The following articles have been compiled and indexed by inWORD Bible software.
An Empire-wide Census?
[The nineteenth century theologian Emil] Schürer interprets Luke 2:1 as describing a single, empire-wide Roman census ordered by Augustus around 6 BCE. There is currently no historical evidence of any such imperial edict.
What Was So Special About Caesar’s Household?
All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Cæsar’s household.. (Philippians 4:22)
All The World Should Be Taxed?
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (Luke 2:1)
The Emperors and the Faith: Augustus and Tiberius
The existence and power of the Roman Empire at the beginning of the Christian era are usually taken for granted as we read through the New Testament. But it is well that we should understand how it came about that when Jesus was born at Bethlehem, his country was subject to a city 1,500 miles to the West, a city which not only controlled Judaea, but dominated the known world from the Rhine to the Euphrates, from the Straits of Gibraltar to the Black Sea.
The Church and the Roman Empire
The Christian Church was born within the Roman Empire at the time when that Empire was almost at the zenith of its power. From their small beginnings about the middle of the Eighth Century B.C. the Roman people had attained to a practically world-wide supremacy in the time of Augustus Caesar, who died in A.D. 14. Augustus had fixed the limits of the Empire on the lines of the Rivers Rhine, Danube, and Euphrates, limits that included all the most prosperous territories of Europe, Asia Minor, and Western Asia, together with most of the northern coastlands of Africa. Within those limits, Rome ruled supreme.
Undesigned Coincidences: Caesar the King
John 19:15—“The chief priests answered, We have no king but Cæsar.”
Like all kingdoms, the kingdom of God is political in nature. As a result, the kingdom requires allegiance from its citizens. But what about our natural citizenship to the country in which we are born? Can it come in conflict with our citizenship to the New Jerusalem which is to come?
The title assumed by the Roman emperors after Julius Caesar. In the New Testament this title is given to various emperors as sovereigns of Judaea without their accompanying distinctive proper names (John 19:15; Acts 17:7). The Jews paid tribute to Caesar (Matthew 22:17), and all Roman citizens had the right of appeal to him (Acts 25:11). The Caesars referred to in the New Testament are Augustus (Luke 2:1), Tiberius (3:1; 20:22), Claudius (Acts 11:28), and Nero (Acts 25:8; Philippians 4:22).
sē ́zar (Καίσαρ, Kaísar): Originally the surname of the Julian gens (Thus, Caius Julius Caesar); afterward a name borne by the Roman emperors. In the New Testament the name is definitely applied to Augustus (Luke 2:1, “Caesar Augustus”), to whom it belonged by adoption, and to Tiberius (Luke 3:1, “Tiberius Caesar”; compare Matthew 22:17, 22:21). The “Caesar” to whom Paul appealed (Acts 25:11, 25:12, 25:21) was Nero. The form is perpetuated in “Kaiser” and “Czar.”
nē ́rō (Νέρων, Nérōn):
Caesar, (Graecized Καῖσαρ; hence the Germ. title Kaiser, Russian Czar), a name assumed by or conferred upon all the Roman emperors after Julius Caesar (who is said to have been so named from his having been born by a surgical operation, ccEsus). In this way It became a sort of title, like Pharaoh, and, as such, is usually applied to the emperors in the New Testament, as the sovereign of Judaea (John 19:15; Acts 17:7), without their distinctive proper names. SEE AUGUSTUS. It was to him that the Jews paid tribute (Matthew 22:17; Luke 20:22; 23:2), and to him that such Jews as were cives Romani had the right of appeal (Acts 25:11; 26:32; 28:19); in which cise, if their cause was a criminal one, they were sent to Rome (Acts 25:12,21; comp. Pliny, Epp. 10:97), where was the court of the emperor (Philippians 4:22). The Caesars mentioned in the New Testament are Augustus (Luke 2:1), Tiberius (Luke 3:1; 20:22), Claudius (Acts 11:28), Nero (Acts 25:8); Caligula, who succeeded Tiberius, is not mentioned. See each name. On Philippians 4:22, SEE HOUSEHOLD.
Caesar (English pl. Caesars; Latin pl. Caesares) is a title of imperial character. It derives from the cognomen of Julius Caesar, the Roman dictator. The change from being a familial name to a title adopted by the Roman Emperors can be dated to about AD 68/69, the so-called “Year of the Four Emperors”.
Domitian (/dəˈmɪʃən, -iən/; Latin: Titus Flavius Caesar Domitianus Augustus; 24 October 51 – 18 September 96) was Roman emperor from 81 to 96. He was the younger brother of Titus and son of Vespasian, his two predecessors on the throne, and the last member of the Flavian dynasty. During his reign, his authoritarian rule put him at sharp odds with the senate, whose powers he drastically curtailed.