The Great Persecution

The Dragon persecuted the Woman

In Revelation, Chapter 12, we are told that after Christ ascended to God, He was made the Lord of heaven and earth, and the Spirit of Christ, as the Angel Michael, cast Satan and his Angels down. 

But John said, 

“When the dragon saw that he was thrown down to earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child”

Revelation 12:14

Satan persecuted the saints, through the Red Dragon, the military power of Rome.

This persecution of the saints came to a climax in verse 15, “the dragon poured water like 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”

This flood was the Great Persecution, a ten-year attempt to destroy Christianity.

Eusebius, the Bishop of Constantine, was an eyewitness of the Great Persecution. He said,

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 market-places, 

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 scrapings1

But the Apostle John said, “the earth helped the woman.” In 313 A.D., the Emperor repented, and, commanded that without delay they should stop the persecution of the Christians.

This ten-year testing of the saints was foreshadowed in Daniel 1. Daniel and his friends were tested for ten days. In Revelation Chapter 2, the Angel said to the Church of Smyrna, “you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days.” These ten days were ten years.

The End of it shall be with a flood

Daniel said that the ruler of the People to come would “destroy the City and the Sanctuary and the end of it would be with a flood” (Daniel 9:26).

The City and Sanctuary that Daniel spoke of was the New Jerusalem. Satan was the Ruler of this world, who cast the sanctuary to the ground when the Bishop of Rome exalted himself as high as Christ, as high as the Captain of the Armies.

Satan, the Great Dragon, persecuted New Jerusalem. The Apostle John described this as a “flood” that came out of the mouth of the dragon so that the Woman might be swept away by the flood.

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

As the Apostle John said, the “earth helped the Woman.” The Great Persecution ended in 313, when the Roman Emperor repented and embraced Christianity.

But the assistance of Rome brought the saints completely under its power. 

Jesus said, they “will be led captive into all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot until the time of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:24). This was the captivity of saints in Mystery Babylon. That is the captivity of the saints in a Church that would enforce its doctrines by the military and political power of Rome, and the Kings of Europe.

The fourth century was significant for several events.

Many churches ceased the washing of feet after baptism. In 325, the Bishop of Rome named Sunday, “the Lord’s Day,” and the universal “Catholic” Church was established through the Nicene Creed. In 364, a council at Laodicea prohibited rest on the Sabbath Day. In 380, Christianity was made the official religion of the Roman Empire. And finally in 381, the Trinity doctrine was declared to be the official doctrine of the Church.

From 376 to 382, the Roman Empire fell through the Gothic war. But as John prophesied, “the beast was wounded by the sword, and lived.” The power of Rome continued through the Bishop of Rome.

 

  1. Eusebius Church History, Book VIII, Chapter 2