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Chapter 4

The Prophetic History of the World  

THE prophecies of the Bible are not difficult to understand, if we follow the rules laid down in Scripture for interpreting prophecy. These rules are few in number, and they are not complicated. When used in connection with prophetic symbols, "sea," or "waters," stand for "multitudes" of people (Revelation 17:15; Isaiah 8:7; 17:12; Jeremiah 6:23); ",wind" stands for "war" (Jeremiah 4:12, 13; 25:31, 32); "beasts" stand for "kingdoms" (Daniel 7:23); and "days" for "years" (Ezekiel 4:6).

The prophet Daniel saw in vision four winds of war, which strove upon the great sea of people, and four great beasts, or kingdoms, came up one after the other. "The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings," Daniel 7:24. In Jeremiah 49:19, 22, 28, a lion is used to symbolize the kingdom of Babylon (606-538 B. C.). The second beast was like a bear (Daniel 7:5), and denoted Medo-Persia, the next world empire (538-331 B. C.). The "three ribs in the mouth of it" were the three chief countries which it conquered, Lydia, Babylon, and Egypt.

He next saw a leopard having four heads and four wings (v. 6), symbolizing the Grecian Empire (331-168 B. C.). A leopard is very alert, and adding to this symbol four wings would indicate that Grecia would make rapid conquest, which was true. Alexander the Great marched his army 51,000 miles in eight years and conquered the then known civilized world. The four heads on the leopard denote the four divisions into which that empire was split up after the death of Alexander.

"The fourth beast," the angel explained, "shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth." V. 23.

The fourth empire from Babylon was Rome (168 B. C. to 476 A. D.). The angel also informs us that "the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise." V. 24. The Roman Empire was split up into just ten smaller kingdoms between the years 351 and 476 A. D. The following are their ancient and modern names: 1. Alemanni–Germany. 2. Franks–France. 3. Anglo-Saxons–England. 4. Burgundians–Switzerland. 5. Visigoths –Spain. 6. Suevi–Portugal. 7. Lombards–Italy. 8. Heruli. 9. Vandals. 10. Ostrogoths.

This prophecy is so plain, and the explanation so natural and easy to understand, that all commentators, both Protestant and Catholic, fully agree on it. (See Sir Isaac Newton's "Observations upon the Prophecies," pp. 157- 26 159; Bishop Thomas Newton, "Dissertations on the Prophecies," pp. 201- 221; Joseph Tanner on "Daniel and the Revelation," pp. 165-174; Martin Luther's "Introduction," pp. 32, 33, Frederikshald, 1853.)

The Douay, or Catholic, version of the Bible has the following notes on Daniel 7:3, 7, 8. "Four great beasts. Viz., the Chaldean, Persian, Grecian, and Roman empires." "Ten horns. That is, ten kingdoms, (as Apoc. 17. 12,) among which the empire of the fourth beast shall be parcelled." "Another little horn. This is commonly understood of Antichrist." In regard to these ten kingdoms, Sir Isaac Newton says: "Whatever was their number afterwards, they are still called the Ten Kings from their first number"–" Daniel and the Apocalypse," p. 187; first printed, 1733; reprinted, London: 1922.

The Little Horn

"I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn." Daniel 7:8. Let us now consider all the characteristics this prophecy gives to the little horn, and we shall be forced by weight of evidence to settle on just one power as the fulfillment of these predictions. (1) It was to come up "among" the ten European kingdoms into which the Roman Empire was split. (V. 8.) (2) It "shall rise" to power "after them." (V. 24.) (3) "And he shall be diverse from the first" ten kingdoms; that is, different from ordinary, secular kingdoms. (V. 24.) Any one acquainted with history knows that the Papacy is the only power that answers to all these specifications. It rose "among" the kingdoms of Western Rome, "after" they were established in A.D. 476, and it differed from a purely civil power. But the angel gives still another mark of identity to the little horn. (4) Before it "there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots." (V. 8.) That is, in coming up it pushed out before it three of the former horns by the roots.

Thus three kingdoms were to be plucked up to give place for the Papacy. This prediction found its exact fulfillment in the destruction of the three Arian kingdoms: the Heruli, the Vandals, and the Ostrogoths, as we now shall see. Rev. E. B. Elliott, M.A., says: 

"I might cite three that were eradicated from before the Pope out of the list first given; viz., the Heruli under Odoacer, the Vandals, and the Ostrogoths."–"Horoe Apocalypticoe," Vol. III, p. 168, Note 1. London: 1862. 27

In former days crowns of conquered kings were placed on the head of the conqueror. (2 Samuel 12:30.) It is symbolically fitting, therefore, that the pope wears a triple crown. Bishop Thomas Newton, speaking of the power that destroyed the three horns, says: 

"And the pope hath in a manner pointed himself out for the person by wearing the triple crown."–" Dissertations on the Prophecies," p. 220. London.

A brief statement of the political and religious conditions in the Roman world is necessary here in order that the reader may better grasp the real situation in which these three Arian kingdoms found themselves. After Constantine had removed the seat of the empire from Rome to Constantinople, the Roman people were (at intervals) ruled from that Eastern capital, until the pope had grown to power in Rome. While the Papacy was gradually gaining control over the people of the West, the Eastern emperors were courting the good will of the popes in order to hold their Western subjects.

From the time of Constantine to that of Justinian there was a deadly struggle between the two largest factions of the Church, the Catholics and the Arians. Often there was terrible strife, and even bloodshed. "The streets of Alexandria and of Constantinople were deluged with blood by the partisans of rival bishops."–" History of Christianity," H. H. Milman, Book III, chap. 5, par. 2, p. 410. New York: 2–vol. ed., 1881. Most of the barbarian nations into which the Roman Empire was now split had accepted the Catholic faith. But the Heruli, the Vandals, and the Ostrogoths were Arians.

While the emperors courted the help of the popes for political reasons, the popes sought the assistance of the emperors to destroy the Arians. Theodosius, the Emperor of the East, had already (380-395 A. D.) given "fifteen stern edicts against heresy, one on the average for every year of his reign .... So began the campaign which ended in the virtual extinction of Arianism in the Roman world"–"Italy and her Invaders," Thomas Hodgkin, Vol. I, pp. 368, 369. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 8–vol. ed. of 1899.

In A. D. 380, the Emperor Theodosius issued an edict which said: 

"We order those who follow this law to assume the name of Catholic Christians: we pronounce all others to be mad and foolish, and we order that they bear the ignominious name of heretics .... These are to be visited . . . by the stroke of our own authority"–"Italy and her Invaders," T. Hodgkin, Vol. I, p. 183. Two–vol. ed. of 1880.

"Thus did the reign and legislation of Theodosius mark out the lines of future relationship between Pope and Emperor." Id., p. 187. 28

Embassies passed continually between the pope of Rome and the emperor of Constantinople, and in 381 A. D. Theodosius arranged for a general council of the clergy at Constantinople, which finally established the Catholic doctrine. "To him also, at least as much as to Constantine, must be attributed the permanent alliance between the Church and the State."–Id., pp. 182, 183.

The Heruli

The Heruli under Odoacer had established themselves in Italy, 476 A. D.; and while this Arian king ruled all his subjects impartially, he endeavored to shield his people from the persecution inaugurated by the combined efforts of the pope and the emperor. Pasquale Villari, writing of the period between 468 and 483 A. D., says:

"At that time the Pope was morally, and even more than morally speaking, the most powerful personage in Italy. If Odovacar [Odoacer], as an Arian, had openly opposed him, Simplicius [the Pope] could have easily roused the whole country against him, and made it impossible for him to maintain his position in Italy"–"The Barbarian Invasion of Italy," Vol. I, pp. 145, 146. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1902.

And just such an opportunity soon presented itself: "Pope Simplicius died on the 2nd of March, 483, whereupon Odovacar made a false move, of which he felt the consequences before long.

Undoubtedly it was very important for him to control the choice of a new Pontiff. He sought not only to prevent the riots which had often caused bloodshed in the streets of Rome on similar occasions, but also desired a Pope well disposed to himself. Thus when the preliminary assembly failed to agree in the choice of a candidate, the Pretorian Prefect, Cecina Basilius, suddenly intervened in Odovacar's name, and declared that no election would be valid without the King's voice .... A decree was likewise issued prohibiting the alienation of Church property and threatening anathema on all who failed to respect it. After this the Assembly was summoned to sanction the decree and decide the election, which resulted in favor of Felix II (483-492), the candidate recommended by Odovacar." –Id., p. 146.

"His interference in the Papal election has cast into the Roman Church the seed of a deep and threatening distrust towards him"–Id., p. 147. 29

Rome could never forgive such an affront, and through its faithful ally, the emperor, another barbarian nation, the Ostrogoths, were called in to destroy the hated Heruli. Niccolo Machiavelli relates how the popes used such a method. He says:

"Nearly all the wars which the northern barbarians carried on in Italy, it may be here remarked, were occasioned by the pontiffs; and the hordes, with which the country was inundated, were generally called in by them. The same mode of proceeding still continued, and kept Italy weak and unsettled"–" History of Florence," p. 13. Washington and London: Universal Classics Library, 1901.

Villari says that Theodoric at the head of the Ostrogothic hordes entered Italy in the autumn of 488, backed by the authority of the emperor and the Church. Because the discord that had now broken out between Odovacar and the pope had weakened the former and consequently made him less formidable, after two disastrous battles he retreated toward the city of Rome for safety from the Ostrogoths, but "the gates of Rome were shut in his face, and the inhabitants of Italy began to show him marked hostility; partly on account of his recent conflict with the Church, partly for the increased deeds of spoliation. . . The Church had taken advantage of all these causes of discontent in order to excite the populace against him; and before long it was openly said that the clergy had organized a general conspiracy against him somewhat, it would seem, in the style of the Sicilian Vespers."–" The Barbarian Invasion of Italy," 2–vol. ed. of 1880. Vol. I, pp. 153-156. John Henry Cardinal Newman, D. D., says:

"Odoacer was sinking before Theodoric, and the Pope was changing one Arian master for another"–" An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine," Part II, p. 320. London: 1878.

Villari continues: 

"On the 5th of March, 493, Theodoric entered Ravenna in triumph, all the clergy coming forth to meet him, chanting Psalms, and with the Archbishop at the head of the procession"–" The Barbarian Invasion of Italy," Vol. I, p. 158. Ten days later Odoacer was murdered in cold blood.

Hodgkin points out that this coming of the archbishop to meet the Ostrogoths was staged so as to "impress vividly on the minds both of Italians and Ostrogoths that Theodoric came as the friend of the Catholic Church"–" Italy and Her Invaders," 8–vol. ed., Vol. III, book 4, PP. 234, 235. Hodgkin further states that the Roman clergy were privy to a terrible secret plot of murdering the followers of Odovacar all over Italy. (Id., pp. 225, 226.)

The Heruli disappeared from history. Thus the first of the three horns of Daniel 7:8 was "plucked up by the roots," and history leaves no room for doubt but that the Papacy through its allies engineered this act because of its opposition to Arianism.

The Emperor Justinian

Before passing to the next power destroyed by the Papacy we shall briefly state the condition of the Roman Empire at this time. Justinian had finally ascended the throne of Constantinople as the Emperor of the East, 527 A. D. He was a shrewd politician, and in his effort to extend his rule over the whole of the Roman Empire he realized his need of securing the cooperation of the highly organized Catholic Church, for it was directed by a single head (the pope), and worked as a unit all over the empire, while the Arian nations stood separately, without any central organization, and hence they were weak. Then too, the Arians were very wealthy, and if Justinian could conquer them in the name of "the true Church," he could confiscate their property and thus secure means to carry on his many wars. We read: 

"Justinian (527) . . . already meditated . . . the conquest of Italy and Africa"–"Decline and Fall," Edward Gibbon, chap. 39, par. 17. "Justinian felt that the support of the Pope was necessary in his reconquering of the West"–"History of Medieval Europe,'' L. Thorndike, Ph.D., p. 133. Cambridge, Mass. 1918.

"Justinian spared nothing in his efforts to conciliate the Roman Church, and we find inserted with evident satisfaction in Justinian's Code pontifical letters, which praised his efforts to maintain the peace of the church and the unity of religion. ''Cambridge Medieval History," Bury, Gwatkin, and Whitney, Vol. II, p. 44. New York: 1913.

Procopius, the historian who followed Justinian's armies, says: 

"In his zeal to gather all men into one Christian doctrine, he recklessly killed all who dissented, and this too he did in the name of piety. For he did not call it homicide, when those who perished happened to be of a belief that was different from his own"–" Secret History of the Court of Justinian," pp. 138, 139. Chicago: P. Covici, 1927. "Now the churches of these so-called heretics, especially those belonging to the Arian dissenters, were almost incredibly wealthy"–Id., p. 121.

"Agents were sent everywhere to force whomever they chanced upon to renounce the faith of their fathers .... Thus many perished at the hands of the persecuting faction; . . . but most of them by far quitted the land of their fathers, and fled the country . . . and thenceforth the whole Roman Empire was a scene of massacre and fight"–Id., p. 122.

Dom John Chapman (Roman Catholic) says of Justinian: 

"He felt himself to be the Vicegerent of the Almighty to rule the world and bring it all to the service of Christ. His wars were holy wars. In later centuries a Byzantine battle began like a church ceremony. Even in the sixth century every enterprise was consecrated by religion.

"He was well aware that judicious persecution is a great help towards conversion!... He strengthened the existing laws against pagans, Jews, and heretics .... Many were burnt at Constantinople after the Emperor had made vain attempts to convert them. John of Ephesus . . . was employed in this apostolate. He boasts that in 546 he gained 70,000 pagans in Asia Minor, including nobles and rhetoricians and physicians, and many in Constantinople. Tortures discovered these men, and scourgings and imprisonment induced them to accept instruction and baptism. A Patricius, named Phocus, hearing that he had been denounced, took poison. The Emperor ordered that he should be buried as an ass is buried. The pious Emperor paid all the expenses of this Christian mission, and gave to each of the 70,000 Asiatics the white garments for their baptism and a piece of money."

"Other heretics were given three months grace. All magistrates and soldiers had to swear that they were Catholics"–"Studies in the Early Papacy," Dom John Chapman, p. 222. London: Sheed and Ward, 1928. New York: Benziger Brothers.

The Vandals

"Justinian's cherished aim was the reconquest of Italy by the Empire; but in order to succeed in this it was necessary to secure his rear by overthrowing the Vandals and resuming possession of Africa."–"The Barbarian Invasion of Italy," P. Villari, Vol. I, p. 197. 32

A pretext for breaking his oath of peace with the Arian Vandals soon presented itself. The Vandal government had oppressed the Roman Catholics just as the emperor, under the influence of the Papacy, had oppressed the Arians. But when Hilderic came to the Vandal throne he, through the influence of his Catholic wife, had restored the Roman clergy to their ancient privileges, and this had so displeased the Vandal leaders that Gelimer, a zealous Arian, had dethroned and imprisoned him, and reigned in his place. "A strong appeal was thus made to the piety [?] of the Emperor to deliver the true Catholic Church of the West out of the hands of the barbarian heretics."–" Medieval and Modern History," P. V. N. Myers, p. 62. Boston: 1897.

Justinian wavered for a time, fearing to attack these warlike Vandals, but a Catholic bishop assured him of victory, claiming "he had seen a vision, in which God commanded that the war should be immediately undertaken. 'It is the will of Heaven, O Emperor!' exclaimed the bishop."–Id., p. 63. Treachery, which with Rome and her allies has always been a justifiable weapon, was here used in the service of the church by her dutiful son. Justinian sent an army of 200,000 trained men under the leadership of Belisarius to conquer the Vandals, without declaring war, and unbeknown to Gelimer, their king. Villari says:

"Belisarius landed on the African coast at nine days' march from Carthage [the Vandal capital]. He did not assume the attitude of a conqueror, but came, he said, as the deliverer of the Catholics and Romans, the clergy and lay proprietors, who were all equally oppressed by those foreign barbarians, the heretic Vandals"–" The Barbarian Invasion of Italy," Vol. I, p. 198.

Thus Belisarius won the enthusiastic support of a large part of the population. To undermine the zeal of the Vandal leaders for their king he sent the "leading men of the Vandals" a letter from Justinian, stating that he intended only to dethrone the usurping king, who was tyrannizing over them, and to give them back their liberty. The letter reads:

"'It is not our purpose to go to war with the Vandals, nor are we breaking our treaty with Gaiseric. We are only attempting to overthrow your tyrant, who making light of Gaiseric's testament keeps your king a prisoner .... Therefore join us in freeing yourselves from a tyranny so wicked, that you may enjoy peace and liberty. We give you pledge in the name of God that we will give you these blessings.' . . . The overseer of the public post deserted and delivered all the horses to Belisarius"–"History of the Later Roman Empire," J. B. Bury, Vol. II, p. 130. London: The Macmillan Co., 1925.

But Justinian never intended to keep his solemn oath to grant them liberty, and the people soon found Rome the severest of tyrants. "In 533 the Byzantine general, Belisarius (q.v.) landed in Africa. The Vandals were several times defeated, and Carthage was entered on Sept. 15, 533 .... In the next year Africa, Sardinia, and Corsica were restored to the Roman Empire. As a nation, the Vandals soon ceased to exist"–NeIson's Encyclopedia, Vol. XII, art. "Vandals," pp. 380, 38I. New York: 1907. "Religious intolerance accompanied the imperial restoration in the West. In Africa, as in Italy, Arians were spoiled for the benefit of Catholics, their churches were destroyed or ruined, and their lands confiscated"– "Cambridge Medieval History," Bury, Gwatkin, and Whitney, Vol. II, p. 44. New York: 1913.

"The Arian heresy was proscribed, and the race of these remarkable conquerors was in a short time exterminated .... There are few instances in history of a nation disappearing so rapidly and so completely as the Vandals of Africa."–"A History of Greece Under the Romans," George Finlay, p. 234. London and New York: J. M. Dent, ed., 1856.

"Africa, subdued by the arms of Belisarius, returned at once under the dominion of the empire and of Catholicism .... One imperial edict was sufficient (A. D. 533) to restore all the churches to the Catholic worship."–" Latin Christianity," H. H. Milman, Book 3, chap. 4, p. 455. New York: Crowell & Co., 188I. Thus the second horn of Daniel 7:8 was "plucked up by the roots."

Here we have one sample out of many in history as to what kind of religious liberty Rome grants wherever she obtains the power.

The Ostrogoths

Theodoric, king of the Ostrogothic nation of Italy, maintained complete religious liberty for all classes and creeds. He wrote to Justin, Emperor of the East, who was persecuting the Arians:

"'To pretend to a domination over the conscience, is to usurp the prerogative of God; by the nature of things the power of sovereigns is confined to political government; they have no right of punishment but over those who disturb the public peace; the most dangerous heresy is that of a sovereign who separates himself from part of his subjects, because they believe not according to his belief.'"–"History of Latin Christianity," H. H. Milman, Vol. I, Book III, chap. 3, p. 439. New York: 1860.

The wars of the migrating barbarians on the one side, and the persecutions of heathen, Jews, and Arians by the Catholic Church on the other, had kept Italy in constant turmoil. Agricultural pursuits were neglected, people crowded into the cities, and want and starvation faced the population. But Theodoric's wise and firm rule, and the strict religious liberty he established in Italy, brought peace, prosperity, and happiness to all classes. J. G. Sheppard, D. D., says:

"'Theodoric deserves the highest praise; for, during the thirty-eight years he reigned in Italy, he brought the country to such a state of greatness, that her previous sufferings were no longer recognizable.'... What then prevented this man, with so great a genius for government, and so splendid an opportunity for its exercise, from organizing a Germanic empire, equal in extent and power to that which obeyed the sceptre of the old Roman Csesars? Or why did he fail, when Charlemagne, with a greater complication of interests to deal with, for a time at least, succeeded?

"The causes were mainly these; causes . . . very similar, at all times, in their operation. In the first place, Theodoric was an Arian, and there was a power antagonistic to Arianism growing up already on the banks of the Tiber, stronger than the statesmen's policy or the soldier's sword–the spiritual power of the church of Rome .... Such a power was necessarily altogether incompatible with the existence of an Arian empire. And it proved mightier than its rival."–"Fall of Rome," John G. Sheppard, D. D., pp. 301,302. London: 1861.

In order to give the reader a better understanding of the means used by the Papacy to destroy these Arian kingdoms, we shall quote from Thomas Hodgkin a few brief statements. He states that Theodoric, the Ostrogothic king, endeavored to have "a close league for mutual defence formed between the four great Arian and Teutonic monarchies, the Visigothic, the Burgundian, the Ostrogothic, and the Vandal." But "diplomatists were wanting [who could act] as their skillful and eloquent representatives, traveling like Epiphanius from court to court, and bringing the barbarian sovereigns to understand each other, to sink their petty grievances, and to work together harmoniously for one common end. Precisely these men were the Catholic prelates of the Mediterranean lands to whom it was all-important that no such Arian league should be formed .... All over the Roman world there was a serried array of Catholic bishops and presbyters, taking their orders from a single centre, Rome, feeling the interest of each one to be the interests of all, in lively and constant intercourse with one another, quick to discover, quick to disclose the slightest weak place in the organization of the new heretical kingdoms. Of all this there was not the slightest trace on the other side. The Arian bishops . . . stood apart from one another in stupid and ignorant isolation."–"Italy and Her Invaders," Thomas Hodgkin, (8–vol. ed.) Vol. III, Book 4, PP. 381-283. Oxford: 1899. This same principle was clearly stated by the Catholic bishop Avitus, when the Arian king Gundobad appealed to him not to allow the Catholic king Clovis to overrun his country. Avitus answered: " If Gundobad would reconcile himself to the Church, the Church would guarantee his safety from the attacks of Clovis"–Id., p. 384.

The religious liberty, with its attendant blessings to the country, which Theodoric had inaugurated, did not satisfy the Catholic bishops; for Rome does not want religious liberty for other churches, but sole domination for herself.

"The religious toleration which Theodoric had the glory of introducing into the Christian world, was painful and offensive to the orthodox zeal of the Italian"–"Decline and Fall," Edward Gibbon, chap. 39, par. 17. "Theodoric, . . . being an Arian, could not long remain on harmonious terms with a Pope and [an] Emperor of the Orthodox creed, [who were] necessarily bound to combine against him sooner or later."–" The Barbarian Invasion of Italy," P. Viltari, Vol. I, p. 178. London: 1913; New York: Scribner, 1902.

This was only natural. The fundamental principles of the church of Rome are such that she can never concede to any other denomination the equal right to exist and to carry on its worship. Urged on by the pope and his bishops, Emperor Justin had enacted severe laws against Arians (524 A. D.), and Justinian began his reign in 527 by making laws still more severe.

"Theodoric, the King of Italy, at first maintained something of his usual calm moderation; he declined all retaliation, to which he had been incessantly urged, on the orthodox of the West."–"Latin Christianity," H. H. Milman, D. D., Vol. I, Book III, chap. 3, p. 440. But the concerted efforts of pope and emperor, by fire, sword, and exile, to exterminate "Arianism" at last "awakened the just resentment of Theodoric, who claimed for his distressed brethren of the East the same indulgence which he had so long granted to the Catholics of his dominions .... And a mandate was prepared in Italy, to prohibit, after a stated day, the exercise of the Catholic worship. By the bigotry of his subjects and enemies, the most tolerant of princes was driven to the brink of persecution"–"Decline and Fall," chap. 39, par. 17.

"In Italy, Theodoric's prolonged toleration had reconciled no one to him, and his ultimate severity exasperated his Roman subjects. A dumb agitation held sway in the West, and the coming of the Emperor's soldiers was eagerly awaited and desired." –"Cambridge Medieval History," Bury, Gwatkin, and Whitney, Vol. II, p. 10. Chicago: The Macmillan Company, 1913.

"And truly the chief men of Rome were suspected, at this very time, of carrying on a treasonable correspondence with the Court of Constantinople, and machinating the ruin of the Gothic empire in Italy"–"History of the Popes," A. Bower, Vol. II, p. 421. Dublin: 1749.

In the summer of 535 Belisarius started with 7,500 men besides his own guards to conquer Italy and destroy the Arian heretics. This he could do only by the assistance of the Roman Catholics.

"But with great shrewdness he had quickly won their good will, by announcing that he came to deliver them from the barbarian yoke, and from the Arian persecution, and also for the purpose of restoring Rome to her ancient grandeur."–" The Barbarian Invasion of Italy," P. Villari, Vol. I, p. 201.

Witigis [Vitiges] was now the king of the Ostrogoths, and Rome was continuing its usual policy. Professor J. B. Bury says:

"In the meantime Belisarius had left Naples and was marching northward. The Romans, warned by the experiences of Naples, and urged by the Pope, who had no scruples in breaking his oath with Witigis, sent a messenger inviting him to come. He . . . entered Rome on December 9, A. D. 536."– "History of the Later Roman Empire," Vol. II, pp. 179, 180.

"Such, then, was the Pope Silverius . . . who, having sworn a solemn oath of fealty to Witigis, now, near the end of 536, sent messengers to Belisarius to offer the peaceful surrender of the city of Rome"–"Italy and Her Invaders," T. Hodgkin (8–vol. ed.), Vol. IV, Book 5, p. 93. 1885.

"Rome betrayed. The Catholics, on the first approach of the emperor's army, boldly raised the cry that the apostolic throne (!) should no longer be profaned by the triumph or toleration of Arianism, nor the tombs of the Caears trampled by the savages of the North; and deputies of the pope and clergy, and of what is called the senate and people, waited upon the approaching army to whom they threw open the gates of the city; and the Catholics were rewarded for their treason by the apparent respect of Belisarius for the pope"–" History of the Christian Church," N. Summerbell page 340, third edition. Cincinnati: 1873.

Witigis then besieged the city of Rome from March, 537, to March, 538, when he raised the siege, after losing the flower of his army, and retired to Ravenna, his capital. T. Hodgkin says:

"With heavy hearts the barbarians must have thought, as they turned them northwards, upon the many graves of gallant men which they were leaving on that fatal plain. Some of them must have suspected the melancholy truth that they had dug one grave, deeper and wider than all, the grave of the Gothic monarchy in Italy."–"Italy and Her Invaders," (8–vol. ed.) Vol. IV, p. 285.

A deathblow was thus given to the Ostrogoths in 538 A. D., and their attempts to re-establish themselves after this were but the last flicker of a lamp being extinguished. Belisarius followed them this same year to their "last stronghold of power. Ravenna was soon entered by the troops of the empire, and with it fell the great kingdom of the Ostrogoths"–"Fall of Rome," J. G. Sheppard, p. 306. London: 1892.

"Then occurred a singular phenomenon,–the annihilation and disappearance of a great and powerful people from the world's history"–Id., p. 307. But let all remember, that "the success of Justinian's invasion was due to the clergy; in the ruin they brought upon their country, and the relentless tyranny they drew upon themselves, they had their reward"–"History of the Intellectual Development of Europe," J. W. Draper, M. D., LL.D., Vol. I, p. 355. New York: Harper Brothers., 1889.

The last of the three Arian "horns" of Daniel 7:8 had passed away, and with it passed also the liberty of the common people. Dr. N. Summerbell truthfully says:

"The Dark Ages, introduced by the persecution of an enlightened Church in the sanguinary wars of Justinian to exalt the Catholics, continued up to the fourteenth century. It was a long, dark night, when ignorance, bigotry, and 38 cruelty reigned, and truth, purity, and justice were crushed out"–"History of the Christian Church," p. 342. 

The Lombards

It has been claimed by some that the Lombard nation was one of the three horns of Daniel 7:8, which were rooted up by the Papacy. We shall therefore investigate this claim carefully before leaving this subject. It is true that the Lombards, who settled in Italy, 568 A. D., were at first Arians, but they soon became converted to the Roman Catholic faith (615 A. D.). Professor J. B. Bury says:

"In the century which intervened between the death of Gregory I [604 A. D.] and the accession of Gregory II [715] the Lombards had been transformed from Arian heretics into devout Catholics, so that the religious difficulty which parted Roman from Lombard had disappeared"–"The Cambridge Medieval History," Vol. II, p. 694. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1913.

That the Lombards were not subdued on account of any opposition to the papal church is also witnessed by the following quotation:

"Slowly however the light of faith made way among them and the Church won their respect and obedience. This meant protection for the conquered"– The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. IX, art. "Lombards," p. 338. Even though the Lombards were subdued by Pepin (755 A. D.), and later by Charlemagne (774), yet they were not destroyed. The Lombard kingdom in Italy had long been divided into smaller "duchies," and Charlemagne allowed several of these to continue, while they nominally recognized him as emperor (such an arrangement became common for centuries in Italy). "The Lombards, having now been two hundred and thirty-two years in the country, were strangers only in name; and Charles, wishing to reorganize the states of Italy, consented that they should occupy the places in which they had been brought up, and call the province after their own name, Lombardy ....

"In the meantime, the Emperor Charles died and was succeeded by Lewis, . . . [and] at the time of his grandchildren, the house of France lost the empire, which then came to the Germans. [During these changes] the Lombards [were] gathering strength"–"The History of Florence," N. Machiavelli, pp. 15, 16. Washington and London: Universal Classics Library, 1901.

In 1167 A. D., the different Lombard cities were organized into separate republics, and combined into the famous Lombard League. Being devoted to the pope they fought the excommunicated German emperor, Frederick Barbarossa, who would subjugate them, and who "endeavored to force upon the church an anti-pope in the place of Alexander III."

Finally in 1176 A. D., the combined armies of the Lombard League met the emperor's forces in a decisive battle on the plains of Legnano.

"The imperial army was so utterly overthrown and dispersed, that for some time the fate of the emperor was uncertain. Three days after the battle he appeared in Pavia, alone, and in . . . disguise .... For twenty-one years Frederick had been struggling against the independence of Lombardy. With seven armies he had swept their doomed territory, inflicting atrocities the recital of which sickens humanity. The fatal battle of Legnano left him for a time powerless, and he was compelled to assent to a truce for six years. At the expiration of this truce, in the year 1183, by the peace of Constance, the comparative independence of Lombardy was secured; a general supremacy of dignity rather than of power being conceded to the emperor." –" Italy from the Earliest Period to the Present Day," John. S. C. Abbott, pp. 438, 439. New York: 1860.

Not only had the kingdom of Lombardy maintained its independence, but "the generous resistance of the Lombards, during a war of thirty years, had conquered from the emperors political liberty for all the towns in the kingdom of Italy."–"A History of the Italian Republics," J. C. S. de Sismondi, p. 61. New York: 1904.

If space permitted, we could trace the kingdom of Lombardy for nearly two centuries more, but this will suffice to prove that the Lombards were not destroyed by Charlemagne, when subdued by him in 774, neither could they be one of the three powers plucked up by the roots to give place for the Papacy. (Daniel 7:8.) A people plucked up by the roots in 774 would hardly fight so heroically for four hundred years afterwards to maintain their independence till mighty emperors had to yield. But even if the Lombards had been destroyed by Charlemagne in 774, they could not be reckoned as one of the three nations plucked up to give place to the Papacy; for, if we reckon the 1260 years of papal supremacy from 774, they would end in 2034 A. D., which would entirely dislocate the prophetic reckoning, as we shall see in the next chapter.


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