From The Alpha and the Omega - Chapter Six
by Jim A. Cornwell, Copyright © 1995, all rights reserved
" Revelation Two - Second Age "
The Second Church and the Second Age 100-312 A.D.
– Third Persecution 98-117 A.D. to the Tenth Persecution – 284-305 A.D.
The Second Church - Smyrna - Caesars - Second Age 100-312 A.D.
Persecution - Third 98-117 A.D.,
Persecution - Fourth 109-163 A.D.,
Persecution - Fifth 163-200 A.D.,
Persecution - Sixth 201-235 A.D.,
Persecution - Seventh 235-249 A.D.,
Persecution - Eighth 249-257 A.D.,
Persecution - Ninth 257-284 A.D.,
Persecution - Tenth 284-305 A.D.
Second Age: A.D. 100-312 -- Caesars -- Smyrna
(To the Second Church)
Izmar or (formerly) Smyrna (Gr. Smyrna) was a city of western Turkey on the Gulf of Izmir, an inlet of the Aegean Sea, near the mouth of the Cayster river. Settled during the Bronze Age, modern Izmir is now a major port and an industrial center, Population, 757,854. Destroyed by the Lydians in 627 B.C. and refounded in the middle of the fourth century B.C. It was famous for science, medicine and the majesty of its buildings.
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Rev. 2:8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
[Comment: Here the angel means messenger, possibly pastor, but mainly the one who seeks and shares God's’ Word to His people. The works of the church are the evidences of their faith. The church at Smyrna was an effective church.]
Rev. 2:9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
[Comment: Smyrna was a church that faced tribulation, a pressure or persecution of the church by Rome would continue until the fourth century when Constantine made Christianity legal. Although they were suffering poverty, they were rich in the things that are eternal (i.e. the "caught men" as "fishers of men") the people they brought to Christ through their ministry. This church also suffered the blasphemy or slander (falsely accused) by the Jewish inhabitants of the city. These were the Jews that rejected Jesus as the Messiah. Thus the non-Christian Jewish people were aligned with the forces of evil and thus said to belong to the synagogue of Satan.]
Rev. 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
[Comment: The ten days are not taken literally, for the persecution of these Christians lasted for decades and perhaps longer. The number ten indicated a definite and limited time, that could be endured. Those who lost their life for their faith during this ten days would receive a crown of life.]
(Message of the Second Spirit)
Rev. 2:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
[Comment: The second death is God’s ultimate rejection of those against Christ at the final judgment (Rev. 20:14; 21:8).]
Could the Ten Days be the first day of Hosea 6:1-2.
Thus AD 85 to AD 1086 = 1000 or Ten days at 100 years each.
Hosea 6:1-2 (1st Day AD 70 plus 1016 years = 1086 AD in the 2nd Day Hosea 6:2 "he will revive us" Diaspora ended in 1948.
Therefore 1086 plus 1016 years = 2070 AD or 2102 AD as the beginning of the 3rd Day Hosea 6:2 "on the third day he will raise us up we shall live in his sight."
Second Age 100-312 A.D. -- Third Persecution -- 98-117 A.D.
In 97 A.D., Emperor Nerva ( who died in 98) adopted Trajan as his heir and successor.
Trajan A.D. 53-117, (Marcus Ulpius Trajanus in Italica, Spain, of Roman parents) was Roman emperor (98-117) whose reign was marked by an extensive building program and compassionate treatment of the poor. He conquered Dacia (now parts of Romania and Hungary) and Arabia, and he won victories in Parthia (now part of Iran).
Second Age 100-312 A.D. -- Fourth Persecution -- 109-163 A.D.
- Hadrian 76-138 A.D. Emperor of Rome (117-138) who sought to end distinctions between Rome and the Roman provinces. During his visit to Britain (122), he ordered the construction of Hadrian's Wall.
During his reign the Jews had been totally dispersed from Jerusalem in 135 A.D.
- Antoninus Pius 86-161 A.D. Emperor of Rome (138-161) who was the adopted son and successor of Hadrian.
- Saint Polycarp (69?-155? A.D.), a Bishop of Smyrna and a Christian martyr reputed to have been taught by John the Apostle and at the age of eighty-six was killed in Smyrna.
- Saint Justin (100?-165 A.D.), was a Greek theologian and convert in Ephesus who founded a school of Christian philosophy at Rome and wrote the Apology and the Dialogue with the Jew Tryphon. He linked faith and reason. He convinced the emperor to publish an edict in favor of Christians, and was later beheaded for refusing to sacrifice to Jupiter.
- Three hundred Christians were burned in Aticia, Africa and this was referred to as one of the most dreadful events. Severe persecution was also reported in Gaul near Lyons.
Second Age 100-312 A.D. -- Fifth Persecution -- 163-200 A.D.
- Marcus Aurelius Antoninus 121-180 A.D. a philosopher and emperor of Rome (161-180) who wrote Meditations, a classic work of stoicism.
- Melito, was bishop of Sardis in A.D. 171.
- Commodus, Lucius Aelius Aurelius 161-192 A.D. Emperor of Rome (180-192) who ruled in a cruel and violent manner. He was murdered in a conspiracy led by his mistress.
- Some sources believe that Polycarp, was martyred in A.D. 168, instead of the Fourth Persecution.
- Theophilus of Antioch, was around in A.D. 180.
- In 193 A.D. Pertinax and also Didius Julianus reigned.
- Lucius Septimus Severus 146-211 A.D. Emperor of Rome (193-211) who created a military monarchy and ruled as a despot. He issued the edict for the Fifth Persecution of the Christians.
- Tertullian (160?-230? A.D.), was a Carthaginian (North Africa) theologian who converted to Christianity (c. 193), and broke with the Catholic Church (c. 207), and formed his own schismatic sect. His writings greatly influenced Western theology. In one of his works he stated "so many Christians in the Roman Empire that it would be weakened if they left." During this time period persecutions were more by civilian mobs than by the Emperor or government representative.
- Clement of Alexandria, was around in A.D. 200.
- Friends and the father of Origen were killed. Twelve Christians were killed in Gaul, and five in Rome. There were also reports of persecution in Perpetua, Africa.
- Irenaeus (140?-202? A.D.) was the Bishop of Lyons in Gaul in 177 and was called the founder of Christian theology. He worked intensely against the powerful Gnostic heresies. Eventually he was killed. He heard the views of Polycarp.
Second Age 100-312 A.D. -- Sixth Persecution -- 201-235 A.D.
- Caracalla whose real name is Marcus Aurelius Antonius 188-217 A.D. Emperor of Rome (211-217) who was obsessed with and sought to imitate Alexander the Great. His brutal, undisciplined rule of the empire, however, led to his assassination and left only a legacy of infamy.
- Macrinus ruled between 217-218 A.D.
- Elagabalus also known as Heliogabalus 204-222 A.D. Emperor of Rome (218-222). A priest of Baal, he became emperor after the murder of his cousin Caracalla (217). His eccentricity and debauchery and the imposition of his religion on the Romans led to an insurrection in which he was killed.
- Severus Alexander reigned in 222-235 A.D.
- The reign of the Emperor Maximinus Thrax (235-238), who ordered that Christians were to be hunted down and slain. Forty-two were beheaded in one day. Christians were slain without a trial.
Second Age 100-312 A.D. -- Seventh Persecution -- 235-249 A.D.
- In 238 the Emperors were Gordian I & II, Pupienus, and Balbinus 238.
- Gordian III began in 238-244, then followed Philippus for 244-249 A.D.
- Hippolytus, was the bishop of Ostla, near Rome, about A.D. 240.
- In 250 A.D. Paul the Hermit retires to the desert in Egypt to avoid the seventh persecution, which is the origin of the monastic life.
- Decius 201-251 A.D. Emperor of Rome (249-251) who was proclaimed emperor by his soldiers against his will. His reign was marked by severe persecution of Christians. When a plague broke out, the Christians were blamed and persecuted. The Emperor was maddened because the heathen temples were deserted and ordered persecution. Christians were killed in various places.
- Origen 185?-254? A.D., a Greek Christian philosopher (presbyter of Alexandria) known for his interpretations of the Old Testament, contained in Hexapla, was tortured at the age of sixty-four by Decius. He believed that all knowledge comes from God.
- Dionysius, bishop of Alexandria, A.D. 247, a scholar of Origen.
- Violent persecutions broke out in Alexandria. A pagan priest ordered Christians murdered in great numbers.
Second Age 100-312 A.D. -- Eighth Persecution -- 249-257 A.D.
- Gallus ruled in 251-253, followed by Aemilianus in 253 A.D.
- The reign of Emperor Valerian who died c. A.D. 260, but was Emperor of Rome (253-260) whose reign was marked by military and financial troubles. He was defeated by Persian forces (260) and died in captivity.
- The period included four years of moderation and three and one-half years of persecution.
- In 253 there was a dispute between the Churches of Rome, headed by St. Stephen and those of Africa, and Asia, headed by St. Cyprian, concerning the validity of baptism conferred by heretics.
- Stephen and Sextus (Bishops of Rome) were beheaded.
- Saturnius’ feet were tied to the tail of a bull and he was dragged to his death.
- Saint Laurence when asked by the Roman Governor for the church treasure -- showed the Governor the poor, blind, and crippled Christians. He was roasted on a grill over a fire.
- Cyprian, a rich man, became a Christian, and gave everything to the poor. He was made Bishop of Carthage -- helped the sick during a plague and was beheaded for his action. A Saint who died in 258 A.D. Christian prelate and martyr who led Christians in North Africa during persecution by the Roman emperors Decius and Valerian.
- The daughter of the Governor of Alexandria (Eugenia) converted her father. Her father then became Bishop of Alexandria. Father and daughter were both martyred.
Second Age 100-312 A.D. -- Ninth Persecution -- 257-284 A.D.
Between the years of 250 and 300 no less than thirty tyrants usurped the throne, and were proclaimed in different parts of the empire. Pestilence begins, and rages until 270.
- Some of these names were: Gallienus 253-268, Claudius II 268-270, Aurelian 270-275, Tacitus 275-276, Florian 276, Probus 276-282, Carus 282-283, Carinus 283-285, and Numerianus 283-284.
- Diocletian (east) originally Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus of 245?-313? A.D. Emperor of Rome (284-305) who divided the empire into east and west (286) in an attempt to rule the territory more effectively. His desire to revive the old religion of Rome led to the last major persecution of the Christians (303). He was a joint ruler with Maximian 286-305 (west) and became a dreadful persecutor of Christians. Over six thousand Christians were massacred when they refused to give up their faith.
- Saint Alban became the first martyr in England.
- In 273 Paul, Bishop of Samosata denies the divinity of Christ.
Second Age 100-312 A.D. -- Tenth Persecution -- 284-305 A.D.
- Continues with the reign of Diocletian and Galerius who died A.D. 311 and was Emperor of Rome (305-311). Despite a ruthless reign characterized by the persecution of Christians, he issued an edict of religious toleration shortly before his death.
Churches and books were destroyed. General persecution in all Provinces was so bad that the Province Governors pleaded for the inhabitants. Many people were put to death throughout the empire.
- Sebastian a Roman commander and a defender of the Christian faith was shot with arrows under orders of the Emperor Diocletian by his own troops in 288. He recovered and later confronted the Emperor, who then had him beaten to death in the amphitheater.
- One city in Phrygia, entirely Christian, was surrounded and burned.
- Victorinus, bishop of Pettau in Pannonia, suffered martyrdom under Diocletian in AD 303.
- Constantius I replaced the west Diocletian in 305. The empire was divided with Galerius ruling the west and continuing the persecution. Constantius ruled the east. His son Constantine became the first Christian Emperor in 306 at his father’s death. Constantine’s official name was Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus, born in Naissa (now Nis, Yugoslavia).
- Severus ruled from 306-307 also.
The tenth persecution appears to have been the most severe during the period of history controlled by the Roman Empire.
Around A.D. 300, Christians were given freedom of religion. The Roman Empire split into two groups: the first was the West Roman Empire and secondly was the East Roman Empire (or Byzantine).
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Seventh Age 1925 A.D. to the Tribulation and Apostate World