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Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:1-6 – A Wilderness Baptist Prepares the Way

Matthew 3:1-6 – A Wilderness Baptist Prepares the Way

|| Mark 1:1-6; Luke 3:1-6, 12-14

The Jordan River

The Jordan River (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MT3:1 But in those days[1] John the Baptist[2] came from the Judean wilderness,[3] MT3:2 preaching, “Repent[4] for the Realm[5] of Heaven has drawn near.[6] MT3:3 For this is the One spoken of by Isaiah[7] the prophet, saying, ‘A voice of one crying out in the wilderness, “Make ready the Way of YHWH – make straight His roads.”’” [Isaiah 40:3] MT3:4 But this John dressed in camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist and hips. His food was locusts[8] and wild honey. MT3:5 Then Jerusalem and all the Judeans[9] and all the country along the Jordan came to John, MT3:6 and they publicly confessed their sins[10] and John baptized[11] them in the Jordan river.[12]


[1] Those days: Luke gives the precise timing by paralleling these activities with several contemporary rulers and priests (Luke 3:1ff). It was the year 29 AD.

[2] John the Baptist: The prophet from the desert is mentioned 150 times in the Christian Bible. The name “John” means “Yah Favors.” Jesus ranks him equal to any of the greatest people in the Bible (Matthew 11:11, 12). Jesus compares him to the prophet Elijah.

[3] Wilderness: BER: the Judean desert.

[4] Repent: Repentance is a key word in the Bible. It means to “change the mind” or “feel sorry” for sins. The word group occurs 70 times in the Bible with the first at Job 42:6 and most often in Luke, with Revelation second. John’s call to repentance was regarding sins against the Mosaic Law.

[5] Realm: The Greek is BASILEIA and is often translated “kingdom.” MOF: Reign of heaven. The word occurs 366 times, first at Genesis 10:10 and most often in Daniel and then Matthew. The word may mean the seat of government, that is the king, or source of the authority. It may also mean the realm, territory or domain of the King. Here John has in mind the future manifestation or appearance of the Messiah Jesus, the “king of Israel.” “Kingdom of heaven” (Matthew) or “kingdom of God” (Luke) is used most often by the Nazarene to mean the “realm of profession” or the Church (Compare the parables in Matthew 13).

[6] Near: Usually the word “near” means within hours or days. John has in mind the coming of Messiah as the future King of Israel.

[7] Isaiah: The quote is from Isaiah 40:3 and leans toward the LXX though paraphrases a bit.

[8] Locusts: A common food of Middle Eastern nomads. GDSP: dried locusts; BECK: grasshoppers. John is very austere if not ascetic.

[9] All the Judeans: John’s preaching has a wide impact among the Jews.

[10] Their sins: That is sins against the Mosaic Law. These are all Jews.

[11] Baptized: The word (BAPTIZONTO) means “immerse” or “submerge” (RHM) and always occurs where there is “a large body of water.” The word group occurs over 100 times. There are two water baptisms in the Christian Bible: that of John the Baptist for Jews (Acts 18:25; 19:3) and Christian baptism into Nazarene discipleship. “Baptism” is connected to salvation (1 Peter 3:21). There is a baptism into God’s spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13; John 3:3-5). There is a baptism into Christ’s leadership (1 Corinthians 10:2). There is a baptism into the life course as a disciple (Mark 10:38). There is a baptism into death (Luke 12:38; Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12). Baptism is a fundamental teaching (Hebrews 6:2). Jesus commanded his eleven apostles to go and baptize people of all nations (Matthew 28:18, 19).

  • December 8 (stmarkssa.wordpress.com)
    To the people of the Old Testament period, the word would mean to turn, to return. Their experience of being in exile in Babylon and returning to Jerusalem was a powerful cultural memory to them. When “repent” was translated from the Greek, another meaning emerged: “to go beyond the mind that we have.” So repentance is all about change, to go beyond where we are and open ourselves to transformation.
  • The Gospel of Matthew: The Messiah of Promise 3:1-12 (anchorlongbeach.wordpress.com)John the Baptist came at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, which Mark notes as the first words of his gospel. Luke, marks the time with his announcement (“15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,” which puts it around 26 A.D. making both John and Jesus around 30 (See Luke 3:23), but all four gospels discuss this event in Jesus’ life, because it is an important fulfillments of prophecy about the Messiah (See Matthew 11:9-10 cf. Malachi 3:1). The fact that John the Baptist came “preaching in the desert,” is significant, because the desert was a place that God had called His people out from to worship Him, and it was usually represented renewal.
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    Although the Greek word for “Repentance” is Metanoia, which carries the idea of a changed mind, theologian D.A. Carson writes; “What is meant is not merely intellectual change of mind or more grief, still less doing penance…but a radical transformation of the entire person, a fundamental turnaround involving mind and action and including overtones of grief, which results in ‘fruit in keeping with repentance.’”Now, John’s baptism, was preparing “the way” for those to come to Jesus, but as we see elsewhere, it was only after Christ was raised from the dead that repentance led to the transformation of the Holy Spirit (See Point #5 cf. Acts13: 24ff; 19:4-6).
  • Getting ready for Advent 2 (revdavidyonker.wordpress.com)
    We know that the person John is talking about is  Jesus, but Craddock notes, “the narrative asks us to exercise restraint and let the story unfold in its own time.” We’ll get to Jesus soon enough.  John simply says in verse 11, “he who is coming after me” and “I am not worthy to carry his sandals.”  If you’ve heard the story before we know who is to come.  But when it comes to the church, how many times to we assume that everyone knows the story.  We assume people know about God’s love made known in Jesus Christ; we assume they know the story of his birth.  We assume because we know.  But that isn’t the case.  We still have to prepare the way of the Lord.
  • In those days: John’s Baptism (friarmusings.wordpress.com)
    John’s Baptism.“to lead righteous lives, to practice justice toward their fellows and piety towards God, and so doing join in baptism”  John’s baptism was a symbolic act that people who had already done these things – or were committed to living as such – were forming a “faithful remnant” of the covenant.  In the gospel accounts all of John’s words (except the word against Antipas) are spoken to persons seeking this baptism. His words show that John was unreceptive to those whom he judged to have bad faith, while he was friendly to those who were truly repentant. To the former he repeated threats and warnings and perhaps added new ones, while to the latter he gave hope for further dramatic renewal of their lives as well as ethical guidance relevant to their particular vocations. The former group seems to have been made up of people whose commonality was lording power over the common people: the religious leadership, the wealthy, the tax collectors and soldiers.
  • Lectionary blogging: Why was Jesus baptized? (johnmeunier.wordpress.com)
    It seems only right that we ask questions about the meaning of baptism since John the Baptist himself asked such questions.
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    Wesley comes down on the side of interpreting Jesus’ baptism as a model for his followers. Jesus was baptized even though he had no sin and required no repentance, which were key aspects of John’s baptismal message. Jesus did this to set a model for us. For Wesley the baptism of Jesus is an example of the obligations that rest on us as Christians for no other reason than Jesus Christ commands us to observe them. If we reject the command, Wesley argues, we should not expect the Holy Spirit.
  • The writer of The Baptism of the Lord (newevangelizers.com) asks his readers to notice that as the Spirit descends upon Jesus, “the Father announces from heaven that this is His beloved Son.”But than straight ahead continues giving the impression that this Voice from the clouds did not tell the truth and gave “a majestic revelation of the Most Holy Trinity, one God in three persons. ” and as such going against all the sayings of Jehovah God and of Jesus himself later in his life when he spoke about his relationship with his heavenly Father.
  • We wonder where Sermo Dei: Baptism of Our Lord (daringlutheran.net) gets it from that the Son of God is incarnate. He does not allow people to question his saying, so this will leave a blank.
    He writes a.o.:
    “By Jesus’ time, prophets of the Lord are seldom seen and heard from – even less so today. The sky tends not to be rent open wide when someone wades in the water. Certainly disembodied voices don’t sound forth from heaven, nor do dove-like Spirits descend in plain sight.”
    Though he seem to recognise the Voice of God or the Logos being able to create or to destroy things he suddenly seem to mix the voice of the Creator with the person of which the Logos gave existence of.
  • Baptism of Christ – unworthy sinners made worthy by Jesus (revpaulhgreenland.wordpress.com)
    judgment is there for those who oppose God’s ways, but fundamentally, God wants to bring us back from sin into His ways. We have the image of the Old Testament prophet, whose job it was to preach judgment and punishment to warn the people of the consequences of their continued sin, but God wants most of all as Ezekiel says, for people to turn and live.
  • Baptism of Our Lord (ijboudreaux.com)
    Father in heaven, at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan you proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit.  Grant that all who are baptized into his name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, One God, in glory everlasting.  Amen.
  • A Title You Can’t Wash Off (jaredhillaryruark.wordpress.com)
    We could say a lot of things about baptism because there are billions of Christians and thousands of Christian traditions, so baptism can take on any number of meanings and people think about it in a lot of different ways.
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    John the Baptist, despite his name, doesn’t feel up to the task. He’s already baptized thousands in the River Jordan but when Jesus approaches he says Whoa, whoa. Nope. I’m not baptizing you, you should be baptizing me. The problem seems to be that baptism is for the forgiveness of sins and Jesus doesn’t have sins so why would he be baptized? So John says, no-no-no. You’re the holy one and it makes more sense if you baptize me.You can tell somethings out of place just from their names and titles. John is called the Baptist and they’ll call Jesus a lot of things–Messiah, Christ, Son of God. And you can tell just from the titles that John shouldn’t be baptizing Jesus. Cause you know there are all sorts of Baptists–American baptists and Southern baptists, independent baptists. Larry and Susan the Baptists down the street. But you don’t hear about Joe and Suzy Christ so much. Only Jesus get’s to be called Christ and Christ is quite the title. So John says “I need to be baptized by you.”
  • In those days: some notes (friarmusings.wordpress.com)
    Matthew 3:1 in those days: This is an OT expression that marks the beginning of the new period, not necessarily a precise indication of time (see Mt 13:1; 24:22, 29, 36; 26:29). Here it marks the time-shift from the infancy narrative to the adult Jesus’ appearance.  the desert of Judea: wilderness would perhaps be the better word for modern English. The area is the barren region west of the Dead Sea extending up the Jordan valley.
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    Matthew 3:2 Repent: the biblical idea of repentance involves a willingness to turn one’s life around in the sense of a complete re-orientation. the kingdom of heaven is at hand: “heaven” (literally, “the heavens”) is a substitute for the name “God” that was avoided by devout Jews of the time out of reverence. The expression “the kingdom of heaven” occurs only in the gospel of Matthew. It means the effective rule of God over his people. In its fullness it includes not only human obedience to God’s word, but the triumph of God over physical evils, supremely over death. In the expectation found in Jewish apocalyptic, the kingdom was to be ushered in by a judgment in which sinners would be condemned and perish, an expectation shared by the Baptist. This was modified in Christian understanding where the kingdom was seen as being established in stages, culminating with the parousia of Jesus.
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Hebraic Roots Bible Book of The Acts of the Apostles Chapter 1

Preceding article: Hebraic Roots Bible Matthew Chapter 28


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1 Indeed, O Theophilus, I made the first report concerning all things which Yahshua began both to do and to teach, 2 until the day He was taken up, having given directions to the apostles whom He elected, through the Holy Spirit, 3 Those who also to whom He revealed Himself while alive after He had suffered. With numerous signs for forty days He was being seen by them, and He spoke concerning the Kingdom of Yahweh.

4 And while He ate bread with them, He charged them not to leave Jerusalem, but to await the promise of the Father, “which you heard of Me; 5 for John indeed baptized in water, but you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days after.”

6 Then, indeed, coming together they questioned Him, saying, Master, do You restore the kingdom to Israel at this time?
7 And He said to them, It is not yours to know times or seasons which the Father placed in His own authority; 8 But when the Spirit of Holiness comes upon you, you will receive the
power, and you will be witnesses of Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
9 And saying these things, as they looked on, He was taken up in a cloud and He was hidden from their sight.
10 And as they were intently looking into the heaven, He having gone, even behold, two men in white clothing stood by them, 11 who also said, Men, Galileans, why do you stand looking up to the heaven? This Yahshua who was taken up from you to heaven, likewise He will come just as you have seen Him who ascended into heaven.

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount being called Of Olive Grove, which is near Jerusalem, a distance of seven furlongs away. 13 And when they went in, they
went up to the upper room where they were waiting: both Peter and Jacob, and John and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, Jacob the son of Alpheus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the brother of Jacob. 14 These all were continuing steadfastly in prayer and in supplication with one mind, with the women, and with Mariam the mother
of Yahshua, and with His brothers.

15 And in these days, standing up in the middle of the disciples, (and the number of names together being about a hundred and twenty), Peter said, 16 Men, brothers, it was  necessary for this Scripture to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke before through David’s mouth concerning Judas, the one having become guide to those seizing Yahshua; 17 for he was numbered with us, and obtained a portion of this ministry. 18 This is he who obtained a field for himself from the reward of sin and fell upon his face on the ground and burst from his middle and poured out all his insides. 19 And it became known to all those living in Jerusalem, so as that field to be called in their own dialect, Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood. 20 Let his dwelling be desolate, and let not one be a dweller in it, and let another take his office. (Psalm 69:25; Psalm 109:8) 21 Therefore, it is right that men being together with us all the time in which the Master Yahshua came in and went out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when He was taken from us, one of these to  become a witness of His resurrection with us.

23 And they set out two: Joseph, he being called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 24 And having prayed, they said, You, Master, knower of all hearts, show which one You chose from these two, 25 That he may receive a portion of the ministry and apostleship, from which Judas departed, that he might go to in his place.
26 And they gave their lots. And the lot fell on Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

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Next: Hebraic Roots Bible Book of The Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2

Aceldama

Aceldama (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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  • Our Daily Bread – To Be Continued May 19, 2013 (arielgonzalaz91.wordpress.com)

    The fifth book of the New Testament, the Acts of the Apostles, records the beginnings of the Christian church under the leadership of the people Jesus had appointed. Some scholars have suggested that this book could also be called the Acts of the Holy Spirit, because the Spirit’s power supplied courage for the apostles in the face of every hardship.

    Just before Jesus was taken up into heaven, He told the ones He had chosen: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). With those words, one chapter in the story of God’s work on earth ended, and a new one began. We are a part of that ongoing story.

  • Acts for today! (livingmoreabundantly4christ.com)
    The Spirit of God was promised to God’s sons and daughters and that promise was first fulfilled on the day of Pentecost! He has not reneged or removed that promise. The Holy Spirit is necessary and available to every follower of Christ today! It is through God’s Spirit that we are wooed to Christ and it is by that same Spirit we will move and operate in our giftings as we serve Him. The same giftings and blessing that those men and women received on the day of Pentecost are the same giftings and blessing that we can receive today!
  • The Miracle of Words (christinesunderland.com)
    The Holy Spirit, promised by Christ when he ascended to Heaven, gave them the power of miraculous words, of expressing the news of God’s coming among men to those who spoke in other languages. This was a practical gift. As a reversal of the dispersion in Babel centuries earlier, here in Jerusalem, the people are brought together.

    How does God bring us together? How do we share, console, encourage, love? Through words. Through action and touch, to be sure, but through words, a divine and miraculous form of action and touch.

  • Feast of Saint Matthias, Apostle (catholicglasses.com)
    “I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.”
    +
    Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers and sisters (there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons in the one place). He said, “My brothers and sisters, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand through the mouth of David, concerning Judas, who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus. Judas was numbered among us and was allotted a share in this ministry.
  • Pentecost (learningwithlittlesaints.wordpress.com)
    At the Last Supper, Jesus promised to send His Apostles the Holy Spirit to be with them forever. He said that the Holy Spirit would teach them everything and remind them of what Jesus had taught them. Jesus said that He must go so that the Holy Spirit would come. John 14:15-17 NIV
  • Pentecost In Art: Paintings, Stained Glass Windows, Frescoes And More (PHOTOS) (huffingtonpost.com)
    slideshow
    +
    Pentecost, the Greek word for ‘Shavout’ is an ancient feast in Israel that celebrates the harvest and giving of the Torah on Sinai. In the Christian liturgical calendar, Pentecost, observed 50 days after Easter Sunday, marks the end of the Easter season and celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and other disciples of Jesus.
  • Do You Speak in Tongues? (eternalchrist.wordpress.com)
    What would you say if we told you that speaking in tongues was necessary for your eternal salvation? Many of you would be trembling in fear because you have never spoken in tongues. Yet there are members of the Pentecostal church who insist that you are not sealed by the Spirit of God unless you speak in tongues. In other words, speaking in tongues is the outward sign of your redemption and salvation.
    +
    There were three major feasts that the nation of Israel had to celebrate: Pesach (Passover), or Unleavened Bread; Shavu’ot, or Pentecost (also known as the Feast of Weeks, or Feast of Harvest); and Booths (also known as the Feast of Tabernacle, or Ingathering).
  • Come, Holy Spirit! Confirmation+Pentecost Double Take (virtuebyforce.wordpress.com)
    There isn’t a single person who could honestly tell you that they haven’t struggled with doubts, a single person that could tell you they haven’t sinned, and fallen away, and had to come back.
    +
    It would be crazy for us to try to live this faith of ours without the promised Spirit that Jesus assures us will come; our Advocate, who will stand by our side, who will be with us; no, not just with us, but within us to assist us along the way. […]
  • Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Acts 2:14-21 (stjoeofoblog.wordpress.com)
    Act 2:21  And it shalt come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

    “Whosoever,” be he Jew or Gentile, “shall call upon,” &c., embracing the Christian religion—“shall be saved” from ruin here. If it refers to the siege of Jerusalem, it was literally fulfilled in the case of the Christians, who by Divine admonition, fled to Pella, beyond the Jordan before the final destruction of Jerusalem (Eusebius, Hist. Eccles. Lib. iii. c. 5).

  • Pentecost Sunday 2013 (auniversallove.wordpress.com)
    While those on whom the Spirit had descended were speaking in many languages, the Apostle Peter stood up with the eleven and proclaimed to the crowd that this event was the fulfillment of the prophecy
    +
    Not knowing that Jesus Christ’s death would lead to His spirit within them, the Disciples could not understand even throughout all of His teachings and parables. Not until the Holy Spirit entered their bodies, were they really able to understand and grasp the true meaning of their salvation.

Bible guide

Taking the Bible as a lead

In Jesus days people came together in the synagogue but also in their homes to study the rolls of the holy writers. For them it was clear that God had given these people the power and facilities to write down Gods Word. For the followers of Christ it was clear that they had to take the stories about Christ Jesus and the writing of his apostles also into account. The books of the Old time received a brother in the writings of the new time, after Jesus his resurrection. The Old and New Testament became the two pillars of educational material to build up faith and to keep to the Commandments of God.

Enthusiast followers of Jesus took the time to come to study these writings, which we know now as the Bible. They felt united in holding that the sacred Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, are inspired and are the final authority for authentic truth. They did not doubt the countenance of these writings and knew that if they prayed to God they also would receive guidance to follow and to comprehend them. They followed the rules of the Scriptures and wanted to establish their beliefs and faith in beliefs that harmonize all scriptures on each subject. The apostles had warned them to be careful not be carried away by worldly thoughts and that they should not make non-scriptural words to an article of faith.

In the early times of this time account, some had seen that Jesus was wholly flesh while on earth. While Jesus was miraculously begotten by God through the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary, they accepted that the Bible implies that she did not remain a virgin thereafter and many of the early Christians had met the other children by Joseph after the birth of Jesus. One of Jesus brothers had followed and believed in him. The people around Jesus could witness him. They had witnessed or heard about the many miracles, and about the most curious event, namely that this holy man had been raised from death. But there were also many who had nothing seen and by the growing years had nobody in their circles who had met people who had known Jesus in real life. They had to believe without seeing.

Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...

Preaching Jesus

Studying the Bible those people interested in the Word of God were fully convinced that this Nazarene Jew by his death had brought them salvation. They knew that man is mortal by nature, and that immortality became available now, but only by meeting conditions of obedience. They held, as we hold today, that the human soul is not a distinct entity, but is the result of the union of the body and the breath, or spark, of life, and that death is the dissolution of these two elements. Jesus had died, been put in the grave, but after his resurrection had gone up to his Father to which he always stayed humble. Jesus always had pointed out to his Father as the One who did everything and to whom we had to give honour. Therefore they did not accept the position of co-eternity or co-equality between the Father and the Son. But they were pleased that since his resurrection Jesus had received the divine nature and could be the mediator between them and God.

Believing that Adam and Eve were created perfect, the believers position is that the sin of disobedience in the Garden of Eden resulted in all their posterity being born under the blight of sin, imperfection, and death. Because death is the dissolution of body and breath, every Bible Student should be aware that the soul that sins dies goes out of existence, and that we cannot escape death and the return to dust and ash. But in Christ Jesus they found the promised Messiah who was going to return. It is he who shall then start the resurrection process which begins in the future kingdom of Messiah. He had given his body as a ransom at the cross of Calvary. This peace offering is efficacious for all who have ever died. It promises resuscitation for all humanity in Christ’s 1000-year kingdom, along with the opportunity to obtain and maintain perfect human life for eternity. The ransom also provides for the rehabilitation of planet earth to perfect Edenic conditions.

From Pentecost onwards many thousands started to look forward to the return of Christ or Second Advent. At his first advent, Jesus had begun calling out from mankind a special class to be his church, or bride. To these he promised a part in heaven with himself and the Father, and a kingdom role of reigning over mankind with himself for blessing all the families of the earth. Those who accept this invitation make a complete consecration or commitment to do the will of God as they see it revealed and at the cost of a surrender of the right to a life on earth. This consecration is witnessed by a baptism (complete water immersion,). The expectation that Jesus Christ would return to finish the work that he began two thousand years ago became an important part of their faith. They followed the advice Jesus and his apostles had given, to study the Word of God and to come regularly together, also to remember the Breaking of the Bread as a sign of the New Covenant.

To organize such meetings they had to find places where they could meet, certainly after they were not welcome any more in the synagogues. In the different villages and small communities small groups were formed. By giving many ‘house parties’ the ‘house churches‘ were formed. Each group selected its leaders (elders and deacons) by a total vote of their consecrated members, and cooperated with other congregations as determined by that local group. But such meetings or gatherings brought also expenses. To cover them they paid entirely by freewill voluntary offerings with no collections of mandated costs.

Also today we as Bible Students want to keep to the ordinances given by God and by Jesus and our ministries are kept according the Biblical ways and serves on a non-paid and voluntary basis.

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