When did God create the heavens and the earth? Again, the Bible answers that question for us when it says: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth…” (Genesis 1:1).

Though some would attempt to extend the six days of creation into long periods of time or ages and others would introduce a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 with the claim that the angels were a part of an earlier failed creation, the Bible is quite clear that the six days are literally six days.

“And the evening and the morning were the first day” (Genesis 1:5), with the same parameters mentioned of each day. “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (Genesis 1:31).

The Bible also makes clear that all things were created within the six days when it says: “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day” (Exodus 20:11); and, “Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee” (Nehemiah 9:6).

When did the six days of creation occur? While it would be a mistake to make a doctrinal issue out of a specific date or year, the Bible’s genealogical records indicate that creation occurred approximately 4,000 years before Christ, or approximately 6,000 years ago – numbers which can be calculated based on the ages of the patriarchs when sons were born to them, the lengths of kings’ reigns and other dates or events in the Bible, such as the exile and destruction of the temple (e.g., Genesis 5 and 11; 1 and 2 Kings; 1 and 2 Chronicles).

Though the Bible contradicts modern so-called “scientific” theory regarding the age of the earth, there is no contradiction with the true evidence which suggests a young earth and a catastrophic and universal flood (Genesis 6-8). Believers accept the accuracy of God’s account of creation which is recorded for them in the pages of the Bible.

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible].

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“And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, that a great prophet is risen up among us; and, that God hath visited his people. And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about.” Luke 7:11-17

Travel to any city, town or community and you will likely find a cemetery filled with headstones marking the graves of those from that locale who have died, whose bones or ashes are buried there. In fact, many times, the cemetery is the first thing you will see because they often lie on the outskirts of the city or town. And when funerals take place, the processions often lead from a church or the funeral home out to the cemetery.

When Jesus arrived at the city of Nain with His disciples. He encountered just such a procession. Luke tells us: “Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her” (Luke 7:12).

This was an especially sad funeral because the man who had died was still a young man, and he was the only son of his mother, who also was a widow. What a tragedy! How sad! Imagine the loneliness this mother must have felt, having lost her husband in the past and now her only son. She was, no doubt, heartbroken, and probably also destitute.

And death is sad and tragic! It is not natural. God created us for life but, as a result of sin and disobedience to God’s good commandments, we have brought the curse and condemnation of God’s law upon ourselves and have brought upon ourselves death!

The Bible tells us, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die”; and “the wages of sin is death” (Ezek. 18:20; Rom. 6:23).

To Adam, God said, in Genesis 3:17-19: “Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

Notice that Jesus didn’t try to comfort this woman with words about her son being in a better place. He didn’t tell her to think about all the good times they had together, and He certainly did not tell her that she would always carry her son with her in her heart! Jesus knew and recognized that this young man’s death was the result of sin in the world and that death is sad, devastating and tragic.

And, because we are sinful human beings who have not measured up to God’s holy law, we too will face death. Our souls will be taken from our bodies and our lifeless and decaying bodies will be laid in the ground to return to dust. “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Unless Christ Jesus returns soon, none of us will escape. Hebrews 9:27 tells us: “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” We will all die and then stand before the judgment seat of God.

But what did Jesus do? Luke 7:13-15 says: “And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.”

Jesus had compassion on this woman in her hopeless and helpless situation which was the result of sin. We are not told that this young man’s death was the result of some sin in this woman’s life or that it was the result of some particular sin in the life of her son, but it was the result of sin in the world and in them in the same way as we must all die because of the sin which infects us all (cf. Ps. 90:3ff.).

Jesus told this woman to stop crying because He had a solution to this tragic death. He intervened by stopping the funeral bier and saying, “Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.” Luke tells us that this young man sat up and began to speak. And Jesus gave him back to his mother.

What does this have to do with you and me today? you might ask. Everyone in the history of the world, with the exception of Enoch and Elijah, had to die, and Jesus only called a few people back to life — we think of this young man, Lazarus, the daughter of Jairus and those raised by His prophets in the Old Testament and His apostles in the New.

Though Jesus does not intervene at every death and call the dead back to life, He has intervened for all of us in a much greater way.

Remember that the cause of death is sin, and sin brings about not only physical death but eternal death and damnation! To be raised back to life in this sinful world is not a lasting solution — as far as we know, this young man has since died. So has Lazarus and the daughter of Jairus.

Jesus had compassion on us in our hopeless and helpless situation and tells us to stop crying because He is our solution. As God promised in the garden the Seed of the woman who would undo the work of Satan (cf. Gen. 3:15), Jesus is that promised Seed, our Messiah and Savior.

The Bible tells us in Galatians 4:4-5: “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”

The Bible tells us: “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them”; and, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Gal. 3:10, 13; cf. Heb. 2:14-17).

Jesus Christ, God the Son, intervened by taking on a human body and soul and being born of the Virgin Mary — true God and true man — and He fulfilled all the demands of God’s law perfectly in our stead and then suffered our punishment, the just punishment for the sins of all mankind, when He was crucified and died on the tree of the cross. And He rose again from the dead on the third day, proving that the debt of our sin is paid in full, that God accepted the sacrifice of His Son for the sins of the whole world (cf. 1 Cor. 15:3ff.; Rom. 4:23ff.; Isa. 53:6ff.; 1 John 2:1-2).

And Jesus intervened by raising us up from spiritual death and condemnation to spiritual life and justification through faith in His name (cf. Rom. 1:16-17; 3:21ff.; 2 Cor. 5:18ff.). He did this by sending His servants to preach and proclaim to us the Gospel and also to assure us of pardon and forgiveness through faith in Christ by means of our Baptism into Christ and our partaking in the Lord’s Supper of Christ’s body and blood which were given and shed for us for the remission of our sins.

Jesus said in John 5:24-26: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself” (cf. Eph. 2:1ff.; 2 Thess. 2:13-14).

How much better this is than the temporary intervention of Jesus when He raised this young man in Nain and restored him to his mother! This young man was raised up yet a sinner in a sinful world. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, all who trust in Him will be raised up from death to life eternal with Christ where there is no more sin or death!

The Bible tells us in 1 Cor. 15:51-57: “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

And in Revelation 21:1-4, we read: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

Because Christ Jesus intervened, all who repent and look to Him in faith have God’s pardon, forgiveness and everlasting life. We read in John, chapter three: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

And, as believers in Christ, we don’t have to sorrow like the rest of this world which has no hope, for Christ will come again with the souls of those who have died trusting in Him and will raise up all the dead and give to all who have trusted in His name everlasting life!

St. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18: “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [precede] them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

And we can share in the confidence of the patriarch Job, who said: “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me” (Job 19:25-27).

God grant to us such faith in Christ Jesus, that death becomes for us the gateway to life everlasting, for Jesus’ sake! Amen.

[Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.]

We All Believe in One True God
German Title: Wir glauben all’ an einen Gott
Author: Martin Luther (1525)

1 We all believe in one true God,
Who created earth and heaven,
The Father, who to us in love
Has the right of children given.
He in soul and body feeds us;
All we need His hand provides us;
Through all snares and perils leads us,
Watching that no harm betide us.
He cares for us by day and night;
All things are governed by His might.

2 We all believe in Jesus Christ,
His own Son, our Lord, possessing
An equal Godhead, throne, and might,
Source of ev’ry grace and blessing;
Born of Mary, virgin mother,
By the power of the Spirit,
Word made flesh, our elder brother;
That the lost might life inherit,
Was crucified for all our sin
And raised by God to life again.

3 We all confess the Holy Ghost,
Who, in highest heaven dwelling
With God the Father and the Son,
Comforts us beyond all telling;
Who the Church, His own creation,
Keeps in unity of spirit.
Here forgiveness and salvation
Daily come through Jesus’ merit.
All flesh shall rise, and we shall be
In bliss with God eternally. Amen.

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“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19

What is Apostle Paul’s prayer for his readers in Ephesus? What is his prayer, and mine, for you — for each of us? “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”

Paul prays that the Holy Spirit, working through the Word of God (cf. Rom. 10:17), would strengthen and keep us in the true faith in Christ Jesus, that we would trust in Him and His atoning sacrifice for the remission of all our sins and that He Himself would take up residence in our hearts and dwell in us, as He does in His members, His Church (cf. Eph. 2:19-22).

Paul prays that our faith would be rooted and grounded in God’s love for us sinners in Christ Jesus and that we — together with all other believers in Christ — would be able to comprehend “what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”

But do you — do we — even begin to grasp and understand the love of Christ for us? The Bible tells us of God’s love for us in Christ Jesus, the only-begotten Son:

  • John 3:16 — “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
  • 1 John 4:9-10 — “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
  • Romans 5:5-8 — “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

But do we understand and grasp this love of God for us sinners — that God, in love unmerited by us, sent His Son into the world to redeem us from our sin and the eternal death and damnation we deserve? Do we understand and grasp the fact that God, in love for us sinners, sent His Son to be the propitiation and atoning sacrifice for our sins? Do we understand that Christ Jesus gave Himself to die on the cross in our stead, for our sins, that we might not have to die and suffer the eternal punishment we justly deserve and which God’s law demands on account of our sins? That is the apostle’s prayer for us.

Do we still fear death and God’s judgment? The Bible tells us in 1 John 4:16-18: “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”

If we truly know God’s love for us in Christ Jesus, it will remove our fear of judgment. Consider the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 8:31-39. Who will condemn us on the last day? Christ will be our judge and He is the one who died for our sins and rose again and now intercedes for us before the Father (v. 34).

Can anything or anyone separate us from the love of Christ? No, no matter what happens in our lives, even if we are persecuted and suffer death, we still have God’s love in Jesus Christ our Lord. Paul writes: “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39).

Paul’s prayer for the believers at Ephesus — and mine for you — is that the Holy Spirit, working through God’s Word, enables you to know and grasp in faith the love of God for you which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (and in Him alone); that you see His great love for you in sending His only-begotten Son into this world as a true man to die for you; that you see that Christ Jesus so loved you, even when you were yet dead in your trespasses and sins, that He suffered your punishment and provided salvation for you in His cross; that God so loved you that He, through His Word, brought you to see your sinfulness and the punishment you justly deserve but also brought you to trust and believe in Christ Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the world for your pardon and your salvation; and that, knowing God’s great love for you in Christ Jesus, you continue to trust in Him unto the end, knowing that you have forgiveness and will not be condemned in God’s judgment, and knowing that no matter what you face in this life, nothing will able to separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus. God grant this to you for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Dear Father in heaven, by the Holy Spirit’s working through Your Word, graciously open our hearts and minds and grant to us to know and grasp Your great love for us in Christ Jesus that we might trust in Him and Him alone for pardon, peace and life everlasting. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

[Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible]

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“And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him … And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 2:18, 21-24

The beginnings of marriage go all the way back to the sixth day of creation when God said it’s not good for the man to be alone and He fashioned woman from the rib of Adam and brought her to the man to be his wife. It is for this reason that still today a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife and forms a new family unit.

When asked about the permissibility of divorce, Jesus reminded His hearers of this truth, saying, “Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:4-6). Thus, Jesus Himself tells us that it was never God’s intent for a marriage to end in divorce; and God’s commandment against adultery forbids breaking the vows and commitment of marriage between a man and a woman (cf. Matt. 19:9: Ex. 20:14). The only exceptions to God’s prohibition against divorce are fornication and desertion (Matt. 5:32; Mark 10:11-12; 1 Cor. 7:15).

How far short we have come in regard to God’s intent and design for marriage! Husbands and wives divorce and couples live together without the life-long commitment of marriage. Instead of regarding God’s will and design for marriage between a man and a woman, we abuse our sexuality, lust after one another, and even pervert God’s design in creating woman for the man by tolerating and promoting unnatural acts.

While society and even many churches wink at our unfaithfulness and disobedience to God’s will and commandments regarding marriage, God does not. His Word says, “Marriage in honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers [literally: fornicators or those having sexual relations outside of marriage] and adulterers [those being unfaithful to their marriage vows] God will judge” (Heb. 13:4).

The Apostle Paul warned the churches: “Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9,10).

God’s judgment against those who live in rebellion against His purpose and design for marriage between a man and a woman is exclusion from His kingdom and a place in the everlasting torments of hell (cf. Rev. 21:8).

But there is yet one hope for all of us who have come short of God’s perfect will in our thoughts, desires, words or deeds; and that is in Jesus Christ, God’s Son! He upheld and fulfilled the righteous demands of God’s law for all mankind, and He took upon Himself the guilt and punishment for all our sins when He suffered and died upon the cross. His resurrection on the third day proves that God accepted His sacrificial death as full payment for the sins of the world (cf. Rom. 4:23-25).

God calls us sinners to repent and look to Him for mercy and forgiveness; and for the sake of Christ Jesus and His atoning sacrifice on the cross, He reaches out to us with open arms, offering to us life instead of death, the eternal joys of heaven instead of the never-ending torments of hell.

The Bible tells us that God makes sinners who repent and trust in Christ and His cross “accepted” through the sacrifice of His own beloved Son. When we trust in Christ, “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:6,7).

Yes, in Jesus there is hope for lost and condemned sinners. In Jesus, there is unfailing hope for you and for me!

Dear Father in heaven, I have sinned and done evil in Your sight. Thank You for sending Your Son to pay in full for my sins and the sins of the whole world. Grant to me true repentance and forgiveness and a place in Your everlasting kingdom for the sake of Your beloved Son and His holy life and innocent sufferings and death in my stead. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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The Bible teaches that the LORD God, when He created the heavens and the earth, also created a great number of angels to carry out His commands and do His will. The Bible says that God “maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire” (Psalm 104:4; cf. Nehemiah 9:6; Exodus 20:11; Colossians 1:16; Psalm 103:20-21; Daniel 7:9-10).

It describes the angels as spirits of great power and strength when it says in Psalm 103: “Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure” (Psalm 103:20-21; cf. 2 Kings 19:35).

According to the Bible, a large number of these angels sinned and fell away from the LORD God shortly after the creation. Jesus said in Luke 10:18: “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” Revelation 12:7-9 says: “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (cf. Rev. 12:1-17).

The Bible speaks of the devil (or Satan) and the other evil angels who fell away with him being reserved unto the judgment of eternal torment in hell. 2 Peter 2:4 says: “God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.” And, Jude 6 says: “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.”

The Bible also warns us that, until the last day, these evil spirits continue to oppose God and His will and seek the destruction of God’s works, especially seeking to lead believers away from God and back into sin and unbelief. It tells believers to “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8; cf. Genesis 3:1ff.; Revelation 12; John 8:44; Job 1-2; Matthew 4:1-11). It cautions followers of Christ to “put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:11-12).

The great number of angels who remained faithful to the LORD God are now, according to the statements of God’s Word, confirmed in their holy estate and continue to carry out God’s commands and serve the needs of Christians. God tells us in His Word that His angels are “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:14). Jesus says in regard to the angels who watch over little children who believe that “in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10; cf. 25:31). And, the Bible assures us that God “shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone” (Psalm 91:11-12; cf. 103:20-21).

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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