St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans Chapter 10

Holy Father,

From the Fall of our first parents You have preserved a
faithful remnant of Your people.  A faithful remnant that has persevered through
adversity’a faithful remnant from humanity that would come to form the first
people called into covenant with You and later, from that same people another
faithful remnant to serve Your Son, Jesus the Messiah and to be filled and
indwelled by God the Holy Spirit as the New Covenant people of God’the universal
Catholic Church.  Give those of us who have come to the new Zion to sit at the
feet of Mother Church and to study these sacred Scriptures the perseverance to
be Your faithful remnant to carry forth to the next generation of covenant
believers the truth of Your divine Word, Jesus Christ.  We pray in the name of
God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.


+ + +


Yahweh comes as judge
of Israel: “The God of gods, Yahweh, is speaking, from east to west he
summons the earth.  From Zion, perfection of beauty, he shines forth; he is
coming, our God, and will not be silent.  […].  ‘Gather to me my faithful, who
sealed my covenant by sacrifice.’  The heavens proclaim his saving justice, ‘God
himself is judge.'”
Psalm 50: 1-2,

“That day’declares
Yahweh’I shall gather in the lame and bring together the strays and those whom I
have treated harshly.  From the footsore I shall make a remnant, and from the
far-flung a mighty nation.  And Yahweh will reign over them on Mount Zion
thenceforth and forever.” 
Micah 4:6-7

“But what you have
come to is Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem
where millions of angels have gathered for the festival, with the whole Church
of first-born sons, enrolled as citizens of heaven.” 

‘Faith is a
seamless garment.”
St. Thomas Aquinas

In Romans 9 Paul had built his discussion of the failure of
Israel to embrace Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah with significant Scripture
quotations, placing his discussion within the context of these Biblical
passages.   When Paul speaks of Israel he is not speaking simply of Roman Judea
as the old Covenant people’Paul is writing of the hope of a completely restored
Israel as the nation existed in the time of King David and King Solomon before
the civil war that split the 12 tribes into the Northern Kingdom of Israel and
the Southern Kingdom of Judah in 930BC [see the Salvation
History study lesson # 17
].  The Northern Kingdom of Israel strayed from the
Covenant with Yahweh and fell into idol worship.  Israel would be ruled by 9
different royal families until judgment in the form of the Assyrian invasion was
visited upon the Northern Kingdom.  The Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom
in 722BC, taking the people of the 10 tribes eastward into exile [2 Kings
].  Only a faithful remnant of the 10 tribes would eventually return
from exile to the Galilee, the rest of that land would become known by the name
of the capital city of the Northern Kingdom, Samaria.  Samaria would be ruled by
foreign nations and would be inhabited by 5 foreign tribes of peoples who
brought with them their false gods and coupled their pagan worship along with
their own interpretation of the worship of Yahweh [see 2 Kings 17:
& the Salvation
History study lesson # 18
]. It would be to a descendant of these people that
Jesus would share His Gospel of salvation when He spoke to the woman of Samaria
in the Gospel of John chapter 4 telling her that she had 5 “husbands” and the
man with he now was not her “husband” [see John 4:16-18, &
the Gospel
of John study chapter 4
]. Jesus would also tell the Samaritan woman that she
worshipped what she did not understand and that salvation was from the Jews [John 4:22].  This
is a significant exchange in light of the history of this woman’s people.
According to Hebrew tradition a concubine could only call her man “master” or
“baal”‘only a legal wife had the right to address her man as “husband.”  “Baal”
was also the name applied to a variety of Canaanite false gods.  Like her people
who had worshipped 5 false gods or ‘baals’ in addition to the distorted worship
of Yahweh this woman had 5 men in her life and the man currently with her was
not her “husband”‘just as Yahweh was not truly her people’s God.  Hosea’s
prophecy of the restoration of the nation of Israel in Hosea 2:18-20 is
significant in light of Jesus’ exchange with this woman who inhabited the land
of the lost Israel.  The prophecy reads: “When that day comes’declares
Yahweh’you will call me, ‘My Husband’, no more will you call me, ‘My Baal.’  I
shall banish the names of the Baals from her lips and their name will be
mentioned no more.” 
This prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus Christ who took
the New Israel, the universal Church as His Bride, gathering the lost tribes of
Israel that has been scattered among the Gentile nations back into the Covenant
family of God beginning with the Gentiles of Samaria [see Acts 1:8; 8:5-6 & 14-17].


The Southern Kingdom of Judah would continue to be ruled by
descendants of King David until her apostasy resulted in judgment in the form of
the Babylonian invasion and the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple of
Solomon in Jerusalem in 587/586BC [Jeremiah chapter
].   The people of Judah would suffer 70 years of exile before permission
was given for them to return to their land and to rebuild the Temple [2
Chronicles 36:19-23
; Salvation
History Study lesson #19
].  However, only a faithful remnant would return to
Judah and to rebuild the Temple which was completed in 517BC.  At the time that
Paul lived and preached there was no unified nation of Israel.  Paul in Romans 9:33
quotes from the prophet Isaiah 8:14
concerning Israel and Judah and the “stumbling stone” that will become “a
rock to trip up the two Houses of Israel”
and “the children whom Yahweh
has given me shall become signs and portents in Israel on behalf of Yahweh
Sabaoth who dwells on Mount Zion”
[Isaiah 8:18].
And then Paul quotes the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 28:16,
“Now I shall lay a stone in Zion, a granite stone, a precious corner-stone, a
firm foundation-stone: no one who relies on this will stumble.” 
recognize the “corner-stone”/ “stumbling stone” as Jesus Christ but what is the
significance of the references to Zion?


In the experience of the covenant formation between Yahweh
and Israel, Mount Sinai had been the focus but when King David conquers
Jerusalem circa 1000BC and brings the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, Mount
Zion will become the focus of liturgical worship as the dwelling place of
Yahweh: “Look, I and the children whom Yahweh has given me shall become signs
and portents in Israel on behalf of Yahweh Sabaoth who dwells on Mount Zion


Unlike Mount Sinai, whose location is uncertain, Zion has
been a known location’a physical location within the boundaries of the ancient
city of Jerusalem.    Jewish scholars identify Mount Zion as the hill in
Jerusalem between the Tyropoean and Kidron valleys on the eastern side of
Jerusalem which agrees with the Biblical references to Mount Zion as the site of
the Temple of Yahweh and synonymous with Mount Moriah, while Christians from the
time of Byzantine period have identified Mount Zion as the hill to the southwest
of the Jewish Zion and across the Tyropoean Valley.  The Christian
identification of the site of Zion is generally considered by Biblical scholars
and archaeologists to be inaccurate.  The original location of Mount Zion not
only probably included today’s Temple Mount but the ancient city of King David.
At the time David and Solomon resided in Jerusalem [1000 BC – 930 BC], Biblical
scholars and archaeologists believe the majority of the city was to the
southeast of the present city where the village of Silwan is located today.
There is no debate; however, concerning the ancient origin of the place name
Jerusalem, for this ancient city predates David’s conquest.  The ancient
documents known as the Amarna letters from the vassal king of Jerusalem to his
great lord, the Egyptian Pharaoh, date to the 14th century BC and in
that correspondence it is clear that the city called “Jerusalem” was one of
several important city-states in Canaan under Egyptian control. But the
etymology of the place name Zion is allusive.  The origin may stem from the
Hebrew root snn, found in the derived form sinna meaning “large
shield” or “fortress” and may have referred to David’s fortress within
the ancient city of Jerusalem.


However, Zion’s theological significance outweighs its actual
location.  Zion is linked to a visionary experience witnessed both by Abraham
and his descendant, the great King David. Both men are revealed to be Jesus’
ancestors in Matthew’s genealogy found in Matthew chapter
: “Roll of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of
Abraham witnessed the angel of God staying his hand in his attempt
to sacrifice his son’an angel who pointed out a ram that God intended for the
sacrifice [Genesis
] and David also saw the angel of the Lord at the same site in 2
Chronicles 3:1
.  The Chronicles passage is a reference to 2 Samuel
where the angel of Yahweh is revealed to David just as he was
revealed to Abraham.  In both cases the site is identified as Mt. Moriah [Genesis 22:2
& 2
Chronicles 3:1
].  In the Bible the Patriarchs set up altars to Yahweh where
they had experienced Yahweh’s presence and the same is true of Solomon’s Temple
on Mount Zion/Moriah where the visionary experience of both Abraham and David
serve as the authorization for the establishment of the Temple on that same site
where Yahweh will continue to manifest His presence to His Covenant people and
to fulfill His covenantal promises.  What is important about Zion is the
revelation of God’not the physical site but the spiritual revelation of God to
His Covenant people.  Zion is the spiritual concept that shapes the identity and
the future of the Covenant people for tied with Zion is the divine promise of an
eternal Davidic dynasty [2 Samuel
; 1
Chronicles 17:11-14
] which is fulfilled in Jesus the Christ, the Anointed
Prince’descendant of David and inheritor of God the Father’s Kingdom of Heaven
on earth’the catholic/universal Church’the New Israel and the new Zion where God
is present among His people as the Immanuel [Isaiah 7:14; Matthew
] of the 5th kingdom promised to the prophet Daniel [Daniel 2:44-45]
who will rule all nations of the earth [Daniel 7:13-14]
and who is the “stone, untouched by hand” that will ‘break away from
the mountain”
of the old Zion to reduce all old kingdoms to powder [Daniel 2:45].
It is the promised Davidic king who will become a “stumbling block” on Zion, the
old Zion of the Old Covenant Church’a stumbling block upon which the Apostles
will build the foundations of the New Zion’the New Covenant universal [catholic]
Church of Jesus Christ, the King of Kings.

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