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PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 251

November 24, 2005

AN EXPOSITION OF II THESSALONIANS 2:1-12!

Part 2  (Same First Page on Each New Part)

II Thessalonians 2:7 – For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

I long ago lost count of the number of requests I have received about the identity of the “he’s” referred to by Paul in II Thessalonians 2:7.  I did not reveal what I believed on the “he’s” for some time, and did not start to say what I believed about it until I made a trip to Kenya in 1999.  Joel Cobb asked me what I thought about the he’s while I was lecturing in the Seminary there.  As I had done so often in the past, I turned the question back on the asker, asking him to first tell me what he believed about it.  Before that, when the asking person had told me what he or she believed, I would quickly say – well, that is what everyone else that asked me the question believes, so you are on solid ground.  And, indeed, those who had asked me previously, all thought it referred to the Holy Spirit being taken out when the rapture came at the first of the week.  But, much to my surprise, I was shocked to find that Joel Cobb believed what I believed about the Scripture and, as far as I know, still does.  So, at age 73, knowing my time on this planet is limited, in this series I intend to offer my case as to who I believe the “he’s” represent in II Thessalonians 2:7.  The reason I believe so many have asked me who it represents is this – down deep inside some, who have been taught the “he” is the Holy Spirit, there has been a suspicion it could be someone else.

I intend to exposit line by line from II Thessalonians 2:1 to 12 in order to make my case, and this will be the beginning sheet on each new Part until I finish it. 

Please review Part 1 before reading this continuing exposition of II Thessalonians 2:1-12.

II Thessalonians 2:3 – Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

At times in the New Testament, the expression “that day” has a wide variety of prophetic time periods, which are determined by the context of the verses in which it is found.  In these verses the context determines “that day” to mean specifically the day of the rapture.

Paul advises the local church that those who are telling them that the rapture has already occurred, or is about to happen in the immediate future, are misinforming them.  And he then gives then two reasons why what they have been told by these men is simply not true.

The first reason is that the great “falling away” had not occurred at the time he wrote the epistle, and until it did no one could say the coming of the Lord was going to happen right away.  The Greek word translated “falling away” is “apostosia,” from which our English word “apostasy” is derived.  In the context of these verses, it is preceded by the definite article in the Greek text, and can only refer to “the falling away” from something, and that something represents the gospel truths of the faith once delivered to the saints.

Jude 1:3 – Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

At the time Paul wrote II Thessalonians he knew the rapture was not in the immediate future, because the faith had not been delivered by the gospel to all the world of his day, as Jesus had indicated it would before the end.

Matthew 24:14 – 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.

The faith, a system of teaching and doctrine, had to first be in place in order to have a “falling away” from it.  In an attempt to justify the “first of the week” position, in very recent times, someone came up with the idea that “apostosia” meant “a catching out” of the saved at the rapture, but that is stretching the linguistic meaning of     the word far beyond allowable limits.  It’s a cute idea, but it just isn’t true.

Well, I would say it is finally getting close to the first resurrection, because the falling away from the truth is now in full swing on a worldwide basis, just as Paul indicated in his second epistle to Timothy.

II Timothy 4:1-4 – I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; [2] Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. [3] For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; [4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

The second reason he gave them that the rapture had not yet occurred, and was not in the immediate future, was that the man of sin, the antichrist, had not yet been revealed to them.  The Greek word rendered “revealed” in the KJV is “apokalupto,” which means “to remove the veil or covering away from, so as to expose to open view what was before hidden, hence, to reveal, to make manifest.”  The same word is used in the same epistle to refer to Christ’s visible manifestation at the time of his Second Advent.

II Thessalonians 1:7,8 – And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, [8] In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Revelation 1:7 – 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.

Some who hold the “first of the week” position teach we will be caught out before the antichrist is revealed to the believers, but that is simply not true.

I have a suspicion that many who believe they will be caught up before the manifestation of the antichrist are going to be as surprised as an animal suddenly finding itself trapped inside a snare.  They will suddenly find themselves trapped in the tribulation period with a real manifested antichrist in the Middle East.

Luke 21:35 – For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.

Revelation 12:17 – And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 28:20 – Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

SPECIAL PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 251A

November 27, 2005

Revelation Beatitudes of the Everlasting Gospel – Part 1

Revelation 14:6,7 – And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, [7] Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

There are seven beatitude blessings in Revelation.  The first promises a blessing to the one who reads it to the local churches, and to those who hear it and keep what it instructs them to do.  The assumption is made that the one who proclaims it to the church is also a doer.

A church member, who does not do what the word directs, is like a man who looks in a mirror, sees himself as he is, dirty and unattractive, then walks away, and later on forgets what he saw because he likes himself as he is, and never changes from what he viewed in the mirror.  The same man looks into the word of God, the perfect law of liberty, sees himself as he really is, and then walks away, deliberately forgetting what he saw, and never lets God change what he has seen into what the world needs to see.  The blessing is for those who do submit to the Spirit by letting him change their life they live in the flesh.

James 1:22-25 – But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. [23] For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: [24] For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. [25] But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

Revelation 1:3,4 – Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. [4] John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

Your physical birth and life is not nearly as important as your new birth by hearing the word of God, and then living your life in the flesh in obedience to what it says.

Luke 11:27,28 – And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. [28] But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

When a Jewish man or woman converted to belief that Jesus was the Messiah, their family normally disowned them and they lost all their inheritance, including any sort of family employment or financial help.  So it was necessary in the first New Testament churches for them to sell their possessions and share everything as a local visible church body.  This is not the case in the U.S., but the time may come when it will be necessary to survive persecution.  The ones who have the attitude of being willing to do such a thing will be blessed for having done so.

Acts 2:41-47 – Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. [42] And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. [43] And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. [44] And all that believed were together, and had all things common; [45] And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. [46] And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, [47] Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Those who have such an attitude are those who seek the kingdom of God, and are not guilty of hoarding up treasure on the earth instead of trusting God for their security.  The kingdom of God, for which they wait, is greater in their desires than the desire for the things of this present life.

Luke 12:31-40 – But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. [32] Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. [33] Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. [34] For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. [35] Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; [36] And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. [37] Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. [38] And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. [39] And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. [40] Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

Ephesians 1:3 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Ephesians 2:6,7 – And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: [7] That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Luke 8:15-17 – But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.    [16] No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light. [17] For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.

Galatians 6:7 – Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

II Corinthians 5:10 – For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

I Corinthians 15:38 – But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.

SPECIAL PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 251B

November 30, 2005

Revelation Beatitudes of the Everlasting Gospel – Part 2

Revelation 14:6,7 – And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, [7] Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

There are seven beatitude blessings in Revelation.  The second promises a blessing to those whose good works do follow them.

Revelation 14:13 – And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

Patiently laboring in the work of the Lord, enduring to death of the flesh, will determine the size or degree of the reward at the judgment seat of Christ, and it will be a reward that lasts for all eternity.

I Corinthians 15:58 – Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

Hebrews 10:35-37 – Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. [36] For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. [37] For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

Enduring faith in heavenly things hoped for, but not yet seen, are the substance and evidence of a genuine faith that produces a good report for the believer.  It is the good report that assures us we will receive the reward of our labor, when we are made perfect in body, soul, and spirit at the first resurrection by his amazing grace.

Hebrews 11:1,2,39,40 – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. [2] For by it the elders obtained a good report. [39] And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: [40] God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

All the saved will be made perfect in body, soul, and spirit at the first resurrection when the Son of man reaps the earth.

Revelation 14:12-16 – Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. [13] And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.  [14] And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. [15] And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. [16] And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.

The Old and New Testament saved will receive the promise at the first resurrection, and their reward will reflect the degree of their labors and suffering in his service.

Hebrews 11:36-40 – And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: [37] They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; [38] (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. [39] And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: [40] God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

There are many saved, both Old and New Testament, who are still waiting for the first resurrection, and the robes for their labors, on the opening of the sixth seal, but they will have to wait until many of their tribulation brethren are martyred prior to the sounding of the seventh trumpet.

Revelation 6:9-11 – And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: [10] And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? [11] And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

Salt is known for its savour, but if it has lost its savor, it is of no value to the one who uses it.  Children of God are known by their ability to suffer, but if they have lost that ability to suffer, then they are of no value to the one who uses them, or to the ones who see their lack of faith in the God they profess to believe.

Matthew 5:11-19 – Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. [12] Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.   [13] Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. [14] Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. [15] Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. [16] Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.   [17] Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. [18] For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. [19] Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Please note that both of these individuals are in heaven, so this is not about keeping the commandments to go to heaven.  A saved person who keeps and teaches God’s commandments will be more highly esteemed in heaven than a man who did not.   

PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 252

December 2, 2005

AN EXPOSITION OF II THESSALONIANS 2:1-12!

Part 3  (Same First Page on Each New Part)

II Thessalonians 2:7 – For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

I long ago lost count of the number of requests I have received about the identity of the “he’s” referred to by Paul in II Thessalonians 2:7.  I did not reveal what I believed on the “he’s” for some time, and did not start to say what I believed about it until I made a trip to Kenya in 1999.  Joel Cobb asked me what I thought about the he’s while I was lecturing in the Seminary there.  As I had done so often in the past, I turned the question back on the asker, asking him to first tell me what he believed about it.  Before that, when the asking person had told me what he or she believed, I would quickly say – well, that is what everyone else that asked me the question believes, so you are on solid ground.  And, indeed, those who had asked me previously, all thought it referred to the Holy Spirit being taken out when the rapture came at the first of the week.  But, much to my surprise, I was shocked to find that Joel Cobb believed what I believed about the Scripture and, as far as I know, still does.  So, at age 73, knowing my time on this planet is limited, in this series I intend to offer my case as to who I believe the “he’s” represent in II Thessalonians 2:7.  The reason I believe so many have asked me who it represents is this – down deep inside some, who have been taught the “he” is the Holy Spirit, there has been a suspicion it could be someone else.

I intend to exposit line by line from II Thessalonians 2:1 to 12 in order to make my case, and this will be the beginning sheet on each new Part until I finish it. 

Please review Parts 1 & 2 before reading this continuing exposition of II Thessalonians 2:1-12.

II Thesalonians 2:3,4 – Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; [4] Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

The man of sin, the antichrist, the son of destruction, is described critically in verse 4.  The word translated as “opposeth,” is “antikeimai.”  It means “to lie opposite,” hence, to oppose, to be adverse or repugnant to another person.  God is the other person in this verse, against whom all this animosity is directed.

The word translated as “exalteth” is in the middle voice, meaning “to lift up one’s self over others in conceit or arrogance.”  Antichrist in his own mind becomes the god of all gods, and demands that all worship be given to him alone.

The word translated as “shewing” means “to point away from other objects at one specific object,” in this case he fingers himself as the only object of worship.  It is almost as if he is frantic to prove it to himself as well as others.  One of the first things one will notice in most Islamic countries are the countless huge pictures and statues of the current despotic leader, an effort on their part to point to themselves as “El Jumbo Supremo.”  The antichrist will be pointing to himself as the supreme one of all supreme ones, and his statues and pictures will blanket the countries of the Islamic world.

The examination of the phrase “he as God sitteth in the temple of God” is perhaps the most interesting part of verse 4.”  It has commonly been taught this refers to a rebuilt temple of stone in Jerusalem, but I have every reason to believe this is not the kind of “temple” Paul refers to in this verse.  Please bear with me in a rather lengthy discourse on this phrase, because it makes a lot of difference in other areas of prophetic interpretation.  If Paul had used the Greek word “HEIRON” for temple in this verse, I would tell you immediately there was no question he was referring to a rebuilt temple in the old city of Jerusalem.  But he chose to use the word NAOS for temple, and that makes it a horse of quite a different color.

There are two words commonly translated as “temple” in the New Testament – HIERON and NAOS.

Temple – HIERON is the word used of the Jerusalem stone temple itself and, at times, of the whole compass of the Temple Mount enclosure, including all the other subordinate buildings pertaining to the temple.

Temple – NAOS is any enclosure surrounding the place where the Spirit of God dwells.  In the HIERON, it was the enclosure within the HIERON where the Spirit of God dwelled, namely, the Holy of Holies in the rear of the Temple, which was separated from the Holy Place by a thick curtain.  It was torn from top to bottom by the power of God when Jesus commended his Spirit into his hands.  It was his completion of the redemptive work that finished the plan of salvation for all men, and tore open the barrier between the presence of God and man.  It is still open to all those who will receive him as the one who finished God’s plan of salvation.

John 19:30 – When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

Matthew 27:50,51 – Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. [51] And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

The word “temple” appears some 24 times in the book of Acts, and it is ALWAYS “HIERON.”  It first appears in Acts 2:46.  Its last occurrence is in Acts 26:21.

Acts 2:46 – And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

Acts 26:21 – For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me. 

The word “NAOS” does not appear in the book of Acts.

There is no question that Paul thoroughly understood the exacting differences between the two words.  It is true that, at times, the word “NAOS” is used in the N.T. to refer to the entire temple building, but only because it was a part of it.  But let’s take a detailed look at how Paul himself used the words “NAOS” and “HIERON.”

Paul used the word “NAOS” eight times in all of his N.T. writings – Seven of these cases follow:  See if there is any possible way you could twist these usages by Paul to refer to the stone temple in Jerusalem.

I Corinthians 3:16,17 – Know ye not that ye are the TEMPLE of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? [17] If any man defile the TEMPLE of God, him shall God destroy; for the TEMPLE of God is holy, which temple ye are. 

Ephesians 2:21 – In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy TEMPLE in the Lord:

II Corinthians 6:16 – And what agreement hath the TEMPLE of God with idols? for ye are the TEMPLE of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 

I Corinthians 6:19 – What? know ye not that YOUR BODY IS THE TEMPLE of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own

None of these usages refer to the stone Jerusalem temple.

Paul did use the word HIERON for the temple located in Jerusalem in the following Scripture.

I Corinthians 9:13 – Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the TEMPLE? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? 

Paul certainly knew the difference between the two words translated as TEMPLE in the New Testament, and, considering the importance of the eighth and final use of NAOS by Paul in all his writings, I don’t believe a temple will be built in Jerusalem before the 2nd Advent.  II Thessalonians 2:4 – Who opposeth and EXALTETH HIMSELF above ALL that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the TEMPLE (NAOS) of God, SHEWING HIMSELF that he is God.  

I believe that Paul’s usage of NAOS in II Thessalonians 2:4 carries the same meaning as Paul intended it to have in I Corinthians 6:19.

I Corinthians 6:19 – What? know ye not that your body is the TEMPLE (NAOS) of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

II Thessalonians 2:4 – Who opposeth and EXALTETH HIMSELF above ALL that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the TEMPLE (NAOS) of God, SHEWING HIMSELF that he is God.

The antichrist will sit in a sinful body of flesh on the temple mount.  I now sit in a sinful body of flesh at 204 Hickory in Dardanelle, Arkansas.  My body, even though it is sinful, is a temple I received from God in the womb.  The antichrist will have received the body in which he dwells by the same process, and from the same God.  But inside it will dwell an evil spirit and soul, claiming to be God, and trying to prove it to mankind.  Jesus was God living in a temple of sinless flesh.  He was God incarnate living in a sinless body formed by God in the womb of the Virgin Mary.

Jesus referred to his own body as a temple (NAOS), but the Pharisees and scribes thought he was referring to the Jerusalem temple.

John 2:19-21 – Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this TEMPLE (NAOS), and in three days I will raise it up. [20] Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? [21] But he spake of the TEMPLE OF HIS BODY. 

Colossians 2:8-10 – Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. [9] For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. [10] And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

II Corinthians 5:19 – To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

John 10:30 – I and my Father are one.

John 14:9 – Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? 

The Devil is the greatest counterfeiter in all of history.    His son, the antichrist, will be a man who the world will believe has been resurrected from the dead, after having received a deadly wound by a weapon of war.  Jesus was the only begotten Son of God who came in sinless flesh and lived a sinless life.  The Devil will come and dwell in the body of the antichrist after he is apparently returned from the dead.  When the antichrist sits on the temple mount near the end of the tribulation period, he will be Satan incarnate in sinful flesh, claiming to be God, and trying to prove it to man and himself.

II Corinthians 11:13,14 – For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, TRANSFORMING THEMSELVES into the apostles of Christ. [14] And no marvel; for Satan HIMSELF IS TRANSFORMED into an angel of light.

John 5:43 – I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.

Revelation 13:3,12,14 – And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. [12] And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. [14] And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 

The Beast was (he was alive) – is not (he died) – yet is (is resurrected)! 

Revelation 17:8-14 – The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. [9] And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. [10] And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. [11] And the beast that was, and is not, even he IS the eighth, and IS OF the seven, and goeth into perdition. [12] And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. [13] These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. [14] These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. 

The seven mountains symbolize seven governments (kingdoms) that will all have persecuted Israel before the 2nd Advent. When John wrote Revelation, in about 96 A.D., five of the seven kingdoms, which the seven kings represent, had already persecuted Israel in the past.  They were, in chronological order, the Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, and Grecian Empires.  The sixth, Rome, was in power at the time John was writing, and the seventh kingdom will have the antichrist as its King.  However, when he is apparently resurrected from the dead, he will be Satan incarnate in human flesh and, as such, he will also be the eighth king of the seventh kingdom.  The word used for “perdition” means “destruction.”  And “none shall help him,” because he will be destroyed, along with the false prophet, at the end of the final battle of Armageddon by the power of Christ’s Second Advent.

Isaiah 14:12-15 – How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! [13] For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: [14] I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. [15] Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

Revelation 19:19-21 – And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. [20] And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. [21] And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

The antichrist’s claim to be God incarnate in human flesh will be the final accumulating and consolidation of the spirit of antichrist in a single man, which is the final absolute corruption of the truth of God in Christ.  The antichrist’s claim represents the absolute denial that the one who came before him was the Christ, the Son of the living God.

I John 2:18-22 – Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. [19] They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. [20] But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. [21] I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. [22] Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

But there is another reason that I do not believe Paul was referring to a temple of stone in Jerusalem when he used the word NAOS in II Thessalonians 2:4.  The same event is found in Daniel 11:45, and what follows it, in 12:1 marks it as the latter part of the tribulation period.  The word used for PALACE is APPEDEN, which is never translated as TEMPLE in the Bible.  And it literally means a “fortress command post.” The word for TABERNACLES is rendered from the word OHEL, which always mean TENTS.  The following scripture by Daniel paints the same event that Paul paints in II Thessalonians 2:4 – The antichrist on the temple mount as Satan incarnate sitting in human flesh, between the Mediterranean and Dead Seas, with the countless tents of his great army poised to strike a final death-blow against Israel in the Negev – waiting for his command that will begin the battle of Armageddon.  But in spite of his multi million army of flesh, none shall be able to help him, because he is about to be zapped by the direct power of God in his creation.

Daniel 11:45 to 12:1 – And he shall plant the tabernacles of his PALACE (APPEDEN) between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him. [1] And at that time shall Michael stand up the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

Matthew 24:21,22 – For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. [22] And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.

Matthew 24:29,30 – 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: [30] 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.

The admonition that Paul gave to the Elders of the church at Ephesus is sorely needed today.  Since Paul spoke these words countless number of grievous wolves have entered in among many flocks, and have drawn away many disciples

Acts 20:28 – Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to FEED the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 

Matthew 24:44-47 – Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. [45] Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them MEAT in due season? [46] Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. [47]Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over ALL his goods.

The real question that a member of one of the Lord’s churches should be asking is this – How much of the inheritance do I want to inherit?  Or, to put it another way – How close to God will you live in heaven?

Revelation 21:7 – He that overcometh shall inherit ALL things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

God has concluded ALL of Israel in unbelief, and while the words “they” and “them” in I Thessalonians 5:3 can be used to apply to all unbelievers, it is, in context, specifically referring to the nation of Israel.

Romans 11:32 – For God hath concluded THEM all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. 

I Thessalonians 5:3-6 – For when THEY shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon THEM, as travail upon a woman with child; and THEY shall not escape. [4] But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. [5] Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. [6] Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 

Should atheists, agnostics, or anyone read the book of Revelation?  Yes!  But the book is written to churches.  And the primary applications of the writings are directed to church members.  Church members, who will not swallow the MEAT of the word by applying it to their lives, are defiling their garments, which represent their visible, everyday, outer lifestyle testimony to the world.  And they are going to live about as close to Jesus in his heavenly kingdom as they lived to him in this present life.

Revelation 3:3,4 – Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. [4] Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.

Revelation 22:12-14 – And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. [13] I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. [14] Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 

“Quickly” is an adverbial modifier used as a descriptive adjective.  It is referring the manner of his coming, not the time or nearness of it.  His coming for the saved will be as quick as the blinking of an eye.

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SPECIAL PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 252A

THE DEVIL ONCE LIVED UNDER MY BED!

December 2, 2005

While I was attending the MB Seminary in Little Rock, Arkansas, I was approached to see if I would be interested in replacing someone who conducted Sunday services at the Children's Colony in Alexander, Arkansas.  There were two large buildings at the Colony for four types of mental retardation.  The first building was only one story and it housed those whose mental retardation was such that they could never be potty trained.  The second building had three floors.  The first floor was for those who had been potty trained, but would never be able to openly mingle on their own in society.  The second floor was for those who had progressed to a state of living at the Colony while being taken to places where they could work at jobs like washing dishes, cleaning, etc., for which they were paid a salary.  The third floor was for those whose minds might be perfectly normal, but whose bodies were horribly disfigured - heads larger than a big watermelon, hands and bodies like those of an infant, some that looked like Frankenstein, and assorted other types of terrible disfigurations.  It was called a Children's Colony, not because of the physical age of its occupants, but because of their mental age.  Some of them were past the age of sixty.

I was one of three preachers who volunteered for the non-paying job of going there on Sunday morning from 8 to 11 to teach the residents on the top two floors lessons about Jesus.  I had served in Vietnam and seen humans cut to ribbons with their hearts blown out on the ground, so I was steeled to horrible scenes that haunt me to this day.  The other two preachers made it fine until they got to the third floor.  It was just too much for them, so I got the job.  It was the most rewarding time of my life.  Some of those on the second and third floor had passed the mental age of accountability and were saved by grace through faith.  I continued to teach there until I became pastor at Dardanelle MBC in 1974.  Years later, when I was doing post graduate work at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, Arkansas, as I was walking across the campus to a class, I heard bus brakes squeal behind me.  Suddenly the door of the bus swung open, and a large group of my former Children’s Colony students rushed toward me, jumped on me, and we rolled on the grass as they gleefully hugged me.  I have never felt so appreciated and fulfilled in my life at the love and affection they showed to me for what I had taught them about Jesus.  I do have a too tender side to my nature which I protect at all costs, because it has been wounded so many times.  I hide it well behind a thickened skin and a veneer of education and degrees.  The Children's Colony children are the only group of people I have ever opened up my tender side on a continuous basis because I knew they would never wound me.  They had a childlike kind of love that disappears as we grow to be self-centered protective adults.  I am thankful I had the opportunity to teach those retarded children from age 10 to 60 about Jesus while I attended the Seminary.  It would be a good experience for all preachers to go through in their early ministry.  It taught me I didn’t know nearly as much as I thought I did about what I was called to be, and helped me to shed some of my preconceived ideas I thought came from the Holy Spirit.

A young preacher in our church sent me the following article, "God lives under the Bed."  I related to this many years ago, because I have taught many with the mental capacities like the Kevin in the article, and I don't have to read it over and over to understand it - I have been there, and done that!

The article brought back one of the most lasting memories of my pre-accountable age years.  Mom had me kneel down each night at my bed and say, "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take."  Then I would crawl into bed perfectly content that God would do what I had asked him to do.  My Mom and Dad slept in the same room in another bed, and sometimes when I would not go to sleep he would say, "Tom Mc, if you don't go sleep, the Devil is going to reach out from under your bed and pull you under it."  So, until I was saved at age 12, I always slept with my legs doubled up and my heels doubled up to my buttocks.  Since most of our physical growth occurs in our early years, it caused the tendons behind my knees to constantly need stretching and caused me difficulties in my adult years.

I will never forget the night I was saved at age 12.  I went home that night and for the first time let my legs down as far as they would go.  Jesus has lived under my bed ever since.  Most people do not really know the child that lives in me, not even my wife and children, because I have a role to fulfill as an adult, and by the grace of God I try to perform it.  It is that frightened child that lives within me that still runs to Jesus daily to deliver him from all the trials and problems of life, while the adult I have become tries to teach others what Jesus says he is supposed to be teaching them from his word.  I think my Grandmother Amanda Athelia Osella Bray McElmurry taught me some of the deepest theology I know.  As we would sit on the back porch shelling peas, she would quite often look over at me and say the same simple phrase - "Tom Mc, Ain't Jesus Wonderful."  I believe the most important aspect of my calling is to teach people about Jesus and to let them know that while we cannot know the exact time of his coming, we can know it is drawing near.  I am anxious to meet him face to face.

Please read them following article I received from Michael Crites.  It is worth reading.  I have known hundreds of Kevins, and you cannot really grasp this article unless you have known a Kevin.  God means for his children to become AS little children, but he certainly does not mean they are to let the emotions of their youth direct their spiritual growth in the worship of God.  We are to worship God with the understanding of an adult in the word, and with the childlike faith of Kevin.

I Corinthians 13:11 - When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

John 4:24 - God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

I Tim. 3:14,15 - These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: [15] But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

I don’t know who originally wrote what Michael sent me, but they did request that it be forwarded to others, so I am forwarding it on our church web site at:

http://www.tribulationperiod.com/

GOD LIVES UNDER THE BED

I envy Kevin. My brother Kevin thinks God lives under his bed. At least that's what I heard him say one night.

He was praying out loud in his dark bedroom, and I stopped to listen, "Are you there, God?" he said. "Where are you? Oh, I see. Under the bed..."

I giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room. Kevin's unique perspectives are often a source of amusement. But that night something else lingered long after the humor. I realized for the first time the very different world Kevin lives in.

He was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during labor. Apart from his size (he's 6-foot-2), there are few ways in which he is an adult.

He reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7-year-old, and he always will. He will probably always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa Claus is the one who fills the space under our tree every Christmas and that airplanes stay up in the sky because angels carry them.

I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different.

Is he ever dissatisfied with his monotonous life?

Up before dawn each day, off to work at a workshop for the disabled, home to walk our cocker spaniel, return to eat his favorite macaroni-and-cheese for dinner, and later to bed.

The only variation in the entire scheme is laundry, when he hovers excitedly over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn child.

He does not seem dissatisfied.

He lopes out to the bus every morning at 7:05, eager for a day of simple work.

He wrings his hands excitedly while the water boils on the stove before dinner, and he stays up late twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for his next day's laundry chores.

And Saturdays-oh, the bliss of Saturdays! That's the day my Dad takes Kevin to the airport to have a soft drink, watch the planes land, and speculate loudly on the destination of each passenger inside.

"That one's goin' to Chi-car-go!" Kevin shouts as he claps his hands.

His anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday nights.

And so goes his world of daily rituals and weekend field trips.

He doesn't know what it means to be discontent.

His life is simple.

He will never know the entanglements of wealth of power, and he does not care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats. His needs have always been met, and he never worries that one day they may not be.

His hands are diligent. Kevin is never so happy as when he is working. When he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his heart is completely in it. He does not shrink from a job when it is begun, and he does not leave a job until it is finished. But when his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax.

He is not obsessed with his work or the work of others. His heart is pure.

He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept, and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue.

Free from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent, always sincere. And he trusts God.

Not confined by intellectual reasoning, when he comes to Christ, he comes as a child. Kevin seems to know God - to really be friends with Him in a way that is difficult for an "educated" person to grasp. God seems like his closest companion.

In my moments of doubt and frustrations with my Christianity I envy the security Kevin has in his simple faith.

It is then that I am most willing to admit that he has some divine knowledge that rises above my mortal questions.

It is then I realize that perhaps he is not the one with the handicap . . I am. My obligations, my fear, my pride, my circumstances - they all become disabilities when I do not trust them to God's care.

Who knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn? After all, he has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, praying after dark and soaking up the goodness and love of God.

And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all amazed at how close God really is to our hearts, I'll realize that God heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived under his bed.

Kevin won't be surprised at all!

Please pass this on if you feel it is worth passing on.

Special Prophecy Update Number 252B

December 4, 2005

Revelation Beatitudes of the Everlasting Gospel – Part 3

Revelation 14:6,7 – And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, [7] Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

There are seven beatitude blessings in Revelation.  The third blessing is obtained by a vigilant effort on the part of church members to live a Bible directed life that will cause them to be rewarded with glorious outer apparel in heaven.

The Hebrew culture was such that you could tell the social status of a person by the clothes he or she wore.  The men worn an undergarment that had sleeves and come down to just above the knees or one that looked something like a breechcloth wrapped around his loins and his waist.  When a man only had this attire on he was considered to be “naked.”  The garment that people saw him wear in public was like a loose one piece dress well below the knees with a large leather belt or sash to gird it at his waist.  There were variations of this type of visible outer garment.  Those who were of higher social status worn a sleeved coat, cape, or robe over the outer garment.  These garments were often used in the Bible to parallel heavenly garments that would be worn by the future residents depending on their faithfulness or unfaithfulness to God.  Hence, throughout the writings of the New Testament, there is much emphasis placed on heavenly attire being a blessing for those whose faith endured to the end.

Revelation 16:15 – Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

Believers now live in a temporary house, tabernacle, or temple.  The house, tabernacle, or temple body they will occupy in heaven will manifest the degree to which they glorified God in this life, and the attire they are given to wear will eternally manifest their degree of faithfulness for all eternity.

I Corinthians 6:19,20 – What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? [20] For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

The Greek word translated “accepted” in the following verses means “well pleasing.”

II Corinthians 5:1-10 – For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. [2] For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: [3] If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. [4] For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. [5] Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. [6] Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: [7] (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) [8] We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. [9] Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. [10] For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

I Corinthians 3:9-15 – For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. [10] According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. [11] For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. [12] Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; [13] Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. [14] If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. [15] If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by (dia – through) fire.

Such an individual will remain in heaven eternally, but I hardly expect him to be attired in the outer garment of works he lost in the fire.  The time of judgment for gain or loss for the saved is found in Revelation 11:18, which follows the sounding of the last trump in a series of 7 in Revelation 11:15.  The mystery of God in I Corinthians 15:51 at the last trump is the same mystery of God in Revelation 10:7 that will be finished when the seventh angel sounds the last trump in Revelation 11:15.  The mystery is finished when there is time no longer in the age of the Gentiles – when all the saved of all the ages are finally found together in heaven with souls covered by glorified bodies, and the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord.

Revelation 10:6 – And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: [7] But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.

I Corinthians 15:51,52 – Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, [52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Revelation 11:15 – And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Revelation 11:18 – And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.

I Thessalonians 5:9 – For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

Revelation 16:1 – And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.

Galatians 6:7-9 – Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. [8] For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. [9] And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Revelation 3:3,4 – Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. [4] Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.

Revelation 16:15 – Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

SPECIAL PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 252C

December 7, 2005

Revelation Beatitudes of the Everlasting Gospel – Part 4

Revelation 14:6,7 – And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, [7] Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

There are seven beatitude blessings in Revelation.  The fourth blessing is written to churches to advise those who belong to them to make themselves ready for the day when they meet the head of each local church face to face.  Each church member weaves his own outer garment by the degree of glory God receives by his or her service in one of his Son’s churches.

I have a lot of questions to ask you on this subject?  And you are the one who I am asking to supply the answers?  I am not going to supply the answers, but I do believe you should ask yourself these questions, because there are going to be a lot of things that go on in your future eternal life in another place, and those who are wise do make themselves ready for it by the power of Christ in them.

Revelation 19:7-9 – Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. [8] And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. [9] And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

So where has his saved wife “made herself ready” by giving him glory in this present life?

Ephesians 3:21 – Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

I John 3:2 – Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Have you ever considered the possibility that the degree of glory manifested in your new glorified body might be directly proportional to the degree of glory received by God by Christ Jesus in the local church?

I Corinthians 15:38-41 – But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. [39] All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. [40] There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. [41] There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. [42] So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:

Did you ever consider the possibility that some glorified bodies at the first resurrection might shine in differing degrees of glory, depending on the degree of submission to the Spirit they exhibited as God’s children.

Daniel 12:3 – And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

Is it possible that as God’s children walk their walk in one of his local churches, as they hear and apply his word to their walk by his power, he is washing their outer garment by the power of his word?  Could this be the process by which “they that be wise” became wise in believing and applying his word to their lives?  Could these be the wise people whose lives turned many to the righteousness of the Lord they saw in them?

Ephesians 5:25-27,30 – Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; [26] That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, [27] That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. [30] For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

Ephesians 2:22 – In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Is it possible that church members who do not continue faithful will live outside the heavenly city of the New Jerusalem?

Revelation 21:24 – And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.

Did not Jesus speak the words of Luke 22:28-30 to the members of the New Testament church he organized during his earthly ministry?  Are the members of his New Testament churches not supposed to continue to walk with him to the end of physical life?  Is there not some reward for this?

Luke 22:28-30 – Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. [29] And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; [30] That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Luke 14:15-24 – And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. [16] Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: [17] And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. [18] And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. [19] And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. [20] And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. [21] So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. [22] And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. [23] And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. [24] For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

Could it be that the New Jerusalem is the Kingdom City of God and, as such, represents the Kingdom of God?  Is it possible that only the ones God deemed faithful will be allowed to enter it?  There is a big earth on which the New Jerusalem is planted by God?  Could it be that the faithful saved will live in the city, and the rest of the saved will live outside the city?

Matthew 10:34-39 – Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. [35] For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. [36] And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. [37] He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. [38] And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. [39] He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

Could it be that those, whose lives were judged not to be     worthy to live in the immediate presence of King Jesus, may end up living in heaven outside the city?  Could it be that all those who gave up (lost) their lives to God in service to him, actually found his purpose for their lives, and will end up living in the city, while those who found their joys in all the things of this life lost the God given opportunity because they found their life here more important than their future life, and will end up living outside the city?

PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 253

December 9, 2005

AN EXPOSITION OF II THESSALONIANS 2:1-12!

Part 4 (Same First Page on Each New Part)

II Thessalonians 2:7 – For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

I long ago lost count of the number of requests I have received about the identity of the “he’s” referred to by Paul in II Thessalonians 2:7. I did not reveal what I believed on the “he’s” for some time, and did not start to say what I believed about it until I made a trip to Kenya in 1999. Joel Cobb asked me what I thought about the he’s while I was lecturing in the Seminary there. As I had done so often in the past, I turned the question back on the asker, asking him to first tell me what he believed about it. Before that, when the asking person had told me what he or she believed, I would quickly say – well, that is what everyone else that asked me the question believes, so you are on solid ground. And, indeed, those who had asked me previously, all thought it referred to the Holy Spirit being taken out when the rapture came at the first of the week. But, much to my surprise, I was shocked to find that Joel Cobb believed what I believed about the Scripture and, as far as I know, still does. So, at age 73, knowing my time on this planet is limited, in this series I intend to offer my case as to who I believe the “he’s” represent in II Thessalonians 2:7. The reason I believe so many have asked me who it represents is this – down deep inside some, who have been taught the “he” is the Holy Spirit, there has been a suspicion it could be someone else.

I intend to exposit line by line from II Thessalonians 2:1 to 12 in order to make my case, and this will be the beginning sheet on each new Part until I finish it.

Please review Parts 1 to 3 before reading this continuing exposition of II Thessalonians 2:1-12.

II Thessalonians 2:3-5 – Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; [4] Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. [5] Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

Verse 5 is the keynote of this exposition of verses 1 to 12 in this exposition of II Thessalonians 2, because it tells us that Paul had already given them the details when he was previously with them. He was simply reminding them of what he had already taught them. It would have been nice to have had a bug planted on the wall to have what he taught them on a recording. But we do have his first epistle to them, and some ideas can be gleaned as to what he taught them about some of the events which would occur shortly before the rapture.

I Thessalonians 5:1 – But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.

They did not have any need for him to tell them again because he had told them before, and they should have a perfect understanding of the times and seasons which would be occurring before the rapture.

II Thessalonians 2:5 – Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

Acts 1:7 – And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

“The times” refers to the phases of the moon upon which the Hebrew calendar was based, and the sighting of the new moon began many of the Hebrew festivals. It simply means one cannot tell the month of the year the rapture will occur. “The seasons” refers to much the same as the Gentile calendar, that is, summer, winter, spring, and fall. It simply means we cannot tell whether the rapture will occur in summer, winter, spring, or fall.

In Matthew 24:36, Jesus makes it quite clear one cannot tell the day or the hour.

Matthew 24:36 – But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

So, what do all these Scriptures combined tell us what we cannot know about the time of the rapture – we are not able to tell the hour, the day, the week, the month or which one of the four seasons in which it will occur – and, by inference, we cannot know the year. But it does tell us we can know when it is near, because we know what events are prophesied to occur shortly before it happens, and it tells us why that is possible – because we are not the children of darkness – we are the children of light – and the day of the rapture should not catch us completely by surprise, as would be the case if a thief came into our home while we slept.

I Thessalonians 5:1-5 – But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. [2] For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. [3] For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. [4] But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. [5] Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

When we see Israel heading into a time when they think they have attained a peace with safety, then one can know her time of travail, the tribulation period, is about to begin, and that the rapture is not in the far distant future.

II Thessalonians 2:5,6 – Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? [6] And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

The he is the antichrist and the subject addressed begs a question – why has he not already revealed himself?

In our next Update in this series, we will discuss what has been withholding him from revealing himself. The answer is found in verse 7. We know that the spirit of antichrist was already in the world when Paul wrote the epistle, but Israel was hardly having a time of “peace and safety” when he wrote it, and have not had such a status up to this day. The spirit of antichrist was being held back from being manifested as a flesh and blood man, and he will not be revealed until Israel believes it has achieved a condition of “peace and safety” – one which it will be able to control and maintain by its own power and expertise.

I John 4:3-6 – And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. [4] Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. [5] They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. [6] We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

Special Prophecy Update Number 253A

December 11, 2005

Bethlehem Star King, Wise Men, Nazareth, & Egypt!

An ole Friend of mine, who really is old, sent me an e-mail recently asking what I believed about the accounts of Christ’s birth as reported by Matthew and Luke, particularly as to where Jesus was taken after his birth from Bethlehem. The accounts follow. Of course, we both knew they were 100 percent accurate.

A synoptic analyst takes what is known and tries to fit it together, without violating the data, into a composite story that fits the data. I certainly do not intend to give the impression what follows is absolutely correct, but it does not violate what we do know as fact from the word of God.

Matthew 2:10-15 – When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. [11] And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. [12] And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. [13] And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. [14] When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: [15] And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

Luke 2:6,7,39-41 – And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. [7] And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. [39] And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. [40] And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. [41] Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover.

Matthew says Joseph and Mary took him to Egypt, but Luke says they took him to Nazareth. How can this be?

When Jesus was born the star appeared over Bethlehem and the wise men in the east saw it. As to why I believe “the east,” was in the southern Euphrates plain between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, please read Archive Prophecy Updates 149A and 149B. It would have taken more than a year for the wise men to prepare for, and make, the trip from that area to Jerusalem via the safest route they would have been forced to travel.

I believe both accounts are 100 percent accurate. Jesus did go back to Nazareth after he was circumcised, and remained there until the family made another trip to Bethlehem for a later Passover following his birth. His family stayed in a house in Bethlehem during those Passover festivities in Jerusalem, not in the cave under the inn that had previously held the Christ child in a manger. After the wise men departed the house, Joseph was warned to take the under two year old child and Mary to Egypt. Herod then had all children two and under killed to make sure he got the child who was prophesied to be the new king. When Herod died the family of Joseph did return to Nazareth. Jesus was born in 4 B.C. or 3 B.C. on our calendar and Herod died in 2 B.C. or 1 B.C.! I sifted through Luke, biblical and calendar correlation expositors, and Josephus, to finally reach what I believe stands the best chance of being correct – it appears that Jesus was born in 3 B.C. and Herod the Great died in 2 B.C.!

So the scenario of the Luke and Matthew accounts are perfectly compatible. Jesus was born in 3 B.C. in a cave under the inn in a manger in Bethlehem. He was then circumcised on the eighth day following his birth, and returned with Joseph and his mother to Nazareth.

More than a year later he was taken by Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem for the celebration of the Passover in Jerusalem, a few miles away. They stayed in a house in Bethlehem. The wise men showed up in Jerusalem asking Herod where the child, who was to become king in Israel, was born. The Priests and Scribes looked it up and told them Bethlehem. They were guided to the house in Bethlehem by the star they had first seen more than a year before in the western Persian skies. I have included full details of the character of the star and the journey in Archive Prophecy Updates 149A and 149B.

Again, I believe the Bible is the inspired word of the living God, and is without error. I simply fill in answers to what critics sometimes use to prove it is not accurate.

Micah 5:1-3 – Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. [2] But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. [3] Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.

“Therefore” is a conclusion to Micah 5:1,2 that explains why the Messiah of Israel gave “them up.” Because they beat him and rejected him as their judge, they came under judgment because they would not let him judge them. God’s judgment has been on them for some two thousand years. Without their God to deliver them, they have become the most persecuted, prosecuted, and rejected people on this earth. The Nazi burning, torturing, and butchering of some six million Jews was beyond belief. And yet I love them tenaciously. Why? Because their Messiah, who forgave them on the cross, is alive in me, and in the near future he will return to be their Messiah, their God with them. The word “until,” in the second phrase of this verse, makes the point that he has not forsaken them forever, but only “until” they have passed through the final judgment for having judged him, which consists of the last 1260 days of travail in the tribulation period.

Christ will come forth at his Second Advent as the Lion of Judah to rule over the remnant of Israel that survives the tribulation period, and will bring a remnant of his brethren with him. In verse three he rejected them with “therefore,” then told them they would suffer travail “until” he came back to the earth and “then,” that is, at his Second Advent, all of the remnant of his “brethren” return to live on the same planet with him.

Matthew 23:38,39 – Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. [39] 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.

Revelation 1:7 – 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.

Zechariah 13:9 – And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.

Zechariah 14:5 – And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.

Hebrews 2:11 – For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

Romans 11:5 – Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. Romans 2:29 – But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

Luke 1:76,77 – And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; [77] To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, [78] Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,

SPECIAL PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 253B

December 14, 2005

Bethlehem – The Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever!

Hebrews 13:7 – Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

This verse is often used to teach that pastors are meant to rule over the local church flock, but that was not the intent of the KJV translators. The reference is to those who spoke the word of God to them in the past, and have gone on to be with the Lord, their lives having been finished on this earth. “Have spoken” is the Greek word “elasesav,” which is aorist indicative active third person plural, and refers back to them that “rule,” which is genitive plural, and means “leaders.” The verse does not refer to their immediate spiritual leaders in the church of the Hebrews, but to the leaders of the faith from Genesis to the time the letter was written to the Hebrews – Many of which are mentioned in chapter 11 of the epistle. And it would probably include those who had perished in the persecutions of many of the early New Testament churches up to that time.

Williams, a noted Baptist translator who, in my opinion, does the best job of translating the full implications of New Testament verb tenses, gives the verse as follows:

“You must not forget your former leaders, for it was they who brought you the message of God. Consider how they closed their lives; imitate the end of their conversation (way of life).”

I apologize for the technicalities, but the verse following Hebrews 13:7 is often misinterpreted because many expositors do not follow the context of 13:7.

Hebrews 13:8 – Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

The word “Christ” is the translation of the Greek word meaning “anointed,” which in turn is the translation of the Hebrew word meaning “Messiah.” That is, the Jehovah of the Old Testament is the Jesus of Nazareth in the New Testament, who is indeed the Messiah, the unchangeable one. The leaders of the past, who had spoken of Messiah’s coming as the Promised Seed, were the ones who had lived and died in the hope of his soon coming. Kenneth Wuest implants the full meaning of this verse in context in his translation of it:

“Jesus is Messiah, yesterday and today the same, and forever.”

God chose, before he laid the foundations of this world, to save all who would come to his Promised Seed for full redemption. He chose to save them by placing them in his Seed, and his Seed in them, at the instant of their faith in the Seed to fulfill the promise of Genesis 3:15.

Genesis 3:15 – And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

He was the Messiah in the past from Adam to the present!

Genesis 4:25,26 – And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. [26] And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.

He is the Messiah at the time I am writing this message!

Romans 10:13 – For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

He shall be the Messiah in the tomorrow of the tribulation!

Acts 2:20,21 – The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: [21] And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

He was, is, and will be the Messiah of all believers forever and ever! Bethlehem – The Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever!

The Seed in the manger was God incarnate in human flesh in whom all the fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

II Corinthians 5:19-21 – To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. [20] Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. [21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

God always knew his Seed would be rejected by Israel!

Micah 5:2 – But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

He always knew his Seed would fulfill all righteousness!

Matthew 3:14,15 – But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? [15] And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

He always knew his Seed would fulfill all of the Law!

Matthew 5:17,18 – Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. [18] For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

He always knew the Seed would fulfill it during his life!

John 19:30 – When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

He always knew only our faith in the power of his cross could save us!

I Corinthians 1:17,18 – For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. [18] For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

I Corinthians 2:2,5 – For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. [5] That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

Galatians 4:4-6 – But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, [5] To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. [6] And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

Matthew 1:21-23 – And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. [22] Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, [23] Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel which being interpreted is God with us.

Messiah is the savior of all in the past, in the present, and in the future by the grace of God in him.

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