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The Hundred-Eighty-First (Romans Part 10)

I hope this message finds you well!  As we finish out chapter 5 of Romans this week we'll find another key point that Paul provides regarding aspects of how the universe operates spiritually.  As we saw last week, he just finished talking about our justification through Yeshua's blood, which was shed voluntarily by Him even while we were sinners.  Paul continues his letter to the believers in Rome with a "therefore" that points back to this sacrifice and then goes into detail on sin and death, and this gift of reconciliation given to us by the blood.

Starting in verse 12, Paul explains that sin, which is what required Yeshua's sacrifice, was brought in by one man.  He doesn't explicitly state who that is yet, but in a couple verses we'll see that it's Adam.  It's interesting to think about, and we've sort of covered this before, but if we remember back to the events in the Garden, it was Eve who sinned first, and she was actually who gave the fruit to Adam (Genesis 3:6).  Here, Paul said that sin entered the world via Adam, which is true, but what would have happened if he had resisted when Eve offered that fruit?

Maybe we can ask YHWH or Yeshua when we meet Them, but back in Romans, Paul connects sin to death.  Namely, death came as a result of sin entering the world.  Again, going back to Genesis, we see that the way this occurred was through a decision by YHWH to evict Adam and Eve from the Garden (Genesis 3:22-24).  By being evicted, they no longer had access to the tree of life, and as a result they no longer had the ability to live forever.  Death was not implemented by somehow changing the composition of Adam and Eve's bodies.  YHWH did not design the human body to live forever without assistance external to it.

A lot of people don't quite understand this concept.  Ever since the introduction of sin, YHWH's plan has been to restore the world and man to the way He originally designed them, not to create something different.  Now, if you jump over to 1 Corinthians you can see why we have this confusion (1 Corinthians 15:35-49).  There, Paul is talking about resurrected bodies, and while an in depth study of this passage is best left for another time, something key to understand is that the Greek word for image, which he uses to speak about us bearing the likeness of Yeshua when resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:49), is the same exact word he uses when writing to the Colossians and rebuking them.  He told them they better not lie because they've put off their old selves and put on their new selves, which are renewed in the likeness of Yeshua (Colossians 3:9-10).

So, when talking about being resurrected, Paul is simply saying we will be like Christ in our thoughts and actions.  In fact, when we go back to the very beginning, YHWH created Adam is His image, or likeness (Genesis 1:26).  In no way do we take this to mean Adam had the same powers and abilities as YHWH, and that's not what Paul is saying to the Corinthians either.  With the amount of corruption that has occurred over time, based on degradation by sin, we don't exactly know what Adam and Eve's bodies were like.  What we do know though, is that while Yeshua became man, His origin was before man and not the same as man (John 1:1-2,14) and therefore His entering the world was not in the same manner that Adam's was.  Subsequently, His resurrected body would not be the same as ours will be and therefore, we should not expect to be able to appear and disappear like Yeshua when He was resurrected, or even fly as He did.  Although, if we are able to, that will be pretty sweet!

Getting back to Romans 5, Adam and Eve's eviction from the Garden as a result of their sin is what caused death, and as a result all men and women now experience death.  Paul then points out that this sin, the cause of all people to experience death, happened way before the Law was given (Romans 5:13-14).  In fact, when you look at the timeline it was thousands of years before the Law was given!  Sin is, and always has been, about going against any of YHWH's commandments, not just the commandments He gave to Moses.  In other words, if we still had access to the Garden of Eden, eating of the fruit from the tree of knowledge would be sinful, despite the fact that it's not listed in the Law given to Moses.

In keeping with his style, Paul spends the next couple paragraphs comparing and contrasting the sin from Adam and the justification from Yeshua, repeating himself to drive the point home (Romans 5:15-19).  Really, his point here is that when Adam sinned, he brought condemnation to everyone that came after him.  In fact, it's still bringing condemnation to some, and if you think about it, at this point the world has over eight billion people in it.  Whoever is not saved is still condemned, so all those now and since Adam that are/were not believers in the one true God, YHWH, are all condemned.  That's a lot of people, and it only took one sin to do that!

When Christ was crucified and rose, there were innumerable sins committed.  From non-believers to believers, over the course of time the number of sins grew exponentially, and people are still committing sins today.  However, Paul is saying Yeshua's blood covers all that and allows the justification of anyone who believes.  We all were made sinners through Adam's disobedience to YHWH, but through Yeshua's obedience to YHWH we are all made righteous (Romans 5:19).

The interesting thing about this comparison by Paul is that in it he talks about death reigning over all of mankind because of Adam's sin.  He then says those who receive grace and righteousness will reign in life through Yeshua (Romans 5:17).  There are a lot of ways to interpret this statement, but one way is that he's saying we're reigning right now through Yeshua.  This interpretation would seem to line up with Daniel's interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar's dream where Yeshua's kingdom (the rock hewn without human hands) destroyed the statue by hitting the feet of iron mixed with clay (the Roman Empire) (Daniel 2).  If that is the proper interpretation, it makes you wonder about some of the verses in Revelation and what they really mean.  

Paul closes out this chapter with a statement that's confusing on the face of it (Romans 5:20-21).  The key to it, though, is the Greek word pareiserchomai, which is translated to "entered," or "came in," in most translations.  The actual meaning behind this Greek word is "to come in alongside," so what Paul is really saying here is that the Law was coming in alongside the sin that was already occurring, meaning what was written in the Law wasn't anything new, it was just an identification of sins that were already occurring.  Therefore, he says the Law was brought in so people could be aware of all the sins that were really happening, being committed by themselves and those around them.  That's what he meant by "so that trespass/offense might increase/abound."  It was awareness and knowledge of the sins that was increasing.  The Law didn't create any new sins.

That was a very interesting chapter, wasn't it?  Definitely learned some things that get your mind thinking!  Next week, we move on to chapter 6 and see how Paul uses all this in a discussion on sin and how we should live.    

Shabbat shalom and YHWH bless you! 

-Rob and Sara Gene

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