Sunday, June 29, 2014
Part 14 – Riddles, Enigmas & Esoteric Imagery of Revelation
When we last together I asked you the question, “Who gave life to the image of the beast?” The image is the Holy Roman Empire – 7th head of the seven-headed beast. The paganism of this beast is the mirror image of the paganism of the Imperial Roman Empire – 6th head of the beast. Imperial Rome gave life to Holy Rome – but how was this accomplished? For the answer, we must lay some historical ground work.
The seven-headed beast also has ten horns…the ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have re3ceived no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast…these are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast…Rev. 17:12-13.
When John received this vision the ten king – ten horns – had not come into power as yet. History reveals that these ten kings were subsequent rulers of Imperial Rome. The reason only ten are mentioned, these were the most vicious destroyers of Christians until the 10th, and worst king, Emperor Dioclesian. One hour means they ruled a very short period of time. Of the same mind means their single goal was to eliminate Christians from the earth.
Remember, Jesus in the Revelation is not giving a history lesson on Imperial Rome, but rather revealing its spiritual impact on His beloved, so His kids will understand His purpose in allowing such vicious oppression. Tertullian of Carthage (150-225 A.D.) was a well educated apologist for the Christians, yet well respected by the Roman Senate. He said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” Martyrdom produces true followers of Christ – because they are not willing to compromise His standards.
Emperor Dioclesian chose Emperor Maximian to join him in ruling his burgeoning empire at Rome. But he chose Emperor Constantius to rule over the northwestern portion of his empire. When Emperor Constantius died in Britain in 306 A.D., his son, Emperor Constantine succeeded him. His mother was a Christian. When Emperor Maximian committed suicide in 310 A.D., his son Maxentius succeeded him.
Emperor Maxentius feared his kingdom at Rome would be overthrown by Emperor Constantine, because he stopped the persecution of Christians, which Emperor Maxentius wanted to continue with a vengeance. So Emperor Maxentius plotted a wicked plan to lure Emperor Constantine and his army to Rome and murder them. Emperor Constantine was known as a man of courage and confidence and was not easily dissuaded, so he accepted the challenge to meet Maxentius on his own turf. What was his wicked scheme?
Through the devilish art of magic, charms, and sorcery, Maxentius conjured a fail-poof trap for Constantine and his army. He ordered his men to tear down the bridge over the Tiber River, and rebuild it with inferior materials. He will lure Constantine and his army onto the weakened bridge, which would collapse from the massive weight, plunging them into the river to a guaranteed death.
On his way to Rome, Constantine had a vision, where he saw a light in Heaven, appearing in the similitude of a cross with an inscription in Latin – in hoc vince – in this overcome. His soldiers were witnesses. Later that night, Jesus Christ appeared to him in a dream, directing him to make a replica of the cross that he had seen in the earlier vision. Jesus told Constantine the cross would replace his Roman standard – by his obedience he would have victory.
Constantine made the cross standard from gold and precious stones, symbolizing his spiritual appointment and allegiance to God, rather than his military prowess. Eventually the two armies faced each other outside Rome near the Tiber River. The capability of Constantine’s army, under the cross of Christ, was underestimated by Maxentius, and his demon advisors. As the battle raged on, Maxentius and his army found themselves retreating.
How was this battle won – a battle to continue the vicious persecution of Christians, or to stop the vicious persecution of Christians? It may take a couple of weeks to reveal how Emperor Constantine eventually gave breath to the image of the beast, but there is so much historical documentation that must be presented to you, so you can see the truth of the matter for youerself. Stay tuned…
God’s sheep question the doctrines of men…sheeple follow without question.