Previously on Daniel 11 and Rome. When Julius Caesar returned from Gaul after his victory there, he marched on Rome, defeated the powerful Roman general Pompey who had been one of the Consuls, and declared himself dictator for life. Up to this point, Rome had been ruled as a Republic where two consuls were chosen annually who governed together with a group of men called the senate. This declaration of Julius meant the way of rule in Rome had been changed forever for as long as Julius was alive. But some in the senate would have none of this, and on 15 March 44 BC Julius was assassinated.
More than 400 before these events, a Man visited the prophet Daniel in 536 BC, and told him Rome would eventually become a kingdom with one man ruling it. Daniel 11: 21 “ And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.”
As we have seen before, this came to pass when Augustus Caesar came in and obtained the kingdom, not by force like Julius, but rather through clever political man oeuvres and flatteries. Instead of forcefully changing the way the Republic operated as his uncle did, he did it slowly over time, creating a new political hierarchy where one man [emperor] could rule the Republic like a king. Where Rome for centuries hated kings, and gave no single man the honor of being king over them, Augustus changed all that exactly in the way this verse prophesied. Not by force, but by political dialogue peacefully.
“Octavius at this point adopted the name "Augustus" (for which he is better known to posterity), but he never took the title "dictator" as Caesar had. The only title he ever took for himself was "princeps" which essentially means "first citizen." Although he could move the senate and the entire empire with a word, he aknowledged the sensibilities of Romans, who hated the idea of a monarchy. Although Augustus was the first emperor of Rome, he cleverly managed to avoid looking like one to most of his contemporaries.” [BBC History]
Daniel 11:22-28 then goes on to describe characteristics of the reign of Augustus and shows how he restored order during the civil war that followed the death of Julius. “ Dan.11: 22 † And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant.”
To end hostilities amongst Romans, Augustus had to flood out those whom he perceived as enemies of the state. Starting with Mark Anthony whom he had to fight twice, we also saw how he flooded out Lucius Antonius, Mark’s brother during the Perusian civil war. In the civil war with Cassius and Brutus, 28 legions were used by him and Anthony to flood out that threat, and in the war with Sextus Pompeius in Sicily, 200 000 men lost their lives before victory was secured. Scripture here says every threat would be flooded out by his men, even the Prince of the covenant.
Judea, which was made a client state of the Roman Republic by Pompey were expecting a Messiah who according to their understanding of prophecy, would come in and destroy the Romans. Their teachers looked at His second coming to Judea, [Zech 14] rather than His first, [Is. 53] and when Herod heard of this possible king during the reign of Augustus, he dealt with that threat by having every male child in Bethlehem from the age of 2 years and under, wiped out. Yes, even the Messiah had to flee to Egypt to escape the wrath of Herod and the Romans.
“ 23 And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.”
This verse prophesied how Augustus started small and sometimes made alliances and leagues to deal with threats, in his march to absolute power. We saw how he allied himself first with the Optimates, a anti-Caesar faction in the senate when Anthony in the beginning refused to recognize him, and refused to release his uncle Julius’s wealth to him. Joining himself with the likes of senator Cicero, he was made a senator one year after the death of Julius Caesar.
From a mere insignificant 18 year old student in 44 BC at the death of Julius, he rose to the rank of senator in 43 BC, and defeated Mark Anthony at Mutina on orders of the senate. When the senate after that conferred more honors onto Brutus, he switched sides and made a league with Mark Anthony, and Lepidus and became one of the three most important men in Rome in this military junta. At this time he betrayed Cicero who was slain as part of the purge of the senate these three then had begun through proscriptions. This league known in history as the second triumvirate was prophesied to end in deceit as Augustus would deal deceitfully with fellow league members. Lepidus was the first to be stripped of power, and later Anthony was dealt with, leaving him in the end as the last man standing, the wealthiest and most powerful man of the ancient Roman world.
Today we can look at Daniel 11:24 to see what more characteristics were revealed of the reign of Augustus and Rome for that matter. For the story of Augustus, is very similar to the overall story of Rome.
“ 24 He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time.”
In the time of Augustus the Roman empire not only stabilized out of chaotic civil war, but began to experience their greatest period of PEACE AND PROSPERITY. He pacified the empire like his father’s and father’s fathers could not do and brought such prosperity that history has a name for it. Augustus began what would later be known as Pax Romana- the Roman peace.
“ Augustus built many new aqueducts and other public works during his 45-year reign, and is said to have found a city of brick and left one of marble (all the great structures associated with the Romans come from the reign of Augustus or later). He ushered in an era of such peace and stability that the time from the conclusion of the Battle of Actium in 31 BC until the death of Marcus Aurelius in AD 180 that it is referred to as the "Pax Romana" (Roman Peace).”
“ Octavius claimed Egypt for himself as a spoil of the war and as his personal possession, rather than as a new province or client kingdom. This gave him not only the allegience of the entire Roman military (who now swore loyalty to him rather than to the state), but it also gave him the most lucrative possession in the known world. His own personal income was greater than the entire annual revenue of the Roman Empire. These facts combined made him incomparably powerful, but he showed a modest restraint that his grand-uncle Caesar had not (and for which he was assassinated).” [BBC History]
Another historian says: “ In domestic matters, Augustus channeled the enormous wealth brought in from the Empire to keeping the army happy with generous payments, and keeping the Romans happy by beautifying the capital and staging magnificent games. He famously boasted that he "found Rome brick and left it marble”
“ Augustus dramatically enlarged the Empire, annexing Egypt, Dalmatia, Pannonia, Noricum, and Raetia, expanded possessions in Africa, expanded into Germania, and completed the conquest of Hispania.” [Wikipedia]
Peace and prosperity was only for certain brackets. If you were in the bracket of the middle class or in the ruling class of Rome then Pax Romana was for you. For what was robbed outside Rome, flowed into it. The blood of the conquered fertilized the land which was once theirs, but now belonged to the privileged of the Pax Romana. The sweat of poorly cared for slaves built the economy of the Pax Romana. If you were an oppressed over taxed conquered foreigner, a slave, a slave gladiator, or even a part of the masses of poor Romans, then Pax Romana meant little to your daily struggles. Its prosperity was built on the sacrifices of the conquered, and the slavery of those unlucky to be alive after Rome brutally passed through.
Today Jesus offers another kind of peace, not a Pax Romana that can only last for 211 years or so, but an ever lasting peace. One Man sacrificed Himself for the eternal peace and prosperity of us all! One Man died and resurrected during the reign of Rome so the whole world can live in everlasting peace and prosperity. That Man is coming soon to claim what is His and to bring back to immortal life His own. If you still don’t know how to become part of His kingdom then you can follow this link to hold a conference with God on the issue. http://branham.org/messageplayer/60-0228
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