🔼The name Augustus: Summary
- Increased One, Bright One, Risen One
- From the verb αυξω (auxo), to increase, or the noun αυγη (auge), dawn.
🔼The name Augustus in the Bible
Augustus is the name of the first Roman Emperor (Luke 2:1 only), and one of three mentioned by name in the New Testament. Augustus ruled from 27 BC to 14 AD. His successor Tiberius, who reigned until 37 AD, is mentioned in Luke 3:1 (and the sea mentioned after him in John 6:1, 6:23 and 21:1). The third emperor, Caligula, who reigned until 41 AD, the Bible doesn't mention. His successor, Claudius, appears in Acts 11:28 and 18:2. The emperor in the days of Paul was Nero (emperor from 54 to 68 AD), whose praenomen (first name) is omitted in the Bible. Procurator Festus referred to Paul's appeal to Nero by his title Σεβαστος (Sebastos), which was first bestowed upon Augustus (Acts 25:21, 25:25). This same word σεβαστος (sebastos) serves as adjective to describe the "Augustan" cohort mentioned in Acts 27:1.
Like the whole rest of the Bible, the gospel genre contemplates both the history and the future of mankind, with the very hip understanding that this future is either sustainable or it isn't. If mankind's future is unsustainable, we might as well give up now and save nature the trouble of having to eradicate us. But if our future is sustainable, we'd be smart to figure out how that works, and save us the trouble of having to suffer nature's patient corrections.
The gospel genre contemplates the nature of a righteous human world, which is a sustainable world that is sustainable because it exists in synchronicity with nature's laws and thus accords to the Creator's design. It's also one in which the highest number of participants enjoy the greatest level of happiness, and this through a thing called ελευθερια (eleutheria), which is a governed freedom, or a societal freedom achieved through a collective and voluntary adherence to perfect law (which is the law of nature translated into human social contexts; Isaiah 9:6, Psalm 72:8, 1 Corinthians 15:24).
Suffice it to say that in the Bible, Augustus is the epitome of centralized human government, which is a government of masters and slaves, obedience and command structures, competition and survival of the fittest. The polar opposite of Augustus is Jesus, who embodies a government of personal sovereignty, generosity and symbiosis, expertise and trust, voluntary contribution and survival of the weakest. The Augustinian world thrives on ranks, factions, religions, denominations, nations, flags, titles, labels and standards. The Eleutherian world thrives on the absence of all these (Colossians 3:11, Galatians 3:28, Romans 2:11, Matthew 23:8-12, Isaiah 40:4). Jesus is called Christ; Augustus Antichrist.
The name Augustus was a title bestowed upon Octavian, the adopted son of Julius Caesar, who had managed to put an end to a century of increasing instability in the Roman Republic. He did that, of course, by effectively terminating the Republic (a population governed by an openly accessible senate of hundreds of learned men) and in its stead creating the Empire (a realm controlled by a single unchallengeable tyrant). The story of Jesus is the story of the only effective form of opposition against the social disease that is totalitarianism — in the first three centuries AD, promoting the gospel and its eleutheria was considered an act of high treason against the Roman State, and thus nothing short of terrorism and thus punishable by death, while in the fourth century, the entire empire had embraced a form of it — namely by abstaining from violence and devoting oneself wholly to the study of nature, the service of whomever and whenever, and the perfection of information technology (see our articles on the names YHWH and Logos; if satan is the father of lies, then the opposite of satan, namely eleutheria, has to do with unrestricted access to unspoiled information, so that every person can properly assess every situation and make suitable decisions: Deuteronomy 29:29, Job 12:22, Ecclesiastes 12:14, Daniel 2:28, Matthew 12:36, Luke 8:17, 1 Corinthians 4:5, Revelation 20:12).
Reeling from the depths of governmental depravity to which Rome had stooped, the leading men of Rome declared Octavian the Savior of the World, the King of Kings, the Son of God (divi filius; son of the defied one, namely Julius). The literary character of Jesus of Nazareth embodied the eternal fight against ignorance, totalitarianism, inhumanity, darkness and beastliness, and was born in the decade between the death of Herod the Great (4 BC; Matthew 1:1) and the ascension of Quirinius as governor of Syria (6 AD; Luke 2:2). His proponents began to apply all the lofty titles of the Roman Emperor to Jesus Christ, saying that every sovereign eleutheros was in effect an emperor.
🔼Etymology of the name Augustus
The name Augustus is the same as the adjective augustus, which derives from the verb augeo, to increase or enlarge, in the same way in which the adjective angustus, narrow or contracted, derives from the verb ango, to draw close or to squeeze.
Our adjective augustus originated as a religious term that served mostly to describe sacred items that were collectively especially revered or held in very high esteem. Its parent verb augeo mostly described the increase, advance or strengthening of something that already existed in some form or other, but could also emphasize the bringing about of something wholly new. The derived noun auctor means originator, producer, father.
The noun αυγη (auge) means dawn in the sense of a splendorous and brightly flashing light after a long period of darkness: not merely something pretty but something that illuminates a hitherto invisible world, and drives away the chaotic, crime-prone and evil-riddled night, and brings reason, order, wisdom and skill, and most of all peace, life and growth. Our noun stems from the same Proto-Indo-European root as the verb αυξανω (auxano) or αυξω (auxo), to wax or increase (both in quality and quantity), and English words such as auxiliary, augment and augury.
The name Augustus literally means Increased One or rather Declared Super-Great One, but also relates to the sudden appearance of the sun at dawn and the rising of the sun during the day: Shining One or even Risen One. Hence the words of Paul: "Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:14).