Did You Know?
Why did Pontius Pilate become fearful upon hearing the charge that Jesus had “made himself God’s son”?—John 19:7.
The Roman Senate had posthumously raised Julius Caesar to the rank of a god. His adopted son and successor, Octavian, was thereafter declared divi filius, that is, “Son of a Divine One,” or “Son of God.” This Latin designation became a solemn title of the emperors. This is verified by numerous inscriptions on Roman altars, temples, statues, and coins. When the Jews charged Jesus with making himself “God’s son,” they were, in effect, accusing him of assuming an official title, which was tantamount to treason.
By the time of Jesus’ trial, Tiberius had inherited the title of divi filius. This emperor had a fearsome reputation for killing any whom he considered to be his enemies. So when the Jews intimated that Pilate would be disloyal to Caesar if he did not condemn Jesus, the Roman governor became “more fearful.” Eventually, he caved in under pressure and ordered Jesus’ execution.—John 19:8, 12-16.
Why did Zechariah foretell the destruction of Tyre long after it had been destroyed by the Babylonians?
Ancient Tyre, situated on the Mediterranean Coast, actually consisted of two parts. One was on the mainland, and the other was on an island.
At one time, inhabitants of Tyre were friendly to the Israelites. Later, though, Tyre became prosperous and began to defy Jehovah God, to the point of stealing the gold and silver from his people and selling some of them into slavery. (Joel 3:4-6) This brought Jehovah’s adverse judgment. Through his prophets, Jehovah foretold that Tyre would fall at the hands of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, who brought his forces to Tyre after he destroyed Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E.—Isaiah 23:13, 14; Jeremiah 27:2-7; Ezekiel 28:1-19.
Facing defeat, the people of Tyre escaped with their possessions to the island city. The Babylonians left the mainland city in ruins. Nearly 100 years later, Jehovah inspired his prophet Zechariah to pronounce His judgment against Tyre: “Look! Jehovah himself will dispossess her, and into the sea he will certainly strike down her military force; and in the fire she herself will be devoured.”—Zechariah 9:3, 4.
In 332 B.C.E., the island city met destruction at the hands of Alexander the Great, thus fulfilling Zechariah’s prophecy. To accomplish that, Alexander constructed a half-mile-long [800 m] causeway from the mainland to the island, using the wood and stones from the ruins of old Tyre. This, too, was foretold by Ezekiel.—Ezekiel 26:4, 12.
[Picture on page 27]
“The siege of Tyre”
Drawing by Andre Castaigne (1898-1899)