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Into the Quadragesima

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Mar 15, 2019 9:04 AM 1+ week ago

In A.D. 324, Constantine became the undisputed ruler of the whole Roman Empire. Once secured in that position, Constantine demanded that persecution of Christians stop. Between the death of Christ around A.D. 33 and the rise of Constantine's father, Constantius Chlorus, to caesar of the Western Roman Empire in A.D. 293, Christians were persecuted throughout the empire. Constantine's father, needing a base of support, stopped Christian persecution in the West. But in the East, Christians were still routinely persecuted.

Persecution was not a great recruitment strategy: "Accept Christ, be food for the lions!" The early church had to do something to persuade people that Christ was real, Christianity was the true religion and persecution in this existence was nothing compared to eternal life with Christ.

Thematically, the early church knew 40-day periods had significance. Christ spent 40 days in the desert. Noah spent 40 days of rainfall on the ark. Elijah spent 40 days traveling to Mount Horeb. The early church decided it ...

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