Would you please elaborate on the ten European revivals of the ancient Roman Empire? (Part 5)


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.

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.

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.”

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, “Kingdom 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.

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… 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 XII and Italy and Germany. This partnership can be seen by Mussolini’s signing the Lateran Treaty with the papacy in 1929, 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 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.”

The ninth resurrection of the Roman Empire under Mussolini and Hitler had 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, as we will explain in future installments.

(To Be Continued)

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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