by Wayne Blank
Tradition says that Rome was founded by Romulus in 753 B.C. By New Testament times, nearly 800 years later, it was a prosperous cosmopolitan city with a population of well over 1 million people - roughly half of which were said to be slaves.
During the human lifetime of Jesus Christ, Rome was the richest, most powerful city in the world. It was then said that "all roads lead to Rome" - made possible by a vast network of Roman Roads that were constructed and patrolled by Roman Legions.
Although Christianity was carried far and wide by the apostles, there were already some people of Rome who had been converted on the Pentecost which many now refer to as the "birthday of the church." When The Holy Spirit came upon those gathered there that day, there were "visitors from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism, among them." (Acts 2:10-11).
Paul was taken to Rome during the time of Emperor Nero, where he stayed for two years "in his own hired house." (Acts 28:30-31). It was during those years that he wrote his epistles to the Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, to Philemon, and perhaps Hebrews. Various others were with him - Luke and Aristarchus (Acts 27:2), Timothy (Philippians 1:1, Colossians 1:1), Tychicus (Ephesians 6:21), Epaphroditus (Philippians 4:18), and Mark (Colossians 4:10).
Rome, along with Brussels and Berlin, will be a major seat of power in the coming New Europe.
Fact Finder: Did the apostle Paul have Roman citizenship?