"COME, NOW, AND LET US REASON TOGETHER, SAYS THE LORD" (ISAIAH 1.18)
—"The one reading, be understanding!" (Mk. 13.14; Mt. 24.15)
Brief studies and devotionals designed to elucidate the meaning of Scripture, increase our faith, and enable us to draw closer to God. To learn more about this column, see: "01—The Bible Was Written To Be Understood."
There were two towns named after Caesar in Palestine: Caesarea Philippi (cf. Mt. 16.13f) was situated about 30 miles to the northeast of the Sea of Galilee. Cornelius' home, however — along with Philip, the evangelist (Acts 21.8), Herod (Acts 12.19-23), and Felix (Acts 23.23ff) — was located in Caesarea, a coastal town a “little more than thirty miles to the north” of Joppa, covering “an area of some 8,000 acres” (Jackson, Acts, 117).
Caesarea was “the Roman capital of Palestine” (Baker's, 212), the “administrative center of the Romans during the time of the Palestinian occupation” (Jackson, 117), and the “residence of the procurators. Located along the Mediterranean, twenty-three miles south of Mount Carmel and sixty-four miles northwest of Jerusalem, Caesarea was built on the site of Strato's Tower by Herod the Great and named in honor of Caesar Augustus. It was sometimes called Caesarea Stratonis to distinguish it from Caesarea Philippi near Mount Hermon” (Baker's, 212).
Interestingly, the “name of Pilate, carved in stone, has been found in a theater at Caesarea” (Jackson, 117). In this city, Cornelius served as “centurion of...the Itailian Regiment” (Acts 10.1). Some suppose Cornelius was named after P. Cornelius Sulla who, a century earlier, had freed 10,000 slaves, many of whom decided to assume his name in his honor (Polhill, Acts, 251).