Exploring the Social Imagination

Thursday, May 7, 2015

One in aTwo Part Series ~ Resurrection in the Social Imagination

As most historians recognize, Constantine I was born circa 280 in Naissus, Moesia (now Serbia). His father became the Western Roman emperor in 305; after his father's death, Constantine fought to take power. He became the Western emperor in 312 and the sole Roman emperor in 324. Constantine was also the first emperor to adhere to Christianity. He issued an edict that protected Christians in the empire and converted to Christianity on his deathbed in 337.
Let us go back to an earlier period in the Roman Empire. Jesus was born under Caesar Augustus and crucified under Caesar Tiberius. After Tiberius, Caligula became Emperor. It is highly unlikely that Tiberius had known anything about Jesus; though there was known prophecy in those times of a coming messiah. At the time of Jesus’ crucifixion / resurrection and just there after, believers were considered a sect of Judaism.  However, some Christians were killed during Caligula’s reign (37-41). As pointed, Christians were considered a sect of Judaism during that period. 

Because of that, under the next Emperor, Claudius (41-54) Judaism was a legal religion, and, so, the Christians were not singled out for general persecution until the time of Nero (54-68). During the reign of Claudius, who reigned after Caligula, from A.D. 41 to 54, the Apostle Paul made his missionary journeys throughout the empire, and Christianity grew rapidly. 

But by the time of Nero it had become clear that Christianity was a new religion, separate from Judaism. Both Paul and Peter were beheaded under the reign of Nero. From that time on it was illegal to become a Christian for three hundred years, until the time of Constantine, who ruled from 306-337. In 313 A.D. Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, granting all people the freedom to follow whichever religion they wished. Constantine was baptized a Christian on his deathbed; and, likely because of the idea of resurrection. 

We need to remind ourselves that Romans worshiped their Gods which we can read about in the Old Testament. There were the Nephelim; Genesis 6:4 “The Nephelim were on earth in those days and also afterward when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. There were the heroes of old, men of renown”. 

So, Roman Emperors and their religion were from the times before the Flood. They were fascinated with death and the idea of resurrection. As it was for them as it was for the apostles, it was not the cross so much that convicted followers of Jesus but His resurrection. This was the purpose of His coming, dying on the cross and resurrection, this information gave us direction. He gave us a way out of this world of error and transgression; a way to be born again.

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