Revelation Seminar Part C -

Return to Constantine. Chapter 12 - same events - new perspective. Daniel 2 and 7 similar but different viewpoints. In Daniel 7 shows fourth beast to continue in some form until coming of Ancient of Days. Same beast again described in Revelation 12:3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon,

having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads Seven Headed Dragon. 12:3 Pagan Roman empire used dragon as military standard. This standard replaced on soldiers

shields with Christian monogram by Constantine. 12:3 Seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth cf seven hills of Rome 17:9. Dragon Standard of Rome The Dragon.

Dragon of OT called serpent or crocodile found along the Nile. Symbolises power of Egypt - full of tyranny, darkness & superstition - eventually absorbed and overcome by Rome. Great dragon symbol moved to Rome later became ecclesiastical city spiritually called Sodom and Egypt as noted in 11:8. Revelation portrays dragon power through

progressive stages of growth. Truth v Error - Recurrent Theme. From serpent in Eden, to strivings of Israel

- common theme - corruption through influences of worldly philosophies. Letters to churches warn of same tendencies. Revelation warns of the continuation of same deadly errors. 12:3 Great red dragon in heaven is symbol of pagan Roman empire in ascendency. Tail of the Dragon.

12:4 Movement of tail of great red dragon indicates its fear and anger. Maximin ruler of one third - intolerant pagan hated Christians - full of wrath against them. 12:4 Initiated holy war against Licinius favourable to Christians - Maximin was killed - his princes - stars of his heaven deposed. Woman in Heaven.

12:1 a great wonder in heaven- sign. a woman clothed with the sun woman is the ecclesia - who had been chaste bride. in heaven refers to elevated status given to Christians by Constantine.

moon under her feet priests derived power from pagan system as moon from sun - priests now subjugated. The woman is not Israel. Birth of Man Child. 12:2 Religious community of Christians no

longer chaste virgin but with child. After Pentecost AD 33, error crept in - 280 years later (number of day-years for natural gestation) result brought forth in birth of man-child (v5) of sin - ascension to power of Constantine in AD 313. A mystery of iniquity had been at work (2 Thess.2:7) Caught up unto God.

12:2 Describes great persecution of Christians by Diocletian - period of fifth seal. Feeling existed that Christian church must die if no deliverer arose - Constantine appeared. Support for Constantine brought Christians in droves to fight for him.

Infant man-child escaped pagan dragon by rising to heaven - Constantine became strong. v5 Cannot refer to Christ - had already ascended. Results of Ascension.

Chaste woman under pressure divides ecclesia into two parts. Part give allegiance to Constantine. Remainder flee to outlying parts of empire with other dissenters. Time period links with witnessing of the two witnesses. (section 28) War in heaven - refers to bids for power and rulership of Roman empire. Michael.

12:7 Who was Michael a title of Christ : And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people... (Dan.12:1) Constantine fought in name of Christ against pagans - given title of Michael -compare with titles given to Cyrus - Section 16 Constantine won battle against pagans and

Licinius and AD 324 became sole ruler of whole empire. Titles for the Dragon. 12:8 Sixth seal saw disappearance of

pagan power from heaven - Constantine won. 12:9 The dragon is titled that old serpent called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world. Serpent represents fleshly thinking in political power. Devil means false accuser, relates to pagan Rome. The Devil.

8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 1 Peter 5 10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried Rev 2

Had Kingdom of God Come? 12:10,11 Christians rejoicings at extraordinary salvation brought by Constantines victories termination of persecutions - ascension to power and honour. The event surpassed all words. Soldiers with naked swords kept watch round the palacegate... And they sat down, some at the emperors table, the rest at tables on either side of his. It looked like the very image of the kingdom of Christ; and was altogether

more like a dream than a reality. Christendom. As Section 22 already indicated - literal Kingdom of God on earth becoming but dim idea - language regarded as figurative.

Church itself thought of as the Kingdom Christendom Whole scene of ch. 12 splendid parody of coming Kingdom when Christ himself will sit on throne of glory. Winners and Losers.

Most Christians joined with Constantine and rejoiced at victory over pagans many thought Jesus with him. 12:12 New Catholic rulers rejoiced in their elevation in power. 12:13 Pagan powers in outlying places still persecuted the Christians. 12:14 Protesting section of church fled sought refuge in outposts of Empire wilderness.

Time, Times and Half a Time. True woman was nourished in wilderness for time, times, and half a time- 1260 years. Coded statement of time period links directly with Daniel - identified with it -And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time

(Dan.7:25). The Dragon Again. 12:13-17 How could dragon still be active? Many institutions, festivals and doctrines of paganism superimposed on Christian

church. Church becomes state-sponsored, paganised form of Christianity. Symbols of serpent and dragon now relate to Christianised empire. The Eastern Empire.

Constantine transferred civil and military headquarters from Rome to Constantinople AD 330. Dragon became identified with power of Christianised empire - in Constantinople. The woman, (original Protestants) fled from Religious tyranny & persecution. 12:15 Persecution described as water as a flood with purpose of destroying all opposition to dragons power.

Two Witnesses - Earth & Woman. 12:16 Who is the earth? - those who stand up for liberty - against oppression - not necessarily religious.

So effectively opposed armies of Rome - they withdrew. Can be said to have swallowed up flood sent by the dragon. The earth and the woman represent the two witnesses of ch.11. Eyewitness Marculous. Was Revelation understood at the time? Donatist writer Marculous - Behold, suddenly the polluted flood of the Marcarian persecution burst forth...a most horrible

and cruel ecclesiastical war was proclaimed, that a christian people should be compelled by the naked swords of soldiers, by the standards of Serpents or Dragons and by the blasts of trumpets, to unite with Traditors. (Traditors gave up Scriptures to save own lives)

Remnant of Womans Seed. Remnant - within group called the woman - held to the Truth in its purity. Dragon continues unremitting warfare against the remnant - the holy city. (chap 11) Many groups through time stood for the Truth until overwhelmed by

opposition or apostasy. Remnant will ultimately triumph enthroned in the kingdom of God.

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