Roman Emperor Vespasian
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Roman Emperor Vespasian (Revelation 17.9-10)

"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." (Revelation 17.9-10)✞

Mind with Wisdom

Emperor VespasianIn this Revelation passage, "The other who has not yet come" (Revelation 17.10) is 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 stability to the empire after the chaos following the death of Nero. Revelation says, "He must remain for a little while." Vespasian did stay for a while and was succeeded by his son Titus, which was the first time a son followed his father as emperor. Titus' reign lasted only two years from 79-81 AD. As a general, Titus was renowned for the siege and destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD. The arch of Titus still stands in Rome generously decorated with carvings of his deeds in battle. He was also known for finishing off the building of the huge Colosseum in Rome. He showed great generosity in relieving the suffering from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD and the rebuilding after a fire in Rome 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 proceeds from the series of the seven kings or emperors, and is on its way to destruction. The emperor who followed Titus was identified according to "The Life of Domitian" by Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus or Suetonius the Roman biographer, as "Nero Redivivus" or "Nero Resurrected" and therefore as "the Antichrist." There was a popular belief that Nero would be resurrected and return, and Domitian was he.✞

Mad Domitian

House FlyCan Domitian reasonably be identified with the evil force which the "Nero Redivivus" personified? Suetonius, who was not a Christian sympathizer, tells us that Domitian was an object of terror and hatred to all. We get a grim picture of him 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 adds to catch our attention, "This calls for a mind with wisdom." meaning "This is a clue for you!"✞

"Roman Emperor Vespasian"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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