13 May 2016

100 Years In The 4th Century

A hundred years could literally be a lifetime in terms of a human life.

When counting how sentiment could change the course of history as the world would understand it, it is a very short period of time.

What started out as an obscure and misunderstood movement based on faith in the unseen and love for one's fellowman - and this love extending towards love for one's perceived enemy - would eventually become a state protected faith that has never left its position as the most influential ideology the world has ever known.

The years 300 to 400 A.D. would witness the faith in Yeshua as Lord and the King of heaven and earth arriving from a seemingly insignificant location in a brutal empire, to achieving spiritual and temporal authority over that empire; transforming the lives of millions of people then, and billions upon billions of people henceforth.

What began as a ridiculed, demeaned, martyred and harassed sect from within a perceived-to-be superstitious religion, would eventually topple an indifferent mindset built upon strength in tradition and conquering force.

The achievement of love triumphing over tyranny came not at the edge of a sword, nor by deceit or compulsion, but by the spilling of blood on the part of the subjects and not the subduers.

Long is the list of named martyrs in the leadership positions of the early church.

Much longer is the unknown list of the peasants, countrymen and women and their children who have saturated the roads and valleys of Rome's strong reach with innocent blood.

Yet these names are only unknown to the inhabitants of the earth, for each name is written in heaven on the roles of heaven's scrolls.

The year 303 experienced an unnamed edict to continue the subjugation of Christians with the following specific directives:

Destroying of churches and burning of the Holy Scriptures; confiscation of church property; banning Christians from undertaking collective legal action; loss of privileges for Christians of high rank who refused to recant; the arrest of some state officials.

By this time, the faith had permeated the hearts of men and women throughout every class and social stratum of the empire.

This feat of patient perseverance on the part of the faithful continued forward however severe the penalty was in following the Son of Man that was proclaimed to have risen to life after being murdered; the Son of God.

Yet a few years later in 311, the Edict of Toleration would see the faith being accepted and recognized by the same government who tried unsuccessfully for nearly 200 years to stamp it out.

Two years later in 313, the Edict of Milan would legalize the faith of the disciples of Christ ( called Christians ) as a legitimate 'religion' alongside the many religions of the state.

This particular edict interestingly requested for prayers to the God of heaven and earth for protection of the Roman state, as well as the restoration of property and payment to the believers for crimes committed by the state.

Near the end of that century in year 380, the Edict of Thessalonica became the crowning moment for the faith among the religions and beliefs of its time.

Despite a turbulent time among the greater churches regarding different understandings of the Mystery of God in Christ, the faith became the official state religion.

This edict beckoned all people, whether high or low, citizen or subject Rome, to acknowledge the God of heaven and earth.

This was convincingly the repeating of a previous pattern witnessed with Moses and Pharaoh, Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar, and surely other times before and since both privately and publicly unaccounted.

Daniel and Isaiah seem to have spoken of the events leading up to this particular century 800 years prior:
He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped Him.   
His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. 
- Daniel 7: 14
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders.   
And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.   
Of the greatness of His government and peace there will be no end.   
He will reign on David’s throne and over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.   
The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. 
- Isaiah 9: 6-7
It surely is an amazing realization and wonder when considering how the zeal of the Lord Almighty has guided men since the very beginning of creation up until Today.

His Name shall be forever praised!

No comments: