A few days ago a co-worker remarked during a conversation on the economic downturn that â€œItâ€™s a sign of the end, the end of days.â€ Well, maybe so and maybe not. The end is certainly nearer today that it was yesterday. But, maybe in his case itâ€™s just a sign of bad exegesis.
“But although the Senate of the Romans rejected the proposition made in regard to our Savior, Tiberius still retained the opinion which he held at first and contrived no hostile measures against the Christ. These things were recorded by Tertullian, a man well versed in the laws of the Romans, and in other respects of high repute, and one of those especially distinguished in Rome. In his apology for the Christians, which was written by him in the Latin language and has been translated into Greek, he writes as follows: ‘But in order that we may give an account of these laws from their origin, it was an ancient decree that no one should be consecrated a god by the emperor until the Senate had expressed its approval. Marcus Aurelius did thus concerning a certain idol, Alburnus. And this is a point in favor of our doctrine that among you divine dignity is conferred by human decree. If a god does not please a man he is not made a god. Thus, according to this custom, it is necessary for man to be gracious to god. Tiberius, therefore, under whom the name of Christ made its entry into the world, when this doctrine was reported to him from Palestine, where it first began, communicated with the Senate, making it clear to them that he was pleased with the doctrine. But the Senate, since it had not itself proved the matter, rejected it. But Tiberias continued to hold his own opinion, and threatened death to the accusers of the Christians.’ Heavenly providence had wisely instilled this into his mind in order that the doctrine of the Gospel, unhindered at its beginning, might spread in all directions throughout the world.”
The historical evidence of early Christianity is abundant. Next weekend I will list some things from Justin Martyr.