Friday, May 26, 2017

Revelation 5b-6, An Expositional Commentary


John, having mentioned God and Jesus Christ at least twice now, and the Holy Spirit, takes a moment to offer praise and worship, moving from who God is to what He’s done; and an affirmation of those things that belong uniquely to God. In other words: a prayer.

Verse 5B - Unto him that loved us,     
    Of all the translations that I have, the King James and the New King James are the only ones that say “loved”, in the past tense. When I look this word up in Strong’s Concordance, the Greek word they have for “loved” is agapaō. I read all the way through that and Thayer’s Lexicon and there is no indication of any kind of tense. But, my friends over at say the Greek word is agapōnti, a present participle. That means it should be in the present tense - “is loving”. If this is the case, this would be the only place in the entire Bible where the Greek has God’s love for us in the present tense. Then again, if this is present tense, this would be “He who is”.

and washed us from our sins in his own blood,  
   Washed (louō) is in a past tense. (He who was). The Greeks have more than one past tense. They have so many tenses it can give you a headache. This one is called “Aorist tense”. I really don’t see the point in splitting hairs over the nuances involved - it’s a past tense. One interesting aspect of this word is that it means to wash the whole person, as opposed to just getting partly wet.

Hebrews 9:22 - And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of        blood is no remission.
Leviticus 17:11 - For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

And hath made us kings and priests

    Here is a place where the differences in the Bibles make a difference. The King James Bibles are the only Bibles that say “kings and priests”. Every other translation I have says “a kingdom of priests” or “a kingdom, priests”. This doesn’t seem like that big a deal, but it’s going to come back up, so we might as well dig into it now.
    There is a denomination that has a major doctrine built over the idea that we are all going to be kings. I have always had trouble with the math involved with that concept.
    If all of those whose names are written in the Book of Life (a list of names that stretches all through history) all come back at the same time to be kings, who are their subjects going to be? There’s a school of thought that believes the church will be raptured before the tribulation, and that those who are saved after the rapture, who survive the Wrath of God that comes just before the second coming, will be those who inhabit the earth during the Millennium rule of Christ and His saints. The problem I have with this idea is that if anybody survives the Wrath of God, that number is going to be tiny compared to the number of saints that would be ruling with Jesus Christ.
    On the one hand, we have Revelation 20:4 - And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
    This actually sounds like saints that go through the Tribulation are the ones who will reign with Christ.
Then, Revelation 20:6 - Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
Makes it sound like everybody will be reigning.
    I’m starting to think that reign might not mean what I think reign means. In Genesis 1:28 - And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
    If “have dominion” (râdâh) means to rule or to reign (and it does - I looked it up), then Adam was told to reign over the earth. Not other people - but everything else.
Isaiah 32:1 Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule with justice.

Daniel 7:27 Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.

 For all the ruling and reigning going on, we will still serve and obey God. The only other place where the Bible says we are to be kings is in Revelation 5:10, and there is the same disagreement there as to whether it should be “kings” or “a kingdom”.

On the other hand, in Exodus 19:6 - And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
    We clearly have “a kingdom of priests” mentioned. Using the principle that the Bible interprets itself, any time I have trouble figuring out what was said, if I can find an exact match somewhere in scripture, I generally let that make my decision for me.

     All of that to say here, I lean toward the “kingdom of priests”  side of the argument. In either case, we are not there yet. We are currently neither kings, nor even a kingdom of priests. A priest, by definition, ministers to God. A lot of Christians are committed to God, but they end up ministering to other people. They serve God. They honor God, but they are not ministering to God. When we no longer have to minister to other people, we will be free to minister to God. This would be He who is to come.

unto God and his Father;
    When I first saw this, I thought it meant unto God (Jesus Christ) and His Father (you know, The Father). This would have been the only place in the Bible with such a strange phrase, and in fact it shouldn’t say it like this at all. Every other translation - even the New King James - says “to His God and Father”. So while at first glance it looked like a huge win for the Trinitarians, I think this point actually goes to the followers of Arius. Once again, Jesus is put in a subservient position to God, the Father.

to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.
    Once again we have that lower case “h” in “him”. That really bugs me. Some would argue that it shows that Jesus Christ is not really God, but the seven Spirits was capitalized in verse 5. Are you telling me the King James translators believed that the seven Spirits are God but Jesus is not? They are going to ascribe glory and dominion, but that doesn’t rate a capital “H”? It just strikes me as a little inconsistent.
    Glory is described as splendor, magnificence, excellence, majesty. Everything you would expect from that word. Dominion (kratos) is not the same word we discussed earlier. This dominion means great power, might, strength.
    The structure of the sentence suggests that all this is ascribed to Jesus. I need to point out here that in Isaiah 48:11 God says ...I will not give my glory unto another. It’s the Hebrew word for glory instead of the Greek word used in Revelation, but the definitions are similar. I think we can score one here for the Trinitarians.

    My favorite definition of this word come from Walter Cronkite: “That’s the way it is”. Technically, it means surely, truly, so it is, etc. Traditionally, in both Jewish and Christian gatherings, when someone offered up a prayer, everyone would respond with “amen”, which would hold them in agreement with what was said.

    I grew up thinking it meant “the end”, which would make it a great place to end this essay.

(Note: All scripture is copied and pasted - with permission - directly from The Blue Letter Bible)

Monday, May 15, 2017

Revelation 1:4&5A An Expositional commentary


The first three verses of the book of Revelation constitute a pre-amble. It tells us what the document ultimately is, what it is about, where it came from, and even threw in a blessing for those that read and those that hear and attend carefully to those things that are written therein.

    Now we get into the letter.

Verse 4: John to the seven churches which are in Asia:
    Notice John doesn’t have to introduce himself. It doesn’t say “John, the Apostle” or “John, the Elder” or any qualifying titles to identify who John is. He just said “John”. Everybody in these seven churches knew who John was.
    Notice also that the letter is to the Seven churches. Get used to that number seven. It is everywhere in the Book of Revelation. If you go hunting for them, you can find hundreds of things listed in groups of seven. Seven churches, seven lampstands, seven stars, seven titles of Jesus, seven beatitudes, seven “I AM” statements by Jesus, seven thunders, seven seals, seven trumpets, the list goes on and on and on.  A lot of people believe that seven is the number of God and that all the sevens in this book serve as God’s signature on the book. As much as I love the idea, seven is not so much the number of God as it is the number of completeness.
    That does make seven a very appropriate number for the Book of Revelation. In fact, I believe you can still consider all the sevens as a sort of Divine signature. Revelation completes the story that was started in Genesis. Just about everything that started in Genesis reaches its conclusion in Revelation:
    In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. In Revelation, there’s a new heaven and a new earth. In Genesis, God created the sea. In Revelation, there is no more sea. In Genesis, God called the darkness night. In Revelation, there is no more darkness. In Genesis, God told Adam: “You shall surely die”. In Revelation, death shall be no more. In Genesis, God said, “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow”. Revelation says there will be no more sorrow. God cursed the ground in Genesis. There is no more curse in Revelation. Satan appears as a deceiver in Genesis. He is disposed of in Revelation. In Genesis, man is driven from the Tree of Life. In Revelation, man has full access to the tree of life.
(This list is from Chuck Missler’s Revelation audio series, available at , which is where I get all the scripture that I use in these blogs.)

    “Asia” is not the Asia that we all know and love today. Asia in the first century was a Roman province that encompassed most of Western Asia Minor. Put another way, all seven of these churches would be in western Turkey today.

Grace be unto you, and peace,
    This salutation is used 17 times in the New Testament. Paul used it a lot. Peter used it and John used it in his second epistle. In a couple of letters, Paul says “Grace, mercy and peace”. But you’ll notice that Grace always comes before peace, in the New Testament and in life. Thayer defines grace as: good will, loving kindness, favor. Without some of that, there can never be peace.

from him which is, and which was, and which is to come;
    I copy and paste the scriptures that I use (with permission) straight off of The Blue Letter Bible. (The link is above) I do it on purpose so that I don’t commit a typo on the Word of God. That same logic keeps me from editing the scriptures (Heaven forbid), but it really bothers me that “him” is not capitalized here, considering who it is referring to.

    Greek grammar critics have had a fit over this phrase. Something about sticking an imperfect verb between two present participles, or something like that. Anyway, when Moses asked God for His name, God said, “I AM that I AM.” That’s a great phrase in Hebrew. It loses a lot of its eternal meaning by the time it gets into English. Here, John is determined to translate that eternalness into Greek, no matter how bad it seems to torture the language.
Revelation 1:8 - I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
Revelation 4:8 - And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
    Both of these passages clearly identify Him as God, so I think it would be safe to say it means God here, too.

and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
    When John writes THE seven Spirits (wow, the S in Spirits got capitalized), it’s as though he expects us to know about these seven Spirits.
Isaiah 11:2 - And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
    There’s seven there. This strikes me as maybe a little bit of a stretch. After all, spirit isn’t capitalized here. But a lot of good commentators point to this scripture whenever seven Spirits comes up. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that here in Revelation, we are talking about the Holy Spirit.
Verse 5 - And from Jesus Christ,
    Here we have the Trinity: Lord God Almighty, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ. Granted, while all three members are in view here, only the first of the three is definitely identified as God (though there is that capital S).
    Something else I noticed: Lord God Almighty (I want to say God the Father, but let’s stick to what the text actually says right here) is not so much named as described. (from him which is, and which was, and which is to come). The same goes for the Holy Spirit ( the seven Spirits which are before his throne). Only Jesus Christ is identified by name, and then, we get a three-fold description. (or list of titles, if you will)

who is the faithful witness,   
    I looked up the Greek word for witness (martus) in the Strong’s Concordance and in Thayer’s Greek Lexicon and found that it means witness, in a legal sense. (They say that this is where we get the english word “martyr”) Somehow I was expecting something else. Of all the titles of Jesus Christ, this is the most interesting. We are supposed to be faithful witnesses for Him, yet here, He is called the faithful witness. I’m not sure what to do with that.                                                         Psalm 89:36 - His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me.
Verse:37 - It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah.   
    He obviously is the faithful witness. I’ve been struggling with the question of exactly what He has to witness at this point. For that matter, who is He witnessing to and how? Then my son mentioned something: Jesus Christ could be witnessing to God on OUR behalf.
Matthew 10:32 - Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
    This could also be referring to Christ’s ministry on earth when He was witnessing to the world about God.
John 1:18 -  No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
    This would make Jesus the “He who was”

and the first begotten of the dead.
    I’d like to pause here and complain about the King James translators again. If you look this scripture up in your King James Bible, you’ll notice “and” is in italics. That means it was added by the translators in an effort to clarify the text. In this case, the text sounded better without their help.
    The King James Dictionary says “beget” means to bring forth. So Jesus was the first “brought forth” from the dead. I like that. He wasn’t just raised from the dead. Lazarus was raised from the dead. There was also that little girl in the ninth chapter of Matthew, the kid that fell out the window in Acts, a couple more in the Old Testament….These people all died again. Jesus was the first to be brought forth from the dead. Never to die again. Of course, if He is called “the first”, it follows that there will be more.
    This would make Jesus the “He who is”  

and the prince of the kings of the earth.   
    The word “prince” is archōn. Thayer says it means a ruler, commander, chief, leader. Strong’s says “first (in rank or power) - chief (ruler), magistrate, ruler. So...King of Kings. There doesn’t seem to be much evidence that Jesus Christ is ruling over the kings of the earth today. Christ will rule the world in the future, therefore this would make Jesus “He which is to come”

    This is what makes the subject of the Trinity such a strange conversation. We have: from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; …  And from Jesus Christ, Then we find out that Jesus is He who is, and was and is to come. Because of people I know and teachings I have been exposed to, this whole discussion of the Trinity is going to be an ongoing theme in this commentary while I try to make sense of exactly what that means. So far, we’ve established some serious similarities between God and Jesus Christ. Yet, there does seem to be some distinction between them as well.
    I kinda hate to end this here, in the middle of a verse. But it is the end of the sentence, and the next sentence actually moves us from introduction to a kind of benediction. Combine that with the large amount of content to be discussed in the next verse and a half, and this just becomes the only reasonable place to wrap up for now. I know this is kind of abrupt. That’s what I hate about ending in the middle of a verse.




Sunday, May 7, 2017

Revelation 1:2&3, An Expositional Commentary.


So far we’ve got God giving the Revelation to Jesus Christ. From there it went to an angel, and then John.
Verse 2 : Who bare record

   OK, that’s just bad English. The Greek word for “bare record”, transliterated “martureō”, according to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, means: to be a witness, to bear witness, i.e. to affirm that one has seen or heard or experienced something.
    So it should just say “who bares record”.
    I’ll be honest. I read out of the King James Bible as a default while I work on studying through Revelation. But I’ve got five other Bibles that I’ll run the verse through just to see what differences there are; and if they are significant, to try to find out why they are different.
         In case anyone is wondering, those other versions are: the International Standard Version, New English Translation, World English Bible, The New King James and the New International Version.
    Usually the difference comes down to which of the various ancient manuscripts were used in the translation. The King James Bible used the Textus Receptus, while a lot of the newer translations rely on the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. All of these manuscripts have their strengths, all of them have a certain amount of controversy. I’m not going to argue for one translation or manuscript over another here. I am going to try to keep track of all the places where the difference causes a problem in understanding.
of the word of God,
    In this case, I just like the way the King James and the New King James Bibles put it.
    John bares record of the Word of God: He’s read the scriptures, and he can testify to what they say.

and of the testimony of Jesus Christ,
    The word “testimony” (marturia) here is not quite the same as the “bare Record” (martureō) at the beginning of this verse. According to Thayer, marturia means “testimony, i.e. before a judge.

    John was there when Jesus testified before the High Priest.
John 18:15 -  And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest.
    John didn’t like to identify himself by name in his gospel. He kept making reference to “another disciple” or “that other disciple”. Finally, at the end of John’s gospel, he says:
John 21:24 - This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true. He’s clearly got a thing for referring to himself in the third person.
     Everybody agrees the “other disciple” in this verse was John, so he actually heard Jesus Christ’s testimony. I don’t know why he couldn’t get Peter in.

and of all things that he saw.
    So altogether John bore witness to three things: The Word of God (scriptures), the testimony of God (Jesus Christ) and the revelation of God (things that he saw). None of the other translations come out quite as poetic.

Verse 3: Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy,
    Isn’t it amazing how so many churches and preachers won’t touch this book, and yet it is the only book in the Bible that promises a blessing to anyone who reads or hears it.

and keep those things which are written therein:
    To “keep” is “to attend to carefully, take care of.” (Thayer) So, there is that. You are to carefully attend to the words of this prophecy. So that’s what I am doing. I am attending, as carefully as I can, to the words of this prophecy. I want a blessing. Help me along here and you can get a blessing, too.

for the time is at hand.
    You got me here. Every translation I have says either “at hand” or “near”. Look it up in Strong’s and Thayer and they all say near, at hand, imminent.
    Here we are two thousand years later...What does he mean IMMINENT? It is verses just like this that have me hoping someone more learned than I will one day read my blog and give me an answer to this little conundrum. ...and keep reading, because I’ve got more.
    This might be a good place to admit to one of my labels. I’m what they call a “dispensational premillennialist”. (say that five times, fast).  Everybody who thinks about the the end of the world (eschatology - don’t you just love these words) has their own idea of how to interpret books like Revelation. There are several different schools, and they all have really long, incredible sounding names.
    For instance, there is Dispensational Premillennialism. This is the view I hold. I believe that there will be a “Rapture of the church.” That one day, without warning, the church will be snatched into heaven. This automatically leads to the question of: “What is the church?” That question should be answered pretty thoroughly over the next couple of chapters. In fact, this question of the rapture will be coming up again.
    For now, let’s just say that the church refers to those who love and serve God. Sitting in a pew doesn’t necessarily put you in the church.
    After the rapture, there will be what’s called the Great Tribulation. That term’s pretty self-explanatory. Some hold that it is a seven year period. There’s a pretty strong case to be made that, while there is a seven year period in view - The seventieth week that the book of Daniel talks about in chapter 9 of that book - the actual Great Tribulation only covers the second half of that.
    Then we have the second coming of Jesus, followed by the Millennium - The thousand year reign of Christ on David’s throne before Satan is loosed again for the final climax.
    This is just one of the several preconceived views that I bring into this study. It can’t be helped. We all have them. I’ll try to admit to mine as we go along and hopefully, if the text proves me to be wrong, I’ll be able to recognize it and change my thinking. Isn’t that what studying is supposed to be all about?
    Another view would be Historic Premillennialism. This teaching holds that there is no rapture. That there will be a Great Tribulation (seven or three and a half years - take your pick), and then Christ will return with His angels, rescue the church, bind Satan in the Abyss and kick off the Millennium.
    There is also Amillennialism. This would be the position of the 16th, 17th, and 18th Century commentators that I mentioned in my last post. They believe that Satan is already chained in the Abyss, that the Millennium refers to the church age and that Christ will return at the end of the
Church age.
    The problems with this position seems pretty obvious. While it would seem that this position fits well with The time is at hand”, it has still been a lot more than a thousand years. Besides that, if Satan is supposed to be bound, I’d say his chain is too long.

(Just a reminder: all scripture is cut and pasted from the Blue Letter

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Revelation 1:1 An Expositional Commentary

  I’m a layman. I’m not a theologian. I don’t have a degree from a seminary and I certainly cannot be considered an authority.
    But I read a lot. I’ve been exposed to a multitude of doctrines. I went to Catholic school through third grade. You can get a lot drilled into you in your first three grades of school. I also went to a Baptist church, sat through the foundational class of the Way International, then was baptised into the Seventh Day Adventist church and the Assembly of God. I’ve even sat through services at a Mormon church and a Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall. A lot of these folks think they have a monopoly on the Truth. This idea that they alone have stumbled across the Truth of God and everyone not of their particular sect is deceived. That attitude has always annoyed me. I personally think that we’re all deceived. We think we’re serving God, but our very best efforts have motives behind them that don’t honor God. ...Or maybe that’s just me. I have no right to place an evaluation on anybody else’s motives, but I can tell you mine are not totally righteous.
    I’m going through all this introduction so that we’ll all understand each other when we get into studying the Book of Revelation. I don’t have all the answers. This whole commentary is part of my search for some of those answers. I’m looking for the truth. I’d like to think I’m totally objective, but let’s not fool ourselves. We all have notions, positions and beliefs that we have constructed in our minds and anything that  requires that we actually go back and rethink something is going to be met with great resistance.
    The trick is to get your beliefs to agree with the Bible rather than making the Bible agree with your beliefs. It sounds simple enough. But if you’re honest with yourself, you know better.
    There are various schools of thought on how to interpret the Bible, which translation to use, and even whether the Book of Revelation is to be taken literally or allegorically. There are questions and controversies over the Rapture of the church, whether Jesus is God and when, exactly, the Tribulation starts. All this stuff will be addressed in the Book of Revelation.
    My hope is, that I can tell you something you hadn’t thought about, and hopefully, my dear readers, you can help me figure out the parts that still confuse me.
    So, let’s get to it. By the way, all the verses are copied from

Revelation 1:1 -  The Revelation
    The “revealing”. Singular. Something that was hidden will now be revealed

of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him
    Those people that teach that Jesus is not God get their doctrine from Arius of Alexandria, who argued at the Council of Nicea in favor of a doctrine taught by Paul of Samosata who became the Patriarch of Antioch. In fact, the Council of Nicea was called by Constantine to address this very controversy that was threatening to cause violence in the church.
    The Samosatene doctrine taught that Jesus is not eternal like the Father is. That he is a created being and therefore does not have the eternal essence of God the Father.
    To take this argument a little bit further, Adam was considered a son of God
(Luke 3:38 -Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.)
because Adam was a direct creation of God. We are not sons of God; we are sons of Adam. Likewise, in Genesis 6:2 - That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
    Most scholars believe that these “sons of God” were misbehaving angels. Angels also being direct creations of God, are therefore referred to as “sons of God”.
    Carry that same logic to Jesus, and he is considered the Son of God because he is a direct creation of God. This would mean that Jesus Christ is not the same as the Father, not equal with the Father and therefore not worthy of worship.
    I bring all this up because right here, I think we can score one for the Samosatenes. The text clearly says that God gave the revelation to Jesus. This not only identifies them as two separate persons, but also seems to place God in a higher position than Jesus.

to shew unto his servants
    I suppose you could spend a week arguing over whether the servants belong to God or Jesus. If you consider yourself a servant of either one, the point of God giving this revelation to Jesus is to show it to you.

things which must shortly come to pass;
    Most commentators will tell you the Greek word used here for “shortly” (tachos) means not so much “soon” as “quickly”. Once it starts, it will all take place in rapid succession.
    It seems to me, since it’s been almost two thousand years since he wrote this, and none of it has happened yet (at least none of the exciting stuff), I would be one to lean toward that same interpretation.
    I realise that my position that this is all still future isn’t a position that is unanimously held either. I love reading the old Bible commentaries from the 16th. 17th and 18th centuries. They allegorise everything  and most of them are convinced that a big chunk of Revelation has already been fulfilled. Almost every one I’ve read (and I can’t remember a specific exception) adheres to what is called Replacement Theology; the idea that all references to Israel or Jerusalem were actually references to the church. That the church had completely supplanted Israel in prophetic literature.
    It’s kind of hard to blame them. Israel didn’t exist. Hadn’t existed for centuries. Never mind the scriptures that said the children of Israel would one day be called back to the promised land. While the first Christians were Jews, as the Gospel spread it didn’t take long before there were more non-Jews than Jews in the church, and non-Jews had always hated Jews. By the fourth century AD, most of the congregations were headed by non-Jews and in fact, not a single bishop at the Council of Nicaea was Jewish. By the end of the Council of Nicea, the church leaders legislated that Easter (By the year 325, the church was already using the word “Easter” because Passover sounded too Jewish)  would be scheduled in such a way as to make sure it never coincided with the Jewish Passover so as to have nothing common with the Jews.
    What bothers me is that a lot of churches - most, it would seem - still teach that today With the return of the Jewish state in Israel, I would think that those in charge of doctrine would update their teaching. But let’s face it, people (even leaders in the church) still hate Jews.

and he sent and signified it by his angel
   His angel rendered it into signs, then delivered it
unto his servant John:

    So, the Revelation went from God, to Jesus Christ, to his angel, to John. It's not finished traveling yet, but that's as far as we get in the first verse.