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Sunday, September 2 2012
The Epistles: Romans
The epistle to the Romans is one of the longest of the Bible, however the basis from which all else was expounded may be found in the first few chapters. While the apostle Paul wrote the epistle primarily to Gentiles of Rome (keeping in mind that there was no antichrist "Church of Rome" yet in existence - it was created centuries later by the Roman Emperor Constantine; see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy), both Jews and Gentiles are addressed - the Jews either figuratively, as a religion (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Judaism) or those who became Christians in Rome and who were then being regarded as no different than Gentiles by the as-yet unconverted Jews in the city (see also Israel In History and Prophecy: The New Covenant).
Paul began the letter with a greeting to "all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints."
"1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle [see Straight Street], separated unto the gospel of God, 1:2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) 1:3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord [see Who Is The LORD?], which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: 1:5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: 1:6 Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:
Paul was obviously not in Rome when he wrote the letter to Rome, while saying "if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you." It is not recorded where he was, but it most likely was in Corinth, or one of the other cities of Greece that the LORD commanded Paul to go to, after he seemed to intend to remain within his native Turkey (see Paul's Second Missionary Journey). The Greek presence was obviously on his mind when he used the term "Jews and Greeks," even though he was writing primarily to Gentile ("you also, even as among other Gentiles") Romans in Rome. It shows how "Greeks" came also to be used as a generic term for Gentiles.
"1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world [i.e. the Roman Empire; see Pax Romana: The Birth Of The Roman Empire]. 1:9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; 1:10 Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.
Paul then addressed his fellow Jews - those who still rejected the Messiah, thereby making themselves those "who hold the truth in unrighteousness." The Gentiles weren't yet holding the Truth, "Israel" was - and it is to them that Paul made clear to the Gentiles that salvation wasn't about Judaism, it was about Christ. Paul wrote it as an object lesson warning to the Gentiles of how not to behave.
"1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness [see Is Your Religion Your Religion?]; 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Paul then explained how salvation is equally open to everyone, just as condemnation ("damnation" is an abbreviation of condemnation) is equally open to everyone, "the Jew first, and also of the Gentile."
"2:1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. 2:2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. 2:3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
Paul then used the example of righteous Abraham, who was a Gentile, but at the same time became the progenitor of Israel and Judah, "that he might be the father of all them that believe." The key to Paul's epistle to the Romans was the example of Abraham.
"4:1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 4:2 For if Abraham were justified by works [see Works Means Obedience], he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Fact Finder: Will there be any "Jews" or "Gentiles" when the Messiah's Work has been completed?
This Day In History, September 2
490 BC: The Greek hero Pheidippides died (see Demigod to understand the origin of the term "hero").
31 BC: Octavian, later known as Caesar Augustus (as he is also recorded in the Bible i.e. Luke 2:1-7; see also Whatever Happened To Those Romans?) conquered Antony and Cleopatra (see The Cleopatra Connection) at the Battle of Actium. Some historians consider this date to be the end of the Roman Republic (see The Politics Of Rome) and the beginning of the Roman empire (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).
1547: Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes died at age 62. He battled equally-famous Aztec emperor Montezuma in Mexico.
1649: Castro, Italy was destroyed by military forces at the behest of Pope Innocent X.
1752: The last day that the Julian Calendar (named after Roman emperor Julius Caesar) was used in Britain and its colonies. The present Gregorian calendar (named after Roman Catholic Pope Gregory XIII) began in use the next day.
1807: The British began bombarding Copenhagen to stop Napoleon from using the Danish fleet against Britain.
1859: A solar storm caused outages in telegraph service.
1864: During the U.S. Civil War, Atlanta, Georgia fell to Federal troops.
1870: During the Franco-Prussian War, France suffered a devastating defeat at Sedan when the Germans captured an entire French army along with emperor Napoleon III. The new German Reich chose September 2 - in commemoration of the German victory and French humiliation - as a national holiday. The French response to the German victory was the deposition of Napoleon III and a proclamation of a republican Government of National Defense.
1901: U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt stated his famous imperial policy that the then-emerging U.S. Empire (ironically, the U.S. has become what its founders rebelled against) should "speak softly and carry a big stick."
1935: The "Labor Day Hurricane of 1935" killed over 400 people in the Florida Keys.
1944: Anne Frank, at age 15, was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. The Dutch-Jewish girl, famous for her Diary of Anne Frank died at the Belsen concentration camp the next year, shortly before it was liberated by Allied troops near the end of the Second World War.
1945: "VJ Day" at the end of the Second World War. Japanese officials signed the terms of surrender with Allied leaders in Tokyo Bay.
1945: Vietnam declared its independence, forming the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. The country was later divided into North and South by French imperial forces, triggering the later Vietnam civil war that the U.S. became involved in during the 1960s, before the Vietnamese people were again unified into a single country in the 1970s, free of foreign interference.
1969: At the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), computer researchers made the first working connection between two huge, primitive computers. Some regard that event as the birth of the computer network that became the Internet.
1980: Terry Fox (who lost a leg to cancer) was forced to stop his cross-Canada "Marathon of Hope" run at Thunder Bay, Ontario, after he learned that his cancer had returned.
1998: The UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda found Jean Paul Akayesu guilty of genocide.
2001: South African heart surgeon Christiaan Barnard died at age 78. In 1967, he became the first to perform a heart transplant on a live human.
2006: Nelly Connally died at age 87. As the wife of former Texas governor George Connally (who was also hit by a bullet, from behind, that day), Mrs. Connally was riding in the limousine in which President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in 1963. Due to her being in the apparent diagonal line of fire, in the seat ahead of Kennedy (Kennedy in the right-rear seat, Mrs. Connally in the left-front passenger seat), Mrs. Connally was sprayed with blood and brain matter more than anyone else in the car - seeming proof that the fatal shot came from behind the vehicle, in the direction of the Texas School Book Depository, rather than from ahead or to the side, in the direction of the "grassy knoll."