Fred R. Coulter—October 20, 2001

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With everything that's going on in the world since September 11, 2001, the question is:

  • should we be anxious
  • should we be scared
  • should we be fearful
  • where does our safety lie

Does our safety lie in what we do, what other human beings do, or what God does? Now there are a lot of promises in the Bible about God saving us, delivering us, watching over us, keeping us, and we're going to see that our safety belongs in the hands of Christ.

Now as we learned in Heb. 1 that angels are sent as ministering spirit to those who are heirs of salvation. Let's come first of all to Mark 16. Let's see a promise in light of the anthrax scare that's going on. And by the way, more people have died in auto accidents than in anthrax so far. There's only been one that has died. There have been six which have been afflicted, but I think it's almost an insidious campaign by the media to bring fear, to cause people to be anxious. And also it's going to incite people to do copycat kind of things. It's going to be almost impossible to trace down where it came from, or who did it, or how it got there.

So let's understand what Christ has said concerning those who believe in Him and those follow Him. Now it is true that sooner or later there's going to be a martyrdom. Now it is true that sooner or later worse things are going to happen in the world. But here are some promises that Christ has given.

Mark 16:14: "Afterwards... [That is after His resurrection.] ...as they were sitting to eat, He appeared to the eleven and reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized shall be saved, but the one who does not believe shall be condemned. And these signs shall follow those who believe... [So here are some of the signs that are going to follow.] ...in My name they shall cast out demons; they shall speak with new languages; They shall remove serpents... [Cast them down, not take them up; like the Apostle Paul when he was on the island after the shipwreck and there was a fire and he was picking up wood to put it on the fire. A snake wrapped around his arm and bit his hand and he just shook it off. And that's what it means. It doesn't mean to take up serpents as they do in different countries and in America in some of the mountain states back east where they have snake worship and snake handling. Also down south in Texas they've got a lot of rattlesnakes down there, by the way.] ...and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them in any way... [I think we can also claim that if we are exposed to anthrax, it won't hurt us. Now obviously we should take whatever precautions we need to, but we don't need to be fearful, we don't need to be anxious, we don't need to be petrified and paralyzed that we do not have the get-up-and-go to live.] ...they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover'" (vs 14-18).

Let's look at some other things that Jesus said. Let's come to Matthew 24. I know we've covered this a lot recently, but it's more up to date than when Jesus spoke it. Since the world has changed, our lives have changed. Could it be that we are at the point of the prophecy in Matthew 24 that we are at the beginning of sorrows? Now it's possible. The only thing we can say is:

  • we need to watch,
  • we need to look
  • we need to pay attention
  • we need to examine the events as they take place
  • we need to stay close to God

Matthew 24:8: "Now all these things are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to affliction... [We see the laws that are being put in place. And, of course, every once in awhile you watch it. Now I heard it today on the radio coming from Fairfield, that the 'right wing radical Christian identity movement'—that's how they label it. Of course, you never heard of the radical left wing, which runs Congress and which runs the ALCU and which runs all the abortion clinics, and so forth. But they have it already set up. They will soon enact laws whereby you won't be able to speak your mind.] ...Then shall they deliver you up to affliction, and shall kill you; and you shall be hated by all nations for My name's sake. And then shall many be led into sin, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another'" (vs 8-10). So we're right at that junction.

Now what do we do? Here's part of the thing that we have to watch for. "And many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many.... [So we're going to see an increase of religious activity, not a decrease.] ...And because lawlessness shall be multiplied... [grow and grow and grow] ...the love of many shall grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, that one shall be saved" (vs 11-13).

God is the one Who is going to save us. God is the one Who is going to watch out for us. And let me just say this: when and if God opens the way of escape or He blesses you so you can get out of some circumstances, you better very well take it. Just like He says here: "Therefore, when you see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the Holy place ( the one who reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee into the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house'" (vs 15-17). God gave an opportunity to go—go! Don't waste! Don't wait!

"And let the one who is in the field not go back to take his garments.... [So those are some of the warnings. We'll look at some of those things again.] (It's going to be difficult for people): ...But woe to those women who are expecting a child, and to those who are nursing infants in those days! And pray that your flight be not in the winter, not on the Sabbath; for then shall there be great tribulation... [Now we're going to see that another event takes place by time the Great Tribulation takes place.] ...such as has not been from the beginning of the world until this time, nor ever shall be again'" (vs 18-21).

So what should our focus be? Let's see what we need to do. Let's claim these promises that God has given, and, of course, this also means that these promises will apply if our lives please God. Now if they don't please God, then He will certainly give us correction so that He can apply it to us. Our protection and our safety is not going to be by our devices or by our means or anything like that. We do have to be 'wise as serpents and harmless as doves.' We do need to be careful, but we don't need to be anxious or fearful. Jesus said, 'Don't be anxious or fearful for your physical life.'

Let's come back to Matthew 6, and here's something else that Jesus said that we need to understand. God is able to take care of us. God can take care of us. God can even work through human instruments to take care of us. Now also recall that Jeremiah was told that he would not go into captivity. Yet the Babylonians came and took him, put chains on him, put him in the line to take him out to go to Babylon, and all of a sudden God worked with Nebuzar-adan, captain of the guard, and he came over and said, 'Let this man go.' So it might get down to just the last second before God does it, but He will do it if you trust in Him.

Now Jesus said, Matthew 6:24: "No one is able to serve two masters... [This is true. If you're serving God single-mindedly and wholeheartedly, you're serving one master. If you're giving lip service to God and you're serving yourself, you're serving two masters—God and you. Sooner or later, a division will take place.] ...for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.... [Now this can also mean any physical thing, any physical plan, anything like that.] ...Because of this I say to you, do not be anxious about your life as to what you shall eat and what you shall drink; nor about your body as to what you shall wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?" (vs 24-25). Yes, indeed, it is.

Now it doesn't mean we don't have to be prudent, but you don't need to take thought. If something all of a sudden happens that's very disastrous, realize that God is going to take care of you one way or the other. Now he may use human beings to help take care of you, but He's going to take care of you. He may send angels to open the way to take care of you, if there is no other way. And I'm sure that all of us can a story or something about what happened to us if we were in an accident, or we were someplace and God sent an angel and intervened and protected us.

He wants you to know that all you have to do to make sure that this promise is true, is just look out the window. He says: "Observe the birds of heaven: they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor do they gather into granaries; and your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much better than they? But who among you, by taking careful thought, is able to add one cubit to his stature?" (vs 26-27). Or, put it this way. Which of you by taking thought or plan to save your life can save it? Because Jesus said, 'He who seeks to save his life will lose his life.' And if you lose your life in Christ, you will find your life and save your life. It's just the opposite. And it's the opposite, because it's by faith. It's not by sight.]

"And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe the lilies of the field, how they grow: they do not labor, nor do they spin; but I say to you, not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. Now, if God so arrays the grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much rather clothe you, O you of little faith? (vs 28-30). Or that is 'save you, O you of little faith.'

And we can put right in here, we won't turn there, but we'll just interject it here. Remember when the disciples were in the boat and they were rowing and rowing and rowing all night? Then all of a sudden just before they got to the other side, here comes Jesus walking on the water. And when Jesus got close to the ship that they were in, Peter said, 'Lord, if it's You, bid me to come on the water.' And He said, 'Come.' And he started walking on the water. As soon as he took his eyes off Christ and looked at the tempest and the waters around him, he started sinking. Christ reached out and helped him and after they got back into the ship, Jesus said, 'O you of little faith.' So Christ is able to intervene and do those things.

So He says, v 31: "Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'With what shall we be clothed?' For the nations seek after all these things. And your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. But as for you, seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.... [Whether it be food, whether it be clothing, whether it be protection, whatever it may, those things will be added to you.] ...Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow; for tomorrow shall take care of the things of itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil of that day'" (vs 31-34). We can all attest to that, that each day has its own set of problems and evils and it's sufficient for us that we contend with those.

Now let's come to Psalm 91. Here we go. Here's how we're protected. This ought to be part of our daily prayers now. You know and actually part of our daily prayer is what? 'Keep us from the evil one and keep us from evil.' And Jesus prayed that for the disciples—didn't He? Now do you think that God is going to answer Jesus' prayer? Of course! Now that means that as long as we are loving God and serving God and trusting in Him, then God will watch over us.

Psalm 91:1: "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty…. [Now, no one is going to see that, because it is a secret way that God has, spiritually through the angels, and His supernatural power to protect us.] …I will say of the LORD, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in Whom I will trust'" (vs 1-2). Now there is the statement it needs to be, trusting in God, trusting in Christ. Let Him be the refuge, the fortress, and so forth. Now is not the time to take up arms. Now is not the time to work things out for yourself. Now is the time

  • to be faithful to Christ
  • stand for His Word
  • live by the Truth
  • say the Truth
  • speak the Truth
  • be wise as serpents and harmless as doves

Now here's a promise: "Surely He will deliver you from the fowler's trap... [Now the fowler is a special trap that is put out there, you've seen it. Little kids make a box and they put a stick under it, with a string, then they throw out the corn and lead it up until it's up under the box, and then hopefully the birds or the guinea hens will come there and they'll eat the grain. Then as soon as they're under the box eating, you go ahead and you pull the string, and BAM! you've got them in the box. Now that's a fowler and that's a snare. Satan likes to set many traps for us, but we are promised that we will be delivered from it.] ...and from the destroying pestilence" (v 3).

Well, we've heard about anthrax, we've heard about chicken pox, we've heard about other things. There's Ebola, there's West Nile fever spread by mosquitoes. There then is also the killer bees.

Now notice v 4: "He shall cover you with His feathers... [no one is going to see it; that's God's protection.] ...and under His wings you shall take refuge. His Truth shall be your shield and buckler…. [A shield is that which you use for defense. A buckler is that which you use to gird up your loins.] …You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor for the arrow that flies by day, Nor for the plague that walks in darkness..: (vs 4-6).

It's very interesting, I saw the other night on Discovery Channel, and they showed that in 535 Krakatau blew with its biggest explosion, a volcano, so great that for three years all the seasons were out of whack. There was so much sulfur in the air that snow came down yellow and it snowed in the summer. The ice age moved down in Europe and the temperature dropped twenty degrees on the average around the world. Now what happened when that took place was all of sudden there was an outbreak of the bubonic plague because the rats were not able to get their food and not able to get their food, all the fleas carrying the bubonic plague on the rats with the temperature being so low, this triggered the bubonic mechanism within the fleas to multiply. So then they would have to leave the carcass of the rat and then they jumped on human beings. And it talked about the records of it, how that within days the eyes would bleed and the nose would bleed, and the people suffered awful deaths. Now that's a pestilence. God says He'll protect you from it.

It's interesting, when did the hordes from the north come down to conquer Rome? 535-554. Why? The Gauls, the Vandal Gauls and the Vandals, being north in Europe with it being cold came down and conquered because they didn't have food. So you see, just a change in climate can make those things happen.

"Nor the plague that walks in darkness, nor the destruction laying waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand... [Now that's a rather heart-stopping kind of thing—isn't it? Suppose now you're trying to run away from something. Just picture yourself right there in New York and here is the collapsing World Trade Center Towers and you are running like crazy.] (God says): ...a thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand; it shall not come near you…. [Now as we saw, there are a lot of people who died in that, but as we also saw, those who ran and fled, yes they got covered with dust, but they survived.] …Only with your eyes you shall behold and see the recompense of the wicked" (vs 6-8). God will take care of them. It's amazing sometimes how He takes care of them.

I don't know if you all have stories you can relate how God has taken care of some of your enemies, but I'm sure we could all relate those different stories how God has done it and He'll do it. Now here's the reason why, v 9: "Because you have made the LORD, Who is my refuge, even the Most High, your habitation, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling, for He shall give His angels charge over you... [So there we have the angelic protection that God has promised.] ...to keep you in all your ways. They shall bear you up in their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone.... [Now we're also going to see a little later on, because we're going to talk about going to a place of safety before we finish, that the angels undoubtedly are going to be the ones who are going to take the people to a place of safety.] ...You shall tread upon the lion and asp; the young lion and the jackal you shall trample underfoot. 'Because he has set his love upon Me..." (vs 9-14). Now that's why.

And it gets down to this: if you are loving God with all your heart and mind and soul and being, and He is loving you, then these things will happen to you. "'...therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation'" (vs 14-16). So there we have all of these promises, all in this one Psalm. So that's quite a thing. So in this day of time and trouble and difficulty that we're living in, in this changed world, boy, that's something we really need to rely on and look to God for.

Now let's come to Psalm 121 since we're here. We'll come to quite a few Psalms, because a lot of these promises are in the Psalms.

Psalm 121:1: "I will lift up my eyes to the hills: from where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He Who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He Who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your life. The LORD shall guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore" (vs 1-8). So those are some real promises—aren't they?

Now just stop and think about it. Let's go to another, Psalm 17. This is the comfort that we can have in these times. We don't need to be anxious, we don't need to be worried, we don't need to be fearful that God won't help us, because He will.

Psalm 17:1: "Hear the right, O LORD; attend unto my cry; give ear unto my prayer, for it is not from lips of deceit.... [So it's got to be sincere, it's got to be right, it's got to be from your heart.] ...Let my judgment come forth from Your presence; let Your eyes behold things that are upright. You have tried my heart; You have visited me in the night; You have tested me, and You shall find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. Concerning the works of men, by the words of Your lips, I have kept myself from the paths of the violent" (vs 1-4). By following God's Word, by claiming the promises of God, that'll keep you from the destroyer. Of course, the destroyer is Satan, the evil one.

"My steps have held fast to your paths, my feet have not slipped. I have called upon You, for You will answer me, O God; incline Your ear to me; hear my speech. Show Your marvelous loving kindness, O Savior of those seeking refuge in You; by Your right hand save them from those who rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me under the shadow of Your wings" (vs 5-8) Now those are great, great promises.

So God is there to help. God's Word is true. God's angels are on the job and God's Spirit is with us and God will bless us and lead us in these times of trouble. Now lo and behold in the book of Job we find there are some specific things that God promises to deliver us from. Let's come to the book of Job, Job 5. There are actually six things we'll be delivered from and then the seventh one is an add-on, kind of like frosting on the cake, so to speak.

Job 5:17: "Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects.... [Now we need to modify that a little bit by Heb. 12 which says, 'Now no chastisement for the present seems joyous, but grievous. But afterwards it yields the peaceable fruits of righteousness.' If you receive some correction, God loves you and God is dealing with you. So that's why he says here:] ...happy is the man whom God corrects.... [Now these are his friends talking to Job. So they're saying, 'Job, now in all your sorrow, you ought to be happy.' So that was kind of a cynical thing for them to say, but nevertheless they did.] ...Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty. For He makes sore, and binds up; He wounds, and His hands make whole. He will deliver you in six troubles; yea, in seven no evil shall touch you. In famine He shall redeem you from death..." (vs 17-20).

Doesn't say you won't go hungry. It doesn't say that you may not have to struggle for food, but He'll redeem you from death. "...and in war from the power of the sword. You shall be hidden from the scourge of the tongue; neither shall you be afraid of destruction when it comes. At destruction and famine you shall laugh; neither shall you be afraid of the beasts of the earth" (vs 20-22).

We're also told that the beasts of the earth are going to be involved in killing people. Now we've heard that, too—haven't we? Even here we have that—don't we? Yes! Mountain lions, bears, right here just in the United States. And, of course, in other countries there are venomous snakes, and so forth, and all the beasts that they have. In Africa you've got lions, you've got leopards, you have hippopotamus, you have rhinoceros, you have all of those beasts.

"For you shall be in covenant with the stones of the field; and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with you" (v 23). Remember Daniel. Daniel was cast into the lion's den and even King Darius came and said the next morning, 'Daniel, Daniel, are you alive?' And he says, 'Yes, king, I'm alive.' He says, 'Good, let him out.' So God stopped the mouths of the lions. Paul says that the mouths of the lions were stopped against him, so there's a fulfillment of that promise.

Verse 24: "And you shall know that your tabernacle is in peace; and you shall visit your habitation, and shall miss nothing. And you shall know that your seed will be numerous, and your offspring as the grass of the earth. You shall come to your grave in a full age, like a shock of grain comes in its season. Behold this... [They told Job.] ...we have searched it out; it is true. Hear it and know for yourself" (vs 24-27). Now Job wasn't quite satisfied with that. He had to complain. But if he would have said, 'Well, yes, that's right, but these circumstances were different.' No, he didn't.

Job 6:1: "And Job answered and said, 'Oh, that my grief were but weighted, and my calamity laid in the balances together! For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea; there my words have been rash'" (vs 1-3). So Job started off with not too great of an attitude here, but these are the things that God says that He will protect us from.

Now let's come back here to Psalm 140. It's amazing how many things are here:

  • that God will protect us
  • that God will watch over us
  • that God will be with us in all of these different things

But we have to ask God

  • to help us
  • to deliver us from these things
  • to lift us out of these things
  • to place His angels about us

We claim His promises not because of anything we do that is good, but because of God's promises and God's righteousness and His goodness. We can even claim the promise by saying, 'God, You've said so, please uphold Your promise that we believe Your Word. Hear our prayer that we may have strength in You.' That's how these things are done.

Psalm 140:1: "Deliver me, O LORD, from the evil man... [That's what we need. There's one thing for sure, if you come to the point that you are delivered of the evil man. Get away! Be gone! Go!] ...keep me from the violent man, Those who devise evil things in their hearts; together they always stir up wars.... [Now this is getting into the conspiracy against Jesus.] ...They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; the poison of a viper is under their lips. Selah…. [Which means stop and think and meditate on this.] …O LORD, keep me from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man who purposed to overthrow my steps" (vs 1-4)

Read the whole book of Esther and look what happened because Mordecai trusted in God, because Esther trusted in God. God used all the devices that Mordecai had worked out and used them on Haman the Agagite. They were going to come against Mordecai and all the Jews to exterminate them, but God worked it out at the last moment that it came upon Haman the Agagite and all of his followers. And I love the point where the king—he wanted to know what he would do to reward Mordecai after he found out that Mordecai stopped an intrigue of conspiracy against the king. So he asked Haman to come in and he asked him the question, 'Well, what do you think the king should do to the man with whom the king is well pleased?' And he says, 'Well, he's gotta be talking about me.' And he said, 'Well, he should put him on the king's horse and have someone lead him through the city and say this is the one whom the king favors.' He says, 'Haman, you're exactly right. You put Mordecai on my horse and you lead him through the city saying this is the one whom the king favors.' So right at the last minute God can turn the tables—Wham! Clear upside down when it may look totally hopeless. So always remember that.

Verse 4: "...keep me from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man who purposed to overthrow my steps. The proud have hidden a snare and a trap for me; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set traps for me. Selah. I said to the LORD, 'You are my God; O LORD, hear the voice of my supplications. O Lord GOD, the strength of my salvation, You have covered my head in the day of battle. O LORD, do not grant the desires of the wicked; do not further their wicked plots, lest they exalt themselves" (vs 4-8). These Psalms of David have a lot for us to learn from and now is the time for us to really begin to apply these things, what great blessings that we can claim. Now that doesn't mean we aren't going to be suffering some things. That doesn't mean that we aren't going to have difficulties, it means that God is going to deliver us.

Now let's come to Psalm 33. I tell you, after reading these, David's life was one episode after another of escaping and being saved by God. Psalm 33:12: "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD... [Now this can be nation, this can be individual, this can be family, this can be church.] ...and the people He has chosen for His own inheritance.... [Which we have been. Have we not been chosen for the inheritance, co-heirs with Christ? Yes, indeed!] ...The LORD looks down from heaven; He beholds all the sons of men.... [So God is on the job.] ...From His dwelling place He looks intently upon all the inhabitants of the earth. Together He fashions their hearts alike; He considers all their works. The king is not saved by a great army... [Just because you have an army, doesn't mean you're saved by it.] ...a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. A horse is a vain thing for safety" (vs 12-16).

Or you can say today: a car, a truck, a tank, a bomb shelter, a secret place to hide. They have bombs that they can drop at 15,000 feet, maybe lower than that, maybe 5,000 feet and if they know a four-by-four window where you are, they can program the bomb to come down and go right smack into that window. So anything you devise for your safety is a vain thing, if you leave God out.

"...neither shall it deliver any by its great strength. Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon those who fear Him, upon those who hope in His loving kindness, to deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield" (vs 17-20). So there is our hope, brethren. That's what we need to do in this day. That's what we need to do in this time now. You don't need to be fearful about terrorists. You don't need to be fearful about anthrax. You don't need to be fearful about small pox or any of those things. God will protect us. God will be with us.Now what about those brethren who find themselves in countries where they're fighting? God says he'll still deliver them! Now they may have to flee, but God will protect them and watch over them.

Let's come here to 2-Chronicles 32 and let's see a great example of what God can do when all the odds look just the opposite, when everything looks like the end has come. When the enemy is overwhelmingly superior, when the enemy is strong and cocky and the enemy is coming and taunting you. Now this happened during the days of Hezekiah.

The king of Assyria came down and he had surrounded Jerusalem. He had taken many of the cities in Judea. Now let's pick it up here in 2-Chronicles 32:9: "After this Sennacherib king of Assyria sent his servants to Jerusalem—while he laidsiege against Lachish, and all his forces with him—unto Hezekiah king of Judah, and unto all Judah in Jerusalem, saying." So he sent a special message. This is a propaganda war. Now we're doing the same thing in Afghanistan. We have a propaganda war—don't we? We're dropping leaflets saying, 'Look, we're only against the Taliban and we're only against bin Laden. We want to feed you, we want to help you, we want to clothe you.'

So that's propaganda. So here's the propaganda that Sennacherib had the message, v 10: "...'Sennacherib king of Assyria says this, "On what do you trust that you sit under siege in Jerusalem?.… ['We've got you surrounded, folks, look out here. Just come up on the way and look.'] ...Does not Hezekiah persuade you to give yourselves over to die by famine... [Now if you're going to stay there, you're going to die of famine:] ...and thirst, saying, 'The LORD our God shall deliver us out of the hand of the king of Assyria'?…. [He even taunted them with the promises that he gave them.] Has not the same Hezekiah taken away His high places and His altars, and commanded Judah and Jerusalem, saying, 'You shall worship before one altar and burn incense upon it'?.... [He says, 'Look, he even took away some of your religious rights. How do you think he's going to save you?'] ...Do you not know what I and my fathers have done to all the people of other lands? Were the gods of the nations of those lands in any way able to deliver their lands out of my hands?"'" (vs 10-13). No, all those gods weren't able to deliver. 'What makes you think that the God of Jerusalem is going to deliver you?'

"'Who among all the gods of those nations that my fathers completely destroyed was able to deliver his people out of my hand, that your God should be able to deliver you out of my hand? And now therefore, do not let Hezekiah deceive you or persuade you in this way, nor yet believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom was able to deliver his people out of my hand and out of the hand of my fathers. How much less shall your God deliver you out of my hand?"'" (vs 14-15). Boy, what a challenge!

You know and you look out at the physical circumstances, if you were there, and you look out over the walls of Jerusalem and you see the armies all around. They have all the roads cut off, no food can come in. They probably stopped off a lot of the water that was coming in and sure enough there's going to be famine.

Now v 16: "And his servants spoke still more against the LORD God and against His servant Hezekiah. He also wrote letters to revile the LORD God of Israel, and to speak against Him, saying, 'As the gods of the nations of other lands have not delivered their people out of my hand, so shall the God of Hezekiah not be able deliver His people out of my hand'" (vs 16-17). Now what did the people do? We'll see here. We'll take a look at it in just a minute.

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Now notice, not content just to send the letters. They also had them speak in the Jews' language. Now notice v 18: "And they cried out with a loud voice in the Jews' language to the people of Jerusalem on the wall in order to frighten them and to trouble them, so that they might take the city. And they spoke against the God of Jerusalem, as against the gods of the peoples of the earth, which were the work of the hands of man. And for this reason Hezekiah the king and the prophet Isaiah, the son of Amoz, prayed and cried to heaven.... [Now God heard that prayer. God answered that prayer. Now God had a great way of doing it.' (Let's see what God did): ...And the LORD sent an angel to cut off all the mighty men of power... [It doesn't say how they were killed, but it cut them off.] ...and the leaders and commanders in the camp of the king of Assyria…." (vs 18-21).

There was no leadership, the soldiers died. Now can you imagine after all of this hype and propaganda what happened to Sennacherib? "…So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And he came into the house of his god, and some of his own sons killed him there with the sword.... [Because he didn't deliver, he was worthy of death.] ...And the LORD saved Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all others, and guided them on every side. And many brought gifts to the LORD to Jerusalem, and presents to Hezekiah king of Judah, so that he was magnified in the sight of all nations from that time forward" (vs 21-23).

Now then, Hezekiah had a problem. He got lifted up in his vanity. After God healed him, then came the ambassadors from Babylon and he showed them all the treasures of silver and gold and precious stones. And God said, 'Okay, since you've done that, the children of Israel are going into captivity.'

Now let's come to Psalm 71. Here again we're going to see that God is the One Who saves, God is the one Who delivers. This is quite a Psalm.

I remember a man got very angry and indignant at me when I said that God is going to spare a lot of the seniors and they're not going to go into the Tribulation. They will probably die, be put into the grave, which will be their place of safety. And he got all indignant at me and said, 'Well, who says that an older person can't give a good witness?' It doesn't say that an older person can't give a good witness, but let's see what this Psalm is here and let's look and see some of the promises that God has given.

Psalm 71:1: "In You, O LORD, have I taken refuge (KJV: put my trust)... [That's where it needs to be. We need to ask ourselves a question: Do we trust in the Lord completely, totally, relying upon Him? Not like our money—'In God we trust.' Because we don't, it's the Federal Reserve, but in Truth.] ...let me never be put to shame. Deliver me in Your righteousness and cause me to escape; incline Your ear unto me, and save me" (vs 1-2).

Verse 4: "Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and ruthless man, for You are my hope, O Lord GOD, my trust from my youth. By You I have been upheld from the womb; You are He who took me out of my mother's belly; my praise always shall be of You" (vs 4-6).

Verse 9; he starts off with his birth, then he says: "Cast me not off in the time of old age... [In time of old age what happens? You rust out. You have senior moments occur more than once a day. You don't have the strength; you don't have the ability. Now just remember, Jesus told Peter that when he was old, he would be led around by the hand where he didn't really want to go, showing that when Peter came to the end of his life he would be very feeble. And also he would be led out to be crucified.] ...Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength fails." That's when the enemy likes to come upon you, when your strength fails.

"For my enemies speak against me; and those who watch for my soul plot together, saying, 'God has forsaken him; pursue and take him, for there is none to deliver him'.... [notice the prayer]: ...O God, be not far from me; O my God, make haste to help me. Let them be ashamed; let those who are enemies of my soul be consumed; let them be covered with reproach and dishonor, those who seek my hurt" (vs 10-13). And of course, there are verses that go in and out of the prophecies of Christ and the prayers of David here.

Verse 17: "O God, You have taught me from my youth; and until now I have declared Your wonderful works. But now also when I am old and gray-headed, O God, do not forsake me until I have declared Your strength to this generation, and Your power to everyone who is to come" (vs 17-18). So God isn't going to forsake you when you get old. It doesn't matter what your circumstances are, or what your age is,

  • God will protect you
  • God will bless you
  • God will watch over you
    • you don't need to be anxious
    • you don't need to be worried
    • you don't need to just be fearful

So don't let all these television news commentators put fear into you. If you're watching the news, stop and think. Analyze it for what it is. Ask God to

  • help you
  • watch over you
  • protect you
  • give you wisdom
  • give you understanding
  • and ask for the protection of His angels

Reading these it sounds like David was in trouble almost every day—doesn't it? That's something. We've all had some hard times, but this is something else here.

Psalm 50:15: "'And call upon Me in the day of trouble; and I will deliver you, and you shall honor me.' But to the wicked God says, 'What right have you to declare My statutes and to take up My covenant in your mouth? Yea, you hate to be taught, and you cast My words behind you'" (vs 15-17). The wicked who have done that aren't going to have the protection of God. It's just not going to happen. God will watch over us!

Now let's come to the New Testament, 2-Thessalonians 3. You know they had treacherous times. Remember what Jesus said, 'If they persecute you in this city, flee into the other city.' So we're going to have to learn to be mobile. We're going to have to learn to be ready to go. I think one thing that is true: for while it lasts, being scattered and in smaller groups is a form of protection. And meeting in little groups like we do, meeting in small rented halls and meeting in houses, is a great form of protection. We can preach the Gospel, we can preach the Truth, that is true, but where are they going to find us? Open the phone book, we aren't there. We've got an office here, well, they could get the office, but can they get us? God will protect us!

2-Thessalonians 3:1: "As for the rest, brethren, pray for us, that the Word of the Lord may spread rapidly and may be glorified, in the same way that it has been with you; and that we may be delivered from perverse (KJV: unreasonable) and wicked men... [And I think that is sure the time that it is today—unreasonable and wicked men.] ...for all are not of the faith.... [No, they don't.] ...But the Lord is faithful, Who will establish you and keep you from the evil one. Now concerning you, we trust in the Lord that you both practice and will be practicing the things that we command you. And may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the endurance of Christ" (vs 1-5).

That's quite a section there that Paul said pray for us and these things that are happening all around us. Now what about a place of safety? Now what about the time that's going to come? Dolores pointed out an article to me the other day and it's coming up more and more all the time. Jim just gave me an article by Alan Dershowitz saying, 'What are you afraid of a national identity card for?' Well, national identity card is another step in the direction of what? Of the mark of the beast! Now the national identity card is going to be some thing. It's going to have your whole history—your date of birth, where you live, your medical history. Everything about you can be contained on that national identity card. 'After all, we need them because of all these people that going around in the land who are committing terrorist acts—don't we? Don't you want to have something that is going to protect you from that kind of thing?'

Just the typical thing of using an evil situation to get across something that they want. Now the American people are saying, 'Hey, yeah, bring on the national identity card.' Whereas, a couple of years ago they said, 'Hey, no way! It isn't going to be done.' They had so much resistance for it that they just stopped any legislation to get through a national identity card and they had to go through and put some of those things on your driver's licenses in the various states. So now guess what? It's coming! And guess what? People are going to accept it and it's going to come.

Now let's look at some of these things and we'll talk about a place of safety. Everyone wants to go to a place of safety—don't they? And there are even people who had Petra boxes. They put them in the trunk of their cars so that if the word came while they were at church they would have their Bible, they would have whatever else they wanted, of course their medications and things like that, and all of those little conveniences that you couldn't get at the corner drug store in Petra. Now Petra may or may not be the place of safety. The Bible doesn't directly say, it gives indications. So let's see what's going to happen. Let's see the events that are going to take place.

Let's come here to Revelation 12:7. Now this is going to be a spectacular event. Exactly how it will take place we don't know, but there is an international space station that is being built and many of the nations of the earth, including the United States and Russia, have their cosmonauts and their astronauts who are building and adding on to this space station which is above the earth. Now there is going to come a time—and remember, that right now President Bush wants to get in the space wars weapon. Now they are starting out with a ground-based space weapon, which is able to shoot an incoming missile. But what they really want to do, they want to put clusters of those anti-missile missiles in orbit, so when a missile is sent off they don't have to wait for the ground to it, it's automatically done in the air. This is why the other nations don't want this to happen is because if you have these clusters, just think, maybe fifteen or twenty clusters of say twenty anti-missile missiles in orbit. 'They're just there for safety.' But what the enemies of the United States look at is this: If they have them there they have complete dominance over the world—don't they? So that's what the big fight is all about here. This is going to lead to war in heaven. This war has not yet happened. So it will be something that will take place and it will be something that we will be able to look at as a benchmark that times ahead are going to really be difficult immediately.

Revelation 12:7: "And there was war in heaven; Michael and his angels warred against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels warred…. [So this is going to involve an angelic war.] …But they did not prevail, neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, the ancient serpent who is called the Devil and Satan, who is deceiving the whole world... [And he uses great Babylon to deceive the world, as we saw earlier.] ...he was cast down to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him" (vs 7-9). Now when that happens, this begins a time of persecution and a forerunner of martyrdom. Now always remember this: Before martyrdom always comes a time of persecution.

Remember World War II, what did the Nazis do to the Jews to persecute them? Well, first of all they rounded them up and put them in ghettos and then they made them wear the yellow Star of David. Later, they were carted up and boxed off and sent off to the death camps to be burned, to be gassed, to be shot. Now we'll see the same type of flow here. So he's cast out.

Verse 10: "And I heard a great voice in heaven say, 'Now has come the salvation and the power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ because the accuser of our brethren has been cast down, who accuses them day and night before our God. But they overcame him through the blood of the Lamb, and through the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death…. [So there are going to be some who will be martyred. Now we're going to see there are some who will be taken to a place of safety.] …Therefore, rejoice you heavens and those who dwell in them. Woe to those who inhabit the earth and the sea! For the Devil has come down to you, having great wrath because he knows that he has only a short time'" (vs 10-12). Is this when the mark of the beast is enforced? Could very well be! These events may very well dovetail and come together. Now when the mark of the beast is enforced, you're going to have to prove your loyalty by worshiping the image of the beast. If you don't, you'll be killed. If you won't receive the mark of the beast, you will be killed.

So here comes a persecution. Verse 13: "And when the dragon saw that he was cast down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who had brought forth the man child." So here the Church is persecuted for a time being. Exactly what it will entail, I don't know, probably coercion to worship the image of the beast, probably coercion to receive the mark of the beast, and you know, after all, it's going to be very persuasive—isn't it? They're going to say, 'Look, if you love God and if God loves you, do you want your family to starve to death? You're really not very Christian, you're really not very Godly if you don't go down and just have this high-tech implant on your right hand or in your forehead. It's only a minor thing.' The truth is, that the mark of the beast is going to be the same as a national identity card, only even more information.

And what they're going to do with it, they now know that they can control the minds and thoughts of people through radio waves that these little chip implants will be receptors. Not only just identification for buying and selling, but they will be receptors to control you. That is why you cannot receive the mark of the beast, because you give up your choice, which God has granted to you, and give it over to Satan the devil and the demons.

So here's that persecution: the pressure to succumb, the pressure to give in. This battle that was in heaven is the last straw. We're never going to have peace on earth until we can enforce these things and make sure that everyone agrees with everyone else. Now of course there's going to be a lot of resistance.

Now notice v 14: "And two wings of a great eagle were given to the woman, so that she might fly to her place in the wilderness, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent." So this is a place of protection or safety from Satan the devil. Now who is going to go? Everyone wants to know who and everyone wants to know where. The Protestants have it that there's going to be rapture and all the Protestants are going to be raptured out and they're not going to have to endure any evil. Well, sorry folks, there's no such thing as rapture in the Bible and sorry about that, you are going to have to endure. Who is going to go to a place of safety? God is going to make the choice! We'll see that in just a minute.

Let's come back here to Revelation 3. Here's something that gives us a clue as to who God is going to look to. Revelation 3:8, talking to the Church at Philadelphia. Now everyone wants to be a Philadelphian. Now we can't all be Philadelphians. That's a goal we need to shoot for in our personal relationship with God, but nevertheless, here is what He says to the Philadelphians.

Revelation 3:8: "I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door..." Now an open door is more than just the preaching of the gospel. An open door can be understanding the Scriptures. An open door can mean a deep conversion.

Right here in v 20 it talks about a door: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock.... [He's talking to the Laodiceans.] ...If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me." So this also can mean a deeper conversion.

Verse 8: "'...and no one has the power to shut it... [Now that's interesting—isn't it? Can men shut off radio stations? Yes! Can men shot off television stations? Yes! Can men shut off bank accounts? Yes! We've seen it. They've frozen millions and millions of the Al-Qaida group of the bin Laden followers—right? Yes! So that can be shut. So this has to do with your relationship with God.] ...no one has the power to shut it because you have a little strength, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name." Now that's important!

Now you can deny the name of Christ by having works that are abominable. You can figure that God is so ecumenical and broad that you could do anything you want to and keep Christmas and Easter, and all those things, because of the goodness of your heart—which is a lie and not true. He says you have "kept My word and have not denied My name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who proclaim themselves to be Jews and are not, but do lie—behold, I will cause them to come and worship before your feet... [That's obviously after the resurrection.] ...and to know that I have loved you'" (vs 8-9). If you love God and He loves you, and if He loves you, you love Him—it's a two-way street.

"Because you have kept the word of My patience... [Or patiently kept My word] ...I also will keep you from the time of temptation... [Which I believe is this time of persecution, which is a short time where Satan persecutes the Church. Now notice:] ...the time of temptation which... [Then the persecution is over what? Over the image of the beast and the mark of the beast, which all the world is going to do.] (So this temptation is, like he says): ...which is about to come upon the whole world to try those who dwell on the earth…. [This is going to be a great worldwide thing that's going to take place.] …Behold, I come quickly; hold fast that which you have so that no one may take away your crown'" (vs 10-11). So those are probably the qualifications as to who is going to go to the place of protection. Now remember, all the Church is going to endure persecution. And when persecution comes, you have a choice: Either stand for Christ and He'll stand for you, or you avoid persecution and sort of back off and sort of are non-committal and sort of just make no stance at all, and your persecution eases up.

Now let's come back to Revelation 12 and let's see what happens when the persecution eases up. The woman is taken to a place of safety (v 14). "And the serpent cast water out of his mouth as a river, so that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood.... [To destroy and kill her and drown her.] ...But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth, and swallowed up the river that the dragon had cast out of his mouth. Then the dragon was furious... [This is more of an intense anger than great wrath.] ...with the woman and went to make war with the rest of her seed who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (vs 15-17). Are these the ones who keep it lukewarm? I don't know! Nevertheless, they're keeping the commandments of God. But notice 'the rest of her seed'—'the remnant' (KJV). Remnant in English gives a wrong connotation. Remnant in English means the small remaining number. In the Greek this just means the others who keep the commandments of God. And it can be greater in number. And he's going to make war with them. Now war means war!

Let's first of all find out who's going to go to a place of safety, how they're going to get there, and then we'll look at the war that's going to take place. Now Luke 17 gives us some very good insight into what's going to happen and how it's going to take place. Luke 17:22: "Then He said to the disciples, 'The days will come when you shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and shall not see it. And they shall say to you, "Look here," or, "Look there." Do not go, neither follow them. For as the light of day, whose light shines from one end under heaven to the other end under heaven, so also shall the Son of man be in His day'" (vs 22-24). Now how is this going to happen?

Let's read Matthew 24:27 first and then we'll see if we can put it together to give us a little better understanding. "For as the light of day, which comes forth from the east... [Now this doesn't mean like a bolt of lightning, but the light of day that comes out of the east. What comes out of the east and shines unto the west? The sun!] ...and shines as far as the west, so also shall the coming of the Son of man be."

Verse 30: "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven... [What is the sign of the Son of man? I believe it's going to be like this. A great light is just going to explode in the heavens and fill the heavens with this great light. Then it's going to reduce down to what looks like it's another sun and that comes closer and closer and closer to the earth.] ...and they shall see the Son of man coming upon the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."

Now back here to Luke 17, because we have to find out who's going to go to a place of safety. Now everyone wants to go, but as we saw, not everybody's going to go. Luke 17:25: "But first it is necessary for Him to suffer many things and to be rejected by this generation. Now as it was in the days of Noah, so also shall it be in the days of the Son of man. They were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah went into the ark, and the Flood came and destroyed them all. And it was the same way in the days of Lot... [Now let's pay close attention to this.] ...they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building..." (vs 25-28).

Just like today with all the trouble that's going on. Look at the nation that is called Israel today over in Palestine. All of these things are happening—isn't it? Yet, they have killings, they have bombings, they have murders, they have the threat of war, and all these things going on all the time, and they're still doing all of these things: they're building, they're planting, they're marrying, they're giving in marriage.

Verse 29: "But on the day that Lot went out from Sodom, it rained fire and sulphur from heaven and destroyed them all." How did Lot leave Sodom? Well, you know he got a phone call from Abraham, saying, 'Lot, you need to get out of Sodom. God is coming to destroy it.' He says, 'I've got my safety box, I'm leaving right now.' We thought that's how it would be with the Church. The church leader would call the district superintendents and they would call the pastors and the pastors would call the deacons and the deacons would call the people. I've often thought, what would it be if the deacon or the minister didn't like you, and so they decided, 'Well, this guy, he doesn't deserve to go. I'm not going to call him.' And you're resurrected and you meet Christ on the Sea of Glass. He comes up and says, 'I'm so happy you made it.' 'Why, Lord, I'm happy to be here, too.' 'Well you know that that minister was supposed to call you, because you were to go to a place of safety and he didn't do it, so I'm happy that you made it.' No—that's not how it happened.

How did Lot leave Sodom? The angels came and took him! Who is the one to make the decision as to who is to escape and go to a place of safety? God is! So if it comes time to go, is it not only a Godly thing that God would send His angels to take you? After all, you can't go unless the angels take you. Now if you live in Judea, you can run for your life and maybe make it, like it says here.

Verse 29: "But on that day that Lot went out from Sodom, it rained fire and sulphur from heaven and destroyed them all. This is how it shall be in the day that the Son of man is revealed. In that day, let not the one who is on the housetop, and his goods in the house, come down to take them away... [That is, those who are in Judea.] ...and likewise, let not the one who is in the field return to the things behind" (vs 29-31). But also remember this: if an angel comes and says it's time to go, don't say, 'Hey, I need to get my Bible.' Don't say, 'Hey, I need to get my coat.' You go!

Verse 32: "Remember Lot's wife. [Don't look back, she turned to a pillar of salt.] …Whoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whoever shall lose his life... [for Christ's sake] ...shall preserve it. I tell you, in that night... [Now here's an enigma, the next three verses. So I think we can solve it this way: view the earth as if you were in heaven and on the earth what do you have? Half in light, half in darkness; half in daytime, half in nighttime.] (Now listen): ...I tell you, in that night there shall be two in one bed; one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.... [See, they're going to be taken. By whom? Obviously by the angels! How else are you going to be taken? The police aren't going to do it, the church leader's not going to do it, only the angels can do it.] ...the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together... [Now if you're grinding, what time of day is that? That's generally in the morning, so this is daytime.] ...one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two men shall be in the field... [Now that's daytime, too—isn't it?] ...one shall be taken, and the other shall be left" (vs 32-36).

"And they answered, saying to Him, 'Where, Lord?'.... [And He said, 'Of course, Petra, don't you know that? No!.] ...And He said to them, 'Where the body is, there will the eagles be gathered together'" (v 37). So remember this: if you know where the place of safety is and don't get there, the knowledge does you no good. If you don't know where it is, and you arrive, you will know where it is when you get there. So the lack of knowledge did not prevent you from going—did it? Because it's not the knowledge or the lack of knowledge that keeps you from going, it's your relationship with God that keeps you from going or makes sure that you do go.

Now let's see what is going to happen here. There is going to be a martyrdom of saints. God will give strength to those who are going to have to be martyred. Now why is there going to be a martyrdom? There's going to be a martyrdom as a witness that war, that killing cannot stop God. That's why! And to be a sign and a witness. When the martyrdom comes, those of us who are hauled up to court, and we will be, the courts and counsels, Christ gave the promise that we're not to think about what we are to say, but in that hour the Holy Spirit will give it to us.

Think about Stephen, who was martyred. Think about the witness that he gave and look at his example of how he just preached the Word of God to them and yes, they got angry. Yes, they were vehement. Yes, they took him and took him out and stoned him to death. And Stephen even said, 'Lord, lay not this to their charge. Lord, receive my spirit.' And in that occasion, God was so interested in it that Christ was standing by the throne watching that event take place, not just sitting there.

Now then, here's a martyrdom that's going to come which is the fifth seal, Revelation 6:9: "And when He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the Word of God... [So it's going to cost you for the Word of God.] ...and for the testimony that they held... [The witness against them.] ...And they cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'How long, O Lord, holy and true, do You not judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?'.... [Now this is in vision to portray that at the end-time this is going to come again.] ...And white robes were given to each of them; and they were told that they should rest a short time yet, until it be fulfilled that both their fellow servants and their brethren also would be killed, just as they had been" (vs 9-11).

If you give your life in this way, you still have nothing to worry about, because the next thing you're going to know is you're going to be resurrected as a spirit being. And that's why living in the end-time we have to

  • walk in faith
  • live in faith
  • trust God the Father and Jesus Christ
  • look to Them for Their protection

They may just protect us and lead us up to the time to be martyred, too. And if that's the case, then that's the case. After all, we died in the death of Christ in baptism—did we not? So in a sense we are already dead and we live in Christ.

So that's what we need to look to and that's how we need to trust God and look to His promises and be able to live and endure in these days which we're living in right now and bound to get worse in the days ahead.

Scriptural References:

  • Mark 16:14-18
  • Matthew 24:8-13, 15-21
  • Matthew 6:24-34
  • Psalm 91:1-16
  • Psalm 121:1-8
  • Psalm 17:1-8
  • Job 5:17-27
  • Job 6:1-3
  • Psalm 140:1-8
  • Psalm 33:12-20
  • 2-Chronicles 32:9-23
  • Psalm 71:1-2, 4-6, 9-13, 17-18
  • Psalm 50:15-17
  • 2-Thessalonians 3:1-5
  • Revelation 12:7-14
  • Revelation 3:8, 20, 8-11
  • Revelation 12:14-17
  • Luke 17:22-24
  • Matthew 24:27, 30
  • Luke 17:25-37
  • Revelation 6:9-11

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Hebrews 1
  • Hebrews 12

FRC:lp
Transcribed: 7-28-10
Formatted: bo—7/28/10

 

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