When managing an empire, it’s essential to place your spooks inside every popular movement as soon as they appear, and this is very easy when you’re rich because money opens doors, so it’s understandable why Christianity would have been peppered with secret agents acting in the service of Rome from its earliest days. Visit any extremist secret society today, and you’ll likely find yourself surrounded by intelligence agents. Christianity was a secret society and Jesus had cautioned his followers to blend into the local population to avoid persecution.
When attempts to eradicate the Christian movement in Jerusalem failed, the society spread throughout the Mediterranean region. State persecution against Christians in Rome didn’t actually commence until the year 250, when laws compelling people to worship the state religion were put on the books.
But it wasn’t until the year 303 that the real savagery against Christians began, when they became instant fodder for the circus games. Prior to this, oppression emanated through the citizens of Rome, most of whom had a profound distrust of Christians because they didn’t participate in Roman society. When Nero blamed Christians for the devastating fire, it was a local matter, and only the handful of patsies selected by Nero in Rome were charged and executed. By this time, some estimated the Christian population of the empire at ten percent, but since it was a secret society, the real numbers cannot be known.
Intellectuals scorned Christianity, considering Paul and Peter malicious fabricators whose work was full of obvious contradictions. Much resentment against Christianity was fueled by its claim the rich would not enter the kingdom of heaven.
In Antioch in 299, court sorcerers were sacrificing animals to examine their innards to foretell the future, when the lead sorcerer declared he’s seen some soldiers make the sign of the cross in the back of the temple while witnessing the execution of animals. He insisted these displays were interfering with his magic, preventing him from foretelling the future. The Emperor at the time became so enraged, he demanded the imperial court and eventually all soldiers be compelled to offer a sacrifice to the gods to prove their allegiance to the state religion. This would seem to indicate Christianity was a vegetarian culture at that time.
But by 301, something more dangerous than Christianity had appeared, and it was spreading even faster. The Prophet Mani had integrated elements of Christianity, Zoroastriasm and Buddhism, and his followers were students of astrology, medicine and philosophy. Mani was considered the greatest painter and poet of his day, and he was a vegetarian, although his religion allowed consumption of animals provided someone else killed them. Mani ate only freely given nuts, fruits and vegetables (no roots) and encouraged others to follow, but it was not required. Mani had been crucified in the year 274 for preaching world peace and some of his biography and teachings ended up in the story of Jesus.
On March 31, 302, the leading Manicheans in Alexandria (the center of the Christian movement) were rounded up and burned alive along with their documents and scrolls. This was the first recorded burning of sacred documents by Rome, but would certainly not be the last. All the surviving Manicheans were sent to concentration camps and their property gifted to the imperial treasury in Rome. The following year, edicts went out against Christians, and churches were razed, documents destroyed, and martyrs burned alive.
When Constantine succeeded his father on July 25, 306, he immediately ended the persecution of Christians and made full restitution of confiscated properties. But not for the Manicheans, who continued to be savagely persecuted by most of the other religions of their time. He became a great general and went to war to unify the divided Roman Empire, which had split into pieces. Constantine entered Rome on October 29, 312, and began a complete reorganization of government and religion. He also hired Eusebius as his chief publicist. Eusebius wrote the first history of the Christian church, and stuffed it with disinformation. This is where the story of Constantine being inspired to create the new battle standard displaying the symbol of the cross by staring into the sun first appears. Whatever the inspiration, there’s no doubt Constantine’s Labarum played a significant role in some battles, for whenever part of his line was faltering, Constantine directed the standard bearer to the beleaguered area, and it reportedly made the difference more than once.
In February 313, Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, which restored full rights of Christians in the empire. We don’t know when Constantine became a Christian, this may have happened in his youth, but it wasn’t until he turned 40 that he made this information public. His most famous construction project was the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, now considered the holiest site in Christendom.
Constantine believed Jesus and Apollo were basically the same, which explains why so much of the Jesus myth has been built around the astronomy of the sun. He poisoned his son Crispus and murdered his wife Fausta, and then wiped their names from history, and Eusebius dutifully removed all mention of them.
Strangely, Constantine had delayed his baptism until he was near death. Some say this was to make sure the baptism absolved his many great sins. Constantine was a great general who defeated the Franks and Goths and Sarmatians, and reunited the great empire, and built a system that would remain intact for a thousand years, and he would be praised for centuries as a great humanitarian, when, in fact, he was one of the most vicious tyrants of his day.
It was under his reign, that Christianity morphed from a secret society serving the poor, to the symbol of Roman power and oppression.