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Sixth Edition, 1915
By Dr. John Thomas (first edition written 1861)



Chapter 12

Section 16

The Dragon Stands Before the Woman



And the Dragon stood before the Woman about to bring forth, that when she may have brought forth, be might devour her offspring"- Vs. 4.

Understanding that the "Great Red Dragon" is symbolical of the blood-stained power of Rome-pagan; and that the Woman represents the Anti-pagan Community of the Roman empire ; the only points for exposition under this head are the standing of the one before the other; and the time when the standing occurred.

For a power to stand before that which is offensive to it, is to assume a hostile attitude. In Esther 9: 16, the Jews against whom a decree of extermination had gone forth, and were afterwards permitted to use their weapons for attack upon all assailants are said to, have "stood for their lives." In Jer. 46: 15, it is said of the Egyptians " they stood not, because Yahweh (lid drive them." And in Dan. 8: 7, speaking of the relative power of the Macedonian Unicorn, and the two-horned Persian Ram, it says, " there was no power in the rain to stand before him." Hence, to have power to stand, is not only to be able to struggle for victory, but to do it with effect.

The standing of the Dragon before the Woman indicates that lie was in an aggressive attitude. His standing had no courtesy in it, for he stood before her that be might devour her offspring.

The time when he stood before her with this ferocious intent, was before her delivery. She was "about to bring forth" while he was standing, or making war upon her. Her child had not been manifested to the world. Hence, the historical illustration must be applicable to ,t time of the Woman's career when she had no champion, but when that " Coming Man " was just about to be manifested.

The time, then, of this standing was the period of the Fifth Seal or the ten years preceding the development of Constantine, as the imperial chieftain of the anti-pagan party. The exposition of the Fifth Seal will be found in Vol. 2. p. 252. Its historical illustration shows the attitude assumed by the Dragon, and how that Sanguinary power deported itself towards her in its standing. The following extract from Gibbon will furnish an exhibition of the situation at the crisis of the Woman's delivery :

" The fame of Constantine has rendered posterity attentive to the most minute circumstances of his life and actions. The Great Constantine was most probably born at Naissus, in Dacia. He was about eighteen years of age when his father (Constantius) was promoted to the rank of Caesar. Instead of following Constantius in the west, he remained in the service of Diocletian, signalized his valor in the wars of Egypt and Persia, and gradually rose to the honorable station of a tribune of the first order. The favor of the people and soldiers, who had named him as a worthy candidate for the rank of Caesar, served only to exasperate the jealousy of Galerius (the chief emperor of the Dragon): and though prudence might restrain him from exercising any open -violence, an absolute monarch is seldom at, a loss how to execute a sure and secret revenge. Every hour increased the danger of Constantine, and the anxiety of his father, who, by repeated letters, expressed the warmest desire of embracing his son. For some time the policy of Galerius supplied him with delays and excuses, but it was impossible long to refuse so natural a request of his associate, without maintaining his refusal by arms. The permission of the journey was reluctantly granted, and whatever precautions Galerius might have taken to intercept a return, the consequences of which he, with so much reason, apprehended, they were effectually disappointed by the incredible diligence of Constantine, Leaving the palace (of the Dragon) at Nicomedia in the night, he travelled post through Bithynia, Thrace, Dacia, Pannonia, Italy and Gaul, and amid the joyful acclamations of the people, reached the port of Boulogne in the very moment when his father was preparing to embark for Britain." Such was the narrow escape of the Woman's future imperial chief from being "devoured" by the imperial Pontifex Maximus who "stood before her" in ferocity watching to that end.





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