Augustus Caesar Bust
How did Caesar fulfill the prophecy that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem?
The face of Caesar Augustus from the Prima Porta Statue at the Vatican Museum. This marble statue was discovered in 1863 about 9 miles outside of Rome, at Prima Porta, a Villa of Livia Drisilla (Augustus' wife). Prima Porta was the visitors gateway to Rome, once a traveler saw it he knew he had reached Rome.
Augustus was not only the first emperor, he was also the greatest. He definitely deserved the title 'father of his country'. He exercised authority concerning both Rome and the provinces with great wisdom. He boasted that he had transformed Rome from a city of brick into a city of marble. The face on the statue of Augustus is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology, it reveals the image and reality of a person mentioned in the Bible at the time of Christ's birth.
"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child." Luke 2:1-5
The Bible says that Caesar Augustus made a decree that the whole world should be taxed and this included the Jews. This happened when Jesus was about to be born. Joseph and Mary were required to travel to their ancestral cities which would have been Bethlehem for both of them. Since they were living in Nazareth it would have been an extremely long and difficult journey, about 80-90 miles depending on which route they took. It was also mainly an uphill journey seeing that Bethlehem is about 2500 feet above sea level, in the hill country of Judea. When they arrived at Bethlehem there was no room for them at the Inn because of the large crowd coming to Jerusalem for the Passover, and that night Mary gave birth to Jesus, in a stable in Bethlehem.
Micah 5:2 - But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, [though] thou be little among the thousands of Judah, [yet] out of thee shall he come forth unto me [that is] to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth [have been] from of old, from everlasting.
Luke 2:1 - And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.