IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Are We on the Verge of the Tribulation? - Britt Gillette - http://www.end-times-bible-prophecy.com/are-we-on-the-verge-of-the-tribulation.html
After two years of global turmoil, people are starting to realize we aren't going to "return to normal." We've endured a global pandemic, widespread social unrest, vaccine passports, and compounding global supply chain issues. Now, we have a major war in Eastern Europe, fuel and food price inflation, and rumors of an impending global financial crisis. Everywhere you look, it seems as though the end is near. Is it? What does the Bible say? How close are the end times, the Tribulation, and the rapture of the church?
Fortunately, we don't have to guess. Jesus Himself told us how to recognize the general timeframe of His return. When the disciples said, "Tell us the signs of your coming and the end of the age" (Matthew 24:3), Jesus told them a number of things to look for. He then said, "When you see all these things, you can know my return is near. I'm right at the door" (Matthew 24:33). He also said, "When all these things begin to happen, look up for your salvation is near!" (Luke 21:28).
This means the #1 indication Jesus will return soon is all the signs appearing together. Both Jesus and the prophets told us what those signs are, and the appearance of just one is reason enough to take notice. But the arrival of one sign after another demands your attention. It's the sign Jesus said to look for. This convergence of signs is confirmation our generation will witness the Second Coming - not according to me, but according to Jesus.
The Convergence of Signs
So what are these signs? This article will only cite a few. These signs are undeniable, and their convergence should convince you the return of the Lord is close at hand. They include:
Israel Back in the Land - God promised to bring the Jewish people back into the land of Israel before He returned (Jeremiah 23:7-8). He said He would call them from "among the nations" (Ezekiel 39:28), from "the farthest corners of the earth" (Isaiah 11:12), and from "north, south, east, and west" (Psalm 107:3). He promised to welcome them home from the lands where they were scattered (Ezekiel 20:34). When they did, He promised to return and establish His everlasting kingdom (Isaiah 11:11-12).
The Jewish People in Control of Jerusalem - Jesus said armies would surround Jerusalem, destroy the city, and enslave its citizens. The Roman legions fulfilled this prophecy in A.D. 70. Jesus then said people other than the Jewish people will control Jerusalem for a time, until the Jewish people once again control Jerusalem. When they did, Jesus promised to return (Luke 21:24-28). Since 1967, the Jewish people have controlled Jerusalem.
The Gospel Preached Throughout the World - When asked about the end of the age and the signs of His coming, Jesus said to look for a very specific sign. He said the Gospel will be preached throughout the entire world. Every nation will hear it. And then? And then, the end will come (Matthew 24:14). For centuries after the crucifixion, the Gospel was confined to a small area surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. In the past two centuries, Christians have brought the Gospel to every nation in the world. Today, missionaries are in every nation. The Bible is translated in hundreds of languages, and the message of Jesus is sent around the world by radio, TV, satellite, and the Internet. For the first time in history, this generation is on the verge of spreading the Gospel to every last person on earth.
An Increase in Travel and Knowledge - Six hundred years before Jesus, an angel gave Daniel a special message. He said "travel and knowledge" will increase in the end times (Daniel 12:4). For centuries of human history, dramatic gains in travel and knowledge did NOT take place. Yet the last two hundred years have seen explosions in the speed and frequency of travel as well as the amount and availability of knowledge.
Arrival of the Exponential Curve - Jesus said a variety of global signs will come before His return and the end of the age. These signs will be spiritual, natural, societal, and political in nature. He said they will appear in a distinct way – "like birth pains" (Matthew 24:3‐8). This means the frequency and intensity of these signs will increase as we near His return. Our generation has seen the exponential increase in war and famine Jesus said to look for. In the 20th Century alone, more people died from war and famine than lived on the earth when Jesus spoke these words.
Israel Surrounded by Enemies - The Bible says enemies will surround Israel in the end times. Those enemies will say "Come, let us wipe away the nation of Israel. Let's destroy the memory of its existence" (Psalm 83:4) and "Let us take for ourselves these pasturelands of God" (Psalm 83:12). Ezekiel said Israel's neighbors will say "God has given their land to us" (Ezekiel 11:14‐17), and "Israel and Judah are ours. We will take possession of them. What do we care if their God is there?" (Ezekiel 35:10). Ever since the rebirth of Israel in 1948, the daily headlines have included these Bible verses. Israel's Muslim neighbors claim the land of Israel for themselves, and they have no regard for the God of Israel.
Israel's Exceedingly Great Army - Ezekiel said, in the end times, Israel will field "an exceedingly great army" (Ezekiel 37:10). Zechariah said Israel will be like a fire among sheaves of grain, burning up the neighboring nations (Zechariah 12:6) and even the weakest Israeli soldier will be like David (Zechariah 12:8). Since 1948, Israel has fought no less than four conventional wars against its neighbors. Despite being outnumbered more than 50 to 1, Israel has achieved overwhelming victory every time.
Rise of the Gog of Magog Alliance - The Bible says a military alliance that includes Russia, Iran, Turkey, and a number of Muslim nations will attack Israel "in the latter days" (Ezekiel 38:8) when God brings His people home from among the enemy nations (Ezekiel 39:27). Today, we see those very nations coming together for the first time - an alliance that has never existed in world history.
Rise of a United Europe - The Bible says a revived Roman Empire will come to power in the end times (Daniel 2, Daniel 7, Revelation 17). According to Daniel, it will be a ten nation alliance of weak and strong nations. Some parts will be as strong as iron, while other parts will be as weak as clay (Daniel 2:42). We see the beginning of this alliance in the European Union - a coalition of weak and strong nations struggling to stay together.
The Rise of Global Government - The Bible says a single government will rule the world politically (Revelation 13:7), religiously (Revelation 13:8), and economically (Revelation 13:16‐17) in the last days. It will rule over "all people, tribes, and languages" on the face of the earth (Revelation 13:7). Its authority will be so complete no one will be able to buy or sell anything without its permission (Revelation 13:16‐17). For centuries, a true global government was impossible. Today, world leaders openly discuss it.
Denial of the Signs - Almost two thousand years ago, Peter issued a warning. He said in the last days people will mock the idea of Jesus returning. They will make fun of those who believe in the Second Coming and say exactly what we hear today - things like, "I thought Jesus was coming back? What happened to His promise? Generation after generation has said He's coming. Yet, since the beginning of the world, everything has remained the same!" (2 Peter 3:3‐4).
The Hour is Late
Keep in mind, these signs haven't always been present. Generations of Christians lived and died without witnessing any of these signs. For centuries of Christian history, none of these signs were present. Today, they all are. Jesus said when you see these signs, you can know His return is near. He's right at the door (Matthew 24:33). In fact, Jesus said the generation witnessing these signs will not pass away before He returns (Matthew 24:34). So despite the skeptics and naysayers, Jesus is coming, and ours is the generation that will witness His return. The convergence of all these signs confirm it.
Are We on the Verge of the Tribulation?
For many years now, we've seen the convergence of the signs Jesus and the prophets said to look for. Now, in 2022, we see a specific alignment of events that could lead to the outbreak of the Tribulation at any moment. These specific events are identical in nature to the events the Bible says will occur during the Tribulation. Whether or not these events are merely a preview of the events to come, or the actual events the Bible describes for the Tribulation, remains to be seen. However, keep in mind these events will roll out in the midst of the very season when Jesus said He would return.
So, what are these possible Tribulation events in the making? Here are just a few:
Central Bank Digital Currencies - Over the past couple of years, central banks have openly discussed the introduction Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs). The central banks wield power over some of the largest economies in the world - the United Kingdom, Canada, China, the European Union, and the United States. Despite these public discussions, conventional wisdom says the rollout of CBDCs remains years in the future. The conventional wisdom is wrong. China has already released a digital yuan, and recently released digital yuan wallets for both Android and iOS smartphones.
In March, President Biden signed an Executive Order titled "Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets." The order requires federal agencies to submit to the President within 180 days:
"a technical evaluation of the technological infrastructure, capacity, and expertise that would be necessary at relevant agencies to facilitate and support the introduction of a CBDC system should one be proposed. The evaluation should specifically address the technical risks of the various designs, including with respect to emerging and future technological developments, such as quantum computing."
By September 2022, this technical evaluation will be complete. Then, have no doubt about it - once the next crisis hits, the U.S. will roll out its own CBDC to replace the dollar.
Why does this matter? CBDCs will be centralized, government-controlled programmable currency. This means if the government decides it doesn't like you for whatever reason (think Canadian truckers), they can cut off your access. In other words, you won't be able to buy or sell. Sound familiar? The Bible says the Antichrist will implement this same system. Those who refuse the mark of the beast will be unable to buy or sell (Revelation 13:17). We're now on the verge of a global rollout of a technology identical in ability to the mark of the beast technology the Bible says will dominate the world during the Tribulation.
World War III - The Bible says there will be a World War III (Revelation 6:4), and we're much closer to it today than when 2022 started and probably the closest we’ve been since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Every day seems to bring a new escalation between NATO and its allies and Russia over the latter’s invasion of Ukraine. NATO has sanctioned Russia, is providing arms to the Ukrainian resistance, and many of its members have called for direct intervention in Ukraine. Even if NATO avoids a direct military conflict, all it takes is for Russia to make one mistake which leads to a deadly strike in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, or Romania (all NATO members bordering Ukraine), and all of NATO will be obligated to respond. A full-blown war between Russia and NATO means World War III and the likely use of nuclear weapons. In 2019, the U.S. ran a war game to simulate what would happen in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. The result was nuclear war with over a billion people dead. It's a stark reminder that, at any moment, the war in Ukraine could escalate into World War III.
Hyperinflation - In 2022, inflation has become a serious problem for almost every major economy in the world. The March 2022 headline inflation number for the U.S. was 8.5% - the highest since 1981. For the EuroZone, it came in at 7.5%. In Germany, wholesale prices rose 22.6% year-over-year. EU natural gas prices increased six-fold. Global oil prices rose 67%, wheat prices doubled, and corn prices went up 50%. Fuel and food riots have erupted in Peru, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. And unrest is brewing in countless other countries as well.
Could we be on the brink of hyperinflation? Maybe. Maybe not. But the Bible says the whole world will one day experience hyperinflation. When that happens, an entire day's wages will only buy enough food to barely survive (Revelation 6:6).
Global Famine - As we entered 2022, the world already faced a major food crisis, both in terms of supply and price. Since then, the situation has only gotten worse. The Russian invasion of Ukraine cut off Russian and Ukrainian exports via the Black Sea. Together, they account for 12% of all global calories consumed. The sanctions against Russia have compounded ongoing supply chain issues, and many countries have banned agricultural exports. Add in poor harvests, rampant fertilizer shortages, and an avian flu plague destroying millions of chickens and turkeys, and it becomes clear we're heading toward the worst food crisis in modern times.
In fact, it's worse than that. Famine is coming on a mass scale. We simply aren't going to grow enough food in 2022. The result will be a biblical famine. The only question is whether it will be one of the famines Jesus spoke about in Matthew 24:7 or the Tribulation famine of Revelation 6:5-8.
Jesus is Coming Soon
If the world stage is now set for the Tribulation, how close must the rapture be? The Bible says the rapture will take place before the Tribulation. Jesus promised His church, "I will keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth" (Revelation 3:10). If you're reading this and you're a Christian, your time on this earth is short. Your race (1 Corinthians 9:24-27) is nearing its end, so make sure to finish well. Live a holy, godly life as you look forward to the day of His coming (2 Peter 3:11-12). Take advantage of every opportunity to spread the Gospel. Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything Jesus has commanded (Matthew 28:19-20). The day will come when you will lose the opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. So do it now while you still can. Jesus is coming soon.
Deception And the Beginnings of Sorrows - By Dave Hubley - https://www.raptureready.com/2022/03/27/deception-and-the-beginnings-of-sorrows-by-dave-hubley/
My brothers and sisters: We knew these days were coming, and I believe they are here.
Let me begin by pointing out a couple of important considerations, the first of which is becoming more evident with each passing day based on this very important verse in the book of Daniel:
“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4). [Emphasis mine]
1) It is the opinion of this author that much of what is happening at this time is serving to weave understanding and clarity of the fabric of the Word of God together stronger than ever, much like rip-stop fabric; however, rip-stop fabric can be punctured; the Word of God cannot.
Like a rapidly clearing fog bank, the realities of the Word of God are becoming clearer.
2) I believe that the evidence for understanding certain prophecies and that they are being fulfilled in more than one event is becoming more evident. Additionally, proof of a single statement by Jesus, rightly divided, that involves more than one period of time is also becoming easier to discern.
One of the more obvious examples of this resides in Luke 14:18-19, where Jesus opens the scroll of Isaiah and reads from it, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord….’ And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down.”
What is important about this is that when He closed the book, He stopped in the middle of a sentence (now referred to as Isaiah 61:2.5) which continued, “and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn.” The beginning of this section proclaims His reason for coming into the world. The second, which He omitted at that time, is yet future when He will return as the Lion of Judah to execute judgment on an unbelieving and rebellious world. All this in ONE sentence!
Some similar examples below are in bold from Matthew 24:1-14 (context correlates with Mark 13:1-13; Luke 21:5-19).
“And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.’ (Literally fulfilled in AD70 with the Roman destruction of the temple)
The Beginning of Sorrows (I believe this period applies right up to the beginning of the Tribulation).
3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?’
Very Important: Jesus was speaking to His Jewish brethren; however, He knew this prophecy would concern the church which was yet to be “born,” so it is another example of a prophecy spoken by the Lord knowing it would encompass the distant future (“and of the end of the world”) and that we would be reading it even up to the present time.
4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. (Ongoing now. Every day is a constant cacophony of threats, implications of wars and rumors of wars, and indeed, actual conflicts abound, and with them, rumors of WWIII).
7 For nation shall rise against nation (Never has nation [ethnic group/race] rising up against each other been more intense than it is right now). Almost every conflict, disagreement, argument, event, situation, debate, confrontation, discussion, and yes, biased and slanted news article in the mainstream media gives rise to the word “racist” being applied, even in situations where it is utterly insane (ex: We have “racist highways!!)? Yes, that actually happened, spoken by a Democrat politician.
… and kingdom against kingdom (Kingdoms [countries] engaged in active conflict abound as well),
… and there shall be famines (Natural and man-made and soon to be much, much, worse),
… and pestilences (Natural and intentionally man-made and soon to be re-invigorated),
… and earthquakes, in divers [over wide areas] places (very frequent now).
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
While some scoffers (although fewer of them in view of current events) might argue that these things have “always” been around (2 Peter 3:3-4), the weakness of their argument is rapidly becoming obvious.
The level, frequency and intensity are deniable only if one intentionally deceives themselves – and, yes, there are many people that fall into that trap of Satan. Deception can be internal as well as external.
9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. The disciples were Jews. Jesus knew that the church would soon be “born.” This dual fulfillment prophecy applies both to the Christ-ones (Christians) and Jews.
I believe that, as far as the church goes, verse 9 above will apply to the uncompromising, true, Christ-honoring and worshiping church. (This uncomfortable but obvious truth is becoming very evident in the rhetoric of the “world” today). Christians are being blamed for every ill of man.
11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
While this author is firmly planted in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view, we do not know how difficult things will be allowed to get by our Lord. We need to make certain we do not succumb to verse 11 by diligent reading of the Word and setting our faces to COMPLETE TRUST in Him. Pray without ceasing for wisdom and discernment.
12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. (This verse almost seems to be an understatement.) Look at the maniacal attempts to make child murder into [man-made] law and thus “legal,” both by abortion of living children and/or injecting them with horrid, gene-altering, DNA- altering chemicals). At least the animals that eat their own young have an excuse – they are animals.
13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:1-14).
I believe this [v13] applies to those who will be saved after the Rapture (see Revelation 7:9-14). They will indeed have to endure unto the end during those 7 years of hell on earth.
The Gospel is preached in almost all places in the world today, either by missionary preachers or through technology where peoples have access to satellite and internet and even in their own languages. (However, the Lord will guarantee that this prophecy will be fulfilled as a surety at the appointed time.)
“Then I saw another angel flying overhead, with the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation and tribe and tongue and people, And he said in a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give Him glory because the hour of His judgment has come. Worship the One who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and the springs of water'” (Revelation 14:6-7).
1) “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:12-13).
This verse above is directed at those who have come to faith and trust in Jesus Christ. It simply verifies that a cursory examination of today’s news (if you can stomach it) will be proof enough that deception is standard operational procedure for the mainstream media, whether by the sin of omission or outright lying by people who are themselves deceived.
Here I would warn my brothers and sisters that many of today’s “conservative” bloggers espouse views that are questionable or even VERY questionable. Many profess Christ, yet they do not believe Him.
BEWARE! Ask God for Wisdom and Discernment.
2) “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:24).
This verse seems to indicate that “the elect” (people who will come to salvation in Jesus Christ) can, in fact, be deceived. (This is NOT to say that they can or will lose their salvation.) I personally know Christian brothers and sisters that have been/can be very easily deceived. They have fallen prey to the deceiver and father of lies. I say this in all love and humility: BEWARE! WAKE UP! You can be deceived if you do not have situational awareness and total trust in the Living Truth – Jesus, on whom you depend. Ask God for Wisdom, Discernment and protection from the lies. Put on your armor!
3) “that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).
This deals with events AFTER the anti-Christ is revealed. I believe these verses require very careful consideration in that they must be reconciled with Revelation 7:9-14:
“After this I looked and saw a multitude too large to count, from every nation and tribe and people and tongue, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ Then one of the elders addressed me: ‘These in white robes,’ he asked, ‘who are they, and where have they come from?’ ‘Sir,’ I answered, ‘you know.’ So he replied, ‘These are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.'”
It is this writer’s OPINION that these verses indicate that there will be many saved after the Rapture of the church. They will not be included as the Bride of Christ, but it appears that many will be saved.
Let us understand that differences of opinion on these matters have no bearing on who will ultimately be saved, so they are not worth unnecessary vitriol and argument. God is Sovereign.
Now I come to the crux of this article:
And, what are His terms according to His Word?
1) God has made it absolutely clear that there is no one who comes before Him under His terms that will be refused.
2) No one: no race, no color, no country of origin, regardless of any previous belief system: no one.
3) No matter what your past sins have been, God can and WILL forgive you because He says He will.
4) Salvation is available to everyone without any exceptions.
If you put all your trust for salvation in Jesus, and Him only, you can follow that prayer up by simply saying, “Thank you, Father God, for hearing my prayer and saving me,” because we can trust Him to keep His Word. He always has. He always will.
Then, the Spirit of God will guide you into all Truth (John 16:13).
John 5:24: “Truly, Truly, I say to you that he who hears my words and believes the One who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned. He has crossed from death to life.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
Pro Salvator Vigilans
To contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
I Am Barrabas – Pete Garcia - https://www.rev310.net/post/i-am-barrabas
Since the second century A.D., there have been numerous movements within greater "Christendom" that sought to supplant and replace national and ethnic Israel as God's chosen people. The early church fathers, some of whom were complicit in promoting this, also believed Jerusalem's destruction and the Jewish diaspora was a clear sign that the Jews were no longer God's elect. Moreover, this absence, of both the temple and the people, created a vacuum for the title of "God's chosen people," which, many Gentiles have since come to claim.
Miraculously, Israel was restored as a people and a nation in 1948. It took two world wars and a holocaust, but God strategically maneuvered world events to bring both the land and the people back together again after nearly two thousand years. What is even more incredible, is that there are still Gentiles and religious movements who believe, despite that reality, they are still God's elect and the Jews currently back in their land are somehow imposters.
As stated at the outset, this idea of "Replacement Theology" or Supersessionism, is not new. It went mainstream in the 4th century when Emperor Constantine normalized Christianity across the Roman Empire. What grew out of that was the Roman Catholic Church, which through its' Augustinian Eschatology (Amillennialism) came to believe they were the Kingdom, and their Pope was ruling vicariously in Jesus' place. Even after the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, this idea of supersessionism carried over and most mainline protestants have embraced the notion that the Jews' role as God's chosen people, is ancient history.
Still, other groups have attempted to physically co-opt or hijack the Jewish identities as if they were the tribes themselves. Groups such as the Mormons, Black Hebrew Israelites, British Israelism, Armstrongism, and various groups within the Hebrew Roots Movement have done as much. There is a growing insistence amongst these groups that they are now the true Israel, and the ethnic Jews living in Israel today, are again, imposters.
Furthermore, there are a growing number of anti-Semitic groups within the cultural and political landscapes who make up both ends of the political spectrum. On the left (i.e. Democrats, Progressives, Antifa, Chrislam, BLM, etc.) have become increasingly hostile towards Jews and Israel. On the far-right, groups such as Q-Anon, Rick Wiles (TruNews), Christ at the Checkpoint, etc. routinely either denigrate Zionism as a whole or attempt to attach every conspiracy theory in the book to them. Nevertheless, all these groups seem to go hand in glove with the outright denial of a future, literal, reign of Christ on David's throne in Jerusalem (Luke 1:32-33).
Now, many of the aforementioned will admit that God still has a plan for “Israel” (national/ethnic Jews). However, what they mean is that since Christ has come and has fulfilled everything, He now is Israel (common amongst varying Post-Millennial, Amillennial, and Preterist positions). According to them, because Christ is the fulfillment of everything in the Old Testament, and we are now in Christ, we are Israel. Thus, the viewpoint of these is that God only ever had one people, for all time, and that through national Israel’s failings, we have not only been grafted in, but somehow, we have become the whole tree itself instead of just a lonely branch.
Granted, as Christians, we are indeed the ‘seed of Abraham’ in the spiritual sense (Gal 3:16). But that does not make the Church the ‘seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ Taken to its extreme, all that seems to do is discount God’s specific calling of a real people, who are physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Rom 9:6-13). Quoting the conversation between God and Moses, the Apostle Paul records that God declares “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy.” In Romans 9, Paul further goes on to use Pharaoh as an example of God raising Him up, only so that He could use him to demonstrate His power.
For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. Rom 9:17-18
So it is with the creation of Israel, that God deliberately set Abram aside as a Gentile (Josh 24:2), and then through His calling, changes Abram to Abraham and from Sarai, to Sarah, where Moses then records Abram as being the first Hebrew in Scriptures. (Gen 14:13). And through Abraham’s son Isaac (the son of promise), they would become a physical nation whose calling was to be as a kingdom of priests before the Lord…
Now, therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant,
then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.
And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’
These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.
Paul further clarifies, that because of Israel’s rejection of their Messiah, God would cause a partial hardening to happen (Rom 11:25), but because of God’s unconditional promises to the patriarchs, they (Israel as a physical people) are beloved. So that puts them at odds directly with the Church in Paul’s day, and even unto our day, that this hardening has continued, and will continue until God once again turns His focus back upon the people that He originally called for Himself.
Concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election, they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so, these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. Rom 11:28-32 (my emphasis)
When confronting those who make the case that we have replaced Israel, we can show a relatively easy clear distinction on just how the two are distinct. Since the Church is not an enemy to the cross, but redeemed by it, we cannot be the same thing as Israel, this, the argument their shifts. Proponents of replacement theology then begin to throw out vague terms like we are now true Israel or spiritual Israel by misinterpreting various passages in the New Testament.
According to Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, the term “Israel” is used 73 times in the New Testament, of which, the vast majority refers to national, ethnic Israel. Two verses I have had used on me repeatedly, Gal. 3:16 and Romans 9:6, SEEMS to lead one to the view that the Church has taken Israel’s place, however, only if taken completely out of the context with the rest of the chapter or even the book, as with Galatians. I would like to pull three quotes that capitalize on this point with extreme clarity. (See here)
– The usage of the terms Israel and the church in the early chapters of the book of Acts is in complete harmony, for Israel exists there alongside the newly formed church, and the two entities are kept separate in terminology [Ibid., p. 189].
– On the contrary, the apostle is concerned with correcting the gospel preached to the Galatians by the Judaizers, particularly their false contention that it was necessary to be circumcised to be saved and to observe as Christians certain requirements of the law of Moses in order to remain in divine favor…
– The apostle makes no attempt whatsoever to deny that there is a legitimate distinction of race between Gentile and Jewish believers in the church…There is a remnant of Jewish believers in the church according to the election of grace… This approach fails to see that Paul does not say there is neither Jew nor Greek within the church. He speaks of those who are “in Christ.”…But Paul also says there is neither male nor female, nor slave nor free man in Christ. Would he then deny sexual differences within the church? Or the social differences in Paul’s day? Is it not plain that Paul is not speaking of national or ethnic differences in Christ, but of spiritual status? In that sense there is no difference in Christ [Ibid., p. 190].
True Israel, then, are those Jews who have come to faith in their Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ, and through faith have been redeemed by His blood, and not through the blood required of by the Mosaic covenant (the Law) i.e….. that of bulls, goats, and sheep. Hebrews 10:11-14 states…For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. But God also promised Abraham that he would be a ‘father of many nations,’ not only as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashores but as many as the stars in the heavens above.
Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice. Genesis 22:16-18 (my emphasis)
Perhaps God was telling Abraham prophetically that there would be both physical descendants (sand of the seashore) and spiritual ones (stars in the heavens). I don’t think Abraham would have understood that at that time, but what he was expecting, was a physical heir, one of his own flesh and blood, who would carry on his family line in perpetuity. And that is exactly what happened.
But as with the sand and the stars, one would come by the flesh, the other through like-faith. Two distinct nations unified in Christ in this dispensation, but who, still maintain their distinct physical identities. The Gentiles are the wild branch grafted in, and the other, the natural branch, becoming true Israel when united with Christ their Messiah.
Are we then True Israel if we are grafted in? Paul gives us the answer.
…You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. Rom 9:16-23
First of all, the olive tree is and isn’t Israel, because Israel isn’t a tree, it’s a nation. It represents Israel nationally, but it’s not even the tree itself, but just the branches. It is a metaphor meant to convey the place of privilege that Israel had prior to the Church’s conception at Pentecost. This example of the olive tree also cannot be speaking about salvation.
As born-again believers, can we be ‘cut off’ as Israel has?
No, because Paul writes in both Ephesians 1:11-14 and in 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, that we are purchased by God, and sealed by His Holy Spirit until the day of redemption. So if we could be cut off, Paul would be contradicting himself. What is at stake here is not of salvation, but of privilege.
What we are grafted into, is that same privilege in God’s economy, as Israel once had. Remember back to Exodus 19, where God assembled the nation of Israel together for the first time at Mt. Sinai and stated “then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people”. Their calling was as a nation. The covenant they agreed to as a nation was conditional (Ex. 24:1-4) (if/then), but the Abrahamic covenant (Gen 15:12-20) was not because God made that covenant amongst Himself (smoking furnace and a burning lamp) on Abraham's behalf (as he was in deep sleep). Abraham’s calling and the covenants that ensued through Isaac and Jacob were unconditional.
Thus, if the Church replaces Israel, who they say represents the tree, then the whole tree would have to be cut down if it were to be cut off.
So you and I as believers are grafted into this place of privilege in God’s sovereign plan, we are now God’s focus in this dispensation called the “Age of the Church.” We have been gifted with the giving of the Holy Spirit. We have a complete set of Scriptures. We also have forty+ centuries of hindsight that we can look back upon to see how God’s word has faithfully come to pass exactly as it said it would.
But regardless of our advantages, we as a people are no better than were the Jews of yesteryear. We still sin, because we are sinners. We still live in our sin-corrupted bodies, in a sin-stained world. The only difference between them and us is that we have the once and for all sacrifice applied to our lives, that we might become the righteousness of God through Christ. (2 Cor 5:21)
As for those who hold to this perverse adherence to replacement theology, they would have us believe we have achieved some level of superiority over the Jews. Whether that is admitted out loud, or only in their heads, is ludicrous all the same. It is all by God's grace and mercy, that we even have the opportunity to accept Jesus as Lord. It was only through the Jewish race that a Messiah could come. It was only through the patriarchs like Abraham that demonstrated to us what real faith looks like so that we could have a standard to measure our own lives against.
Did the Old Testament saints know what this future Messiah would come and do? Did the Old Testament prophets know what the Messiah would come and do? Surely they knew He would bring the Kingdom Come, but did they know how it would come? Did they know this Messiah would not only reconcile man to God but that He would also conquer death and hell? Scriptures tell us that not only did they long to understand His coming, but the angels as well. They got bits and pieces, but not the whole. (1 Peter 1:10-12)
Nevertheless, just as the Old Testament saints looked forward to His coming, we now have the luxury of looking back. God, through His sovereignty, chose Israel back then to be His people in the dispensations of promise and law. He did this to lay the foundations so a Messiah could come to provide salvation for all once His people rejected Him.
Before the foundation of the world, He chose the Church to be His vessel in this dispensation to spread the Good News of this salvation so that all may come. However, at the end of our dispensation, God will once again, return His attention back to national Israel. He will (because He is faithful to the uttermost) fulfill those unfulfilled, unconditional promises He made by covenant with them through their patriarchs. And if God could break His unconditional covenants with them, then we should be woefully fearful. Because if He could break His promises to them, what is stopping Him from breaking His promises to us?
It was the natural and logical thinking of fallen men to think that because of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and their Temple, and because the Jews remained hostile to the Gospel due to this partial hardening, they must be cursed for all eternity. As the Church grow and became more Gentile, the tendency became to lay the blame for Christ’s crucifixion solely at the feet of the Jews who chanted "let His blood be upon us and our children" (Matt. 27:25). But are they singularly to blame? Let us look at the facts:
1. Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ (Zech 11:12-13; Matt 26:15, 27:3,9)
2. The Roman leadership washed their hands of Christ's corrupt trial. At the behest of the Jewish leaders, they then mocked, beat, scourged, and nailed Him naked to the cross. (Matt 27:27-31)
3. The Jews chanted “crucify Him” (Matt 27:24-26)
4. God the Father knowingly and willingly allowed it (Isa 53:10, Acts 2:23; Romans 8:32; 1 Peter 1:19-20)
5. You and I required it. (Gal 6:14; Eph 2:16; Col 1:20; Heb 12:2)
It was because of my sins that the Father determined before the foundation of the world, that He would need to bridge the gap between His perfect righteousness and my vile wickedness. It was His plan to bring through the Jewish people, the last Adam, Jesus the Christ, to be betrayed by Judas, rejected by His own people, tortured and crucified by the Romans, all on my behalf. Thus, I have no one to blame but myself.
Therefore, if those perverse people still insist that as a Christian, I am now Israel, then there is only one person I qualify to be.
I am Barabbas.
No Greater Love - Nathele Grahams - email@example.com
Love is essential to humans. The love of a parent for their child is the first thing a baby should feel. That love should be shown in many ways. Feeding the baby, even at 2 AM when it would be much nicer to stay in bed and sleep. Changing dirty diapers so the little one is comfortable. Teaching the child to walk and talk is the parent’s responsibility, and in the process of learning to walk the little one will take many falls. A good parent will encourage and help the child to try again and again until soon those little feet are running into all sorts of mischief. That brings about another form of love, discipline. As parents, we have to sacrifice a lot in order to raise a child to be a responsible adult and make good choices. Hopefully that child has learned about love, true love, not the lust of the flesh, but the agapao love of God. Agapeao is a verb…an action. God always demonstrates love. The noun form is agape, which is what we usually think of when describing God’s love, and is the love that Christians need to show to each other. God is love.
God created the world, and all that’s in it, then Adam made a choice to sin and that choice had an eternal cost. Because of sin, humanity could no longer have fellowship with God. The immortal life Adam and Eve experienced in the Garden of Eden, was now a life ruled by death. God could have left Adam and his descendants to die in sin and be separated from Him forever, but God’s love for His creation didn’t end with Adam’s sin. There was one way for the separation to be mended, and that was for God’s blood to be shed. That is the only way for sin and death to lose its hold upon the soul of mankind. God spoke to His prophets and they wrote His words in Scripture. There were many prophecies concerning the coming Redeemer.
Job, after going through much suffering and loss at the hands of Satan and unkind words from people who called themselves friends, proclaimed “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed” Job 19:25-27. That’s quite a proclamation by a man who lived many centuries before Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem. Job had faced much suffering, but that suffering drew him closer to God. We are never promised we won’t face trials and tribulations, but if we have faith in God, He will see us through.
Many prophets spoke God’s words of prophecy. The prophet Isaiah told of the coming Messiah and how He would suffer for sinners. “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.” Isaiah 53:3-9. Jesus suffered much in order to purchase our redemption. The accounts of His betrayal and the trial He faced can be read in the Gospels. Isaiah uttered these words centuries before Jesus was born, but the description of His death and burial is totally accurate. Jesus knew He would face these things, but He chose to be our sacrifice to take our sin away. He was despised by the religious leaders. He was betrayed by one of His followers, and another of His disciples denied knowing Him. Jesus had no sin, but was beaten then crucified for us. He took our sin upon Himself, and felt the emptiness when God the Father turned away from Him. Our Heavenly Father cannot look upon sin. Jesus faced all of the abuse willingly for you and me. Because of Him, we are redeemed and reconciled with God, by faith. Oh Jesus, thank You.
Adam’s sin brought eternal death to mankind. Before the cross, a person had to follow the Jewish Law perfectly, all the while looking forward to the coming Messiah, in order to avoid eternal damnation. It was impossible for a person to live perfectly and do the works of the Law. When a person died, their body went into the grave, but their soul went to the abode of the dead, called Sheol in Hebrew. There were 2 parts to this abode. One side was called Torments, and this is where the wicked are awaiting judgment at the White Throne of God. The other side was known as Abraham’s Bosom, or Paradise. This side was where those who looked forward to the coming Messiah awaited His appearance. When Jesus told the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus, He described a very poor and sickly beggar named Lazarus. “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” Luke 16:22-23. We learn a few things from this passage. After our body dies, our soul lives on. We remember people we knew in life and can recognize them. We know that Hell is a real place of eternal torment, but we also know that Paradise is also real. The rich man made his own choices in life which caused him to spend eternity in Torments. Lazarus also made his own choices. He suffered much in life, but kept his faith. When he died, he was carried to the place of comfort after death. The rich man also remembered his family who were still living. He could have no contact with them, but he still cared about the choices they were making in life. “And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” Luke 16:24-26. The choice of where to spend eternity must be made now. Once we pass from this life to the next, we can’t change where we spend eternity. Then the rich man asked for Lazarus to be sent to his father’s house “For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.” Luke 16:28. Abraham explained that, like everyone, they had Moses and the prophets to guide them in life. We also have Scripture to guide us. Today we also have The New Testament. The rich man kept trying and wanted Lazarus to be sent to his family so they would repent. Obviously, the entire family were of the same mindset of having no mercy upon the less fortunate, and they also knew Lazarus and showed no kindness. Abraham told the rich man, who wasn’t so rich in death, “And he said unto him, if they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Luke 16:31. After Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection, anyone who places faith in Him will go immediately to Heaven after death.
That story should cause everyone to look differently on our choices in life. We have one who rose from the dead. Jesus Christ. His birth is celebrated at Christmas, and His death, burial, and resurrection is celebrated in what is called Easter. Jesus was God incarnate and gave His life so we can live eternally. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. Jesus shed His blood to take sin away. Your sin and my sin. It’s sin that separates us from God the Father, but the blood of Jesus reconciled us to God. Like the rich man, you and I have to make the choice now, before death carries us to our eternal abode. It’s an individual choice that nobody can make for you. If you reject the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, then you will spend eternity in torments with Satan and with the rich man. The prophet Hosea prophesied regarding Christ’s victory over death “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.” Hosea 13:14. The Apostle Paul quoted Hosea in his first letter to the Corinthians about the sting of death “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is they victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:55-58. Jesus Christ conquered death. He shed His blood so by faith we will live forever with Him is Heaven.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13. Jesus Christ was fully God, and fully human. He freely laid down His life and was crucified on the cross. He was buried in a tomb that was sealed by a heavy stone so no one could steal His body. Roman soldiers were posted to guard His grave. In spite of man’s efforts to kill Him and erase all memory of Him, those efforts are in vain. Jesus Lives!! On the third day after the crucifixion, His tomb was empty. Mary Magdalene had been to the tomb early and found the stone rolled away. She ran to tell the disciples. Peter and John ran to see for themselves. “So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter and came first to the sepulchre. And stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him and went into the sepulchre and seeth the linen clothes lie, and the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw and believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.” John 20:4-9. The disciples had a lot to think about. They knew Jesus had died, but had forgotten the many prophecies concerning His resurrection. Study Scripture to know God’s truth and don’t be swayed by Satanic lies. “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to Scriptures:” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. The Scriptures referred to are Old Testament Prophecies. More prophecy is being fulfilled today and soon we will be taken Home in the Rapture, according to Scripture. Don’t neglect studying Biblical prophecy.
There’s no greater love that has ever been shown than God Himself entering His creation, and laying down His life so, by faith in Him, a sinner such as I can live eternally with Him in Heaven.
God bless you all,
Recommended prophecy sites:
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
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Daily Jot: The Farm Chronicles: Resurrection Day on the farm - Bill Wilson – www.dailyjot.com
My room at the farm was on the East side of the house. It overlooked the horse corral, the old maple tree by the well, and our large field that was used to grow corn, wheat or for cattle and horse grazing, depending on the year. Some of my fondest memories were waking up to the sunrays popping through the window by my bed. The seal of the state of Ohio depicts the sun rising over a harvested wheat field. I got to see that in the mornings. It was a joyous occasion because where we lived there was 90% cloud cover 90% of the time—not kidding. It’s why they built one of only 23 Army ammunition plants there during World War II. So when the morning sunshine was seen, it was a glorious day.
This particular morning, the sun was shining through my window. Dad had not yet woken me to help with the morning chores. I laid there awake in my bed thinking about –what I knew then of—the first Resurrection Day. On the third day, the sun shining bright as Christ arose from the grave, and how his followers were so shocked that he was not in his grave. I was always amused by how they knew what Christ said was going to happen, but they really had to suspend their disbelief when it did happen. Nonetheless, even at a very young age, I loved Jesus. John 3:16. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” I didn’t learn it from reading the signs in endzones of football games on TV, I learned it in Sunday School. This was a special day.
Almost lost in my thoughts on what it must have been like that day Christ rose from the grave, I snapped out of my daydream and remembered what was most likely awaiting my attention downstairs. I hopped out of my warm bed and winced as my feet hit the linoleum floor—we had only one heating register upstairs far down the hall, and in early April the Ohio weather was still pretty nippy. So as to not wake anyone, and to keep my feet from freezing, I tip-toed through the hallway and down the then-120-year-old steps. With my head peeking below the living room ceiling, I saw it—one of the largest Easter baskets ever! The Easter Bunny was good to me this year. Wrapped in green-tinted cellophane, the fake purple grass, a big chocolate bunny, lots of jelly beans, yellow and pink marshmallow chicks, so much!
Soon, Mom would make breakfast and Dad and I would brave the still-cold spring morning to feed the horses and cattle. I liked popping the ice-covered mud puddles in my barn boots on the way to the old barn. After breakfast, we got dressed in our finest clothes for the Resurrection service at Wayland Community Church. Earnie Rose would be ringing the church bell before he settled in to snore through the service. The rest of us would hear the resurrection story once again. Afterwards, it was lunch at my Aunt Dory and Uncle Bob’s, where the entire family would gather. My cousin Steve and I would listen to Uncle Bob tell war stories, and Dad and Grandpa, having heard them all before, would fall asleep in a food coma. Resurrection Day on the farm. Where memories of a simpler time linger a lifetime. Where the promise of life everlasting was etched in our hearts.
Daily Devotion: God’s Greatest Pain - by Greg Laurie – www.harvest.org
But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. —Isaiah 53:5
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/gods-greatest-pain/ - Listen
Can you recall the moment in your life when you experienced the most pain? Maybe it was physical pain when you broke your arm or your leg or something else. We’ve all experienced moments of physical pain.
But then there’s the emotional pain we can experience when someone has hurt us. For instance, there’s the pain of rejection, betrayal, or abandonment when a husband says to his wife, “I’ve been unfaithful,” or when a wife says to her husband, “I want a divorce.” There’s emotional pain when a child says to a parent, “I don’t want to live the Christian life.”
And one of the worst kinds of pain you can experience is when someone you care about, someone whom you thought was a loyal friend, has betrayed you.
So when do you think Jesus experienced His most painful moment? Do you think it’s when the soldiers placed the crown of thorns on His head or when they beat Him with a Roman whip, most likely a cat-o’-nine tails? Do you think it’s when they placed Him on the cross and drove nails through His hands and His feet?
As horrible and horrific as all those things were, I don’t think any of them were Jesus’s most painful moment. His most painful moment was when He bore all the sins of the world upon Himself.
That’s because Jesus never sinned. He never had even one thought out of harmony with God the Father. But as He hung on the cross bearing the sins of the world, Jesus and the Father were, in effect, separated.
Jesus was forsaken of God so that we could be forgiven. He entered the darkness so that we might walk in the light. He endured sorrow and suffering for a time so that we might enjoy His presence forever.
FROM THE HEART
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Count for ALL of Eternity!
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