How Do We Get Faith?

The Bible tells us we cannot please God without faith (Heb 11:6), but how does a person get faith? Romans 10:17 tells us, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” That is obviously true, but is that the only way one gets faith? Actually, the Bible teaches there are two other ways in which one can get faith. Let’s look at a second way. In John 2:23 John says,

John 2:23  ¶Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.

In the same way that John said people saw the miracles and believed in Jesus, Paul says we can believe in God from just looking at the world around us (Ro 1:20-21). Seeing and believing is not the same as hearing and believing. Looking at the evidence of God in creation and believing is the same method of getting faith as people that saw the miracles of Jesus and believed.

A third way men can get faith is found in 1 Corinthians 12. Paul there speaks of spiritual gifts and says faith may be imparted as a direct gift from God.

1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

The Holy Spirit can impart miraculous faith. Paul reiterates the fact of divine disposition of faith in his letter to the Romans:

Romans 12:3 ¶For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

Here Paul says God allots or apportions or distributes by measure faith to each one. This is a second testimony to the truth in 1 Corinthians 12:9 where He says the Spirit can impart faith.

Matthew 17:20 contains an illustration of the fact that God can simply give faith. In Matthew 17:20, Jesus said, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Jesus says a mustard seed has faith. How does a mustard seed get faith? Since a mustard seed cannot hear to get faith, the only way it could get faith would be for God to directly give it to it. It must be designed into the DNA of the plant. God gave the mustard faith. God can do the same to men.

At the present time faith principally comes by hearing, but as God moves into the pouring out of the Spirit in these last days, faith will come in other ways. It will come by seeing mighty works performed and will come by direct impartation of the Spirit of God. These things will augment the spoken word, as Hebrews says:

Hebrews 2:4  God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will

Two witnesses establish the truth of a matter. If a disciple of Christ speaks God’s word, he is one witness. When God gives signs and wonders and miracles to confirm the word, He is a second witness. Two witnesses establish truth, and the testimony to the truth causes men to believe.

Posted in Church Doctrine, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Reconciling Isaiah 65:20 with “No more death”

I have had a really hard time trying to understand Isaiah 65.20, because the way it reads it flatly contradicts Revelation 21:4’s “no more death”.  The King James reads:

Isaiah 65:20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.

The problem I have understanding this verse has to do with death for the righteous existing after the resurrection. The context of Isaiah 65:20 is after the resurrection, for it is in the context of the new earth.  Verse 17 says, “Isaiah 65:17 ¶For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.”  Well, we know that when Jesus returns, He will restore all things (Acts 3:21), raise the dead (1Th 4:16), and make all things new (Rev 21:5).  Since the time of no death is in the time of the new heavens and the new earth (Rev 21:1, 4), then the righteous cannot die in the time of the new heavens and the new earth, but Isaiah says they will.  In contract Revelation 21:4 plainly says, “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away”.  How does one reconcile “the child shall die an hundred years old” with “there shall be no more death”?  The various modern translations are of no help.  All of the modern translations of Isaiah 65:20 read pretty much the same.  Here are some examples:

NIV: he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth
ASV: for the child shall die a hundred years old
NASU: For the youth will die at the age of one hundred
YLT: For the youth a hundred years old dieth
WEB: for the child shall die one hundred years old

Of course there are many more versions, but I have not found one that circumvents the problem of having death at a time when the Bible plainly says there will be none.  This has been an insurmountable problem for me.  I even looked at online translations of the Greek Septuagint in hopes that the ancient Greek version might help.  No luck.  It is pretty much the same.  It wasn’t until I found a translation of Justin Martyr’s Dialog with Trypho (Chapter LXXXI) that I finally found a solution to the problem.  Justin Martyr was born around the end of the First Century and wrote from about AD 160. He is about the earliest Christian apologist whose writings have survived down to our time.  In his Dialog with Trypho he quoted extensively from Isaiah 65 and included verse 20.  Those early Christians used the Septuagint as their Bible, and Justin Martyr’s Bible at Isaiah 65:20 read:
“And there shall be no more there a person of immature years, or an old man who shall not fulfil his days. For the young man shall be an hundred years old; but the sinner who dies an hundred years old, he shall be accursed.”

Justin Martyr’s Bible did not have the young man dying at a hundred.  To paraphrase it, his Bible said of the time when the new heavens and the new earth have come that a 100 year old man would be considered young.  It says nothing about that youth dying when he was 100.

Justin Martyr’s translation helps, but it just peels back the onion one more layer, because the next phrase reads, “but the sinner who dies an hundred years old, he shall be accursed”.  “Death” still appears in that phrase.  How can we harmonize the sinner dying at 100 with the promise of no more death in the time of the new heavens and the earth?

My explanation of Justin Martyr’s version is that Isaiah is contrasting the state of the sinner with the state of the righteous in the new heavens and the new earth.  The righteous people that are born in the new earth and have lived 100 years will be considered young, a mere youth.  In contrast, the sinner that lived to the ripe old age of 100 during this life and was seemingly blessed by having had a long life, will find the situation dramatically changed in the new earth.  The righteous will live forever, but the long-lived wicked will experience the second death (Rev 21:8).  So, even though the wicked man may have prospered on this earth for 100 years, he being 100 years old will suffer the second death in the world to come.  While the righteous live forever, the wicked will suffer the second death where “the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever” (Rev 14:11) in full view of all at Jerusalem that choose to see it (Isa 66:22-24).

If you compare Justin Martyr’s version of Isaiah 65:20 with the modern versions, you will find the world “thanatos” (death) has migrated to a new location in the text.  In the modern text “death” is associated with the “youth”

NIV: he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth
Justin Martyr: For the young man shall be an hundred years old;

But the modern text does not have “death” in the next phrase:

NIV: he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.
Justin Martyr: but the sinner who dies an hundred years old, he shall be accursed.

It is clear that a textual problem has crept into the text that causes “death” to be associated with the wrong phrase.  Justin Martyr’s reading can be harmonized with the rest of the scriptures, but the modern reading of Isaiah 65:20 results in a direct contradiction.  My vote is for the First Century reading in Justin Martyr’s Bible.

One might ask how such an egregious error crept into the text at such a late date as after the time of Justin Martyr (i.e. the Second Century).  Justin Martyr’s Bible was the Septuagint, and it was translated from Hebrew between 300-200 BC. By the time of Justin Martyr, the Greek OT text of the Septuagint had been around for over 400 years and was well established.  One solution is suggested by the early church fathers. Justin Martyr, again in Dialog With Trypho (LXXI-LXXIII), accused the Jewish leaders of deliberately cutting passages out of the Bible as an underhanded means of fighting Christian evangelism.  Also Tertullian (c. AD 198) wrote, “[The Book of Enoch] may now seem to have been rejected by the Jews for that very reason—just like nearly all the other portions [of Scripture] that speak of Christ.  Nor, of course, is this fact surprising:  that they did not receive some Scriptures that spoke of Him whom they did not receive.  For they did not receive Him even when He was here in person, speaking in their presence.” Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol 4:16.

By the end of the First Century the Jews were hardened against Christ.  A consequence of this was a series of rancorous conferences from AD 90-125 at the Jewish academy at Jaffa in Israel.  During this series of conferences the Jews excised various scriptures from their collection of accepted writings (they never had a formal canon before then) and mutilated some works that they retained.  Isaiah 65:20 may well have come under the scribal knife during those conferences in order to make Isaiah appear completely incompatible with the Christian book of Revelation that appeared about AD 96.

I believe the text in Isaiah 65:20 was deliberately altered to make it contradict Revelation 21:4’s “no more death”.  I believe the problem with the text lies with the Jews that desired to eradicate support for Jesus being the Christ from their sacred writings.  Justin Martyr shows how the text read before the Jews tampered with it, and the original reading is harmonious with the rest of the scriptures.

Posted in Hermeneutics | 6 Comments

Prophecies About America Found In Prophetic Types

I am a proponent of Types/Allegories like Paul pointed out in Galatians 4:24 of the two wives of Abraham (Sarai and Hagar) who turned out to be living allegories of earthly Jerusalem and Heavenly Jerusalem.  I think there are many such allegory/types in the scripture, but an expositor must be careful when presenting proposed modern events that are antitypes of these Biblical types, for the expositor can get off into rampant imagination if he is not careful. Unless the expositor is inspired, all he can say after having offered an antitype explanation for a type/allegory is, “That is my opinion”.

I am encouraged to believe God intends us to look for types by such passages as Hebrews 8:5 that says: “Who [priests] serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.”  That passage tells us the designs of the things in the temple were patterns or types of things in heaven. The law and lives of Israel were also types/patterns, for we read in Romans 5:14, Colossians 2:16-17, and Hebrews 11:19 that the lives of people recorded in the OT gave patterns of things to come.  Let me present a couple of my own uninspired expositions of some types. I think there is a great parallel in the events surrounding the encounter between Adam and Satan where the older brother murdered his younger, more acceptable brother because of pride, and the account of Cain who murdered his younger, more acceptable brother because of pride.  I think there are also many parallels between David and Jesus and between Joseph and Jesus.  There is likewise an interesting parallel between Moses who was brought up in the house of the king, but when he tried to save his people, they tried to kill him and he fled to a distant land.  Jesus is the obvious antitype, but unlike Moses, He did save His people (from sin), and they did kill him, but He rose up and then went to distant land (Lk 19:12).  The difference between Moses and Jesus brings up an interesting characteristic of the antitype.  The antitype is always superior in some way to the type, just like New Jerusalem is superior to earthly Jerusalem and the Son is superior to Moses, a servant in God’s house (e.g Heb 3:5-6).

To establish a basis for exploring some types, let me introduce some typical history of Joseph and Israel.  Joseph, son of Jacob, was stolen away from his father and made a slave in Egypt.  In Egypt God raised Joseph up to be ruler over the world power of the time where he would have the power to acquire enough food to save his family and the world from starvation. Jacob, Joseph’s father, moved to Egypt and before he died he gave Joseph both his blessing and the double portion of the birthright.  Because of his birthright, Joseph had two tribes descended from him that came from his two boys, Ephraim and Manasseh.  Jacob prophesied of these two tribes and said Ephraim would be great, would become a multitude in the midst of the earth, and would become a multitude of nations.  Manasseh would also be great, but less than Ephraim, but like Ephraim would become a separate people.  These prophecies began to be fulfilled around 960 BC when Joseph and the 10 northern tribes broke away from the house of David.  Then in 722 BC the Assyrian king Sennacherib conquered the northern ten tribes and exported these tribes with the descendants of Joseph to Assyria (2 Kings 18:13) where they remained in slavery until the days of the Babylonians. In 605 BC the Babylonians defeated the Assyrians at Carchemish.  Thereafter the Assyrians lost battle after battle until they and their Hebrew companions had to flee into the Caucasus Mountains between the Caspian and Black Seas.  The Lost Tribes joined the Visigoths and migrated westward. Some of the Ten Tribes stopped in what is today Germany while the majority of the Ten Tribes continued on to settle the west and north coasts of Europe.  Ephraim went on to dwell in England where he eventually established the British empire that fulfilled the prophecy where Ephraim was to become a group of nations.  Centuries later the persecutions associated with the Inquisition and the Reformation caused Manasseh to leave his settlements in England and western Europe and move to the new world.  A large part of the early settlers in America were probably descended from the lost ten tribes, particularly Manasseh.  Even today with all the other immigration and purposeful dilution of the Caucasian stock, descendants of the lost ten tribes (predominantly Manasseh) probably constitute 20% of the population of America. You can find more detailed background material on the history of ten lost tribes here:  http://www.britam.org/Patriarch4.html#A and here:  http://www.britam.org/ListofProofs.html

With that background, let’s take a look at some probably unfulfilled types that are parallel to the events of today.  God sent Joseph ahead of his brothers to keep them alive in a crisis.  He was first a prisoner, but God raised him up in a day to be ruler over Egypt and to be powerful in the rest of the earth. Joseph was in Egypt and was prepared to keep his brothers alive when they came to him for help. They did not recognize Joseph, but he recognized them, just like Judah does not recognize Joseph is in America today.  Eventually, after the famine in the land of Canaan grew worse, the Hebrews migrated to Egypt, where Joseph had been sent to keep them alive.  Jacob promised that Joseph’s descendants would have greatness apart from their fellows.  That prophecy has been true of England, South Africa, Canada, America, Australia, Ireland and the British and American Empires.  Now, calamity is about to descend upon the world, for 2015 is the 7th year of the Pharaoh that knew not Joseph.  God has sent Joseph ahead to keep the world alive, and when disaster arrives, the descendants of Judah and the other brothers of Joseph (western Europeans) will come to America to avoid death by the NWO.  Stormdancer once posted his vision where the Spirit showed the Jews being forced out of every place around the world (cp. Amos 9:9).  They fled first to Germany, but eventually they had to come to America where they built cities along the East Coast.

Israel lived in Egypt 400 years (cp. Joseph in America from 1611-2011), forgot God, went into idolatry, and became slaves.  Eventually, a Pharaoh arose (Obama) who knew not Joseph, and he passed a decree that the newborn male children should be cast out that they might not live.  Rick Wiles and Sundar Selvaraj (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7X-PK4NKGVI) have had visions of dead American children lying in the street.  See any parallels there?  There have been visions and prophecies foretelling America falling into slavery to the Russians, which is likely worse than the events that lead to enslavement.  We remember the groaning of Israel as they made bricks for which they were given no straw by their Egyptian taskmasters, and that speaks about what is in store for America. God heard their groaning, and raised up a deliverer, Moses, and that speaks good things about the future.  Moses was a Hebrew raised by the Egyptian royal family, and he had tried to save his people, but was rejected and had fled death and had gone far away to Midian, but God called him later to return to save God’s people.  Moses returned to call upon Pharaoh to let his people go a three day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to God.  Pharaoh was having none of that and a battle of wills between Pharaoh and God began.  Pharaoh’s magicians replicated God’s first two miracles but after trying and failing to replicate Moses’ third miracle, the magicians told Pharaoh that Moses was the point man for the finger of God.  Pharaoh was still unrelenting, but God through Moses warned of further plagues.  Pharaoh was unyielding through ten plagues that destroyed Egypt. Finally after God killed all the firstborn in Egypt Pharaoh let God’s people go.

In our day there is a Ugandian, John Mulinde, who foresaw in 1995 that America would suffer an economic collapse and said the collapse would be followed by a series of natural disasters and God would remove His protective hand, but that God was not done with America yet. youtube.com/watch?v=yojhJYu3v9k  I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds an awful lot like plagues and slavery followed by deliverance.  Since Israel did not suffer from the last six plagues, I have hope that God will likewise direct the plagues here primarily at the minions of the New World Order (NWO) in their underground bunkers.

After God delivered Israel by the horrible plague that killed the firstborn, they took their three day journey into the wilderness, but they did not go back to Egypt.  God miraculously enabled Israel to journey non-stop three days and three nights into the howling wilderness (Dt 32:10) before they paused to offer sacrifices and worship God.  They had peace for 30 days in the wilderness, but when they got to the extreme southern end of Sinai and were shut in at Pihahiroth by the Red Sea (Exodus 14:2-3), the Egyptians found them. The Egyptian outpost on the height at that location (Migdol – The Watchtower) sent a message to Pharaoh that the Hebrews had showed up in the extreme edge of Egypt in the wilderness and were trapped by the Red Sea.  Similarly, after God miraculously delivers America from slavery, America will enjoy a time of peace in a mostly depopulated land trapped in a land that will have become largely “the islands of the sea” (Isaiah 11:11).  However, “Pharoah” (the NWO) will not be content to have his prey escape even though America’s land is destroyed.  “Pharaoh” will send his army into the wilderness of America to destroy Joseph reunited with his brethren.  Except, God won’t let them.  There is yet another deliverance slated where God has promised, “I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea” (Psalms 68:22), and “the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea” (Isaiah 11:11) and “I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth” (Amos 9:9).

Of course, the great deliverer Moses is dead, so who will be the deliverer of physical Israel this time?  The Mount of Transfiguration gives a clue.  Three deliverers of physical Israel appeared together on the Mount (Matthew 17:3).  These three deliverers were Moses, who saved Israel from annihilation at the Red Sea, Jesus who is to save Israel from annihilation by the Antichrist at Bozrah (Jer 49:22, Micah 2:12), and…Elijah, the fiery prophet, who is to return at the end of the world: “And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (Mal 4:5-6).  I believe Elijah will be the deliverer in the coming antitype of the Exodus when God calls His people again from the depths of the sea (Ps 68:22). Here are some images of how America of the future may look:  http://beforeitsnews.com/contributor/upload/5385/images/underwater-map(1).jpg

http://standeyo.com/Podcast/Jericho_Show_images/Hopi.sea.level.vsm.jpg http://api.ning.com/files/4lKPsRz19b1jrOZKMFybQpsRcl2xO3cCFMJW9gcdaHz4jflORbTf9fizg6BHiNzBDGk3DGUyNlCjqFPtuRiAQzA2Bd7XVZWg/oceanssearisemapusnavy.jpg

When Israel journeyed from Egypt in 1466 BC, Jesus went before them in the Cloud (Ex 13:21, 1 Co 10:4).  In the second journey through the wilderness, Jesus in the cloud will be there too (the Cloud’s return is noticed in Isaiah 4:5-6. Compare also Rev 14:14 that shows the Son of Man not in heaven but on a cloud on earth before the Second Coming).  Whereas Israel along with a mixed multitude (Exodus 12:38) came out of Egypt with perhaps 6 million people and vast herds of livestock, the Second Exodus with reunited Israel will be a greater exodus with perhaps as many as 40 million that return to the land.  Like Israel spoiled the Egyptians when they left Egypt (Ex 12:36), the returning tribes will return from the Islands of the Sea with their silver and their gold (Isaiah 60:9).

So you see, the types tie in with prophecy, and they agree with one another, and paint a picture of the near  future of America.  There are really-bad times ahead for Joseph and his people, but in the end, God will deliver America from a not very long slavery by the Russians and Chinese. Then when “Pharoah” comes seeking the remnant of Joseph and Judah in what’s left of the East Coast in the Islands of the Sea, God will deliver His people and destroy “Pharaoh’s” army.  Many will return with Elijah to the Promised Land where God will protect them until the end of the reign of the Antichrist at the coming of the Lord.

 

Posted in New Category Name, Prophecy of America | 1 Comment

Are Aliens Real? How Do They Relate to Christianity?

Are aliens real?  How do they relate to Christianity?

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Everything that’s here is a creation of God.  He said that He created the heavens and the earth and all that in them is in six days (Ex 20:11).  On the sixth day, God created Adam.  God gave him dominion over the earth and everything on it.  In contrast to God’s fiat creation (God said, and it was so), the alien idea is based on the theory of evolution.  That theory was begun by and has been propagated by the elitists to undermine Christianity.  The alien idea stems from the theory that life evolves from non-life; therefore, it must have happened at many times and places in eternity past according to the theory of evolution.  But evolution is counter to what the Bible says–God created the heavens and the earth and all that in them is in six days.

This present creation has a purpose.  Long-term, God made the earth because He delights in exercising lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness, but those qualities require that there be other beings to be the objects toward which God can show lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness.  Further, the exercise of these qualities requires that the objects of God’s actions be rational beings of free will.  Otherwise it would be God showing lovingkindness to an ornate fence post, that is, a living creature without free will that could do nothing other than what it was programmed to do, exactly like a fence post.  Therefore, if God is to be able to exercise those qualities in which He delights and for which He created the universe, He needs sentient creatures similar to Himself, and these creatures must have free will, or else He just has a big video game, and it would not be worth it to Him to do it.

So, to get what He enjoys, God has to create a world with creatures that have free will, but if He does, sooner or later the free-will creature will say, “No!”.  Then, unless God has a solution for disobedience, He either has injustice where transgression is not punished, or He loses His creation, because they are alienated from Him due to their disobedience and because of the absence of a just punishment for their disobedience of the Creator.  To solve the problem posed by creatures of free will, God designed and created a throw-away age in which He could let disobedience run rampant and show its utter destructiveness;  He could show that men need God to provide them good government, because they can’t govern themselves; and most importantly He could provide a just solution for transgression (law breaking) that springs from free will.

To handle the problem of a just penalty for sin, He created a physical world and a man creature composed of two parts: body and spirit.  He composed the creature such that the spirit could leave the flesh and the departure of the spirit would result in a condition for the body called “death”.  Then He made the wages of transgression to be death.  Then through one man (Adam) He brought sin into the world, and through that one man He brought universal death, even on the creation over which Adam ruled (Rom 5:12, 8:22).  At the same time God made it impossible for men to live without disobedience (1 Ki 8:46), and He made it impossible for the children of Adam to die for their own transgressions by condemning all of Adam’s children to death as part of Adam’s punishment for disobedience (Gen 3:14).  At that point, there was absolutely nothing men could do to save themselves or atone for transgression.  It remained for God to bring in the Creator of the universe (Christ Jesus, Jn 1:1-3) from outside of time and space (Jn 8:58) and have Him die for the transgressions of His creation.  That satisfied the justice of God.  The legal remedy for transgression was paid–death, and the Creator is worth more than that which He created and His death was therefore a legal remedy for all of the sins (past, present and future) for the beings which He created.  Since God planned to raise men’s bodies from the dead (Ro 8:11)  and to continue the earth forever (Ecc 1:4) there is continuity in the same creation where the remedy for sin was derived, and God therefore had legal remedy for all transgressions for all eternity.  When God gets all He wants out of the present age, He can end it, and start afresh with cleansed heavens and a restored earth in which righteousness lives (2 Pe 3:13) and for which He now has a perpetual remedy (Christ’s blood) for any transgression that happens in eternity.  He can justly punish the transgressor with a temporal (time delimited) punishment.  He does not have to lose a disobedient creature for eternity.

If there are alien races, then the same problem of sin and death, justice, and free will obtains with all of them.  It is difficult to see how they could fall under the universal law of sin and death that was introduced by Adam and imposed on Adam’s children and the creation over which he ruled because of Adam’s transgression (Rom 5:12).  Because of Adam’s transgression, the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now (Rom 8:22).  How did the aliens come to be in pain as a result of Adam’s sin?  Why would they have to die because of what Adam did?  Therefore it is difficult to see how Christ’s sacrificial death would benefit them.   The whole scheme of redemption flows through Adam’s fall (one man) and Christ’s restoration (one man) of Adam’s children through His dying for every man descended from Adam and thereby overcoming sin and death.  This does not work for aliens that evolved millions of years before Adam appeared or who were the originators of some pan spermia that provided the germ to start life on earth.

God is going to remove the present starry heavens and replace them with a new heavens (Heb 1:10-12, Ps 102:25-26, 2 Pe 3:10-13).  However, aliens are said to inhabit the planets among the stars, but that portion of God’s creation is to be rolled up (Heb 1:12) and burned up (2 Pet 3:10-13) without any promise of a redeemer and any hope.  Further, in the world to come, God promises to raise the bodies of dead back to life and to give His sons (the ones that obey Him in this life) dominion over the nations in the world to come (Rev 2:28, 3:21, 2 Co 6:2, Mt 19:28).  One of the things He promises the faithful is “the morning star” (Rev 2:28).  It appears that the sons of God inherit habitable planets populated with people raised from the dead who were counted worthy to receive everlasting life (Mt 25:34).  However, the habitable planets are the places that aliens are supposed to be, but God’s promise is to put men on them and put His sons over them.  These things argue against man-like aliens in God’s creation.

There are other beings out there besides men, but they are involved in one way or another with men and God’s scheme of redemption.  Men are the focal point in creation, because they enable the demonstration of free will, and they enable the demonstration of the wretchedness of evil, and they made possible physical death, and men provided the means whereby God could justly forgive disobedience.   Men provided a realm where there could be a physical body the Creator could assume, such that it was possible for Him to die for His creation (Heb 10:5) and thereby atone for sin.  There are also many orders of angels, but they are created beings, just like men (Ex 20:11).  Angels were created to support men (He 1:14).  Though the angels are immortal, they have been involved with men in sin and death.  The Devil, a created being. came down to earth and tempted man to sin in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:1).  This fallen angel is directly responsible for the death of all men.  About 700 years later there were 200 angels that left heaven and sinfully came to earth (Jude 1:6) where the their giant children caused such sinful conditions (Gen 6:5) that God ultimately destroyed the earth in the Flood (Gen 6:7).  God will punish the fallen, created being, Satan, along with his angels, with the second death (Rev 20:14).  Their punishment will be eternal suffering in the lake of fire (Mt 25:41).  The angels that sinned are to be cast into the Abyss where they will be consciously punished for ever.

There are principalities and powers whose duties involve such things as command over orders of angels or care of God’s zoological gardens or command of some force such as government, war, commerce, death, or the temporary place of the dead (Hades).  There are creatures that maintain the order of the creation such as the timely appearance of heavenly bodies (Jude 1:13) and such as operation of the forces on earth (Jer 49:36).  Others provide punishment to the damned (Rev 9:3).  There are orders that directly serve God in service to Him in heaven such as guards and retinue (cherubim and seraphim).  All of these angels are connected in some way with God’s plan centered on man.  There were even creatures like centaurs, cyclops, sirens, and giants in days past, but these all sprang from God’s original creation centered around man and descended from men or angels.

There is no mention of aliens in God’s record nor does there seem to be a place where they could fit into God’s plan, so I don’t believe these accounts of aliens.  The accounts are either false psyops to prepare men to believe in a planned fake alien invasion, or they are genuine observations of secret technology, or they could occasionally be observations of creatures from the spirit realm such as demons, angels or ghosts or maybe even time travelers from the future come back to see first hand (read only, no changes) what God has done in His plan for men.

These are the reasons why I don’t believe in aliens, but God’s plan does not seem to allow for myriads of alien races that are peers of men.  Also, it appears to me that if there were aliens they would already have plainly revealed themselves to men, and there would be no doubt of their existence, just like there is no doubt of the existence of LA or New York City.

 

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A Harmony of the Gospel Accounts of the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21)

A Parallel Presentation of All the Gospel Accounts of the Olivet Discourse

In the Olivet Discourse recorded in Matthew 24 Jesus discussed two questions posed by the apostles:

    • When will the destruction of the temple be?
    • What is the sign of thy coming and the end of the world?

Understanding the timeline of Matthew 24 is difficult unless you realize “this generation” in verse 34 refers to the parable of the fig tree (Mt 24:32).  The fig tree is the nation of Israel (Joel 1:7).  The nation of Israel “budded” after a long dormancy in 1948.  One or more in the generation alive in 1948 will live to see the coming of Christ.  With that understanding, the various texts can be harmonized.

The reader should note that Matthew 24 does not even specifically discuss the AD 70 Destruction of Jerusalem (DOJ), yet there are many that try to force all of Matthew 24 into a figurative description of the DOJ.  It doesn’t work, because of the flawed hermeneutic these expositors use.  They declare a text to be symbolic because it does not agree with their theology, and they then use arbitrary word association to contrive a supposed meaning for the text.  That is not a valid approach to Bible study and must be shunned by those that would understand God’s word.

The following charts chronologically align the texts of the various passages having to do with the Olivet Discourse plus some other relevant passages such as Luke 17.  By arranging the texts in a chronological layout many of the difficulties that arise from reading just one of the Olivet Discourse accounts are clarified.

Matthew24TablePersonalTribulationApostles

Matthew24TableAD70DOJAndFallingAway

Matthew24TableSackOfJersalemByManOfSin

Matthew24TableEventsBeforeSecondComing

Matthew24TableEventsAtSecondComing

This link provides a download of the harmonized scriptures in single document.

TableHaromonyOfScripturesOnMatthew24

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A Chronological Outline of Revelation in Graphical Form

The following diagram shows how the chapters of Revelation relate in a chronological fashion.  Revelation is not chronologically sequential as many dispensationalists (e.g. Clarence Larkin, The Book of Revelation, 1919) suppose.  The diagram shows that most of Revelation is about the 7th seal where Jesus exercises His power over the course of human history.  The seventh seal has three parallel prophetic histories.  These prophetic plans relate to the three major groups of men for whom God has given laws (Rev 8-22).  They are Israel (8-14), the nations (15-19), and Christians (20-22).  Christ exercises His God given authority over the powers of the seven seals in parallel throughout the time of His reign.  He exercises all power in heaven and on earth (Mt 28:18) during the time between the coronation in chapter 5 and the judgment in chapter 20.  Chapters 21-22 show Christ victorious and His suffering bride, the church, glorified in eternity.

Chronological Harmony of Revelation

Chronological Harmony of Revelation

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God’s Sacrifice of His Sons

Of course, every Christian is familiar with the truth that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him might be saved (Jn 3:16).  God gave Jesus to die the death we could not die (our death is already obligated in Adam’s curse–to dust all of Adam must return, Gen 3:14, and we therefore cannot die for our own sin) in order that God’s justice might be served and we might live.

What is less known is God sacrificed His son Adam (Lk 3:38) in order to bring sin into the world and by having sin as a present fact, to kill sin through the death of Christ.  How can this be?  Before the world was, God purposed His eternal purpose in Christ Jesus (Eph 3:11, 1 Ti 1:9).  God’s plan involved bringing sin into the world, letting it progress till the world perished in Noah’s day, calling Abraham from a world plunging into the darkness of idolatry, electing the Jews, and finally bringing the long awaited Savior of the world.  This was God’s plan before the world was (1 Pe 1:19-20, Eph 1:4).  Sin was not an accident.  From the great comparison Paul makes between Adam and Jesus, it is clear Adam’s sin and the consequent curse that came on the creation was all according to God’s plan (Ro 5:12, 18-19) as much as Judas freewill betrayal of Jesus (Acts 2:23, 1:20, 25).  God knew what would happen to Adam when He placed Adam in the garden and forbade him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil under penalty of death.  He knew Adam would eat, and yet God will willing to sacrifice His oldest human son in order that His creation might live.  Adam died in order that sin might come into the world, and through sin a Redeemer could die for the redemption of the creation (Col1:20, Ro 8:22, Acts 3:21).

However, God has other human sons.  These too are condemned to die.  “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb 9:27b).  God’s sons suffer affliction in this present world (2 Co 4:17), sometimes martyred, sometimes suffering deprivation, often persecuted, but recognizing their “light affliction, which is for the moment, worketh for [them] more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory” (2 Co 4:17).  At times they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth, but in the end, they all die.  Through their affliction they prove their fidelity to God (1 Pe 1:6-8), they are a witness of God to a corrupt world, and they learn patience (Jas 1:3).  God sacrifices all of His adopted sons in order that they might glorify Him (1 Co 6:20) and be perfected through their sufferings (Heb 12:11).  These suffering, dying sons provided the needy, helpless ones that the Redeemer and Savior might come to save (Lk 4:18-19).  These suffering sons are at first the captives of Devil in thrall to death whom Jesus sets free and raises from the dead in order that He might be the firstborn among many brethren (Ro 8:29).

I find it interesting to think about the situation in the new earth where God’s sons have risen from the dead, received their inheritance, and rule their kingdoms in glory and honor (Isa 49:22-23, Rev 3:21).  They rule while the renewed creation (Acts 3:21) is growing without bounds (Isa 9:7), and while they get thousands of children (Isa 60:22).  In one sense God’s sons will be the Adams of the world to come.  They are the firstborn ones (Heb 12:23, Jas 1:18).  They, like Christ, were faithful till death (Rev 2:10b), and they actually experienced death.  In a world of deathless men (Rev 20:4), having experienced death will be quite the novelty, just as we view Adam’s creation from the dust of the earth as a great novelty.  Can’t you just hear a wondering citizen of the new earth saying, “My lord Ezekiel, what was it like to suffer on earth and to die?”  God’s son can then respond with descriptions of the wonder of God’s grace, the brilliance of His plan, and the glory of His salvation.  This salvation is ours for the taking.  It only requires sacrificing our all and being faithful till death.  Are you up to the task?  You can be, through trust in God and faithful obedience to word.

How great is God’s love where He sacrificed not only His only begotten Son in order that men might believe and be saved, but God sacrificed all of His sons in order that there could be a sinful world in which the Savior might come and be the Savior of men hopelessly enslaved to sin and death.  How great is the wisdom and love of God who doeth all things well.

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The Abyss, the Bottomless Pit, Tartarus, Hades, Torment, Hell, Gehenna, and the Lake of Fire

The Abyss, the Bottomless Pit, Tartarus, Hades, Torment, Hell, Gehenna, and the Lake of Fire

When one reads the Bible, he encounters the terms Abyss or Bottomless Pit, Tartarus, Hades, Hell, Gehenna, and the Lake of Fire. Just exactly what are these? None of these is visible on the face of the earth. The Bible has quite a bit to say about these, and there is additional detail available in the non-canonical works. Some of these terms are synonyms (e.g. the Abyss is the Bottomless Pit), and all of them share the feature of having to do with punishment, but some of them are for time, and some are for eternity. The Bible describes the entities named in the title of this article as literal places, but many or most of them are not understood and are relegated to the status of presumed symbols. I thought it would be instructive to give a brief description of each of them and their relationships to each other.

The Abyss (tartaroo) is translated “bottomless pit” in the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible (Rev 9:1, 2, 11, 11:7, 17:8, 20:1, 3), but is translated “the deep” in Luke 8:31 and Romans 10:8. It is a deep crevice in the earth (1 En 88:1-2) and is the place where the evil spirits go when they are cast out of their fleshly hosts to be tormented (Lk 8:31). It is the place where the angels that sinned were imprisoned (1 En 21:7-10). It is a place where God imprisoned “the angels that sinned” (2 Pet 2:4) that Enoch describes being shut up in “the valleys of the earth” (1 En 10:12). The KJV calls the place where the fallen angels were cast “hell” in 2 Pet 2:4, but the Greek word is “tartaroo”. The KJV’s translation of “tartaroo” as “hell” here in 2 Peter 2:4 is one of the three distinct Greek words (“tartaroo” 2 Pe 2:4, “gehenna” Mt 10:28, “Hades” Mt 11:23) the KJV translated as “hell”, and they are all three different places. “Tartaroo” is the deepest abyss of Hades (Strong, G5020), the place where the fallen angels are kept until the day of judgment (Ewing). It is the place into which the souls of the giants, the sons of the angels, are to be cast on the day of Judgment (1 En 56:1), where they will be joined with their fathers (the fallen angels — 1 En 89:24) and the 70 last shepherds of Israel (1 En 89:25). The Abyss, the bottomless pit, and Tartarus are all the same thing. The Abyss while visible from Hades (Lk 16:26, Enoch 21:1-10) is not the same as Hades. The Abyss is not Torment, Hell, Gehenna, or the Lake of Fire.

Hades is the unseen place of the dead. It is a cavernous place underground that Enoch describes as having four compartments (1 En 22:9-11). Two of Enoch’s compartments (torment and Abraham’s bosom) are mentioned in Luke 16:19-31. Enoch says the four compartments (1 En 22:4-7) house spirits depending on their status in relation to God:

1. There is a division for the spirits of the righteous. Like Luke 16:24 mentions, it has a bright spring of water. Some of the former inhabitants of this division participated in the first resurrection with Christ (Mt 27:52). The rest believed Jesus’ preaching when in Hades, and when Jesus ascended to heaven (Acts 1:9), He took these souls to heaven with him (Eph 4:8). This division is now empty, for when righteous men die now, their spirits go to heaven to await the Judgment (Php 1:23, 2 Cor 5:6, 8, Rev 6:9, 1 Th 4:14).
2. There is a division for the spirits whose bodies received burial, but they were transgressors and deserve punishment. These will participate in the bodily resurrection (Rev 20:13). All those who have been buried will be raised from the dead, according to what Jesus promised in John 5:28. Those in this division are in great torment until the Day of Judgment. This division corresponds to the place of torment where the Rich Man is (Lk 16:24).
3. There is a division for those that were slain in the days of the sinners. Genesis 6 describes a time when the earth was so corrupted that the thoughts of men’s hearts was evil continually (Gen 6:5). These were all slain by war and by the Flood (Gen 6:13), and this division seems reserved especially for them. This division may shed light on the strange statement in Revelation 20:13, “The sea gave up the dead which were in it.” If Enoch’s third division of Hades is a cavern under the sea, those rising from this division, would pass through the sea that was the cause of most of their deaths. It seems to be a sort of Davy Jones Locker.
4. There is a division of those who have sinned, but they are distinguished from the transgressors, who seem to be a more hardened version of sinners. I believe these are the ones Enoch describes in Enoch 50:2 who witness the victory of the holy and elect people over the evil and come to believe that Jesus is indeed Lord, and will repent (1 En 50:2). These are the ones of whom Luke speaks in Luke 12:48 that are ignorant of God’s will and who will be punished with few stripes, that is, for a time in Hades and not for eternity in Gehenna with many stripes.

Hades is a prison house for the dead (1 Pet 3:19, Acts 2:27) and a place of temporal punishment for those that deserve punishment (Lk 12:48, 16:24). The place of Hades is named after the spirit person, Hades. Hades is a spirit power (Eph 6:12), a person (Rev 6:8) who is over the fortress of Hades (Mt 16:18), the prison place (1 Pe 3:19, Ps 107:10, Micah 7:8-9) of the dead (Acts 2:31). He has substance and form (Rev 6:8) that can be cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev 20:14). He is always linked with the spirit power Death (Rev 6:8, 20:14), an enemy of God (1 Cor 15:26, 55), and Hades will be punished eternally along with the Devil and his angels. Hades is not the same as The Abyss, Gehenna, and the Lake of Fire, although there is a great chasm visible from Hades (Lk 16:36, Enoch 21:7-8) that probably is the Abyss.

Haidees (Hades) is one of the three Greek words (haidees, tartaroo, geenna) that the King James Version of the Bible translates as “hell”. However, each of the three words the KJV translates “hell” refer to different places. We have already looked at tartaroo (Tartarus), and Hades is the second of these three words that describe three distinct places. We now turn our attention to the third of these words translated “hell”, “geenna” or Gehenna.

Literally, Gehenna is the Valley of Hinnom, a literal valley on the south side of ancient Jerusalem. Today it is a pleasant valley, a tourist attraction, and a park. http://www.flickr.com/photos/tkandell/147503330/ One place in the valley has a sign, “Welcome to Hell”, which while humorous, will not be so funny at the judgment. The reason it will not be funny is that Gehenna is the place of eternal punishment. As you can see from the photo, it doesn’t look like a place of punishment today, but Enoch says that there are fires burning beneath the land (En 67:6-7) that will come up to the surface at the end of the world (En 67:13). The earth will be shaken so violently (Heb 12:26, Ezk 38:20) at the end that the surface of the earth will be altered (Isa 24:19, 30:25, Ps 97:5, Zech 14:4, 10, Ezk 38:20, Nahum 1:5), and the emergence of Gehenna is one of the major changes of the earth that will be effected by His coming. Gehenna is the place of eternal punishment (Mk 9:43) where the wicked are cast (Lk 12:5, Rev 20:15) at the Judgment (Mt 25:41).

Gehenna will be visible from the City of God, New Jerusalem (Isa 66:23-24). The smoke from it will rise up forever, and it will be a formidable place. It will extend from south of Jerusalem at the present Valley of Hinnom (Ge-Hinnom, Gehenna) all the way down into Edom that is south of the Dead Sea (Isa 34:5-17, 66:24). The Lake of Fire will have an observation point from which the people can observe the damned (Isa 66:23), but most of the lake will be surrounded by a horrible mixture of briars, nettles, and every noxious plant (Isa 34:13). The land will be inhabited by every kind of noxious bird and beast (Isa 34:11, 14-15). No one will ever pass through there for it will be like the Island of Dr. Moreau times ten. In the New Earth Gehenna is on the surface of the earth at a location that extends from Jerusalem to the southern border of Edom. It will be an eternal feature of the New Earth. It is not the Abyss, the Bottomless Pit, Tartarus, Hades, or Torment, but it is Hell, Gehenna, and the Lake of Fire.

Characteristics Gehenna Hell Lake of Fire
The whole body can be cast there Mt 5:20 Mt 5:20 Rev 19:20
It is a place where God can torment the body even after you have died once and there is nothing more than men can do to you. Mt 10:28 Mt 10:28 Rev 19:20, 20:10, 14:11
A body with two hands or two eyes or two feet can be cast into this place Mt 18:9; Mk 9:43, 45, 47 Mt 18:9, Mk 9:43, 45, 47 Rev 20:15
An evil person is a child of this place Mt 23:15 Mg 23:15 Rev 20:15
A generation of vipers and serpents could not possibly escape this place in the future Mt 23:33 Mt 23:33 Rev 20:15
It is a place that men should fear into which God can cast you after you are dead Lk 12:5 Lk 12:5 Rev 19:20
The tongue is set on fire in this place James 3:6 Rev 19:20, 20:15

Everything that can be said of Gehenna is also true of the Lake of Fire and Gehenna is therefore the same as the Lake of Fire. “Hell” is a word that is used to translate “Gehenna” and is therefore the same as Gehenna.

All of the places discussed are places of punishment. Hades/Torment/Hell1 is a temporary place of punishment and incarceration used to keep the spirits of the dead until the Judgment. The place where the righteous were kept was emptied at the resurrection of Christ (1 Pet 3:19, Lk 14:18), and I presume is now empty, for the righteous dead now go to be with God (Php 1:23, 2 Co 5:8-9). The Abyss/Bottomless Pit/Tartarus/Hell2 is a place that serves for both temporal (Luke 8:31, Rev 17:8) and eternal punishment (Enoch 90:24-26). Gehenna/Lake of Fire/Hell3 is a place to be revealed at the end of this present age and is a place of eternal punishment (Rev 20:10, 15, 14:11, Mt 25:41).

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Why Only Seven World Empires?

We meet a seven headed beast in Revelation 12:3 and 13:1, but the text does not explain there what the heads represent.  We know from the Revelation 13:1’s composite beast that the bizarre seven headed creature is related to Daniel, for it is a composite of all four of Daniel’s beasts. This identity in composition links John’s vision to that of Daniel and permits us to draw from the inspired explanation of what the pieces symbolized. For example, in Daniel’s vision, the multiple heads were the multiple kings that ruled the pieces of Alexander’s empire (cp Dan 8:22). Later in Revelation John explains the meaning of the heads (Rev 17:10). John explains the heads to be seven kings or kingdoms, and he said the sixth kingdom (Rome) was then ruling (Rev 17:18). From Revelation 17 we also learn that the heads symbolize a sequence of kingdoms (“five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come” Rev 17:10), and there was one kingdom remaining in the sequence of seven at the time when John wrote and Rome ruled the world.

Since John wrote Revelation in AD 96, there have been many empires that have come and gone, but there was to be only two other empires after Rome until the end of the world.  Why do not the empires such as the Muslims, the Monguls, the Ottomans, and Napolean make for many more than seven world empires?  Why are there only seven?
To answer why God counts only seven empires, you need but look at to whom the Old Testament (OT) was directed. The people of concern in the OT were the children of Israel. Since the seven headed beast is linked to the OT through the composite beast of Daniel 7,  the context of the seven headed beast is Israel. The seven world empires of whom Daniel and Revelation speak were all intimately involved with the nation of Israel.

The first head of the beast is Egypt, and Israel dealt with that kingdom at the birth of their nation, but the ancient empire of Nimrod preceeded Egypt by many centuries.  Why was it not counted?  We can see why Nimrod was not counted when we recall that God’s covenant with Israel only began in the days of Moses, a time when the Egyptian empire was in its ascendancy. The empires of the ancient Babylonians (Nimrod, Gen 10:9-10) and Elam’s Chedorlaomer (Gen 14:5), while historically were very significant, were too early to deal with the nation of Israel, since Israel did not emerge as a nation until around 1460 BC.

For the seven headed beast to be a succession of only seven kingdoms, the only criteria that makes sense to arrive at only seven kingdoms is to limit the kingdoms under consideration to those that had dominion while Israel existed as a nation and that interacted with the nation of Israel.  Six existed before Israel ceased to exist as a nation in AD 70.  From AD 70 until AD 1948, there was no nation of Israel, and the empires that existed during that time had no relevance to Israel as a nation.  However, since the rebirth of the Israeli state in 1948 it has become possible for Israel to once again interact with world empires, and according to John’s prophecy one still remains to emerge before the end of the age.  I believe that empire is emerging, and it will be the New World Order.  When the seventh empire emerges, John says, “He must remain for a little while.”    The seventh world empire will be destroyed by the Antichrist (the Beast of Revelation 17:11) when he destroys Rome (Rev 17:18). 

Israel will not be destroyed when the Beast burns the NWO’s Rome, but the NWO’s Rome will not be the last of the seven heads with which Israel has to contend.  John says, “And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition” (Rev 17:11).  The Antichrist will rule the 8th world empire, one of the previous seven (the Medes/Persians) that rises from a death stroke to once again rule the world.  The Antichrist in the company of 200,000,000 of his closest friends invades Israel and takes Jerusalem only four days before the end of the world (Joel 2:9, Zech 14:1-2, Rev 11:8, 11).  That will be the end of his career.  The Father comes while the Antichrist revels in the “victory” over God’s Christ, and when the Father stands on the Mt of Olives, the power of His presence causes the mountain to split in two.  The Son comes like lightning and shines from one part of heaven to the other, the graves are opened, and the righteous dead come forth immortal to destroy the Beast and his army.  The Beast is taken and cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev 19:20).  The army of the Beast is slain by the Son and the armies of heaven (Rev 19:21).  Such is the end of the seven headed beast and those that would dare touch the elect of God.

 

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With God All Things Are Possible

Nothing is impossible with God, except he cannot lie (Titus 1:2), but he can use agents to lie for him of their own free will (I Ki 22:22), just like He used agents to offer His sacrifice, the Lamb of God (Acts 2:23). God cannot lie, but He manipulates free will agents to do His will (Ex 4:21; Rom 9:13, 18; Isa 44:28), and these agents lie of their own free will (Jn 8:44), so there is nothing God cannot do. It seems it was necessary, or at least best, for God to build a universe where He permitted free will, because otherwise, He would be limited by His own goodness. However, with freemoral agents, He is not even limited by that, and now with God all things are possible (Mt 19:26, Ro 8:28).

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