A Living Hope in A Dying World (Heaven Series: #2)

I’m with my daughter Annie this weekend on a mini get-a-way together.

Shortly after I went to bed, she came into our bedroom and said:

“Mom — we are bombing Syria.”

I sat up, in shock.

Then she asked, “Is this going to be World War III?”

Our world is filled with sin, sorrow, and war.

Both the letter of 1 Peter and the book of Revelation

were written to believers facing persecution and death,

to give them a living hope, so that they might

persevere in the face of suffering, and not give up.

“The new heaven and the new earth” is not a pie in the sky dream,

and the pictures in Revelation are not crazy,

they point to something that is really going to happen.

Why, we should ask, did Peter use the phrase: “living hope?”

We will discover that, and it is exciting,

for it shows us why the word “hope” that the apostles used

is not the way we have come to use the word hope today.

it was a certainty.

How we need this today.

Many of you, as well, are living with enormous pain.

Understanding the certainty of our hope will make all the difference.

But first, today, let us pray for the people of Syria, 

for how they are suffering from a cruel regime and a country being bombed.

I have a short article released from Open Doors this weekend on how to pray for Syria, and especially for the Christians suffering such severe persecution.

So let us, together, in this sisterhood, pray, as we are exhorted to do,

knowingr God hears our prayers.

Sunday:

1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

2. Let us pray together for our brothers and sisters in Christ in Syria — this short article from Open Doors will help us.

Urgent Prayer: President Trump Launches Airstrikes on Syria

Monday: A Living Hope

What did the apostles mean when they kept referring to our hope of the promises of heaven as a living hope?

Most of us do not live in an agrarian culture, but in the cities and in the suburbs. But when the apostles speak of Christ as the “first-fruits” of the world that is to come, they understood. How joyful a farmer felt when he saw the “first-fruits” of his crop, for it was sure sign of more to come. In the same way:

Our living hope is Jesus risen from the dead! He is the first-fruits, and we will follow. As Paul said, “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Corin. 15:18) But no, as Christ was raised with a new and glorious body, so will we be, and we will be raised to live not in this war-torn dying world, but in a new heaven and new earth where there is no more pain, no more tears, and no more death. Not only that, we will not hurt each other any more, for there will be no more sin. Now, what evidence do we have for that? It is two fold.

First, when we received Christ, we received His Spirit — that Spirit in us who cries, “Abba, Father.” We see the world differently than those who do not have the Spirit, we experience His peace, His guidance, and His love shed abroad in our hearts. Romans 8 tells us that the Spirit is the first fruits of a complete transformation that will happen when we see Jesus face to face.

Then, I learned something new from Mike Reeves. Susan, as she often does, summed it up so well:

In Genesis 1:11-13, on the third day God created plants and fruit with seed within them. So, the fact that Jesus was raised “on the third day according to the Scriptures” could be tied-in with this third day when God made fruit, the “first fruit”, with seed within it. Christ is also the “first-fruit” of the “new Eden, or new life”. On the third day, when God made fruits with seeds in them, He set-up a plan for the fruits to keep on producing more of their own kind. Jesus, as a kind of a “first fruit”, is also God’s plan for Him to “reproduce” more of His own kind. Reeves pointed out that in the apostle Paul’s mind, there were only two men: Adam and Christ. Think of them as two fruits, and every person is a seed in one or the other. What happens to you depends upon which fruit you are in. So, if I am a “seed” inside of the fruit, Jesus, then I am a partaker of everything that He is. What happens to Him, happens to me. Kind of like if you plant an apple seed, an orange tree will not grow out of it. No, it will produce another apple tree, after its own kind. The fact that Jesus was raised from the dead with a body, and a perfected body that was not limited by walls, doors, and locks, means that I will also be raised with that kind of body. Now I can see how it will be possible for me to finally be free from sin, but it’s still difficult to even comprehend that. But everything that I will be and will have in heaven is because of Jesus, because He is the “apple” and I am the “seed” inside of Him. 

3. After reading Susan’s summary of the relationship between the third day of creation and Christ being raised on the third day, how does this help to explain why there will be no more sin in us or in the new heaven and the new earth?

4. How does Paul articulate this same truth in 1 Corinthians 15:45-48?

 

5. How does Peter articulate it in 1 Peter 1:3?

 

6. What encouragement does he give to the believers who were facing such severe persecution from Nero is 1 Peter 1:4-9?

 

Tuesday: A New Heaven and A New Earth

Just as we will have new bodies, so we will have a new heaven and a new earth. N. T. Wright wrote: 

“It is not we who go to heaven, it is heaven that comes to earth…the final answer to the Lord’s prayer, that God’s kingdom will come and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Our new life is not going to be in some ethereal place in the sky, but will occur right here on this earth we love, only an earth made new. It will be a very tangible place like the white sand beaches of Maui, the animal-filled plains of Africa, and the alps of Switzerland – yet so much better.

 

7. Is this different than the kind of heaven you imagined in the past? If so, explain. What might this mean to the war-torn believers in Syria? To children who have known nothing but war, hunger, and sorrow?

 

8. Read Revelation 21:1-5

A. How do verses 1-2 support Wright’s words above?

B. Who is this “New Jerusalem” in verse 2?

C. How do you see Eden before the fall in verse 3?

D. List the promises of verse 4.

E. With what promise does verse 5 begin?

F.  Right after this promise, what does God tell John to do in verse 5? Why, do you think?

 

Wednesday: Over and Over and Over Again

I have been so encouraged in researching heaven for the book I am writing on The Jesus Who Surprises (tentative title), for surely one of the biggest surprises is just how wildly wonderful is the world to come for those who are in Him. This life we have now will seem like a split-second, and Isaiah promises all remembrances of sad things will be gone. I also now see this thread of this sure hope all the way through the Scriptures — and not just in the New Testament, but in the Old. I also marveled at how specifically Isaiah prophesied the captivity of Israel by Babylon, the name of the man (Cyrus) who would one day set them free, and the crucifixion of Jesus. So therefore, his prophesies concerning the new heaven and the new earth will be just as accurate. This is a sure hope! Indeed, one day not only will we be released from sin and bondage, but the earth as well. As I have come to understand “Babylon” from Genesis to Revelation, I see she represents Satan and the bondage he brings. Surely, behind the holocaust, behind the atrocities in Syria, and behind all the sin and suffering in the world is Satan. But one day “Babylon” will be thrown into the sea, and that sea will be no more. That is our sure hope. I want to wait for another study to go into this, for I promised not to give you lengthy studies. I also want to be sure you listen to Tim Keller’s sermon on the new heaven and the new earth.

9. What stands out to you from the above and why?

Thursday-Friday: Free Sermon by Tim Keller on The New Heaven and the New Earth

10. Listen and share your notes.

Saturday:

11. What is your take-a-way and why?

 

[1] N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, p. 104.

COMMENTS (65) Post a New Comment ↓
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Sunday:
1.  What stands out to you from the above and why?
That we have a living hope. That hope is a certainty not just a pie in the sky dream. Hope is a reality today and a certainty for each tomorrow.
2.  Let us pray together for our brothers and sisters in Christ in Syria — this short article from Open Doors will help us.
Lord, we groan in our prayers as we hear the atrocities in Syria. Incline your ears to us. Your arm is not too short to save nor your ears too dull to hear. (Isaiah 59:1) We pray for its people-for your protection and provision. For Father Edward and other church leaders to be strengthened and kept safe. For conviction in the hearts of the Syrian government to care for its people more than power. May Syrian Christians have the living hope in Christ and see beyond their sufferings. May you be honored in all of these and help us not forget our brothers and sisters by daily bringing them to your throne of grace.

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    Amen to your good prayer, Bing.

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    Amen to Bing’s prayer. We truly live in a world that is “a veil of sorrow”, yet it is so good that we have a living hope in Jesus and a future where true justice will reign and all will be made right.

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1. What stands out to you from the above and why? 
It is good to be reminded that our hope is not wishful thinking but it is a real and living hope rooted in the truth of Gods’s Word.  I think of the words of an old hymn “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.  I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus name.”  And Romans 15:13  “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
2. Let us pray together for our brothers and sisters in Christ in Syria 
Thankyou you for this articulate prayer list for Syria and it’s people.

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    Love that wonderful hymn, Bev.

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I understand Annie’s response to the bombings however, it is reported by Nikki Haley, UN ambassador, that only 3 facilities that house the equipment the Assad regime uses to gas his people were targeted. I know that God will prevail, but how can we sit idly by while children are killed by their President? I will pray for the people, but I will pray also that Assad is somehow stopped.

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    I don’t think she was saying it was wrong — just wondered about retaliation from their allies — but I agree something had to be done.

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I’m in a quiet place these days and cannot be active here right now, but this post stirred my heart and I just wanted to thank Him for that, and for Dee’s heart that hears Him and so faithfully teaches us what she hears–for that is how He blesses us so richly here. The timing of this post, along with a new CD I’ve been soaking in (Andrew Peterson’s Resurrection Letters), tells me He wants to make sure I hear this truth: the CERTAINTY of our LIVING HOPE. I couldn’t find the lyrics, which I like better than the song even, but this goes so well: Andrew Peterson’s Rise Up

 

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    This is so beautiful, Lizzy. Thank you for sharing!

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      oops–kind of meant to post this one instead of the New Jerusalem: Maybe Next Year

       

        Lizzie,  thanks for sharing Andrew Peterson’s songs.  He is one of my favorites.  My youngest daughter recently shared this song “Is He Worthy” with me.  It is my new favorite song by him.  The video is beautifully done.

        https://youtu.be/OIahc83Kvp4

        Lizzy, I love this song Maybe Next Year. Andrew Peterson is new to me. I need to listen to more of his music. But maybe I love it because it speaks to so many of my longings – for the wrongs to be made right, all things will be made new; to be with my loved ones from whom I am now separated; but also, I long to meet my blog friends from here that I have never been able to sit down and talk to heart to heart with – in person; and without sin and time to intervene.

        I understand that you are in a “quiet place” right now. Me too, as far as the blog is concerned. I can’t seem to be able to verbalize how God is dealing with me but it is a good, deep work. The Living Hope in Jesus is so crucial to our life here in this sad, confusing world. I continue to keep you, Lizzy,  and many others here in my prayers.

        Beautiful! The New Jerusalem! Oh how we long for that day.

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” the word “hope” that the apostles used
is not the way we have come to use the word hope today.
it was a certainty.
How we need this today.”
Amen, how we need Jesus, our Living Hope! He is our only certainty. We need You, Oh we need You, every hour we need You! Dee, so lovely that u could have time apart with your daughter! I will be visiting my daughter in Boston in 10 days  :)

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Yes, Jenny. So glad you can be with yours too!

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1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

 

I agree that the way we use the word hope today is not the same as in the days of the apostles. We say it in a wishy-washy way; “I hope you feel better soon”, or “I hope it doesn’t rain this weekend.” It’s sort of like there’s a built-in escape clause, because chances are, what we say we hope for won’t happen, and maybe we’re not even expecting it to happen, so we don’t say it in a way that’s sure and determined, so that we won’t be too disappointed when things don’t turn out.

 

And it is good that you have reminded us to pray for Syria today. I am too guilty of being concerned only about my own small corner of the world, and not faithful to pray for what is happening around the world. It’s so easy to read the headlines, the print of words, and forget that there are real people with names and faces who are enduring these horrors.

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Sunday:
 
1. What stands out to you from the above and why? – Hope! We as Christians can have this hope because we have a relationship with Jesus. I feel sorry for those that don’t. How they must struggle to just live day to day in trials. If they only knew what peace they could have by accepting the Lord as their Savior.
 
2. Let us pray together for our brothers and sisters in Christ in Syria — this short article from Open Doors will help us. – I just feel so downhearted at times with the way this world is going. I know that this is all part of God’s plan and his word says that there will be wars and rumors of wars, and brother will be against brother, but it is so sad to see where we are headed. It will only stop when Jesus returns unless every knee bows to the Lord Jesus Christ.
 

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3. After reading Susan’s summary of the relationship between the third day of creation and Christ being raised on the third day, how does this help to explain why there will be no more sin in us or in the new heaven and the new earth? 
 

I get the analogy, for once (!), of Jesus being the first fruit, and us being the seed from Him, on. We will be just like Him, raised perfectly from the dead.

 
4. How does Paul articulate this same truth in 1 Corinthians 15:45-48?
 

He compares the first and second men; the first from dust and the second from heaven. The first, Adam, was made from dust and was a living being. The second,  Jesus, was made spiritual, and was a living spirit. You are either of dust or of spirit.

 

I don’t ever remember reading this scripture before now. So enlightening!

 

5. How does Peter articulate it in 1 Peter 1:3?

 

We are born again to a living hope!

 

6. What encouragement does he give to the believers who were facing such severe persecution from Nero is 1 Peter 1:4-9?

 

No matter the trials they are enduring, because they have faith without sight, they will have an everlasting life. Their inheritance is “…imperishable, undefiled, and unfading…” it is “…kept in heaven for you.” He says they should rejoice in these things through the trials. He says that the “…tested genuiness of their faith is like gold…” He reminds them that their souls will be saved.

 

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Lizzy, AMEN and I am so happy how as you are pressing into God He is so comforting you right now.

This was meant to go under Lizzy’s last comment. :)

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The songs by Andrew Peterson are powerful and bring me into the presence of Christ. Thank you to Lizzie and Diane!

1.  What stood out was the phrase ‘understanding the certainty of our hope will make all the difference’. Reminds me of the story of a young man, severely disabled, who was asked why he still believed in God, wasn’t he upset with God? He answered that God had all eternity to make it up to him.  Sometimes I am solidly there, sometimes I can’t even catch a glimpse. How finite we are!

I ran across something I wanted to share with Laura and Jenny and Susan and all who are under heavy weights for extended seasons.

When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away your ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer. Trust God today, no matter how dark your situation. God will bring you through.

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    Great word picture, Mary.

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3. After reading Susan’s summary of the relationship between the third day of creation and Christ being raised on the third day, how does this help to explain why there will be no more sin in us or in the new heaven and the new earth? 
It is all about the resurrection of Jesus.  She said “What happens to you depends on which fruit you are in…. What happens to Him happens to me…..   But everything that I will be and will have in heaven is because of Jesus,….”  And that means no more sin!!

 
4. How does Paul articulate this same truth in 1 Corinthians 15:45-48? 
He talks of the first Adam as the natural fleshly being but the last Adam is Jesus Who is a life giving spirit “the spiritual”.   So as Verse 49 says “And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.” So we like Jesus and bearing his image will be without sin. What a wonderful freedom we have to look forward to.

5. How does Peter articulate it in 1 Peter 1:3? 

He says we have had a new birth.  We are spiritually brought to life through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  Jesus is alive and He is our “living” hope!!

 

6. What encouragement does he give to the believers who were facing such severe persecution from Nero is 1 Peter 1:4-9?

He says to them they have an inheritance coming that is kept for them in Heaven. Verse 5 refers to those believers as “you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power intil the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”  They were living in an onslaught of death and cruelty but Peter says they are shielded by God’s power in spite of all that.  Their trials were serving to prove the genuineness of their faith and to refine it like  gold.  Faith is a key word here in this process and verse 9 says “you are receiving the end result of your faith the salvation of their souls”.  What a security for them in the midst of severere trial.  This is what believers in Syria are facing and these verses have to take on very deep meaning for them.  It is their “living hope”.   And it is ours as well.

 

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What did the apostles mean when they kept referring to our hope of the promises of heaven as a living hope?
There might be days that our hope may feel like it is ebbing away, but it will never be extinguished. The promises of heaven keep me going because I know this world is not my home. I am just passing through. Hope keeps me going step by step, day by day until I reach my eternal home.
1.  After reading Susan’s summary of the relationship between the third day of creation and Christ being raised on the third day, how does this help to explain why there will be no more sin in us or in the new heaven and the new earth?
Susan has beautifully articulated why we will be free from sin because we will be partakers of everything that Jesus is and that includes His perfection.
 
4. How does Paul articulate this same truth in 1 Corinthians 15:45-48?
“45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”[a]; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven.”  All I could say is Wow! I couldn’t have said it any better than how Paul said it here.  I could cry here in much gratitude to Jesus.
5.  How does Peter articulate it in 1 Peter 1:3?
“ Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
The living hope I have is only through Jesus Christ. Because He lives, I also would live eternally and indeed, it is only by grace and in his great mercy.
 

 

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3. After reading Susan’s summary of the relationship between the third day of creation and Christ being raised on the third day, how does this help to explain why there will be no more sin in us or in the new heaven and the new earth? – WOW SUSAN! Is it because we are created in God’s image and Jesus knew no sin. So if we are his seed, and produced from him, we will be like him, perfect in everyway.
 
4. How does Paul articulate this same truth in 1 Corinthians 15:45-48? – The natural body was first and will be gone and all the bad that was in it and will be replaced with a new heavenly, spiritual body that is new and free from sin.
 
5. How does Peter articulate it in 1 Peter 1:3? – Because of the hope we have in Jesus he will give us a new birth.
 

 
6. What encouragement does he give to the believers who were facing such severe persecution from Nero is 1 Peter 1:4-9? – Because we have kept our faith in Jesus at all times, our inheritance will be kept in heaven for us waiting, and will not spoil or perish.
 

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7. Is this different than the kind of heaven you imagined in the past? If so, explain. What might this mean to the war-torn believers in Syria? To children who have known nothing but war, hunger, and sorrow?

 

Definitely different than how I imagined heaven. I thought heaven would be sort of blinding white. I thought it would be that we floated around and moved in a slow motion way. I never thought it would be like ur already is here.

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    I forgot the second part of the question…I bet this would be SO hopeful for Syrians especially the children.

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    So glad for this, Laura — should give you a lot more hope. I like what John Eldredge says in his book on heaven, “Why aren’t we hearing about this more?” I think we are now, but it was slow to be preached — at least today.

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3. After reading Susan’s summary of the relationship between the third day of creation and Christ being raised on the third day, how does this help to explain why there will be no more sin in us or in the new heaven and the new earth?

As Susan so beautifully illuminated for us-since I am a seed inside of Jesus then I partake in everything that He is. What happened to Him happens to me. Like Jesus was raised from the dead with a body not limited by anything, I will be raised from the dead with a body not limited by anything. Truly Glorified-no sin. Like Susan said, it is hard to see all my sin gone-what that will look like but it will happen.

 

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3.  By accepting what Christ did on our behalf, we are born into Jesus. In God’s sight Jesus’s righteousness completely dissolves our sin. We are now seeds in Him. We have become dead to the world and sin. But alive by Hope in Him. It is a living hope, because Jesus is alive. Part of His promise to us is a new earth, a place not marred by sin and consigned to destruction, but rather a living one.

 

4.  Paul says the physical or natural work comes first, then the spiritual one. In the same way, our physical nature occurs first, before we can become spiritually alive.

 

5.  Peter says that “God, in great mercy, gives us new birth into a living hope.” That hope only lives because of His living Spirit within us.

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Sunday  “What stands out to you from above?”

The boldness of the prayer for one thing.  I sometimes get confused on what prophecy says is to happen and if we are asking God to do something that is against his sovereignty or prophecy. I guess I say this because this past Sunday in my life class we read and spoke of the book of Daniel and all the kingdoms. etc. and where the antiChrist would come from and Syria is in that region and I don’t think it was a coincidence that this one class only on Daniel had been schedule several weeks ago before all this stuff happened.  Maybe I am getting too deep into it but that’s the way God made me. :)

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    Charmaine: It certainly is true that area so often prophesied about has been in continual turmoil. Your first question is interesting — for it does seem there have times when God has “changed His mind” and yet that is a mystery!

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7. Is this different than the kind of heaven you imagined in the past? If so, explain. What might this mean to the war-torn believers in Syria? To children who have known nothing but war, hunger, and sorrow? – I never thought about “God’s Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven”. I always just thought I would be in heaven, and that when I’m gone from this world I would always be up in heaven, and not come down to the New Earth. But this verse when you dig deeper into it is saying that the world we live in now will be made new, just like our bodies. No conflict, no filth, no confusion, just beauty, and peace all around. This will also give those hope that don’t know anything but war and anger that what they know is temporary and will change to something so much more peaceful

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8. Read Revelation 21:1-5
 
A. How do verses 1-2 support Wright’s words above? – The first heaven and first earth will no longer be and the Holy City was coming DOWN out of heaven from God
 
B. Who is this “New Jerusalem” in verse 2? – Would this be Jesus’ 2nd coming? I’m leaning toward this but wondering too if it’s all those that went before us coming back.
 
C. How do you see Eden before the fall in verse 3? – God was with them in Eden and the loud voice was there when God called to them asking where they were.
 
D. List the promises of verse 4. – He will wipe away every tear; there will be no more death, mourning, crying or pain because the old ways have passed away.
 
E. With what promise does verse 5 begin? – He who was on the throne said “I am making everything new” Thank you Lord for this promise
 
F.  Right after this promise, what does God tell John to do in verse 5? Why, do you think? – He told him to write it down because they are trustworthy and true. I think because those who may not believe will have more proof if it is in writing then just taking someone’s verbal word for it, and for all of us to remember that it came from God himself.
 

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8. Read Revelation 21:1-5
A. How do verses 1-2 support Wright’s words above? 
 

The current Heaven and earth go away, there is a new heaven and new earth that evolve with Jerusalem coming down to earth as a bride; beautiful.

 
B. Who is this “New Jerusalem” in verse 2? 
 

All the believers?

 
C. How do you see Eden before the fall in verse 3? 
 

God dwells with man and is his leader; man belongs to God.

 
D. List the promises of verse 4.
Every tear will be dried, no more death, no mourning, crying, or pain.

 
E. With what promise does verse 5 begin? 
 

God is making all things new.

 
F.  Right after this promise, what does God tell John to do in verse 5? Why, do you think? 
 

He he tells John to write everything down. I suspect He does this so we won’t forget.

 

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7. Is this different than the kind of heaven you imagined in the past? If so, explain. What might this mean to the war-torn believers in Syria? To children who have known nothing but war, hunger, and sorrow?

I grew up thinking Heaven was going to be some where far off in the skies and there was no tangible feel for that.  I knew it would be good, beautiful, an amazing place but the thoughts I had about it always had an other worldly feel. The knowledge that Heaven will come to this earth which will be made completely new and restored to it’s original perfection is full of hope.  To those living in the midst of the destruction of war it would be hard to imagine such peace and beauty but Jesus through his word can put that seed of hope into their hearts. 
 
8. Read Revelation 21:1-5
A. How do verses 1-2 support Wright’s words above? 

It describes a new heaven and a new earth and the new city of Jerusalem coming down from out of Heaven. 

B. Who is this “New Jerusalem” in verse 2?

Hmmm? I’ve never thought of the New Jerusalem as a who but rather an actual glorious city that is the dwelling place of God’s throne. 

C. How do you see Eden before the fall in verse 3?

Mankind will be completely restored in perfect fellowship with God as it was in the Garden of Eden. 

D. List the promises of verse 4.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

E. With what promise does verse 5 begin?
He is making all things new. 

F.  Right after this promise, what does God tell John to do in verse 5? Why, do you think?

he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true” 
I think it was imperative for this message to be written down and get out to bring hope to the persecuted and suffering believers. 
 

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9. What stands out to you from the above and why?

 

A couple of things stand out; the first is how this life will be like a split second. How do you know that? It reminds me of how I feel each year as I get older…the years seems to scream by compared to a long time ago. I feel this in my job especially. Here we are, already in our fourth quarter of school! April of the “new” year already! So crazy. Will the good times be remembered?

The second thing is I am still hung up on the guy named Cyrus. I don’t remember him mentioned in the NT (I am way too busy and getting old!). I am going now to look him up again to refresh my memory.

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3. After reading Susan’s summary of the relationship between the third day of creation and Christ being raised on the third day, how does this help to explain why there will be no more sin in us or in the new heaven and the new earth?

 

On the ‘original third day’ when God created the first fruits of the earth, the world was perfect; there was no sin. So perhaps when Jesus was raised on the third day, the significance being that this third day was patterned after that first third day, Jesus was beginning something new, He being the first-fruits of those who will come after Him; He being perfect and sinless, and those coming after Him will be like Him. Having said that, I still can’t understand it! Jesus, who is God, is the only One who is perfect and sinless. In heaven, will we be more ‘god-like’? Yet, we are still the creatures He created; we can never be ‘gods’ because there is only One God. I am wondering what the ‘process’ will be for removing our sin nature? Maybe our sinful nature, or fleshly self, dies with our physical body? Yet those who are not in Christ, I believe, will keep their sinful nature.

 

4. How does Paul articulate this same truth in 1 Corinthians 15:45-48?

 

I read from verse 35 to 49. Verses 35-44 talk about “to each kind of seed He gives its own body. All flesh is not the same….there are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies.” Paul says that with the resurrection of the dead, the body will be raised imperishable, in glory, in power, and to be a spiritual body. Heaven will be inhabited by this kind of seed, these kinds of bodies. Then he talks about the two men: Adam and Jesus. Adam was a living being, Jesus a life giving spirit. Adam was of the earth, Jesus came from heaven. Then in verse 48, Paul divides all people into two groups: If you are in Adam, you are like the earthly man, if you are in Christ, the Man from heaven, then so shall those be who are of heaven. In verse 49 he says, “And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the Man from heaven.” Heaven will be inhabited by all those who bear the likeness of Jesus. There will not be any who are “in Adam” living in heaven.

 

5. How does Peter articulate it in 1 Peter 1:3?

 

God did something for us through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. I’m seeing now that Jesus being raised from the dead wasn’t just for Him, it was for us, too. It was through Jesus’ resurrection that God gives us “new birth into a living hope”. Our hope is living, alive, because Jesus is not dead, He is alive.

 

6. What encouragement does he give to the believers who were facing such severe persecution from Nero in 1 Peter 1:4-9?

 

Peter is redirecting their focus onto what lies in store for them in heaven: an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade (or be taken away). Though Nero may have been the ruler and they are helpless beneath his power, Peter reminds them that through their faith, they are shielded by God’s power, and the current grief, suffering and trials they are experiencing now are only coming in order to test their faith, to prove that it is genuine, and that their faith is of greater worth than any earthly treasure and ultimately, their remaining faithful will result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus comes again. In the end, the only thing that matters is your salvation.

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7. Is this different than the kind of heaven you imagined in the past? If so, explain. What might this mean to the war-torn believers in Syria? To children who have known nothing but war, hunger, and sorrow?

 

Yes, it is different than I imagined. I guess when I think of heaven, I look upward towards the sky. I imagined it to be “up there, somewhere.” Sometimes I have wondered, is it really a specific location? Or are the departed saints closer than we really think? I remember a book I read to my children when they were young, “The Wind Boy”, and it was a fairy tale in which there was a “Clear Land” that only a few of the children could see, and where the Wind Boy lived. Everything there was clearer, but it was in reality very close to the world in which they ordinarily lived. I never thought of heaven coming down to earth.

 

I imagine believers in war-torn areas like Syria must long for the new heaven and new earth, where they can live in the land they love and it will be beautiful and peaceful, and there will be plenty for all. Yet, the suffering that these people have to endure right now is so hard, and nothing that I’ve ever had to experience, and I’m not sure if it were me that it would ease the pain of my every day suffering. Hunger is hunger, and a body injured or mutilated hurts, and when there is no medicine or hospital and nothing to help, I can’t begin to imagine that kind of suffering.

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    Susan, you’re explanation of the children’s story reminds me of the “Elegant Universe” where string theory (the theory that all matter is really connected by microscopic strings) is contemplated. They talk about “parallel universes,” where an entire community could be right next to you but you are unaware of their existence. Crazy weird! If anyone is interested, I suggest part 3 of the Nova series; physicist Brian Green explains at my level (!), and is quite entertaining to boot. I also think of heaven as “up there.” I bet many do.

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Mon…3. We will be like Jesus so we will be sinless & perfect! Hard to imagine but a wonderful truth!! :)

4. 1 Cor 15:45-48    Adam was 1st physical body made from dust; Jesus 1st spiritual body from Heaven. Earthly minded are like Adam & heavenly minded are like Jesus,

5. !Peter 1:3 We have been born again into an ever living Hope thro the resurrection of Jesus Christ!

6> Persecuted believers are given hope & enc knowing that their faith is more precious than gold to God. Their testing will bring them praise & glory & the salvation of their souls. Their inheritance in Christ is guarded by God & will never fade away.

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9. What stands out to you from the above and why?

 
What stands out to me is the point you make that we have a sure hope. It is as solid as the truth of God’s Word. His Word has proven to be true and has stood the test of time. Having just led and finished a bible study on the book of Daniel, the reality of evil Babylon and it’s history and future along with the prophecies God gave Daniel that were very detailed and years later were fulfilled to the detail I appreciate your point that we have a sure hope based on what God says. What encouragement God’s Word brings to our lives and our souls! 

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    I’m excited to get your input, Bev, when we see Babylon throughout Scriptures, ending in Revelation!

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Sunday (Please forgive me for being late out of the gate.)

1.  What stands out to you from the above and why?  It’s good to be reminded of the kind of hope we have as Christians…a Living Hope…a hope that will carry us into eternity and beyond the now into the presence of Jesus!!

2.  Praying for our Syrian brothers and sisters!!

Monday

3.  Susan’s summary of Reeves sermon.  So beautifully interpreted.  Being in Jesus, His seed…I too will be like Him one day!!!

4.  How does Paul articulate this same truth in 1 Corinthians 14:45-48?  The first Adam, man, was made from dust and the last Adam, Christ, came from heaven.  He is a life-giving Spirit.  Verse 49 says “Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly Man (Jesus Christ).”

5.  How does Peter articulate it in 1 Peter 1:3 (I love this). Praise God!!!  By His many mercies we’ve been born again. (Why?). Because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead!!! (How can we live?). With GREAT EXPECTATION!!

6.  What encouragement does He give to the believers who were facing such persecution from Nero in 1 Peter 1:4-9?  a.They have an inheritance kept in heaven, pure, undefiled and beyond the reach of change and decay.  b.Through their faith God is protecting them by His power for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last day.  c.He tells them to be “truly glad, there is wonderful joy ahead, you must endure trials for a little while.  d.These trials will show your faith genuine.  When your faith remains strong it will bring much praise, glory and honor on the day Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.  e.Though you don’t see Him now, you trust Him; rejoice with a glorious inexpressible joy.  f.The reward for trusting Him will be the salvation of your souls.

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    We are glad to see you anytime — early or late out of the gate! :-)

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Tuesday

7.  Is this different than the kind of Heaven you imagined in the past? If so, explain.  What might this mean to believers in Syria?  To children who have known nothing but war, hunger and sorrow?  Yes, it does.  I’ve seen pictures where there’s a beautiful city among the clouds…that’s how I always imagined it.  It means they can live with great expectation…knowing this is temporary.  I hurt for the children, so innocent, but I envision them being gathered up in the arms of Jesus where they will feel love and comfort!!

8. Read Revelation 21:1-5

A.  How do verses 1-2 support Wright’s words above?  There will be a new heaven and a new earth.  Old and new disappear and the sea is also gone (interesting).  The holy city Jerusalem comes down from God out of heaven…

B.  Who is the New Jerusalem “ in verse 2?  The church. As it’s described “like a bride”.

C.  How do you see Eden before the fall in verse 3?  God living among His people.

D.  List the promises of verse 4.  Every tear wiped from the eyes.  No more death, sorrow, crying or pain.  All of these gone forever!

E.  With what promise does verse 5 begin?  I am making everything new!!

F.  Right after this promise, what does God tell John to do in verse 5?  Why do you think?  To write it down.  So we would know the things that will take place.

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Wednesday

9. What stands out to you from the above and why? – It is just amazing how God has used his WHOLE Word to give us hope. It isn’t just at the end, but all through his word he gives us snipets of what is to come to those who believe and unfortunately what is to come to those who don’t. What hope we have when we stay grounded in His Word.

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7.  Is this different than the kind of heaven you imagined in the past? If so, explain. What might this mean to the war-torn believers in Syria? To children who have known nothing but war, hunger, and sorrow?
I couldn’t envision the beautiful world we will someday have but I know there were many times in this sin sick world that tears come to my eyes when I beheld “echoes of Eden”. These scenes are anchors to hope as it will be an anchor of hope for Syrians and for children deprived of their basic needs, of love and of fulfillment.
 
8. Read Revelation 21:1-5
A. How do verses 1-2 support Wright’s words above?
There will be a new heaven and a new earth and no more sea!
B. Who is this “New Jerusalem” in verse 2?
The bride-the church.
C. How do you see Eden before the fall in verse 3?
God dwelling with Adam and Eve-what a fellowship!
D. List the promises of verse 4.
No more tears, no more crying, mourning, pain, death, No to the old order!
E. With what promise does verse 5 begin?
God will make all things new! Oh, Hallelujah!
F.  Right after this promise, what does God tell John to do in verse 5? Why, do you think?
To write it down because it is true and trustworthy so we can read it and have HOPE in the now. We know that He who promised is faithful and it will came to pass all that has been said.

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Wednesday 

9.  What stands out to you from the above and why?  In Revelation 21:1 where it says …”and there is no longer any sea”, I was questioning to myself why.  Then reading your explanation…”But one day Babylon will be thrown into the sea, and that sea will will be no more” connected it for me.  Gods word is amazing in how you can read it, study it and continue to learn!

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    I agree, Sharon — I think that’s it!

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    Oh, I love this song too!  Thanks for sharing Laura!

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Tues:  7. Is this a different kind of heaven than u imagined in past?  YES! I like this one better cause I love all the beauty of the Earth. I always imagined something spiritual in the clouds…I knew it would be wonderful but this sounds even better!! :)

8. A. John saw a “new heaven & a new earth” & a holy city descending out of heaven from God.

B. The “New Jerusalem” is the Bride of Christ.

C. Eden before the Fall: God walked with His people, & He will again.

D. The promises are: No more tears; No more death; No more sorrow, grief or pain. Former things shall pass away!

E. vs 5: He will make all things NEW!

F. God tells John to write down & record these things….Because He is Faithful & True & He will fulfill His promises. For us to read & know ahead of time.

Wed: what stands out to me is “how wildly wonderful is the world to come for those who are in Him”. Also that not only will we be released from sin & bondage, but the Earth will as well. Its a new & exciting thought for me that Heaven will come down to Earth & it will be a physical & spiritual reality. The only thing I would miss is the sea, but I bet there will be ocean somewhere in it. It is just too beautiful & powerful to not be there  :)

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    Fun to see your excitement Jenny. I’m pretty happy with the Great Lakes! Big beautiful and fresh water! :-)

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Tim Keller: awesome as always!

Jesus is the First fruit; means 1st installment of new heaven & new earth to come. He gives us a Living Hope.

The nature of this Hope is the Word coming down from heaven & transforming the earth.  God redeems our body & spirit. In heaven we will hug, walk, dance, eat…

There is a need for this hope because humans are hope-based creatures.

How do we get this Hope? We have to believe in the death & the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The deepest longings of our soul will be satisfied in the river of God. Jesus said “I thirst” on the cross, not just physically but spiritually, cause He took on cosmic hopelessness. Now He can give us the water of Life so we need never thirst again. The resurrection is 1st installment & new beginning; it gives us Hope for here & now. Any suffering we go thro now can only make us better people, when faced with hope. This hope is life giving & gives us endurance.

Lord help us to keep our eyes on the prize…fill us with Your living Hope every day!

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6.  Peter gives encouragement in the days of Nero that no matter what you suffer or go through, your inheritance in Christ is secure. It is lasting, and more valuable than anything we know now. When your eyes can stay focused on your eternal reward, you can overlook a lot in your day to day life.

 

9.  What stood out… “This life we have now will seem like a split second.” I saw a clip by Frances Chan on Utube where he has this really, really long rope. A few inches from the end is this tiny piece of red tape. He said the rope reflected our life as a believer. The first few inches represent our earthly life. The full rope represents our eternal life, and the red tape our retirement years. His point was to not put all your thought and effort into the first few inches, and especially not into the red tape, while ignoring the rest. Live your life on earth fully aware of and planning on the whole rope.

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    Good illustration from FRancis Chan!

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Sorry about the website being down this morning — they were doing maintenance, but I should have given you a heads up!

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10.  Tim Keller on the New Heaven and the New Earth

The Nature of this Hope.  The climax of history is not our getting to escape from here, but everything here being transformed. Real perfection here. Now we long for what we’ve never had, but John says it is coming. Our experience has always been with a broken world, but we have the human longing to return to unbroken relationship with God, others and nature.

The Need for this Hope.  John was writing to persecuted who were literally facing verse four – death, mourning, crying, pain. And it worked. They faced their suffering with poise, peace and grace. Their attitude enticed people to become Christians. This is a living hope. We are hope shaped creatures. What you live now is completely controlled by what you believe about the future. Two men facing the same prison term. One believes his family is dead. The other that his family is alive and waiting for him. The first one withers and dies. The second endured with strength.  All because ow what they believed about their future. Negro spirituals gave a deep endurance so that they absorbed difficulty and couldn’t be crushed in spirit. We also can triumph by that living hope.

Getting This Hope.  Impossible without the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus experienced thirst for relationship. He lost it all for us. He had cosmic hopelessness in our place. No matter what happens now, it can make you a better person. Either now or later.

 

so as I was listening, I realized we can have a need for hope on multiple levels. I believe my eternal destiny is in Christ, and that is rock solid. But my hope about losing weight is not very solid at all. My beliefs there are working against me. It seems that my journey through this issue is meant to be long, deep, and somewhat tied to the depression of the girl I mentor. Meaning that as I process and work through my beliefs and hopes in this area, I am able to help her process her beliefs and hopes for someday being happy again. What complicated beings we are!

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    Thanks, Mary B for the summary! I was again more enlightened by Keller’s exposition on this passage. “He took our cosmic hopelessness.” I took note as well and will share here although mine is a little bit more all over the place. Hah!

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Forgive me for my incomplete sentences here-just couldn’t type fast enough!
Jesus is the “First fruit” first installment of something to come which is the coming of the New Jerusalem or new earth. We need to look at the context of this passage as John was addressing Christians who were persecuted immensely by the reigning king. He wants to give them a living hope in their reality and for their future.

A.     The nature of it
Heaven coming down and transforming the earth; Not individual souls rising up and escaping this world
Jesus is the first installment
We would have redeemed bodies and a rewoven perfect healed material world
You don’t hover; you walked, you hugs, kiss and you eat it will be a feast on earth; Not esoteric souls, clouds and harps
Longing for a body you never have; a world you never had but It is coming!!!!
v.3 The dwelling of God will be with them
The relationship with God will be healed; our relationships with others and with ourselves and with the physical world fell apart;
But it will be put right when our relationship with God is healed and it is coming!!!
The Need for it
Life transforming hope
Who was John writing to: people suffering v.4 First century was when Dimitius (sp?) was emperor and Christians were persecuted
John gave them a picture of the new heaven and new earth where the old order of things will pass away
They took their suffering and their death with such poise and peace; Tertullian-the blood of the martyrs is just like seed
The way you live now is controlled by what you believe of the future
The now is controlled by the then
I will come back here and finish the the third point.

 

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    Love your enthusiasm, Bing.

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God is so gracious. I hadn’t planned on coming back here today or listening to the sermon, but it is clear now that is the Word He wanted me to hear today. I cried out to Him earlier today, letting out my anger, really. But the kindness of His answer in this sermon just has me melted. I can’t call these “notes”, but here is what impacted me:

Jesus Christ is the First Fruits, the first installment of the New Heavens and the New Earth, the City of God. This is our living hope.

nature of it-the Word coming down;  my soul is longing–for a world I never had, but John tells us it is coming. I have a longing that this world could never fill because this world is broken, but when our relationship with God is healed, God Himself will be with His people, wipe away every tear, no more death or mourning.

my need for it-John was writing to the deeply suffering, suffering far more than I am. We are hope-shaped creatures. How i live now is completely shaped by what I believe about my future. The identical circumstances are experienced differently based on what is believed about the future. If I believe in Judgment Day and  anew Heaven and New Earth, it changes how I live. The faith of the slaves built their endurance and allowed them to absorb the suffering. Because they knew eventually all their desires would be fulfilled, it enabled them to fashion a hope that their reality could not crush. I can actually triumph over what I am facing, if I let the truth of my hope, pierce me. Believe that all of the worst evil I will ever face here is a passing thing, and my destiny–is with Him.

How do I get it? I believe in both the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe in the Cross. I admit my thirst. He will give me eternal water, a river of life.The deepest longings of my soul, will be satisfied and even now, I can have a taste of it. Jesus experienced thirst on the Cross, He experienced cosmic hopelessness that belongs to me–so that I never will. His resurrection started the beginning of making everything new. And His resurrection means no matter what happens to me now, it can only make me better. If I face my suffering with hope, it will make me better.

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    Oh Lizzy — so glad God met you with this. Indeed, we are “hope shaped beings”

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How to get it
a. Believe in the death of Jesus in the Cross
Come to Jesus with all my longings -To Him who is thirsty…I will give… at no cost..
Jesus took our cosmic thirst so we would not be thirsty again
He took our punishment- experienced the hopelessness so we can have hope
b.Believe in the resurrection-He will make all things new

I love the story of Margaret who lost her mother and how her Dad used the “truck” illustration.
“Only the shadow of death hits us when we die and it only puts us in entrance to glory.” I long to know for sure that my dying patients know Jesus. Although I know we will not have remembrance of sad things anymore when the new earth has come, I still want as many people of every tribe and nation to be there as well. Oh, that I might have the courage to grab any opportunity to share the living hope I have in Christ!

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10. Listen and share your notes. 
 

I think this is the BEST Tim Keller sermon I have heard yet! A living hope….the slaves sang songs to remind them of what was to come, not their present condition. Heaven comes down to Earth! Never knew that, I always thought Heaven was somewhere in the clouds (!). We have something to believe in that keeps us living! Thank You Jesus! The little girl whose mother dies…her dad tells her that Jesus took the actual death that her mother experienced and her mother got the shadow of that death instead. So sad I can’t travel to NYC and hear this man preach anymore. He is terrific!

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