The Bible

 

Genesis 1:28

King James Version         

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

   Study the Inner Meaning

Genesis 1: The Creation and Development of our Spiritual Life      

By Rev. William Woofenden

The first book of the Bible is "Genesis", which means "creation". It's a very, very ancient story - one of the oldest stories of humankind, and it's full of symbolic meaning that - still - gets to the core of what it is to be truly human.

The first three days of creation describe the development of the natural degree of man's life. They come first as a preparation for the opening of the spiritual degree of our minds. The creation of the grass, herbs, and trees took place on the third day, and constitutes the third step in regeneration. The creation of the fowl and fish was on the fifth day. Between these on the fourth day the sun, moon, and stars were created.

From the beginning man had light, for all light is from the Lord, but it was not direct light. He was not at first in the clear light of the sun, moon, and stars, which are set in the firmament. The firmament is the internal man. There is a preparation that has to be made before the internal man is opened. At first we think we see the truth and do good from ourselves. Hence only inanimate things are produced. All truth and good are from the Lord who alone is truth and goodness, and only when we come to acknowledge this can we have true love from him, true faith in Him, and true knowledge of spiritual things. These are not seen from the external or natural degree of life.

Again we should note a change of language. It was said, "Let the earth bring forth" the grass, herb, and fruit trees. Now and through the remaining days it is said that "God created." Man has a part to play in his regeneration. There must be in his mind forms into which the warmth of love and the light of faith and of spiritual truths can flow.

When the mind is so prepared, influx from the Lord can be received, with greater power. "And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven." It should be noted that it is the waters that are commanded to bring forth the moving creature that hath life, and that it is not the seas but the waters which are to produce the living creatures. The seas represent the gathering together of knowledges, but by the "waters" are meant the spiritual truths in the mind. So in the Lord's words to the woman of Samaria, "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst" (John 4:14). In Ezekiel it is the "waters" issuing from the sanctuary that give life (Ezekiel 47:1). The Psalmist writes, "Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters" (Psalm 104:3). It is not in natural waters that the Lord lays the beams of His chambers. His chambers are the interior principles of His church; the beams give them support and strength. These are said to be laid in the waters because they rest and have their foundation in the genuine truths of the Word. So in Revelation the Word itself is described as a pure river of water of life.

The will faculty in man embraces all his affections and is the internal man. When the sun, moon, and stars—love, faith, and knowledges of spiritual truth—are set in this heaven and begin to impart their warmth and light to the external man, enabling him to think and act from these higher and purer principles, then the external man is gifted with a new life. There may be no apparent change in his outward conduct—he may already be living a moral life—but the motives that direct his acts will be wholly different. And it is the motive that gives character to the act as well as to the actor. He no longer thinks of the truths that he has learned, either natural or spiritual, as the product of his own mind nor of the good, that he does as the result of his own efforts, but thinks of them as wholly from the Lord, who alone is the source of all true light and life.

Before one recognizes clearly that all good and truth come from the Lord, he can bring forth only inanimate things, the grass, herb, and fruit tree, however good and useful these may be. But when he is enlightened by genuine love and faith, his knowledges become the basis for the development of spiritual life and God can create in him the living creatures that have life. First the fishes are created; then the fowl of the air. There is a difference between fishes and birds. The fishes, living in water, represent our affections for natural truths. The great whales, the largest of living creatures, are affections for the great general principles that control the mind. The principle may be either true or false. Of Pharaoh or Egypt it is written, "Thou art as a whale in the seas: and thou earnest forth with thy rivers, and troubledst the waters with thy feet, and fouled at their rivers" (Ezekiel 32:2) Here is pictured a ruling false principle from the natural degree of the mind — Egypt. That is, when the ruling principle is false, it will be a monster making the truths in the mind obscure like filthy or muddy waters.

Another example of the meaning of the whale in a bad sense is in the story of Jonah. When the principle is false it swallows up for a time all the truths that are in the mind. This is the whale swallowing Jonah the prophet. But Divine truth cannot be used by a false principle so as to become a part of its organic structure. Nor can the Divine truth perish. So the whale could not digest Jonah, nor could the prophet perish, but the whale vomited him up.

Spiritually there are whales trying to swallow prophets today, evil principles that try to use Divine truths to attain their ends. In the creation story, however, the whales are affections for the principles of natural truth for the sake of uses to the spiritual man. There is one source of genuine love. The creatures of the fifth day are living because they are animated by this love. Birds fly in the air above the earth. They have the power of flight and enjoy broader views. They represent affections for truth that rise above the natural. They are the thoughts that look at life from the heights of spiritual perception, ideas about the Lord, heaven, and spiritual things. Isaiah writes, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles" (Isaiah 40:31). Birds represent spiritual intelligence, the power to lift us up to understand spiritual truth in heavenly light, through which truth the Lord can impart to us something of the Divine intelligence. So at the baptism of the Lord "The heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him" (Matthew 3:16). So a new knowledge of heavenly life is given, a new perception of our possibilities, and in this higher intelligence a basis for further development is laid. This further development is pictured in the creation of the living creatures upon the earth. These are symbols of the affections. Here, too, it is said, "Let the earth bring forth" and also "And God made the beast of the earth." The creation of living animals on the earth and of man in the image and likeness of God marks the completion of the six days of creation—the six stages in regeneration. Man has first to learn what is to be believed and done and then to do it.

It is the office of the understanding to hear the Word and of the will to do it. In this way the truths are made our own, and the will and understanding make one mind. And when one begins to act from love as well as from faith, he becomes a spiritual man, who is called an image of God, and is given dominion over all things. Thus all things natural and spiritual come to be a delight to him and serviceable to him. To be an image and likeness of God one must act from impulses similar to those of God. This he cannot do until he comes into the final state of regeneration. Then he will not act from selfish motives, as does the natural man, nor from mere obedience to truth, but from love to the Lord and the neighbor. When these loves are developed and rule, to them is given the dominion over all subordinate affections and the fruits of all the growths of intelligence. These are what make man to be a man and cause him to be in the image and likeness of his Maker. Each step in the formation of a truly human character the Lord saw and pronounced good, but of the work of the sixth day it is said, "God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good."

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

Arcana Coelestia 55


Other references to this verse:

Arcana Coelestia 478, 10156

The Last Judgement 20

True Christian Religion 46


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 513, 650

Marriage 46

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 6:1, 9:1

Psalms 8:7, 115:16

Bible Word Meanings

God
When the Bible speaks of "Jehovah," it is representing love itself, the inmost love that is the essence of the Lord. That divine love is...

blessed
The Lord is perfect love expressed as perfect wisdom. He created us so that He could love us, could give us love and wisdom of...

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

fruitful
To be fruitful is predicated of goodnesses, and to be multiplied, of truths.

multiply
'Spreading themselves on the earth,' as in Genesis 8:17, signifies the internal self operating on the external.

earth
Is there any difference in meaning between “earth” and “ground”? At first it doesn’t seem so; both refer to the soil making up the land...

sea
Water generally represents what Swedenborg calls “natural truth,” or true concepts about day-to-day matters and physical things. Since all water ultimately flows into the seas,...

fowl
Fowl signify spiritual truth; a bird, natural truth; and a winged thing, sensual truth. Fowl signify intellectual things. Fowl signify thoughts, and all that creeps...

air
"Air" in the Bible represents thought, but in a very general way – more like our capacity to perceive ideas and the way we tend...

living
'Lives' is used in the plural, because of the will and understanding, and because these two lives make one.

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Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 Animals and Plants in Heaven
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Celebrating the Seven Days of Creation
Offers a wide array of ideas for play time, art projects, field trips, and more.
Activity | Ages up to 10

 Correspondences of Light
Illustrations of three stories in the Word that talk about light. (Quotations are the King James translation.)
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Creation Chain
Make a paper chain with the names (or pictures) of the people in your family and other things that the Lord has made. Or make a paper chain that illustrates several things in creation that depend on one another. 
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 Creation Diorama
A great family project to build and display in your home.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Creation Mobile
Assemble this lovely mobile to remind you of all the Lord's precious gifts to us.
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 Creation Poem with Hand Motions
A lovely poem about creation with hand motions.
Activity | Ages up to 10

 Creation | Seas to Trees Pop-up
Color cut-and-fold pop-up project showing dry land rising out of the water and then growing a tree illustrating Genesis 1:9-13. Sample activity from Creation: reflection of God, Level C, ages 11-14.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 14

 Creation Sequencing Cards
Children can color and cut out these cards, then practice putting them in order from day 1-7.
Activity | Ages 4 - 10

 Creation Story (circle book project)
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 Creation | The First Day - Level A
Complete lesson with activity choices: light and darkness game and song, separate light and darkness collage, scripted story discussion, coloring page, and a memory verse. Sample lesson from Creation: reflection of God, Level A, ages 3-6.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 6

 Creation | The First Day - Level B
Complete lesson with activity choices: light and darkness experiment with accompanying video, let there be light folding paper project, scripted story discussion, coloring page, and a memory verse. Sample lesson from Creation: reflection of God, Level B, ages 7-10.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 Creation | The First Day - Level C
Complete lesson with activity choices: living in the dark--group blindfold games, video and discussion on the bible, creation and a can of peaches, scripted story discussion, and an illustrated quotation card. Sample Lesson from Creation: reflection of God, Level C.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 14

 Family Worship: The Story of Creation
Ideas for reading and discussing the story of creation in Genesis 1. Includes suggestions for extending the experience such as going for a nature walk.
Religion Lesson | Ages 3 - 15

 God Said What? The Creation Story
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Memory Verse: Giving Thanks for Creation
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Memory Verse: Life Is Eternal
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Overview of Creation Reflection of God Levels A, B, C for ages 3-14
Overview of Creation: reflection of God, Levels A, B, C for ages 3-14.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 14

 Prophecies of the Advent
Prophecies of Jesus' advent on earth often use the image of new light dawning in darkness to describe the spiritual impact His birth would have on the world.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Qualities of the Lord
Look at colored pictures of stories from the Word. Using a word bank, identify the quality of the Lord shown in each picture.
Project | Ages 9 - 14

 Quotes: Giving Thanks for Creation
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Stars
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 Summary of Creation and Thankfulness
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Sun and the Fruit of Creation
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Thankfulness
A Thanksgiving "wreath" to color and display.
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 Thanking the Lord for Creation
How can your words and actions show the Lord that you appreciate His creation?
Activity | Ages over 15

 The Creation
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Creation: A General View
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Creation: The Fifth and Sixth Days
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Creation: The First Four Days
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Days of Creation Collage Book or Mural
Ideas from an art teacher for making a creation book or mural.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 The Fifth Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Fifth Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The First Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The First Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Fourth Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Fourth Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Greatest Gift
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 The Meaning of the Tree of Life
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Purpose of Creation
Birth brings a person into the natural world, but God's ultimate purpose is that a person be born again into heavenly life, the life of the spirit.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 The Second Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Second Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Seven Days of Creation
An illustrated story of the seven days of creation.
Story | Ages 3 - 7

 The Sixth Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Sixth Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Story of Creation
Family lessons provide a worship talk and a variety of activities for children and teens..
Religion Lesson | Ages 4 - 17

 The Story of Creation: Family Worship Ideas
Detailed notes on the seven days of creation.
Article | Ages over 18

 The Third Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Third Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Universe
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Word Made Flesh
Like Genesis, the Gospel of John begins with creation. While Genesis describes the creation of natural light, John describes a second creation into spiritual light.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Two Great Lights
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Using the Lord’s Creation
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Where Did Everything Come From?
Grandpa explains to Annika and Peter where everything came from.
Story | Ages 4 - 6

 Why Are We Here?
Lesson and activities to explore why we were created - what God intends for us.
Religion Lesson | Ages over 15

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Apocalypse Explained #610

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)      

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610.That there shall be time no longer.- That this signifies that there would be no longer any understanding of Divine Truth, nor any state of the church from it, is evident from the signification of time, as here denoting the state of man as to the understanding of the Word, and therefore the state of the church, because these are the subjects treated of in this chapter. The reason why time signifies state, is, that times in the spiritual world are determined and distinguished only by particular and general states of life. The cause of this is, that the Sun in that world, which is the Lord, is fixed and stationary in the same part of heaven, which is the east, nor is it carried round as the sun in the natural world appears to be. Times are determined by the apparent revolution of this sun, and so exist in general and in particular; in general, the year and its four seasons, which are called spring, summer, autumn, and winter. These four seasons of the year also are the four natural states thereof corresponding to as many states in the spiritual world, which are its general spiritual states. In particular, within those general states in the natural world, there are fixed and stated times, called months and weeks, but especially days, which are distinguished into four natural states, called morning, noon, evening, and night, to which also correspond four states in the spiritual world. Since the Sun, in the spiritual world, as was said above, is not carried round but remains fixed and stationary in the east, therefore there are neither years, months, weeks, days, nor hours, consequently neither are there any determinations by times, but only determinations by states of life, general and particular. For this reason it is not known in the spiritual world what time is, but only what state is; for the determination of a thing gives the idea of it, and the thing is named according to the notion. This then is the reason why it is not known, in the spiritual world, what times are, although they succeed each other there, as in the natural world, but instead of times there are states and their changes; times, therefore, when mentioned in the Word, signify states. Concerning time, and times, in the spiritual world, more, may be seen in Heaven and Hell 162-169); and concerning the changes of state with the angels (n. 154-161). 1

(References: Revelation 10:6)


[2] Since by time are meant those things that pertain to time in the natural world, as those of the year, and of the day, those of the year being seed time and harvest, and those of the day being morning and evening, the states of the church also are described in the Word by those things which belong to time. By seed time is described and signified the establishment of the church; by harvest, its fructification; by morning, the first time of the church; and by noon to evening, its progression. These natural states also correspond to spiritual states, which are states of heaven and the church. In regard to the church, it passes through those states in general, and so does every man of the church in particular. Every man of the church is also inaugurated into those states from his earliest days, but when the church is at its end, he can then no longer be inaugurated, for he does not receive Divine Truth, but either rejects or perverts it, consequently there can be to him neither seed time nor harvest, that is, neither establishment nor fructification, nor has he morning or evening, that is, neither beginning nor progression. These are the states meant and signified by times in the Word; and because in the end of the church those states cease with the men of the church, it is therefore said here that there shall be time no longer, by which therefore is signified, that there shall be no longer any understanding of Divine Truth or the Word, consequently not any state of the church.

[3] The same is signified by time in Ezekiel:

"The evil, one evil, behold, cometh. The end is come, the end is come; it hath watched over thee. Behold the morning cometh upon thee, O thou that dwellest in the land; the time is come" (7:5-7).

These things also are said concerning the state of the church. The end of the former church is first described, and afterwards the establishment of the new church. The end of the former church is described by these words, "The evil, one evil, behold, cometh, the end is come, the end is come;" the establishment of the new church by these words, "The morning cometh upon thee, O thou that dwellest in the land; the time is come." The morning signifies the state of a new church, or the commencement of a church, and time, its progressive state, consequently the same as seed time and harvest, and noon and evening, mentioned above, consequently the state of the church as to the understanding of truth and the will of good.

[4] So in Daniel:

The fourth beast "shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the highest ones, because he shall think to change times and the right (jus); and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times, and part of a time" (7:25).

By the fourth beast is meant the evil which was about fully to vastate the church. The falsities destroying the truths of the church are meant by the words which he shall speak against the Most High, and by the saints of the highest ones, whom he will wear out; the saints of the highest ones, in the abstract sense, signifying Divine truths. That the truths of the Word and the goods thereof, will then be changed into falsities and evils, is signified by his changing the times and the right; times denoting states of the church as to the understanding of truth. The duration of that state in regard to the end of the church is signified by, until a time, and times, and part of a time, which means a full state of vastation.

[5] The same is signified by the following words in Daniel:

"I heard the man clothed in linen when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth unto the ages of the ages, that [it shall be] for a fixed time of fixed times and a half, and when they were about to make an end to disperse the people of holiness, all these things shall be consummated" (12:7).

Time here signifies state and by time, times, and a half, is signified a full state of vastation; it is therefore said, "when they were about to make an end to disperse the people of holiness," the people of holiness denoting those of the church who are in Divine truths, and, in the abstract, Divine truths. Similarly it is said in the Apocalypse that the woman should be nourished in the wilderness" for a time and times and half a time" (12:14).

[6] Because time signifies those things which pertain to time, as spring, summer, autumn, and winter, by which are signified the states of one who is being regenerated, and of one who is regenerated; also such things as pertain to those times, namely, seed time and harvest, which signify the state of the church in regard to the implantation of truth, and the fructification of good thence; therefore similar things are also signified by the times of the day, morning, noon, evening and night, as in the following passages.

Thus in Genesis:

"During all the days of the earth, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease" (8:22).

These words are explained in the Arcana Coelestia 930-937).

So in David:

"The day is thine, the night also is thine; thou hast prepared the light and the sun. Thou hast set all the borders of the earth; thou hast made summer and winter" (Psalm 74:16, 17).

And in Jeremiah:

"Jehovah, giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, If those ordinances depart from before me, the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me all the days" (31:35, 36).

And again, in the same prophet:

"Jehovah said, if I have not appointed my covenant of day and night, the ordinances of heaven and earth, I will also refuse the seed of Jacob, and of David my servant" (33:25, 26).

Here the ordinances of the sun, of the moon, and of the stars, also the covenant of the day and of the night, and the ordinances of heaven and of the earth, have a signification similar to times, since times have their existence from those ordinances. That seed time and harvest, summer and winter, also day and night, have a similar signification to times, was shown above.

(References: Jeremiah 31:35-36, 33:25-26; Psalms 74:16-17)


[7] It follows therefore that the same things are signified by times in these words in Genesis:

"God said, Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and they shall be for signs and for seasons, and for days, and for years" (Genesis 1:14).

The two luminaries, the sun and the moon, signify love and faith for in the spiritual sense of that chapter the new creation or regeneration of the man of the church is treated of, and those things that chiefly regenerate man, and make the church are signified by what is said of the sun and moon. The above and following words therefore describe the process by which regeneration is accomplished and afterwards the states of regeneration are described. The signification of there being time no longer is therefore now evident from these things.

-----
Footnotes:

1. A note in the margin of the photolithograph copy says, See where it is said that "it shall be when there shall be neither day nor night" (Jeremiah 33:20; Zechariah 14:7).-TR.

-----

(References: Genesis 1:14-19; Revelation 10:6)

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From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 605, 633, 673, 755, 761, 875


   Swedenborg Research Tools

Related New Christian Commentary

Translation by Isaiah Tansley. Many thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.

Commentary

 

225 - All These Things Shall Be Added to You      

By Jonathan Rose

This video is a part of the Spirit and Life Bible Study series, whose purpose is to look at the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible through a Swedenborgian lens.

Title: All These Things Shall Be Added to You

Topic: Salvation

Summary: Passages in Scripture prepare us for hardship and loss in the short run and joy and abundance in the long run.

Use the reference links below to follow along in the Bible as you watch.

References:
Matthew 6:31; 12:28
Genesis 1; 4
Matthew 21:28, 43
Mark 12:28
Luke 17:20-21
John 3:3
Galatians 5:14, 24
Psalms 16:8; 84:10-11
Matthew 25:20, 29
Luke 6:20, 35, 38
Genesis 1:22, 28; 8:17; 9:1; 17:20; 28:3
Ezekiel 36:25, 29, 34-35
Mark 4:30
Revelation 22:12, 14

To continue browsing while you watch, play the video in a new window.

Spirit and Life Bible Study broadcast from 5/27/2015. The complete series is available at: www.spiritandlifebiblestudy.com


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