Two Lords

During the early establishment of Christianity in the Roman Empire, there was conflict between two lords. Reference to this conflict to whom the Roman citizens should pay total homage first developed with Caesar Claudius, of the early Roman Empire, who was Caesar of Rome from A.D. 41 to 54. This conflict arose when there were few or no Christians living in the city of Rome, but a great number of Jews. Because the Jews would not accept Claudius as the final lord over their lives, he ran all the Jews out of Rome. Because they were also Jews, Aquila and Priscilla were victims of Claudius’ autocratic demand for total submission. They subsequently fled to the city of Corinth (See At 18:3).

Nero later became another autocratic Caesar of the Roman Empire. After Claudius, his autocratic behavior extended from A.D. 54 to 68. He had the same problem with people of faith in a Higher Power as Claudius. He, too, did not like any citizens claiming that there was a “lord” who was greater than his lordship over the people of the Empire. Therefore, he went beyond Claudius and claimed to be the only lord of the people. Because Christians could not accept this from a political dictator on earth, Nero turned his wrath against Christians in Rome who served only one Lord.

Because Christians would not confess that Nero was the only lord of their lives, they were subsequently condemned as insurrectionists of the Empire, and thus subject to the civil penalty of death by crucifixion, or entertainment for the people by being thrown to lions in the Roman Colosseum. And if a Christian were a Jew, then he was double guilty of not giving total loyalty to government, or government officials, and in particular, Nero himself.

It is believed that Nero started a fire in the city of Rome in July A.D. 64, and then blamed it on Christians – the fire eventually consumed about a third of the city of Rome. Nero subsequently launched a personal vendetta against Christians. He unleashed horrifying forms of execution on Christians. He ordered public crucifixions. Sometimes Christians were rolled up in pitch and then set on fire to light the imperial gardens. And then some Christians were wrapped in animal skins and thrown to starved dogs to be ravaged and torn apart. Nero will always go on record as the most evil autocrat of history. Eventually, as almost all autocrats who are basically cowards, he committed suicide.

[It is interesting that by the time of then end of the fourth century, the Roman Empire was composed of about fifty percent Christian. The Lord Jesus Christ was winning the battle over Roman paganism.]

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Holy Spirit

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