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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 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:
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.
"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.
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.
Studies For The Book Of Romans
Fact Finder: Will there be any "Jews" or "Gentiles" when the Messiah's Work has been completed?
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.