Revelation Chapter 12, Part 8

Verse 4His tail drew [the] third of the stars of heaven, and threw them to the earth. And the
dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it
was born
.”

This particular verse from what I have gathered thus far appears to have been a stumbling block for
many of the brethren (that is in respects to the specific time and sequence of the events specified) this
evidenced by the various interpretations of the text I have read. I will however not go into all these here,
but instead will present what I believe appears to be the most satisfactory view based on a composite of
the thoughts of several brethren. It has always been my thought that we should follow the Lord’s advice
and consider all the facts (all the various opinions of the brethren) before arriving at any definite
conclusions. “
In the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Prov 11:14)

The typical view of this verse is that this “
tail” of the dragon “which drew a third of the stars” is in
reference to
Constantine the last of the “seven heads”, the last reigning emperor of Pagan Rome, viz.
the following,

“Constantine, now embracing Christianity, and being chief religious ruler of the empire (Pontifex
Maximus
), called the Council of Nicaea which drew to it one third of all the bishops (stars, teachers) of
heaven (the Christian religious rulership). It is almost at this point that Babylon is born. The bishops are
cast to the earth” -- they now become primarily embroiled in earthly power-grabs and political
maneuvering. Their spirituality is lost. The dragon, wishing to use newly-born Babylon (the Wheat-Tare
mixture) to strengthen Rome, is ready to devour (to consume, appropriate) this “
new” religion for political
reasons (political opportunism).”
N.A.N.O.R. Page 156

However upon further investigation we believe that this may not be exactly what is implied here in this
particular texts. Understand we are not arguing over whether or not these events took place, but over
the time and sequence of these events.

The inherent thought of the expression the tail drew” (Greek suro, Strong’s # 4951 to draw or
drag
) these stars is that the dragon apprehended and dragged them preparatory to their being
cast to the earth
(that is prior to their being cast to earth). This verse signifies punitive action being
taken against true light-bearers considered to be in opposition to the dragon, Satan’s organization.

It should be carefully observed that the seizure and casting down of the stars occurred
before the birth
of the man-child
(Verse 5) in A.D. 314, and therefore DID NOT specifically relate to the Council of
Nicaea, A.D. 325.
Rather, the casting down parallels the prediction in the message to the Church of
Smyrna:

Behold, the devil [another name for the dragon or the serpent] shall cast some of you into
prison, that ye may be tried
(tested); and ye shall have tribulation [deep labor pains] ten days
(
Rev 2:10).

In other words, the casting down of the stars to the earth and the casting of some into prison are
synonymous in their application; both refer to the closing decade of the Smyrna period, A.D. 303–313,
prior to Constantine’s accession to the throne.” (T.K.O.R. Pages 297, 298)  

The sequence of events is this 1) the stars are first apprehended and dragged, then 2) they are
cast to earth
, meanwhile that is to say during this same time period when these first two events are
taking place the dragon is standing before the woman in anticipation of devouring her child.
The
important thought here is that these events take place
before the birth of the child, before A.D.
314,
before Constantine’s conversion to Christianity in A.D. 313, before his accession to the
throne
in A.D. 312, and most importantly before the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325.

This same thought is brought forth in the following excerpt taken from R.E. Streeter’s “Revelation of
Jesus Christ”, Page 330

“It is said of the dragon that "his tail drew [dragged, hauled] the third part of the stars of heaven,
and did cast them to the earth
." There are two interpretations of this symbol, one of which is that it
refers to Christian teachers falling in the sense of apostatizing, and adopting the Paganized counterfeit
Christianity that gradually came in after Constantine's accession to the throne, about 312 AD.
A
seemingly insurmountable difficulty with this interpretation is that this action of the dragon
occurs prior to Constantine's accession to the throne, and during the period of the Pagan
government's persecution of the true Church
.

It was not until the ending of these terrible years of persecution that desires for worldly favor and
dominion began to become rife in the Church. The "
ten days" of persecution (Rev 2:10) extended from
303 AD to 313 AD.

The other interpretation, which seems the more reasonable one, and which is in harmony with
the facts of history
, is that it represents the attempt of the Pagan government (under Diocletian) to
exterminate the Church by removing the Christian teachers from their stations, by imprisoning them; by
forcing them to work in the mines; by frequently depriving them of their sight; and by subjecting them to
all manner of inhuman violence. The historian, without being aware of it, has thus recorded events that
seem clearly to meet the fulfillment of this part of the vision:

"
In the year 303, when this emperor (Diocletian) was at Nicomedia, an order was obtained from him to
pull down the churches of the Christians, to burn all their books and writings, and to take from them all
their civil rights and privileges, and render them incapable of any honors or civil promotion. This first edict,
though rigorous and severe, extended not to the lives of the Christians; … it was, however, destructive to
many of them, particularly to those who refused to deliver the sacred books into the hands of the
magistrates.

"Not long after the publication of this first edict against the Christians …
Diocletian, by a new edict,
ordered all the bishops and ministers of the Christian Church
to be thrown into prison. Nor did
his inhuman violence end here; for a third edict was soon issued, by which it was ordered, that
all sorts of torments (
testing’s) should be employed, and the most insupportable punishments
invented, to force these venerable captives to renounce their profession
, by sacrificing to the
heathen gods; for it was hoped, that, if the bishops and doctors of the Church could be brought to yield,
their respective flocks would be easily induced to follow their example. An immense number of persons,
illustriously distinguished by their piety and learning, became the victims of this cruel stratagem
throughout the whole Roman Empire, Gaul accepted, which was under the mild and equitable dominion of
Constantius Chlorus [father of Constantine the Great].

"
In the second year of this horrible persecution the 304th of the Christian era, a fourth edict
was published by Diocletian
… By it the magistrates were ordered and commissioned to force all
Christians, without distinction of rank or sex, to sacrifice to the gods, and were authorized to employ all
sorts of torments, in order to drive them to this act of apostasy. The diligence and zeal of the Roman
magistrates, in the execution of this inhuman edict, nearly proved fatal to the Christian cause."
(
Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History)   

We thus have depicted in this brief extract from the pages of the historian, the most terrible persecution,
the most severe trial, testing, that the Church had ever experienced up to that time. It was indeed an
attempt on the part of the Pagan Roman government to utterly exterminate Christianity.”

And the dragon [Pagan Rome] stood before the woman [the early Christian church] which was
ready to give birth [
about to have its schism], to devour [appropriate] her child [the man of sin
faction
] as soon as it was born [became organized].”

“The dragon stood before the woman with the objective “
to devour” (i.e., to eat and appropriate) the
child unto himself and thus, through digestion and absorption, add to its own strength and influence.
The
setting, following the man-child’s birth, corresponds to the forepart of the Pergamos era, A.D.
323 to 539
(Rev 2:14). There were those who held the teaching of Balaam (the pagan priesthood), who
taught Balak (the king or emperor) to put a stumbling block before the Israelites (the professed Church of
Christ). The pagan priesthood is represented as counseling and influencing the emperor to conquer the
enemy Christians by
joining them (Num 25:1–3; 31:15, 16). And this is what Constantine in effect did
by proffering them his hand in marriage.

Constantine joined Christianity—but on his own terms. The incumbent pagan priesthood could, with
comparative ease, transfer allegiance and seniority to the new religion of the empire. The emperor invited
Christian leaders throughout the realm to convene in council at
Nicaea in A.D. 325. Through artful
manipulation, he accomplished much of his primary purpose of establishing a fundamental, orthodox creed
and discipline, which the populace would be pressured to accept.” (
T.K.O.R. Page 299)

Continued with
Verse 5


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