Dan A. Rodriguez Articles and Podcasts

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September 20, 2021  

How Jesus Answered, “What Must I do to Inherit Eternal Life?”

What Jesus said about inheriting eternal life strikes at the heart of most Christian theology. It is a slap in the face to the doctrine of “just believe” and moves it into the realm of doing the Scripture. 

16 And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what [essentially] good thing shall I do to obtain eternal life [that is, eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom]?”17 Jesus answered, “Why are you asking Me about what is [essentially] good? There is only One who is [essentially] good; but if you wish to enter into eternal life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to Jesus, “Which commandments?” And Jesus answered, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER; YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY; YOU SHALL NOT STEAL; YOU SHALL NOT GIVE FALSE TESTIMONY; 19 HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER; and LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF” [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others]. 20 The young man said to Him, “I have kept all these things [from my youth]; what do I still lack?” (Matthew 19:16-20 Amplified Bible or AMP)

The rich young ruler asked Jesus, “What must I do to obtain (other translations- “inherit”) eternal life.” (Matthew 19:16) Jesus taught the rich young ruler about the qualifications for obtaining eternal life. His answer is like a loaded cannon! His answer will completely confuse most people because it sounds foreign to their evangelical thinking. It sounds like Jesus was telling the rich young ruler about getting saved by good works. The entire assumption is based on a wrong premise if that is what is seen in Jesus' answer. There is nothing weird or out of place with the comments of Jesus. This was not “law or works thinking” as opposed to grace. If you believe Jesus was “under the law” and Paul was “under grace,” you have been subjected to wrong Biblical interpretation!

Firstly, we should understand that the man Jesus was speaking to, the rich young ruler, was not a Gentile. He was far from it. The rich young ruler was a Jewish man, circumcised the eighth day (as all Jewish boys were), and would have entered covenant responsibility between 12 and 13 years of age. He became responsible for covenant obedience according to the Judaism of his day. He had kept the basic commandments (moral ones) from his youth, or from his entering covenant responsibility, what historically became known later as the Bar-Mitzvah. (1)

Why did the rich young ruler ask Jesus which were the commandments He was referring to in order to obtain or inherit eternal life?

The commandments can be divided for the purposes of Christianity into the moral and judicial guidelines categories, and on the other side were those that addressed ritual activity in the Temple of God, priesthood, animal blood sacrifices, feasts and festivals, Sabbath days, food laws, and so on. For simplicity’s sake, I refer to them as the moral commandments and ceremonial or ritual commandments. That is not an artificial division to the commandments because after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 A. D., moral and judicial commandments came to the forefront as the only ones that Jews could continue to observe. (2) All ritual or ceremonial commandments dependent on Temple and priesthood became obsolete and passed away into history.

Judaism was reinvented in the latter part of the 1st century and into the 2nd century without the Temple and priesthood services in Jerusalem. (3) Jewish leaders understood that the 613 commandments of God’s law were reduced to 369 laws when the Temple was destroyed. (4) Other Jewish sources say only 244 commandments or 40% were and are applicable! (5)

Only the moral and judicial laws and commandments were left. Feasts, festivals, and Sabbath observances were reinvented so they could be practiced without animal sacrifices. Even circumcision of a male child on the eighth day was within the framework of the mother offering a sacrifice in the Temple for her purification after childbirth. (6) That was no longer applicable without Temple, priesthood, and animal sacrifices.

Today, Jews continue to practice Sabbaths and the festivals without offering animal sacrifices. According to the apostle Paul’s teaching and the conclusions reached by the Jerusalem church council in Acts 15, Christians converted among the Gentiles were not required to keep Sabbath days, circumcision, or any of the feasts and festivals of Israel. They were required to continue to uphold and keep moral commandments and guidelines.

If you have questions along these lines, and how these historical facts affect your Christian walk today, please see my detailed 62 page PDF by using this link, “Did the Grace of God Cancel Biblical Commandments”. There are many wrong teachings floating among Christians concerning law and grace, and the difference between ritual and moral commandments, and whether we should obey moral commandments or not. Paul was emphatically clear about the subject, but the problem is many have been reading his statements without understanding the historical context. Many have interpreted some verses in ways that Paul never intended while at the same time rejecting some things he wrote about the commandments and the law of Moses. My 62-page mini-book will open your eyes with many Scripture references and a historical background, and it is free of charge!

Let me get back to the words of Jesus to the rich young ruler.

Do you mean to tell me that there could be a connection to eternal life and the follower of Jesus keeping God’s moral commandments? Some would be too quick to yell, “NO!” Yes, there is a connection, according to Jesus. Jesus taught it. What you must decide is whether you will believe the words of Jesus or not. Moral commandments are important eternally, but ONLY for those already in a covenant relationship with the Father! Commandments originated in the Father and Jesus ONLY taught what He heard from the Father in Heaven. (John 7:16)

What does the above mean for believers today? After you come to Jesus and receive God’s gift in redemption, you are expected to live a moral life, that is IF you want to hold fast to eternal life. (1 Timothy 6:12, 19) If you sin, you must confess your sin before God and receive forgiveness and cleansing from UN-righteousness. You need to get it right with God and get sin purged out of your life by the Blood of Jesus! (See 1 John 1:7-10, 2:1, 2)

For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Romans 13:9, 10 NKJV)

The love commandment at the end of the statement of Jesus in Matthew 19:19 and Paul's statement above in Romans 13:10 are not a replacement or even a rejection of the other holy moral commandments of God. Jesus nor Paul ever taught that nonsense, though many Christians teach it as the gospel truth! Paul writes that love is a SUMMARY of what it means to live a holy life before God. God’s moral commandments are holy, just, good and spiritual according to Paul in Romans 7:12 and 14. Read the text please and get your theology straight! The commandments of God were NEVER fleshly or carnal or so burdensome that nobody could keep them. That "no one could keep them" is traditional religious baloney! The rich young ruler kept the moral commandments impeccably from his youth, and he did that BEFORE he was a follower of Jesus, and BEFORE the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost! The idea that “God’s commandments were hard to keep” was a Satan-invented lie to get Christian people to live their lives cringing against anything called a commandment and making them feel less responsible for keeping them.

The apostle John taught the exact opposite to the “no one could keep the commandments of God” ignorance, and the “they were too hard to keep” foolishness.

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. (1 John 5:2, 3 NKJV)

“Not burdensome” means that God’s Holy guidelines (moral commandments) for living in this world were not a “heavy weight” like a mule carrying a heavy load. No mules here! Commandments are a part of our yoke in Christ, and His yoke is easy, and His burden is light! (See Matthew 11:28-30.) Notice that the love of God is that we keep (obey) His commandments. When you understand that properly, you will get the truth that John was teaching the same thing Paul wrote when he quoted some of God’s moral commandments and stated that all of God’s moral commandments were SUMMED UP in the love commandment.

Jesus said, “ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” (Matthew 19:18-19 NKJV)

None of those moral commandments were burdensome or “hard to keep.” That was and is true, especially for the born again and committed believer. The moral commandments are easy because we have the power of the Holy Spirit in us to live in holiness. He isn’t called the HOLY Spirit for nothing! The Father is a holy God, and Jesus is a holy Lord that empowers His followers to live holy lives before God.

When you first come to Jesus and make Him Lord of your life, He will accept you as you are, but He does not want you to stay that way. Jesus will forgive, cleanse, heal, and deliver you, but the Lord expects transformation out of us as believers. (See Romans 12:1, 2 in the Amplified Bible.)

But I declared to those in Damascus first, and then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds consistent with repentance. (Acts 26:20 NET)

Good works (deeds) are not how we got saved but they do demonstrate repentance AFTER you receive Jesus. Performing deeds consistent with repentance” is holiness. The behavior of a Christian should be one that breathes and lives holiness. It is the will of God that we live a holy life. (See 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8.) Holiness is not bondage. Holy behavior is a prerequisite of the Christian life. We serve a holy God and a holy Lord by the power of the HOLY Spirit.

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” (1 Peter 1:14-16 NASB)

Once you begin to follow Jesus, there must be a change of lifestyle. It is never “come to Jesus and then sin all you want because He loves you.” Some have espoused the twisted theology that this is what love does. Did Jesus agree with the idea of “love will overlook my sins as a Christian even if I don’t repent?” Not according to Jesus.

“And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God” (Luke 13:3, 5 New Living Translation).

The message of Jesus was one of repentance, turning from devilish lifestyles, and serving and loving God. Not ONE verse in the Gospels ever insinuates acceptance of sin and darkness, but a rejection of sin and evil ways.

Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11 NKJV). He said to the healed (former) blind man, “Go and sin no more so something worse does not come on you” (John 5:14 NKJV). Continuing in a sinful lifestyle is not an option for the follower of Jesus!

The words of Jesus are filled with living a holy lifestyle in obedience to God, His Word, and commandments.

What did Jesus preach and teach everywhere? Here was a huge part of it.

He (Jesus) said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the gospel!” (Mark 1:15 New English Translation)

The Scriptural pattern of the Christian life is also found in the book of Revelation.

10 Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last— salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ, for the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth— the one who accuses them before our God day and night. 11 And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. 12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens! And you who live in the heavens, rejoice! But terror will come on the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down to you in great anger, knowing that he has little time.” … 17 And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children—all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus. (Revelation 12:10-12, 17 New Living Translation)

I quoted a larger portion than verse 17 so that you would see that all who keep the commandments of God and maintain their faith in Jesus are believers in Christ Jesus that serve and obey Him. Note the two-fold description of true believers in Christ. They keep the commandments (moral commandments) of God AND maintain their faith in Jesus. It is not only keeping the commandments, and it is not having faith in Jesus alone. It is both!

Here is [encouragement for] the steadfast endurance of the saints (God’s people), those who habitually keep God’s commandments and their faith in Jesus. (Revelation 14:12 Amplified Bible or AMP)

Who are the real saints or God’s people? Are they those that have a regard for their church dogma or declaration of faith? Are the real believers those that have a mental agreement with the facts about the life and resurrection of Jesus? Are the real people of God those that made a confession of Jesus as their Lord at some point in their life but now habitually live in sin? No, a thousand times no! The real believers are those who habitually keep God’s moral commandments AND their faith in Jesus.

Jesus answered the rich young ruler, “…But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He (the rich young ruler) said to Him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” The rich young ruler answered Jesus that those commandments he kept from his youth, but he knew that something was missing. Watch this closely.

20 The young man said to Him, “I have kept all these things [from my youth]; what do I still lack?” 21 Jesus answered him, “If you wish to be perfect [that is, have the spiritual maturity that accompanies godly character with no moral or ethical deficiencies], go and sell what you have and give [the money] to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me [becoming My disciple, believing and trusting in Me and walking the same path of life that I walk].” 22 But when the young man heard this, he left grieving and distressed, for he owned much property and had many possessions [which he treasured more than his relationship with God]. (Matthew 19:20-22 AMP)

Do you see it? What the man lacked in his commandment keeping was obedience to God with his giving (because money or “stuff” controlled him), and becoming a true believer by following Jesus. Jesus taught him that commandment keeping was a part of the equation to eternal life, but there was more to it than that. He needed to fully commit to Jesus and follow Him unreservedly. That was the way he was going to be perfect or have the spiritual maturity that accompanied godly character with no moral or ethical deficiencies. Jesus was calling the rich young ruler to discipleship, and possibly, in his case, to apostleship. That man could have replaced Judas Iscariot as the one that handled the money for Jesus and His staff. He missed his call to become a true follower of Jesus. 

Do you see how this meshes perfectly with Revelation 12:17 and 14:12? The true follower of Jesus will obey God’s moral commandments and maintain his or her faith in Jesus. 

To believers, Christians, or followers of Jesus, Paul makes this statement:

Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is keeping the commandments of God. (1 Corinthians 7:19 AMP)

He was not making that statement to the ungodly but to born-again, tongue talking Christians. After you come to Jesus and get baptized in the Holy Spirit and begin speaking and praying in tongue, the next step is transformation by becoming a doer of the Word. (See Romans 12:2, and James 1:22.) That means that holiness is now on your radar everyday, and you are a practitioner, doer, or keeper of the moral commandments of God.  



(1) Although Bar-Mitzvah today is celebrated differently, we know it has ancient roots as recorded in the Talmud. Jesus was examined by the Temple priests and teachers at the age of 12. (Luke 2:41–52) “All who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.” (Luke 2:47) Most likely, that is the oldest record of a “Bar Mitzvah” or when a child's understanding of Scripture is scrutinized and subject to rabbinical approval in order to become a part of the adult community of observant Jews. Do you understand that this in the ONLY event recorded about Jesus’ youth, and that it happened when he was 12 years old? That means that this was an especially important event in His life. Why were Joseph and Mary not there if it was so important? Could this scrutiny among the priests and teachers have started earlier, and they thought it was finished, so they left thinking Jesus was with the other children that went through the same process of scrutiny? They were surprised that Jesus extended His stay because, “He must be about His Father’s business.” He was already taking his adult covenant responsibility VERY seriously.
(2) Jews divided commandments by positive and negative ones. There were 248 “do’s, and 365 don’ts. Without Temple or priesthood, of the 248 do’s only 126 are applicable today among religious Jews. Of the 365 don’ts there were left applicable 243. See http://www.jewfaq.org/613.htm , but see article in note 5.
(3) Jewish commentaries on the history of Judaism after the destruction of the Second Temple teach it this way. As an example see: http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/1362/forgotten-hero-of-tisha-bav-enabled-judaism-to-survive-exile/ ; also look at the following: http://earlyworldhistory.blogspot.com/2012/01/yohanan-ben-zakkai.html ; https://www.jweekly.com/1995/08/04/forgotten-hero-of-tisha-b-av-enabled-judaism-to-survive-exile/ . For more information, see Jacob Neusner, A Life of Rabbi Johanan ben Zakkai (1960).
(4) Nobody knows this better than the Jews! See: https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/541686/jewish/How-Many-ofthe-Torahs-Commandments-Still-Apply.htm
(5) “Of the 613 commandments, only 411 don't require the Temple (202, or about a third, do); of these, only 369 commandments are applicable today (42 pertain to slaves, kings, nazirs, etc.); of these, only 270 apply always, regardless of circumstances (99 require special circumstances, e.g., "don’t be late in fulfilling a vow" applies only if you make a vow; likewise, parapet around roof, paying laborer on time, etc.); -of these, only 244 apply outside Israel. (26 apply only in Israel.) So, for most Jews, only 244, or 40%, of the mitzvot apply.” Quoted from the following article: https://images.shulcloud.com/618/uploads/PDFs/Divrei_Torah/150523-the-613-commandments-shavuot.pdf
(6) That would seem to be the implication of Luke 2:21-24 and Leviticus 12:1-7. Many believe there was no connection, but the context in both passages may confirm there was a covenant connection. See the following articles for additional insight: https://www.thetorah.com/article/mother-and-child-postpartum-defilement-and-circumcision ; https://www.algemeiner.com/2012/03/30/the-blood-of-menstruation-is-covenantal-blood/ . I only bring this up because if that was the case, once the Temple was destroyed in 70 A. D. (CE), the covenant rite of circumcision also lost important connections to blood sacrifice and Temple worship. After the Temple’s destruction these sacrifices in Leviticus 12:1-7 that were connected to the purification of the woman after childbirth and covenant circumcision, these could no longer be offered.

Listen to the next podcast in the series: Repentance- Part 9. It will answer many questions for you on the difference between righteousness as a gift, and righteousness as the lifestyle of the believer. There is much confusion in the area of righteousness and what the difference is between Romans 3:25, 26; 5:17 (the gift of righteousness) and what John taught in 1 John 2:29 and 3:7, 8, 10 (the righteous lifestyle- See the verses in NKJV or NET.) Don't miss it! If we are righteous in Christ, and that is supposedly an unchangeable status, why do we need to be cleansed from UNrighteousness if we sin (1 John 1:9)? Get answers in this podcast, and never be confused about the subject again. Be blessed!

September 16, 2021  

Wake Up Church!


** This message was first published April/May 2020, but it is so pertinent that I wanted to present it again. There were a very few additions to reflect the situation today, but the core message remains the same.

Jesus warned and commanded the churches in Revelation 2 and 3. He praised their strengths but held nothing back when telling them to wake up and repent. Do you want a real awakening in America? It all starts with repentance!  

Awakening to the lies of government, media, globalist totalitarianism, the Democrat and most of the Republican parties, stolen elections, medical tyranny, treasonous leaders, etc. is great, but it lacks a supernatural element that can only come from God. 

“Wake up then, and strengthen what remains that was about to die, because I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Therefore, remember what you received and heard, and obey it, and repent. If you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will never know at what hour I will come against you” (Revelation 3:2-3 NET).

To wake up means that you get strength in the Lord, that you remember what you received and heard through His Word, you obey it or act on it, and REPENT if your actions are contrary to God and His Word. That is the Wake-Up call. Jesus warned us that if a church doesn’t wake up that He will come as a thief in the night. They won’t know what hit them. It won’t be pretty. I didn’t say that first, Jesus did!

America! It’s Time to Wake Up! Church! It’s Time to Wake Up!

“All those I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest (zealous) and repent.” (Revelation 3:19 NET)

The reason Jesus rebuked and disciplined these churches (Christians) in Revelation chapters two and three was because some were practicing evil things. “All those I love” will get rebuked and disciplined when necessary. Do you mean to tell me that LOVE will rebuke and discipline at times? Jesus loved believers so much that He exposed their sins for all the world to see through rebuke, discipline, and by commanding them to repent.

Repentance was not a suggestion then, and it is not a suggestion now. Love includes discipline, rebuke, and repentance. Get that straight in your thinking. The message of “Jesus loves you” has been watered down so much that if Jesus rebuked or disciplined most folks, they would think it was verbal abuse and completely devoid of love.

Here is a message you will not hear from most pulpits in America:

“Jesus loves you so much that He will rebuke, discipline, and command you to repent?” (My very good paraphrase of Revelation 3:19.)

How much of that do you hear or read on social media or on church websites? How many times have you heard that from the pulpits of the land? If Jesus rebukes and disciplines all those He loves, what is happening with all those that have not heard a rebuke and have not been disciplined by Him through their loving pastors or other loving spiritual people? They are missing out on a very real aspect of the love of Jesus Christ for His church.

This message of repentance is extremely important in the love of Christ. Pastors, ministers, and preachers should love their flock by giving them warnings, and even rebuking them when necessary. Why should we be diligent to rebuke when necessary, to discipline, and lead people to repentance? Let me say it in the words of the apostle who wrote Hebrews (whom I believe was Paul):

And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate (KJV and others translated “illegitimate” as “bastards”) and not sons. (Hebrews 12:5-8 New King James Version NKJV)

Isn’t that sweet that most modern translations soften the blow by translating “illegitimate” instead of using the harsher word “bastards”? The meaning is the same, but nobody takes kindly to being called a bastard! Illegitimate children were traditionally called bastards, and in the Hebrew language they were called “mamzer”. If somebody called you a mamzer, they were probably looking for a fight! It was an insult to be called a mamzer – bastard just like it is today. The use of bastards in our text was meant to shock the reader, and certainly not sugarcoat anything.

What did the verses above say? If we are not partakers of the Lord’s correction and discipline as children (chastening being the older English word), rebuke, and even scourging (serious spanking that starts in the spirit and only continues to be physical after people consistently refuse to repent), then we would be BASTARDS.

Many churches preach sweet stuff that’s like cotton candy fluff. It’s all puffy marshmallow Christianity. No preaching and teaching are done of the solid meat or food of the Word meant to produce growth. (See Hebrews 5:12-14 in the AMP.) Even the milk of the Word produces some growth, but those churches concentrate on mush that is not fit for spiritual or human consumption! (1 Peter 2:1, 2)

If fluffy cotton candy was all you ate in the natural world, you would get very sick and eventually drop dead. Could you imagine what is happening spiritually in some churches that only preach cotton candy and marshmallow Christianity? They are developing bastard children, and not real sons and daughters received by the Father. Is that something I came up with, or did Paul teach that in his epistles? We saw it in Hebrews, but where else do we see that expressed? 

Do not be unequally bound together with unbelievers [do not make mismatched alliances with them, inconsistent with your faith]. For what partnership can righteousness have with lawlessness? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and Belial (Satan)? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said: “I WILL DWELL AMONG THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. “So COME OUT FROM AMONG UNBELIEVERS AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord, “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will graciously receive you and welcome you [with favor], And I will be a Father to you, And you will be My sons and daughters,” Says the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:14-18 Amplified Bible- AMP)

That entire portion of Scripture speaks to what I am writing to you about.

God is interested in developing believers into sons and daughters of God that will take a stand against being bound to an alliance with unbelievers, partnering with lawlessness, fellowshipping with darkness, and agreeing with Satan! He is actively looking for believers that reject unbelieving ways and all idols! God is looking for those that will live separated from the junk of the world and refuse to touch the unclean trash heap of the world, the flesh, and the devil!

Do not love the world [of sin that opposes God and His precepts], nor the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust and sensual craving of the flesh and the lust and longing of the eyes and the boastful pride of life [pretentious confidence in one’s resources or in the stability of earthly things]—these do not come from the Father, but are from the world. The world is passing away, and with it its lusts [the shameful pursuits and ungodly longings]; but the one who does the will of God and carries out His purposes lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17 AMP)

The Father is looking to receive graciously into power and anointing sons and daughters and not bastard children that want to do whatever the world does and whatever the devil wants, but that will only seek to do the will of the Father.

The above is why Hebrews goes on to teach that discipline, rebuke, and even some serious spanking are completely necessary for spiritual growth into sons and daughters of God that want to be used by Him to shake their world.

Moreover, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us, and we submitted and respected them [for training us]; shall we not much more willingly submit to the Father of spirits, and live [by learning from His discipline]? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for only a short time as seemed best to them; but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems sad and painful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness [right standing with God and a lifestyle and attitude that seeks conformity to God’s will and purpose]. (Hebrew 12:9-11 Amplified)

Others preach the Word concerning salvation, blessing, healing, deliverance, or some variation of it, without bringing correction and rebuke when necessary. That is not right and missing a very important part of ministry to the people. Part of ministering and preaching God’s word is discipline and rebuke (2 Timothy 4:2).

Some say they are preaching only “encouraging” or messages of “hope” to their congregations. Somebody said to me once to preach "heaven" to the people. Sorry to burst your bubble, but that is not enough. “Hope” preaching without this necessary element of discipline, spiritual spanking, warnings, and repentance is deficient and needs an “iron” supplement in the Spirit, because it is an anemic message. Jesus will rebuke and discipline you because He loves you, therefore, be zealous and repent! (Revelation 3:19) That is tough love, but it is necessary.

God help us learn that sometimes the love of Christ will demand rebuke, correction, spanking (that could get very physical when there is a refusal to repent), and heart-felt repentance that is demonstrated in real actions that are accord with repentance! (See Acts 26:20 AMP.)

What should be our response? Say it and believe it, “Jesus loves me, so I receive His rebuke and discipline.” The rejection of that makes a person a real dumb-dumb. I am being nice about it. Proverbs cuts through the chase.

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof (1) is stupid. (Proverbs 12:1 NET)

Jesus loves me, this I know, so I love discipline and true knowledge because I do not want to be like those that hate reproof and get stuck on stupid! As my Puerto Rico born, but staunchly American dad used to say about right here in old KJV English, “How readest thou?”

Wait a minute. What is “knowledge” according to the Scripture? Is “knowledge” profound revelation, revelation knowledge, penetrating insight, or deep understanding? Though those may be a part of it, knowledge refers to knowing God AND serving Him. Those that have knowledge of God forsake idolatry, immorality, and all that violates God’s moral commandments. Read the first six chapters of Proverbs to see that clearly taught.

The Hebrew language always understood “knowledge of God”, not as revelation or understanding alone, but as living for Him according to His Word-commandments. In other words, you know Him when you obey Him. Those that disobey Him and follow the world’s ways and practices don’t know Him, even though they call themselves Christians.

The Apostle John taught that truth.

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (1 John 2:3-6 NKJV)

THAT should be clear enough!

In the podcast below, we focus on national repentance, but there are truths here applicable to our personal lives. National repentance will not happen without individual repentance.

Though the USA saw better days under Trump than under the perverted and ungodly-to-the-max Obama administration, there is a long way to go. Under Obama, and now the perverted Biden administration, we see the exaltation of homosexuality (LGBT and all its demonic offspring like same-sex marriage), the continued and increasing murder of unborn children (abortion), the empowering of our national enemies (like the Taliban, Isis, CCP) and the condemnation and demonization of Christianity and Christians. We see in America a great divide between believers and unbelievers, and a strong distinction appearing and solidifying between the world and its sinful ways and those that love God, His Word, and His son Jesus. This divided kingdom business is a recipe for disaster (Matthew 12:25), but one that that can be mitigated, and even turned around through individual repentance and a call to national repentance. (Remember what we saw in the previous articles and podcasts according to 2 Chronicles 7:13, 14, Jeremiah 18:7-12, and Nineveh in Jonah 3.) These are crucial to America’s survival, so our country can once again becomes ONE NATION UNDER GOD, and it begins to truly thrive. 

What are we up against?

The mainstream media has become a vehicle for heathenism. They have become proponents of all that is contrary to God and His Word. They target Christianity and Christians and attempt to make them look foolish and bigoted. Sadly, on many fronts they have succeeded in their endeavor to make Christianity looks like something to be despised and rejected. They are the main false prophets of our day just like Jeremiah faced in his day. Make no mistake about it, they are on their way to their own destruction. They are like the false prophets that Jeremiah prophesied about that would be dead before long. Their fake news outlets are falling apart even now. 

Social media sites have followed the MSM example and are doing everything they can do to stop the spread of Christian thought, morality, and teaching. They have wholeheartedly embraced demon-inspired people and activities that are morally reprehensible. They are in line with the false prophets. Additionally, there are the horrifyingly false prophetic voices coming from most Hollywood actors and actresses, acclaimed singers, and other foolish people in entertainment and sports that are trying to tell the world how to live according to their ungodliness. Well, if you want to go to a devil’s hell, then follow their advice and live according to their perverted ways. If you want to go to Heaven, then receive God’s gift in Jesus and live for the Lord EVERY day! (John 3:16) 

So, what do we do as Christians? Do we bow down to the world, the devil, and to his false prophets? Do we cower and surrender? NO way! We continue teaching, preaching, and ministering under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. People’s eternal destinies depend on our never giving up. We don’t quit, and we don’t compromise the Word. We don’t water down the gospel of repentance and forgiveness. We preach and declare uncompromisingly as Jesus did, “Repent and believe the gospel”, and “repent or perish!” That is the true wake-up call of Jesus to the churches today.

Wake up church! Wake up America!

Get more in the Part 4 podcast below about repentance. Be mightily and overwhelmingly blessed!



(1) Brown, Driver, Briggs: correction, rebuke, chiding, chastisement, etc. See Strong’s H8433b for definition of this word “reproof.”

September 13, 2021  

God is in Control of Everything?



*This message was first published in April of 2020 but is even more important NOW! Be blessed! 

Many believe that “God is in Control” is the Gospel truth. “Brother Rodriguez, that is what the Bible says!” Is it? If it is, then we are stuck with it. Maybe we should look at that idea a little closer before coming to a conclusion.

Following is a verse interpreted to uphold the theology that God ultimately controls all leaders in human government.

The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord like channels of water; he turns it wherever he wants (Proverbs 21:1 NET).

Many assume that verse means that all rulers are like puppets on a string, and God is the master puppeteer. That was never a Biblical view but one that originated in the beliefs about mythical gods and their treatment of mankind. Among these mythical gods, humans were like pawns in a game of otherworldly chess played by them. The gods set human fate according to their will. That same thinking infiltrated Christianity beginning in the second century. We could go into a lengthy discussion of how Greek pagan thought supplanted Jewish Messianic Biblical thought of the 1st century church in Jerusalem. I will spare you the details, but ideas prevalent in paganism about their mythological gods and their relationship with humanity had a deep impact on Christian Biblical interpretation as the church moved further west into pagan territory. Historically, the church to the west by the 3rd and 4th century would have been almost unrecognizable to Jesus, the apostles, and the churches that sprang up among the Jewish believers around Jerusalem and its vicinity. Anybody that has done research into the history of the church between the 1st and 4th century knows this to be true. (1)

The idea that God is like a master puppeteer or a divine chess master in control of all human actions, and that all humans must bow to His will, was a part of heathen or pagan mythology. Pagan gods could force their will upon humans at their every whim. It did not matter if their will was immoral or unrighteous. Human beings had no choice in their fate. Whatever the gods willed was to be done even by unwilling humanity.

That posited idea takes away from human beings all powers of decision and makes them automatons that are forcibly subject to the divine will. If God could do that with kings and government leaders, or any human being for that matter, why not do that with the unsaved on planet earth? Why not force everyone to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord, and mandate that everyone to go to heaven? We could start the Millennium tomorrow and get on with eternity if that were the case! That is not the case because human beings can choose their eternal destiny, and they have a choice in this life to serve or disobey God.

The right to choose

From the beginning, God gave people the right to choose, and it has never been rescinded. He commanded Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and that IF they did eat of the forbidden tree, then they would die (Genesis 2:17). God gave them a choice, but they chose the wrong thing and suffered the consequences. It was not God’s plan that they chose evil, but they did, and God respected their choice. If God was sovereign as people think, as in full control of all circumstances, why not rebuke the devil and stop sin in the garden? Why not stop the many millennia of the rule of darkness that perverted His creation and brought it a devastating curse?

Many think that God created man to fail and sin. They believe that God in His sovereignty had some purpose in all this damnation and planetary misery. Really? Step back from religion and theology and hear that nonsense for what it is. “Sovereignty” and “God is in control” as taught in much of Christendom is a perverted and twisted traditional religious idea that makes God into an indiscriminate murderer and destroyer that somehow favors evils to strike mankind for some mysterious purposes. Those ideas make human beings into robotic servants subject to the “control” of the “programmer” (God).

Let us get specific.

Those that think that because of God’s sovereignty, He is control of all human actions, what then do you do with Hitler, Stalin, Mao, ISIS, and all the evil rulers, empires, and terrorist organizations that have plagued the planet? God would have to be worse than all of them if this human cesspool of evil and bondage were of His design and under His total control. The idea is so ludicrous and preposterous that only in churches will people believe that nonsense and utter stupidity. I do not have any nice words to describe the foolishness of the “God is in control of everything” crowd.

God sent Jesus. Those that trust and follow Him (believe) will be saved, and those that do not will be damned (John 3:15-18, 36; 12:48; Mark 16:16, etc.). The choice between life and death, blessing or curses, love and hatred, and obedience or disobedience has always been among men. God has never taken it away, and never will!

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live (Deuteronomy 30:19 NKJV- See also Jeremiah 21:8 and ff., and Amos 5:14)

Who has the choice to make? God? God is in control of whether we have life or death, blessing or cursing? No, human beings must choose. What is the problem? Many want it to be God's choice, but God has left it up to us as to what we choose. He does tell us to choose life because He wants us to live, but the ultimate choice is left to us as long as we are on the earth. Granted, once you leave your body, your final fate is set. Eternal life to those that know Jesus and serve God, and eternal damnation for those that rejected the Lord and doing what was right according to His Word. (See Romans 1:16-32 through 2:1-11 for Paul's teaching on the subject.) 

And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15 NKJV)

God does not choose for you whom you will serve? The choice is left up to YOU and ME!

I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgments I have laid before me. (Psalms 119:30 NKJV)

The Psalmist said he chose the way of truth. God did not choose it for him. 

Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord. (Proverbs 1:29 NKJV)

Who makes the choice here? The person rejecting the knowledge (knowing and doing the Word) of the Lord. Choosing to fear (honor and respect) the Lord is in human hands. It is not in God's hands. It's our choice of whether we revere the Lord or not. 

Curds and honey He shall eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the Child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that you dread will be forsaken by both her kings. (Isaiah 7:15 NKJV)

For fun, think about it. Who chose for you that you should eat corn flakes or eggs and biscuits this morning? Was it God? No, you chose what to eat. He calls upon us to fast at times, but it is our choice whether to obey or disobey His instruction. In the same way, we choose between good and evil. God desires we reject the evil and choose the good, but whether we do or not is in our hands. 

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. (Matthew 6:24 NKJV)

Whom we will serve is in our hands. God does not make that choice for us. 

So that you can decide what is best, and thus be sincere and blameless for the day of Christ. (Philippians 1:10 NET).

You decide what is best! Yes, we follow the leading of the Lord and what His Word says to make the right choices, but no one can take away your right to choose. Even martyrs chose Jesus and refused to deny their faith regardless of the deadly end results. 

Here is one more portion of Scripture that blows wrong theology about the life and death of a believer completely out the door. 

But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. 25 And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith. (Philippians 1:22-25 NKJV)

What do you think of that? Do you mean to tell me that Paul had a choice in the matter whether to die and be with the Lord or to stay in the body because the Philippians needed to get more from his ministry? Do mean to tell me we can have a choice? YES!

We can do things to extend our days upon the earth. We can also do things to cut our days short upon the earth. Anyone that has read the first three chapters of the book of Proverbs should know that. See Proverbs 1:32-33; 2:20-22; 3:1-2, 7-8, 13-18, and I dare anyone to refute the clear teaching of the Scripture! A part of God's divine protection is that we be satisfied with a long life (Psalms 91:16). Who or what do you believe? Do you believe God or the traditional idiocy of many sectors of Christendom that think all matters of life and death are in God's hands? The Scriptures above prove the massive errors believed in these areas of choice, even in the areas of life and death.  

How about this often half-quoted verse? These verses tell us one way to extend our days upon the earth.

“Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:2, 3; Paul is quoting from Exodus 20:12 -NKJV)

Don't quote the first part without also quoting the second part about living long on the earth.

Here is another portion of Scripture that tells us how we can extend our life upon the earth. The apostle Peter quoted it. 

10 It is written in the psalms, If you love life and want to live a good, long time, then be careful what you say. Don’t tell lies or spread gossip or talk about improper things. 11 Walk away from the evil things in the world—just leave them behind, and do what is right, and always seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the Lord watches over the righteous, and His ears are attuned to their prayers. But His face is set against His enemies; He will punish evildoers. (1Peter 3:10-12 -The Voice translation- a quotation from Psalms 34:12-16)

Let’s get our theology straight! The ONLY way to straighten up our ideas is by looking at Scripture after Scripture like we are doing here, but there are many more that prove the point. 

Again, and for the record, it is an impossibility to trust and obey the Lord or to distrust and disobey Him unless you have a choice, a right to decide. Believing or unbelief is a human choice. God will not force “faith” (faithfulness, trust, obedience) on you any more than He will force unbelief on you.

Does God control all government leaders?

“But isn’t the obvious meaning of Proverbs 21:1 that, because of His sovereignty, He can control everyone whenever He wishes?” No, it does not mean that at all once you take into consideration Hosea 8:4 and Nehemiah 9:17 and a truckload of other verses!

They enthroned kings without my consent! They appointed princes without my approval (Hosea 8:4a NET)!

They refused to obey and did not recall your miracles that you had performed among them. Instead, they rebelled and appointed a leader to return to their bondage in Egypt (Nehemiah 9:17a NKJV).

Some kings and princes (governmental leaders) disobeyed God and refused to do what He said. Have you read the extensive list of kings that disobeyed God in the Old Testament? Most of the kings of Israel and Judah disobeyed and rebelled against the Lord. Most of these rebellious kings usually died off quickly and were replaced by another that would do worse.

There is no way to read First and Second Chronicles and be oblivious to the fact that most kings did not have their hearts in the hand of the Lord. If God could have turned any of the hearts of these kings whenever He wanted, why didn’t He turn any of the hearts of the evil kings?

Obviously, something is wrong with the way we have understood Proverbs 21:1 and many other verses that would seem at first glance to imply that “God is in control” of all human affairs and events. If God is completely in control of human events, then how do we account for the death and destruction flooding this planet over millennia? How can we say God is in control of everything with a straight face and see the evil at work on this planet? Is God in control when women are raped, children are sold into slavery, young women are forced to be sex slaves, and Islamic terrorist organizations murder, rape, maim, behead, and knife to death men, women, and children? Only idiotic, ignoramus, anti-Biblical, religious, traditional BUNK could blind a person to believe that God is in control of all that bad stuff. He is not!

I know I am repeating myself, and maybe belaboring the point though using different words, but this subject of sovereignty and “God’s control” are too important to give a lightweight answer.

In the sense that God’s prophetic words concerning our planet will happen, yes, He is in control of that! The promised return of Jesus to rule and reign on the earth will occur no matter what anybody decides or chooses against it. The Book of Revelation will happen regardless of who is in government and who is not! Some events will transpire no matter what anybody believes or does because God said it, and His Word will accomplish what He wants (Isaiah 55:11). He is sovereign and in control where these events are concerned, but He is not ruling over the human will when people decide to disobey and rebel against Him and follow the devil. As far as humanity and their right to choose, God is not in control of their wrong choices or their corrupt activities.

We must understand that the word sovereign does not mean that God is in control of all human actions. No, it means that as sovereign He is above all. He is the Creator and He is God! He is THE one and only God, and besides Him, there is no other! He is the highest authority and power! If you find a a Bible translation that renders "Most High" as "Sovereign", it is suspect. If they are trying to say that He is in control of everything, they trying to inject the crass errors of Calvinism into the translation. "Most High" is the Hebrew word Elyon as found in Psalms 91:1 and in other verses. It literally means that God is the highest or that He is above all. It does not mean that He is in control of all!

Jesus said that the thief is the one that comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). To believe that evil comes because God is in control means that you believe that God is the thief! Yes, God does allow a lot of evil stuff because many human beings have rejected Him, embraced the darkness and false religions, and they are in Satan’s territory as the “destroyer.” People choose darkness, and they reap destruction and death. The wages of sin are still death (Romans 6:23). When people choose evil and disobedience against God and His holy commandments, He turns them over to their enemies. As one example among many, read Judges 2:7-23. This truth is taught excessively in the Bible from cover to cover!

There were kings and princes ordained by people that were never in God’s plan. They were NOT God's will! People voted them in” without God approval, as we saw from Hosea 8:4.

We have some kings in Scripture that lived during a time in history where God had His Word on the line concerning His people. Sometimes God put a “decision” in their hearts to do something in line with His will and they obeyed. Other times, judgment came against some of them until they obeyed. He can do that whenever necessary!

One prominent example was Nebuchadnezzar. He disobeyed the Lord and was severely judged to wander the earth for seven years with the mind of an animal. When he recognized God and was willing to obey Him, the kingdom was restored to him, and he was reinstated as King of Babylon.

Nebuchadnezzar was a part of a greater plan that had to do with God’s people. Because of their sin, God turned over the nation of Israel to Nebuchadnezzar. (See the book of Jeremiah.) He took thousands into captivity, and they were to remain in that land for a minimum of seventy years. The prophet Jeremiah spoke the Word of the Lord concerning Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon, and the exile of the sons of Israel. There was a divine Word in place, and events had to line up to fulfill the Word of the Lord. Nebuchadnezzar was a key player in these developments.

Pharaoh continued to oppose the Word of the Lord that Moses proclaimed concerning the release of Israel from Egyptian bondage. He hardened his heart and God agreed, in turn, allowing the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. Through ten judgments, Pharaoh complied with the Word of the Lord. Again, a Word was spoken to Abraham and his descendants, and it was necessary for the Lord to bring it to pass (Genesis 15:13, 14).

There are occasions like those, but those are not the usual succession of events in the earth. Kings and all government leaders have a choice to make whether they will serve the Lord, and whether they will be a force for good or evil.

If Proverbs 21:1 were taken to refer to kings in the same predicament as Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar, I could agree on one level. However, this verse makes no mention of supernatural events changing the heart of a king. Supernatural events could be what are necessary to turn the heart and force a leader to obey the Lord. Did it happen often? No. It seems to have been relegated to special events surrounding the deliverance of His people. Other than at those times, nothing happened except the decisions of the individuals, either for good or for evil. 

When the Lord started showing me that the Scripture had much to say on this subject of good or evil human government, this verse in Proverbs 21:1 stared back into my face. At face value, one could hardly help giving it the standard interpretation of “God makes kings obey His will whether they want to or not because God is in control of their hearts.” Something was wrong with that interpretation when I compared this verse with other verses on the same subject. Thank God that the entrance of His Word brings LIGHT. (Psalms 119:130 NKJV) Stick to the Word and light will come regardless of how ignorant (simple) we are. 

The king in Proverbs 21:1

First, who is the king in Proverbs 21:1? If we can get that question answered, then we can start to unravel this verse in our thinking. Was Solomon speaking of a specific king, or was his statement a reference to all world leaders? People want to make this verse applicable to all kings, presidents, and prime ministers. I believe that is a mistake.

Who was this king mentioned by Solomon? I am convinced Solomon was speaking of himself as the king whose heart was in the hand of the Lord. Solomon gave his heart over to the Lord as a young man. He asked God to give him a wise and discerning heart so he could judge the people of Israel in righteousness. God granted his request in a powerful way.

“Therefore, give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” The speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. Then God said to him: “…see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you” (See 1 Kings 3:9-12 NKJV abbreviated).

Solomon’s heart was in the hand of the Lord as the channels of water because he submitted his heart to the Lord and received a wise and discerning heart from Him.

The phrase “heart in the hand of the Lord” speaks of someone who submits his or her life to God to do His will and carry out His plan. Though Solomon deviated from the Lord later in life, for many years, he served the Lord and did His will. Solomon’s heart (life) was in the hands of the Lord, and God could lead him as He wanted.

Often Proverbs gives us “stand-alone” pithy sayings that were spoken in the wisdom of God. Other times we see a few verses discussing the same subject before the subject matter changes. Sometimes certain subjects are grouped together. Proverbs 21:1 has been pulled from its context. It is not referring to a wicked king’s heart as being in the hands of the Lord. This verse speaks of a righteous king as the one whose heart in the hand of the Lord.

Let me give you a few verses before and after Proverbs 21:1 to put it in context.

Proverbs Chapter 20
- A king who sits on the throne of judgment scatters all evil with his eyes. V.8
- A wise king sifts out the wicked and brings the threshing wheel over them. V. 26
- The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord, Searching all the inner depths of his heart. V. 27
- Mercy and truth preserve the king, and by lovingkindness he upholds his throne. The glory of young men is their strength, and the splendor of old men is their gray head. Blows that hurt cleanse away evil, as do stripes the inner depths of the heart. V. 28-30

Proverbs Chapter 21
- The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes. V.1
- Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts. V.2
- To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. V.3

Again, Solomon's subject king in Proverbs 21:1 is a righteous king. Only a righteous king can have his heart in the hand of the Lord.

Unrighteous kings had hearts that were far from the Lord. The exceptions to that are kings that did not know God, but they were willing to obey the Lord in whatever He wanted for His people. Good examples are Cyrus and Artaxerxes (Ezra 1 and Nehemiah 2).

Look at some of these references in connection with the preceding statements: Ezra 6:22, 1 Kings 11:2-9, 15:3, 2 Kings 10:31, see 2 Chron. 6:38, 12:14, 15:12-15, 19:9, 26:16, 32:25, 26, 34:27, 31, 36:13.


(1) If you want a book that explores these truths in much more detail with references for further study, I suggest  you read the book by Marvin Wilson: Our Father Abraham: Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith. You can get it from christianbook.com  and other booksellers. If you want to delve even deeper in historical truth, get the scholarly and classic study published originally in 1960, Hebrew Thought Compared With Greek, by Thorlief Boman. It is very informative at 208 pages plus the bibliography, but I warn you, drink coffee before you read it, or you may snooze. Maybe it was just me when I read it for my university studies back many moons ago. Get it on Amazon

I trust that this article has helped you understand a controversial subject. Be blessed in your study of the Word with me in the following podcast: Repentance Part 8!

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