What Does It Mean to be Dispensational?
What Does It Mean to be Dispensational?

Roger Feenstra • May 17, 2022

“When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense.”


A term that is used for this principle of Biblical interpretation is Dispensationalism. A dispensation is a period of time. What this means is that while God never changes, over the course of time, the way he relates to humanity has changed. Therefore, dispensationalism is the belief that God has related to mankind in the course of human history in unique ways. Each of these unique historical relationships between God and people is called a dispensation. If you believe this, and you should, you are dispensational.


Generally speaking there are seven common dispensations.


More to come.

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Look Up And Rejoice...That is Grace
Look Up And Rejoice...That is Grace

Roger Feenstra • May 10, 2022

Legalized or condoned abortion is tragic for the child, but we often forget about the woman who made the wrong choice. Overturning Roe vs. Wade is correct. Putting an end to killing a child in the womb should be one of our greatest endeavors. When the abortion issue takes center stage, as it has this month, conscience rips apart the wounds of many women, leaving them (often alone with their own secret) overshadowed by guilt and shame.


Each of us should weep with them. Since 1973, millions of women during a confusing time in life were duped and deceived into believing a child in the womb was a glob of tissue. Scared and depressed, they didn’t know where to turn or what to do. Not only the Godless suffer; Christian women do too. Abortion transcends all cultures and all religions in our nation.


The apostle Paul wrote, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them…” God is not assigning sins to your account.


Women shrouded in the painful aftermath can look up and rejoice. Christ forgave once and for all. That is grace.


[2 Corinthians 5:19]


Christ Receiveth Sinful Men [Click for music]

Verse 1

Sinners Jesus will receive;

Sound this word of grace to all

All who languish dead in sin,

All who linger, all who fall.


Chorus

Sing it o’er and over again;

Christ receiveth sinful men;

Make the message clear and plain:

Christ receiveth sinful men.


Verse 2

Come, and He will give you rest;

Trust Him, for His Word is plain;

He will take the sinfulest;

Christ receiveth sinful men.


Chorus

Sing it o’er and over again;

Christ receiveth sinful men;

Make the message clear and plain:

Christ receiveth sinful men.


Verse 3

Now my heart condemns me not,

Pure before the law I stand;

He who cleansed me from all spot,

Satisfied its last demand.


Chorus

Sing it o’er and over again;

Christ receiveth sinful men;

Make the message clear and plain:

Christ receiveth sinful men.


Verse 4

Christ receiveth sinful men,

Even me with all my sin;

Purged from every spot and stain,

Heaven with Him I enter in.


Chorus

Sing it o’er and over again;

Christ receiveth sinful men;

Make the message clear and plain:

Christ receiveth sinful men.

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Tottering Between Philosophies
Tottering Between Philosophies

Roger Feenstra • November 08, 2021

In the first century A.D. there was one school of Christian thought located in Antioch of Syria and it was the center for literal apostolic teaching. It was from Antioch the Apostle Paul set out for each of his missionary journeys.


Over the next century there was a shift, or transition in biblical philosophy. As the apostles died, the strong literal biblical teaching in Antioch began to be rivaled by symbolic and metaphorical teaching in Alexandria, Egypt. Alexandrian teachers claimed there was no literal future resurrection of the body. Thus, even the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ became suspect. 


There is a similar transition going on in our own country. Our nation is not necessarily a Christian nation, nor has it ever been, but there were two distinctions throughout our 245-year existence which made us unique from other nations.


1) Our Bible-based form of government and,

2) Our unique Bible-based educational system.


Any remnants of these are in grave jeopardy; or for all intents and purposes are gone.


Both distinctions had principles derived from the Old Testament (Judaeo) and the New Testament (Christian). The Judaeo/Christian foundation of our nation presented a biblical worldview (accepted by religious and non-religious alike) that man is created in God's image and that all life is valuable.


Today our government and our educational system is overrun by secular humanists. Humanism and Christianity are in direct opposition to one another. What a child learns in Sunday School (One hour a week) is decimated, debunked, and destroyed Monday through Friday in the government classroom. Add to this the lack of biblical teaching in many churches and absence of strong biblical teaching by parents in the home and we have the complete recipe for the fall of the United States. 


We have become a nation and a church that desires entertainment and relaxation. Like Alexandria and Antioch, we are tottering between two distinct opposing philosophies, The wisdom of God vs. the wisdom of man.


By A.D. 200 Alexandria thought won the day. 


~


References:


Ever Reforming - Dispensational Theology and the completion of the Protestant Reformation, Dr. Andy Woods.


You are engaged in The Battle for the Mind, a subtle warfare, Tim LaHaye. Out of print.

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What Did Jesus Teach?
What Did Jesus Teach?

Roger Feenstra • October 26, 2021

Here are some facts about Jesus's earthly ministry that many evangelicals miss:


1. When Jesus walked on earth, he obeyed the Law of Moses and taught others to do the same. 

2. Jesus was born under the Law (Galatians 4:4).

3. Jesus was a servant to the circumcised, or the Jews (Romans 15:8).

4. Jesus was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 15:24).


Therefore, it should not surprise us that Jesus directed His earthly teachings to those under the Law, not to those of us who live by grace through faith. At the time of Jesus's earthly ministry, the gospel of salvation by grace through faith was hidden in God. The grace gospel was not brought to light until it was revealed to the apostle Paul (Ephesians 3:5,9). When Jesus walked on the earth, Gentiles (non-Jews) had no hope and were without God (Ephesians 2:12).

 

Jesus made this crystal clear when asked by the rich young man, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Mark 10:17). The answer Jesus gave was, obey all the commandments and sell all you have give to the poor! This is a far cry from the apostle Paul's answer to the Philippian jailer who asked him, "What must I do to be saved?" Paul's response, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved" (Acts 16:30). In other words, no Law allowed.


When Jesus ministered on earth, He offered His Kingdom to the Jewish nation, not the entire world. What a fantastic privilege for them, but they rejected their Messiah and put him to death on the cross. While their rejection was devastating for the nation of Israel, it was a gift for the entire world. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16). In Jesus's earthly life, he came only to and for Israel; in his death and resurrection, he became "Lord both of the dead and the living" (Romans 14:8).


In the book of Acts, we see Jesus through His apostles, giving the nation of Israel one more chance to believe in Him. In the meantime, He chose the apostle Paul and showed him a revelation of grace. ALL men could now be justified by belief in Jesus and not by works of the Law (Acts 13:38-39). 


By A.D. 70, Israel had entirely rejected their Messiah; Jerusalem, along with the Temple, was destroyed, and the Jews were dispersed throughout the world. Today, only one gospel is preached, and it is for whosoever will may come, both Jew and Gentile. That gospel is salvation "By grace through faith, not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works…" (Ephesians 2:8-9).


The lesson to be learned (and as foreign as it may sound) is that if we are following the earthly teachings of Jesus Christ, we are living under the Law and not by grace. Christians often miss this and live a life of mixed messages, trying to live up to the standards of the Law but always missing the mark and then feeling guilty for their failure. This is why the apostle Paul instructed Timothy to "Study” and “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). We can take that imperative as an instruction for us too. To rightly divide is to cut the word of God in a way that separates Law from Grace. When you figure that out, you will live a victorious and exciting Christian life every day. We can thank our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for revealing that truth to us through the apostle Paul in His holy Word.


[Interpretation Note: 

Always rightly divide the Word of God whenever you read it. Don't apply instructions or promises intended for the nation of Israel to your own life. To do so will eventually cause you to live under the Kingdom (Law) gospel and not the gospel of grace. Understand what passages were for Israel and what passages we can build our doctrine around. Paul tells us this kind of understanding comes only through study, as a workman who needs not be ashamed.]

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Unpopular Paul
Unpopular Paul

Roger Feenstra • October 25, 2021

Popularity is not a requisite for a healthy ministry or church. Nevertheless, people tend to flock to churches that are in vogue or are cool. Rather than just teach the Word of God, many pastors have come to believe they must use gimmicks and props to stimulate their congregation. American Christians have become programmed to be entertained, even in church.


The apostle Paul certainly did not win the popularity award in the first century. Paul had many detractors and he made note of their accusations in 2 Corinthians 10:10; His enemies said his letters came across as stern and pushy, but his presence in person was weak, and his speech was despised. By the standards of some he wasn’t cool.


Whether or not the accusations were true we can only speculate, but what is evident is that many people rejected and deserted Paul throughout his ministry. For example: 


  • Acts 13:13, John Mark deserted Paul on the first missionary journey and went back to Jerusalem;
  • Acts 15:39, Barnabas separated himself from Paul;
  • 2 Timothy 4:10, Demas deserted Paul (and maybe even Crescens, and Titus);
  • 2 Timothy 4:14, Alexander the coppersmith did Paul much harm;
  • 1 Timothy 1:20, Hymenaeus and Alexander (coppersmith?) did some kind of harm to Paul;
  • And near the end of his life Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:15, “All they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermongenes.”


There are probably other examples we could add to this list, but included with all of these desertions from his so-called fellow workers, Paul was mocked, beaten, and left for dead by the Jews and others. Do you think this could cause a man to want to leave the ministry? In Acts 18:9,10 the Lord gave unpopular Paul some healthy reassurance and encouragement to hang in there, don’t be afraid, keep speaking.


[Excerpt from Sunday sermon on Acts 18:6-13. For complete notes on the book of Acts click here.]

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What Does the Lord Require?
What Does the Lord Require?

Roger Feenstra • January 20, 2021

Yesterday I read a statement of faith from a church in my area regarding baptism. One sentence got me thinking about how we make up our own theology. It stated, baptism "demonstrates our submission to God." That sounds like something worthy of doing, i.e., submitting to and showing God we are submissive. But is it biblical? Could this and statements like it be man's philosophy? If so, we should beware (Colossians 2:8).


Why do I need to demonstrate anything to God? Am I not saved by grace through faith? Was I not given a gift but now God wants me to confirm my submission to him?  


Should we be baptized to demonstrate our submission to God? If that's what baptism shows, then why not do it every day? What else can we do to demonstrate submission? How about beating ourselves (flagellation) with a stick? Or crawling up the holy stairs in Rome on our knees? Or, maybe a bit less obtrusive, sitting in our quiet place and never missing a day of devotional Bible reading? We could make a never ending list.


The whole idea of having to do something to get closer to God is a holdover from the Catholic Church's false doctrine. Charles Dickens wrote about such things as "dangerous reliance on outward observances."


Attempting to demonstrate submission to God outwardly weighs us down with the baggage of guilt. We can never quite express ourselves enough outwardly. To even try puts us in danger of developing a guilt complex; Woe is me, I didn't do enough, I must do more! 


That's not a good place to be in our life of faith. Guilt paralyzes and discourages us. Guilt will often cause one to give up. And many do quit because they have found it impossible to demonstrate anything to God sufficiently. Some walk away and never look back.


What does the Bible teach?


  • You are complete in Christ. In Christ dwells ALL the fulness of goodness and Godness. Because of that, when you believe "Ye are complete in him" (Colossians 2:10). Complete means--complete. It is a completed action done by God Himself to us. It's a passive word in Greek, which means we don't do it to ourselves; God does it to us. Attempting to demonstrate submission to God is an exercise in futility. God says, "I did it for you."


  • The apostle Paul made it very clear to the Corinthian church, "Ye are washed, ye are sanctified, ye are justified" (1 Corinthians 6:11). Three extraordinary actions, which, like our completeness, are all done to us the moment we believe. Most agree with the washing part and justification (declared righteous) as being one-time actions (which they are), but many change the Greek tense from passive to active when it comes to sanctification. They say things like, "Sanctification is a process" or, "Sanctification is daily growth in your Christian life so I must do more." But that is not what Paul wrote. Upon belief in Jesus Christ, Paul states that each person is washed once, justified once, AND sanctified once. God sees each believer in that light!


If we are complete in Christ, if we are washed, sanctified, and justified, why do we continue to sin? Could it be because we are not yet glorified?  We are trapped in our old bodies. But God solved the problem for us, and He sent His Son to die for the sins of the world.


Even though we still sin God doesn't hold our sin against us. Yes, everyone sins, and while we still sin, "Since there is no law," our sins are not imputed to us! Meaning, God is not keeping a list of sins. In the dispensation of grace, since He took care of sin, there is no requirement on our part to do anything about them. On the cross, the sins of the entire world were forgiven, Romans 5:13 (more about this incredible truth in another post).


Don't get stuck in the false teaching of the Catholic Church.


Does one need to demonstrate anything to God? No.


God did all the demonstrating (Romans 5:8); His Son did all the submitting on the cross! All one must do is believe and rejoice in His work, not our own. Praise the Lord!

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Remember the First Thanksgiving
Remember the First Thanksgiving

Roger Feenstra • November 25, 2020

Some communities this year will arrest people for having more than six people in their own homes for Thanksgiving. I call everyone to gather with as many family and friends they desire. Pilgrims proved life is a risk, but they endured and paved the way for our celebration this year! Enjoy your freedom.


_____________________________________________________-


After the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, the Church of England became the official church in England and was headed by the King and Queen of England. All those with religious convictions were under the authority of the bishops of the Church. These bishops began to create power positions and ruled over the congregations—a dogma of the Roman Church.


Several hundred people were having great difficulty in worshiping with freedom, so they began to speak out about their commitment to Jesus and their desire to follow only the writings of the Scriptures. These people became known in England as the “Separatists.”

Since they did not want to obey the rules of the King’s Church, which was the law of the land, they began to have secret meetings. However, the King heard they were holding clandestine gatherings, and he began to put some of the men into prison. He caused many problems and trials in an attempt to get these people to bow to the laws of the Church of England.


The church leaders became harsh and cruel, making it more dangerous for these committed Christians to worship according to Scripture. Consequently, they were afraid to stay in England, so they began to contemplate a move to a place where they could worship as they pleased.


In 1608 the Separatists moved to Holland, seeking Christian freedom. They lived in Holland for 12 years, but life there was very difficult. The men worked extremely hard but received little to show for their hard labor. The parents also became concerned about their children, fearing that they might forget the culture customs of their native England.


Furthermore, they did not want their children to become sailors and soldiers for Holland, which was customary. It seems the Lord used these concerns and their difficult life to cause them to explore the possibilities of going to the new world, to a land called America.


The people began to lay plans for a move to this newly discovered land. Their search for a way to the new world and a means to ship their supplies led these people to some businessman. They were able to make an agreement for 35 of them to go to the new land if others would work for these businessman for seven years.


They thought this agreement unfair, but it was the only way they could find to get to the new world, so an agreement was made. The departing 35 picked up the name of “Pilgrim” since a pilgrim is someone who goes on a long, long journey.

The Pilgrims return to England from Holland determined to set sail for the new world, and boarded a cargo ship acquired by the businessman called the “Mayflower.”


And even though the Mayflower was not designed to carry passengers, the ship did bring 102 people from England to the new world in the year 1620. Out of the 102 passengers, 35 of them were Christians from the Separatist group from Holland.


Sailing conditions were extremely poor, and the sailors on the ship became hostile toward the Pilgrims due to their practice of singing spiritual songs and praying. The Pilgrims, in turn, did not like the sailors using bad language.


There was little each family could take along on the voyage because there wasn’t much room. Each family could bring one box which contained the family Bible. The women brought a few cooking utensils and the men brought a gun or sword and a few tools for building and working in the gardens. A mother with a baby could only take along a cradle for the baby to sleep in.


It was dangerous for a small ship like the Mayflower to make such a long voyage—especially by itself. In those days one ship never sailed alone.


Living conditions on the ship were miserable. The food consisted of salted beef, pork or fish and hard, dry biscuits.


Sleeping quarters were on the floor below the main deck where hardly any light or fresh air existed. If they wanted to bathe they had to wash in salty water. Most of the people had to wear the same clothes day after day for the 66-day voyage. Sanitary facilities were non-existent.


During one dangerous storm the main beam cracked. It splintered the main deck, causing water to pour in on the Pilgrims who were living on the lower deck. Their clothes, bedding and food lay in water, making living conditions intolerable.


Many of the people on board became deathly ill. The sickness was so severe even the sailors began to pray with the Pilgrims for an end to the terrible voyage. The Pilgrims knew it was only by God’s mercy that they could survive the voyage.

It was the morning of November 9, 1620, 66 days later, when they saw the sandy beaches of Cape Cod in what is today the State of Massachusetts. Many of the people on the ship, led by the Pilgrims, fell on their knees and blessed the God of heaven who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean.


And now they were here in a strange land where there were no homes, no towns and no friends to greet them. They continued living aboard the Mayflower for another 33 days until a landing site could be found with a place to make their homes.

On December 16, 1620, the Mayflower landed at an area which the Pilgrims called Plymouth because Plymouth, England was their point of departure, and they had received kindness from Christians there. This was the beginning of the first Christian settlement in the new world called America.


In the area surrounding Plymouth where the Pilgrims decided to stay, they found running brooks and fields which had already been cleared for planting. Here they would be able to worship God, pray and sing songs with complete freedom.

Trials in building this Christian settlement were many. The Pilgrims had to contend with the cold and snow, lack of food, sickness, death, loneliness and conflicts with Indians.


During February of that first winter, there were times when only six or seven people were well enough to take care of the ones who were sick. By spring, half of the pilgrims and sailors had died. Three entire families died during the initial days. The rest were alone, except for their God and their commitment.


It was this commitment to Jesus Christ and their faith in Him that gave them the courage and strength to carry on. Their faith had been tested and tried, and built up through the experiences they had endured in England, Holland and aboard the Mayflower.


This gave them the strength to persevere, and establish the first light of Jesus in the new land of America. Through these Pilgrims the spiritual history of American Christianity had its beginning.


On April 5, 1621, four months after arriving in America, the Mayflower headed back to England. But not one Pilgrim returned.


As summer approached, their faithfulness and commitment to Jesus began to reveal the fruits of their commitment. William Bradford, one of the leaders of the Pilgrims, wrote that they had all things in plenty because the corn had grown well.

A friendly Indian named Squanto, who had traveled abroad and knew the English language, taught the Pilgrims how to plant. It appears he was God-sent. The Pilgrims had plenty to eat and were careful to lay up in store for the next winter.


During the summer they were able to build several homes. Most of the dangers of sickness past and their friendship with the Indians allowed them to live in peace.

Through the grace of God, they had been able to do what they set out to do. They found a place where they could live and worship God in their own way with complete freedom.


In October of 1621, nearly a year after that their arrival, the Pilgrims decided to set aside a special time to give thanks to the Lord for his faithfulness, a commemoration we now call Thanksgiving.


(Excerpted from “The Last Days In America,” by Bob Fraley, pages 52 to 56, published by Christian Life Services, copyright 1984.)

© 2018 Compass Int’l, Inc.

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Why Stand Ye Gazing
Why Stand Ye Gazing

Roger Feenstra • November 10, 2020

As Jesus ascended into heaven, the apostles just stood there. The Scripture says (Acts 1:11) they were "gazing up into heaven." We can speculate about reasons why they would have done this. First, they had never seen anyone ascend into the clouds so their first response was probably shock and awe. And no doubt that was a reaction we might all expect. But I think there is another reason they just stood there, looking up. Now, what do we do!? 


Jesus had just spent forty days with them after his resurrection. They had found comfort in his presence. And forty days were long enough to take his presence for granted. After all, they asked him (Acts 1:6), "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom of Israel?" They believed Jesus was there to stay. But he wasn't there to stay. What the apostles didn't fully see was that he must first depart and then return before he would set up His kingdom on earth. So, they stood there gazing, wondering, what now?


The "two men who stood by them in white apparel" (Acts 1:10,11: angelic beings) snapped the apostles back into reality. "Why stand ye gazing into heaven," they asked. "This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." The reality check helped. So much so that the apostles "returned unto Jerusalem" (Acts 1:12), just as Jesus had told them to do (Acts 1:4).


If we can gain any practical help from this passage it is that Jesus Christ is coming back--We don't need to stand gazing at our world and the chaos around us and wonder, "Now what do we do?"


Along with the apostle Paul and other believers in the body of Christ, we are "workers together" (2 Corinthians 6:1), as "ambassadors for Christ." Shall we stop gazing and start sharing with the world the "word of reconciliation" (2 Corinthians 5:19), letting our friends and neighbors know that Jesus Christ took our sin and offers everlasting life for those who believe in him? Jesus Christ lived and died, was buried, and rose again so that we too might conquer death and live forever.


Jesus's ascension is a reminder that he will return, but in the meantime, we can turn our attention to the work he has placed before us as ministers of God together.

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Fight for Freedom Even in the Seemingly Little Things
Fight for Freedom Even in the Seemingly Little Things

Roger Feenstra • October 15, 2020

Since a week before Labor Day I have traveled without a mask through seven airports, attended two conferences without wearing a mask. I have hugged people, maskless, sat in close contact with friends talking and even singing without a mask. I rode in elevators, with strangers without wearing a mask. I’ve wandered hotel lobbies, maskless...on and on.


Yet I am COVID free. Why? Because I wash my hands and avoid touching my face. I also cover my own cough or sneeze. In other words, I’m cautious and courteous. I practice the same preventative measures (to avoid catching any virus) I learned as a child.


COVID is real, I might get it someday, with a virus you never know. But, I could also get cancer, have a heart attack, experience kidney failure, get in a horrific car wreck, be a victim of a drive by shooting, choke on a piece of chicken...in other words, anything could happen.


I recommend not buying into the fear. Live your life like people have done for 6,000 years. Be responsible. Most importantly don’t let “The Dumbest Generation” of politicians and so-called health experts control your life. Fight for freedom, no matter how small the battle.


[UPDATE (October 25, 2021): One year after writing this I have continued to practice what I wrote above. To date, I remain virus free with a pure immune system. Don't give in to the fear. Live free and enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.]

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Who Rules the World?
Who Rules the World?

Roger Feenstra • June 30, 2020

We can be sure God owns the world; after all, he created it along with the entire universe. But does he rule the world? Many say Jesus Christ is King. But is he?


God's Creation of the earth is magnificent. In his tremendous power, he created from nothing. Earth was without form and void. Just as space and the depth of the universe go on forever today, so in the beginning, God, like a master artist, created a masterpiece on a blank canvas of watery nothingness--and the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. God was in motion.


He took the dark, empty, watery Creation and fashioned the world we know today. He would do it in six literal days.


On the sixth day, God performed the most incredible act of Creation when he uttered, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." His statement indicated the work of the entire trinity; Father, Son, Holy Spirit, all were involved in Creation.


Unlike all the other creatures which God created on that sixth day, Man, created in God's image, was special and unique. It was Man who was to be the ruler of Creation.


This rule would only be possible if the first man, Adam, would obey one law, "Do not eat of the tree in the midst of the garden, the tree of knowledge of good and evil." For on that day, he would surely die.


Yet the tempter came, and Adam fell, causing him to lose the dominion he once enjoyed. That treasured dominion was lost; handed over in an instant to the adversary. Adam and his wife were separated from God.


God, in His mercy and grace, would provide someone to take back dominion that was lost. He would send a rescuer. This rescuer would come from the "seed of the woman." He could crush the head of the adversary.


This is the theme of God's Word. In the fullness of time, One would come to take back dominion.

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