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The Last Days Duncan Heaster  
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Appendix 3: The Antichrist Principle

We are familiar with the personification of sin as a man called 'Satan', the enemy. This symbolic man is in fact the antithesis of the Lord Jesus Christ. As we follow this theme through Scripture, it becomes apparent that we are just at the tip of an iceberg. This symbolic man has a kingdom  and almost every attribute of the Lord Jesus and His Divine Kingdom of righteousness. Consider the similarities:

Satan has a Kingdom (Lk. 11:18)

The power and glory of which have been delivered to him by God, and which he can give to  whomsoever he will (Lk. 4:6)

Angels (Mt. 25:41; 2 Cor. 12:7 Gk.)

The power of death (Heb. 2:14 cp. Hos. 13:14; Rev. 1:18; 20:6)

Power to condemn men (1 Tim. 3:6)

A judgment seat and system of rewards based on that of Christ (Mt. 6:1 cp. 2,16)

Condemned sinners are invited to the 'feast' of God's judgments and given suitable wedding clothes (Zeph. 1:7,8) in parody of the Kingdom (Mt. 22:2,3)

Is a father (Jn. 8:44)

Has children (Acts 13:10; 1 Jn. 3:10 cp. Heb. 2:13)

And a wisdom that is opposed to God's wisdom (James 3:15-17)

Armour (Lk. 11:22)

Power (Acts 26:18)

Spiritual " depths" (Rev. 2:24, s.w. Rom. 11:33; 1 Cor. 2:10; Eph. 3:18)

Seed which he sows (Mt. 13:39)

A throne (Rev. 2:13; 2 Thess. 2:4)

A mystery (2 Thess. 2:7; Rev. 2:24)

" Power...signs and...wonders" (2 Thess. 2:9; Rev. 13:13)

Stands at the right hand of men (Ps. 109:6 cp. 109:31; 16:8; 110:1)

Is likened to lightening (Lk. 10:18 cp. 17:24)

Puts things in men's' hearts (Jn. 13:2 cp. 2 Cor. 8:16)

He is a son who will be " revealed" (2 Thess. 2:4), as Christ will be (Lk. 17:30, same Gk.)

He is " he that cometh" (2 Cor. 11:4), a phrase so often used about the Lord Jesus (Lk. 7:19,20; Jn. 7:27,31)

He will be " revealed in his time" (2 Thess. 2:6), as Christ will be (Lk. 17:24)

" The god of this world" who emits a bright light into the hearts of men (2 Cor. 4:4 cp. 6)

Enthroned in God's temple (2 Thess. 2:4)

He has " works" (1 Jn. 3:8)

Figuratively comes down from heaven to earth in the last days (Rev. 12:12)

Has bread and wine of wickedness (Prov. 4:17)

His followers " hold" Christ, as the true disciples do (same words in Col. 2:9; Mt. 28:19 cp. Mt. 26:4,48,50,55,57)

Will be 'apocalypsed' as Christ will be (2 Thess. 2:8)

The logic of devotion

Every one of these attributes is seen in the Lord Jesus Christ and the things of his Kingdom. And this list is by no means complete. But the point is clear enough: the well-versed Bible reader will observe that there are two systems, two Kingdoms, revealed in the word: the kingdom of Satan, and the kingdom of God. So strong is this theme that it is quite possible that sometimes the things of Satan are purposefully described in language which is reminiscent of the Kingdom of God; e.g. Paul describing his affliction as an Angel of Satan (2 Cor. 12:7). God's Kingdom and Satan's are in absolute opposition to each other; there is no overlap, no common ground. The people of God, those who truly accept His Kingship, are therefore fundamentally separated from Satan's Kingdom. In practice, of course, we are tempted to think that there can be some overlap in our lives; that we can enjoy the ways of the world and  the blessings mediated on account of being in God's Kingdom; that we can be part of apostate and true religion; that we can have a little of both. But if we properly understand the idea that Satan's Kingdom and God's Kingdom don't overlap, it will  become evident that ultimately, it's all or nothing.

When the Lord spoke of the impossibility of serving two masters, he had this in mind. He personified the one as " Mammon" , the antithesis of God. He goes on to define what he meant: " Therefore...take no thought for your life...which of you by taking thought....why take ye thought for raiment...therefore take no thought saying, What shall we eat?....seek ye first the Kingdom of God....take therefore no thought for the morrow" (Mt. 6:24,25,27,28,31,33,34). Clearly the Lord saw " Mammon" , this personified anti-God, as an attitude of mind. He had the same view of 'Satan' as we do: a personification of sin in the human mind. He also saw seeking " the Kingdom of God" as somehow parallel with serving God rather than mammon. We would wish there were some third category, God, mammon and something in between; as we may idly speculate that it would suit us if there were three categories at judgement day, accepted, rejected, and something else. But both then and now, this very minute, this isn't the case. A deep down recognition of this will have its effect practically. If we are serving God, let's not give anything to mammon, let's not play games, juggling and using brinkmanship.

Non-political Kingdoms

Satan's Kingdom has members, those he is king over. His Kingdom is the people of this world, those dominated by the fleshly mind. When the Kingdoms of this world become those of God at the second coming (Rev. 11:15), this is more than a physical handover of political authority. " The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein" (Ps. 24:1). The political power in the world is ultimately God's even now (Rom. 13:1-4). The idea of a handover of the Kingdoms of this world to God must therefore refer to the end of Satan's power; no longer will the world be structured around the desires of the flesh, but around the principles of God.

Satan's Kingdom is not a political Kingdom, but an influence, a way of thinking, life lived according to certain principles, permeating every part of a man's thinking and behaviour. The Kingdom of God is the antithesis of Satan's Kingdom. The fact Satan's Kingdom exists now and is the antithesis of the true Kingdom is proof enough that in some sense the Kingdom of God exists in some non-political sense now, although of course this will be politically manifested at the Lord's return. God's Kingdom exists in the same sense as Satan's; as an influence, a way of thinking, life lived according to certain principles, permeating every part of a man's thinking and behaviour. This is why the Lord's parables describing the Kingdom of God refer not to the political Kingdom, but to His ways and principles as they should operate in our lives today. The Kingdom of God in this non-political sense was taken from the Jews and given to us, so that we might bring forth the fruits of the Kingdom (Mt. 21:43). The political Kingdom had already been taken from Israel (Ez. 21:27).

The logic of separation

Appreciating all this means that there absolutely must be a separation between us and the world. We are God's Kingdom, surrounded by Satan's Kingdom. It's quite right, therefore, that we make every effort we can to keep the ways of Satan's Kingdom out of the ecclesia, God's Kingdom. This is why (e.g.) the use of the cross should be outlawed amongst us, the influence of television minimised. not just because these things don't suite us, but because we are God's Kingdom, not Satan's. False doctrine about Christ is part of the antiChrist system (1 Jn. 4:3); yet it seems tempting for some to reason that those who believe (e.g.) the trinity are basically pleasing to God, although they don't understand things as we do. Yet this is the teaching of antiChrist, the Spirit says.

The Devil is a deceiver, he has a fake Kingdom of God; the antiChrist appears as a false Christ. If we think that the antiChrist is the real Christ, that those who teach false doctrine about Christ are part of the body of Christ, then we have been deceived; we have been taken in by the appearance of righteousness.  Sometimes, Satan or the Devil is used as a personification of the world, or a human political system, e.g. the Roman empire in the book of Revelation. This is because the world or human empires are structured around the thinking of the flesh, the real Satan. Thus overcoming the world is parallel to overcoming the devil (1 Jn. 5:4 cp. 2:13,14); " the whole world is under the control of the evil one" , the Devil (1 Jn. 5:19 NIV). The lust of the flesh and eyes (the Biblical devil) are " all that is in the world" (1 Jn. 2:16). Thus our own private Satan, the lusts of our dark side, are somehow in league with the world around us. The world has been set in our heart (Ecc. 3:11).

World systems

This explains why the various world empires mentioned in the Bible are described in the language of the Kingdom of God; they are anti-Kingdoms of God. Take Babylon:

Babylon

The Kingdom of God

A hammer (Jer. 50:23)

God's word is described in the same way in the same prophecy (Jer. 23:29)

Had proselytes and prophets (Jer. 50:36,37)

Ditto for the Kingdom

A mountain (Jer. 51:25)

Dan. 2:44

" The golden city" (Is. 14:4) with a thick, embellished wall (Jer. 51:58); springs and rivers within her (Jer. 51:36)

The description of the new Jerusalem in Rev. 21,22 and it's wall, foundations etc. seems an allusion to the city of Babylon; as if to shew that Babylon was a fake city of God.

" He that ruled the nations" with an iron rod " ...that did shake kingdoms" (Is. 14:6,16)

Cp. King Jesus (Ps. 110:2; Rev. 19:15)

The morning star (Is. 14:12)

Rev. 22:16

Desired to be exalted above the Angels in Heaven (Is. 14:13)

As Christ was (Heb. 1, 2)

" O virgin daughter" (Is. 47:1)

As Israel (Is. 37:22)

" The king of Babylon, my servant" (Jer. 25:9)

Ditto for Christ

Babylon, like Persia, had a king with seven senior counsellors before his throne (Ezra 7:14)

As Christ and the seven spirits before the throne, Rev. 1:4; 4:5

" Whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down" (Dan. 5:19)

This is all alluding to Yahweh as the God who is and will be as He wishes; and cp. Dt. 32:39; 1 Sam. 2:6-8; Ps. 113:7,8; Lk. 1:52

The Kingdom of Babylon was a sight gazed at by all the earth (Dan. 4:11)

As the cross of Christ

The laws of the kings of Babylon, Media and Persia altered not (Heb. passed not, were eternal), Dan. 6:8.

Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image

It is emphasized that Nebuchadnezzar “set up” an image, symbolic of himself and his Kingdom (Dan. 3:1,2,3,5,712,14,18).

A mimicry of God's unchanging word: Is. 34:16; 45:23 (passages which in their immediate context were God's comment on the Assyrian / Babylonian claims that the words of their kings were never changed).

Intended as a replica of the image of Daniel 2-implying Babylon’s Kingdom was the eternal Kingdom of God.

Dan. 2:21,39,44; 4:17; 5:21 had used the same words to describe how God sets up Kingdoms and their Kings. Babylon and the other Kingdoms were set up [s.w.] by God, not man (Dan. 7:4,5,17,24 Heb.).

Gave Israel a King they named 'Zedekiah'. 'Yahweh our righteousness'- a false Christ, who is Israel's true " Yahweh our righteousness" (Jer. 23:6)

God gives Israel the real Christ

Babylon was " raised up" by God (Hab. 1:5,6)

This very passage is quoted by Paul as proof that God would raise up Christ (Acts 13:41)- he saw Babylon as such a clear anti-Christ!

Arrayed in fine linen (Rev. 18:16)

As the bride of Christ

The Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem, grouped together the temple implements according to the different metals from which they were made, old, silver and brass, and then broke them in pieces (2 Kings 25:13-16)

A few years after this, Daniel 2 indicated that the true Messiah would break Babylon's future Kingdom, comprised as it would be of gold, silver and brass.

The King of the North, based on Babylon as his prototype, comes against Israel with a whirlwind (Dan. 11:40)

Just as God is said to do; whirlwind is the language of God manifestation (Ez. 1:4)

The nations with her in the last days will be " of one mind" (Rev. 17:13)

As those believers confederate with Christ

" Thou...that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me" (Is. 47:8)

Is. 45:6,21

Hammurabi, early King of Babylon, set himself up as a pseudo-Messiah, speaking of himself in language which God appropriates to Himself. The well versed reader will discern the many connections between Hammurabi's words and the Biblical descriptions of the Father and His Son: " The great gods have called me and I am indeed a shepherd who brings peace, whose sceptre is justice; my pleasant shade is spread over my city, in my bosom I have carried the people...that the strong may not oppress the weak, and so to give justice to the orphan and the widow, I have inscribed my precious words on my monment" (1). And even worse: " I Hammurabi the shepherd...established an everlasting Kingdom that shall not be left to others" , and having said this, he proceeds to give a list of blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience to him, reminiscent of Dt. 28 (2). Again, we are on the tip of an iceberg; so much Old Testament language is an allusion to the beliefs and claims of surrounding religions, which were effectively setting themselves up as fake Kingdoms of Yahweh (3).

And all we have said about Babylon are just a few examples of this kind of thing. This same sort of language is also used about Israel's other Arab enemies. Thus Sodom, persecutor of God's faithful remnant (Lot) and epitome of the evil world of the last days, appeared as the garden of Eden with all its innocent beauty (Gen. 13:10). Adonizedek King of Jerusalem (Josh. 10:1) was the counterpart of Melchizedek. Joel 2:20,21 describe both God and Israel’s latter day invader as doing “great things”- as if the King of the “northern army” is some kind of fake God, and the final conflict between Christ and anti-Christ is the ultimate showdown of “great things”.

The beasts of Revelation seem to be described in terms of the Kingdom of God, and the descriptions link within Revelation to the descriptions of God's Kingdom. The point is being made that these beasts, both over time and in the last days, are fake Kingdoms of God.

Beasts

The Kingdom Of God

The dragon has Angels (Rev. 12:9)

As Christ

He figuratively comes from heaven to earth (12:10)

"

Speaks of us day and night before God's throne (12:10)

"

Has a name in his forehead (13:2)

"

Given power, throne and authority (13:13)

"

Does great miracles and signs (13:13)

"

Faithful followers have mark in their hands and foreheads (13:17; 20:4) and are " sealed" (13:16)

Ez. 9:4; Rev. 7:3

All the world worships the beast (13:12)

All the world will worship God (15:4)

Followers as numerous as sand on the sea shore (20:8)

As the seed of Abraham

Their followers have one mind (17:3), and are world-wide

How it should be amongst us

The woman clothed with a blood red robe and a cup (17:4)

Cp. the sacrificial office of Christ

The beast is, was and will be (17:8-11); an allusion to the Yahweh Name

God is, will and will be (16:5)

The beast systems, as Babylon and Assyria before them, were false Kingdoms of God. The beast has the power to give pneuma to the image / body of the first beast (Rev. 13:15)- an evident mimicry of God’s creation of Adam. They appear to offer, here and now, the things of the Kingdom, and the fleshly-minded are persuaded by them. This is all playing out the drama of Eden again; the serpent offered equality with God, the wisdom of God, when it was actually the wisdom of the serpent. Adam and Eve grasped for what was offered, unlike the Lord Jesus, who refused to grasp at equality with God (Phil. 2 is full of allusion to the events of Gen. 3). What happened in Eden is in essence the epitome, the prototype of all temptation and sin (1 Jn. 2:16 = Gen. 3:6). Every one of our temptations has an element of this; we are tempted to grasp for  what looks like the Kingdom here and now. Pentecostals are an evident example of this; they think they can obtain the full healing and physical ecstasy of the future Kingdom here and now. And on a more common level, there are many of us who reach out for the supposed fulfilment of hobbies, the supposed peace and 'security' of a nice home and bank balance, when these things are actually a false fulfilment, peace and security, the peace and security of Satan's Kingdom which is a counterfeit of the spiritual fulfilment, peace and security of Christ's Kingdom. A very evident example of this is found in Rabshakeh's offer to the inhabitants of Jerusalem: 'If you reject Yahweh as your God, the King of Assyria will give you a Kingdom where you will " eat every one of his vine, and every one of his fig tree" ' (Is. 36:16); in saying this, Rabshakeh was quoting the very words of Mic. 4:4 concerning the Kingdom of God. The Jews were faced with the choice of God's Kingdom, or Satan's Kingdom, couched as it was in terms of God's Kingdom. Likewise, the world around us isn't passive. It is actively seeking to deceive. There is a tension between us and this world, including the apostate 'Christian' world, which is vital to recognize if we are to share the salvation of God's Kingdom and avoid the condemnation of Satan's Kingdom. There can be no half way position.

Joel describes Israelís invaders as a false Israel and a pseudo-cherubim. They have a fire going “before them” (Joel 2:3) just as Israel did in the wilderness, “a great people and a strong”, Yahweh’s war-horses (Joel 2:4 RVmg.) just as Israel were to have been (Zech. 10:3); and the whole of Joel 2:5-9 describes the mightiness of the invaders in the very language appropriated to Israel (Zech. 10:5).

Further help

Following these themes through helps explain at least four noticeable Biblical themes:

- Many Bible bad men are described in the language of the Lord Jesus; Saul is an example of this. Cyrus is another one. It doesn't mean that they were therefore righteous. This is to be expected once the Antichrist principle is perceived. It seems that often the things of Satan's Kingdom are consciously spoken of in the language of God's Kingdom; thus Satan is called " the God of this world" (2 Cor. 4:4), and spoken of as having Angels as God does (Mt. 25:41; Rev. 12:9). The size of this theme of Antichrist has to be realized to appreciate why the Bible should use this device so extensively.

- It seems the rejected saints will share the judgements of Satan, the beast, the antiChrist. Thus Babylon has a millstone tied round her neck and she is thrown into the sea (Rev. 18:21), just as the judgement of the rejected saints is described (Mt. 18:6). They will be ground to powder by the stone of Christ (Mt. 21:44), just as he will fall on the nations of the Babylon confederacy and grind them to powder (Dan. 2:34). The Lord will appoint his unwatchful servant a place of condemnation " with the unbelievers" (Lk. 12:46). This is understandable once we appreciate the idea that there are only two Kingdoms, God's and Satan's. The unworthy were effectively in Satan's Kingdom, therefore they will suffer the judgement that is prepared for it. Therefore we must separate from Babylon, Satan's Kingdom, or else we will receive her judgements (Rev. 18:4). Likewise the condemnation of the apostate in Israel is very often described in the language of the judgements on the surrounding kingdoms (e.g. Joel  1:5,10-12 = Is. 16:10; Ez. 16:37-39 = Rev. 17:16; Jer. 16:9 = Rev. 18:23; Jer. 49:4 = Jer. 31:22; Jer. 51:27 = Joel 1:4; 2:1; Jer. 50:13 =  19:8) (4). The cup of judgement that Israel will drink will be given to the Arab nations who have afflicted her (Is. 51:23). This is all the principle of Rev. 18:6; as the latter day Babylon does to natural and spiritual Israel, so it will be done to her. Apostate Israel are often described as if they are Arabs- they share the same judgements, because they have effectively sold their birthright. Israel " sat...as the Arabian in the wilderness" (Jer. 3:2). Judah would be punished along with Egypt, Moab and Ammon, the circumcised with the uncircumcised (Jer. 9:25,26). Thus Rom. 9:8 describes faithless Israel as " the children of the flesh" , with allusion to Arab Ishmael; and Gal. 4:23 likewise. The early chapters of Romans reason that both Jew and Gentile receive the same judgment, because both have sinned.

- The judgements on the nations are all described in similar language, whatever time or place they were in  (5). Thus  Babylon's judgement in Rev. 18 is based on the judgement of Egypt as recorded in Ez. 32:4-10, and Egypt's judgement of Ez. 29:4 is that of Gog in Ez. 38:4. The whole description of Egypt's judgments in Ez. 29 is also full of links with those in store for Israel. They will cry unto Yahweh in their affliction (Is. 19:20), just as Israel did when Egypt persecuted them (Ex. 2:23; 14:10). There are so many examples of this. Surely the point is that fundamentally, all the nations of the world, in whatever time and place, are all fundamentally the same Kingdom of Satan,  and will suffer the same destruction by the Kingdom of God. Likewise the Kingdom of God to which we belong is not limited by time or geography.

-  The non-political aspect of the Kingdom of God comes up time and again in the New Testament. We are helped in our understanding of this by realizing that this is the antithesis of the Kingdom of Satan, which is also more abstract than political. The beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ and his Kingdom can be plumbed the more fully by realizing how he is the antithesis to the antiChrist, Satan. This theme of there being a true Christ and a fake Christ is reflected in gematria [whereby each letter of the Hebrew alphabet has a numeric value]. The numeric value of mashiah [Messiah] is 358, as is yavo shiloh [‘Shilo will come’]. But the value of nahash [snake] is also 358.

A Moslem / Arab AntiChrist?

The Genesis record seems to frame the confederations of Arab tribes contemporary with the 12 tribes of Israel as being a kind of pseudo-Israel- for they too are described as being 12 tribe confederacies. There were 12 Aramaean tribes who came from the 12 sons born to Nahor, Abraham's brother (Gen. 22:20-24); 12 tribes from Ishmael (Gen. 25:13-16); and the five tribes from the sons of Esau (Gen. 36:9-14) joined with the seven Horite tribes in Seir (Gen. 36:20-28). Joel 2:20 speaks of the latter day invasion of Israel by "the northern army", which will then be consumed by the Lord's return. The Hebrew word for 'north' meaning 'hidden / concealed'- the 'north' is seen in Hebrew as the hidden / concealed place- the Jewish Encyclopedia interprets "the northern army" as "the concealed one". This may connect with 2 Thess. 2:4 speaking of the "man of sin" as a "Wicked one" who is revealed for who he is and then consumed by the Lord's second coming. This would associate the man of sin with the latter day invaders of Israel, which the Old Testament appears to define as the Arab neighbours of Israel. The Jewish Encyclopedia [article on "Ahriman"] mentions "a Judæo-Mohammedan tradition identifying the "Northern One" with the Mohammedan Antichrist, Al-Dajjal—the Liar".

There is a New Testament theme that in the last days, the ecclesia will be infiltrated by a " man of sin" who appears to be an apostle, and who in league with the Arab beast, the power dominating the world, corrupts the ecclesia. He is an anti-Christ, a false God (6). His sitting in the temple of the ecclesia is matched by Tobiah the Arab having rooms in the temple- rooms which should have been symbolic of the dwelling place of God's people with Him (Neh. 7:13 cp. Jn. 14:1-3). He will get this place, as Tobiah got his place, because the ecclesia has failed to grasp the rigid line of demarcation between the things of God's Kingdom and those of Satan's. They will have been deceived by the apparent similarity between the two Kingdoms. The presence of antiChrist within the ecclesia will be the sign " whereby ye know that it is the last time" (1 Jn. 2:18); and 2 Thess. 2:3 and Mk. 13:5,14 say the same thing. The recognition of the presence of such false teaching within the ecclesia will be what tells the faithful remnant that the Lord's return really is imminent. If the " man of sin" is to be connected somehow with the Arab beast as we have suggested in Chapter 23, it may be that the vague, outline similarities between Islam and the One Faith are what are capitalized upon in order to make the differences seem minimal. Thus Moslems tenaciously believe in one God and a restored paradise on earth, and Shi'ite Moslems (comprising 99% Iranians and 60% Iraqis) look for the return of the 12th Imam (who they believe has ascended to Heaven) to rule the world. Moslem mosques are fake temples of God, designed as they are around an outer court and two sanctuaries. As Adam desired equality with God (see the allusions to his fall in Phil. 2) and was punished with an inability to hide, shame and nakedness as a result, so Edom will be punished in precisely the same way (Jer. 49:10)- because they too desire equality with God, as Babylon did in Is. 14:13, and as the man of sin will attempt (2 Thess. 2: 4). The connection between Babylon, Edom and the man of sin's blasphemy suggests that he is connected with Arab / Islamic religious blasphemy.

It is also apparent that for each aspect of true spirituality, there is a fake counterpart; an appearance of peace when a man has no peace with God; a semblance of prayer and Bible study when actually these are performed as exercises devoid of meaning. The pseudo-believer takes “ease” (Lk. 12:19) in his materialism; and yet this is the same word used about the true “rest” which the Lord gives in His ecclesia (Mt. 11:28). Many other examples of this are given in ‘Devotion: A Caveat’, in Beyond Bible Basics. If we allow ourselves to be caught up in this, then we are effectively having our part in the spirit of antiChrist. There will not only be a fake Jesus, but there is already within our natures a shadow spirituality, which apes the real thing, and thereby seeks to persuade us that we can take the crown without the cross. In this lies the colossal practical relevance of this theme to the serious believer.

Notes

(1) Rosamond Mack, The Code Of Hammurabi (Baghdad: Iraq Min. of Culture, 1979).

(2) Quoted from G.R. Driver and J.C. Miles, The Babylonian Laws Vol. 9 pp. 7-107 (Oxford: O.U.P., 1955). This whole section makes most fascinating reading for anyone familiar with the Old Testament scriptures.

(3) Many cases of this are discussed in Demons: A Biblical Discussion (London: Pioneer, 1994).

(4) I have given many examples of this in In Search Of Satan pp. 107-109.

(5) Examples of this will be found in Chapter 9.

(6) See Chapters 11 and 23.