Who is the Creator? The Bible, which is God’s inspired account, tells us that “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1).

And, who is this God? The Hebrew word Elohim, which is the plural form of God, is the name used to describe the Creator (cf. Gen. 1:26-27). He is also called by the name Jehovah (some pronounce it Yahweh or Yehuvah), often translated LORD. “This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens” (Gen. 2:4).

The Bible further defines God, when it says: “Yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live” (1 Cor. 8:6). Thus, we see that all things were created by God the Father through Jesus Christ.

God’s creation account also tells us that, in the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, “the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Gen. 1:2). And so we see that the Holy Spirit, too, was active in the creation of all things.

The opening verses of John’s Gospel tell us: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:1-4). And so, we learn that the Word, Jesus Christ, identified in verse 14 as God Himself in the flesh and the only-begotten Son of the Father, created all things and is the giver of life, both physical and spiritual.

In St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians, the inspired Scriptures say of Christ Jesus, that “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist” (Col. 1:15-17).

So, who is the Creator? It is God, the God the Scriptures identify for us as God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

Though God is one – “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!” (Deut. 6:4) – God is also three – thus, the command to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19).

This is why the God of the Bible is often called the Triune (three/one) God, because He is one God and yet three distinct Persons. The Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God. Yet, there are not three Gods, but one God.

The Bible also tells us “there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one” (1 John 5:7).

Though beyond our ability to comprehend, this is how God has revealed Himself to us – it is His account and His word. And it is this God who has created all things and given us life.

[Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

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While some are quick to criticize Christians for celebrating Easter and point to ancient pagan observances in spring and to worldly customs involving such things as Easter eggs and the Easter bunny, Christians celebrate Easter for none of these things. They have an entirely different reason to observe the festival and to celebrate. Christians observe Easter to remember and celebrate the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead on the third day following His crucifixion just outside the walls of Jerusalem.

For the critics, it is true that Easter Sunday, set on the first Sunday immediately following the Paschal full moon, does not always fall on the third day after the Jewish Passover. But since Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week, Christian churches observe the day of His resurrection on a Sunday each year. Eastern Orthodox churches usually observe the festival on a different Sunday than Western churches because of their use of the Julian Calendar to calculate the date of Easter rather than the Gregorian Calendar and the astronomical full moon rather than the Paschal or ecclesiastical full moon. Yet, all of this is neither here nor there. It wouldn’t be an issue if Christians celebrated Jesus’ birth in July and His resurrection in November because it’s not about the date of the observance but the event that is remembered.

And there are those who claim that the very name “Easter” comes from the name of a pagan goddess or a pagan celebration — and many blindly accept this assertion — but a far better explanation is that the name Easter comes from the old German word “Oster” or “Ostern,” which means “the rising of the sun.” Oster comes from the old Teutonic of auferstehen (or auferstehung) which means resurrection. This comes from two words: Ester, which means first, and stehen, with means to stand. And these two words combine to form erstehen, an old German form of auferstehen, which is the modern German word for resurrection (Nick Sayers, “Why We Should Not Passover Easter,”

In a 2011 article published by Answers in Genesis, Roger Patterson adds the following information: “When Martin Luther translated the Bible into German (New Testament in 1522), he chose the word Oster to refer to the Passover references before and after the Resurrection. William Tyndale translated the Bible into English from the Greek and Hebrew. His New Testament (1525) uses the word ester to refer to the Passover. In fact, we owe our English word Passover to Tyndale. When translating the Old Testament (1530), he coined the term to describe how the Lord would “pass over” the houses marked with the blood of the lamb (Exodus 12). The usage of ester was retained in the 1534 revision of the New Testament, and it was not until later that it was known as Easter, adding that Luther and Tyndale were the first to use a translation of pascha rather than a transliteration.”

Whether called Easter or Resurrection Sunday, we as Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and the bodily resurrection of Jesus is the crux upon which Christianity either stands or falls. If Jesus did not rise bodily from the dead, His death on the cross for the sins of the world would have been insufficient and there could be no promise or certainty of forgiveness of sins, of our being accepted by God or of our own resurrection and eternal life when we place our faith in Jesus and His atoning sacrifice on the cross.

St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 15:14-19): “And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up — if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.”

But the Bible goes on to say (1 Cor. 15:20): “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”

Jesus’ resurrection proves that His death was a ransom accepted by God for the sins of the world and that God, for Jesus’ sake, reaches out to us lost and prodigal sons and daughters with the promise of mercy and forgiveness upon all who look to Jesus in faith (cf. Rom. 4:23-25). His resurrection proves that Jesus was true to His word that He would rise again on the third day, and it gives us the assurance that He can and will raise up unto everlasting life all who have believed in His name.

How do we know that Jesus really did rise from the dead? By eyewitness accounts.

Again, St. Paul summarizes the evidence for us (1 Cor. 15:3-8): “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.”

If anyone had doubts about the bodily resurrection of Jesus in the first century, there were plenty of living eyewitnesses who could attest to seeing Jesus alive again following His crucifixion. Our faith rests upon the testimony of those witnesses recorded for us in the Gospels and Epistles of the New Testament, as well as in the Old Testament prophecies of Christ’s death and resurrection. Compare the resurrection accounts in the four Gospels — Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24 and John 20-21.

Without the bodily resurrection of Jesus, Christianity would be no different than other religions of the world which tell people all the things they must do or not do to be accepted by and at one with their god and maker.

Christianity is the only religion that teaches that man does not and cannot measure up to God’s perfect standards because we are all fallen sinners. Instead of man somehow reaching up, the Bible teaches that God reached down to us in the person of Jesus Christ and redeemed us from the guilt and condemnation of our sins by the innocent sufferings and death of His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, in our stead (cf. Rom. 3:21-26). Jesus’ resurrection is proof that we indeed have been redeemed to God! And it is proof that we who have placed our hope in Him will be raised up from our graves on the Last Day to the eternal joys of His kingdom!

And yes, this is cause to celebrate and rejoice! It is a reason to join together and sing God’s praises for accomplishing the salvation of lost and condemned sinners, for winning for all pardon and forgiveness, and for offering and giving the blessings of forgiveness and life eternal through faith alone in Jesus’ name!

“I know that my Redeemer lives; what comfort this sweet sentence gives! He lives, He lives, who once was dead; He lives, my ever-living Head” (Samuel Medley).

Scripture is taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!” Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself. Matthew 27:3-5

Dear fellow-redeemed sinners, ransomed by the shed blood of Jesus, grace, mercy and peace be unto you through faith in Christ Jesus, our Savior. Amen.

True repentance has two parts. One is that we see our sins against God and sorrow over them because we have broken God’s holy commandments and justly deserve His eternal wrath and punishment (contrition). The other is that we trust in God to be merciful to us and forgive our sins for Jesus’ sake (faith). And, where there is true repentance, there will also follow the fruit of an amended life.

The Augsburg Confession, in Article XII, confesses this truth when it says: “Now, repentance consists properly of these two parts: One is contrition, that is, terrors smiting the conscience through the knowledge of sin; the other is faith, which is born of the Gospel, or of absolution, and believes that for Christ’s sake, sins are forgiven, comforts the conscience, and delivers it from terrors. Then good works are bound to follow, which are the fruits of repentance.”

We see this in David’s prayer of repentance in Psalm 51. David acknowledged his sin and guilt and he sorrowed over his transgression. He said (v. 3-5): “For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight — that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me….”

But David also looked to the LORD God to show him mercy. He prayed (v. 1-2 ): “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” David trusted that God would deal with him in mercy and grant him forgiveness for the sake of the promised Messiah and Savior who would “redeem Israel from all his iniquities” (Ps. 130:8).

It was then that David prayed (v. 10-13): “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You.”

Judas, when he realized what he had done — that he had betrayed “innocent blood” and that Jesus was now “condemned” — was remorseful. He saw his sin, was sorry for what he had done, and even tried to return the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders. Judas had sorrow over his sin, but did he trust in God’s mercy? The answer is quite obvious. He did not!

And how the chief priests, as servants of God, failed Judas! When Judas confessed his sin to them, they should have proclaimed to him the Gospel — the good news of God’s mercy and forgiveness for the sake of the Messiah and Savior who would be offered up as a sacrifice to atone for the sins of the world. But, since they did not believe in the Messiah themselves but rejected and condemn Him, they cared nothing for the eternal welfare of Judas and told him, “What is that to us? You see to it!” So, Judas despaired of God’s mercy and “went and hanged himself.”

Could Judas have received mercy? Consider the examples of David in the Old Testament, and Peter in the New. David committed adultery and murder, yet God forgave him. When David, after being confronted regarding his sin by Nathan the prophet, acknowledged, “I have sinned against the LORD,” Nathan told him, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die” (2 Sam. 12:13; cf. 2 Sam. 11-12; Psalms 51 and 32).

Peter three times denied even knowing Jesus, and he too received mercy and went on to serve his Savior. Jesus had told him in Luke 22:32: “When you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” And Jesus, asking Peter three times if he loved Him, recommissioned him to feed His sheep and His lambs (cf. John 21:15ff.).

Could Judas have received forgiveness? Certainly; for Christ died for the sins of the whole world, “the just for the unjust” (1 Peter 3:18; cf. 2 Cor. 5:19,21; 1 John 2:1-2; 1 Cor. 15:3,4). As John the Baptist had said of Him, Jesus is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29)!

But Judas thought his sin was too great. He did not believe that God could or would forgive him. He despaired of God’s mercy and died in his sin and unbelief. How tragic!

What about you? Have you ever betrayed or denied your Lord Jesus? Have you ever turned aside from following Him and broken His commandments? You know that you have — we all have! The Bible tells us that “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6a).

Have you felt sorrow over your sins? Are you saddened over the fact that you have broken God’s holy law? Do you fear God’s judgment and wrath? Does it bother you to know that it was because of your sins (and mine, too) that Jesus was condemned to suffer and die on the cross?

Have you ever felt like Judas must have felt? Have you ever felt that your sin was too great or that you have sinned too many times for God to forgive you yet again? Do you fear that this time God will not forgive you and that you are hopelessly headed for hell?

If so, you are despairing of God’s mercy! You are forgetting the fact that “the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6b); that Jesus has paid in full the penalty for our sins and that, when we turn in faith to Jesus, we “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7).

Remember the truth expressed by the Psalmist in Psalm 86:5: “For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.” When we look to Jesus and His cross for mercy, God is “faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” because “Jesus Christ the righteous … is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (1 John 1:9 and 2:1,2).

Remember also that our Lord Jesus tells us in John 6:37: “The one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” Look to Jesus and receive God’s mercy, pardon and forgiveness.

Dear Lord Jesus, we know that we have denied and betrayed You by our sins. By Your Holy Spirit, bring us to see our sinfulness and repent, having true sorrow over our sins and the just punishment we deserve, but also true faith in You, trusting that for the sake of Your holy life and innocent sufferings and death upon the cross, we have pardon, forgiveness, and the eternal joys of heaven. Amen.

[Scripture is taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]



1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” 3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. 4 He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. 5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, 6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. 8 Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked. 9 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, 10 No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; 11 For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. 12 In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. 13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. 14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. 15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.”

Some questions to consider

1) How does one dwell in the secret place of the Most High? See v. 1-2. Gal. 3:26-29; John 1:12-13; 3:14-18; Mark 16:16; Col. 1:19-23.

2) What does God promise to those who trust in Him? See v. 3-8.

3) Do Christians have any reason to be afraid of disease and pestilence, of wars or other dangers?

4) What are the believer’s shield and buckler? Where do we find this? See Psalm 119:160; John 8:31-32; 17:17; 2 Tim. 3:14-17.

5) See. v. 8. What does God call the disease, pestilence and bloodshed which come upon the world? How is this true?

6) How do we make the LORD our dwelling place? See. v. 9; cf. Prov. 3:5-6; Acts 16:31.

7) What does God promise to those who trust in Him? See, v. 10ff.

8) Do Believers, too, suffer from disease and violence and even die? Has evil triumphed when a believer dies? See John 11:25-26; Job 19:25-27; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 14:13.

9) What promise does God make to believers in regard to His holy angels? What does this mean? See v. 11-12.

10) What does God promise in v. 14?

11) Does God hear and answer the prayers of His children who call upon Him? What does He promise? See v. 15; 1 John 5:12-15.

12) What special promise does God give to those who trust in Him? See v. 16. What will God reveal and show to them through His Word and, finally, through the fulfillment of His Gospel promises?

O almighty God, grant that I hide under the shadow of Your wings through faith in the Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Grant to me Your protection in the midst of troubles and preserve me in the true faith unto life everlasting, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Scripture is taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



Lesson Four

The Ten Commandments

“You shall have no other gods before me.”

And God spoke all these words, saying: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.…” Exodus 20:1-3

1. What right does God have to give us His commandments?

Exodus 20:2: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”

Isaiah 43:1: “But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.’”

Ephesians 2:4-10: “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

2 Corinthians 5:15: “He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”

God says, “I am the LORD your God.” He is JEHOVAH God, the Creator of all things. He is the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit – the only true God! He redeemed His people from bondage in Egypt. In fulfillment of His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, God brought the people out of Egypt and was leading them to the land of Canaan, where He would fulfill His promise to send the Seed of Abraham – the promised Messiah and Savior – through whom all the nations of the earth would be blessed (cf. Genesis 22:18). This is why God had the right to give these commandments to His people. He is the LORD God, their Maker and Redeemer! And this is also why the people should have listened to these commandments and gladly and willingly obeyed them.

God has every right to demand that we, too, obey His commandments; for He is the LORD God, our Maker and Redeemer – we belong to Him! He created and formed each of us in our mother’s womb (Cf. Psalm 139:13-16). He made us for Himself – to live for Him and serve Him. But instead of loving Him and serving Him, we love and serve ourselves. As fallen sinners, we do not and cannot keep God’s commandments as He requires. Because of His gracious love and mercy, the LORD God also redeemed us and won salvation for us by sending His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to suffer and to die upon the cross for our sins and then rise again on the third day!

We are the LORD’s – and doubly so! He made us, and even though we have come far short of keeping His commandments, He paid the just penalty for our sins, redeemed us and made us His own again! He delivered us from our bondage under sin and is leading us to the promised land of heaven, which is ours, entirely as His gracious gift! Therefore, the LORD God has every right to give us His holy commandments and to expect obedience! And, as His redeemed children – having His pardon and forgiveness for all our sins and failures for the sake of His Son, Jesus Christ, we have every reason to gladly and willingly obey Him!

2. What does God mean when He says, “You shall have no other gods before Me”?

The Hebrew literally means that we are to have no other gods before the LORD God’s face. He is present everywhere and sees all, so we are to have no other gods but Him! He is our Maker and Redeemer; there is no other god but Him.

3. What does this commandment forbid?

Isaiah 42:8: “I am the LORD, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to carved images.”

Matthew 4:10: “You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.”

John 5:23: “All should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.”

Dr. Martin Luther in his Small Catechism explains this commandment in this way: “We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.”

4. What does it mean to fear God above all things?

Psalm 33:8: “Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.”

Psalm 100:3: “Know that the LORD, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”

Genesis 17:1: “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.”

Proverbs 8:13: “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil.”

Proverbs 14:16: “A wise man fears and departs from evil, but a fool rages and is self-confident.”

Read Genesis 39:1ff. (especially v. 9) and consider how Joseph’s respect for God kept him from sinning.

The LORD God is the only true God; and we should “fear, love, and trust in Him above all things” (Martin Luther’s SMALL CATECHISM). We should remember that God is the Almighty Creator, and honor Him as such! We should obey His commandments and avoid all that displeases Him.

5. What does it mean to love God above all things?

Deuteronomy 6:5: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”

Deuteronomy 10:12-13: “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?”

Matthew 10:37: “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”

Read Luke 22:54-62 and John 21:15-17. Did Peter love Jesus above all things on the night when Jesus was arrested?

Because the LORD God is our Maker and also our Redeemer, we should love Him with all our heart, soul and mind, and gladly live our lives for Him (cf. Matthew 22:37; 2 Corinthians 5:15).

6. What does it mean to trust God above all things?

Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

Psalm 118:8: “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”

Psalm 56:3-4: “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His word), in God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?”

Read Psalm 91. What does it say about trust in the LORD?

Since God has so wonderfully made us and provides for all our needs, and since He has through Christ’s sufferings, death and resurrection redeemed us from our sins and the eternal punishment we so deserve, we should also trust in Him with all our heart and commit our entire lives to His care and keeping.

Consider Paul’s trust in the LORD Jesus (2 Timothy 4:18): “And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!”

7. Have we done what God requires of us in this commandment?

We must all admit our utter failure; for we so often neglect Him and push Him out of our lives as though He did not exist. Every time we sin against any commandment of the LORD, we are also failing to fear, love and trust in God above all things. We place ourselves and other persons and things before the loving God who gave us life in our mother’s womb and everlasting life in Christ Jesus, our Savior; and we neglect to give to Him the glory and honor due unto His name!

LORD God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be merciful to us and forgive us for our many failures to honor You as the LORD God, our Maker and Redeemer. Enable and teach us to fear, love and trust in You above all else. We ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, God the Son and our Savior. Amen.

[Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]