“Kingdom Come”: Left Behind Review, Part 3–Egypt’s Rich History is Now Declared an Abomination: Repost from 2014

Part 1

Part 2

On page 89, Egypt has failed to send representatives to attend the Feast of Tabernacles.  So, as King David says,

It should be no surprise that this has kindled the wrath of the Lord.  One of the reasons He decreed mandatory involvement in these observances was that these nations had reviled His chosen people in generations past.  [Talk about a grudge!]

The Feast of Tabernacles allows all nations to pay homage to the Lord, in His house, for the annual harvest and provisions.  The Lord has been faithful.  Egypt has proven unfaithful.

So the Lord will slay the two Egyptian elders who led the others not to send representatives, and send drought to Egypt.

Um….What, more wrath, and Old Testament style on your a**?  I thought we were past that now in the Millennium?  UGH!

Rayford and his men are chosen to rebuild Egypt and brainwa–er, evangelize the Egyptians into seeing this abusive tactic as their just punishment, and repenting.

I mean, all this suffering and death because they didn’t send some people to a feast?  Sounds like a man who beats his wife for burning dinner….

On page 110, we read that “Since the Feast of Tabernacles in Israel several days before, no rain had fallen in the entire nation of Egypt.”

Er….Isn’t that perfectly normal for EGYPT?  And most other places as well, except maybe for Seattle or the rain forest?  Far more significant is the drying up of underground springs and rivers, which I assume includes the Nile, the main source of water in Egypt.

Page 94 is kinda weird.  Pretty, young Ekaterina starts calling Kenny (Buck and Chloe’s son, now an adolescent) “Mr. Williams” because, “If I’m going to work for you…I mean, not that I’m saying I’ll get the job…”

Er, even if you do get the job, why on earth would you not call your boss by his first name?  You know, like people normally do?

Page 118 is especially painful for anyone who knows anything about Egypt: Tsion Ben-Judah goes into the parliament building and begins haranguing like some prophet:

“Woe to you, says the Lord God of Israel, for helping to scatter His people throughout the generations.

He healed your land and reestablished you, populating you solely with believers until your offspring were born.

Yet you kept the name of your nation, a stench in the nostrils of God. Egypt: ‘temple of the soul of Ptah,’ indeed!  Ptah a pagan deity from generations past.  Where is he in your time of need?

You deigned to rebuild this structure after the global earthquake, somehow believing God would be pleased by an edifice that looks nothing like a temple dedicated to Him but rather harks back to your days worshiping patron deities?

Still, all He required of you was to observe the sacrifices and feasts, and you thumbed your noses at Him.  Is it any wonder He has cursed your land?

Where was your backbone, your leadership, when unbelievers persuaded you to commit the affront of absenting yourself from the Feast of Tabernacles?”

ARGH!  There is so much wrong with this!  Where do I begin?

First of all, it’s such an affront to not attend a feast one year, that God wants to smite them all?  Is this a loving, merciful God, or the blasphemous idea of a god so jealous of his own honor that, like some medieval tyrant, he must kill and torture to satisfy his wounded pride?

Second, how is it so horrible to want to honor your nation’s colorful past with a temple built in the style of ancient ones?  Egypt is rich in history, culture, monuments.

What, were they supposed to destroy the pyramids, the Sphinx, their old temples, their artifacts, etc., because they were pagan? 

This isn’t directly stated, but this whole rant against them–for not changing their name and for building a temple in ancient style–suggests that they should have done this, too.

Basically, the Egyptians are made to feel ashamed–that they have horribly offended God–for using their culture’s rich architectural past!

Also, quite a grudge!  Egypt has not been pagan for 2000 years: First it became Christian, then, during the Islamic migrations, became Muslim.  The Coptic Church still exists there.

In any case, the nation worships Allah, NOT Egyptian deities, yet here it’s treated as if it never turned away from worshipping Ra, Ptah, etc.  So Egypt is still being punished for the slavery of the Hebrews, which happened some 4000 years ago!

And that leads to the most ludicrous and offensive part of this rant: EGYPT IS NOT THE EGYPTIAN NAME OF EGYPT!!!!!!  Tsion is so ignorant it’s laughable: Egypt is an English name, taken from a Greek name.

Tsion is verbally abusing the Egyptians for a name they do not use.  The ancient Egyptians called their land Kemet, or black land.

The country’s name went through various changes down through the centuries before Christ, as the language and practices changed.

Sure the later Egyptians used a name derived from Ptah, but it wasn’t “Egypt,” and they were pagan, so would see nothing wrong with it.

The Ptolemies took over and could not pronounce Hwt-ka-ptah, so it became Aegyptus.  The land became Christian, and then Arabic Muslims took over and could not pronounce Aegypti (changed to Copti).

Christian Egypt used these Ptah-derived names, and the Egyptian church is still called Coptic, so why can’t the Millennial Egypt?

But modern Egyptians don’t use any of these names, but Misr, an Arabic name which refers to the land, the same as Kemet did.  (See The Origin of the Name Egypt by Nermin Sami and Jimmy Dunn.)

But, just as with anyone who is being unfairly attacked and verbally abused, somebody tries to speak in their defense–but is not allowed.  A young man stands up and says, “Sir, if I may argue our side of the issue–”  And this is the result:

Your side?  You are accursed!  Or are you a believer, confident you shall live past your hundredth birthday?”

“It merely happens that I respectfully disagree–”

“Respectfully?  You are fortunate you remain on this earth, for God willed that your young compatriots become examples for the rest of this nation.”

“But, sir, that is precisely our point.  What kind of a loving God is so capricious that He would–”

“Demolish this building!” Tsion roared.  “Rebuild it as a temple to the Lord.  Delight in His ways.  Seek His face.  Follow His statutes.  Never again disobey His commands.  And henceforth this land shall be known as Osaze, ‘loved by God.’  Lest you fear that His wrath evidences something other than His love, imagine what He could have done in the face of this ultimate insult.”

And still more threats if they don’t do what they’re supposed to do.

LET THE MAN SPEAK!  The young man said the same things I thought as I read this, but he got the typical abuser response: “I went easy on you!”

And Egypt is to turn its back on its wonderful cultural heritage, act like its history is worth nothing but scorn and contempt, because 2000 years ago, they were not a Christian country.

Well, neither were any of the European countries, or Latin America, or even our good ol’ USA, which back then was filled with Native American culture and religions.

This is tyranny, plain and simple, yet we’re supposed to accept it as the rule of a loving god, and consider it okay, that Osaze–er, EGYPT–got what they deserved?  This sounds like brainwashing in order to mob bully anyone who disagrees!

To be continued.

[Please comment on original post here.]

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FOUR Resurrections in Glorious Appearing: Left Behind Review: Repost from 2013

This was originally posted in March 2013 here: https://nyssashobbithole.com/main/four-resurrections-in-glorious-appearing-lb-review-part-2/  Please comment on the original post.

Part 1

For pages 354 to 356, oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we stick the Rapture and the Resurrection before the Tribulation!  (And when we make the Rapture separate from the Resurrection.)

Where do I start?  This is so convoluted and imaginary.  Get this scheme of things, which in all my years of being a premillennial dispensationalist, never cropped up in anything I heard or read about the End of Days:

First, you have the Rapture, which is the beginning of error, because it is not biblical and mangles the doctrines and timelines of the Second Coming and Resurrection.  Then this Rapture applies only to Christians and not to Old Testament saints.

Then the authors split the Resurrection into two resurrections, one of life and one of death (condemnation).  Um, I thought they were supposed to happen at the same time for everyone, after the Tribulation and at the end of time, then we’d all be judged, and some would go to Heaven and some would go to Hell.

But the first resurrection (of life) gets split still further, with timing depending on when you lived.

Christians who died before the Rapture are resurrected at the Rapture, Resurrection #1.

Old Testament saints and Tribulation martyrs are resurrected between the Glorious Appearing (ie, Christ coming to stop Armageddon) and the Millennium, Resurrection #2.

(Like they did between the Rapture and the Tribulation, the authors have inserted an interval here which they seem to have pulled out of their butts.  And what about Christians who died of natural causes during the Tribulation, so aren’t martyrs?)

The Millennium believers are resurrected at the end of the Millennium, even though they’re all still alive (yes, the book points this out), Resurrection #3.

But all the condemned are resurrected at once no matter when they lived: after the Millennium, during the Great White Throne Judgment, Resurrection #4.

FOUR Resurrections???!!!

On page 357, we read, “…[A]pparently it was God’s intent that the Millennium start with a clean slate.  All unbelievers would soon die.”  All unbelievers are doomed, doomed, doomed!


On page 358, we read,

The various groups of believers might find each other, but what were they to do?  Would there be enough of them to start rebuilding the country as, finally for real, a Christian nation?

Oh, they get their theocracy!  You often hear from the religious right that we’re a “Christian nation,” even though we are pluralist.  Then we find that everyone is to live in Israel.  So they don’t even get to choose where to live?

On page 363, the authors totally misinterpret Christ’s representation of the sheep vs. the goats (Matt. 25:31-46).  We read,

“Some call this a Semitic jugment,” Eleazar said.  “Jesus will judge you Gentiles on how you have treated His chosen people.  Those who honored the Jews are the sheep, and those who did not are the goats.”

NO, NO, NO!  The passage is very clear on what is meant: The sheep showed love for other people–Jew or Gentile–by treating them as if they were Christ, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, that sort of thing.  The goats showed disdain for other people by being selfish and self-centered.

Don’t make this into some political statement about Christian Zionism, let’s all vote for the Republican Party so we don’t get labeled a goat, when it’s really about love for one’s fellow man!  Especially since for centuries, there was no political Israel.  And before Israel existed, there was no Israel, period.

The story of the sheep and goats says absolutely nothing about nations or Jews or Gentiles–or, for that matter, religions, period.

(Realizing this fact is one of the first things that got me wondering if I had been taught correctly about the Judgment, which ultimately led me to Orthodoxy, which also recognizes that this passage is not about correct religion, but love toward one’s fellow man.)

In United States politics, Christian Zionism is important because it mobilises an important Republican constituency: fundamentalist and evangelical Protestants who support Israel.

The Democratic Party, which has the support of most American Jews, is also generally pro-Israel, but with less intensity and fewer theological underpinnings. —Christian Zionism

Then after this heresy we find the grammatical heresy of Eleazar saying “When Jesus slayed all his enemies.”  Slayed?

Pages 364 to 365 demonstrate the worst heresy of Calvinism–and the reason why I could no longer, in good conscience, believe the stringent Evangelical/ Fundamentalist teachings about the Judgment (and discovered, to my delight, that even the Catholics and the Orthodox are not nearly so strict):

Priscilla Sebastian says, “But it doesn’t sound like there will be much to judge [at the Great White Throne Judgment].  People either received Christ as their Savior, or they didn’t.”  Eleazar replies,

Right, but we believe that God, being wise and fair and wanting to demonstrate how far men and women fall short of His standard, will judge them based on their own works.

Obviously, all will fail to measure up.  This will show that the punishment is deserved, and as I have said, they will be sent to the lake of fire for eternity.

So how do you know they’re all going to fail?

From the Orthodox Study Bible:

–The Orthodox view is that unbelievers are judged according to the natural law, the law written on the conscience which every human being has.  We are naturally good; to sin is to act against our nature.

–Habitual sins can dull the conscience; the conscience is also the means by which unbelievers can ultimately be saved.  The goal is not man’s praise, but pleasing God.  This is based on Romans 2:14-16 and 29.

–Also, those of us who are aware of the Mosaic Law (particularly the moral one, which still stands) are also aware that it is impossible to keep it perfectly; it cannot make us righteous.

–We are accountable to both the natural and Mosaic Law.   Those who “become righteous by grace through faith fulfill in Christ both the natural and the Mosaic Law” (pp. 341-343, The Orthodox Study Bible).

Jesus Christ’s Parable of the Last Judgment (Matt.25:31-46) indicates that for many people the Judgment will become a moment of insight, recognition and conversion, while for others it may turn out to be a great disappointment and frustration.

Those who were sure of their own salvation will suddenly find themselves condemned, while those who perhaps did not meet Christ in their earthly life (‘when did we see Thee?’) but were merciful towards their neighbour, will be saved.

In this parable, the King does not ask people about matters of belief, doctrine and religious practice. He does not ask them whether they went to church, kept the fasts, or prayed for long time: He only asks them how they treated His ‘brethren’.

The main criteria of the Judgment are therefore the acts of mercy performed or not performed by people during their earthly lives.

According to the teaching of the Church, the Last Judgment will be universal: all people will undergo it, be they believers or non-believers, Christians or non-Christians.

If Christians will be judged by the Gospel’s standards, pagans will be judged by the natural law which is ‘written in their hearts’ (Rom.2:15).

Christians will take full responsibility for their deeds as those who ‘knew’ the will of God, while some non-Christians will be treated less strictly for they did not know God or His will.

The Judgment will ‘begin with the household of the Lord’ (1 Pet.4:17), that is, with the Church and its members, and not with those who did not meet Christ nor hear the message of the Gospel. —The Last Judgment

Also see:

An Orthodox Christian View of Non-Christian Religions–Rev. Dr. George C. Papademetriou (Greek)

What about other Christians? (OCA)

Will the Heterodox Be Saved?–Archimandrite (Metropolitan) Philaret

The Catholic view:

Salvation Outside the Church

Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions–Pope Paul VI

Can people from other faiths be saved?

World Religions: A primer for Catholics

Vatican II for Gen-Xers

Can Non-Christians be Saved?

So, in the Orthodox view, what does it mean that Christ is the “Way, the Truth and the Life”?  It does not mean that belief in Christ is the only way to Heaven, or that Christ is a gatekeeper keeping out the unbelievers.  (One Orthodox forum poster jokingly referred to this belief as “Bouncer of Heaven.”)  Rather, it means that Christ is the Judge of who receives salvation.

How will people be judged if they were not properly taught about Christ?  We don’t know.  But, as my priest says, we who were properly taught have the responsibility to believe/live the faith, be an example of it, and pray for those who are not Christians.

And how do the Orthodox answer the question, “What’s the point of missions, then, if good Muslims/Hindus/etc. can go to Heaven anyway?”

The point of missions is not to get spiritual notches on your witness belt, or to increase believer counts, or to snatch people out of Hell. Our eternal life begins now, not in Heaven, and here we begin sanctification (“theosis”).

The point of missions is to spiritually feed the church and then the people outside the church, getting them started on theosis right here and now.

“You ask, will the heterodox be saved….Why do you worry about them? They have a Saviour Who desires the salvation of every human being. He will take care of them. You and I should not be burdened with such a concern. Study yourself and your own sins…” –St. Theophan the Recluse

To be continued……

 

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“Kingdom Come”: Left Behind Review, Part 2–Old Testament Law Reinstated; Millennium’s Totalitarian Government Cracks Down on Thought-Crimes (Repost from 2014)

Part 1

On page 14 is a reminder of how, well, fake everybody seems, like Stepford Christians: All around Rayford and Chaim on their way to the Temple, people shout the same thing, passages taken from the Bible.  Rayford stands “with arms outstretched, reaching toward Jesus.”

There are multiple scenes just like this throughout the series, things like people praying stretched out on the floor.  It just doesn’t seem…real.  Like real people just wouldn’t behave this way.

Also, the book’s Jesus tells everyone, “Jerusalem shall be holy,and no aliens shall ever pass through her again.”  So…immigrants are banned now?

Pages 15 through 16 are full of technical details describing the Temple.  They sound like they were taken from the Pentateuch, basically a bunch of boring description that makes that part of the Old Testament such a chore to trudge through.  I’m lost: With my NVLD, trying to visualize all that technical detail hurts my brain.  So skip past it….

Page 16 talks about priests, burnt offerings, sacrifices–Obviously some Old Testament prophecies are being confused with End Times prophecies.  On page 23 it’s explained by “Jesus” that the Jewish people “must continue to present memorial sacrifices to Me in remembrance of My sacrifice and because they rejected Me for so long.”  WHAT??!!

Then on pages 27-29, Tsion is thrilled “to learn that the glory of the Lord would fill the temple and that the Mosaic laws would be observed–even the sacrifices.”

Well, except for the Passover lamb, which would not be sacrificed, to remind the Jews that “Jesus had been the perfect and once-for-all sacrifice for the sins of the world.  And for these observances, even the Gentile nations would be required to have representatives sojourn to the temple.”

And if you neglect to send them, your whole country will suffer dire consequences, as Egypt later discovered….

WHAT??!!  A restoration of the law that the Apostles said, in Acts 15:10, was a yoke that neither they nor their ancestors could bear, so they released the Christian church from this burden?

A seemingly endless set of laws for every minute detail of life, including that you can’t mix fabrics or eat shellfish, and women have to be separated for eight days a month?  And Tsion is thrilled about this?

Where the heck does this even come from?  It flies in the face of 2000 years of Christian theology, no matter which denomination you belong to.  It certainly doesn’t match anything I heard back when I was a premillennialist studying up on this stuff.  It would make the Millennium not so much of a paradise after all.

On page 29, we meet King David, who the authors tell us is “plain.”  Say what?  Here’s evidence that the authors don’t know the Bible as well as they claim, because 2 Samuel 16:12 describes David as healthy and handsome, with beautiful eyes.

This book is padded with all sorts of biblical quotes, which is not new, but now we also get to re-read stories we’ve already read many times before: Old Testament heroes speak to the children, and the children cheer, giving us absolutely nothing to advance the plot.  I did a lot of skimming.

This does not apply to the Jews, but any of the Gentiles who do not accept Christ by age 100, die on their birthday and burn in Hell eternally.  The ones who do accept Christ, age very slowly, since they are not to die at all during the Millennium (millennium=1000 years).  So by age 100, they’re still adolescents.

But of course, anyone who has reached middle-age knows that teenagers often rebel against religion–but eventually come back to religion after reaching maturity.  This rule is put in the book to pound the prophecies into a literal fulfillment, but ends up being draconian and arbitrary.

On page 46, the first adolescent dies at age 100, shocking many–but not all.  Some people knew she was not the good Christian she appeared to be.  Now Cameron ponders speaking during her funeral about the need to be saved.

(He used to be Buck, but now he’s Cameron again.  Are nicknames unrighteous and not allowed in the Millennium?)

Rayford says on page 47, “The only benefit I see coming from [Buck–er, Cameron– speaking at the funeral] is if [the parents] allow you to warn other young people of the consequences of putting off the transaction with Jesus.”

Transaction–UGH!  Salvation is not a business deal!

On page 70, rebellion has already begun, with an underground group of young people doing everything they’re not supposed to do.  Their nightclubs “are frequently raided and revelers arrested and imprisoned.”  Anyone who commits “actual crimes” is put to death on the spot by lightning from God.

So–does that mean the ones imprisoned, have not actually committed crimes?  Are they just imprisoned because of their beliefs–a trait of oppressive regimes around the world, considered a human rights violation?

And the ones who do commit crimes–They get no chance at all to repent or rehabilitate before they go to Hell and burn forever?  It’s no wonder this group is rebelling!

Yet we’re supposed to be on the side of the believers, even though their side is trying to turn into the USSR or some Middle Eastern despot, just because they’re on the side of “God” and the “good guys”?

But hey, at least it provides a plot for this book, some evil baddies to fight!  Though the main plan of action is to fight them by indoctrinating–er, converting–the young.

The baddies are The Other Light, or TOL, trying to build Satan’s army for Armageddon–knowing they’ll die at 100, but hoping to pass on their beliefs to the next generations first.  They expect to be resurrected by Satan.

The speech of the young people is also stilted and unnatural, like they swallowed a dictionary, with none of the usual “teen speech” you normally find in every generation.

They even use big words and academic speech, which is okay for textbooks and professional work, but just does not fit in the everyday life of teenagers.  So is slang evil, too?

Then on page 255, Kenny calls his girlfriend “sweetheart.”  Why must these kids sound like they grew up in the 1940s?

On pages 79-80, Qasim, a worker at COT (day care center used to evangelize children)–and potential recruit for the group of “good guys” infiltrating the TOL–is grilled on how holy he really is, with questions like, “Have you led children to Christ?”  “How did you come to Christ?”

The verdict: He is not a real Christian, because he hasn’t led any of the children in prayers of salvation, and his “passionless recitation of the steps to reconciliation with almighty God.”

Eh, lots of us Christians don’t have a tally of souls we led in the prayer of salvation.  Lots of us were also baptized as babies, or became Christians so young that we don’t have much of a story to tell.  That doesn’t mean we’re not Christians.

To be continued.

(Comment on original post here.)

 

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End Times and Christian Zionism

To find a good interpretation of Revelation and other End-Time prophecies, you must look at the Church’s accepted traditions, not newfangled ideas (such as a Rapture before the Tribulation) which popped up in the last few centuries.  One good source is the Orthodox Study Bible.

Challenging Christian Zionism shows how Christian Zionism hampers the peace process in the Middle East.

A review of Left Behind,Fundamentally Unsound” by Michelle Goldberg, has a similar philosophy.

Glenn Scherer argues that “Christian right-views are swaying politicians and threatening the environment.”

This link from the Presbyterian Church (USA) describes Christian Zionism and includes many links on the subject.

This page from Cornerstone Magazine explains how Christian Zionism demonizes certain nations and disrupts the peace process in Israel.

This Catholic website explains, in the “Interpretation” section near the end, how the prophecies of the Beast have been fulfilled in the first century, in the persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire.

Catholics, as well as many other Christian denominations, also believe in amillennialism.  Amillennialism would explain why John the Baptist and Christ kept saying, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”

It was also the traditional interpretation of the Church: Though a few early Church Fathers and writers believed the Millennium was to be a literal thousand years, this was not the dominant belief.  In fact, it was rejected at the Second Ecumenical Council (p. 627-628, The Orthodox Study Bible).

This site describes the various interpretations very well.

Eastern Orthodoxy rejects dispensationalism.  Here is an Orthodox writer’s view of premillennial dispensationalism.

Here is the Orthodox view of Revelations.

Also see Left Behind–What is Rapture? by Dave Elfering.

And The $666 Question: How to Interpret the Omen? by Rev. Dr. Frank Marangos.

And, on page 13 of the June/July 2006 issue of the Orthodox Observer, “Revelation Also Speaks to Contemporary Christians” by Fr. Angelo Artemas.

 

Index to my theology/church opinion pages:

Page 1:

Tithing 
End Times and Christian Zionism 
God’s Purpose/Supremacy of God Doctrine 
Cat and Dog Theology 
Raising One’s Hands in Worship 
Christian Music 
On the “still, small voice” and Charismatic sign gifts
On church buildings 
The Message Bible 
The Purpose-Driven Life 
The Relevance Doctrine, i.e. Marketing Churches to Seekers 
Republican Party 
Abortion Protests 
Creation 
The idea that God has someone in mind for you 
Literalism in Biblical interpretation
Miscellaneous 

Page 2:

Name it and Claim It Doctrine, Prosperity Doctrine, Faith-Formula Theology, Word-Faith Theology,  Positive Confession Theology, Health and Wealth Gospel, and whatever else they call it
More about Pat Robertson
Dr. Richard Eby and others who claim to have been to Heaven
Women in Marriage/the Church
Spiritual Abuse 
Other Resources 

Page 3:

Why do bad things happen?
Should we criticize our brethren’s artistic or evangelistic attempts?  Or, how should we evangelize, then?
Angels: Is “This Present Darkness” by Frank Peretti a divine revelation or fiction?
Halloween: Not the Devil’s Holiday!
Hell and the Nature of God 
Is Christmas/Easter a Pagan Holiday? 
Is everybody going to Hell except Christians?
How could a loving God who prohibits murder, command the genocide of the Canaanite peoples? 
What about predestination?
Musings on Sin, Salvation and Discipleship 
An Ancient View which is in the Bible, yet new to the west–Uncreated Energies of God

Page 4:

Dialogues
The Didache 
Technical Virginity–i.e., how far should a Christian single go? 
Are Spiritual Marriages “real”?  (also in “Life” section, where it’s more likely to be updated) 
Does the Pill cause abortions, or is that just another weird Internet or extremist right-wing rumor?
What about Missional Churches, Simple Churches, Fluid Churches, Organic Churches, House Churches or Neighborhood Churches?
Is Wine from the Devil–or a Gift from God?
What is Worship? 
Evangelistic Trips to Already Christianized Countries
Fraternities, Sororities, Masonic Lodge 
Was Cassie Bernall a Martyr?
Some Awesome Things heard in the Lamentations Service (Good Friday evening) during Holy Week

Conversion Story

Phariseeism in the Church

 

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