Heaven and Earth:
Old Testament Studies, Parts I-III
By Charles Geiser
There is a great range of interpretations of the meaning and application of the biblical phrase “heaven and earth.” This short treatise may show how we can allow God in His Word to reveal to us how He used this language various times in the Law and the Prophets. This writer suggests that one of the major areas of difficulty in understanding correctly “heaven and earth” in the New Testament is the misunderstanding of how God referred to nations by this phrase in the Old Testament. We believe sincerely that a biblical concept of “heaven and earth” in the Old Testament will help us greatly in correctly understanding New Testament passages such as Acts 2:17-21; Matthew 24, 25; and II Peter three, as well as the book of Revelation. We will not be exhaustive in this piece of work but hope to illustrate how symbolic “heaven and earth” was even in the Old Covenant, rather than to assume that each time we encounter the phrase, we immediately are to think of this physical universe and its constituent elements. If the reader wishes he can notice that even in Genesis such words as sun, moon, and stars can apply to persons rather than normally understood (37:9,10; Joseph’s dream, e.g.). But we want to start in the Penteteuch, then go to the Old Testament prophets for our study.
There appears to be no problem with grasping the meaning of the first verse in the Bible – “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” We have heard this applied to the Jewish “heaven and earth,” but the context does not seem to indicate that definition. Exodus 19 and 20 would seem to be more in harmony with the view that the Jewish “heaven and earth” began its existence after Genesis one. “The existence of God is the First Truth on which all truth depends. He is the all-sufficient First Truth” (C.C. Crawford, Genesis, page 130). “Before the creative acts mentioned in this chapter all was ETERNITY…`in the beginning’ must necessarily mean the commencement of time which followed, or rather was produced by God’s creative acts, as an effect follows or is produced by a cause” (Adam Clarke, Genesis-Deuteronomy, Volume I, page 29).
Just here we wish to mention that as we proceed towards and into the New Testament and read, e.g., “before the foundation of the world” (pro kataboles kosmou, “from the foundation of world,” I Pet.1:20), it may be that we have a better comprehension of God’s truth by applying this latter passage to Exodus 19, 20, rather than Genesis 1, due to the context of I Peter (see 1:3-21; 4:1-7, 12-17; 5:1-4; also the promises of II Peter fit perfectly with those of I Peter in that time frame of first century generation (Matthew 24:34; Luke 21:32; Romans 13:12; James 5:7-9; Hebrews 9:27,28; 10:37; 13:14; Revelation 1:1-3,7; 2:25,26; 22:15; 22:6-12). It may not be possible to make such passages as I Peter 1:20 harmonize with Genesis 1 when one perceives a better picture of the time and nature of the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
Beginning in verse 14 of this text God warns Israel that she must listen and obey the Lord in the commandments that have been given. The section has various terms and expressions in God’s describing what it will be like if they despise His statutes, but notice particularly verse 19: “AND I WILL BREAK THE PRIDE OF YOUR POWER, AND I WILL MAKE YOUR HEAVEN AS IRON, AND YOUR EARTH AS BRASS.” Compare how we understand Genesis 1:1 with how we are to understand Leviticus 26:19. “Heaven and earth” do not mean the same thing in each verse. This section has different ways of saying the same thing — sorrow and terror belong to Israel in rejecting God’s commandments in disobedience. Verse 19 then may mean that to break the pride of their power is tantamount to their heaven being made as iron and their earth as brass (Hebrew indicates “bronze,” better than “brass,” but this is moot for the point). Notice how the character of Israel’s disposition in God’s purview is personalized, “YOUR heaven” and “YOUR earth.” So the terms “heaven” and “earth” belong or relate to Israel – they evidently constitute a “heaven” and “earth” and the worth of Israel can be turned into the worth of iron and bronze through disobedience, which carries the implication to this scribe that obedience carried the worth of, say, gold and silver in God’s sight. But maybe more will clarify further.
Moab was one of many enemies of old Israel and one place she is described as coming to destruction reads: “And he shall spread forth his hands in the midst of them, as he that swimmeth spreadeth forth his hands to swim: AND HE SHALL BRING DOWN THEIR PRIDE TOGETHER WITH THE SPOILS OF THEIR HANDS. And the fortress of the high fort of thy walls shall he bring down, lay low, and bring to the ground, even to the dust” (Isaiah 25:9-12; see also 28:1-3). The Leviticus text we saw a moment ago revealed that a humbling/destructive concept would result from disobedience. Notice in like manner the same to Moab – “Bring down their pride” is the same as God told Israel, “I will break the pride of your power.” The breaking or bringing down a nation’s power/pride was in God’s sight the lessening of their significance by lessening the value of certain metals used to describe their system/government.
Thus, for a moment, let us look in the New Testament. We wish to see if this idea of certain metals representing value or worth of a nation and the idea of “heaven and earth” can complement each other. For example, before Jesus described the fall of Jerusalem (Luke 21:20-24), some were speaking of the temple, “how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts” (Luke 21:5). Did the old Jewish temple pre-70 A.D. represent anything about Judaism? Surely it did. Were their gold and silver and precious materials involved in the construction and existence of the Jewish temple of old? None would deny it. Jesus had said of the gold of the temple that it was the temple that sanctified the gold (Matthew 23:16,17). James wrote later, “Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. YE HAVE HEAPED TREASURE TOGETHER FOR THE LAST DAYS” (James 5:3). The “last days” of whom? The “last days” of what? “Forasmuch as ye know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, AS SILVER AND GOLD, FROM YOUR VAIN CONVERSATION RECEIVED BY TRADITION FROM YOUR FATHERS” (I Peter 1:18). Who boasted of tradition? Israel. Those first century saints would go through a “trial” of their faith, “BEING MUCH MORE PRECIOUS THAN OF GOLD THAT PERISHETH…” (I Peter 1:7).
Israel’s “gold” and “silver” would perish at the end time of Judaism. “And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands” – (the foundation of what earth? What heavens were the works of God’s hand? We believe the contest shows that Israel was the work of God’s hand. “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation,” Exodus 19:6a): “THEY SHALL PERISH” (Hebrews 1:11); “but thou remainest; and they all shall wax (grow) old as doth a garment” (Hebrews 1:10-12).
If the “heaven” and “earth” of Hebrews 1:10 are representative of this physical “world”, where would the Hebrew saints “remain” (1:11a) if there were no earth and heavens to remain on? If the earth in Hebrews 1:10 had the same referent as Genesis 1:1, and according to some in interpreting II Peter 3:10 it is someday to be destroyed literally by fire, then the “folding” and the “changing” of the earth and heavens (Hebrews 1:12) would have to occur before they were burned up by fire, otherwise there would be nothing to fold and change! If fold and change is figurative in Hebrews 1:10,11, and literal/physical in II Peter 3:10, why the difference? Maybe we should interpret II Peter 3:10 in light of Hebrews 1:10-12; 12:26,27; Revelation 6:14; et al., rather than the other way.
Why would inspiration bother describing the end of this physical earth and heavens someday by folding, shaking, changing, rolling up, etc., when “burning up” could have been placed in all these texts? BUT ALL OF THESE TERMS CAN BE INTERPRETED TO REFER TO A NATION THAT WAS ABOUT TO VANISH (Hebrews 8:8-13) IN FULFILLMENT (Matthew 5:17,18; 24:34,35) AND NO INCONSISTENCY EXISTS WHEN THIS IS DONE!
“The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see” (Isaiah 13:1). The NASV might help us understand better, “the oracle against Babylon.” This introduction sets the stage for the chapter in subject matter and if we forget this, our interpretations of Isaiah 13 can go just about anywhere our imagination wants to go. This is not an “oracle against the world” or an “oracle against the universe” physically and materially speaking. Babylon is a nation, it is a “world” and system of people.
In like manner, Matthew 24 has Jesus beginning in the presence of the temple in His “oracle” against Jerusalem. “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him FOR TO SHEW HIM THE BUILDINGS OF THE TEMPLE. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things?” (Was Jesus having them see stellar entities of the tangible universe or the buildings of the temple?) verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another (one stone of the physical earth or of the temple that represented that old heaven and earth of Judaism?), that shall not be thrown down” (Matthew 24:1,2). If we lose sight of the subject matter in Bible studies, we lose sight of learning more of God’s truth.
Back to Isaiah 13. (1), “They came from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the Lord, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land” (verse 5). Does not coming from a far country equal from the end of heaven? (If we do not learn how God describes things BIBLICALLY, it really makes it most difficult to understand much in God’s holy writ). This is how God spoke of coming from a far country. (2), To destroy the “whole land” of what? Unless our mind has taken a side tour while looking at Isaiah 13, the “whole land” is not the “whole physical earth,” but the “whole land” of Babylon. The terminology of a context cannot be expanded beyond the scope of the subject under discussion. The spectrum of language surely cannot go outside the land of Babylon. (3), “For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine” (verse 10).
We have seen commentaries refer to such passages in the Old Testament in speaking of this physical world/universe and its supposed demise, but we wonder why. There are no signs in the text that Isaiah has left discussing Babylon and now entertains future ideas of this physical world/cosmos. What we need to see, we believe, is that this is the way the Bible discussed the fall of a nation. This is obviously figurative language applied to Babylon in reference to its leadership and functions, but what is more perplexing is the matter of some understanding correctly Isaiah 13 and its meaning, yet when coming to the New Testament and its wording of end-time events, there is no consideration given to the fact that a nation of great importance for 2500 years, a nation from which the Messiah would come, a nation that was a schoolmaster to the faith of Jesus Christ, would be consumed by “fire” and its elements destroyed (Galatians 4:3,9; II Peter 3:10-12; Revelation 21:1; 20:11; et al). And just like Israel of old at 70 A.D., Babylon was to experience a great catastrophe that was described in a series of beautiful figures, a great fiat downfall using terms of the corporeal universe to show it. The reader is encouraged to compare the Babylonian text of Isaiah 13 to Luke 17, 21; Matthew 24; Mark 13; and many texts in Revelation. To materialize stars, moon, sun, etc., in Bible prophecy is to step out of the true redemptive history and goal of the promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (Continued).
Isaiah 13 (continued)
Before we leave this chapter on the “oracles against Babylon”, we need to look at several more verses for consideration. “And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible” (verse 11). Does not this language reiterate in different wording what this chapter has been saying about Babylon right along? Is not this the Babylonian “world” being discussed? There is no contextual intimation that the subject matter has changed from Babylon to physical/material. This “world of Babylon” is soon (see verse 6) going to have its stars, moon, and sun’s lights put out! It will be as a destruction from God (Ibid.). One must see that “world” in the Bible MORE OFTEN refers to a specific “world” or nation being discussed, not this physical “world” we think of many times. While we are thinking of it, compare Isaiah 13:10 about Babylon with what Jesus said about old Israel in Matthew 24:29; Luke 21:25. If Babylon was a “world” in her “day”, can we not say Israel/Jerusalem of Jesus’ “day” was a “world” also destined by God to end? The princes “of this world” crucified Christ, Paul said (1 Corinthians 2:6-8). What “world”? The Greek text shows in the Corinthian verses “leaders of this age” (archonton tou aionos). Did the “leaders” of the Jewish “age” or “world” have anything to do with Jesus’ death? It was the “chief priests and elders” of what “group” who persuaded the multitude to ask for Barabbas, “and destroy Jesus”? (Matthew 27:20).
But one more observation before going on to other areas of the Old Testament. “Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger” (verse 13). Shake what “heavens”? Remove what “earth”? Has Isaiah thirteen changed subject matter yet? Not to our knowledge. We have heavenly elements that refer to Babylon in verse 10, and the punishment of the “world” (Babylonian), in verse 11. And to say the same thing in yet another way, the desolation of the Babylonian “land” (verse 9) is described as the shaking of heavens and the removing of the earth out of her place (verse 13). Let the reader now look at how this same language is used to describe the fall of Jerusalem in Hebrews 12:26,27 (compare Haggai 2:6).
A good question could be asked here: How do we know Hebrews 12:26,27 is discussing Judaism and not this physical universe? If we may respond for one second to traditional views, Hebrews 12:26,27 must be speaking of Judaism because is not the physical world going to be “burned up” as per II Peter 3:10? “Shaking” and “burning up” are two different methods of desolation/destruction, which one is it? If a “shaking” follows a “burning up”, then ashes will be the only thing shaken, but since we understand traditionally the “burning up” of II Peter 3:10 is annihilation of the physical universe, then nothing will be “shaken” because nothing will exist tangibly. If the “shaking” and “burning up” are equivalents, why does the “burning up” get “top billing” all the time? Let’s hear it for “shaking” the heavens and earth one time! If “shaking the heavens” physically (and earth) precedes the “burning up”, why would God bother since the “burning up” will take care of it all anyway?
But why not let Jesus have something to say about all this. “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: FOR THE POWERS OF HEAVEN SHALL BE SHAKEN” (Luke 21:26). What was Jesus speaking about in Luke 21? We have the temple in Luke 21:5,6. The temple of Jerusalem. Jesus warned further, “When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation is nigh” (Luke 21:20). Was Jerusalem THE city and capital for Judaism? She was going to be trodden down of the Gentiles (Luke 21:24). Remember, the Gentiles were the trodders, and those of Jerusalem were the troddees! AND THIS IS ALL DESCRIBED BY JESUS AS THINGS COMING ON THE EARTH AND THE POWERS OF HEAVEN SHAKEN, THIS LANGUAGE TELLING OF THOSE THINGS “WHICH ARE WRITTEN” WHICH WERE GOING TO BE FULFILLED BEFORE THAT CONTEMPORARY GENERATION OF PEOPLE PASSED AWAY (Lk.21:22,32).
Before one more set of brief comments on another passage in Isaiah thirteen, let us pursue some questions that can come from the questions we have already asked. Isaiah thirteen has figurative language of the universe to describe the fall of Babylon. Jesus used this same language almost to the word to tell of the “end of the age” (Matthew 24:3). Jesus spoke of a “shaken heavens” in Matthew 24:29 as to its “powers”, and so does the Hebrews author (Hebrews 12:26,27). We asked simply, why was not Jesus speaking of the same “powers of the heavens” which was Judaism in Matthew 24:29 as the Hebrew writer in 12:26,27? If Hebrews 12:26,27 refers to Genesis 1:1 as to consequents, would this not seem prophetically odd in light of what Jesus said? Why would a Bible student understand Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 as referring to Judaism, and then leap to materializing the powers of the heavens in Hebrews 12:26,27 or in II Peter 3:10? WE BELIEVE THAT IF WE MATERIALIZE AND TREAT PHYSICALLY THE HEAVENS AND EARTH USED IN PROMISES CONCERNING “THIS AGE” AND “THE AGE TO COME” IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, WE DO A GRAVE INJUSTICE TO A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF BIBLE PROPHECY. We cannot do it in Isaiah thirteen without being embarrassed. We cannot do it in Matthew 24/Luke 21 without again being made to reconsider what we believe. And if we make corporeal the application of Hebrews 1:10-12, 12:26,27; Revelation 6:14; 20:11; and II Peter 3:10-13, we again put ourselves in a difficult position exegetically. II Peter 3:10 is no more to be comprehended physically as to elements, heavens, earth, etc., for destruction than is Isaiah 13:10-13 to be interpreted in a physical way.
Finally in this part, Isaiah 13:17 reveals who God is going to use in all of this against Babylon – the Medes. It was the “oracle against Babylon” (verse 1), it is destruction from the Almighty (verse 6), and the MEDES constitute the instrumentality of God for the accomplishment. If the stars, constellations, sun, moon, world, heavens, and earth are physical in Isaiah thirteen, then the Medes will be the only ones left. And if the “world” in Isaiah thirteen is the one in II Peter 3:10 destined for a material “burning up”, then where will the Medes be standing or shall we say, on what will they be standing? In like manner, if the earth, sun, moon, heavens, earth, etc., in Luke 21 are mundane, then the Gentiles will be the only ones left. And if the “world” in Luke 21:25-33 is the “world” destined to be “burned up” as per II Peter 3:10, then the Gentiles will have no place to stand after it is over because the physical earth will have been destroyed! We could say that the Medes in Isaiah 13:17 are the same as the Gentiles in Luke 21:24, but we do not subscribe to that view! WE MUST THINK OF NATIONS EARLIER AND ISRAEL LATER IN OUR BIBLES AS THE SUBJECTS OF “HEAVEN AND EARTH” LANGUAGE, ELSE WE BECOME CONFUSED AS WE TRY TO GROW IN OUR KNOWLEDGE OF GOD’S TRUTH (II Timothy 2:15).
Isaiah 24 (Conclusion)
We suggest the reader turn to this chapter in Isaiah to check as we proceed. In several commentaries that were at hand, it seemed to this writer that Barnes may have come the closest in clear meaning as to the context of Isaiah 24-27, 24:5,15,23; 25:10; 26:1; 27:6,12; check Barnes, McGuiggan, Young, and Robinson. “On the whole, it seems to me that the prophecy (Isaiah 24-27 CG) relates to the calamities that would come upon the nation by the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar, and the carrying away to Babylon, and the subsequent deliverance from the oppressive bondage, and the joy consequent on that. According to this interpretation, the twenty-fourth chapter is occupied mainly with the description of the calamities that would come upon the land by the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar” (Barnes, Isaiah, Vol. I, pp.388,389). We believe we interpret the phrase “calamities that would come upon the land” to refer to the “land” of Jacob or upon Israel in that time period. Notice verse 6, “Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate; therefore the inhabitants of the earth (what earth?) are burned, and few men left (Daniel 9:24-27; Matthew 23:37-24 – 24:15,34; II Peter 3:10-13). See however where verse 5 of Isaiah 24 sets up the context. “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; BECAUSE THEY HAVE TRANSGRESSED THE LAWS, CHANGED THE ORDINANCE, BROKEN THE EVERLASTING COVENANT.” Does this not sound like Israel’s relationship to God? Did Nebuchadnezzar break “the everlasting covenant”? Who was it who thought “to change times and laws”? (Daniel 7:25). Who was it that observed “days, and months, and times, and years?” (Galatians 4:9,10).
If this point has truth, let us go on. “Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof…the land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled…the earth (remember what “earth”) mourneth and fadeth away, the world (notice how earth and world mean the same here) languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish (now we have three references differently stated but pertaining to the same thing – earth, world, and people of the earth. The first two are metonymical in use, the last actual) – the earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly…the earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again” (Verses 1,3,4,19,20) Notice how many times God referred to Israel as “earth.” Since Mount Sinai answered to fleshly Jerusalem (Galatians 4:25), we believe that Isaiah 24:23 reaches into the first century in reference to Mount Zion, with the “new” Jerusalem implied (compare again Matthew 24:29ff.; Acts 2:19,20; Revelation 21:1; et al.). Compare also Joel 2:28-32; 3:16ff. At the very start of the book of Isaiah, the vision of Isaiah concerned Judah and Jerusalem, and in getting their attention it reads, “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth…Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider” (1:1-4). Jesus used the term “earth” to refer to Israel (Matthew 24:3,30-34; Luke 21:20-22,26,32,33). IF A BIBLE STUDENT STAYS WITH THE BIBLICAL DEFINITION OF “EARTH” IN ESCHATOLOGY, THEN TO BE CONSISTENT II PETER 3:10-13 WILL NOT BE SAYING TO HIM THAT THIS CORPOREAL, PHYSICAL PLANET WE CALL EARTH IS WHAT IS MEANT.
As we have worked on this paper, we have been impressed with the depth of this study in the Bible. We believe that to exhaust “earth” alone from Genesis to Revelation and its meaning could entail a large book, let alone the offshoot studies that could come from such a venture. But we come near to a close with this last reference at Nahum one. The subject? Ninevah (1:1). “The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, AND THE CLOUDS ARE THE DUST OF HIS FEET” (verse 3). With this last paragraph of our study, let us briefly look at “clouds.” (“Clouds” are a part of the “heavens”). Here is one Bible definition of clouds, and they are not called here cirrus (high clouds), or altostratus (intermediate clouds), or stratus (low clouds), not even cumulus (clouds of great vertical continuity), BUT “THE DUST” OF GOD’S “FEET.” Clouds can even be God’s “chariots” (Psalm 104:3). These are Bible definitions for “clouds” in prophecy. God tuned up one particular “cloud” for a fast ride against Egypt in Isaiah 19:1, because it was a “swift cloud.” But too many when reading Bible prophecy take “clouds” (like they do “earth” and “world”) to mean all the time a visible mass of condensed water vapor suspended in the atmosphere, consisting of minute droplets or ice crystals, “and it just ain’t so.” If the “swift cloud” of Isaiah 19:1 was to be literally/physically seen, then it follows that God would also be seen, because He was to be riding on that “swift cloud.” But John 1:18 says, “No man hath seen God at anytime…” No physical God, then no physical cloud, swift or otherwise, either.
Further in Nahum, “the mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein” (verse 5). Remember: Nineveh is the subject, not this physical world. This is the way God was describing the anticipated fall of a people/city. IF MOUNTAINS QUAKING, HILLS MELTING, AND EARTH BURNED COULD DESCRIBE JUDGMENT ON THE CITY NINEVEH, WHY COULD NOT THE SAME KIND OF LANGUAGE DESCRIBE THE JUDGMENT ON NEW TESTAMENT “OLD” JERUSALEM IN 70 AD IN II PETER 3:10ff.? Has the reader ever compared II Peter three with, say, Luke 21? It is so fascinating it will make you smile at the least and wonder how you ever missed the harmony and beauty of the study. Compare Luke 21:25-27; Galatians 4:3,9; 2:16; e.g., “Works” in II Peter 3:10 refer to “works” under the law. “Elements” in II Peter 3:10 (same word) refer to “elements of the world” in Galatians 4:3. What “world” placed its “children in bondage”? Was it not the Jewish “world”? What were the Galatian Jews trying to turn again to in the “weak and beggarly elements,” Galatians 4:9? Old Jerusalem that was to be destroyed in 70 AD had her children in bondage (Galatians 4:25). What was the spiritual nature of the Jewish “meats, and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances”? (Hebrews 9:9). Actually the law was holy, just, and good, (Romans 7:12), but it was the weakness “through the flesh” (Romans 8:3) that made the need for our eternal Saviour. The “through the flesh” concept made the law incapacitated and weak, and this was one of the “weaknesses” of the elements of that “age” of Judaism (Galatians 4:3,9). ALL THE COMPONENTS INCLUSIVE IN JUDAISM ARE INCLUDED IN II PETER 3:10 JUST AS THEY ARE IN JESUS’ WORDS IN MATTHEW 24, MARK 13, AND LUKE 21.
“There are three heaven and earth time periods in 2 Peter 3, and the change from one epoch of time to another was referred to as a passing of heaven and earth. The object of that expression was to show a change in God’s dealings with man rather than a change in the literal, material constitution of the world itself” (Max R. King, The Cross and The Parousia of Christ, p. 256). Let us allow the Old Testament and the relevant gospel passages to define prophetic terms so we can understand more truth of God’s revelation.
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