Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Revelation for Dummies (2)

 The Roman/Jewish Wars (68 - 135 A.D.) were a rapid and colossal disaster for the Jewish people, because the full might of the Roman Empire was brought to bear upon them.
In 69 A.D. the Galilean Rebellion was squashed;
In 70 A.D. Jerusalem was burned, and the Temple destroyed, and possibly millions of Jews were killed or enslaved.
In 73 A.D. the Zealots at Masada were sieged and destroyed.
The final rebellion of Bar Kochba (120-132 A.D.)  was also quashed.

But Christianity, although frequently persecuted, continued to spread throughout the Roman Empire, even heavily infecting the Roman Armies.

Here is the next diagram in the analysis:

Conversion of Empire: Click to Enlarge
The single most important event in the first 500 years of Christianity has to be the conversion of the Emperor Constantine, and the legalization of the Christian Religion.   Around 300 A.D., Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity, which was formerly and underground and illegal religion, often persecuted by Roman authorities.

For our purposes, it matters little whether or not Constantine was truly or completely converted, or if instead he was simply a shrewd leader, realizing that by 300 A.D. a large number of Roman soldiers and citizens were Christian converts. 

The fact is, Constantine legalized Christianity, and to prove the point, began to tear down and loot pagan temples, and use the wealth to build Christian cathedrals all over the Empire.   Constantine also held Ecumenical councils, allowing Christian leaders (at least those willing to cooperate with the Empire) some participation and power in organizing and defining mainstream Christianity.

The second thing Constantine did was to abandon Rome entirely, and rebuild his new Capital and Headquarters in Greece, at Byzantium (Constantinople, now called Istanbul).   The Empire was now ruled from the East (Greece), and the Latin West was left abandoned, and quickly succumbed to local barbarian invasions, beginning around 420 A.D. 

The West sank into the Dark Ages, while the East flourished, enjoying one of the greatest eras of Christian literary and intellectual activity.

The Latins, perhaps in ironic poetic justice for their most recent and violent persecution of the Christians, fell to the barbarians again and again, their economy, security and lives destroyed by sacking and pillaging. 

If the book of Revelation had failed to at all mention what was the most important development in Christian history, while at the same time being a prophecy focussed on the Christian future, it would have to be called a prophetic failure.

 To get an idea of how drastic the changeover was, take a look at these BEFORE and AFTER maps:


AFTER: Animated GIF! Click to Enlarge


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