Boar Down!

Herschel Smith · 30 Oct 2022 · 9 Comments

Readers may have noticed I was absent the last several days.  It was a good time away.  A very good buddy and neighbor of mine, Robert, and I went hunting courtesy of the fine folks with Williams Hunting in South Carolina. I was shooting a 6mm ARC rifle with a Grendel Hunter upper, Aero Precision lower, Amend2 magazines, Brownells scope mount, Radian Raptor charging handle, Nikon Black scope, and a Viking Tactics sling.  I have no complaints about the gun.  It's at least a 1 MOA gun…… [read more]

Notes on the Destruction of Jerusalem Part Two

BY PGF
3 months, 2 weeks ago

Several months ago, we posted a note about the destruction of Jerusalem. Below we find a well-researched and accessible snapshot of the temple system being replaced by Christ. Not only is Jesus the final sacrifice once for all, ending the necessity of the temple system, but the articles contend that Jesus was teaching and preparing His disciples for all aspects of the temple system to be completed in the person of Jesus Christ. That is something I had not considered.

AD 70 & THE TEMPLE’S FAILURE part 1 and part 2

AD 70 is an important date in redemptive-history. In that year the ancient temple of Israel was destroyed, never to be rebuilt.

[…]

In the Gospel record Jesus’ subtle conduct and overt teaching prepare us for the removal of the temple as both theologically unnecessary and as spiritually corrupt. John’s Gospel is especially interesting in this regard: In Jn 1:14 Christ appears as God’s true “tabernacle” (eskēnōsen en ēmin). [1] This theme of Jesus replacing the religious features of Israel recurs repeatedly in his ministry: In 1:51 he, rather than the temple or high priest, is the nexus between heaven and earth because…

These posts provide an excellent example of why the temple was to be destroyed; judgment loomed in the first century. There will be at least one more part of the series on the linked website.

Notes on the Destruction of Jerusalem

BY PGF
8 months ago

“1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. 2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” – Revelation 11:1-2

At the end of the ten-part series on Matthew 24 that concluded last week, in Part Ten, we gave this broad, unqualified thumbnail sketch of life in Jerusalem prior to the siege and Israel’s destruction.

As background to this passage in Matthew 24, civil order is falling apart leading up to 70AD. Leader is turning against leader (kingdom) and tribe against tribe (nation). The century-long, openly cozy arrangement between the Sanhedrin civil leadership in Jerusalem and the Caesars of Rome is on shaky ground because Jewish infighting has begun. Many on the ruling council believed on Jesus, and many did not (brother against brother).

The relationship has to fall apart as the Jews rebel against Rome because the Lord of Hosts is bringing judgment. Keep in mind; God needs an army to effect His wrath. That army is Roman; they are the world power at that time; this fits the prophetic judgment practice throughout Scripture. “Great tribulation” was coming. This also fits with the historical accounts and the hyperbolic language patterns of Scripture. Do your research.

Ken Gentry has given a documented and well-qualified thumbnail of events just prior to Rome’s full-scale operations against Jerusalem. Here’s a snip:

In AD 66, after a dreadful period of procuratorial incompetence, Israel revolted against her oppressive Roman governor Gessius Florus. By late October / early November, C. Cestius Gallus (the Roman legate of the Syrian province which included Judaea) led a Roman military force to Jerusalem in an attempt to put down the uprising. He assembled “an army of over thirty thousand men in Antioch—the whole of one of the Syrian legions, XII Fulminata, and vexillations from the others, ten auxiliary units, and large contingents supplied by Agrippa, who led his force in person, and two other client kings, Antiochus IV of Commagene and Sohaemus of Emesa” (M. Smallwood). But after surrounding Jerusalem, he unexpectedly withdrew for reasons that are unclear (J.W. 2:18:9–19:9 §499–555; Tacitus, Hist. 5:10).

The article is about Revelation Chapter 11, in which is the much disagreed upon 42 months of treading by the Gentiles. It’s an interesting primer. Read the rest of the well-documented events and his take on Revelation 11.

Matthew 24, Part 10

BY PGF
8 months, 1 week ago

Here is Part One. All of the parts of this series are linked in that one place.

As background to this passage in Matthew 24, civil order is falling apart leading up to 70AD. Leader is turning against leader (kingdom) and tribe against tribe (nation). The century-long, openly cozy arrangement between the Sanhedrin civil leadership in Jerusalem and the Caesars of Rome is on shaky ground because Jewish infighting has begun. Many on the ruling council believed on Jesus, and many did not (brother against brother).

The relationship has to fall apart as the Jews rebel against Rome because the Lord of Hosts is bringing judgment. Keep in mind; God needs an army to effect His wrath. That army is Roman; they are the world power at that time; this fits the prophetic judgment practice throughout Scripture. “Great tribulation” was coming. This also fits with the historical accounts and the hyperbolic language patterns of Scripture. Do your research.

One could make the case to point out; “this generation” had violated most every one of the commandments God gave in Deuteronomy 27:14-26 and thereby brought these curses upon themselves.

Matthew 24, verses 15 and 16:

Verse 15 refers to Romans, who are not Levitical Priests but unclean (abominable), being in the holiest of holies in the Temple. Many surmise this to be perhaps a Roman general. There is no person “The Antichrist,” so it’s not that.

“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains” – Matthew 24:15-16

This is the signal event. Now the disciples know the answer to “when.” When the disciples see Roman soldiers in the Temple, this is the sign; it’s time to flee Judea into the mountains.

Verses 17-22 are the “Great Tribulation” verses in Matthew 24. Let’s look at the parallel “Great Tribulation” verses from Luke 21:

“20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. 21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. 22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. 24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” – Luke 21:20-24

Luke 21, verse 23 declares: “wrath upon this people.” Yes, upon that generation. This passage seems pretty plain to understand. When Roman armies begin to surround Jerusalem, this, again, is the signal event. When the disciples saw troops in the religious, cultural, social, and civil center (Temple) and beginning to surround the city with men and equipment, it was time to go. Jesus is making a very practical point. Jesus mentions Jerusalem and Judea specifically. The capital was, in fact, laid siege by the Romans within that generation. All these things came to pass just as Jesus prophesied them to occur.

Verses 23-27:

“23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24 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. 25 Behold, I have told you before. 26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” – Matthew 24:23-27

These verses should also be read in conjunction with Luke 17:22-37. The parallel passage to Matthew 24 is in Luke 21. But, “I have told before” (about the false Christs that will arise) in verse 25 would indicate that Jesus has already told His disciples not to be deceived by these soon-coming events. He is reminding them. That section of Luke 17 doesn’t appear to be out of place when understood in this context.

Many false men would appear and try to lead the elect away into believing that they were the returning Christ. We show verse 27 with verses 23-26 to point out that the events spoken of by Jesus Christ were of coming in great power and glory, with terrible tribulations to behold as He implemented judgment on that generation. He would not be the teaching meek Galilean again but as the Lord of Hosts coming on clouds of power (Matthew 24:30) unmistakable in His glory.

Verse 27 is a wonderful view of apocalyptic language. The coming of Christ was unmistakable, with great power and years of tribulations, as the eyewitnesses to these events tell it. There was no “light pollution” from cities back then. When lightning cracked the sky from horizon to horizon, God’s fantastic display of power was something incredible to behold. So too was the coming of the Son of man. (Luke 17:24)

Verse 28:

“For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.” – Matthew 24:28

This verse references the banner of the Roman legions (Luke 17:37). The “world” at that time, especially Israel, was under military occupation by the Romans. The Roman soldiers would carry a banner with an eagle depicted on it. Everyone would have known precisely what Christ meant when he said: “there will the eagles be gathered together.”

Everyone hated to see the Roman bands of soldiers marching into their district. It meant nothing good was about to happen. The plain meaning of Matthew 23 and 24 is that judgment was at hand, and it would be the Roman armies used by the Lord of Hosts to destroy the Temple. This would fulfill the Old Testament ending the prior religious system of animal sacrifices. Jesus Christ, the only true spotless Lamb of God, was soon to be the final sacrifice once for all, and then the Gospel would be preached throughout the empire. Then the end would come in 70AD, and with the Temple, all of Jerusalem would soon be destroyed, and Judea and greater Israel with it. The law and prophets (OT) were being fulfilled in Christ.

Interestingly, in Jeremiah 19:7-8, though probably not related, we see similar prophetic language. There are other sections of Scripture, too, where the wicked are left to be torn by wild animals as they are eaten. That Jesus brings this prophetic language to a practical level about the Roman armies destroying Jerusalem is proof that He is God. The men He’s talking with are Jews. They would understand the references and know that it was the banner of the Roman legions to which He referred.

Verses 29-31 are hyperbolic language typical of an Apocalypse (Revelation of God). It fills one with awe and wonder at the things of God. Christ would soon ascend to have all power over heaven and to rule events on earth. Being seated at the right hand of Power, His authority was on display as He drove the armies of destruction to His purposes in the first century. Read Hebrews 12:24-29. Jesus is not only shaking the sons of men but the sons of God in earth and in heaven. Everything is changing; nothing of the old is to be left.

Verse 34 is the last “this generation” statement in the discourse. Based on the last question (Matthew 24:3): “…and (what shall be the sign) of the end of the world?” We must decide if the topic shifts away from what would affect those disciples and that generation to “the end.” Most think that the subject changes to a much distant future second physical coming at “the end of the world.” They say that Jesus is answering the second half of the second question about the end.

At any rate, be ready. If it is “the end,” consider studying this section in conjunction with Second Peter, who also, under the power of the Holy Spirit, likens the end to the days before the flood, as does Jesus here. But God’s covenant promise in Genesis 9 will not be broken, so the end of the world comes by fire the second time. There are those also who see  Matthew 24 in a double sense, both as the destruction of Jerusalem and as a foreshadowing of events in the second coming. And, of course, some refuse to acknowledge what is plainly meant by Jesus in connection with the events that did take place in that generation.

I have my doubts that the topic shifts away from the first century after the final “this generation” statement. The end of the world, a consummation of the age, was upon them. The Jewish worship system and the Jewish estate were ending with it. Christianity was born and changed the whole world (the Roman Empire) as they knew it. These birth pains were all part of the inception of the New Covenant, a better covenant with all men that by the grace of God, salvation had come to the Jew first and also to the Gentile, extending to the heathen in the uttermost parts of the earth and by these means; the church of the holy and almighty living God was birthed as Christ ended the age. The Gospel entered in as a flood and has been rising ever since, giving God’s own Son a new bride.

Matthew 24 is the end of the age; Anno Domini, the year of the Lord, has arrived.

The weak and beggarly attitude of those who profess Christ but deny His power to conquer every aspect of society as God puts all enemies under the feet of Jesus is destroying the church and civilization with it. If only they could understand the power that lives in them to bring in His kingdom. God, open their blinded eyes!

It’s not precisely known when the end of the world will be. When He returns, I want to be found tending to His vineyard, hand to the plow, bearing fruit in serving my Master.

————–

We don’t necessarily agree with everything in these resources. They may help.

https://www.kennethgentry.com/olivet-discourse-made-easy-book-by-gentry/

https://libertyfellowshipmt.com/Store.aspx#!/The-Destruction-Of-Jerusalem-DVD-By-Pastor-Chuck-Baldwin-PASTOR-BALDWINS-MOST-REQUESTED-MESSAGE/p/147743354/category=15986016

https://www.amazon.com/Destruction-Jerusalem-Absolute-Irresistible-Christianity/dp/0967831725

Matthew 24, Part Nine

BY PGF
8 months, 1 week ago

Here is Part One. All of the parts of this series are linked in that one place.

Before reading this installment, read the quoted text that’s the first half of Part Eight, and come back.

Note: We’re going to make some unqualified statements. TCJ is not the proper format for book-length material. (Insert “too late” joke here.) But more importantly, you must do the research to reach your own conclusions.

“That all these things came to pass in that generation, that is, before the overthrow of the Jewish capital, is questioned by many exegetes. We must therefore make appeal (a) to well authenticated facts, and (b) then inquire how far the facts really fulfill the import of the prophecy.” – M. S. Terry

That’s your task. Perhaps what you know is right, perhaps not. In the endnotes, we’ll link some study resources. Unless you drink of the water yourself, you won’t know for sure. Is God worth it? How badly do you want the truth in the face of what the American Churches are teaching? Something is wrong with Christian teaching in America. The church is not supposed to be scrimping by cowering in fear of the world. Christian victory over sin and the world start with the correct doctrine, which lends power to the believer to declare to the wicked that Christ is King! I believe the false teaching of Matthew 24 and the entire gospel narrative is a critical reason that His church is not dominating family, culture, society, business, and government. If the gates of hell shall not prevail against His church, why are we losing?

Now to the text, three important points need to be made first. One, there is a change of scene but not of topic. In Matthew Chapter 24, Jesus with His disciples leave the temple, have a brief exchange, and then go to the Mount of Olives. The location changes, but the discourse continues about the wrath that abides on that generation. Secondly, we remain squarely between 2 “this generation” statements; Matthew 23:36 and Matthew 24:34. There is no way around these facts except to make up some other circumstance and meaning behind these verses. Thirdly, lest your mind begins to wonder, in verse 24:16, Jesus refocuses us by referring to them that be in Judea. Who is to hear and know how to react to this discourse? He’s speaking to His disciples about that generation and specific events in and around Judea.

“And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.” – Matthew 24:1

As they leave the temple, the disciples show Him the magnificence of the structure. Read Mark 13:1 and Luke 21:5. The disciples may have brought up the temple because Jesus just said, “…your house is left unto desolate” (Chapter 23, verse 38), speaking of the temple. We couldn’t know for sure, but He may have indicated the temple during that statement. It’s widely agreed that “your house” refers to the temple. “Your house” may also refer to the entire Jewish estate under the Law of Moses.

So, the disciples point out how great an edifice the temple is to behold, and surely it was, but judgment is being passed; Jesus makes His decree:

“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.” – Matthew 24:2.

It would be a stretch to claim to know what specifically Jesus was indicating by any gestures, but it doesn’t matter; God destroyed everything, within sight of their location, in that generation. Firsthand accounts explain that the temple was decimated, utterly leveled to the ground.

Jesus moves to the Mount of Olives, where the disciples ask two questions. Having just heard the (seven) woes (Matthew 23:13-31) against that generation and the declaration of the desolation (Matthew 23:38) and destruction of the temple as they walk off the temple grounds (Matthew 24:2), His disciples ask the questions. The Bible shows two questions, but the second one contains two points they seek to understand.

“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?” – Matthew 24:3

When shall these things be? What shall be the sign of thy coming? And (what shall be the sign) of the end of the world?

Note carefully that they didn’t ask what things. They knew what things! The disciples ask “when” because Jesus just told them what. “What” are the destruction of the temple and all that’s been pronounced against that generation from the days of John the Baptist forward. The disciples need to know when because they will be there in Judea!

Suppose that God told you the city you live in was going to be destroyed; what would you ask? Would you say; Oh, we don’t much care about that; tell us about thousands of years from now? Or would you ask; really, when? And what will be the indicator (sign) that the time is imminent?

The topic has NOT changed from Matthew 23, only the physical location of Jesus and those with Him. As we’ve endeavored to show in this series of posts, these questions from the disciples are not asked in isolation. We are coming to the end of a three-year-long training of the disciples. This topic of the coming judgment of God is leveled many times at that generation by both the prophets and Jesus.

The wider context of the entire New Testament is the ending of the Old Covenant and the bringing in of the New Covenant. Matthew 24 is not randomly placed or outside of this context. Jesus (the bridegroom) is not patching an old garment or filling an old wineskin (Mark 2:20-22); He’s making a New Covenant with all men.

Verses 4-5:

“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.” – Matthew 24:4-5

Many men claimed to be Christ, but they could not deceive God’s elect. You will need to study this yourself. The facts of, for example, the Babylonian captivity are painstakingly detailed, and Christian Scholars readily point to the historical records of men. Still, some Christians refuse to examine the first-century history of the events prophesied by Jesus in Matthew 24.

Verses 6-8:

“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. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.” – Matthew 24:6-8

Know first that wars and rumors of wars have existed since before the flood. What could Jesus be talking about? Jesus told His disciples that they were not to be troubled by hearsay and rumors because the end is not yet. Still needing to know when, Jesus tells them that these are the “beginning.” (of sorrows.)

You will have to study these verses, perhaps from the material listed below, along with Jewish and Roman historians of that time. Also, the words kingdom and nation should be examined closely in the New Testament. When Jesus mentions kingdoms and nations and earthquakes, He may be looking afar off to other parts of the Roman Empire, but we doubt that He is looking forward in time. This is about the first century as He addresses the men before Him. We’re still between two “this generation” statements, and He shortly (verse 16) brings the discourse back locally to Judea.

Nation and kingdom can also denote local rulers and the tribes of the 12 sons of Jacob.

As to verse 09, Remember first what our Lord told the apostles in Chapter 10:

“21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. 23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.”  – Matthew 10:21-23 )Verse 23 of Matthew 10 is discussed in Part Three.)

Here is verse 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.” – Matthew 24:9

The things described in Matthew 24 are not delivered to casual observers or observers at all. These disciples had their charge; their mission had clearly been stated and taught over three years. None of Matthew 24 is an intellectual exercise. Jesus had already told these men that they would die for Him. They actually need the information imparted here to carry out their training and the orders given by the Son of God. The two questions in verse 3 are no abstraction of a vaguely foreseen future thousands of years off.

Hated by all nations can mean all the tribes of the sons of Jacob, but indeed Christians are hated the world over up to this day. Well, the Christians that carry out the mission of Christ are hated. The fake ones get along just fine.

Verses 11-13:

“11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” – Matthew 24:11-13.

Many suppose these verses to be about us today. That may be a proper application for edification so that we are warned against these things. But John says that the spirit of antichrist was already at work in the world (1 John 4:3) after the resurrection. We doubt that these verses point expressly to some far future day. It’s been this way from the very start. Take heed and be warned today, but these verses don’t change the date of the destruction of Jerusalem.

Jesus tells them, “he that shall endure unto the end” So, this is not “when” either.

Some use these verses to show how Christianity is defeated and shrinks back as the Second Advent approaches. But this contradicts the many “Kingdom of Heaven” parables, especially the Mustard Seed and Leaven parables (Matthew 13:31-33, discussed in Part Six). Instead of rightly seeing Matthew 24 and Revelation as the first-century consummation of the Old Covenant order and bringing in the New Covenant with Christ, they see these two prophetic scriptures as the Second Advent Only. Either we win by conquering sin and the world through the power of the Holy Spirit in us, or we deny the power of God unto salvation. The notion that it’s all going to worsen and that Christians should hold on tight to the end is born out of a false understanding and, therefore, false teaching of Matthew 24 and Revelation; now is the Kingdom of God and of His Christ through the power of Gospel.

Verse 14:

The Gospel entered in as a flood and has been rising ever since. Before the destruction of the old religion, the Gospel was preached into all the (Roman Empire) world, spreading the good news unto all men through belief by faith. The Gospel was well established before the destructive event upon the old. In terms of the span of the entire course of human history, this appears to be one event; the Kingdom of God was born. Then the end of everything the apostles knew; history, society, and culture, all of which revolved around the Mosaic Law and the temple; it was all over. Since this Gospel witness is ongoing today, many conclude that this verse also stretches into far history.

“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 24:14

Jesus tells them that once they’ve preached in all the world, “then shall the end come.” Then shall be the end of former estate, the Old Testiment, will be completed and with it that entire system of worship is ended. They’ve been trained for this; this is their task; preaching the Gospel to every creature unto the uttermost part of the earth is what disciples do.

Matthew 24, Part Eight

BY PGF
8 months, 1 week ago

Here is Part One. All of the parts of this series are linked in that one place.

No marks, no comments, no verse or chapter markings, no headings; read this, read it five times if you must:

“Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 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. 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? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 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. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. 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. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 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. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 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. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”

In Matthew 23:33, here is yet another direct assault on this generation by our Lord.

“Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” – Matthew 23:33

“34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: 35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.” – Matthew 23:34-35

Verse 34: Jesus tells the Jews that they will kill, crucify, and scourge the teachers and preachers (Prophets and wise men and scribes) of the now coming New Covenant. This indicates that Jews will be persecutors of the disciples in a significant way. They followed the disciples around Judeaizing them (Acts 15:1), and when that didn’t work, they simply killed them or, more often, did what they did to Jesus, got Rome to do their dirty work for them. This was all fulfilled in the first century as the siege 67-70AD approached. Jesus is in the temple proclaiming these things while looking real people in the eye; Pharisees, Herodians, Sadducees, scribes, civil and religious leaders, and other people of all ranges. These things are not said in some mystical or strange manner that needs to be decrypted. These are direct prophetic threats against that generation from God Almighty; you are guilty!

Verse 35: all the righteous blood shed upon the earth (Land or Judea), from the first murder after the fall of man right up to the last murder (Zacharias son of Barachias) that took place in the temple as the Roman armies approached. This generation was to pay for it all. This is horrifying; the holy righteous, just lawgiver determining the wrath of all those sins upon that generation. Of course, the threat is not idle; verses 34 and 35 are one sentence, there is payment for persecuting God’s men.

“Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.” – Matthew 23:36

How could this be anything other than the very people Jesus is speaking with as He accuses them in the most public manner? The temple was not only a worship center; life in Jerusalem revolved around it. It was a meeting place and social center. This isn’t a private conversation that’s taking place. It’s hard to know how many hundreds or thousands may have heard this.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” – Matthew 23:37

Verse 37 is beautiful in showing God’s longsuffering, but He is holy, and we see God’s wrath in judgment as patience runs out. Here too, is His abiding desire for mercy and reconciliation with those that seek Him. It pricks the heart to consider God’s mercy on our despicable country if only we would come to Him acknowledging His authority and our need for reconciliation; we, too, are a wicked and perverse generation. Don’t be deceived; there is no reason to celebrate what will come upon that generation; God’s judgments are sure and continue today. This verse also offers excellent instruction in righteousness for believers; that they falter not. Stay steadfast to the end, enduring in the hope of the knowledge that we will see Him as He is and will be like Him.

“Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” – Matthew 23:38

Daniel 9:26 says in part, “…and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary, and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” (See Luke 21:20)

The word prince is lower case. However, Daniel likely did not know that those people would be the Roman armies of the first century. And see Daniel 9:27, in which “that determined” is the judgment of God upon that generation; the 70 weeks was drawing to a close in the first century.

Some say in verse 38, Jesus may be referring to His (for He is God) absence from the temple. As we’ve explained, there is no need for a temple because the body of Christ is the temple of a new and better covenant with all men.

Matthew 24, Part Seven

BY PGF
8 months, 2 weeks ago

Note: Acknowledging that this thing has gotten away from us a little, it was not supposed to be this long; one more part after this. Maybe?

Part One  Part Two  Part Three  Part Four  Part Five  Part Six

Read the parable in Matthew 21:33-46 to get the context.

Leading to verses 37 and 38, Jesus is talking about the prophets that were slain because the leadership didn’t want to hear the truth. (See also Matthew 23:35).

In verse 39, Jesus is telling of His soon coming crucifixion. According to the parable, the Son was killed so that the Sanhedrin could steal His inheritance, which is the “Kingdom of His dear Son.” (Colossians 1:13). We can relate this to Christ being the seed of the promise to Abram, Christ’s church, of which we are joint-heirs (Romans 8:16-17) and numbered as the stars (Genesis 22:17-18).

This is very important to understand and not taught in the American Churches. In Part One of this series, we pointed out that John the Baptist warned the Sanhedrin not to claim Abram as their father (Matthew 3:9). We further pointed out that the Sanhedrin did that very thing in John 8:38-39. The Sanhedrin was trying to steal the throne of Christ to become the heir by claiming Abraham as their father. Read Galatians 3:16-17. There was one part of the Abrahamic Promise that the Jews could not fulfill because it wasn’t about them; it was Christ, though He would be the Son of David, He is the only begotten Son of God. Read this passage in Matthew 22:

“41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David. 43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? 45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? 46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.” – Matthew 22:41-46

Who is Heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2)? It’s Jesus Christ, it’s not the Jews, and it’s not a country (kingdom) in the Middle East; it’s Jesus, just and only Jesus the only begotten Son of God; He is the heir.

Back to our text in Chapter 21:

“40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? 41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.” – Matthew 21:40-41

In verse 41 above, the Sanhedrin testify against themselves, clearly stating what is about to befall them. They knew what was right, but still, they refused to submit to God and His authority. This should be instructive for us today.

In verse 45 of the parable, they got it; Jesus was speaking of them, but still, they refused to act and wouldn’t submit to God.

Christ’s kingdom is not of this world; it’s a people birthed not of the will of the flesh but of God (John 1:13). The Kingdom of God is not birthed by the natal (nation) womb of women but by the Spirit of God (John 3:4-7), making of all that come to Christ one people (Revelation 7:9-10). Jesus is the firstborn, by His resurrection (Colossians 1:18), that you too might be reborn by the Spirit of God (John 3:3). There is no Jew or Gentile (Galatians 3:28), and there is no temple but the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27, John 2:19, Ephesians 1:22-23). Each passage from which these verses are taken has specific contexts, but none are abused here.

Context matters; the broader context in which the entire New Testament is given is critical, as the American Churches turn the Holy Bible into an unknowably mystic manuscript for a mere buffet from which to pick your favorite lifestyle sayings and phrases. Not only is the Word of God abused by taking single verses out of context and making a religion from them, but in expository preaching from sections of Scripture for a personal application while ignoring the context of the entire New Testament that God gave us. The New Testament is also provided so that we can know the purposes for the wrath of His judgment, His merciful grace, and, yes, for instruction in righteousness.

The conditional covenant God gave to Moses had one thing left to be fulfilled, its final chapter in Christ Jesus making a New Covenant in Him when He fulfilled the Law and Prophets (Matthew 5:17, Luke 24:44). The covenant of the promise of a seed given to Abram could not be disannulled by the Law given to Moses (Galatians 3:16-17).

Moving now to Matthew 22:

“1 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, 2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, 3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. 4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. 5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: 6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. 7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.” – Matthew 22:1-7

If you’ve been following along in this series of posts leading up to Matthew 24, this parable should be the least cryptic thing you’ve ever read. In verse 2, Jesus is the Son of God. In verse 3, “This generation” were bidden to His wedding but refused (John 1:11). In verse 4, all was made ready. In verse 5, they made light of it and went back to earthly things (Luke 9:59-60, Mark 10:21-22). In verse 6, all of the Apostles, save John, were slain for His holy name (Matthew 24:9), and a great many first-century disciples were also killed. In verse 7, the King sent forth the Roman armies (Matthew 24:30), destroyed those murderers, and burned their city in 70AD.

When you understand the purposes for which Christ came in giving us a New Covenant, the prophetic language, even when used in the parabolic form (and hyperbolic in Matthew 24 and Revelation), is not a bunch of bizarrely mystical unknowns.

Having laid out His charges in plain language from John the Baptist onward, He tells them God’s plan for them and why God must do it. It seems harsh, but remember; God is not only love and mercy and therefore longsuffering, but also holy, perfect, and just. Justice must be done, or He reduces Himself to the status of a sinful man. Christ became flesh, yet without sin, He overcame being the perfect sacrifice for your sin. He was buried and rose from the grave again the third day. Amen. God will not be made to sin for any reason and certainly not to appease our feelings.

Matthew 24, Part Six

BY PGF
8 months, 2 weeks ago

Part One  Part Two  Part Three  Part Four  Part Five

“A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.” – Matthew 16:4

Again, in Matthew 16, Jesus makes His charge against that generation. The Jews saw many signs and wonders, but we are saved by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the power of God unto salvation to all who would believe by faith. We are His church. We don’t need tongues and signs and miracles, and neither do the lost; they need to hear a clear presentation of the Gospel of salvation through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

That’s the sign, as was Jonah in the belly of the whale three days, so was Christ in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. This is the only sign we need today; Jesus died for your sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day to offer eternal life.

“Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” – Matthew 16:28

The prophetic futurists ignore this verse, but we don’t know how. Who is Jesus speaking of? The people that were standing there listening to Him or some distant generation? Some of them there with Christ must have still been in Jerusalem just before the siege. They were warned and told to prepare to leave Jerusalem (Matthew 24:16-18).

Christ was coming in great power and judgment in the first century against those that claimed to be God’s heir over Christ and were trying, knowingly or unknowingly, to stop the birth of His church. Jesus is the heir, and you too can be a joint heir with Him. Now is the kingdom in spirit and in truth!

The parables of the mustard seed and the leaven are instructive.

“31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: 32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. 33 Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” – Matthew 13:31-33

How can this be some time other than now? Even the dispensationalist says that at His return, it will be sudden. In the parables of the Mustard Seed and Leaven, the body of Christ grows over time with care and tending. Don’t be slack, brothers; the commission is indeed great. Nor do we understand the Amillennialist position on this.

Yet, it’s not what it shall be, and neither are we, for we shall see Him as He is. Sure enough, He’s coming back again. This is a massive problem of interpretation today, rightly understanding the spiritual kingdom that He set up at His coming in judgment in the first century as the church was born and the final domain at the end upon His return. We confess to not being able to unravel it completely. Some aspects of the spiritual kingdom that now is are a type of the final glorious presence of Christ when God will be all in all. You have to be ready, in your heart. As much as His followers love the Scripture, and there’s no end to the knowledge of God found in them, it’s with the heart that men believe unto righteousness by faith.

“Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” – Jesus in Matthew 15:7-8

As our Lord relates how Isaiah spoke of that generation, let it not be said of us. Though the American Churches are apostate, some still hear the Masters’ voice.

Matthew 24, Part Five

BY PGF
8 months, 2 weeks ago

EDIT: Forgot the links to the prior articles. Here they are: Part One  Part Two  Part Three  Part Four

The Temple and Jerusalem were destroyed in 70AD by the wrath of God. This destruction was indeed within that generation. These are the facts. Knowing this in hindsight, Jesus’ (along with others) repeated use of “this generation” is rather difficult to recon as some so-called Church Age. If the temple had been destroyed five generations later, or 500 years after Jesus spoke these increasingly vehement accusations, then we would have to consider what the text means. But, the text means just what Jesus said. These things did come upon that generation.

Jesus, again, declares the wickedness of that generation. Although sounding a little bit like the hewing down of the wicked fruit trees back in Chapter 7, this is a much more direct assault:

“34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” – Matthew 12:34-35

And Peter, full of the Holy Spirit of God, said in Acts 2:40: “And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”

Bad things, terrible things were coming to that generation. Though persecution abounded, to be spared the wrath of God, one had to belong to Jesus Christ. This has been true since the Garden and remains true today. Peter is warning them that when the flood of judgment comes, don’t be taken away as they were in the days of Noah.

“But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.” – Jesus Christ in Matthew 12:6

Although not a direct reference to the destruction of Jerusalem, Jesus’ point is very well taken, the necessity of the temple is ending. There is no further need for a temple. He is greater than any temple. To ensure proper worship by His church, He destroyed the temple during that generation in 70AD.

Referring to His crucifixion and resurrection: “Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” John 2:19

Any attempt to build another temple made with hands would be blasphemy.

Steven points out the end of the temple worship system in Acts. To see it all begin in Acts 6:8  through Acts 7:60. Steven, full of the Holy Spirit of God, lays out the history of his people’s temple worship system, concluding that the Christ of God has come; the days of the need of temple worship are over. For this, they killed Him. What great faith. (Note: the Jesus mentioned in Acts 7:45 is Joshua from the Old Testament.)

“48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, 49 Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?” – Acts 7:48-49. Steven is referring to Isaiah 66:1-2. Also, see Acts 17:24-25, which is Paul on mars hill.

Christ Jesus and all we in Christ are the temple under the New Covenant brought to fruition in the first century. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16)

So, we see the disciples and Paul saying that the temple was unnecessary. Also, read Hebrews 9. Only the blood of the Christ of God Almighty can save a man. And since He is come and shed His blood, no more sacrifice is required, therefore no more need of any temple other than the body of Christ.

The body of Christ, His church, is the temple of the living God. If you know people who promote the (re)building of some physical temple to re-institute animal sacrifice, steer clear of them; that spirit is not of Christ.

Matthew 24, Part Four, Definition of Terms Primer

BY PGF
8 months, 3 weeks ago

Part One  Part Two  Part Three

As background to Matthew 24, we’re going to see how the word of God employs certain words. To rightly understand prophetic language, you must know these terms. These words are used in prophecy throughout the Scriptures, including some in Matthew 24 and Revelation. We’ll look at Cloud(s), Host, LORD of Hosts, and Flood.

A cloud can be a large body of people, and in the context of the judgment of God, it’s specific to armies of warfare. And this usually indicates the movement (maneuvers) of armies. The word cloud appears many times in the bible in several contexts. A very clear example of a cloud for our purposes is here in Ezekiel 38 and 39.

In verse 3 of Ezekiel 38, below, we see that Jehovah is preparing judgment. He says: “I am against thee” This is a threat. He goes on in verse 4 to explain His design upon this army and what nations these armies are of in verse 5. In verse 4, again, He uses the word company. This is a group of people, and since He just described a military outfit, we must conclude that He’s speaking of a military company of soldiers. In verse 6, He uses the word bands to describe these armies. Both company and band(s) are still used today, indicating military troops. Now read verse 9; cloud and band are used together with a band of soldiers covering the earth as a cloud moving with purpose at the direction of the LORD of Hosts.

“1 And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, 3 And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: 4 And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: 5 Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: 6 Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee. 7 Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them. 8 After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them. 9 Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee.” Ezekiel 38:1-9

(Note: The readership here doesn’t watch TV preachers, but just to be sure, Ezekiel 38 already happened and has nothing to do with Russia.)

See also Ezekiel 39:4

A host is also a large body of people, and in the context of the judgment of God, it too is specific to armies of warfare or invading peoples.

The Lord of hosts is most often cited as Jehovah. The Captain of the host of the LORD in the book of Joshua is the Christ of God, acting as the head of Joshua’s armies to effect God’s judgments upon the earth against His enemies in the taking of the promised land. (Note: This is the land promise made to Abram that was fulfilled under David when his kingdom attained to the Euphrates River.)

“13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? 14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant? 15 And the captain of the LORD’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.” Joshua 5:13-15

Another clear example is 1 Samuel 17:45

One more example, this one from Isaiah Chapter 19:1 “Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt…” In context, this refers to God using armies to judge Egypt. God is not literally riding a cloud into Egypt. At least we doubt that.

These terms are essential in both Matthew 24 and Revelation. And note much of the language between Isaiah 19 and Matthew 24. The Lord let loose the spirits of hell in each situation to confuse the judged during these separate incidents.

Clouds mean hosts, although not interchangeably. The Lord of hosts comes in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory in Matthew 24:30 and similarly in Revelation 1:7 and other places in Revelation; this is Jesus. There is no real break in the consistency of these uses from the earliest mentions in Scripture through to Revelation.

“And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” – Matthew 24:30

“Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” – Revelation 1:7

Also, the use of the word Flood by God is a purposeful alarm to get you to remember that great judgment. A flood is not by water anymore; it’s used to describe the overflowing of God’s will by implementing His great purposes in judgment at the hands of human instrumentation. See these verses and read their context: Isaiah 28:2, Isaiah 59:19, Jeremiah 46:8, Nahum 1:8, and Matthew 24:39.

Matthew 24, Part Three

BY PGF
8 months, 3 weeks ago

Part One  Part Two

Read Matthew 10:16-23

In verse 16 of Matthew 10, Jesus shifts from the short-term training mission He is sending His disciples on (Matthew 10:1-15) to the more extended mission they will carry out after receiving the Holy Spirit. All the prophecies of Jesus in verses 16-23 were fulfilled in the first century. You can read about most of these prophecies in Acts, primarily Acts 5. Others are according to church history. Many stood before the Sanhedrin (Councils) and some before the kings. For example, Peter is said to have stood before Nero and John before Domitian.

But what of verse 23?

“But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.” – Matthew 10:23

Jesus says that the disciples would not have finished preaching in the cities of Israel before the Son of man came. Are the 11 plus Paul still in Israel preaching the Gospel? How can this be? It must refer to the coming of Christ in power and great judgment in the first century while that generation was alive. The temple and Jerusalem and greater Judea were destroyed in 70AD (Matthew 24:27, 30).

This section of Scripture was fulfilled in that generation during the first century as Jesus ended the Old Covenant and brought in the New Covenant of promise. It was all done just as God said it would be here in Matthew 10. Does the American Church today make Jesus out to be a liar?

Shifting to Chapter 11 of Matthew, in verses 16-24, Jesus again accuses “this generation.” He says nothing satisfies them. They’ve rejected the witness of John the Baptist, and He’s showed them great miracles with signs and wonders, including the biggest miracle of all, salvation from sin, but by the dullness of their minds, they wouldn’t receive Him.

“16 But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, 17 And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. 18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. 19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children. 20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not” – Matthew 11:16-20

You can read on about the upbraiding of the cities. The judgment referred to is probably the end. Nonetheless, these cities did not withstand the onslaught of the Roman Legions during that generation in 70AD. The point is made again; “this generation” is on perilous ground with Holy God.


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