In Which Empire Was Jesus Born

Learn the Surprising Prophecy Caesar Augustus Helped Fullfill

During the time of Jesus Christ’s birth, Caesar Augustus was the first emperor of the ancient Roman Empire, and he ruled until his death. He signed an order that he had no way of knowing would be used to fulfill a biblical prophesy that had been written 600 years before he was born.

Caesar Augustus

  • In addition to Gaius Octavius, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, and Octavian, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus is known by the following names: Caesar Augustus (63 BC – 14 AD) was the first and most successful Roman emperor, as well as one of the world’s most powerful men. The Roman emperor ruled for 45 years and was in power during the time of the birth of Jesus Christ. References to the Bible: Caesar Augustus is referenced in the Gospel of Luke 2:1
  • He was a Roman general. Date of birth: September 23, 63 BC, Rome, Italy
  • Place of birth: Died: August 19, 14 AD, in the city of Nola, Italy. Father: Gaius Octavius
  • Mother: Atria
  • Grand Uncle and Adoptive Father: Julius Caesar
  • Father: Gaius Octavius
  • Mother: Atria Clodia Pulchra, Scribonia, and Livia are the wives of the characters
  • Julia Caesaris is the daughter of Clodia Pulchra. Tiberius Julius Caesar (later emperor), Nero Julius Caesar (later emperor), Gaius Julius Caesar (later emperor Caligula), and seven more were descended from Julius Caesar. Occupation: Military commander, Roman emperor
  • Hometown: Rome

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, while you are insignificant among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be king over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times,” the prophet Micah said. (Micah 5:2, New International Version) The Gospel of Luke informs us that Caesar Augustus ordered an acensustaken of the whole Roman world, probably for taxation reasons, according to the Gospel of Luke. Because Palestine was a part of that world, Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus Christ, traveled to Bethlehem with his pregnant wife Mary in order to register.

With the exception of Caesar Augustus’ order, there would have been no reason for Joseph and Mary to leave Nazareth for the birth of their son or daughter.

Who Was Caesar Augustus?

Earlier in the prophetic year of Micah, the prophet had predicted that the Messiah would be born in the small village ofBethlehem: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” The New International Version (NIV) of Micah 5:2 states that According to the Gospel of Luke, Caesar Augustus ordered an acensustaken of the whole Roman realm, maybe for taxation grounds.

So Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus Christ, traveled to Bethlehem to register with the government because Palestine was a part of that world.

Except for Caesar Augustus’ order, there would have been no cause for Joseph and Mary to leave Nazareth to give birth to their child.


The reign of Caesar Augustus gave order, stability, and structure to the Roman world. It was thanks to his development of a professional army that insurrections were put down swiftly and effectively. He modified the procedure for appointing governors in the provinces, which minimized greed and extortion in the process. He embarked on a massive construction spree, and while in Rome, he used his own personal money to fund many of the projects. In addition, he fostered the arts, literature, and philosophical thought.


He was a risk-taking leader who understood how to influence others. His rule was characterized by innovation, yet he also maintained enough traditions to keep the public happy and content.

He was a kind man who bequeathed a large portion of his fortune to troops in the army. Caesar Augustus was a benign dictator to the extent that it was possible in a society like his.


Caesar Augustus not only worshipped the pagan Roman gods, but he also permitted himself to be worshipped as if he were a living deity, which was a grave mistake. Despite the fact that the administration he established granted conquered regions such as Israel considerable local sovereignty, it was anything from democratic. When it comes to upholding its rules, Rome can be ruthless. The Romans did not originate the crucifixion, but they made widespread use of it to scare their populace during their reign.

Life Lessons

When ambition is channeled toward desirable aims, it may achieve a great deal. It is critical, though, to keep our egos in proper proportion. The responsibility to treat people with dignity and fairness comes with the position of power that we have been given. The Golden Rule is especially important to Christians, who are asked to follow it in the manner in which they would like others to treat them. (Luke 6:31, New International Version)

Key Bible Verse

According to legend, Caesar Augustus decreed that an official census be conducted of the whole Roman world during those days. (Luke 2:1, New International Version)

Birth of Christianity []

Despite the fact that there is no record of Jesus’ physical appearance, countless paintings of his face have been produced after his death, all of which show his face. The Last Supper is being presided over by Jesus (in the middle). It was standard practice in the Roman Empire to have people crucified. Due to the widespread use of these practices, the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth was barely observed by a tiny group of devout followers. To comprehend the life and death of Jesus, as well as the origins of Christianity, one must first comprehend the historical background of the Roman Empire.

  • When Rome conquered the world in 30 C.E., it had grown to encompass practically all of the territories bordering to the Mediterranean Sea, including the territory previously held by the Hebrews.
  • The Jews, on the other hand, had a theological justification for fighting Roman power.
  • The Jews, on the other hand, were required by their faith to worship just one god: Yahweh.
  • The emperors were accustomed to having their way, and they did not take the Jewish uprising in stride.
  • In the same year, they selected Pontius Pilate as the ruler of the province of Syria.
  • He has brought the Jews to the verge of insurrection on more than one occasion by breaching their sacred convictions in their holiest city, Jerusalem.
  • This action culminated in a repressed insurrection that resulted in the deaths of a large number of Jews.
  • In its place, God’s victory over all human sins and the building of God’s eternal reign were to take place.

Many Jews were looking forward to the arrival of this messiah who would free them from Roman tyranny as well as their earthly concerns. Some believe that this messiah is Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus of Nazareth

The crucifixion, a bloodthirsty ancient method of punishment, was responsible for Jesus’ death. During a crucifixion, the person who has been sentenced is nailed and/or bound to a wooden cross. This illustration depicts a man who is chained at the arms and has metal spikes driven through his ankles. Jesus began to teach in the Jewish tradition from the beginning of his ministry. Preaching love and tolerance, as well as curing the ill and walking on water, he was rumored to have performed miracles as well as resurrecting people from the dead.

  1. Jesus taught that we should love even our adversaries because, in view of the impending kingdom of God, there was no reason to be hostile toward anybody.
  2. The majority of Jews in Galilee, a region in northern Israel where Jesus presented his views for the first time, were opposed to his beliefs.
  3. A period of time between 30 and 33 C.E., he opted to travel to Jerusalem in order to propagate his message.
  4. However, following his conversion to Christianity, he embarked on a lengthy tour across the country, preaching.
  5. There were other Jews who did not share the same views on their religion or their relationship with the Romans.
  6. He was entrusted by Pontius Pilate with the responsibility of controlling Jewish affairs and keeping the Jewish populace under control.
  7. It was determined by Jesus that he would take aim at these priests and their leadership of the Temple of Yahweh.
  8. It was he who orchestrated an attack against the Temple’s trade activities, which were a significant source of revenue for the temple’s priests.
  9. Jesus was taken into custody on the night of the Passover Seder, sometimes known as the Last Supper among Christians.

Crucifixion and the Growth of Christianity

Pontius Pilate, who was unsure of what to do with Jesus, brought him before the council. The followers of Jesus were a small minority, and the people demanded that Jesus be crucified. Jesus was sentenced to death by Pilate. He was beaten and nailed to a cross. The tomb of Jesus was discovered to be empty three days after his death. His followers believe that they experienced visions of Jesus having resurrected from the grave for the next 40 days, following in the tradition of Moses and other great Jewish prophets.

  • The majority of Jews were opposed to the thought of Jesus as their messiah.
  • With the arrival of Paul of Tarsus, everything changed.
  • There were many individuals in the region who were impoverished and destitute who found comfort in the ideas of a loving god and a life beyond death.
  • Paul, on the other hand, went far and wide, and his successors did an incredible job of converting people.
  • Crucifixion These are the words of a Religious Studies professor, who delivers this page on the crucifixion, which is not for the faint of heart.
  • It also includes a graphic of a crucifixion as well as a photograph of some skeleton bones that were subjected to a crucifixion.
  • Please report a broken link.

Despite its vastness, this comprehensive resource has a professional appearance and is separated into four distinct sections: “Hellenistic/Roman ReligionPhilosophy,” “Archaeology and the Dead Sea Scrolls,” “Ancient Judaism,” and — of particular significance — “Christian Origins and the New Testament.” More information on Jesus, Paul, and the Bible may be found in the next section.

  • Please report a broken link.
  • You won’t find much in the way of eye pleasure on this site, except from the fancy border, but the information it contains is well worth the visit.
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  • Simply click on the link that says “Outline of Objects and Topics in Scrolls from the Dead Sea” to be sent to a page that has maps, photographs of the actual scrolls, dozens of artifacts from the time of the scrolls, and other useful information.
  • From Jesus to Christ on the front lines From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians narrates the epic narrative of Christianity’s birth and climb to prominence.
  • Discover how Jesus’ life was influenced by Judaism and the Roman Empire.
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  • Ancient Christian burial sites can be found beneath the surface of the city of Rome and its surrounding area.
  • Yes, it is!
  • View some magnificent images, as well as the extensive history that can be found on this website.
  • Foods mentioned in the Bible This website examines the Bible from a novel perspective: it looks at the popular meals of the time period that are referenced in the Bible.

Get to know more about the ingredients of the day (there weren’t too many! ), as well as recipes for delectable delicacies such as Biblical butter and unleavened flatbreads. Pour a big glass of pomegranate juice over everything to wash it all down. Please report a broken link.

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Approximately two thousand years ago, around the time when Jesus of Nazareth was born, the second Holy Temple in Jerusalem was still in use and still standing. The Great Pyramid of Giza had been standing for more than 2,500 years, yet the Library of Alexandria was still standing. The Colosseum had not yet been completed when I arrived in Rome. In some ways, it’s strange to think about the political geography of a time and place that’s also known throughout history as the backdrop for a timeless tale like the birth of Jesus Christ.

  • As a result, in some ways, the finest knowledge available about the rest of the world in the region where Jesus lived was complete and accurate.
  • Strabo is considered to be the most authoritative academic reference to the world into which Jesus was born today.
  • An example of his tremendous accomplishments was a 17-volume geography that detailed in full the topography, cities, and cultural traditions of the world as it was known to the experts of his time.
  • The province in which he resided had just been acquired a few years previously.
  • Strabo would have studied rhetoric, grammar, and philosophy, which were the most regularly taught disciplines at the time; he would have read Aristotle; and he would have acquired mathematics.
  • He spent a few years in Egypt and then journeyed south to Ethiopia, west to Italy, and as far east as Armenia before returning to the United States.
  • Strabo as shown by an artist during the Age of Exploration, whose work was well admired.
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This huge island, which was home to the majority of the world’s population, was restricted to a northern quarter of the planet and surrounded by oceans.

It is often believed that Libya was located to the south of the Mediterranean Sea; Asia was located to the east; Europe was located to the north.

In neither case does it appear to be a country that we now inhabit.) Britain was already well-known, and Mediterranean academics were aware of Scandinavia’s existence but were unaware of its full breadth.

In the year 2 A.D., a census of the Han dynasty revealed that its population was around 57.5 million people.

Apart from his personal trips, Strabo depended heavily on the reports of sailors, who sailed the seas by keeping coasts in sight; his information about India came from historians of Alexander the Great’s war, which had reached India around 300 years before Strabo’s time.

Despite the fact that this region was neither exceptionally wealthy or accomplished, it was considered strategically located in the Greek and Roman worldviews since it provided an overland access to Egypt.

‘An Egyptian priest named Moses’ led a group of followers who believed that God is “one thing that encompasses us all” to the location where the city of Jerusalem now stands, according to the author.

This region was administered by King Herod the Great, who had been assigned by Rome as the ruler of all Jewish people not long before the birth of Jesus.

As a result of this, the order in this part of the world had “degenerated,” according to Strabo.

(During Jesus’ lifetime, one of Herod’s sons was still in charge of the Galilee region, which included Nazareth.) The calm, on the other hand, would not last for long.

In essence, Jesus of Nazareth lived in an unstable environment far away from any center of power–exactly the type of environment in which people might be particularly interested in a new religious vision for how to navigate the turmoil of the world.

Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ is the title given toJesus of Nazareth (d. c. 30 CE), a Jewish prophet from the Galilee region of northern Israel who traveled across the world. He predicted that the God of the Jews will intervene in human events in the near future, and that God would establish his reign on the world. The proper nameJesus was derived from the Greek word meaning Joshua (“he who saves”). The word ‘Christ’ (Greek: Christos) was derived from the Hebrew word meshiach (messiah). A translation of the word Messiah as “anointed one” comes from the Jewish tradition of anointing monarchs as part of the coronation process performed by God for Jewish rulers.

Historical Context

The Jews were an ethnic group made up of different tribes that resided mostly in Israel but also in towns all across the Mediterranean Basin, including Egypt. They were referred to as the nation of Israel when they were all together. They shared many religious features with their neighbors, but they were different in that they had their own food regulations, practiced circumcision, and observed the Sabbath on a weekly basis (a day of rest every seven days). The second significant distinction was that, while they acknowledged the existence of different deities across the cosmos, they were only authorized to give sacrifices to the God of their choice.

  • Assyrian invasion (722 BCE), Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple (587 BCE), Greek occupation (167 BCE), and finally Roman occupation (146 BCE) were all experiences that the Jews had endured over the course of centuries.
  • Herod the Great was crowned King of the Jews during his reign (37-4 BCE), and despite the fact that he reconstructed the Temple complex in Jerusalem, he was despised by many for his ties with Rome.
  • Traditional Jewish prophetic literature (oracles) blamed these occurrences on the sins of the people, which included idolatry in the majority of cases (worship of other gods).
  • God, they said, would intervene in history one more time to restore the nation of Israel, and that God would rise up a messiah to lead the armies of God against Israel’s oppressors at some point in the future, which they predicted.
  • Israel produced a number of charismatic messiah claimants, each of whom pleaded for God’s intervention in the face of Roman authority.
  • Roman authorities responded by apprehending and executing both the leader and his supporters.
  • The disciples of Jesus of Nazareth became just one more Jewish sect among a large number of others at the time.

Because the assertion was conveyed as “good news,” the term “gospel” came to be used later in Anglo-Saxon literature. Do you enjoy history? Subscribe to our free weekly email newsletter!

The Dates for Jesus

Only two gospels, Matthew and Luke, tell the tale of Jesus’ birth, or the events leading up to his conception. The dates are a source of contention. Jesus’ birth was ascribed to Matthew around two years before the death of Herod the Great (4 BCE), although Luke said that he was born during the reign of Quirinus in Syria (6 CE). Both claim that Jesus’ mother, Mary, was impregnated by the spirit of God, resulting in the birth of a child who was not born of a woman. Botticelli’s Mystic Nativity is a work of art.

Pilate governed from 26 to 36 CE, according to historical records.

The Ministry of Jesus inthe Gospels

After being baptized by a man known as John the Baptist, Jesus’ public ministry officially started. Baptism was merely a plunge in water. After someone had repented of their crimes, John was using a water ceremony to symbolize their repentance. Baptism was one of the oldest Christian ceremonies, and it eventually became a component of the process by which Christians were initiated into the community. He chose twelve disciples (students) to form his inner circle, symbolizing the restoration of the twelve tribes of Israel, and they were known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

  1. Throughout the book of Mark, Jesus travels around the little towns and villages of Galilee, bringing his message that the prophets’ prophecy of the end of the world was about to come true.
  2. He chose twelve disciples (students) to form his inner circle, representing the reunification of Israel’s twelve tribes in the process of restoration.
  3. During the Passover feast, Jesus and his followers proceeded to Jerusalem to celebrate with the people.
  4. According to Mark, it was this event that ultimately resulted in Jesus’ death.
  5. According to Mark, it was there that one of Jesus’ disciples, Judas, betrayed him to the Jewish authorities, resulting in his arrest and imprisonment.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is located in New York City (Copyright) The gospels describe a series of evening and morning trials before several organizations (including the Sanhedrin, the governing Council of Jerusalem, and the high priest), during which Jesus was found guilty of blasphemy and sentenced to death.

Jesus was crucified on a Friday afternoon in the afternoon.

It was at this point that his disciples said that Jesus’ corpse had been taken away and that he had been risen from the dead by God himself. It was as a result of this that the assertion that Jesus had physically risen into heaven was made.

Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah

While claiming that Jesus of Nazareth was the promised messiah prophesied in the Jewish Scriptures, all four gospels had certain difficulties in proving their claims. It wasn’t only that Jesus was dead; he died via crucifixion as a traitor to the Roman Empire. The preaching of the coming kingdom of God had not manifested, either, at this point. In the communities of his disciples, two types of responses evolved. In Isaiah 53-54, we read of a “decent servant” who is tormented, suffers, and dies before being exalted to share God’s throne.

  1. Christians claimed that Isaiah was foretelling the suffering servant, and that Jesus of Nazareth was that suffering servant.
  2. This is referred to as theparousia, which means “second appearance.” Jesus, who is currently in heaven, would return at some point in the future, and the remaining parts of God’s dominion on earth would be made clear.
  3. David’s Crucifixion is on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Copyright) Following Jesus’ death and resurrection, his disciples spread his message across the Empire’s cities.
  4. Initially, there was a disagreement about whether they should convert completely to Judaism first (circumcision, dietary laws, and Sabbath observance).
  5. However, they were required to adhere to Jewish incest prohibitions, refrain from consuming any meat that contained blood, and discontinue worshipping the ancient gods of the Roman Empire.
  6. A Pharisee named Paul joined the movement after getting a vision of Jesus (who is now in heaven).
  7. This was not a new religion, however, when seen in the historical context of Paul’s communities.
  8. Two-tiered communities, comprised of Jews and Gentiles, but both believing in the fulfillment of eschatological teachings of the Prophets, were created under Paul’s leadership.

Paul anticipated that his age would be the last of the old order until the change of the cosmos took place through the death and resurrection of Christ.

The Worship of Jesus as God

Early proof that Jesus of Nazareth was now being worshipped alongside the God of Israel may be seen in Paul’s communities, and this is the first time we have seen this (as sharing the throne of God). Prayers and hymns to Jesus were sung, as well as baptism in his name, exorcising demons in his name, and commemorating his death by gathering together once a week to remember the Last Supper. The ancient rite of reverence to a deity, as Paul put it, requires that “every knee should bend” before Jesus.

  • Atonement was a sacrifice rite that was performed in order to mend or atone for a breach of a God-given mandate or prohibition.
  • Adam, the first man, sinned, and as a result, his descendants died as a result of his sin.
  • For a long time, this was thought to be the reason for Jesus of Nazareth’s death: Jesus died not merely as a sacrifice for our sins, but also as a punishment for our crimes, namely physical death.
  • Following the death of the first generation, the notion was modified to include the idea that, while humans would continue to die, believers would be able to enjoy an eternity in heaven.
  • Their education in many philosophical systems enabled them to apply philosophical notions of the cosmos and terminology to Christian beliefs of Jesus in order to reconcile them with philosophical assertions.
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Sources for the LifeMinistry of Jesus

The gospels were not authored by the disciples of Jesus; rather, they existed for almost a hundred years before subsequent Christians attributed titles and authorship to the books. For the life of Jesus and his mission, we have no contemporaneous sources because no one at the time recorded any information about it. Contrary to common assumption, the gospels were not written by members of Jesus’ own group of disciples. It was only later that Christians gave names and authorship to the gospels, which occurred around a hundred years after they were first written down.

  • This was later attributed to the Jews as a whole as a punishment for their rejection of Jesus as the promised Messiah and savior.
  • The fact that a Roman magistrate declared Jesus innocent implied that his disciples were also innocent of treason, as a result of this decision.
  • 100 CE), a Jewish commander who served during the Revolt, is considered to be one of the first non-Christian authorities for the historical Jesus.
  • These books, which were preserved by Christians, detailed the tale of John the Baptist’s death (which differed from Mark’s version) and the execution of James, Jesus’ brother, which occurred in the year 62 CE.
  • TheTestimoniumacknowledges Jesus as the Christ, but it continues to be problematic because Jesus is never addressed again in any of his works after this.
  • The earliest Roman sources are derived from later works on the subject.

Following the great fire of Rome in 64 CE, the historianTacitus (writing about 110 CE, followed bySuetonius, writing around 120 CE) told the narrative ofNero’s (r. 54-68 CE) persecution of Christians in Rome following the fire.

Christianity as Legal Religion

For over 300 years, the Christians were persecuted by the Roman government for causing the gods to get enraged. In 312 CE, Emperor Constantine I (r. 306-337 CE) competed against other contenders for the title of Emperor of the Western Roman Empire, ultimately winning the title. He was victorious at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in Rome, and he attributed his triumph to the God of the Christians. Because to the Edict of Milan in 323 CE, Christianity was recognized as a lawful religion that was no longer subject to persecution.

  1. When Constantine the Great became a Christian, he chose to follow the teachings of the Church Fathers, which would eventually become the mainstream theology of the Christian faith.
  2. Constantine convened an ecumenical council in Nicaea, which is now in modern-day Turkey, to resolve the dispute.
  3. In keeping with their Jewish heritage, the God of Israel was the most powerful deity, but he was now to be worshipped alongside Jesus as the same essence of God, as well as the spirit of God (the Holy Spirit); this notion came to be known as theTrinity.
  4. This concerned the question of whether Christ was human or divine.
  5. The two natures of Jesus of Nazareth were never in conflict with one another; they remained separate and different aspects of the same person.

Modern Christianity

During the year 1053 CE, Christian churches in the Eastern Empire and the Western Empire divided because of doctrinal disagreements. Orthodox communities are a term used to refer to all of the Eastern churches as a whole. Until the Muslim takeover of Constantinople in 1453 CE under the Ottoman Turks, the Byzantine emperor in Constantinople served as the supreme ruler of these communities. It was the Vatican, led by the Catholic Pope in Rome, that controlled medieval Christianity in Western Europe.

Luther emphasized the importance of faith alone as the only means of salvation for individuals.

Christian devotees number around 1.3 billion now, making it one of the world’s most populous religions.

Did you find this definition to be helpful? Prior to publication, this paper was checked for correctness, dependability, and conformance to academic standards by two independent reviewers.

who was the emperor of rome when jesus was born

“Romans” has been constantly used to characterize the people of Rome itself since antiquity, and they continue to identify and be labeled as such to this day. After the fall of the Eastern Roman Empire, the Greeks continued to refer to themselves as Romioi or other similar names, albeit the majority now refer to themselves as Hellenes. Over a period of 500 years, the Roman Republic ruled over ancient Rome. This was a system of governance in which citizens could choose their own representatives.

Who were the 7 kings of Rome in order?

If we add Titus Tatius in the list of seven kings of Rome, we get eight kings in total: Romulus, Numa Pompilius, Tullus Hostilius, Ancus Marcius, Tarquinius Priscus, Servius Tullius, and Tarquinius Superbus. Given the abundant evidence of their reigns in Rome, there is no reason for any historian to question the existence of the final three monarchs.

Who was emperor Nero in the Bible?

As a result of his third missionary voyage, Paul wrote to the Roman emperor Nero (AD 37-68), pleading with him to send him to Jerusalem. Despite the fact that he is not referenced by name in the Bible, secular sources (and maybe the book of Revelation) describe him as a violent tyrant who began persecuting Christians in the first century.

Who Was Pontius Pilate? | The Man Who Killed Jesus | Timeline

Timeline of Julius Caesar and Jesus Christ When did tiberius learn about Jesus? When did tiberius learn about Jesus? When did tiberius learn about Jesus? When did tiberius and Jesus know about Jesus? When did tiberius and Jesus know about Jesus? See more entries in the FAQ category.

Jesus – Jewish Palestine at the time of Jesus

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Relations between Jewish areas and nearby Gentile areas

Galilee and Judaea, the two most important Jewish settlements in Palestine, were bordered by Gentile territory on all sides (i.e., Caesarea, Dora, and Ptolemais on the Mediterranean coast; Caesarea Philippi north of Galilee; and Hippus and Gadara east of Galilee). There were also two inland Gentile cities on the west bank of the Jordan River, near Galilee, which were mentioned in the New Testament (Scythopolis and Sebaste). In addition to trade, the proximity of Gentile and Jewish areas meant that there was some interaction between them.

There was also some population exchange: some Jews lived in Gentile cities, such as Scythopolis, and some Gentiles lived in at least one of the Jewish cities, Tiberias, and vice versa.

However, the Jews resisted pagan influences and barred temples dedicated to the worship of Greek and Roman gods from their cities, as well as the Greek educational institutions, such as theephebeia and gymnasiasion, gladiatorial contests, and other structures or institutions typical of Gentile areas.

  1. Only Herod the Great’s reign was an exception to this rule, and even he distinguished between the Jewish and Gentile parts of his kingdom, encouraging the development of Greek and Roman culture in Gentile areas while introducing only minor elements of it into Jewish areas.
  2. Following a series of decrees by Julius Caesar, Augustus, the Roman Senate, and various city councils, Jews were permitted to maintain their own traditions, even if they were in opposition to Greco-Roman culture at the time.
  3. Rome did not settle Jewish Palestine, and neither did the Ottoman Empire.
  4. Individual Gentiles from other countries would have been unlikely to be drawn to settle in Jewish communities since they would have been cut off from their traditional places of worship and cultural activities.

In Tiberias and other Jewish cities, most of the Gentiles who lived there were most likely natives of nearby Gentile cities, with many of them being Syrians who were likely able to communicate in both Aramaic and Greek.

Economic conditions

The majority of individuals in the ancient world were farmers or artisans who produced food, clothes, or both, and could afford only the most basic of comforts. While most Palestinian Jewish farmers and ranchers earned enough to sustain their families and pay their taxes, they also made sacrifices during one or more yearly festivals and allowed their property to lay fallow during the sabbatical years, when cultivation was forbidden. Galilee in particular was particularly rich because the terrain and climate allowed for good crops and the sustaining of a large number of flocks.

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Naturally, there were a huge number of landless individuals in the kingdom, but the Herodiandynasty took care to construct massive public works projects that employed thousands of men.

At the opposite end of the economic scale, few if any Palestinian Jews had amassed the large fortunes that successful merchants in port towns might amass over the course of a lifetime.

Although the disparity between rich and poor in Palestine was visible and painful to the poor, it was not particularly great when compared to the rest of the globe.

Why Was There a Roman Census at the Time of Jesus’ Birth?

The following passage from Luke 2:1 serves as the customary beginning point for many people when reading the Christmas story each year: “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.” It is at this point that the earthly narrative of the greatest ruler of all time — a story that does not begin with the man who holds the high title of “Caesar Augustus” — starts.

  1. Caesar, on the other hand, was unintentionally aiding in the fulfillment of an old prophesy.
  2. It was forced upon her and her betrothed, Joseph, to travel approximately 90 miles in order to be counted for the census of the conquering empire so that it could determine how many people it had available to tax.
  3. Why was a Roman census responsible for the fulfillment of prophecy and one of history’s most treasured stories?
  4. That’s exactly what we’re here to investigate.

What Is a Census?

In its most basic form, performing a census is just the process of formally counting individuals. Most countries nowadays undertake extensive censuses, mostly for revenue purposes, and it wasn’t much different during the time of the Roman Empire. So, what was the reason for the census being undertaken in Rome at the time? Censuses were a favorite pastime of Caesar Augustus. In order to maintain the massive Roman army, develop highways, and finance military operations in order to continue conquering the known globe, a large amount of taxes were levied.

At least three times, he documented in his ” Res Gestae Divi Avgvsti ” (“The Deeds of Divine Augustus”—a fancy term for a diary—that he ordered broad censuses of Rome in 28 B.C., 8 B.C., and 14 A.D.).

The Romans were record keepers and empire builders, and they left a lasting legacy. Censuses arrived as a part of the package.

Who Was Caesar Augustus?

Caesar Augustus was the title given to a man by the name of Octavian, also known as Gaius Octavius, who selected it for himself. He was born in 63 B.C. and was raised by his great-uncle, Julius Caesar, who was his adoptive father. Julius Caesar, the dictator of Rome, is famed for his effort to establish himself as the ultimate leader of the Roman Republic, but he was assassinated by senators who stabbed him to death. Julius Caesar died while Octavian was just eighteen years old, and the transition from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire was accomplished once and for all under his leadership.

He succeeded where Julius Caesar failed in methodically consolidating his authority and portraying himself as a leader for the people, referring to himself as the “first citizen.” He was the first citizen of Rome.

Augustus increased the population of Rome by nearly doubling its size.

Italy, Greece, Spain, Gaul, North Africa, Egypt, Asia Minor, and the Near East were all considered to be legitimate provinces of the Roman Empire in its historical context.

What Did This Mean for the Jewish People Specifically?

Kings of Israel and Judah had long since passed away, with the last monarch of Judah being blinded and taken away by Babylonian conquerors in 586 B.C. The days of the kings of Israel and Judah were over. Many Jews were exiled to Babylon, where they died as a result of their persecution. Although some of them returned via an order issued by King Cyrus of Persia in 538 B.C., which permitted them to rebuild Jerusalem, Israel would stay under the dominion of Persia for over 2,000 years, eventually being invaded by Rome in 63 B.C.

The Jews had relatively little autonomy, despite the fact that they maintained their religious and cultural practices.

The Jewish people paid taxes to the Roman government and abided by Roman rules.

As a result, in the instance of the census, the Jews simply followed the instructions of the Roman rulers and local authorities.

Why Did Mary and Joseph Have to Go to Bethlehem?

“Everyone went to their own town to register,” according to Luke 2:3, when it came time for the census (Luke 2:3). As a result, according to Luke, Joseph was had to travel from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea.

According to Luke, Joseph was required to travel to Bethlehem since Bethlehem was the town of David and Joseph belonged to the line of David. In addition to being of David’s genealogy, Mary was also a descendant of David.

How Long Did Mary and Joseph Stay in Bethlehem?

There is no set timetable for the project. For starters, it is unclear how long they remained in Bethlehem prior to the birth of Jesus Christ. However, despite the fact that it makes for compelling drama in Christmas pageants, it seems doubtful that Mary gave birth the night they arrived. Simply stated, “while they were there, it became necessary for the baby to be born” according to Scripture (Luke 2:6). Despite the fact that it goes against Christmas tradition, the truth of the matter is that Mary and Joseph most likely remained with family in Bethlehem over the Christmas season.

  1. “She covered him in cloths and placed him in a manger,” the Bible reads (Luke 2:7).
  2. According to certain English Bibles, the concept of a fruitless quest for an inn stems from a translation of the Greek word for guest room being rendered as “inn” in some translations.
  3. During the first century, it was common practice to bring small animals inside the house during the night.
  4. A Jewish lady was required to travel to the temple for purification forty days following the birth of her son, which Luke says that Mary and Joseph did, after which they appear to have returned to Bethlehem, according to the account.
  5. Following a dream in which Joseph was told to leave Bethlehem, the family moved to Egypt to avoid persecution.
  6. Herod had learned of the new “king of the Jews” from the three wise men, and he was eager to destroy any danger to his position of power as soon as possible.
  7. You may see an example of a possible timeline here.

Why Is This Significant for Jesus’ Birth?

The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem had been prophesied by the prophets. “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are a little clan among the clans of Judah, out of you will arise for me one who will be king over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times,” says Micah 5:2, “even though you are a small clan among the clans of Judah.” The wise men utilized this prophesy to guide them to the location of Jesus. Even before they assembled with Ruler Herod and the Magi from the east to determine where they may locate “the king of Israel,” the senior priests and legal scholars knew that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.

Although He was first identified as being from Nazareth (where His parents were born and raised), other predictions indicated that He was from Egypt (where they fled to avoid Herod’s killings) and that He would be summoned out of Nazareth.

An impoverished couple in an isolated province had little significance in the eyes of the huge Roman Empire, its taxing system, and its expansive governmental authority.

God worked via the Roman census to fulfill prophecy while also pointing people toward the greatest ruler of all time: Jesus Christ, the King of Kings.

Alyssa Roat attended Taylor University, where she majored in literature, theology, and the Bible.

Literary Agency, as the PR manager for Mountain Brook Ink, and as a freelance editor for Sherpa Editing Services, among other positions.

Among her many bylines are those in periodicals ranging from The Christian Communicator to Keys for Kids, and she is the co-author of Dear Hero. More information about her may be found here, as well as on social media at @alyssawrote.

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