The Great Persecution

The Dragon Persecuted the Woman

In Revelation 12, Christ ascended to God and was made the Lord of Heaven and Earth. Then the Spirit of Christ as the angel Michael cast down Satan and his angels. 

John said, “When the dragon saw that he was thrown down to Earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child.” Satan persecuted the saints through the red dragon, the military power of Rome. The persecution of the saints came to a climax in verse 15: “The dragon poured water like a river out of its mouth after the woman, so that it might cause her to be swept away by the flood.” This flood was prophesied by Daniel: “He shall destroy the City and the Sanctuary, and the end of it shall be with a flood.” The meaning of “a flood” was described in Daniel 11:22. Satan was swept away by the flood of forces from Antiochus Epiphanes when he attacked Egypt. Satan will likewise use the armies of Rome to sweep away the saints in the Great Persecution, a ten-year attempt to destroy Christianity.

Eusebius, the bishop of Constantine, was an eyewitness of the Great Persecution. He wrote, “We saw with our own eyes the houses of prayer thrown down to the very foundations, and the Divine and Sacred Scriptures committed to the flames in the midst of the marketplaces…. A great many rulers of the churches eagerly endured terrible sufferings…. The body of one was scourged with rods. Another was punished with insupportable rackings and scrapings.”

But John said, “The Earth helped the woman.” In 313, the emperor repented and commanded that the persecution of the Christians be immediately stopped. This ten-year testing of the saints was foreshadowed in Daniel 1. Daniel and his friends were tested for ten days. In Revelation 2, the Spirit of Christ said to the Church of Smyrna, “You will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days.” These ten days were actually ten years.

The End of It Shall Be with a Flood

Daniel said the end of it would be with a flood. 

Revelation 12 brings us to the end of the Great Persecution, the “flood” that came out of the mouth of the dragon. Now, we are in the year 313, in the beginning of the 4th century, when the saints enter Mystery Babylon.

John said the “Earth helped the woman.” The Roman emperor urged the Christians to rebuild their churches and offer up prayers on behalf of the emperor, but the repentance of the emperor did not result in salvation.

In the last verse of Revelation 12, John said, “The Dragon went off to make war with the rest of her children who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus.” Satan used the red dragon, the power of Rome, to bring the saints completely under his power. This is what Daniel meant by “the end was with a flood.”

The saints were taken captive in Mystery Babylon, a state-controlled church that enforced all the deceptions of Satan using the military power of Rome and the power of the kings of Europe. It prevented the saints from rebuilding the temple of the Lord, just as the Israelites were unable to rebuild the Temple of God when they were in captivity in Babylon. Jesus said that they “will be led captive into all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot until the time of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” By Jerusalem Jesus meant “New Jerusalem.”

The 4th century was significant for several events: the universal “Catholic” Church was established through the Nicene Creed; the Church stopped the practice of the washing of the feet after baptism; the bishop of Rome named Sunday “the Lord’s Day”; and most significantly, the Church prohibited rest on the Sabbath Day. Satan prevented the saints from keeping the commandments of God.

In 381, the Trinity doctrine was declared the official doctrine of the Church. Rome fell in the Gothic War of 376–382. The beast was wounded by the sword and lived as the power of the beast continued through the bishop of Rome.