Before Christmas, Dr. Michael Bird posted that December 25th means the triumph of Christianity over Paganism. The same may be said for the Roman Catholic Church, which sits above the ruins of the Roman Empire. There was a time when the Emperor of Rome declared war on Christians, seeking to eradicate them in a genocidal manner,
“It was the nineteenth year of Diocletian’s reign and the month Dystrus, called March by the Romans, and the festival of the Saviour’s Passion was approaching, when an imperial decree was published everywhere, ordering the churches to be razed to the ground and the Scriptures destroyed by fire, and giving notice that those in places of honour would lose their places, and domestic staff, if they continued to profess Christianity, would be deprived of their liberty. Such was the first edict against us. Soon afterwards other decrees arrived in rapid succession, ordering that the presidents of the churches in every place should all be first committed to prison and then coerced by every possible means into offering sacrifice.” – Eusebius, History of the Church (VIII.2)
But, long before this attempted holocaust, Rome set about trying to destroy the young Church, the history of which we can read in John’s Apocalypse. In this book, John writes that soon, a time will come when Rome would fall to be replaced with the New Jerusalem. Through chapters 17 and 18, Imperial Rome is give a eulogy, with it being not necessary to decipher that the author meant the ancient city of Rome:
Here is a clue 1 for one who has wisdom. The seven heads represent seven hills upon which the woman sits. They also represent seven kings: (Rev 17:9 NAB)
Throughout the rest of the book, we see the great promise that one Babylon, Rome, is destroyed, the New Jerusalem will come down wherein all peoples will flock to worship God. It took two hundred years for Rome to, after trying to destroy Christianity, succumb to it. No, I don’t agree with Emperor Constantine and the confusion of Christianity and Politics. Nor do I think that at that moment, the Catholic Church was somehow created. But stand back, here, at the tail end of history, and examine the marvelous view. The city which tried to destroy Christianity so many times, in blood bath after blood bath, is now synonymous with Christianity. Whereas the ancient gladiatorial arenas which saw Christians forced to suffer deaths by animals and beastly men are crumbling, the Vatican stands, as do other non-Catholic Churches, still. It was the Catholic Church and not Rome which secured Europe through the Middle Ages, and while I uphold Protestantism as a measure to reminder the Catholic Church of what it should be doing, I marvel at the greatness of the Roman Catholic Church.