Hello everyone, and thanks for coming back. Today we are going to continue on now with the second persecution under Emperor Domitian. Both Nero and Domitian were persecutors of the Congregation of Jesus during the time of the Apostles, before the great falling away occurred. The Congregation was new and pure, and following the exact teachings of the great Apostles, and the Congregation was growing leaps and bounds, Jews and Gentiles alike. So satan set out to destroy the Congregation, and he used these two emperors to do just that. What’s interesting about Domitian is, he was our first glimpse into a form or likeness of antichrist, and therefore his tactics should be made well aware. Remember satan always repeats himself, just like history does. So let’s get started with Domitian, and I will again refer to Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.
First however, I don’t believe I properly introduced Mr. Foxe, so here is a brief introduction.
John Foxe was born at Boston, in Lincolnshire, in 1516, and died April 8, 1587. He is most famous for his publication of “Foxe’s Acts and Monuments of the Christian Church” more commonly known as “Fox’s Book of Martyrs.” In the 1550’s, the Church at Geneva, Switzerland, was very sympathetic to the reformer refugees and was one of only a few safe havens for a desperate people. Many of them met in Geneva, led by Myles Coverdale and John Foxe. There, with the protection of the great theologian John Calvin ( author of the most famous theological book ever published, Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion) and John Knox, the great Reformer of the Scottish Church (Kirk), the Church of Geneva determined to produce a Bible that would educate their families while they continued in exile.
Now before I go on, you might be wondering why John Foxe and William Bradford used the word “church,” and not congregation. The Geneva Bible was translated using the word “church” instead of congregation. Later in another post, I will be looking at the history of the Geneva Bible and the King James Bible together. I use congregation because that’s how the Bible is really translated, but a lot of great men and women, then and today use the word church, meaning congregation, because like us, they also were taught to believe that the word “church” was a proper translation for the body of Christ. Nothing on this earth is perfect, nor anything handed down to us is perfect, however the message God wants us to have, and receive from these translations, will be no doubt relayed to us, satan cannot stop that. God’s true word and message is perfect, and no power, dominion or force, can keep God’s message from us, what He wants us to know, He will let us know. Ok, well let’s move on to Domitian.
From Foxe’s Book of Martyrs
The Second Persecution, Under Domitian, AD 81- The emperor Domitian, who was naturally inclined to cruelty, first slew his brother, and then raised the second persecution against the Christians. In his rage he put to death some of the Roman senators, some through malice; and others to confiscate their estates. He then commanded all the lineage of David be put to death. Among numerous martyrs that suffered during was Simeon, bishop of Jerusalem, who was crucified; and St. John who was boiled in oil, and afterward banished to Patmos. Flavia, the daughter of a Roman senator, was likewise banished to Pontus; and a law was made, “That no Christian, once brought before the tribunal, should be exempted from punishment without renouncing his religion.” A variety of fabricated tales were, during this reign, composed in order to injure the Christians. Such was the infatuation of the pagans, that, if famine, pestilence, or earthquakes afflicted any of the Roman provinces, it was laid upon the Christians. These persecutions among the Christians increased the number of informers and many, for the sake of gain, swore away the lives of the innocent. Another hardship was, that, when any Christians were brought before the magistrates, a test oath was proposed, when, if they confessed themselves Christians, the sentence was the same. Timothy was the celebrated disciple of St. Paul, and a bishop of Ephesus, where he zealously governed the Church until AD 97. At this period, as the pagans were about to celebrate a feast called Catagogion, Timothy, meeting the procession, severely reproved them for their ridiculous, idolatry, which so exasperated the people that they fell upon him with clubs, and beat him in so dreadful a manner that he expired of the bruises two days later. (bibleprobe.com)
It’s interesting that Domitian was in power as a form of antichrist, written in the Book of Revelation, at the time John received the vision of the coming antichrist, in the last days. There are definitely some parallels between the two, that I want to examine. First let’s take a look at this antichrist Domitian.
Domitian was born in Rome on October, 24 AD 51, the youngest son of Vespasian, Roman emperor (AD 69-79) and Domitian I, a treasury clerk’s daughter. Vespasian was appointed to the prestigious proconsulship of North Africa in AD 59, and seven years later was granted a special command in the East by the emperor Nero (AD 54-69) to settle a revolt in Judaea; Titus, Domitian’s older brother by at least ten years and Vespasian’s eventual successor as emperor, had married well in the 60’s and was chosen as a legionary legate under Vespasian in the East.
There is actually very little written about Domitian’s Christian persecutions, aside from John Foxe’s account, therefore a different approach must be taken to find out more. In order to do that, we will turn to the Bible, to possibly find out more. To dive in deeper to what Foxe wrote let’s break it apart, because we already know encyclopedias can be very cunning and lead people away from the truth, and still be factual to some degree.
Let’s start with Domitian killing his brother. Today there is no way to find hard evidence, however after careful digging I did find this. This I found at (ancient.eu), and in my eyes, and with what John Foxe wrote, this seems plausible and makes the most sense considering the type of man Domitian was.
From (ancient.eu) title,”HE WAS TREACHEROUS AS WELL AS SECRETIVE, FEELING NO AFFECTION FOR ANYONE (EXCEPT WOMEN).”
His ascension to the throne came on September 14, 81 AD when Titus died of natural causes while he and his brother were traveling outside Rome.
So far we see at the time Titus fell ill with a fever, he was with Domitian traveling abroad, so he was in Domitian’s presence.
Later, rumors circulated that Domitian may have had a hand in his brother’s death, possibly by poison. Gossip also ran rampant that the new emperor had at one point even plotted to overthrow his brother and take the throne for himself. Whether or not he had a hand in Titus’s death.
As Christians, we know rumors are but rumors, and gossip should not be listened to, and generally is not the facts. However, we also know that sometimes, there is a little truth in a lie, a little truth in a rumor, a little truth perhaps behind the gossip, but I hate gossip, to me gossip is talk behind someone’s back, and is slanderous, and that’s why God hates it to. But it does all depend on who knows what, and how they know it, and are they the one’s who started the rumors. Many crimes have been solved by detectives, by so-called rumors on the streets.
Well that’s going to have be it for this post do to time restraints. Domitian is going to take a little more time, and a lot more investigative work than Nero did. A lot about Domitian’s persecutions is not easily found. Actually it seems that Domitian’s history was written, to put him in a brighter light, so to speak, but we will uncover the truth. This will be my last post for the month of September, I’m going on vacation, which is much needed, so my next post will be the very beginning of October, so I hope you will come back then. Until next time, may the Lord bless your search for truth, leaving no stone unturned.