At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2 (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. 4 And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5 He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child. Luke 2:1-5 NIV
Advent Chronicles – The taxation of Caesar forced Joseph and Mary to return to Bethlehem.
God directs the affairs of men and fulfills His purposes. Nothing is written pertaining to Caesar having any knowledge of Jewish life, but God still used the political events to fulfill His purposes. The harshness of Roman occupation finds its way into the Advent Chronicles as Caesar’s taxation is the pivotal event forcing Joseph and Mary to travel to his hometown.
My name is Caesar Augustus, the first Emperor of Rome. Julius Caesar was my maternal grand uncle and he adopted me as his only heir to his estate. My birth name was Gaius Octavius and I grew up in an equestrian family. I was not connected to the murder of my uncle, but I did consolidate political power when I finally defeated Mark Anthony.
In the year 23 BC the Senate declared my new name to be Augustus which means to increase. I am larger than the 3 empires before me, the Babylonians, the Medes and Persians, and then the Greeks. I expanded our Roman rule in conquering Egypt and Hispania.
I created a season of peace for all of the conquered countries known as Pax Romana. I built roads and created police and fireman. But all of this comes at a cost. Taxes pay for growth.
I consolidated and equalized the taxation process to be fair across the entire empire. Part of taxation will be tied to a census. Taxes will be paid for the size of the family, a percentage for number of slaves, and a percentage of their personal wealth. Every person, whether a Roman citizen or not, must return to the place of birth to pay the tax.
Although I believe in many gods, I still have a sense that a destiny has been laid upon me. I have heard of one ruler among the Jews, a king Solomon, who was supposed to be the wisest ruler that ever lived. I know not his god nor much of his people except for some writings given to me as a child from a Jewish ward over our horses.
These are the few phrases that I remember. Take away the wicked from before the king, And his throne will be established in righteousness (Prov. 25:5), I dealt with all of the traitors who killed my uncle Julius. I have created peace, though many died in my conquest to rule. This king spoke of a his god guiding all men through some type of ultimate wisdom, ‘By me kings reign, And rulers decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, All who judge rightly” (8:15-16). I like the word decree even though the Senate thinks power is invested in them. Perhaps, there is a guiding wisdom that filters into my dreams and ideas to rule and govern this empire.
One last statement that he made helped me to establish the wealth of the empire, A leader who is a great oppressor lacks understanding, But he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days (28:16). Oppression leads to unrest. It was this idea that made me work toward equalizing the taxes. I have acquired great wealth for Rome through pursuing fairness of taxes.
The gods must have been good to me, for I have seen the brightest star in the east of Rome. My Jewish ward said that he came from the east of Rome in a little place in the land of his fathers. He spoke fondly of his town of Bethlehem and one beloved King David who was born in that place. Who would think that a ruler could come from a place so small and insignificant?
I guess everyone is born in the fullness of their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. (Acts 17:26). My fate is to govern Rome. No matter how difficult it may be for those to pay their taxes, everyone will participate in the census by returning to the place of their birth. I am Caesar Augustus.
Advent Chronicles – Caesar Augustus