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by Wayne Blank
Josephus was born into a prominent family, and by his early teens he became associated with the Pharisees, one of the groups who, several years before Josephus was born, had been among the most bitter opponents of Jesus Christ.
In 64 A.D. Josephus traveled to Rome as part of a group seeking the release of several Jewish priests who were imprisoned there. Despite his mission, he became impressed with the Roman grandeur and military power of the time (see Roman Legions and Roman Roads). Later, even though he fought as a military commander with his countrymen against the Romans in the revolt of Judea in 66-70, he became a Roman citizen, and through a combination of luck and skillful slyness managed to become a favorite of the emperor Vespasian (see New Testament Roman Emperors). It was then that he presumptuously adopted the name Flavius for himself, from the emperor's family name.
Josephus is best known for his lengthy historical writings, which are well worth the read if you ever have the time - The Jewish War, The Antiquities of The Jews, Against Apion, and his Autobiography.
And what did Josephus, apparently a non-Christian, reportedly have to say about Jesus Christ?
"There was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call Him a man, for He was a doer of wonderful works [see Miracles Of Jesus Christ]. He was Christ. Pilate [see Pontius Pilate], at the suggestion of the principal men among us [see Pharisees and Sadducees], condemned Him to the cross [see Cross or Stake? and How Did Jesus Christ Die?]. He appeared to His followers alive again the third day." [see The Garden Tomb and The Last Day]
Fact Finder: In the Olivet Prophecy (spoken from, and named after, The Mount Of Olives) did Jesus Christ prophesy the destruction of Jerusalem, 40 years before it actually happened during the lifetime of Josephus?