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Thursday, June 16 2011
Whatever Happened To Those Romans?
The "New Testament" letters (see Was Jesus A 'New Testament' Christian?) were written during the era when the Roman Empire (see Ancient Empires - Rome) was at its peak of imperial power. Jesus Christ lived His entire human life in a country that was occupied by Roman troops and ruled by Roman governors - all of whom were subject to the "Caesar" in Rome. Those Roman rulers were greatly exalted by the empire that had exalted itself. But whatever happened to those dictators in the end of themselves?
There were two "Caesars" during the human lifetime of The Messiah. The first was Caesar Augustus who is best-known to Bible History for his calling for the census that resulted in the fulfillment of the prophecy that the Christ would be born in Bethlehem (see also Why Bethlehem, Egypt, Nazareth And Capernaum?):
"2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2:2 And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria. 2:3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee [see also The Prophet Of Galilee], out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; because he was of the house and lineage of David: 2:5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 2:6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered." (Luke 2:1-6 KJV)
After a reign of almost 41 years, beginning in 27 BC, Augustus died in 14 AD at age 75. During their sack of Rome in the fifth century AD, the Vandals removed the ashes of Augustus from the Mausoleum of Augustus and scattered them - where they were trampled into the dirt by humans and animals. Although the Vandals were heathens, they thereby unwittingly provided an object lesson of what is coming i.e. "4:3 And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts" (Malachi 4:3 KJV).
Herod The Great was the Roman-appointed king of Judea who attempted to kill the newborn Messiah - while slaughtering many other children in the attempt.
"2:14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: 2:15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. 2:16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. 2:17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, 2:18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not." (Matthew 2:14-18 KJV)
Herod the Great died in Jericho in 4 BC (people who used the Roman calendar miscalculated their dating which resulted in Christ being born in "BC") at age 70. The Jewish historian Josephus wrote that "Herod's Evil," the cause of the death of Herod, included gangrene, which in the time before antibiotics or surgery, or any effective medical care at all, meant that the infection was left to spread uncontrolled - with the horrendous-to-think-about result, in Herod's case, that it became further infected by the maggots of flies that literally ate Herod to death (as they also did to one of Herod's descendants, as described in the Bible - see Herod Agrippa I, below). Herod's worms were also a prophetic Biblical object lesson: "66:24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh" (Isaiah 66:24 KJV).
"For their worm shall not die ... Ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD"
Tiberius Caesar was the second of the two Caesars that reigned during the human lifetime of the Messiah (roughly half of Christ's lifetime each).
"3:1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, 3:2 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. 3:3 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; 3:4 As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 3:5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; 3:6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God." (Luke 3:1-6 KJV)
Tiberius died in AD 37, at aged 77, from being smothered to death by one of his servants (as portrayed in the illustration). His ashes were placed in the same tomb as Caesar Augustus (as explained above) - and were also scattered and trampled into the dirt by the Vandals. Both of the Roman Emperors during the time of Christ served as object lessons of the prophecy "4:3 And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts" (Malachi 4:3 KJV).
Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor of Judea who knowingly sentenced the innocent Jesus of Nazareth to death.
"15:14 Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him. 15:15 And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified." (Mark 15:14-15 KJV)
Pontius Pilate committed suicide in 36 AD, only about 3 years after he sentenced the Messiah to be executed.
Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great, had John the Baptist murdered (see Lethal Lust) at the time of the beginning of Christ's ministry. On the night before He was Crucified, the Son of God was brought before Herod Antipas.
"23:8 And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him. 23:9 Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing. 23:10 And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him. 23:11 And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate. 23:12 And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves." (Luke 23:8-12 KJV)
Herod Antipas fell out of favor with the Emperor Caligula in 37 AD and was banished to Gaul, where he died in exile - from "king" to a nobody.
Herod Agrippa I killed the apostle James and imprisoned the apostle Peter, beginning a general persecution of the Church of God.
"12:1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. 12:2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 12:3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. Then were the days of unleavened bread." (Acts 12:1-3 KJV)
The Bible itself records the end of Herod Agrippa I (worms, just like Herod the Great):
"12:21 And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. 12:22 And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. 12:23 And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost." (Acts 12:21-23 KJV)
The secular historian Josephus also records the same end for Herod Agrippa I.
"After he said this, his pain was become violent. Accordingly he was carried into the palace, and the rumor went abroad that he would certainly die in a little time ... And when he had been quite worn out by the pain in his belly for five days, he departed this life, being in the fifty-fourth year of his age, and in the seventh year of his reign." (Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews)
Herod Agrippa II "judged" the apostle Paul:
"25:10 Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar's judgment seat [see also Paul's Passport], where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. 25:11 For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar. 25:12 Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go. 25:13 And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came unto Caesarea to salute Festus. 25:14 And when they had been there many days, Festus declared Paul's cause unto the king, saying, There is a certain man left in bonds by Felix" (Acts 25:10-14 KJV)
Herod Agrippa II died childless at age 70, thereby being the last king of the line of Herod the Great.
Fact Finder: Was the Roman Empire merely a link in the "Babylon" that will not end until Christ's return?
This Day In History, June 16
455: Rome was sacked by the Vandal army (hence the term "vandalism").
1487: The Battle of Stoke, the last great battle fought on English soil, brought an end to the War of the Roses between the Houses of York and Lancaster.
1654: Queen Christina abdicated the Swedish throne after converting to Roman Catholicism.
1567: Mary Queen of Scots was locked up in Lochleven Castle prison.
1671: Cossack rebel leader Stenka Razin was executed in Moscow.
1745: British troops took Cape Breton Island, which is now part of Nova Scotia, Canada.
1815: After marching into Belgium earlier in the month, Napoleon found himself confronted by 2 allied armies, which he tried to split. On this day, a French attack at the crossroads called Quatre Bras on the British army failed to rout it or take the crossroads. The Prussian army also retired intact. Both armies faced Napoleon 2 days later at Waterloo.
1891: John Abbott became Canada's third Prime Minister since the present-day nation was founded in 1867 (July 1 is Canada Day, the national holiday).
1897: The Republic of Hawaii was annexed to the U.S.
1932: The ban on Nazi storm troopers is lifted by the von Papen government in Germany.
1933: Chaim Arlosoroff, a prominent Jewish Zionist (see Anti-Zion Is Anti-Christ) organization leader, was murdered at Tel Aviv.
1952: A Swedish rescue plane searching for a lost aircraft was shot down by Soviet fighters over Swedish territorial waters.
1955: At the Vatican, Pope Pius XII excommunicated Argentine President Juan Peron.
1963: Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space, aboard the Vostok 6 (Sally Ride became the first U.S. female astronaut in space 20 years later, in 1983).
1969: British Field Marshal Harold Alexander died at age 78. During the Second World War, he commanded the evacuation of 300,000 troops at Dunkirk (where he was the last man to leave the beaches), directed the allied ground offensive that resulted in the surrender of German forces at Tunis in May 1943, appointed commander of all allied forces in Italy in 1944, Governor-General of Canada 1946-1952, served as minister of defense 1952-1954 in Winston Churchill's government.
1993: Canada's peacekeeping mission to Cyprus ended after 29 years. The troops transferred their sector to British and Australian troops the previous day.