and in Part Two:
This pattern can partly be perceived from the following comparison of Antiochus ‘Epiphanes’ and Diocletian, as provided at: https://housetohouse.com/the-indestructible-word-2/
I won't spent a lot of time on the details of Diocletian and his Great Persecution. We have a higher goal than the details.
Roman Coin with Diocletian's inscription
The Great Persecution, from A.D. 303 to 311, was a time of sudden transition and massive change in the history of Christianity. It's the change and what caused it that we want to focus on.
To do so, I want to rename the Great Persecution and give you my unique (but historically accurate) perspective.
Let's call it ...
The Great Judo Throw
There's a secret to getting your opponent to help you throw him.
When they push, you pull and rotate into a throw. It's amazing how far their momentum will carry them.
The Push: Diocletian Persecutes the Church
Though it's popular to believe that Christians were always being persecuted in the Roman empire, it's not true. Empire-wide persecutions were rare, and the Great Persecution under Diocletian was the only one of any great length, lasting eight years.
The "Great" Persecution?
It is argued that the Great Persecution was hardly great. It was possibly sporadic in the west and occasional in the east. Constantius and Maximian, co-emperors in the west, were not interested in it.
However, there is no doubt about the effects. At least the leaders of the churches were very affected, and many showed up at the Council of Nicea (A.D. 325) bearing scars from the persecution.
It was intense. Diocletian's goal was to wipe out the Church. He hunted down Christians and their Scriptures. He especially loved to get hold of church leaders.
Note: Diocletian retired in 305 (the only Roman emperor ever to voluntarily retire), and the persection was carried on the east by Galerius. Constantius (then Constantine) and Maximian (then Maxentius) in the west had little interest in the persecution.
He was trying to turn them back to paganism, to the old Roman religion with the emperor as a God. Therefore, anyone he caught and tried could be released by offering a sacrifice to the gods or to the emperor.
Antiochus, however, will not be completely successful in his campaign against the "holy covenant." Daniel reminds and assures us that "the people who know their God will firmly resist him." Those, in other words, who live for the Lord, who walk with Him, who read His Word, who spend time in prayer, who faithfully attend worship, have the tools they need to fight off the attacks of the evil one. As I said before, those who put on the armor of God will be able to take their stand against him.
As for Sulla, who is also an integral part of this series, his name occurs in connection with Diocletian in the following passage: http://www.korcula.net/history/mmarelic/diocletian.htm “Diocletian's retirement, an act of self-denial, which in its intentions and results, recalled the abdication of Sulla, threw the constitution back into the melting pot. Diocletian's great palace and his luxurious baths were dedicated in 305-306 A.D [sic]”.
Did Diocletian, too, die the same disgusting, wormy death as did Antiochus ‘Epiphanes’, as did Sulla, as did Herod ‘the Great’, as did Galerius? He was not supposed to have died well: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diocletian#Retirement_and_death “Deep in despair and illness, Diocletian may have committed suicide. He died on 3 December 312”. Yeah, yeah, yeah.