Romans 1:21-32 – Rights or Righteousness
21 Because that, when they knew** God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
** (emphatically: to absolutely know, to know without exception..i.e. knowing, but not merely to know based on personal observation or perception, but also based on actual rational truth; not merely that which is based on or bound only by sight and experience; such knowing comes from Yahweh to completely grasp and have the comprehension of, as well as why and how, and to have the astuteness to apply it freely without error.)
- John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
John used the word “Word” in dual form here intentionally; to the Hebrew this meant “the breath or utterance of YHVH” or Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning YHVH created”; this is further expounded in Colossians 1:15-17 “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” This was common and acceptable for the Hebrew listening/reading.
The rub would then come from the other major society of the era, the Greeks and Romans, the thinkers and philosophers. The word “Word” would be taken by them in their understanding as “Logos” meaning “the rational principle of the universe, gaining knowledge of another human through conversation to exceed over appearance only.”
- John 1:4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
Now that John has everyone’s attention John moves to the depth of Yeshua’ creation/existence. This sentence delivers the concrete and irrefutable deity of Jesus as an extension of the Spirit of YHVH. This is the only way God can bring His holy perfect presence anywhere close to humanity. The Hebrews could accept this thinking as they knew Moses was only allowed to look upon his backside and came down off Mt Sinai glowing like he had eaten a nuclear power plant.
To the Gentiles this was still an article to build the case for John’s position, so he continues with …. “There was a man sent from God whose name was John (the Baptist). He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.”
This let the Gentiles know that there had been a divinely appointed messenger [in the same accordance as the angels who were sent in the OT] proclaiming the coming of this personage of YHVH in Yeshua.
The part that speaks of deity are the words “In him” , In him was THE light. This explanation is like the sun, in the sun there is the essence of light and it continually produces light whether we are looking at it, or under a cloud, or hiding from it. The sun always produces light, and here too, Yeshua is always the essence of YHVH. He cannot shut it off.
The sad part for the Hebrews was this “he came unto his own and they knew Him not” …. they missed the eyewitnesses point.
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
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.
Idols and idolatry, this was a common practice among pagan religions both in Rome [Mithras], Greece [Zeus], and Egypt [Osiris] these cultures also practiced polytheism thus have a multitude of statues and idols.
24 Wherefore God also gave them up (let go of them; dispossess) to uncleanness (moral impurity) through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor (treat shamefully) their own bodies between themselves:
- (Another common practice among pagan religions: orgies. They believed in fertility gods and goddesses like Lilith, Aphrodite and Cybele.)
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served (gave homage) the creature (the thing or idea of religion) more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections (disgusting sexual practices): for even their women did change the natural use (instinctive yearnings) into that which is against nature: (natural reproduction/i.re. sexual misconduct)
27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use (instinctive yearnings) of the woman, burned in their lust (irreverent wants) one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly (an indecency with the genitalia), and receiving in themselves that recompence (penalty) of their error (deviance) which was meet. (required)
- Leviticus 18:22 “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate (evil, worthless) mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
- (convenient is a horribly translated word – this should be ‘accordingly proper’ or ‘violates instruction’, that instruction being Leviticus 18:22)
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
(if they could not find something hateful to do they made up something new to example just how wicked they could become, the first “Hells Angels”)
31 Without understanding (unintelligent), covenant breakers (treacherous), without natural affection (hated mankind in general), implacable (not peaceful), unmerciful:
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.
Think of the crowds that cheered on the gladiators, revelry in others misfortune, those that march for abortion, protesters for so called ‘rights’ that oppose the Word of God. Meanwhile Nero is warming up the Lions.
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