The Book of Revelation
Historical Supplement #1
Holy Alliance to the Kingdom of Italy
Issue No. 185-A
The “fatal wound” of the beast was healed in 1815 with the final downfall of Napoleon, after he had taken the Pope captive and had moved him to France—in essence, overthrowing the “eternal city” of Rome as the seat of his capital. But Napoleon’s fatal mistake was in his invasion of Russia. Though he technically won the war and took Moscow, he lost most of his troops. Russia could replace their troops, but France could not replace these elite and experienced troops so easily.
The Bourbon monarchy was restored in France under Louis XVIII. Napoleon was exiled to the island of Elba for a short time, but then he escaped and returned to France. King Louis XVIII fled. The other European nations then came to fight Napoleon once again, and Napoleon was finally defeated at Waterloo in 1815. This date, then, is the final one for the “fatal wound” of the beast being healed.
At the Congress of Vienna, the monarchs met to redraw the map of Europe and to make an agreement to help each other against those who would try to bring about any more democratic revolutions that would overthrow the kings. Cormenin says in his History of the Popes, Vol. II, p. 424,
“His holiness, still more encouraged by the success of these efforts to go on, intrigued actively at the Congress of Vienna, and was placed in possession of the three provinces, the March of Ancona, Macerata, and Zermo, of the dutchies of Camerino, Beneventum, and Ponte Corvo, as well as the provinces of Romagna, Bologna, and Ferrara, known by the name of the three legations, and even claimed some cities of this last legation situated beyond the Po, as well as the city of Avignon, and the Venaissin country.
“The fatal influence of the court of Rome was already extending itself over the different kingdoms of Europe…from all quarters was at last announced the restoration of the papacy. Fortunately, the Catholic and protestant princes of the states of the Germanic confederacy were alarmed by the progress of the court of Rome. To avoid a collision, they arranged among themselves the principle of unlimited freedom of worship, and proposed a concordat, established on this basis, to the pontiff. He refused to adhere, under the pretence that such a treaty would compromise his temporal and spiritual powers; they went on, notwithstanding his censures.”
Pope Pius VII finally died on April 20, 1823, and in his place Annibal della Genga became Pope Leo XII. The new Pope raved against the various Bible Societies that had sprung up since the 1790’s. These Bible Societies were dedicated to publishing and distributing the Bible to the common people in Europe and throughout the world. They were Protestant organizations, of course, and their mission ran directly counter to the Roman Church, which was vehemently opposed to the Bible being read by the common people. In an encyclical letter, Pope Leo wrote:
“There is a sect, my brethren, who arrogating wrongfully to themselves the name of philosophy, have rekindled from their ashes the dispersed phalanxes of errors…teaching that God has given entire freedom to every man, so that each one can, without endangering his safety, embrace and adopt the sect or opinion which suits his private judgment….This doctrine, though seducing and sensible in appearance, is profoundly absurd; and I cannot warn you too much against the impiety of these maniacs…
“What shall I say more? The iniquity of the enemies of the Holy See is so increased, that besides the deluge of pernicious books with which they inundate Europe, it goes so far as to turn the religion of the Holy Scriptures to detriment. A society, commonly called the Bible Society, spreads itself audaciously over the whole earth, and in contempt of the traditions of the holy fathers, in opposition to the celebrated decree of the council of Trent, which prohibits the holy scriptures from being made common, it publishes translations of them in all the languages of the world…Let God arise; let him repress, confound, annihilate this unbridled license of speaking, writing, and publishing….”
The American and French revolutions had, by this time, fully planted the ideas of religious freedom and freedom of the press in many countries that were outside the control of Rome. These freedoms came through the coalition of Jews, Protestants, and Freemasons, who had common cause against Rome. Also, the suppression of the Jesuits from 1773-1814 deprived Rome of its fanatical army of oppressors, who, for a time, secretly joined forces with the enemies of Rome.
The Congress of Vienna restored the papacy and even gave the Pope civil authority over some territory, yet papal authority was reduced overall. Even with its restored army of Jesuits, the popes were no longer able to force kings to submit to their authority. The Bible was being distributed to more and more people, and people were able to see for themselves the papal pretensions of power.
Freedom of worship and of conscience were somewhat new ideas, but they had gained acceptance in places like America, Germany, Scandinavia, and much of France. The Roman Church fought hard against these “heretical” ideas, but they lost ground steadily.
Italian Catholics Revolt: 1830 - 1870
After the fall of Napoleon in 1814, France reverted to a monarchy. In 1830 the Jesuits of Montrouge induced the French King Charles X to abolish the freedom of the press and change the laws regarding the election of representative government. This brought another revolution to France, and in just three days the people of Paris regained their liberty. However, ten days after the overthrow of Charles X (the last of the Bourbon kings of France) 219 representatives of the citizens constructed a new constitutional monarchy with Louis Philippe I as its king.
With revolutions brewing in Italy, Pope Gregory XVI could no longer get help from France, since the king’s hands were largely tied by the French Constitution. So for the next 16 years, the Pope’s power over Italy was maintained by the king of Austria, one of the signers of the “Holy Alliance” in 1815. Austria was, at that time, the great power-base of the Jesuits, and they controlled Austrian foreign policy.
Then in 1846 Pope Gregory XVI died, and the Conclave of Cardinals met to elect a new pope. The Cardinals were divided into two parties—the Absolutists and the Liberals. It came down to a contest between the Absolutist Cardinal Lambruschini (the Vatican Secretary of State) and the Liberal Cardinal Mastai. Mastai won the election and became Pope Pius IX. He had begun his reign by issuing an amnesty for political prisoners and even gave orders to tear down the walls around the Jewish ghetto that had been built 300 years earlier.
“Unfortunately, at this time, Grazioli—a high-minded and tolerant priest, the Pope’s confessor—died, and Pius fell into the hands of a confessor devoted to the Jesuits, and from that moment his conduct became hypocritical and deceitful, and afterwards cruel and inhuman. To the Jesuits is certainly to be attributed the change in the politics of the Pope… But now, divesting himself of the borrowed character of a tolerant and liberal man, Pius returned to the former error of all Popes, and would not listen to a word about reform touching the priesthood.” (History of the Jesuits, by G. B. Nicolini, 1854)
Pius IX soon issued a written declaration of his policy in regard to papal sovereignty over all nations and his opposition to any form of constitution that might limit his power or the power of any European monarch. It was made very clear that his reign as pope would continue the policies of his rigid predecessor. The amnesty that he had issued at the beginning of his pontificate was contingent upon those fugitives recognizing the absolute sovereignty of the popes over all men and nations. The author, R. W. Thompson attributes this hard-line attitude to his Jesuit mentors:
“It is, therefore, but simple justice to his memory to say that while his liberalism made him popular with the masses, he was so hampered, restrained, and tied down by the relations between Gregory XVI and Austria—representing the “Holy Alliance”—that much of what he afterwards did might possibly have been avoided if he had been permitted to have his own way.
“His tendency to reform excited the ‘alarm’ of Austria, whose emperor saw in it a possible departure from the retrogressive policy of Gregory XVI and the ‘Holy Alliance’…Austria was ‘the most formidable enemy of reforms, which she had every reason to dread.’ Why Manifestly because reform indicated that possible loss of the temporal power by the pope, which would inevitably prove a serious blow to monarchial power, and the possible establishment of popular institutions in Italy.” (Footprints of the Jesuits, pp. 296-298)
The pope then created a “civic guard,” which the people saw as a papal army that was being mobilized for war against anyone opposing its absolute power. The pope’s Secretary of State resigned in protest, leaving Pius IX to be advised by the Jesuit hard-liners. Austria brought an army to Italy. The people demanded that the Pope treat that army as an invading force. He refused, for it was there to safeguard papal power. The people then began to expel the Jesuits from every major city in Italy. The Jesuits found refuge in Rome.
“Having found shelter in Rome, they crowded around the pope, practicing all their arts in playing upon his vanity, inciting his passions, and turning him against the people. At last the measure of popular odium which rested upon them became so great that Pius IX was awakened to a consciousness of their dangerous presence, and he drove them out of Italy.” (Footprints of the Jesuits, p. 309)
“When the Jesuits were out of the way, and it came to be seen that Pius IX still adhered to their obnoxious doctrines with regard to an independent constitutional government and the religious obligation to maintain the temporal power of the pope as a tenet of faith, he found himself, far more than before, unable to escape the public criticism and reproof.” (Footprints of the Jesuits, p. 310)
The Pope sent a letter to the king of Austria, begging him to remove his troops from Italy and defuse the situation. But the king refused. The king of Sardinia, then, raised an army and fought against the Austrian troops. Sardinia, under King Charles Albert, lost at the Battle of Novara. He then resigned in favor of his son, Victor Emmanuel, who proved to be an able statesman. Several of the Italian provinces gave allegiance to Victor Emmanuel, and this elevated his status from the King of Sardinia to the ruler of the Kingdom of Italy.
“One by one, therefore, these Italian provinces, filled with Roman Catholic populations, separated themselves by solemn votes from the temporal dominion of the pope, and left Pius IX to mourn over his rapidly-sinking fortunes….
“Victor Emmanuel was a Roman Catholic, and neither expressed nor entertained the desire to impair, in any degree whatsoever, the spiritual authority or independence of the pope… All that he and they desired was to make the State independent of the Church in the enactment and administration of temporal laws, and to leave the Church, with the pope remaining its head, independent of the State in spiritual affairs….But Pius IX could not consent to this without being unfaithful to the cause of the papacy….” (Footprints of the Jesuits, p. 314)
“He accused the new Government of Italy with ‘attacking the Catholic Church, its wholesome laws, and all its sacred ministers’—an accusation which lost its force by the excess of its misrepresentation, as the facts just detailed abundantly show. (Footprints of the Jesuits, p. 315)
“Putting on, therefore, his full papal armor in imitation of some of his predecessors, he endeavored to upturn and destroy the new Government of Italy by the thunder of his anathemas.
“Without seeming to comprehend its full meaning and force, he declared it to be ‘a singular arrangement of Divine providence’ that the pope ‘was invested with his civil authority’ at the time of the fall of the Roman Empire; that is, during the latter half of the fifth century, and nearly five hundred years after the beginning of the Christian era.
“His object was to show that when the Roman Empire fell, the temporal power was divinely added to the spiritual power of the pope, and, therefore, that it would violate the divine law if he were deprived of the crown of temporal royalty, which the popes of the primitive times did not possess.” (Footprints of the Jesuits, pp. 316, 317)
The Pope’s claim of being the successor to the Roman Empire after its fall was, in a sense very true. Even the prophet Daniel wrote about this in his seventh chapter, where he speaks of the rise of the “little horn” that succeeded the beast with great iron teeth (Rome). Daniel 7:8 says, “this horn possessed eyes like a man, and a mouth uttering great boasts.” This final form of the Babylonian succession of empires is the papal system that “wages war with the saints” (Dan. 7:21) and was to “wear down the saints” (7:25) until God gives His true saints the dominion in the earth. Thus, the papal “little horn” extension of the Roman Empire began in the fifth century, as Pope Pius IX tells us, and extends to the time when the great Stone Kingdom will be established in the earth—that is the Kingdom of God.
In 1860 the people of Italy united under King Victor Emmanuel, forming the first united Italy since the breakup of the Roman Empire. The Pope continued to issue anathemas against all supporters of a unified Italy. Finally, after enduring such insults for ten years, the Italian troops took the city of Rome on September 20, 1870. A temporary government was formed, and a referendum was held. The Catholic population of Italy voted overwhelmingly for the new Constitutional Monarchy. Only 2,000 votes were cast against it in favor of papal power. It was a constitutional monarchy, rather than one where the king had absolute power.
At last, not only by actual conquest, but by the overwhelming vote of the Italian people themselves, the Pope lost all territorial claims anywhere beyond the 70 acres of the Vatican City. The King granted the Pope sovereignty over the Vatican as a city-state, gave him freedom to travel, the Popes pouted for nearly 70 years within the walls of the Vatican in a self-imposed captivity. Catholic writer, James Carroll, writes on page 445 of his 2001 book, Constantine’s Sword,
“Pius IX became a self-styled ‘prisoner of the Vatican,’ where the popes would remain until Pius XI came to terms with Mussolini in the Lateran Treaty of 1929. The treaty’s most important provision recognized papal sovereignty over the ninety-acre enclave of Vatican City.”
R. W. Thompson elaborates on this in his book, Footprints of the Jesuits, p. 328,
“But Pius IX added to his sufferings by the pretense of hardships that were not real. He was allowed to return to Rome unmolested, and to take up his residence again in the Vatican. He called himself a prisoner, and induced others to do so, thereby setting an example his successor has imitated. But he was not a prisoner, except when he, of his own accord, shut himself up in the castle of St. Angelo. He was, up till the close of his life, free to go wheresoever and when he pleased. There was no restraint imposed upon his actions. No indignity to his spiritual office or to his person was allowed. He could open and close the doors of the Vatican at his own pleasure, and admit or exclude whomsoever he pleased. He enjoyed the utmost liberty of speech and of writing, and bestowed praise or censure at discretion. But instead of enjoying the real liberty guaranteed to him by the laws of the Government upon which his pontifical curse was resting, he wore his life away by useless complaining, and by sending forth additional anathemas, which indicated only that his vanity was ungratified and his ambition disappointed.”
In all of this, we can see that the “fatal wound’ of the beast (Rev. 13:3) was inflicted more than once, and each time, this wound was “healed.” That is, the papal system was overthrown with the popes actually being taken prisoner or fleeing from Rome in 1798, in 1830, in 1848, and finally in 1870. Yet each time they were generously reinstated, though papal power was gradually diminished. Much like a man receiving physical blows to the head, each recovery was only partial. The Roman Church never really recovered its full power. Hence, we see how Revelation 13 and Daniel 7 are being fulfilled.
The Struggle Between Two Beasts
The overthrow of the “little horn” has been gradual, for God in his mercy has given us this second beast as a counterweight. This second beast is a secular beast that has overthrown much of the power of the religious beast. Whereas the first beast worked to establish religious power over the nations, the second beast works to establish secular power over the nations. The separation of Church and State, as established in America and in other nations in varying degrees, has worked to our benefit in stopping papal dominion over our lives and preventing Rome from continuing the Inquisition. Rome is no longer able to burn people at the stake for “heresy” or for refusing to submit to papal power.
On the other hand, this second beast is still a “beast,” and should not be confused with the Kingdom of God in any way. The secularization of America has been its long-term goal in order to establish another ungodly system in place of the first. This second system conceives of freedom and liberty to be freedom from any sexual morality and uses the concept of the separation of Church and State to push for the separation of politics from simple morality. In my view, Christians ought to recognize the reality of the situation for what it is. We can appreciate—with certain reservations—the secularization of America in that it offers us freedom to be what we want to be—that is, to be obedient to the divine laws.
Yet we also ought to recognize that this same system offers men the increasing freedom to be as immoral as they wish to be as well. And as this second beast gains strength, its human agents have begun working outlaw Christian belief in the Bible as an inspired text. If these agents succeed, it will soon be unlawful to quote from certain portions of the Bible—such as the biblical ban on homosexual relations or the Jewish role in Jesus’ crucifixion. As the first beast (the Roman Church) gradually loses power, the second beast fills the power vacuum and becomes the more serious menace to anyone daring to believe that the New Testament Gospels were actually written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Given enough time, it will become a crime to teach openly that the Gospels are historical accounts written by eyewitnesses.
This “secular” beast is attacking evangelical Christians as “literalists” for believing the New Testament account. This term blows fog on the issue, because “literal” contrasts with “symbolic.” When the New Testament authors tell us that the Jewish leaders crucified Jesus (example: Acts 2:36), how can anyone take this symbolically? It is either literally true or literally a false accusation. This “secular” beast wants us to believe that the New Testament is NOT TRUE. It has little to do with literal-ness. It is a debate over the divine inspiration of the text of the New Testament and whether or not the disciples actually wrote the Gospels.
The irony of the situation is that the attacks of the “secular” beast have compelled evangelical Christians to form an alliance with the Roman Catholic Church on this issue and others—such as the legalization of abortions and the removal of all Christianity from government or public institutions. At the same time, the Roman Catholic Church has begun to accommodate the “secular” beast (beginning with Vatican II in 1964). The U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops in 2001 issued a statement that Jews do not need either Jesus Christ or the Catholic Church to be saved, but are saved by the Old Covenant. As more and more old-school Cardinals die and are replaced by this new liberal school, it is only a matter of time before this new idea of Jewish salvation is affirmed by papal decree.
Evangelicals, for their part, have also formed an alliance with this “secular” beast in a way that they little suspect. They do not realize that the “secular” beast is largely in the hands of secular Jews. Yet since the 1967 Six-Day War, the religious Jews have enormously increased their power over the secular Jews, transforming this “secular” beast into a potent religious movement that promotes a radical Zionistic view of Judaism.
This “secular” beast is not content with letting each religion believe its own set of writings that are its foundation. It is ultimately a beast that wants to control religion and to decide for us what is true and what is not true and demanding a favorable Christian view of Judaism and Zionism. In other words, this beast is religious, but operates largely under the cover of “secularism.”
It is, after all, still a beast system and should not be confused with the Kingdom of God. Christians have little understanding of history and are largely unaware of how they are being manipulated in a grand struggle between two end-time beast systems described in Revelation 13. Each beast seeks to gain followers from among evangelical and pentecostal Christianity, one pulling them back to Rome, and the other to Jerusalem. The overcomers, however, will not put themselves in submission to men (or to either system), but will remain true to Jesus Christ and to the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God: The Third Choice
The Kingdom of God is a third system, distinct from the first two beast systems. It is a type of government that is independent of both religious traditions of men and secular traditions of men. It is based upon the divine law—not as interpreted by Jewish rabbis or by Roman Popes—but by the overcomers who are filled with the Holy Spirit and who have the full mind of Christ. Until such people (“the sons of God”) are manifested upon the earth and given this authority, we must live in the present and learn to do what Jesus would do in every situation. Jesus lived in peace and did not fight the Roman authorities.
When the Kingdom of God is finally divinely mandated and manifested in the earth, it will NOT be the signal for so-called overcomers to “rise up with holy intolerance and slay the wicked,” as some may envision. It will be a time when men will be persuaded to live righteous lives by seeing the example of the overcomers—or rather, of seeing Christ in the overcomers.
It will not be a time when God empowers the overcomers with superhuman strength so that they can force the wicked to convert or die. It will instead be a time when God empowers the overcomers to show the world by example what God intended them to be from the beginning—before Adam sinned. It will be a time when God will manifest Himself to the earth in a greater way than ever before in history, so that men will want to know the God of the overcomers—Jesus Christ. The will want to know how they, too, can become overcomers.
Until now, religions have used violence and force to establish their visions of the kingdom of God. Force is not needed, where truth is obvious. Political and physical force are only needed as poor substitutes when men do not possess “the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16).
When men are filled with the Spirit, there is no need for intolerance. Intolerance is the policy of those who are devoid of the gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit. When men cannot demonstrate the power of God to others, they soon resort to coercion and force.
I am here to testify by the Spirit of God that the Kingdom of God will indeed be established throughout the whole earth, but that men will come to know Jesus Christ when they see His Love, not merely His power; when they see His goodness toward men, not His stern rebukes; when they see His healing power, not His power to destroy them by fire. The world—all creation—is still waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God that will show them the Father. Then the overcomers can say, with Jesus, that if you have seen me, you have seen the Father, for I and my Father are one.