August 25-31, 2017
As of the writing of this article (August 24, 2017), exactly 1,607 years ago today the city of Rome fell to invading Barbarian armies (the Visigoths, led by King Alaric). The Roman Empire was already in a state of decline, but never did anyone expect that Rome itself would fall to a once meager and disorganized Germanic tribe which had been chased into the borders of the Empire by the Huns. But such is the fate of kingdoms. By this time in the 5th century A.D., Christianity had been legalized by Emperor Constantine for some time and had become the state religion by the declarations of subsequent emperors. This led to the mixing of church and state so much that Western Christians began identifying themselves as "Roman" (thus the advent of the Roman Catholic Church). So when Rome fell to the Visigoths in A.D. 410, the Christians were especially shocked and traumatized. Saint Jerome recounts that day in a letter to his friend Principia:
"Rome had been besieged and its citizens had been forced to buy their lives with gold. Then thus despoiled, they had been besieged again so as to lose not only their substance but also their lives. My voice sticks in my throat; and, as I dictate, sobs choke my utterance. The City which had taken the whole world was itself taken; nay more famine was beforehand with the sword and but a few citizens were left to be made captives."--Jerome, Letter 127, "To Principia."
As we ponder this, we have a particular advantage that Jerome did not have: we have hindsight. Yes, it was a traumatic time, and no, the Roman Empire did not survive. "The city which had taken the whole world was itself taken," but there was a kingdom intermingled within the Roman Empire that did survive even this tumultuous overthrow.
I am reminded of the last words of Haggai's prophecy in Haggai 2:20-23:
And again the word of the LORD came to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month, saying, "Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying: 'I will shake heaven and earth. I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms; I will destroy the strength of the Gentile kingdoms. I will overthrow the chariots and those who ride in them; the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother. 'In that day,' says the LORD of hosts, 'I will take you, Zerubbabel My servant, the son of Shealtiel,' says the LORD, 'and will make you like a signet [ring]; for I have chosen you,' says the LORD of hosts."
For at least 3 reasons I take this prophecy to be in reference to the Messiah who would come from Zerubbabel, rather than about Zerubbabel himself.
1) "In that day" is a common phrase in prophetic literature in reference to "the Day of the LORD." And here it appears to describe the time of the rise of God's kingdom over and against the kingdoms of all other nations which God will shake and destroy.
2) The phrase "My servant" or "the Servant of the LORD" is a recurring motif in the Prophets as well, and is often a reference to the Messiah or the Messianic age.--(compare Is. 41:8-9; 42:1; 49:1-7; chs. 52-53; Ez. 34:23-24; 37:24-25; Zech. 3:8-4:10).
3) The fact that God makes him His "signet" points to the prerogative of the Messiah as God's regent on earth. For a signet was used to seal up or to complete a transaction by the one using it. The signet had the person's name or official identifier engraved on it and it carried the full weight of the wearer's authority. Here, Zerubbabel represents God's own signet whom He has chosen. This "chosen" language is also reminiscent of the Messianic "Servant of the LORD" whom the LORD has chosen--(Is. 49:7). So this Messianic figure represented by Zerubbabel is God's own seal and identity and authority. This is Jesus, y'all.
Coming back to the sacking of Rome; what happened to the Church? What happened to the Roman Christians? Well, as Jerome said, many of those who did survive the invasion of the Visigoths were taken captive as slaves. The result? The Christian slaves bravely witnessed to their new masters and served them in love in such a way that the gospel spread to the Barbarians. In fact, the Gothic peoples had been turning to Christ for over a century on the fringes of the Empire thanks mostly to the Christian slaves that they took captive outside of the city of Rome.
So how does this apply to us and how does hindsight help us here? Simply put, in hindsight we see that the Kingdom of Christ has survived the downfall of all other kingdoms, even through captivity and death! And God promises, indeed He triumphantly proclaims through Haggai the prophet the same thing He intimates in other Scripture that He will shake even heaven and earth and He will destroy the kingdoms of the nations through His chosen Servant; His "signet ring."
So when all heaven and earth are shaken around you, do not fear. The kingdoms of the earth will crumble and even the dark kingdoms in heavenly places will fall, but the Kingdom of God and His Christ will remain forever.
Do not be shaken,
- As some of you may know, Kathy Coy is taking a mission trip to Kenya. She is collecting children's shoes and jewelry to take to orphans there. Please drop off these items at the church this Sunday or Kathy can pick up your donated shoes or jewelry by Aug. 30th. Please see Kathy for more info.
- Children's Ministry:
- Back to school time means we return to our regular Wednesday night classes for kids. Classes start back August 9th at 6:30. Teachers and nursery workers should be here by 6:15.
- 1 more person is needed for the nursery rotation during Sunday Service
- 2 extra Sunday School teachers to add to the rotation.
- Anyone interested in being on Sunday night rotation (8 weeks a year). Please call, text, or see Regina if you are interested.
- Sign ups for Community Groups are on the welcome table.
September 17 - Family Meeting
- Please continue to pray for and support the Champion Family as we grieve the loss of our brother, Ron.
- Pray for Gloria's husband, Perry Childress. He is not a Christian. Please pray for the Lord to save Him.
- Pray for all the benevolence cases we work with on a weekly basis. Most of them are unchurched. Pray the gospel takes root and praise God for all the provision we have to be able to do this ministry.
Sunday Morning Childcare:
Bed Babies through 2's - Jennifer Rains, Lisa Spence, Chris Knight
3 through 4 year olds - Gina Smith & Allen Bledsoe
Last Week’s Statistics:
|Budget Receipts this Week:||$2,455.00|
|Budget Needs Weekly:||$4,097.88|
|Budget Receipts YTD:||$136,611.00|
|Budget Needs YTD:||$139,328.08|
|Building Fund this Week:||$40.00|
|Building Fund YTD:||$6,920.00|
912 E. Main Street, P.O. Box 131- Albertville, AL 35950
Pastor – Brad Williams
Family Pastor -- David Porch
Our mission and passion at New Covenant Baptist Church is to glorify God by becoming a community that fosters the love of God with all of the heart, soul, mind and strength, and by learning to love one another as Christ Jesus has loved us.The answer to every heart's need and the satisfaction of all our longing is found in Jesus Christ our Lord, who is Himself the very image of Almighty God. We exist to adore Him, and to spread the knowledge of His greatness to the ends of the earth.