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Thursday, November 10 2011
Pax Romana: The Birth Of The Roman Empire
"Pax Romana" (a Latin term meaning Roman peace - which to the Romans meant that they simply "detained" or killed anyone who didn't surrender their personal or national sovereignty to them) was an era of Roman history that lasted for approximately two centuries, beginning about 20 BC. The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and Rome's murderous persecution of the re-established true Christian Church (see The First Christian Church) in the "New Testament" occurred during Pax Romana. It was founded by the first Roman Emperor, Augustus, earlier known as Octavian, which is the reason that it was, and still is, sometimes called Pax Augusta - the peace of Augustus. A sculptured portrait of Augustus, from the time that he actually lived (63 BC - 14 AD) is shown in the photograph.
Augustus is recorded in the Holy Bible (see Holy Bible Reading Plan) because of his decree of the census that caused the Messiah to fulfill the prophecy that He would be born in Bethlehem.
"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.
"Herod the Great" (see Whatever Happened To Those Romans?) was appointed by, and subject to, Augustus, during that time. Herod was the one who attempted to murder the newborn Messiah.
"2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem [see Why Did The Magi Come?], 2:2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him." (Matthew 2:1-2 KJV)
"What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?"
Octavian was the grand-nephew of Julius Caesar ("Caesar" began as a family name, but later became a royal, and then an imperial, title - see The Politics Of Rome), but was adopted by Julius Caesar according to the terms of his will. When Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC, during the Roman Republic, right in the Roman Senate by Roman Senators themselves, it sealed the fate of the Roman Republic in the eyes of Octavian. At that point, Rome's most dangerous enemies were found right in their own government as it then existed. Their experiment with a republic was crumbling - and Octavian, the nephew of Rome's murdered "president," had as much reason to hate, as to fear, the treacherous political wolves and jackals of the Capital.
The Roman Republic, in name, continued on in the form of a "trinity" dictatorship. After the assassination of Julius Caesar, the relatively-young Octavian (he was smart enough to bide his time and learn all that he could before he attacked) joined forces with Mark Antony and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus in what was called the Second Triumvirate ("the Second Trinity"). When Octavian was ready, and the time was right, Lepidus was exiled. Marc Antony was then manipulated into the Battle of Actium - a "two birds with one stone" victory for Octavian - he rid himself of Antony and defeated the remnant of the Greek Empire of Alexander the Great in Egypt, which then was ruled by the famous Cleopatra, who had allied herself with Antony (see The Cleopatra Connection).
The Battle of Actium occurred on 2 September 31 BC in the Ionian Sea (located south of the Adriatic Sea, between southern Italy and southern Greece) near the city of Actium, Greece. Octavian's navy was commanded by Marcus Agrippa, while Antony's ships were in formation with those of Cleopatra. When it was over (both Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide when they lost the battle), Octavian was the sole political and military ruler of Rome and all of its territory - plus, with the acquisition of Cleopatra's Egypt, the Roman Empire was born.
With no opposition powerful enough to stop him (Pax Romana wasn't based upon anyone agreeing to it - only being allowed to survive under it), Octavian proclaimed himself the Princeps (which means first citizen, but notice that he was clearly headed for royalty - the word "prince" is based on that Latin title). It was however the Roman Senate (what was left of it) that later declared Octavian the title of "Caesar" - in tribute to Julius Caesar, the man that their members had murdered right in their own democratic legislative chamber.
Caesar Augustus then established the imperial structure that would exist during the human lifetime of Jesus Christ (Augustus ruled at the birth and first half of the human lifetime of the Messiah). Augustus died on 19 August 14 AD - a Roman month named after him (the Roman month of July was named after "Julius" Caesar). "August" was originally called Sextilis, which means sixth, because it was the sixth month in the Roman calendar.
Coins of both Augustus and Tiberius were in common circulation during the ministry of Jesus Christ. It could have been either one that the Messiah spoke of when the Roman-subservient "religious authorities" (see Annas And Caiaphas; also What Was Holy About Herod's Temple? and Through The Eyes Of Josephus) attempted to get the Christ to make an "anti-Roman" statement.
"22:15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. 22:16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. 22:17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
The accusers nevertheless falsely reported the Christ for making political statements against the "Pax Romana" Empire that Caesar Augustus had created.
"23:1 And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate. 23:2 And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King.
Fact Finder: What place does the ancient Roman Empire, and the antichrist "Christian" church that it created, hold in end-time prophecy?
This Day In History, November 10
1483: Martin Luther was born, in Eisleben, Germany.
1493: Christopher Columbus discovered Antigua on his second voyage to the "new" world.
1674: The Dutch formally ceded New Netherlands to the English, who renamed it New York.
1871: Henry Stanley found David Livingstone in Africa ("Doctor Livingstone, I presume?")
1928: Hirohito was crowned emperor of Japan. He ruled for 61 years, until his death in 1989.
1938: Benito Mussolini's Fascist Italy enacted its first anti-Semitic legislation.
1942: After the British victory at El Alamein during the Second World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), Winston Churchill said, "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
1975: Palestinian terrorist leader Yasser Arafat addressed the United Nations General Assembly while wearing a holstered pistol. Barely 28 years after voting to establish a Jewish state, the UN General Assembly then endorsed a resolution (67 to 55 with 15 abstentions) describing Israel as "the racist regime in occupied Palestine," and stigmatizing Zionism (a term that actually refers to Jesus Christ; see Zionism) as "a form of racialism and racial discrimination." The resolution's preamble additionally singled out Zionism as "a threat to world peace and security," and called upon "all countries to oppose this racist and imperialist ideology."
1979: 250,000 residents of Mississauga, Ontario (a city adjacent to Toronto) were evacuated for 6 days after a 106-car Canadian Pacific Rail freight train carrying explosive and poisonous chemicals derailed, rupturing and burning some of the tankers. It was the largest peacetime evacuation in the history of North America until the 2005 evacuation of New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina.