Updated: Jul 4, 2022
Paul, a servant of Yeshua HaMashiach, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of YHWH, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, Who has descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of YHWH in power according to the Spirit of Holiness by His resurrection from the dead, Yeshua HaMashiach our Adonai, through Whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of His Name among the nations, including you who are called to belong to Yeshua HaMashiach,
The letter we always point new Christians towards (along with the Gospel of John). The Romans Road. Grace. Death. The role of Israel. Predestination. Homosexuality. This letter, while so simple and straightforward, yet complex and divisive. It contains an enormous amount of Theology, yet probably causes some of the most division within the Church of Yeshua.
While I could go into detail concerning the background, purpose, date, etc. concerning this letter by Paul, there are a million articles providing this information out there that I would just be regurgitating, and I just want to get right to the meat of it, and if some topic necessitates context, I will do my best to provide it. What I'm here to do, and hope to do through the will and inspiration of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), is to provide my unique perspective on Romans in this series.
The wonderful thing about the Word of YHWH is that you can come back to the same passage you've read many times, yet find a new nugget of truth and meaning that you didn't notice before, and how it applies to you in your current situation and walk with YHWH.
I do not want to dilly dally any further as you are here for a discussion on Romans.
Paul is clearly, and undisputedly the author of this letter to the Christians living in Rome. He is the author of over half of the New Testament (though by word count, I believe Luke holds that title). Paul, the picture-perfect model of an Israelite student of Torah, who hated and persecuted the young Church, became one of the most well-known, reputed, Ruach HaKodesh-inspired Theologians of the Christian faith.
"...a servant of Yeshua HaMashiach..."
Paul abandoned his zealous track of Judaism to single-heartedly follow the very Being he swore to eradicate the following of.
"...called to be an apostle..."
We will certainly get into the discussion of the topic of 'calling' in later chapters, but I will only briefly dwell on it here. Yeshua/YHWH has every prerogative as Creator of the Universe to do what He wills, and who are we as the clay to tell the Potter what to do? I firmly believe certain people can be called to perform certain functions. When we come to the discussion of salvation, I will discuss this nuance further.
Apostles, certainly in the modern era, can be misconstrued terribly. The original Greek: ἀπόστολος, as defined by Strong is "messenger, he that is sent; a delegate; specially, an ambassador of the Gospel; officially a commissioner of HaMashiach (with miraculous powers)".
By conservative traditionalism, to qualify as an apostle, you must have 1) witness the resurrected HaMashiach (1 Corinthians 9:1), 2) been explicitly chosen by the Ruach HaKodesh (Acts 9:15), and 3) have the ability to perform signs and wonders (Acts 2:43; 2 Corinthians 12:12). Thus, by definition, this was limited to first-century believers, and cannot be present today.
"...set apart for the gospel of YHWH..."
ἀφωρισμένος. Although different than the typical word for 'set apart' - ἅγιος - it still carries effectively the same meaning, though not as much in the sense of being 'holy'.
"...which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Sciptures, concerning His Son..."
YHWH promised the Gospel, Yeshua, and so many other things throughout the Old Testament this and of itself is a tome. What I would like to highlight here is the promise to open the Gospel to the Gentiles (anyone that is not a Jew).
The earliest hint of this can actually be found in Exodus 12:48-49, "If a stranger shall sojourn with you and would keep Pesach to YHWH, let all his males be circumcised. Then he may come near and keep it; he shall be as a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person shall eat of it. There shall be One Law for the native and for the stranger who sojourns among you."
Isaiah speaks prolifically concerning this, and I will only snippet the important themes. I encourage you to read all these in context as well:
9:2 - "The people who walked in darkness have seen a Great Light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has Light shone."
11:10 - "In that day, the Root of Jesse (Yeshua), Who shall stand as a signal for the peoples - of Him shall the nations inquire, and His resting place shall be glorious."
42:6 - "I will give You (Yeshua the Servant) as a Covenant for the people, a Light for the nations."
49:6 - "I will make you as a light for the nations, that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth."
56:6,8 - "And the foreigners who join themselves to YHWH....I will gather yet others to Him."
60:3 - "And nations shall come to your (Israel) light, and kings to the brightness of your rising."
In Daniel 7:13-14, "I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came One like a Son of Man, and He came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him as given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His Kingdom one that shall not be destroyed."
Again, we could go through many other Scriptures in the Psalms and Torah, but the above suffices for now.
"...Who was descended from David according to the flesh..."
Isaiah 11:10 above relates to this aspect as well, and there really is no need to discuss this fact any further as we all well know that Yeshua is descended from David. What I will bring up is that the genealogies in Matthew and Luke differ on the descendants, but many scholars chalk this up to Joseph and Mary's respective lines. One could also look at it as the royal line and as a direct familial line. Though David's descendants eventually broke off as all lines do, it has circled itself back to produce the perfect Offspring. Not only is He descended from David from His earthly adopted father, but also through His literal mother's side.
"...and was declared to be the Son of YHWH..."
Again, an apparent straight-forward concept to the typical Christian, however I've come across some recent perspectives from Jews and Muslims that I had never known before, that should be addressed.
There is one particular well-known person who is an Orhodox that in response to why he doesn't believe Yeshua is HaMashiach, his answer was that YHWH cannot have a son. So why is it that Christians believe in the first place that YHWH can, and promised, to have a Son?
One obvious passage we always refer to is in Isaiah 7 and 9. Isaiah 7:14: "Therefore Adonai Himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His Name Immanuel." Liberal scholars will say this is not referring to Yeshua, but to a contemporary child in Isaiah's day. Reading further into this passage (v.16), Isaiah refers to a time in this boy's life where he will not not know how to "refuse the evil and choose the good..." This would present a heretical component of HaMashiach that cannot be allowed in Christian doctrine.
In order to reconcile this aspect of this prophecy, and still have it be a prophetic reference to Yeshua, I must introduce The Law of Double Reference (not double fulfillment). This law states "often a passage or a block of Scripture is speaking of two different persons or two different events that are separated by a long period time. In the passage itself they are blended into one picture, and the time gap between the two persons or two events is not presented by the text itself. The fact that a gap of time exists is known because of other Scriptures, but in that particular text itself the gap of time is not seen." (The Footsetps of the Messiah - Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtembaum)
This Law can also be seen in how the Jews miss the fact that there are two comings of the HaMashiach, not just one (see Zechariah 9:9-10 and Isaiah 11:1-5).
In Isaiah ch. 9, we have already referenced v. 2, so lets jump to vv. 6-7: "For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is give; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His Name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty YHWH, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over His kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of YHWH of Hosts will do this."
Another passage that is not explicitly mentioning a son, but is a reference to the Trinity in the Old Testament is Psalm 110:1 - "YHWH says to my Adonai: "Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool."
Yeshua Himself speaks to this passage in Luke 20:40-44, "For they no longer dared to ask Him any question. But He said to them, "How can they say that HaMashiach is David's son? For David himself says in the Book of Psalms, "'YHWH says to my Adonai: "Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool.'" David thus calls Him Adonai, so how is He his Son?" There, I don't even have to commentate on that as Yeshua does that Himself!
I could certainly keep going on this, but I believe this is sufficient evidence to prove this point.
"...in power according to the Spirit of holiness by His resurrection from the dead, Yeshua HaMashiach our Adonai..."
Yeshua is confirmed to be YHWH's Son by His resurrection. Yeshua's resurrection is largely implied by Scriptures, such as the Scriptures in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 concerning His death, pairing with the plethora of Scriptures referring to His everlasting kingdom. Zechariah also refers to HaMashiach as the One "Whom they have pierced..." (Zechariah 12:10).
"...through Whom we have received grace and apostleship..."
Within the Trinity, each member generally relates to different tasks. The Father is the Creator (1 Corinthians 8:6, though Yeshua is certainly an agent in this process as well confirmed by this verse as well as John 1:3). The Father sends divine revelation (Revelation 1:1 as well as any OT prophet), the Father sends salvation (John 3:16-17), is the source of Yeshua's human works and miracles (John 5:17; 14:40), amongst an infinite amount of other things.
The Son, Yeshua, acts as an agent for the Father for all the above things (Matthew 1:21, 11:27; John 1:1, 3, 4:42, 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Colossians 1:16-17; Revelation 1:1). And as stated above, is the source of grace and aposteship.
The Ruach HaKodesh is another agent for creation (Genesis 1:2; Job 26:13; Psalm 104:30), divine revelation (John 16:12-15; Ephesians 3:5; 2 Peter 1:21), sanctification and regeneration (John 3:6; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:2) and Yeshua's works (Isaiah 61:1; Acts 10:38).
As we can see, the Father ultimately is the source of all things, but uses Yeshua and the Ruach HaKodesh as agents for these tasks.
"...to bring about the obedience of faith..."
This will become a major theme throughout this letter, so I will defer this topic to later discussions.
"...for the sake of His Name among all the nations..."
Our testimony is important, not just for our sake, but for the sake of the Name of Yeshua and our faith. It's always sad to hear of well-known Christians whose sins find them out, and come to light, and gives a bad name for Christianity. Of course, we know that all of us are sinners and are nowhere near perfect, but that is no excuse not to put our best foot forward at all times.
I love all the Old Testament prophecies that end with something to the effect of "And they shall know that I am YHWH" and usually in reference to both Israel and Gentile nations. YHWH will make Himself known to the world through His mighty works. While we wait for YHWH to do this Himself, we must do our best to honor His Mighty Name.
"...including you who are called to belong to Yeshua HaMashiach..."
Called. Again, we will be getting into this subject in more detail later as it comes up. Matthew 22:14, "For many are called, but few are chosen." I can call up my friend, but he can decline the call.
"...To all those in Rome who are loved by YHWH and called to be saints.."
Paul's audience is determined here, as well as within the context of the rest of the letter. Paul is writing to both Jews and Gentiles, 'all' those in Rome.
"...Grace to you and peace from YHWH our Father and Adonai Yeshua HaMashiach."
This is one of staple marks of an epistle. An epistle is structured by an introduction, the identity of the author, any associates, and the intended audience, and closes the intro with a greeting, like the one above. Then you have the body of the epistle. The conclusion generally includes a blessing, and personal notes to specific individuals.
Though this introduction/greeting does not contain much as far as typical theology is concerned, we can still find so much in seemingly insignificant Biblical content. No word in the Word is insignificant. Yes, genealogies in Chronicles can get dry, but they serve an important role in a certain capacity. 2 Timothy 3:16, "All Scripture is breathed out by YHWH and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of YHWH may be complete, equipped for every good work."
I love Romans, and all the theology that it offers. As we go through this together, I hope that you may be encouraged by the Words, and any inspiration that the Ruach HaKodesh enlightens me with.
Blessings and Maranatha,