Jesus Christ Prison Ministry


Roman Invaders

When Jerusalem was conquered “by the Romans under the general and statesman Pompey the Great in 63 bc resulted in no serious material disaster to the city. Its greatest prosperity was attained under Herod the Great. Besides a complete reconstruction of the Temple on a scale that was truly magnificent, involving the expenditure of vast sums of money, he undertook the building of the Xystus, an open place surrounded by a gallery; his own great palace, on the western side of the city; and a hippodrome, theater, and large reservoir. In addition to these works, minor improvements were made, including the general strengthening of the fortifications.” Infopedia

“The Romans set up a local dynasty, the house of Herod to rule most of Palestine; Herod the Great (r.40-4 BC) rebuilt much of Jerusalem, including the Temple. The Roman governors, however, retained ultimate control; one of them, Pontius Pilate, authorized the execution of Jesus Christ.” Grolier


“The dynasty of Herod was a family of Idumaean Jews who ruled various regions in Palestine as client kings or governors under Rome from 37 BC to AD 70. Herod the Great and Herod Antipas figure prominently in the Bible. The former ordered the slaughter of the HOLY INNOCENTS at the time of Christ’s birth, and the latter executed JOHN THE BAPTIST.


“Herod the Great’s grandfather and father, both named Antipater, were governors of the province of Idumaea who rose to power during the waning days of the MACCABEES. Following the conquest (66-63 BC) of Syria-Palestine by the Romans, Herod’s father, d. 43 BC, through skilled diplomacy, achieved Roman citizenship and appointment as procurator (principal administrative official) of Judea. Herod the Great, b. c.73 BC, was made king of Judea by the Romans and ruled from Jerusalem after 37 BC. An imperious king and capable general, Herod promoted Hellenization among the Jews. He founded the city of CAESAREA and rebuilt much of Jerusalem, including the Temple. He was notoriously cruel, however; he executed three of his sons and his second wife.” Grolier


As you can see, Rome became the “super power” of the world, and of Israel. The house of Herod established himself in the “Beautiful Land and will have the power to destroy.” He did. He even used his power to destroy Jesus. But let’s go back to how all this took place.


Verse 17 says that the Roman Empire would make an alliance with the king of the South by marrying a daughter of the king of the South, but that the plans would not succeed. Did that happen? Of course. The Bible is always right.


“CLEOPATRA, more precisely, Cleopatra VII (c. 69-30 bc), ill-fated queen of Egypt (51-30 bc), celebrated for her love affairs with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. Cleopatra was the daughter of Ptolemy XI Auletes, king of Egypt (c. 112-51 bc). On her father’s death in 51 bc Cleopatra, then about 17 years old, and her brother, Ptolemy XII (63-47 bc), a child of about 12 years, succeeded jointly to the throne of Egypt with the provision that they should marry. In the third year of their reign Ptolemy, encouraged by his advisers, assumed sole control of the government and drove Cleopatra into exile. She promptly gathered an army in Syria but was unable to assert her claim until the arrival at Alexandria of Julius Caesar, who became her lover and espoused her cause. He was for a time hard pressed by the Egyptians but ultimately triumphed, and in 47 bc Ptolemy XII was killed. Caesar proclaimed Cleopatra queen of Egypt.


“Cleopatra was then forced by custom to marry her younger brother, Ptolemy XIII (59-44 bc), then about 11 years old. After settling their joint government on a secure basis, Cleopatra went to Rome, where she lived as Caesar’s mistress. She gave birth to a son, Caesarion (47-30 bc), later Ptolemy XIV; it is believed that Caesar was his father.” Infopedia

Verse 18 says that he will also “turn his attention to the coastlands and will take many of them,…”. “In August 49 a lightning campaign secured Spain, and Caesar then crossed to Greece.” Grolier


“In 47 BC Caesar went to Anatolia, where he defeated Pompey’s ally Pharnaces, king of Bosporus, at Zela; this victory occasioned Caesar’s famous boast Veni, vidi, vici (“I came, I saw, I conquered”). He returned to Rome, but in December 47 he crossed to North Africa to meet a new threat from the Pompeian forces. After victory at Thapsus, he returned home to an unprecedented quadruple triumph in 46 BC. Pompey’s sons, however, organized new resistance in Spain. Caesar’s victory over them at Munda, on Mar. 17, 45, was the hardest of all.” Grolier


“Under Caesar, Rome controlled all of Italy, Gaul, Spain, Numidia, Macedonia, Greece, Palestine, Egypt, and virtually all of the Mediterranean islands”. Grolier


Then the verse goes on to say that “a commander will put an end to his insolence and will turn his insolence back upon him.” This word “insolence” in the NIV is a play on words, in Hebrew, on the word “dagger”. Now you will understand the historical account better.


“In 44 BC, Caesar, likening himself to Alexander the Great, began to plan the conquest of Parthia. Fearing that he would become an absolute king, many whom he had earlier pardoned conspired to murder him. The conspirators, led by Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius CASSIUS LONGINUS, stabbed him (with a dagger) at a meeting of the Senate in Pompey’s theater on Mar. 15 (the Ides of March), 44 BC. Falling at the foot of Pompey’s statue, Caesar addressed Brutus in Greek: ‘Even you, lad?’” Grolier Verse 19 tells of his stumble and his fall, “to be seen no more.” In Verse 20, we are told that his “successor will send out a tax collector to maintain the royal splendor.”


“Augustus, b. Sept. 23, 63 BC, d. Aug. 19, AD 14, was the first Roman emperor (27 BC-AD 14). Named Gaius Octavius, he was the son of Gaius Octavius, a Roman senator, and Atia, the niece of Julius CAESAR. Augustus was a title of honor conferred on him in 27 BC by the Senate. Octavius was only 18 years old when Caesar was assassinated (Mar. 15, 44 BC). In his will, Caesar adopted Octavius, whose official name then became Gaius Julius Caesar. This did not give Octavian (as modern historians call him) any special privileges, but he was able to use the magic of Caesar’s name to win over Caesar’s veterans.” Grolier


“His official name became Imperator Caesar Augustus, and he was called Augustus (the Exalted). In 23 he received the tribunician power for life and assumed in this way the role of protector of the Roman people. He also received the right to intervene in those provinces administered by the Senate. In 12 BC he became high priest (pontifex maximus), the head of Roman state religion, and in 2 BC he received the title ‘Father of His Country.’” Grolier

“Luke 2:1 - Luke is the only Gospel writer who relates his narrative to dates of world history. Caesar Augustus. The first and (according to many) greatest Roman emperor (31 B.C. - A.D. 14). Having replaced the republic with an imperial form of government, he expanded the empire to include the entire Mediterranean world, established the famed Pax Romana (“Roman Peace”) and ushered in the golden age of Roman literature and architecture. Augustus (which means “exalted”) was a title voted to him by the Roman senate in 27 B.C. census. Used for military service and taxation. Jews, however, were exempt from Roman military service. God used the decree of a pagan emperor to fulfill the prophecy of Micah 5:2”. Compton’s NIV


As you can see, it was this Caesar Augustus who sent out the decree to take a census, that is recorded in Luke 2:1. See how accurate the Bible is. Also, note that in 27 BC he (Caesar Augustus) was given the title, “exalted”. Jesus was anointed in 27 AD and had the title “Immanuel”, “God with us”. Satan knew Christ was coming and was trying to take the attention away from the true “Exalted One”. Then we are told in the same verse that he would be “destroyed, yet not in anger or in battle.” “Although he was never in good health, Augustus’ will helped him to survive. After his death, on Aug. 19, AD 14, he was deified.” Compton’s


Augustus died, as the Bible says, “not in anger or in battle” but quietly in sleep from an illness. Verse 21 tells us that he would “be succeeded by a contemptible person who has not been given the honor of royalty.” Did this happen? Yes, the next ruler was Tiberius who did not come from royal line. Augustus “was succeeded by his adopted son, Tiberius.” Compton’s


“In 12 BC, Tiberius was forced to marry Augustus’s daughter, Julia. In the event of Augustus’s death he was to act as tutor of Augustus’s grandsons by Julia’s previous marriage. Tiberius resented his role, and from 6 BC to AD 2 he lived in retirement in Rhodes. After the premature deaths of the grandsons, Augustus adopted (AD 4) Tiberius and recognized him as his successor.” Grolier


Not only was he adopted, but the Bible says that he would be “contemptible” as well. “Tiberius is remembered as a monster and tyrant. Historians describe him as a man who had practiced every imaginable vice and who tortured and killed with ferocity.”  Compton’s


“Old, ridden with disease, and physically repulsive, Tiberius became mean and cruel. He built for himself palaces with prisons, torture rooms, and places of execution. Eventually he had Sejanus murdered by Macro, the new head of the Praetorian Guard. The last years of the emperor’s life reached a peak of cruelty.”  Compton’s


The section of verse 21 which states that “he will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue” could refer to the following.


“In ad 26 Tiberius left Rome and withdrew to Campania, and the following year went to the island of Capreae (modern Capri), leaving Rome under the power of Lucius Aelius Sejanus (d. AD 31), the prefect of the Praetorian Guard. Finally realizing that Sejanus was trying to seize the imperial power, Tiberius had him and his supporters put to death in ad 31.”  Infopedia


“A scheming and suspicious ruler, Tiberius instituted a reign of terror, especially after 23, when Sejanus, prefect of the Praetorian guard, became his chief advisor.  Numerous senators, and also members of the family of his nephew Germanicus CAESAR, were accused of treason and executed; in 31 Sejanus met the same fate.”  Grolier


Verse 22 reads more accurately, “And the arms of the flood are overflowed from before him, and are broken; and also the leader of the covenant.”  Young’s Literal Translation


This is an interesting verse.  You see, Tiberius is the leader of the government that put Jesus, the “leader of the covenant” to death.  It was the Roman Empire, the government that ruled the world, that put Jesus, the ruler of the universe, on a cross.  As it broke the body of Jesus, so it (he) too would be broken.


“Pontius Pilate, the fifth Roman procurator (governor) of Judea (AD 26-36), condemned Jesus Christ to death.  Appointed under Emperor Tiberius, he also had jurisdiction over Samaria and part of Idumea.”  Grolier


“In March of AD 37 Tiberius became ill. When it appeared he would recover, Macro smothered him with a pile of blankets on March 16.”  Compton’s