Constantine & the Papacy

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And He [Jesus Christ] said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’  But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves.   (Luke 22:25-26 NKJV)

“While the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great reigned (306–337 CE), Christianity began to transition to the dominant religion of the Roman Empire. Historians remain uncertain about Constantine’s reasons for favoring Christianity, and theologians and historians have argued about which form of Early Christianity he subscribed to.  

Istanbul was then Constantinople

May 1996.  This was my very first mission trip! We visited Turkey, Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Romania.  But I had a critical assignment from the LORD when first arriving in Istanbul.   

I had just met my new roommate for this trip.  I persuaded her to go with me on this side mission, as we had free time.  Praise God that she was willing!  We got in the taxi and I told the driver to head to the Column of Constantine.  

“It’s nothing!” the taxi driver replied, wondering why we would ever go there.   He offered to take us shopping instead.  

“Just take us to the Column,” I insisted.  

I had to tell him three times that I really wanted to go to the Column.  So he finally took us there.  I asked him to wait for us, not wanting to be in that part of town where there weren’t too many tourists.   We jumped out of the car and circled a few times the Column, praying in the Spirit.  We were there probably less than five minutes.  But I had done what the LORD had me to do.  

The date  when I prayed in the Spirit was May 11, 1996.  I had not set up this date.  We were on a mission trip scheduled by someone else.  The date the column was dedicated was May 11, 330 AD.  It was the 1,666 anniversary!  I took this to mean that the glory of God (1,000) would be over that antichrist spirit (666).  It is incredible how the LORD arranges this!  

It is no longer there, but on the top of this Column of Constantine had been the pagan idol Apollo.   Constantine had replaced it with a likeness of his own head!  This was a prime example of syncretism, the mixing two or more religions.  Just as Israel had been  syncretic in the time of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 7; 44), the church was heading that way!  What had fooled the Israelites was now fooling the church!  Satan is the master of deception!  The 4th-century dedication of this Column included “Christian” and pagan ceremonies. 

This may have been the inscription on the Column (now no longer visible):

‘To Constantine, who shines equal to the sun.’

 

Constantine, later “the Great”

Why would Constantine, who had already supposedly had his “heavenly” vision in 312AD,  have a likeness of his own head on the idol Apollo?   This was when I started wondering about his alleged Christianity.   Actions speak louder than words.  Hitler was supposed to be a “Christian”, but his actions speak louder.  Hitler involved himself in the occult!  

So do we know that Constantine is really a Christian OR did he do it for the expediency of the Roman Empire?  

Constantine’s motivations are known only to the Father who created us all.  My purpose is to leave you with questions, questions, and more questions! It may not be the story, or legend, that you have probably heard all your life.  Even many Christian books purport that Constantine was a Christian.  It had become the standard.  But remember history is written by those in charge!   And no one, in this earthly realm, was more in charge at that time than Constantine!   “Fake news” is common now.  But I think it also was back then!   And few books mention the fact of the Apollo/Constantine statue.  I came across that bit of information when I was preparing to go to Turkey.

Constantine did legalize Christianity.    But Emperor Galerius, realizing that Christianity couldn’t be stopped, in 311 granted Christianity the status of “religio licita” in the Edict of Toleration.  This was the first edict permitting Christianity, which preceded Constantine’s Edict of Milan issued by two years.       

By this, conquer!

Something did change Constantine’s life.  Maybe he figured, “If you can’t beat them, join them!” and changed for political reasons.  OR was it his mother Helena’s influence, a vision, a dream, all OR neither?

Lactanius, a Christian author and tutor to Constantine’s son Crispus, said that he had a dream where he was commanded to use “the cipher of Christ.” (X&P below)  It is similar in appearance to a Egyptian Ankh.

Eusebius of Caesarea gives two different accounts.   He doesn’t mention a vision in the prior one.  His Life of Constantine reports that his soldiers also saw something strange in the sky.  This celestial sign, in 312 AD before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, may have been a “solar halo” or a “sundog”.  The legends vary and one can’t know for sure.  

“in hoc signo vinces” / “In this sign, you will conquer” / “By this, conquer!”

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The Roman Emperor did conquer.     

But possibly Constantine had visions of  Apollo!  “Constantine experienced a divine vision of Apollo and Victory granting him laurel wreaths of health and a long reign” according to an anonymous orator. “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.” This would perhaps explains the Apollo/Constantine statue!

The writer of this Wikipedia section, about visions of Apollo, thinks that this is pure fiction.  But demons manifest in any shape they like!  This is a possibility, according to the Scripture:

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.  2 Corinthians 11:14

 

Motivations of Constantine

There is no consensus amongst scholars about the motivations of Constantine.   Only the LORD God Almighty knows his heart.  These are questions that were raised by authors in the course of my study.  We just don’t know his motivations!

  • Was he persuaded to convert to his mother Helena’s Christianity OR did he persuade his mother to convert OR did he really convert?
  • As Eusebius of Caesarea, accused of Arianism, wrote in his book Life of Constantine, did he claim that “Constantine is immortal” OR later in his book “his laws forbidding idol worship of his own image and the reiteration of the suppressing of idol worship and sacrifice”?   Was Eusebius a credible biographer, untouched by mammon?  Would Moses, as Eusebius compares Constantine, set a likeness of his own head on Apollo?
  • Constantine’s coins were inscribed with the “solar symbolism, interpreted as representing Sol Invictus (the Unconquered Sun), Helios, Apollo, or Mithras.”  Then after 325,  his “coinage ceases to be explicitly pagan, and Sol Invictus disappears.”
  • Constantine “solidified the organization of society into strict hereditary segments, making it virtually impossible for the individual to leave the class into which he was born”!!!*
  • Constantine had his son Crispus and his wife murdered.  No one can be certain of his motivations.
  • The Roman Emperor made the venerable Sunday a day of rest for his citizens in 321 AD.  It was under Constantine’s rule (336AD), that Christians came to celebrate December 25, a then pagan holiday.   Did he justify this by keeping the pagan feasts and the false birthday of Our LORD on the same day so his citizens would be having the same holiday?

(At least, Christmas is a time we proclaim Christ’s birth!  But it is not the right date.  Was the birth of Christ, as etched on a statue of Hippolytus of Rome, on April 2nd?  OR during the Fall Feasts of Israel?)

  • Under Constantine, Jews were not allowed to seek converts.  Maybe this included those who would have been known in this day and age as Messianic Jews?
  • Constantine donated many buildings to “Christianity” in particular to the Bishop of Rome But are these one and the same, the Roman Empire continuing as the Roman Catholic Church?  
  • He also commissioned the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Church of the Nativity in Jerusalem.  Both of these have tons of  “religious” spirits floating around, not a good thing.
  • In 330AD, Constantinople was dedicated to the Virgin Mary.*   Under Arianism, “Mary’s virginity was stressed.  At the Second Council of Constantinople in 381, her perpetual virginity was proclaimed.” **  Maybe this was the dawn of idolatry of Mary.

  • Arianism, a heretical sect,  was opposed by Constantine but he was baptized by an Arian! He was baptized by Eusebius of Nicomedia just before his death. Did Constantine convert into a heretical sect OR true Christianity?  God only knows!

The Scriptures are Inerrant!

There are too many questions when it comes to the legacy of Constantine the Great.   But Christians should not doubt the Word of God.  (See “How do we know the Bible is true?”)

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.   (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV)

I personally know this because when I saw the LORD in the Spirit, I knew by a spiritual “download” that the Word of God was inerrant!  The Word of God has been carefully handed down by scribes through the ages.  The prophecies of Christ in His First Coming have all come true.  (See Psalm 22)

If you want to know something spiritual, go to the Word of God!  (I prefer to use versions that have the Textus Receptus as it’s source.  Some of these other “versions” of the Bible are what the author(s) think! For example, “the Passion Translation is a re-worded and re-written Bible”.

CONCLUSION

The Roman Emperor had the title Pontifex Maximus (chief priest of Roman state) and Pontifex Maximus is also a title of the pope!  Constantine also called himself Vicarius Christi, a “Vicar of Christ” or “another Christ” or Antichrist in the Greek language.***  From the actions of the popes  throughout history, this would certainly seem to be the case, that they were antichrists, murdering many true Christians and Jews.

476 AD is the most noted date on which the Roman Empire fell.  But it continues on in the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, still very much influential to date. Constantine’s “legislation [was] probably responsible for the temporal power of the [Catholic] church”.*

“History” is written by those in charge, but …

God’s Word is Truth!

 

SOURCES

** Alone of All Her Sex by Marina Warner, 1976, Vintage/Random House; ***A Woman Rides the Beast by Dave Hunt, Harvest House Publishers, 1994; *The American Peoples Encyclopedia, p6-115, Spencer Press;  Augustus to Constantine, Barnes & Noble, 1996;  Britannica (online); Church History in Plain Language by Bruce L. Shelley, Word Publishing, 1995; Holy ScripturesWikipedia (Wikipedia is an online source that enables me to put references into this website but much of this information is also elsewhere in the sources.)

This is part of a series:  Destroying Mountain

Chapter One:  Religion Clarified

Chapter Two:  The Popes in Line

Chapter Four:  Sins of the Schemers

Other chapters to follow.