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The End-Time Caesar
by Wayne Blank
Imperator was originally used in Republican Rome (up to 27 B.C.) as a title for a conquering military leader, however it was adopted by the Roman monarchy, beginning with Octavian (who defeated Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 B.C.). Octavian is better known to Christians as Caesar Augustus - the Roman emperor who called that famous census that resulted in Jesus Christ being born in Bethlehem (Luke 2:1). The term Caesar came to mean the same as emperor.
After the apparent "fall" of the Roman empire in 476 A.D. (it fell, but it didn't die - it was just wounded), the title of Imperator, or Emperor, was resurrected on Christmas Day in 800 A.D. when Pope Leo III crowned the Frankish/German ruler Charlemagne emperor of the western leg of the Roman empire. Two days earlier, Charlemagne had Leo restored to the papacy, after Leo had been deposed for adultery, perjury and simony, among other things (see Emperors and Popes). In effect, Charlemagne and Leo crowned each other.
The German title Kaiser is derived directly from the Roman title Caesar. Germans have played a major role in the history of Europe, and the cyclical "rise" and "fall" of the Roman empire. It was the Germanic warlord Odoacer that "wounded" the Roman political empire in 476; it was the Germanic Charlemagne that brought about the temporary revival of the title of emperor in 800; it was the German king Otto I who is regarded as the founder of the so-called "Holy Roman Empire" (which was actually officially called the "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation") after Pope John XII crowned him in 962 (Otto's was the "First Reich," Otto von Bismarck's was the "Second Reich," and Adolf Hitler's was the "Third Reich"); and it was the German Roman Catholic priest Martin Luther that "wounded" the Roman church, and its version of Christianity, after 1517.
Although emperor has been used to designate other great political/military rulers in the world throughout history (e.g. in China, Japan, Ethiopia), the Roman and Germanic emperors are the ones that are directly referred to in Biblical prophecy, and of them, most particularly one end-time emperor is going to be the most wicked and powerful dictator of all time. The prophetic beast refers variously to either, or both, that emperor and his empire.
Revelation 13 provides a highly-detailed account of two end-time world leaders, one a great political and military emperor, the other a great religious leader, who, while allied together, will conquer, or deceive into surrendering to them, most nations on earth (see "World War 3 In Prophecy" in the Fact Finder question below). In the end however, they will both be cast alive into the lake of fire by Jesus Christ when He returns:
"And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone." (Revelation 19:20 KJV)
Fact Finder: How will Satanic power enable the rampage of the beast and his false prophet just before Christ's return?