Revived Roman Empire

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Christians who have any knowledge of dispensational truth have heard of "the revived Roman Empire," but many of them could not give an explanation of what it means. It is our purpose here to look a little into what God has said about the Roman Empire of the past, and at His pronouncements concerning its future. Our aim is to see where we are today in relation to that future.
For a thing to be revived, it must have at one time existed, then for some reason ceased to exist. This is exactly what is said of the Roman Empire: "The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit [or, abyss; that is, with diabolic power], and go into perdition... the beast that was, and is not, and yet is [or rather, shall be present]." Rev. 17:88The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. (Revelation 17:8). God often uses the word "beast" to describe earthly governmental powers. Here is one which existed, then would disappear, and later will reappear in an altered form before its complete and final overthrow at the hand of Him who will come to seize the reins of power in this world.
When God spoke to Nebuchadnezzar and to Daniel about the Roman Empire that was then to come, He first named the other world empires which would precede it from the day in which He turned His earthly people over to Gentile dominion. He removed His throne from Jerusalem and the earth when He permitted Nebuchadnezzar to subjugate the Jews, about 606 B. C. The course of history from that point on is described in Daniel, chapters 2 and 7. In the former chapter, Gentile supremacy is depicted in an image resembling a man, and in the latter, as four wild beasts; the image began with gold and ended with a mixture of iron and clay. In other words, dominion received from God in Nebuchadnezzar deteriorated. The image was of gold, silver, brass (or copper), iron, and the iron mixed with miry clay. We are not left to our own imagination to understand this, for Nebuchadnezzar was the "head of gold," and after him would arise a "kingdom inferior" to his. The city of Babylon in Nebuchadnezzar's day exceeded in glory any city that had as yet existed. Nebuchadnezzar could boast, "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built...?" Chap. 4:30. He left God out of his considerations, but he had built a great city and a great empire.
After God's allotted time, the Babylonians were conquered (Jer. 27:66And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him. (Jeremiah 27:6)), and succeeded by the Medes and the Persians—the latter predominating. They in turn were decisively defeated, according to prophecy, by the Greeks under Alexander of Macedonia. He became king at the age of 20, and died at 33, after having conquered practically all of the known world of that day. God also foretold the breakup of his kingdom into four parts, and went into detail about the struggles between two of those parts, which occupied territories on opposite ends of Israel (Dan. 11:1-351Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him. 2And now will I show thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia. 3And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. 4And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those. 5And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion. 6And in the end of years they shall join themselves together; for the king's daughter of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement: but she shall not retain the power of the arm; neither shall he stand, nor his arm: but she shall be given up, and they that brought her, and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in these times. 7But out of a branch of her roots shall one stand up in his estate, which shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail: 8And shall also carry captives into Egypt their gods, with their princes, and with their precious vessels of silver and of gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the north. 9So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land. 10But his sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he return, and be stirred up, even to his fortress. 11And the king of the south shall be moved with choler, and shall come forth and fight with him, even with the king of the north: and he shall set forth a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into his hand. 12And when he hath taken away the multitude, his heart shall be lifted up; and he shall cast down many ten thousands: but he shall not be strengthened by it. 13For the king of the north shall return, and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come after certain years with a great army and with much riches. 14And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south: also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall. 15So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities: and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand. 16But he that cometh against him shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand before him: and he shall stand in the glorious land, which by his hand shall be consumed. 17He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones with him; thus shall he do: and he shall give him the daughter of women, corrupting her: but she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him. 18After this shall he turn his face unto the isles, and shall take many: but a prince for his own behalf shall cause the reproach offered by him to cease; without his own reproach he shall cause it to turn upon him. 19Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found. 20Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom: but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle. 21And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honor of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries. 22And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant. 23And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people. 24He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time. 25And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army; and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand: for they shall forecast devices against him. 26Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain. 27And both these kings' hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed. 28Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land. 29At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter. 30For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant. 31And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. 32And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. 33And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. 34Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. 35And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed. (Daniel 11:1‑35)).
But the tide of world progress was running westward, and the loose tribes in Italy were forged into a formidable power. This new power reached out farther and farther until at its zenith it occupied twice as much territory as Alexander's kingdom had. Furthermore, the Romans dominated the world scene for a longer period than any other nation ever has—about 600 years. They conquered northern Africa, the Middle East, the Balkan area, and extended their control of Europe into England.
Now how does God describe the Roman Empire of the past? "And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise." Chap. 2:40. Also, "behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and break in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it." Chap. 7:7. Could anyone give a better description of the great Roman power as it existed?
But perhaps God overruled in the kingdoms of men so that the Greeks, who spread their culture and beautifully descriptive language in the world, were permitted to do so in order that He might use that language as a vehicle for spreading the written Word, and the Romans permitted to maintain a measure of peace by force so that the gospel could be spread in all the world during the early days of Christianity.
There is, however, this solemn side to it, that the Greeks spread mythology and many kindred errors which have more or less plagued the world ever since; and the Romans who boasted of laws of justice and equity, officially put the Son of God on the cross. Thousands upon thousands of God's dear children were martyred by the Roman Empire. God has not forgotten what it did to His Son and to His children. A terrible time of reckoning is coming for the Western world.
We noticed that God described a future state of the Roman Empire in a verse of Rev. 17 Now let us inquire, Did God give in the Old Testament a still future picture of the Roman Empire? Yes, He did. In the image of "the times of the Gentiles" (Luke 21:2424And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (Luke 21:24)) in Dan. 2, we find its now past history depicted in the legs of iron; and in Dan. 7, as a ferocious wild beast which could not be likened to any beast of the earth. But in both chapters its future state is also given; in the image, there were feet and ten toes composed of iron and miry clay; in the beast of Dan. 7, its future is described as "and it had ten horns." Here we have ten toes and ten horns. In Rev. 17, the beast that "was, and is not, and shall be present" is seen in the future with "ten horns." Is not the story one, though given in many parts? We are not left to our imagination here, for we read: "The ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast." v. 12. And again, "And I... saw a beast rise up out of the sea [sea is sometimes used in Scripture to describe the restlessness and commotion of the nations], having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy." Rev. 13:11And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. (Revelation 13:1). The seven heads represent seven forms of government of the Roman Empire. A study of its history will reveal the many forms of government it had. When. John the Apostle wrote, he could write of these, "five are fallen [ceased to exist], and one is, and the other (or seventh) is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space." Chap. 17:10. The beast, or future dominating power of the beast, will be an eighth form, but partake of previous forms (v. 11). In Dan. 7, an eleventh horn, a little one, comes up among the ten, and takes control of the ten, even to plucking up three of the ten by the roots. The little horn of Dan. 7 seems to merge in the beast himself in Rev. 17
Now is it not plainly evident that the Roman Empire, which was very great at one time, and then fell apart, will come back to life in a far greater way in the future? Men thought in the days of its past glory that it was an eternal, or never ending, empire; but God said otherwise. Then when it was all broken to pieces (the Western part of the Empire ended in 476 A. D., and the Eastern part continued for a time with the capital at Constantinople), man scoffed at its resuscitation, although Charlemagne (748-814) attempted it. Napoleon and others, including Mussolini, have tried it. The Italian Facist dictator went on to seize Ethiopia and Albania and revive the name Roman Empire. So far, all attempts to reunite the broken fragments of the Roman Empire, and so to remake it, have failed. Nor has any other nation ever achieved world sovereignty. We are living in a great gap between the empire that was and yet will be again. We are living in the time between the legs of iron and the ten toes of the feet; between the beast without the ten horns, and the beast with ten horns.
There never has been a stage of the Roman world when ten distinct kingdoms were united to form one new empire. Man cannot precipitate this, nor can he prevent it when God's time comes. Its future existence, and the character of its make-up its Satanic support, and its ultimate and final doom are as certain as if they had already taken place. When God has said, "I will," the thing will surely come.