Some of the earliest and well-known church fathers believed that Pontius Pilate, who was prefect of Judea during the time of Christ`s crucifixion, sent a report to Tiberius Caesar outlining what he had seen and heard concerning Jesus of Nazareth. And afterward, Tiberius was convinced by these reports that Jesus must have been God, for only He could do such things.
       This official report of Pilate to Tiberius was called by the early Church Father Justin Martyr, "The Acts of Pilate."  
       In his work First Apology, which was written for the eyes of the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius around 155-157 A.D. he mentions the "Acts of Pilate" multiple times. Evidently, Justin Martyr wanted the Emperor to read for himself the account of Pilate in the Roman archives, in order to understand that what he was being presented with concerning Jesus could also be verified in Roman records.  
      In chapter 35 of his work he states the following:
      "And after He was crucified they cast lots for His garments, and they that crucified Him parted it among them. And that these things did happen, you can ascertain from the Acts of Pontius Pilate."
       In Chapter 48, of his same work, he wrote the following:  
      "And that it was predicted that our Christ should heal all diseases and raise the dead, listen to what was said. There are these words: "At His coming the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the stammerer shall be clear speaking: the blind shall see, and the lepers shall be cleansed; and the dead shall rise, and walkabout." And that He did those things, you can learn from the Acts of Pontius Pilate."
      The next early Christian apologist to follow was Tertullian, and he believed that Tiberius Caesar was so taken by the report of Pilate, and other reports from the region, that Jesus Christ must have been a God-man.
       In Chapter 5 of his work 'Apologeticus` written around 197 A.D. he states the following:
      "To say a word about the origin of laws of the kind to which we now refer, there was an old decree that no god should be consecrated by the emperor unless it is first approved by the senate. Marcus Aemilius had experience with this in reference to his god Alburnus. And this, too, makes for our case, that among you divinity needs to be acknowledged by the judgment of human beings. Unless gods satisfy men by deeds, there will be no deification for them: the god will have to win the approval of man.Tiberius accordingly, in whose days the Christian name made its entry into the world, having himself received intelligence from Syria Palestine of events which had clearly shown the truth of Christ`s divinity, brought the matter before the senate, with his own decision in favor of Christ. The senate, because it had not given the approval itself, rejected his proposal. Csar held to his opinion, threatening wrath against all accusers of the Christians. Consult your histories; you will there find that Nero was the first who assailed with the imperial sword against the Christian sect."
      As you can see, Tertullian, who addressed his writing to the provincial governors of the Roman Empire, was also asking them to consult their own historical archives to see whether or not what he was saying matched the Roman record.
      The third early writer was Eusebius and he also mentions this same event, In his Church History, he states the following:  
      "And when the wonderful events of the resurrection and ascension of our Saviour were spread abroad, in accordance with an ancient custom which prevailed among the rulers of the provinces, of reporting to the emperor acts never seen before taking place among them, so that nothing might escape him, Pontius Pilate informed Tiberius of the reports which were spread throughout all Palestine concerning the resurrection of our Saviour Jesus from the dead.
      He gave an account also of other wonders which he had learned of him, and how, after his death, having risen from the dead, he was now believed by many to be a God. They say that Tiberius referred the matter to the Senate, but that they rejected it, apparently because they had not previously investigated these reports (for an ancient law prevailed that no one should be made a God by the Romans except by a vote and decree of the Senate), but in reality, because the saving teaching of the divine Gospel did not need the confirmation and recommendation of men.
      But although the Senate of the Romans rejected the proposition made in regards to our Saviour, Tiberius still retained the opinion which he had held at first and took no hostile actions against Christ.
      These things are recorded by Tertullian, a man well versed in the laws of the Romans, and in other respects of high repute, and one of those especially distinguished in Rome. In his apology for the Christians, which was written by him in the Latin language, and has been translated into Greek, he writes as follows:
      "But in order that we may give an account of these laws from their origin, it was an ancient decree that no one should be consecrated a God by the emperor until the Senate had expressed its approval. Marcus Aurelius did thus concerning a certain idol, Alburnus. And this is a point which supports our doctrine, that among you divine dignity is conferred by human decree. If a God does not please a man he is not made a God. Thus, according to this custom, it is necessary for man to be gracious to God.
      Tiberius, therefore, under whom the name of Christ made its entry into the world, when these events were reported to him from Palestine, where it first began, spoke before the Senate, making it clear to them that he believed the reports. But the Senate, since it had not itself confirmed the reports, rejected it. But Tiberius continued to hold his own opinion, and threatened death to the accusers of the Christians." Heavenly providence had wisely instilled this into his mind so that the doctrine of the Gospel, unhindered at its beginning, might spread in all directions throughout the world."
      So not only does the Bible say that the God-man arose from the grave, Roman records said so as well. Even Caesar himself believed the reports concerning Him.
The Greatest Statements made by Tertullian regarding the God-man:
      "They brought Him before Pontius Pilate, at that time Roman governor of Syria; and, by the violence of their outcries against Him, extorted a sentence giving Him up to them to be crucified. He Himself had predicted this; which, however, would have signified little had not the prophets of old done it as well. And yet, nailed upon the cross, He exhibited many notable signs, by which His death was distinguished from all others. At His own free-will, He with a word dismissed from Him His spirit, anticipating the executioner`s work.
       In the same hour, too, the light of day was withdrawn, at the very time when the sun was directly overhead. Those who were not aware that this had been predicted about Christ, no doubt thought it an eclipse. You yourselves have the account of this prophetic sign given to the world still in your archives.
       Then, when His body was taken down from the cross and placed in a sepulcher, the Jews in their eager watchfulness surrounded it with a large military guard, lest, as He had predicted His resurrection from the dead on the third day, His disciples might remove by stealth His body, and deceive even those unwilling to believe.  But, lo, on the third day there a was a sudden shock of an earthquake, and the stone which sealed the sepulcher was rolled away, and the guard fled off in terror: without a single disciple near, the grave was found empty of all but the clothes of the buried One.
Jesus the God-Man rising from the grave
      But nevertheless, the leaders of the Jews, whom  were greatly concerned, spread abroad a lie, to keep the people obedient to their authority and submissive to them from the faith, sent out reports that the body of Christ had been stolen by His followers. For the Lord, you see, did not go forth into the general public, lest the wicked should be delivered from their error; that faith also, destined to a great reward, might hold its ground in difficulty.
       But He spent forty days with some of His disciples down in Galilee, a region of Judea, instructing them in the doctrines they were to teach to others. Thereafter, having given them commission to preach the gospel through the world, He was encompassed with a cloud and taken up to heaven, a fact more certain far than the assertions of your Roman Consuls concerning Romulus.
       All these things Pilate did to Christ; and now in fact a Christian in his own convictions, he sent word of Him to the reigning Caesar, who was at the time Tiberius.  Tertullian - Apology Chapter 21
The Greatest Statement made by the God man:
      Jesus said, "Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. This command I have received from My Father." John 10:17
This article is a chapter from our 4 volume book series "Bible Believer's Archaeology" which can be downloaded for your ebook reader or mobile device by visiting our resource download page by Clicking Here.
;Artwork: Christ rising from the tomb by Johann Overbeck.
Justin Martyr`s First Apology  Chapter 35 and Chapter 48. - Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson
Tertullian (145-220) Apology - Chapter 5 and Chapter 21 - Translated by S. Thelwall
Church History - Eusebius Pamphilius - How Tiberius was Affected when Informed by Pilate Concerning Christ.
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