Truth, Understanding, Insight

L'Aquila Conquered: Italian Easter Earthquake to G8

13th July 2009, hej


The Italian city of L'Aquila has been suddenly brought before the world's attention. Firstly for the devastating earthquake that destroyed the old city while celebrating Easter, and secondly for the decision to locate the G8 summit there. The city of L'Aquila is no small unimportant town but has a proud independent past history as a regional leader, which has, dramatically, now been lost. Do the events here have global significance?

Did God cause the Easter quake in Italy? This is quite a profound question. It asks how much God is directly 'hands on' in controlling the earth. The Bible states God 'laid the foundations of the earth' (Psalm 102:25). It also states that God can shake the earth,

Then the earth shook and trembled. The foundations of heaven quaked and were shaken, because he was angry.(2 Samuel 22:8)

We are not told that he causes every little earth shake. It seems, however, that even the people of God are not protected and may experience earthquake,

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we won’t be afraid, though the earth changes, though the mountains are shaken into the heart of the seas (Psalm 46:1-3)

So were the people who died at Easter in Italy not protected by God?

One issue we must understand is that the people did not die because of the earth movement. They died because they were in poorly designed and human made buildings with heavy tile or concrete roofs. God never commanded us to make multi story brick buildings, in fact quite the reverse! (Genesis 11:1-7 ). In addition reports of ignored antiseismic construction laws, crumbling concrete and the use of salty sea sand, indicate corruption. So human greed and corruption contributed to causing the deaths. In the case of death from buildings falling we have been given a definitive answer by no less than Jesus,

Or those eighteen, on whom the tower in Siloam fell, and killed them; do you think that they were worse offenders than all the men who dwell in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but, unless you repent, you will all perish in the same way.”(Luke 13:4-5)

Those who died were no worse than any other. The point is, all of us who don't repent to serve God, no matter if they live to over 100, will perish. This quake reminds us then of our own mortality. But there may be more.

There is possibly much that is significant to a quake in the L'Aquila region, and even more so that the town, due to this event, hosted the 2009 G8 Summit, which included Egypt, whose coat of arms features the same Aquila chrysaetos (Golden Eagle) as L'Aquila. And in addition the agenda of the G8 summit included dividing Israel, and tremors of 2.0 to 2.8 shook the town during the G8 summit.

The many significant religious events relating to the quake

While God may not have caused the deaths, not being responsible for human building practice, he may have caused the earth to quake. The news reports of the events gave some information that indicates events are of significance to Bible students.

Due to the timing preventing Easter services and the importance of the outcomes to Bible prophecy relating to the nations and Israel, this earthquake may have been brought by God. If this is the case at the very least we can know that God doesn't like big fancy stone Churches.

The connection with Israel

In addition to the above, the quake may have had significance as it affected people in Israel. About 50 Israelis studied in the town, mostly in the medical school. It was reported 10 left for Israel on the Monday straight after the quake, while 40 went to Perugia, in Umbria, where 20 flew to Israel on Tuesday, and the remaining 20 returned home on Wednesday (50,40,20 and 10 are the numbers or righteous that save a city, Genesis 18). Another Israeli Arab medical student was killed and his coffin sent home. The quake severs the Israeli connection with L'Aquila.

That six Muslims died the number of man and 2 were Palestinian and those were buried in L'Aquila whereas the Israeli was sent back indicates Italy will hold the Palestinians and send away Israelis.

L'Aquila became the scene of the G8, and one of the issues raised was that of a Palestinian state.

We reiterate the G8’s full support for the two-state solution, with the establishment of an independent, democratic, viable and contiguous Palestinian State living in peace with Israel and its other neighbours within secure and recognised borders. ... We maintain our firm commitment to continue providing assistance to the Palestinian people and to strengthen the Palestinian democratic institutions. We call on all parties to re-enter direct negotiations on all standing issues consistent with the Roadmap, the relevant UNSC Resolutions and the Madrid principles. We also call on both parties to fulfil their obligations under the Roadmap, including a freeze in settlement activity (as well their “natural growth”) and an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism. We emphasized the urgency of a durable solution to the Gaza crisis through the full implementation of UNSC Resolution 1860/2009, including an end to arms smuggling and the immediate opening of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons. We remain committed to actively supporting the implementation of current and future peace agreements.. we look forward to a comprehensive peace between Israel and its neighbours, also building upon the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. We support the proposal of the Russian Federation to convene, in consultation with the Quartet and the Parties, an international conference on the Middle East peace process in Moscow in 2009.

Resoultion from G8

The G8 resolution parallels the memorial the Catholic Church held, in which the Palestinian dead were included. Though it may seem bi-partisan, Daniel writes,

He shall deal with the strongest fortresses by the help of a foreign god: whoever acknowledges him he will increase with glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for a price. (Daniel 11:39)

Significance of the meaning of places named in the media

Some towns were destroyed with high casualties, others were not. Some houses were flattened while those beside seemed untouched. The greatest damage was at L'Aquila. But at Onna the mountain village of about 300 became rubble, with about 40 dying. At Castelnuovo of 250 people, 5 people died and little was left standing. They had not felt the tremors and a local said, “No one thought an earthquake would destroy Castelnuovo.” At Paganica, a Roman town right above the epicentre, the medieval streets were deserted as 70% of the buildings were damaged. At Tempera most of the town was damaged. At Fossa near L'Aquila an elderly woman and a baby girl died. One person was also reported killed at Tornimparte. There are reports about Totani, San Demetrio ne' Vestini and Monticchio (which had no damage though close to Onna). People were afraid in Rocca di Mezzo. Not publicised so much was that 90% of the buildings in the town of Villa Sant'Angelo were destroyed and 17 people of 431 were killed on April 6.

The meanings of the names are 'the-Eagle', Onna 'woman' and Castelnouvo 'New Castle'. Paganica means 'pagan' and was settled from Roman times. Tempera means to temper, toughen such as steel or a form of paint hand ground from pigments (used for religious icon in Greece and Russia). Fossa means 'pit'or 'grave', Tornare turn - come back - 'parte' part or impart. Totani meaning 'squid', in this region is eaten with fish up to Christmas day (when they can eat meat) and during Lent as a penitential or fasting food. San Demetrio (san)Saint (Demetrio) 'Earth-Mother' The 'Monticchio' the 'mountain chio' or 'mountain “so that I”'. Rocca di Mezzo 'the fortress of the messenger' and Villa Sant'Angelo is 'house saint messenger',

The eagle is the symbol of pagan Rome, the political power of Europe. The Woman is the apostate church and together they will appear to be in a 'new castle', a new point of strength that others will seek as a defence (As Obama has done already in approaching the Vatican, we will return to this). The pagan (Roman or Western), beaten and tempered (or painted as a religious icon), come back and impart their ideas, returning from the pit or grave, where they ate squid fasting (being despised by the nations) to be the Saint Earth-Mother. A mountain, or a great nation 'so that I', (or as Obama's words 'yes we can'). can be the fortress of the messenger (Mezzo). All this is a messenger (Angelo) for the household of the saints.

The Aquila eagle

The symbol of the region is a single golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) with a crown over 3 mountains. See the image (wikicommons) It is located in the wildest part in Italy with wolves, wildcats, bears and eagles, speaking of untamed (human) nature, and the Aquila eagle represents many human powers. According to Wikipedia 'The eagle symbolized strength, courage, farsightedness and immortality'. It is connected to Zeus and Jupiter pagan gods of the sky, and is far more popular in European heraldry than English.

Persia was the first to use the eagle as a standard. The Aquila eagle after 104BC was carried by Roman legions (the legion sometimes called aquila), and so it is a symbol of men going to war. Under the eagle each cohort had its own ensign a serpent or dragon.

Constantine kept the eagle but added a cross under it. This is still the symbol of the Eastern Orthodox part of the Church used in services. (is this quake a harbinger of Rome's coming dominance over 'the Eagle'?). The Byzantine and Holy Roman emperors made it double headed to signify east and west. But this was not new. The Hittites had used a 2 headed eagle.

The Seljuk Turks when conquering Persia and Iraq seem also to have used a two headed eagle.

But this Aquila eagle is a single headed eagle over 3 mountains.

The single headed eagle was used by Napoleon Bonaparte. But it is also used today by Austria, Germany and Romania. (Poland uses the white eagle, and Moldovia a Latin eagle, and the USA the bald eagle). This is 3 nations, (which is in biblical symbolism 3 'mountains') but they are not associated with one crown.

The Golden Eagle is the national bird of four nations, Germany and Austria in continuation of the Holy Roman Empire and Mexico and Kazakhstan. This is really 3 as Germany and Austria are listed together. But it is hard to see the connection between the three. Though Germany and Mexico both came to L'Aquila there is no connection with Kazakhstan.

Today three nations, (or in biblical symbolism 'mountains') use the Saladin Golden Eagle (attributed to Saladin who retook control of Jerusalem from the crusaders in 1187) as their coat of arms: Egypt, Iraq and the Palestinian National Authority. Egypt has the eagle on its flag also. (Yemen modified its Saladin Golden Eagle to an outstretched eagle, but Syria and Libya who had used the Saladin Eagle also, more recently chose a Quraish hawk). Therefore we have one Aquila Eagle shared by one 'crown' (pan-Arab a legacy of the Egyptian led United Arab Republic which failed to achieve much and ended in 1961) the on three mountains or nations. It is perhaps significant then that Egypt was the only nation specially invited to the G8 summit at L'Aquila.

But does the timing of the quake say anything about the nations of the 3 Saladin golden eagles (aquila)? The tremors began in Italy in late December just before the Gaza conflict, which signalled a dramatic change in the political landscape of Palestine (one eagle), and its relationship with Egypt (another eagle). At that same time the UN mandate of the multinational force in Iraq ended. But the tremors continue and becomes a earthquake on the 6th April with a strong aftershock on the 7th April when U.S. President Barack Obama marked a surprise visit to troops in Iraq. The last British forces left on the 27th May 2009, with American hand over on the 30th June, with all combat troops leaving by the 31 August 2009. We can't be certain there is a connection. It is expected at the very least that Iraq will change its emblem from the Saladin golden eagle. Whether there is soon to be a greater political change than that of British and Unites States withdrawal is yet to be seen.

How many eagles came to the destroyed L'Aquila?

When Jesus speaks of his day “as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines unto the other part under heaven” (Luke 17:24) and speaks of the days of Noah his disciples ask him, “Where, Lord?”

And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together. (Luke 17:37)

The nations who came to L'Aquila whose symbols include eagles are: the USA the bald eagle, Russia the double headed eagle, Germany the Aquila Eagle. This is 3 eagles. As the G8 acts as one 'crown' in making resolutions they are an eagle on 3 mountains. And Spain, as the President of the European Commission as an observer, has been symbolised by an eagle during the time of Franco, and before that the time of Charles V(1). It might then not be just co-incidence that Spain at L'Aquila makes an agreement to rebuild the tower in L'Aquila built by Charles (V)1. It was also the emblem of the Catholic unified Spain from 1492, a time of persecution of the servants of God.

There are more eagles. On the last day of the summit in L’Aquila along with the G8 and EU leaders the heads of states and governments from other nations took part. Among them are a few eagles: Egypt, Libya, Mexico. These are 3 eagles again.

In addition other nations who took part have birds of prey as their emblem. Indonesia has Garuda a mythical bird of prey (found in the constellation aquila) and the South African Republic has a bird of prey, Spain who once had an eagle makes a third eagle. (Australia is an odd one there. Though it has an bird as a part of its emblem, it is an emu and this is clearly no bird of prey).

The 'body' that Jesus is speaking of in Luke is Israel, and as yet the eagles are not gathered there.

Significance of the consequences

(the mass at L'aquila referred to 'the new Jerusalem will descend from heaven'. The Pope’s deputy Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone misapplied Isaiah “Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, they will raise up the former devastations and they will repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations.”But this is continuing the miss-appropriation of a Jewish future to themselves)

At the very least we may know that God may not like the churches they built in this region. That they were so visibly destroyed indicates that they were at best not protected by God and at worst actively destroyed by God. We know in the days of Rahab in Jericho her house was preserved, when all the reminder was broken, and the city was never to be rebuilt. The people of this area have not sought to find what God would want built, rather they have sought the help of the nations to defiantly re-build what God was happy to see destroyed. That the previously secular German government should lead then and build a church in the town named the 'woman'(Onna), points to Germany helping build the power of the Catholic church. As Germany was a centre of the Holy Roman Empire this is highly significant.

So from 'the tower' to 'the eagle' and a military camp. This therefore is the place where nations agree to go to take 'the tower', or the power, to 'the eagle' (the Palestinian emblem) and divide Israel.

Two outcomes of the meeting reveal political tremors. There was consensus from France and China on the need to end of the US dollar as the standard. As such it signals the end of US economic power, a minor tremor in itself. The second outcome was greater, the acknowledgement of end of the power of the G8 itself. The end of the time when a few nations, the victors of World War II, have consensus and together have power. And they come to know this in a military barracks, symbolising a world now where the major nations are again in a state of war. The end of the post war order is a political earthquake.

The significance of L'Aquila's history

L'Aquila was planned by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II of Germany in 1245 as a bulwark against the power of the papacy (He was soon excommunicated by the papacy in their struggle for political power).The city was completed by his son Conrad IV by 1253. The L'Aquila name meaning 'the eagle', was the symbol of the Holy Roman Empire. L'Aquila was supported by the 99 castles of the basin. The power in the region was held by Manfred king of Sicily (son of Frederick II) who refused to surrender Sicily to pope Innocent IV in 1254. The city became so politically important that Pope Alexander IV (1254-1261) moved an ancient bishopric to L'Aquila, and the city sided with the papacy. Manfred, after reconquering the southern portion of his kingdom, in 1259 besieged and destroyed L'Aquila. It was abandoned for 7 years until 1266. (Manfred is an ancestor of Queen Elizabeth II). From the city's inception it represented the papacy's struggle for political power with a European power. When the papacy took over the city was destroyed.

The next incident in the city's history is even more pointed. The papacy schemed to remove Manfred by promoting Charles of Anjou. He defeated Manfred and became King of Sicily. One of the first actions was to order the rebuilding of L'Aquila with 4 quarters (in the shape of a cross). This man having taken part in the 7th and 8th Crusades, by purchase became King of Jerusalem in 1277, with the support of the pope. (The crusader kingdom lasting from 1099 until 1291). Charles twice attempted to begin a conquest of Constantinople but was prevented by pope Gregory's hopes of unifying the Greek and Latin parts of the church. After the destruction of L'Aquila the rebuilding went with increased papal power, purchase of control over Jerusalem and a move to unite the church. Events which we are beginning to see repeated, with the pope visiting Israel after the earthquake, and the European rulers or 'kings' coming to L'Aquila and then some visiting the pope.

There is an odd aside conected with the warning given of the April 6 quake. After the death of pope Nicholas IV (1292), a Benedictine hermit of the L'Aquila region warned the cardinals of divine vengeance if they did not quickly elect a new pope. So they elected the hermit! He refused, and attempted to run, but cardinals and the power of the Kings of Naples and Hungary on July 7 forced his crowning, as pope Celestine V in L'Aquila in August 1294. No sooner in, than he declared the right of any pope to abdicate, and in 5 months and 8 days he abdicated. His reason is a powerful criticism of the role of pope. That in that role he could not maintain humility, a pure life, a stainless conscience or tranquility. He also criticised the people for their perverseness. He did not get away with this as the subsequent pope, Boniface VIII (1294–1303), captured him and he died (possibly murdered).

History does not end, as his bones were kept in the red-and-white stone basilica of Santa Maria di Collemaggio which fell in the April 6 Easter Earthquake of 2009. His bones survived the quake intact (though there were reports of damage), with one Italian spokesman saying it was another 'great miracle' by the pope. At the very least it underlines Celestine's criticism of the papacy, but it is evidence that the False Prophet is claiming to work miracles before the humanistic Beast of secular Europe (Revelation 19:20).

In the days of Celestine V in 1294 the first Jews moved to L'Aquila. Remarkably in 1400, Ladislas, king of Naples (and titular King of Jerusalem, Sicily, Hungary and Dalmatia), authorized two Jewish families to engage in trade in Aquila and other towns in the Abruzzi. The town of L'Aquila stayed loyal to Ladislas' sister, Joan II (Queen of Jerusalem, Sicily, and Hungary), against the pope, as she denied Martin V economic aid to rebuild the papal army. The pope, in response, raised up a contender, Louis III of Anjou, who laid siege to L'Aquila, but they did not fall and Joan II gave the town many privileges. She also granted a similar license to trade to other Jews in 1420 and in 1423. And the town became a prosperous city, the 2nd most important in the kingdom. L'Aquila minted coins, the University and a printing house was established. But L'Aquila became the scene of anti-Jewish preaching by the Franciscan Bernardino da Siena in 1438-1444, and suffered a huge earthquake in 1461 (which incidentally stopped the construction work on S. Bernardino where his bones were kept, a building also damaged in the 2009 Easter earthquake). Jews were expelled from the kingdom of Naples in 1510–11, in which L'Aquila was included. From 1527-30 the Spanish viceroy Philibert van Oranje partially destroyed L'Aquila in a struggle with the French for the region and established Spanish feudalism in its countryside. The Spanish built the high fortress that dominates the town. The city never attained the same status again.

The last lord of L'Aquila, Ludovico Franchi, challenged the power of the pope by siding with Alfonso I d'Este duke of Ferrara in1598, when the papacy seized his lands. But the Aquilans had him deposed and imprisoned by the king of Naples. This did not add to the city's glory, as he was their last lord.

A pattern emerges. L'Aquila was built to stand against the papacy. But sometimes the papacy claimed the city, and when the papacy was stronger than the political leaders the city ended up destroyed in one way or another. L'Aquila is historically the marker of the secular bulwark against papal political influence. And in 2009 it's gone.

1703 L'Aquila earthquake

On 2 February 1703, after minor shocks damaged churches, with a sound like thunder most of the city fell and 3,000-5,000 people died. It was the first day of the national Carnival. Villagers from across the region had packed the churches to celebrate the day of Candelora, when the clergy bless candles and lead prayers. The festival was not again kept on that day afterwards. That quake destroyed what was then the highest fortress in Europe. Pope Clement XI ordered the town repopulated. (80 years later, another quake killed 6,000 people and they rebuilt again).

The destruction in 1703 in L'Aquila marked the beginning of the loss of Spanish and Austrian power (Holy Roman Empire) in Italy and the rise of the French. 1703 was also the year that saw the Great Storm an Atlantic hurricane in southern England and the Channel. In that area the English and Dutch were changing the face of world trade, from where England would emerge as a world power. Catholic Spain which had captured and subjugated L'Aquila was to lose power in Italy and at sea from 1703. Catholic Spain in the War of Spanish Succession lost its European possessions and its position as a leading power. By 1703 the Enlightenment was begun with the end of Catholic rule in England in 1688 and limited toleration of non-conformists (and the true servants). People such as Newton, Locke, Hooke, Spinoza and Voltaire were beginning to influence thinking.

1860 The fall of the political power of the papacy

L'Aquila gained its (pre-earthquake) modern administrative power from its involvement in Garibaldi's revolutionary campaign for a Unidet Italy, and in 1860 they were made the capital of the region.

Garibaldi was not happy until he had united all Italy and he took on Rome, the pope's temporal domain, and Venice. He called for the abolition of the papacy, and of any ecclesiastical property and unsuccessfully fought the French army protecting the pope. But in 1870 the Italian army captured the papal states and ended the political ambitions of the papacy at least until 1929 (when they had the statue of Garibaldi on a horse turned away from facing the Vatican). L'Aquila was in 1860 again a force opposing the political power of the Vatican, and gained success. But now after the earthquake the locals complain they are weakened and Rome rules, and the Vatican patronises.

The rise of the papacy

The pope issued a document timed to influence the G8. Observers noted that this Pope, Benedict , in issuing the document was attempting to intervene directly in political developments, which annoys Italian secularists, who argue he is also making unwarranted interference in domestic Italian affairs. In the document he called for the G8 to make a 'true world political authority' to 'oversee a return to ethics in the global economy'. This was reflected in a G8 communiqué from Italy and Germany as they work for stronger and more co-ordinated 'global standards'. On July 10 the US president Obama went straight from L'Aquila and sought the pope for agreement on his policy for the division of Israel. He is quoted as saying that in this and other issues, “the pope has shown extraordinary leadership” At the very least events in L'Aquila practically mark the rise to political prominence of the papacy.

A political Earthquake

An Earthquake in Bible symbolism speaks of a political revolution. But where is this to occur? L'Aquila will lose regional status, but this is not a revolution. Is there to be a revolution of sorts? If there is, it will have something to do with nations losing their historical struggle against the political power (interference) of the papacy, or to do with the Eagle nations of the G8 loss of status or perhaps dramatic political changes to Palestine, Egypt and Iraq.

This quake may be very significant. It may be more significant than the Chinese quake of 2008 which signalled a change in Russia, as the low magnitude L'Aquila quake did not cause as much damage as that experinced in China, but the Easter Earthquake was in, historically, a very politically significant place: sucessful when it was a bastion, or fortress of secular rulers.

For more

on earthquake of Zechariah

on earthquake of Revelation

After a study of earthquakes in the Bible I wrote another article, as after consideration of science and what I have understood in the Bible, God must control all earth movement. Faith to Move Mountains


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Standing 1.2 meters (4 feet) tall, the statue was found in the remains of a cliff that had crumbled under the gale-force winds. Discovered near the ancient port after the tides had returned to normal, an official with the Israel Antiquities Authority said the statue will be displayed in various museums.
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