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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

THE GREAT DRAGON o ofiv o arcaiov o kaloumenov diabolov kai o satanav o planwn thn oikoumenhn olhn "The old Serpent, surnamed the Accuser and the Adversary, who - deceives the whole habitable.

The oijconmevnh o{lh, or whole habitable, in the days of the apostles, was that part of the earth's surface which acknowledged the dominion of Rome.

Upon this platform had been erected the largest empire then known to the world.

By its imperial constitution was aggregated in one dominion all "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life".

These lusts found free course through the constituted authorities of the pagan church and state.

Of the horrors perpetrated upon the world lying under them by their wanton riot, the reader will find an ample account in the history of pagan Rome.

In the progress and maturity of this dominion, sin reigned triumphant over the human race.

Its lusts were let loose, and the propensities alone directed the policy of the world.

The only antagonism experienced by sin was established in Judea.

There, as we have seen, the first battle was fought, and the first victory won over sin, by the Son of Mary.

These were the two combatants -- sin, working in the children of di obedience; and "the truth," in the person of Jesus.

Sin bruised him in the heel; but God healed him of his wound, and so prepared him for the future contest, when he should bruise sin in the head.

Now, sin could only have crucified him by the hands of power; for as this world is a con- crete, and not an indigested concourse of abstractions, sin, which in the abstract "is a transgression of law," must be incorporate to be competent to act.

Sin corporealized attacked Jesus through the Roman power instigated by the chief priests of Israel.

At this crisis, sin was brought to a head, and ready to sting its victim to death.

The event was now about to happen, which the Lord God predicted, saying to the Serpent, "Thou shalt bruise his heel".

No one would be simple enough to suppose that the literal Serpent was to do this in propria persona.

He was, however, to do it, in the sense of his being the instrumental cause of sin; which, through those that should afterwards obey it, should inflict a violent death upon the son of the woman.

Hence, the Roman power, which put Jesus to death (for the Jews had not power to do it) represented the Serpent in the transaction.

And, as sin had been working in the children of disobedience for 4,000 years; and manifesting itself in the Ninevite, Assyrian, Chaldean, Persian, and Macedonian empires, whose power was at length absorbed into the Roman, the last came to be symbolized as "the Old Serpent".

When the woman's seed rose from among the dead, and "led captivity captive," the war upon the Old Serpent began in good earnest.

The manner in which it was conducted on both sides, may be learned from the Acts of the Apostles.

The parties were the Jewish and the Roman power on the one hand, and the apostles and their brethren on the other.