Judgement of Rome

1. John contemplates the judgement of the sovereign prostitute, Rome´s judgement. Which  Rome? Which judgement? One woman symbolizes Rome? “I saw a woman seated on a red beast. The beast, which had seven heads and ten horns, covered itself with titles and statements that offend God. The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, with ornaments of gold, precious stones and pearls. She held in her hands a golden cup full of loathsome idolatry and impure prostitution.  5 Her name could be read on her forehead: Babylon the Great, mother of prostitutes and of the loathsome idols of the whole world” (Rev 17, 1-5; 1 P 5, 13). The judgement of Rome is good news, “eternal gospel” (Rev 14, 6-7) (In the photograph, angels bearers of the Gospel, Gerona’s  blessed, Century X)
2. The woman rides on the beast. The beast has the power of Rome, it is a man (Rev 13, 18), Nero. The woman holds blasphemous titles. It dresses in red, like the dragon; the purple, the “purple gown”, means imperial dignity. It carries in its hand a golden coup full of abominations. It gets drunk “with the blood of Jesus´ martyrs”. The beast is mayfly: “it was and it is not”, “it will climb from the abyss and walks towards its destruction” (17, 6-8).
3. John is astonished: “Let us see if you guess: the seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. And they are also seven kings, five of which have already fallen, one is in power, and the seventh has not yet come but will remain only a short while. The beast that has been but is not can be considered as the eighth though it takes place among the seven”. Rome is the city of the five hills. For the Greeks the emperor is a king. Five have fallen: Julius Caesar (+44 b. C.), Octavius (+14 a. D.), Tiberius (+37), Caligula (+41), Claudius (+54). That one in government is the sixth: Nero (+68). It is the “eighth” and “one of the seven”, since a woman dominates over him: Popea (+65). The one who has not arrived yet and who will last very little is the seventh: Galva (+69). The 69 is the year of the four emperors: Galva, Oton (+69), Vitelio (+69) and Vespasianus. The ten horns of the beast are ten kings, that they will be “only for an hour” (Rev 17, 9-12), in the fire of the city (18, 19).
4. The fire of Rome (year 64) was “a disaster”, “it is not known if by chance of by emperor’s machination (since one and the other versions had authority), but it of course was the gravest and most atrocious of any of those that had happened in this city caused by fire violence”, “nobody dared to contain the fire, since there was strong groups of men who, with repeated menaces, forbid to put it off, with the addition of other who, with an uncovered face, were throwing coals proclaiming with shouts that they were authorized to do that”, “of the fourteen regions in which Rome is divided, only four were intact and three were completely devastated; of the remaining seven, only vestiges of the destroyed  and half  burnt roofs”, “Nero invented some guilty people”, the Christians (Tacitus, Annals XV, 38-44). One hand signalled them to the dominant monster: “That hand could be the one from Tigelinus, minister and Nero’s evil genius, or that of Popea, who from favourite had gone to imperial wife following Octavia’s  assassination, and whose Judaizing sympathies were world wide known” (D. Ruiz Bueno, Acts of the martyrs, BAC, 1974, 215)
5. The woman symbolizes Rome, queen of the seas, lady of the peoples (Jr 52, 13; Ez 27, 3). Nevertheless, “the ten horns… and the beast will detest the prostitute; they will leave her alone and nude, they will eat her meats and they will consume her by means of the fire; because God has inspired them the resolution of their own plan”. The woman “is the large city” (Rev 17, 16-18; Ex 16, 39-41). The incredible happens. With the help of ten kings the beast destroys the city. Out of fourteen districts, ten become devastated (Rev 11, 13) If they were looking for another results, they run out of control
6. After all this,  John sees an angel coming down from heaven shouting with strong voice: “It fell, the great Babylon fell down!” (Is 21, 9; Is 24; Ez 27). It has become demons´ home,  the cave of all classes of filthy and despicable spirits (Is 13, 21-22; Jr 50, 39). Because all nations have drunk out of the wine of  its prostitutions, and the kings of the nations have fornicated with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich with his disorganized luxury” (Rev 18, 1-3)
7. A warning: “Depart from her, my people, lest you share in her evil and so share in her punishments”, “for she said to herself: ‘I sit as queen, I am not a widow, never will I go into mourning!”, “and so, suddenly, her plagues will come: death, mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire”, “for mighty is the Lord, the judge, who has passed sentence on her.” (Rev 18, 4-8; Is 47, 8-9).
8. The kings of the earth will feel sorry for her; “those who fornicated with her and delivered themselves to the luxury, when they see the cloud of smoke of her flames”, the merchants, “because nobody buys their shipments any more” and the sailors: “Woe, woe, the great city, with whose opulence got rich all those with ships at sea: in one hour has been devastated!” (Rev 18, 9-19; 14, 11; Is 34, 10; Ez 26-27).
9. Nevertheless, heaven is singing since God judges the great prostitute and he makes justice to his servants: “Rejoice over her, O heavens!  Rejoice, prophets, saints and apostles! God has rendered justice to you.” (Rev 18, 20; Dt 32, 43).  A powerful angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, saying:  “With such violence will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down” (Rev 18, 21; Jr 51, 63-64), “the cloud of smoke of the prostitute raises for ever and ever” (Rev 19,3). In the meanwhile, there is a feast in heaven, a wedding banquet, the lamb’s banquet: “Alleluia! The Lord now reigns, our Lord, the Master of the universe!  “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! Because this is the time to celebrate the wedding of the Lamb and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, is given her to wear.  This linen stands for the good works of the holy ones. Happy are those invited to the wedding of the Lamb.” (Rev 19, 6-9; Is 61, 10).

10. Then John sees open the heaven: “There was a white horse: that one who rides it is called Faithful and Truly; he judges and fights with justice (Is 11, 4). His eyes, fire flame; over his head, many diadems; he carries written a name that only he knows; he dresses a cloak soaked in blood (Is 63, 1) and his name is: God´s word”. It is like “relentless warrior” (Wis 18, 15), “from his mouth a sharp sword comes out”, “he shall rule them with iron sceptre” (Ps 2), he steps on the “God´s furious anger” winery (Is 63, 3), he is “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev 19, 11-16)
11. The beast and the kings initiate combat against that one who rides the white horse: “The kings of the earth form an alliance against the Lord and against his Anointed” (Acts 4, 26; Ps 2), but the beast is captured and “with her the false prophet”. The two beasts are thrown to the “lake of fire” (Rev 19, 17-20; Dn 7, 11). The “fire” is a symbol of the judgement (Mt 23, 13), The vile birds come to the corpses macabre banquet: of kings, horses and riders (Ez 39, 17-20; Mt 23, 13). In Rome´s (64-68) and Jerusalem’s (67-70) judgement, God revises Jesus´ process (Jn 16, 8-11)
12. An angel who had in his hand the key of the abyss “dominated the dragon” (the large red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns” (Rev 12, 3), and “fastened him for one thousand years”. John sees some thrones: they sit on them” to judge (Dn 7,23; Mt 19, 28). He also sees the souls of the martyrs and of those who did not worship the beast: “they revived and they reigned with Christ for one thousand years”, “it is the first resurrection” (Rev 20, 1-6; Ps 90; 2 Co 4, 17). When those one thousand years end, Satan will be free and he will gather the nations, “to Gog and to Magog”, for the combat against the “loved city”, but the Devil will be thrown to the “lake of fire”, “where the beast and the false prophet are too” (Rev 20, 7-10; Ez 38-39). One millennium is an old wish of the great empires.
13. This difficult passage reveals retouches and manipulations in spite of the opposite advise (Rev 22, 18-19). To consider Gog and Magog as two personalities is typical of somebody who ignores the Bible. That is not the case of John. Gog is king “in the country of Magog” (Ez 38, 2). In several ways, the “kingdom of Israel” (Acts 1, 6), the kingdom of the Church, the sacred empire comes up: The “eternal kingdom” (Dn 7, 27) is preceded by a millennium in which Christ reigns in the earth. The millenarianism appears in the second century, in the Middle Age, in fundamentalist sects and in totalitarian (communism, Nazism) and democratic projects (French revolution, liberal economy, preventive war). Jesus announces the “kingdom of God and his justice” (Mt 6, 33) and he is king, but his kingdom “is not of this world” (Jn 18, 36)
14. “After that I saw a great and splendid throne and the one seated upon it”, “and I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before the throne while books were opened. Another book, the Book of Life, was also opened. Then the dead were judged according to the records of these books, that is, each one according to his works.”  The death is thrown into “the lake of fire”. This lake of fire is the second death. (Rev 20, 11-15; Mk 13, 24-27). The text include several duplicities: two combats, two resurrections, two deaths, two judgements. The Gospel is simpler: “the dead resurrect” (Lk 20, 37), “the one who believes is not judged” (Jn 3, 18), “the prince of this world is judged” (Jn 16, 11).

*Dialogue: Is the judgement of the sovereign prostitute present, Rome´s judgement.

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