Would you please elaborate on the ten European revivals of the ancient Roman Empire? (Part 2)


The Roman Empire fell, but it was to be revived ten times prior to Christ’s return. Following the revival through the Vandals and the Heruli under King Gaiseric and King Odoacer, the third revival would follow shortly.

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 coemperor 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, as 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.

The Fourth Revival under Justinian I

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 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) riding or sitting on the beast (the political and military Roman Empire) (compare Revelation 17:3, 10).

(To Be Continued)

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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