A. The first Christians in Rome appear to have been Jewish. It is quite possible that they were among the Jews from various parts of the empire who heard Peter speak on the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2. When they returned to Rome, they brought Christianity with them and spread it to other Jews there. Thus, the Christian community in Rome had a distinctly Jewish character. Apparently some Gentiles also became Christians in Rome, but they were a minority. As we know from Acts and Paul’s epistles, some Jewish Christians not only kept many Jewish traditions but they also had a difficult time understanding the fulfilling and ending of the law. Sometime around A.D. 49, the Roman emperor, Claudius, issued an edict expelling Jews from the city of Rome. The edict would have included even those Jews who had converted to Christianity. But it did not include the Gentile Christians, who stayed behind in Rome. This expulsion of the Jews is mentioned in Acts 18:2. Some years later, the edict was either withdrawn or allowed to lapse with the death of Claudius in A.D. 54.
A. In Exodus 12:49, we read, “One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.” As with any Scripture, to understand this verse, we must look at the context and know how its terms are defined. The terms that we should pay particular attention to here are “homeborn” and “stranger.” Now, let’s look at the context by reading Exodus 12:43 through 48:
Is the Bible a health manual? Are the dietary laws found in the Bible God’s ways of telling us what is healthy and unhealthy to eat? Or did God have an entirely different reason for putting these laws in the Bible? What’s more, do these laws given to ancient Israel have anything at all to do with Christians today?
Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world…. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
Galatians 4:3, 9
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ…. Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
Colossians 2:8, 20-22
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
Going to Scripture, we see that the word translated “elements” in Galatians 4, “rudiments” in Colossians 2, and “principles” in Hebrews 12 is stoicheion. The word stoicheion comes from stoicheō, which means to march in orderly ranks. Stoicheion means first, elementary things. It was used for the letters of the alphabet. Thus, translating stoicheion as “ABCs” works pretty well in the Galatians, Colossians, and Hebrews verses quoted above.aaa
“Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world” (1 John 4:2-3).
“For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist” (2 John 1:7).
Many people speculate about antichrist. Some speak of the Antichrist, referring to a particular person, such as the Pope or all of the Popes. Often, the Antichrist is seen as an end-time figure equated with the man of sin in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. While there may be some validity in calling the Pope and the man of sin Antichrists, John’s concept of antichrist is much broader. He is not speaking of a particular person, but says that many deceivers have entered the world and that each of these deceivers is an antichrist. Notice 1 John 2, verses 18 and 22: “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time…. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.”
A. Generational sins or generational curses refer to the idea expressed in the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:5: “I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and on the fourth generation of those who hate me” (see also Exodus 34:7; Numbers 14:18; and Deuteronomy 5:9). In other words, the guilt for someone’s sin would pass from one generation to the next. When God would actually execute His punishment on Israel for the generational curse was to be up to Him, not the civil leaders. They were not to punish people for the sins of their fathers. So God explained to them in Deuteronomy 24:16, “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.”