the Chaldeans were Babylon’s religious leaders, astrologers and magicians. John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible has this to say about the ancient Chaldeans:
“A people still of late mean and low, famous only for their soothsaying, divination, and judicial astrology; but now become a powerful and warlike people, rising up under the permission of Providence to universal monarchy, and who would quickly add Judea to the rest of their dominions…”
A Swift and Short Work
Even though a partial fulfillment of Habakkuk’s entire prophecy can be seen in ancient Judah’s captivity through the Babylonians, due to Judah’s transgressions (compare verse 4), Habakkuk’s prophecy of Babylonian warfare is clearly awaiting an end-time fulfillment. As we will see, this will COINCIDE with the powerful, but short, revival of the preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
Habakkuk 1:5-10 reads as follows: “Look among the nations and watch—Be utterly astonished! For I will work a work in your days Which you would not believe, though it were told you. For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, A bitter and hasty nation Which marches through the breadth of the earth, To possess dwelling places that are not theirs. They are terrible and dreadful… They all come for violence… They gather captives like sand. They scoff at kings…”
Paul later quoted these words and applied them as a warning to the people in his time and age who would reject the gospel message. We read in Acts 13:32-41: “And we declare to you glad tidings—that promise which was made to the fathers. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He raised up Jesus… David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption; but He whom God raised up saw no corruption. Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. BEWARE therefore, lest what has been spoken in the prophets COME UPON YOU: ‘Behold, you despisers, Marvel and perish! For I work a work in your days, A work which you will by no means believe, Though one were to declare it to you.’”
God said through Habakkuk that His work, the end-time preaching of the gospel, would be powerful, but short. Romans 9:28 confirms this, saying: “For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, Because the LORD will make a SHORT WORK upon the earth.”
The Bible prophesies that at the time when the powerful preaching of the gospel message is being revived, modern Babylon will rise once again in Europe as the seventh and very SHORT-lived resurrection of the ancient “Holy Roman Empire”—a combination of church and state—when the (religious) fallen woman will be once more riding the (political and military) beast (compare Revelation 17, especially verses 10 and 12).
God will use modern Babylon in a literal SWIFT blitzkrieg to punish the modern houses of Israel and Judah for their transgressions (compare also Isaiah 29:13-14). But God will then punish modern Babylon (Habakkuk 2:8)—a system less righteous than modern Israel and Judah (compare Habakkuk 1:12-13).
In this context, we read in Habakkuk 1:11 that after the modern Babylonian/Assyrian leader—the beast—has come to power, his mind will change. This term could be a reference to demonic possession. Barnes’ Notes on the Bible says it could describe the invisible presence of a spirit (compare Job 4:15; the word for “passed” in that passage is the same word as for “change” in Habakkuk). We know, of course, from passages such as Revelation 16:13-14, that the beast will be demonically possessed, but this passage in Habakkuk seems to indicate that the possession will occur after he has received his authority and power from the ten core nations or groups of nations.
To recall, certain core member states of Europe—ten nations or groups of nations—will unify and give their power and authority to a charismatic political personage—the “beast” (Revelation 17:12-13), who will work together with a religious figure, called “the false prophet.”
The Religious Organization Under the False Prophet
To identify the false prophet, we must first identify the religious organization that the “false prophet” will represent.
We have seen that the last seven revivals of the ancient Roman Empire constituted a collaboration between religion (the Roman Catholic Church) and state (the political empires under military leaders), while the first three revivals of the ancient Roman Empire were not supported by the Catholic faith.
In our free booklet, Europe in Prophecy, we explain:
“In Revelation 17, the Apostle John is given a vision of a… scarlet beast… having seven heads and ten horns… the scarlet beast is ridden by a woman—a harlot. Revelation 17:5 identifies the woman as ‘mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth.’ This woman is depicted in verse 6 as drunk with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. In verse 18 the woman is also identified as that great city that reigns over the kings of the earth, the city that sits on seven mountains (v. 9). Though here called Babylon, the famed City of Seven Hills is the city of Rome!—successor to ancient Babylon politically, militarily, economically and religiously. It is this city that rides the scarlet beast with the seven heads and the ten horns. The seven heads of the beast are seven kings or seven kingdoms (v. 10). These are successive kingdoms, one following the other…
“… the heads of the beast in Revelation 17 depict the seven last resurrections of the Roman Empire… The woman sits on these last seven resurrections of the beast. That is, the woman was only instrumental in the last seven revivals of the Roman Empire—not the first three.
“This woman or city is described as both an economic power and a religious power. The Ryrie Study Bible comments in a footnote to Revelation 17:5, ‘Though the famous city of Babylon was on the Euphrates River, the name seems to be a symbolic reference to Rome. In chapter 18 it represents more the political and commercial aspect of the revived Roman Empire. Thus the term stands both for a city and for a (religious and commercial) system related to the city (much like “Wall Street,” which is both a place and a system).’
“An interesting statement in Halley’s Bible Handbook agrees with this assessment: ‘The description of Babylon the great… exactly fits Papal Rome. Nothing else in world history does fit.’ Unger’s Bible Handbook states, ‘The great harlot denotes a religious system that compromises truth for worldly power. She is guilty of prostituting truth and purity, intoxicating men by her doctrines and practices which violate the Word of God. She heads up the corrupt religious system of the end-time. It represents in fullest scope all apostate religious movements—from the inception in the ancient Babylon of Nimrod to the terrible consummation and apostate Christianity and other evil religious forces of the last day. The revived Roman Empire, with its end-time emperor—the Beast—appears as the agent of the harlot’s destruction. The woman has her headquarters in the Beast’s capital, which is the seven-hilled city of Rome’ (p. 870).
“Note that it is the seven last revivals of the Roman Empire that are ridden by the woman, a religious power. The first three were not. The first three revivals occurred under leaders with a different religion, that of Arianism, which was labeled a heresy by the Roman Catholic Church. But the last seven occur under the control and with the approval of the Church of Rome…”
Remember that the first of the seven last resurrections of the Roman Empire occurred under Justinian in A.D. 554; the second occurred under Charlemagne or Charles the Great; the third occurred under Otto the Great; the fourth under Charles V Habsburg; the fifth under Napoleon Bonaparte, and the sixth of the last seven resurrections occurred under Hitler and Mussolini. As with the previous six resurrections, the woman—the papal city of Rome—will “ride,” or direct the activities of, the seventh resurrection as well.
Referring to the “little horn” in Daniel 7:8, 24, we point out in the aforementioned booklet that the “little horn, the religious power synonymous with the woman riding the scarlet beast, would change times and law, or rather, change the law regarding holy times,” which it did. As you will recall, it transferred religious services from the weekly Sabbath to Sunday (the day of the sun god), and abrogated God’s annual holy days and adopted instead pagan days such as Christmas and Easter.
In chapter 19 of our free booklet, Is That in the Bible? The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation, we shed additional light on the woman riding the beast:
“In Revelation 17, John sees a fallen woman who sits on a scarlet-colored beast with seven heads and ten horns… The woman is called, in verse 5, ‘Mystery, Babylon the Great, The Mother of Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth.’ This fallen church is called the ‘Mother Church,’ which has ‘daughter churches’… Revelation 17:9… says: ‘Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits.’
“According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, the Greek word for ‘mountain,’ ‘oros,’ means ‘mountain’ or ‘hill’ (see Strong’s No. 3733). Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible agrees, defining the Greek word used in Revelation 17:9 as ‘mountain, mount, hill.’ This same word is used in Matthew 5:14, where Christ says: ‘You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a HILL cannot be hidden.’ It is also translated as ‘hill’ in Luke 4:29. The New English Bible translates Revelation 17:9, as follows: ‘The seven heads are seven HILLS…’ So do the Revised English Bible; the New International Version; the New American Bible; the Moffat Translation of the Bible; the Jewish New Testament, by David Stern; and a German Bible translation, ‘Die Gute Nachricht.’ The New Jerusalem Bible states: ‘The seven heads are THE seven hills…’ The Living Bible gives the following interpretation of the verse: ‘And now think hard: his seven heads represent a certain city built on seven hills where the woman has her residence.’
“Verse 10 explains that the seven mountains or hills symbolize seven kings—seven military and political rulers. They describe the seven last resurrections of the ancient Roman Empire—with the last king or revival of the Roman Empire still to appear in the near future. But remember that the woman is also identified as a CITY, which sits on seven mountains or hills…
“John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible explains: ‘… this confirms that the beast before spoken of, on whom the woman sat, is the Roman empire, since she is here said to sit on the seven mountains, on which Rome, the metropolis of that empire, was built…’
“Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible states: ‘Seven mountains—the seven hills on which Rome stands…’ Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible agrees: ‘The seven heads are seven mountains—Referring, undoubtedly, to Rome—the seven-hilled city…’
“Lehman Strauss writes in ‘The Book of the Revelation,’ pages 295–301: ‘The Babylon of the Revelation is an apostate religious system clearly identifiable with all of Christendom, with papal Rome taking the lead in its formation… the world might applaud such a union, but we may be certain God is not in it… We are not surprised, then, when we see men and women of various religious faiths making pilgrimages to Rome to see a man who has been exalted as “the holy father,” “the voice of God,” and then bowing down to him as though he were a god… Rome is known as the seven-hilled city… Here then is a prophecy referring to papal Rome, not history referring to pagan Rome… The wealth of the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant denominations combined adds up to many billions of dollars…’
“Therefore, the Bible does reveal that the final revival of the ancient Holy Roman Empire in Europe will again be guided by the Church of Rome. In addition, the Bible speaks in several places of a ‘heavenly queen,’ which is being worshipped (Jeremiah 7:18; 44:17–19, 25). However, Scripture condemns such practice. In fact, modern Babylon identifies herself as a ‘queen’ (Revelation 18:7; compare Isaiah 47:1, 5, 7, referring to the ‘daughter of Babylon’ as the ‘Lady of Kingdoms,’ verse 5). It is therefore no coincidence that the design of the European flag was allegedly ‘inspired’ by an image associated with the ‘Virgin Mary,’ who is described by Catholics, directly or indirectly, as ‘our Mother,’ the ‘queen of heaven,’ ‘our Lady’ and ‘the queen of Europe’…”
“… the Eighth, and of the Seven…”
We read in Revelation 17:11 that the beast “that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.” We explained that the phrase, “is not” refers to the short-lived ninth resurrection of the ancient Roman Empire. Even though “it was” (verse 8: “… is not, and yet is”), it really was not, by comparison, such an all-encompassing and consequential revival as the previous ones, and as the tenth and last revival will be.
In regard to the statement in verse 11 that the beast himself is the “eighth, and is of the seven,” the New Unger’s Bible Handbook offers this explanation:
“The last ruler of the revived empire is specified, 11: ‘And as for the beast which was and is not [the revived empire, 8a], even he [autos, ‘he himself,’ the personal beast-emperor now coming into view] is the eighth, and is of the seventh [the imperial government, 10] and he goes into perdition.’… This diabolical head is unique… He rules over a ten-kingdom federation… unknown to imperial Roman government, and makes war against the Lamb… in the gigantic conflict for sovereignty over the earth…”
The Nelson Study Bible states: “The beast is related to the 7th king, but also has a separate identity.”
Verse 11 could, therefore, be a reference to the individual beast—the end-time military leader who would be ruling and being part of the seventh revival. It could also refer to the Catholic Church or the false prophet riding on and collaborating with the ten-nation federation and their political leader. The Roman Church and its final pope would be the “eighth,” but “of the seven,” as being a part of the seventh revival.
The Second Beast—The Image of the First Beast
The woman riding the beast is also mentioned, as a separate beast, in Revelation 13. After having described a first beast with seven heads and ten horns—the Roman Empire with its ten revivals—John proceeds to introduce us to a “second beast,” which he also associates with the “image” of the “first beast.”
We state in our booklet, Europe in Prophecy:
“In Revelation 13:11-17, John sees a second beast that has two horns like a lamb but speaks like a dragon. It is a religious power, claiming to be the Lamb or Jesus Christ, but is influenced by the dragon, or Satan. The second beast, we are told, exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence… This [second] beast performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven in the sight of men…”
We make the following additional comments in our free booklet, Is That in the Bible? The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation:
“This second beast had two horns. It looked like a lamb (Jesus Christ is referred to as the Lamb of God throughout the New Testament, compare John 1:29), but it spoke like a dragon (Remember that Satan is identified as a dragon in Revelation 12:3, 9). This second beast is obviously a religious power, which is influenced by Satan, while pretending to speak on behalf of Christ. We read in 2 Corinthians 11:15 that Satan’s ‘ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness.’ Jesus warned that many would come in His name, admitting that He was the Christ or Savior, and deceive many through their wrong teachings (compare Matthew 24:4–5)…
“We read in Revelation 13:14 that the second beast will make an ‘image’ to the first beast, which we identified as the Roman Empire. This passage found its fulfillment, historically, when the religious power of the second beast patterned itself after—made an image of—the governmental and political structure of the worldly power—the first beast—when it became a state in Rome, called the Vatican State, which would make contracts or treaties with other worldly governments; which also would send out their ambassadors and emissaries; and which would even have an army, including the Swiss guards, which fought against ‘heretics’ under the leadership of the Pope. It ultimately influenced and ‘inspired’ the first beast to put to death those who would not worship and follow the dictates of the Catholic Church.
“Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible agrees, stating the following regarding the nature of the ‘image’: ‘… In the empire which then sprung up, and which owed much of its influence to the sustaining aid of the papacy, we discern the “image” of the former Roman power; the prolongation of the Roman ascendency over the world.’…
“However, this passage is not just of historical application, but it also contains a prophecy for the immediate future. Many commentaries suggest, therefore, that the ‘image’ might very well point at an ultimate literal fulfillment…
“We read in Revelation 13:15 that the image will speak and cause those to be killed who will not worship the image of the beast. In applying this statement figuratively and quite literally, John Gill writes: ‘[This] may be understood either of the images of the virgin Mary, and other saints, which it is pretended, and the people are made to believe, that they do at times actually speak, and really weep and laugh, as it may serve their different purposes; or this image may be said to speak by the decrees, canons, anathemas, curses, threatenings, persuasions, doctrines, and blasphemies of the pope and his clergy… these are the known orders and decrees of the Papacy, which have been executed by the Inquisition, and other hands, in innumerable instances…’
“The commentary of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown adds the following: ‘Charlemagne’s image was set up for homage; and the Pope adored the new emperor… Rome’s speaking images and winking pictures of the Virgin Mary and the saints are an earnest of the future demoniacal miracles of the false prophet in making the beast’s… image to speak.’
“Lehman Strauss writes in The Book of the Revelation: ‘The false prophet [the second beast] will attempt to lead the people to finance the erection of a great image in Jerusalem, thereby making Jerusalem the center of a world-wide religious system… How the image is made to speak, or what it says, is not revealed… When the image speaks, Jews and Gentiles, Roman Catholics and Protestants, wherever they are, will worship the image or be killed if they refuse.’”
In this context, we might recall our earlier discussion about Christ’s warning that an abomination of desolation will be set up at the holy place in the near future. A “speaking image” could very well constitute at least a partial fulfillment of that prophecy.
Forerunners of THE False Prophet
Before concentrating on the end-time false prophet, let us review a few historical forerunners, including Simon Magus.
The Greek word for false prophet is pseudoprophetes. According to Strong’s #5578, this word means, “a spurious prophet, i.e. pretended foreteller or religious impostor (cp. #5571 – pseudes = deceitful, false, liar and #4396 – prophetes = a foreteller, by analogy an inspired speaker).”
The Bible reports about false prophets in the past, and it warns of the appearance of many false prophets in the future. However, as we will later explain, there will also arise THE false prophet in the end-time, prior to Christ’s return, epitomizing all of the false prophets of the past, present and future.
Matthew 24:11 tells us that many false prophets will arise who will show great signs and wonders to deceive (Matthew 24:24). Luke 6:26 says that false prophets existed already in Old Testament times (compare 2 Peter 2:1). Acts 13:6-12 reports about a false prophet, who was a Jewish sorcerer, at the time of Paul. 1 John 4:1 speaks of false prophets at the time of John; and Revelation 2:20 gives a warning to God’s church in Thyatira because they allowed the (false) prophetess Jezebel to seduce them.
We may get an idea as to the extent of the Satanic powers that the end-time false prophet will possess when reading in Exodus 7 about the Egyptian false prophets or magicians at the time of Moses.
Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible explains that the two Egyptian sorcerers did not resort to “trickery,” but that they somehow exchanged their rods for real serpents:
“There can be no doubt that real serpents were produced by the magicians… If the magicians threw down their rods, and they became serpents after they were thrown down, as the text expressly says, Exodus 7:12, juggling or sleight of hand had nothing farther to do in the business, as the rods were then out of their hands. If Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods, their sleight of hand was no longer concerned. A man, by dexterity of hand, may so far impose on his spectators as to appear to eat a rod; but for rods lying on the ground to become serpents, and one of these to devour all the rest so that it alone remained, required something more than juggling. How much more rational at once to allow that these magicians had familiar spirits who could… convey one thing away and substitute another in its place!…”
The Bible states that the rod of Aaron became a serpent, and that the magicians caused their rods to do so in like manner. Unless one wants to say that Aaron operated with a trick or performed an illusion (which would be ridiculous), the magicians did not operate in that way either. Somehow, as Clarke pointed out, they were able to “substitute” snakes in the place of rods. Later, God changed water into blood, and the magicians “did so” as well. Also, God brought frogs over Egypt and the magicians also did likewise.
It is obvious that these magicians acted with the power of Satan the devil and his demons! One should not try to diminish or underestimate Satan’s powers, nor try to explain them as man-made illusions or trickery! The Bible shows that in the near future, powerful men will arise on the world scene, including “the” false prophet, who will be influenced and empowered by Satan to perform real miracles—not just illusions—but they will do so with the demonic purpose of deceiving mankind!
Simon Magus—the Sorcerer
A forerunner of the end-time false prophet was Simon Magus, a Samaritan sorcerer. We state the following about him in our free booklet, The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord:
“Historical records establish the fact that Simon Magus, who had been baptized but had never truly repented (Acts 8:13–24), became a leader in the early Babylonian system. He had been a sorcerer, regarded as ‘the great power of God’ (Acts 8:9–10). Quoting from Millennium Prophecies, p. 59, let’s learn more about Simon Magus and the Satanic powers which he allegedly possessed. This should make us a bit more prepared for what is going to happen in the future and why the false prophet will be able to deceive so many people with his sorcery:
“‘The Samarian-born Simon Magus (15 BC–AD 53), son of a Jewish sorcerer, was educated in the cradle of Gnosticism, Alexandria. He was a disciple of Dositheus, who had been a follower of John the Baptist and contended with Jesus Christ for the title of Messiah. Simon traveled widely in Persia, Arabia [and] Egypt to learn all he could about magical lore. He was accompanied by a sorceress called Helena, whom Simon claimed was a reincarnation of Helen of Troy. In Samaria, even [professing] Christians spoke of Simon as ‘the great power of God’… Simon Magus performed many miracles, including healing the sick, raising the dead, walking through fire, flying through the air, turning stones into bread, creating phantom banquets, making himself invisible, animating stone statues, changing his own shape and, of course, reputedly commanding elemental spirits or possibly demons to do his bidding.’”
We are not claiming that Simon Magus did, in fact, accomplish all of these things. The above-stated description is an allusion to tradition and legend which states that Simon Magus actually did these things. However, we feel confident in saying that, through his magical powers, it appeared to people that he performed these “miracles,” including going through walls and making himself invisible. In the same way, today’s magicians or illusionists can appear to do some of these things, even though in most cases, they are just operating with tricks. How much more, then, can a person accomplish if he is used by Satan or his demons? We know of cases where Indian gurus levitate or where they walk on burning coals without their feet being burned. Obviously, Satan is behind this type of activity. In regard to Simon’s “ability” to “raise the dead,” people might not have really died, but were perhaps in a coma, and Simon woke them up out of that coma, through Satan’s help.
As mentioned earlier, Simon Magus became a leader in the early Babylonian system. Some mistakenly claim that Simon Peter was the first bishop of Rome, and that Christ founded the Roman Catholic Church through the Apostle Peter. But this is not correct, as we will prove.
The Apostle Peter Not the First Pope
While human tradition places the Apostle Peter in Rome as its first Bishop, Scripture fails to confirm that Peter even went to Rome to minister in that area.
We read in Galatians 2:7-9 that Paul had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised (Gentiles, including those living in Rome who were physically uncircumcised), just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (Jews who were physically circumcised). Rome was essentially Gentile, even though some Jews resided there, and it was Paul, then, who went to Rome. We note that Peter was led to OPEN the way to salvation to be offered to the Gentiles, by baptizing Cornelius, following a miraculous vision (compare Acts 11). This does not mean that he went to Rome.
Paul confirms in Romans 15:16-20 that he was a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, and that he made it “his aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ WAS named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation” (verse 20). Paul is telling us here that he would not want to establish or lead a church that was already being led by another apostle, including Peter. He emphasizes the same principle in 2 Corinthians 10:13-16. When Paul was in Rome, he preached to the Gentiles there. He tells us in 2 Timothy 4:11, while imprisoned in Rome, that ONLY Luke was with him. Peter is not mentioned, which would be strange if Peter was in Rome at that time. The same can be said regarding Paul’s additional “prison epistles” that were written during his first imprisonment in Rome (about 60-62 A.D.)–Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon. No mention of Peter can be found in these letters.
In Romans 1:7, Paul addressed his letter to all of God’s beloved in Rome, without mentioning Peter. In Romans 16, he again addressed greetings to 29 specific persons—in some cases their collective households—but again, he failed to mention Peter. Paul wrote the letter to the Romans about 57 A.D., probably from Corinth, and even though tradition tells us that Peter had established the church at Rome in the 40s A.D., we find no mention of Peter in Paul’s letter to the Romans.
Noteworthy also is what is stated in Acts 28:22. When Paul had been brought as a prisoner to Rome, the Jewish leaders residing there asked Paul about the gospel: “‘But we desire to hear from you what you think; for concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.’ So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the LAW of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.”
When the Jews disagreed among themselves after they heard his message, Paul announced that he would now preach the gospel to the Gentiles in Rome, which he apparently did for two years (verses 24-31). This passage tells us that, even though they had heard about the “sect” of the Christians, they had not been taught the gospel before Paul arrived in Rome. This shows that Peter could not have been there for 12 years prior to Paul’s arrival; otherwise, they certainly would have known about the gospel already.
It is for these reasons that Henry Chadwick concluded in his book, The Early Church, Volume 1, 1967, page 18, that the idea that Peter was in Rome for 25 years is merely a third-century legend.
Where Was the Apostle Peter?
If Peter was not in Rome, then where was he? In Acts 12 we see that Peter was cast into prison by King Herod in Judea around 50 A.D. After his miraculous release, we are told that he met Paul in Antioch (Syria) around 50-56 A.D. (compare Galatians 2:11). Still later, around 64 A.D., he resided in Babylon (1 Peter 5:13). Many Jews lived there at that time. Tradition, however, puts Peter in Rome during all this time, and some commentaries equate “Babylon” in 1 Peter 5:13 with the city of Rome. This is totally in error! While John refers to Babylon, meaning the city of Rome, in the prophetic book of Revelation (compare Revelation, chapters 17 and 18), Peter actually resided in the literal city of Babylon at the time of his writing.
John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible points out:
“Some, by ‘Babylon’, understand Rome, which is so called, in a figurative sense, in the book of the Revelations… but that Peter was at Rome, when he wrote this epistle, cannot be proved, nor any reason be given why the proper name of the place should be concealed, and a figurative one expressed. It is best therefore to understand it literally, of Babylon in Assyria, the metropolis of the dispersion of the Jews, and the centre of it… there were great numbers [of Jews] which continued here, from the time of the captivity, who returned not with Ezra; and these are said by the Jews… to be of the purest blood: many of the Jewish doctors lived here; they had three famous universities in this country, and here their Talmud was written, called from hence… Babylonian.”
The commentary of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown agrees and adds:
“Babylon was the center from which the Asiatic dispersion whom Peter addresses was derived. Philo [The Embassy to Gaius, 36] and Josephus [Antiquities, 15.2.2; 23.12] inform us that Babylon contained a great many Jews in the apostolic age (whereas those at Rome were comparatively few, about eight thousand [Josephus, Antiquities, 17.11]); so it would naturally be visited by the apostle of the circumcision… Clement of Rome… mentions Paul and Peter together, but makes it as a distinguishing circumstance of Paul, that he preached both in the East and West, implying that Peter never was in the West. In 2 Peter 1:14, [Peter] says, ‘I must shortly put off this tabernacle,’ implying his martyrdom was near, yet he makes no allusion to Rome, or any intention of his visiting it.”
The Apostle Peter Not Buried in Rome?
We have also been told that Peter died in Rome and is buried there. But as the BBC reported on March 23, 2008, this is highly questionable:
“St Peter’s journey to Rome led to the spread of Christianity in the West and the foundation of Roman Catholicism, so the Church has always taught. But a new documentary will challenge the link as nothing more than a ‘conspiracy of faith’. In it, prominent academics accuse the Vatican of misleading the world over the fate of the man regarded as Jesus Christ’s closest disciple… they accuse the Church of fabricating a connection with the apostle to validate giving ultimate power to the papacy.
“Catholicism has taught for centuries that Peter was martyred and buried in Rome and that all popes succeed him, but the documentary will challenge this by asserting that he never reached the Italian city. Instead, it will accuse the Church of ignoring the discovery of a tomb in Jerusalem that archaeologists believe contains the bones of Peter… Dr Robert Beckford, a theology lecturer at Oxford Brookes University, who presents the documentary, [said:] ‘We found that there is no scientific evidence to support the idea that Peter was buried in Rome, but yet the rival theory has not got out because it challenges the Church…
“It is traditionally believed that he was crucified in Rome and buried where the Basilica of St Peter was later built, beneath the high altar. In 1939, the Vatican announced that the bones of Peter had been found in Rome during an archaeological dig. But the documentary casts doubt on this, questioning why the dig was carried out ‘in total secrecy’, and led by a ‘personal friend’ of the Pope… The documentary… suggests that it is much more likely that St Peter was buried in an ossuary found in Jerusalem with the inscription Shimon Bar Jonah – Simon son of Jonah – the Hebrew name for Peter.”
Simon Magus—the First Bishop of Rome
Since Simon Peter was not in Rome, who was there and who occupied the position of “first bishop of Rome”?
It was none other than Simon Magus, the Samaritan sorcerer who believed and was baptized, but who never received the Holy Spirit because the apostles refused to lay hands on him, given the fact that he had not repented and had an evil and wicked heart. It was Simon Magus who went to Rome. He was given the surname “Peter” as a religious title, meaning “father” or “interpreter.” Many pagan religions referred to their priests as “peter” or a variation of that expression.
In his book, Mystery of the Ages, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote on pages 51-53:
“It seems incredible that a being like Satan not only could have deceived the whole world, but also ‘Christianity’—the very religion bearing Christ’s name and supposed to be his true religion. Yet, paradoxically, Satan did! He did it through his great false church, started A.D. 33 by Simon the Sorcerer, described in the 8th chapter of the book of Acts as the leader of the Babylonian mystery religion in Samaria… Simon had bewitched the people of that country, and they followed him as their leader in the Babylonian mystery religion ‘from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God’ (Acts 8:10)…
“Simon came to the apostles Peter and John, offering money as a bribe, asking them to give him the power to lay hands on people and have them receive the Holy Spirit. Peter rebuked him strongly. But Simon proclaimed himself a Christian apostle, nevertheless, and called the pagan Babylonian mystery religion ‘Christianity.’ He accepted the doctrine of ‘grace’ for the forgiveness of sin (which the pagan religions had never had), but turned grace into license to disobey God (Jude 4). He aspired to turn his pagan religion, under the name ‘Christianity,’ into a universal religion, to gain thereby the political rule of the world. Simon, the ‘Pater’ (Peter) of his counterfeit religion, did not accomplish this in his lifetime. But succeeding leaders, with the headquarters moved to Rome, did, later, gain political control over the Roman Empire and its medieval successor, called ‘The Holy Roman Empire.’ This empire is in process of again being resurrected in Europe now!”
Simon went to Rome where he impressed Nero and others with his magical powers. The Dictionary of Christian Biography, Vol. 4, p. 682, states: “When Justin Martyr wrote [in 152 A.D.] his Apology, the sect of the Simonians appears to have been formidable, for he speaks four times of their founder, Simon; and we need not doubt that he identified him with the Simon of the Acts. He states that he was a Samaritan, adding that his birthplace was a village called Gitta; he describes him as a formidable magician, and tells that he came to Rome in the days of Claudius Caesar (45 A.D.), and made such an impression by his magical powers, that he was honored as a god, a statue being erected to him on the Tiber, between the two bridges, bearing the inscription ‘Simoni deo Sancto’ (i.e., the holy god Simon).”
Even though some have later questioned whether that statute was erected to Simon Magus or to another Simon, it was most certainly not erected in honor of Simon Peter, and there can be no doubt that Simon Magus was in Rome and left a lasting impression on the people there. Hasting’s Dictionary of the Apostolic Church, volume 2, page 496, explains that there is “very slight evidence on which to reject so precise a statement as Justin makes; a statement he would scarcely have hazarded in an apology addressed to Rome, where every person had the means of ascertaining its accuracy. If he made a mistake, it must have been at once exposed, and other writers would not have frequently repeated the story as they have done.”
The Dictionary of Religion and Ethics, volume 11, page 522 tells us that Simon “prophesie[d] that Rome will be[come] the scene of his crowning glory, when he will be adored as a god.”
Hasting’s Dictionary of the Apostolic Church, volume 2, page 496, also states this: “But it need not be supposed that when Simon broke with the Christians he renounced all he had learned. It is more probable that he carried some of the Christian ideas with him, and that he wove these into a system of his own. This system is a mixture of pagan ideas wrapped with Christian names and identities.”
The Dictionary of Religion and Ethics says that Simon was “a false Messiah, who practiced magical arts and subsequently attempted, by the aid and with the sanction of Christianity, to set up a rival universal religion” (Apostolic Christianity, volume 11, page 514).
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible says that Simon Magus “offered [Peter] money; to purchase such a power of conferring the like gifts, on whomsoever he should lay his hands: hence buying and selling spiritual things, or what relate thereunto, are commonly called ‘simony’: a vice which has greatly prevailed in the church of Rome, and among its popes; and who therefore may be more properly called the successors of Simon Magus, than of Simon Peter.”
More Historical Forerunners of the False Prophet
Quoting again from our free booklet, The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord:
“Simon Magus was not the only leader within the Babylonian system who practiced sorcery. Millennium Prophecies tells of another famous sorcerer, Pope Silvester II, who lived at the end of the first century. Quoting from pp. 68 and 69: ‘Tradition has it that he was an advanced student of the black arts… It was said that he regularly conversed with the Devil… he was credited with possessing a ‘brazen head’ that spoke to him and could prophecy future events… [He] learned… to summon ghostly figures from the lower world… [The] demons obeyed him in all that he required of them day and night, because of the great sacrifices which he offered, and his prayers and fastings and magic books and great diversity of rings and candles.’”
In the book, The Dark History: The Pope, by Brenda Ralph Lewis, additional revelations are presented regarding prior popes.
When addressing Pope John XII, who became Pope in 955 A.D. and who in 962 A.D crowned Otto I as the “Holy Roman Emperor of the German Nation,” we read this:
“There seemed to be no sin that John XII did not – or would not —commit. He ran a brothel at the church of St John Lateran where he put one of his own lovers, Marcia, in charge. He slept with his father’s mistress and his own mother. He took golden chalices from St Peter’s church to reward his lovers after nights of passion. He blinded one cardinal and castrated another, causing his death. Pilgrims who came to Rome risked losing the offering they made to the Church when the Pope purloined them to use in gambling sessions. At these sessions, John XII used to call on pagan gods or goddesses to grant him luck with throws of dice…”
Pope “Alexander’s coronation, which took place on 26 August 1492,” is summarized in this way:
“… the procession passed under specially erected carrying slogans, some of which were frankly blasphemous. ‘Alexander the invincible’, ‘Alexander the most magnificent’, and ‘The Coronation of the great god Alexander’ were among them. But all were outdone by the message inscribed in gold on another of the arches: ‘Rome was great under Caesar, greater far under Alexander. The first was a mortal, the latter is a god.’”
One of Alexander’s “successors,” Pope Pius IX declared during the First Vatican Council (1869-1870), that the statements of a pope were “infallible,” when announced “ex cathedra.” As Brenda Ralph Lewis explains in the before-mentioned book, the reaction was one of outrage:
“Ferdinand Gregorovius, the German historian and theologian wrote: ‘Many seriously believe that the pope is out of his mind. He has entered with fanaticism into these things and has acquired votes for his deification.’ Authoritarian Catholic rulers in Europe were horrified by the concept of papal infallibility… Here was a pope who could override them by going one step further and claiming that he was the voice of God.”
The end-time false prophet will even claim that he will BE God, as we will see below.
The End-Time False Prophet
The Bible tells us that in the end time, the false prophet will manifest himself on the world scene and will deceive the vast majority of the people (Revelation 16:13-14; 19:20).
We have seen that the last seven revivals of the ancient Roman Empire constituted a collaboration between religion (the Roman Catholic Church) and state (the political empires under military leaders), while the first three revivals of the ancient Roman Empire were not supported by the Catholic faith. The false prophet will be the end-time leader or last pope of the Catholic Church.
In our free booklet, The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord, we state the following:
“This religious leader—the false prophet—will receive power to do miracles from Satan himself (compare Revelation 19:20). He, and the system that he represents, is described in Revelation 13:11 as a beast with ‘two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.’ He ‘performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs’ (verses 13–14). This system is also described as engaging in ‘sorcery’ (Revelation 18:23)…”
The Man of Sin
2 Thessalonians 2:3-12 identifies the “false prophet” as “the lawless one” or the ”man of sin.” According to that passage, the lawless one will sit in the temple of God (apparently a literal temple that is yet to be built by the Jews prior to Christ’s return). He will claim that he is a god, or better, God Himself. He will come according to the working of Satan, with power, signs and lying wonders and strong delusions to deceive those who did not receive the love of the truth and who did not believe the truth, but the lie, and who had pleasure in unrighteousness. Christ will consume him with the breath of His mouth and destroy him with the brightness of His coming, by throwing him into the lake of fire.
In describing the lawless one, the Ryrie Study Bible comments that he “will desecrate the rebuilt Jewish temple in Jerusalem by placing himself there to be worshipped… This will be the climax of man’s great sin of self-deification, in open defiance of God.”
The Nelson Study Bible adds: “The man of sin will proclaim himself to be divine and will sit in the temple of God, acting as if he were a god… The man of sin will probably stand in a physical temple in Jerusalem, and declare himself to be a god, the ultimate fulfillment of the ‘abomination of desolation’ spoken of by Daniel (Dan. 7:23; 9:26, 27; 11:31, 36, 37; 12:11) and Jesus (Matt. 24:15; Mark 13:14)…”
The Prince of Tyre
In the book of Ezekiel, more is revealed about the false prophet or the man of sin. Ezekiel 28 speaks of a very rich “prince of Tyre” who sits in the midst of the seas. He says he is a god, but he will be killed. We read that he will die the death of the uncircumcised in the midst of the seas “by the hand of” aliens, strangers or the most terrible of the nations.
In our free booklet, The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord, we explain that in the 28th chapter of Ezekiel, the prince of Tyre is primarily referring to the religious leader (or false prophet) of the modern European system. Ezekiel 28:2 identifies this modern leader as follows: “Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, Thus says the Lord GOD: Because your heart is lifted up, And you say, I am a god [or, I am God], I sit in the seat of gods, In the midst of the seas, Yet you are a man, and not a god [or, not God], Though you set your heart as the heart of a god [or, Though you make your heart as the heart of God]…”
This personage is none other than the “false prophet” or the man of sin who will claim that he is sitting “as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (compare again 2 Thessalonians 2:3–4).
The religious leader (the modern prince of Tyre) will originally sit “in the midst of the seas.” Note that Italy, with its capital of Rome, is located between, and surrounded by numerous seas or oceans—the Ligurian Sea, the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Ionian Sea, and the Adriatic Sea. Also, some of the inhabitants of [ancient] Tyre migrated to Italy, where they settled in Rome. The name “Tyrrhenian Sea”—one of the seas or oceans surrounding Italy—has derived its name from the inhabitants of Tyre who settled in Italy.
But other Scriptures reveal that this religious leader—together with the military leader or the “beast”—will move their residences to the city of Jerusalem. By that time, it seems, the Jews will have built a third temple—maybe on the Temple Mount—where they will bring sacrifices, but the European system will take away those daily sacrifices (Daniel 8:11–14; 11:31; Matthew 24:15–22), perhaps in order to pacify the Arab nations.
Ezekiel 28:4 describes this religious power as being very rich, prosperous and wealthy (compare Revelation 17:4). Verse 7 predicts that strangers will come against it and against the religious leader himself: “And they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom, And defile your splendor.” Those foes are identified as “the most terrible of the nations” or “the most violent nations.”
European Armies of the Ten Nations Will Hate the Fallen Woman
We know that the European army will attack and enslave the modern nations of Israel and Judah. They are described, in Ezekiel 7:24, as the “worst of the Gentiles.” We must, therefore, conclude that the “worst of the Gentiles” will, indeed, include European armies that will participate in destroying the European religious system.
Confirmation that the term “worst of the Gentiles” or “most terrible of the nations” does, in fact, refer to the armies of Europe under the leadership of modern Assyria, can be found in Ezekiel 30:10–11. There, the term “the most terrible of the nations” applies to the ancient Babylonians in their fight against Egypt. Both Ezekiel 31:12 and 32:12 use the same term, also applying them to the ancient Babylonians. In the same way, the Bible applies this term to the modern Babylonians—the modern European system.
Revelation 17:16–17 reveals: “And the ten horns [ten final political leaders or leading nations or groups of nations in continental Europe] which you saw on the beast [the resurrected ancient Roman system], these will hate the harlot [a religious power called “Babylon the Great” (verse 5), but also a city (verse 18) sitting on seven mountains or hills (verse 9)], make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast [both a system, as well as a political leader, ruling the system], until the words of God are fulfilled.”
We are told in this passage that the European military power will ultimately help in destroying the European religious power and confiscate her riches and burn her with fire. One possibility for the conduct of the ten political powers might be that they feel betrayed by the fallen woman riding the beast, as she had been promising them peace on earth and invulnerability. When they see, instead, that they themselves are going to be overrun by Asiatic hordes (see below), they might change their minds about the woman. In any event, we are told that it is God who will move their hearts to fulfill His purpose (Revelation 17:17).
As will be explained below, the ten horns will not destroy nor kill the false prophet. The ten European military leaders may find enough courage to use that part of their armies which are still stationed in Europe (the majority will be in the Middle East by that time) to attack the city of Rome and burn her with fire (Revelation 17:16, 18), yet lacking courage to attack the false prophet (who will have the power to work “miracles”). We may recall that Adolph Hitler was persecuting the institutions and the personnel of the Catholic Church in Germany, as well as in occupied countries, but he did not fight directly against the Pope himself.
Destruction of the Entire Babylonian System
But these ten nations will not be the only ones who will rise against the religious power of the modern Babylonian system.
We state in our free booklet, Biblical Prophecy—From Now Until Forever:
“…even prior to that final battle [at the time of Christ’s return], these ten [European] kings or kingdoms will turn against the religious power and ‘make her desolate’ (verse 16), apparently confiscating her property. This depicts the coming strong European alliance between church and state, which is prophesied to crumble. Ultimately, modern Babylon—the religious and economic European system, as well as the city of Rome (Revelation 17:9, 18)—will be destroyed in one day (Revelation 18:8) and in one hour (verse 17)… The Bible shows that after the ten European nations, under the authority of modern Assyria (‘the Babylonian system’) subdue and conquer many nations, they themselves will be defeated in war by the modern Medes. Compare Isaiah 13:17, which describes the destruction of modern ‘Babylon’ through the hand of the modern ‘Medes’ or Russians and Ukrainians. Verses 6, 9 and 13 designate the timing as occurring during the ‘day of the LORD.’ Compare also Isaiah 21:2 and Jeremiah 51:11, 27-29.”
To interject, in ancient times, the Medes lived in present-day Iran. Originally, under Assyrian rule, they revolted against and expelled the Assyrians and imposed their rule over the Persians. They then attacked Nineveh and overthrew the Assyrian Empire. Under Cyrus the Great, the Medes and the Persians were considered as one people. The Encyclopedia Britannica (ed.1959) points out that at least some of the Medes were not Iranians or Indo-Europeans, but perhaps connected with the numerous tribes of the Caucasus. The modern Medes, then, are to be found in modern Russia and surrounding areas.
Continuing with the above-quoted booklet:
“It appears that before or while moving toward the place called Armageddon in the Middle East (after the Euphrates river has dried up)—depicted by the sixth plague of the seventh trumpet—at least parts of the armies of the kings of the east will apparently sweep through Europe, creating devastating havoc there and destroying the city of Rome [but remember that we also read that the ten kings will burn the city of Rome with fire]. Jeremiah 51:27-28 refers to horses as coming up against Babylon like bristling locusts, indicating that they will use some of their tanks and their air force to destroy modern Babylon. They will be led primarily by the modern ‘Medes’ or Russians and Ukrainians. At that time, the beast and the false prophet will apparently be dwelling in Jerusalem, so they will not be personally affected by these attacks on Europe. Neither will the ten kings and their armies. They, too, will apparently be in or move towards Jerusalem at that time, as they will fight with the beast against the returning Christ (compare again Revelation 17:14).”
The Bible does not give us all the specifics as to how, exactly, the destruction of the religious system and the city of Rome will occur; that is, whether or not the Medes or the kings of the east and the ten nations or its leaders will independently turn on the “fallen woman” (the religious power), or whether there will be some limited collaboration between those powers, even though united Europe—not just the religious system—will be overrun by the Asiatic hordes. But stranger things have happened in the past. Remember that Christian nations such as the USA, Britain and France collaborated with Communist Russia and its evil leader, Stalin, against the common enemy of Germany under its evil Fuehrer, Adolf Hitler, leading subsequently to a hostile atmosphere, the building of the Berlin Wall and a cold war with the threat of a nuclear confrontation between these “allies.” Note also that, at the very end of his life, Hitler commanded his generals to utterly destroy the country of Germany.
Fate of the False Prophet
We have read that the false prophet or “the man of sin” will be slain by Christ Himself. Christ will throw him alive, together with the military leader—the “beast”—into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20). God asks this religious leader (the prince of Tyre) in Ezekiel 28:9, “Will you still say before him [better, “Him,” Jesus Christ] who slays you, I am a god? [better, “I am God?”]. But you shall be a man, and not a god [or, “God”], In the hand of him [better, “Him”] who slays you.”
God prophesied the following in Ezekiel 28:8 about the end-time religious leader: “They shall throw you down into the Pit, And you shall die the death of the slain In the midst of the seas.” Verse 8 explains that the “prince of Tyre” or the “false prophet” will be thrown into the pit—the abyss. His influence on the nations will cease and he will die the death of those that are slain in the midst of the seas. In other words, as they die, so he will die.
Verse 10 continues, reading from the Authorized Version: “Thou shall die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hands of strangers”, meaning that this religious leader will die in disgrace. Christ will throw him into the lake of fire. In other words, the prince of Tyre shall die a disgraceful death, as the uncircumcised do when they die by the hands of strangers.
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible confirms the foregoing conclusion and explains:
“Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised… by the hand of strangers… it may denote the various kinds of death which the inhabitants of Rome will die when destroyed, some by famine, some by pestilence, and others by fire; when these plagues shall come upon her in one day, Revelation 18:8. [F]or I have spoken it, saith the Lord God; and therefore it shall surely come to pass; strong is the Lord that will judge, condemn, and destroy mystical Babylon, or Tyre.”
Matthew Henry’s Commentary agrees, stating:
“They shall bring thee down to the pit, to the grave; thou shalt die the death. And, (1.) It shall not be an honourable death, but an ignominious one. He shall be so vilified in his death that he may despair of being deified after his death. He shall die the deaths of those that are slain in the midst of the seas, that have no honour done them at their death, but their dead bodies are immediately thrown overboard, without any ceremony or mark of distinction, to be a feast for the fish. Tyre is likely to be destroyed in the midst of the sea (ch. 27:32) and the prince of Tyre shall fare no better than the people. (2.) It shall not be a happy death, but a miserable one. He shall die the deaths of the uncircumcised (v. 10), of those that are strangers to God and not in covenant with him, and therefore die under his wrath and curse.”
We see, then, that the false prophet is none other than the man of sin and the modern prince of Tyre, and the beast is also identified as the king of the North and King Jareb of Assyria. Both will be demon-possessed and work false and lying “sins and miracles,” and both will try to fight Jesus Christ at His return, and be thrown alive into the lake of fire to be burned up.
The final revival of the ancient Roman Empire—the modern European political and religious system that the beast and the false prophet will represent and lead (Babylon the Great)—will ultimately be totally destroyed.
As nine revivals of the ancient Roman Empire have come and gone, and the very last revival is forming in front of our very eyes, we know that the return of Jesus Christ is near. In the meantime, we are to watch and pray that we are counted worthy to escape all these things that are going to come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.
We are warned not to be deceived by Satan and his demon-inspired human instruments and institutions, but to “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4).