Decline of Imperial Rome:
Rise of the Papacy
After two glorious centuries of Roman prosperity and highly cultivated society (A.D. 13-180), the following three centuries seem rather incredible. Many historians over the years, including Gibbon, in that grand historical work, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, have often struggled to come up with the exact answer. But no single explanation will entirely suffice. We can only conclude that many elements of weakness entered which were not apparent as long as everything went smoothly, but which combined together crippled the Empire. Some of these many elements were, as they are today in the US of A: prosperity, greed and graft; consumption instead of production; political despotism; immorality and vice; economic mismanagement, to mention only a few. By the time of the reign of Diocletian (284-305), the economic, social and political ills had brought mighty Rome to its knees.
Diocletian’s rule marks a turning point in Roman history. His ruling methods were rather dictatorial, as was that of the future President George W. Bush of the United States. Emperor Diocletian: (1) assumed all power in the state and freed himself from all constitutional restraints; (2) lessened the old forms of representative senatorial government by reducing it to menial tasks; (3) became the sole source of all law and authority, considering himself above the law; (4) was the divine ruler demanding slavish obedience from his subjects; (5) demanded all citizens that once delegated political authority become mere subjects; (6) separated the military from civil and senatorial control, which elements were excluded from declaring war; (6) divided up the administration of the Empire into smaller factions; and (7) reduced the old patriotic and loyal legions to foreign border skirmishes, while employing a more mobile force of barbarian mercenaries of the most uncivilized type; among other things. Of course all of this totalitarian approach demanded much money, so his subjects experienced a harsher tax burden with a resulting economic disaster.
As can be seen by the accompanying map, at the height of Roman influence the Empire stretched from Spain and Great Britain on the West to Mesopotamia and the Caspian Sea to the East, and from North Africa at the South to Germany and the Rhine River to the North.
Constantine the Great
Like Nero and other Roman Emperors of the pagan Greco-Roman kind, Diocletian had thousands of Christians killed in an effort to suppress their faith, ultimately to no avail. For Christianity became the Empire’s favored religion under the charismatic Constantine the Great (306-337), who took power as a Western emperor in 306, a year after the abdication of the throne by Diocletian (pictured left).
By 312 there were four rival emperors to the throne, one of which was Constantine. Maxentius and Licinius were the two he had to contend with, these two also being great persecutors of the Christians at the time. Constantine was the least powerful of the four, so he made an alliance with Licinius and also sought the support of the Christians.
During a battle with Maxentius for the throne, Constantine prayed to his sun god for a sign. He claimed that he saw a cross appear in the sky. With this sign Constantine said he also saw the words, EN HOC SIGNO VINCES, meaning, “in this sign conquer.” This was just the thing he needed to energize his efforts and resulting conquest. He swiftly marched into Italy and met Maxentius a few miles from Rome and completely destroyed his army, making Constantine sole emperor of the West.
Constantine was the last of those who could truly be considered a Roman Caesar, and like other Caesars before him, he worshiped false gods. One of them was Mithra, or Mithra Solis Invictus, meaning “unconquered sun.” Mithraism is about the worship of the sun, a religion that was a carryover from the old sun god, Baal. But what about his claim to Christianity?
The cross that Constantine claimed to see was NOT the traditional looking Christian cross as familiar in Christendom today; it was, most likely, an ankh, a symbol of pagan worship. The ankh (pronounced “ahnk”) is a symbol for the Egyptian god Osiris. An ankh (pictured right) is a cross which looks like the capitol letter, “T”, with a circle perched on it’s top. It actually represents the sun atop a cross. It was one of the most important of the Egyptian hieroglyphic characters that stood for the word which means life. It was a sign of royal and divine authority, and its holder had the power of life and death in his hands.
Latinists interpreted the symbol as a crux ansata, or “cross with a handle.” It combines two symbols, the tau cross, meaning “life,” and the circle, meaning “eternity”; both together meaning “immortality.” Also, it represents the male and female symbols of the two principal Egyptian deities of Osiris and Isis, thus the union of heaven and earth – the sun fertilizing the earth. It symbolizes sex, fertility, and reincarnation. In more recent times, the ankh has been used by witches in spells and rituals involving divination, fertility and health.
The Origin of Constantine’s Christianity
Once, in a fit of rage and jealousy, Constantine murdered his own son, Crispus, and later his wife, Fausta, perished under his hand. To pacify a guilty conscience, he turned to his pagan priests. But he found no help there. Then he turned to an unnamed Egyptian who introduced him to Christianity.
This unnamed Egyptian, who had come from Spain to Rome and was intimate with the ladies of the court, met Constantine and assured him that the Christian religion was able to absolve him from guilt. He claimed that it promised every wicked man who was converted to it immediate release from all sin. Constantine easily believed and embraced the religion the man offered him. However, he was never baptized until on his deathbed; and even then, some claimed that he had already passed when he received the rite.
Constantine Consolidates His Hold
While Emperor Diocletian divided the Empire mainly for military and administrative reasons, the Greek East happened to form a natural geographical, cultural, and economic unit. Although Constantine’s conversion seems to have been the result of a somewhat confused religious conviction, Christianity gave the Empire more cohesiveness than the ill-assorted cults we call paganism could ever have done.
Constantine’s so-called conversion to Christianity was simply a political maneuver to unite his Christian and pagan subjects under a form of government that embraced a mixture of both philosophies. The Emperor realized that persecuting the perpetually thriving Christians was useless. To help consolidate his rule, he legalized Christianity with the Edict of Milan of 313 for the toleration of ALL religions. Now all the pagans could be considered Christian. Constantine was smarter than Roman Emperors before him, in that, instead of persecuting Christians, which proved to be a losing cause, he legalized it and permitted Pagan believers to be baptized as Christian believers. (If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.)
Each city and province within the Roman Empire was presided over by one holding the office of Bishop, which held a combination of political, civil and religious duties. In 321, Constantine proclaimed himself to be “Bishop of Bishops,” and established what was called “the venerable day of the sun” (a Mithraic holy day) into a so-called Christian holy day. This day was the first day of the week which was called SUN-DAY — a day to worship the sun god instead of a day to worship the Son of God. His Edict stated, “On the venerable Day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed.” (Constantine, March 7, 321. Codex Justinianus lib. 3, tit. 12, 3; trans. in Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 3, p. 380, note 1)
In researching the true Sabbath of the Christian, history becomes rather confusing. And even though the Sabbath subject is not the purpose of this short paper, suffice it to say, that, some Christians of the times still adhered to the seventh day Sabbath as presented in Exodus 20, and others recognized the first day of the week as their Sabbath, it being the day the Lord rose from the grave and called “The Lord’s Day.” What we do need to understand, though, is that Constantine’s Edict was promulgated throughout the Roman Empire, not as a Sabbath day of rest, or the Lord’s Day, as many suppose. He did NOT change the Sabbath to Sunday, he merely created the first “Sunday closing law.” As stated, some Christians had been worshiping on the first day of the week since apostolic times, while others continued worshiping on the traditional seventh day. However, Sunday keeping was adopted by the Roman Catholic Church, and the Protestants continued to follow suit.
Eventually, Constantine had a pagan temple called a basilica built on one of the seven hills of Rome for the worship of his sun god; the name of this hill being, Vaticanus. And with Christian tenets being merged with Pagan, it wasn’t long before Christianity emerged as the most prevailing religion in the Roman Empire.
Due to Diocletian’s dividing up the Empire, the Eastern portion was becoming more divided from that in the West. The Eastern part of the Empire at this time was ruled by Licinius, and the rift between East and West was growing ever stronger. Not wanting to grant any more tolerance for Christianity, and after some dispute, Constantine defeated Licinus in 323. He, reuniting the entire Empire, both East and West, once again putting the whole Empire under his rule.
The relation between church and state, and a valid definition of dogma, deeply divided the Empire. Arius, a priest of Alexandria, denied both the absolute divinity of and humanity of Jesus Christ. His arguments were logical, but would have deprived Christianity of its basic significance. Both his supporters and opponents felt his beliefs to be of vital importance and a rift began among Christians.
Religious disagreements in the church that tended to destroy its uniformity were regarded as threats to the Empire. For such occasions, the emperor called together an “ecumenical” council. The term, “ecumenical”derives from the Greek word oikoumenos, meaning “household of God.” In an attempt to solidify his Empire, both politically, civilly, and religiously, Constantine called an ecumenical council of bishops to a meeting in A.D. 325 at Nicaea, the ancient city of Bithynia in Asia Minor, the modern name being, Isnik. One of the purposes of this first council, which had representatives from all parts of the Empire, was to solve doctrinal disputes, and it was here at this council of Nicaea that the first official welding together of pagan and Christian doctrine took place.
Along with condemning the Arians, the council drew up the Nicene Creed, which asserted the full divinity and humanity of Christ. The Creed not only defined orthodox belief in opposition to Arianism, but also provided a brief statement of basic Christian doctrine, which has been accepted with minor variations by most Christian churches.
After winning the Roman throne, Constantine was awarded the title of “Pontifex Maximus” –— one who rules over other gods; however, he never used the title for himself, but he did assume the role of spiritual father of the Christian Church which, as stated, also incorporated pagan philosophies. In doing so, he was actually laying the foundation of Roman Catholicism. The meaning of the name Catholic – universal – declares the union of both church and state, not the separation of the two. In fact, the union of church and state, with the church being the most influential, was the norm from the days of Nimrod of old Babylon. The separation of the two is of a more recent concept as exemplified with the founding of the United States of America.
Constantine’s ego was so great that he, like other potentates before him, wanted a city named after himself; and of course he couldn’t rename Rome. Having delegated Sylvester as bishop of Rome at the Council of Nicaea, Constantine packed up and went off in 330 to Byzantium, which was Northwest of what is now modern-day Turkey. There he established a new capital city in the East which helped strengthen the tie between the East and West. This city received the new name of Constantinople (named, of course, after Constantine), but today we know it as Istanbul. However, his stay was not too lengthy, having died seven years later in 337.
Pope Damasus I
Pope Damasus I (A.D. 305-384) was a contemporary of Constantine, and pope from 366 to 384. When Pope Liberius died in 366, his son Ursinus was expected to become the next Pope. Ursinis was supported by the clergy and laity. However, the upper-class of Christian nobility supported the candidacy of his brother Damasus. Since neither side were willing to give up their position, then both Ursinus and Damasus were elected as Popes at the same time.
Consequently, a series of riots, battles, and assassinations resulted, with Ursinus finally being banished in 367. Emperor Valentinian had to intervene to suppress the riots.
During an Imperial Trial before Emperor Gratian in 383, virtually all the bishops signed a warrant against Damasus accusing him of the very worst of satanic crimes. He cleverly escaped the charges and had all his bishops murdered.
It was mostly because of Damasus I that Christianity was later adopted as the religion of the Roman state. Damasus is claimed to be the first Pope to refer to Rome as the “Apostolic See” and convinced the Imperial Court to recognize it as a legitimate court of appeal for the entire Western Christian Church.
Not only has Damasus I been accused of murder and adultery (despite having not been married) in his early years as pope, but his reign is notable as a reign of supreme terror as the Roman Christian Church rose to an all consuming power against anything and anyone who stood in its way. Some historians have nominated Damasus I as one of the ten most evil men of the Fourth Century.
Barbarian Invasions and the Fall of Rome
The strongest characteristic of those of the Roman Empire of the fourth and fifth centuries was apathetic surrender. While the condition of the Empire grew steadily worse, the great majority of the population had lost all individual liberty and hope of improving their economic and social position. This loss of hope and confidence was accompanied by the spread of mystical religions originating in the Middle East, which offered personal comfort in this world and the hope of a happier life after death. For the majority of the people of the Empire, the void was filled by mystery religions, which had spread through the East and began to enter the West. Thereafter, aided by the unification of the Mediterranean world under the Empire, they spread rapidly through the western provinces.
The most important of the mystery religions were those of the Great Mother (Magna Mater) from Asia Minor, of Isis from Egypt, and of Mithra from Persia. The cult of Magna Mater was the oldest and least spiritual. Her cult, included such things as shaven and tonsured priests, colorful ritual, solemn processions, and sacramental ceremonies. It became especially popular among women. Does the reader know of any Christian religion that has any of these traits?
Mithraism, on the other hand, appealed more to men, and temples of Mithra were to be found in every army camp. As the god of light and sun, Mithra fought against the powers of darkness and evil and aided men in their struggle to avoid the temptations of the flesh and to pursue a virtuous life, which would be rewarded by a happy existence after death. The celebration of Mithra’s birthday was on the twenty-fifth of December; it being the date which announced the rebirth of the sun as the days began to grow longer. So December 25th was celebrated as the birth of the sun god, Mithra, later to be changed as the birth of the Son of God, the babe of Bethlehem.
At the death of Constantine, both the Roman Senate and aristocracy were still predominantly pagan, and most of the school teachers carried on the old traditions. Many of the highest social and intellectual classes wanted a return to the ancient gods of Greece and Rome. Julian, a nephew of Constantine, was one of the most ardent of these. After he came to the throne in 361 he disowned the Christianity he had been forced to profess and attempted, in vain, to revive all that was best in paganism; earning him the nick name, Julian “the Apostate.”
Over the many years, all of this disunity and apathy among the people, along with the unwise decisions made by their leaders, continued to weaken the already declining Empire and gave more opportunity for barbarian invasions.
Beyond the borders of the Roman Empire lay the dangerous world of the restless and warlike German tribes. Time and again, since before Julius Caesar, Roman legions had to expel these barbarian invaders. But now the Empire was weakening as a result of the general decline of Roman economy and morality, and good judgment. In 376 there was a mass invasion of the Visigoths, whose example inspired various tribes all along the northern border. Within a century the Western Empire was submerged beneath the onrushing flood of these early German, or Teutonic barbarians.
The Greek historian, Zosimus, blamed Constantine for the Fall of the Roman Empire. Anti-Christian historians say that the Christians were the cause of the Fall of the Empire because they refused to serve in the Roman army. But Zosimus wrote:
“And Constantine did something else which gave the barbarians unhindered access to the Roman empire. By the forethought of Diocletian, the frontiers of the empire everywhere were covered, as I have stated, with cities, garrisons and fortifications which housed the whole army. Consequently, it was impossible for the barbarians to cross the frontier because they were confronted at every point by forces capable of resisting their attacks. Constantine destroyed this security by removing most of the troops from the frontiers and stationing them in cities which did not need assistance, thus both stripping of protection those being molested by the barbarians and subjecting the cities left alone by them to the outrages of the soldiers, so that henceforth most have become deserted. Moreover, he enervated the troops by allowing them to devote themselves to shows and luxuries. In plain terms, Constantine was the origin and beginning of the present destruction of the empire.” (Zosimus, New History, Book II, p. 33).
For centuries the increase in population had driven German tribes to seek less populated lands, which pushed the southern tribes against the Roman frontier. Being Constantine’s fault or not, the swift invasions of the early Germans totally devastated the political structure of the once mighty Roman.
At about the same time, in the Northwestern regions around the North Sea and the Danish peninsula, the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes were invading Britannia, later was to become known as England. But among the many who pushed into the Roman frontier were the Vandals, Ostrogoths, Franks, Alamanni, and Visigoths, to mention a few. It was the Visigoth king who marched into Italy and sacked Rome in 410, and later, in 455, the Vandals took to sacking Rome.
The date of 476 is a significant one. In that year a German general, named Odovacar, deposed the last emperor of Rome, Romulus Augustulus, known as “the little emperor.” Odovacar took the government into his own hands, but left the throne vacant, making him the independent ruler of Italy. So history can record that Rome fell in the year A.D. 476, as that Empire in the West had officially come to an end.
Rise of the Papacy
It wasn’t until during the fifth century that the Bishop of Rome was elevated to the position of supremacy in the Catholic Church, comparable to that of the emperor of Rome, and became known as Pope. By the middle of that century, Leo the Great (440-461) was able to exercise the full authority over the church. His authority was given sanction by a law of Valentinian III, conferring upon him jurisdiction over all the bishops in the Western Empire. It is at this point in history that we may justly use the term, “Pope,” as being not only head of the Christian faith, but over the political and civil Empire as well. So from Leo’s time on, Western Christendom looked to Rome for leadership as the Pope occupied the position and had the power and influence as an Emperor of Rome. In Ferguson and Brunn’s historical work, A Survey of European Civilization, they said the following:
“As the old Pagan Roman Empire decayed, there grew up in its midst a new spiritual empire, which in course of time was to replace it in the West and to carry on in western Europe the Roman tradition.... When that Empire disappeared, the church, so far as was possible, took its place; the popes took over the universal authority of the emperors; and the episcopal hierarchy filled the void left by the withdrawal of the imperial administration. Throughout the Middle Ages the unity of the Roman Catholic Church was the bond that held together the various peoples of western Europe.” (p. 87.)
As we continue our study, we must keep in mind that even though the Catholic Church is a religion, and a religion is metaphorically represented as a “woman” in scripture, the Pope is also an Emperor of an empire, and a king, kingdom, or empire is metaphorically represented by a “beast,” or “horn.” Recall in Revelation 17 verses 3 and 7 that John saw a woman sitting on a beast; the woman represents the ecclesiastical church while the beast refers to the political arm of the church.
The Little Horn
Let’s now turn to Daniel Chapter 7 (verses 1-8, 19-21 and 23-25) to see how one of his prophecies just might have been fulfilled in Roman history. The reader must understand that the beasts of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Chapter 2 are the same beasts of Chapter 7. The first seven verses of Chapter 7 speak of four beasts, which we know as being Babylon (head of gold; 605-538 B.C.), Medo-Persia (breast and arms of silver; 538-331 B.C.), Greek (belly and thighs of brass; 331-168 B.C.), the fourth beast being the Roman Empire (legs of iron; 168 B.C.-A.D. 476); and that there would be 10 kingdoms with feet of parts iron and clay. We must also remember that the term “horn” refers to a king or kingdom. Let’s now cover the points made in the verses we’ll consider, and then go back to Roman history and see how it might all fit. In outline form we have:
1.) The fourth beastly kingdom, Rome, was diverse from the other three, in that it didn’t just subdue other nations and rule over them, but it absorbed much of the culture and ways of those conquered, and also influenced them. It was strong with iron teeth and nails of brass, and did brake in pieces and devour the whole earth along with the first three beastly kingdoms (vv. 7, 19, 23). Rome, is represented by two “iron” legs, representing both the Western and Eastern branches of the Roman Empire. This “iron” beast has teeth of iron which are strong, tears to pieces, and devours.
2.) This fourth beast, Rome, had 10 horns, which we know as representing kings or kingdoms (vv. 7, 24). When the Roman Empire fell apart, there were ten tribes or kingdoms in the geographical space of the old Roman Empire. These ten kingdoms, or horns, were:
1. Alamanni (Germany)
2. Franks (France)
3. Burgundians (Switzerland)
4. Suevi (Portugal)
5. Anglo-Saxons (Britain
6. Visigoths (Spain)
7. Lombards (Italy)
8. Vandals (North Africa)
9. Ostrogoths (Italy/Austria)
10. Heruli (Slavic)
3.) A little horn came up among the ten previous horns, and plucked or subdued three of those horns (vv. 8, 24). This little horn was the Papacy, and the three of the ten that were plucked up were the Vandals, Ostrogoths, and Heruli. These three kingdoms were followers of Arianism, the religious philosophy Constantine attempted to squash at the Council of Nicaea, and would not submit to the unification under the pope, nor accept the Christian church as it then stood. These three were destroyed by Emperor Justinian, of Constantinople. Justinian believed that the Pope should have ecclesiastical supremacy as “head” of all the churches in both the Eastern and Western sectors of the Roman Empire. However, it wasn’t until 538 that he freed the Papacy from its last Arian opponent, the Ostrogoths, who were at that time ruling Italy. Justinian allowed Pope Vigilus, Bishop of Rome, to claim authority over the papal chair and all of the Empire, both East and West.
4.) The little horn or kingdom had eyes like that of a man, a mouth speaking great things against the most High, and his look was more stout than the other beastly kingdoms (v. 8, 20, 25). This horn is the new Popeish/Emperor of the now NEW Roman Empire, who speaks great things against Christ and His saints. His “stout” look most likely is due to the vast wealth, display of pomp, and intimidating influence before all the world.
Now the strange beast that John saw in Revelation 13:1-3 and 14, was a combination of the four beasts of Daniel Chapter 2. The head that was wounded was the Roman Empire. “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death [by the sword]; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” (See vv. 3 & 14.)
This deadly wound was the “fall” of the Roman Empire as its political structure took a deadly blow by barbarian invaders. It was healed, however, when Justinian overthrew the barbarous hordes; giving rise to a more powerful Papacy. Even though the Roman Empire had died in 476, the church was still the cohesive force that held the people together. So as 476 is a significant year being the demise of the old Roman Empire, so is the year 538, it being the actual date of the beginning of the new Roman Catholic Church as it exists today. Until 476, Catholicism was only a religious appendage of the old Roman Empire, but in 538 it became a NEW Empire all its own as the world worshiped it, or surrendered to its powerful influence. It was then, as it is now, the predominant Christian religion in the West, a combination of both church and state. With the church being the woman, and the state being the beast, then we have the woman upon a scarlet colored beast, as found in Revelation 17:3.
5.) This little horn or kingdom made war with, wore out, and prevailed against the saints of God (vv. 21, 25). As Jesus came with love, grace, forgiveness, and healing, the Roman Catholic Church came with rage, vindictiveness, lust, and murder in her heart. It is estimated that throughout the hundreds of years of the inquisition, more than a hundred million souls were mercilessly tortured and slaughtered for following the precepts of Christ rather than Catholic dogma. The beast made war with the saints and prevailed. And even though we live in a supposedly more civilized world, their hearts have not changed, only their methods. For example, Adolf Hitler, a devout Catholic who was put into power by the Papacy, slaughtered more than six million Jews, among thousands of other innocent people, during the Church’s modern inquisition. About it he said, “As for the Jews, I am just carrying on with the same policy which the Catholic church has adopted for fifteen hundred years,... (The Nazi Persecution of the Churches, by J.S. Conway, pp. 25-26 & 162; Smokescreens, p. 23.)
6.) The little horn or kingdom thought to change times and laws (v. 25). This subject is covered in a couple of other studies showing how the church changed the Law of God by deleting the second of the ten commandments (prohibiting the making and worshiping of graven images), and splitting the tenth commandment into two separate parts so she could show that the church still had ten commandments. The Papacy changed time by creating the Gregorian calender and was responsible for the creation of the international dateline.
7.) The saints shall be given into the hands of the little horn or kingdom until a time and times and the dividing of time (v. 25). Here we are told that all, even the saints of God, will fall under the influence of the beast for a period of 1260 days, or years depending upon the interpretive view taken. Some feel this prophecy has already been fulfilled; many believe it is yet to come; and others think that it has already occurred, but as a type of that which will happen again in the near future. We will not dwell upon this subject as that study is for another time.
The Little Horn Wounded by the Sword
“And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded [by the sword] to death; and the wound was healed [and the beast] did live.” (Rev. 13:3 & 14.)
The French Revolution, and the European war that broke out as a result in 1792, ultimately led to the temporary destruction of the “Little Horn” and the redrawing of the map of Europe.
The first affliction of the Little Horn by the sword was Napoleon’s seizure of papal territories, and of proclaiming the Roman Republic. Pope Pius VI refused to recognize the new state, so in1798 Napoleon sent his general, Berthier, to Rome who arrested the Pope and had him imprisoned, where the Pope eventually died. The new Pope, Pius VII, operated under Napoleon’s new laws that removed from him all former political or civil supremacy.
On July 22, 1806, Napoleon gave Austrian diplomats an ultimatum: either the German Emperor abdicate his throne by August 10th of that year, or else war would resume. Francis II, then last of the Emperors of the Catholic’s Holy Roman Empire, drew the logical conclusions, and on August 6, 1806, published a declaration abolishing the Holy Roman Empire as a response to the Napoleonic threat. Accordingly, members of the Confederation published a paper declaring that, in their view, the Holy Roman Empire had ceased to exist.
Just after peace had been restored from the Napoleonic wars, in 1814, Pope Pius VII restored the Order of the Jesuits, which had been abolished by Pope Clement XIV in 1773. Not only that, but with Napoleon now gone, the Papacy took back political power over what was called “the Papal States.”
When Pius IX ascended to the Papal Chair in 1846, the Jesuits tightened their grip on him and his pontificate. It was at this point that the Jesuits usurped Papal power, placing the Superior Jesuit General in power OVER THE POPE, which power and authority continues to this day; the White Pope being only a figurehead, while the Black Pope is the real power behind the throne.
As far back as 1814 the Austrian army of liberation sent by Napoleon I, was largely welcomed by the local Italian rulers. Italy, at the time, was not a united nation as it is today, but made up of smaller kingdoms. At that time they had little or no sense of national identity but depended upon historic alliances to hold together their small kingdoms. Most of the people who considered themselves “Italians” were found in the Papal States, which at that time, divided the Italian peninsula into north and south. However these “Italians” were mostly papal intellectuals wedded to the Pope’s temporal sovereignty with very little true feeling for national identity.
Years later, between the Revolution of 1848-49, and the fall of Rome in 1870, the Vatican controlled actual soldiers and not just an army of priests. Most of the territory of the Papal States welcomed the proclamation of the new Kingdom of Italy on March 17, 1861, but Pope Pius IX clung doggedly to Rome and its surrounding vicinity, but from 1860 to 1870, the Papal forces managed to keep the Italian General, Garibaldi, from entering Rome.
On November 16, 1849, Pope Pius IX’s summer palace above Rome was sacked. Disguised as a simple priest in cassock and a pair of large spectacles, Pius fled to the safety of the neighboring kingdom of Naples. From this position of security, Pope Pius IX cast condemnations against, what he called, the “outrageous treason of democracy.” Only with the help of French military, and a loan from the Rothschild’s, did Pope Pius IX plan to return to the Vatican a year later.
The story of the army of the Papal States in the middle 1800's, and the conduct of Pope Pius IX in his desperate struggle to retain the temporal power of the papacy, and to prevent Italian unification, should have a chilling relevance for us today. Brave Italian statesmen and Generals were excommunicated and consigned to eternal damnation by the Pope for simply being patriotic. The new King of Italy, Victor Emmanuel II, and his subjects, were similarly treated. The decree Non expedit, of February 1868, forbade Roman Catholics to take any part in the political life of the new Democratic state upon the threat of excommunication.
Believe it or not, up until 1870, the United STATES flag was BANNED from the city of Rome and the Papal States. The States were run by priests and police, and flying the United States flag could get you a long prison sentence. And having a copy of the United States Constitution in your possession meant a trip to the dungeons of the Inquisition, or maybe a trip to the guillotine.
Before 1870, the city of Rome and vast surrounding territories were misruled by the Papal dynasty for over 1,000 years. And in July of 1870, Pope Pius IX (at right) declared himself “infallible”; thus beginning the infamous “infallibility of the Pope” doctrine. To help accomplish his goal of defeating the Protestant German provinces, and converting them back to Roman Catholicism, Pius IX called upon Catholic France.
In August of 1870, France’s Napoleon III declared war on Prussia (the Franco-Prussian War from July 19, 1870 until May 10, 1871), with Otto von Bismark heading up Prussia.
At this time, the French army was already greatly weakened by Napoleon's disastrous intervention in Mexico. In 1866, France’s ally, Austria, had already been defeated by Prussia in what was called the Seven-Weeks' War between France and Prussia. During that small war, the Prussians used new tactics learned during the U.S. Civil War such as rapid railroad transportation of troops to the front and the newly invented telegraph. So, to help protect France from Prussia, the French troops of Napoleon III, who were garrisoned at Rome, had to be withdrawn. This left Rome virtually undefended, whereupon the Italian patriots rushed in and declared Rome the capital of a United Italy.
It was on 21 September 1870, that Pius was finally informed that the last of his troops had been disarmed, that the papal flag had been lowered on the Castel St. Angelo and that his army and state were no more. And despite all the threats of Pope IX, the Italian government moved its headquarters from Florence to Rome on July 1, 1871.
Emperor Victor Emmanuel, the first king of the new united Italy, was very superstitious and dreaded the Pope's excommunication, but he overcame his fears and entered Rome on July 2, 1871. So Italy became united again, as one country, for the first time in over 1,000 years.
The Pope was FURIOUS and threatened the new government with eternal damnation in hell. But the sword had struck its deadly blow, wounding the Little Horn once again. But yet it still “did live.” (How the beast was brought back to life is covered in another study.)
In 1887, Jesuit General Peter Beckx, the power behind Pope Pius IX, ordered the assassination of King Victor Emmanuel II. The king was a military man and preferred spending most of his time out of doors. All his life he never suffered from ill health. On January 5, 1878, the king became suddenly ill while visiting Rome for the New Year celebrations, and within 2 days he was dead at the young age of 58 years. This execution was nothing new for the Jesuits, who have been assassinating world leaders for centuries.
Jesuit Retribution Against Germany and Italy
The thorough German victory brought about the final unification of the German Empire under King William I of Prussia. It also marked the downfall of Napoleon III of France. The Jesuits greatly admired the military skill of Prussia, and so they used their own seductiveness and infiltration of Germany to bring about World War I and II which devastated both Germany and Italy, being nothing more than REVENGE for the loss of the Papal States, or the Little Horn, in 1870.
Rise of the Eastern Church
As we very briefly discussed the history of the old Roman Empire, its demise, and the rise of a new Roman Catholic Empire, there is an aspect that we did not cover. As we discussed, at first the Roman Empire was divided into the Western part and the Eastern part. Many years later, the Eastern portion of the Empire, due to cultural, language, value, political, and religious differences broke from the Roman Church in the West. The seat of the new church in Constantinople became the head of a new religion in A.D. 1054, known as the Eastern Orthodox Church. It is also known as the Greek Orthodox or Russian Orthodox, depending upon the nation or nations in which its people live.
One Concluding Thought
It must be remembered that for more than 200 years, Rome was the world’s greatest power. She had gathered up the gold, property and treasures of nations conquered. So after Constantine pulled out of Western Rome for Eastern Constantinople, he left behind a great store of wealth. The new Bishops of Rome, the upcoming Popes, actually became the wealthiest men upon the earth, as is the Pope of today. The most guarded secret down through the hundreds of years since the first Pope is the fact that the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, IS STILL the Emperor of Rome. And, AS ALWAYS, he still uses that vast wealth to seek the domination of the world, and to bring all mankind under the iron yoke of the Papacy.