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O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

The Resurrection: Corporate or Individual

Now for that post script I see there are questions regarding the Corporate and Individual Body usage in scripture. I wrote this little excerpt about 5 years ago in response to the same questions Ed brings up and is being discussed. I’m going to add a little more at the end to “flesh” it out just a tad more.

Subject: Re: The Resurrection: Corporate or Individual

As I have stated earlier I believe it is imperative that when introducing the “body” corporate understanding that we first define it in a manner that people can get their heads around and then venture further.

When we talk “corporate” we should all understand the corporate meaning of the “body of Christ”.  It is a group description that most of us should comprehend the meaning of.  We know that the individual enters into the “body” through faith and therefore belong to the “corporate body of Christ”.

Next we have the “body of death”.  What is the difference?  It is simply the covenant body which finds its origins in Adam and his failure to obey God’s first Covenant command.  How do you get into that body?  Well it is because we sin, we are no better at perfection than Adam was and so all men are under the condemnation of the “body of death” even those who do not sin in the same manner as Adam did.

So how does that translate into a “corporate rising”?  It means that the corporate body of death could not enter into the presence of God and thus we have the entire Old righteous not able to enter into God’s presence and therefore remained in the Hadean realm, this is the essence of the “Hope of Israel” that Paul often alludes to. Now when Christ comes along and atones for Sin at the Cross and is resurrected he paves the way for those Old worthies and the rest to enter into God’s presence through His “body” at the Parousia.

This is what Paul is stating in Romans 7: 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

I had always previously taken this as a personal description of Paul concerning his own physical body and it never dawned on me to read the previous 3 chapters for the proper context. Let’s see if we can pick up the body of death somewhere previously.

Rom 6:5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

Paul here talks about the body of sin which is Adamic death previously discussed in Rom 5 and he starts applying the “body” metaphor which becomes a theme throughout his writings. We sometime miss it though as the language seems to be more individual than collective because of our cultural understanding. Take a look here in Philippians though and notice the continued trend of Paul in using the “body” language.

Phi 3: 21 who shall transform the body of our humiliation to its becoming conformed to the body of his glory, according to the working of his power, even to subject to himself the all things.

It appears that Paul is continuing to teach the body metaphor. The body of our humiliation is the old sinful “body of death” while the body of his glory can be none other than the “body of Christ”.  If Paul’s audience were familiar with his meaning of “body” which I believe they were because of his teaching them over time they would not readily read “body” in the same manner that we do as they would have had the contextual understanding from Paul already explained..  

Notice the similarity of Paul’s language below in 1 Cor 15 verse 43

The body that is sown… is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power

 and compare it to the above verse from Phi 3:21 and take note of the similar words used. Humiliation, dishonor, weakness describing the body of death and glory, and power for the body of Christ.  This helps us set the context for both locations as discussing the same aspects of the body.

 shall transform the body of our humiliation to its becoming conformed to the body of his glory, according to the working of his power”

 1 Cor 15: 42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.  If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.

 One of the problems that we should recognize with trying to individualize and personalize the body description in 1 Cor 15 is that the Bible speaks toward the group “corporate” body related to Adam.  Adam comes into discussion because the “body of death” originated with him (Rom 5and 1 Cor 15:48-49) and its casting away is through Christ.  This goes the same for the discussion in 2 Cor 5 where it sounds like it is discussing the individual personal body but when you read it with the plural meaning that Paul uses it also makes sense contextually with Paul’s collective meaning.  We naturally are inclined to default to reading it in a personal individual understanding of body as that seems the obvious plain meaning but as Preterist we should be the first to recognize that the plain literal meaning many times bears further investigation.

 Notice the collective language describing Adam and Christ in 1 Cor 15: 48 As was the earthly man, (Adam) so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven (Christ), so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.

I believe these two above verses are indisputable proof that the discussion in 1 Cor 15 are of the collective body of death through Adam and the collective body of Christ.

 One of the problems that Kurt mentioned in his talk was a problem that he had with people who think we are in Heaven now. What Kurt is missing IMO is that when people sometimes have said this in the past their language was an eternal meaning more than an actual living presence in the dimension of Heaven? But having said that there are those who do misstate the implications and I agree somewhat with Kurt that the removal of the body of Death is also a legal process. What I believe happened at the Parousia was our final adoption (legal) fully back into God’s presence which was lost through Adam. It was simply as it happened when Adam ate and had an eye opening experience (legal) and not a physical happening. It is the same according to Paul who in 1 Cor 15 says the mystery would be those living would be changed in a “twinkling of an eye” (Legal).  So those today that enter into the “body of Christ” do not have a physical change but enter a legal and covenantal standing through the “body of Christ”.

What we do need to understand though is that in a covenantal corporate understanding is that we have no legal recourse outside of Christ. Faith is required to enter into legal standing and I believe like Kurt that one can remove oneself from that legal standing in Christ. Now it also needs to be stated that we cannot be removed arbitrarily and we need to walk in a righteous manner.  We surely though do not want to reinstate the Law and its methods by developing a new works system which we in the churches of Christ have sometimes done. This opens up another whole new discussion though for another time.

I hope this helps some that may be wondering about what the “corporate body” discussion is all about. I’m putting this out here for discussion realizing that some may disagree and some may have better explanations.  I want to put forth my thoughts though so that they can be refined by the fire of examination.  I want to improve my presentation and would solicit any and all that believe they may have thoughts or scriptures that serve better in presenting this information.  I’m hoping to refine it for those who are even less sophisticated than our groups so please do not hesitate in offering suggestions, corrections and improvements.

Blessings

Norm Voss

 

I think we also need to keep in mind that Hebrews 11 includes the OT worthies past Abraham and back to Abel in the discussion of those who by faith are to be included in the resurrected body of Christ.

Heb 11:39-40  And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

The Body of Christ is inclusive of those of faith from Adam and Abraham through Christ and encompasses those of faith in God; age enduring. So not only was the Body of Christ occurring during the 40 year new exodus of God’s people but it reached back covering those from the beginning and surely reaches forward eternally as well.

Now a word about Adam’s sin that lead to the “sin death”. Paul presents a concept that often goes unnoticed in Romans 5 and 7. It is the statement that “sin is not imputed when there is no Law”. There is only one place in the Biblical story where this could have occurred and that was when Adam was originally placed in the Garden and walked with God.  Paul starts the discussion about Adam in Chp 5 but he picks it back up in Chp 7 when Paul says “I was alive apart from the law”.

Rom 5:13  (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Rom 7:8-10  But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead.  I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died.   The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me.

We should realize that Paul contextualizes this statement back in Chp 5 when he says that

(Rom 5:14  Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam).

So we know that there was never a time when Paul could have been alive and under covenant with God. So Paul as some scholars have noted is speaking as the “Body of Adam” and anthropomorphizing that condition.  What this means is that Paul is laying the foundation why the “Law” was the problem for the Jews and it had to go.  Paul examines the Adam story for us from his Jewish perspective.  It also means that “sin” was in the world of Adam even in the Garden before the “fall” which indicates that sin is a human condition of mortal man and that the Garden walk with God should have left the faithful like Adam/Israel without their natural sin being imputed.   However it was “the specific sin” of the Law that brought “sin death” not our natural sin nature (because all men sin).  The Law was the culprit and ruined the Garden idea for faithful communion with God. Get rid of the Law and our natural sin nature is not attributed to us of faith.  This is Exactly what being in Christ does for the OT worthies of Heb 11 and the first century Christians of the new exodus and those living in the everlasting Sabbath Rest of God, age enduring.

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Comment by Eohn Rhodes on August 31, 2013 at 9:31am
Norm,

Are you saying that in Peter's sheet vision, that the Genesis originals that are called living souls and blessed by God before Adam was placed in the garden, were already in the body of Adam but not yet in the body of Christ? In the beginning they seem to be separate corporate bodies from that of Adam. My take of the sheet vision is that Peter's individual body is representative of the church body corporate and he is being told to bring in individuals from all the Gentile corporate bodies. Are you saying these individuals are those not yet in the body of Moses, as Jude calls the OC preresurrection church, but they are in the body of Adam?

I can see how everyone today can anthropomorphically experience the human (adamic) condition without being of the body of Adam because we all live in a covenant with our own society. But Paul really was born into the body of Adam.

In the corporate body of Christ yet unsure if I was ever in the corporate body of Adam and even more unsure that I can return to it,
Eohn
Comment by Eohn Rhodes on August 31, 2013 at 10:21am
I commit a lot of 'sins' against my futurist church covenant. But if I lost faith in their !once saved always saved' doctrine I think that would be a covenant breaker.
Comment by Eohn Rhodes on August 31, 2013 at 10:31am
That would mean the death that is defeated is corporate and only individual at the head. Then first death individually would be leaving the body (an joining the Adamic body, anthropomorphic or not) and second death would be the point of no return. I'm not saying I believe this.
Comment by Norm on August 31, 2013 at 11:26am

Eohn,

Thanks for the questions, I’ll try to answer them as best I can but realize I consider myself on a journey in understanding the ramifications of OT, 2nd T and NT literature.  I reserve the right to update or change nuanced positions over time.  When I look at the gentiles in the Garden I typically look at how the metaphors are used in a consistent manner throughout Jewish literature.  I see the living creatures being brought to Adam in the Garden and he named them which means he had jurisdiction over them would be my take. Not physical jurisdiction but covenant authority which entails how the Jews considered their relationship with the Gentiles historically.  Adam found no helper so his helper was taken from his side which I read as being born biologically in the Adamic lineage. This can be followed throughout Genesis where the seed lineage is highlighted with long lifespans yet always short of the 1000 year desired eternal life.  Those outside this lineage had no covenant lifespans so they were essentially dead to God. We see Paul reaffirm this in Eph 2 where he says they are without God and hope.

The book of Ezekiel though expounds more on the Garden scene and says that the Nations and their rulers were there in the Garden represented as the Trees found therein. These Trees never lived up to the covenant expectations of God and were always brought down. We see the same metaphor describing King Neb in Daniel also along with the animals living under its branches. Ezekiel prophecies that a tender twig (chp 17) would be planted and under it there would be rest found where the Birds of Heaven would reside. This is very similar to Christ example of the seed planted in the Garden which grows to become the largest and the Birds of Heaven would find their rest. Those living creatures from Gen 1 & 2 though will find life at the time of messiah according to Eze 47. Also Gen 9 reaffirms this prophecy of the animals which I believe Peter is pulling directly from in Acts 10 with his instruction to eat of them.

Eze 47:7-9  As I went back, I saw on the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other.  … And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes.

Gen 9:1-2  And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.  (2)  The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. 3  Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you.

In the book of Jubilees which was written in the 1st or 2nd century BC says that Adam and the animals were expelled from the Garden and the animals mouths were closed (I believe this meant they had no jurisdiction over Adam/Israel covenant wise).  However Adam was instructed to offer sacrifices for his and the animals sins;  this mimics exactly the pattern followed by the Jews at their feast of weeks in which they were instructed to offer sacrifices for the Nations.  The story of Israel and the Nations can be very confusing and so it requires study and patience in deciphering what their meaning was. However I find their patterns consistent using the full Preterist hermeneutic.

Bottom line is that I believe Israel was the lifeline for themselves and the nations so with Israel’s failure due to embracing the Law the Nations also lost their link to right standing.  However through Christ “all flesh” is destroyed; both Israel after the flesh and the flesh of Nations (this is projected in the flood account which calls for all flesh being destroyed).  The flesh of Israel and the various fleshly manifestations of the Nations would both be destroyed at the Parousia. This is seen in Rev 20 where the culmination of the 1000 years at AD70 would see the destruction of Gog and Magog instantaneously with fire Rev 19:15  From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron.

At AD70 then all things had been defeated and the Great White Throne judgment occurred for both Gentile and Jew. Rev 20:13  And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.

Paul illustrated this pattern in Romans chp 2. Rom 2:9  There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek,  … 12  For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. … 14  For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15  They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts,

My impression from reading Paul and studying Jewish OT and 2nd T literature is that the Gentiles and Jews were always intertwined together from the very beginning of Genesis under the old covenant. However the better Heavens and Earth came with Christ the messiah and now there is no more Sea separation of the Jew and the Gentile. God’s Temple now dwells within the individual’s heart who embraces the spirit filled life as embodied through Jesus Christ. As Gentiles we may not have been in Adam’s body as was Israel but it matters not because Adam was just as “dead” as the Gentiles because he had eaten of the “Law” and lost his immortality.  Yet Adam was of the faith on which the promise was built while the Gentiles were not.

Rom 9:4-5  They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises.  (5)  To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

Those not in the Last Adam Christ I believe are simply outside that New Adamic covenant in which both Jew and Gentile can both partake freely. Those outside simply choose the way of old which is simply darkness as it always has been.

Hope this is helpful

Norm

Comment by Eohn Rhodes on August 31, 2013 at 11:28am
This even makes Tim's belief that our kids are born into covenant make sense to me. I have to reconcile first and second birth and resurrection now. Is it simply enter covenant or renew covenant now?
Comment by Eohn Rhodes on August 31, 2013 at 11:42am
Thanks Norm,
I am going to print that so I can slowly absorb all the different aspects you point out. It's making more sense every day. Thanks for sharing your understanding.
Eohn
Comment by Eohn Rhodes on August 31, 2013 at 7:13pm
Isaiah 42:5 Thus says the God Yahweh; He who is creating the heavens and stretching them out, He is putting his signature on the land and her offspring. He is giving breath to the people on the land and spirit to the ones entering the land.
Comment by Norm on August 31, 2013 at 9:22pm

Ezekiel 47:13 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “These are the boundaries of the land that you will divide among the twelve tribes of Israel as their inheritance, with two portions for Joseph. 14 You are to divide it equally among them. Because I swore with uplifted hand to give it to your ancestors, this land will become your inheritance. … 21 “You are to distribute this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel. 22 You are to allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the foreigners residing among you and who have children. You are to consider them as native-born Israelites; along with you they are to be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. 23 In whatever tribe a foreigner resides, there you are to give them their inheritance,” declares the Sovereign Lord.

Comment by Norm on September 15, 2013 at 10:01pm

David, thanks for the response. I agree that the individual is receptive of what occurs corporately.

The body of sin and the body of death are essentially the same IMO. One has no sin attributed to them when in Christ although they sin. The same in the original garden state where sin was in the world but is not attributed without law. Paul makes the case that the law was responsible for “the sin” which keeps those of faith from having their sins counted against them.  That is why the Law had to go.

I disagree that Philippians 3:21 is not addressing the corporate nature although of course the individual is found within the corporate body. I believe 1 Cor 15:48-49 is indeed corporate because its argument is categorically based upon group membership either in Adam or in Christ the last Adam.  I believe Paul is making an allusion to Adam and Eve in regard to the twinkling of an eye when the Covenant consummation occurs. I believe it is a Covenant juridical confirmation that is expected to happen instantaneously once all the Law and the Prophets fulfillment have been met in AD70. The reversal occurred with Adam and Eve where they simply opened their eyes to a new covenant jurisdiction than they originally received in the Garden.

I definitely believe one can remove themselves from covenant life by their choice. The bible has illustration after illustration beginning with Cain of those who were excluded by their choices and cast out of the land where there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Happened all the time and I see no reason to see why people do not continue to have the free will to make choices that have consequences.  To portray otherwise is IMO is treading very close to a form of Universalism in concept.

This has nothing to do with returning to a works mentality, if you are of faith in God through Christ. However  if you choose to change your mind and then reject Christ and God then you are no better off from those in the first century who did the same and suffered the second death.

Beg to differ with you on your definition of “sin was the culprit”.  Sin is the condition but Paul says that sin is not attributed when there is no law. He’s not talking about pagans there in Rom 5 and 7 but is talking about people in a faith walk with God. Sin is the human condition but the good news of the Garden was sin would not be held against those depending upon God to be their righteousness. Christ corrected that problem for ever and Paul makes it very clear that it boils down to getting rid of the law which was built around the works of the flesh.  Don’t have time to go into this in depth but I think Paul makes it very clear that trying self-righteousness via the Law was to make Christ of no use and is what got Adam kicked out of the Garden. Paul is using the Adam story to illustrate the problem with Mosaic Judaism as it presented itself.

Dave we still sin and it is in the world but for the faithful in God through Christ they do not have their sins counted against them.  Nothing Changed except a new headship pointing to life in the spirit instead of life in the Flesh.

Rom 8:2-3  For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.   For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned  the sin in the flesh,

I realize I didn’t address this deeply but this is a subject that we could write books upon and perhaps we could spend a little time on a few specifics going forward. 

Thanks again David. :)

Norm

Comment by Norm on September 16, 2013 at 11:17pm

Regarding Rom 8:11.  I believe the plural bodies is definitely intended but just what and or who were the Bodies.  There are two possible explanations as I see it. #1. Your interpretation may be correct and I can accept that application.  #2. It also may be that different covenant bodies are under consideration since we have Paul addressing both Jews and Gentiles and they both represent the fleshly bodies of each of their respective groups.  The context fits either way but contextually within the narrative and overall context of Romans and Paul’s writings it fits #2 better IMO. Their fleshly corporate bodies are being made alive into one new man/body through Christ. See Eph chapter 2.  Paul therefore has writings that would  further validate #2.

Rom 8:11  and if the Spirit of Him who did raise up Jesus out of the dead doth dwell in you, He who did raise up the Christ out of the dead shall quicken also your dying bodies, through His Spirit dwelling in you.

David, IMO Rom 5:13 is Paul addressing why the Patriarchs from Adam to Moses were still under Adam’s curse. It has little to do with what you are saying but is because the Federal Head Adam set the covenant precedent for those faithful to YHWH not enmeshed by law or commandment like Adam or Israel. He is saying even those of faith between Adam and Moses who did not have Law still were under death and yes it is because they like all  have natural sin which has to be covered. But Adam transgressed the covenant for the people of faith who still lived under that federal Headship. It took a new headship called the Last Adam/Christ to set aside their old covenant relegation to death. Heb 11 clearly says that some of them had saving faith like Abel, Noah and Abraham but their natural sins were not covered because Adam was supposed to be their high priest model and could not live up to it because he tried to live up to self-righteousness via a commandment just like Israel after Moses did. Adam therefore was a type of Christ as Paul points out in Rom 5:14 and illustrates the futility of men attempting to obtain their own self-righteousness via the flesh. Paul makes the case that the flesh as through Adam’s and Israel’s covenant  example could never achieve good enough status because it was weak and mortal.

1Co 15:50  I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

David, you’re putting words in my mouth and are creating a biblical  image that I don’t recognize or embrace.  The works of the Covenant is faith in God and yes that does require that one have it and doesn’t abandon God. If you want to classify faith as a works then so be it as I will stand by that firmly. See Heb 11 as exhibit #1.

David, you  seem to be applying Heb 8:11-12  beyond the context it is addressing and leaving the rest of the Letter to the Hebrews out of the equation. That’s called proof texting if one takes it out of the overall context and attempts to apply it too narrowly. Go back and read Heb chp 3 & 4 about the exhortation to remain faithful.

Heb 3:12  Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.

David you stated … “My response: It has everything to do with returning to a works mentality.  According to you, you have to work to keep yourself from losing your covenant life.  You have a list of "do's" you must to maintain, or else.  The children of the old covenant existed under the same condition.  Thus, you are under "law."

This is where you have grossly overstated anything I have presented, and David that is just a conjecture of yours.  Sorry but that is not accurate and disrespects my beliefs :(

David you also stated …” My response: I agree.  And YOU believe that YOUR righteousness (your obedience to Christ's commandments) is the condition that keeps you, as a believer, saved.  How is that not "self-righteousness"?

David you do not understand what I believe.  Perhaps you think because I’m church of Christ that I still adhere to some of their bad works mentality. I reject that just as I reject the bad Reformed and Calvinist theology of once saved always saved. My full Preterist hermeneutic allows me to peel off the layers of bad theology that the futurist church has acquired. How about you? Do you still adhere to the teachings of Calvin, Luther and the reformed church to filter how you are reading Romans?  I’m reading it as an independent full Preterist while I believe I detect you are still holding on to some futurist tendencies.  But Dave I understand how difficult Paul’s language is to discern for all of us and I do recognize we all are likely holding on to some futurist ideas. So even though I disagree with you on some of these issues I do respect your passionate striving to understand the word.

Blessings

Norm

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