Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Romans and the Greeks

Were the Greeks and Romans the same people in the bible?

In Rom 1:14 was Paul referring to the Greeks as Romans. I heard a pastor indicate that the Greeks in the books of Romans were Romans. However, there is a dispute between me and several family members concerning this topic. Could you please give me a biblical understanding on the topic thank you?

No, the Romans and the Greeks were not the same people in the bible. They were two different Gentile powers that God allowed to rule over and have dominion over the people of Israel because of Israel’s sin of rejecting God’s Law. God prophesied to Israel that if they did not obey Him, that He would allow the heathen Gentile nations to overcome them and subject them.

Leviticus  26: 14, 17, 25, 32
But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments…And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you….And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy…And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it.

Deuteronomy 28:33, 47-52
The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed always…Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things;  Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.  The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand;  A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young:  And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee. And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the Lord thy God hath given thee.

God would allow, what our Lord Jesus Christ called “the times of the Gentiles” as punishment.

Luke 21:24
And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

Among those Gentile nations that would dominate, Israel would be the succession of nations mentioned by Daniel in the book of Daniel. Those nations in history turn out to be: Babylon, Medes and Persians, Greece and Rome (Later in the future, the Anti-Christ’s kingdom Assyria). So the Greeks and Romans were two separate Gentile powers.

Now what about Romans 1:14? Well, although Greece and Rome were two different Gentile power, the influence of the Grecian empire with respect to academia, culture, wisdom, philosophy never left Rom, but was rather instituted into Rome’s culture. The Greeks were well known for their “intellect,” philosophies (lovers of wisdom). You have Plato, Socrates, Euripides, etc…whose philosophies even come down to our day, today. (Think about Greek fraternities and sororities on college and university campuses).

Even our Apostle Paul dealt with their vain human wisdom in Acts 17 on Mar’s Hill.  So the “Greco-Roman” world was one where Rome ruled, but Grecian thought and academia prevailed. That is why Paul uses the term “Greeks” in Romans 1:14, yet in v. 15, he says “to you who are in Rome”.

Notice also in v. 14…he qualifies the Greeks as the “wise”, and the “Barbarians” as “unwise”, that is, uncivilized like the “cultured, civilized” Greeks.

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

1 Corinthians 14:11
Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.

Colossians 3:11
Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

Hopefully this helps!

Do you have a question for Pastor Ron?

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