Luke 3:1  In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene. (ESV)

Luke mentions a “Lysanias” the tetrarch who was in power in AD 29, but there was no historical record of him outside of Luke’s account.  But then an inscription near Damascus was found reading, “For the salvation of the Au[gust] lords and of [all] their household, Nymphaeus, free[dman] of Ea[gle] Lysanias tetrarch established this street and other things.”

How do we know this is the Lysanias mentioned by Luke?  It mentions “the salvation of the Augustus lords,” plural  The only time two people bore the title “Augustus” at the same time was during the reign of Tiberius when both he and his mother (Livia) bore the title.  She took the title “Julia Augusta” after the death of Augustus Caesar (Octavian) in AD 14.  She died in AD 29, so the inscription must have been created sometime between AD 14-29, which coincides precisely with Luke’s account.

Significance:

  1. It confirms the accuracy of Luke’s historical reporting.
Advertisements