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2 Peter 1:12

Dear Readers,

March 2008

“Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:2, 3). I pray that each of you are experiencing God’s comfort. As the time for Christ’s appearing nears, we will need that comfort more and more. “I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.” (Psalms 91:2, 3). 

In this Issue

The Law and the Gospel

by James White

Healthful Doses
by Kendra Beachy
Something for the Young at Heart

Here, There and Places in Between

by Kendra Beachy

Update on Michael Sibanda
Letter to the Editor

The Law and the Gospel 

(A Treatise on the Relation Existing Between the Two Dispensations) 

by James White 

“For the law was given by Moses; but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17). 

“I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30). 

The Father and the Son were one in man’s creation, and in his redemption. Said the Father to the Son, “Let us make man in our image.” (Genesis 1:26). And the triumphant song in which the redeemed take part, is unto “Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, forever and ever.” (Revelation 5:13). 

Jesus prayed that his disciples might be one as he was one with his Father. This prayer did not contemplate one disciple with twelve heads, but twelve disciples, made one in object and effort in the cause of their Master. Neither are the Father and the Son parts of one being. They are two distinct beings, yet one in the design and accomplishment of redemption. The redeemed, from the first who shares in the great redemption, to the last, all ascribe the honor, and glory, and praise, of their salvation, to both God and the Lamb. 

But if it be true that the law of the Father and the gospel of the Son are opposed to each other, that one is to take the place of the other, then it follows that those saved in the former dispensation are saved by the Father and the law, while those of the present dispensation are saved by Christ and the gospel. And in this case, when the redeemed shall reach heaven at last, and their redemption shall be sung, two songs will be heard, one ascribing praise to the Father and the law, the other singing the praises of Christ and the gospel. 

This will not be. There will be harmony in that song of redemption. All the redeemed will sing the facts as they have existed during the period of man’s probation. All will ascribe the praise of their salvation to God and the Lamb. Adam, Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses will join with the disciples of Jesus in singing of the redeeming power of the blood of the Son, while those who have lived since the crucifixion of Christ, saved by his blood, will join the patriarchs and prophets in the song of praise to the Father, the Creator, and Lawgiver. Therefore the law and the gospel run parallel throughout the entire period of man’s probation. The gospel is not confined to some eighteen centuries. The dispensation of the gospel is not less than about six thousand years old. 

The word “gospel” signifies good news. The gospel of the Son of God is the good news of salvation through Christ. When man fell, angels wept. Heaven was bathed in tears. The Father and the Son took counsel, and Jesus offered to undertake the cause of fallen man. He offered to die that man might have life. The Father consented to give his only beloved, and the good news resounded through heaven, and on earth, that a way was opened for man’s redemption. In the first promise made to man that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head, was the gospel of Jesus Christ as verily as in the song the angels sung over the plains of Bethlehem, to the shepherds as they watched their flocks by night, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14). 

Immediately after the fall, hope of a future life hung upon Christ as verily as our hopes can hang on Christ. And when the first sons of Adam brought their offerings to the Lord, Cain in his unbelief brought the first-fruits of the ground, which were not acceptable. Abel brought a firstling of the flock in faith of Christ, the great sacrifice for sin. God accepted his offering. Through the blood of that firstling, Abel saw the blood of Jesus Christ. He looked forward to Christ, and made his offering in the faith and hope of the gospel, and through it saw the great sacrifice for sin, as truly as we see the bleeding Lamb as we look back to Calvary, through the broken bread and the fruit of the vine. Through these emblems we see Christ crucified. Abel saw the same through the dying lamb which he offered. Do we hang our hopes in faith upon Christ? So did Abel. Are we Christians by virtue of living faith in Christ? So was Abel. 

Abraham had the gospel of the Son of God. The apostle says that the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham. (Galatians 3:8). 

Paul testifies of the Israelites in the wilderness, that they “were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:2-4). The gospel was preached to the children of Israel in the wilderness. The apostle says, “Unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them; but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it” (Hebrews 4:2). 

Moses and the believing Jews had the faith and hope of the gospel. Through the blood of the sacrificial offerings, they saw Christ, and by faith embraced him. Their hope of the future life was not in the law, but in Christ. 

“The law,” says Paul, “having a shadow of good things to come.” (Hebrews 10:1). The typical system is but the shadow. The good things, of which Christ as a sacrifice and mediator is the center, are the body that casts its shadow back into the Jewish age. The bleeding sacrifices of the legal system were but the shadow. Christ, bleeding on the cross, was the great reality. Every bleeding sacrifice offered by the Jews, understandingly, and in faith, was as acceptable in the sight of Heaven as what Christians may do in showing their faith in the sufferings, death, and resurrection of Christ, by baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The one was done in the faith and hope of redemption through the blood of the Son of God, as verily as the other may be. The gospel dispensation, which is the dispensation of the good news or redemption, through Christ, has been six thousand years long. 

The dispensation of the law of God is longer than that of the gospel. It commenced before the fall, or there could not have been in the justice of God any such thing as the fall. It existed as early as there were created intelligences subject to the government of the Creator. It covers all time, and extends to the future, running parallel with the eternity of God’s moral government. Angels fell, therefore were on probation. They, being on probation, were consequently amenable to law. In the absence of law they could not be on probation, therefore could not fall. The same may be said of Adam and Eve in Eden. 

The reign of sin runs parallel with the reign of death, from Adam until sin and sinners shall cease to be. And parallel with these, stretching through all dispensations, there has been the knowledge of the principles of the ten commandments, consequently a knowledge of sin. 

The means of this knowledge has been the law of God. “By the law,” says the apostle, “is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20). “I had not known sin but by the law.” (Romans 7:7). As proof that this knowledge did exist immediately after the fall, see Genesis 4:7, 23, 24; 6:5, 11, 12. Also, Noah was righteous before God. (Genesis 7:1). He was a preacher of righteousness. (2 Peter 2:5). By his preaching right-doing, reproving the sin of the people of his time, he condemned the world. (Hebrews 11:7). The men of Sodom and Gomorrah were great sinners, excepting one man. Abraham interceded, saying, “Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?” (Genesis 13:13; 18:20, 23, 25; 19:7. The blessing of God came upon Abraham, because he obeyed his voice and kept his commandments. (Genesis 26:5). Those who refused obedience, experienced his wrath for their transgressions. The cities of the plain were condemned for their unlawful deeds. (2 Peter 2:6-8). 

The foregoing positions relative to the law of God would meet with but little opposition were it not for the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. The proper observance of the Bible Sabbath is not only crossing, but with many inconvenient, and not favorable to the successful prosecution of their worldly plans. The fearful and unbelieving shun its claims, brand it as a Jewish institution, and frequently assert that it was unknown to men until the Sabbath law was proclaimed from Sinai. Sacred history, however, proves this statement to be false. It is true that Sabbath-keeping is not mentioned in the book of Genesis. But this does not prove that it did not exist during the long period covered by that brief record. The facts connected with the giving of the manna show that the Israelites understood the obligations of the Sabbath that some of the people violated them, and were reproved by Jehovah, thirty days before they saw Mount Sinai. (See Exodus 16:22-30). 

We now come to the New Testament. The first four chapters of Matthew are devoted to a sketch of the genealogy of Christ, Joseph, and Mary, the birth of Jesus, Herod slaying the children of Bethlehem, John the Baptist, the temptation of Christ, and his entering upon his public ministry. The fifth chapter opens with his inaugural address. This was his first sermon. In this memorable sermon upon the mount, Christ warns his disciples against a terrible heresy that would soon press its way into the church. 

The Jews boasted of God, of Abraham, and of the law, but despised and rejected Jesus. The great facts connected with his resurrection were soon to be so convincing that many would believe. And as the Jews were to reject and crucify the Son, while boasting in the law, Christians would run to the opposite and equally fatal heresy of trampling upon the authority of the Father, and despising his law, while receiving Christ and glorying in the gospel. It has ever been Satan’s object to separate in the faith of the church the Father and the Son. With the Jews was the cry, The Father, Abraham, the law; but away with Jesus and his gospel. With Christians the cry was to arise, Christ, the cross, the gospel; but away with the law of the Father. To meet this heresy, erelong to arise in the Christian church, the Master, in his first recorded sermon, spoke pointedly. Listen to his appeal to his disciples in the presence of the assembled multitudes: 

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-19). 

These words of warning from our Lord fully meet the case. They need no comment. The history of the church, showing how loosely great and apparently good men have held the law of God, and the present closing controversy respecting it, give them special force. 

Jesus did not come to legislate. In no case did he intimate that he would give a new law to take the place of that of his Father. Speaking of the Son, the Father says, “He shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.” (Deuteronomy 18:18). “Jesus answered them and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.” (John 7:16). “I do nothing of myself, but as my Father hath taught me I speak these things.” (John 8:28). “The word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.” (John 14:24). 

We will now consider the important question of the great apostle to the Gentiles, relative to the law of God and the faith of Jesus: “Do we then make void the law through faith?” (Romans 3:31). This question points directly to the true issue between us and the men of this day who teach that the gospel of the Son makes void the law of the Father. Paul decides the question in these emphatic words: “God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” (Romans 3:31). 

The gospel is a necessity in consequence of law transgressed. Where there is no law there is no transgression, no sin, no need of the blood of Christ, no need of the gospel. But the gospel teaches that Christ died for sinners, on account of their sins. Sin is the transgression of the law. He came, therefore, as the great sacrifice for those who transgress the law. The gospel presents him to the sinner as the bleeding sacrifice for the sins of those who transgress the law. This fact establishes the existence of the law of God. Remove the law and we have no further need of Christ and his gospel. 

In the gospel arrangement for the salvation of man, there are three parties concerned: The Lawgiver, the Advocate, and the sinner. The words of the apostle are to the point: “If any man sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1 John 2:1). Sin is the transgression of the law of the Father; hence the sinner offends the Father, is in trouble with the Father, and needs Jesus to plead his cause with the Father. But if the Father’s law has been abolished, and Christ sustains to the sinner the relation of lawgiver, who is his advocate? “Mother Mary,” or some other one of the multitude of canonized saints, will answer for the Papist; but what will the Protestant do in his case? If he urges that Christ, and not the Father, is the lawgiver, and that in the present dispensation sin is the transgression of the law of Jesus Christ, then I press him to tell me who the sinner’s advocate is. And I ask him to harmonize his position with the words of the beloved John, “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 

Paul addresses the elders of the church at Miletus, relative to the fundamental principles of the plan of salvation, thus: “I have kept back nothing that was profitable to you, but have showed you and taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 20:20, 21). The apostle here has set before the men of the present dispensation two distinct duties: First, the exercise of repentance toward God, for his law is binding upon them, and it is his law that they have transgressed. Second, the exercise of faith toward Christ as the great sacrifice for their sins, and their advocate with the Father. 

These are both indispensable. Paul presented both. He kept back nothing pertaining to the plan of salvation that was profitable. 

The closing words of the third angel point directly to a body of Christian commandment-keepers. “Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Revelation 14:12). The Jew takes no stock in this text, because he sees in it the despised Jesus of Nazareth. Many professed Christians find it as objectionable as the Jew, for the reason that they find in it the equally-despised commandments of God. But said the adorable Jesus. “I and my Father are one.” So the law of the Father and the gospel of the Son pass through all dispensations of man’s fallen state, in perfect harmony. Would God that both the blind Jew and the blind Christian might see this, and embrace the whole truth, instead of each a part, might keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and be saved. 

But here let it be distinctly understood that there is no salvation in the law. There is no redeeming quality in law. Redemption is through the blood of Christ. The sinner may cease to break the commandments of God, and strive with all his power to keep them; but this will not atone for his sins, and redeem him from his present condition in consequence of past transgression. 

Notwithstanding all his efforts to keep the law of God, he must be lost without faith in the atoning blood of Jesus. And this was as true in the time of Adam, of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses and the Jews, as since Jesus died upon the cross. No man can be saved without Christ. 

On the other hand, faith in Jesus Christ, while refusing obedience to the law of the Father is presumption. An effort to obtain friendship with the Son, while living in rebellion against the Father, is Heaven-daring. No greater insult can be offered to either the Father or the Son. What! separate the Father and the Son, by trampling on the authority of the one, and making a friend of the other? “I and my Father are one.” The Jew insults the Father, in his rejection of the Son; and the Christian flings in the face of the Heaven equal insult, in all his acts of worship in which he vainly thinks to make Jesus his friend while, with light upon the subject, he breaks the commandments of God. 

I briefly call attention to three grand events which have taken place in connection with the sad history of fallen man, either one of which is sufficient to establish the perpetuity of the law of God. 

First, the fall with all its terrible consequences. If the law of God was of such a nature that it could, in any particular be changed at any time, it would have been thus changed before Adam and Eve left Eden. If the plan of God’s moral government could be changed, it would then have been changed, so as to set them free, and save the tide of human wretchedness and agony which has followed. But no; it could not be changed. The curse must fall on man, and upon the earth for man’s sake; and the blight and mildew of sin must follow everywhere, and hang upon creation like a pall of death. Why? Because God’s law that had been transgressed could not be changed—could not be abolished. Every fading flower and falling leaf, since man left Eden, has proclaimed the law of God changeless. This has been the result of sin. It is the result of the terrible fall. And this has all come about because of the transgression of that law which is as changeless as the throne of Heaven. If that law could ever be changed in any particular it would have been changed when there were but two fallen beings, in such a way as to free them from the sentence of death, and raise them from their degradation, and the race from continued sin, crime and woe. 

For six thousand years, the tide has been swelling, and creation has been adding groan to groan. Oh! the sorrow, the wretchedness, the agony! Who can compute it? The fall, then, with all its accumulated wretchedness, proclaims God’s law changeless. We hasten to notice the next event which proclaims this truth. 

Second, the announcement of the ten commandments from Sinai with imposing display. It was not left for Moses to proclaim this law. It was not left for an angel to assemble the tribes of Israel, and utter these ten holy precepts in their hearing. The Lord himself descended in awful grandeur, and proclaimed these precepts in the hearing of all the people. 

Do you say that that was the origin of the law of God? Do you say that the Lord descended on Sinai, and there legislated? And do you say that he has since abolished that code, or changed it? When did he do this? Where did he do it? Has any prophet foretold that such an event should take place? And has any apostle recorded that such a work was ever done? Never. 

The several States empower their legislators to enact laws. These laws are published throughout the commonwealth. The people understand them. Some of these laws are repealed or changed. Is it done in secret, and the people permitted to know nothing about it? No. The same body that enacts laws, also changes, amends, or abolishes, and the people are apprised of the fact. This is made as public as the enactment of the law. And has not the Lord manifested as much wisdom in managing affairs in which man has so great an interest, affairs which affect his eternal welfare? He came down upon Sinai, and proclaimed his law under such circumstances as to impress the people with its grandeur, dignity, and perpetuity. Who can suppose that he would abolish, or alter it, and say nothing about it? 

Third, the crucifixion established the law of God. If that law was of such a nature that it could be abolished, or any of its precepts be changed, why not have this done, and set man free, instead of the Son of God laying aside his glory, taking our nature, living the sad life he lived here upon the earth, suffering in Gethsemane, and finally expiring upon the cross? Why, oh, why, should the divine Son of God do all this to save man, if that law which held him as a sinner could be changed, so that he could be set free? But no; nothing could be done in that direction. Man had sinned, had fallen, and was shut up in the prison-house of sin. His sins were of such a nature that no sacrifice was adequate but the sacrifice of Him to whom the Father had said, “Let us make man.” The death of an angel was not sufficient. He only who engaged with the Father in the formation of man, constituted a sufficient sacrifice to open the door of hope by which he might find pardon, and be saved. “Come, O my soul, to Calvary” and there behold love and agony mingled in the death of the Son of God. 

Behold him groaning in Gethsemane. His divine soul was in agony as the sins of man were rolled upon him. “My soul,” said he, “is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” (Mark 14:34). The weight of man’s sin in transgressing God’s immutable law was such as to press from his pores as it were great drops of blood. 

He then bears his cross to Calvary. The nails are driven into his hands and feet. The cross is erected. There the bleeding Lamb hangs six terrible hours. The death of the cross was most agonizing. But there was in his case the additional weight of the sins of the whole world. In his last expiring agonies he cries, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). And bows his head in death. 

The sun, the brightest luminary of heaven, can no longer view the scene, and is veiled as with sackcloth. The vail of the temple, the noblest work of man, is rent in twain. Christ, the noblest being in the universe save One, is dying in agony. Creation feels the shock, and, groaning and heaving, throws open the graves of many of the saints, who come out of their graves after his resurrection. This great event transpired because it was the only way by which sinners could be saved. The law must stand as firm as the throne of Heaven, although the earth shake, and the whole creation tremble, as the Son of God died in agony. 

How wonderful in its simplicity, its comprehensiveness and perfection, is the law of Jehovah! In the purposes and dealings of God there are mysteries which the finite mind is unable to comprehend. And it is because we cannot fathom the secrets of infinite wisdom and power that we are filled with reverence for the Most High. 

Men shut from their souls the rays of divine light by refusing to walk in it as it shines upon them. How many will sacrifice purity of heart, the favour of God, and their hope of heaven, for selfish gratification or worldly gain! The question comes home to every soul, Shall I obey the voice from heaven in God’s ten words, or shall I join with the multitude who trample upon the law of Jehovah? 

God will not always bear with the sinner. Christ declares that there is a greater sin than that for which Sodom and Gomorrah were overthrown. It is the sin of those who have a knowledge of Christ’s life and his death in their behalf, but who continue to transgress the law of God. They may look upon Calvary, they may see the Son of God agonizing in the garden and dying upon the cross, and yet many for whom he has made this great sacrifice refuse to obey the law which he died to vindicate. It will indeed be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for the transgressors of God’s law.  

The infinite sacrifice which Christ has made to magnify and exalt the law, testifies that not one jot or tittle of that law will relinquish its claims upon the transgressor. Christ came to pay the debt which the sinner had incurred by transgression, and by his own example to teach man how to keep the law of God. Said Christ, “I have kept my Father’s commandments.” In consideration of all the facts so clearly establishing the claims of God’s law, with heaven and eternal life in view to inspire hope and induce effort, it is inconceivable how so many professing to be servants of God, can set aside his law and teach sinners that they are not amenable to its precepts. What a fatal delusion! Satan first devised this heresy, and by it, he enticed Eve to sin. The sad results of this transgression are before us. 

We are living in a land of bondage and of death. Multitudes are enslaved by sinful customs and evil habits, and their fetters are difficult to break. Iniquity, like a flood is deluging the earth. Crimes almost too fearful to be even mentioned, are of daily occurrence. Shall we say that all this is because men live in obedience to the will of God, or is it because ministers and people hold and teach that its precepts have no binding force? 

Men professing to stand as watchmen on the walls of Zion speak of the Jewish age as one of darkness. They represent the religion of the Hebrews as consisting of mere forms and ceremonies, and present in striking contrast the glorious light and privileges of the gospel age. While it is pleasing to God that we prize the blessings of the gospel, he is dishonoured and Christ’s mission is misrepresented by those who belittle his work in ancient times, as seen from the history of Adam down to the Christian era. 

In what contrast to the teachings of these men are the words of Moses, the prophet whom God honoured above all other mortals, talking with him face to face, as a man speaketh with a friend. Moses possessed a spirit which is rarely found at the present day. He had a sacred regard for the right, a morality unmingled with selfishness and policy, and grandly rising above respect for times and people. Moses fully understood the force of his words, as he challenges the Hebrew host: “For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?” (Deuteronomy 4:7). 

Moses understood the sacred character and value of the divine law. Israel was highly honored of God, and the surrounding nations looked with admiration and wonder upon them. Their laws and discipline, when compared with the laws of other nations, seemed even to their enemies in every way superior to their own. Moses stands forth superior in wisdom and integrity to all the sovereigns and statesmen of earth. Yet this man claims no credit for himself, but points the people to God as the source of all power and wisdom. Where is there such a character among men of this age? Those who would speak contemptuously of the law of God, are dishonoring him and casting a shadow over the most illustrious character presented in the annals of men. 

In that memorable sermon upon the mount, in which our Saviour announced to his followers the principles of his government, he expressly declares the perpetuity of the moral law. His solemn warnings to the neglecters and despisers of the law of God are echoing down, even to our time: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17, 18). And in consideration of the claims of the law, he continues: “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19). 

Obedience to the law of God was the only condition upon which ancient Israel was to receive the fulfilment of his promises. Obedience to that law will bring as great blessings to individuals and to nations now as it would have brought to the Hebrews. The history of that people was recorded for our benefit. We should study it with a prayerful heart, and seek to shun the sins that brought upon them the wrath of God. 

Christ came to teach men the way of salvation. And when the shadowy services of the former dispensation were no longer of any value—when type had met antitype in the death of Christ—then we might expect that if the law of ten commandments were no longer binding, Christ would declare its abrogation; if the Old-Testament Scriptures were no longer to be regarded as a guide for Christians, he would make known the fact. 

Let us briefly notice a few events that occurred after the resurrection. As two of the disciples were travelling to Emmaus, conversing in sad tones of their disappointed hopes, Jesus himself, concealing his identity, drew near, and with words of sympathy, sought to draw from these sorrowing ones the cause of their grief. Although they had reason to regard with distrust and fear all men outside the little circle of believers, yet they freely unburdened their hearts to this stranger. Now was the time for Jesus to give those lessons which he would have repeated to his followers in all coming time. He reproved those disciples for their unbelief in not accepting the word of God just as it reads. And “beginning at Moses and the prophets,” he expounded to them the scriptures concerning his mission and his work. He then impressed upon them the fact that Jesus did come exactly as foretold by the prophets. The hopes of the disciples were revived as the words of the Old Testament were clothed with new life and power. Their hearts burned within them, and when Christ made himself known, they were ready to accept him as the risen Saviour. 

That same night he revealed himself to the disciples assembled at Jerusalem. He did not point to the mighty works which he had done, to awaken their faith in him as the promised Redeemer. But he went back to Moses and the prophets and explained the scriptures concerning himself. The Old Testament, the “sure word of prophecy” (2 Peter 1:19), is the only key that will unlock the New-Testament Scriptures and show that Jesus Christ revealed in the gospel is the Son of God—the long expected Messiah. 

Holy prophets have foretold the manner of Christ’s birth, the events of his life, his mission, and his death and resurrection. In the Old Testament we find the gospel of a coming Saviour. In the New Testament we have the gospel of a Saviour revealed as prophecy had foretold. The light of the gospel in the New Testament reflects its glory back upon the Jewish age, showing the significance and importance of the typical sacrifices prefiguring the Lamb of God. 

There is no discord between the teaching of Christ in the Old Testament and his teachings in the New. While the Old Testament is constantly pointing forward to the true offering, the New Testament shows that the Saviour foretold by prophecy, and prefigured by the typical offerings, has come. The dim glory of the Jewish age has been succeeded by the brighter, clearer glory of the Christian age. But not once has Christ stated that his coming destroyed the claims of God’s law. 

In the very last message to his church, by way of Patmos, the risen Saviour pronounces a benediction upon those who keep his Father’s law: “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” (Revelation 22:14). 

The most fatal delusion of the Christian world in this generation is, that in pouring contempt on the law of God they think they are exalting Christ. What a position! It was Christ who spoke the law from Sinai. It was Christ who gave the law to Moses, engraven on tables of stone. It was his Father’s law; and Christ says, “I and my Father are one.” The Pharisees held the reverse of the modern position, but were in just as great an error. They rejected Christ, but exalted the law. And it makes little difference which position is taken, so long as we ignore the true one,—that faith in Christ must be accompanied by obedience to the law of God. 

While we point the sinner to Jesus as the one who can take away sin, we must explain to him what sin is, and show him that he can be saved from his sins, but not in them. He must be made to realize that “sin is the transgression of the law.” Paul makes the inquiry, many years after the death of Christ, “Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” (Romans 7:7). Thus Paul exalts the moral law. When this law is practically carried out in every-day life, it is found indeed to be the wisdom of God. It serves to detect sin. It discovers the defects in the moral character, and shows sin to be exceeding sinful, revealing it in all its hideousness. Through obedience to its requirements, Christian character is perfected. 

God’s law is a copy of his mind and will. The sins forbidden there could never find a place in heaven. It was love that prompted God to express his will in the ten precepts of the decalogue. Afterward he showed his love for man by sending prophets and teachers to explain and illustrate his holy law. 

God has given man a complete rule of life in his law. Obeyed, man shall live by it, through the merits of Christ. Transgressed, it has power to condemn. The law sends men to Christ, and Christ points them back to the law. 

(This article was taken from a tract printed in 1870 by the International Tract Society.    Editor

Something for the Young at Heart 

This month we are continuing a series of crossword Bible studies that are based on a Bible Lesson printed by Richard Stratton of Philadelphia Press Ministries, PO Box 218, Florence, Colorado 81226. In order to maintain the flow of the study, this crossword puzzle is not split into Across and Down sections—Across or Down is indicated at the end of each line. 

The Day of Worship


Note:    The fourth commandment is the only one of the ten which identifies the God who created the heavens and the earth. The foundation of the Sabbath was laid when God created the earth in six days and rested upon the seventh. 

Note:    Sanctify means “To make sacred or holy: to set apart to a holy or religious use” (Webster’s Dictionary). 

Note:    It is the only commandment in the whole Decalogue that tells who God is in distinction to every false God. He is the one who created all things. 

Note:    “Sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). Joseph could not sin if there was no law against committing adultery. This demonstrates that God’s moral law existed long before it was given to Moses at Sinai. When God told the Israelites not to gather manna on the Sabbath, some went out to collect it anyway. Then God said, “How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?” (Exodus 16:28). This took place before the Ten Commandments were given on Sinai, proving that God’s law, and specifically the Sabbath commandment, existed before it was given on Sinai. 

Note:    The Greek word sabbatismos (Sabbatismos), that was translated “rest” in this verse literally means “a keeping Sabbath” (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon). This indicates that the Sabbath was intended for New Testament Christians. 

Note:    The Sabbath existed before sin entered this world, it was given to man to be a blessing to him. The Sabbath will exist after sin and sinners are destroyed. It was not designed to be temporary, but eternal. 



Update on Michael Sibanda 

For the past seven years we have kept you updated on Michael Sibanda in Zimbabwe, Africa, who was put in prison, falsely accused of killing his wife. He has been on death row awaiting execution for seven years. During this time he has shared the gospel with many inmates, leading them to accept Christ as their Saviour. 

Recently we received an encouraging letter from Michael, that I would like to share with you. Michael wrote, 

“Praise God! for He has restored my life and I am no longer going to be executed. My petition to the President of the country was considered and I was given a lesser sentence of life imprisonment. 

“Thank you very much for your prayers… I would have died long back but He sustained my life up to now. I want to let everyone know that the Lord has dealt bountifully with me, the prayers said on my behalf have finally been answered. 

“I thank all the brothers and sisters who have been marching around the walls of Jericho until their fall. If the Lord is on our side, though the whole world can be against us, and we are a minority, we are a majority with God. It is nice to read the story of Daniel in the lion’s den and say, “Yes, God is great,” but when you are thrown in the lion’s den of your own, you will begin to question the wonderful works of God. But God has not yet changed. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. His wonderful works of old are still manifested among us today. What remains now, I leave it in the hands of Almighty God. I wish to meet you all in heaven. May God bless you. Your Brother in Christ, Michael Sibanda.” 

He also wrote, 

“I am trying my level best to preach the word of God, and a great number of my fellow inmates are responding positively to the message. I also share with them all the Christian books and pamphlets.” 

Another brother in Zimbabwe wrote about this situation, 

“Today I am happy to break this good news to you about Brother Michael Sibanda. He was reprieved on the 31st of September, 2007. He is now a ‘life prisoner’ of which he won’t stay for more than five years. He would be liberated. for sure God is always with His people through thick and thin. ‘And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me’ (Psalms 50:15).” 

Michael’s mother, Melody Tshaballala, wrote, 

“I am thanking God for what he has done for me and my son, Michael. Through your prayers God has worked marvelous with Michael’s case. He is turned to imprisonment for all his life. It does not sound good, but it is better than the other judgment. I do thank God for them to change it. I know God will do more than that, if it is His will… I am still inviting your prayers again for him to be out, if that pleases God.” 

Another inmate wrote requesting literature and thanking God for Michael sharing the gospel in prison. Please continue to pray for Michael. “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them” (Hebrews 13:3).    Editor 

Healthful Doses 

by Kendra Beachy 

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones” (Proverbs 17:22). Recently, I was reading an article that mentioned how just the act of smiling, even when you don’t feel like it, can send messages to your brain and make you feel more energetic and happy. I was tired, and not feeling very smiley at the moment so I figured I would test the theory. As an old song says I lifted the corners of my mouth and make believed I was glad. I did seem to feel more awake, and my mood lightened so, for me, the experiment worked. However, I wondered, was it the act of smiling in itself that made me feel better? Or did I make a decision to think on more cheerful things when I decided to smile? 

It seems that many times when we think of health our thoughts turn to the physical realm. And yet, while the Bible is full of wonderful stories of physical healing, I’ve noticed that Jesus was also aware of the need for Spiritual health. 

David says, “LORD, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee” (Psalms 41:4). Too often when I am not feeling well I forget to heed the counsel, “In every thing give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). 

I was working as a literature evangelist with a team of young people. I wasn’t feeling well. There was snow in the air and on the ground. We were in a part of town where it seemed the people were “rich and increased with goods” and in need of nothing (Revelation 3:17). Our leader hadn’t checked on us in quite awhile because, unbeknownst to us, she was suffering from a flat tire. I was miserable, and could not stop crying. I prayed for one thing, “Father, give me a smile for every person, because I don’t have one in myself.” “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). He did put a genuine smile on my face, and gave me the strength to go on. I was so thankful. A couple houses later I met a young couple who had just moved into the neighborhood. They felt their need for God, and we had a deep spiritual discussion. “Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God” (Psalms 42:11). That night I was so excited! I had that “merry heart” that “maketh a cheerful countenance” (Proverbs 15:13). 

Many suffer from chronic conditions or ill health. The counsel is this: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (3 John 1:2). 

Sometimes though it is hard to see past the moment. In those times I would encourage us to remember His words and call upon Him. He will be there to comfort us. “When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul” (Psalms 94:18, 19). 

“My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:20-23). 

Here, There and Places in Between 

by Kendra Beachy (with occasional help from Lynnford Beachy) 

Since Lynn’s last update on our travels, we visited brethren and held several meetings in California and Arizona, planning to take a break from traveling to stay the winter in Tucson. 

On December 28 our family was just settling in for our winter’s nap when we received the sad word that a friend from West Virginia had been in a fatal car accident. Luke Privett, 21, was on his way back to Ouachita Hills College from a youth conference in Minnesota, it was snowing heavily when the car he was riding in struck a tow-truck which was pulling a car out of the ditch. Luke was killed instantly. 

Since August 2006 we have been on the road, holding meetings in various places full time, with the exception of a three-month break last winter. This time I decided that once we got to Arizona I was not going to budge for at least six months. Someday, maybe, I’ll learn my lesson and quit trying to decide things for myself. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD” (Isaiah 55:8). 

Over the past year we have been seeing the need for us to find a place—a place where the children and I can stay when Lynn needs to go out of the country to do ministry work. (There have been several requests for him to go to Africa and other parts of the world.) We need a place to set up a small printing ministry—a place to park ourselves when we don’t have scheduled meetings. Our winter plans included beginning the search for that place. However, when we received word of Luke’s death our hearts broke for his family and we wanted to be in West Virginia with them. On the flip side we were very tired and knew that they would understand if we weren’t able to make it to the memorial service. Now the question was, “Does God want us to stay or go?” Lynn and I split up and took the matter before God as individuals. Then we each wrote what we felt God wanted us to do on slips of paper. Both of our papers said, “we should go.” 

It seemed to be wasteful to make the long trip with only one stop, so we decided to stay until February for the Florida Camp meeting and have other meetings in-between. Many of you know that we left West Virginia because the children and I were having a severe reaction to the molds and mildew that seem to thrive in the Eastern states. Last year I left the Florida Camp meeting early because I was feeling so sick. This would be our longest stay since I started having trouble, and I wouldn’t have the option to quit. So I also took this matter to my heavenly Father, asking Him to take care of us and keep us healthy. 

Looking at the calendar we realized that if we left the next day we would be able to make it to Michigan in time for my daddy’s, George McDaniel, 70th birthday. We carefully threw three times the amount of stuff a Plymouth Neon is supposed to carry into our car and took off, leaving our RV in Tucson, Arizona. 

A couple years before we moved out of West Virginia some friends of ours, Tim and Alicia Kritzell, moved from Ohio to Kansas City, Kansas. We were all very sad because we thought that we wouldn’t be able to see each other as often as we used to. Little did they know that God was moving them into the perfect position to serve as our mid-trip stopover. The Kritzells have been such a blessing to us on our travels. They are always ready to open their home, and their hearts to us at a moments notice. We really enjoyed, and were refreshed by, our short visit with them. 

Back on the road we soon encountered snow. God was really looking out for us when Lynn suddenly went into a spin in the middle of an intersection. Somehow the cars behind him were all able to stop. New tires were put to the top of our shopping list. 

Daddy was so surprised by our visit. Mom chose not to tell him we were coming. We arrived around 5:00 in the morning on January 2, his birthday, snuck up the stairs and didn’t descend until much later in the day. He was in his chair reading his paper when Rebekah climbed into his lap. It was the best dream he’s had in a long time, and it got even better when he realized he was wide awake. 

Our next stop was West Virginia, where we had the privilege of staying in Granny Ann and Papa Glen Ford’s home, and later in the home of our dear Brother and Sister, Dana and Gail Uhl. It was really nice to be able to catch up with what had been happening in our friends’ lives, to have the opportunity to again study and pray with each other. We had such a nice time together. 

Sabbath was Luke’s memorial. Luke had been working as a literature evangelist and, as always happens when a bunch of LEs get together, the stories started flowing. There were stories of experiences people had with Luke, of his dedication to the work of God, stories of his character, stories from his friends and family, to testify of a life that had been dedicated to God’s service. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place when a young man took the podium and said, “Luke died because he was in my seat.” It seems they had just traded seats, Luke trading to sit by the window, and the other to sit in the middle, just before the accident. A parallel was brought out about how Christ took my place, and died so that I might live. Luke will be missed, just as we miss Hans Stump and others who have gone to sleep before we were ready for them to go. It makes me long for the day when “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” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17). I can hardly wait! 

When we left West Virginia our main goal was to get to Florida and warmer weather as quickly as possible since we had planned to be tenting. However we did have a few stops along the way. Our first was Tennessee where we spent Sabbath with Mac and Sandy McCrillis in Roan Mountain. I would say it is my favorite place to be, but that would not be entirely truthful because I really love to spend time in many places, but if you have never spent a Sabbath at Roan Mountain I will tell you that you’ve truly missed out on a blessing. We had quite a group Sabbath and dug down and studied together about the ministry of the angels and some on the doctrine of the Trinity. We had wonderful discussions, and I think everyone left with more to think about. 

Then we went further south, making a few stops to visit and study with people. We had scheduled our stops so close together that we could not visit everyone that we wanted to see, which was unfortunate. We stayed the night with Jeramy and Amber Harricharan and their family. Our children had so much fun playing together. Amber and I spent an enjoyable afternoon recounting our blessing stories. The Lord has really been pouring out His blessings in their lives and also in ours, we had so much to be thankful for. It was a divine appointment and both of us felt encouraged and refreshed by spending time together. 

Also living in Tennessee are Lynn’s mom and brother, and my brother. We got to spend some time with each of them, and were so happy that we were able to. Sometimes we are rushed and can only stop for a second, but this time we got to stop for two, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves before heading further south. 

Alabama, another one of my favorite places to be. Well, maybe not the state, but the company we kept is first rate—Todd and Rhonda Brown and their family. I am always sad when we have to leave, and always feel like we haven’t had enough time together. They are such a blessing and an encouragement to us. This time they directed me to a good chiropractor. While helping my brother with his woodpile, the wheelbarrow got away from me and really twisted my back. At first I thought I was fine, but by the time we got to the Brown’s home I couldn’t sleep for the pain. I went to the chiropractor and he adjusted me, but was afraid my ribs were broken, (later x-rays showed there was no break and a few adjustments by a chiropractor in Florida had me feeling as good as… well as good as I felt before the mishap) so he didn’t want to adjust too much in that painful area. We had a great conversation about God and the reasons we travel around the country as a family. When I took my folder up front to pay, I was surprised to find that he had written on my chart, “no charge, ministry blessing.” God is wonderful, isn’t He? 

We finally made it to sunshiny Florida, but it seemed somebody must have pulled the sunshine plug. For the first little bit we were there, Florida totally let me down. It was rainy, wet, cold, and icky. Fortunately we were again in a wonderful favorite place. Leon and Karolyn Ealy took us in out of the rain, and put us up in a trailer all to ourselves, right by them. It was wonderful. When the sun came out we kicked off our shoes and played in the sand with the kids. For about three weeks we relaxed amid some awesome fellowship with the little home-church group there. We had meetings every weekend, and prayer meetings midweek, our subjects included but were not limited to, righteousness by faith, prophecy, and the ministry of the angels, as well as taking time to answer questions on many subjects. 

While at the Ealy’s home we were asked to attend a meeting to discuss the feast days. Amazingly, the speaker began by insisting the importance of the trinity. Lynn listened to the presentation, and when asked for questions was able to share some of the dangers of the trinity doctrine before getting into the questions about the need to keep ceremonial feasts. We parted with the group eager to learn more concerning what the Bible says about God and His Son. We left them with some literature, and the hope that we could get together to study more on these topics. The Lord was present to make sure that everyone had a pleasant spirit during our discussions. 

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in northern Florida. It was so hard to say goodbye, but we really wanted to spend some time with the group in Orlando as well, and we knew we would see each other again at camp meeting, so we headed south to spend some time at Jim and Jerri Raymond’s home. Which is, as you’ve probably guessed, another of my favorite places to be. Sabbath was a time to contemplate the Sabbath rest. The blessing that God has for us on that special day, and how we can honor him by keeping that day holy and ways in which we can do that. Later in the afternoon Lynn broadcast a message about the 2300-day prophecy in Daniel 8:14. 

While in Orlando Lynn was asked to visit a new seeker after truth who providentially lived only a block from the Raymond’s home. The study went well, covering several topics, answering some of the many questions he has had about the Bible. Later we visited him as a family and spent an enjoyable afternoon together. 

Finally it was time for the Florida camp meeting. How can one find a way to describe camp meeting in only a few words? For me this camp meeting was a mix of highs and lows. I found myself struggling with different issues, and by this time I was running on a thread. Many different emotions came crashing down on me at once. Thankfully God knew exactly what I needed and sent a friend to laugh and cry with me, to pray with me and encourage me through a trying time. There were many powerful messages, given not only through the spoken word but also through song. I know several, including myself, felt the Spirit at work in the heart. We are so close to the end of time. The signs are all proclaiming the soon coming of the Lord. 

The cry of camp meeting seemed to be “Unity! Unity!” So many are dying without a saving relationship with Christ. We need to press together to take the message, “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27) to the world. Camp meeting wrapped up with an uplifting and convicting message given by Howard Williams from Jamaica. He talked about the signs of the times, and our relationship with our coming King, which is the only thing that will keep us through the troublesome times ahead. 

When camp meeting ended we went to Brother and Sister Avery’s home in Alabama. They always treat us like one of the family and once I walk into that home I can’t stop smiling. Sister Avery is a wonderful southern cook and her food truly is soul food. Another place we wish we didn’t have to leave. We had one evening of meetings there. Lynnford spoke on the death of Christ, and then answered questions about the Trinity. It was so nice to see Brother and Sister Hargreaves again, along with some new friends we hope to keep in contact with. There were many thought provoking questions asked. Several brethren came from another home study group, who were hearing this message presented for the first time. Some of those leading out in the group asked many very good questions, and one sister even came back the next morning to get more of her questions answered, along with some more information. 

Our plan was to head back to Todd and Rhonda Brown’s next, but two days before the meetings their little daughter came down with Chicken Pox. That threw us all into a quandary as to what we should do. Should we cancel the meetings or come up with plan B? We came up with plan B. I kept my children, Rhonda stayed with hers, and Todd and Lynnford met with several people in a house that they are trying to sell. The meetings went really well. It was interesting because a couple of the people did not speak any English, and one person at least did not speak any Spanish. Lynn taught using a mixture of Spanish and English along with the aid of someone translating. By the grace of God it all worked together for good. 

From Alabama our road led to Lobelville, Tennessee. We arrived just in time to quickly get ready, grab a bite to eat, and rush to the meeting place. My family moved to Tennessee when I was 18 months old, and we lived there until I turned 15, so I consider west Tennessee to be my home. It felt even more like home when a familiar face from my childhood turned up at the meetings. We enjoyed praising the Lord through song and then had some marathon meetings on the truth about God. The message was new to several, and there were many questions and much amazement as truths were shown from the scriptures. We stayed in the home of Sister Melba Smith, and were so blessed to be with her. 

Currently we are in Mountain View, Arkansas. Last night we had some lively, friendly discussion on Christ being the actual Son of God. Including our family there were four families present. Two families had never really thought about what they believed on the subject, and were grateful for the opportunity to think about and explore their beliefs and why they hold them. 

We have three more stops in Arkansas before our paths take us back to Arizona and our motorhome. While I have really enjoyed this trip, I must admit it will be nice to crawl back into my own bed. I have learned many things, one of which is that a 20° sleeping bag in 20° weather simply means you will not freeze to death even though you may feel like it. We are so happy that we ventured out again, even though our plan was to rest. God has been with us and has blessed us all along the way. I wouldn’t have traded the experiences and the fellowship we had for all the rest in the world. Sleep can always come later. 

God has also answered my prayer. None of us have gotten sick. 

Thank you so much to everyone who opened their homes to us on this trip. I know that it must have been challenging to invite a family of five to stay with you. You will probably never know how much we appreciate all of you. You have been such a blessing and an inspiration to us. 

May God richly bless each and every one of you reading this. May He keep you until we meet again. 

Letter to the Editor 

As I read “The Coconut Oil Miracle” in the December issue of Present Truth, I could not help but think back a few years ago now, when I read a very similar article, and my experience because of it. It was during the winter months and I was eating oatmeal frequently for my breakfast. 

After I read the article, I immediately began adding a spoon of “extra-virgin, raw” coconut oil into my oatmeal. Soon I was adding two heaping tablespoons. Even that was less than the article suggested as a maximum daily dosage. 

I was doing housecleaning jobs as a means of income and was very aware of my “limberness” and happy about it too, (even before starting the use of coconut oil.) But something started to happen. After a period of several months (4-6, I’m not sure now how long it was), I became aware that I was becoming very “stiff.” I didn’t want to believe that the coconut oil could be having a negative effect but as things got progressively worse I finally said, “That’s it. Something is definitely wrong! This stiffness is not normal. Something is causing it. I don’t think it’s the coconut oil, but I’m going to stop it, just to make sure. Then if that doesn’t help, I must see a Doctor.” (This is something I haven’t done in at least 18 years). 

To my surprise the stiffness cleared up within a relatively short time. In the next few months though, I could use no oils, whatever. Even flax oil with breakfast seemed to have a negative effect, causing me to feel “stiff” that day at work. So I concluded to use no oils whatever until my body had thoroughly recovered. 

Today, I’m happy to say that I can enjoy flax and olive oil without any negative effect, but when I read another article singing the praises of coconut oil, I must raise my voice in caution. 

If I can save someone from having to go through a similar experience, it will be well worth the effort. Honestly, I felt that I had suffered unduly, thanks to the freedom of press that we all enjoy, and if I were of a mind to seek revenge, I would seek to sue someone, but thanks be to God I am not of that mind-set. 

Now, some may be quick to say I overdid it, but I did not exceed or even equal the dosages listed in that article or this one, so I say again, Buyer Beware! 

A concerned Sister in Florida 

Editor’s wife’s note: Since Lynnford had me type this letter into the computer, I wanted to add my own thoughts. Currently, according to some, I am supposed to be taking 3 tablespoons of coconut oil daily. However, I tend to be cautious of what seems to be an excessive use of any product, so, while I have used coconut oil at times I have not used it consistently nor have I used the mega doses recommended to me. While there is a lot of information on the benefits of coconut oil, there is probably as much written on the risks of coconut oil usage. Before beginning any product please thoroughly research all the information for yourself and then make an educated decision for your health. Blessings! 

Kendra Beachy 


To view or print this issue of Present Truth in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) click here.

Present Truth is published monthly by the Present Truth Department of Smyrna Gospel Ministries. It is sent free upon request. Duplication of these papers is not only permitted but strongly encouraged, as long as our contact information is retained. Present Truth is available online at www.presenttruth.info.

Editor: Lynnford Beachy, PO Box 315, Kansas, OK 74347, USA. Phone: (304) 633-5411, E-mail: webnewsletters@presenttruth.info.

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