False Interpretation of Prophetic Scripture
A False Interpretation of Prophetic Scripture
The Holy Roman Empire is Back?
By R.A. Coombes
Author of "America, The Babylon: Vol. 1 & 2
There is a published article on the internet that is being cited for its assertion that certain Biblical prophecies began fulfillment on January 1, 2010. The article is from a website known as "The Trumpet," which is a monthly, printed magazine sponsored by The Philadelphia Church of God.
The article in question is entitled: The Holy Roman Empire is Back." It is set to appear in the February printed edition of the magazine. The article makes many false assertions and false interpretations of Biblical Prophecy and it has already triggered some questions from A-O readers. Because of this confusion, The A-O Report has decided to expose the errors in that article as an example of how "Cults" operate in twisting and distorting facts and scripture to arrive at their own pre-conceived conclusion. If you look carefully at our analysis with the actual article, you'll see why we're exposing the errors of this article and the mindset of the cult behind it.
The article entitled "The Holy Roman Empire is Back” is a classic case of twisting not only scripture, but facts. Of course, the article was written by a man who follows the "cult" of the late Herbert W. Armstrong, sometimes known as "Armstrongism." The author of the article is Gerald Flurry.
Some readers might wonder if we’re correct to identify Armstrongism” as a cult. If anyone doubts’
Also read “The Kingdom of the Cults” by Walter Martin – a classic textbook of the major and minor cults of the 20th Century by the world’s leading expert of his day, Walter Martin – also known as “The Bible Answer Man” before his death in 1989. Here’s a book review link: LINK HERE.
Let’s examine the article “The Holy Roman Empire is Back.”
Author Gerald Flurry sub-headlines his article by stating:
"A foundational prophecy of your Bible has just been fulfilled. The perfect military storm is about to explode. Let the world beware!"
Flurry then asserts at the opening of his article that the Holy Roman Empire became official on January 1, 2010. He bases this claim to that being the date upon which the UN implemented its diplomatic service and appointed other officials. Flurry then alleges that this move has made the European Union the official revived version of the old Holy Roman Empire.
Flurry notes that the EU is heavily dominated by Germany and is becoming a military super-power that is building of a new army. He also states that the EU will be guided by the Vatican and that it will be a church-state combine.
To Flurry’s claims, we object. First of all, the implementation of a diplomatic service on January 1, 2010 does not constitute the EU as becoming the revived Holy Roman Empire. There is nothing special about engaging the diplomatic corps as necessary for becoming the Holy Roman Empire. In fact, there are no preconditions for a Holy Roman Empire, period. Such a notion is preposterous on its face. But that's just the first error in his article. Many more will follow.
Flurry claims that the EU 'will be guided by the Vatican.' On what basis does he make such an assertion? There is none. He apparently assumes this will become true. He provides no basis for making such an assumption.
There is no indication whatsoever that the Vatican will "guide" the EU and of course what does he mean by using the word, "guide?" The EU is following the USA mold of separating church and state. The EU is adamantly opposed to a church-state combination. However, Flurry justifies his claim on the basis of his assertion that in the future, the Vatican will guide the EU - it becomes the Holy Roman Empire.
Now for prophetic purposes, Flurry next injects some prophetic correlation by claiming that the Holy Roman Empire has seven heads or seven leaders. He states that the seventh head "is now on the scene." He then backtracks to state that the first head was Justinian in 554 A.D and the sixth head was Adolf Hitler. Here, Gerald Flurry claims that the old, "Holy Roman Empire" began in 554 A.D... with the emperor, Justinian.
Historians however would beg to differ with Flurry. Wikipedia explains & defines the old Holy Roman Empire. LINK HERE.
Wikipedia notes that the Holy Roman Empire was a term for a union of territories in central Europe during the Middle Ages. The first emperor of the Holy Roman Empire was Otto 1 crowned in 962 A.D. and not Justinian of 554 A.D. We have a gap of 300 years between the historical fact and the alleged fact claimed by the article’s author, Gerald Flurry.
We should note that there may be some A-O readers who would argue that the first Emperor was Charlemagne, crowned as Emperor in 800 A.D. Yet, Gerald Flurry's article in The Trumpet - states that the Holy Roman Empire started in 554 with Justinian. Why Justinian? Justinian's empire consisted of the eastern Roman Empire, such as present day Turkey, not the western portion of the empire. So here we see a grievous historical error committed by Flurry. It's not the last.
Flurry’s next claim: "The Holy Roman Empire” has seven heads. The seventh is now on the scene according to Flurry. The first head began in A.D. 554 and was ruled by Justinian. The sixth head ended at the conclusion of World War II in 1945. It was ruled by madman Adolf Hitler, one of the bloodiest tyrants in the history of man.
Flurry alludes to Revelation 17:10 for his justification in the use of "heads."
"And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space."
As we first noted, Flurry errs in stating the Holy Roman Empire started in 554 A.D. He errs again with incorrectly naming the first emperor. Then Flurry errs again by claiming that Hitler is the sixth head within the Holy Roman Empire history. He offers no basis for such claims.
Flurry gives us no basis for his arbitrary assertions concerning the 6 heads of the Holy Roman Empire. A look at the historical records shows a voluminous number of Holy Roman Empire Kings and Emperors. See link below and choose from the list for “heads” which should be considered "the five" heads before Hitler? See this Wikipedia LINK HERE for clarity on the matter.
Of course, let's not forget that this list doesn't match up with Gerald Flurry's list because he starts the Holy Roman Empire 400 years earlier with Justinian as the first Holy Roman Emperor.
Do you get the idea that the author, Gerald Flurry has a twisted, misguided or misunderstanding of the Holy Roman Empire? We find it ironic that Flurry spends some effort to claim that Europeans have forgotten their history. While this may or may not be true, Flurry is demonstrating that his knowledge of European history is certainly twisted and not trustworthy.
Flurry continues his article, wasting words and space to discuss Germany and its role in Post WW2 Europe and the EU. He wants us to conclude that a 4th German Reich is coming via its leadership position within the EU. While this may or may not be a valid assumption, make no mistake - it is an assumption for which I see little supporting evidence at the moment. Both France and Britain have greater military capabilities. Furthermore, his whole argument is irrelevant to a correct understanding of Revelation 17:10 and other prophetic passages.
Equally puzzling is Flurry's reference to Charlemagne in the Holy Roman Empire. Charlemagne was born in 742 A.D. and lived until 814 A.D. From the perspective of modern historians, The Holy Roman Empire though did not begin until 962 A.D and constituted only a fraction of the old literal, Roman Empire. Nevertheless, in his article Flurry asks who will be the next Charlemagne? He indicates the Charlemagne's reign was the first "Reich" (empire) apparently within the German scheme of Reich’s and Hitler's Third Reich, according to Flurry, was actually the sixth Holy Roman Empire. Flurry never explains how he gets three into six.
Flurry then makes startling claim:
"Will the seventh Holy Roman Empire also be in the “tradition” of Adolf Hitler and the sixth head? Yes it will—so states Bible prophecy!"
Really? I don't see that in my Bible anywhere. At this point though, Flurry doesn't document his claim with any Biblical reference.
Flurry continues on and then names a German whom he believes will soon become the next Charlemagne that will lead a 7th Holy Roman Empire. Flurry then states the man who will be this future Charlemagne is named Baron Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. Guttenberg was recently named by Chancellor Angela Merkel as the new Defense Minister of Germany.
Baron Guttenberg's full, family title is alleged by Flurry, to be “Baron of the Holy Roman Empire.”
Near the end of Flurry's article, we find the author attempting to link his preceding material to Biblical Prophecy and here we find the serious errors. Flurry begins by citing Revelation 17:10.
"And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space."
Flurry cites the late cult-leader, Herbert W. Armstrong's interpretation of this verse. Armstrong interpreted Rev 17 and verse 10 to indicate that the term "and one is" refers to Hitler and his Third Reich (or 6th Holy Roman Empire). How one equates 3 equally 6 can only be by virtue of tremendous assumption. Furthermore, Flurry fails to explain how Hitler could be “and one is” which is in present tense.
For the sake of clarity, let's review the Revelation passage in its entire context that includes not only verse 10 but also verses 7 thru 11 so that we can get the full context of the passage itself.
Context is always critically important in Biblical interpretation.
Verse 7. "And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns."
Verse 8. "The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
Verse 9. "And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth."
Verse 10. "And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space."
Verse 11. "And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition."
Verse 7 tells us that the angel who is showing John the visions, now explains the woman and the beast. This explanation proceeds initially with the beast, then the woman. So that in verse 7 we find the angel now describing the beast as having 7 heads and 10 horns.
In Verse 8, the angels states that - "the beast, which you saw - was, and is not, and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition."
We want to note verb tenses in the verse include aorist and imperfect and future tenses indicating a reference to the beast John saw. In other words John saw the beast in the past moments, but is not present during the dialogue with the angel, but will appear in the future of prophetic events. A similar explanation is repeated at the end of the verse when the people of the world see the beast.
Verse 9 then describes the woman in relation to the 7 heads. Verse 9 indicates that the 7 'heads' are in reality 7 prominences - something that sticks up as in the top or heads. At the very beginning of the verse we are told this is not a normal statement, but will require wisdom to understand the woman, because previously as verse 5 notes - the woman is a "mystery." In reality, the woman is the Mother of the Harlots, a title given to the chief goddess of Babylon known as Ishtar, Mother of the Harlots. Her religion was a 'mystery religion' and the most prominent religion of the world. It involved, literally, sexual intercourse between worshipers and temple priestesses who were called harlots.
So verse 9 is a reference to this goddess known as Ishtar. Ishtar is in reality one of the fallen angels worshiped before and after the Flood. Ishtar is a Kosmokrator-class fallen angel assigned to protect a given nation and in this case the nation's empire. In verse 9 we understand her power to reign spreads across 7 "hora" of the world. "Hora" is a Greek word #3735 which in its ultimate Greek root form means "large land mass" as in "continents." It is not merely a "koine-Greek" term, but a universal Greek term covering all dialects. In koine-Greek form it was primarily used for mountains or deserts, but not hills.
This verse 9 passage does not refer to the 7 hills of Rome. If it were a reference to Rome's 7 hills, the proper word to have used would have been the Greek word "bounos" which was of Latin origin and used in reference to Rome's 7 hills.
The Greek word "hora" was used by the Greek worshipers of Ishtar to refer to her one of religious mystery 'doctrine' indicating her power and influence over the 7 "hora" and 7 seas of the world. In other words her power stretched over the 7 "large land masses" or "continents of the world and the 7 seas of the world. Better stated: Ishtar's power was planet-wide or global in nature.
Verse 9 is actually a citation of this particular mystery doctrine of Ishtar's religion. The 7 "heads" is the Greek term "Kethalay" = Strong's #2776 which can mean a head, a chief, a top, a prominence, a principal, a master, a lord, depending upon context within a phrase or passage. Given the context related to "hora" and the doctrinal citation of Ishtar in this verse, the word means something that sticks up or a top or a prominence. A continent is the context of "Kethalay" indicating a geographical connotation.
This is also further underscored by the Greek word "Houpou" and should be translated as "where." Houpou thus indicates a location, which further supports the context of "continent" and the Kethalay term being translated as a 'prominence.' It is further supported by the Greek term "kathetai" or "kathaymay" = #2521 which can carry different meanings related to the idea of 'sitting' or dwelling and or reigning in the discharge of duties as of a Queen. The woman claims to be a queen in Revelation 18:7 "I sit a Queen..." and here is that same word used again. Also, keep in mind that the term "heads" is in feminine gender in all of these verses 3, 7, and 9.
So "kethalay" also then relates as 7 "continents" in regards to the 7 Kethalay of the Beast. In other words the Beast of Revelation 17 has 7 "continents" and 10 horns.
So the beast does not have 7 heads that are empires nor are the heads 7 world empires. The 7 heads indicates global or planetary in its nature.
It should also be noted in Verse 7 that the KJV translation suggests that the beast is transporting the woman by using the word "carrieth" which would suggest transporting from one location to another. This is another incorrect translation. The Greek word in question is the term "Bastahdzoh" = #941 which means - 'to bear, to endure, to support, to put up with, to take up or to uplift, or to carry in metaphorical sense as an idea or carry a thought. In other words, verse 7 indicates the beast is supportive of the woman's power, reign, and influence. It definitely does NOT - repeat does NOT mean "to ride." The woman, the harlot, is NOT “riding” the beast.
Yes, I know that Dave Hunt wrote a book entitled "A Woman Rides the Beast." Dave Hunt has made an assumption that is totally false and absolutely, 100% misleading if not outright deceptive. The woman sits on the beast in the sense of exerting power and authority over the beast BEFORE the beast comes to power. The beast does not come to power until the woman is destroyed by fire, a fire initiated by God in Revelation 17:16 and further described in chapter 18 when the woman and the megalopolis also called Babylon are destroyed in the same one hour of one day, time frame.
Now let's return to Revelation 17:10
"And there are seven Kings. Five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come and when he cometh, he must continue a short space."
The term "kings" is the Greek word - "Basileis" = #932 Basileia. & 935 Basileus. Various meanings such as royal power, kingship, dominion, rule. A kingdom, or as a leader of a people. A prince, or a commander, or lord of a land. By extension of context, could be used of an empire.
So verse 10 states there have been 5 global empires in the past. There is one empire present at the time of John's writing and one more yet to come and when the other one comes, it will be necessary for it or him to survive for a little while.
In verse 11, we find that the beast that John first saw - the beast that was and is not ... well, when this beast comes on the scene he is the eighth, and is of the other seven and goes into perdition.
So, there are 7 empires before the eighth beast comes to power with his own empire.
Now, let's return to The Trumpet Magazine article by Gerald Flurry. Flurry states that according to Herbert W. Armstrong, Adolf Hitler was the 6th empire (Third Reich) of the Holy Roman Empire. The coming Antichrist will be the 7th and final empire. However, Revelation 17:7-11 tells us that the beast is the eighth empire. Armstrong apparently couldn't count in Revelation 17:11.
Here's Flurry's erroneous statement:
"After the “one is” era, there’s just a short space left for “the other [that] is not yet come.” This statement is the most acute kind of emphasis for the seventh head. We are now witnessing the seventh head. It will continue a short time—and then we can forget about the beast! Wars, terrorism, weather disasters—these will all be gone forever! When “the other” comes and finishes its work, Christ is going to come and rule forever! That’s what we need to get excited about most of all, not some titillating prophecy about the beast."
In other words, if we followed Herbert Armstrong's count, then the next on the scene is destroyed, the EU character who is the 7th head. Yet, Revelation 17:11 states that the beast is the eighth not the 7th.
Who is the 7th empire? My guess is that is might be the EU or the UN or even America, but regardless of who it is, the Antichrist comes along afterwards. The Antichrist is not the 7th empire or "head."
So, we find Armstrong setting people up to accept the coming Antichrist as the Messiah, by being off count by one empire/head.
However, that's not the only problem concerning this crazy article.
For some silly reason, Armstrong and his loyal band of cult followers came up with the silly notion that the Holy Roman Empire is the final end time empire of the Antichrist.
Most prophecy scholars believe that Daniel's vision of the statue (Daniel 2) in regards to the feet and toes is a reference to the revived Roman Empire which is interpreted to be the legs of the statue.
The feet and 10 toes represent the split of the Roman Empire. The fulfillment of Daniel 2 in regards to the Roman Empire restored must include both the eastern and western Roman empires being revived.
The EU does not constitute the revival of the Roman Empire. The EU concept itself is far more than the old Holy Roman Empire. In fact, the old, Holy Roman Empire amounted to only a tiny fraction of the actual Roman Empire and thus cannot constitute a revival of the Roman Empire of 2 feet and 10 toes.
No, there must yet be a change in the EU or another organization must emerge that would incorporate nations such as Libya, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Algeria as well as Spain, Portugal, England etc. These nations I've listed were not part of the "Holy Roman Empire" to which Armstrong chooses to connect to the prophecies.
It thoroughly amazes me how people such as Armstrong even in death can still blind and mislead people into prophetic heresy. Of course, Armstrong wasn't only off base on prophetic issues. He also preached a "different gospel" of salvation. Armstrong's gospel was salvation by works plus faith, just like the gospel that confused so many in Galatia that triggered the Apostle Paul to write a letter to the Galatian churches in which Paul warned that any one who believed that one could add works to faith for salvation was eternally cursed and damned. (See Galatians 1: 6-9)
For those readers who are doctrinally grounded enough to not be fooled by Armstrong's claims,
Feel free to read The Trumpet's article "The Holy Roman Empire is Back." See the LINK HERE.