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Eternal Judgment

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Hebrews 6:1-3 - Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit. [Emphasis added are mine]

The common thread that connects all the principles of the doctrine of Christ is that they are focused on the salvation of an individual, from the moment he or she is born again to eternity. If you have studied Hebrews 6:1-3 with us, you would have surmised this. First, repentance from dead works is necessary, followed by exercising faith toward God (faith in Jesus Christ), baptisms (which includes water baptism in Jesusí name and baptism in the Spirit), and the laying on of hands. The first four principles of the doctrine of Christ show us how to become born again, that we may see and enter the kingdom of God (John 3:1-8). The last two principles are the only possible outcomes of mankind, whether they were born again or not, the resurrection of the dead or eternal judgment.

The final principle of the doctrine of Christ is eternal judgment.  As alluded to in the previous study, the Resurrection of the Dead and Eternal Judgment contrast one another. The Resurrection of the Dead has to do with the reward of the righteous. The resurrection of the just are those who will spend eternity in glory with Jesus, clothed in their new spiritual bodies, in whom the second death will have no power. These are the manifest sons of God (Rom. 8:19). In contrast, the doctrine of eternal judgment has to do with the reward of the unrighteous. The resurrection of the unjust are those who will spend eternity in torment in the lake of fire with the devil and all his minions.

Obey Not the Gospel

Who are the unjust? Do the scriptures declare their identity to us?

1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

2Th 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

From these two scriptures we see that judgment will first begin in the house of God. This is not a new occurrence, but a continuance of how the Lord deals in judgment. He always deals with His house first.

Eze 34:1-10 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, (2) Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? (3) Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. (4) The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. (5) And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. (6) My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. (7) Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; (8) As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; (9) Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; (10) Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.

Using this one example, if the Lord deals severely with His own "shepherds of Israel" then how much sorer punishment will there be or what end will there be for those who do not know God and DO NOT OBEY the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ? First and foremost, the unjust are those who reject the gospel of the kingdom and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The following excerpts are examples of how we become involved in that:

Matthew 10:5-8 - These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.  Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

Jesus sent out the twelve to cities he was coming to, but he sent these forerunners to prepare the way for Him. Like John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus, so are the disciples a type of forerunners of Jesus' coming. In declaring the gospel of the kingdom, we are now the first point of contact between the world and Jesus.

11-16 - And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. And when ye come into an house, salute it. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

What does it mean to be worthy? The disciples were supposed to go into a city and inquire to find out if it was "worthy". In the context of these Scriptures, what made a household worthy is if they received the messengers and the gospel that they preached. If the house was worthy the peace of God would rest on that household.

If the house was unworthy (meaning they didn't receive the disciples or their words) then the peace of God that rested on them remained with them. They were to dust off their feet (the dust of unbelief) and move on.

1 Sam 8:7b ...for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

Mar 9:37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.

Mat 10:40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

Jesus made us a part of the salvation process by having us proclaim the gospel of His kingdom. Without controversy, He says if those, who hear your words, do not receive you or your words, they not only have rejected you as a person, they have rejected Christ Himself and God who sent Him.  

Matthew 11:20-24 - Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee. 

Notice in Matthew 10, Jesus sent out the 12 before him to go preach into the cities he was going to go to. In Matthew 11, He Himself then went to those cities and healed the sick, cleansing them of their diseases & infirmities and delivering them from the oppression of demons, but the cities DID NOT RECEIVE Him. Jesus said that the works that I do testify of me (John 5:36). He pleaded with them, "If you donít believe me, at least believe the works because they can only be done by God", but they still would not believe Him. 

Even after all of the miracles, signs and wonders were accomplished in their city, they still would not repent and believe. Jesus then speaks of the woes of their decision. If Jesus would have gone to Sodom and worked those miracles, Sodom would have repented and believed. 

So we clearly see, that first He sent the gospel through His disciples in preparation of His coming. Then He came Himself, in miracles, signs and wonders and just as they rejected the messengers and the gospel (the forerunner), they also rejected Him. Their judgment is made sure because they would not believe and receive the messengers and the gospel sent unto them, nor Jesus Christ Himself.

Pharisaical

The "shepherds of Israel" in the Old Covenant evolved over time into the Pharisees of Jesus' day. Jesus had much to say concerning the Pharisees on many occasions.

Mat 7:1-2 Judge not, that ye be not judged. (2) For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

This is a spiritual law - if you judge (condemn) someone, you will be judged (condemned) Ė in the measure that you judge (condemn) that person you will receive the same measure of judgment (condemnation).  In other words, as much mercilessness that you show towards someone, you will be shown the same amount of mercilessness. 

The Pharisees put themselves in the seat of Moses, judging people according to their law, and did not realize that the same judgment & condemnation they were bringing upon others, would be the same judgment & condemnation that they would end up receiving.

Mat 23:2-4, 13-15, 23-28, 33-36 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: (3) All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. (4) For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

Jesus advised us to do as the Pharisees say, but not as they do.

(13) But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. (14) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. (15) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

Jesus called them hypocrites because they did not enter into the kingdom of heaven, and would not allow others to enter in as well. Since they were the shepherds over God's flock, they would receive greater damnation for their office held even greater responsibility.

(23) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. (24) Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. (25) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. (26) Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. (27) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. (28) Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

Pharisees neglected the weightier matters of the law, such as just judgment, mercy and faith, but they were always quick to focus on the retrieval of money from the people. They made sure that they looked good on the outside, but within themselves, they were full of dead men's bones, unclean, full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

(33) Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? (34) Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: (35) That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. (36) Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.

To be clear, and to be sure, Pharisees were as serpents (as their father was the serpent in Eden, John 8:44) and destined to the damnation of hell.

Rom 2:1-9 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. (2) But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. (3) And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? (4) Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? (5) But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; (6) Who will render to every man according to his deeds: (7) To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: (8) But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, (9) Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;

Paul spoke of those who judge/condemn others, condemn themselves for they are just as guilty of the same as those whom they judge. How can they escape the judgment of God? God will in the day of judgment render every one according to his deeds. The just will obtain glory, honour, immortality and eternal life at the resurrection of the dead. The unjust, who did not obey the truth, will have indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish - first to the Jew and then to the Gentile.

Unforgiveness

Jesus made this declaration in the early account of Matthew.

Mat 6:14-15 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: (15) But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

As much as we might hate to admit it, unforgiveness may end up being the number one sin that holds the Lord's people back from coming into the kingdom of God. It is quite clear and evident, by Jesus' own admission, that if you will not forgive others of their transgressions against you, He will not forgive your trespasses against Him. This is a conditional promise and not many who call themselves Christians like to acknowledge that the promises of God, the blessings and the curses, are all CONDITIONAL.

The Lord sets a standard in His word and depending on YOU, and how YOU decide, YOU will receive the consequences of that decision.

Jesus, later on in his ministry in Matthew's account, comes back to this very principle of forgiveness and uses a parable to highlight its impact on our lives. He said, "The kingdom of God is like this..."

Mat 18:23-35 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. (24) And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. (25) But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. (26) The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. (27) Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. (28) But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. (29) And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. (30) And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. (31) So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. (32) Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: (33) Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? (34) And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. (35) So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

There should be no question what the Lord will do to His own if they should not forgive others. Jesus said, "My heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses." If you forgive others, our heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you decide not to forgive others, holding on to that grudge and longing for vengeance or ill will toward the offending party, He will in turn not forgive you. You will be delivered to the tormentors till you pay all that is due. What many do not consider is that the payment that is due is un-payable. The debt is too great, therefore the torment will be for eternity.

Falling Away - Eternal Security vs. Eternal Judgment

We know for sure that eternal judgment is in the bible because we've been studying Hebrews 6:1-3. However, many believe in the doctrine of eternal security even though those two words are not found in the scriptures as is "eternal judgment". Eternal security is also know as "once saved, always saved". Let us peruse through some scriptures to verify the validity of this very popular statement.

Heb 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, (5) And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, (6) If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

Clearly these scriptures describe those who have partaken of what we have been studying in the principles of the doctrine of Christ. The author of Hebrews states that it is impossible for those who have been enlightened in these salvation principles, having tasted of the heavenly gift (the Holy Spirit), and of the good word and of the power of God to come to be RENEWED AGAIN unto repentance, IF they fall away.

This scripture apparently contradicts the "once saved, always saved" doctrine. If you decide to depart from Him, after you have been born again, you cannot be renewed again, as you were renewed the first time when you were first born again. You are not born-again multiple times. You are only born again once. Just as Christ died once and for all men, once and for all time, so you are born-again once. And if you decide to forsake the Lord, you cannot be renewed again.

The author of Hebrews comes back to the subject again later on with greater emphasis and clarity.

Heb 10:26-29 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, (27) But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. (28) He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: (29) Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

The operative word here that helps us to understand what is meant by "falling away" is "if we sin willfully". Truly falling away is willfully sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth (enlightened)... after tasting of the heavenly gift, the Holy Spirit... after tasting of the good word and the powers to come... because if you decide willfully to sin after all this, it's as if you crucify the Lord again and again and put him to open shame before all the world. How much sorer punishment can be expected after you were sanctified by the blood covenant of our Lord Jesus, to trample under your feet the Son of God... again and again... and count His sacrifice an unholy thing, while disrespecting and rejecting the Spirit of grace who came to empower your life to not sin?

In Jesus' own words, this is called "blasphemy against the Holy Ghost".

Mat 12:31-32 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. (32) And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

The sin described in these accounts of Hebrews is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. This is the unforgiveable sin because it is a rejection of the Holy Spirit of God, who is the Holy Spirit of Christ... who is Jesus (Rom 8: 9,10). The rejection of Jesus will never be forgiven.

Peter, another apostle, spoke of this same subject matter as well.

2Pe 2:20-22 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. (21) For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. (22) But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

Escaping the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is akin to "receiving the knowledge of the truth". Becoming entangled in the pollutions of the world again and overcome by them is the "falling away" from your escape. Your latter state is now worse than your prior state. It would have been better for you to have never known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and turn from the holiness that was given to you.

Like a dog eating his own vomit... like a pig, after being cleaned, returning to the mud and dung from which he came... so is the man who falls away from the salvation of the Lord.

"Eternal Security", as espoused by the doctrine of "once saved, always saved", is a myth and damnable heresy. The only "eternal security" found in the scriptures is applied to those who have taken part in the first resurrection (resurrection of the just) because the second death (being cast into the lake of fire) has no power over them (Rev. 20: 4,14). Then, and only then, do we have "eternal security" in Him. Until then, we must endure and overcome to the end.

Great White Throne Judgment

2Co 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.

Everyone must appear before the judgment seat of Christ. Jesus describes in a parable how this eternal judgment will take place.

Mat 25:31-46 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: (32) And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: (33) And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

(34) Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: (35) For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: (36) Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. (37) Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? (38) When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? (39) Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? (40) And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Remember Ezek 34: 2-4?

Eze 34:2-4 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? (3) Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. (4) The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.

Every man will indeed be judged according to their works - works of righteousness in obedience or works or unrighteousness in disobedience.

(41) Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: (42) For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: (43) I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. (44) Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? (45) Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. (46) And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

The resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment are the thesis and anti-thesis of each other. The sheep of His hand, on His right, will be blessed forevermore with life eternal. In contrast, the goats (tares) will be placed on His left and their judgment is surely everlasting and eternal.

Rev 20:11-15 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. (12) And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (13) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. (14) And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (15) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

The eternal judgment takes place at the end of the thousand year reign with Christ, after the 2nd resurrection has taken place (resurrection of the unjust) and is applied to the devil, death & hell, and all those not found written in the book of life. This is the second and last death.

Those who shall not inherit the kingdom of God are listed as follows:

Gal 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, (20) Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, (21) Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

1Co 6:9-11 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, (10) Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Notice Paul said, "And such were some of you", reminding them of what they were saved from and warning them of falling away from so great a salvation.

Let us endure unto the end (Matt. 24:13)... being overcomers (1 John 5: 4,5; Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26; Rev. 3: 5, 12, 21; Rev. 21:7)... holding fast to the faith once delivered to us by the apostles and prophets of our Lord Jesus Christ (Jud 1:3)... taking inventory of ourselves and our walk with him according to these principles of the doctrine of Christ, endeavoring to continue in them... and by doing so, we shall save ourselves and those that hear us (1 Tim. 4:16).

Amen.


 

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