|A.D. The Bible Continues|
|Based on||The New Testament|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||12|
|Running time||46 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Lightworkers Media|
United Artists Media Group
|Original release||April 5 –|
June 21, 2015
|Preceded by||The Bible|
A.D. The Bible Continues (also known as A.D. Kingdom and Empire) is an American biblical drama television miniseries, based on the Bible, and a sequel to the 2013 miniseries, The Bible, and follows up from the film Son of God which was a more in depth look on Jesus's story. It is produced by Roma Downey, Mark Burnett, and Richard Bedser. The limited series began airing on NBC on Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015, in twelve weekly one-hour episodes. The story takes place immediately after the events of The Bible miniseries, and then of the Son of God film, beginning with the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, and continues with the first ten chapters of the Acts of the Apostles. On July 3, 2015, NBC cancelled A.D. The Bible Continues after one season. However, producers Burnett and Downey plan future biblical productions on their OTT digital channel.
- Richard Coyle as Caiaphas
- Vincent Regan as Pontius Pilate
- Adam Levy as Peter
- Joanne Whalley as Claudia, wife of Pontius Pilate
- Chipo Chung as Mary Magdalene
- Babou Ceesay as John
- Chris Brazier as Reuben
- Fraser Ayres as Simon the Zealot
- Juan Pablo Di Pace as Jesus
- James Callis as Herod Antipas
- Greta Scacchi as Mary
- Will Thorp as Cornelius the Centurion
- Emmett J. Scanlan as Saul of Tarsus
- Jodhi May as Leah, wife of Caiaphas
- Ken Bones as Annas
- Kevin Doyle as Joseph of Arimathea
- Helen Daniels as Maya, daughter of Peter
- Andrew Gower as Caligula
- Claire Cooper as Herodias
- Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson as Thomas
- Kenneth Collard as Barnabas
- Pedro Lloyd Gardiner as Matthew
- Denver Isaac as James brother of John
- George Georgiou as Boaz
- Farzana Dua Elahe as Saint Joanna
- Joe Dixon as Philip
- Jim Sturgeon as Chuza
- Marama Corlett as Tabitha
- Charlene McKenna as Eva
- Alastair Mackenzie as James the Just
- Kenneth Cranham as Tiberius
- Reece Ritchie as Stephen
- Stephen Walters as Simon the Sorcerer
- Michael Peluso as Herod Agrippa
- Struan Rodger as Gamaliel
- Nicholas Sidi as Ananias of Damascus
- Peter De Jersey as Ananias, husband of Sapphira
- Indra Ové as Sapphira
- Colin Salmon as Gabra the Ethiopian
- Francis Magee as Levi, the leader of the Zealots
- John Benfield as Yitzhak, student of Simon the Sorcerer
- John Ioannou as Melek, a healed cripple
- Lex Shrapnel as Jonathan, son of Annas
In anticipation of the global event, a number of companion materials were released in an effort by Palam Fidelis Publishing to engage thoughtful, religious discussion by offering "Family Discussion Guides" for each episode.
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|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers|
|1||"The Tomb Is Open"||Ciaran Donnelly||Simon Block||April 5, 2015||9.68|
|After the public calls for Jesus to be crucified and Peter denies knowing him, Jesus is sent to Pontius Pilate to have the final say. Pilate orders the crucifixion of Jesus in order to maintain the peace and satisfy his people. Overcome with guilt for betraying Jesus, Judas hangs himself in the wastelands. Caiaphas defends his decision to send Jesus to Pilate with his father-in-law Annas. The act will send a message to all who oppose Roman law. Annas suggests a quicker death. Pilate grants two requests: Jesus' expedited death and Joseph of Arimathea's petition to claim the body. Pilate's wife Claudia warns that he will regret crucifying Jesus, who soon dies on the cross. Jerusalem trembles and the temple's holy veil splits. A soldier arrives to ensure Jesus' death, and Joseph offers his tomb as a final resting place. There he, Mother Mary, John, and Mary Magdalene clean the body and pray before closing the tomb. Caiaphas requests that Pilate post soldiers outside the tomb and place a Roman seal across the front, which will carry the death penalty if broken. Pilate agrees. Peter admits to John and Mary Magdalene that he denied Jesus, as the remaining disciples gather at the safe house. They all argue over the next course of action and Mother Mary reminds them of the prophesied return of Jesus. They decide to leave the city if he doesn't return on the third day. Soon, another tremble and the tomb illuminates behind its seal. An angel dressed as a warrior appears on top of the tomb and exposes its sword, a sign to the shocked Roman guards to not interfere. Later, Caiaphas receives news that the Roman seal has been broken, the tomb opened, and Jesus is gone.|
|2||"The Body Is Gone"||Ciaran Donnelly||Simon Block||April 12, 2015||7.75|
|Mary Magdalene sneaks to Joseph's tomb and finds it open. Nothing is inside but the shroud that Jesus wore on the cross, left perfectly folded. She returns to the safe house to tell the others. Caiaphas listens to Reuben and the other guards try to explain what happened – a warrior angel broke the seal and moved the massive stone. Caiaphas thinks that some followers of Jesus must have raided the tomb in an attempt to fake a resurrection. Caiaphas gives his men strict orders to say that they fell asleep on duty if asked, and instructs Reuben to find Jesus' body immediately. Caiaphas then lies to Pilate that Jesus is dead in the tomb; however, a tomb guard reports otherwise after Caiaphas leaves. After being left at the empty tomb by Peter and John, Mary Magdalene is visited by Jesus, who is without stain. She returns to the chaotic safe house to report the news. Jesus appears to his disciples and later to a doubting Thomas, before guards storm the safe house and the disciples scatter into the city. Pilate orders the deaths of most of Caiaphas' guards, as Reuben and Caiaphas search the city for the body of Jesus. The disciples make it to the coast of the Sea of Galilee, where Peter finds it difficult catching fish. A man appears and instructs him to cast the net on the right side of the boat. The net quickly becomes filled with fish, and the men confirm their adviser to be Jesus. He suggests that they return to Jerusalem, wait there, then spread the word. Jesus then climbs a hill and disappears in a bright light. Angry over the death of his men, Caiaphas confronts Pilate, who then kills the tomb guards in front of him as a lesson in "civic administration".|
|3||"The Spirit Arrives"||Ciaran Donnelly||Andy Rattenbury||April 19, 2015||6.36|
|Leah comforts her distressed husband Caiaphas by saying that his men's deaths was Pilate's order to quash any rumor of resurrection. Pilate confesses to Claudia about killing the soldiers in the palace, which is preparing for King Herod Antipas' visit. Upon his arrival, Antipas asks Caiaphas why the city feels as if it is about to erupt. He assures King Antipas that it has nothing to do with the recent crucifixion, but Antipas says that Caiaphas mishandled to entire thing by involving the Romans and warns to not do it again. Peter's daughter Maya joins him at the safe house, and she suggests prayer to be the disciples' solution for their future missions. After the Holy Spirit fills them, they confidently set out to spread the word. Caiaphas ensures the widow of a guard that his murderer will be found, but Leah tells her to leave the city. Claudia remains distant from Pilate, but asks Cornelius to look after him during the Festival of Pentecost. The disciples enter the temple and heal a crippled man in the name of Jesus, only to be beaten by Reuben and his men. Peter and John are arrested, but they are proud that their mission has begun. An assassination attempt is made on Pilate which results in the death of Roman soldier Drusus. Pilate orders the deaths of those in the vicinity of the crime. Upon seeing the dead bodies of his townspeople, Caiaphas knows that he must stand up for himself and his fellow Jews against the ruthless Romans.|
|4||"The Wrath"||Tony Mitchell||Ben Newman||April 26, 2015||5.77|
|Pilate decrees that ten Jews will be crucified every day until the assassin is found. As Thomas baptizes Stephen, Maya announces her return to the city to check on her father, and Mary Magdalene joins her to keep her promise of Maya's safety to Peter. Cornelius and his men search the city for Boaz the (fictional) assassin after finding in his shop the knife used in the attempt. Caiaphas puts Peter and John on public trial. The crowd supports their miracles under God's name and Caiaphas is forced to release them, with the caveat to not teach nor speak Jesus' name. Peter and John's popularity grows after their release, which overwhelms Peter. Mother Mary comforts him by stating that Jesus knew that Peter's faith would help him with his new responsibilities. John has a dream that leads him to the Temple, where he recruits Barnabas, who gives his land to the cause. Levi finds Boaz and warns him of the ease in doing so, adding that he should leave the city. Boaz visits the new commune, and Peter says that he can live there as long as he repents of his sins. Boaz refuses, relying on his Jewish identity and not the name of Jesus. The Holy Spirit shows Peter a vision of Ananias and Sapphira hiding money, despite their telling Peter that they donated everything to the commune. When confronted, both die, drowning in their own fluids. Caiaphas disrespects Pilate, and Claudia gives Boaz's name to Leah, hoping to end the chaos.|
|5||"The First Martyr"||Tony Mitchell||Ben Newman||May 3, 2015||5.47|
|After Peter's trial, the people of the camp have become afraid of him. Mother Mary assures him that, in time, faith will give them understanding, but pain and despair are currently in control. Jesus came to free them from it. Peter gathers the apostles; they will go to Jerusalem to offer their fearful followers sanctuary in the camp. Once in Jerusalem, Peter and the apostles are stunned to find their former safe house filled with scared converts and refugees. With no assassin news, Pilate orders Cornelius to seize 10 Jewish women from a wedding party and crucify them. Cornelius and his men take 10 Jews from the market to crucify. Meanwhile, Leah finds a worried Caiaphas and shares the assassin's name (Boaz), adding that his fiancée Eva has been found and could flush him out. Leah visits Eva, asking her to persuade Boaz to give himself up, hoping to end Pilate's crucifixions. Eva remains stoic. Boaz turns himself in to Caiaphas and Reuben. Pilate has Cornelius to torture Boaz, who is then spared when Levi the leader of the Zealots shoots him with an arrow, killing him. Later, Stephen publicly condemns Caiaphas for refusing the Word of God, and he is stoned to death while a young man named Saul of Tarsus is watching.|
|6||"The Persecution"||Tony Mitchell||Damian Wayling||May 10, 2015||4.53|
|After Stephen's death by stoning, the disciples gather at the safe house to pray over his body. Back at the camp, Barnabas tells Philip that he dreamed that Stephen wouldn't be the last of them to die. The two men notice a stranger entering the camp, who introduces himself as Saul of Tarsus, a scholar, Jew, Roman, Pharisee, and defender of the Temple of Jerusalem. Saul claims that Jesus was nothing more than a false prophet, and preaching his message will bring nothing but wrath upon the disciples. While walking through the market, Annas asks his son Jonathan if he cannot see that Caiaphas must be replaced because of his involvement with Pilate. Jonathan points out that Annas is plotting against his own son-in-law, but Annas waves him off. The Sanhedrin seeks Caiaphas's successor and now the family needs Jonathan to step up. Caiaphas is not happy to play host to Leah's family, and less happy to discover that Herod Antipas and Herodias have invited themselves to stay for the Purim festival. On their way, the royal couple stops off to survey the Nazarene's camp to see that it was so close to Jerusalem and densely populated. Over dinner, they admit that Purim was a useful excuse for them to check to see if the city still stands after Pilate's recent wave of crucifixions. Annas and Jonathan steer the conversation towards the Nazarene's encampment, sowing seeds of doubt against Caiaphas. Herodias and Antipas would prefer not to choose between Caiaphas and Jonathan. Nevertheless, he knows that he'll have to throw his support behind one of them and then let Pilate have the responsibility of dealing with the fallout.|
|7||"The Visit"||Brian Kelly||Andy Rattenbury||May 17, 2015||4.80|
|Saul and his men search Jerusalem for Peter and the disciples. Simon the Sorcerer fails to heal an unconscious woman in the market and asks to be baptized, following Philip's managing to do so in the name of Jesus. Roman Emperor Tiberius and his nephew Caligula enter Jerusalem. Tiberius has asked Antipas and Herodias to be in attendance of Pilate's governorship review. Pilate asks Caiaphas to speak for him. Emperor Tiberius dismisses all when talk of God arises. Later, Caiphas dupes Saul into thinking that Peter left for Damascus; Saul leaves Jerusalem in pursuit of Peter. Claudia escorts Tiberius to his bedchamber to hear his recollection of some dreams. She later tells Pilate that they must keep their nerve, as Tiberius is a tired old man.|
|8||"The Road to Damascus"||Brian Kelly||Damian Wayling||May 24, 2015||4.24|
|Caiaphas asks Reuben to escort Saul to Damascus, hoping that Tiberius will depart Jerusalem before Saul's return. The long trip to Damascus wears Reuben down, and he asks why Saul hates Peter. Saul angrily exclaims that God would not choose a simple fisherman to spread His message, adding that Jesus is an impostor. The sky then goes dark and Jesus appears to Saul in a ball of light. He instructs Saul to go to Damascus and await further instruction. Saul's men find him blinded and screaming for help. Jesus later appears to Ananias, saying that Saul is the chosen instrument to inform the Gentiles and their kings and the Jewish people and their priests. Ananias cures Saul of his blindness and later baptizes him. He becomes a new man and goes to the synagogue in Damascus to preach. John and Peter go to Samaria to assist Philip. Simon the Sorcerer offers to donate all of his money to help spread Jesus' word, in exchange for "a few drops of the Holy Spirit". His bargaining attempt causes rage to explode from Peter and blood to flow from his eye sockets, but Peter urges him to repent and begs God for mercy on Simon. Upon witnessing Caligula's debauchery with Herod Agrippa, Claudia and Pilate counsel Tiberius, which includes separating them by sending Caligula back to Rome. Enraged, Caligula warns Pilate and Claudia that they will answer to him and that Tiberius' reign and protection is nearing an end. Claudia dreams of Tiberius' death by Caligula's hand. Antipas, Pilate, and their wives learn from Caligula that Tiberius died in his sleep. Caligula tears up Pilate's commission and proclaims himself to be the new emperor.|
|9||"Saul's Return"||Rob Evans||Tom Grieves||May 31, 2015||4.74|
|Saul's preaching at the Damascus synagogue sparks a riot from Saul's former friends, the Jews in Damascus. Barnabas helps him escape and with excitement they go back to Jerusalem to see Peter and the other disciples. Back in Jerusalem, Leah, furious at Saul's betrayal, orders Reuben to find him, shame him, and kill him for his switch of allegiance. Emperor Caligula gets no response from Claudia when asking her to show her devotion to her emperor. He asks the same of Aurelius, Tiberius' advisor, who falls onto his own sword and dies. Just before leaving to Rome with Herod Agrippa, Caligula orders Pilate to erect a statue of him in the temple, the new "king" of the Jews. When Caiaphas learns of the statue plans, he cites the Book of Daniel (Chapter 8) and its foretelling of death and destruction. At the camp, Peter argues with Saul, who insists that he has turned to Jesus Christ and that they should carry on spreading His message. Claudia consults with Leah and Herodias regarding Caligula and his statue. Leah suggests making Saul a scapegoat, igniting a war between church and state. Meanwhile, the disciples learn of the statue plans and imagine that, once the "abomination of desolation" (the statue of Caligula) is set up, Jesus might return. However, Leah, Cornelius, Herodias, and Claudia discuss circumventing that, as well as the expected fallout from the proposed statue. Simon the Zealot, unhappy with the disciples accepting Saul, meets Eva, Boaz's widow, who calls it the first step to meeting the enemies of Rome and giving them news vital to the future of the Temple. While searching for Simon the Zealot, Saul is captured by Reuben and his men. Leah tells Caiaphas that Saul should be stoned publicly so that the Jewish people may learn what happens to a man who betrays the high priest. Caiaphas then neglects that idea and says that it might be possible to try to talk Saul out of his new faith and prove the fact that belief in the "dead" Jesus can change no one. But Caiaphas goes to the prison and sees Saul praying to Jesus; he realizes that it will be harder than he thinks.|
|10||"Brothers In Arms"||Rob Evans||Rachel Anthony||June 7, 2015||4.09|
|Caiaphas talks with Saul about how he came to the high priest and demanded that he could attack the "blasphemers" and defend the Temple. Saul replies that he wanted to impress Caiaphas but now he understands truth. Caiaphas threatens Saul with the idea of what Gamaliel his teacher would make of his new understanding and asks him to rejoin the Temple. But Saul declares that the Temple is a temporary home and that no one except Jesus can forgive him and He already did by fulfilling prophet Isaiah's words and recreating him in Jesus' name. Caiaphas punches Saul and threatens him with misery when Saul says that there is no need for the Temple or for the high priest. However, eventually, Saul is released by Caiaphas, much to Leah's dismay. Leah requests that Saul's release be under the condition of forgiveness, but Caiaphas denies it, saying that he is busy uniting the Jews to fight the statue being brought in by the Romans. Meanwhile, James the Just, Jesus' childhood friend, visits the disciples and talks to Caiaphas about ending the persecution brought on the followers of Jesus. Caiaphas offers the disciples peace and sanctification, but they are reluctant considering the amount of harm that Caiaphas did to them. Controversy erupts with the disciples and Saul over the function of the Temple. James the Just argues that, since they're Jews, the Temple is important, but Saul says that they follow Jesus and He is more important and they have a message to preach. This creates suspicion and resentment in the heart of Simon the Zealot, and Levi the leader of the Zealots is able to use those feelings to get Simon the Zealot to side with him and possibly against Saul. A wealthy Ethiopian treasurer visits Jerusalem and Pilate invites him to dine in the Roman palace. The Ethiopian treasurer wants peace from his enemies, to which Pilate and Antipas argue that they are enemies. In the meantime, with the encouragement and ministry of Joanna and Mary Magdalene, Tabitha becomes a Christian, but is discovered by Claudia and Herodias, finally is scourged by Pilate's orders. However, Saul consoles Tabitha that no one can stand against the love of Jesus, which brings a change in Simon the Zealot, who warns the other disciples of the Zealots' intention to kill Saul. Pilate plans to kill Joanna to make her death count, but Claudia gives her food each night to keep her strength up. Unbeknownst to them, a scheme is made between the Ethiopians and the Zealots.|
|11||"Rise Up"||Paul Wilmshurst||Ben Newman||June 14, 2015||3.99|
|Pilate kills Joanna and exiles the Ethiopian treasurer for collaboration with the Zealots; the disciples send Saul back to Tarsus to preach; Peter heals Aeneas and resurrects Tabitha (from Acts 9), winning new converts to the faith. The Jewish people and the Zealots rally for war, but distrust each other. Upon witnessing the Ethiopian treasurer banished, Caiaphas suspects that his wife Leah might have had a hand in it. A change is seen in Claudia and Cornelius after the death of Joanna. Philip returns to Jerusalem and meets Peter again. The two have a good time talking, then an angel dressed as a warrior instructs Philip to go to the road that leads from Jerusalem to the Mediterranean Sea. While on the road, Philip meets the Ethiopian treasurer reading the prophet Isaiah's writings, given to him by Caiaphas the high priest. Philip explains to the Ethiopian that the writings speak of a man who knew great suffering that produced great faith and, in the end, that man bore our transgressions for us, was killed, then rose again – Jesus Christ the son of God. While traveling with Philip, the Ethiopian believes and is baptized. After baptizing the Ethiopian believer, Philip is transported back to Samaria. Emperor Caligula's statue (made of pure gold) enters Jerusalem with the promise of total war and destruction.|
|12||"The Abomination"||Paul Wilmshurst||Tom Grieves||June 21, 2015||3.56|
|Emperor Caligula's golden statue arrives in Jerusalem which draws everyone in rebellion against the Romans including the high priest. Pilate meets with Caiaphas and his wife Leah to tell them that the golden statue of Emperor Caligula must enter the Temple whether they like it or not. Caiaphas opposes, saying that he can't help Pilate anymore. Pilate taunts Caiaphas by saying that Leah, Caiaphas' wife, is a friend of his because she helped him expose a past conspiracy between the Ethiopians and the Zealots. Caiaphas replies that his wife Leah gave the information with his knowledge so he is untainted and Pilate has no allies or victims and the Caligula statue made of gold will never enter the Temple. Meanwhile, Peter and Mary Magdalene are led to the house of Cornelius, now ready to repent of his sins and become a Christian. After being baptized and accepting Jesus, Cornelius and his family are filled with the Holy Spirit, to Peter and Mary Magdalene's amazement. Caiaphas calls a meeting with James the Just to tell him that, if the disciples join him, they can repel the statue of Caligula. James the Just denies the offer, saying that he worships Jesus and cannot use violence. Enraged, Caiaphas swears that he will persecute all the disciples of Jesus and that they have no interest in anything but themselves. On the heights of the Temple, Caiaphas chides his wife Leah for conspiring with Pilate. Leah says that it had to be done, at which Caiaphas banishes her to her home. Leah asks her father and brother Annas and Jonathan for assistance, but they deny her request. Pilate tries to convince his wife Claudia that his responsibilities as governor are important and he has no choice in what he does. Claudia informs Pilate that he enjoys the bloody things which he does. Pilate asks about the subject of Joanna and then says that she was nothing. Claudia denies that and says that he cannot win every battle. Obsessed with winning the war and half-insane with determination, Pilate hits Claudia and forces her to back down. The disciples stand with the high priest and the other rabbis which stops the newly converted Cornelius from attacking them. The resistance of the Zealots is crushed but the gold statue of the Emperor gets damaged in the process. Peter informs the other disciples that the prophecy of Daniel won't be fulfilled today and that Cornelius was converted by him. At his palace, Pilate refuses to concede defeat and says that next time he'll rebuild the statue and be tougher with the Jews. Disgusted with Pilate's brutal plans, Claudia tries to leave him but, as she is going with Cornelius, she refuses and chooses to be dominated by him. Peter tries to explain his conversion of Cornelius to James the Just and the other disciples, but he is taken away by Roman soldiers. The age of the disciples' martyrdom has now begun.|
A.D.: The Bible Continues has received mixed reviews from critics. On the aggregate website Metacritic, the series has a weighted average score of 55 out of 100 based on 11 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". On Rotten Tomatoes reported that 58 percent of critics have given the film a positive review based on 12 reviews, with an average rating of 4.78/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "Attempts to offer a fresh look at a traditional tale notwithstanding, A.D.: The Bible Continues doesn't do enough to set itself apart from its many predecessors."
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- NBC Cancels 'A.D.' As Producers Plan Digital Revival For Biblical Drama
- This Boaz is neither the character in the book of Ruth nor from the New Testament.
- A.D.: The Bible Continues - Family Discussion Guide
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