Chapter 12 - War in heaven - A woman brings forth a child; he is caught up to heaven. She flies into the wilderness into the wings of the great eagle, where she is fed 1260 days. Michael casts the dragon out of heaven. The dragon persecutes the woman; the others help and protect the woman. Henceforth, there are two women - the false one in heaven and the true one in the wilderness.
This chapter takes us back to Constantine, the woman's son who was caught up to imperial power in the Roman heaven. The pagan dragon is cast out of heaven. And, henceforth, Catholicism ruled the Empire. The false woman, the apostate church, ascends to heaven with Constantine. The true woman flees into the wilderness, the outlying wings of the Empire for her 1260-year sackcloth witnessing.
At Constantine's ascension the Donatists protested against corruption in the church and bishops in political power in the imperial court. The cry then was, "What have Christians to do with kings? What have bishops to do at court?" Constantine naturally sided with the established church and persecuted the defenders. There was no freedom for Christ's brethren, just a change of persecuting dragons - from the pagan dragon to the papal dragon.Bro Growcott - A Review of the Apocalypse
TIME OF THE SEAL.
From A. D. 311.
THE LAODICEAN STATE.
The "little strength" of the Philadelphian State exhausted, and Laodiceanism fully established, Pagan persecution having ceased, and "the Catholics," as nominal Christians were now called, being in high favour with the authorities, they say
"We are rich, and increased in goods, and have need of nothing." -- Apoc. 3:17.
Being "lukewarm," the Spirit "spues them out of his mouth." This state continues until abolished by the judgments of the Seventh Vial, which are executed by the Saints after the resurrection.
The adulterous woman system
1 And <a great sign appeared in the> heaven; a woman < who had been invested> with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a <wreath> of twelve stars:
The undivided catholic apostasy in its first establishment
And there she has remained over fifteen hundred and fifty years, even to this day. She has never been a fugitive in the wilderness: but has always (except in the short reign of Julian, who apostatized from her communion) retained her position in the heaven, by enacting the part of a Harlot with the kings of earth, until with her whoredoms and sanguinary abominations, she became
"the Great Harlot sitting upon many waters, drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus" (Apoc.17:1,2,6).
A great sign
The word semeion signifies "a work by which something is known. " A footstep in the sand is a mark by which it is known that a human being had been there. Hence the footstep is a sign, or mark with a signification; a mark by which something is signified. The mark is not the foot; but the impression stepped by the foot - the sign of the foot, in a like sense is the sign of the text to be taken.
This first verse exhibits a mark, or sign, by which something may be known. To constitute the sign there is a woman, the sun, moon, and stars, an investment, and a wreath. These are but lesser marks or signs of the "great sign." The woman, and the luminaries in the great sign are no more, as some imagine, a real human being of the female sex, and the lights of the sky, than the step of the foot is the foot itself.
They are merely signs of something else, between which and them there is an analogy, or resemblance. These lesser marks when grouped together, as in the text, constitute "a great sign," which must, therefore, be regarded as representing a notable development, a wonderful appearance in the apocalyptic heaven.
The sun, moon and stars of this great sign, belong to the heaven in which the sign appears. It is the same heaven as that in which "silence, as it were a half hour," supervened after the departure like a scroll of the heaven which preceded it (Rev. 8: 1; 6:14).
...And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together. This prediction was fulfilled in the change of the constitution of the Roman Orb consequent upon the success of Constantine, crowned by the victory of Chrysopolis, A.D. 324. Until this epoch of eighteen years, "the heaven" of Daniel's Fourth Beast styled apocalyptically the Dragon, had been in all its constituents pagan.
The emperors were all worshippers of Jupiter, and his associate gods. The sun-light of their imperialism was reflected from the idol superstition, of which they were ex-officio the High Priests or Supreme Pontiffs. This was the moon of the heaven shining by reflected imperial light.
... The priests of the idols having lost their hold upon the affection of the multitude, the way was prepared for the subjection of Roman Idolatry to the Catholic, or Laodicean Apostasy. The consummation was necessarily sanguinary; for the testimony of history, and present experience, show that a minority in arbitrary power can only be brought to abdicate by the arbitrament of the sword.
......Such was the collapse of Roman Idolatry in its church and state constitution, or heaven. Its forces were overpowered and dispersed, and as the world never "wonders" after a sinking cause, but is always ready to worship success, it easily transferred its allegiance to the more powerful rival [catholic paganism] which had dethroned it.
... This "heaven" was a church and state constitution of things, in which the Apostasy, foreshadowed in the epistle to the ecclesia at Laodicea. shone with all the brightness and glory an unscrupulous world lying under the wicked could confer upon a system of delusion congenial to it. Its sun, moon, and stars shone brightly.
Though a new constitution of the aerial was proclaimed, the sun was not abolished. The storm-clouds of a departing idolatrous institution had blackened it. It no longer shone in the splendor of pagan majesty which was totally eclipsed; still the supreme power continued to be a diademed imperiality. It was the same twelve-starred Sixth Head which was developed in the Augustan epoch of Daniel's "dreadful and terrible" beast.
...In the "great sign" of ch. 12: 1, the Roman Sun is no longer invested with blackness, but invests a sign-woman with a blaze of glory peculiar to himself - "a woman invested with the sun." Whatever the woman may signify, this investiture symbolizes the clothing of the thing signified with supreme imperial authority; so that whatever might emanate from the woman would be by the sanction and co-operation of the highest orders of the state.
...Gibbon informs us that Constantine had a particular veneration for Apollo, or the sun, to which Julian alludes in his orations.
... But the Constantinian Revolution, or "great earthquake" of the Sixth Seal, had baptized the idol-hierarchy in blood; so that the moon became AS BLOOD.- The sun and moon were not annihilated, but only subjected to changed conditions consequent upon the great earthquake revolution.
This popular convulsion exalted one from among the people, and placed her in the moon's orbit. The light and glory of the imperial majesty fell upon her.
A Sun Invested Woman
The original Jezebel essayed the utter abolition of Yahweh's worship in Israel; and substituted the adoration of other deities, with the lascivious abominations which had formerly brought extermination upon the Canaanites. Her fate also made her a fit emblem of the apocalyptic Jezebel, whose children will be eaten by dogs in the day of Jezreel (Psa. 68:23).
The false teachers and seducers of the first three centuries, although they did not avow it as their purpose, effected completely what Jezebel aimed to accomplish in Israel. They utterly abolished "the doctrine of Christ" by their traditions; and if it had not been for "a little strength" found among a very small remnant that kept the Spirit's word, and had not denied His name, "the Israel of the Deity" would have been entirely transformed into "the Synagogue of Satan."
"Notwithstanding, I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols."
...In this toleration the StarAngel or Eldership, was culpable. They ought to have silenced their false teaching, and to have permitted nothing to reach the ears of the flock not in harmony with the written word. This would have preserved
"the unity of the faith and knowledge of the Son of God;"
and have prevented the development, out of the One Body espoused to Christ, of a self-complacent Catholic, Jezebel, who in the epoch of the "great sign" was at once wretched, and miserable and poor, and blind, and naked" (Ch. 3:17).
"the remnants of her seed who keep the Commandments of the Deity, and hold the testimony of Jesus Christ."
The lamb' woman
...the figurative woman of ch. 12, invested with the Roman Sun, and fleeing from the Dragon, represents the whole ANTIPAGAN COMMUNITY; the vast majority of which answered to Jezebel and her children; while the remainder, with whom alone the doctrine of Christ was to be found, refused to have anything to do with a church in alliance with the
"dreadful and terrible beast having seven heads and ten horns."
...The first ecclesiastical separation of these two divisions did not occur till after the birth of the woman's son, who was to rule all the Greek and Latin nations with an iron sceptre. When this event transpired, the anti-state church party repudiated the desecrating alliance with emperors and their courts.
They refused to recognize the emperor's claim of being at once the representative of the Sixth Head of the Dragon, and Bishop of the, Bishops of Christ. The truth was with this party. They seceded; and by their secession incurred the enmity and bitter hostility of the. New Church imperially established.
The secessionists became the subject of virulent persecution by this new power, which caused them to take refuge in the wilderness. In this flight they are prefigured by the woman, who therefore leaves behind her the sun and moon, and wreath of twelve stars.
... "Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots, and Abominations of the earth."
She reigns until the Ancient of Days is revealed, who "casts her into a bed, and them who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, and kills her children with death" (Ch. 2:22). This is the end of Jezebel in the day of Jezreel (Hos. 1: 11).
A different destiny, however, is apocalyptically indicated for the woman espoused as a chaste virgin to Christ. She entered the imperial presence, but soon found that it was impossible to enjoy imperial favour and protection, and maintain her honour and allegiance to her Divine Husband in purity and truth.
She therefore fled from the sunshine of royalty, and left behind her the Jezebel of her communion, to whom the meretricious blandishments of courts were altogether congenial.
While her Jezebel counter-self remained invested with the Roman sun, and acquired and exercised dominion over the kings of the earth, she was sojourning in the wilderness, in which, however, Jezebel afterwards succeeded in establishing her blasphemous, licentious and sanguinary rule.
...What a remarkable contrast between these two apocalyptic women.
The one, Jezebel, the Great Harlot and the Mother of Harlots; the other, the Lamb's wife and the Mother of all the Saints. The former, sovereign in all times of the Gentiles; the latter, trampled underfoot of the Gentiles in all their times; and persecuted with the utmost rancour and bitterness of hate: the former,
"arrayed in purple and scarlet-colour, and decked with gold and precious stones, and pearls, and reigning over the kings of the earth;"
the latter, clothed in sackcloth, and the habiliments of subjection: the former, the embodiment of ignorance, superstition, cruelty, blasphemy, hypocrisy, and vice; the latter, holy, harmless, undefiled, and without fault before the throne.
- These stars of this Sixth Head at the time of the apocalyptic going forth of the archer of the first seal were exactly twelve, and may be enumerated chronologically thus
1. AUGUSTUS, founder of the Sixth Headship of the Roman Dragon. This Star reigned 44 years from the battle of Actium, which was fought B.C. 30. He died A.D. 14, in his 76th year. He made Tiberius his colleague in the empire three years before his death A. U. C. 764 to................ A.D. 11
2. The SECOND STAR was Tiberius Caesar, successor to Augustus. In the 15th year after being made the colleague of Augustus, "the word of God came to John the son of Zachariah in the wilderness;" and he began to preach. This was 483 years from the 20th of Artaxerxes, the beginning of Daniel's seventy weeks. John was aged 27; Jesus 26 years and six months.................... A.D. 26
At the end of three years and a half, Jesus having been immersed, and John cast into prison, Jesus began to preach the gospel of the kingdom. This began the second half of Daniel 's seventieth week................... A.D. 30
At the end of Daniel's Seventieth Week, or 490 years from the 20th of Artaxerxes, which was the 22nd of Tiberius Caesar, sin was condemned in our common nature by the crucifixion of Jesus Christ..................A.D. 33
3. Tiberius dies in the 23rd year of his reign, and is succeeded by the THIRD STAR, named Caius Caesar Caligula................ A.D. 33
Of this human monster Tiberius said, that he had brought up a serpent for the Roman people; concerning whom he expressed the wish that they had but one neck, that he might cut if off at one stroke. He died ................A.D. 37
4. The FOURTH STAR was Claudius Caesar. The famine mentioned in Acts 11:28, pervaded the whole Roman Habitable under this star. He reigned not quite fourteen years, and died aged 63 ................A.D. 51
5. The FIFTH STAR was his successor Tiberius Claudius Nero. This Caesar for the first five years reigned with applause, being provoked to good conduct by the perpetual admonitions of the renowned Seneca. But changing his manners, he sunk to the lowest depths of degradation. He reduced the greater part of Rome to ashes, and charged it upon the christians, upon whom he inflicted the most exquisite torture. He died by his own hand in the fourteenth year of his reign, aged 32....................................................A.D. 64
6. The SIXTH STAR, was Galba, who reigned 8 months.
7. The SEVENTH STAR was Otho, remarkable for his wickedness, and the shortness of his reign, which scarcely exceeded three month s. He died by his own hand, and was succeeded by a man of incontinent gluttony.
8. Vitellius was the EIGHTH STAR, whose reign of seven months was signalized by the expenditure of thirty millions of dollars in feasting and riot. In the 57th of his age, he was dragged half-naked by a Roman mob into the forum, and with exquisite tortures torn to pieces, and thrown into the Tiber.
9. The NINTH STAR was Vespasian. He emulated the excellences of Augustus, and grieved to inflict punishment when justice demanded it. He was, however, extremely avaricious. He reigned ten years, and died aged 69................................................................. A.D. 75
10. The renowned Titus was the TENTH STAR. On account of his Singular humanity, he was called "the delight of mankind." In the life-time of his father Vespasian he destroyed Jerusalem. He reigned rather more than two years, and died aged 41. He is supposed to have been poisoned by his brother who succeeded him ................A.D. 77
11. Domitian was the ELEVENTH STAR of the Imperial Stephan. He persecuted the christians with the greatest rigour. He was a second Nero. John, the Apostle, was banished by his decree to the isle of Patmos, where the Apocalypse was revealed to him for the benefit of all true Christadelphians, or Brethren of Christ. After a reign of fifteen years, being detested on account of his cruelty, he was put to death by his own guards, aged 55 ................A.D. 92
12. The TWELFTH STAR of this "dreadful and terrible" succession Cocceius Nerva, a man of prudence and moderation, who acquired the dominion late in life. During his brief reign of one year and four months, John was restored to the society of his brethren and companions in tribulation. He died, aged 66, and was succeeded by Trajan................ A.D. 94
In the foregoing chronological table the dates are given according to the true time, which is four years earlier than the regular era.
Such was the WREATH OF TWELVE STARS extended by the Deity as a prize to be gained by the conquest of the Dragon. All the twelve were imperial supreme pontiffs. For the archer-and-woman fraternity to carry off the prize, was for it to be wreathed with the imperial Stephan of the Caesars; and to subdue their pontificate under their feet.
... on the opening of The Fifth Seal, they are represented as crying with a loud voice from underneath the altar, "How long?" How long till their brotherhood should wear the dodecal Caesarian starry Stephan? They knew that this wreath of victory was Caesarian. A believer living in the beginning when the apocalypse commenced to be fulfilled; that is, at the accession of Trajan; knew that twelve Caesars had occupied the draco Roman pontifical throne.
From Augustus to Constantine there were about fifty-four emperors. Why, then, were there not as many stars upon the imperial Stephan, seeing that it was gained when so many had sat upon the Italian throne?
Because, I conceive, the number of the stars was given to indicate, that the opening of the apocalyptic, seals was to begin when the twelfth imperial star had set; that is, with the reign of Trajan an, who was a thirteenth, or number one of a new series. Trajan and his pagan successors may be said to have worn the crown of the Twelve Caesars*. But they could not retain it. It was wrested from them by the Woman, whose Jezebel-son claiming to be her Head - the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church - wreathed himself therewith; and then caused her to become a fugitive in the wilderness of the Great Eagle.
*... The first twelve of the emperors, who ruled the Roman Habitable with undivided authority, assumed the surname of Caesar, this title was therefore their original distinction - Imperator Caesar.
...The stars are Roman as well as the sun and moon; and stripped of these in flight, the twelve stars remain with the sun and moon in the same heaven from, or out of, which she flies; otherwise, we ought to behold her a fugitive with a wreath of beauteous stars upon her head in the wilderness; a symbolization which would be incompatible with her trampled condition there.
Of the "Twelve Cæsars, three only died natural deaths. They were emperors of one family, the Julian, mostly by adoption. These are therefore the "Twelve Stars" of the Roman heaven, whose "crown," in John's days of exile, adorned the brow of Domitian.
This fact is wrought into the symbol which represents the Apostasy in political union with the imperial power, or sun of the Roman world:—this church and state alliance, was, in the days of Constantine, a woman, standing on the queen of heaven, clothed with the imperial orb of day, and crowned with the crown of the Twelve Cæsarean stars.
This was a great sign in the heaven; and if Romulus, the founder of Rome, could have beheld it, it would have filled him with wonder at so astonishing a revolution in pagan affairs!
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Feb 1861
2 And <being pregnant she cries being in pangs and straining to bring forth.>.
The Woman Pregnant
En gastre echousa, literally, having in belly. She contained something within the pale of her communion afterwards to be manifested, or brought forth. She contained it, according to the fitness or decorum of the symbol, previous to her cries in parturition. She did not cry being in pangs and straining to bring forth after her investiture with the solar mantle of imperialism.
Her being invested with the sun was consequent upon her giving birth to what was contained within her, and its being placed upon the Italian throne.
Had her child not been born, the "great sign in the heaven" would not have there appeared. The Italian throne in Rome had first to be vacated by its pagan occupant, before anything produced from the Laodiceanized Christian Body, pre-figured by this woman, could be herpasthe, carried up from its birth-place in the Roman heaven to godship and its throne.
Hence the "great sign" described in the first verse, was representative of the consummation of certain antecedents; and though first stated, was the last thing in the situation developed before the world. The woman's pregnancy, then, preceded her cries. With what was she pregnant?
Impregnation of Christadelphian Eve
What Paul feared, and to prevent which he was
"jealous over all with a godly jealousy,"
was even then secretly at work, impregnating the Christian Eve with principles which in fruition caused her to give birth to a Cain, who has been murdering his brother Abel for fifteen hundred years.
It was even then at work. He styles it "the Mystery of the Iniquity" - the secret principles of that lawlessness which would develop itself into the Lawless One, or Man of Sin - anthropos tes hamartia - THE MAN OF THE APOSTASY.
The seed-germ of this man was already in the womb of the espoused.
...in the course of three hundred years ...The multitude of them who styled themselves Christians, were destitute of all unity of heart and soul; and had degenerated into a "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked" set of catholic politicians.
These gave character to the woman-community in the beginning of the fourth century. The Christadelphians or Brethren of Christ, at that crisis, were the "few names left, who had not defiled their garments." These alone were the pillar and support of the truth;" and but for them, it would have died out from among men; and there would have been no woman to fly into the wilderness, and to be sustained there 1,260 years. But the Deity had reserved to Himself a remnant, styled
"the remnants of her seed, who keep the commandments of the Deity, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Ch. 12:17).
Thus the woman, who had become excessively attenuated, as it were skin and bone, a living skeleton, in all the period of her pregnancy, was grieved with a multitude of nominal professors ready for "any enterprise by which they might acquire power and office in the state. This was the party with which she was pregnant. It styled itself "the HOLY APOSTOLIC CATHOLIC CHURCH;" and only waited for a catholic man of power to lead them in their attack upon the pagan Roman government.
This was "THE COMING MAN" of the fourth century - a leading politician, a Man of Power, who should be able to make the party to which he should belong the ruling Dower of the state. With this party, waiting for the Manifestation of its chief, the woman was pregnant before "she cried being in pangs and strained to bring forth."
The Period of [the Christadelphian Eve's] Pregnancy
"I have espoused you," says Paul, "to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ "
...the time of gestation from conception to birth, is 280 days.
...it is necessary that the law of nature in the case become the measure of the duration of the symbolic pregnancy before the symbolic child is manifested in the world.
This is styled "the decorum of the symbol," and must be regarded in the interpretation of all symbols... We must therefore find the woman in espousable existence 280 years before the manifestation of any MAN OF POWER, who in any sense could be decorously styled "her child."
...But the Christadelphian Eve had not been espoused twelve months before it became manifest that iniquity was working within her. The Case of Ananias and Sapphira was illustrative of this. The evil manifested through them was the evil principle which generated that "Mystery of Iniquity" which at length developed the Lawless One or Man of Sin. It was the spirit of falsehood, which Paul styles
"the deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish" (2 Thess. 2: 10).
This case of Ananias and Sapphira marks the commencement of the woman's symbolic pregnancy. It occurred A.D. 33. This was the epoch of her impregnation. From this year of apostolic espousal to ... Constantine and Licinius, A.D. 313, which put an end to the pangs of birth in the heaviest persecution that ever was then known, was exactly 280 years."
A pregnancy of forty weeks of years, at the end of which there was manifest a Man of Power, who professed the faith of the majority of the woman's community; delivered her from the sanguinary oppression of the pagan "Devil and Satan," whom he cast out of the heaven into the earth together with the stars of his tail; and who set himself up as the Bishop, or Overseer, episkopos (the Eyes and Mouth) of all the bishops of the Roman world.
The Woman Cries Being In Pangs
...The period during which she was tormented with the pangs of parturition were the "ten days, " or years, preceding the proclamation and edict of Constantine and Licinius, which were issued, as I have said, A.D. 313.
This parturient crisis in the woman's history is foretold in the letter to the ecclesia at Smyrna in these words -
"the Devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days" (Apoc. 2: 10).
This ten days' parturient tribulation came upon her with the opening of the fifth seal, A.D. 303. This is known in history as the great Diocletian Persecution, the severest ever inflicted by the great red pagan "Devil and Satan" upon professors of christianity.
In this fifth seal period her- "cries" were uttered
"with a loud voice, saying, Until when, 0 Despot, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on the dwellers upon the earth?"
...After the death of the Augustan emperor Galerius, in A.D. 311, her straining efforts began. ... The straining efforts of the woman were synchronous with the opening of the sixth seal, by which was initiated that "war in heaven" which resulted in casting the pagan Dragon out, and her own investment with the sun... Eusebius, in his Life of Constantine, says,
"In short, as the sun, when he rises upon the earth, liberally imparts his rays of light to all, so did Constantine, proceeding at early dawn from the imperial palace, and rising as it were with the heavenly luminary, impart the rays of his own beneficence to all who approached his person" - lib. I ch. 43.
The totality upon which these rays of the imperial beneficence fell, was all of the woman's adherents previously to his drawing the line between those who recognized his EPISCOPAL SUPREMACY and those who rejected it as the usurpation of the ANTICHRIST. After this line was drawn, the rays of his beneficence were reserved exclusively for what he styled "THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH," of which he was the acknowledged episcopal head. All others were regarded as perverse and wicked.
3 And there appeared another <sign in the> heaven; and behold, a great < fiery> red Dragon [pagan Rome], having seven heads [elevations (moutains) and forms of governments] and ten horns, and <upon his heads seven diadems>
The pagan dragon power ascendant in the political heavens
The Dragon had long occupied the heaven of Italy; but it was not until the judicial crisis of the sixth seal that he was exhibited as "a sign."
He was significative of a power occupying a position of hostility to the Christian Eve, and to all who favoured her. This third verse is the first place in the Apocalypse where this hostile power is mentioned by the name of Dragon, though it is not the first where the power itself is indicated. The power is referred to in ch. 2: 10, where it is styled "the Devil. "
Here the Smyrnean section of the woman is exhorted to "fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the Devil shall cast some of you into prison that ye may be tried."
The Devil was the power which owned and controlled the prisons into which then, as now, he casts all whom his prosecuting attorneys convict of violating his laws. All the sufferings of the woman in her gestation -of 280 years were inflicted upon her by "the Devil and his Angels," who reigned in the heaven of the Roman Orb.
The Great Red Fiery Dragon
The dragon was one of the military ensigns of imperial Rome.
A dragon is a kind of beast, and therefore partakes in the characteristics of beasts. These in prophetic writing are the well-known symbols of destroying monarchies or powers; and, where the people of the Deity are found sojourning under their authority, the persecutors of the saints. But, though the dragon is a beast, he is apocalyptically distingished from the beast of the earth, and the beast of the sea; nevertheless, possesses certain characteristics in common with them both: for are all found upon the same arena, though not contemporary in all they history.
The four beasts in Dan. 7:3, the winged lion, the bear, the winged leopard, and the anonymous fourth beast, are explained in verse 17, as representative of four kings or powers, styled kingdoms in verse 23. The less fourth beast, that is not named by Daniel, is styled by John diversely a dragon and a beast, according to the subject he maybe treating of.
The Hebrew tannin, and the Greek drakon, rendered in our English version dragon, it is evident from Ezek. 29:3, signifies a crocodile; the great scaly serpent-fish of the Nile, the symbol of the Egyptian power styled "Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers."
The dragon, then, whose force is in his tail, symbolized the power of the old Egyptian Polity. This, in the days of Moses, was the great enemy of Israel after both flesh and spirit. It embodied in its institutions all the filthiness, and superstition, and tyranny of human nature; and stood before the world as the great SIN-POWER of antiquity - "the Old Serpent, the Devil and the Satan."
But the empire of the Dragonic-Sin-power was westward. It did not remain enthroned in Egypt. Yahweh's servant Nebuchadnezzar transferred it to Babylon; whence in due time it migrated, and was at length found in the city of the Seven Hills. The power there, in the epoch of the sip, was the old Egyptian Dragon incorporate in the Graeco-Latin polIty, which possessed Egypt, Syria, 'and the East. Hence, the territory of the Dragonic fourth beast of Daniel is apocalyptically and "spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, where our Lord was crucified" (Ch. 11:8); "the great city Babylon."
... Speaking of the procession of Constantine from Milan to Rome, Gibbon says, "he was encompassed by the glittering arms of the numerous squadrons of his guards and cuirassiers. Their streaming banners of silk, embroidered with gold, and shaped in the form of Dragons, waved round the person of the emperor".
The Seven Heads of the Dragon
Now "here is the mind which hath wisdom" - here is the sense or meaning which is true. "The seven heads are seven mountains, where the woman is sitting upon them." This is a Hebraism; an idiom, in which "are" is used for represent.
It is a form of speech often used in Scripture; as, of the rock smitten by Moses, it saith, "that rock was Christ" (1 Cor. 10:4); it represented Christ: "this bread is my body;" it represents my body: "the seven lightstands are the seven ecclesias;" they represent them: and in many other places too numerous for reference.
The seven heads have a two-fold signification, the first whereof is given in Apoc. 17:9. They represent seven mountains. But, if nothing more had been said, we should have been at a loss with regard to the particular seven represented. It was therefore added, "where the woman is sitting upon them." But what does "the woman" represent? There can be no doubt about the signification of this symbol; for John was informed that the woman represented "a Great City" - an Imperial City; even "that great city, which," while he was in Patmos, is "having dominion over the kings of the earth" (verse 18).
From the description, it was impossible that John could mistake as to the signification of this imperial woman. He knew, as we may know, that no other city could be meant than "the Seven Hilled City" - ROME. This is the only city situate upon seven mountains, in John's day or since, that can be said to have dominion over the rulers of the earth.
Her topography is seven heads, or elevations,
of the land drained by the Tiber; and are thus named:
1. Mount Coelius;
2. Mount Viminal;
3. Mount Aventine;
4. Mount Esquiline;
5. Mount Quirinal;
6. Mount Capitoline;
7. Mount Palatine.
Seven forms of govenment
Upon these seven mounts Rome, styled by its historians, "the Eternal City," is sitting; and, when the Apocalypse was revealed to John, contained a population of millions. She was founded by Romulus 753 years before the birth of Jesus Christ
...The second signification of the seven heads is expressed in Apoc. 17:10; as, "And they are seven kings"; the "and" connecting them with the seven mountains - "the seven heads are seven mountains, and they are seven kings," or governing bodies, as basileis also signifies. These seven forms of government belong to the seven hills; and are therefore Roman and Italian.
John was informed, that at the time of the revelation of the mystery being made, five of the heads had fallen; and that the one in existence, consequently, was the sixth head; and that the other, or seventh head, had not yet appeared; but that when it came up, it would continue only a short time:
"they are seven kings; the five have fallen, and the one is, the other not yet come; and when he may come, it behoves that he continue a short time."
The two greatest historians, Livy and Tacitus, have enumerated the five from the building of the city, as,
1. The Regal Head, which continued 240 years;
2. The Consular Head, which continued 11 years;
3. The Dictatorial Head, which continued 5 years;
4. The Decemviral Head; and,
5. The Tribunitial Head with consular authority, which continued till it was superseded by
6. The Imperial Head, B.C. 31. John the apostle and Tacitus the historian, lived under this head, which continued in Rome 507 years. It was then wounded as it were to death by the
7. Or Gothic Head, A.D. 476. But, as this was only to continue "a short time" compared with the sixth, it was slain after reigning 60 years, in A.D. 554.
The Imperial 6th Head
There was this peculiarity about the sixth head, namely, that, about A.D. 330, Constantine, the first catholic emperor, dedicated a new city, which, after his own name, he called CONSTANTINOPLE.
This new Rome was also built upon seven hills; nevertheless, it is impossible to mistake it for "the woman", or "great city", of Apoc. 17, inasmuch as it has never been the capital of hoi hepta basileis, the seven governing bodies enumerated by the historians of the Italian Rome.
...Thus, from the dedication of the City of Constantine to the establishment of the Seventh Head upon the seven mountains, the Sixth Head of the Dragon had two capitals and two thrones to which the governing orders of the state were related.
The Ten Horns of the Dragon
The difference between the ten horns of the Dragon and the ten horns of the Beast of the Sea, consists in the ten upon the Beast being diademed, while the ten upon the Dragon are not. This indicates that the Beast symbol represents things concurrent with the Horns in the exercise of sovereignty; while the Dragon, as far as old Rome is concerned, had to do with the sovereignty of the heads before the horns had received their kingdoms.
John in the wilderness saw the horns in what may be termed the Dragon-state, and writes of them thus, "the ten horns which thou sawest", said the angel to him, "are", or represent, "ten kings", sovereignties, "which have received no kingdom as yet" (Apoc. 17:12 )
This was their apocalyptic status until the Sixth Head of the Dragon had been wounded. After this had been slain almost to death, then we may look for the ascending of the Beast out of the abyss, in the dragon-horns receiving their kingdoms at the cost of the Dragon power (Apoc. 11:7; 13:1).
We have seen that the heads were interpreted to John by the revealing angel, topographically and politically; thus conferring upon them a two-fold signification. So it is with the Horns: they are to be interpreted chronographically and politically. Until they had received their kingdom, they were mostly chorographic appendages of the Dragon-empire; that is, they existed as provinces, territorial regions, of the dominion, upon which ten kingdoms were afterwards established by the barbarians, who founded the seventh head upon the seven mountains; wounded the Dragon's Sixth Head, which was afterwards "healed", and subverted the Dragon's jurisdiction over extensive regions.
Those regions were styled, by anticipation, horns - undiademed horns. In the time of John, they might be enumerated as, Greece, Moesia, Illyricum, Pannonia, Noricum, Rhoetia, Italy, Gaul, Spain, and Africa. The Dragon had then, and afterwards, other provinces in the east; but those only are to be reckoned as horn-provinces upon which kingdoms "receiving power as kings one hour with the Beast's" eighth head, horns sustaining the Papacy, were established.
The political organization of the peoples that was developed upon these Dragon horn provinces, became the apocalyptic Beast of the Sea; while Macedonia, Thrace, Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt, remained to the Dragon, as at this day.
4 And his tail <draws> the third of the stars of <the> heaven, and <he casts> them <into> the earth. And the dragon stood <in the presence of> the woman <about to bring forth>, <he might devour her offspring>.
The tail of the old Roman Dragon swayed by this power must have partaken of the character of that power, as the tail of a beast partakes of the peculiar vitality of the beast. The dragon in the heaven, heads, horns, body and tail, as a sign there, is to be viewed chronologically, in his tail-conflict with "Michael and his angels".
This tail-conflict was the last conflict of the Pagan Roman Serpent-power, or Dragon, with the partisans of the Christian Eve.
"The ancient and the honorable he is the head, and the prophet that teaches lies he is the tail" (Isa. 9:15).
All the pagan priests and philosophers were the teachers of lies in this, the crisis of the sixth seal. They would therefore constitute a very important element of the Dragon's tail.
Added to these would also be all "the rulers of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains (or chiliarchs, commanders of a thousand men), mighty men, and every slave, and every freeman" (Apoc. 6:15) who adhered to the pagan prophets.
Of these were "the Stars of the heaven" in which the Dragon was a sign. Entering into the composition of his tail, his tail is said to "draw" them. The tail of a power in motion, represents the fierce anger of that power against its enemies, as manifested in its movements of an army to destroy them. This appears from Isa. 7:4, where the armies of Syria and Israel, in march against Jerusalem, are styled the two tails of as many smoking firebrands, or their fierce anger.
... The conflict was between Michael and the Tail of the Dragon, both being in the heaven. A third of the stars of this heaven sided with the Dragon's Tail; while the two thirds ranged themselves under the Standard of "the Cross," by which sign "Michael" proposed to conquer. At that time, the Dragon dominion was divided into three parts - the Eastern, the Western, and the Illyrian, proefectures. On the defeat of Maxentius, Constantine ruled the Western, Licinius the Illyrian, and Maximin the Eastern, Third.
Maximin was the champion of Jupiter and the gods. This third was chorographically the Dragon's Tail, his Head being in Rome. Maximin dying in great torments, was succeeded in the Eastern Third by Licinius; who, apostatizing from the Catholic profession, solemnly professed himself at an idolatrous altar the champion of the gods. He was now the Pontifex Maximus of Paganism, or Chief Prophet of the Tail of the Dragon. He was the centre of attraction to the stars of the Eastern Third of the Heaven; and therefore to a "third of the stars of the heaven."
He drew them after him to a final struggle against the Archer of the First Seal. But he was defeated and dethroned, and ignominiously ejected from his high position in the state; and, in his fall from the heaven, drew with him to the earth, all the men of power, philosophers, and priests of Paganism, the stars of the Dragon's Tail, who had staked their all upon his success.
The Dragon Stands Before the Woman
Understanding that the "Great Red Dragon" is symbolical of the blood-stained power of Rome-pagan; and that the Woman represents the Anti-pagan Community of the Roman empire ; the only points for exposition under this head are the standing of the one before the other; and the time when the standing occurred.
For a power to stand before that which is offensive to it, is to assume a hostile attitude.
...And in Dan. 8: 7, speaking of the relative power of the Macedonian Unicorn, and the two-horned Persian Ram, it says,
" there was no power in the ram to stand before him."
Hence, to have power to stand, is not only to be able to struggle for victory, but to do it with effect.
The standing of the Dragon before the Woman indicates that he was in an aggressive attitude. His standing had no courtesy in it, for he stood before her that be might devour her offspring.
...The time, then, of this standing was the period of the Fifth Seal [Rev 6:9] or the ten years preceding the development of Constantine, as the imperial chieftain of the anti-pagan party.
5 And she brought forth a <male> child, who <is about> to rule all <the> nations with <an iron sceptre>: and her <son was forcibly carried up to Deity and his throne>.
The Woman's Son
The Spirit is here careful to designate the sex of the child that was to be born of the Woman. It is termed in the original, huion appena, literally, a male offspring.
He was brought forth at length but not "devoured" by the Dragon-Power; for he was destined "to rule all the nations with an iron sceptre," in the Italian Heaven, from which the Woman's adversary, or Satan, was to be ejected.
It was not a female child that was to be born; but a man, whose birth had long been foretold in the prophets. In Ps. 10: 15,18, he is styled "the wicked and evil man," and "the Man of the Earth," whose arm is broken in the epoch when "Yahweh" becomes "King of the hidden period and beyond; and the heathen are perished out of His land.
....This foreign god unknown to his predecessors, is styled Eloahh Mahuzzim--a god of fortresses. A fortress is a strong place affording defence and protection. "The way of God," is termed in Proverbs 10: 29, "a fortress to the upright."
Upon the same principle, "saints and angels" are regarded as fortresses, or guardians, to those who worship them. These are the fortresses, or Mahuzzim, of the system of superstition, whose Supreme Pontiff is the god created by "the King."
His special fortress, is a phantasm he styles St. Peter. This is the guardian of his godship besides which, he claims the protection of all the supposed existences of "the spirit-world." The Virgin Mary whom he styles "the Queen of heaven," is conspicuous among these. No god, according to his own tradition, was ever so strongly fortified as he.
...Now, the Pagan Imperial Roman Power existed before the Woman; and so did Jesus Christ. Neither of them, therefore, could be the son to be born of her. But in the days of Constantine, there was a great revolution in the State, the effects of which are felt in all Europe and America to this day. When he became Emperor of Rome, the constitution of the empire was modified in Church and State. He assumed supremacy in both; and became the Chief Bishop - "the Bishop of the bishops" of "the Holy Apostolic Catholic Church," so called.
He established the Catholic Apostasy as the most favoured religion of the Roman State; but, according to Labanius, "made no alteration in the legal worship; the temples indeed were impoverished, but the sacred rites were performed there."
Though the Court was transferred to Constantinople, the Senate continued to hold its sessions in Rome, where by solemn decrees it still presumed to consecrate the divine memory of their sovereigns; and Constantine himself was associated, after his death, to those gods of his predecessors whom he had renounced and insulted during his life.
"The titles, the ensigns, the prerogatives, of SOVEREIGN PONTIFF," says Gibbon, "which had been instituted by Numa, and assumed by Augustus, were accepted without hesitation, by seven christian emperors, who were invested with more absolute authority over the religion which they had deserted, than over that which they professed." Hence, this Son of the Woman, styled by historians "the first christian emperor," was at once Sovereign Pontiff of paganism, and Chief Bishop of the Catholic Church!
Such a child born and son given could be no other than "THE MAN OF SIN.
The Manner of His Birth
That Constantine at this crisis was in the womb of the Catholic Woman, appears from the fact, that while he exercised his limited sovereignty over the provinces of Gaul, his christian subjects were protected by his authority, while, says Gibbon,
"he wisely left to the gods the care of vindicating their own honour. If we may credit the assertion of Constantine himself, he had been an indignant spectator of the savage cruelties which were inflicted by the hands of Roman soldiers on those citizens whose religion was their only crime."
The example of Galerius, his implacable enemy, had made this severity odious to him. By the authority and advice of his dying father, he determined to pursue an opposite course. He immediately suspended or repealed the edicts of persecution, and granted the free exercise of their religious ceremonies to all those who had already professed themselves members of the church.
They were soon encouraged to depend on the favour as well as on the justice of their sovereign, who had imbibed a secret and sincere reverence for the name of Christ, and for the God of the christians.
...the victory of the Milvian Bridge developed Constantine as the FIRST IMPERIAL SON OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, commonly, but absurdly, styled, "the first Christian Emperor." Previous to that victory he was an usurper of imperial rank, unrecognized by the Roman Senate, and the Coming Man of the Catholic party; favoring its policy, but temporizing between them and their opponents. He was in the womb of his mother, but not yet born of her, as the chief ruler of the Roman nations.
His birth could not be accomplished without the pains of parturition. His mother was "in pangs, straining to bring forth." These pangs and strainings were the pains of persecution, and the efforts of war for deliverance.
The threatened invasion of his territory by Maxentius caused Constantine to hesitate no longer. He gave private audience to ambassadors, who in the name of the Senate and people, conjured him to deliver Rome from a detested tyrant; and without regarding the timid remonstrance's of his council, he resolved to prevent the enemy, and to carry the war into the heart of Italy.Eureka 12.18.
...On arriving at Saxa Rubra, about nine miles from Rome, Constantine discovered the army of Maxentius prepared to give him battle. Their long front filled a very spacious plain, and their deep array reached to the banks of the Tiber, which covered their rear, and forbade their retreat. Constantine charged in person at the head of the Gallic horse, whose impetuosity determined the fortune of the day.
The defeat of the two wings left the flanks of the infantry unprotected, and the undisciplined Italians precipitately fled. The praetorians, conscious that their offenses were beyond the reach of mercy, were animated by revenge and despair. But they were unable to recover the victory. The confusion then became general, and the dismayed troops of Maxentius, pursued by an implacable enemy, rushed by thousands into the deep and rapid Tiber.
Maxentius endeavored to reach the city by the Milvian Bridge, but he was forced into the river by the crowd, where he was immediately drowned by the weight of his armor. On the recovery of his body from the mud next day, his head was exposed to view, which convinced the people of their deliverance, and admonished them to receive with loyal and grateful demonstrations the victorious Constantine, "who thus achieved," says Gibbon, "by his valor and ability the most splendid enterprise of his life."
...About five months after the conquest of Italy, in March, A.D. 313, Constantine made a solemn and authentic declaration of his sentiments, by the celebrated Edict of Milan, which restored peace to the Catholic Church. After the death of Maximin, it was received as a general and fundamental law of the Roman world. Constantine, with the ready, but not hearty, concurrence of Licinius, provided for the restitution of all the civil and religious rights of which the catholics had been deprived.
It was enacted that the places of worship, and public lands, which had been confiscated, should be restored to the Catholic Church, without dispute, without delay, and without expense; and this severe injunction was accompanied with a gracious promise, that if any of the purchasers had paid a fair and adequate price, they should be indemnified from the imperial treasury.
The two emperors proclaimed to the world, that they had granted a free and absolute power to the catholics, and to all others, of following the religion which each individual thinks proper to prefer, to which he has addicted his mind, and which he may deem the best adapted to his own use.
The Ruling of the Woman's Son - An Iron Sceptre
There was no power on the Roman inhabited earth equal to him; his authority was absolute in church and state, in both of which he did
"according to his own will; and exalted himself and magnified himself above all."
He was now the chief of a great dominion, and prepared to rule with an iron sceptre. He was to rule all the nations; not all the nations of the globe, but all the nations of Daniel's Fourth Beast so far as it was then developed. Beyond the limits of this symbolical dominion he exercised no rule. The nations of Persia, China, India, and so forth, with the tribes of what is now called Germany and Russia, were all exempt from his jurisdiction.
...the conclusion of his reign, " when he was to rule all the nations with an iron sceptre"; and Gibbon refers to it as the period of his degradation among princes.
The oppression of the people was the only fund which could support his magnificence. His unworthy favorites, enriched by the boundless liberality of their master, usurped with impunity the privilege of rapine and corruption. A secret but universal decay was felt in every part of the public administration, and the emperor himself though he still retained the obedience, gradually lost the esteem of his subjects.
An impartial narrative of the executions, or rather murders, which sullied the declining age of Constantine, will suggest to our most candid thoughts the idea of a prince who could sacrifice without reluctance the laws of justice, and the feelings of nature, to the dictates either of his passions or of his interest." - Gibbon
The Son's Ascent to the Deity
"And her son was forcibly carried up to the Deity, and his throne"
The word in the original indicating this necessity, is herpasthe; rendered in the Common Version, "was caught up." The phrase "to the Deity" implies ascending from a lower to the highest position. Hence the word "up." The word implies violence in the action it represents; as, to convey, take or carry by force. I have, therefore, rendered it, was forcibly carried up.
...Before the Woman's Son could "rule ALL the nations" of the Roman Habitable, it was necessary that he be placed upon the throne of the Deity. "There is no power but of the Deity," says Paul; "and the powers that be are ordered of the Deity."
The throne of the Deity upon the Roman Habitable would be the seat of the Supreme and Sole Sovereignty of the empire, wherever it might be located. Jerusalem is styled "the throne of Yahweh" in Jer. 3:17. That city is the place where supreme power will be established in the Millennium.
It was also Yahweh's throne when occupied by David and Solomon - 1 Chron. 29:23. But in the days of Constantine, supreme power had long before departed from Jerusalem. Israel and Judah had been broken and divorced; and a people formed from among the Gentiles for the Divine Name.
This people came to contend with the Pagan Dragon for supreme power. After a long and bloody conflict they acquired it by the will of the Deity, "of whom are all things" (1 Cor. 8:6).
Their military commander is therefore, said to have arrived at the Deity and his throne. Hence Constantine, as sole emperor of the Roman world, invested with supreme power in all spiritual and temporal affairs, is the illustration of the import of the text predicting the translation of the Woman's Son "to the Deity and his throne."
6 And the [fugitive] woman [anti pagan and anti catholic sects of christendom including the faithful remnant] fled [exile] into the wilderness [remote wings of the empire -- banishment from the sunshine of imperial favour] where she <has> a place <that had been> prepared of <the Deity>, that they <may sustain> her there 1 260 days [years].
Between this woman and the Sun-clothed Harlot in the heaven, there has been, and can be, no fellowship.
... there were sects in her [the woman's] communion whose principles and practices were both worldly and unscriptural; but there were to be found in her anti-Catholic pale hoi loipoi tou sper-matos autes, remnants of her seed, who were characterized by
"keeping the commandments of the Deity, and holding the testimony of the anointed Jesus"
These were anti-Catholic of the intensest character; but they were also opposed to all other sects of the anti-Catholic woman, which did not keep the commandments of the Deity, and did not hold the testimony of the anointed Jesus. This is illustrated by the position of CHRISTADELPHIANS in regard to all sects at this day.
They are intensely anti-catholic, and are, therefore, an ecclesiastical element of the anti-catholic woman; but they do not, therefore, recognize as Christians, the anti-catholic sects of "Christendom" so-called.
...though well disposed to Antipaganism, the Man-Child of Sin, at the time of the edict of Milan, did not know his own Mother. He was too young to be able to discern her. He did not know to which sect of "the whole body of christians" he belonged. It was not long, however, before the worst of the sects was able to establish its ascendancy over the untutored mind of this ambitious and fortunate soldier.
This was the sect which styles itself, and taught him so to style it, "THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH." This was that sect which was preeminently "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked;" but which said, "l am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing." It was the sect in which the rage of faction exploded in frequent and violent seditions; and the blood of its members was shed by each other's hands.
Hilary, a contemporary of the times, writes to Constantine's successor, and declares concerning the catholic clergy, that
"in the wide extent of the ten provinces of Asia, to which he had been banished, there could be found very few prelates who had preserved the knowledge of the true God. It is a thing equally deplorable and dangerous that there are as many creeds as Opinions among men, as many doctrines as inclinations, and as many sources of blasphemy as there are faults among us; because we make creeds arbitrarily".
...Constantine concluded it would be to his interest to ally himself to... the altars of catholicism as a convenient footstool to the throne of universal dominion. He came to imbibe the piety peculiar to it, and with it its sanguinary spirit of persecution, and murderous hostility to all who dissented from it.Eureka 12.23.
The woman fled into the wilderness
The punishment of exile was banishing, or causing to flee into a wilderness state. This was the imperial sentence upon the anti-catholic, or anti-state-church woman in the African wing of the empire. Her seed were banished from the high places of church and state, and made to seek refuge in the wild and uncivilized places of society.
Speaking of this "schism of the Donatists" A.D. 315, Gibbon remarks:
"This incident, so inconsiderable that it scarcely deserves a place in history, was productive of a memorable schism, which afflicted the provinces of Africa above three hundred years, and was extinguished only with Christianity itself. The inflexible zeal of freedom and fanaticism animated the Donatists to refuse obedience to the usurpers, whose election they disputed and whose spiritual powers they denied. Excluded from the civil and religious communion of mankind (driven into the wilderness), they boldly excommunicated the rest of mankind, who had embraced the impious party of Caecilian, and of the Traitors, from whom he derived his pretended ordination.
....The narrow and solitary path which their first leaders had marked out, continued to diverge from the great society of mankind; so that they could affirm that when Christ should descend to judge the earth, he would find his true religion preserved only in a few nameless villages of the Caesarean Mauritania." - Gibbon
...the reader will easily discern the feeling that existed between the Woman Jezebel in the heaven, and the Woman, by oppressive imperial edicts, caused to begin her flight into the wilderness. No enlightened professor of the doctrine which is according to godliness would think of looking for the true believers in "the heaven" where all was sunshine and imperial favour.
"All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Tim. 3:12).
...An imperial persecuting and represent influence was thus brought to bear upon the anti-catholic woman, who under the hostile pressure would set her face fugitively towards the wilderness - eis ten eremon. The anti-catholic sect that took the lead in Opposition at this crisis was that of the Donatists. It was in feud with the catholic sect before the overthrow of Maxentius; and, therefore, before the Roman Africa became subject to Constantine.
...as from among the Anti- baptist Campbellites was originated to foutro tou hudatos en remati, by the laver of the water with doctrine (Eph. 5:26), the CHRISTADELPHIAN DENOMINATION; so from among the anti-catholic Donatists began to be manifested in the three years of their trials before Constantine and his bishops, by the sealing angel that had ascended from the East (Apoc. 7:2), the first of
"the remnants of the woman's seed, who keep the commandments of the Deity, and hold the testimony of the anointed Jesus."
The name of this first remnant, if it had any other than Donatist, has not come down to us. But it matters not what it was called in its beginning it was the sect composed of "the servants of the Deity sealed in their foreheads." This is the apocalyptic description of it. Arising in the epoch of the Donatist trials, and being with the Donatists intensely anti-catholic, it is very likely to have been confounded with them, without having at all been mixed up with the feud between the party of Caecilian and that of Majorinus.
The Woman's Place (in the wilderness)
But, in relation to the woman's flight into the wilderness, the two wings of the great Roman Eagle, spreading along its northeastern and southwestern regions, were not for destruction, but that she might find safety and protection in obscurity; upon the principle of being "out of the Serpent's sight" (apo prosopon) she might be out of his mind also.
The two wings" is regarded by some as a more correct reading than "two wings". They say that it reads thus in certain manuscripts - hai duo pteruges. They are, no doubt, right. Daniel's leopard had four wings; but there is nothing in symbolic prophecy to indicate that the great Roman Eagle had more than two.
The mountains, glens, fastnesses. and more open valleys of these wings of the empire, would be but little cared for, or regarded, by the priests of the Catholic Church, who would crowd to those centers whence wealth and honours were distributed.
The more interior locality of the eighteen hundred temples, endowed by the munificence of the emperor, would be the arena upon which they would, as Arians and Trinitarians, Iconoclasts and image-worshippers, disputatiously exhaust their zeal for the ensuing five hundred years.
... the two witnessing prophets are represented by a fugitive woman, "the remnant" of whose seed is made up of the saints of the Holy City, "who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."
Now, of the woman, it is said in one place, "they should feed her in the wilderness a thousand two hundred and threescore days;" and in another place, "she is nourished in the wilderness for a time, and times, and half a time." It is clear, therefore, that 1260 days are representative of a time, times, and half a time...
Now, forty-two months being interpreted in Daniel by "a time, times, and the dividing of times;" and this by John as significative of 1260 days, it follows, that the forty-two months are equal to the same period. "Months" are a lunar symbol; and when forty-two of them are divided into "times," the solar years they represent are necessarily compressed into times of 360, instead of 365 solar years; for 360 + 720 + 180 are equal to 1260, and not to 1277½.
It is a mistake to suppose that the years are lunar because the "times" and "months" are lunar symbols. A lunar time of solar years is 360 years; and a month of solar years is thirty, which, multiplied by twelve, gives the "year" or ενιαυτοζ, that which returns upon itself-(Revelation 9:15)-a circle of 360. But 360 common days are not equivalent to a Bible or Mosaic year. This consists of 365 years, as appears from the enumeration of the days of the Deluge. The Hebrew years had eleven months of thirty days, and the twelfth of thirty-five. Three circles and a half of these years are called for by the prophecy, neither more nor less.
The Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Feb 1854.
1 260 days
...She dwells in her place as a woman, the cycle of whose natural existence is threescore years and ten. Now, to affirm of her that they nourished her 1,260 years, would be in violation of the decorum of things. It would be a monstrosity in the picture, because out of all proportion, seeing that, naturally, women do not live 1,260 years.
But the fitness and suitableness of things are observed; and the language descriptive of her pregnancy and subsequent life, does no violence, but is in strict accordance with, the laws of a real woman's natural existence.
... the duration of events may be represented in terms suitable to the symbols of the visions, the symbols of duration must be also drawn in miniature.
Thus, for instance, if a vast empire, persecuting the Church for 1,260 years, was to be symbolically represented by a beast, the decorum of the symbol would require that the said time of its tyranny should not be expressed by 1,260 years; because it would be monstrous and indecent to represent a beast ravaging for so long a space of time; but by 1,260 days. And thus a day may imply a year; because that short revolution of the sun bears the same proportion to the yearly, as the type to the antitype." - Daubuz
Thus, the anti-catholic community was to be sustained, out of the sight of the Serpent-government, in the two wings of the Great Roman Eagle, for one thousand two hundred and sixty years from the epoch of its legal condemnation as heretical, its exclusion from high places, and its banishment from the sunshine of imperial favour, A.D. 312-315. The three years intervening between these dates, constitute the initiatory epoch of the Woman's flight.
7 And there was war in <the> heaven: <The> Michael [Who like El - Constantine the instrument of Deity] and his angels <war against> against the dragon [Roman pagan rule and priesthood]; and the dragon <waged war> and his angels [agents employed to execute the will and pleasure of those who commissioned them],
It was this Great Red Dragonic Diabolos and Satan, that
"magnified himself against the Prince of (Israel's) host: and by whom the Daily Sacrifice was taken away, and the place of its sanctuary was cast down" (Dan. 8:9-12).
It is symbolized in this place by "a Little Horn, which waxed exceeding great." It was by this Satanic Power, "Messiah the Prince was cut off;" and by which the city and sanctuary were destroyed" (Dan. 9:26).
It was the great adversary of Judah, and of the Saints, whom it reckoned also as Jews. When the Lord Jesus saw it in vision fall like lightning from heaven, he saw their adversary expelled from the Roman Heaven, as symbolized in this twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse.
Paul said it would be braised "shortly" [Rom 16: 18] after he wrote. It was ejected by the lightning of war from the heaven, about 25O years after, when the Michael and his party fought against the Dragon and his angels (ch. 12:7). It fell out of the heaven, as Jesus said; and John records, that "he was cast out into the earth," to the great terror of those among whom he fell (ver. 9,12).
The Dragon-Power of Rome, then, was surnamed THE SATAN, because it was the great and persistent Adversary of Christ, and His Brethren.
Constantine, as the military chieftain of the Catholic Church, which the Deity had predetermined should have the rule instead of the Pagan Priesthood, is styled in the prophecy ho Michael, the Michael: that is, the Michael of the situation.
This name is Hebrew in a Greek dress. The Hebrew is resolvable into three words put interrogatively, as Miyka'el, or Mi, who, cah, like, ail power? Or Who like that power Divinely energized to cast the Pagan Dragon, surnamed the Diabolos and the Satan, out of the Roman heaven? There was no contemporary power under this Sixth Seal that was able to contend successfully against it. Hence Constantine, as the instrument of the Deity in the development of his purpose, is styled "the Michael".
He was not personally the Michael, or "first of the chief princes" spoken of in Dan. 10:13, nor the Michael termed in Dan. 12:1, "the great Prince who standeth for the children of Daniel's people;" but for the time being he filled the office that will hereafter be more potently and gloriously illustrated by the Great Prince from heaven, who will bind the Dragon and shut him down in the abyss for a thousand years (Apoc. 20:2,3).
... Christ Jesus and his brethren are to rule all the nations of the globe with an iron sceptre for a thousand years (Apoc. 19:15; 2:26,27).
Constantine stood up with Catholics and for them and Christians, against the Pagan Dragon. Christ Jesus will stand up for the saints, and with them, against the Catholic Dragon and Beasts whom he will bind and destroy.
Thus the word parallelizes the greater and the less in their military antagonism, to the powers hostile to the Divine Name. It may, therefore, be fairly admitted that in his military career against the Dragon, Constantine was a typical Michael - typical of that Michael who shall stand up in the resurrection period, and bring all the nations of mankind into subjection to his almighty power.
His [Constantine's] angels
...the corrupt and militant class of the Woman's children. They may be mortal or immortal agents, and hold their commission of the Deity or of men.
... the particular war predicted was to be waged between "the Michael" and the Dragon; and not to reach its final termination until the place of "the Dragon and his angels" should be "found no more in the heaven." Constantine took no part in the war against Maximin, being engaged in checking the incursions of the Franks across the Rhine.
Since the death of Maximin, Licinius by his patronage of "the gods of his ancestors," and his hatred, ill-concealed, of Constantine and the catholics, came to be represented from A.D. 314 to A.D. 324, by the Dragon-tail which "drew the third part of the stars of the heaven"
Ver. 4.1 say from A.D. 314, because previously to this date, he was the chief luminary of two-thirds; of his own Illyrian third, and of Maximin's Asiatic third which he acquired by his death.
Now, he was reduced from a tail, or following, of two-thirds to one-third of the stars of the Roman firmament by a war with Constantine. A year had scarcely elapsed after the death of Maximin, before Constantine and Licinius turned their arms against each other. This was a war, but not the war predicted. It was a war for the development of the Dragon's Tail - the tail end of the pagan dragon-power [v4].
...The loss of two battles, and of his bravest veterans, reduced the fierce spirit of Licinius to sue for peace. His situation was almost desperate. Constantine, however, consented to retain him in "the heaven," but with a dominion considerably reduced.
He left him in possession of a third part of the Roman Habitable, consisting of Thrace, Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt; now comprehended in Modern Turkey: but the provinces of Pannonia, Dalmatia, Dacia, Macedonia, and Greece, the other third, were annexed to the Western Empire; so that the dominions of Constantine now extended over two-thirds, from the confines of Caledonia to the extremity of Peloponnesus.
......In the exalted state of glory to which he had attained A.D. 323, it was impossible that Constantine should any longer endure a partner in the empire. Confiding in the superiority of his genius and military power, he determined to exert them for the ejection of "the dragon and his angels out of the heaven." For this purpose he commenced the war predicted in the seventh verse.
...This was the great day of the Lamb's wrath upon the pagan dragon-tail, and the third part of the stars of the Roman firmament that followed it. "The Michael and his angels," the executioners of the Lamb's wrath, "waged war against the Dragon."
9 And the great dragon, <the> old serpent, <surnamed Diabolos, was cast forth>, and <the> Satan, which deceives the whole <habitable> was cast into the earth, and his angels were cast < forth> with him.
The whole habitable
The whole habitable, ten oikoumenen holen, was that portion of the earth comprehended within the limits of the great Pagan-Dragon dominion, which, in the epoch of the Sixth Seal, acknowledged the jurisdiction of the great city Rome.
...Human power enthroned upon the seven mountains, and exercising authority over the whole habitable - imperial human power - is apocalyptically styled "the Old Serpent," ho ophis, ho archaios - the Serpent which was in the beginning.
The Old Serpent
The apocalyptic dominion ruled by this Serpent was Mediterranean. It enclosed this sea within its territory. On the north, it was bounded by the Caucasus, the Euxine, the Danaster, the Danube, the Rhine, and the German Ocean.
...But an inquirer might ask, were not all the outlying countries as much ruled by the Serpent, as the inhabiters of the Roman earth and sea? To this I reply, not in the apocalyptic sense. The apocalypse prefigures the conflict between "the Seed of the Woman" and the Serpent, for the sovereignty of the world (Gen. 3:15).
This conflict was not between the Woman's Seed and the governments outlying the Roman empire.
At the opening of the Sixth Seal, the time had not come for that. The time to deal with the sin-powers of Asia and America had not then arrived. It was therefore necessary only to indicate by appropriate symbols that section of the general enemy with whom the saints would have especially to contend; and this was the Serpent in his Graeco-Latin, or Roman, manifestation upon the territory defined.
But, if the Pago-Roman Dragon Power be the Old Serpent, did that power exist in the days of the serpent that tempted Eve? To this question the answer is, it did unquestionably exist. The testimony before us, bears witness to the fact. It is there styled archaios, which signifies, not only old, ancient; but primeval, from the beginning, original. The Roman Dragon was the original serpent power. This is not to be disputed.
The reader will bear in mind that we are treating of a power styled the old serpent," not of the reptile styled nahkash, which Moses says,
"was more sagacious than any beast of the field, which Yahweh Elohim had made."
The animal was not the power, but only the type of it.
The fourth beast
...This Little Horn become so great was now the fourth of Daniel's beast-dominions. It planted itself in Jerusalem B.C. 63; and in A.D. 33, was popularly and pontifically acknowledged as "the King of the Jews" (John 19:12,15). It had acquired identity with "the old serpent" by its incorporation of the Syro-Babylonian, or Northern Horn power (out of which, in relation to the Holy Land, it came forth), into its Italian dominion. It was now "the Dragon, the Old Serpent" - Leviathan, the flying and very tortuous serpent, the dragon that is in the sea (Isa. 27: 1).
But when it conquered the Syro-Babylonian Horn, B.C. 67, it did not thereby acquire the apocalyptic "surname" of "the Diabolos and the Satan." It was not until the Little Horn had "magnified itself against the Prince of the Host," or Messiah the Prince; and undertook, as "a roaring lion, prowling about, seeking whom he might devour," to exterminate the saints from among the living; that it acquired the character signified by the terms "fiery red," "diabolos," and "Satan" (Apoc. 12:9).
The old serpent
In the beginning, the Serpent-World consisted of no more than two sinners - Adam and his wife; yet small as was its extent, all the evil that has since manifested itself, was latent in them. Their symbol was the Serpent, or Dragon, and represented falsehood, unbelief, and rebellion against the Deity.
Wherever these three have been found politically organized, and in conflict with the saints, there is the Serpent which was in the beginning - "the old serpent."
...THE CONSTITUTION Of the Serpent-World, or KINGDOM OF SIN; and termed in Scripture "the Kingdom of Men" - dominion hostile to the Divine law administered by the Serpent's Seed. It matters not what form the dominion assumes, whether imperial, regal, republican, or papal, its basis is one and the same; and most appropriately symbolized by the serpent which was in the beginning - ho ophis, ho archaios.
In after times, far distant from the beginning, the serpent-world acquired an immense development. From two persons it had increased to myriads of millions; and without specifying the outlying savages of the dominion, is treated of in Scripture as "the kingdom of Egypt;" which, in the days of Moses, had attained great political proportions - a kingdom of kingdoms.
It was "the dragon, the old serpent," of his day -the great enemy and bruiser of the woman's seed, who sought their extirpation from the earth. This was the political relation of things then. The "Woman's Seed" was identified with Israel; the "Serpent's Seed," with all that had enmity against, or oppressed, them; while the "Head of the Serpent," styled in the sentence upon the serpent "thy head," is that chief government of the Gentiles, or nations, which directs, controls, or influences, the policy of the world for the time being.
The Scriptures oftentimes connect the beginning and the end without taking cognizance of the interval of a multitude of generations and ages, or, if at all, only very slightly. Thus, in Psa. 74:12, the Mosaic salvation from Egyptian bondage, and the future Messianic salvation from the down-treading of the mystic Babylon, apocalyptically and "spiritually called Sodom and Egypt" (Apoc ch. 11:3), are so connected: as it is written,
"My King of old is Elohim, working salvation in the midst of the earth. Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength."
Then, predictive of what will assuredly come to pass, and befall the same Serpent-power in its latter-day manifestation, as apocalyptically displayed in the binding of the Dragon, it proceeds in verse 14 to state,
"Thou bruisedst the heads of leviathan, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness."
LEVIATHAN signifying "a serpent coiling himself in folds," is the Dragon of Apoc. 20:2; and embraces all the intermediate dragonic manifestations of previous ages and generations, which are the folds of his coil.
The "heads of leviathan" are those apocalyptically exhibited.
"The people inhabiting the wilderness" are the saints, and Israel after the flesh made willingly subject to them.
The dragon surnamed Diabolos and the Satan
This crocodile, or dragon, is said to be at once ho kaloumenos Diabolos, kai ho Satanas ho planon ten oikoumenen olen; - "surnamed the Diabolos, and the Satan who deceives the whole habitable."
A surname is a name added to the original name. The original name for the embodiment of falsehood, unbelief, and disobedience, was "the Serpent".
In all the five Books of Moses we do not once find it styled "the Diabolos," nor "the Satan." This surname was not bestowed upon the Egypto-Romaic Babylonian Dragon until, as the Little Horn of the Macedonian, or Grecian, Goat, it
"magnified itself against the Prince of the Host (Christ)" (Dan. 8:11).
It did this when it falsely accused and crucified him.... the Roman power acquired the surname of the diabolos, because, being falsehood and transgression politically incarnate, it enacted the part of the Old Serpent in tempting the Brethren of Christ to cross the line of their allegiance to him in burning incense to Caesar as the god of the earth - diabolos, in its etymological import, being that which causes to cross the law-line of Deity.
But, it also acquired the surname of "the Satan." This word sahtahn, signifies an adversary; and without the definite article the, may signify any adversary in general. It is applicable to persons and things of whatever kind they may be. Thus, when the sons of Zeruiah counselled the death of Shimei, David rejected their impolitic advice, and styled them, Satan, (2 Sam. 19:22).
So also when Yahweh became adverse to Israel because of transgression, He is styled Satan. This appears from 2 Sam. 24: 1, where it is written, that Yahweh moved David against Israel to say, "Go, number Israel and Judah:" while in 1 Chron. 21: 1, it is written,
"And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel."
Deceives the whole habitable
...The Satan of Apoc. 12, is characterized as the power
"which deceives the whole habitable" - ten oikoumenen olen; not "the whole world,"
as in the English version, in the sense of all the inhabitants of the globe; but the whole of that portion of it subject to the Dragon-Power of Old Rome.
When the apocalypse was communicated to John, the Satan in the heaven was pagan. It deceived the people of the empire by the priests and poets (and the emperor was the High Priest) of the reigning superstition.
But while this Satan flourished in the heaven of Italy, there was another Satan in embryo preparing to occupy the same heaven from which the pagan Satan was foredoomed to fall like lightning.
This was the Satan enthroned in Pergamos (Apoc. 2:13); where his principal synagogue was situated (ch. 2:9,24; 3:9). This Satan consisted of nominal christians; professors, who claimed to be Jews by adoption through Christ; but not being what they claimed, the Spirit denounced them as liars and blasphemers.
They were zealous anti-pagans, as Protestants are, or used to be, zealous anti-papists; but their spiritual condition was that of Sardians and Laodiceans; and fit only to be "spued out of the Spirit's mouth." These pretenders styled themselves "the Church of God;" or "the Holy Apostolic Catholic Church." They contended earnestly against paganism; from which "with all power and lying wonders," styled by Paul "the working of the Satan" they alienated multitudes; but failed to indoctrinate them with
"the love of the truth that they might be saved" (2 Thess. 2:9,10).
Their Satan was enlarged, and their political influence increased; so that, when the pagan Satan fell from the heaven, the "Holy Catholic" Satan was prepared to occupy the Bishoprick vacated by his fall.
The revolution of the Sixth Seal substituted the one -Satan for the other. The Catholic Satan is still in the heaven; and will remain there, until he is ejected by Christ himself, after the type or pattern, exhibited in this twelfth chapter.
This final expulsion of the Satan from the heaven, is represented in Apoc. 20:1-3. In this scene, his head is bruised; and "the Dragon the Old Serpent, which is Diabolos and Satan," is bound in the abyss, and shut up and sealed, so that the nations may be no more deceived for a thousand years.
10 And I heard a <great> voice saying in <the> heaven, Now is <the> salvation, and <the power> and the kingdom of our <Deity>, and the <dominion of His Anointed> [Constantine]: for the <prosecutor> of our brethren, < who accused them in the presence of our Deity, day and night, has been cast down.>
A great voice in the Roman heaven
...the "great voice" of the Constantinian period. ... the voice proceeded from the officials in church and state, who all professed the catholic religion, and said they were now "rich, and increased with goods, and had need of nothing:"
...Salvation, or deliverance, had indeed come from the tyranny of the Public Prosecutor (ho kategoros) who continually accused them falsely, and punished them with torture unto death.Eureka 12.21.
Constantine a type of Christ
The kingdom of "the Michael and his angels" shadowed forth the kingdom of Christ, the real Michael, and his angels, the Saints. Constantine, like Cyrus, in his military career, and in his ecclesiastical relation to the Catholic Church, was a type of Christ.
... Typical history is the past representative of the future. This is the character of Michael and the Dragon. It is a past series of events. typical of a future contest between the Michael of Dan. 12:1 and the Dragon of Apoc. 20.
This view of the prophecy imparts to it an interest for us which it would be devoid of if it were regarded merely as belonging to a past epoch over fifteen hundred years remote.
There was war in the heaven then; and when the door shall be opened in the heaven, and the throne shall be set therein (Apoc. 4:1,2) there will be a war in the heaven again, "the war of that great day of AIL Shaddai, "which will terminate in similar, but grander results; for "the very image" is always greater and more magnificent than the type.
....But the shadowy representation of the kingdom of the Deity and the dominion of His Christ, passed away with the death of the typical hero, Constantine. The reigns of David and Solomon were prefigurative of the reign of Christ; but the typical character of their reigns was not transferred on their decease to their successors.
And thus it was in relation to Constantine and those who came after him. His career of conquest, and "half-hour's" peaceful reign (Apoc. 8:1), typified the future career of Christ in the conquest of the world, and the succeeding tranquillity of his times. But all this typical manifestation was dissolved when his three sons succeeded him, and divided the empire between them.
The Heaven was still catholic; but, as the Spirit had "spued them out of his mouth" on their indifference to his "counsel" (Apoc. 3:16,18), he left them to their delusions; and "the Serpent" by whom they were beguiled; that is the Sin-power of the flesh, in a catholic instead of a pagan, political manifestation was enthroned; and became the future antagonist of the ANTI CATHOLIC WOMAN and her seed (vers. 14-17).
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
that is, "They conquered him through the doctrine of Jesus."
That this is the sense, is evident from the sentence coupled with it by the conjunction και, and:
"through the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony."
The doctrine of repentance and remission of sins, to all who would accept the gospel-invitation to God's kingdom and glory, through the blood of Jesus, as the mediator of the Abrahamic covenant, was the power wielded by the saints against the reigning superstition of the Roman habitable.
The word, or doctrine, of their testimony opened the eyes of their contemporaries, and turned them, in great numbers, from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, until, by a.d. 312, the enemy was so weakened that he was unable to suppress a revolution which dethroned him, and changed the face of the world.
Bro Thomas - a Bible dictionary
The Christadelphian, Feb 1873
They loved not their life (ψνχην) even to death
Rather than yeild their position, they preferred to die by the hands of the tormentor.
Like their glorious Master, they were non-resistant and submissive to the hand that smote them. But, if they did not retaliate in kind, when slain, they are represented, after the manner of Abel, as crying with a loud voice for vengeance upon those who had killed them. This cry was the voice of their blood.
It was an apocalyptic voice, and cried as Abel's blood of his life (το αιuα της ψνχης αντου) cried for vengeance against Cain.
"How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood upon them that dwell upon the earth?"
The beginning of revenges came at length. The Lord raised up a power in the state that hurled their destroyer from the throne, and ejected all from place and power, that had executed his will. This cry of their blood is not forgotten; for
"precious in the sight of Yahweh, is the death of His saints."-(Ps. 116:15.)
The end of revenges, on their account, is fast approaching, when, not their blood only, but the blood of the lives of the slain, who have since fallen in the conflict with the beast and its harlot-rider, drunken with their blood, shall all be avenged together at the apocalypse of Christ.-(Deut. 32:43; Rev. 19:2.)
Bro Thomas - a Bible dictionary
The Christadelphian, Feb 1873
12 <On account of this let the heavens rejoice and those who tent> in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and the sea! [naval forces] <because the Diabolos [Licinius and Maximin] has fallen among> you, having great wrath, <forseeing that> he hath a short time [A.D. 312 to A.D. 324].
Tent in the heavens
This is a very temporary indwelling. They were not permanently established there. There tenantcy was transitory: the mere shadow of the holding to which the slain victors shall attain in "the time of the dead, when they shall be judged, and the reward shall be given to them," with the "white robes" of incorruption and eternal life. These will not then merely "tent" in the heavens of the conquered world. When they enter there, they become the pillars of the Divine temple, and go out no more (Apoc. 3:12):
Licinius and Maximin: who, in relation to "the inhabiters of the earth and sea," constituted "THE DIABOLOS."
... This "short time" was a period of about twelve years; that is, from A.D. 312 to A.D. 324, when Constantine became sole emperor of the Roman world.
......Thirty-four thousand of the Dragon's forces were slain; their fortified camp was taken by assault on the evening of the battle. The greater part of the fugitives "hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains."
The logic of their flight hither was that they might hide from the conqueror; and the language of it was, "Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne" (Apoc. 6:16). Next day they came forth from their hiding places, and surrendered themselves to the discretion of the victor.
This battle of Adrianople had been a consummation of "woe to the inhabiters of the earth:" the time had now come for a like consummation of "woe to the inhabiters of the sea." Here were five hundred and fifty vessels full of combatants, drawn together from the maritime part of the Roman earth, to engage in the great conflict between the worshippers of the idols, and the catholic believers in the Divine Unity.
....A south wind springing up about noon, carried his vessels against the enemy, and as the advantage was improved by his skill and intrepidity, he soon obtained a complete victory. A hundred and thirty vessels were destroyed, and five thousand men were slain.
The Hellespont being now open, Licinius perceived that he could not hold Byzantium much longer. Therefore, before the place was surrounded, he prudently removed his person and treasures to Chalcedon in Asia.
...By this victory of Constantine, A.D. 324, the Roman world was united under the authority of one emperor; and he the first of a long line of emperors, who, though not christian, but catholic, repudiated "the gods of their ancestors." The immediate and memorable consequences of this revolution were the foundation of Constantinople, and the establishment of the Laodicean Catholic Apostasy as the religion of the State.
...While these stirring and exciting events were transpiring, their connexion with apocalyptic prophecy was not unperceived by Constantine and his adherents. In a letter to Eusebius he writes of "that dragon having been deposed from the governance of affairs, by God's providence".
13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast <into> the earth, he <pursued> the woman <who> brought forth the <male>.
The woe [v12]
... the casting out of the Dragon into the earth, and the beginning of the "woe" to the earth, were synchronous, or contemporaneous events. Though cast out of the heaven, he still retained power as the Diabolos to persecute the woman. He had lost position in the heaven. The Supreme Dragon-power and authority was located apocalyptically upon the "Seven Mountains," the area of the "Seven Heads" - ch. 17:9,10.
To be excluded from the exercise of dominion in ROME, the Queen City, over Italy and the African Wing of the Great Eagle, was to be cast out of the heaven; but this might obtain without the entire deprivation of authority and power. "The earth and sea," or all the Roman Habitable not included in Italy and Africa, still remained to be governed by emperors enthroned in other capitals. To lose authority in Rome, but yet to retain it in the earth and sea habitable, was to fall from the one "into" the other.
This was the fate of the Pagan-Roman Power... when Maxentius was dethroned and superseded in the government by Constantine, A.D. 312.
... essentially there is no difference between Catholicism and Paganism, yet the intense lust of the former for universal empire would inevitably bring on a collision that would ultimate in the destruction of the weaker of the firm.
Diabolos therefore knew that "he had but a short time. "He was determined, then, to make the most of his present opportunities, and to pour out the "great wrath" of idol worship upon the sympathizers with Dragon and Serpent, the catholic partners of the West, whom he might find among his subjects of "the earth and sea.
DIABOLOS represented the interests of "the Great Fiery-Red Dragon" in "the earth and sea" after his supersession by the Man-Child of Sin upon the "Seven Mountains." His principal agents after the fall of Maxentius, were Maximin and Licinius; the former the ruler of "the sea;" and the latter, of "the earth,"
...this house had been so long established, that it was deemed expedient to continue it under the ancient style of "Dragon, Old Serpent, Diabolos, and Satan;" the essential difference between the old house and the new being, that the former did business in the interest of Jupiter and the Idols; while the sharp practice of the latter is in the name of an imaginary Peter and fictitious saints.
The foundations of the two houses are the same. They are based solely in the flesh and the speculations of the fleshly mind so that their normal condition is "enmity against Deity," and hatred of those who "keep his commandments, and hold the testimony of the anointed Jesus."
14 <And the two wings of the great eagle [Roman empire extremities] were given to the woman> [anti catholic and Christadelphians], that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, <in which she is sustained there a time and times and half of a time [Ending: secular 1575, 'Holy City' 1868], out of the sight of the serpent>.
The individuals who composed the party of the woman were not all saints; they were all... exceedingly hostile to the State Church: but it was only a particular class of the woman's seed which was entitled to be regarded as consisting of the saints. Her seed was composed of remnants, hoi loipoi, not, as in the Common Version, of a remnant.
She was providentially placed in the wilderness, that she might be fed and nourished; for without food and nourishment she could not exist in such a world as this. The "faithful men" who were within her pale, "who were able to teach others" (2 Tim. 2:2), fed her with knowledge and understanding (Jer. 3:15); and "the earth," with whom she found an asylum, "helped her" with the nourishment of protection, without which she would have been carried away of the serpent-flood.
A remnant of her seed, and the common people of the Eagle's wings, "the earth," coalesced. They became political allies against the party in power; and were upon emergency prepared to withstand their oppressor by force of arms. These were the vanguard of the other remnant of her seed, whose principle is passive endurance of injury "unto death;" and trusting for vindication to Him who saith,
"Vengeance is mine, I will repay".
These were the saints sealed in their foreheads as the especial servants of the living God.
...Now, the Puritan Woman, styled by her enemies and persecutors "the Donatists;" but by the children of her body, Cathari, or the Pure Ones; for the first 1260 years of her existence was Providentially settled in the wings of the Roman Eagle.
Her remnants were not to be found in Persia, India, China, or America: but after the discovery and settlement of America, the persecutions and massacre of her seed by the Serpent-Powers of Europe caused her to seek refuge in the American wilderness, whereby the help of "the earth," which styles itself "the unterrified democracy," she is fed and nourished to the full.
...But the time when the 1260 aeon commences is not the same in all its relations. In Dan. 7 and 12, it has special reference to "the Holy City," or saints, in the highest sense; and begins with their delivery as heretics into the hand, or power, of the Roman Blasphemer, styled in Dan. 11:38,49, "a foreign god" and "a god of guardians."
The "forty-two months" of Apoc. 11:2, begins at the same time. Not so, however, the 1260 of the Two Witnesses, and the times of the woman in ch. 12:6,14. These all begin with the commencement of her flight in the Constantinian epoch. In these times she was to be fed and nourished; and fire was to proceed out of the mouth of her dualized witnessing remnant, to devour her enemies and theirs.
During these times they had power to shut the heaven, that it might not rain in their days of the prophecy, or the 1260. But when they may "have finished their witnessing," which they accomplished at the end of that period, or 1260 years after their banishment by Constantine, that is, in the epoch of A.D. 1572-'75, war was made upon them, and they were overcome, and put to death politically: they were "killed" in a like sense to the killing of "the third of the men" in ch. 9:18 - a death which said third sought, but could not find, because the time Divinely appointed to extinguish the eastern Roman dominion had not yet come.
Sustained 1 260 days
But, though the 1260 years of the sackcloth-witnessing of the anti-catholic remnant of the woman's seed ended in A.D., 1575; the other class of her seed, "the Holy City," still continued to travail in the affliction of its down-trodden condition; and to press on through the weary years assigned to it in the "forty-two months," or "the reed like to a rod" with which it was measured (Apoc. 11:1).
The finishing of the witnessing by the secular element of the woman in A.D. 1572-'5, marks the lapse of nine hundred and sixty-eight years of the forty-two months; in all of which time "the Holy City" had been in the hand of the Roman Blasphemer.
At the end of the witnessing in A.D. 1575, there still remained two hundred and ninety-two years of the forty-two months to be traversed by the Holy City. These elapsed, and she attains the A.D. 1867-'8; or, having traversed and completed an aeon or cycle, of forty-two months of years from A.D. 607...
...So long as she has a remnant upon the earth, she lives in it; though she may no longer be found in her original place of abode. Exterminated in one section of the Habitable, her seed reappear in another, on the principle of being persecuted in one city, they flee to another.
In the first 1260 years of her sojourn out of the Serpent's sight, her fugacious migrations were confined to the wings of his dominion. For three hundred years after her flight she was fed and nourished in the Roman Africa, and the Cottian Alps.
At the end of these centuries, she disappeared from the African Wing of the Great Eagle, and manifested her presence in Armenia and Asia Minor; and when she could no longer find food and nourishment there, she migrated in the course of a hundred and fifty years into France, and thence into Bulgaria, and up the Danube westward and northward through Hungary and Bavaria.
In the ninth century, the witnessing of her seed was no longer heard in Armenia, Asia Minor, and Thrace; but was more particularly limited to the Alpine regions of Italy, Switzerland, and France.
In the twelfth century, the witnessing of her seed in these countries became so hateful to the Roman Catholic Church, that its malice against her became unbounded. "The rivers and fountains of waters," or those who ruled among the mountains and valleys of the Alps, were stirred up by the spiritual head of that communion, to shed their blood without mercy (Apoc. 16:4-7): nevertheless, the food and nourishment afforded her, enabled her to endure, and to continue her witnessing in these Alpine regions until the expiration of her 1260 years.
But in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the power of the strong governments of Europe was brought to bear upon her seed. The two wings of the Great Eagle no longer afforded her protection; so that her witnessing against catholicism, and THE ANTICHRIST, whose power had now reached its greatest altitude and breadth, was suppressed in all the kingdoms, or Horns, of the Beast of the Sea (Apoc. 11:7; 13:1)
This was the death of the witnessing of the politico-ecclesiastical remnant of her seed. The war upon her that ultimated in this result, continued over a century after the termination of her aeon (aion) of 1260 years.
From A.D. 1685 to A.D. 1790, her seed's voice against the Roman Antichrist was death-stricken in all the Ten-Horns of the Beast of the Sea. During this period of three lunar days and a half of years, her anti-catholic communities lay voiceless in the streets, or kingdoms, of the Great City, very much to the joy and mirthfulness of the priests and rulers of the Horn-Powers, especially of the VICE-GOD of "Christendom" and his Cardinals, whose sanguinary domination is now tottering to its fall.
15 And the serpent [Roman catholic dragon] cast out of his mouth <after the woman water as a flood>, that he might cause her to be carried away <by> the flood.
The serpent and the dragon
The Dragon, the Serpent, the Diabolos, and the Satan, in this twelfth chapter, are all terms expressive of the political, or civil, military, and spiritual, "enmity" in organized activity against the woman and her seed.
When the political Organization that seeks her destruction is wholly pagan, then it is represented as "a Great Fiery Red Dragon" -ver. 3: if still pagan, but not wholly so in all departments of the state, then it is no longer the "great fiery red dragon," but simply the Diabolos, as in ver. 12; and if no longer pagan, but a subtle and seductive power, wise in its own conceit, and invested with supreme authority, it is indicated by "the Serpent" and "the Dragon," as in ver. 15,16.
This identity is established by the testimony concerning the flood of water, which states that it issued both from the mouth of the Serpent and the mouth of the Dragon: now the flood being one, not two, the Serpent and the Dragon in the verses at the head of this section must represent the same power.
...after the battles of Adrianople and Chrysopolis all power over the Roman Habitable came to be vested in Constantine. He was the sole imperial bishop of the Dragon empire; which, by the revolution he had consummated, was transformed from the Pagan Dragon, into the Catholic Dragon, dominion.
Such, then, is the meaning, or "mystery," of the form of words presented in the prophecy. The Catholic Dragon, or Man of Sin power, in-corporate in the unbaptized episcopal emperor, Constantine, and in the ignorant and superstitious ecclesiastics whom he had associated with himself in synodical session, was the effluent pursuer of the woman, who rejected the traditions and commands of the tribunal which had arraigned and condemned her, and all her seed, as odious and pestilent heretics.
... This was the commencement of the Catholic Dragon's wrath against the woman, and of the war he waged against the remnants of her seed (verse 7). The immediate effect of these violent measures, were desperate commotions and tumults in Africa, as the Donatists were exceedingly influential and numerous in that wing of the great eagle....The Donatists Remnant had fled "into the wilderness" of Getulia that they might be "out of sight of the Serpent" - of "the first Christian emperor" and his catholic myrmidons, who had seized their property, exiled their teachers, and put some to death.
16 And the earth [CIRCUMCELLIONS and the peasantry of Paphlagonia] <ran with help for> the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
...the Spirit of Deity stirred up the indignation of "the Earth" - of those who, though neither catholics nor Donatists, had spirit enough to defend the oppressed against imperial and ecclesiastical tyranny, and that in their own irregular and violent way.
The earth ran with help
How thankful ought we to be, that the Deity has put it into the heart of "the Earth," to open her mouth against the execution of sanguinary vengeance upon the believers and advocates of the truth by the generation of vipers whose vested interests are opposed to it.
...an army of pursuers was sent forth by order of the catholic government of Constantinople and Rome, to sweep the fugitive woman from among the living. The execution of this decree of extermination might have been successful, had not
"the earth ran with help for the woman, and opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood."
...Who are represented by "the Earth" in the period of the woman's flight into, or towards, the wilderness... a horrible confederacy of desperate ruffians who passed under the name of CIRCUMCELLIONS. These bands were composed of a set of furious, fearless and bloody men, formed of the rough and savage peasantry of the Numidian and Mauritanian villages, who were semi-pagans, and had been imperfectly reduced under the authority of the Roman laws.
"This outrageous multitude," says Mosheim, "whom no prospect of sufferings could terrify, and who, upon urgent occasions, faced death itself with the most audacious temerity, contributed to render the sect of the Donatists (whose cause they espoused) an object of the utmost abhorrence (to the Catholics) though it cannot be proved, by any records of undoubted authority that the bishops of that faction (those at least who had any reputation for piety and virtue) either approved the proceedings or stirred up the violence of this odious rabble."
...The blood of some Donatist teachers which had been shed by the imperialists, in-flamed the Circumeellions with an eager desire of revenge. By their own cruelty and rashness, the ministers of persecution sometimes provoked their fate; and the guilt of an accidental tumult precipitated them into despair and rebellion. The leaders of the Circumcellions assumed the title of CAPTAINS OF THE SAINTS.
Their principal weapon, as they were in-differently provided with swords and spears, was a huge and weighty club, which they termed AN ISRAELITE; and the well-known sound of "Praise be to God," which they used as their war-cry, diffused consternation over the unarmed provinces of Africa.
...The occupations of husbandry, and the administration of justice, were interrupted; and as the Circumcellions pretended to re- store the primitive equality of mankind, and to reform the abuses of civil society, they opened a secure asylum for slaves and debtors and all other refugees, who fled to their standard in crowds from their pursuers; or in the language of the prophecy, "the Earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood."
...the defensive operation of "the Earth" was not restricted to the African provinces of the empire.
The peasantry of Paphlagonia was inspired by the same spirit. During the reign of Constantius, son and successor of Constantine, when the catholic Trinitarians and catholic Arians unsheathed the sword of the flesh against one another to arbitrate the rights of Homoousion and Homojousion to the claim of orthodoxy, the Novatians, another remnant of the woman's anti-catholic seed, became obnoxious to the Arian emperor and patriarch of Constantinople.
Swallowed up the flood
The woman in her flight was pursued, or persecuted by power, which caused her in her sufferings to cry aloud. Her cries fell upon the ears of the earthiest of earthborns, who ran to and fro dealing the most terrific vengeance upon her foes. The ferocious purpose of the catholic power encountering this most unexpected resistance was defeated; the earth swallowed up the wrath which expended itself upon it, and the woman was saved.
...Macedonius, being informed that a large district of Paphlagonia was almost entirely inhabited by the Novatians, resolved in fiery excess of zeal, either to convert them to Arian catholicity, or to exterminate them; and as he distrusted on this occasion the efficacy of an ecclesiastical mission, he determined to vomit forth a legionary flood to sweep them from the earth.
...And so it came to pass; for the Paphlagonian peasants, animated by despair and religious fury, boldly encountered the invaders of their country; and though many of them were slain, the Serpent's legions were vanquished by an irregular multitude armed only with scythes and axes;
...zeal for the word was a remarkable characteristic of the Woman's Seed. It underlaid the whole controversy between the Catholics and Dissenters of the period.
That water symbolises people is evident from Apoc. 17:15. Hence, when the water is in motion the people are moving; when it flows like a river the body of people moves In a certain direction; when the river overflows its banks, the army crosses its frontiers and invades another nation; when the water sweeps along like a flood, the army subdues and carries all before it; but when the earth opens and absorbs the flood, then the operations of the army are spent without effecting its purpose; and if the water of the river be dried up, as in Apoc. 16:12, the power and independence of the people represented are destroyed.
... The cruelties of Macanus and Paulus only exasperated "the earth", and widened the breach. The Circumcellions, provoked by their arbitrary proceedings, wreaked their vengeance on the persecutors of the Donatists by assassinations and massacres executed with unrelenting fury.
"The Dragon was wroth with the woman," when he saw his projects baffled. He, therefore sent Macanus against them with "a flood". The Earth encountered the flood in the battle of Bagnia, A.D. 345, in which, however, the Circumcellions were defeated...There was now no safety for the woman but in flight.
...a few of the Donatists submitted; "the greatest part of them saved themselves by flight;" numbers were sent into banishment.
Among them were DONATUS, whom they called "the Great," on account of his learning and virtue...! The Donatists, doubtless, discerned that "the polluted flood of the Macarian persecution which burst forth from the tyrannical church of king' Constans," was the "water like a flood the serpent or dragon cast out of his Mouth.',
From this, and other instances, I doubt not, that among the woman's seed there have been in all ages some who were able to discern the apocalyptic signs specially pertaining to the times in which they lived. They might not have been able to expound the apocalypse as a whole, but they could discern sufficient to answer the question.
"Watchman, what of the night?"
Let us be thankful, that the believer of the truth is also able, at this crisis of the woman's history, to discern the signs of these times; so that when the Ancient of Days comes in as a thief upon an intoxicated and insane generation like ours, he will find us with our lamps trimmed and our lights brightly burning, ready to go out to meet Him.
17 And the [catholic pagan] dragon was <enraged against> the woman, and went <away> to <wage> war with the remnants [Donatists and anti catholics] of her seed, <who> keep the commandments of <the Deity>, and have the testimony of <the Anointed Jesus>.
A short reprieve for the Donatists AD 361
...calamities triumphed over them [the Donatists] until A.D. 361, when the "earthquake" of Apoc. 8:5, placed the anti-catholic nephew of Constantine, "Julian the Apostate," so called, upon the Constantinopolitan throne of the Roman world.
This imperial pagan proved more humane and merciful to the Donatists than his "christian" (?) predecessors. He permitted them to return to their country, and restored them to the enjoyment of their former liberty.
The dragon enraged against the woman
Gratian published several edicts against them [Donatists], and in A. D. 377, deprived them of their houses of assembly, and prohibited all their meetings public and private. But the fury of the Circumcellions, and the apprehension of intestine tumults, prevented the vigorous execution of these laws. This appears from the numerous conventicles they possessed in Africa towards the conclusion of this fourth century, to which were attached not less than four hundred bishops.
About this time a celebrated, or rather, notorious ecclesiastic entered the lists against them. This was that veritable saint of the Serpent calendar, equally glorified by Greek, Latin, and Protestant, historically known as St. Augustine, bishop of Hippo. He attacked them in every way; and as he was a hot-headed and active spirit, he animated against them the whole antichristian world with its imperial court.
...deputies were sent, A.D. 404, from the council of Carthage to the emperor Honorius to request that the laws enacted against heretics by the preceding emperors might have force against the Donatists...the Dragon-emperor imposed a fine upon all the Donatists who refused to return into the bosom of the catholic church, and sent their bishops and teachers into banishment.
...the Donatists, though much shaken by these repeated assaults of the Dragon, were still "nourished" and fed" by the Providence of the Deity. Their strength revived A.D. 408, after Stilico had been put to death by the order of Honorius; and gained an accession of vigor the following year, in which the emperor published a law in favour of liberty of conscience, and prohibited all compulsion in matters of religion.
This law, however, was not of long continuance...The law was therefore abrogated at the earnest and repeated solicitation of the council of bishops which met at Carthage, A.D. 419; and Marcellinus, the tribune, was sent by Honorius into Africa with a flood of legionaries effluent of the Dragon's Mouth.
Full power was given to him to sweep the woman away; and so to bring to a conclusion, or to extinguish, the testimony of these faithful witnesses against that DIABOLICAL AND SATANIC APOSTASY, blasphemously styled "the Holy Apostolic Catholic Church."
The remnant of her seed
.. there will be found... CHRISTADELPHIANS, whose intellectual and moral characteristics are
[that they] keep the commandments of the Deity, and hold the testimony of the anointed Jesus?'
...while the remnant of the woman's seed, which, in those trying times, "kept the commandments of the Deity, and held the testimony of the anointed Jesus," were thus witnessing unto death, and by their witnessing, tormenting them that dwelt upon the Catholic terrene, they had a powerful and influential intercessor within the veil, whose eyes beheld the ferocious wickedness of the Roman Serpent, and whose ears were not inattentive to their prayers.
It is not difficult to conceive, that these prayers would be many, earnest and fervent; for, having faith in God and in his word, they would know that deliverance could come from Him alone. He had placed them in the African Wing of the Great Eagle, to testify against the Laodicean Apostasy in Church and State.
This was a dangerous mission, but it had to be done, and faithfully performed until there should be no catholic power there to witness against. This was their hope; but of the time when it should be broken in Africa, and they delivered, they had no knowledge. All they could do then was to "offer much incense upon the golden altar before the throne" (Apoc. 8:3) - pray much, "contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints," and patiently wait for an answer to their earnest supplications, which would "ascend before the Deity out of the hand" of the incense-bearing angel of His presence.
These prayers had been partially replied to in the salutary events of the Julian Revolution, A.D. 361-'3. The angel Incense-Bearer had taken fire from the Golden Altar, and cast it from his censer into the earth; and there were in consequence, "voices, thunderings and lightnings, and an earthquake" (Apoc. 8:5).
The time had now arrived to answer their prayers more fully in the breaking of the power of the catholic oppressor in Africa, by the events of the Second Wind Trumpet.
The instrument of this great and righteous retribution was the world-wide renowned and terrible GENSERIC whose invasion of Africa, A.D. 439, was favored and prompted by the impolitic persecution of the Donatists.
The king of the Vandals, though a catholic, was an enemy of the Trinitarian communion. Represented himself to the Donatists as a powerful deliverer from whom they might reasonably expect the repeal of the odious and oppressive edicts of the Dragon-emperors.
Having wrested the province from the hands of the Romans, he ministered "food" and "nourishment" to the woman in protecting her seed, and giving them liberty and peace.
The twelfth chapter concludes at the epoch in which history loses all trace of a people, whose testimony against the superstition by law established kept the African Wing of the Catholic Empire in an excited and tumultuous condition to the great annoyance of all privileged bishops, priests, and deacons, who sought peace and comfort in high places for three hundred years.
This brings us down to A.D. 612; or about five years after the Dragon had confirmed the gift of all heretics into the hand of the Bishop of Rome, who had been "acknowledged" by Justinian as a god over all the spiritual affairs of his empire, A.D. 533.
When the witnessing remnant had accomplished its mission against the Apostasy in Africa, the power of their oppressor, the Catholic Church, was broken there by the Saracens, as predicted in Apoc. 9: 1-11.
"The common granary of Rome and mankind" as the fertile and highly cultivated province is styled by Gibbon, was appropriated by the followers of Mohammed, who have possessed it, (Algiers excepted, and since A.D. 1830 occupied by the French) from Tangier to Tripoli, unto this day.
Other Remnants of the Woman's Seed
The Novatian remnant was numerous in most parts of the Great Roman Eagle until towards the end of the sixth century.
... Aerius differed from the common notions of the time: he condemned prayers for the dead, stated fasts, the celebration of Easter, and other rites of that nature, in which the multitude erroneously imagine that the life and soul of religion consists. His great purpose seems to have been that of reducing Christianity to its primitive simplicity. This was a great and noble enterprise, and places the Aerians, as those who associated themselves with Aerius were styled, in the apocalyptic category of "the remnants of the woman's seed."
But the Novatian and Donatists remnants were not only reinforced by the Aerians; their strength and influence were augmented in the middle of the seventh century by the Paulicians. It was about A.D. 653, that a new sect arose in the Roman East, upon which this name was bestowed. There resided in the city of Mananalis, in Armema, a person of the class to whom the gospel is preached, the obscure, whose name was Constantine.
...He threw away his Manichaean library, exploded and rejected many popular absurdities; and led his countrymen to abandon their former teachers whom they had most venerated; and opened an effective battery upon the superstitions of the catholic church and its hierarchy.