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1. Introduction

The woman, the child and the devil of Revelation 12 are a cornerstone by which other chapters of Revelation can be interpreted. Some interpretations of this chapter come from a wrong premise that, at its writing, the book of Revelation looks only into the distant future. However, the correct interpretation is straightforward, just like the gospel. It does not require theological gymnastics as some theology requires. Not only this, but this chapter also points us to the true meaning of seven years of peace for Israel – not in the future but two thousand years ago by the Prince of Peace, Jesus.

2. The Child

A. Trying to Kill the Child

The child is obviously Jesus Christ and first mentioned in:

His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.

Revelation 12:4

The Greek word here is a male child of immature age. In Greek, it is the word:- τέκνον teknon;

This picture in Revelation 12 is precisely what happened with Jesus’ birth. When Jesus was about to be born, Herod tried to kill Jesus, just as Revelation said:

Then Herod, when he saw that the wise men deceived him, was exceedingly angry, and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.

Matthew 2:16

B. The Ruling Son

The next verse teaches us that the child will rule the nations:

She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.

Revelation 12:5

This time, the word used for a child is a different Greek word. The word Huio means a mature firstborn son with the Father’s full authority to do the Father’s business. 

There is no doubt that this is Jesus because it is a direct answer to the prophetic word in the Messianic Psalm, where He is identified as the Son of God.

“I will declare the decree:
The LORD has said to Me, You are My Son,
Today, I have begotten You.
Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’”

Psalms 2:7-9

As well as this the prophet Isaiah also confirms the same:

For unto us a Child (יֶלֶד yeleḏ;) is born,
Unto us a Son (בֵּן ḇên) is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

We see the same terminology in this scripture as in Revelation. First an immature child, then a first-born Son with authority. And He is given government on His shoulders, just as Revelation said He would have.

C. Enthroned Son

We also see in Revelation that this male child becomes the only begotten first-born Son with full authority to run the Father’s business. Then Jesus will be caught up to heaven and onto a throne. 

She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her First-Born Son was caught up to God and His throne.

Revelation 12:5

And, of course, this is precisely what happened with Jesus. Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father in the heavenly realms:

Which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

Ephesians 1:20-21

So, we have determined who the child is.

3. The Woman

Because Jesus is the Son and God is the Father, it is not too difficult to work out who the woman is. 

A. The Wife of God

“I will betroth you to Me forever;
Yes, I will betroth you to Me
In righteousness and justice,
In lovingkindness and mercy;
I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness,
And you shall know the LORD.

Hosea 2:19-20

B. Twelve Tribes

We then see that she is clothed with the sun and the moon with a garland of twelve stars.

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and a garland of twelve stars on her head.

Revelation 12:1

This is a direct reference to Joseph’s dream, where the stars are identified as the tribes of Israel. The sun and moon symbolise the father and mother of Israel:

Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me.”
So he told it to his father and his brothers; his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?”

Genesis 37:9-10

So, we have identified Jesus as the child who became a son with full authority to complete the Father’s business. And we see that the woman is the nation of Israel.

C. House of Israel

We need to remember that the House of Israel became all those who partake of the New Covenant:

Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. For this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

Hebrews 8:8-10

Adding to this, there is no longer Jew nor Gentile: 

Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.

Colossians 3:11

Therefore, when God refers to the house of Israel, as it applies to the New Covenant, He refers to the worldwide Church of God. 

D. The Bride for Jesus

The nation of Israel was not pleasing God, being unfaithful to Him by repeatedly being unfaithful to him, and committing spiritual adultery by going after other gods.

The Gentiles shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity; because they were unfaithful to Me, I hid My face from them. I gave them into the hand of their enemies, and they all fell by the sword. 

Ezekiel 39:23

This is why God allowed the Romans to destroy Jerusalem. We need to be aware that the nation of Israel today is no closer to Him than they were then. The good news is that an increasing number of Jews are turning to Christ, becoming part of the bride of Christ.

Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Revelation 21:2

4. War in Heaven

A. Satan Loses Access to Heaven

Until this time, Satan could enter heaven at any time to bring accusations against humankind as he did with Job:

Now, there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.

Job 1:6

Until Jesus ascended, the devil was able to accuse people as he did with Job:

… and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.

Revelation 12:10

B. War Breaks Out

At this time, Satan loses his access to the throneroom of God.

And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought,

Revelation 12:7

Understanding that God does not need to go to war with the devil is essential. The devil is simply a created being, so God sends Michael and his angels to fight against the devil. Jesus does not enter heaven to defeat the devil; He comes in after the devil is no longer there.

C. Jesus Visits Hades

Before He ascends into heaven, He first must descend into Hades.

Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?

Ephesians 4:9

He went into Hades to take the keys of Death and Hades from the devil.

I am He who lives and was dead; behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.

Revelation 1:18

While there, He preaches to everyone in Hades. 

by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison,

1 Peter 3:19

He also did this so everyone in Hades could hear the gospel.

For this reason, the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh but live according to God in the spirit.

1 Peter 4:6

This is the reason why there were so many people resurrected at the time of Jesus death:

The graves were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

Matthew 27:52-53

This verse shows His descent into Hades happened the instant He died. This is why Jesus said to the thief on the cross, ‘Today you will be with me in Paradise’.

And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

Luke 23:43

D. Satan is Cast to Earth

Before Jesus can enter heaven, the devil must be cast out so heaven can be purified from the sin and defilement of Satan and his demons who rebelled against God.

But they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Revelation 12:8-9

E. Satan is God’s Footstool

The devil has been cast to earth, which is God’s footstool:

Thus says the LORD:
“Heaven is My throne,
And earth is My footstool.

Isaiah 66:1

God intended that Jesus would make His enemies His footstool:

The Lord (Yahweh) said to my Lord (Adonai)
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”?

Psalm 110:1

Jesus’ enemies are our enemies. We are in Christ, so His enemies are also under our feet.

even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

Ephesians 2:5-6

Hearing God talking to the devil in Genesis, we find that the original intention of God was always that the devil would be under our feet:

And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman 
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.

Genesis 3:15

F. Body of Christ

It is worth noting that Jesus is the head, and we are the body.

And He put all things under His feet and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Ephesians 1:22-23

Therefore, because Jesus is the head and we are His body, the devil is under our feet, and we have dominion over him.

5. The Firstborn Only-Begotten Son Enters Heaven

A. Jesus Enters Heaven

When did Jesus enter heaven? We know it must have occurred much later than His death and resurrection for two reasons. It did not happen at His resurrection because of what Jesus said to Mary after His resurrection:

Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, I am ascending to My Father and your Father and to My God and your God.’”

John 20:17

Jesus had yet to go to be with the Father on the day of His resurrection. And it was on that same day that the disciples were born again when the Holy Spirit breathed on them.

And when He said this, He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit”.

John 20:22

B. Captivity Led Captive

Once Michael and his angels cast the devil to earth and under Jesus’ feet, the resurrected Jesus enters heaven.

But to each of us, grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore, He says:
“When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men.”

Ephesians 4:7-8

“He led captivity captive” is a phrase that draws a picture of what a conquering army does. The conqueror returns to their capital city with a procession of captives behind them.

Once Jesus died and the Michael cast the devil had been cast out of heaven, captivity was held captive. But Revelation 12 does not say that the devil is bound up yet.

Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows he has a short time.”

Revelation 12:12

Revelation says that the devil has freedom for a short time before he is bound, which we will look at shortly. 
The devil was the one who had held everyone captive, but how did he hold them captive?  

C. Bondage of the Law

Colossians gives us the key to understanding that the law is what held humanity captive.

Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

Colossians 2:15

The words, “He made a public spectacle of them”, give the same picture as the conqueror bringing the captives into the capital city to make a display of them being vanquished.  The context of this scripture relates to the law, both in the preceding verse:

Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that were against us, contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Colossians 2:16

For Gentiles, it is easy to forget how much bondage was in the law. As Paul says:

The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.

1 Corinthians 15:56

This bondage to the law brought fear. 

But now, because of the New Covenant, a covenant of love, we are in a loving relationship with Father God. We are beloved sons and daughters crying, “Abba, Father”.

Furthermore, we are the bride of Christ and loved by Him.

You did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”

Romans 8:15

The principalities and powers received their powers through the law. Those principalities and powers were disarmed once the law was nailed to the cross, and the devil was cast from heaven so he could no longer accuse the believers of God.

Once Jesus disarmed principalities and powers, the God nailed the law to the cross, then grace could come to earth bringing gifts (graces):

Therefore, He says:
“When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive
And gave gifts to men.”

Ephesians 4:8

D. Jesus, the High Priest.

Now, this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.

Hebrews 8:1-2

And the High Priest brings sacrifices into the temple of God:

But into the second part, the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance;

Hebrews 9:7

Jesus came from a priestly lineage of Melchizedek, the High Priest of the earthly Jerusalem:

Where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews 6:20

E. Jesus Cleanses Heaven

The High Priest of the Old Covenant would sprinkle the blood around the Tabernacle. However, Jesus, the High Priest of the New Covenant, did not sprinkle His blood in the heavenly Tabernacle. Instead, He brought to heaven His living blood inside His resurrected body.

Therefore, it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

Hebrews 9:23

He cleansed heaven because the devil had defiled heaven and he is on earth.  Contrary to some teachings, the devil can no longer enter heaven, or the blood of Jesus would have no effect.

F.Jesus, the King

As we learned in Revelation 11, two anointings of the resurrected Jesus bear His witness. The first was the priestly anointing, and the second was the royal anointing. 

We learned above that Jesus was the High Priest of the order of Melchizedek.  However, Jesus, like Melchizedek, was not only a High Priest, He was also king:

For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,”

Hebrews 7:1-2

G. Jesus, the Keyholder

Jesus takes the keys from the devil.

I am He who lives and was dead and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.

Revelation 1:18

6. Jesus’ Enthronement

A. Jesus’ Ascends on the Clouds of Heaven

This enthronement happened after Satan was cast to earth.

“I watched till thrones were put in place,
And the Ancient of Days was seated;
… And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him.
Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom, the one
Which shall not be destroyed.

Daniel 7:9,13-14

So God enthroned Jesus as King and High Priest. When did this happen? It happened once Jesus ascended into heaven forty days after His death and resurrection.

Now, when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.

Acts 1:9

B. Pentecost Power and Authority

Now that Satan has come to earth and the Kingdom of God has come to earth:

Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.

Revelation 12:10

When was this consummated? Ten days after Jesus ascended into heaven, the Holy Spirit came down on the day of Pentecost. How do we know that Revelation 12:10 gives the timing of this? 

The Greek word for strength is dynamis, and the Greek for power is authority.  When the Holy Spirit came, He came with power and authority for the church.

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

Acts 1:8

C. Pentecost Salvation

Remembering that Revelation 12 places the surrounding chapters in the time of Jesus, not the future , we find this confirmed through the word salvation:

Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.

Revelation 12:10

It was on the day of Pentecost that salvation was manifest:

Then, those who gladly received his word were baptised, and that day, about three thousand souls were added to them.

Acts 2:41

Revelation 12:7 starts with Jesus’ death, and Revelation 12:10 ends with the Day of Pentecost, firmly placing this cornerstone chapter into the time of Jesus’ death, resurrection, ascension and enthronement, not sometime in the future.

7. The Persecuted Woman

After Michael casts Satan to earth, the devil pursues the woman:

When the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child.

Revelation 12:13

When we see the word persecuted, we may picture someone being beheaded. However, this is only sometimes the case. The Greek word for persecuted is διώκω diōkō, and it means to pursue. It comes from two words:

διώκω diōkō – which means faithless and fearful and
διάκονος diakonos – to run errands, to be a deacon, minister or servant

Faithless and fearful ministers of the Old Covenant give an excellent picture of what the Jews were like after the death and resurrection of Jesus. God tore the veil in two; all priests should have died when the Holy of Holies was opened but did not. Jesus opened the graves, and many people were resurrected from the dead. Mega-earthquakes were occurring. So, indeed, people were in great fear:

So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

Matthew 27:54

8. The Nourished Woman

The woman who bore the child is the natural Israel. Revelation teaches there are three and a half years where God will nourish the tribes of Israel.

Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

Revelation 12:6

When did this three and a half years occur?  According to the previous verse, sometime after Michael cast Satan out of heaven

When the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the serpent’s presence.

Revelation 12:13-14
A. Gospel to the Jews

After Michael cast Satan to earth in 30 CE, there were three and a half years where the Holy Spirit nourished the Jewish people.  The gospel is nourishment, and this going forth to the Jews happened from 30 CE to late 33 CE.  

It starts on the day of Pentecost with Peter preaching to the Jews of Judea:

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.

Acts 2:14

It continues despite the Jewish leaders trying to stop them:

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel:

Acts 4:8

With the apostles preaching daily in the temple and houses of Jerusalem:

And daily in the temple and every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

Acts 5:42

Resulting in many coming to Christ, even the Jewish religious leaders:

Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.

Acts 6:7

This nourishing of the Jews occurs for three and a half years.  However, this is not the only three and a half years that God has nourished Israel. It is on purpose that Jesus refers to three and a half years. This is because Jewish believers will immediately remember the prophecy of Daniel.

9. Seven Years of Peace for the Jews

Unfortunately, the Futurist teaching of a future seven-year peace treaty with Israel is unknowingly a heresy teaching that Jesus is the Antichrist.

A. The First Three and a Half Years

We have seen that there were three and a half years after Jesus’ death and Satan’s removal from heaven. These three and a half years were the Holy Spirit nourishing the Jews through the apostles.  But there were also three and a half years of Jesus’ ministry to the Jews from 27 CE to 30 CE.

But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Matthew 15:24

B. The Second Three and a Half Years

Daniel has prophesied about a week, defined as seven years earlier in the book.

Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
But in the middle of the week
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.

Daniel 9:27

It is a part of a prophecy regarding Jesus ministry:

“Seventy weeks are determined
For your people and for your holy city,
To finish the transgression,
To make an end of sins,
To make a reconciliation for iniquity,
To bring in everlasting righteousness,
To seal up vision and prophecy,
And to anoint the Most Holy.”

Daniel 9:24

It is not hard to see that this whole prophecy relates to Jesus. He finished transgression, ended sin, reconciled, and brought everlasting righteousness. But due to tardy hermeneutics, Futurists have decided that verse 27 refers to the Antichrist making a peace treaty with Israel for seven years. Yet He is the Messiah, not the Antichrist, because verse 25 tells us so!

C.Jesus, the Prince of Peace

Until Messiah the Prince,

Daniel 9:25

Jesus is who Daniel is referring to, not the Antichrist.

And we find that Jesus did precisely what v 27 said He would do. He confirmed the New Covenant for three and a half years of ministry, followed by three and a half years of the Holy Spirit doing the same through the apostles. These seven years were a time of nourishment for the Jewish people. In the middle of those seven years, Jesus ended sacrifice and offering under the Old Covenant by becoming the High Priest, who made a sacrifice once and for all through his death and resurrection.

Jesus, the Prince of Peace, made the New Covenant of peace with the House of Israel (Jewish and Gentile believers) in the middle of the seven years of confirming the New Covenant, nourishing the nation of Israel.

D. Woman in the Wilderness

John is very clear that the woman is sent into the wilderness. The wilderness is where the Old Covenant was given, and here, the wilderness is where the New Covenant is revealed to the Jews through the nourishment of the word of God upon the Jews.

10. The Devil Rages Against the Church

A. With the Rest of Her Off-spring

Once the second three-and-a-half years are complete, Satan attacks the followers of Jesus Christ. 

And the dragon … and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Revelation 12:17

So, in late 33CE, the believers’ persecution started in earnest with Stephen:

And they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; they came upon him, seized him, and brought him to the council. They also set up false witnesses who said, “This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law;

Acts 6:12-13

And they put Stephen to death by stoning:

Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord, and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.

Acts 7:57-58

The Jew’s stoning of Stephen was only the start, resulting in the church being scattered across Judea and Samaria.

Now Saul was consenting to his death.
At that time, a great persecution arose against the church, which was in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial and greatly lamented him. As for Saul, he wreaked havoc on the church, entering every house and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.

Acts 8:1-3

This persecution of the believers culminated in the Great Tribulation under Nero, starting in 62 CE.

B. With the Woman

This action of the devil against the Jews does not stop when he turns his attention to the believers. We see in this scripture that the devil continues to rage with the woman:

And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Revelation 12:17

History shows this to be true. The Jewish wars against the Romans started in 41CE and ended in 70CE, culminating in the deaths of 1.3 million Jews. People often refer to the Holocaust of the Second World War when the Germans and Russians persecuted the Jews. However, World War 2 resulted in the death of 36% of the Jewish world population, whereas the Jewish Roman wars meant that 46% of the Jewish world population was killed from 41 CE to 70 CE.

11. Summary of Revelation 12

  • The woman is the nation of Israel
  • The child is Jesus
  • The child turns into a mature first-born son
  • Michael and his angels evict Satan and his demons from the throneroom of God.
  • Satan comes to earth
  • Jesus descended into Hades to preach the gospel
  • Jesus enters heaven, taking His blood in His resurrected body and cleansing heaven.
  • Jesus sits at the Father’s right hand as High Priest and King.
  • Jesus nourishes Israel and confirms the New Covenant for three and a half years and then three and a half years by the Holy Spirit.
  • There is no future seven-year peace deal with Israel, nor is Jesus the Antichrist.
  • The devil started his attacks on believers in 33 CE after seven years of peace until the Great Tribulation, starting in approximately CE.
  • The devil restarted his attacks on the Jews in 41 CE, culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE.

© Use by Permission Awakening Impact Ministries / Dr Neville van Eerten 2024

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