Roman Empire

Boyd’s Bible Dictionary:

Rome was pushing her conquests in Palestine and Syria
The capital, Rome, is on the Tiber, about 15 miles from the sea. Founded B. C. 752. Governed by kings till B. C. 509; then by consuls till Augustus Caesar became emperor, B. C. 30. At the Christian era Rome was virtual mistress of the civilized world. Empire declined rapidly after removal of capital to Constantinople by Constantine, A. D. 328. Gospel early introduced among Romans, but Christians persecuted till time of Constantine. Palestine was ruled from Rome by kings, procurators, governors, or proconsuls. Paul wrote his celebrated epistle to the Romans from Corinth, about A. D. 58, to show that Jew and Gentile were alike subject to sin and in equal need of justification and sanctification.

Concise Bible Dictionary:

This is more often spoken of in scripture than is generally recognized. In the vision of the great image by Nebuchadnezzar, four great empires are prophesied of, each being inferior to its predecessor. The fourth is the Roman empire, which in its last phase is compared to iron and clay, materials which would not unite: the kingdom would be divided in itself. In the visions of Daniel the same four kingdoms are further portrayed, and whereas the first three are compared to known animals, the Roman is compared to some dreadful monster that cannot be named (Dan. 7:77After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. (Daniel 7:7)).
The history of the Roman empire fully answers to the prophecy. There were many changes before the line of emperors, but there was always the democratic element in the ruling power. When there were emperors they depended upon popular choice—mostly upon the soldiers, and the senate endorsed the choice of the army. The emperor exercised imperial power, but had to please the troops. There were the two elements at work, the iron and clay, which would not unite. Of the first twelve emperors, seven were either put to death, or committed suicide to escape a more violent end.
There is no empire mentioned in scripture as succeeding Rome, and the iron and clay elements, as the relics of Rome, are at work more or less in all civilized countries. The same empire is described in the Revelation as a beast that was, and is not, and yet it shall be present, or come. It is further described as “there are seven kings,” or forms of government (Kings, B.C. 753; Consuls, 509; Dictators, 498; Decemvirs, 451; and Consular Tribunes, 444): “five are fallen, and one is” (Imperial, B.C. 31; it existed when John wrote): “and the other is not yet come” (Rev. 17:1010And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. (Revelation 17:10)). From this we learn that the Roman empire will be reconstructed: it will be a union of ten kings (ten horns), and will be of the seven numerically, but will be the eighth as being of a new order.
The empire will make a covenant with the Jews for a week (seven years), but will break it in the middle of the week (Dan. 9:2727And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. (Daniel 9:27)). It will be in close association with another great power, symbolized by a beast (the Antichrist), coming up out of the earth, and both will be energized by Satan (Rev. 13:1-181And 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. 2And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. 3And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. 4And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? 5And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. 6And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 7And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. 8And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 9If any man have an ear, let him hear. 10He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. 11And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 12And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 15And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. (Revelation 13:1‑18); Rev. 17: 8-18). The empire will be used by God to destroy Babylon (Papal Rome), and will then be itself destroyed.
Palestine became subject to Rome in B.C. 63. It was an officer of the Roman empire that delivered the Lord to be crucified, and it was the Romans who were used by God to punish His people and destroy their city. They alas, in their pride have been displaying this before the world ever since in the Arch of Titus at Rome.
The Roman Emperors who reigned during New Testament times; the Procurators whom the Emperors appointed over Palestine; and the branches of Herod’s family who succeeded him, are given in the following table:
Emperors Judæa Galilee Other Parts
B.C. 4 Augustus reigning Death of Herod Archelaus (son of Herod) Ethnarch of Judaea, Samaria and Idumaea Herod Antipas Tetrarch of Perea and Galilee Herod Philip Tetrarch of Batanaea, Trachonitis, Ituraea, etc.
A.D. 6 Archelaus banished. Judaea ruled by Procurators, viz:
7 Coponius
9 M. Ambivius
12 Tiberius associated with Augustus Annius Rufus
14 Tiberius alone
15 Valerius Gratus
36 Pilate Deposed
37 Caligula Herod Agrippa I succeeds Philip
38 Marcellus
39 Antipas deposed
41 Claudius Herod Agrippa I (King) receives Judea and Samaria with Abilene Herod (brother of Agrippa) King Chalcis
41 James beheaded. Death of Agrippa. Judaea and Galilee ruled by Procurators: Cuspius Fadus.
46 Tiberius Alexander
48 Cumanus Death of Herod
49 Agrippa II (son of A. I.) King of Chalcis
51 Antonius Felix
53 Agrippa II receives Philip’s tetrarchy in exchange for Chalcis
54 Nero
60 Porcius Festue
62 Albinus
64 Gessius Florus
68 Galba
69 Otho. Vitellius. Vespasian.
70 Destruction of Jerusalem by Titus.