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The Blue Letter Bible

Chuck Smith :: Verse by Verse Study on Genesis 1:9-31 (C2000)

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Now on the third day,

God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters he called the Seas: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, and herb yielding seed, and fruit trees yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so (Gen 1:9-11).

Now the key here is the grass and the vegetables and the trees yielding seed after their kind. We've never been able to disprove this. Men have been planting grains of wheat for millenniums and he has yet to plant a grain of wheat and have a corn stalk grow out of it. They are "herb-yielding seed after their kind," each has its own little code within it that reproduces after its kind; very fascinating indeed.

Also, here we begin to see some of the inventive genius of God, creating seeds to produce after their own kind. But it would be necessary for those seeds to propagate themselves into other areas. And so I am always fascinated with the various kinds of ways that God designed for the seeds to propagate themselves.

There are some little seeds that grow in the pinecones. Now, if they would drop straight down under the pine tree, they would probably never survive very long because the mother pine would be taking too much of the nutrients from the soil. There wouldn't be room for it to grow, there wouldn't be enough light, and so the seed needs to get out away from the mother pine a bit. So what did God do? He designed a little wing on that seed. And when the pinecone dries, it begins to pop open, and the little seed falls free. But with that wing, it begins to spin almost like a helicopter rotor and it spins on out far enough away from the pine tree so that when it lands, it can fine a suitable place to grow up into a new pine. Marvelous accident! I wonder how long the pine tree could have existed before it decided, "I need to get my seeds out further" and it developed the little wing on the seed.

There are other seeds that when the pod dries out they explode. They pop and the seed shoots out, exploding kind of a seed. Then there are other seeds that put a little hook on the end of the seed, and you or an animal walks by, and that little seed hooks on to your pants and it gets a free ride or it hooks in to your socks. And so you get the feeling, an irritation in your ankle, and you reach down and pull that seed out and throw it down. Oh, you helped it propagate itself.

There are other seeds that develop a quick-drying glue. The minute it touches you, it glues itself to you. But then, pretty soon, as the glue dries completely, it falls off and it has propagated itself. Other seeds surround themselves with a luscious tasting juice and all, and a little bit of meaty stuff, and so you eat, or the bear eats the berries, then later on he propagates the seeds in other areas.

The way that seeds are designed to propagate themselves are fascinating indeed. There are some seeds that build a little parachute. They sprout out a little parachute on top of the seed and they just wait for the wind to come along, and the wind comes and lifts the seed. And you see it floating through the air, its heading somewhere to propagate itself wherever the wind will let it drop and then it will burrow in and begin to grow.

The coconut seed is a fascinating seed; it's conquered the South Pacific. It put a waterproof husk around itself. And thus, when the hurricane would blow, the coconut would fall off and fall into the water, and it would be carried because of the waterproof husk. It would be carried across the ocean and be thrown up on a beach somewhere. And the surf would sort of cover it with sand, and it had enough water inside to support the roots until they could get deep enough to get their own water source. And of course a little coconut tree would come up and then he would begin to propagate across the South Pacific islands.

Fruit bearing seeds, vegetable-bearing seeds, grass bearing seeds, after their kind. Oh, what a testimony of the inventive genius of God in creation. As the Bible says, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the earth sheweth forth his handiwork. And day unto day they utter their speech; night unto night their voice goeth forth. There is not a speech nor a language" (Psalm 19:1-3).

And you just look around, God'll speak to you through the grass, through the vegetables, through the flowers, through the trees. Through His creation, as you look at the wisdom, as you study it, as God has designed the leaves to take and turn the sunrays into energy and, and all, and the photosynthesis processes by which the sun is turned into energy to feed the tree and all. Marvelous are His ways. Marvelous is His creative genius as you really look at the various life forms.

And the earth brought forth grass, and [vegetable or] herb-yielding seed after his kind, and tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day. And God said, Let there be light in the firmament in the heaven (Gen 1:12-14)

Now, the word light here is "meor". The word light in Hebrew is "or". The word "meor" is a light holder. So let there be the "light holders" in the heavens

to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years (Gen 1:14):

And so our time is calculated by the sun and the moon, and it is generally thought that the Earth's rotation around the sun was a three hundred and sixty-day year. That is what the Babylonian calendar was predicated upon, and there is a lot of evidence to show that also the Mayan, Incan, Chinese calendars where all predicated on a three hundred and sixty-day year. Somehow, the earth's orbit was changed around the sun, and now it is three hundred and sixty-five years, nine hours, fifty-six minutes, nine and four-hundredths of a second. What caused the change? We don't know for sure.

Emmanuel Vilikovski again in his book, "Worlds in Collision" as you get into the book, we'll find out that his theory that the introduction of the planet Venus into our solar system that caused the change of the Earth's orbit around the sun. Now, I don't know, it's very possible. He presents very interesting arguments. But yet, our year is measured by the time it takes our Earth to make its rotation around the sun. And the months were originally lunar months, the time it takes the moon to go through its full cycle, as it orbits around the Earth. So that, they are for signs, for times, for seasons and so forth; and so this becomes very interesting.

Now, if this is a process of "re-creation," then it would mean that on the fourth day, actually God did not create the sun and the moon on the fourth day, but He had now allowed them to be in their present, current positions in their relationship to the Earth, and he removed the shroud of fog, and all, from the Earth so that you can finally see the sun and the moon.

Now, we have evening and mornings, where we don't see the sun, cloudy days, cloudy all day long. I still know it's daytime, because there's light, but yet I don't see the sun. I know it's night because it's dark, but I don't see the moon, because there is a cloud cover that prohibits me seeing the moon or prohibits my seeing the sun.

Now, this fog, cloud cover could have been removed on the fourth day, so that the "light holder" becomes visible. It is difficult to explain how they could have an evening and morning without the rotation of the earth on its axis if the sun wasn't in position from verse one, and it wasn't created until the fourth day. How could you've evening and morning in the first three days? So, that seems to lend credence to the "gap theory" that the heavens and the earth were created in verse one, this is an account of re-creation.

Now the fog cloud's removed and the sun and the moon becoming visible and are now used to mark off years and days and months; used as time indicators and the greater light to rule the day, the lesser light holder to rule the night. Now, the moon we know has no light of itself, it isn't in conflict with the scripture. It's just called a light holder. A mirror can be in a sense a light holder, such as is the moon. It would fit with the Hebrew word "meor". It doesn't necessarily mean a source of light.

let them be for lights in the firmament in the heavens to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: [and] he made the stars also. And God set them in the heavens [the firmament, in the limitless space of heaven, the rachowq of heaven] to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and the fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created the great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let the fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day (Gen 1:15-23).

Now as we get into the creation of the animal-type of life in the fifth day, first of all, the life forms in the water, "Let the waters bring forth abundantly," and my, the teeming life forms in the water! And again the design, and the variety! I love to go snorkeling over in Hawaii. The tremendous variety of life forms that I can see. Now, there are a lot of life forms that I can't even see, the waters are teeming with life forms. But I often wonder why God made such weird-looking fish, in such variety, and then the fabulous colors! It's just to me exciting, that God is not limited to just one design.

If you'd look around tonight you'd see that God isn't limited to just one design. Yet, we all possess the basic same, you know, the basic same features. We all have a nose, we all have eyes, we all have eyebrows, we all have---well, we, most of us, have you know, some hair at least. And you know, teeth, and mouth, chin, cheeks and so forth. And yet, look at the variety! You've got same, basically the same features, and yet we don't look alike at all! It just testifies to God's neat, inventive genius, and being able to take same basic features and just creates an infinite number of varieties.

God evidently likes variety. He makes every snowflake different. Every one of them is a perfect geometrical pattern, but no two snowflakes alike. Of the trillions of snowflakes that fall every year, God just likes variety so much. He doesn't make any two of them alike. And yet, they are so exquisitely beautiful when you look at them under a microscope. The geometric patterns and design.

And so, of all of the millions of people, there may be some who look somewhat alike, and yet, you know, when you get to know twins, you'll be able to tell them apart at sight, because there's just enough difference between everybody. Though the twins may have come from the same cell, divided and thus, they have the same chromosome content and gene content as each other, yet the variations that develop, I just am amazed at creation. I just love to see the different life forms.

I love to see these crazy, little tiny bugs and I don't even know what they are, or where they're going, and I wonder if they know where they're going, but they know how to fly. Now, they fly in erratic patterns, and sometimes they can be pesky, but, they'll land sometimes, I'll read my Bible and they'll land on my Bible, and I'll just look and study them. And I'll think, you marvelous little creature, you, you can fly! You've got something over me. So designed, so constructed, that you can fly off of that page, and just the wide variety! A fly, you hate them, but yet what fabulous design! Swept back wing design, and their ability to just hover, and then almost to fly backwards. I mean, you know, when you see them they just, they can dart in several directions, and then they can land on the ceiling and walk. And I've often wondered how close does he get to the ceiling before he flips over so he can land on his feet. That's gonna worry you, isn't it?

But, oh, how marvelous is our God! How infinite His wisdom! How great His creative genius in all of the life forms that we see. Now we have the basic life forms, the plant life forms, on the third day. Here on the fifth day, now, we have the more complex life forms. The plant forms of course, are necessarily rooted. The roots themselves are marvelous. They are able to go down and each little root is a chemical laboratory. And it is able to take out of the soil just the necessary chemicals to support that particular plant; able to tell the difference between the chemicals, knows just the chemicals that it needs out of the soil to feed the particular plant that it's coming from, to bring the moisture up out of the soil and all. Marvelous, absolutely marvelous!

But we get the more complex life forms that sort of are a little independent. They're not rooted, they're not grounded, they are mobile, and the various cycles that God has created, the whole process is just so marvelous indeed. The water, teeming with life, and then the air, and the many, many kinds of birds and the variety of birds that God has created. And those instinctive abilities in the birds!

I'm always fascinated by that little bird in Hawaii that goes up into the Aleutian chain in order to mate. During the summer, they take off from Hawaii and they fly all the way up into Alaska where they mate. They build their nests, they lay the eggs, they hatch their young. And then with the coming of winter, they don't want to spend winter in Alaska -- and who can blame them. And you have to almost envy them, spending their winters in Hawaii. They take off over the thousands of miles without suitcases, without spare gas tanks, without compasses or navigational equipment. And they come and fly right into Hawaii, sometimes they get into severe storms, one-hundred, two-hundred mile an hour winds that blow them off course, but somehow they find their way right in. You say, "oh, they remember the way they flew out."

How do they reckon? Some think they have some kind of device that tunes on the magnetic field of the earth. I don't know. But, really, they're not following the same path, so that argument's sort of shot down, because, really, the parents decide to leave for Hawaii before the kids are able to fly that far. So, the parents fly off to Hawaii, leaving their kids in Alaska! But, it doesn't seem to matter, cause a couple of weeks later, their kids take off and they fly right to Hawaii. Never been there before, yet somehow, God has built into this little bird that kind of instinct; and that's a bird brain. And it's not a very big kind of a computer. Talk about microsystems!

Oh, the wisdom of God, the wisdom of God. How thrilling to be able to see the design in nature, all testifying of the wisdom of the God that I serve. I'm so glad that I serve Him. I'm so glad that I know Him. Such a glorious God, so wise; all of these created life forms. Now, He created also the mammals, the great whales. He created the animals, the domesticated-type animals, all after their own kind.

And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and the cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and it was good. And God said, Let us make man in our image, and after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them (Gen 1:24-27).

So we find, now, the crowning act of God's creation. Having created the world with its many life forms, He now wants one to rule over these life forms. So God said, "let us make man in our image, after our likeness."

The tri-unity of God is found in the first verse of the Bible, "in the beginning God," the word in Hebrew is "Elohim". Elohim is a plural word. Other places in the Old Testament it is translated Gods. "El" is God in Hebrew, singular. In Hebrew there is a dual tense, two, and the Hebrew "Elah" is God in a dual tense. But "Elohim" is the plural tense for God. And so, even the tri-unity of God is expressed in the first verse, "in the beginning God," Elohim. Not "El", but "Elohim" created the heavens and the earth.

And the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, moved over the face of the waters. "And God said". The moment God spoke, you have the Word of God. "And in the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the Word was God. And the same was in the beginning with God, and all things were made by Him"(John 1:1).

Now you have God saying "let us make man in our image after our likeness". Who was God talking to? God after the counsel of His own will, in the triunity of the Godhead which we, in our feeble, finite minds cannot comprehend. But in that trinity of His nature, He said "let us make man after our image" and thus he made man after His image, a trinity of nature. So God is a superior trinity. Man, made in the image of God is an inferior trinity. The superior trinity being Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the inferior trinity of man being body, soul and spirit.

"After His likeness". The chief governing characteristic of God is His self-determination, His will, His ability to choose and to determine His own destiny or His own mind. Man, being created in the image of God was created a self-determinant being. Being created after the image of God, God created me with a capacity to choose. I have the power of self-determination. I can choose what I want. I have that power, that capacity. I'm made in the image of God, who is a self-determinant being.

Now, if God created me with a capacity of choice, it would be totally meaningless unless He gave me a choice. What value would it be for me to have the capacity to choose if there was nothing to choose? Not only giving me the capacity of choice, He also respects the choice that I make. Again, what value would it be for God to give me the freedom of choice but then not respect the choice? I say, "well I want to do this". He says bloop, "you can't do that." Then that isn't' free choice. He has, He does not respect my choice, and thus it isn't really the freedom of choice. So having given me the capacity of choice, making me in His image, He has to then offer me an alternative, give me a choice to make; but then, He has to respect that choice that I have made.

Part of the intricacy of self-determination; that image of God in which man was created. That is why, when God created man and He created the garden for man to dwell in, that He put in that Garden a tree of knowledge of good and evil and said to man, "Don't eat that". Therein is the choice that man was given, because having been created with the capacity of choice, it is no value unless there is something to choose.

But again, in honoring and respecting my choice, if I choose that I don't want to know God, I don't want to serve God, I don't want to love God, then it would be manifestly wrong for Him to force me to go to heaven where I would have to love Him, and have to be with Him, and have to serve Him. "I don't want God in my life! I don't want God around me! I don't, I want God to leave me alone!" All right, if He then doesn't leave me alone, He's not respecting my choice. What value is it then for me to have a choice if He doesn't respect it? It is an awesome thing to realize that God does respect my choice.

Now, He does speak to influence my choice because He loves me, and He knows what is best for me. And knowing me and loving me, and knowing what is best, He seeks to influence my choice and to direct my choice, but I always have the right to say, "bug off, God, I don't want to follow you." And He will not force His choice upon me, because that would not be free choice.

The chief emotional attribute of God is love. God making me in His image has made me with this beautiful capacity to love. I am capable of loving, of giving and receiving love, and to know the meaningfulness of giving and receiving love, because I am created in the image of God and that's His chief emotional characteristic; is to love. Now God is honored when I follow Him, and I love as He loves. But I don't have to, again I have a choice, and I can choose to hate if I want. But I have the capacity to love.

So man was made in the image of God and in the likeness of God. Now, that does not necessarily mean a physical likeness of God. What God looks like; none of us know. God constantly refused that man should make any kind of a likeness of Him. Thus, as God appeared to man in the Old Testament, there was no form, so that man would not think of God in the terms of a form and try to carve out a form that would represent God.

The likeness of God we see in Jesus Christ; the fullness of the Godhead bodily dwells in Christ. Now, when God created our bodies, He created ears so that we could hear, designed them so that they would pick up sound vibrations that would bounce or vibrate the little incus stapes, and bones in there and send these vibrations into the brain that my brain would interpret as words and sounds and make it intelligible to me. So, I think of my ears when I think of hearing.

Now, I know that God can hear, but it doesn't necessarily follow that God has ears. I need ears to hear, but God wouldn't necessarily need ears to hear. I make sounds by the use of the throat and the tongue and the teeth, and the roof of the mouth and so forth. I form the sounds by the expelling of air and the movement of all of these things in coordination, so that the sounds come forth in a way, that because we have agreed that particular sounds mean particular things, I'm able to communicate intelligibly to you through sounds that I can form in my mouth. I can speak to you.

Now, when God speaks, He doesn't necessarily need all the vocal apparatus that I have; a voice box, a larynx and a tongue and all of this. I have this little system in my eyes with the vitreous jelly on the backside that is taking these little pictures at the rate of about eighteen per second and transmitting the vibrations on into the brain by which my eyes are interpreting the world around me and making it understandable as the vibrations are coming into my brain, and all of it's unscrambling and interpretation as these little flash vibrations are bounced in at eighteen per second. And I am able to recognize you and say "oh yeah that's" and the color of clothes that you're wearing and the, you know, the whole thing. Your eyes are picking it all up and sending all those messages into the brain. No wonder you get tired at the end of the day.

And thus, I know that God can see, but it doesn't follow that God has to have eyes to see. But because I relate seeing to eyes, and when I talk to God about seeing, I would say, well, the eyes of the Lord go to and fro throughout the entire earth, but it doesn't necessarily follow that God has eyes, because eyes aren't necessarily essential for seeing.

So what does God look like? We don't know. He doesn't want you to know, because we'd just be dumb enough to carve out of a little stick God, and hang Him around our neck, and you know, we'd begin to think of God as a little piece of wood, this thing carved out and is strung around my neck. He is certainly too vast, too infinite, to be confined to a form that could be hung around your neck or worn around your wrist. The infinite God, who created this universe and all the life forms within it remains unformed in our own mind. For God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth, and God is seeking such to worship Him.

So the very first commandment that God gave was "Thou shalt have no other Gods before me." And then He said, "Thou shalt not make unto thyself any graven image or any likeness of God to bow down and to worship it". He wants to remain totally formless in your mind.

To this extent, I really don't care for pictures of Christ, because there is an attempt to define Him in a form. And we really don't know what He looked like. And if you're expecting to see Him with shoulder-length hair and a beard, and all, you may be, you may not even recognize Him. You may be, as Isaiah said, astonished, when you see Him. The recognizable part of Christ will be the prints of the nails in His hands and the print of the sword in His side. And as we suggested last Thursday night, it is possible that He'll be the only handicapped person in there. We'll all be in our new bodies, perfected bodies that will know no handicaps at all. We'll know no weakness, no pain, no suffering. But He will still be bearing the marks of His cross, and may be the only malformed body in heaven.

So, "God making man in His own image and after His own likeness" is speaking of that spiritual nature and those capacities of God: self-determination, love, those capacities that He has given to me.

And God blessed them, and he said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth over the earth (Gen 1:28).

So God placed the earth under man's control and authority. He made man the master over the earth. That he should be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth, to subdue it, and have dominion over the other created beings of God.

And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb-yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. [It's your food.] And to every beast of earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so (Gen 1:29-30).

So all of the animals at that point lived off of the grasses and vegetation. There were no carnivorous animals in the beginning. The world was living in harmony with God, and thus in harmony with each other.

And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day (Gen 1:31).

Now the first three verses of chapter two belong to chapter one.

Thus were the heavens of the earth were finished, and all [of] the host of them (Gen 2:1).

Which would include the angels, for the angels are called the hosts of heaven.

And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made (Gen 2:2).

It doesn't mean that God was now exhausted, but it means that the creative works were completed. He rested just from His creation. He had created everything that was needed at this point, and so that was the end of His creative act. He ceased His creative act on the seventh day. All of the things were created or reformed within this six-day period. And so God rested from His creative acts, as it points out here, He rested from His creation, all the work which He had made.

And God blessed the seventh day (Gen 2:3)

And He set it apart. The word "sanctified" actually means to be set apart because that in it, He had rested from all of His work, which God had created, made. Now what did He set the seventh day apart for? He set it apart for man's acknowledging of God. The seventh day was to be the day that we acknowledge God and give unto God, and we do it by resting. A day in which we acknowledge the Creator; it's set apart for the recognition of the Creator, as He has so left such ample evidence of Himself in His creation.

Now later on, as God calls a nation of people, a separate people to Himself, we will be, we will find Him giving them a law for the seventh day; a covenant between God and Israel forever. And on six days, they are to do their labors, the seventh day they are to rest. Six years they are to plant their fields, the seventh year they are to let their fields rest. Six years they may go into slavery, the seventh year they are set free. And this pattern of six and one, will be established by God throughout the history of His people, and interwoven into their whole culture.

So we find everything is beautiful. The world, the universe has been created. The world has been established now. The environmental conditions have been placed here for man, the trees, the vegetables have been placed here for his food. The atmosphere has been created to sustain his life. The water systems are all there, the animals, and now man to rule over it. It's done. And God rested on the seventh day from His work of creation.

Now as we get into chapter two, we find a recapitulation that will emphasize the creation of man, because of this recapitulation we have now, because man is being emphasized. The name of God, not just being "Elohim" as it is in chapter one, but more personal because we are dealing with more the creation of man, and we are being given details of the creation of man in chapter two. And thus, because we are now relating God to man, we are coming into that mysterious name of God, "Jehovah", "Elohim". Jehovah, meaning "the becoming one" as God relates to man and man's needs, and He becomes to man whatever man may need.

Now it has caused some of the critics of the Bible to see Genesis not as the work of one Author, but the work of many authors. And chapter one was written by the "Elohistic"; chapter two by the "Jehovistic." And then you get into the priestly version of it. And so you have the "EPJ" or the "JEP" concepts of how many authors of Genesis, and somebody's even thrown in an "I" somewhere there. And these stupid, foolish, nonsensical arguments which are of no value and of no profit to anybody.

That's why I didn't even get into them. I don't intend to get into them. They are a waste of your time and my time. It isn't who wrote it, it was the Holy Spirit that inspired the writing. And rather than trying to figure out who wrote it, it's better to find out what it says. And so we'll just go through finding out what it says and we'll leave the puny, little intellects to their discussions and arguments that are without profit or value to us. What is important for us to know is what did God say. Not how did He say it, or to whom did He say it, but what did He say. For all scripture was given by inspiration of God. So the Holy Spirit, basically, is the author of all the scripture and who He was inspiring is of no import to us.

So next week, we'll continue with chapter two. And at this rate, I'm sure the Lord will come before we get through the Bible. And I wouldn't mind the final chapter being written up there anyhow. "Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus". If you're not saying that already, you'll be saying it before you sit in too many gas lines. As the crisis hour is approaching, the saying of which we've been warning, as man has carelessly lived as though there was no tomorrow, we're coming soon to the day when they'll be no tomorrow. We see the clock winding out. "Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus". Exciting days, we'll have a lot of things to share with you soon, as soon as we get all of our information packets put together. But needless to say, Jesus is coming soon.

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