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If I Were Told the Future - Lesson 27

Letter to the Church of Philadelphia

Picture 1 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 1
Let’s pray before beginning this lesson:
Our Heavenly Father,

We have already reached the sixth of the seven letters addressed to the churches. This letter is addressed to the church of Philadelphia.

May Your light continue to guide us, so that we may grasp the important message You want to give us.

We humbly ask this in the name of Jesus Christ.

Amen.
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Picture 2 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 2
Revelation 1:11 Comments
What you see, write in a book, and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia; to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamos, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia (...). The sixth letter is addressed to the church of Philadelphia, a name meaning «Brotherly love».

This name was inspired by the affection of king Attalus II, founder of the city, for his elder brother Eumenes II. Attalus II reigned from 159 B.C. to 138 B.C.

Heavily damaged by a major earthquake in A.D. 17, Philadelphia was rebuilt during the reign of Roman emperor Tiberius, but still remained smaller than the original city.
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Picture 3 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 3
Revelation 3:7 Comments
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,

«These things said He that is holy, He that is true.»
By introducing Himself as the One who is holy and true, Jesus announces the imminent coming of the judgment.

Being holy, He is worthy of carrying out this judgment; being true, He ensures the accuracy of the verdict.
Revelation 6:10
How long, O Lord, holy and true, do You not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
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Picture 4 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 4
Revelation 3:7 Comments
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,

«These things said He that is holy, He that is true, He that has the key of David, He that opens, and no man shuts; and shuts, and no man opens.»
Jesus also introduces Himself as the One who has the key of David, an image taken directly from the book of the prophet Isaiah.

What does this introduction mean?
Isaiah 22:22
The key of the house of David will I lay on his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.
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Picture 5 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 5
Isaiah 22:20-22 Comments
I will call My servant Eliakim (...). I will commit your government into his hand. (...)

The key of the house of David will I lay on his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.
By giving to Eliakim the key of the house of David, God was giving him authority over this house.

Jesus too has the key of David, the sign of an authority which is, this time, expanded to the whole Universe.
Matthew 28:18 (NKJV)
And Jesus came and spoke to [His disciples], saying,

«All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.»
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Picture 6 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 6
Revelation 3:8 Comments
I know your works.

Behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it.

For you have a little strength, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
The church of Philadelphia symbolizes the Awakening Church, from 1755 to 1844.

Finally coming out of its lethargy, the Church accomplished, during those years, the greatest missionary advancement of its entire history.

Expanding out of Europe, the gospel was proclaimed in Africa, Asia, India, the Pacific islands, and the New World, that is, America.
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Picture 7 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 7
Revelation 3:8 Comments
I know your works.

Behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it; for you have a little strength.
The Awakening Church ceased to rely on its massive structures and its political allies, as it did during the Middle Ages.

The common people, the laity, were those who, answering the call of the Holy Spirit, reinjected Christianity with the zeal and hope of the early days.
Zechariah 4:6
«Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit,» said the Lord of hosts.
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Picture 8 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 8
Revelation 3:8 Comments
I know your works.

Behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it.

For you have a little strength, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
Between 1755 and 1844, Christianity rediscovered the worth of the Word of God, and its message.

Biblical societies appeared in Europe and America, distributing thousands of copies of the Bible and translations of Biblical excerpts in many languages.

Following the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, one of the most widely felt in history, Christians became aware that Jesus could come back very soon.
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Picture 9 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 9
Daniel 12:4 Comments
But you, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end.

Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
A sudden interest in Biblical prophecy sprang up among Christians.

The Holy Spirit unsealed the books of Daniel and Revelation, opening the door to the knowledge of the «things which must be hereafter».
Revelation 4:1
After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven.

And the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said,

«Come up here, and I will show you things which must be hereafter.»
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Picture 10 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 10
Revelation 3:8 Comments
Behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it.

For you have a little strength, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
God cast a favorable eye on the spiritual awakening of the Church, and abundantly blessed its missionary efforts.

This is what Jesus indicates, using the symbol of the open door that no one can shut.
Matthew 25:21
You have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.
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Picture 11 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 11
The open door symbolizes the proclamation of the gospel in the world:
«And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.» (Acts 14:27)

«For a great door and effectual is opened to me, and there are many adversaries.» (1 Corinthians 16:9)

«Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, a door was opened to me of the Lord.» (2 Corinthians 2:12,13)

«(...) praying also for us, that God would open to us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds.» (Colossians 4:3)
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Picture 12 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 12
Matthew 25:10 Comments
And while [the foolish virgins] went to buy [some oil], the Bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with Him to the marriage.

And the door was shut.
On the other hand, the shut door symbolizes the close of probation, the moment when the destiny of everyone is fixed forever.
Genesis 7:16
And they that went in [the ark], went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded [Noah].

And the Lord shut him in.
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Picture 13 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 13
Revelation 3:9 Comments
Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before your feet. Just like the church of Smyrna, Philadelphia has to face false Jews, people trying to damage the progress of the Church.

But the evangelical movement is well launched, being «an open door, and no man can shut it.» (Revelation 3:8).
Revelation 2:9
I know your works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but you are rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
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Picture 14 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 14
Conversely, the genuine Jew works with love for Christ and His Church:
«For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.» (Romans 2:28,29)

«For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children.» (Romans 9:6,7)

«If you be Christ’s, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.» (Galatians 3:29)

«And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and on the Israel of God.» (Galatians 6:16)
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Picture 15 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 15
Revelation 3:9 Comments
Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. Jesus foretells that the Church will triumph over its enemies.

But infinitely more desirable than the defeat of the adversary is his conversion...
Isaiah 60:14
The sons also of them that afflicted you shall come bending to you; and all they that despised you shall bow themselves down at the soles of your feet.

And they shall call you, «The City of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.»
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Picture 16 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 16
Admitting his error, the opponent bows down at the feet of the Church:
«But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believes not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all. And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.» (1 Corinthians 14:24,25)

«In chains they shall come over, and they shall fall down to you, they shall make supplication to you, saying, “Surely God is in you; and there is none else, there is no God.”» (Isaiah 45:14)

«The sons also of them that afflicted you shall come bending to you; and all they that despised you shall bow themselves down at the soles of your feet.» (Isaiah 60:14)

«Thus said the Lord of hosts: In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, “We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.”» (Zechariah 8:23)
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Picture 17 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 17
Revelation 3:10 Comments
Because you have kept the word of My patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come on all the world, to try them that dwell on the earth. Jesus then foretells a worldwide distress. Only those who persevere in Jesus will be protected from it.

What is this great trial, this great distress?
2 Peter 2:9
The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust to the day of judgment to be punished.
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Picture 18 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 18
Revelation 13:8 Comments
And all that dwell on the earth shall worship [the beast], whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. A great power, whose identity will be revealed in a future lesson, will soon deceive the whole world.

Only the faithful believer will escape from its snares.
Revelation 14:12
Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
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Picture 19 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 19
Persevering in Jesus will be the only way to go through the final trial:
«Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that Day come on you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch you therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.» (Luke 21:34-36)

«And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great Prince which stands for the children of your people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the Book.» (Daniel 12:1)
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Picture 20 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 20
Revelation 3:11 Comments
Behold, I come quickly. Then, Jesus declares, for the first time in His letters to the churches, that He is coming quickly.

This message is very suitable for Philadelphia, the Awakening Church from 1755 to 1844, a time when Christians realized as never before the impending return of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 22:7
Behold, I come quickly.

Blessed is he that keeps the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
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Picture 21 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 21
Revelation 3:11 Comments
Behold, I come quickly.

Hold that fast which you have, that no man take your crown.
As we can see, the church of Philadelphia is very similar to the church of Smyrna:
  • both of them receive no negative comment from Jesus;
     
  • both of them also have to face the opposition of false Jews;
     
  • and finally, both of them will receive the crown if they persevere in Jesus until the end.
Revelation 2:10
Be you faithful to death, and I will give you a crown of life.
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Picture 22 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 22
Our perseverance will be rewarded with an imperishable crown:
«Every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.» (1 Corinthians 9:25)

«And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, you shall receive a crown of glory that fades not away.» (1 Peter 5:4)

«Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love Him.» (James 1:12)

«I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. From now on there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but to all them also that love His appearing.» (2 Timothy 4:7,8)
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Picture 23 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 23
Revelation 3:12 Comments
Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out. Jesus promises to him that overcomes that He will make him an eternal pillar in the temple of God.

The image of the pillar is used to designate the faithful and steadfast Christian who goes through trials with perseverance.
Galatians 2:9
When James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship.
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Picture 24 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 24
Revelation 3:12,13 Comments
Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out.

And I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God.

And I will write on him My new name.

He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit said to the churches.
Jesus ends His letter to Philadelphia by promising to him that overcomes that he will receive a new name, in addition to bearing the name of God.

As we have seen in the lesson «Letter to the Church of Pergamos», a new name indicates a new destiny.
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Picture 25 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 25
In the Bible, a change of name indicates a new destiny:
«Neither shall your name any more be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made you.» (Genesis 17:5)

«Your name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince have you power with God and with men, and have prevailed.» (Genesis 32:28)

«In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name with which she shall be called, “The Lord our Righteousness”.» (Jeremiah 33:16)

«The nations shall see your vindication, and all the kings your glory; and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give. (...) You shall no more be termed “Forsaken”, and your land shall no more be termed “Desolate”; but you shall be called “My Delight Is in Her”, and your land “Married”; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married.» (Isaiah 62:2,4 [NRSV])
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Picture 26 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 26
Revelation 14:1 Comments
And I looked, and, see, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father’s name written in their foreheads. Whoever receives a new name and bears the name of God on his forehead can look forward to a new destiny: eternal life on the New Earth with Jesus!
Revelation 22:3,4
The throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in [the city]; and His servants shall serve Him.

And they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.
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Picture 27 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 27
Revelation 3:8 Comments
Behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it.

For you have a little strength, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
And now, what is the personal application of the letter to the church of Philadelphia?

While we wait for the return of Jesus, let’s take advantage of the door He opens before us and let’s proclaim the gospel with perseverance!
James 5:8
Be you also patient.

Establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draws near.
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Picture 28 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 28
Revelation 3:8 Comments
I know your works.

Behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it.

For you have a little strength, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
In spite of modest means, the Awakening Church, symbolized by Philadelphia, proclaimed with power the message of salvation in Jesus Christ, and His imminent return. And God blessed its efforts. It’s a fine example to follow.

Let’s end this lesson with a summary of the letter to Philadelphia.
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Picture 29 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 29
The five points of the pattern in the letter to the church of Philadelphia
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Picture 30 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 27
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
Screen 30
We invite you to pray with us:
Our Father,

The example of the church of Philadelphia is a source of inspiration for each one of us.

Animated by the sweet hope of the imminent return of Your Son Jesus Christ, this church served You with a living faith and an unshakeable love.

We humbly ask You to help us to imitate this church, so that the promise to him who overcomes may also be ours, and that we may be worthy to inherit the new name You have reserved for those who remain faithful to You until the end.

In Jesus Christ our Savior we pray.

Amen.
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Lesson 27 - Test The test of Lesson 27 is waiting for you!

Source of the Pictures of this Lesson
Screen 1: In: «Photo Gallery 25,000», CD #3, by Media Graphics International, 047_149.JPG. Screen 2: JUSTINEN, Lars. In: «Questionnaire Adulte de l’Ecole du Sabbat», Pacific Press Publishing Association, First Quarter, 1999, front cover. Screen 3: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (April 1, 1990), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.8. Screen 4: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.59. Picture edited by Cyberspace Ministry. Screen 5: KNOX, John. In: «Ministry» magazine (June-July 2000), Seventh-day Adventist Ministerial Association, p.6. Screen 6: STEEL, John. In: «The Triumph of God’s Love, volume 2» (WHITE, Ellen G.), Pacific Press Publishing Association and Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1950, p.381. Screen 7: CONVERSE, James. In: «God Cares, volume 2» (MAXWELL, C. Mervyn), Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1985, p.295. Screen 8: CRANDALL, John. In: «Votre Bible et vous» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1978, p.8. Screen 9: COLLINS, Fred. In: «The Bible Story, volume 6» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1955, p.72. Screen 10: TANK, Darrel. In: «Ministry» magazine (June-July 2000), Seventh-day Adventist Ministerial Association, p.51. Screen 11: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.61. Screen 12: In: «The Bible Story, volume 8» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1956, p.182. Screen 13: CONVERSE, James. In: «The Triumph of God’s Love, volume 1» (WHITE, Ellen G.), Pacific Press Publishing Association and Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1950, p.290. Screen 14: In: «Adventist Review» (Unknown date). Advertisement for the church program «Health, Healing, Hope». Screen 15: In: «The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes» (TAYLOR, Kenneth N.), Moody Press, Chicago, 1956, p.189. Screen 16: In: «The Bible Pageant, Volume 5: Warriors of the Cross» (NEFF, Merlin L.), Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1950, p.126. Screen 17: ZINGARO, Charles. In: «Votre Bible et Vous» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), Press Publishing Association, p.125. Screen 18: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.195. Screen 19: In: «Prophecy Seminars», Seminars Unlimited, 1989, Daniel lesson #23 («The Day of Deliverance»), p.5. Screen 20: PROVONSHA, Clyde. In: «Votre Bible et Vous» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), Press Publishing Association, p.333. Screen 21: RUDEEN, Herbert. In: «The Bible Story, volume 10» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1957, p.190. Screen 22: HUTCHINSON, William. In: «The Bible Story, volume 10» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1957, p.174. Screen 23: In: «Adventist Review» magazine (November 1996), Review and Herald Publishing Association, p.9. Screen 24: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (April 15, 1987), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.10. Screen 25: ANDERSON, Harry. In: «Uncle Arthur’s Bible Book» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1968, p.93. Screen 26: ANDERSON, Harry. In: «The Bible Story, volume 6» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1955, p.65. Screen 27: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (January 1, 1990), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.1. Screen 28: MANISCALCO, Joe. In: «Images from the Bible and Sacred History CD», Chosen Works, MLI Software, JM212.BMP. Screen 29: BROWNSCOMBE, Jennie. In: «Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories, volume 4» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), Review and Herald Publishing Association and Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1976, p.181. Table of Screen 29: STEEL, John. In: «God Cares, volume 2» (MAXWELL, C.Mervyn), Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1985, p.342. Screen 30: In: «Photo Gallery 25,000», CD #3, by Media Graphics International, 067_196.JPG.
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Lesson 27 - Test The test of Lesson 27 is waiting for you!