O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
If you want a crazy conspiracy theory, I have one for you. Joseph Atwill in his book (Caesar’s Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus http://www.amazon.com/Caesars-Messiah-Conspiracy-Flavian-Signature/...) sees parallels between Jesus and Titus as well as parallels between the writings of Josephus and the Gospels. His conclusion is that the Flavian dynasty (Vespasian and his sons Titus and Domitian) wrote the gospels. He claims that they invented Jesus (patterned on Titus) as a way of making a more peaceful Jewish Messiah! This is crazy, of course, but some skeptics think he is really onto something. See here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUPoLMW6dNM&feature=related and see here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zlj5-iwKueQ&feature=relmfu
Now, there actually are parallels between Jesus and Titus, but they are the parallels of Christ and Antichrist. See my book, The Antichrist and the Second Coming, vols 1 & 2
I have produced 1,100 pages tying Titus to the scriptures related to Antichrist. So Titus is found in Scripture, but that hardly means that Titus or his family wrote Scripture!
A couple of parallels between Jesus and Titus are, the son motif (Jesus the son of God, Titus the son of the physical ruler of the world). Both had a 3 1/2 year campaign that began in Galilee and ended in Jerusalem. Note, however, the time period of 3 1/2 was not invented by the Flavians. It shows up in Daniel (Dan. 7:25; 12:7). It is the last half of Daniel's 70 weeks. In considering this time period, it is helpful to look at Daniel 9:26-27; these two verses present a juxtaposition of the activities of Christ and Antichrist (brackets mine).
26. [Christ] And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; [Antichrist] and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.
27. [Christ] Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. [Antichrist] And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.
The book of Revelation makes parallels between the Lamb and the beast. These are the parallels of Christ and Antichrist not because the Romans wrote Revelation (anyone who worships the beast is condemned in Revelation, Rev. 14:9-11).
Revelation 13 reveals a number of parallels between the Lamb and the beast—between Christ and Antichrist. Both the Lamb and beast are slain and then come back to life (Rev. 5:6; 13:3). The corporate beast suffered a mortal wound with the death of Nero in AD 68. This wound would be healed with the accession of Vespasian and Titus and the resulting resurrection of the Roman Empire in late AD 69. Both the Lamb and the beast have followers out of every tribe and tongue and nation (Rev. 5:9; 13:7); both receive worship (Rev. 5:8-14; 13:8). The followers of both have their names written on their foreheads (Rev. 14:1 NASB; 13:16).
Both the Lamb and beast have the number seven associated with them (a number associated with God in Revelation, cf. Rev. 1:4).18 The Lamb has seven horns (symbolic of God’s power) and seven eyes (symbolic of the knowledge and wisdom of God’s Spirit, Rev. 5:6). The beast has seven heads, attempting to show himself as God (Rev. 13:1; cf. 2 Thess. 2:4). The Lamb was dead and now is alive forevermore (Rev. 1:18; cf. Rev. 1:4). The individual beast was and was not (at the time John wrote) and would ascend out of the abyss (Rev. 17:8) to fight against Jesus at the Second Coming (Rev. 19:11). The Lamb’s parousia would result in his victory; the individual beast’s parousia would result in his destruction (Rev. 19:11-21; cf. 2 Thess. 2:8-9).
Especially important for assessing Atwill theory about the Flavians writing parts of Scripture is the book of Daniel. This is because the latest it could be written would be the second century BC. Thus, it could not have been produced by the Flavians. It is pretty easy to find Titus in the book of Daniel. Now, since Daniel was written hundreds of year before the Flavians lived, there are only two choices: either the references to Titus are coincidence or they are real prophecy.
It is easy to find Titus in Daniel 7 as the little 11th horn (Dan. 7:7-8). He was the 11th Caesar and was a little horn in AD 70 (i.e., a general under his father). His campaign against the Jews was a time times and half a time (Dan. 7:23-27; what Rev. 13:5 shows as 42 months, cf. Rev. 11:2). A change was made to the reckoning of the Jewish calendar and law when Titus and Vespasian allowed the equivalent of a new Sanhedrin to be set up in Yavneh in AD 69 (Dan. 7:25). The three kings removed before Titus (Dan. 7:8, 20) were Galba Otho and Vitellius (the 3 short lived emperors of AD 68-69). The Jewish commentator Rashi was able to see these connections. See here. http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/16490/showrashi/true
It is incredibly easy to see Titus in the prince to come who destroys Jerusalem and the Temple in Dan. 9:26-27. Titus did that in AD 70. Only Nebuchadnezzar and Titus fulfilled that prophecy.
People can also see Titus in the invasion of the King of the North in Daniel 11:36-12:13 which ends with the destruction of the Jewish nation by him in AD 70. In Daniel 12, Daniel is told that all the events of chapters 11 and 12 would be fulfilled when the power of Daniel’s people had been “completely shattered” (Dan. 12:7). This happened at Titus’ destruction of the Jewish nation in AD 70. It was the culmination of the great tribulation—a time brought on by the king of the North’s siege against Jerusalem (Dan. 11:36-12:2). A. Berkeley Mickelsen (who is not a preterist) makes the following observations about how Daniel 11:40-44 fits Titus and the Romans:
"Dan[iel] 11:40-44 seems less appropriate to Antiochus IV Epiphanes than to the Roman ruler Titus who invaded the area in A.D. 66-73. The king of the south will wage war with the king of the north by thrusting out his forces (Dan. 11:40). According to the text the king of the north comes with ships, then he enters the lands, overflows, and passes through. Antiochus IV would not have to pass through countries to reach the “glorious” land, or Israel (Dan. 11:41), because his kingdom adjoined it.
These verses better illustrate the coming of the Romans into Palestine under Titus. In that case, the king of the south would not be Egypt. From the Roman perspective, it would have been the Jewish nation because of their treatment of Roman officials. The Jews (especially the Zealots) attacked Roman troops and initiated the tragic war of A.D. 66-73. When the Romans decided to insure their full control of the eastern Mediterranean, they cared nothing about the areas occupied in past times by the Edomites, Moabites, and Ammonites on the east side of the Jordan River (Dan. 11:41). Instead, their primary concerns were the land of Egypt, the upper Nile, and the northern coast of Africa (Dan. 11:43) . . . Dan. 11:45 describes the approach of the Romans to Jerusalem after their victorious campaign in Galilee."
Again, there are two possibilities: either these are coincidences or they are true prophecies. Because Daniel was written in the second century BC (at the latest, I would say much earlier) there is no way these connections were produced by the Flavians. That puts a very big hole in Atwill’s theory.
Now, notice that there connections between the little horn of Daniel and the individual beast of Revelation:
1. The little horn/individual beast is an eighth ruler. The little eleventh horn becomes an eighth when three rulers are removed before him (Dan. 7:8). The individual beast is an eighth king (Rev. 17:11).
2. The little horn/individual beast speaks great blasphemies against God (Dan. 7:8, 11, 20, 25; Rev. 13:5-6).
3. The little horn/individual beast wages war against the saints and overcomes them (Daniel 7:21; Rev. 13:7).
4. The little horn/individual beast has a three-and-a-half-year reign of terror (Daniel 7:25; Rev. 13:5).
5. The little horn/individual beast is defeated in AD 70 by the coming of God/Christ (Daniel 7:21-22; Rev. 19:11-20).
6. The little horn/individual beast is thrown into the lake of fire at the time of the Second Coming (Daniel 7:11; Rev. 19:19-21).
7. The kingdom of God is established (what the NT shows as the beginning of the millennium) at the AD 70 defeat of the little horn/individual beast (Daniel 7:7-11, 21-27; Rev. 19:11-20:4).
So when Atwill comes up with connections between Jesus and Titus, I say "yes, there are connections between Christ and the Antichrist." That does not mean the Flavians wrote the NT any more than it means that they wrote the book of Daniel, however. Please don't lose your faith because of Atwill's book :-)