Here is Revelation 13
…the economic system of the Middle ages that led to the rise of the modern era…the nursery of the modern nation states of Europe and its economic system of debauchery and deceit…
including its banking system, socialisms, and tyrannies. It’s all here!
The Roman Empire received its mortal wound as a result of the flood of barbarians that swept the empire in the fifth century A.D. however, as the old empire was dying at the hands of the Goths, Vandals, Huns, and many other barbarian tribes, a new beast very much like the old one was already beginning to rise in its place.
We've seen that in Revelation 12, the dragon -- the devil -- emitted a flood in his attempt to destroy the Church of Christ. That flood was the barbarian flood that swept European civilization and overwhelmed it.
Very few people really understand the nature of the so called 'Holy Roman Empire'. Though it was not known by that name until a few centuries after the fall of the old Roman Empire, that was its dominant name down to the time of Napoleon. However the Beast of Revelation 13 is characterized by its fragmented character as well as its unifying elements.
This is precisely the characterization which distinguishes this empire. The Scriptures tell us it is the leopard like character of this beast which provides one of its most powerful characteristics.
In short, all throughout its history, including the current expression of this beast, its deceits and capacity as a predator of mankind distinguishes this beast. The camouflaged predator has been hailed for its protective, authoritative, and even humanitarian character. The serfs of the Middle Ages were cowed into believing that their nobility protected, cared for, and kept them from evil.
The idea that both the church and the state could take care of the people of the Middle Ages better than they could be expected to take care of themselves, was perpetrated for over 1200 years.
We have inherited the legacy.
The humanist of today may be discarding his religious trappings but has not shed the power base established during the medieval period. As Lord Acton put it…
"So men learned that outward submission must be given. All this was to promote authority than faith. When ideas were punished more severely than actions… men understood that authority went before sincerity."
Here we must note the mystery surrounding the terrible beast described in the book of Daniel in which the feet made of iron make this beast so difficult to identify correctly.
They are set before us. Here is the description from the book of Daniel describing empires which were yet to arise. Those empires reference the neo-Babylonian empire of Nebuchadnezzar II, Medo Persian Empire founded by Cyrus II a Great, the Greek empire of Alexander the Great, and the horrifying Roman Empire.
However, commentators tend to miss what happened next in the history of these empires. The statue which Daniel interpreted in the vision of Nebuchadnezzar included two legs and, most importantly for our purposes, the rise of another rather unique empire.
The two legs characterized the Roman Empire in its eastern and western divisions. That divided empire really began with the precedent set by the Roman Emperor Valerian and his son, co-Emperor Gallianus, when they divided the Roman Empire in 254 A.D.
No doubt, the divisions of the empire that followed a generation later under Diocletian, and more thoroughly under later emperors after the time of Constantine the Great, receive all the attention from historians and theologians. However, the division of the empire by Valerian and his son, established the approach which would be used the next 300 years in handling the threat of barbarians.
It is precisely this division, undertaken to handle the unwieldy and massive size of the Roman Empire, which characterizes the beginning of the 1260 years of the Beast’s dominion over the true Church of Jesus Christ.
The division of the Roman Empire undertaken by the co-emperor's of Rome during the third century A.D. became a primary means of protecting the empire and with it the Church of Christ and also a means of later control of the church.