OUTLINE OF CONTENTS VII. THE MEDO-PERSIAN EMPIRE (538 B.C. to 333 B.C.) A. The Dual Empire B. A Man Named by God. C. 70 Years D. The King and I E. The Great Horn of Grecia VIII. THE GRECIAN EMPIRE (333 B.C.to 146 B.C.) A. Alexander the Great B. The Golden Age Of Greece C. No More Worlds to Conquer D. Cast to the Four Winds. IX. THE ROMAN EMPIRE (44 B.C. to 455 A.D.) A. Beware the ides of March B. Christ--The King of all Kings! C. The Rolled Stone Returns upon the Roller D. Persecution.. E. Power, Popularity and Plenty! F. The Fall of the Roman Empire.
"According to World History, the dual kingdom of Medo-Persia followed Babylon." The Medo-Persian Empire was a dual power, `two horns', but the Persians were the stronger of the two: `one was higher than the other.' Though Darius the Mede was a great conqueror and conquered the so-called impregnable city of Babylon it was Cyrus the Persian and his Persian Empire that eventually reigned supreme up last." It's capitals were Persepolis and Susa (Shushan) but sometimes its kings lived in Babylon.
From actual history the Lord called Cyrus by name, 200 years before he was born! The Lord says in the Book of Isaiah the prophet chapter 45 verses 1 to 4:
"Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden to subdue nations before him....I have surnamed thee though thou hast not known me."
The Devil tried to defeat the prophecy however. The Medo-Persian king then in power had a dream that the son of Mandane (Cyrus' mother) would one day be the ruler of Asia. In his jealousy, he had the baby put away secretly, and Cyrus came into the care of a simple herdsman where he grew and became quite distinguished. When it was time for Cyrus to take the throne a Jewish prophet went out and found him by the Word of the Lord and brought Cyrus into the kingdom and to the capital and took him secretly into the palace. When the whole court was assembled, the prophet shocked everyone by bringing in Cyrus just at the right moment and he took over the kingdom from the wicked regent. Perhaps Cyrus had a signet ring, or a pendant, or something that proved who he was. For their help Cyrus then did a favour for the Jews, and released them.
"How long is it from 586 B.C. (the fall of Jerusalem) to 516 B.C. when Cyrus issued his proclamation to free the Jews? Exactly 70 years!" Which is exactly the length of time that the Lord prophesied in the Book of Jeremiah, Chapter 25, Verse 11, that Israel would be in bondage as the slaves of Babylon! 70 years! And we get these dates for the Medo-Persian Empire even from secular history which is proof that the Bible is not only a good history book but also the inspired Word of God.
The books of Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther tell the history of how the Jews returned out of Babylon to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem, and restore their home land. The prophets Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi lived during this time a period of about 100 years from 536-432 B.C. It was also at this time that Esther a Jewess, became the Queen of Persia and saved her people from massacre.
Ahasuerus the king who married Esther is said by the Jewish historian Josephus to have been Artaxerxes, although some modern historians think that perhaps it was Xerxes. Ahasuerus, at his great palace at Shushan (Susa) was having a feast and called his wife Vasthi to appear before his guests "wearing only her crown! (This means she was to be nude!)" When she refused, he deposed her and sought a new wife whom he found in the lovely Esther who hid her Jewish background from him. Haman one of the king's chamberlains, proposed to have the Jews annihilated and was further prompted to do so because of the refusal of Mordecai, a Jew and a lesser member of the government to bow down and reverence him. It was the same Mordecai who had reared Esther and also on one occasion saved the king's life. Because of Esther's courage, the Jews were saved, Haman was hanged, and Mordecai took his place as one of the influential rulers of the Medo-Persian Empire. Certainly God used Esther's and Mordecai's influence to make it possible for Ezra and Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem and begin the restoration of the city.
In 453 B.C. Artaxerxes Longimanus, king of the Medes and Persians gave Nehemiah the commandment to go forth and rebuild Jerusalem . (Neh.2:5) "There were several proclamations made to release the Jews and let them return to Israel to rebuild the temple but the principle proclamation to rebuild the city of Jerusalem itself was made by Artaxerxes the Great in 453 B.C.."
"Before either the Medo-Persian or Grecian Empires ever ruled; the prophet Daniel in the year 539 B.C. predicted that war would be fought between these two world empires, and prophesied its outcome--[a Greek victory!] It was precisely fulfilled just as he predicted over 200 years later in 333 B.C.! This remarkable vision of Daniel Chapter 8 begins with this prophecy regarding the conflict between Medo-Persia and Alexander the Great."
"And I saw in a vision...before the river a ram which had two horns...one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. I saw the ram pushing westward and northward, and southward."
(Daniel 8;2-4) "...and he said...The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia." (Daniel 8:19-20)
"The Medo-Persian empire was a dual power, `two horns', but the Persians were the stronger of the two: `one was higher than the other'." "And as I was considering, behold an he-goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes... and smote the ram and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground and stamped upon him... the rough goat is the king of Grecia." (Daniel 8:5,7,8,21)
"The he goat of Greece with its `Great Horn' Alexander the Great, furiously bounded from the west (Greece) to destroy the ram of Persia. During this war the Persian kings put nearly 5 million men into battle, one of the largest war machines ever assembled in all history! Yet Alexander with a force of only 500,000 [men] outnumbered 10 to 1, totally routed this superior force and did it with very few casualties. God was behind the Greeks in these battles in order to prepare the world for the coming of Christ by giving the world a common language--Greek; and awakening a great interest in philosophy and religion through the Hellenistic culture.
In fact, it was this very prophecy which saved Israel when Alexander came to Jerusalem during the course of his conquests. The Jews took him and showed him the scroll of this prophecy that named his empire and it so pleased Alexander that he left Israel alone and didn't ravage it as he had all the other nations that he conquered."
"Now Alexander, when he had taken Gaza, made haste to go up to Jerusalem, and Jaddua the high priest, when he heard that, was in an agony and under terror as not knowing how he should meet the Macedonians... He therefore ordained that the people should make supplications, and should join him in offering sacrifices to God whom he sought to protect that nation...whereupon God warned him in a dream ...that he should take courage and adorn the city and open the gates that the rest should appear in white garments...According to the dream he acted entirely for Alexander, when he saw the multitude at a distance, in white garments...approached by himself, and adorned that name (the name of God) and first saluted the high priest."
When asked why he did it, Alexander replied:
"I saw this very person in a dream in this very habit when I was at Dios in Macedonia, who when I was considering within myself how I might obtain dominion of Asia, exhorted me to make no delay but boldly to pass over the sea thither for that he would conduct my army, and give me dominion over the Persians...
"And when the book of Daniel was shewed him, wherein Daniel declared that one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of the Persians he supposed that himself was the person intended."
(Flavius Josephus book 11, chapter 8, paras 4-5.)
"At 20 years of age Alexander began his military campaign and conquered all the civilised world from Greece to India and from Southern Russia to Northern Africa, in only 10 years! [He conquered the Persian Empire in 333 B.C. at the battle of Issus]. No doubt this swift conquest is why the Lord pictured his kingdom as a winged leopard in the vision of Daniel 7... But just as he was at the height of his power `when he was strong' at the young age of only 33 years, Alexander died." The Empire of Alexander the Great was not necessarily the most powerful, but it was the most extensive... dominating the world of his day."
The "Golden Age" of Greece was an era when Greece was in her glory, the height of philosophy beauty, art and sex and some kinds of religion. "That age in a sense was almost like the golden age of the flesh, the golden age of the material, the golden age of the ultimate of man, believe it or not, the days of Greece." "The Greeks had the right idea of beauty: To them the female form was more attractive just thinly clad or draped partially clothed."
"They say Alexander the Great died weeping that there were no more words to conquer! The big joke was that he hadn't even begun to conquer this world! Half of the world hadn't even been discovered yet and all he had was a little bit from Greece to India, but because he had discovered and conquered all the known world that they considered worth anything, or valuable, they figured that was all that was worth conquering. `Why go off and conquer all these barbarians and natives?--We've conquered the major empires and nations so there's nothing left!--We've come to the end!"
Well it appeared he hadn't conquered the emerging nation Rome the rising world power which was soon to conquer his whole Empire! So apparently he made a slight mistake. Rome was a bunch of barbarians--why bother with them?...So Rome finally conquered him and established an Empire that went much an Empire that went much further than he ever went-England and Spain and places Alexander hardly ever head of and yet he wept and died of a broken heart because his world conquest was over... It was only because he was so blinded by his own egotism and drunken with power and conquest and glory as well as with liquor!" Conquerors are never satisfied--they are never satisfied. They say he died with his boots on 24 drunk somewhere in Persia or in the city of Babylon... revelling in his drunkenness weeping and dying because there were no more worlds to conquer! He hadn't even heard of most of the world that had never been conquered nor the possibility of conquering planets such as the moon and mars etc."
"When [Alexander] fell, his four generals divided his empire up into four major divisions towards the four winds-East, West, North and South. These four kingdoms were depicted as a four-headed leopard in Daniel 7. The names of these four kingdoms are: (1) West: Greece (This is about the same area as modern Greece, but included a lot more territory back then) (2) North: Assyria or modern Turkey (this was the old Syrian Empire which today includes not only modern Syria but also Iran, and parts of Pakistan and India), (4) South: Egypt (also Libya, Ethiopia and all the area of northeast Africa were ruled by Egypt in those days).
New Empires don't start just suddenly as I said earlier. Historians can only give a date for a time when the Empire became the foremost dominant power which is usually when they succeed in conquering their most powerful opponent.
Carthage, was a great rival commercial city in northern Africa originally founded by the Phoenicians and which grew in strength after 300 B.C. after the decline of Greek power and influence. In 218 B.C. Hannibal the great Carthaginian commander successfully led his army on elephants from Spain through Gaul and over the Alps and took the Romans by surprise and won a great battle but he was forced to return to Africa and shortly the Romans gained control. Finally the Romans decided to destroy Carthage completely and after a three year seige of the city they burned it to the ground in 146 B.C. By 133 B.C. Rome had annexed Macedonia (Greece) and the western parts of Asia Minor.28 In a sense the Grecian Empire died completely when Rome burned Carthage for the burning of Carthage; for the burning of Carthage marked the beginning of Rome as a rising world power.
However the period of the Classical Roman Empire which was ruled by the Caesars is more often associated with the reign of Augustus Caesar which began shortly after 44 B.C. when Julius Caesar was killed by his dearest bosom friend Brutus! "Et tu Brute!"30 "Julius Caesar ...was the greatest Caesar Rome ever had ...He was a good dictator that really brought Rome together by his powerful rule and then he was assasinated by his own friends for fear of that same dictatorial power."
After 44 B.C. the Roman Empire existed in name as well as in power,32 "the tough iron-fisted kingdom which clamped down with iron military rule over the entire known world in the days before Christ, was one of the longest-reigning empires the world has ever known known. It so 'subdued all things that for already 100 years there were no major wars, no one even being able to muster a force against the Roman rule or each other."
"God used the Roman Empire to bring about worldwide peace and easy international language to help the Early Church spread the Gospel around the world."34 Greece had wonderfully spread a great empire across the world and with it a very expressive beautiful language which was the international language of that day. The Greeks were interested in more than just sex and the human body they were interested in philosophy and religion too which was a good preparation for the coming of Christ. People were concerned. They had become civilized enough to have time to think about things beyond this life and beyond this world and they were interested and concerned about it and along came Jesus to give them the answer.
"Jesus was a simple man who only taught and lived love and sharing!--That [was something they could] understand !...He came down here and died for them and never showed anything but love for everybody. Jesus had what they wanted so they continued to follow Him nor approve of what He said. He gave and still gives eternal life and hope to all that believe on Him.
But you say," wouldn't it have been much more respectable and acceptable for the King of kings to have been born in a palace, with the illustrious members of the court in attendance, and the honour and praise of the System--instead of on the dirty floor of a barn under the cows and asses, and the smell of all that horseshit, wrapped in rags and lying in a feed-trough, with a motley crew of poor little shepherd boys kneeling on the floor beside Him?...And wouldn't it have been better for Him to have lived a little more decently and acceptably, instead of being in another man's stable scrounging His food in another man's field and sleeping in other people's houses?--Including alone with couple of lovely young single sisters--and buried in another man's grave?...Wouldn't it have been better for His father to have been a prominent potentate, instead of a humble hewer of wood? Wouldn't that have made it easier on Him work a little more rapidly to have the approval of the System?... Did He have to be always challenging the churches, defying convention destroying traditions, and threatening the religious system?--So that He had to be executed with the common criminals and leave behind the evil reputation of having been a companion of publicans and sinners, a glutton and a winebibber, found too often in the company of drunks and harlots, a law-breaker and a rabble-rouser and a disturber of the peace a demon-possessed bastard and false prophet of the wrong way? That's what they called Him!"
"But the simple people loved Him...because they knew He loved them; and was trying to help them to be free... and He went everywhere doing good,"40 "Jesus came along and did the best He could: He died and gave His life and started a New Church. As long as they had the vision and kept in that hot contact with the Lord and His leadership they were sweeping the world and overthrew the Roman Empire with the Good News of the Gospel of God's love, Jesus."
"But when Jesus began to openly expose... [the] religious leaders for their own sins and hypocrisy and to warn the world again against their wicked ways, these enemies of the truth became very afraid of Him...and frightened at the rapid progress of His new unorthodox unchurched movement of multitudes mounting converts to God's only law of love!...
They immediately turned around and used His own words with the Roman Government to accuse Him of treason and sedition as well as blasphemy and religion crimes and to persuade the reluctant Romans to kill Him and pursue His followers as threats to the State and a danger to Rome!...
Shortly after their crucifixion of Christ and their persecution, expulsion and slaughter of a few of His followers these treacherous religious leaders of Israel exposed themselves as being the true traitors to the government by leading an insurrection against Rome themselves. The [rebellion] was really crushed by all the might dictatorship! Their Holy City and temple were destroyed and millions of jews were themselves in turn crucified, slaughtered and scattered throughout the world... [and] it has taken them nearly two thousand years to try to recover."
[History tells us that 70 A.D.] "was the catastrophic and climactic year of which Christ had warned them in Luke 21...40 years after [Jesus was crucified ] the armies of Emperor Vespasian marched into Israel under General Titus and crushed the rebellion of the Jews, destroyed Jerusalem, [and]burned the temple with thousands of Jews inside it. They had fled there for refuge on the words of their false prophet [who had told the Jews]...that if they would flee into their temple and resist... the Romans--they would be spared by God in the surroundings of their sacred temple...But the Christians who had fled across the water and into the Wilderness at the warning of their true prophet of the Lord were saved."43 The Romans literally tore the temple apart until not one stone was left standing upon another to get all the gold that had melted and run between the stones--just as Jesus had prophesied! (Matthew 24:1-2)
The more men try to surpress the truth and crush its followers the more the true believers grow and the faster they follow until stopping them is like trying to stem the flood with a surfboard or empty the ocean with a teacup and they that try to stop them are themselves overthrown and washed away.45 "When the Apostles prophesied the appalling fall of the Roman Empire Nero exiled be headed crucified burned and fed them to the lions but he himself died a perverted raving maniac, and Rome burned and her remains joyously taken over by the Christians themselves!
The martyrs were villified, pilloried tortured, torn apart and sawn asunder by the pagans who attempted to stamp out their pitiful tiny minority but soon the heathen themselves were eventually conquered by the truth love and peace of these berated bands of beautiful people."
"In the most trying times of Church History down as far as the early church [in Israel and]later on under the Roman persecution the only way they were able to survive was in a society where they lived together, survived together...Can you imagine... they conducted a whole society. A whole city of Christians lived in hiding caves under the city [of Rome itself] And because they stuck together and they they cooperated [and lived together in unity]...that helped them to survive."
If God hadn't hardened Rome against the Christians in those early days, they never would have scattered so far and so fast as they did, and would have become part of the establishment even sooner than they did-about 200 years later. "Power popularity and plenty are dangerous, so watch out! "When the Early Church became numerous big rich and powerful and no longer needed God she lost Him!""Within two or three generations they had slowed down spiritually stopped evangelising the world cooled off in their ardor grown cold in their love and frozen together into the same Roman system from which they had dropped out." "They got to the point where they thought they had arrived and overthrown the temporal power of Rome and it now rested in their own hands they became the Roman Catholic Church and the Church ruled Rome and it became the Holy Roman Empire! The Church had arrived and they were satisfied! They had power wealth glory! They had taken over the world...or all of Europe and what they thought was the only advanced civilized part of the world that was important to them. Then they more or less sat down and were satisfied and they quit really progressing. But they hadn't...conquered India nor China nor Russia nor Africa nor Asia the Americas nor the islands of the sea. But they slowed virtually to a standstill." "Christianity became accepted recognised popular powerful wealthy and dictatorial and became Rome itself!
[In 311 A.D.Galerius recognised Christianity. In 313 A.D. the Edict of Milan proclaimed religious toleration and in 324 A.D., Constantine the Great becomes the first Christian Emperor! The next major persecution against the rule followers of Christ were done some years later by the established Church itself-the Church and State had become the same.] "The Church had become the Empire and continued to persecute and continued to persecute and attempt to destroy the tiny little bands of genuine Christians who lived on in spite of it even in the Catacombs beneath the city itself and in far-off lands free from the long arm of Rome! For a thousand years of the Dark Ages the true Church had to go underground ....because the Roman Empire was revived in the new so-called Holy Roman Empire of the Roman Catholic Church whose dominions power wealth and expansion far outreached the former boundaries of Rome and outlived the decadent Empire."
"History repeats itself... There is no new thing under the sun."54 "Empires come and go but the poor and nomads live on forever. The most highly organised kingdoms this world has ever known with the strongest and most centralised and dictatorial forms of government and leadership with the widest expanse of territorial coverage such as the various Empires [and Kingdoms] this world has known although they lasted for years, have every one eventually crumbled and fallen or been destroyed by others! Why? Was it poor unification poor organisation poor unification, poor loyalty, poor instruction poor control? What was it? I am suspecting that perhaps even their gigantic size great strength and dictatorial control was a part of their weakness which brought on such impersonalisation such remote control that they lost the personal touch completely lost the loyalty of their lowliest subjects lost communications and identification with the grass roots got out of touch with the masses and no longer had their fingers on the intimate pulse of each individual and his basic morale. Such a chain-of-command system is no stronger than its weakest link. The Romans were too busy playing games and cracking jokes in the Senate to notice that their Empire was crumbling around their ears."
"Various dates are given for the fall of the Roman Empire historians disagree on what really was the final fall because it kept falling and it would fall and then fall and fall some more...It became rotten and corrupt and wicked and sinful at the core and undecided...about its ware as to whether they should fight them or not or win them or not--and while their senators and legislators were arguing over it--the enemy [the Goths and the Visigoths] were camping outside the door and soon marched in and burned and sacked the nation and made slaves of the Romans."58 The date that Toynbee gives for the fall of the Roman Empire is 455 A.D.
There has not been a dominant world empire since Rome. Rome fell and was broken up into a lot of little nations and countries, some strong and some weak some partly broken some dictatorships and some democracies--iron and clay mingled together as Daniel the Prophet revealed (the second chapter of Daniel) way back in 538 B.C.-and Daniel also told us there is a seventh world power, or world kingdom a world dictatorship a world Empire, yet to come.
In the image of the world empires, described by Daniel, the Roman Empire was symbolized by Iron legs. Most people have two legs and we assume that image had two legs as well. Was the Roman Empire ever divided before it fell?--It was: There was an Eastern and a Western Roman Empire in the days of its decline. Rome was the capital city of the Western Roman Empire and Byzantium (Constantinople) was the capital of the main cities of Turkey. This is when the Eastern Orthodox Church spilt with the Roman Catholic Church. This was at a time when the political powers were endeavouring to split the Roman Empire and as we have seen, political powers always need a religious power to help them rule and reign.
Travelling through the hills of Italy, you can see the glories of the past. The armies had swept across the hills, first one way, then another--the legions of Rome and the hordes of her enemies changing the face of history--one constructing another destroying. Man prides himself in what he thinks are going to be his everlasting works; but their end is always the same--the grave of oblivion, monstrous reminders of man's transitory tenure against his puny efforts to eternalize himself without God.
Part 1 of 7000 years of World History
Part 2 of 7000 years of World History