The Modern Romans
By Gerald Flurry • February 4, 2022
The Roman Empire was great—practically invincible. So why did it fall? Our peoples still have not learned the lessons from this history (1 Corinthians 10:11).
Anciently, Romans saw their economic prosperity and military victories and thought they could never fall. They didn’t believe the warning of the Roman statesman Seneca, who simply observed the problems in the empire and foretold a collapse. The people laughed and scoffed at him!
America and Britain once ruled the world. The epitome of their power was a strong family structure. Many historians will tell you this—it is no secret.
The same was true of the Roman Empire. Philip Van Ness Myers wrote in Rome: Its Rise and Fall (emphasis mine throughout):
First, at the bottom as it were of Roman society and forming its ultimate unit, was the family …. The most important feature or element of this family group was the authority of the father. …
It would be difficult to overestimate the influence of this group upon the history and destiny of Rome. It was the cradle of at least some of those splendid virtues of the early Romans that contributed so much to the strength and greatness of Rome, and that helped to give her the dominion of the world. …
[T]he exercise of the parental authority in the family taught the Roman how to command as well as how to obey—how to exercise authority with wisdom, moderation and justice.
In the family, we learn how to lead and how to follow. Strong families are the foundation of strong nations and empires!
Even so many great quarterbacks benefited from a strong father figure who helped them grow up with discipline. They were rewarded by the proper family structure.
Tacitus wrote in A Dialogue on Oratory:
In the good old days [of the Republic], every man’s son, born in wedlock, was brought up not in the chamber of some hireling nurse but in his mother’s lap and at her knee. And that mother could have no higher praise than that she managed the house and gave herself to her children. …
Religiously and with the utmost delicacy she regulated not only the serious tasks of her youthful charges but their recreations also and their games.
Women embraced child rearing. Men thought it repugnant for anyone other than the mother to raise their children. That’s the way it was in early Rome! You can make your own judgment about that. But the history is clear: Family breakdown was the foundational mistake that caused Rome to fall! When marital problems, adultery, divorces and moral decay became commonplace, Rome was doomed.
Do America and Britain suffer from these problems today?
By the second century a.d., the Roman family was flipped upside down. Children ruled their parents, became entitled, and lost all sense of discipline. The family fell apart. So did the empire.
Here is the Apostle Paul’s warning to us today, written almost 2,000 years ago: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy” (2 Timothy 3:1-2).
Every part of this warning has come true. Children in the nations of Israel—primarily America, Britain and the Jewish state—are extremely disobedient. (Request our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy to prove that these modern nations are descendants of ancient Israel.)
May we heed the warning before it is too late.
“To a Roman of the best days of the Republic, religion represented stability in the state and in the home; it was the foundation of public and private life …” (Roman Civilization, edited by J.P.V.D. Balsdon).
What changed as the empire declined? “For the vast majority of ordinary men, Christianity caused no fundamental change of attitude” (A.H.M. Jones, The Later Roman Empire). Religion no longer impacted the way the Romans lived!
“We are adrift without answers …. We are witnessing the death of the old morality …. No single authority rules our conduct …. No church lays down the moral law for all” (Look magazine). This was written back in the 1960s during the post-World War ii American moral crisis. We ought to discuss this! Why aren’t the churches filling the void in our lives? Why can’t they explain the purpose of our existence?
(There is a way to know God’s plan for mankind. Request our free literature Pagan Holidays—or God’s Holy Days—Which? and Mystery of the Ages to learn why man doesn’t understand God or the Bible and to discover how God is working out His master plan through human beings. Both of these works were written by the late Herbert W. Armstrong, who directed the Worldwide Church of God to produce The Modern Romans. Search online for a free copy of this booklet.)
Continuing Paul’s warning for this end time: “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Timothy 3: 5).
Our religion is powerless. It lacks the power to change people’s attitudes and ways of living—just like in ancient Rome. There is just a form of godliness—religion has become mere ritual!
God promises power to those who believe and obey Him. He does His Work through His one true Church and gives us real power. He opens doors of opportunity and helps us conquer our sins. He wants us to enjoy strong families and strong religion!
Education, Entertainment, Economy
Modern educators have led the way in moral and sexual revolutions. They don’t consider schools and universities to be character-building institutions. In ancient Rome, education became useless.
We have two branches of Herbert W. Armstrong College—one here in Edmond, Oklahoma, and one in Stratford, England—and we absolutely do consider this college to be a character-building institution! Armstrong College strengthens individual students and the Philadelphia Church of God. Right education is critical to a strong nation!
Paul also warned that the people of our day would be “[w]ithout natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:3-4).
We love pleasures more than God. No nation in world history has ever organized and monetized sports like America. We are saturated with nonstop entertainment, drugs and other vices. Is that good?
The Roman Empire was similarly sports-crazed. In The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon wrote:
From the morning to the evening, careless of the sun or of the rain, the spectators, who sometimes amounted to the number of 400,000 [the giant Circus Maximus in Rome seated this many], remained in eager attention; their eyes fixed on the horses and charioteers, their minds agitated with hope and fear for the success of the colors which they espoused; and the happiness of Rome appeared to hang on the event of a race.
The Roman caesars exhausted themselves trying to give the people every kind of pleasure, more than any nation ever—until today. Charioteers were paid enormous salaries, which isn’t bad of itself. But it is a bad sign when you look at the whole picture. The happiness of Rome depended on whether their favorite team won! Romans knew every detail about sporting events, but they didn’t know the Bible and weren’t ashamed of their ignorance.
I love our country and people, but I don’t approve of some of the things I’m seeing. You can prove from your Bible how bad these problems are.
As Romans turned to excessive pleasures, the economy tanked. Unrestricted trade allowed cheap foreign labor to undercut Roman workers. The average Roman could not compete. The government instituted high tariffs and subsidized its own workers! A massive welfare state brought on oppressive inflation and taxation. Because of welfare, people preferred to just stay home and live the easy life. Do we see any of this in our country?
Empires fall because of these problems.
We Have Forgotten God
Many believe that Abraham Lincoln was the greatest United States president. In the midst of the Civil War, he wrote: “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God” (“Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day,” March 30, 1863).
Lincoln declared April 30 of that year “as a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer.” And God saved the nation from splitting in half, or worse!
Can you imagine a president speaking this way today? We have forgotten God. Look at 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Is it possible that we are steeped in wicked ways? Not long ago, I heard someone quote this verse but leave that part out.
More and more, civil war is being discussed. Our peoples are deeply divided. God promises to heal our land—if we turn from our wicked ways! He did it in the Civil War, and He will do it again.
We need to think about all these things—the warning and the wonderful promises of God. Turn to Him, and He will heal. How wonderful!Read More