From The Alpha and the Omega - Chapter Six
by Jim A. Cornwell, Copyright © 1995, all rights reserved
"Revelation Two - First Age"
(Message of the First Spirit)
Rev. 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
First Age 33-100 A.D. -- First Persecution -- Death of Christ to 75 A.D.
The First Age began with the First Persecution which some believe can be found in Rev. 2:10 "...the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days:.." Go back to Home Page
[Comment: The devil "the accuser," acted through Jewish accusers, against Christ and His people. The conflict of the latter was not with mere flesh and blood, but with the rulers of the darkness of this world. They were tried with temptation by the devil. The meaning of the ten days, is varied in some circles as not ten persecutions from Nero to Diocletian, ten is a number of the world powers that are hostile to the Church, as in the ten horns of the beast. Whether the ten days equates to ten persecutions over a period of time is your option of choice.]
This period of time includes:
- Augustus originally Octavian 63 B.C.-A.D. 14 was the first emperor of Rome (27 B.C.-A.D. 14) and grand-nephew of Julius Caesar. He defeated Mark Antony and Cleopatra in 31 and subsequently gained control over the empire. In 29 he was named emperor, and in 27 he was given the honorary title Augustus.
- Tiberius 42 B.C.-37 A.D. Emperor of Rome (14-37) and chosen by Augustus to be heir to the throne, he was a suspicious, tyrannical ruler.
- Caligula originally Gaius Caesar 12-41 A.D. Emperor of Rome (37-41) who succeeded his adoptive father, Tiberius. After a severe illness, he displayed the ruthlessness, extravagance, and megalomania that led to his assassination.
- Claudius I in full, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus, 10 B.C.-54 A.D., Emperor of Rome (41-54), who became ruler after Caligula was murdered. He was poisoned by his wife, Agrippina, after her son Nero was named as heir.
- In 44 A.D. in Jerusalem the killing of Stephen and James, which Saul later called Paul helped perform. Timothy and Parmenas were persecuted by Caligula.
- In 52 A.D. Philip was put in prison and crucified in Phrygia.
- In 60 A.D. Mark was dragged through the streets and burned to death in Alexandria.
- One of the Matthew’s was slain by a sword in Parthia, another was stoned to death and beheaded in Jerusalem.
- James the Less was stoned to death in Jerusalem.
- Andrew was killed on a cross in Patrel Greece.
- Nero 37-68 A.D. Emperor of Rome (54-68) whose early reign was dominated by his mother, Agrippina the Younger. Nero in 64 A.D. killed his mother, sent his wife to an island, married Sabrina, and stole money to build a huge palace. He may have burned forty percent of Rome (64), accused Christians and killed many of them by various inhuman ways. Nero beheaded Aristarchus (Macedonian of Thessalonica, convert from Judaism and fellow prisoner) and Trophimus (Gentile Christian of Ephesus, travel companion who distributed help to the poor in Jerusalem) who were both companions of Paul. Nero’s cruelty and irresponsibility provoked widespread revolts, which led to his suicide.
- Between 64-68 A.D. Peter was crucified by Nero in Rome -- which is disputed by some that believe Peter died in Jerusalem. Paul was beheaded by Nero.
- Galba, Servius Sulpicius. 3 B.C.-69 A.D. Emperor of Rome (68-69) who was assassinated after naming an unpopular successor.
- In 69 A.D. Otho and Vitellius also reigned.
- Vespasian 9-79 A.D. was Emperor from 69-79 A.D. who brought prosperity to the empire, reformed the army, was a patron of the arts, and began the building of the Colosseum.
- Titus 39-81 A.D. Emperor of Rome (79-81) whose reign was marked by the capture of Jerusalem (70) and by the construction of the Roman Colosseum. The destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum, when Mount Vesuvius erupted, occurred during the first year of his reign.
- In 68-70 A.D. the assault on Jerusalem affected 2,700,000 people. Christians escaped to Pella, the number is not known, but probably several hundred thousand. Three to six hundred thousand were sold into slavery, so many and so cheap but still there were not enough buyers. Those who were killed estimated at 1,300,000 with many thousands more dying of starvation and disease. People broke into homes looking for food, and some ate their children.
- In 70-72 A.D. Judas the brother of James was crucified in Persia.
- Bartholomew (Nathanael) was killed by idolaters with clubs and swords.
- Thomas was killed in Parthia with a spear.
- The cause of Luke’s death is unknown.
- In 74 A.D. Simon was killed by pagans in Briton.
First Age 33-100 A.D. -- Second Persecution -- 75-96 A.D.
The time when Domitian (51-96 A.D.) succeeded his brother Titus as Emperor of the Roman Empire (81-96) who completed the conquest of Britain. In 89 his government became dictatorial, leading to a reign of terror. He killed not only Christians but Romans to get money. Any type of calamity was blamed on Christians. He was noted for being evil and was finally assassinated by a freedman in connivance with his empress and officers of the court.
Possible victims of Domitian were
- Dionysius (Bishop of Athens),
- Timothy (Bishop of Ephesus),
- and Gervasis.
The number of people persecuted is not mentioned as a large number. Since each case required a trial if it led to a death penalty, then some kind of review was required.
Nerva ruled between 96-98 A.D. At Domitian’s death, 95-96 A.D., John returned to Ephesus under the Emperor Nerva. This is probably where he wrote under divine inspiration the account of the visions given him on Patmos, although parts of the Revelation may have been written on the island.
In 98-100 A.D. John died from natural causes -- this is disputed by some that believe he had to be killed to fulfil Matthew 20:23 "Jesus said to them, You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father." It is obvious that God saved him for a special purpose.
Publius Cornelius Tacitus 55?-120? A.D. was a Roman public official and historian whose two greatest works, Histories and Annals, concern the period from the death of Augustus (A.D. 14) to the death of Domitian (96).
Plutarch 46?-120? A.D. Greek biographer and philosopher who wrote Parallel Lives, a collection of biographies that Shakespeare used in his Roman plays (118).
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