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Author Topic: How could Jesus be tempted if he was God?  (Read 1203 times) Average Rating: 0
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yeshuaisiam
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« on: June 08, 2011, 11:16:37 AM »

Something that I've been curious about.

How could Jesus be tempted by Satan in the desert if he was both man & God?

If he was God, then he already has everything that Satan was tempting him with.  Satan could not offer him "the whole world" if Jesus created the whole world and could create it again + more.  Also if Christ is God, then why would he need the aid of the angels after Satan left?

(By the way I'm not making ANY statements, just asking something that is confusing to me)

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« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2011, 11:24:20 AM »

He was 100% God and 100% man. So, His divinity could not be tempted, but His humanity could.
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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2011, 11:25:19 AM »

And his divinity did not nullify, override, silence or absorb his humanity.
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« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2011, 11:37:03 AM »

I know this, but how could he be TEMPTED with SOMETHING HE ALREADY HAD?

That would be like me coming up to you and saying "Hey, if you do this, I'll give you the car you already own".  ?
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« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2011, 11:45:08 AM »

I know this, but how could he be TEMPTED with SOMETHING HE ALREADY HAD?

That would be like me coming up to you and saying "Hey, if you do this, I'll give you the car you already own".  ?

The devil didn't know it was God he was tempting.
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« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2011, 11:47:55 AM »

I know this, but how could he be TEMPTED with SOMETHING HE ALREADY HAD?
That would be like me coming up to you and saying "Hey, if you do this, I'll give you the car you already own".  ?
The devil didn't know it was God he was tempting.

I've never heard it that way... (Interesting) But still, the question truly remains.

If somebody came up to you and said "I'll give you the dollar in your own pocket if you do this", how could you "truly" be tempted.

In Jesus's case he is God.

Satan (whether he knew it was God or not) offered God the entire world that Jesus already has & created.  

How could he possibly be tempted with what he already has?
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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2011, 11:53:30 AM »

He hungered and thirsted as a mortal man does, he didn't just feed himself off of the divine essence. He obviously had a man's needs and temptations.
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« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2011, 11:55:01 AM »

I know this, but how could he be TEMPTED with SOMETHING HE ALREADY HAD?

That would be like me coming up to you and saying "Hey, if you do this, I'll give you the car you already own".  ?

The devil didn't know it was God he was tempting.

This doesn't seem satisfactory at all. It was because Satan knew Jesus was God (the demons are the first and nearly the only creatures to proclaim his as the Son of God in Mark's Gospel). In fact, the temptations posed to Jesus were in fact in virtue of this knowledge.

We all are tempted in various ways according to our relationship with God. Jesus was tempted with what would have been "attractive" for the Messiah. And Jesus in his humanity remained perfectly obedient to God.

  

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« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2011, 11:57:54 AM »

  The answers you seek are rapped up in the incarnation and why God had to take on human nature in order to release it from corruption. The same question could be asked of Christs baptism. Why did he need it if he were god? You see? It's best to first gain a finer understanding of the natures divine and human before such questions can be answered.
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« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2011, 12:06:03 PM »

He hungered and thirsted as a mortal man does, he didn't just feed himself off of the divine essence. He obviously had a man's needs and temptations.

So basically his "human nature" could be tempted for these things even though his divine nature already had them?

I think I get it.   

Tzimis: It's a bit different than why would Christ need a Baptism because one could argue he was also setting an example of something we NEED.  My question existed around the temptation that he "didn't need".   But I do agree I have to come to a more complete understanding of the divine and human nature. 
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« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2011, 12:06:26 PM »

He hungered and thirsted as a mortal man does, he didn't just feed himself off of the divine essence. He obviously had a man's needs and temptations.

But what tempts each of us is according to our relationship with God. Most of us ain't going to have to go through what St. Anthony did. He saw the demons. He fought the demons.

I see the TV. I watch the TV. St. Anthony in his obedience to God had to fight entirely different struggles than I do. And here I say "different" with intent. I know not how difficult the struggles in the hearts of others are.

To put the point in a radically manner, I often say, if I meet a rapist in prison, how do I not know he hasn't struggled more and been obedient to God more to the degree of his fallen state than I? Perhaps not killing many, raping many, etc. are incredible acts of submitting to God are greater than my floating by through life with world patting me on the back. This is of course hyperbolic, but it is to make a point.

We don't all start pure from birth and as the result of "choices" get to where we are. We are made in the image and likeness of God which is to a greater and lesser degree obscured by the fact we are made in the image and likeness of our parents. Then environments sets in.

The removed our family has been from God the more isolated from God our environment has been will work on us.

We will be judged for what were given. Some were given hardly anything at all. Some very much.

I wish I kept this in mind all the time as I constantly judge the behavior of those around me and myself usually I am sure too harshly.

EDIT: I am not arguing he wasn't tempted by the fall out of thirst or hunger, just amplifying my earlier comments.
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« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2011, 12:08:09 PM »

 The answers you seek are rapped up in the incarnation and why God had to take on human nature in order to release it from corruption. The same question could be asked of Christs baptism. Why did he need it if he were god? You see? It's best to first gain a finer understanding of the natures divine and human before such questions can be answered.

Who are you taking to?

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« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2011, 12:17:36 PM »

At the moment, Jesus didn't have the entire world in his hands. He was most likely -- scratch that, he WAS starving! Fasting for that long is insanely difficult, and he may have been feeling under the weather in more ways than one. And even though he knew that as the Messiah, he would join God the Father in heaven and have dominion over the world, at that moment he was just a hungry, tired man.

God could tell me that I will become a millionaire when I am 30. Even though I would believe God, there would always be at least (at least, not at most, haha) part that would doubt. Satan was hoping to corner that part of him, I believe. He wasn't offering him the world at a later time -- he was offering it to him right then. Satan could come to me and offer me a million when I'm 26, still working for peanuts. I would be sorely tempted to take it, let me tell you.

Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane proves that part of him was looking for a possible "out." He didn't say "Okay God, let's do this. I'm 100% ready to die."

He started the prayer with, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:36) He was aware of what must be done and the necessity for him to do it, but his soul was full of sorrow, "even to the point of death." That one line of his prayer perfectly encapsulates his humanity and divinity, in my opinion.
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« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2011, 12:31:26 PM »

 The answers you seek are rapped up in the incarnation and why God had to take on human nature in order to release it from corruption. The same question could be asked of Christs baptism. Why did he need it if he were god? You see? It's best to first gain a finer understanding of the natures divine and human before such questions can be answered.

Who are you taking to?


You posted as I was replying to yeshuaisiam.
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« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2011, 12:36:01 PM »

At the moment, Jesus didn't have the entire world in his hands. He was most likely -- scratch that, he WAS starving! Fasting for that long is insanely difficult, and he may have been feeling under the weather in more ways than one. And even though he knew that as the Messiah, he would join God the Father in heaven and have dominion over the world, at that moment he was just a hungry, tired man.

God could tell me that I will become a millionaire when I am 30. Even though I would believe God, there would always be at least (at least, not at most, haha) part that would doubt. Satan was hoping to corner that part of him, I believe. He wasn't offering him the world at a later time -- he was offering it to him right then. Satan could come to me and offer me a million when I'm 26, still working for peanuts. I would be sorely tempted to take it, let me tell you.

Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane proves that part of him was looking for a possible "out." He didn't say "Okay God, let's do this. I'm 100% ready to die."

He started the prayer with, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:36) He was aware of what must be done and the necessity for him to do it, but his soul was full of sorrow, "even to the point of death." That one line of his prayer perfectly encapsulates his humanity and divinity, in my opinion.

Nice post. And His grief over His own death and that of others, shows us that death ain't right. Jesus didn't want to die. He "begged" not to. We ought to keep this in mind, when we see the influence of Stoicism that passes into some of the Pastristic teachings and Lives of the Saints.

Jesus wasn't Socrates. Socrates had a way out, denied it, and took the hemlock stoically and died a "happy" death.

That ain't the story of our God.
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« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2011, 01:14:01 PM »

He hungered and thirsted as a mortal man does, he didn't just feed himself off of the divine essence. He obviously had a man's needs and temptations.

So basically his "human nature" could be tempted for these things even though his divine nature already had them?

I think I get it.   

Tzimis: It's a bit different than why would Christ need a Baptism because one could argue he was also setting an example of something we NEED.  My question existed around the temptation that he "didn't need".   But I do agree I have to come to a more complete understanding of the divine and human nature. 
God didn't take over human nature. If he did he would have crushed it. There would be no human nature.  Christs will was that of the fathers will but the possibility to be temped and fall was always a possibility. We know that he allowed himself to become fully human and being fully human entails this characteristic as well.
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« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2011, 01:57:01 PM »

Christ has a human soul, mind, and body. He was/is perfectly human.

St. Gregory Nazianzen wrote, “that which is not assumed is not healed.”

Also, I think it is important to reflect that the miracles performed by Him were not due solely because He was God, but because He was perfectly human.

Saints show us this. Even in their imperfection, the degree to which they have been perfected they are able to do the miraculous.

Man was meant to govern the tides, the winds, etc. Man was not meant to die.

Mustard seed and mountains and all that, you know. 
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« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2011, 10:57:14 PM »

At the moment, Jesus didn't have the entire world in his hands. He was most likely -- scratch that, he WAS starving! Fasting for that long is insanely difficult, and he may have been feeling under the weather in more ways than one. And even though he knew that as the Messiah, he would join God the Father in heaven and have dominion over the world, at that moment he was just a hungry, tired man.

God could tell me that I will become a millionaire when I am 30. Even though I would believe God, there would always be at least (at least, not at most, haha) part that would doubt. Satan was hoping to corner that part of him, I believe. He wasn't offering him the world at a later time -- he was offering it to him right then. Satan could come to me and offer me a million when I'm 26, still working for peanuts. I would be sorely tempted to take it, let me tell you.

Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane proves that part of him was looking for a possible "out." He didn't say "Okay God, let's do this. I'm 100% ready to die."

He started the prayer with, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:36) He was aware of what must be done and the necessity for him to do it, but his soul was full of sorrow, "even to the point of death." That one line of his prayer perfectly encapsulates his humanity and divinity, in my opinion.

This is a good post.  I appreciate it.  I agree with the divinity & humanity was awesome in that scripture.  I think that the humanity is important so that we can't say "how could God possibly understand what it is like to be human" in many instances...

It just seems strange though that Satan would tempt God to bow down to him for something that was already God's.  Being that in human nature he was still God.

The analogy you gave makes perfect sense, but kind of doesn't apply exactly - but sort of LOL

If you had a million dollars - and (I dunno) Donald Duck came up and offered you your OWN million dollars that is already yours, would you be kissing his flippers or tell him to go back into the TV set?

Satan even told Christ to turn stones into bread. (side not "We are the world" by Michael Jackson, look it up - CREEPY)  Satan recognized the divinity of Christ since obviously here.

So this is really on two levels.
1) Satan knew who Jesus was (God) and tried to offer him the world which IS God's.
2) Jesus who is God & Man, knew who the devil was, and knew the devil really did not have this to offer.

So the temptation part confuses me because I can't see how you can be tempted with what is already yours by somebody (or something) you know does not possess what they claim to have.
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« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2011, 12:09:00 AM »

So, His divinity could not be tempted, but His humanity could.

This way of phrasing it runs the risk of Nestorianism. His humanity was not an independent entity from His divinity.
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« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2011, 12:09:00 AM »

Three ideas:

1. As has been said before, Jesus fully inherited the liability to temptation of humanity.

2. The matter of Christ's knowledge with respect to His humanity has been discussed here before, and many of us have come to the agreement that somehow Christ retains unlimited knowledge in His divine "intellect" but nonetheless has limited knowledge in His human intellect. So perhaps these temptations could occur because of a lapse in realization of all the consequences of His divinity with respect to His human intellect.

3. Actually, in some sense the devil actually did own the world. He is called "the prince of this world" and "the ruler of this world". There was an ancient understanding of the Atonement whereby the devil had gained dominion over the human race as a consequence of the Adamic curse. In this context, I think it would be fairly reasonable to consider that perhaps the devil was offering Christ the easy way to regain the hearts of men by simply handing them over to Him, for a price, rather than suffering through the more difficult divinely planned means of accomplishing this.
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« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2011, 12:21:07 PM »

Actually i have also been taught that Satan didn't know that Jesus was God until his descent into Hades.
Satan simply thought he was the messiah, the Son of God. Satan had no clue that Jesus was also fully God.
In fact, Satan had been trying to find Christ since his birth, and it wasn't until his baptism that he was revealed, which is why we see Satan tempting him immediately after his Baptism.
Satan had absolutely no clue that the man hanging on the cross was the same Word of God that created him.

Angels aren't omnipotent. Orthodox hymnology and theology also says that the angels couldnt fathom his birth, nor his death and resurrection.
I may be mistaken, but think somewhere in either our hymnology, or the Fathers talk about Satan saying that he recognized something about this man, but couldnt figure it out.
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« Reply #21 on: June 10, 2011, 12:51:39 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

He was 100% God and 100% man. So, His divinity could not be tempted, but His humanity could.

And his divinity did not nullify, override, silence or absorb his humanity.

These do not really address the idea, further they create an image of a kind of schizophrenic Jesus Christ whose Person was splintered or divided between two thought processes, the Divine and Human.  Jesus Christ the Incarnate Word was God-Man, but through the Union there is only ONE unified Nature, not a split personality.  This kind of theological reasoning is precisely why we Orientals reject Chalcedon, because we feel it creates this schizophrenic Jesus Christ.  When the Divine and Human natures were fully unified into the SINGLE composite nature in the Incarnation they cooperated together as one personality, one mind, one thought.  There was not a Divine Jesus who thought or felt differently than the Human Jesus.  There is not  human Jesus Christ who can be tempted separate from the Divine Jesus.  There is only ONE Jesus Christ in that head of His, and it is a fully God-Man.  We have to embrace this concept of the Union then.  We can not simply attribute one aspect of Jesus to one nature, and another aspect to another nature, because Jesus Christ does not have multiple natures, multiple personalities, He is ONE.

So we have to say that the Divine Nature of Jesus Christ was equally tempted as was the humanity.  Perhaps not tempted in the same kind of sense that we are tempted, that is to say, towards sin.  However, whether we understand it or not, we need to accept that Jesus Christ, as God, was tempted by the Devil. 

Here is my own speculation on the matter:

We read in the Old Testament of Moses or the Prophets apparently convincing, persuading, and even arguing with God.  Clearly we have examples of the fully Divine God the Father expressing a similar ability as ourselves to be reasoned with.  So if Satan is "temping" Jesus Christ, what is He tempting Jesus Christ to do? The Devil reminds Jesus of hunger, that is to say, the inherent weakness of humanity.  Perhaps the Devil was asking Jesus to give up this Incarnation? The Devil tempts Jesus with lusts for power, saying that the death on the Cross would be unnecessary and that essentially the Devil might forefit the world to Jesus if Jesus foreits the Cross.  Lastly, the Devil tempts Jesus to test the depth of His humanity by something similar to suicide in jumping off the ledge of pinnacle of the Temple.  However, we know that Jesus Christ did not eat any earthly food without giving thanks in prayer, that He did not assert His authority or power but let it assert itself in Time, and that He did not even run to the Cross gleefully, but rather turned to the Father in the deep prayer in the Garden.  The Devil asked Jesus to try to operate aside from the Will of the Father, to assert His own independence, to commit the same woeful error Satan committed before the Garden in his Fall.  The Devil is not just tempting Jesus Christ as a human incarnation, rather I feel the Devil was trying to speak with the Godhead directly as Moses and the Prophets had done.  Realistically I'd say its almost as if the Devil was trying to strike a bargain in his prayers to God (in the Person of Jesus Christ) just as many of us succumb to in our weakest moments in prayer. 

I think it is too glib to say that Jesus Christ's Divinity was not tempted.  Better to redefine what "temptation" is in the context of the Infinity of the Godhead, rather than to simply dismiss is as an impossibility.  Surely God can change His own mind, just maybe that the bargain the Devil was trying to drive?

Stay Blessed,
Habte Selassie
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« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2011, 02:42:37 PM »

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« Reply #23 on: June 10, 2011, 02:51:25 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!



So the temptation part confuses me because I can't see how you can be tempted with what is already yours by somebody (or something) you know does not possess what they claim to have.

It always seemed to me not that Satan was tempting Jesus Christ into bargaining for the world which of course is rightfully God's but rather that Satan was arguing with God to abandon the plan of the Incarnation, the Cross, and the Resurrection.  The World was always God's, and yet through the gift of free-will human beings continually risk separation from God.  Through the Incarnation, God enabled humans to receive the previously unobtainable Divine through the redemptive Death of Christ.  However, again, this should be understood in the Oriental theology that states that the Divinity of Jesus Christ equally experienced the Death in Hell as did the humanity.  Perhaps then Satan was challenging Jesus Christ to avoid Death and Hell.  After all, so many of us Christians equally misunderstand the death of God in Christ, and so maybe Satan was having as similar ontological argument.  Essentially, Satan may have been saying to Christ, "Surely you possess the whole world, and even have given its authority unto me, why do you need to Die? What is the point?"

Satan knows as much as we do that the death of God is an apparent contradiction, maybe Satan thought that God would agree and back out?

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #24 on: June 10, 2011, 03:27:09 PM »



These do not really address the idea, further they create an image of a kind of schizophrenic Jesus Christ whose Person was splintered or divided between two thought processes, the Divine and Human.  Jesus Christ the Incarnate Word was God-Man, but through the Union there is only ONE unified Nature, not a split personality.  This kind of theological reasoning is precisely why we Orientals reject Chalcedon, because we feel it creates this schizophrenic Jesus Christ.  When the Divine and Human natures were fully unified into the SINGLE composite nature in the Incarnation they cooperated together as one personality, one mind, one thought.  There was not a Divine Jesus who thought or felt differently than the Human Jesus.  There is not  human Jesus Christ who can be tempted separate from the Divine Jesus.  There is only ONE Jesus Christ in that head of His, and it is a fully God-Man.  We have to embrace this concept of the Union then.  We can not simply attribute one aspect of Jesus to one nature, and another aspect to another nature, because Jesus Christ does not have multiple natures, multiple personalities, He is ONE.

So we have to say that the Divine Nature of Jesus Christ was equally tempted as was the humanity.  Perhaps not tempted in the same kind of sense that we are tempted, that is to say, towards sin.  However, whether we understand it or not, we need to accept that Jesus Christ, as God, was tempted by the Devil. 

Here is my own speculation on the matter:

We read in the Old Testament of Moses or the Prophets apparently convincing, persuading, and even arguing with God.  Clearly we have examples of the fully Divine God the Father expressing a similar ability as ourselves to be reasoned with.  So if Satan is "temping" Jesus Christ, what is He tempting Jesus Christ to do? The Devil reminds Jesus of hunger, that is to say, the inherent weakness of humanity.  Perhaps the Devil was asking Jesus to give up this Incarnation? The Devil tempts Jesus with lusts for power, saying that the death on the Cross would be unnecessary and that essentially the Devil might forefit the world to Jesus if Jesus foreits the Cross.  Lastly, the Devil tempts Jesus to test the depth of His humanity by something similar to suicide in jumping off the ledge of pinnacle of the Temple.  However, we know that Jesus Christ did not eat any earthly food without giving thanks in prayer, that He did not assert His authority or power but let it assert itself in Time, and that He did not even run to the Cross gleefully, but rather turned to the Father in the deep prayer in the Garden.  The Devil asked Jesus to try to operate aside from the Will of the Father, to assert His own independence, to commit the same woeful error Satan committed before the Garden in his Fall.  The Devil is not just tempting Jesus Christ as a human incarnation, rather I feel the Devil was trying to speak with the Godhead directly as Moses and the Prophets had done.  Realistically I'd say its almost as if the Devil was trying to strike a bargain in his prayers to God (in the Person of Jesus Christ) just as many of us succumb to in our weakest moments in prayer. 

I think it is too glib to say that Jesus Christ's Divinity was not tempted.  Better to redefine what "temptation" is in the context of the Infinity of the Godhead, rather than to simply dismiss is as an impossibility.  Surely God can change His own mind, just maybe that the bargain the Devil was trying to drive?

Stay Blessed,
Habte Selassie

   The person of Jesus was away one person. Just as the Logos was one person. Chalcedon totally acknowledges that. When you state one nature. Are you stating that two entities are combined into one nature. Or are you stating that divinity and humanity are not natures themselves. But unite to create a nature. Or are you stating that natures aren't personified and Christ received his person form a different source other than from his divine nature? By claiming that the source isn't divine one must concluded that the person of the holy spirit and the person of the father aren't of a divine nature. That just doesn't jive. We believe that the personage comes from the divine nature. So the person of Christ is divine in nature and combined with Human nature in the incarnation.
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Excellence of character, then, is a state concerned with choice, lying in a mean relative to us, this being determined by reason and in the way in which the man of practical wisdom would determine it. Now it is a mean between two vices, that which depends on excess and that which depends on defect.
HabteSelassie
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« Reply #25 on: June 10, 2011, 03:33:14 PM »

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« Last Edit: June 10, 2011, 03:33:48 PM by HabteSelassie » Logged

"Yet stand aloof from stupid questionings and geneologies and strifes and fightings about law, for they are without benefit and vain." Titus 3:10
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