Author’s Background

Flavius Josephus (AD 37-100), was born into a priestly Jewish family. He was a Pharisee and a historian for the Roman empire. He wrote several famous works, among them are: Antiquities of the Jews and the Wars of the Jews. Historians say Josephus was not a Christian.

Flavius Josephus

Reference To Jesus Christ

Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man. For he was a doer of surprising feats – a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct to this day.* – Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 18.3.3

Josephus bears witness to John as having been a baptist, and as promising purification to those who underwent the rite. Now this writer, although not believing in Jesus as the Christ, in seeking after the cause of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple, whereas he ought to have said that the conspiracy against Jesus was the cause of these calamities befalling the people, since they put to death Christ, who was a prophet . . . – Origen, Origen Against Celsus 1.47, see footnote [1]

Josephus, at least, has not hesitated to testify to this in his writings, where he says, “. . . For the Jews slew him, although he was a most just man – Eusebius. Church History of Eusebius. ii.23, see footnote [2]

If you question this reference, please read the documents titled Authenticity of the Testimonium Flavianum and Manuscript Evidence For Josephus.

Conclusion

Flavius Josephus reveals several key things:

  1. Christ was known as a wise man and was highly regarded.
  2. Josephus referred to Jesus’ miracles.
  3. Christ was a teacher of truth for many Jews and Gentiles.
  4. Christ was killed on a cross by Pontius Pilate.
  5. Christ appeared alive the third day after being killed.
  6. Predictions by the prophets came true in Christ.
  7. Jesus is the Christ or Messiah.

References:

1. Also read Origen, Origen Against Celsus ii. 13 at the same time. The author explains that Josephus confused James the Just with Jesus Christ.

2. Ibid.