The third Vial had concluded. Italy was subdued, its rivers and lakes stained with the blood of the enemies  of France. Her first consul now turned his attention from conquest to social and legal reforms. Napoleon  had emerged from Bonaparte. The adventurer of the revolution was succeeded by an exceptional Head  of State. By August 1802 he was made consul for life and allowed to choose his successor. 
Yet the watchers in the heavens had more work for this man ere his brief and meteoric career was at an  end. The great champions of the papacy and enemies of Yahweh, the Imperial house of Austria, still dared to  defy the rod of His anger. Napoleon’s achievements were phenomenal, but his greatest glory still lay ahead.

Bonaparte had seized power by a coup d’etat, but  his transformation to the Emperor Napoleon  was unhurried and perfectly legal.

Emperor of France

On 2nd of December 1804, in Notre Dame cathedral  the pope, PiusVII, placed the crown of Charlemagne  on the head of one whom the old blasphemer styled  “our dearest son in Christ, Napoleon, the emperor of the French”. In point of fact Napoleon seized the crown at the last moment and placed it on his  own head. Brother Thomas says, “This was an  insult of the most galling character to the house of Austria; which, as imperial secular Chief of the  Sun of Europe, claimed to be legitimate successor to Charlemagne.” In Vienna, Beethoven, putting  the finishing touches on his third Symphony, the Eroica, furiously erased its dedication to Napoleon,  the hero of liberty and democracy, who had carried  heroism just a bit too far.

Napoleon humiliates the imperial sun of Austria

The Fourth Vial Revelation 16:8

And now,“The fourth angel poured out his vial upon the SUN; and it was given unto him to scorch  men with fire” (Rev 16:8). The “sun” of the fourth  vial signifies the great lights of the Holy Roman  Empire, especially the Austrian emperor and the pope. The “him” to whom it was given to scorch  men with fire, was to be none other than that master of artillery fire, Napoleon.

“The Sun of Austerlitz”

The British now formed and bankrolled another  Coalition with Russia, Sweden and Austria to divert  the French threat. Napoleon abandoned his projected  invasion of England and marched for the Rhine, the emperor leading the French army as his own general  in chief. Crossing the Rhine with 160,000 men he  encircled the Austrian army under general Mack,  and received their surrender along with all his  artillery and ammunition. Nothing stood between the victor and Vienna. The alarm was extreme. The emperor Francis fled to Moravia and Napoleon entered Vienna on 13th November 1805. Without  halting, the advance guard crossed the Danube to  encounter the Russians in Moravia, where fifty  thousand massed under the emperor Alexander and  twenty-five thousand under the emperor Francis. The battle of the three emperors was fought on 2nd  December 1805 on the Plain of Austerlitz. At half  past seven sharp, an eerie red sun emerged from  the blanket of mist over the town of Austerlitz.  The legendary “sun of Austerlitz” illuminated the enemy columns on the hills for Napoleon, while  French reinforcements advanced under the mist on  the unsuspecting Russians. By the end of the day the third coalition had been vanquished. The treaty of  Presburg completed the humiliation of the Austrian  dynasty.

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Napoleon then proceeded to form the  states of southern Germany into the confederation  of the Rhine with himself as their Protector. The  Holy Roman Empire no longer existed and Francis  II acknowledged the fact in adopting the title Emperor of Austria. Meanwhile  on 21st October, the French  fleet was defeated by Nelson at  Trafalgar, establishing beyond  doubt British supremacy of the  waves.

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Russia defeated

In September of the following year, not satisfied  with their scorching, the allies Russia, Prussia and  Sweden formed a fourth coalition against France. The Prussian king Frederick William, indignant  at the remodelling of the German states, occupied  Saxony. Napoleon declared war. The Grande  Armee struck out on direct route to Berlin. The  speed of Napoleon’s advance was too much for  the Prussian generals and they began  to withdraw from Jena. Napoleon came  upon the remaining divisions before they could escape and overwhelmed  them on the spot. He immediately took  possession of Potsdam and Berlin, levied  eye-watering reparations and sent the  sword of Frederick the Great to Paris as a  trophy. The king retired to Konigsburg to  assess the damage to his pride and glory.  The king of Prussia was without an army, but once again a Russian one was on the way and it got as far as Warsaw. Napoleon drove the Russians out of the Polish  capital and by December had crossed  the Vistula in force. In January 1807

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The Russians launched a surprise offensive. The battle of Eylau was fought in a snowstorm and there  Napoleon met his first check. This made Napoleon  more cautious and the Russians over-confident.  They took a chance attacking a French division in  Friedland. To do so meant offering battle with their  back to a river, so that if Napoleon could get there  in time they would be massacred. He did, and they  were. The Grande Armee’s sweep through Europe  left Napoleon without a rival on the continent. The  Czar and the king of Prussia sued for peace. On the  Austrians and Prussians Napoleon imposed pitiless  terms. Prussia lost half its territory, Austria had to  surrender Tyrol and Venetia. The peace of Tilsit  was signed between Napoleon and Czar Alexander  with great pomp on a magnificent raft in the midst  of the Nieman river. Perhaps feeling that he had  secured real peace at last, Napoleon treated the  Czar cordially and offered him what looked like a partnership, although in reality he struggled for  something to be generous with. He came up with  part of Prussia’s slice of Poland and Finland. Behind  Napoleon’s army marched Napoleon’s family. The vacated thrones of Europe were distributed  amongst them.

Napoleon makes it hot for Catholic Spain

Napoleon now turned to the great bastion of  Catholicism, Spain. He signed a treaty with the  ruling house of Spain whereby they agreed to jointly  invade Portugal. Napoleon generously donated  100,000 soldiers to occupy the forts of Spain. By  the 25th May 1808 the throne of Spain was vacant  and Napoleon was obliged to fill it with his brother  Joseph. The terrific national uprising that followed  left the country thoroughly scorched with the fire of Napoleon’s armies. Having taken Madrid,  Napoleon abolished the notorious Inquisition, reduced by a third the number of convents filled  with lazy monks (who had incited 600,000 peasants  to rebel) and appropriated half their proceeds to  reduce the public debt. He no longer tried to avoid  exasperating the clergy but energetically pursued  his Divine mission of scorching those persecutors of  the saints. However, Napoleon was prevented from completely routing the British armies in Portugal  by a sudden change in the perfect weather to a  furious hurricane! Scorching the British was not in the Divine plan.

Lights out in the Holy Roman Empire

The Fifth Vial – darkness on the seat of the beast  Revelation 16:10

The obstinate champions of the papacy, Austria, determined to make one more effort for the reestablishment  of the old order. The campaign of the  fifth vial opened 22nd April 1809 at Eckmuhl. Only  the fall of night arrested the wholesale slaughter of  the Austrian forces and shortly after Napoleon was  again entering Vienna as conqueror. The Bourbon  kings of France and Spain, the kings of Portugal,  Naples, Sardinia and Italy had all been eliminated,  and their kingdoms darkened. The Holy Roman,  Austro-Hungarian Empire was dissolved. There  remained but one throne to overthrow, the chief  spiritual throne of the Beast.

Napoleon thrown out of church – Pope thrown into prison

Despite the concordat he had signed with him, all  the sympathies of the pope were with the enemies of Napoleon. Therefore the emperor issued a decree  stripping ‘the holy father’ of most of his temporal  dominions and annexing them to those of France.  Then on 17th May 1808 Napoleon issued a decree  from Vienna declaring the temporal sovereignty of  the Pope to be wholly at an end, incorporating Rome  with the French empire. The Pope, on receiving  this intelligence, instantly fulminated a bull of  excommunication against Napoleon. This caused his  “dear son in Christ” to have the Pope arrested and  brought a prisoner to Fontainebleau where Napoleon  could keep his eye on him. A provisional government  was established in the Papal states, the Inquisition  abolished and many temporal and spiritual abuses  also abolished. The wrath of the fifth vial had been  poured out on the very “throne of the beast”.

On the 5th July the Austrian forces were surprised  at Wagram by the French army and put to flight.

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Though his least elegant victory, the battle of  Wagram awed Europe. Where previously he  had relied on skilful manoeuvres, Napoleon  overwhelmed by sheer force, marching a great  square 10,000 strong straight into the Austrian  centre. The Austrian commander lost his nerve  and retreated. Austria sued for peace and signed  at Napoleon’s headquarters in the palace of  Schoenbrunn.

Divorce and remarriage

Napoleon was not merely determined to secure a  throne for himself, but the perpetuation of his New  Order by the creation of a Napoleonic Dynasty.  Josephine had been unable to present him with an  heir and Napoleon reluctantly accepted the advice  that he should divorce her. Their separation by all  accounts was mutually and painfully endured for  the future of the empire. It appears that Josephine  cherished the memory of her emperor to the last.  On 22nd April 1810 Napoleon married Archduchess  Marie Louise, daughter of the emperor of Austria,  a bride of unimpeachable royal pedigree. She was  to bear him a son to whom he gave the title The  Prince of Rome.

The march to Moscow – 1812

In May 1812 Napoleon commenced his famous  ill-fated invasion of Russia. He left with a gigantic  army of six hundred thousand men, his biggest  ever. Not since Xerxes’ invasion of Greece had  such mighty force been mustered. The Russian  defensive strategy was simple. Engage the French,  then retire, drawing their army ever deeper into  the vast continent and extending their lines of  communication and supply further and further.  As they retreated the Russians burned cities and  towns behind them, further depriving the French of  another source of replenishment. Napoleon, upon  reaching Moscow, found the great city abandoned  by all but the poorest of its inhabitants. He had not  long occupied the Kremlin, when the whole city  was engulfed in a terrible conflagration. This was a  totally unexpected turn of events. Napoleon’s retreat  from Moscow was disastrous. The march took place  in winter, a serious mistake on Napoleon’s part.  Now the vast empty wastes and the driving snows  of the terrible Russian winter took a greater toll than  the czar’s own armies, as men and horses starved  and froze. The Grande Armee returned diminished  to one sixth of its original size, utterly exhausted  and demoralised.

The sixth coalition – defeat and exile

Returned to France in 1813, Napoleon immediately  raised a new army and rushed to Saxony to meet  a sixth coalition of Russia, Prussia, Great Britain,  Sweden and Austria. For a time he seemed to have  recovered his old skill. He beat back the Russians  and Prussians and when the Austrians joined the  battle he bloodied their noses in quite the old style  at Dresden. But his raw recruits could not stand  the pace; his marshals were old and the allies  determined. Gradually he was driven back into  Leipzig and defeated.

By 1814 he stood alone against the world  with a handful of his veterans. He resisted the  allied advance with demoniac energy but could  not stop them converging on Paris. Perceiving  that further resistance was futile, on 11th April  1814 at Fontainebleau, the emperor of France  surrendered and abdicated his throne. On 20th April  he bad farewell to his guard and sailed for his little  principality on the Isle of Elba. On the day Napoleon  arrived on Elba, Louis XVIII, gouty, very fat and  pigtailed, entered Paris to take his kingdom.

Meanwhile, the man who had ruled an empire was  full of irrepressible energy and in a short time he had  totally improved the tiny island’s roads, education,  buildings, right down to its garbage collection. But he  quickly exhausted the island’s possibilities and longed  for a challenge. He had to escape Elba. On 1st of March  1815 Napoleon landed on the continent with his little  army. One thousand men against all of France.

Return from exile – “the hundred days”

Approaching Lyon, Napoleon was confronted by a  battalion of French grenadiers sent to halt his advance.  The scene that followed must be one of the most  stirring in history. At pistol shot range he dismounted  and began to walk alone toward the 700 loaded  muskets. He was wearing his grey campaign overcoat  familiar to every Frenchman. Their captain called to  his men, “There he is! Fire!” Taking a few more steps,  Napoleon opened his overcoat and invited them to fire  if they wanted to kill him. If he was not to return, let  them decide. One by one the guns were lowered. Then  they broke ranks and rushed toward their emperor and  commander. Regiment after regiment reversed their  arms and fell in behind the tricolour. Napoleon entered  Paris without a shot being fired! The “hundred days”  had begun. On the night of the 20th of March the king  fled for Belgium. On the way his suitcase was stolen.  “What I regret most”, the king confided to an aide,  “are my bedroom slippers; they’d taken the shape  of my feet.”

The seventh coalition and the final defeat

The people of France wanted Napoleon.  Unfortunately the rest of Europe didn’t. A Seventh  Coalition was immediately formed against  Napoleon. He raised a new army and men rushed to  join. As the Prussians and English marched toward  France, Napoleon again seized the initiative; he  was confident and his army was in good spirits.  This time however he had to deal with the English  soldiers who returned fire coolly and accurately.  Wellington, their general, anticipated Napoleon’s  moves and out-manoeuvred him. On the 18th of June  1815 Napoleon was finally defeated at Waterloo.  He fled to Rochefort where he surrendered himself  to an English ship, the Bellerophon. The English  government directed that Napoleon go into exile on  the island of Saint Helena. He was to end his days  on this rock in the Atlantic 1,140  miles from the nearest land, the  west coast of Africa, and 5,000  miles from his beloved France.  At five forty-nine in the evening  of May 5th 1821 Napoleon died.  He was not quite fifty-two. Some  thought that they heard him say  the words, “French army – at the  head of the army – Josephine”.  These were the last sad words of  Napoleon Bonaparte.

The legacy

Napoleon’s greatest asset was his unique ability to  see the larger picture and yet not miss the details. He  was able to reject the prejudices and preconceptions  of a fossilised and stagnant established order,  without throwing out the legacy of its civilizing and  stabilizing benefits. He brought an intelligent and  enlightened approach to a tired and institutionalised  society dominated for a thousand years by an  oppressive Holy Roman Empire. He was a man  driven by principles not tradition, by passion  not expediency. Like all reactionary movements  the Revolution fell down because it became an  over-reaction. Every innocent expression had to  be carefully weighed, lest it be seized upon by the  thought police as un-revolutionary or not politically  correct. Napoleon hated the stifling atmosphere  this reign of terror created and had the courage to  stand against it without denying the benefits of the  Revolution. This was perhaps his greatest legacy.

It would have been like him to see Josephine at the  head of the armies of France. He was deep down, a true  romantic. But in reality there was a greater Commander  at the head of his army, the one into whose hand all  power in heaven and earth had been committed; one  who also rides forth for his love; a bride who had  kept constant to her King, witnessing and testifying  to his love through twelve centuries of tyranny and  persecution. Unseen by men, that one and his angels  guided Napoleon’s armies, in fourteen campaigns,  facing seven coalitions, to avenge the blood of his  saints, spilt by a corrupt and unholy alliance of harlot  church and the royal house of Europe.

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