17.1 Who Was Constantine?
17.1 Who Was Constantine?
© 2016 Christ Revealed Bible Institute
Who Was Constantine?
How did Christ become anti-Christ? How was the cross of Christ perverted into an instrument of satanic mind control? The cross of Christ was perverted in the years AD 310-313 through a set of distinct and phenomenal circumstances and through the actions and self-exaltation of the man who "freed" the Christians: Constantine the Great.
Diocletian was Emperor of Rome from AD 284-305; Galerius ruled with Diocletian and then was Emperor from 305-311. In 302, Diocletian and Galerius, seeking the favor of Apollo, sought council from the oracle of Apollo. The oracle pronounced that the presence of Christians upon the earth hindered the favor of the gods. The time from 303 on became the darkest in the history of the Christian church until then.
Constantine was a commander of armies under Diocletian and Galerius. (All of this "knowledge" of history comes simply by perusing the Wikipedia articles on these men, something anyone can do.) Diocletian was crafty, a strategist, thinking outwardly; Galerius was a pagan, a lover of the old gods, thinking backwardly. Constantine was full of himself, thinking of his own exaltation. Let me explain. First, Constantine is called "the Great.“
There is scattered all through the human race a sub-grouping of people called psychopaths. Psychopathy is not a gift; it is the lack of something. Psychopathy is the absence of the image of God. A psychopath has no conscience, no "light" within, as John said in the first chapter of his gospel.
No Light Within
It is important for us to understand what a psychopath is. The only safe way to understand the psychopath is by science so that we don’t join the “witch hunts.” A psychopath does not carry the same view of others that most humans carry. In the mind of a psychopath, other people exist only to be taken advantage of, as sheep for the slaughter. They think continually how they can gain the advantage; beyond that, others do not exist as anything real to them.
Once in awhile, down through the annals of history, two things come welded together in human form: supreme human greatness as an outward created gifting, and psychopathy, no human conscience nor any light within. Such was Constantine the Great.
A “Divine” Vision
I draw from the Wikipedia article on Constantine the Great - "the emperor who used Christianity to empower his government," and the Wikipedia article on the Council of Nicaea.
Constantine fought his way to victory against rivals and through the difficult currents of powerful men grasping for more power. It was not certain that he would win. Constantine's power base was in Gaul and Britain, so he came against the rival Caesar from the northwest. First, in July 310, Constantine proclaimed that he had: "experienced a divine vision of Apollo and Victory granting him laurel wreaths of health and a long reign.”
The God of the Sun
“In the likeness of Apollo Constantine recognized himself as the saving figure to whom would be granted ‘rule of the whole world’ as the poet Virgil had once foretold . . . In his early reign, the coinage of Constantine advertised Mars as his patron. From 310 on, Mars was replaced by Sol Invictus, a god conventionally identified with Apollo.”
In other words, Constantine proclaimed himself to be the God of the Sun, Apollo, the giver of victory. The halo comes from the sun image. In other words, the halo is not a symbol of "saintliness," but of Apollo and Constantine.
Ignoring the fears of his counselors and generals, Constantine fought his way down the Italian peninsula. Then –
In This Sign
"On 28 October 311 . . . he approached the keepers of the Sibylline Books for guidance. The keepers prophesied that, on that very day, 'the enemy of the Romans' would die." This is the moment that, according to Eusebius, Constantine saw a heavenly vision of the cross of Christ and heard the words, "In this sign, you will conquer." The next day, he ordered the cross to be painted on the shields and standards of all his army.
Constantine's opponent commanded twice as many men, but that day Constantine slaughtered his way to victory and to absolute tyranny over the known world by the symbol that God calls "the foolishness of God."
And thus the picture God gave us of Himself, of the One who lays down His life for us, was turned on that day into the grotesque satanic ritual of men created in God's image hacking each other apart in a bloody orgy of death and dismemberment. Then – "in the following years, Constantine gradually consolidated his military superiority over his rivals."
Meanwhile, Constantine, seeing the value to his power of promoting Christianity as the religion of the empire, first tolerated, and then commanded Christianity. Constantine himself, however, continued his personal promotion of Apollo and the worship of the sun.
By the time of the Council of Nicaea in 325, the idolatrous symbols had disappeared, but now Constantine used the new "Christian" symbols as emblems of himself and his rule.
Then, "the reign of Constantine established a precedent for the position of the emperor as having some influence within the religious discussions going on within the Catholic Church of that time . . . Constantine himself disliked the risks to societal stability that religious disputes and controversies brought with them, preferring where possible to establish an orthodoxy. The emperor saw it as his duty to ensure that God was properly worshipped in his empire, and that what proper worship consisted would be determined by the Church."
In other words, Constantine understood that power on earth was increased by forced unity, by requiring "one doctrine" on every issue and forcing everyone by fear of death to subscribe to that "one doctrine" as the only truth.
When Constantine ascended to power, he released all the Christian leaders from the torture chambers and prisons. Men who had known years of pain and isolation were suddenly proclaimed throughout the world as the leaders of the victorious religion. These men went from destitution to political power in this world overnight. Not knowing God as the One who becomes all, carrying us through death and into life, they saw their new power over others as "God-sent."
A “God” by Debate
Of course, great debate arose in the power centers of the church concerning the definitions of God, Christ, and everything else. Religious men love to argue empty ideas. Thus Constantine ordered the Council of Nicaea, AD 325, a gathering of the leading powers of the church. When Constantine, sitting in his “god the sun” idolatry, saw that one side seemed to prevail over the other, he put his backing behind the stronger group and ordered that this one definition of Christ be the only one allowed. This satisfied the leading debaters, including Athanasius, who imagined that God can be known by human argument and debate and who found it religiously satisfying to "win" that debate.
Our Picture of the Cross
This is the context; but here we are focusing on the perversion of the cross, the action that began this entire debacle. "In this sign, you will conquer."
Let me give you our picture of the cross. Inside of the vast reaches of an infinite, all here now Christ Jesus, there is a little room called the empty grave. Inside of that little room is found ALL sin and death, all iniquity and wickedness, all accusation against God and against us. The wall around that empty grave is the CROSS. Nothing inside that empty grave can ever pass through the cross to attach itself to us ever again.
Our Guarantee of Freedom
The cross is our protector, our guarantee of freedom. By the cross we are one with Christ. By the cross we are alive unto God.
Let’s envision the cross in this way. Picture a mighty shield wall of archangels commanded by Michael standing in perfect formation, shield locking on shield guarding against everything held prisoner inside that empty grave. And around that first invincible shield wall are nine more. No sin, no death, no accusation can pass through the first shield wall, ever, yet there are nine more after, STANDING in-between everything in that empty grave and you and me.
Invincible. – The Cross.
Whole or Split?
The real cross makes each one of us as individuals ONE whole in ourselves, one with the Lord Jesus, and one Body together. Then look at Constantine’s cross. “By this sign you will hack human beings into pieces.”
Our cross tells us that we are found inside of Jesus and nowhere else. Constantine’s cross casts men and women down before itself and says to them, “Look upon your sin, sinners. You must die!” Constantine’s cross says to every Christian groveling before it, “Christ may be in you, well and good, but YOU are in you as well and YOU are evil. You are NOT one, you are TWO, Christ little and evil fleshy human sinful self BIG.”
Self at War with Self
Our cross places us entirely into all that is Christ, the only life we are. Constantine’s cross lays the burden of “Die, sinner” upon our shoulders, a burden no human being is capable of fulfilling.
Our cross allows us to enter into full Covenant union with our Father, a God who fills us with all of His fullness. Constantine’s cross convinces everyone who would draw near to Christ that they are “in trouble with God.”
There is no more effective way to conquer and to rule over people than to split individuals apart, to divide each one into two opposing selfs, self always at war with self, self always at war with God – the cross of “Christianity.”
I love watching the animated show, Kung Fu Panda. In that story, the evil bad guy is solidly imprisoned behind steel, stone, and big guards, much like the picture I drew of our cross imprisoning all that is sin and death inside an empty grave. Yet when the master, in the story, heard about the bad guy, he sent a messenger to “check” to be sure that the “cross” was actually doing its job. That action, inspecting the cross, was the very device “sin and death” used to free itself from its prison and to attack the living.
We refuse to make sure that the cross is keeping us safe, but rather, we walk in full confidence that Christ is our only life.