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by Dr. John Thomas
"The Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition".
The Dragon, the Old Serpent, surnamed the Devil and Satan, being representative of Sin in its imperial constitution, as manifested in the past, present, and future, upon "the Habitable," or Roman territory; the Man of Sin is that dynasty, "whose coming was after the energy of the Adversary with all power, and tokens, and prodigies of falsehood, and with all the deceit of iniquity in them that perish".
This is what he was in his coming, or presence.
The power is styled, "the Man of Sin" not because it is to be found in only one man, but because it is sin preeminently incarnate in an order of men.
This order occupying one throne, was to "be revealed" out of an apostasy from the original apostolic faith; but before its presence could be manifested, a certain obstacle was to "be taken out of the way".
No order of men such as the apostle describes, could make its appearance upon the territory of the Roman Dragon, so long as the constitution of the empire continued pagan.
This, then, was the obstacle to be removed.
While it continued, the elements of the new power were at work in the Christian body; but incapable of the exercise of political authority.
These elements are collectively styled "the Mystery of Iniquity," the open manifestation of which was withheld for a time.
When the "Red" or pagan aspect of the Dragon was changed for the "Catholic," by the victories of Constantine, the opposing power was removed; in fact, the Adversary, or Satan, now a professor of Christianity, took "the Mystery of Iniquity" under his patronage; and as he found paganism no longer fit for the contest against the apostolic faith, he determined to change his weapon, and to fight it with the apostasy in the name of Christ.
Hence, the first thing he did was to impose this apostasy on the world as its religion.
He married it to the state, and established it by law.
The National Establishment, as it now became, assumed the character of "Mother Church"; and the community in Old Rome, with its bishop now converted into the chief magistrate of the city at its head, claimed to be the mistress of all churches.
The apostasy being united to Satan, became the open enemy of God, and the worse than pagan persecutor of His truth.
Its name is Catholic; and since the division of the Dragon territory into east and west, and the great schism about image-worship, it is surnamed Greek Catholic, and Roman Catholic.
The undivided catholic apostasy in its first establishment is represented in the Apocalypse by "a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars".
This woman, after nine months of years, or "a set time," and not long before she was clothed with the imperial robes, was "pained to be delivered" of her child, which had been conceived in her by sin.
As the betrothed of the Second Adam, the Serpent had beguiled her, and had corrupted her mind from the simplicity that is in Christ.
Part of her body had embraced another Jesus, another Spirit, and another gospel; by which they were so corrupted that they were prepared to take the sword; declare for the first military chieftain, whose anti-pagan ambition of supreme power should induce him to embrace their cause; and to turn Christianity into a State Religion.
This party found a semi-pagan suited to their purpose in Constantine, surnamed "the Great".
When he avowed himself their champion, all the power of the Old Serpent was brought to bear against him and his confederates.
They fought; and victory perched upon the standard of the Cross, now become "the mark" of the Apostasy.
Constantine was the man-child of sin, who began that iron-rule, which, in the name of Christianity, has soaked the dust of the earth with the best and noblest blood of its inhabitants.