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He Shall Reign Forever

By admin | January 14, 2014

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Introduction

“You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:31-33, NIV).

I begin with this verse because it probably is the most familiar to us. We read it every Christmas, but our focus is not on the King of the Jews but on a baby lying in a manager.  This book aims to go back to the beginning and focus on the unfolding revelation of the history and role of the newborn baby named Jesus.

As the great theologian, Augustine once said about Holy Scripture: “In the Old Testament the New is concealed, in the New, the Old is revealed.” This concept emphasizes our study as we follow God’s revealed program for the Ages from Genesis through The Revelation.  The study follows the golden thread of redemption from the beginning of the Bible through the end of the Bible. The Bible is the story of redemption.

The Bible is a collection of books that, when taken as a whole, presents a living testimony of a Supreme Being who reigns over the universe that He created. In the beginning, God established a master plan for this universe throughout the ages; He has slowly and progressively revealed this plan to mankind.

It has been said, “The Revelation is like a train station where all the trunk lines come together.” All “End Times” roads of prophecy terminate in The Revelation. We will try to follow some of the trunk lines into the station.

We will begin with the opening verses from the gospel of John. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:1-5, NIV).  Jesus is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. He is the Alpha and the Omega and has existed from the beginning. Most scholars teach that God the Father plans, God the Son executes those plans, and God the Holy Spirit reveals those plans to us. The apostles, John (John 1:3) and Paul (Col. 1:16), stated that Jesus created all things and Jesus himself said in John chapter 14 that He would send the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit would teach us.

The apostle Paul penned these words about the role of Jesus. “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Col. 1:15-20, NIV).

Very few people understand that Jesus is found throughout the Old Testament as “The Angel of the Lord.”  Although this concept is disputed by many, I believe that Jesus walked and worked throughout the Old Testament as the “Angel of the Lord.” Some great Bible teachers, including the late Dr. J. Vernon McGee, and many others, also taught that “The Angel of the Lord” was the pre-incarnate Christ. Justin Martyr and other early church fathers believed and taught that Jesus was “The Angel of the Lord.”

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times” (Micah 5:2, NIV).

The prophet Micah said that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem and that His origins are from ancient times. Where was He in the Old Testament if He were from ancient times?  Surely, He was active; however, this is not clearly stated in the Bible. Could it be that He was functioning under a different name?

Isaiah gives us a summary statement of the role of “The Angel of the Lord.” “He said, ‘Surely, they are my people, children who will be true to me’; and so, he became their Savior. In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy, he redeemed them; he lifted them up,” and carried them all the days of old” (Isa. 63:8-9, NIV).

This verse seems to imply that the “angel of his presence” was different from other angels – He is probably “The Angel of the Lord” – one of the three persons of the Godhead. When God the Father is spoken of in the Old Testament, He is usually spoken of as Yahweh – He spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai as Yahweh. The Holy Spirit is also always identified.

The “Angel of the Lord” appeared to Sarah’s handmaid, Hagar, after she fled to the wilderness. “The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. And he said, ‘Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?’ ‘I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,’ she answered. Then the angel of the Lord told her, ‘Go back to your mistress and submit to her. ’The angel added, ‘I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count’” Gen:16:7-10, NIV). “She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me’” (Gen 16:13).

In the 13th chapter of Judges, we are told about “The Angel of the Lord’s” appearance to Samson’s mother, before he was born, telling her that she would have a son. The “Angel of the Lord” instructed her husband, Manoah. “So Manoah asked him, ‘When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule that governs the boy’s life and work?’ The angel of the Lord answered, ‘Your wife must do all that I have told her. She must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, nor drink any wine or other fermented drink nor eat anything unclean. She must do everything I have commanded her.” (Judg.13:12-14, NIV). “When the angel of the Lord did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the Lord. ‘We are doomed to die!’ he said to his wife. ‘We have seen God!’” (Judg. 13:21-22), NIV).

Both references state that the “Angel of the Lord” is God, one of the three members of the Trinity. Which one is HE? We will try to answer this question with Scripture in the comments below.

“’The Angel of the Lord” is referred to 56 times in 51 verses in the Old Testament.” Let us look at some of these appearances. He met Abraham by the great trees of Mamre to announce the forthcoming birth of his son, Isaac (see Gen. 18:1-15) and later, on Mount Moriah, as Abraham lifted his hand to slay Isaac as a sacrifice to God (see Gen. 22:11-18), He restrained the hand of Abraham. He wrestled with Jacob and gave him the name Israel (see Gen. 32:24-30). From a burning bush, He called Moses to lead His people out of bondage (Ex. 3:2), and then in a pillar of cloud during the day and fire at night (Ex. 13:21-22, Ex 14:19), he led his people into the Promised Land. In the land of promise, He protected, comforted, and chastised His people as recorded in the following verses: (Judges 2:1-4, 5:23, 6:22-26, 13:3-21)); (2 Kings 19:35) and (1 Chr. 21:12-30).

Now let us meet Jesus as the Great “I AM” as he appeared before Moses. “Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.So, Moses thought, ‘I will go over and see this strange sight – why the bush does not burn up’” (Ex. 3:1-3, NIV). We have read this many times; however, we may not have realized that it is the Son of God who may be speaking to Moses.

“The Angel of the Lord,” told Moses that he was to go to Egypt and lead the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob out of bondage. God planned to use those people to build Israel’s great nation, which would be home to His ambassadors to the Gentile Nations. God would make his covenants through this nation and bring forth the promised Messiah.

Moses asked the “Angel of the Lord,” who shall I say has sent me?  He replied, “God said to Moses, I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you’’” (Ex. 3:14, NIV). 

During Jesus’ first advent, He walked as a man and preached that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand, and He met resistance from the Jewish leaders. Jesus said to them: “’Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.’ ‘You are not yet fifty years old,’ they said to him, ‘and you have seen Abraham!’ ‘Very truly I tell you,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds” (John 8:56–59, NIV). As we read the gospel of John, Jesus referred to Himself seven times as “I am.”  He was the one who met Abraham and the one who told Moses that He was “I am who I am.

From my study of the Scriptures, I believe that they teach that the second member of the Godhead was very active throughout the Old Testament as He led and ministered to His beloved Israel.

We see many places where Jesus is interacting and guiding these people as they struggle during the beginning times of the birth of the nation, Israel.  Many years later, God promised David that his son would build a temple, that the Lord would dwell with His people, and that David’s throne would be established forever.

“The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (2 Sam. 7:11b-13, NIV). The fulfillment of this verse, which was given to David, was promised to Mary by the angel, Gabriel, in Luke 1:33, which we read earlier, as the opening verse.

In the book of Isaiah, we read, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this” (Isa. 9:6-7, NIV).

We also have the vision of Daniel. “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed” (Dan. 7:13-14, NIV). We need to take note of the phrase “son of man.” As we read the Gospels, we see Jesus referred to many times as the “son of man.” This designation refers to His messianic title.

At the trial of Jesus, the high priest asked Jesus if He was the Son of God. Jesus replied, “’You have said so,’ Jesus replied. ‘But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.’ Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy’” (Matt. 26:64-65, NIV).

As Jesus was crucified, “Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, ‘Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.’ Pilate answered, ‘What I have written, I have written’” (John 19:19-22, NIV).

Now, let us begin the story of “He shall reign Forever.” We will start with a summary of what the writing prophets said.  Then we will follow the major themes of the Bible relating to this story.

An old cliche says you can’t see the forest for the trees.  Perhaps that has happened with many of us as we study the Bible. My prayer is that we can see both the forest and the trees in this post.

Major Themes of the Writing Prophets

The prophet, Joel, may have been the first of the writing prophets to prophesy – which he did as early as the eighth or ninth century. He foresaw the day when God would chastise his chosen people, pour out His spirit on all flesh, restore the nation Israel, judge the Gentile nations, and implement the promised blessings of a new kingdom.

Almost seventy-five years later, just before the Assyrians took the Northern Kingdom into captivity, the prophets Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, and Micah began to speak. Amos and Hosea were prophets to the Northern Kingdom of Israel, with each prophesying that soon, the people would go into captivity. Yet, they foresaw the day when Israel would be restored to their land and God’s fellowship. Hosea foresaw a national spiritual revival.

Perhaps the prophet, Isaiah, has given us the most details of the promised Messiah and His Messianic Kingdom. Isaiah foresaw the Messiah in two different roles: one as a suffering Messiah who paid the supreme sacrifice for the sins of mankind and the other as a king who would sit upon the throne of David and rule the world with righteousness and justice. He also foresaw the blindness of the Jewish people that would cause them to reject their Messiah temporarily. He foresaw their eyes being opened and Israel being saved with an everlasting salvation. Isaiah’s contemporary, Micah, foresaw their future deliverer and ruler coming from the city of Bethlehem.

About one hundred years later, the prophets, Habakkuk and Zephaniah, added two new dimensions to the prophetic messages. Habakkuk stated that “the just shall live by faith” in the coming kingdom. Zephaniah foresaw the day when Israel would be cleansed of her sins and returned to a pure language. God would reverse the confusion of languages placed upon the people at the tower of Babel.

A short time later, Jerusalem was under siege by the Babylonians, and three of the four Major prophets began to speak. Jeremiah foresaw the coming destruction of Jerusalem and the land becoming desolate and polluted. He also foresaw the day when God would enter into a new covenant relationship with His chosen people. Unlike the Mosaic Covenant, the New Covenant would be unconditional, and God would write His laws upon the hearts of his chosen people.

When Ezekiel was in Babylonian captivity, God began to show him visions and speak through him. Through a vision, God took him back to Jerusalem to see the departing Shekinah glory of God as it departed from the temple. Then, in another vision, Ezekiel foresaw the dry bones of Israel come alive and walk as a united nation under a new king.

However, it was to Daniel, living in captivity in Babylon, to whom God revealed the age known as “The Times of the Gentiles.” He was also given a timetable for the coming of the Messiah. Daniel was told to close the book because many of the details of the last days were not understood by the people. During the final days of Jesus’ ministry, He confirmed the prophecy of Daniel and gave us more details of the “End Times.” Years later, under the direction of the risen Christ, the Apostle John began writing where Daniel left off and wrote The Revelation, the only book of prophecy in the New Testament.

After about seventy years in Babylonian captivity, a small remnant returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the temple and city walls. During this time, the last three Old Testament prophets spoke.

Haggai foresaw a vision of a future temple that would be far more glorious than Solomon’s Temple. He also closes with a vision of the final overthrow of the Gentile world power.

Zechariah, a contemporary of Haggai, was given many of the details of the coming of the promised Messiah. Many of Zechariah’s prophecies were fulfilled with the first coming of Christ; however, many remain unfulfilled. Zechariah clearly foresaw the final battle of Jerusalem when the Gentile nations would march against God’s chosen nation. He foresaw the promised Messiah defending the city and God’s Holy Spirit being poured out on His chosen people. The chosen nation will accept their Messiah and mourn for him at that time. In Zechariah’s last vision, he was shown the Messianic Kingdom being established on earth.

Malachi was the last prophet to speak, and he foresaw individual Jews being judged. Many hardened their hearts and refused God’s directive will over their lives. Therefore, they will be rejected by God and will not enter into the promised kingdom of justice and righteousness.

We sometimes find it difficult to understand the prophets’ message because of the fragmentation of Scripture. Like the pieces of a large jigsaw puzzle, the fragments seem unrelated and incomplete. Yet, like the jigsaw puzzle, the fragments begin to form a picture with a lot of patience and study. That picture, which the prophets painted, is the key to our understanding of God’s absolute sovereignty and His program for the ages. The purpose of this book is to help us understand the incomplete picture that the anointed Old Testament Prophets painted.  The prophet’s primary message included condemnation, judgment, chastisement, redemption, restoration, and promises.

When we place the pieces together, we will find some are missing. Later, we will find many missing pieces when studying the New Testament. However, without the picture given to us by the Old Testament prophets, it would be impossible to put the New Testament pieces in place. From an unknown source: “The Revelation is like a train station where all the trunk lines come together.” All “End Times” roads of prophecy terminate in The Revelation.

We must also understand that most of the prophets did not foresee the two advents of their Messiah with the Church age placed in between. In the first advent, He is presented as a suffering Messiah paying the sin debt for all humanity. In the second advent, He is presented as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, ruling forever with justice and righteousness. Most of the prophets foresaw details of what they thought was one vision. It appeared the same way multiple mountain ranges appear to us as we view them from a far distance. We do not see the hidden valleys – only the mountains. The tremendous unseen valley called the “Church Age” was a mystery hidden from view in the Old Testament.

Author’s Note: The following is written in modules due to limit space on this post. You may click to read each module, and then return to the next module. You may choose which you which to study – I hope you will read all. The last three modules are most important that you read as it brings the article to its climax – eternity.

Jewish Dispersion and Prosecution

From the beginning, God made it clear to the nation, Israel, that its continuing blessings and tenure within the Promised Land was contingent upon their faithfulness and obedience. If they obeyed God’s law, they would be blessed. If they disobeyed, God would use the Gentiles to punish them. On the eve before the final march across the Jordan River, Moses gave final instructions to the young nation camped on the Plains of Moab. There, he repeated God’s warning to the second generation of His chosen people who were born and reared in the wilderness.

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Detail study of God’s Warnings

A Desolate Land

The children of Israel were also warned that the land would become unproductive and lie desolate. In Leviticus, we read these words of warning: “I will lay your cities waste and bring your sanctuaries to desolation, and I will not smell the fragrance of your sweet aromas. I will bring the land to desolation, and your enemies who dwell in it shall be astonished at it. I will scatter you among the nations and draw out a sword after you; your land shall be desolate and your cities waste. Then the land shall enjoy its Sabbaths as long as it lies desolate, and you are in your enemie’s land then the land shall rest and enjoy its Sabbaths” (Lev. 26:31 34).

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Detail study of a Desolate Land

A Resurrected Nation

Deuteronomy 28:48 states that God will put a yoke of iron upon the neck of the nation Israel, until He destroys them. This prophecy was fulfilled when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD. The Jewish people were then scattered among the nations and were without a country that they could call their own homeland. Almost all the prophets make it very clear that God would not forget His chosen people. The dead bones of Israel will be raised from the dead and will be restored to their land and their blessings.

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Detail study of A Resurrected Nation

A New Covenant

Under the Mosaic Covenant, the Children of Israel proved that it is impossible to keep God’s law while under the control of the flesh. Their natural, depraved nature rebelled against the directive will of God, and they went the ways of the Gentiles into the kingdom of Satan. The Mosaic Covenant served as a litmus test, and completely revealed man’s true colors while living under sin. The Mosaic Covenant was conditional and temporary, and God knew it would be broken. Yet, He was most patient with his chosen adulteress wife (see Hosea). Although they were allowed to remain in their land for over six hundred years, the golden age of Israel lasted for less than fifty years.

Before the restored nation enters the promised Messianic kingdom, God is going to enter into a new covenant relationship with them. This new covenant, rooted in the Abrahamic covenant, will be permanent and unconditional. It will be based upon the grace of God and the completed work upon the cross.

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Detail study of The New Covenant

The Promised Messiah

Now let us focus our attention upon the promised Messiah. The concept of the coming of a Messiah, who would restore the kingdom of David, and redeem the people from the Gentile bondage, developed slowly after Israel went into captivity. Although, the prophets, including David, prophesied early, the people did not listen until they were taken into bondage. They never grasped the fact that the Messiah would be God’s own son, and that at His first coming, He would come as a suffering Messiah and die to pay for their sins. They also did not realize that the future Messiah had been active in their lives as the “Angel of the Lord” from the very beginning of their existence.

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Detail study of The Promised Messiah

National Blindness

The Jewish people were spiritually blind to many of the details of God’s program of redemption. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament address this happening and Jesus testified to this fact. It was as if they had a veil over their eyes and their vision of understanding was dimmed. They could not comprehend the dual roles and the two advents of their promised Messiah. Therefore, they chose to see Him only as an everlasting reigning King setting upon the throne of David.

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Detail study of National Blindness

Gentile Nations

In Luke, the twenty-first chapter, Jesus spoke of the “Times of the Gentiles”. “And they will fall by the edge of the sword and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:24).

Since the beginning of the Babylonian Captivity, the Jews have been under the yoke of the Gentile Nations. Gentiles will continue to persecute the Jews until the Church is taken out and Christ returns to set up his earthly Kingdom. However, it appears that during the Kingdom Age the Gentile will serve the Jews.

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Detail study of Gentile Nations

A Jewish TimeLine

One of the most important and most amazing prophesies in the entire Bible is recorded in the ninth chapter of Daniel. While in Babylon, Daniel prayed to God that he would show him what was going to happen to Israel after the captivity ended. God sent the angel Gabriel to give him an answer. Some prophetic scholars consider this prophecy to be one of the most important ones recorded in the entire Bible.

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Detail study of The Timeline

The Church Age

We all live during a time called “The Church Age,” but few of us understand the full scope of The Church. We are so involved in the details of the current message that we fail to grasp the full scope of God’s plan for this group of people. The apostle Paul called the church a mystery that had been hidden in God’s program for the ages.

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Detail study of The Church Age

Day of the Lord

“The theme running through the book of Joel is, ‘The day of the Lord is coming!’ The prophet Joel echoed a warning of approaching judgment when God would punish the wicked and reward the faithful” (Introduction to the Book of Joel by Jack Zavada). The “Day of the Lord” is an Old Testament concept and applies to God’s program with Israel – it is not part of God’s program with The Church. However, it is explained in I Thessalonian 5:1-11 as occurring immediately following the rapture of The Church.

For the conclusion of our study of the Old Testament, let us focus our attention on events that will occur during the last days. Emphasis will be upon events occurring during the last three and one-half years of the tribulation and will be in summary form since more details will be provided in our studies in the New Testament.

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Detail study of The Day of the Lord

The Millennial Kingdom

Much has been discussed and debated over a time period call “The thousand-year reign of Christ”. Both the Old and New Testament teaches that Christ will reign during this time period. The time period is actually the time between when Jesus returns to restore the earthly kingdom, and the time when evil is completely wiped out. It continues until the bodily resurrection of the unsaved, and the judgment at the “Great White Throne”. This time period will last for a thousand years.

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Detail study of The Millennial Kingdom

The Great White Throne Judgment

Those who do not accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will spend eternity in hell where there is darkness, isolation and eternal punishment.

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Detail study of The Great White Throne Judgment

Eternity

We know that there will be a new heaven and a new earth after all evil has been removed. Although details are somewhat limited, we know that Jesus will be the King (groom), and the Church will be his bride. He will rule forever and there will be peace and goodwill to all.
Then the Son of God shall sit upon the throne of David ruling over His kingdom with righteousness and justice. To Him will be given dominion, glory, and a kingdom, where all the peoples, nations, and men of every language will serve Him. His dominion will be an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed (Dan. 7:14, paraphrased).

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Detail study of Eternity

Note: Source of Scripture:

Scripture quotations marked NIV are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV® 2011 by Zondervan Corporation.  Used by permission. All rights reserved. Used with permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations marked NKJV are taken from the New King James Version of the Bible, copyright @ 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved

Scripture quotations marked NASB 1995 are taken from the New American Standard Bible, copyright @ 1960, 1971,1977, 1995, by The Lockman Foundation, LA Habra, California.  Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked ESV are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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