Veneration
The special honoring of saints in Roman Catholicism.
Heathen
A person or group that does not acknowledge a particular religion, most often Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. In the Old Testament “heathen” referred to anyone who did not follow and worship the God of Israel.
Papal
Having to do with the Pope or the Roman Catholic Church.
The Story Of Revelation Plays Out
Author: Professor Walter J. Veith, PhD
Publish date:
Summary: Revelation 12 is a story symbolic of our history and the present time. What warning can we take from these prophetic words?
 
This article is part of a series. We recommend that you first read: The Great Controversy, The Characters, The Dragon.
 
Source: Flickr

And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent (Revelation 12:13-14).

History tells us how cruel Rome was in its persecution of God’s people. An estimated 80,000 Christians were martyred in the Colosseum. More than two million others were also brutally killed during the first 300 years after Christ ascended to heaven.

Compromise and Complacency

When Rome adopted the Christian religion, matters only worsened. Subtle compromise bred complacency. When Constantine adopted Christianity, he did so with a mind to blend it with paganism. According to Harry Boer, “the multiplication of holy days, the veneration of saints, martyrs and relics, and the value attached to pilgrimages and holy places often pushed truly spiritual concerns into the background.”i

F. J. Foakes-Jackson says that, “in dealing with the church, [Constantine’s] object was gradually to transfer to Christianity from heathenism all that had hitherto made it attractive in the eyes of the people.”ii

Constantine was the first to enact Sunday laws, enforcing the maintenance of the pagan day of worship in violation of the law of God. The German historian Heggtveit describes the compromise in these words:

Constantine labored at his time untiringly to unite the worshippers of the old and the new faith in one religion. All his laws and contrivances are aimed at promoting this amalgamation of religions. He would by all means melt together a purified heathenism and a moderate Christianity…His injunction that the “Day of the Sun” should be a general rest day was characteristic of his standpoint…Of all his blending and melting together of Christianity and heathenism, none is more easy to see through than this making of his Sunday law. The Christians worshipped their Christ, the heathen their sun god; according to the opinion of the Emperor, the objects for worship in both religions were essentially the same.iii

And Harry Boer has this to say on the topic:

[Constantine] designated Sunday by its traditional pagan name - The Day of the Sun, not the Sabbath or the Day of the Lord. Pagans could therefore accept it. Christians gave the natural sun a new meaning by thinking of Christ the Son of Righteousness. Constantine and later emperors, as well as the church councils, enacted additional Sunday legislation. It was Constantine’s decree of 321, however, that laid the basis of the universal recognition of Sunday as a day of rest.iv

The Church in the Wilderness

In response to the compromise, those who wanted to remain faithful to God and His Word fled into the solitary places to worship God in truth. Revelation 12:6 says, “the woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1260 days.”

This is the persecution predicted by the prophet Daniel in connection with the little horn, which signifies the Antichrist or papal Rome. The compromisers became the persecutors. Pagan Rome was replaced by papal Rome.

During the time of papal supremacy, the Word of God was kept alive by small groups of believers such as the Waldenses in Italy, who kept the Sabbath of the fourth commandment rather than the pagan Sunday. They chose to die rather than deny their faith in Christ and the Scriptures.

When the Reformation spread the Word of God, Rome stepped up its efforts to destroy those who would defy its doctrines. History abounds with atrocities against Protestants—the wars, the massacres, and the work of the inquisition that led to the torture and death of thousands.

Despite trials, the Church in the wilderness kept the flame of truth burning. When persecution could not destroy the work of the Reformation, the Counter Reformation, led by the Jesuits, was born. This bore more compromise, and the Church was once more at peace with Rome.

However, the Bible predicted that after the 1260 days (after 1798), a remnant would arise that would enrage the Dragon because they would follow Jesus in obedience to His commandments:

Then the Dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus (Revelation 12:17 emphasis added).

The persecution of this remnant will only increase. Decrees will be legislated to enforce papal doctrines and declare the law of God null and void. Forces will rise to destroy those who follow God’s commands. But those who remain faithful will be rewarded. Christ will return as King of kings and Lord of lords to take those who have patiently waited for Him to the mansions He has already prepared. 

Read about God's Great Plan to Eradicate Sin
Back to The Great Controversy

 


 

i. Harry Boer, A Short History of the Early Church (Eerdman’s, 1976).

ii. Foakes-Jackson, A History of the Christian Church from the Earliest Times to A.D. 461 (Cosimo, 2005).

iii. Christian Edwardson, Facts of Faith (TEACH Inc., 2001).

iv. Harry Boer, A Short History of the Early Church (Eerdman’s, 1976).

This article is adapted from Truth Matters by Professor Walter J. Veith, an international speaker who has studied Biblical issues in-depth in his quest for truth. His popular series Genesis Conflict brings the debate between Creation and evolution to a new climax as he dissects the arguments with a scientific eye. His highly-acclaimed series Total Onslaught sheds light on the state of the world today as we move to a one-world government and an anticipated apocalypse.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article and website are not intended to accuse individuals. There are many priests and faithful believers in Roman Catholicism who serve God to the best of their ability and are seen by God as His children. The information contained herein is directed only towards the Roman Catholic religio-political system that has reigned in varying degrees of power for nearly two millennia. Under the influence of its successive popes, bishops, and cardinals, this system has established an increasing number of doctrines and statements that clearly go against Scripture.
 
It is our sincere desire to lay the clear Word of God before you, the truth-seeking reader, so you may decide for yourself what is truth and what is error. If you find herein anything contrary to the Word of God, you need not accept it. But if you desire to seek for Truth as for hidden treasure, and find herein something of that quality, we encourage you to make all haste to accept that Truth which is revealed to you by the Holy Spirit.
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