Nero was the first to unleash the fury of imperial Rome against the saints. He was an almost indescribably wicked and perverted man. At night he would disguise himself as a common man and roam the streets of Rome with other rogues, raping women and murdering young boys.
His own mother was a victim of his assassination. His favorite wife that he had seduced from her husband, was kicked to death by him when she was fully pregnant. Afterwards, he found a young boy who resembled her, had him castrated, and used him as his new homosexual â€œwife.â€?
Christians were fed to his crocodiles to the amusement of his guests while the night skies were lit up from other believers who served as human torches around his gardens. Paul was beheaded under his regime and Peter crucified upside down during Neroâ€™s reign.
Imagining to rebuild Rome to his own glory, he had the city set ablaze in 64 AD. Nearly seventy percent of the city rose in smoke and thousands went homeless with countless businesses ruined. Rumors spread quickly among the hostile population that he was to blame.
In order to divert suspicion from himself, Nero charged the Christian â€œhaters of mankindâ€? for the wicked deed which turned the unreasoning mobs against the brethren. And thus the houses of believers were broken into and the disciples dragged off to be beaten, tortured, burnt, crucified, or thrown to the beasts and gladiators at their games.
Diocletian instigated the last and most furious of the ten waves of persecution. In 303 he issued a decree for all church buildings to be destroyed. All copies of the Bible were to be collected and burnt. Christians were deprived of all civil rights and government employment.
All were to sacrifice to the gods or be executed. Any groups meeting as Christians were to be put to death. Some Christians were sunk by whole shiploads in the depths of the sea. Others had eyes, ears, nose, or hands cut off and were left to wander about as a warning to other yet undiscovered Christians.
Eventually he commanded all provisions sold in the markets to be sprinkled with sacrificial wine. This was done so that the church would be forced into either apostasy or starvation. It was a horrific fiery trial whose smoke engulfed the Empire for ten dreadful years.