"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Saturday, January 16, 2021

The MILLENNIUM: REIGN of the MESSIAH - Part Three: Continuing the New Testament Examination.

~ by James Fire

We began a re-visitation of the New Testament Scriptures in summary fashion so that it may be determined (not just on the basis of this study, but upon the personal study of disciples to either confirm or deny the findings of this author) if the Millennial Reign of Christ is (1) still the destiny of the Messiah as the up and coming Holy Ruler on planet Earth in a physical, actual ruling over the nations from the nation of Israel and (2) If Israel is in fact likewise destined to receive such blessings as a result of her coming Messiah-King.

Let’s get into more of this exciting subject!
From the website www.inspiration.org Don Perkins states the following, quoting from Bible expositors: 
“Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost, in his book Things to Come states: ‘The millennium will be the period of the full manifestation of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. There will be the manifestation of glory associated with the humanity of Christ. There will be the glory of a glorious dominion, in which Christ, by virtue of his obedience unto death, is given universal dominion to replace that dominion which Adam lost. There will be the glory of a glorious government, in which Christ, as David’s son is given absolute power to govern. There will be the glory of a glorious inheritance, in which the land and the seed promised to Abraham are realized through Christ’…
John F. Walvoord, in his book The Revelation of Jesus Christ states: “Advocates of this view hold that the millennium is a period in which Christ will literally reign on earth as its supreme political leader and that the many promises of the Old Testament relating to a kingdom on earth in which Israel will be prominent and Gentiles will be blessed will have complete and literal fulfillment.”

To read Mr. Perkins’ entire article, check out The Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ 

Also from Active Christianity website, out of Brunstad Christian Church we have the following article What does the Bible say about the Millennium? A short insight into the amazing thousand-year kingdom of peace that Christ will establish in the end times. 

Note: For the remainder of articles I’ll have a couple of links in each that expound on the Millennial Reign of Christ.

For now, let’s go to the Gospel of Luke and stop-over in a few places to check out other insights that we didn’t cover from Matthew’s Gospel account.
We all know this scene in LUKE 1 because we read it every Christmas season; the visitation of the angel Gabriel to Mary; this heavenly messenger has some very interesting things to tell her:

LUKE 1:26-33
26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. 32 He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end

These are prophetic words regarding the Person of Jesus, the child of Mary who was of the House of David, of the tribe of Judah – the royal line of David the King, of whom the LORD promised that his throne would endure until the time of the Messiah. Gabriel declared that He shall reign over the house of Jacob and His kingdom will have no end!

Did Jesus ever sit on the throne of David? It didn’t even exist in His day! The kingdom of Israel was also non-existent: it was a mere province in the Roman Empire.
Yet the Word of GOD is clear – thus we rightly deduce that this is a prophecy yet to be fulfilled and will be during the Millennium! Objectors point out that this prophetic promise was given before Israel’s rejection and crucifixion of the Messiah.

Aside from the fact that this rejection was also prophesied (ISAIAH 53; PSALM 22), and nowhere in Scripture is there any allusion, let alone a clearly written verse that said by such an offense, the promises to Israel would be null and void! However, there are plenty of verses post-Calvary that reaffirm the promises to Israel, as we shall see.

Onto another passage in Luke.
There is an event recorded in both Gospels (as well as MARK 9) that’s commonly referred to as The Mount of Transfiguration, and this amazing incident is a vision that the LORD allowed Peter, James and John to see, that is essentially a picture of the Millennial Reign by type.

LUKE 9:27-36
27 But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God. 28 And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. 29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. 30 And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: 31 Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. 33 And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said. 34 While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. 35 And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. 36 And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen

The three disciples mentioned were privileged to see this incredible vision and beheld the Kingdom of GOD with the central figure of Christ the King Himself glorified.

As the LORD Jesus prays in the company of Peter, James and John (this trio seems often privileged as an ‘inner circle’ of sorts and accompanied the LORD on various occasions without the others (MARK 5:37; MARK 9:2; 13:3; 14:33), He is transformed before their very eyes!

Matthew remarks that His face shone as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light (See MATT 17:2; perhaps because this is the material with which our eternal robes of righteousness will be comprised of?). Mark describes his garments as being white as snow (MARK 9:3).

All three accounts observe the appearance of Moses and Elijah, “who appeared in glory [glorified state]” (in the Jewish mind, these two are the central figures that comprise what they refer to as “the law and the prophets”. 

Moses was the Lawgiver to Israel and Elijah is esteemed as the greatest of prophets because of the power of his ministry – and especially because of the fact that it’s foretold that he will appear once again “before that great and dreadful and notable Day of the LORD” (MAL 4:5; ACTS 2:20).

It’s about then that Peter enthusiastically recommends that they build “three tabernacles” for each of these glorified personages. This was because all Israel was celebrating the feast of booths https://www.gotquestions.org/transfiguration.html at this time, and I can hardly blame Peter for wanting this – literally – “mountain top experience” not to end; would you?? 

Revealing Himself in this way to His inner circle, granted these three awestruck men a deeper and greater understanding of Who Christ is – not just the Son of man, but the Son of GOD, indeed, the Word made flesh Who is GOD! 

Yet the Father redirects the attention of these men back to Jesus, the preeminent One who is above Moses, the prophets, angels, the Law, the Tabernacle, etc. This is one of the primary themes of the book of Hebrews - a study by Ray Stedman

In the Millennial Kingdom, the Old Testament saints will be resurrected and live in their glorified state, as will the bride of Christ, the church; Moses and Elijah represent resurrected and glorified Israel (incidentally, you may remember that Moses was not allowed into the promised land for his disobedience to GOD as recorded in NUM 20:11; DEUT 32:51–52, but the merciful heart of our Abba Father shines through: for the Lawgiver does finally make it there! 

And this was just a prelude to what this most humble man (second most that is) of all the Earth will enjoy in the Millennium!. During their time on this Mount of Transfiguration, these two prophets speak to the LORD about His mission (LUKE 9:31). Peter, James and John by type represent national Israel who will be delivered from annihilation by the anti-Christ and his global military forces and enter into the Millennium in their natural bodies.

And while such notable and highly esteemed saints such as Moses and Elijah will be highly honored, none will be so exalted as Christ Jesus our LORD (PHIL 2:8-10)! This is why the voice of the Father spoke from heaven, declaring to these three apostles: “This is my beloved Son: hear Him”!

The fact that this scene happened upon a mountain top (“an exceeding high mountain” – some suggest that this was in fact, Mt. Hermon, the tallest mountain in all Israel) demonstrates that a kingdom principle and perspective was being demonstrated by our LORD.

Preterists who dismiss last days prophecies as being merely historical and pretty much fulfilled as of 70 AD, look upon this event as a fulfillment of Christ’s ‘Second Coming’, but this can hardly be the case, as this was merely a vision that the apostles saw according to the LORD’s own words (MATT 17:9).

Now here is an interesting subject that addresses the issue of two kingdoms:
Throughout the Gospel of Luke, and all four Gospels in general, there is the phrase, “The Kingdom of GOD” which many assume is synonymous with “the Kingdom of Heaven” – they may be right, but I have a different view. I believe the Kingdom of GOD is over all wherein GOD’s sovereign and perfect will is carried out, and that the Kingdom of heaven is a subset of this.

You will note that in the kingdom of heaven, there are things like tares (children of the wicked one; MATT 13:24-30), the devil is at play during the kingdom of heaven (MATT 13:39), slothful servants that are consigned to outer darkness (MATT 25:24-30); the kingdom of heaven is likened to a mustard tree (mutated form of the usual mustard shrub) that holds the fowls of the air (MATT 13:31-32).

Some would object to any distinction, saying that these same parables have the same description in other Gospel accounts, but use the term “Kingdom of GOD”. They could be correct in that observation, but if I’m seeing this right, the Kingdom of heaven, being a subset to the Kingdom of GOD, it will follow that if these things happen there, then in effect it’s also within the domain of the Kingdom of GOD but confined to the Kingdom of heaven. 

Yet we who are born into the Kingdom of GOD (JOHN 3:3-5) are never spoken of being born into the Kingdom of heaven. I think it’s significant that the term “kingdom of heaven is used exclusively in the Gospel of Matthew (32 x) and not in any of the others. As we know, the Gospel of Matthew is to the Jews and their Messiah, the King of Israel who will assume His rightful reign during the Millennial period.

For this reason, there are many Bible expositors that equate the Kingdom of heaven, not with the Kingdom of GOD, but with the Millennium. There seems to be five primary distinctions between these two kingdoms, which Dr. Scofield elaborates in this article; this article presents both sides of this discussion (that they are distinct vs. they are synonymous). 

Moving on then to: 

LUKE 12:32-34
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

We are admonished by the LORD not to store up material wealth here (we are told later by the apostle Paul to be content with food and clothing/shelter; see 1 TIM 6:8) but rather, to store up our wealth in heaven where it won’t grow old and fade away (as everything does here in this world; just give it a thousand years, max). 

We understand that these riches are applied to our ‘heavenly account’ but that also we will have access to these spiritual treasures (whatever these actually may be – I have my own ideas) during the time when we see the LORD at the rapture and taken to our Father’s house, then throughout the Millennial period and into the eternal Kingdom of GOD. This by no means proves the Millennium, but it does admonish us as saints, to be mindful of eternal things, rather than temporal things.

The same idea is presented in LUKE 16:1-12; the proper focus should be on eternity and not in the here and now, regarding treasure. In this parable, the LORD commends this steward, not because he was unfaithful to his master but because he realized he had to prepare for the future when he lost his job, and that he did!

For the saints, we aren’t to be caught up in the pleasures and treasures of this world at the expense of ignoring investments in the eternal kingdom.
The same can be said of the rich man who built bigger barns to contain all his wealth (LUKE 12:16-21) – and he could then kick back and enjoy the fruits of his labors (and there’s nothing wrong with that, necessarily); yet he had nothing to show for the afterlife, when he would leave all of that wealth behind and enter into an existence of spiritual abject poverty, because he was “not rich toward GOD”. 

I’d much rather enjoy eternal riches in the Kingdom than temporary earthly pleasures, wouldn’t you?

In LUKE 17:20-24 we read:
20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. 22 And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. 23 And they shall say to you, See here; or see there: go not after them, nor follow them. 24 For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.

The Kingdom of GOD “is within you” is sometimes translated as “among you”, or “in your midst”. The Kingdom of GOD at the time when the LORD came in the flesh was certainly in their midst in the fact that the KING was with them! He is the ultimate representative of His Kingdom, though His appearance (“outward observation”) certainly did not convey the appearance of a King, much less a Messiah – or at least how the Jewish leadership expected the Messiah to be revealed!

Then there is the concept of the Kingdom of GOD itself, not appearing with the visible eye, but in an actual spiritual sense, in which faith in Christ will allow a person to “enter into” and “see” the Kingdom of GOD (JOHN 3:3-5). That which is spiritual and real since the resurrection of Christ, throughout A.D. history and up until the time of the rapture, lost souls are coming to salvation and “enter[ing] into the Kingdom of GOD” and “see[ing] it”. Yet one day with the Return of the King, the Kingdom will be abundantly visible and dominating in glorious fashion the entire Earth!

Incidentally when the LORD spoke of His return and compared it to lightening, one should compare this with what He said afterward, four times, in the book of Revelation: 

Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown
(See also REV 11:4; 22:7, 12). 

Christians have long been mocked by unbelievers, scoffers and cynics who wonder what happened – He said He would return “quickly”. What happened, did He get a flat?
Yet the word used here for “quickly” in the Greek is tachu which addresses the manner of one’s return, not a duration of time necessarily. “Promptly, swiftly, suddenly, soon – by surprise”. There isn’t much that’s swifter than lightening! 

We’ll forego any further examination of the subject of the Millennium in LUKE’s Gospel as the same things were covered in MATTHEW and MARK, and what we will see in JOHN’s Gospel, which we shall begin now.

We who are true Christians know what being “born again” is all about (JOHN 3:3-5; 1 PET 1:23) – but when Nicodemus, a very prominent teacher and religious leader among the Sanhedrin visited the LORD Jesus, he was baffled by this expression, and he receives a rebuke for it.

I used to think it was a bit unfair of the LORD to expect this Jewish teacher to understand about spiritual rebirth, receiving a new heart, being born of the Spirit, etc. all New Testament phraseology – that is, until I read:

EZEKIEL 36:26-27
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them

Had Israel received her Messiah the first time around, this prophecy would have been fulfilled, but it would have left us Gentiles out in the cold, and the church would have never come to be.
Paul the apostle talks about this:

ROMANS 11:11-13
11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. 12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? 13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office

Yet because Israel rejected her Messiah (initially, but not the second time He arrives!), the door was opened to the Gentiles for salvation, and the spiritual rebirth, and formed the majority of the body of Christ (ACTS 11:15-18)! To learn about this with greater detail, listen this teaching with Chuck Smith.
Yet it’s when the Messiah returns, rescues Israel from the anti-Christ and his armies, that they will recognize Y’shua as the Meschiach (Jesus Christ) and receive Him for salvation:

ISAIAH 63:1-3
Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. 2 Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? 3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment

And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn

6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friend

Then once Israel recognizes Jesus as their Messiah-King, and is indwelt by the Spirit of GOD, this will commence the Kingdom of Israel aka the Millennium (“the kingdom of heaven”).
In JOHN 4, the LORD confides in a Samaritan woman regarding His identity (vs. 25-26), that He is the Messiah. He admits to this with periodic regularity (see the following article from the bibleQ site). 

How would a king have any authority without a kingdom over which to rule?
In the film, The Hobbit: The Unexpected Party, the Goblin King of the Misty Mountains caught sight of Thorin Oakenshield and bowed mockingly, saying “King, under the Mountain! Oh, but you don’t have a mountain [in which this kingdom of Erebor existed], and you’re not a King – which makes you nobody really!

Those who deny the Millennium have a problem; there is a King, a Jewish Messiah-King that has no kingdom of Israel to reign over – even though this promise was made throughout the Old Testament prophets and confirmed in the New! A veritable, actual, physical kingdom of Israel that will flourish as no other time in her history, under the blessing of the King!

In JOHN 6:14-15 after the LORD fed the five thousand, observe vs. 14-15
14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. 15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

Previously in Chapter Five He testified that the religious leadership would not receive Him, but that they would receive another (the anti-Christ) who comes in his own name. They refused any claim Jesus made of being the Messiah. Yet here, because of the miraculous multiplication of the bread, these people are ready to declare Him a king – and He departs.
We spoke of this earlier, but this bears repeating. Why didn’t Jesus allow these people to declare Him the King, for that He was – and is!

It was all a matter of timing, believe it or not.
Gabriel the holy angel and messenger of GOD in Whose presence he stands, declared to Daniel a prophecy regarding the Messiah, Israel and future events concerning them both. In that prophecy it was specified that on a certain day, the Messiah would appear (officially) in Jerusalem (riding on a donkey; see ZECH 9:9). In order to fulfill this prophecy, the LORD couldn’t be officially recognized by the nation as the Messiah-King until then (like at this point in time as recorded in JOHN 6). On the day appointed however, the LORD orchestrated the entire event, precisely timed according to prophecy (LUKE 19:30-42)!

The LORD then pronounces judgment upon the city, weeping over it, and saying that they’ll not see Him again until they say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (MATT 23:39).
At that time, the nation’s very existence will be threatened by the Beast, but the LORD reveals Himself and Israel will certainly, absolutely at that time say, “Blessed is He . . .!” 

There is continued belief among the people that this Jesus of Nazareth could be the Messiah King in JOHN 7:28-32 and the religious leaders in their obstinacy continue to reject Him.

Ten chapters later, we find ourselves in JOHN 17. This is the LORD’s High-Priestly prayer!
Throughout this prayer we hear the LORD address the Father regarding His followers who are “in the world” (vs. 11) but they were also given to the LORD these disciples from “out of the world” (vs. 6).

He states that they are not “of the world, even as [the LORD Jesus] is not of the world (vs.14). He then prays that the Father doesn’t take them “out of the world, but that [He] should keep them from the evil [one]”. He repeats Himself in vs. 16: “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

It should be noted that the disciples, as well as the LORD Jesus Himself were “in this world” but simply not “of the world”.
There are many who refute the idea of any earthly kingdom of Christ (namely, the Millennium) and they use the verse found in: 

JOHN 18:36
36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

Simply because the LORD’s kingdom is not “of this world” that doesn’t mean that His kingdom won’t come “in this world”, just as certainly as He and His disciples were in it, but not of it. And if you look at the end of vs. 36, the LORD makes this clear: 

“…but now is my kingdom not from hence.” It’s from somewhere else, namely, heaven, hence the term “the kingdom of heaven (“of” sometimes translated in other places as “from”). The LORD confesses that He is in fact a King – actually the King of Israel, or the Messiah (vs.37).

As an aside, In JOHN 19, the Roman soldiers plaited a crown of thorns on His holy head, adorned Him in a purple robe, and mocked Him saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”

I shudder to think what these soldiers will feel on Judgment Day, when the One that they so horribly abused will be seated with majestic and almighty power and authority, looking upon them with His eyes ablaze with holy fire! Or the Sanhedrin that plotted and schemed in conspiratorial wickedness in their desire to see this ‘upstart’ dead and out of the way. 

Also in JOHN 19:7-12 we have the following:
7 The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. 8 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; 9 And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? 11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. 12 And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.

I often wondered about this passage; why would a pagan Roman governor be “the more afraid” because some Jewish itinerant preacher claimed to be “the Son of GOD”? What would he care about any such Messianic claim?

The late Chuck Missler clarified this for me. The Romans were indeed pagan; they had not one god, but a pantheon of gods, and not only that, but half-god/half men beings or ‘demi-gods’ who were sometimes referred to as ‘the sons of the god(s)”.
Biblically speaking we understand that “the sons of God” was a term used in the Old Testament for angels (GEN 6:2-4; JOB 1:6; 2:1; 38:7).

But the pagans took that term quite differently – that these demi-gods were half god (fallen angels masquerading as ‘gods’ no doubt) and half men. Such legends as Hercules, Achilles, Theseus and Perseus to name a few were all demi-gods or as the Bible would identify them, ‘nephilim’.

So when Pilate heard that Jesus claimed to be a “son of god’, that unnerved him. What would happen to him if he killed a son of one of the gods of the Pantheon? After I learned this, it made sense then why Pilate returned back into the judgment hall and asked Jesus, “Where are you from?”
Far from denying the ‘accusation’ by the Pharisees, the LORD earlier commended Peter when he recognized this truth:

JOHN 16:16
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God

The Search for The Messiah by Chuck Smith and Mark Eastman is a must read, as it travels the length and breadth of the Old Testament Scriptures, examines Hebrew words and root meanings, along with ancient texts from rabbis in times long passed and demonstrates that the Messiah of Israel would indeed be GOD made flesh.

We’ve done a five-part series of articles simply entitled, JESUS is GOD on TTUF and I used this book as a basis, along with some research and study on my own, all of which to show that the Messiah Y’shua is the only begotten Son of GOD, ergo GOD made flesh.

We will continue to tour the New Testament in search of passages that deal with the Millennium, and related topics next time, picking up in the book of Acts!

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