Friday, September 09, 2011

Nero Blames Great Roman Fire On Christians (Part 3) - 64 AD - Church History

This is the third part in a four part series, to go to part one click here.

Tacitus continues with a discussion of the the great persecution of Christianity that broke out:
Accordingly [going back to the subject of the fire], an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. (source)
The last part is particularly interesting: the Christians were convicted "not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind."

Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians:
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
The message of the gospel is absurd to the unbeliever, and in fact, the message of the cross is seen as hatred against mankind. To a world in love with itself, anything that disrupts the daily prideful rhythm of life is seen as repulsive.

Tacitus continues with a graphic description of the persecutions heaped upon the Christians:
Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. (source)
Jesus' command to "take up your cross" is not merely a play on words. As Christians, we are called to physically give up our bodies when necessary. The Christians in the first century obeyed Jesus' command: They picked up their crosses and were executed for their faith— some of those early believers even had to endure being burned alive, used as human candlesticks.

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Related Posts:
Nero Blames Great Roman Fire On Christians (Part 4) - 64 AD - Church History
Noah's Birth - Genesis 5:28 - 2948 BC (Pre-Flood History)
The Flood - Genesis 7:11 - 2349 BC (Pre-Flood History)
Slavery, The Great Fire In Rome, and Nero

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