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These excerpts are from
Natural, Grammatical Outlines in
The Revelation of Jesus Christ
by Dr. Richard Hughes
- 7th Day: Decius [249-251], attempting to save classical Roman culture, he viewed Christians "as a peculiar threat to the state" because of their rapid growth and their seeming attempt to set up a state within a state. His Edict of 250 demanded an annual offering of sacrifice at the Roman altars to the gods and to the genius of the emperor. His persecution ended upon his death, which occurred within a year of the Edict [Cairn`s, p.92]. He was killed in battle with the Goths [Miller`s, p. 201].
- 8th Day: Valerian [247-259], who continued the demand for a sacrifice to the gods and to the emperor. Local authorities sentenced Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, "to expiate thy crime with thy blood" when he refused to make such a sacrifice [Miller`s, p. 262].
- 9th Day: Aurelian , who rose through the rank militarily and was assassinated by a secretary whom he intended to call to account for dishonesty the same year [Universal World Reference Encyclopedia, 3:448].
- 10th Day: Diocletian [303-305], whose persecution was the most severe. Beginning in 303, Diocletian ordered the cessation of meetings, the destruction of properties, the deposition of officers, the imprisonment of the persistent and the destruction of the scriptures by fire [Cairn`s, p.93]. The Donatist controversy arose from this persecution on the issue of reuniting with believers who turned over manuscripts rather than die at the hands of inquisitors. "The Diocletian persecution forced upon the church the problem of the canon of the New Testament" [Cairn`s, p.94].
PERGAMOS [313 - 590], "Thou hast them there that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to eat things sacrificed unto idols and to commit fornication" - there is a marked change in the Church after Constantine, who begins to favor the Church. Rather than being persecuted, it is now "preferred" by those who seek the Emperor`s favor. The seed sown in the night comes to light as tares among the wheat. They claim "Christ" for social and economic benefit and not from a heart repentant of sin. What was meant to be the greatest of the herbs is becoming a tree for every "fowl of the air."
- Doctrine of Balaam - it mixed the worship of Jehovah with the practices of divination [Smith`s Bible Dictionary]
- Doctrine of Nicolaitanes - the deeds become a doctrine and a priestly clergy funded by Constantine is born. "The Pontifical Chronicle…takes thirty pages to tell, very summarily, of the superb gifts in gold and silver, bronze and precious stones and fabrics, which Constantine and his family showered upon the new churches, so that they could outshine the temples; indeed, the gifts suggest that the practice now began of looting the temples to enrich the churches. The gifts to two of these include four hundred massive silver objects and seventy of gold, often encrusted with jewels, besides magnificent bronze and furniture. We read of one silver vessel, decorated with jewels, which stood five feet in height and weighed one hundred and twenty pounds, of seven solid silver altars weighing two hundred pounds each, and so on. Hundreds of estates were transferred to the churches to give them revenue" [McCabe`s A History of the Pope, p.49].
- Antipas - unknown outside of Rev. 2:13, was God`s "faithful martyr," slain among those who dwelled where Satan`s seat is. The only martyr named amidst the church age from among a host [Rev. 17:6], he represents his brethren, slain for the cause of Christ. Since many who had previously persecuted Christians when such was the policy of Rome had since joined the church as it entered imperial favor under Constantine, there were those "among them" who had not only seen Antipas die, but had most likely consented unto his death, as Saul did unto Stephen`s [Acts. 8:1].