Some authorities hold the view that Galerius, rather than Diocletian, was the instigator of the persecution. "It is not without a deep moral significance," claims ProfessorWilliam Bright in The Age of the Fathers, "that the supreme effort of the pagan world-power to trample out the life of the Kingdom that is not of this world should bear the name of Diocletian, rather than of its true originator Galerius." Yet, even within the tetrarchy, Diocletian retained supreme control, as writer Stephen Williams asserts: "There is no doubt that Diocletian had control of every major policy in the Empire until 304, and has the major responsibility for the persecution until that date." Diocletian fell sick and eventually relinquished control in 305C.E. For some six years thereafter, the continuing persecution reflected Galerius' bitter hatred of all things Christian.
These horrific events early in the fourth century confirm what had been predicted by the apostles Paul and Peter, as well as other inspired writers. The foretold "man of lawlessness,"the ruling clergy class of professed Christians, was already entrenched, as Diocletian's edicts, particularly the second, testify. (2Thessalonians 2:3,4; Acts 20:29,30; 2Peter 2:12) By the fourth century, apostate practices were already commonplace. Not a few professed Christians were members of the Roman army. Were there no Christians back then who were faithful to "the pattern of healthful words" received from the apostles
Eusebius names some of the victims of the persecution, even graphically describing their torture, suffering, and eventual martyrdom. Whether all these martyrs died in integrity to the revealed truth available at that time, we cannot presently know. No doubt some had taken to heart Jesus' warnings to avoid sectarianism, immorality, and compromise of any sort. Evidently, some faithful ones who survived remained hidden from historic view.
Indeed, so successful were the measures to stifle public Christian worship that a Spanish monument of the period hails Diocletian for having 'abolished the superstition of Christ.' Nevertheless, efforts to seize and destroy copies of the Scriptures, a key aspect of Diocletian's attack on Christianity, failed to wipe out God's Word completely. Unsuccessful in completely obliterating Christianity, Satan the Devil, the ruler of the world, continued his crafty acts through Emperor Constantine, who ruled from 306 to 337C.E. Pagan Constantine did not fight the Christians. Rather, he found it expedient to fuse pagan and Christian beliefs into a new State religion. Ever since then, the mixing of beliefs has caused many of the Christians to actually find the effect of the situation to have directly created measures of failure on their midst making their beliefs seem a bit blurry for the next generation that came after them. Nevertheless, there were those who remained in the faith ho knew that they needed to stick to what they know is right rather than accepting what is being taught of them to be right. This in itself is already a sense of persecution that is largely brought about by the division of the church.