Short Ministry under the Roman Emperors; (Editor's Note: Pax Romana (Roman Peace) Was in Effect under Augustus and Tiberius When Christ Started His Ministry. the Empire Governed and Protected the Provinces.)

Manila Bulletin, April 16, 2003 | Go to article overview

Short Ministry under the Roman Emperors; (Editor's Note: Pax Romana (Roman Peace) Was in Effect under Augustus and Tiberius When Christ Started His Ministry. the Empire Governed and Protected the Provinces.)


MUCH of what we know about the struggle of the early Christians in Jerusalem and Rome is found in the valuable historical works of Flavius Josephus (AD 37-100).

Josephus joined the Pharisees, a religious party in Palestine founded in about 160 BC, which struggled to democratize the Jewish religion. The party argued that the worship of God was not confined to the temple of Jerusalem. It fostered the synagogue as an institution of worship.

Josephus was born to a priestly family in Jerusalem but attached himself to the Roman cause as "collaborator." He was priest, scholar and historian whose greatest works include History of the Jewish War (79) and The Antiquities of the Jews (93).

The Herod family

The life and career of Christ fell under two strong emperors: 1) Augustus, 63 BC-AD 14, and 2) Tiberius, 42 BC-AD 37.

Herod the Great (73-4 BC) was the Roman-appointed King of Judaea (37-4 BC) when Jesus was born. He was a practicing Jew, but of Arab origin. Judaea prospered under his early reign. He increased trade and built infrastructures but also feared the Pharisees, Judaism's controlling faction. He lost favor through increasing cruelty, such as the murder of his wife, her sons and other relatives. His mental condition, verging on insanity, increasingly weakened his grip on his kingdom.

Herod Antipas (21 BC-AD 39) is the son of Herod the Great and tetrarch of Galilee (a rank equivalent to governor of a small region) throughout Jesus' ministry that lasted one or two years.

Antipas was responsible for the death of John the Baptist. Pilate pressed him to preside at the trial of Jesus but he refused to cooperate.

Herod Agrippa (10 BC - AD 44), nephew of Antipas, sought out "friends" in Rome. His intrigues led to Antipas' banishment to Gaul (now France and Belgium). He had two powerful backers in Rome: Tiberius and Caligula - "Little Boots" - who was assassinated by conspirators.

Caligula made Agrippa king of northeastern Palestine and Galilee. After Caligula's death Judaea was added by Claudius to his realm. He won the support of Jews and repressed Jewish Christians. He built public buildings in Beirut and hosted games at Caesarea to honor Emperor Claudius I. …

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Short Ministry under the Roman Emperors; (Editor's Note: Pax Romana (Roman Peace) Was in Effect under Augustus and Tiberius When Christ Started His Ministry. the Empire Governed and Protected the Provinces.)
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