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Friday, March 1 2013

Romans: In The Heart Of The Beast

The Roman Empire and the Church of Rome that it created for itself are named after the capital city in which they began. Some empires were based upon commerce and building civilization (e.g. the Greek Empire, that invented democracy and "higher" learning, and the British Empire that turned vast areas of the world's wilderness into developed nations with cities; see also A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate), while others, such as Rome (and Babylon before it) were based upon little more than a malignant principle of invade and rule, often consuming and destroying the civilization that already existed. Rome's destruction of cities and libraries built by the Greek Empire that existed just before it was a testimony to that very difference between them. Some empires became militarily powerful afterward, to defend the development and civilization that they created, while others, such as Rome, became militarily powerful as a means to plunder what others had built - regardless of whatever fine-sounding propaganda and mind-control label that they attach to it e.g. "22:28 And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born." Acts 22:28 KJV (see also When Freedom Crosses The Line).

In the first century AD, the city of Rome had become a euphemism of its empire of aggression. The Messiah was horrendously tortured and crucified by sadistic, laughing Roman troops (see also Legions Of Men And Angels) while the land of Israel was under Roman "kings," such as the Herods (see A History Of Jerusalem: The Herodian Dynasty) and territorial governors, such as Pontius Pilate.

Not all Romans were imperialistic thugs however; among them, including in Rome itself, were some people of the LORD, Jews and Gentiles, who had repented and made themselves human again.

The Roman Empire

The epistle to the Romans is one of the longest of the Holy Bible, however the basis from which all else was further expounded in later chapters 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 epistle (i.e. 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 The Kingdom Of The LORD God], 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:

1:7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 1:1-7 KJV)

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. 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.

A Roman Tavern

"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 and Luke: The World Of The LORD]. 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.

1:11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; 1:12 That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. 1:13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.

1:14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians [see also Barbarian Language]; both to the wise, and to the unwise. 1:15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ [see The True Gospel Of Christ]: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith." (Romans 1:8-17 KJV)

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:

1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations [see Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall], and their foolish heart was darkened. 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 1:23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet [see Sodomites].

1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 1:30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 1:31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them." (Romans 1:18-32 KJV)

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."

Romans

"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?

2:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath [see What Is The Day Of The LORD?] and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 2:6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 2:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 2:8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 2:9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 2:10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

2:12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; 2:13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. 2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 2:15 Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) 2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

2:17 Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, 2:18 And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; 2:19 And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, 2:20 An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. 2:21 Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? 2:22 Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? 2:23 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? 2:24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.

2:25 For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. 2:26 Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? 2:27 And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?

2:28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 2:29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God." (Romans 2:1-29 KJV)

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.

Roman Playing A Kithara

"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.

4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 4:6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 4:7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

4:9 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. 4:10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision [see Circumcision]. 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: 4:12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.

4:13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed [see Abraham's Seed: From The Nile To The Euphrates], through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 4:14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 4:15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, 4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Roots and Branches].

4:18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations [see A Biography Of Abraham: The Genealogy Of Abram], according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. 4:19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: 4:20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 4:21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 4:22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 4:23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 4:24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." (Romans 4:1-25 KJV)

Studies For The Book Of Romans

The Prophet Daniel: Nebuchadnezzar's Image

Does Rome Have Christ's Birth Certificate?

The Politics Of Rome

Israel In History and Prophecy: The Zealots

Israel In History and Prophecy: The Messiah

Israel In History and Prophecy: Herod

Israel In History and Prophecy: Roman Judea

What Is The Mark Of The Beast?

A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars

Israel In History and Prophecy: Rome and Islam

What Did Jesus Christ Send Jonah And Paul To Do?

The Ministry Of Paul And Barnabas

Paul's Resurrection Lesson

From What Sea Has The Beast Risen?

Fact Finder: Will there be any "Jews" or "Gentiles" when the Messiah's Work has been completed?
See The Church: Mission Accomplished


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This Day In History, March 1

752 BC: Romulus, the legendary and semi-mythical first king of Rome, was victorious over the Caeninenses.

509 BC: Publius Valerius Publicola, Roman consul, won the first triumph of the Roman Republic after his victory over the deposed king Lucius Tarquinius Superbus at the Battle of Silva Arsia (see The Politics Of Rome; also A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).

1498: Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama arrived at what is today Mozambique, on his voyage to India.

1562: Roman Catholic troops massacred over 1,000 Huguenots as they prayed at Vassy, France, starting the First War of Religion. The 40 years of conflict ended when Henry IV of Navarre seized the French throne and granted the Protestants partial freedom.

1565: The city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was founded.

1632: Samuel de Champlain was appointed the first governor of "New France" (northeastern North America).

1815: Napoleon landed in France after returning from Elba, where he had been after being forced to abdicate in April 1814 (Britain put only a small fraction of its military forces into the War of 1812-14 against the U.S.; the bulk of the British army and navy was involved in fighting Napoleon's French Empire in Europe and Africa e.g. British Admiral Horatio Nelson's victory over the French fleet at Trafalgar and Wellington's victory at the Battle of Waterloo).

1871: German troops entered Paris during the Franco-Prussian War.

1896: The Battle of Adowa in Ethiopia between the Ethiopian army of King Menelik II and Italian forces. The Italians, outnumbered 80,000 to 20,000 were routed. The decisive Ethiopian victory checked Italy's attempt to build an empire in Africa comparable to that of the French or British.

1917: During the First World War, the "Zimmermann Telegram" was published; the message from the German foreign ministry to Mexicans encouraged them to go to war against the U.S. to recover their lost territories in alliance with Germany.

1932: The infant son of aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh was kidnapped. The child was found dead on May 12.

1941: Bulgaria joined the Axis Powers and allowed German forces to enter the country.

1960: Approximately 20,000 people were killed at the Atlantic seaport city of Agadir, Morocco. The city was destroyed by 2 earthquakes, a tidal wave and fire.

1966: The Soviet Venus III landed on Venus. It was the first spacecraft to land on another planet.

1985: The Pentagon accepted the theory that a nuclear war would block the sun, causing a "nuclear winter" i.e. there would be no "winner" in a nuclear war.

1992: Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence from Yugoslavia.

2003: The International Criminal Court held its first session in The Hague, Netherlands.





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Copyright © Wayne Blank