There is a news report that a well known businessman bases some decisions on the policies of Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar. The report says that the businessman is impressed that Augustus was able to establish peace throughout the empire that lasted between the reigns of Caesars Augustus himself (27 BC-14 AD) and Marcus Aurelius (161-180 AD), which is approximately 200 years.
History gives credit to Augustus for establishing that lasting peace. We learn from historical sources that Augustus began a postal and courier system that allowed fast communication throughout the empire. He did so by developing the network of roads and facilities required for the fast courier system to work properly and efficiently.
He made alliances with states surrounding the empire, and established an accord with the Parthian Empire to prevent hostilities. He restored the power of the senate, magistrates, and legislative assemblies, while maintaining full veto power over them as a military dictator.
Augustus instituted a standing army, police, and firefighting departments. In other words, he strengthened public services and gave the people a feeling of wellbeing because of his reforms. All of these things were instrumental in establishing the Pax Romana, or Roman peace that lasted for two centuries.
Because of Augustus’ reforms the Empire outwardly appeared to be a republic of free people. As long as the senate, the assemblies, and the courts agreed with Augustus, though he was a dictator, they were allowed great latitude in their governance. All of Augustus’ reforms also resulted free trade that increased the standard of living for most. Thus the people were quite free in their daily lives and were relatively prosperous. This added to the peace of the era. There were similar periods of peace in the East and in Eurasia that coincided with Roman peace. Thus there was basically world peace (excluding the largely unknown Americas) at the time.
Yes, history does credit Augustus Caesar with the lasting peacefulness that started during his reign. The operative word in this missive is ‘peace.’ There is another event, not often mentioned in secular historical accounts; that is the birth of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. Is it a coincidence that Jesus, the Prince of Peace was born during the reign of Augustus (Luke 2:1), who is given credit for the Pax Romana, which was basically world peace at the time? No, absolutely not.
The Scriptures prophesied coming of Messiah in the beginning in Genesis 3:15 where it prophesied that Satan would accost Christ and His followers, but would not overcome them. Moses prophesied of the coming Messiah in Deuteronomy 8:15. There are abundant prophecies of the coming Messiah throughout the Old Testament. Isaiah 9:6 specifically calls the prophesied Messiah the Prince of Peace. Ezekiel 45:17 and 46:2 refer to Messiah and the Prince that brings a peace offering (Messiah Himself was the peace offering) into Jerusalem. Here a few representative scriptures tell about Messiah bringing peace: Isaiah 54:10; Jer 33:9; Eze 37:24, 25, 26. There are many more. At the birth of Jesus, the angels said about Jesus, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Augustus may have been given credit for the Pax Romana, but it was Yahweh that actually provided the 200 year period of relative peace throughout the Roman Empire. Why? Because His Son, the Prince of Peace was born at the beginning of the peaceful period and His Gospel was able to be spread throughout the world because of this period of peace.
The church started in Jerusalem at Pentecost, 50 days after Passover and shortly after Jesus’ Ascension into Heaven, which occurred 40 days after His resurrection which was 43 days after Passover. At first the church was made up of mainly Jews with a few Gentiles such as the Ethiopian Eunuch. But when persecution came to the church after the stoning of Stephen, most of the church spread out into the empire taking the Gospel with them. Because of the relative peace established by Augustus and because of his roads, couriers, and trade throughout the empire, the Gospel was preached in Jerusalem, Samaria, and to the ends of the known world at the time, fulfilling the command that Jesus gave before His Ascension in Acts 1:8.
Because of the period of peacefulness, and even though the Roman Empire also persecuted the church, Christianity spread throughout the world and has spanned the millennia right up until today. There have many failed attempts to stamp out Christianity. They will continue into the future but will all be unsuccessful for Yahweh God is Creator and He established the church and the gates of hell will never stand against it.
The world gives credit to the wrong person. Credit should not go to Augustus who was simply God’s instrument to “make straight in the desert a highway” for the coming Messiah (Isa 40:3; John 1:23). The credit should go to God and His Messiah, Jesus.
Do you know Jesus Christ as your Savior? He is going to return to the world soon. Are you ready? When He does if you do not know Him as your Savior, you will join all those who do not know Him in “Outer Darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mat 22:13-14).