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Our Ukrainian brothers and sisters

In the country where before the invasion by the Russians lived about 50 million people, we can find people who have been exposed to a variety of religious beliefs.

The Orthodox Church –  10th-21st Century

In the tenth century, the Eastern Orthodox religion was introduced to become in 2018 the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

Митрополит Київський і всієї України Епіфаній.jpg

Metropolitan Epiphanius of Kyiv and All Ukraine, Serhii Petrovych Dumenko, Epiphanius I of Ukraine, primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), holding the title of Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine.

The church was united at the unification council in Kyiv on 15 December 2018 as a condition for recognition of it by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and was granted the tomos of autocephaly (decree of ecclesial independence) by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in Istanbul on 5 January 2019. The unification council voted to unite all the existing Ukrainian Orthodox major jurisdictions: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) as well as a part of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (a branch of the Moscow-based Russian Orthodox Church, which claims jurisdiction over Ukraine). The Unification Council elected Epiphanius Dumenko – previously the Metropolitan of Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi and Bila Tserkva (UOC-KP) – as its primate, the Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine.

Catholicism, Islam and atheism

Later the Ottoman Empire brought Islam to southern Ukraine. Also, Polish noblemen were spreading Catholicism during the Middle Ages.

In the 20th century, many became atheists under the rule of Communism, though also a lot of religious people practised their religion in secret.

For the Bible students in the country, such religious practice in secret was nothing new, as they always had to keep themselves safe from repercussions from Trinitarian Christians, who regarded non-trinitarians as the devil.

Cross-border seeds of faith – 9th – 13th Century

Devoted Bible readers living in the Principality or, from 1253, Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia, one of the three most important powers to emerge from the collapse of Kievan Rus’ (loose federation in Eastern Europe and Northern Europe from the late 9th to the mid-13th century) By the Mongol invasion the Byzantine teaching of a three-headed god was replaced in the regions by the singular God by the Muslims, which made it somehow more comfortable for the Bible students to show others how the Singular God had provided His begotten son to rescue the world.

16th Century

In the 16th century, several people interested in the Word of the Only One True God by seeking refuge from their persecution by state churches in the Holy Roman Empire (mostly Germany today) and other European states, found their way into regions which became later ruled by Poland, Romania, and Czechoslovakia.

Because everything had to be done in secret, like in many other countries throughout Europe, it was not so easy to enlarge the community. Certainly, because they did not consider people who had a child baptism and who believed that Jesus is God, to be real Christians. This provided for a lot of controversy throughout the ages.

Jews opposing Charles Taze Russell his teaching

Charles Taze Russell, a leading Bible Student, at the end of the 19th century visited many countries in Europe and the Middle East. On his way to what was then Constantinople, Turkey, he visited Odessa in southern Ukraine in 1891. Later, in 1911, he gave a series of Bible lectures in major cities of Europe, including the city of Lvov or Lviv in western Ukraine. Lviv has historically been the chief centre of Galicia, a region now divided between Ukraine and Poland. Its position controlling east-west routes and passes across the Carpathians has given it a stormy history, but made it also a region of moving Biblestudents going from one place to another, spreading the faith, bringing a continuation of true New Testament Christianity over Eastern Europe.

Strangely enough, it was a Jewish rabbi from the United States who fiercely opposed Russell’s work who cabled a message to his associates in Lvov, denouncing the Bible Students. This incited some to try and stop Russell from speaking. About that night, Russell said

“God alone knows what his providences may be in connection with these experiences. . . . [The Jews’] excitement on the subject may lead some to a deeper investigation than if they had heard us in a decent and orderly manner.”

Though there was no immediate response to the message, seeds of truth had been sown, and many groups of Bible Students were formed later, not only in Lvov but also in other areas of Ukraine.

After World War I

Following World War I, Ukraine was divided among four neighbouring countries. The territories of central and eastern Ukraine were seized by Communist Russia and incorporated into the Soviet Union. Western Ukraine was divided among three other countries. The areas of Halychyna and Volyn’ were annexed to Poland, Bukovina to Romania, and Transcarpathia to Czechoslovakia. These three countries provided a measure of religious freedom and permitted the Bible Students to carry on their preaching. Thus, many seeds of truth that were to bear fruit later were first sown in western Ukraine.

In the early 1920’s, seeds of truth were sown in Halychyna and Volyn’ by Bible Students from Poland. Meanwhile, brothers from Romania and Moldavia (now Moldova) brought the truth into the Bukovina region.

This laid a good foundation for further growth. The Watch Tower of December 15, 1921, reported:

“Recently some of our brethren visited [Bukovina] . . . The result of their visit there for a few weeks is seven classes organized and now studying the volumes and ‘Tabernacle Shadows’. One of these classes has about 70 members.”

In 1922 in the village of Kolinkivtsi, in Bukovina, Stepan Koltsa accepted the truth, was baptised, and began preaching. Later ten families joined him. Similar growth occurred in the Transcarpathian area. By 1925 there were approximately 100 Bible Students in the village of Velyki Luchky and neighbouring villages. Following that, the first full-time servants began preaching in Transcarpathia, conducting meetings in the homes of the Bible Students. Many people asked the office in Brooklyn to send more books and pamphlets so that more people could be reached and baptised.

Such keen interest resulted in the establishing of an office of the Bible Students on Pekarska Street in Lvov. The office received many requests for literature from Halychyna and Volyn’ and regularly forwarded them to Brooklyn to be filled.

Like in many countries,several of the Biblestudents working on their own, and not having a connection with central organisations, made that we do not have exact figures of baptised Biblestudents. Though we now of ecclesiae having 50 to 100 baptised people.

In the 1920s there were were 15 publishers who had to exert themselves in order to work through the many villages with literature twice a year. Every Sunday at four o’clock in the morning, they met together at one of the village to start their house-to-house ministry at 8:00 a.m. to work until 2:00 p.m..

Since Roman Catholics and Greek Catholics have their Christmas celebrations during different weeks the brethren made use of it to bring singing sessions, but soon they stopped with those liked activities because they saw how wrong it was to be connected with that pagan festival of Christmas.

Willing to come more into the open there was decided to have a first convention of Bible Students in the Transcarpathian area. It was held in the village Velyki LuchkyIn, in the Mukachevo Raion in the Zakarpattia Oblast (province) in southwestern Ukraine, May 1926. There were 150 in attendance, and 20 were baptised. The following year 200 persons attended a convention in the outdoor central park of Uzhgorod, a city in the same region, which had passed to Czechoslovakia in 1919, to Hungary in 1938, and to the Soviet Union during World War II.  Soon other conventions were organised in various towns of Transcarpathia. In 1928, Lvov had its first convention. Later, other conventions took place in Halychyna and Volyn’ that after World War II became part of the Ukrainian S.S.R..

Despite the fact that some halls Biblestudents had built, were destroyed during the war and some were confiscated, the brothers maintained the desire to have their own Kingdom Halls and got meeting places all over the country. (Presently, there are 8 Kingdom Halls of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the village of Dibrova and 18 Kingdom Halls in six neighbouring villages).

Before World War II the majority of our brethren and sisters could be found in the West of Ukraine. Today they may be found all over Ukraine.

That Biblestudents are not spared the grim consequences of war, could already be seen in the Second World War, but now also with this Ukrainian war with Russia.  But also when there was no war, like from 1951 till the middle of the 1960’s, with the majority of the brothers imprisoned or exiled, our community had to be very careful how to preach or come into the open. Many brothers and sisters ended up in one of the 54 prison camps throughout the entire Soviet Union. In many congregations, it became necessary for sisters to take the lead.

Concealed in cellars

Today there are grandparents who feel like they are back in the old days when they had to hide in cellars and forests. Others remember how they gathered several times a week in the late evening or well into the night. They curtained their windows with heavy cloth in order to avoid detection and studied by kerosene lamp. Often the exhortations were only distributed on a written paper. Later, brothers began to receive magazines printed on duplicating machines. In KGB times the secret service was unrelenting in their determination to locate meeting places of Biblestudents so that they could punish the responsible brothers.

In Communist times holding the Memorial was the most challenging. But now with the Russians bombing Ukraine it has also become a very big challenge. Last 14 Nisan (15 of April 2022) several of our brethren and sisters did everything to make the best out of the evening. Though in several villages and cities there was not even drinkable water to prepare a meal. Bottles of alcohol brought salvation to have something extra in this time of distress.

Normally Biblestudents open their meeting to all who want to come to listen to what we have to tell. Last year there was Corona that prevented such a gathering. This year our Ukrainian brethren could not invite many. Some of them were already pleased that they could prepare a meal for 7 people, with the limited foodstuffs they still had available.

After more than 50 years of bans and persecution, today it looked again as if a period of aggression and ordeal had come over them. Some of our younger brethren had sent their youngsters to leave Ukraine, but after the bombing of the Kramatorsk station, they are now in the dark about what happened to their family members.

Having been able to meet with like-minded friends, for many it was like they belonged to the escaped ones and on that night it was as if they were resurrected from the dead by the Power of God. Even when lots of their assets were gone up in the fire, they still felt rich in the Gory of God that they were able to celebrate that special weekend in these times of war. Normally the Ukrainians eat a lot of potatoes, but this time they were not at the party nor any lamb.

While the sirens were sounding regularly, they quietly read the Bible passages and listened to the elder’s speech. Whilst bombs and weapons did not keep silent, they expressed their hope to live in a world where free nations are assertive and in the ascendant … where freedom and democracy are strengthened through a network of economic and security partnerships, and most importantly they all look forward to the return of Christ, though that would mean there shall be first that Great Tribulation. But for them, it could well be that we are already in that predicted Third World War.

Some saw this special evening also as a night to be liberated from the modern plagues. At the same time some were sad that some of their family members living in Russia do have a totally different picture of what is going on in Ukraine. The modern snake is clearly doing its work and by spreading misinformation gets tornness in otherwise close-knit families. This is one of the most terrible things that these people now have to endure in their families, a part that does not want to believe that they are being slaughtered by Russia’s murderous army.

While others have fled the country, some Ukrainian brothers and sisters have stayed in place — either bound to the land, too old or ill to travel, or simply lacking other options.

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Preceding

Preparing for 14 Nisan

Fellowship over meals

Coming together for a meal to remember a special lamb

Coming together for a meal to remember a special lamb

Jesse Hemery and the The Goshen Fellowship

When Belonging to the escaped ones gathering in Jesus name

Those who Jesus can call friends

Most important weekend of the year 2016

The Most important weekend of the year 2018

2021 Memorial of Christ’s death

Another year of 14 Nisan with restricted access

Celebrating the evening of 15 April 2022 as a festival to Jehovah God

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Additional reading

  1. A useless but very dangerous challenge game
  2. Great tribulation and Armageddon
  3. Armageddon or the Great Tribulation
  4. What makes you following Christ and Facebook Groups
  5. Christadelphian brothers and sisters in Ukraine
  6. The one who claimed he was not planning an invasion in Ukraine
  7. Does the population of Russia know what the Russian soldiers are doing in Ukraine
  8. Russian army wants to make Ukraine the Syria from Europe
  9. Weekly World Watch March 13 – 19, 2022
  10. Stories to read in the week of March/April 2022 in the Independent
  11. The Guardian’s view on Ukraine for the first half of April 2022
  12. Has Ukraine become a Symbol of ‘Freedom’

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Related

  1. The Ten Modern Plagues
  2. A replica of the first Passover
  3. The Pesach Lamb
  4. Pesach 5782
  5. “They think it’s Passover… It is now!”

The no one or nothing in the darkness

When we look at our life, sometimes it can make us depressive, having us feel the “emptiness“, the missing of like-minded people.

How many of us do not build upon many aspirations, hopes, dreams and expectations?

Our head tolls from the many questions we have going one ear in and one ear out. And every moment we try to look to the right or to the left it is like we are getting hit by a boxing glove.

Noticing it looks like we are alone with our faith in Jesus and the coming Kingdom, we sometimes feel abandoned. Though we should know God does not abandon us, like He did not abandon Jesus. But Jesus also had a moment to despair and was calling onto his heavenly Father crying unto HIm, why He had left him.

46 About the ninth hour, Jesus called out with a loud voice, saying: “Eʹli, Eʹli, laʹma sa·bach·thaʹni?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”+ (Matthew 27:46)

Like Jesus crying out from the wooden stake, we also have moments that we want to cry to God. Yes, it might happen to any believer that he or she questions God’s presence. It is understandable that we can have such moments that we have doubts about ourselves, about our faith, about God.

It is in such moments of doubt, in moments of fear and despair, that we are invited by our Creator and Sustainer to seek hope. He has given us His Word to give us daily food, to be able to go step by step and day by day. That Word of God we can take it up every moment of the day. It is God’s Love letter to us. From that great Book of books, we should be able to receive strength and hope. Hope comes from our trust that even when we don’t feel like God is present, God will show up for us. Often when we feel most abandoned, hurt and broken, we shall come to remember those moments as the ones where Jehovah God has shown up most powerfully for us. Those are the moments that shape our life and our faith.

Like Jehovah God had not forsaken Jesus, He shall not leave alone those who love Him.

28 For Jehovah loves justice, And he will not abandon his loyal ones.+ ע [Ayin]They will always be guarded;But the descendants of the wicked will be done away with.+ (Psalm 37:28)

Even when God might be with us, we can have that feeling to be just on our own with our faith, being surrounded by a majority who does not want to know about God or the Biblical Truth.

Constantly we seem to be confronted with an emptiness that draws us into the darkness. Sometimes it feels like we are a “no one”, or a “nothing”.
Without being someone and without having someone around us, we remain unfulfilled and incomplete. Our instinct wants us to mix with others. We are not made to be alone.

This primal instinct to be something is what drives our efforts towards avoiding being nothing.

The threat of which is the root to losing ourselves to the distraction of everything, when we lose hope of ever being something…to someone…but not just anyone. {Elusive peace…}

When we get older, this seems a bigger problem, than when we were young. Then comes a time when we want to scan our life and want to see what we established. How much effort we put in things and into what it resulted. What is clinging to our memory? What do we find worthwhile to remember?

Around us we see so many people who seem to be more successful than us. They can get a lot of listening ears, eager to hear their philosophies which give people only a shade of what they would love to see. Though we do know they can not offer that comfort or assurance that we love to offer people, because we live by our hope in Jesus Christ. Constantly we are confronted by those people who find that their way is the best way. But what they do not see is that what we want them to come to see: the way that seems right for so many men its end is the way of death.

12 There is a way that seems right to a man,+ But in the end it leads to death.+ (Proverbs 14:12)

We live in that world full of vanity, where man even thinks he can play for god and create whatever he wants.

20 For the creation was subjected to futility,+ not by its own will, but through the one who subjected it, on the basis of hope+ (Romans 8:20)

We would love to show those who think they can do it without God, that it is better to come under the wings of God. There is namely an alternative to the ultimate conclusion of doom and the futility of human philosophy.

23 For the wages sin pays is death,+ but the gift God gives is everlasting life+ by Christ Jesus our Lord.+ (Romans 6:23)

In this world, we do even have to struggle against those who say they are Christian but do not want to recognise who Jesus is and how important it is to I believe in him who God called His beloved son.

25 Jesus said to her: “I am the resurrection and the life.+ The one who exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life; 26 and everyone who is living and exercises faith in me will never die at all.+ Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

Jesus said to him: “I am the way+ and the truth+ and the life.+ No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
Constantly we are confronted with those stubborn people who do not believe that Jesus existed, or who think that Jesus is God, instead of believing in the God of Jesus and accepting that Jesus is the way to God and not to himself.That unbelief makes us so sad, and when you stand there surrounded by so many unbelievers, it can feel so lonely, so dark in a world that offers so much but oh so little. Coming closer to the end times it worries us also so much, certainly when we see more lies encircling peoples heads. Fake news seems to have won the battle for attention.Though we should find the strength to continue calling people to come to follow the real Christ, the Jewish Nazarene Jeshua, the son of David and son of God. Continuing on our path to God, we should find comfort in the fact that there shall not be so many who shall believe in Jesus and do their best to stay on the right track, and that shall be able to enter the small gate to the Kingdom of God. We should see and follow that light in the world, which is given by God.

8 12 Then Jesus spoke again to them, saying: “I am the light of the world.+ Whoever follows me will by no means walk in darkness, but will possess the light+ of life.”  (John 8:12)

13 “Go in through the narrow gate,+ because broad is the gate and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are going in through it; 14 whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are finding it.(Matthew 7:14-15)

We, when feeling down, should remember that the apostles and other first followers of Christ, also were just with a few who were not liked by the majority. They also had often to struggle. They also could find strength by knowing they could get to encounter many tribulations, but always would there be a way out, and the gate to God’s Kingdom, which would be much better than any kingdom here on earth.

22 There they strengthened the disciples,+ encouraging them to remain in the faith and saying: “We must enter into the Kingdom of God through many tribulations.”+ (Acts 14:22)

18 “And if the righteous man is being saved with difficulty, what will happen to the ungodly man and the sinner?”+ (1 Peter 4:18)

All those who believe that Jesus is the son of God and the way to life, let them strengthen each other. Let us all be conscious that the road leading off into destruction is a road taken by the majority. When not being part of that majority we should not worry so much, because we should know there is Someone Who wants to carry us over the swamps and deserts of this world.

Let us not get the sand of the desert in our eyes by the many false teachings which encircle this materialist world. Instead of being a little grain of sand let us stick together as a lump of earth and join hands as sowers of productive seed.

44 It is sown a physical body; it is raised up a spiritual body.+ If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual one. (1 Corinthians 15:44)

Let our voice keep going through the air and into the darkness so that somewhere a person might see the little spark of light.

We always should be aware of the importance of our own free choice. We always shall have to come to decide which way to go, the broad way of the world or the small way of God.

The question comes down to who will I believe. Will I trust the world that can give no guarantees and an uncertain future?

Or will I trust the sent one from God who proved himself by paying for my sins on the stake, dying in my place, and then arose from the dead in victory just as he said he would (Matthew 17:23, 20:19, 28:5-6)?

He too felt at moments on his own. He, too, had to trust his God. He put his own will aside for doing the Will of his heavenly Father.

Are you prepared to put your own will aside to do the Will of God?

Are you willing to go into the desert, like Jesus did, to talk about God and to spread the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God?

When reading the Scriptures we shall become aware that Jehovah God is really the only One Whom we fully can trust. By the knowledge that He is trustworthy and faithful, we should get more trust in Him and allow HIm to take away our fear and sad, depressive mood. With Him in our heart, we shall not be disappointed.

To you they cried out, and they were saved; They trusted in you, and they were not disappointed.*(Psalm 22:5)

When feeling depressed or down because it looks like we can not reach people, let us  put on a spiritual kind of armour that comes only from God because we are engaged in a spiritual struggle rather than a physical one.

10 Finally, go on acquiring power+ in the Lord and in the mightiness of his strength. 11 Put on the complete suit of armor+ from God so that you may be able to stand firm against the crafty acts of the Devil;+ 12 because we have a struggle,+ not against blood and flesh, but against the governments, against the authorities, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the wicked spirit forces+ in the heavenly places.+ 13 For this reason take up the complete suit of armor from God,+ so that you may be able to resist* in the wicked day and, after you have accomplished everything, to stand firm. (Ephesians 6:10-13)

When we accept Jehovah’s help and rely on Him completely, we can succeed in opposing the adversaries of God. When we can have the same kind of confidence that the apostle Paul had. He wrote:

“If God is for us, who will be against us?” (Rom. 8:31)

So, let us step out of the darkness, stretch out our hands to those who also love Jesus and his God. Let us join forces and focus most of our attention on learning about Jehovah and serving Him.

 Cause me to walk in your truth and teach me,For you are my God of salvation. ו [Waw]

In you I hope all day long. ז [Zayin]

(Ps. 25:5)

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Preceding

When feeling alone, afraid to connect with others in order to grow in faith

The Nazarene master teacher learning people how they should behave

As Christ’s slaves doing the Will of God in gratitude

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Additional reading

  1. Lonely so lonely
  2. Fear, struggles, sadness, bad feelings and depression
  3. This was my reward
  4. Trouble in my brain
  5. Walking through the valley of the shadow of death
  6. A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow
  7. What loneliness is more lonely than distrust?
  8. In defence of Doubt
  9. A person is limited only by the thoughts that he chooses
  10. Life’s challenges may not paralyse you
  11. Faithfulness when most necessary
  12. He Becomes a Fool Through His Endless Desire
  13. Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement
  14. A Million Ways To Live: Al Muhyi (The One Who Gives Life)
  15. He who beams never walks in the dark
  16. Confidence
  17. Hope begins in the dark
  18. It is not try but trust
  19. Give your tears to God
  20. Crying and trusting ones do not get disappointed
  21. A Living Faith #1 Substance of things hoped for
  22. Jesus son of God or God the son
  23. The Prophets Inquire into and Testify About Salvation
  24. A new decade, To open the eyes to get a right view
  25. Gospel or Good News
  26. Good News Breakers
  27. Bringing Good News into the world
  28. Preaching of the Kingdom

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Related

  1. The Void In Us
  2. Lonely… Empty… Why ?
  3. “Empty”
  4. Emptiness
  5. Emptiness “The space in time experienced as Emptiness is the predicate for Inspiration.
  6. An emptiness inside of me
  7. Why have you abandoned me?
  8. Ache
  9. Do you think Loneliness and Emptiness are two same words?
  10. When I Get Lost in My Loneliness
  11. Treatments for Depression
  12. A Conversation with Lama Shenpen about Emptiness and the Heart Sutra
  13. Emptiness Versus Hope
  14. A Moment’s Worth of Peace

Matthew 28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Risen Christ appears #6 Matthew 28:16-19 – The King’s Commission

Matthew 28:16-19 – The King’s Commission

MT28:16 Now the eleven disciples traveled to Galilee to the mountain where Jesus had arranged to meet them.[1] MT28:17 When they saw Jesus they bowed to the ground before him[2] but some doubted. MT28:18 Upon approaching Jesus he said to them, “All authority[3] in heaven and upon earth was given to me. MT28:19 Therefore, go your ways and make disciples[4] of all the nations, baptizing persons in the name of[5] the Father, the Son and the holy Pneuma. MT28:20 Teach them to observe everything I commanded you.[6] And, look! I am with you[7] [apostles] until the consummation of the Age.”[8] [Daniel 9:26, 27]

THE END OF THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW

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[1] To meet them: Compare the additional information in the gospel of Luke 24:12-49 and John 20:1-21:19.

“Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.” (Lu 24:12 NIV)

“1  Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” 3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11  but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realise that it was Jesus. 15 “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned towards him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her. 19  On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. 21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” 24 Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” 26  A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” 30 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. 21:1  Afterwards Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way:” (Joh 20:1-21:1 NIV)

[2] They bowed to the ground before him: The Greek is PROSEKUNESAN (to bow before and kiss).

[3] All authority: Note this celestial and terrestrial authority has been given the Risen Lord. It is not something he possessed before. Compare Ephesians 1:20-22.

[4] Go your ways and make disciples: These instructions are directed to the eleven apostles.

[5] In the name of: This was never a formula used by these apostles in their baptizing. The recorded Acts shows they always baptized “in the name of Jesus.” Therefore, this pronouncement is likely more of an authorization or commission upon the apostles. Regarding so-called triune formulas research the phrase.

[6] Teach them to observe everything I commanded you: It seems this suggest preliminary instruction before a person is baptized. A Christian should at least know the “commandments” of Jesus. Indeed, the Friends of the Nazarene are those who observe his commandments (John 15:14).

[7] I am with you: These words are directed to his eleven apostles not necessarily a statement to all disciples throughout all time. See notes on Matthew 18:20.

[8] Until the consummation of the Age: The Greek is TES SYNTELEIAS TOU AIONOS. Judging from Matthew 24:3 (Daniel 9:26, 27) and Hebrews 9:26, 27 Jesus means the Jewish Temple Age which ended in 70 CE (1 Corinthians 10:11; Hebrews 1:2). Research last days. Or, KJV: the end of the world; RHM: conclusion of the age; RIEU: to the end of time; WEY: until the close of the Age. This does not mean the King has abandoned his disciples throughout the Gospel Age until the consummation of the Age at his Parousia and the angelic Harvest (see notes on Matthew 13:40).

Luke 24:45-49 adds, “Then he opened up their minds fully to grasp the meaning of the Scriptures, and he said to them: ‘In this way it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from among the dead on the third day, and on the basis of his name repentance for forgiveness of sins would be preached in all the nations-starting out from Jerusalem, you (apostles) are to be witnesses of these things. And, look! I am sending forth upon you (apostles) that which is promised by my Father. You (apostles), though, abide in the city until you (apostles) become clothed with power from on high.’” (NW)

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Preceding

Matthew 28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Risen Christ appears #1 Matthew 28:1 – Two Marys Visit the Grave

Matthew 28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Risen Christ appears #2 Matthew 28:2-4 – An Angel Rolled Away the Stone

Matthew 28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Risen Christ appears #3 Matthew 28:5-7 – “Jesus Was Raised Up!”

Matthew 28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Risen Christ appears #4 Matthew 28:8-10 – The Two Marys Met by the Risen Christ

Matthew 28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Risen Christ appears #5 Matthew 28:11-15 – The False Report the Body Was Stolen

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #3 Matthew 27:11-14 – “Are You King of the Jews?”

Matthew 27:11-14 – “Are You King of the Jews?”

|| Mark 15:2-5; Luke 23:2-5; John 18:28-38a

MT27:11 When Jesus stood in front of the governor, Pilate inquired of him, asking, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered: “You said it.”[1] MT27:12 In the process of being accused by the religious hierarchy and [Jewish] elders, Jesus would not answer MT27:13 Then Pilate said to Jesus, “Are you not listening to how much they are testifying[2] against you?” MT27:14 Still Jesus did not answer Pilate with a single word. Pilate began to marvel very much[3] about Jesus.

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[1] You said it: See notes at Matthew 26:25.

[2] How much they are testifying: Or, RIEU: do you not hear what a case they are building up; WEY: mass of evidence. Mark 15:3 adds, “… the chief priests proceeded to accuse him of many things.”

[3] To marvel very much: RIEU: leaving him completely at a loss; NEB: great astonishment. John 18:34-38 adds, Jesus answered: “Is it of your own originality that you say this, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate answered: “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered you up to me. What did you do?” Jesus answered: “My kingdom is no part of this world. If my kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be delivered up to the Jews. But, as it is, my kingdom is not from this source.” Therefore Pilate said to him: “Well, then, are you a king?” Jesus answered: “You yourself are saying that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone that is on the side of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him: “What is truth?” (NWT)

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Preceding

Matthew 26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Last days of Jesus Christ #13 Matthew 26:59-68 – False Witnesses and the Charge of Blasphemy

Matthew 26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Last days of Jesus Christ #14 Matthew 26:69-75 – Peter’s Denial

Matthew 27 – The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – Bible Students Intro

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #1 Matthew 27:1-2 – Priests Hand Jesus Over to Pilate

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #2 Matthew 27:3-10 – Judas Hangs Himself

Next

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #4 Matthew 27:15-23 – Barabbas or Jesus?

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #5 Matthew 27:24-26 – “His Blood Come Upon Us!”

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #6 Matthew 27:27-31 – Jesus Afflicted by Troops

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #7 Matthew 27:32-37 – Executed at Golgotha

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Additional reading

  1. What is the truth asked also Pontius Pilate

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Related articles

  1. Broken Beyond Repair
  2. Matthew 27
  3. Preview: Jesus’ Trial Before Pilate
  4. Matthew 27: The Death of Jesus. The Triptych Enigma.
  5. Pilate Questions Jesus (Matthew 27:11 – 14; Mark 15:1 – 5; Luke 23:1 – 4; John 18:28 – 38)
  6. Pontius Pilate Who Was He?
  7. Pontius Pilate
  8. Pontius Pilate’s Politics
  9. Another Son of God? Pilate’s Tiberieum at Caesarea Maritima
  10. Defense
  11. The King of the Jews
  12. Mark 15:12
  13. Behold the King
  14. King Of The Jews
  15. Behold Your King!
  16. Matthew 2 – More Oddities. Already Fulfilled Prophecies?
  17. K is for King of the Jews

When Belonging to the escaped ones gathering in Jesus name

This coming Wednesday it is going to be a very strange particular night to remember.

Normally 14 Nisan is the day that followers of the Nazarene master teacher remember the night that Jesus came together with his close disciples to commemorate the liberation of the People of God. As a devout Jew, Jesus kept to the demand of his God to commemorate that the Elohim requested that month to be the beginning of months for them (the first month of their year). Jesus had not forgotten to tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of that month they had each to select an animal of the flock according to their fathers’ households, one animal per household and how they had to keep it until the fourteenth day of that month.

Passover – The sprinkling of the doorposts with the blood of a lamb.

Then the whole assembly of the community of Israel having to slaughter the animals at twilight. For they had to take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where they eat them.

Jesus remembered how they are to eat the meat that night; they should eat it, roasted over the fire along with unleavened bread and bitter herbs…

Here is how you must eat it: you must be dressed for travel, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. You are to eat it in a hurry; it is the Lord’s Passover.

This Wednesday it is that day of remembrance.

It is the night that we normally would come together to remember how the messenger of God passed through the land of Egypt on that night and struck every firstborn male in the land of Egypt, both man and beast. It is the night that we remember how everybody in the land had to know that there is only that One God, Jehovah, the God above all gods and leaders (be them a Pharaoh, King, President or minister) of a country.  It is That Invisible God Who will execute judgments against all the gods of Egypt, but also over all other gods of the world and over all people on this globe.

Wednesday night is the night that we remember that the blood on the houses where those people in Egypt were staying was to be a distinguishing mark for them but also for us.

“1  The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbour, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the door-frames of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire—head, legs and inner parts. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover. 12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.” (Ex 12:1-13 NIV)

For God and His people it was clear that meal should be imprinted in the memories of the following generations, and every night of this commemoration the elders had to tell about what happened and why it happened and how God liberated and guided His people. Therefore, real lovers of God should continue the tradition to tell others about what God has done for His people.

The tradition wants that all believers in God and in His son, Jesus Christ, also come together on 14 Nisan to have a Memorial Meal.

In 2020 the world got an unseen enemy raging over the globe, and as such most people have found themselves under the rules of lockdown, not able to come together with other believers to have a memorable evening or great night in unity. They shall have to stay at home in isolation and just have the meal on their own with a restricted family gathering (in many cases not even having the children able to visit their parents).

The Passover meal of Jesus

Like Jesus earnestly desired to eat this Passover with his apostle we also should still do that this Wednesday on April the 8th 2020, the 14th of Nisan. Not only shall we then have to remember God, seeing the blood will then “pass over” the houses of the Israelites (Exodus 12:13), while smiting the Egyptians with the tenth plague, the killing of the first-born sons. After God used a man named Moses to deliver them from their slavery, around 1,500 B. C., we also remember God used a man named Jeshua (Jesus Christ) to deliver the whole mankind from their slavery of sin and to liberate them from the curse of death.

It was before he was to suffer, he received a cup to share it among his close friends. In the same manner, he had blessed the cup, he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples telling them that this represented his body which is given for them, but also for us. that symbolic act he presented to them on that night in the upper room in Jerusalem, he wanted to be done regularly in remembrance of him. That way we also should remember that installation of the New Covenant in the blood of this sent one from God, the Kristos or Christ, which is poured out for us all.

“14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfilment in the kingdom of God.” 17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said,

“Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” (Lu 22:14-20 NIV)

On 14 Nisan we do remember how God provided a sign of a lamb for the exodus from Egypt and how he about 2 000 years ago gave the lamb Jesus as the fulfilment of the Passover. Jeshua or Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God, sacrificed to set us free from bondage to sin. (John 1:29; Psalm 22; Isaiah 53) The blood of Jesus covers and protects us, and his body was broken to free us from eternal death (1 Corinthians 5:7).

These days it is very important to remember how Christ Jesus is the perfect sacrifice, to liberate us from all ailments of this world and to safeguard our spiritual life. Yes, we can be killed by a virus or by men, but no illness neither any man can take away the life given by the ransom offering of Jesus Christ. That knowledge should take away all fear that we might have by all the bad news that reaches us in these days of CoViD-19.

Traditionally the Bible Books have already lots of teachings concerning infectious diseases, cleanliness, and hygiene, which were well ahead of our time. They were ultimately inspired by God to benefit and protect humans from illnesses and promote healthy lifestyles. Infection control is an inherent part of Jewish teachings concerning hygiene, but Christians can learn a lot from them. The guidelines that are practised today by major health organizations are almost entirely inline and inspired by the teachings of the Bible and also of the Koran.

One reason why the Memorial was instituted also for non-Jews or goyim, had to do with one purpose served by Jesus’ death. He died as an upholder of his heavenly Father’s sovereignty. Christ thus proved that the idea the first people got in their head was a totally wrong idea and that the false charge that humans serve God only out of selfish motives, is just a lie. (Job 2:1-5) Jesus’ death in faithfulness proved this contention false and made Jehovah’s heart rejoice.​ Proverbs 27:11.

We should show the outer world that we keep ourselves safe by social distancing and by isolating ourselves, but that we do not serve God our of fear but out of thankfulness and willingness to please Him and not to please the world. The majority of the world namely wants to keep to human traditions and to heathen festivals. But real lovers of God prefer keeping to the God-given annual festivals, like Passover.

This year the Passover festival may fall at the same time of the Good Week of the Catholics and their Easterday may also be one of these days (Easter Sunday for Roman Catholics: Sunday, April 12; for Othodox Catholics: Sunday, 19 Apr 2020), though we can bet most of them shall not have such a religious meal as we have.
Let us make sure we keep to the command of God, and though we may not invite anyone from farther away, let it be a modest evening full of Bible reading and reflection on what God has done and of how He is good for mankind.

This Wednesday, even when we are not with many, let us remember that God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) Indeed,

“ For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Ro 6:23 NIV)

Observance of the Lord’s Evening Meal reminds us of the great love shown by both Jehovah and his Son in connection with Jesus’ sacrificial death. How we should appreciate that love!

Having escaped from the chains of death should not have us to think we are free from everything bad this world can offer. Make sure you do not tempt it. Always be careful to keep social distancing and keeping all hygienic regulations.

To have contact with others we shall have to rely on modern gadgets like Hangouts, Face Time, Skype, Messenger, Houseparty a.o., that way preaching and telling also other about why this night is so important.

As we commemorate this important evening in seclusion, let us sense that we will indeed be united with brothers and sisters all over the world in prayer and spirit in union with Christ Jesus.

Bread and wine symbols for the covenants of God and His liberation from slavery of man, salvation from the curse of death.

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Preceding

Making sure to be ready and to belong to the escaped ones

14 Nisan a day to remember #1 Inception

14 Nisan a day to remember #2 Time of Jesus

14 Nisan a day to remember #3 Before the Passover-feast

14 Nisan a day to remember #4 A Lamb slain

Most important weekend of the year 2016

Preparing for the most important weekend of the year 2018

The Most important weekend of the year 2018

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Additional reading

  1. 1 -15 Nisan
  2. Purification and perfection
  3. A Holy week in remembrance of the Blood of life
  4. High Holidays not only for Israel
  5. Deliverance and establishement of a theocracy
  6. Torah hanging on two commandments and focussing on a Mashiach
  7. Yom Hey, Eve of Passover and liberation of many people
  8. Around the feast of Unleavened Bread
  9. Observance of a day to Remember
  10. A night different from all other nights and days to remember
  11. Jesus memorial
  12. The Most special weekend of the year 2018
  13. Soon it shall be Erev Pesach and Passover 2019
  14. The unseen enemy
  15. Dark times looking like death is around the corner – but Light given to us
  16. In a time when we must remain in our place
  17. First time since Nazi time no public gathering
  18. No idea yet for 14 Nisan or April the 8th in 2020 Corona crisis time
  19. Only a few days left before 14 Nisan
  20. A meal as a mitzvah so that every generation would remember
  21. A Passover for unity in God’s community
  22. To turn the world into a “vessel” receptive of God
  23. The Application of the New Covenant
  24. Redemption #5 The perfect sacrifice
  25. Redemption #7 Christ alive in the faithful
  26. Even in Corona time You are called on to have the seder
  27. Call to help others
  28. Catholics facing a totally different Holy Week

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Further related

  1. Holy Week: a week set apart, in a time set apart.
    Today we begin Holy Week. This is the final part of a longer period leading up to Easter, called Lent. We do this every year, as part of the annual cycle. It is a familiar and comforting ritual for many people of Christian faith.
    This year, however, will be different. In the middle of a viral pandemic, with restrictions prohibiting gathering for worship, Christian people will be walking through Holy Week in their own homes, not in gatherings at church. This is a week set apart, for people of faith, in a time set apart, for all of society.
  2. Pandemics, Plagues and Passover
    It wouldn’t be right to have a blog called Life and Faith Today and ignore what is happening in the world right now! Today is April 4th 2020, and this day finds many centres of population around the world on lock-down, with everybody confined to their homes, while battles rage on the front-line; a front-line that moves relentlessly across the world. COVID-19 is a viral pandemic that has been fuelled by our modern lives and is now destroying them.
    +
    We pray for your protection for the old and vulnerable
    for pregnant mothers and those undergoing other treatments at this time.
    Almighty God, reach down and soften the hearts of the affluent,
    the greedy and opportunistic, bring humility, caring and giving back into their lives.
    We pray for positive change, that we all learn the lesson of caring for our environment,
    and to respect Your wonderful planet while it’s under our stewardship.
    Help us to learn again to care for each other
    and that together in Your name we are stronger.
    Almighty God, we come to you in deep humility.
    Hear our prayer at this time of our distress.
    Through Jesus Christ our Lord
    Amen
  3. Coronavirus Live Updates: Trump Warns of ‘a Lot of Death’ While Revisiting Easter Services
    Veering from grim warnings to baseless assurances in a single news conference, President Trump on Saturday predicted a surging death toll in what may be “the toughest week” of the coronavirus pandemic before also dispensing unproven medical advice. He suggested again that Americans might be able to congregate for Easter Sunday services.
    “There will be a lot of death,” Mr. Trump said at the White House, where he and other American officials depicted some parts of the United States as climbing toward the peaks of their crises, while warning that new hot spots were emerging in Pennsylvania, Colorado and Washington, D.C.At one point Mr. Trump, who initially set Easter Sunday as a target date for reopening the country before backing off, said that the holiday would be a particularly “sad” day for Americans prohibited from gathering in large numbers. He said he would again like to consider relaxing social distancing rules for Easter services and that he had told advisers, “maybe we could allow special for churches” gatherings that were possibly outside with “great separation.”
  4. Easter Bread Recipe
    On April 19th, Greek Orthodox celebrate Easter and this year it’s different.
    Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak and things are not the same. While Easter celebrations are not about clothes or Easter eggs, people gathering to share the joy and true meaning of the holiday is. And this year it’s different! People are asked to remain isolated and social distancing is advised to prevent infection.
    Nevertheless, one thing remains, the faith of better days to come and hope that the coming holidays will bring more joy and peace to everyone.
  5. Virus alters Holy Week celebration worldwide
    For Pope Francis at the Vatican, and for Christians worldwide from churches large and small, this will be an Easter like none other: The joyous message of Christ’s resurrection will be delivered to empty pews.
    Worries about the coronavirus outbreak have triggered widespread cancellations of Holy Week processions and in-person services. Many pastors will preach on TV or online, tailoring sermons to account for the pandemic. Many extended families will reunite via Face Time and Zoom rather than around a communal table laden with an Easter feast on April 12.
    Pope Francis, the first pontiff from Latin America, will be celebrating Mass for Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday and Easter in a near-empty St. Peter’s Basilica, instead of in the huge square outside filled with Catholic faithful.
  6. Holy Week & Coronavirus thoughts.
    coming around to special-ness of having Easter with my church family. looking forward to it since we hadn’t enjoyed it with our church in 3 years. then COVID-19 happened. and we haven’t had a church service in person in over a month. and we won’t be able to celebrate Easter together. best day, the best thing anyone could ever do for me and i can’t celebrate it on its traditional day with my brothers and sisters in Christ. i’ve went to the same church my entire life. 19 years. most of those people are like family. i love them so much. they are my family.
  7. Celebrating King Jesus while Sheltering-in-Place
    here we are, celebrating King Jesus on this special Palm Sunday, while locked down in our homes, helping to “flatten the curve” of the spread of this COVID-19 virus.
    Of course, we are not alone. It seems half the world is observing the “shelter-in-place” orders of the “authorities” over them. Paul told Pastor Timothy that such submission “is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior” (1 Timothy 2:3).

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