Bible Lands Unveiled is a series of on-location Bible studies that will give you a look at the impact of the Gospel around the world. This set was filmed in Rome and includes two messages focused on the book of Romans and the Church of Rome – “It is Not About Religion Brother” and “To the Jew First”. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel:

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Shalom from the City of Rome, the Eternal City.

A city that was founded according to the myth of the Romans, themselves.

Founded in the 8th Century BC by two twin brothers who were suckled by a she-wolf,

and they decided to start a city.

Then when the time came one of them killed his brother and named the city after himself.

That is Romulus, and that is why the City of Rome is called that way.

Now the City of Rome exists, at least if we count from the 8th Century and on, 8th Century BC.

We’re talking about 2800 years of existence, here, in this place.

It’s interesting because we’re going to talk today about the Apostle Paul,

and his letter to the Romans.

Although Paul wrote a letter to a community of believers in Christ,

behind me is probably the most iconic building in the entire country of Italy.

As you can see, we’re talking about the Coliseum, a structure known as an amphitheater.

This is a structure and entertainment facility

that was used for bloody battles between gladiators, animals and wild beasts,

and a lot of executions were also made in that particular place.

This particular building, Coliseum, originally was not even called, Coliseum.

It was called the Flavian Amphitheater, the Flavian Amphitheater.

We’re talking about the Flavian dynasty of Caesars started by Vespasian,

the one who came into the Land of Israel,

and started the Roman assault on the rebellious group of Jews in the year 68 AD.

Then of course, his son, Titus is the one who finished the job,

who leveled the temple in Jerusalem,

and eventually brought all the spoils of war back to Rome.

We know that because he, himself, had it engraved in the inner parts of the victory arch

that he erected right behind this structure.

This structure was inaugurated in the year 72 AD,

shortly after Titus Vespasian returned back to Rome.

We found a very interesting thing.

We found a little dedicatory stone that mentions originally who built that one,

and we concluded from the pegs that were engraved into the stone holding metal letters that were there.

We concluded that it was actually an inscription that Titus Vespasian wrote

that this building was erected thanks to the spoils of war that he brought with him.

Of course, that brings us to the war in Judea, the war where Jerusalem was defeated,

and the temple of the Jews was completely leveled to the ground.

It’s interesting because as I said, it wasn’t called, Coliseum.

What is the source of the name Coliseum?

It’s actually going back to prior to the Flavian dynasty, when Nero was still the Caesar.

Nero was someone who was obviously in love with himself.

He had a statue in the size of the Statue of Liberty

erected right in the area of where the Coliseum is standing today,

and that was known as the Colossus of Nero.

Now where did he get that idea from?

Colossus of Nero was actually…

The idea was brought from the Island of Rhodes,

where the people of Rhodes erected the Colossus of Rhodes,

and had the god of the sun, Sol standing there with his crown,

literally the male version of the Statue of Liberty.

It’s very interesting because Nero thought if they can have it, I can have it as well.

We’re talking about more than a 100-foot tall statue

that was such a big thing, that it was called the “colossal one”,

and from that came the word, Colosseum.

The Coliseum is no longer called, the Flavian Amphitheater, now it’s called Coliseum.

Now, I need you to understand that Rome, itself today, is a city of nearly 2 million people.

It’s a city that is known as the third most visited city in the European Union,

and the 14th most toured city in the world.

The city, itself, is a territory of about 500 square miles, pretty big,

and it’s the capital of the region known in Italy as, Lazio.

Rome, itself, was the birthplace of what we call, Western Civilization.

In the ancient world, at least 2,000 years ago, to reach Rome was the dream of every Roman citizen,

such as the Apostle Paul.

We know that more than once Paul expressed his desire to come to Rome,

not to come to Rome because he wanted his name or his fame to go around.

He wanted to come to Rome because he understood that teaching in Rome bears a great value.

Such as, for example, when I go all the way to the Philippines, and I’m teaching there.

There are about 10 million Filipinos that are spread all around the world, in different countries.

Speaking in the Philippines is strategic for me,

because I know that people will take it from there and to the whole world.

Such value was to the City of Rome.

They say that all roads, all ways, leads to Rome and remember from Rome, it goes all around.

So Paul had the desire to come.

Paul wrote the longest epistle, the longest letter to any church, was to the Church of Rome.

In a very interesting manner, he wrote them before he ever even visited that place.

He’d never been to Rome when he was writing the epistle.

One… has to ask himself, okay, so who founded the church in Rome?

Unlike other places where we know that Paul himself laid the foundation,

and then somebody else continued.

We know that it wasn’t the case in Rome.

In fact, Paul himself said in Romans 15:20-22,

“I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named,

lest I should build on another man’s foundation.

But as it is written: [Isaiah 52:15]

‘To whom He was not announced, they shall see;

And those who have not heard shall understand.

For this reason [Paul says] I also have been much hindered from coming to you.’ ”

So Paul basically says, look I didn’t start this church,

so I kind of probably stayed behind because it was somebody else’s work.

Now you wonder, okay, who could it be that brought the message of Christ?

The message not only of the death on the cross, but of the resurrection,

which is the most important thing, who brought it to Rome?

Well, that takes us all the way to the book of Acts, chapter 2,

“When the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind.”

Then I go on and the Bible says in verse 5,

“That they were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven.

And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and they were confused,

because everyone heard them speak in his own language.”

The Bible talks about the different people, where they came from, and how the Bible says,

“The Parthians and the Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea,

and Cappadocia, Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, Egypt,

and the parts of Libya joining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes.”

Now we understand that the Romans, who were in Jerusalem at the time of Pentecost,

took the message and went all the way back to Rome.

And that’s how the Church of Rome basically started.

Now we know from the Bible that Paul indeed made it to Rome.

We know that later on after the epistle was written and already sent.

By the way, the epistle to the Romans was written in Corinth, and that we know.

Paul basically was in Rome twice, and twice he was under arrest, by the way.

First of all, when he made it to Rome to stand before Caesar because of the case in Jerusalem.

Between the years 61 and 63 AD, he stayed in an apartment with a guard that was actually shackled to Paul,

and the only time he was not shackled was either in the restrooms or at nighttime when he slept.

But we know that Paul was here.

We know that for two years he was here,

and we know that he… managed to preach the gospel.

He managed during those two years to write the epistle to the Ephesians,

to the Colossians, to the Philippians, and even to Philemon.

We know that Paul basically was acquitted by the Roman Caesar and was free to go.

The Bible tells us that he had a desire to go to Spain.

Then eventually he returned to Rome,

but this time between 64 [AD] and 67 [AD], he was once again under arrest.

When Nero burned Rome and blamed the Christians for it,

great persecution aroused in Rome against Christians.

Both Peter and Paul found their death around that time, around that year.

During the second arrest, he wrote, as we know, the 2nd epistle to Timothy.

So now we have a book of Romans

that was written while he was in Corinth to a church that Paul had never visited.

It is quite amazing because normally when Paul wrote letters such as the Corinthians,

he dealt with situational issues that were part of the life of the church.

Somebody did something wrong; Somebody said something wrong.

Do this; Do that.

Don’t do this; Don’t do that.

He related to situations.

In the book of Romans, since he’s never been here, since he knows not too many people here,

he is actually writing the purest form of the gospel, and of what I call the doctrine of our faith.

So that’s why the book of Romans is known as the Magna Carta of the gospel.

It is known as the very letter that relates to every important issue in the life of a believer.

It’s quite interesting that in the very first chapter of that letter,

Paul writes to the Romans,

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.

For it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes,

for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”

From the moment he started writing the doctrine of faith,

from the moment he started communicating the heart of the gospel,

he makes it very clear that even if it’s all about faith in Christ

and it has the power of God to salvation for everyone,

there is order in which God is advancing in this world.

And it is to the Jew first.

Now it’s very interesting because think about it.

Why he would write, of all things to the Romans such a thing as,

“To the Jew first.”

First of all, we know that if you read the epistle, you understand that…

there is a good number of Jewish people that were part of that congregation.

We know that for a fact.

But we know that Paul made it a habit, everywhere he went,

across Asia Minor, in Italy and other places,

he first went to the synagogue to preach to his brethren, to his countrymen, to the Jewish people.

In fact, to the Jews in Antioch, the Bible says in Acts 13, verse 46, both Paul and Barnabas said,

“It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first.”

Do you understand what I’m saying?

What I’m saying is basically, God loves everyone, and in the way God is advancing, the Jew was first.

It’s interesting because the Bible says in Acts 1:8,

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you,

and you shall be witnesses to me, [ where?]

first in Jerusalem, and then in all Judea and Samaria, and then to the end of the earth.”

So you see there is an ordained order that God had planned for the Word to come out.

The Bible says that Jesus, when He talked to the Samaritan woman, He says,

“Salvation is of the Jews.”

I mean she acknowledged that and He acknowledged that.

We understand it that the word of God comes out of Jerusalem, not out of Rome.

He’s writing to the Romans, that it is to the Jews first.

This is, I believe, one of the things that was so important to Paul to communicate

that he couldn’t wait, and he already communicated it in the first chapter.

It’s very interesting because not only… greetings and blessings are to come to the Jew first.

The Bible says in Romans 2,

“Eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality.

But to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth,

but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish,

on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek.

But glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

Everyone will either be punished or be blessed, whether they do evil or they do good.

It’s just that in the way, in the order in which He does things, the Jew is first,

when it comes to receiving the word of God, when it comes to the receiving the blessing,

and also when it comes to being punished.

Often times people ask me, what does it take?

What is it like? What is it like to be the chosen people?

I say, you suffer first.

I mean there is a lot of blessings but also there is one thing you can learn in the Scriptures,

is that Israel was severely judged and punished for their lack of faith.

And that is something that the Gentiles can learn from

instead of having to go through and experience it themselves.

The Bible says in Galatians chapter 3, verses 27 to 28,

“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free,

there is neither male nor female; for you’re all one in Christ Jesus.”

Now does it mean that we’re no longer male or female?

No, that means that God loves people the same way, whether they’re male or female,

whether they’re slaves or masters, whether they are Greek or Jews.

He loves them the same.

The fact that He said, “to the Jew first”, doesn’t mean that it is “to the Greek, no”.

It doesn’t mean that He loves him less.

In fact, I always say there is a great difference between a Jew and a Gentile, apart from Christ.

But once they believe, the Bible says there is no more,

there is no more wall between the two, that wall of separation is gone.

So why is it that Paul is giving the Jewish people…

Isn’t it interesting?

I could have given you this message in Jerusalem, yet I’m here in Rome, the Coliseum is behind me.

It’s because to the Romans, Paul is communicating the pure truth,

that it is important not to dismiss the Jews once and for all because they, obviously, rejected…

The Bible says, why is Paul giving the Jews such an important role in his epistle to the Romans?

It’s because it’s part of the doctrine.

That epistle is so important because it’s the pure doctrine that one must understand.

It is as important to support Israel, to communicate the gospel to the Jews,

to love the people of God, and never to hurt them nor to harm them.

It is as important as all the other foundations and all the other principles of faith.

By the way, it is as important to communicate the gospel to them…

[as] all the rest of the things you should do as a believer.

To the Jew first, it’s very interesting.

He first said that the gospel has the power of salvation, to the Jew first.

Then he said, “Whether cursing or blessing, to the Jew first.”

And then he said, “Can the law save the Jew?” in the 3rd chapter.

Then he says,

“There is an advantage of the Jew, because he received the oracles of God, the Word of God.”

Then he communicated in Chapter 9, the great sorrow that he has for Israel,

his brethren, for they tried to establish their own righteousness.

Then he says that the heart of Paul for the Jews is that they will be saved.

Then he exposes the heart of Paul, for the Jewish people, is that they might be saved.

Remember, Paul is a Jew.

Paul is nothing but a Jew who understood that it’s not about religion.

It’s about relationship with God.

Paul is the one who had those scales fallen…

Paul is the one who had his eyes opened.

Paul is the one who never, ever, said,

“I crossed the lines. I’m no longer a Jew.”

Paul always said, “I’m an Israelite. I am a Benjamite.

I’m a son of Israel. I am a Jew.”

He stressed this as much as he could that we must never give up

on the Jewish people when it comes to the gospel because God wants them to be saved.

In fact, in the book of Romans, in chapter 11 the Bible says that,

“God never cast away His people whom He foreknew.” [Romans 11:2]

In fact, Paul goes on and says, “If their fall was such riches to the Gentiles,

how much more their acceptance is going to be.”

If not, what? Life from the dead.

He didn’t talk about, that’s it, they’re gone…

Guys, this is temporary blindness,

“Blindness in part has happened to Israel,” he says. [Romans 11:25]

Then eventually he says, “Then all Israel will be saved.”

By the way, there’s another little thing that many, many people tend to forget

that Paul wrote in the book of Romans to the Gentiles.

He actually wrote something in chapter 15, and he said now in verse 25,

“Now I’m going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints.

For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia

to make a certain contribution to the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem.”

Then he says, “It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors,” he said.

He said, “For if the Gentiles have been partakers of the Jewish spiritual things,

their duty is now also to minister to the Jews in material things.”

You see that it goes beyond spiritual things.

It goes even in material things.

Paul says to the people,

“You owe to the Jewish people who shared with you the gospel,

not only spiritual but even material things.”

Guys, he made it very clear.

The Jewish people are the people of God.

God never gave up on them.

Christianity is not replacing Israel.

Christianity is actually to share the good news with Israel.

We see with all of this, the satanic infiltration into the doctrine of the church.

Think about it, it says, “… to the Jew first.”

Then two major deceptions are normally rising when people look at it.

First of all, I know a lot of Gentiles that are saying, so being Gentile is not enough, isn’t it?

I mean, I’m just a poor Gentile. Do I need to become a Jew?

That’s the deception, Gentiles don’t need to become Jews.

We, the Jews, don’t need Gentiles to become Jews.

Let’s make it very clear.

The Bible says in Ephesians 2 verse 19,

“Now, therefore, you [Gentiles] are no longer strangers and foreigners,

but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”

It’s beautiful! You who once had no hope, now have hope.

You who once were strangers are now members of the family.

You who were the wild branches of the olive tree have now been grafted in.

So he’s saying that.

Then in Ephesians chapter 2, in verses 11 and 12 he says,

“Therefore, remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh,

who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands,

that at that time you were without Christ,

being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise,

having no hope and without God in the world.

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”

We know that Gentiles should not feel insecure or less worthy when it comes to their status before God.

But the second deception is exactly the opposite.

God has cast away His people.

The church is the new Israel; The church has replaced Israel.

The book of Romans chapter 11 says,

“That if some of the branches were broken off,

and you being a wild olive tree were grafted in among them,

and with them became partakers of the root and fatness of the olive tree,

do not boast against the branches.

But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root,

but the root supports you.”

In other words, God is basically saying, guys, I gladly accepted you,

but you did not replace the people of Israel whom I foreknew.

Remember, they were there first.

Then in Romans 11:25-26 it says,

“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery,

lest you should be wise in your own opinion.”

You see, those people that think we have replaced Israel are wise in their own opinion.

They are ignorant.

He says, “Blindness in part, yes, has happened to Israel,

but it is until the fullness of the Gentiles will come in,

and then all Israel is going to be saved.”

We see that this is the heart of God.

The heart of God is not to dismiss the people of Israel,

but the heart of God is to eventually make them come back to Him.

Hosea 5:15 says, “I will return again to My place.”

In other words, He left His dwelling place. He came to the world.

“I will return again to My place until they acknowledge their offense.

Then they will seek my face; and in their affliction, they will earnestly seek Me.”

In other words, we know that unfortunately the rejection of Christ will bring so much affliction,

and then they will earnestly seek Him.

What is it the Bible says when somebody earnestly seeks the Lord?

That he will find Him.

That He is indeed close to all those.

The Bible says in Romans 11,

“Concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election,

they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.”

Then he says this, “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”

I’m telling it to the City of Rome where the Vatican is,

where the mother church of more than 1.3 billion people around the world are,

and for the most part, they believe in the replacement theology.

I’m telling them all, the Word of God says that God is not giving up on Israel.

In fact, “The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” [Romans 11:29]

God never changed His mind on Israel.

God never turned His back to Israel.

God never said, okay, the church is the new Israel.

This is deception from the pit of hell.


Because it is such an important pillar of the doctrine of the Word of God,

and therefore, the enemy is spreading all of these things.

So people ask me, Amir, why is it that God chose Israel to begin with?

I always say, God wanted a flagship nation that was an example to the world.

Not of how they behave, but of how He behaves.

Through Israel, whether good things and blessing, or bad things and cursing,

He managed to manifest Himself, and manifest His nature and manifest His character to the people.

We can basically learn by observing the twists and the turns of this love story between God and Israel,

and the kind of character that we are following.

We can see His faithfulness; We can see His standards.

We can see His compassionate love and mercy,

as well as His jealousy and wrath when He is rejected for others.

My suggestion, today, for all of you as we conclude this message,

from the heart of Western Europe,

from the place where I believe, by the way,

that the Antichrist is gonna rise from,

from the place where the greatest persecutor of Israel will arise.

I’m telling you, the doctrine, the Word of God is saying, “To the Jew first.”

By the way, you need to learn to, not only accept it, but enjoy it.

If you remember, Peter was kind of not so comfortable with what he heard, that… Jesus has for John.

… Jesus said to Peter, what is it for you?

If I want to say or promise one thing to him, it has nothing to…

The promises of God for Israel will never diminish His love for the Gentiles.

But once you accept that which He has for them, you learn to understand His character.

By the way, and I will conclude with this one, if God changed His mind on Israel,

what can be your assurance that He will not change His mind on you?

In fact, the election of God and the faithfulness of God

towards Israel are the insurance policy to the whole world

that God is a God that is keeping His covenant.

God is a God that is faithful to His Word and promises.