Would you please elaborate on the ten European revivals of the ancient Roman Empire? (Part 1)


In the books of Daniel and Revelation, four world-ruling empires are described, which have been 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 our 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). 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—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 “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.”

In this new series, we will shed additional light on the ten revivals of the Roman Empire.

The First Revival under King Gaiseric of the Vandals:

What does history tell us about Rome’s first revival under King Gaiseric 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 [or Genseric] 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.

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 the following 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 Zero, 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.

(To Be Continued)

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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