|Luke 3 |
1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberias Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias was the tetrarch of Abilene; and
2 Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. [Christendom teaches that the Bible is the word of God. There were no Bibles in this time. Scriptures were on scrolls: handwritten, expensive, rare, and kept in synagogues. Scriptures did not come to John the Baptist in the wilderness, but the voice of the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Jesus, who is the Word of God, did come to John; and Jesus still speaks today, for He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Heb 13:8. Click to see the 125 verses that state: "the word of the Lord came, speaking" and "the word of God came, speaking."]
3 And he came into all the country around the Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission [release from the bondage] of sins;1 [For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: "In repentance and rest you are saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength, Isa 30:15. Repentance: turn from your evil ways. Rest: Be still and know that I am God. Psa 46:10. Saved: to see Christ bring your salvation. — Wait on the Lord in quietness, rest from all your worldly non-essential activities, and have confidence that the Lord will remove the sin that he shows you, as you repent; thus you will be saved. There is no other way.]
4 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. [The evil heart of all men must be prepared for the Lord to dwell within, for in the evil heart is found evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, false witness, deceit, lack of restraint, envy, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. Mark 7:21-23, Mat 15:18-19. Until a man's heart has been cleansed and purified, the Lord and his Father do not come with their kingdom to dwell and guide a man through life. Jesus is "holy, innocent, undefiled, and separate from sinners." Heb 7:26. From the Word of the Lord within: "See myself — thus no sin has a place in me."]
7 Then he said to the multitude that came out to be baptized by him, "O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come? [Everyone is a viper, until their selfish, Satanic spirit has been slain by the Lord through the aid of the Spirit that puts to death the selfish, lustful, covetous, angry, deeds of the body.]
8 Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance, and do not say within yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones. [John is saying that before you can successfully seek the Kingdom of God, you must show a changed lifestyle, as evidenced by your deeds; then God will teach you what else to deny and how to live a godly life until you become pure and redeemed from all sin.]
9 For the axe is already laid at the root of the trees, so that every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."3 [The tree is a metaphor for a man; fruit is the metaphor for the fruit of God's Spirit: love, peace, gentleness, patience, self-control, patience, faith, and kindness. Until a man has been cleansed, purified, and restored to God's image, he is a tree that produces bad fruit: lust, anger, envy, sexual immorality, drunkenness, revelry, foolishness, lying, theft, dishonesty, etc. Trees that do not produce good fruit are cut down and thrown into the fire.]
10 And the people asked him, "What shall we do then?"
11 And he answered and said to them, "He who has two coats, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise." [Share from your excess with anyone who lacks the necessities of life.]
12 Then the tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, "Master, what shall we do?"
13 And he said to them, "Do not collect any more than you are required to." [Do not defraud anyone; be honest in your dealings; do not take advantage of anyone.]
14 And the soldiers likewise asked him, saying, "And what shall we do?" And he said to them, "Don't take money from anyone by force, nor accuse anyone falsely; and be content with your wages."4 [Do not oppress anyone; don't lie; don't want more; don't complain.]
15 Now as the people were waiting expectantly, and all men reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not,
16 John answered, saying to them all, "I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to unfasten. He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire; [This baptism of fire is the baptism of death, to then be resurrected with Christ as a new creature with a new heart, mind, and spirit. From the Word of the Lord within: "You are raised to a new life, not just an imitation; He is one with us and ever-present."]
17 Whose winnowing fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor and gather the wheat into his barn; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable."5 [The Lord separates the wheat from the chaff, the precious from the vile. The wheat is the words of life that he has spoken to you, which words are grafted into your heart to form Christ within; the chaff is your selfish, sinful nature of its lusts, affections, and pride, which after separation is then burnt to oblivion by the devouring fire and everlasting burnings of Jesus, the pure word of life, which is fire. From the Word of the Lord within: "God treads down and throws away all that is unholy; there is a dying." This baptism of death is the final step before translation into the kingdom of God, to be there while on earth and then forever.]
18 And he preached to the people with many other exhortations.
19 But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils that Herod had done,
20 Also added this above all: he shut John up in prison.
21 Now when all the people were being baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus was also baptized; and while he was praying, the heaven was opened,
22 And the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, "You are my beloved Son; in you I am well pleased."
23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, who was the son of Heli,6
24 Who was the son of Matthat, who was the son of Levi, who was the son of Melchi, who was the son of Janna, who was the son of Joseph,
25 Who was the son of Mattathias, who was the son of Amos, who was the son of Naum, who was the son of Esli, who was the son of Nagge,
26 Who was the son of Maath, who was the son of Mattathias, who was the son of Semei, who was the son of Joseph, who was the son of Judah,
27 Who was the son of Joanna, who was the son of Rhesa, who was the son of Zorobabel, who was the son of Salathiel, who was the son of Neri,
28 Who was the son of Melchi, who was the son of Addi, who was the son of Cosam, who was the son of Elmodam, who was the son of Er,
29 Who was the son of Jose, who was the son of Eliezer, who was the son of Jorim, who was the son of Matthat, who was the son of Levi,
30 who was the son of Simeon, who was the son of Judah, who was the son of Joseph, who was the son of Jonan, who was the son of Eliakim,
31 Who was the son of Melea, who was the son of Menan, who was the son of Mata, who was the son of Nathan, who was the son of David,
32 Who was the son of Jesse, who was the son of Obed, who was the son of Booz, who was the son of Salmon, who was the son of Naasson,
33 Who was the son of Aminadab, who was the son of Aram, who was the son of Esrom, who was the son of Phares, who was the son of Judah,
34 Who was the son of Jacob, who was the son of Isaac, who was the son of Abraham, who was the son of Thara, who was the son of Nachor,
35 Who was the son of Saruch, who was the son of Ragau, who was the son of Phalec, who was the son of Heber, who was the son of Sala,
36 Who was the son of Cainan, who was the son of Arphaxad, who was the son of Sem, who was the son of Noe, who was the son of Lamech,
37 Who was the son of Mathusala, who was the son of Enoch, who was the son of Jared, who was the son of Maleleel, who was the son of Cainan,
38 Who was the son of Enos, who was the son of Seth, who was the son of Adam, who was the son of God.
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1 he came into all the country around the Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. John followed the Jewish traditions of purification (from past sins and errors) by washing with water. John's ministry and Baptism was for the Jews only, following the Jewish tradition of ceremonial washings; here are a few:
John's Baptism ceremonially washed away the Jews' sins of the past, providing men showed the fruits of repentance — a changed lifestyle with beginning repentance: sharing from their excess with those who lacked the necessities of life, not taking advantage of anyone, not defrauding anyone, not oppressing anyone, not lying, not wanting more, and not complaining. But John's baptism was only to prepare people to receive the ministry of Christ; and in no way excused their future sins, nor excused them from the necessity of becoming true disciples of Christ who finally produce the fruit of the Spirit. In the beginning of the early Church, they (Peter particularly) maintained Jewish circumcision, dietary law, and the Jewish water baptism of John. Peter even applied some of these practices on the Gentiles, until: the Holy Spirit corrected him on food, Paul further corrected him on food, and the Apostles Council issued different guideline for Gentiles. Since both Christ and John the Baptist spoke of a better baptism, this baptism was later eliminated from Christian practice and the faith maintained one faith, one Lord, and one baptism, the baptism of fire or of the Holy Spirit. Clearly, just as there are no multiple lords, there are no multiple baptisms.
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism. Eph 4:4-5
After John's ministry ended, and Christianity was extended to the Gentiles, Paul has told us there is only one baptism. So which baptism is the one, the Jewish washing of John, or the baptism of fire by Jesus? Clearly the one baptism is Jesus' baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire that burns up all the sin within a man's heart. Both Jesus and John told us that Jesus' baptism was the preferred baptism:
John said: I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but he that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire: Mat 3:11
Jesus said: For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence. Acts 1:5
The original Greek for release from bondage of sin could be translated as release from bondage, forgiveness, or remission, of sin. Release from bondage of sin is far more accurate, and perfectly describes the purification necessary to avoid being banned from heaven. The cleansing of the Word, the cleansing in the Light, both attained by waiting on the Lord, listening, hearing, watching, and obeying — such cleansing is a release from the bondage of sin. But the poor souls, who were trying to translate the Bible, had not experienced release from bondage of sin within themselves, and so obviously chose to emphasize forgiveness instead. Yet release from captivity, from the prison house, from the oppression, is what Christ said he came to do:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach release to the captives [of sin], and recovery of sight to the blind, to deliver [free] those who are oppressed [by sin], Luke 4:18-19
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me because the LORD has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim deliverance to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; Isa 61:1-2
and for what Paul said Jesus sent him to the Gentiles to accomplish:
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, release from sin's slavery, and an inheritance among those who are sanctified and purified by faith in me. Acts 26:18
Clearly forgiveness is not deliverance, recovery, healing, opening the prison, release, turned from power of Satan, — while release from the bondage of sin accurately describes all.
2 Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth. What way for the Lord are you supposed to prepare? The way into your heart for him to dwell as the ruling Lord of your thoughts, words, and deeds — a true king that rules everything in your life. Think about it — to make the Lord's paths straight, level, and smooth, is to cleanse your heart and body so the Lord can dwell and walk in you, for he would have you to be the temple of the living God. This is an individual preparation of man, the prerequisite to salvation.
In his Journal, George Fox wrote of seeing within himself the mountains burning up, the way made straight, etc:
"I saw also the mountains burning up, and the rubbish, and the rough, and crooked ways and places made smooth and plain, that the Lord might come into his tabernacle. These things are to be found in man's heart; but to speak of these things being within, seemed strange to the rough, crooked, and mountainous ones.* Yet the Lord said, ‘0h earth, hear the word of the Lord!’"
*the rough, crooked, and mountainous ones are those people who have not experienced the cleansing power of the Lord, which cleansing is experienced when you persistently sit, wait, watch, listen, hear, and obey what the Lord commands you to do.
Fox also has a detailed writing, which describes the mirror of the earth in every man's heart; see A Word From the Lord, to All the World.
A man cannot prepare his own heart; it must be prepared by the changing power of God's grace, which power is accessed by you going to him. You must wait on him — listen silently, with the humility of a sinner in need of his changing power — grace. You must wait, listen in silence, hear, and obey, thus to receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:21. So wait, watch, listen, hear, obey... wait, watch, listen, hear, obey..... seek, listen, obey. Do this repeatedly, follow his commands, and his words that you hear him speak to you will impart the life of God to you, as he removes the sins from your heart, one by one. To deny yourself is to deny your own will and do God's will; to follow is to obey the commands you hear him speak to you: this is to deny yourself, pickup your cross, and follow Jesus — the inward cross of self-denial, which puts to death your selfish spirit, to be replaced by the Spirit of Christ.
And all flesh shall see the salvation of God. Note! This will be done for all flesh, in this life through the inward cross of self-denial, or in the next life with a man's part in the lake of fire, (see Is There Hope for All for more on this subject); and then all flesh will see the salvation of God for salvation is to be delivered from sin.
3 For the axe is already laid at the root of the trees, so that every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Jesus is using a tree and its fruits to be a metaphor for a man and his behaviors.
All men start possessing only bad fruit, fruits of the flesh, which are: sexual immorality (including adultery and fornication), impurity, lust, idolatry (including covetousness), sorcery, hatred, arguments, jealousy, anger, ambition, divisiveness, factions, envy, drunkenness, revelry (partying), foolishness, pride, lying, stealing, divisiveness, murder, etc. Mark 7:21-23, Eph 5:3-6,2:3, 1 Cor 6:9-10,15:50, Gal 5:19-21.
You must believe and persistently wait on God in order to have your heart changed by the power of God's grace from harboring the evil fruits of the flesh, to be replaced by the fruit of the Spirit, which is: love, joy, peace (quietness and confident trust forever), patience (including longsuffering, steadfastness, and perseverance), kindness (including morality and integrity), goodness, faith, gentleness (including meekness and humility), and self-control (mastery of sensual appetites, passions, and desires). Gal 5:22-23.
I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man abides in me, and I in him, he produces much fruit; for without me you can do nothing.
If a man does not abide in me, he is thrown out like a branch, which withers; these branches are gathered up, cast into the fire, and are burned.
By you producing much fruit, my Father glorified; and you show that you are truly my disciples [true followers]. John 15:5-6,8
Again, the fruit of the spirit is: love, joy, peace (quietness and confident trust forever), patience (including longsuffering, steadfastness, and perseverance), kindness (including morality and integrity), goodness, faith, gentleness (including meekness and humility), and self-control (mastery of sensual appetites, passions, and desires). Gal 5:22-23
Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and its fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by its fruit. Mat 12:33
every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
If you do not produce the fruit of the Spirit, you are banned from heaven and sent to take your part in the lake of fire.
Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and its fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by its fruit. Mat 12:33.
From the Word of the Lord within: "A tree that is holy is a good one."
You must become holy as He is holy:
But as he who has called you is holy, so you be holy in all manner of conduct; 1 Pet 1:15.
For this is the will of God: that you become holy [sanctified], so that you should abstain from sexual immorality;
That every one of you should know how to possess [control] his own body in purity and honor,
Not in the passions of lusts, as the Gentiles do, who are ignorant of God.
For God has not called us to uncleanness, but to holiness. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5,7
Pursue peace with all men, and holiness [consecration, sanctification], without which no man will see the Lord. Heb 12:14
4 Putting John's instructions into the general sense, here is the beginning of repentance for all men starting on the journey of seeking God, which is the single purpose of life.
Repent: think differently; change your mind, regretting your sins and changing your conduct. Matt 3:2
Share from your excess with those who are without the necessities of life.
Be honest in all your dealings, never exaggerating or overreaching anyone.
Don't oppress people or frighten anyone, don't lie, don't want more, don't complain. Luke 3:10-14.
Also, note that the King James (KJV)says: "Do violence to no man."
But the New King James contradicts the KJV saying: "Do not intimidate anyone."
And the New International contradicts the KJV saying: "Don't extort money."
The Amplified contradicts the KJV saying: Never demand or enforce by terrifying people."
The New American Standard contradicts the KJV saying: Do not take money from anyone by force."
So the King James is wrong. Unfortunately Robert Barclay, an early Quaker writer, who admitted to not having arrived at a permanent perfection, chose to defend the Quaker refusal to bear arms, based on "Do violence to no man." This then became the basis for the modern Quakers incorrectly telling others that all armies were wrong. Yet remember, the Roman soldiers in Israel were the peacekeepers, the police. So John the Baptist was telling them to perform their duties, without oppressing anyone. They performed as the magistrate, who bears the sword against evil doers, to the benefit of those committed to good. They prevent criminal behavior. Clearly he saw nothing immoral in serving as a soldier; if he had thought so, he would have told them in no uncertain words to change jobs. He certainly had no difficulty addressing the Pharisees: But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, "O generation of snakes, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come." For more on the true early Quaker position of armies, see Penington's Protection of the Innocent, and see Submitting to Government.
5 I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to unfasten. He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire; whose winnowing fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor and gather the wheat into his barn; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable. The Lord separates the wheat from the chaff, the precious from the vile. The wheat is the words of life that he has spoken to you, which words are grafted into your heart to form Christ within; the chaff is your selfish, sinful nature of its lusts, affections, and pride, which after separation is then burnt to oblivion by the devouring fire and everlasting burnings of Jesus, the pure word of life, which is fire. The 120 disciples of Jesus were baptized with tongues of fire in Jerusalem during Pentecost. Acts 2:3. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the baptism of fire, the baptism of death:
From the Word of the Lord within: "God treads down and throws away all that is unholy; there is a dying. One actually dies to enter the camp. You are raised to a new life, not just an imitation; He is one with us and ever-present."
Thus Jesus creates a cleansed, purified individual, then capable of union with God, to share in God's divine nature. Until man obtains the purifying, miraculous grace of God to cleanse his heart, he cannot be company with or pleasing to God. This baptism occurs after a man has crucified his selfish, sinful nature on the inward cross of self-denial. This baptism by fire, the baptism of death to the selfish nature of man, is the one baptism needed: one Lord, one faith, one baptism, Eph 4:5. Because we hate our life, we have no fear of losing our life; for when we lose our life, we save our life, the new life, the eternal life of God.
Gentle reader, do not think this baptism of death is strange for: 1) the Lord told us several times we must lose our life to save our life; 2) the baptism of death and susbsequent burial is stated in the scriptures, and 3) we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual service and worship, Rom 12:1.
This is end of your fleshly self, as Christ comes and slays this residual spirit of Satan within you by the brightness of his coming, by the words of his mouth, by his crushing the head of Satan under your feet. The final judgment. The true baptism of the Holy Spirit: into the death of Christ. The sharing of his death. Jesus is then resurrected in you to be your true Lord, 2 Cor4:14,Col2:11-12,3:1, Eph 2:6; who orders all your words and deeds, which deeds are works to show the love and power of God to the world.
The journey of faith to the baptism of death, (which is the one true baptism), is not a short journey , nor is it accomplished by asking or praying for it; it only occurs after you have: waited on the Lord, heard his many spoken-to-you reproofs, consistently obeyed his many commands that you hear him speak to you, died daily on the inward cross of self-denial, suffered many trials and tribulations, and endured with patience and persistence to the end.
This baptism by fire is performed by Jesus, who comes to those who have crucified their lusts and affections on the inward cross of self-denial; the appearance of Jesus to perform the baptism of fire is the second coming of the Lord and the Day of the Lord for those crucified.
The second coming and the day of the Lord are one in the same personal experience, which occurs for all men in every generation. For those who are crucified to spiritually die on the inward cross of self-denial, the second coming occurs as the Lord appears after the baptism of fire has burned all the remaining sin in them. Their body dies in this baptism of fire and death, but the believer is raised (resurrected) with Christ and translated into the kingdom of God. Though raised with Christ to live in the heavens, they still walk the earth as a new creature together, in union with the Lord.
The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness has surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?
He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, he who despises the gain of oppression, who keeps his hands from taking bribes, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, and shuts his eyes from seeing evil;
He will dwell on high; his place of defense will be the fortress of rocks; bread will be given him; his waters will be sure.
Your eyes will see the king in his beauty; they will behold the land that is very far off. Isa 33:14-17
William Dewsbury, another kingdom-dwelling, early Quaker, also left a testimony of the terror in the Day of the Lord and his baptism by fire:
I was slain and baptized, and lay as a little child under his heavenly chastisements; as soon as ever my soul was brought to this, in my humiliation. Oh! then, the dreadful judgment was taken away, and the book of life was opened unto me, and the Lord spoke comfortably to me, 'I have loved you with an everlasting love;" and I was made a Christian through a day of vengeance, and of burning as an oven; and the haughtiness and pride of man in me was brought low.
The following is from kingdom-dwelling, early-Quaker Stephen Crisp's The Necessity of a Holy Life, which gives us further first-hand knowledge of the baptism of fire:
"There is no coming to obtain this baptism, but by sinking down into what will slay you, what will kill you. But there is such a shifting to save one's life, there are so many twistings and twinings of people to save their lives, that at last they lose them. But no one can ever find life that is eternal, but those who are willing to be given up to the dead, and submit to this baptism — that is, by the Holy Ghost and by fire. Only such come to life; they come to the resurrection. For you never knew any that died this death but that they rose again; it is as impossible for death to hold any one down that is buried in this baptism,* as it was impossible to hold Christ down, when he was in the grave. The same power that brought again our Lord Christ from the dead, the same power it is that quickens us, while we remain in these mortal bodies, after we have sustained this death and crucifixion."
[* Your resurrection is very quick, and your burial is not in this physical world.]
Like the resurrection of Lazarus, after you undergo the baptism of death, the Lord calls you by name to "come forth."
From the Word of the Lord within:
From George Fox's Journal:
You must have fellowship with Christ in his sufferings. 1 Pet 4:12-13
If you will reign with him, you must suffer with him. 2 Tim 2:12
if you will live with him, you must die with him. 2 Tim 2:11 (there must be a "dying daily.")
And if you die with him, you must be buried with him, Rom 6:4
and being buried with him in the true baptism, you also rise with him. Col 2:12, Eph 2:6
6 Joseph was the son of Heli. Joseph was clearly the son of Jacob, Matthew 1:16. So this verse, Luke 3:23, the recording of son of Heli should be understood to mean son-in-law of Heli. Therefore this genealogy of Jesus in Luke is actually the genealogy of Mary, while Matthew records the genealogy of Joseph. Actually, the word son is not in the original, so it is correct to supply either son or son-in-law in the translation. The two genealogies show that both parents were descendants of David — Joseph through Solomon (Matthew 1:7-15), thus Jesus inherits the legal right to the throne of David, and Mary through Nathan (Luke 3:23-31), her line thus carrying the seed of David, since Solomon's line had been refused the throne because of Jechoniah's sin.
Further By Jewish law, the name of a woman cannot be mentioned in a genealogy. For a woman's genealogy to be traced, you must use the name of her husband, but in such a way as to indicate it is really the wife's. Hebrew and Greek allow such a subtle distinction. With English we never put the article "the" in front of a name, such as the Matthew, or the Joseph. Hebrew and Greek do not have such restrictions. So, on close examination of the Greek text of Luke, every name has "the" in front of it, except the name of Joseph. This missing article of "the" indicates it is the genealogy of Joseph's wife, Mary instead. The absence of Mary’s name is quite in keeping with Jewish practices on genealogies, and it was not unusual for a son-in-law to be listed in his wife’s genealogy.
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