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Friday, August 26 2016

Philippians 1: A Letter From A Roman Prison

"But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the Gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; And many of the brethren in the LORD, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the Word without fear"

Philippi was a major city of Macedonia, in what is today northern Greece. In the time of the apostle Paul, the Greek Empire had peaked and declined (see A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids), while the Romans were taking their turn as the "leading" empire of the world (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).

As recorded in Luke's second epistle, now known as the "Book of Acts" (see Acts: Luke's Second Letter To Theophilus), Paul visited Philippi (shown in the top-left area of the map) during his second missionary journey.

Paul's Second Missionary Journey

"16:11 Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis; 16:12 And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days.

16:13 And on the sabbath [see When Is The LORD's Day? and Why Observe The True Sabbath?] we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither. 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. 16:15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us." (Acts 16:11-15 KJV)

Paul also visited Philippi during his third missionary journey (see also Paul, The Apostle To The World).

"20:1 And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia. 20:2 And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece, 20:3 And there abode three months. And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia. 20:4 And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus. 20:5 These going before tarried for us at Troas. 20:6 And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread [see The Messiah's Days Of Unleavened Bread], and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days." (Acts 20:1-6 KJV)

Paul's letter to the Christians at Philippi began with his greeting to the "saints" - a word which actually means "one separated from the world and consecrated to God" (see What Does Saint Really Mean?).

"1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

1:2 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:1-2 KJV)

As stated in the verses quoted above, Paul arrived in Philippi "after the uproar was ceased" - the riot in Ephesus that erupted after Paul's peaceful preaching was regarded as a threat to the worthless idol that the city worshipped (see The Miracles At Ephesus and The Idol Pedlars).

Paul In Prison The opposition had by then become the routine for Paul - and to his being thrown in jail because of the violent reactions that others had to Paul's preaching the Truth. Paul was again being held in Roman custody when he wrote the epistle to the Philippians - looking forward to the liberation that the Messiah will bring to His people on the day of His return (see The Feast Of Trumpets: The First Christian Salvation Day).

"1:3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 1:4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, 1:5 For your fellowship in the gospel [see The True Gospel Of Christ] from the first day until now; 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

1:7 Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. 1:8 For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.

1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; 1:10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; 1:11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God." (Philippians 1:3-11 KJV)

The apostle Paul was sometimes blunt in his teaching. At other times however he gently brought others to knowledge, sometimes in a way that his instruction seemed like something that they realized on their own. Such was the case with his epistle to the Philippians. Paul wasn't merely lamenting the injustice that was being done to him; he was making them aware that the same fate awaited many of them. There is no other reason for him to write what he did, so that "many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear."

"1:12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; 1:13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; 1:14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear." (Philippians 1:12-14 KJV)

Over and over Paul made the point that those who reject the Truth are the ones that need to fear (see Let Both Grow Together Until The Harvest). While some have regarded Paul's letter as being fatalistic, he was encouraging them that no man can take your life from you; others can only hasten, or delay, the day of Christ's return, from your conscious perspective (see Could Christ Return Tonight?). In the mean time, "For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you."

"1:15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: 1:16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: 1:17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. 1:18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

1:19 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 1:20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 1:22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. 1:23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: 1:24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. 1:25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; 1:26 That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.

1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; 1:28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; 1:30 Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me." (Philippians 1:15-30 KJV)

Fact Finder: What was the result of Paul crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece?
See The Intercontinental Church Of God and The Aegean Connection

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This Day In History, August 26

55 BC: Roman forces under Julius Caesar (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars) invaded Britain ("Britain" originated from the Latin/Roman word Britannia, as did London, from the Latin/Roman word Londinium). The Roman Empire occupied Britain at the same time that it occupied Judea (from about 40 BC to 400 AD; see also A History Of Jerusalem: Hadrian and Simon bar Kokhba), including when the Messiah was crucified (see Does Rome Have Christ's Birth Certificate? and Israel In History and Prophecy: Roman Judea; see also Legions Of Men And Angels).

Roman Britain

1071: Seljuk Turks defeated the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert.

1278: Rudolf I (a Hapsburg) defeated Ottocar II, king of Bohemia, at the Battle of Marchfeld Plain, north of Vienna. The victory was a turning point in the history of Central Europe in that it established the Hapsburgs as rulers in the region, from 1278 to 1918, 640 years.


1346: An outnumbered English army of 10,000 under Edward III defeated Philip VI's French forces in the Battle of Crecy. It was one of the first major "missile" battles - English longbows verses French crossbows, with the English having the advantage of greater range.

1498: Michelangelo was commissioned to carve the Pieta for the Church of Rome.

1541: Suleiman I of Turkey captured Buda and annexed Hungary after his dispute with Archduke Ferdinand over claims to the kingdom.

1768: English explorer James Cook set sail from England on the HMS Endeavour.

HMS Endeavour

1789: The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was approved by the National Constituent Assembly of France.

1824: Karl Marx, at age 6, was baptized to "Christianity" in Trier, Prussia (not to be confused with Russia; Prussia is in Germany). He came from long line of rabbis and Jewish scholars, but without his "conversion" he would not have had the political freedom to publish his "communist manifesto" with Frederich Engels.
Marx and Engels were both wealthy liberals (see also Is Iniquity Liberal Or Conservative?) who sought political power for themselves through the support of the workers that they claimed to represent. It was a political experiment that by the late twentieth century had been proven as a dismal failure that actually enslaved the workers that it promised to "liberate."

1883: An extremely powerful eruption of a volcano on the island of Krakatoa in the Sundra Strait between Java and Sumatra began. The two-day eruption and associated tidal waves killed some 36,000 people and destroyed two-thirds of the island.

1901: The New Testament of the ASV (American Standard Version) Bible was first published. That U.S. edition of the 1881 English Revised Version (ERV) comprised the first major U.S. Bible translation. The Revised Standard Version (RSV) of 1952 is an update of the American Standard Version of 1901.

1920: The 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution permitted U.S. women to vote.

1936: The Anglo-Egyptian Treaty established Egypt as a sovereign state after 50 years of British administration (listen to our Sermon The Balfour Declaration).

1978: Cardinal Albino Luciani of Venice was elected as Pope John Paul I. He served only 33 days before dying of an apparent heart attack on September 28.

2008: Russia recognized the independence of the former U.S.S.R. republics Abkhazia and South Ossetia.


Copyright © Wayne Blank