Seven Roman Emperors
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Seven Roman Emperors (Revelation 17.9-11)

"This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, but when he does come, he must remain for a little while. The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction." (Revelation 17.9-11)✞

Mind with Wisdom

Seven Emperors AmphitheatreThe angel said, "This calls for a mind with wisdom" which probably meant something like, "Here is a clue. It's up to you to connect the dots and come to your own conclusions." The angel was giving us a clue as to the identity of the city called Babylon. This was a hidden name for ancient Rome with its seven hills including the Palatine Hill and the Capitoline Hill which were like the seven heads, described elsewhere on the great harlot.✞

Roman Emperors Cruelty

Martyrs in the ColosseumIn the early centuries of Christianity, the Roman Empire through its officials and Roman Emperors were particularly cruel to Christians. Many thousands of Christians died at the hands of emperors such as Domitian and Nero. Believers were burned at the stake, sawn in half, skinned alive, impaled on wooden stakes, crucified, thrown to wild animals and killed for sport by gladiators in the Colisseum, the oval amphitheater in the center of Rome. The Colisseum is the largest amphitheater ever built but the Romans built smaller versions in cities across the Empire. John of Patmos believed God would answer such cruelty with equal ferocity. The punishment of Babylon (another name for ancient Rome) was now told as if it were a past event.

Seven Roman Emperors

Emperor Bust"The seven heads were the seven Roman emperors" writes John. "Five have fallen, one at present exists but the other has not yet come. When he does come, he must remain for a short time." The beast, which was and is not, was itself the eight Roman emperor, that is Domitian. He proceeded from the series of seven emperors, but was on his way to destruction.✞

Fallen Emperors

Emperor AugustusThe Roman Empire began with its founder and first emperor Augustus (BC 63-14 AD). The first five of the Roman emperors were Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero. These were the five emperors who have fallen. After the death of Nero there were two years of chaos in which several emperors including Galba, Otho and Vitellius came and went in quick succession. They are not generally viewed in any real sense as emperors and are not normally included in any list of emperors. The seven emperors were concluded with Vespasian and Titus. The "eighth emperor" was Domitian, and he was one of the cruelest of them all.✞

"Seven Roman Emperors"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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