(Iturea borders Syria and is just north of Galilee.) Before being involved in the militia he was prefect of engineers, appointed by the two consuls as treasurer, quaestor of his colony, served twice as aedile and duumvir and was as a priest. Buried in this place are his son, Quintus Aemilius Secundus.
(Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae #2683)
Two other inscriptions were found in the early 1900's in Pisidian Antioch, which served as a military command center and eastern outpost for the Roman Empire. The two inscriptions read as follows:
"C. Caristanius C F Sergius Fronto Caesiaus Iulius, perfect of civil engineers, priest, perfect of P. Sulpicius Quirinius the Duumvir, Perfect of M. Servilius, from this man and with a public edict, a statue was erected with the blessings of the council.
(Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae #9502)
The second inscription reads:
"To C. Caristanius Fronto Caesianus Iulius, son of Gaius, from the tribe of Sergia, prefect of civil engineers, military tribune of twelfth legion, prefect of the Bosporan cohort, priest, prefect of P. Sulpicius Quirinius, duumvir, prefect of Marcus Servilius, prefect . . ."
(Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae #9503)
An argument made by many opponents of the accuracy of the Bible is that Rome was not taxing or conducting a census in Israel before becoming a province in 6 A.D.
But Josephus records that the Jews were being taxed by the Romans by commands from Syria as early as 44 B.C. And the task of raising the funds fell upon the Jewish rulers in power at the time. For example, Josephus records: "Cassius rode into Syria in order to take command of the army stationed there, and on the Jews he placed a tax of 700 silver talents. Antipater gave the job of collecting this tax to his sons . . ." Jewish Antiquities XIV 271
History also records that just before the birth of our Lord, Judea was being taxed highly under Herod the Great, who was appointed King of Judea by Caesar Augustus, and Herod was subservient to him. After he died, Josephus records the following: "Archelaus grieved over the death of his father for several days and then . . . from his throne of gold, he gave a speech to the crowd . . . pleased by his words, the people immediately began to test his sincerity by requesting certain favors from him. Some pleaded for their yearly taxes to be reduced . . . while others asked that he would only take away the excessive sales taxes that were being levied on goods being brought or sold."(Jewish Antiquities XVII 200)
He also recorded that the common people hated Herod for taxing them so much: "The amount of people, to whom he lavished his money, were very numerous. And because of this, he was forced to collect it through unjust means. Because he was aware that his subjects hated him because of these past crimes against them, he did not think it would make any difference to treat them kindly, for it might harm his revenue; he therefore, knowing that his subjects feared him because of his harshness, continued on in pursuit of financial gain." Antiquities XVI 150-170
To show how much he taxed the people, when he died he left ten million pieces of silver to Augustus Caesar and five million to Caesar's wife Julia and others.(Jewish Antiquities XVII 190)
We also know that Augustus Caesar ordered a Census in 8 B.C., this would have taken a good two to three years to implement and complete in all the provinces under direct and indirect control of Rome. The following is an account given by Augustus of the census:
"During my sixth term as consul (28 B.C.), I along with my comrade Marcus Agrippa, commanded a census be taken of the people. I directed a lustrum, the first in forty-one years, in which 4,063,000 Roman citizens were counted. And once again, with imperial authority, I single handedly authorized a lustrum when the consuls of Rome were Gaius Censorinus and Gaius Asinius (8 B.C.), during which time 4,233,000 Roman citizens were counted." (Res Gestae 8 - The Deeds of Augustus by Augustus)
And last but not least, the most accurate of all historians and the one that atheists and infidels refuse to believe, LUKE: "I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good to me to write an orderly account for you . . . In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governing in Syria.) Gospel of Luke
You see, Caesar, whom the Romans held as being Divine, though he was only a mere mortal man, took a census to count all the people in his empire. And also to find out and document which ones were citizens of his kingdom and which ones were not.
And one day, the One who is not a mere mortal, but truly God, will hold His own registration. And each man and woman will appear before Him face to face. And He will open up the Book of Life to see if you are entitled to be called a citizen of His kingdom. A simple record of what you have done with the message of salvation? That message that the Lamb of God shed his blood on a cross, to die in your place.
Do you believe?
Are you registered in the Lamb's book of Life?
THE GREATEST STATEMENTS REGARDING CITIZENSHIP IN HEAVEN:
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him, He came to his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who do receive, to all who do believe in his name, he gave the right to be called Children of God. John 1:10-12
For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame; who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. Philippians 3:18-21
KINGS FROM THE EAST SHALL BOW
KINGS FROM THE EAST SHALL BOW
"Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him."
When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
So they said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.'
"Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also."
When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh." Matthew 2:1-11
Two well known historians also confirm that it was a commonly held belief amongst the Jews as well as the people of the East that a ruler would come forth from Judea.
The Roman historian Tacitus wrote: "[the Jews] firmly believed that their ancient scriptures, quoted by their priests, contained a prophecy of how at a certain time, when the East was powerful, a ruler would come forth from Judea and He would secure a universal empire."
(Tacitus, Histories 5.13)
Another early historian, Suetonius, penned the following words: "An old and well established belief was held all over the Orient, that one would arise from Judea who would establish a government over all men." (The Lives of the Caesars - Life of Vespasian 4.5)
Another even earlier text was uncovered which is known as 'The Testament of Judah', it was part of a collection of texts supposedly written by the twelve sons of Jacob known as 'The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs', but more likely seems to have been penned in the second century before Christ. Fragments of two of the Testaments have been found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, those of Levi and Naphtali. The 'Testament of Levi' was dated by the Oriental Institute - University of Chicago using Carbon 14 and was dated between 100-200 B.C., well before the birth of Christ.
The 'Testament of Judah' reveals what type of Messiah the people were expecting and also foretold of a star that would arise in Israel which would accompany His coming.
It states: "There shall appear for you a star arising from Jacob in peace. And a man shall come forth who is my heir, like the sun of righteousness, walking amongst the sons of men in gentleness and righteousness, and there will be no sin found in him. And the heavens will rain down upon him the spirit as a blessing from the Holy One. And he will pour out the spirit of grace upon you. This is the shoot of the most high God; the water of life for all humanity. He will shine his light upon the scepter of my kingdom, and from your root will arise the shoot, and through it will stem forth the rod of righteousness for the nations, to judge and to save all who call upon the Lord."
(Testament of Judah 24.1-6)
And that star, which the wise men from the east followed, led them to Jesus, the ruler of all kings. And thus the following prophecies found in the Old Testament came to life:
"Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. The Gen tiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising."Lift up your eyes all around, and see: They all gather together, they come to you; Your sons shall come from afar, And your daughters shall be nursed at your side. Then you shall see and become radiant, And your heart shall swell with joy; Because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, The wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you. The multitude of camels shall cover your land, The dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; All those from Sheba shall come; They shall bring gold and incense, And they shall proclaim the praises of the LORD."
"He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth. Those who dwell in the wilderness will bow before Him, And His enemies will lick the dust.
The kings of Tarshish and of the isles will bring presents; The kings of Sheba and Seba will offer gifts. Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him; All nations shall serve Him. For He will deliver the needy when he cries, The poor also, and him who has no helper. He will spare the poor and needy, And will save the souls of the needy. He will redeem their life from oppression and violence; And precious shall be their blood in His sight. And He shall live; And the gold of Sheba will be given to Him;. . .His name shall endure forever; His name shall continue as long as the sun. And men shall be blessed in Him; All nations shall call Him blessed."
(Note: Sheba and Midian are tribes of Arabia descended from Abraham's concubine Keturah -IChronicles 1:32)
THE GREATEST SONG TO BE SUNG ABOUT THE KINGS FROM THE EAST:
1 We three kings of Orient are: Bearing gifts we traverse afar-
Field and fountain, moor and mountain Following yonder star. Chorus: O star of wonder, star of night, Star with royal beauty bright, Westward leading, still proceeding, Guide us to thy perfect light.
2 Born a King on Bethlehem's plain: Gold I bring to crown him again, King forever, ceasing never, Over us all to reign.
Chorus: O star of wonder, star of night, Star with royal beauty bright, Westward leading, still proceeding, Guide us to thy perfect light.
3 Frankincense to offer have I, Incense owns a Deity nigh; Prayer and praising, all men raising, Worship Him, God on high.
Chorus: O star of wonder, star of night, Star with royal beauty bright, Westward leading, still proceeding, Guide us to thy perfect light.
4 Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume Breathes a life of gathering gloom-Sorr'wing, sighing, bleeding, dying, Sealed in the stone-cold tomb. Chorus: O star of wonder, star of night, Star with royal beauty bright, Westward leading, still proceeding, Guide us to thy perfect light.
5 Glorious now behold Him arise:
King and God and Sacrifice;
Earth to heav'n replies.
Chorus: O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.
CLEANSING OF THE TEMPLE
CLEANSING OF THE TEMPLE
Now the time of the Passover was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found men in the temple area who were selling cattle and sheep and doves, and also the moneychangers who were doing business. So He fashioned a whip out of cords, and went into the temple and drove out the cattle and the sheep, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and He scattered their coins. And He went up to those who were selling doves and said to them, "Get these things out of here! How dare you turn My Father's house into a marketplace!" Then His disciples remembered what was written in the Scriptures, "Zeal for Your house will consume me."
Confirmation that the Temple was being turned into a marketplace during the time of Jesus can be found in some early Jewish writings. First of all, there is a record of the common practice of setting up money changers in the temple area during Passover. The Talmud states the following:
Beginning on the 1st of Adar ( the month before Passover), a proclamation was made to the people that they should prepare . . . On the 15th day of Adar, moneychangers were sent out to collect the Half-Shekel for its donation . . . On the 25th day of Adar, moneychangers were installed in the Temple itself to help in the collecting of the Half-Shekel donation: Megillah 29a-b
Not only were the moneychangers robbing the people, but history records that excessive prices were being charged by those who were selling animals used in Temple sacrifice.
For example, according to Leviticus 12:6-8, after an Israelite woman had given birth, she was to bring a sacrifice to the temple, preferably a sheep. But if she was poor and could not afford the price of a sheep, she could take two doves or two pigeons for the sacrifice, one for a burnt offering and one for a sin offering. The Jewish Mishna states, that because of their greed, those who were selling birds rose their prices so much that the poorer woman of the community could not afford them. Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel the Elder, a leading rabbi of his time and a descendant of Gamaliel whom the Bible says trained the apostle Paul as a pharisee, before Paul had come to Christ, took immediate action to lower the market price. The Mishna gives this account in Kritut 1:7:
"If a woman had given birth five times during her life . . . after she brings a single sacrifice, she will be able to eat sanctified foods once again. But she is still under oath to bring four more. It eventually came to pass that the cost of two birds rose dramatically to one gold zuz. Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel declared: "I pledge that before I go to bed this very night, the price of birds will fall!" He headed straight to the courtyard and instructed the people to obey the following regulation: "After giving birth five times, a woman . . . needs to bring just one sacrificial offering to cover all five births That very day, the price of birds plummeted to one quarter of a silver zuz."
Even many of the high priests during the first century seemed to have given up their love of God for the love of money. Most notably the High priest whom Jesus was brought before, Annas, along with his five sons who succeeded him to that position. The Temple sacrifice during their reigns can best be summed up by the words "The Marketplace of the family of Annas"
The historian Josephus sheds some light on the actions of one member of this family, Annas the younger, the man who had James (the writer of he book of James in the Bible) stoned to death. Josephus states:
"The high priest, Ananus, (after he had been relieved from his office) to some degree, was respected and feared by the citizens, but in a bad way; for he loved to hoard money. He became good friends with Albinus, and of the newly installed high priest. He did so by offering them bribes; he also had wicked servants, who associated with the most vilest sort of characters, and went to the thrashing-floors, and took the tithes that belonged to the priests by force, and beat anyone who would not give these tithes to them. So the other high priests that followed him as well as his servants acted likewise without anyone being able to stop them; so that some of the priests, those who were old and were being supported with those tithes, died for lack of food."
A matter of fact, Jewish history records that these High priests who walked the temple courts during the first century, were despised by the majority of the people for their brutality and hunger for money. So much so that there is a strong condemnation of these men in the Talmud.
Tosefta, Menachoth 13.21 states a Rabbinic Lament over the brutality of the Sadducees - Abba Saul ben Betnith and Abba Jose ben Johanan of Jerusalem say:
"Woe to the house of Boethus! Woe to me because of their rods!" (Simon, son of Boethus, father in-law to Herod. He was a high priest during the reign of Herod the Great)
"Woe to the house of Qadros (Cantheros)! Woe to me because of their pens!" (Simon Cantheros was one of the high priests appointed during the rule of Herod Agrippa)
"Woe to the house of Elhanan, woe to the house of whispers!" (Elhanan is translated 'Ananus or Annas' in Greek and here refers to the high priest Annas of the New Testament and his sons.)
"Woe to the house of Elisha! Woe to me because of their pens!"
"Woe to the house of Ismael ben Phiabi! For they are high priests and their sons, treasurers and their sons-in-law who were (temple) officers!" "And their servants came and beat us up with staves!" (Ishmael son of Phabi was a high priest under Valerius Gratus, procurator of Judea or may refer to Ismael son of Fabi who was a priest under Herod king of Chaleis.)
JESUS GREATEST STATEMENT CONCERNING RICHES:
"Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it. "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
"Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."
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