Arguably, Constantine was one of the most controversial figures in human history. Depending on who you consult, Constantine was either a hero of the Christian faith, or a reprobate scoundrel who plunged Christianity into paganism and apostasy through gradual compromise for political gain. Although various historians paint vastly different pictures of Constantine, one thing is certain. He most certainly was the vehicle which propelled Christianity from the passionate, persecuted, minority reflected in the New Testament Church, to the commanding imperial religion of Empire.
How do we reconcile the hearty heroic church of the martyrs to the compromising and accommodating church that was embraced by most of the known world at the timeof Constantine? Was Constantine responsible for the gradual attenuation of the gospel to make it more palatable to the masses and further his ambitious social and political agenda? Many scholars would agree that the answer to this is yes.
By 244 AD,Constantine had united both the Eastern and Western Roman Empire under a single political and religious authority for the first time in history. Many considered the marriage of this watered down version of Christianity with the Roman political system the prototype for the New World Order which scripture tells us will eventually come to power on the back of a compromised and ecumenical church.
Prior to a crucial military conquest, Constantine reportedly had a revelatory experience in which a cross was superimposed over the sun with the words “In this sign conquer”, written underneath. While reports of this experience vary by historian, the main premise remains that Constantine reported to others that he had been told by God to conquer in the “sign of the cross”. This was not a true conversion as was evidenced by his rather brutish life, but rather a brilliant political ploy in which he could craft a palatable form of Christianity and use it to increase his own wealth, power and influence.
One would assume that likening Jimmy Swaggart to Constantinewould be an imaginative stretch, but is it? He believes, and has stated publicly, that he will lead the last great harvest of souls at the end of the age; a world-wide revival that will usher millions into the kingdom of God. Many have been stunned to hear ministers on staff at Jimmy Swaggart Ministries openly refer to him as Elijah. In addition, I have heard, although I can not substantiate it, that he believes he is one of the two witnesses described in the book of Revelation.
However, does the Bible really say that there will be a huge revival that will usher millions into the Kingdom? How do you reconcile this belief with the fact that Jesus said He is coming back for a remnant? A remnant by definition is small and insignificant; a trace or a vestige. It is a fragment or a scrap and is often discarded as trash. In fact, Jesus himself raised the question in Luke 8:18, as to whether he would find any faith on the earth when He returned! It most certainly did not appear that He was expecting a big surge in Christian converts at the end of the age!
Let’s look further at this concept of an end of age harvest. True, the Lord does declare that there will be a harvest at the end of the age, but it is a harvest not a revival. First, let us establish that a harvest and a revival are two completely different things and are not interchangeable as some in the Pentecostal and charismatic movements would have you believe. A revival means restoration to life or usefulness, whereas a harvest is the season when ripened crops are gathered. According to scripture, Jesus tells us that it is the tares that are being harvested? Are these the lost souls coming to Christ in the end of the age? Certainly not, because they are being “bundled together” to be burned! Jesus is referring to the apostates here; those that have been raised up to maturity alongside the real wheat.
I think it is necessary to state here that tares and wheat are virtually indistinguishable until they reach maturity. The seeds in the head of the wheat stalk are heavy and cause the matured stalk of wheat to bow according to the wind. The matured tares stand upright and will not bend of bow much like the prideful, arrogant and boastful pretenders they so aptly represent. They may look like wheat to the naked eye, but the seeds of tares will actually produce nausea, vomiting and other various illnesses. The real wheat will be set apart and called out, but the tares will be “bundled together” and burned.
I think that it is fairly clear that the harvest the Lord was talking about is not lost souls being swept by the millions into his kingdom but tares being bundled for the fire.
So if there is not great harvest of souls at the end of the age, and the Lord is returning for vestige or remnant, is it possible that the great revival that so many like Swaggart proclaim is to sweep people into the false church?
We already know, according to scripture, there will be one reigning religion at the end of the age, under a united political system that will comprise the revised Roman Empire, or New World Order. Is it possible that the revised Roman Empire will also have a Constantine who will likewise conquer in the sign of the cross? Is it possible that the new Constantine will be such a persuasive orator that men will be so drawn to the accuracy and truthfulness of the message that the purity of his life will cease to matter?
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declared, “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness‘” (Mt. 7:22-23).
These were not godless unbelievers, they were Christians who were doing and saying all the right things yet practicing lawlessness! They confessed all the right things, and even had the good deeds, but lived lawless and duplicitous lives! God is not mocked! He must judge sin and unrighteousness or He violates His own nature. Do not sell your birthright for a lukewarm, watered down mess of pottage that has been carefully prepared and packaged for maximum financial gain in the religious markets. There is an agenda, an ambitious one.
It is fascinating to me after having come out of the Dominionist movement and the false doctrine of the New Apostolic Reformation, to have had the opportunity to work for Jimmy Swaggart. I expected to find a return to biblical Christianity but instead ran headlong into the same thing I had fled from. Oh yes, it was brilliantly disguised, but it was the same mess none the less.
Is Jimmy Swaggart the new Constantine? Time will tell.