The amber spokes of fading daylight heralded the approach of evening, as the sun slipped behind the horizon, the warm summer winds continued to blow along the colonnades. The day had gone, but the night was yet young. The gardens had been restored to their former glory, the palace rebuilt, and the preparations for the night's festivities complete.
His guests will have their fill of all manner of debauchery and licentiousness that evening.
But Nero had a problem. Well! Two actually, firstly he needs to find a scapegoat for the fire, which ravaged 70% of the Roman capital between July 19-23, in 64 A.D, because rumour has it that he's to blame. And secondly, for the entertainment of his guests he needed to illuminate his spectacular gardens. He has a genuine first world problem.
Combining his powerful intellect, with his evil disposition he devises one plan, to solve both problems. In the place of the customary lamps, he sets Christians in tubs of oil and tar and sets them ablaze. The human candles are to provide the light for the evening's festivities and to punish the Christians of Rome for arson.
Well may we pause for a solemn moment of reflection, followed by outrage. However, the Roman populace felt very little sympathy for the Christians who suffered this fate and many other exquisite forms of torture, at this time.
In fact, Tacitus the Roman historian, who documented these events in his Annals, tells us that there was some justification for the horrific treatment of Christians.
Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace................ not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind.
Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed by the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.
Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle..................................
I think we could say, that the first Christians had a serious public relations problem, not dissimilar to our own. The pagans of the day, mistakenly believed that Christians practised cannibalism; eating their children (eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ), indulged in incest (greeting each other with a holy kiss) and held secret meetings for the purpose of orgies (attending church services before sunrise). These were the calumnies leveled against Christians.
The ancient world's perception of Christians was based on rumour, and not fact. Yet that didn't shield them from being universally loathed by their contemporaries.
I aver that we're experiencing a similar phenomenon. Today's Media is tendentious, it holds to an overtly anti-Christian creed, which deliberately chooses to ignore all meritorious acts done by Christians, but never holds back to present in the most pejorative terms the smallest foible of Christian misconduct.
This was seen clearly during this year's Olympics, where the editor's scissors went to new extremes, as Olympic champion after Olympic champion gave glory to their Saviour, Jesus Christ, always ensuring they remained true to their creed, they never gave any Christians credit where it's due.
For instance, Usain Bolt according to the BBC commentator was having a 'moment to himself', as he went to his knees in prayer on the track before thousands of spectators, after winning his third consecutive gold medal, in the 100-metre sprint. Bolt goes to great lengths to demonstrate his faith, but the Media selectively ignores this fundamental element of his success.
Then there's Simone Manuel history making feat in the pool. The first black woman to win gold medal in an Olympic swimming event. Manuel could not contain her excitement, nor her praise to God. The New York Times however, removed all God references from the original, when they reported her historic victory.
And who can forget that ethereal moment, when the Fijian football team interlocked arms, and raised their faces and voices to heaven in three minutes of uncontained praise to their God and Saviour. The emotion was palpable, another history making victory, but the editor's scissors were active again and so removed it from the news coverage.
Then there's our beloved ABC, who in deference to their anti-Christian bigotry erased Australian, Kim Brennan's reference to her inspiration drawn from 'Christ the Redeemer' statue on the mountain which overlooks Rio de Janeiro, after winning her solo rowing race.
Now, had these Olympic champions been lesbians, Muslims or homosexuals, then the adulation gushing forth from the Media's lips would've been effusive. But, since they were only Christians every effort needed to be made to support their disparaging caricature of Christianity. As they say 'never give credit, where credit is due in the case of Christians'.
The mainstream Media of a bygone era, has become the left-wing media today, and it has declared war on God and Christianity. The propaganda it peddles is obvious to astute Christians, but the average person in the street is unaware that his or her opinion of Christianity is being drip fed by a Media determined to sully Christianity.
Therefore we shouldn't be surprised, when in a future time, that no one springs to our defence as our religious freedom is slowly taken away. Because after all, aren't we all bigots, homophobes, ignorant fools and haters, just as our forebears were classed as 'haters of the mankind'.
Vic Matthews, has three degrees B.Optom, B.Arts& B. Christian Studies. He is a kiteboard tragic, who now works as a Christian Copywriter. He can be found at http://trustworthycopywriter.com/writing-services/christian-copywriter/
Vic Matthews' previous articles may be viewed http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/vic-matthews.html