Bible

Jesus Believed the Scriptures Were Infallible and So Can You!

Confidence in the scriptures of the Bible is vital to a proper relationship with God. The world tries to shake a believer’s confidence with name calling, attempts to take verses out of context and by ignoring the fact that there are times when people have made bad translations that ignore the original languages and manuscripts that tie our modern English Bible with the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek languages of the past.

When moments of sarcastic remarks or “intellectual” ignorance are blasted at the scriptures, one person that I keep in mind to settle the issue is Jesus. Despite His contemporary naysayers who abused the scriptures through tradition, erroneous translations and plain old unbelief, Jesus taught that the scriptures held a common theme and that they were infallible. Jesus taught that the scriptures provided the necessary guidance for the hearts and minds of man because the Holy Scriptures written by the hands of men came from the mind of God (2 Peter 1:16-21).

Jesus settled controversial issues with the stability of the scriptures:

Marriage and divorce? What do the scriptures say? (Matthew 19:1-9)

Life after death? What do the scriptures say? (Matthew 22:23-40)

Was it possible for Jesus, the son of David, to be greater than king David? What do the scriptures say? (Matthew 22:41-46)

Was Jesus really the Messiah? What do the scriptures say? (John 5:36-42)

It was after the resurrection that the disciples believed because they remembered the scriptures and the words of Jesus (John 2:18-22).

A person can get a concordance and find many more times when Jesus settled issues with the true and infallible standard from God. After all, the only way we can know that Jesus was a perfect sacrifice is because He perfectly fulfilled the scriptures.

On the road to Emmaus Jesus gave one of His greatest unrecorded sermons that we know about. It is in the New Testament scriptures that we learn about a couple of Jesus’ disciples whose hearts were hurting as they walked on the road to Emmaus because of the death of Jesus and because of the empty tomb. These disciples just so happened to meet a “stranger” in town who believed the scriptures were invaluable because they infallibly and joyously pointed to very tomb that troubled them. The “stranger” told them:

…“O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” (Luke 24:25-27)

At times Jesus challenged and questioned the hearts of men and women but He never questioned the authority of the scriptures (John 10:35). If Jesus believed the Old Testament scriptures were infallibly and completely inspired of God’s Spirit then we can have the same confidence in the same Spirit of God when it comes to accomplishing His mission with the scriptures of the New Testament that we can hold in our hands today. EA

You also gave Your good Spirit to instruct them, and did not withhold Your manna from their mouth, and gave them water for their thirst.” (Nehemiah 9:20)

Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:7-15)

Should We Only Listen To The Words in Red???

Are the “words in red” the only words we must be concerned with when it comes to the commands of Christ found in the Bible? Some are under the opinion that the other epistles (letters) which make up the New Testament do not have as much authority as the ones that go by the title “the gospel of Jesus Christ according to….” Such an opinion concerning the scriptures is wrong, and it is a dangerous opinion to have.

For one, it undermines the heavenly authority of Jesus’ apostles and prophets and the foundation upon which the church itself is built upon. Consider the following scriptures:

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22)

Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior,” (2 Peter 3:1-2)

If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 14:37)

Without the written knowledge that the Holy Spirit has made known to the church through the apostles and the prophets, the church today would not have a steady foundation of truth to follow or be built upon, much less teach (1 Timothy 3:14-15).

I have a full assurance in the Holy Spirit and His ability to complete the mission He had in reminding, revealing, reinforcing and regulating the doctrine of Christ to the apostles and prophets of the church (John 14:26, 15:26, & 16:7-14). He accomplished it with the Old Covenant and He has accomplished it with the New Covenant as well.

If we refuse to listen to the Holy Spirit inspired men and the “words written in black” which have been preserved through the providence of God, then in reality we are refusing to listen to the “words written in red” that promised it would happen! EA

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

(2 Timothy 3:16-17)

You can’t talk Bible without talking Bible…

In the past I used to watch a TV show that I found somewhat interesting. The basis of the show revolved around “religious unity” and a “roundtable discussion” about “religious and spiritual” matters with leaders from different religious organizations and bodies who were supposed to present (although not defend) their stance on the issue that was being discussed on that particular episode.

I appreciated the fact that the moderator and the participating panel were respectful of one another even though they disagreed, and that the show in some ways encouraged people to sit and discuss matters where spiritual disagreements are held, but nonetheless, I put the above words in quotation marks because sometimes it really amazed me what topics they considered to be unifying and spiritual and worthy of discussion. And above all, it amazed me how so many religious discussions and matters of the faith which has been once and for all delivered unto the saints (Jude 3) could be held on the show and by the panel without ever mentioning the Bible. I don’t know if they had some kind of prearranged agreement backstage, but how can you have a discussion on biblical topics without mentioning the Bible???

The topic on the majority of the episodes produced by the program that I watched could have been settled with only a couple of referenced verses that simply stated what the Bible says instead of going around and around with varying opinions. Let me give you an example that can easily relate since tax season is upon us. One episode that I watched asked the question: Is paying taxes a civil or a religious duty? One person started the show by stating that paying taxes was a civil and religious duty, with another person stating and holding to the view that paying taxes is only a civil duty, and then the rest of the panel went on to tilt in one direction or the other.

As the show continued, all of the varying religious leaders gave their opinion as to why the answer they supported was the correct one based upon how government works or does not work to the advantage of the general welfare of the public. Not one time did any of the men involved in the discussion ever quote one verse from the one book that could have settled the issue in a simple and quick manner. Let me show you what I mean.

Did you know that Jesus once had a roundtable discussion” on whether or not God’s people should pay taxes to the government? You wouldn’t have known it if you were watching that episode I mentioned, but He did. The discussion is recorded in Matthew 22:16-22 which says:

And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way.”

Do you see how simple it could have been to have solved the issue? It didn’t take 30 minutes – it only took 10 seconds to get the answer straight from the mouth of Jesus!

Later on in the Bible, in Romans 13:7, you can read where Paul taught the church at Rome (where Caesar’s throne was) to, “Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.” Simple enough isn’t it? Sounds like I’m religiously obligated to pay taxes after all…even if it’s a government that doesn’t care much for me on multiple levels!

The principle used with this topic applies to all other areas in our lives. God has “…given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,” (2 Peter 1:3). If we want to know God’s will then we need to read God’s word.

It’s amazing how “talking Bible” can become so much easier when we actually talk Bible. EA

If anyone has anything to say, let it be as the words of God;…so that in all things God may have the glory through Jesus Christ…” (1 Peter 4:11 – BBE)

P.S. – I don’t recommend the show, that’s why I used to watch it. It belongs in File 13. In one episode that I watched, again without the mentioning and use of the scriptures, all of the “Christian” leaders, with the exception of one I believe, were unwilling to say that following Jesus was the only way to please God and to make it to Heaven today…which could have easily been settled with John 14:6 in which Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  When someone tries to talk Bible without talking Bible its because they want you to follow the words of men and women and not the word of God (Acts 20:26-32).

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Enemies of the Resurrection

The resurrection of the dead is the cornerstone doctrine that Christianity is built upon; at least that’s how the apostles felt about it. Paul put it all out on the table by plainly, and soberly, telling the church at Corinth:

Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 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.” (1 Corinthians 15:12-19)

In the midst of the church at Corinth there were enemies of the resurrection, but when you think about it, the resurrection had enemies before the church was even established.

Even though the Old Testament gave evidence of the resurrection to the Jews, there were still doubters and deniers. They had the example of Elisha and the young child (2 Kings 4), the example of the “raising” of Samuel’s soul (1 Samuel 28), the example of the dead bones of Elisha and the living man (2 Kings 13) and the example of the prophecies in Isaiah 26:19 and Daniel 12:2, and this is not to mention the example Peter used from Psalm 16:10 while preaching Jesus as the resurrected Christ and Lord. Despite these repeated examples there were enemies who still contradicted the plain evidence of the scriptures…and people, even religious people, think they’re breaking new ground when they take on the examples of the Bible today???

On one occasion, Jesus told the Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection but came to him sarcastically asking questions about it, in Matthew 22:23 that they were in error because they did not know the scriptures or the power of God (Matthew 22:29). What scriptures did they not know? It surely wasn’t the Gospel According to Matthew! It was in part, the very scriptures noted above. It was the scriptures of the very Law they were living under that said death is not the end all be all. In Matthew 22:32 Jesus proved by the language that God used with Moses, the writer of their Law, that man will live…does live beyond the grave:

“‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”” (Matthew 22:32)

What some people forget is that believers in the resurrection preceded the empty tomb of Jesus. Paul used the “pro-resurrection” beliefs of the Pharisees against the Sadducees to avoid an unjust trial against him (Acts 23:1-10) and he used the Old Testament scriptures to defend his teaching concerning the resurrection showing that the early fathers of the Jews believed in the resurrection too (Acts 24:15-16). So believers in the resurrection preceded the empty tomb for sure, but the empty tomb is what fulfills the hope that it takes to hold on to it! (1 Peter 1:3)

The resurrection brings hope to God’s people, but the resurrection brings fear to God’s enemies. This is why the resurrection was such a big “target” to people in the past who did not want to answer for what they had done; and why it remains the “target” that it is today even though God makes His grace available.

As soon as the good news of the empty tomb began to spread, people began to attack the resurrection (Matthew 28:1-15), but they didn’t win in the past and they won’t win in the future. As a matter of fact, to fight the fact of a resurrection is a losing battle that is not lost by the word win – it is lost by the word when!!! Read Colossians 3:4 if you don’t get it. EA

Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.” (1 Corinthians 15:24-26)

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Do People Today Receive a Special Revelation from God?

Men and women who claimed to have received a “special revelation” from God have written entire Creed Books and even so-called additional “Testaments” of Jesus. Is it not unusual that all the people who have received these “messages from the same God” all received different instructions, different missions, different names, different commandments and different leaders?

Even though the above is true they insist that we believe that God, who cannot lie (Titus 1:1-3) and who has spoken with His final word through His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2), continues to contradict Himself by repeatedly telling different individuals “a new and different way” to find salvation contrary to what the Bible says. Well, what does a person do when they do not like the rules? They make a new rulebook! They say, “two” where God’s word says, “one” (Ephesians 4:4-6).

Concerning such possible mentalities, the apostle Paul said:

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:6-12).

Paul said he delivered “the certified gospel” from God. According to what you just read, what do you think Paul would say about these so-called modern-day “special revelations” that contradict what he wrote and preached, but are supposedly still from God?

If any “church” or individual uses something other than God’s word they do not have the foundation of God’s apostles and prophets. If they do not have the foundation of God’s apostles and prophets they do not have the “Chief Cornerstone.” If they do not have the “Chief Cornerstone” they do not have Christ. If they do not have Christ, they have nothing. This is the inevitable conclusion that Paul drew when he said in Ephesians 2:19,20:

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,”

God’s word is not only holy, it’s wholly and completely sufficient for what the church needs concerning God’s revealed will for His people and for the rest of mankind (2 Peter 1:1-3 and Jude 3).

Please realize that you are getting the wrong signal if you think you are getting a special message directly from God today. The Holy Spirit continues to speak to people for sure, but it is through His written word, the Holy Bible, not by special revelation to “later day prophets” (Romans 10:17).

When a person “reveals” what is already written then no “revealing” has taken place, and when a person “reveals” something that has not been written the only thing being “revealed” is their lack of acceptance and an abundance of unbelief toward what has already been revealed by God in His word.

All souls are special to God, but so-called modern-day revelations “from God” are not!

Think about it. EA

How Did it Get to That?

The worst of situations have all started with a single decision. At first the decision may seem harmless enough; many even beginning with the best of intentions, but nonetheless the outcome comes out being a miserable one for all the parties involved. Sadly the religious world is no exception.

Many of the manmade traditions in Christianity that are so heavily adhered to today were all started by minor changes that eventually became mainstream without the followers even considering or wondering or realizing or caring how it had gotten to that point. Here are some examples:

Where is the Pope in the scriptures?

What about infant baptism?

How about the practice of praying to or through Mary or other “saints” as mediators?

What about women who serve as elders and preachers?

Where is the authority for instrumental music (including all the rock band wannabes) in the church’s worship of God?

How did the mourner’s bench get the status it has been given?

How did all of these situations get to where they are now? How can something that so many saw as harmless at the beginning turn into something so harmful in the end???

It all happens by not listening to the following words: “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15).

Those are not the words of some council or association or any other manmade hierarchy. They are the Holy Spirit inspired words of an apostle of Jesus the Christ of God. When we get this, then we can more easily avoid having to ask, “How did it get to that?” EA

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (2 Timothy 4:1-4)

Bible Questions and Answers – Profaning the Lord’s Name

“Dear brother Clem: What does the Bible say about profaning the Lord’s name? What of the habit of some people exclaiming, ‘Lord, have mercy,’ or just saying, ‘Good Lord’? – T.H., GA”

Let us see some commands regarding this: “And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, and profane the name of thy God: I am Jehovah” (Leviticus 19:12). “They shall be holy unto their God, and not profane the name of their God” (Leviticus 21:6). “And that they profane not my holy name: I am Jehovah” (Leviticus 22:2). “But refuse profane and old wives’ fables. And exercise thyself unto godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7). “But shun profane babblings: for they will proceed further in ungodliness” (2 Timothy 2:16).

The verb, “profane,” means “to make common or unholy, to desecrate, to pollute.” To profane the name of the Lord, then, is to use His name in a way that is common or degrading or unholy. And surely, not just proper names such as Jesus or Jehovah is meant. To profane “Christ” or “God” or “the Lord” would be just as bad.

The use of the Lord’s name in “by-words” or in slang expressions is profaning His name. The use of the Lord’s name in a casual or flippant way also profanes His name. And to casually say, “Lord, have mercy” is profaning His name, unless we really mean it. The Lord is good, but to make a thoughtless habit of saying, “Good Lord,” would be profane. When we use the name of the Lord, it should be with reverence and sincerity.

It’s very easy to fall into the habit of using te Lord’s name (or the equivalent thereof) in a thoughtless way that profanes it. For instance, a friend of mine once preached a sermon on the use of “by-words.” He pointed out that “golly” was derivative of “God Almighty,” that “gee” was derived from “Jesus” and so forth. Then, thinking of another point, he said, “Oh, by the way…” I later asked him if he had read John 14:6, where Jesus said, “I am the way“? I never got an answer. It is difficult to be consistent in all things. But we should try. And the habit of such slang expressions should be broken. All of us would be better for it. – Clem Thurman

(Made me think of the commonly heard phrase O.M.G. and other not mentioned words EA)

Excerpted from Volume 61, Number 39 of Gospel Minutes. Gospel Minutes is a publication originating from Forth Worth, Texas; Clem Thurman, Editor, David Thurman, Associate Editor.

To Eat or Not to Eat, That is the Question.

One of my favorite sandwiches for lunch is a Cold Cut Combo. It’s a sub served with three meats: bologna, ham and salami. Under the Old Covenant that God had with the nation of Israel this sandwich would not have been found on any menu because it was considered an unacceptable meal.

In Leviticus 11 and in Deuteronomy 14 God gave the children of Israel instructions concerning animals that were acceptable/unacceptable for food. Pigs are probably the best-known animal on that list. But they are also accompanied by many other animals that are popular to eat today, but were still considered unclean to Israel such as the rabbit, catfish, shellfish and crabs, etc. You can read the chapters to find other animals if you’d like.

When it comes to the animals you read about in the above references, people go to many extremes trying to explain why God placed such restrictions into His Law for Israel. One popular explanation is that the unclean animals often carried transmittable diseases and were basically unhealthy. While that is true for many of them, it is not true for all of them. For example, have you ever heard the expression healthy as a horse? The horse is a physically healthy animal but it was still considered unclean for consumption. On the other hand, cattle and goats were considered clean but they can carry deadly diseases such as anthrax.

Was health one of the reasons God gave the restrictions on food? Probably so; but was it the only reason? Obviously with the examples above, the answer to that is absolutely not. We need to remember that it was God that determined whether or not an animal was clean or unclean, not Moses, not Aaron and not anyone today who thinks they will live to be 100 simply because they did not eat pork chops or bacon. God said ‘Don’t Eat’ and they were expected to not eat.

The thing about this topic is that many people today still teach that God has dietary restrictions concerning clean and unclean animals for His people, but is that doctrine taught in the New Testament? If it is I have yet to find it. The New Testament does teach against the consumption of blood (that is contained in all animals to a certain extent and ignored by many Christians) but not against the consumption of any species of animals in particular (Acts 15:20-29).

As a matter of fact, listen to what the Holy Spirit inspired apostle Paul told Timothy concerning a future time (from their point of view) when people would depart from the faith and teach that certain meats were to be abstained from for spiritual reasons. He said, “For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” (1 Timothy 4:4-5). Sounds simple enough!

Concerning the transition between the Old and New covenant, which is the underlying issue of the foods discussion, listen again to the teachings of the Holy Spirit – “having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross…So let no one judge you in food or in drink…” (Colossians 2:14,16). Now, I’m perfectly aware that the meat and drink of Colossians 2:14-16 refer to religious observances that are not spiritually enforced by God any longer; but when a person says something must not be eaten to please God are they not making that a religious observance???

If a person chooses to place certain dietary restrictions on his or herself, that’s fine. It may be a matter of conscience, but that’s your conscience and not everyone else’s. What isn’t fine is when a person teaches and tries to place those restrictions on others. It’s nobody’s job to make someone not eat something any more than it’s someone’s job to make someone eat something. Peace in Christ is more important than any piece of meat on the table! That’s the whole gist of Romans 14.

To eat or not to eat…there is no question to it! God in the New Testament says we can eat and give thanks to Him while doing so.

Think about it. EA

I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.” (Romans 14:14)

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When Our Conscience Takes the Witness Stand

I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit,” (Romans 9:1, NKJV)

Not all consciences are worth the right hand they raise. Some are useful and others are useless.

A conscience is like a knife. It has to be sharpened to be useful. All knives are knives, but you don’t use a butter knife to filet a fish and you don’t use a seared conscience to determine what’s right and what’s wrong (1 Timothy 4:2).

The proper sharpening stone for the conscience of men and women is the word of God. It is never dull and when our conscience is less than honest, God’s word remains a faithful and true witness (Hebrews 4:12). The ears of those who listen can be dull, but God’s word is not (Matthew 13:14-16).

When our conscience takes the stand against us we would do well to listen (Romans 14:19-23) for the words of our conscience may ring loud on the day of judgment (Romans 14:7-13).

If we con our conscience too many times we might just find ourselves being the ones who get taken advantage of! EA

Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that onefor your sakes in the presence of Christ, lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.” (2 Corinthians 2:10-11)

One of the “Greatest” Bible Verses

I don’t know the author, but there’s a breakdown of John 3:16 that shows how it is one of the “greatest” verses in God’s Word.

It’s called: The Superlative

FOR GOD – The Greatest Love

SO LOVED – The Greatest Degree

THE WORLD – The Greatest Company

THAT HE GAVE – The Greatest Act

HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON – The Greatest Gift

THAT WHOSOEVER – The Greatest Opportunity

BELIEVETH – The Greatest Simplicity

IN HIM – The Greatest Attraction

SHOULD NOT PERISH – The Greatest Promise

BUT – The Greatest Difference

HAVE – The Greatest Certainty

EVERLASTING – The Greatest Duration

LIFE – The Greatest Possession

Now how great is that?