Emperor Vespasian
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Emperor Vespasian
(Revelation 17.9-10)
Page 237

"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 only a little while." (Revelation 17.9-10)✞

Mind with Wisdom

Emperor VespasianIn this Revelation passage, "the other who has not yet come" was probably a reference to the Roman Emperor Vespasian (9-79 AD) who ruled for ten years until his death in 79 AD. He founded the Flavian dynasty that lasted for 27 years and he himself was renowned as a military leader who spearheaded the Roman invasion of Britain in 43 AD. He was the first emperor to bring back normality to the empire after the chaos following the death of the Emperor Nero. Revelation added, "He must remain for only a little while." Vespasian did stay for a little while and was succeeded by his son Titus, who was the first son to inherit his father's role as Roman emperor. Titus' reign lasted only two years from 79-81 AD. As a general, Titus was known for his siege and successful destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD. The arch of Titus still stands in Rome generously decorated with carvings showing his valiant deeds in battle. He was also known for finishing off the building of the huge Coliseum in Rome. He showed great generosity in relieving suffering after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD and the rebuilding of Rome after a fire the following year.✞

Nero Resurrected

The AntichristThe emperor who followed Titus was Domitian (51-96 AD). Domitian was described by John of Patmos as, "The beast which was, and is not, is itself the eighth." The eighth proceeded from the series of the seven emperors, and was on his way to destruction. The emperor who followed Titus was identified according to "The Life of Domitian" by Suetonius the Roman biographer, Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, (c69-c120 AD) as "Nero Redivivus" or "Nero Resurrected." He was therefore believed to have been "the Antichrist." There was a popular belief at that time that Nero would be resurrected and return, and Domitian was believed to be the reincarnation of Nero.✞

Mad Domitian

House FlyCan Domitian be reasonably identified with the evil force which the "Nero Redivivus" personified? Suetonius, who was not a Christian sympathizer, asserted that Domitian was an object of terror and hatred to all. A grim picture of him appeared at the beginning of his reign. "He used to spend hours in seclusion every day, doing nothing but catching flies and stabbing them with a keenly-sharpened stylus." Any psychologist would find that a curiously revealing picture. He was insanely jealous and suspicious. John of Patmos added to catch our attention, "This calls for a mind with wisdom." or "This is a clue for you as to his identity!"

"Emperor Vespasian"
by Ron Meacock © 2018

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