Immigration, rejecting marriage, and even Christianity contributed to the Roman Empire’s end. Examine these three factors of social collapse—and how Bible prophecy shows our nations will repeat history one final time.
[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]
Canada’s National Post carried this headline: “Lost without a map: Despite a globalized society, university students can’t locate the Atlantic Ocean” (January 15, 2013).
Professor Judith Adler at Memorial University in Newfoundland had a hunch that her students lacked basic geographical knowledge, knowledge fundamental to understanding the world around them—thus she decided to examine her hunch by testing her students.
“I used to ask if they could identify France, England or Ireland—which is the background of a lot of students here, or Spain or Portugal, which is important for this part of the world, but I’ve stopped asking that” (January 15, 2013).
Over time, she simplified her questions.
“I asked them to indicate where on the map South America is, where Africa is, and Antarctica, the Arctic, and to circle Europe, label Australia and show where Asia is and label the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans and Mediterranean Sea—and I’ve become much simpler in what I have asked over the years.”
How did her students fare? I think you can see ahead that they didn’t do very well, but why is this important?
A warm welcome to all of you from all of us here at Tomorrow’s World. Professor and sociologist Judith Adler of [the] Memorial University of Newfoundland, began giving her students geography quizzes when she perceived that their understanding of the world in which they lived was lacking. So how did they do?
“A sizeable proportion of the class would reliably have no idea where the Mediterranean is. Some students would circle Africa and indicate that it’s Europe, and if asked to locate England and Ireland, they would put them in Africa. I have had students that aren’t able to correctly label the Atlantic Ocean, even though we are on it” (NationalPost.com, January 15, 2013).
Man on the street interviews in the United States indicate Americans are equally ignorant of the real world around them. Some confuse cities as states, and show virtually no understanding of geography, much less history. We now live in the richest information age in history, but also the most poverty stricken when it comes to understanding where we are, where we came from, and how we got here. Is there any wonder why we have so many “flat-earthers” amongst us?
But geography and history are vitally important, as brought out in this Virginia Tech comment on repeating history:
Variations on the repeating-history theme appear alongside debates about attribution. Irish statesman Edmund Burke is often misquoted as having said, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” Spanish philosopher George Santayana is credited with the aphorism, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” while British statesman Winston Churchill wrote, “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it” (“History Repeating,” LiberalArts.VT.edu).
One lesson of history is that empires rise and fall. The fall of the Roman Empire is one of the most studied lessons of history, and has important warnings for America in particular, and the West in general, because one lesson of history is that power abhors a vacuum. When America falls, as it surely is in the process of doing, unless it turns and goes a different direction, another power will fill the vacuum; and it may not be, in fact will not be, so benevolent, according to Bible prophecy.
Whole books have been written about the collapse of the Roman Empire, and historians agree that its collapse had no single cause. Instead, it was the result of a series of internal and external forces occurring over decades which pulled the fabric of the Empire apart, ending a power that ruled for more than five centuries. Mass migrations from outside the Empire is often cited as a primary cause.
One of the most obvious reasons for the downfall of Rome was the relentless and seemingly endless waves of migration and invasions from the Barbarian tribes that bordered Rome’s northern frontiers. In the early days of the empire, Roman legions were able to repel Barbarian tribes with relative ease, but this started to change towards the end of the 2nd century CE (“7 Reasons Why Rome Fell,” WorldAtlas.com, November 8, 2022).
A particularly destructive migration took place in the late fourth century when Eurasian Huns invaded Europe—driving Germanic tribes to the borders of the Empire.
The Romans grudgingly allowed members of the Visigoth tribe to cross south of the Danube and into the safety of Roman territory… (“8 Reasons Why Rome Fell,” History.com, January 9, 2019).
The parallels of mass migration into the Roman Empire from the north, and the literal invasion of illegals on the U.S. southern border, ought to be a wake-up call for America, but politics is apparently more important than preserving the country. In fiscal year 2020 (October through September), there were more than 458,000 border encounters with illegals. These were those who were caught or who simply crossed illegally into the country and turned themselves in, claiming asylum. In 2021, this number rose to nearly 1,735,000, and in 2022 to a staggering 2,378,944. In October and November, the first two months of fiscal 2023 (the latest figures available at time of recording), there were 231,294 and 233,740 respectively! (“Southwest Land Border Encounters,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection, CBP.gov/newsroom, December 14, 2022).
This goes beyond politics. It strikes at the heart of the question of whether a country can survive with what is clearly an open border policy.
History holds many lessons for modern man, but if history teaches us anything, it is that we never learn from it. Sadly, today many don’t even know history. How many understand how the Roman Empire has been revived six times since its fall in 476 AD, and according to Bible prophecy, it will revive one last time. And that final restoration is destined to bring the world to the edge of cosmocide.
History.com lists other reasons for Rome’s collapse in addition to mass migration. Some of these reasons were: Overexpansion and military overspending, government corruption and political instability, and Christianity and the loss of traditional values
That last reason may surprise you. How could Christianity be an empire killer? In a high school and college history book first published in 1909, P.V.N. Myers explains how Christianity (falsely so-called) contributed to the loss of respect for the institution of the Roman family and the resulting decline in birth rate.
Another cause of the decline in population was the singular aversion that the better class of the Romans evinced to marriage. We meet during the period of the empire with a crowd of imperial edicts dealing with this subject. Penalties and bounties, deprivations and privileges, entreaties and expostulations are in turn resorted to by the perplexed emperors, in order to discourage celibacy and to foster a pure and healthy family life. But all was in vain. The marriage state continued to be held in great disesteem (par. 313). And Christianity instead of correcting the evil, rather made matters worse; for just now the teachings of the monks were persuading vast multitudes of the superior sanctity of the solitary or the monastic life, and thereby filling the deserts of Egypt and the monasteries of all lands with men who believed they could best live the higher live (sic) by freeing themselves of all family and social cares and duties (Myers, Rome: Its Rise and Fall, 1900, pp. 447–48).
Now America has few men running off into the desert to live a monastic life, but far too many prime aged men in America, Canada, the U.K. and elsewhere, are sitting on the sidelines instead of going to work, getting married, and raising families. Even before COVID-19, participation in the labor market by 25–54 aged men was a troubling concern for policy makers, and their concerns point directly to the health of the family. In 2019, during what has been described as the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, with historically low unemployment, Senator Mike Lee of Utah admitted:
“I’m concerned that if more men can’t find stable, steady work, the result is likely to be fewer marriages, in the first instance, and more divorces, in the second instance….” It’s also likely, he said, that as marriage rates fall, men will feel less of a need to be breadwinners and involved with their children, which in turn would lead to more unemployment and less stable family lives (“Why are men dropping out of the workforce despite a strong economy?,” Deseret News, Deseret.com, November 23, 2019).
Manhattan Institute senior fellow Oren Cass agrees—there is a downward spiral regarding work and the stability of the family unit. When one is negatively impacted, so is the other.
Work, especially for men, helps establish and preserve families…. Where fewer men work, fewer marriages form. Unemployment doubles the risk of divorce, and male joblessness appears to be the primary culprit, he said.
“These outcomes likely result from the damage to both economic prospects and individual well-being associated with being out of work, which strain existing marriages and make men less attractive as marriage partners,” according to Cass.
Without regard to the specific cause, the effect of low birthrates and disrespect for the institution of the family brings about the same result—a nation in decline. In modern America, Canada, Europe, Russia, and elsewhere, birth rates are at historic lows, well below replacement value, and there’s a connection between low birth rates and unchecked illegal immigration.
Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York called on Republicans Wednesday [that was November 16, 2022] to join in passing a pathway to citizenship for “all undocumented” [read: illegals] in the United States, citing the fact that Americans were “not reproducing.’’
Why are Americans and others not reproducing? One obvious reason is unrestricted abortion, a major platform on which Sen. Schumer’s party proudly ran in the 2022 midterm elections. In the last 50 years, Americans have aborted approximately 64,000,000 of their children. That amounts to a loss of approximately 64,000,000 “legal” workers in the country. As fellow Tomorrow’s World writer Wallace Smith has pointed out, the womb is unmistakably the most dangerous place for an innocent child.
World Atlas lists seven causes for the decline and fall of the Roman Empire and then gives this summary. Do any of these problems sound familiar to us?
The fall of the Western Roman Empire can teach humans many things about societal collapse and regression. Most shortcomings of a civilization in decline come from within rather than without. Incompetent leaders, government corruption, a weak economy, and social dissolution all contributed to the downfall of Rome (WorldAtlas.com).
America’s economy, and America is not alone, is a house of cards. Can anyone comprehend a national debt of $31,000,000,000,000? As one pundit pointed out, if you spend a million dollars a day, it will take just short of 3,000 years to reach one trillion dollars!
During the COVID lockdowns, the United States, Canada, and many other countries gave away “free money.” The result? The self-inflicted wound of inflation. We were all too happy to receive it, but what people fail to realize, is that we will pay back every penny, and more, through inflation. And who does inflation hurt the most? The poorest among us—those that governments claimed they were trying to help! But too much “free” money is not an American problem only. According to InflationData.com:
It’s not just the United States that is suffering from high inflation, countries worldwide are experiencing higher than average inflation. This is partially due to the global pandemic but even more the result of the actions taken by central banks in response to the pandemic (“Worldwide Inflation by Country 2022,” InflationData.com, June 21, 2022).
Why is it that mankind never seems to learn from the past? Part of the answer is that nations become complacent, self-indulgent, and, frankly, are too uneducated to know the past.
As Nicholas Clairmont wrote for BigThink.com,
“History shows that both those who do not learn history and those who do learn history are doomed to repeat it.”
He went on to explain:
“According to Santayana’s philosophy, history repeats. The phrasing itself certainly is catchy. It’s a big one, not only because it is so common, but also because if it is true and if history, driven by human nature, is ugly (hint: it is), then this saying ought to guide our public and private policy” (“‘Those Who Do Not Learn History Are Doomed To Repeat It.’ Really?,” BigThink.com, July 31, 2013).
Now I’ll add, more importantly, understanding that history is “driven by human nature,” ought to guide more than public and private policy—it ought to guide behavior. For as Clairmont rightfully implies, knowing history and acting on that knowledge are not the same, and the reason we fail to learn from history is human nature. And that brings us to a different kind of history book—one that deals with human nature.
The Bible is fundamentally a history book. It gives us wise and loving instructions from our Creator. It records how mankind has rejected those instructions and the tragic results of that rejection.
One of the great lessons is that when people hurt badly enough, they often turn to God for relief; only to turn back to the old ways once relief comes. It’s the soldier’s foxhole prayer that is quickly forgotten.
Two world wars should have sobered mankind, but sadly, as the late Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev wrote in an opinion piece for Time magazine:
Politicians and military leaders sound increasingly belligerent and defense doctrines more dangerous. Commentators and TV personalities are joining the bellicose chorus. It all looks as if the world is preparing for war (“Mikhail Gorbachev: ‘It All Looks as if the World Is Preparing for War’,” Time Magazine, Time.com, December 16, 2016).
This was published January 26, 2017—five years prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Will this generation of Americans, Britons, Canadians, Australians, and New Zealanders learn from the past? What about the French, Belgians, the Dutch, and the Swiss? It’s difficult to see how any can, when some are consumed with re-writing their past, and when all possess the same rebellious nature as those who have gone before.
The speed with which mankind reverts to his old ways is astounding. This is shown in the biblical golden calf incident. After God brought a slave people out of bondage by great and powerful miracles that could not be rationally explained away, the Israelites turned back into idolatry. A mere 40 days was enough time for the people to pressure Aaron, who was left in charge while Moses was gone, to make a golden calf idol and hold a licentious festival to celebrate it. In the aftermath, God commanded Moses the following:
“Now therefore, go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you. Behold, My Angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit for punishment, I will visit punishment upon them for their sin” (Exodus 32:34).
Dennis Prager makes this observation about this verse and humanity’s shallow understanding of the God of the Bible:
“In modern times, with its psychological and therapeutic mindset, many people tend to think of God as a loving therapist Who is always there to listen, to understand, and most importantly, not to judge us. This verse reminds us that above all, the God of the Torah is a moral judge. He demands certain behavior, and holds people accountable when they fail to live accordingly” (Prager on Exodus 32:34, The Rational Bible: Exodus, p. 454).
The Bible is the greatest and most important history book ever written, but as with history in general, far too many in this generation are devoid of historical perspective. Winston Churchill sums it up in one sentence:
“Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong, these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history (Winston S. Churchill, His Complete Speeches, 1897-1963, Vol. 6, ed. Robert Rhodes James, Chelsea House Publishers, 1974. P. 5592).
In addition to being the most important history book of all time, the Bible does something no other book has credibly done. It gives history in advance—what many people think of as prophecy. Before the break I said I would show you what this remarkable book says about our near future, so let’s get started.
Speaking of the end time, the time just ahead of us, Jesus explained:
And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed (Luke 17:26–30).
What was it like in the days of Noah? Here is what we read in Genesis 6, verses 5 and 11:
Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence (Genesis 6:5, 11).
Our day has far more in common with the days of Lot than we could ever imagine, even a few years ago. Dust off your Bible and read for yourself about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the reasons for it. The account is found in Genesis 19. But let’s also notice how God inspired the prophet Ezekiel to write about the pride of Sodom:
Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit (Ezekiel 16:49–50).
The Bible shouts loud and clear in chapter after chapter that destruction is coming on our world because we have never learned from the past. Just as the Bible predicted in easy to understand language the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, as well as its seven revivals, so the Bible predicted thousands of years in advance the rise and fall of the British and American peoples. Our choices today will bring our downfall, just as sure as that of Rome.
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How will global religiopolitical developments affect you and your family? Will a world dictator soon appear? Just who or what is the beast, and will you receive its infamous mark? Read on for the startling answers!