The Articles of Ellen Gould Harmon White as printed in the Signs of the Times.
November 20, 1879 The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and His Angels.
Filed under: EG White Articles

Chapter XIII.
and the .
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By Mrs. E. G. White.
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The course which Jacob had pursued in deceiving his father was ever before him. He knew that his long exile was the result of his own deviation from strict , the . He pondered over these things day and night, his him, and making his journey very sad. How he longed to again go over the ground where he had stumbled and brought the upon his . Before his he had a sense of which made him brave under difficulties, and cheerful amid trouble and gloom. To this deep, abiding , he had long been a stranger. Yet he remembered with the which had shown him, the of the shining ladder, and the promises of and . In solemn review of the mistakes and errors of his life, and the dealings of God with him, he humbly acknowledged his own , the great of , and the prosperity which had crowned his labors.

As the hills of his native land appeared before him in the distance, the heart of the patriarch was deeply stirred. He had proved his God, and found his promises unfailing; he believed that God would be with him; yet as he drew near to Edom he had many fears of Esau, who was now able to do his younger brother great injury if so disposed. Again the Lord encouraged the heart of his servant with a token of divine care and protection. Directly before him, as if leading the way, he beheld two armies of heavenly angels marching as a guide and guard; and when he saw them he broke forth in language of praise, and exclaimed, “This is God’s host.” And he called the name of the place Mahanaim, which signifies two hosts, or camps.

Although Jacob had so great evidence that God would protect him, he felt that he himself had something to do for his own safety. He therefore sent his servants with a conciliatory message to Esau, who dwelt at Mount Seir, in the country of Edom. He did not claim the precedence for himself, but courteously addressed his brother as a superior, hoping thus to appease the anger which his former course had excited. Esau was informed of his younger brother’s safe return with abundant possessions of cattle and servants, and that he would be most happy to meet him with fraternal feelings. The messengers returned to their master with the tidings that Esau was advancing to meet him attended by four hundred men; and no response was sent to the friendly message.

It appeared certain that Esau was coming in anger to seek revenge. A feeling of terror pervaded to entire camp. Jacob was in distress. He could not go back, and he feared to advance. His company was few in numbers, and wholly unprepared for an encounter. He accordingly divided them into two bands, that if one should be attacked, the other might have an opportunity to escape. He would not fail to do all in his power to preserve his own life and the life of those dependent upon him, and then he pleaded with God for his presence and protecting care. He did not rely upon his feelings, nor upon any goodness which he possessed, but on the sure promise of God: “Thou saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee. I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which thou hast showed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan, and now am I become two bands. Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children.”

Jacob halted in his journey to mature plans for appeasing the wrath of his brother. He would not rush recklessly into danger, but sent large presents to Esau by the hands of his servants, with a message well calculated to make a favorable impression. He sent his wives and children, with all his substance forward on the journey, while he himself remained behind. He thought the sight of that helpless little company would touch the feelings of Esau, who, though bold and revengeful, was yet pitiful and tender toward the weak and unprotected. If his eye rested first upon Jacob, his rage might be excited, and they would all perish.

Jacob wished to be alone with his God. It was midnight. All that made life dear to him was at a distance, exposed to danger and death. The bitterest drop in his cup of anguish was the thought that his own sin had brought this great peril upon his wives and children, who were innocent of the sin of which he was guilty. He had decided to spend the night in humiliation and prayer. God could soften the heart of his brother. God was his only refuge and strength. In a desolate place, infested by robbers and murderers, he bowed in deep distress upon the earth; his soul was rent with anguish, and with earnest cries mingled with tears he made his prayer before God. Strong hands are suddenly laid upon his shoulders. He immediately grapples his assailant, for he feels that this attack is a design upon his life; that he is in the hands of a robber or murderer. The contest is severe; neither utters a word; but Jacob puts forth all his strength, and does not relax his efforts for a moment. Thus the struggle continued, until near the break of day, when the stranger placed his finger upon Jacob’s thigh, and he was crippled instantly. The patriarch now discerns the character of his antagonist. He knows that he has been in bodily conflict with a heavenly messenger, and this is why his almost superhuman efforts did not gain for him the victory. He is now disabled and suffering keenest pain, but he will not loosen his hold. He falls, a conquered foe, all penitent and broken, upon the neck of the angel.

In the inspired history of this event, the one who wrestled with Jacob is called a man; Hosea calls him the angel; while Jacob said, “I have seen God face to face.” He is also said to have had power with God. It was the Majesty of Heaven, the Angel of the covenant, that came, in the form and appearance of a man, to Jacob. The divine messenger uses some force to release himself from the grasp of Jacob; he pleads with him, “Let me go, for the day breaketh.” But Jacob had been pleading the promises of God; he had been trusting his pledged word, which is as sure and unfailing as his throne; and now, through humiliation, repentance, and self-surrender, this sinful, erring mortal, can make terms with Jesus Christ: “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” What boldness is here manifested! What lofty faith, what perseverance and holy trust! Was this presumption and undue familiarity on the part of Jacob? Had it been of this character he would not have lived through the scene. His was not a self-exalted, boastful, presumptuous claim, but the assurance of one who realizes his weakness and unworthiness and the ability of God to fulfill his promise. The mistake which had led to Jacob’s sin in obtaining the birthright by fraud was now opened before him. He had not trusted God and his promises as he should have done. He had sought by his own works and power to bring about that which God was abundantly able to perform in his own time and way.

“And when he saw that he prevailed not against him”–the Majesty of Heaven prevailed not against a man of dust, a sinful mortal! The reason is, that man has fastened the trembling hand of faith upon the promise of God, and the divine, messenger cannot leave him who is hanging repentant, weeping, helpless upon his neck. His great heart of love cannot turn away from the suppliant without granting his request. Christ did not wish to leave him unblest when his soul was shrouded with despair; for he is more willing to give good things to them that ask him than are parents to give to their children.

The angel inquired of Jacob, “What is thy name?” and on being informed he said, “Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, [the supplanter] but Israel; for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” Jacob had received the blessing for which his soul had longed; his sin as a supplanter and deceiver was pardoned. The crisis in his life had passed. God shows, in his dealing with Jacob, that he will not sanction the least wrong in any of his children; neither will he cast off and leave to despair and destruction those who are deceived and tempted and betrayed into sin. Doubt, perplexity, and remorse had embittered Jacob’s life; but now all was changed, and how sweet was the rest and peace in God, in the assurance of his restored favor.

“Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed; he wept, and made supplication unto him; he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us, even the Lord God of hosts; the Lord is his memorial.” What a morning of light and joy dawned upon Jacob. The dark, despairing shadows brooding over him the previous night had disappeared. The brightness of the sun, shining in its glory, fitly represented the heavenly light that filled his soul. He was crippled in body, but his spirit was strong in God. He bore some marks of the battle, but the victory was his.

In this instance we see of what value is man in the sight of the infinite God. When a teacher of men upon the earth, the One who appeared to Jacob said, “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings? and not one of them is forgotten before God. But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” The promises of God are so sure to those who trust in him that he will suffer the heavens and the earth to pass away, rather than fail to fulfill the desire of them that fear him. The great lessons of peace, humility, and trust, are to be learned by all the followers of Christ.

While Jacob was wrestling with the angel on that eventful night, another angel, one of the host which the patriarch had seen guarding him in the way, was sent to move upon the heart of Esau in his sleeping hours. In his dream he saw his brother an exile from his father’s house for twenty years through fear of his anger; he witnessed his sorrow to find his mother dead; and he beheld him encompassed with the hosts of God. Esau related this dream to his four hundred armed men, and charged them not to injure Jacob, for the God of his father was with him.

The two companies at last approach each other; the sturdy chieftain with his soldiers on one side, and on the other, Jacob, pale from his recent conflict, and halting at every step, yet with a benignity and peaceful light reflected upon his countenance; in the rear an unarmed company of men, women, and children, followed by the flocks and herds. Supported by his staff the patriarch went forward to meet that band of warriors, bowing himself repeatedly to the ground as a token of respect, while his little retinue awaited the issue with the deepest anxiety. They saw the arms of Esau thrown about the neck of Jacob, pressing to his bosom him whom he had so long threatened with direst vengeance. Revenge is now changed to tender affection, and he who once thirsted for his brother’s blood shed tears of joy, his heart melted with the softest endearments of love and tenderness. The soldiers in Esau’s army saw the result of that night of weeping and of prayer; but they knew nothing of the conflict and the victory. They understood the feelings of the patriarch, the husband and father, for his family and his possessions; but they could not see the connection that he had with God, which had gained the heart of Esau from Him who has all hearts in his hand. Thus it has ever been with worldlings; the secret of the Christian’s strength is not discerned by them. His inner life they cannot understand.

Esau looked with pleasure upon his brother’s possessions. He acknowledged the presents tendered to him by Jacob, but declined to accept them, as he already possessed abundance. But Jacob urged the matter. He was a prince with God, yet as subdued and humble as a little child. “And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand; for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me. Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it.”

Esau invited Jacob to his home in Seir, and offered to accompany him on the journey. But Jacob had no disposition to accept the offer. He knew that Esau was now under the direct influence of the Spirit of God; when another spirit should come upon him he might greatly change in feelings. Jacob did not refuse the offer, but presented the true condition of his party, his flocks and herds; that they could not travel with the expedition which would be agreeable to Esau and his band. He urged him to return to his own place, while the party would follow on slowly. Esau desired to leave with his brother soldiers to guard him and his company; but Jacob had evidence that they were guarded by a mighty host of heavenly angels, and he courteously declined the favor. The brothers parted with tender feelings.
                           (To be Continued.)

Jenny @ 6:30 pm
February 6, 1879 The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and His Angels
Filed under: EG White Articles

                                  Chapter Five,
                               Cain and Abel.
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                              By Mrs. E. G. White
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and , the sons of , were very unlike in . Both acknowledged , both professed to him; but while Abel loved and feared God, Cain cherished feelings, and murmured against him because of the sentence pronounced upon Adam, and because the ground was cursed for his . These brothers had been instructed in regard to the provision for the of the . They were required to carry out a system of humble , showing their for God, and their entire dependence upon the promised by slaying the firstlings of the flock, and in the most solemn manner presenting them, with the , as an to God. Thus they were ever to keep before their minds the consequences of , and the promise of a to come.

God had made known to Adam that without the shedding of blood there could be no remission of sin. But Cain was unwilling to follow strictly the plan of obedience, to procure a lamb and offer it with the fruit of the earth. He brought only an offering of the fruit, thus disregarding the requirement of God. And he was not even particular to bring the best of the fruits. Abel advised his brother not to come before the Lord without the blood of a sacrifice; but Cain, being the eldest, would not listen to him. He despised his counsel, and with murmuring and infidelity in his heart with regard to the promised Sacrifice, and the necessity of the sacrificial offerings, he presented his gift.

Abel brought of the firstlings of the flock, as God had commanded, and with full faith in the Messiah to come he presented the offering. God had respect unto this sacrifice, and fire came down from Heaven and consumed it. But Cain saw no manifestation that his offering was accepted.

Abel came in God’s appointed way, while Cain followed the promptings of his own heart, in opposition to the command of God. “By faith, Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.” As Abel looked upon the expiring victim he was impressed with the painful fact that the wages of sin is death. He saw that it was transgression of God’s law which had separated man from his Creator, and that the sacrifice of life alone could meet the claims of the broken law. Through the dying struggles and streaming blood of the victim, he saw by faith the Son of God dying for the guilty race.

An important lesson may be learned from the history of the offerings of Cain and Abel. The claims of infinite justice, and the demands of God’s law, can be met only by the atoning sacrifice of Christ. The most costly offering that man may bring to God, the fruit of his toil, his physical and intellectual acquirements, already belong to his Creator. Man has nothing which he has not received. Neither material wealth nor intellectual greatness will atone for the sin of the soul. Cain scorned the idea that it was necessary to come to God with an offering of blood. In the same spirit many in our day refuse to believe that the blood of Christ was shed as a sacrifice for the sins of men. Although Cain chose to disregard the command of God, he brought his offering with great confidence. He looked upon it as the fruit of his own labor, and hence as belonging to himself; and in presenting it to God he felt that he was placing his Creator under obligations to him. The popular religion of the day virtually teaches the same thing, that men may by their good works merit the blessing of God. Many feel that it is a condescension on their part to make a profession of religion; and that in so doing they are conferring a favor upon God. And there are multitudes who have no desire to come to God’s terms, but who make terms for themselves, and expect God to accept them. Such a religion is of the same character as that of Cain. The great question should be, What can I do to meet the approval of God? not, How can I best please myself?

Abel trusted wholly in the merits of the atoning sacrifice of Christ. It was this faith that connected him with God. The promise of a Redeemer was dimly understood; but the sacrificial offerings cast light upon the promise. Cain had the same opportunity of learning and accepting these truths as had Abel. God did not accept one and reject the other without sufficient reason. Abel believed and obeyed; Cain doubted and rebelled. God is no respecter of persons, yet he will reward the obedient, and punish the disobedient.

When Cain saw that his offering was not accepted, he was very angry with the Lord, and with his brother. But God, in his infinite mercy, condescended to send an angel to Cain, to converse with him. The angel inquired the reason of his anger, and informed him that if he would follow the directions which God had given he would respect his offering. But if he would not humbly submit to God’s arrangements, and believe and obey him, his offering could not be accepted.

There had been no injustice on the part of God, and no partiality shown to Abel; if he would do well he would be accepted of God, and his brother should listen to him, and he should take the lead, because he was the eldest. But even after being thus faithfully instructed, Cain did not repent. Instead of censuring and abhorring himself for his unbelief, he still complained of the injustice and partiality of God. And in his jealousy and hatred he contended with Abel, and reproached him. Abel meekly pointed out his brother’s error, and endeavored to convince him that the wrong was in himself. But Cain hated his brother from the moment that God manifested to him the tokens of his acceptance. Abel sought to appease his wrath by pointing to the compassion of God in saving the lives of their parents, when he might have brought upon them immediate death. He told Cain that God loved them, or he would not have given his Son, innocent and holy, to suffer the wrath which man by his disobedience deserved to bear. While Abel justified the plan of God, Cain became enraged, and his anger increased and burned against Abel because he would not join him in his rebellion, until in his rage he slew him.

God inquired of Cain for his brother, and he attempted to conceal his guilt by uttering a falsehood: “I know not; am I my brother’s keeper?” God informed Cain that he knew in regard to his sin,–that he was acquainted with his every act, and even the thoughts of his heart, and said to him, “Thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand. When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength. A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.” The curse at first pronounced upon the earth had been felt but lightly; but now a double curse rested upon it.

Cain and Abel represent the two classes, the righteous and the wicked, the believers and unbelievers, which should exist from the fall of man to the second coming of Christ. Cain slaying his brother Abel, represents the wicked who will be envious of the righteous, and will hate them because they are better than themselves. They will be jealous of the righteous, and will persecute and put them to death because their right-doing condemns their sinful course.

Adam’s life was one of sorrow, humility, and continual repentance. As he taught his children and grand-children the fear of the Lord, he was often bitterly reproached for the sin which had resulted in so much misery to his posterity. When he left beautiful Eden, the thought that he must die thrilled him with horror. He looked upon death as a dreadful calamity. He was first made acquainted with the terrible reality of death in the human family by his own son Cain slaying his brother Abel. Filled with the bitterest remorse for his own transgression, deprived of his son Abel, and looking upon Cain as his murderer, and knowing the curse which God had pronounced upon him, Adam’s heart was bowed down with grief. Most bitterly did he reproach himself for his first great transgression. He entreated pardon from God through the promised Sacrifice. Deeply had he felt the wrath of God for his crime committed in Paradise. He witnessed the general corruption which finally provoked God to destroy the inhabitants of the earth by a flood. Though the sentence of death pronounced upon him by his Maker at first appeared so terrible to him, yet after he had lived some hundreds of years, it looked just and merciful in God, thus to bring to an end a miserable life.

As Adam witnessed the first signs of decay in the falling leaf and in the drooping flowers, he mourned more deeply than men now mourn over their dead. The dying flowers were not so great a cause of grief, because they were more tender and delicate; but when the tall stately trees cast off their leaves to decay, it presented before him the general dissolution of beautiful nature, which God had created for the especial benefit of man.

To his children, and to their children, to the ninth generation, Adam delineated the perfections of his Eden home; and also his fall and its dreadful results, and the load of grief brought upon him on account of the rupture in his family, which ended in the death of Abel. He related to them the sufferings which God had brought him through to teach him the necessity of strictly adhering to his law. He declared to them that sin would be punished, in whatever form it existed; and he entreated them to obey God, who would deal mercifully with them if they should love and fear him.

Adam was commanded to teach his descendants the fear of the Lord, and, by his example of humble obedience, lead them to highly regard the offerings which typified a Saviour to come. Adam carefully treasured what God had revealed to him, and handed it down by word of mouth to his children and children’s children. By this means the knowledge of God was preserved.

The Sabbath was instituted in Eden and observed by our first parents before the fall. Because Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command, and ate of the forbidden fruit, they were expelled from Eden; but they observed the Sabbath after their fall. They had experienced the bitter fruits of disobedience, and learned what every one who tramples upon God’s commands will sooner or later learn, that God means just what he says, and that he will surely punish the transgressor. Those who venture to lightly esteem the day upon which Jehovah rested, the day which he sanctified and blessed, the day which he has commanded to be kept holy, will yet know that all the precepts of his law are alike sacred, and that death is the penalty of the transgression.

On account of the special honors which God had conferred upon the seventh day, he required his people to number by sevens, lest they should forget their Creator who made the heavens and the earth in six days and rested on the seventh. The descendants of Cain were not careful to respect the day upon which God had rested. They chose their own time for labor and for rest, regardless of Jehovah’s special command. There were two distinct classes upon the earth. One class were in open rebellion against God’s law, while the other obeyed his commandments, and revered his Sabbath.

Jenny @ 8:51 am
March 14, 1878 The Law and the Gospel.
Filed under: EG White Articles

By Mrs. E. G. White.
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When rejected they rejected the foundation of their . And, on the other hand, the of today who claim , but reject the are making a mistake similar to that of the deceived . Those who profess to cling to Christ, centering their hopes on him, while they pour upon the , and the , are in no safer position than were the . They cannot understandingly call to , for they are unable to properly explain what they are to of. The , upon being exhorted to forsake his , has a right to ask, What is ? Those who respect the law of God can answer, Sin is the . In confirmation of this the says, I had not known sin but by the law.

Those only who acknowledge the binding claim of the can explain the nature of the . came to between , to make man one with God by bringing him into to his law. There was no power in the law to its . Jesus alone could pay the sinner’s debt. But the fact that Jesus has paid the of the does not give him license to continue in of the law of God; but he must henceforth live in to that law.

The law of God existed before the or else could not have . After the the of the law were not changed, but were definitely arranged and expressed to meet man in his . Christ, in counsel with , instituted the system of : that , instead of being immediately visited upon the , should be transferred to a which should prefigure the great and perfect offering of the .

The sins of the people were transferred in figure to the officiating priest, who was a mediator for the people. The priest could not himself become an offering for sin, and make an atonement with his life, for he was also a sinner. Therefore, instead of suffering death himself, he killed a lamb without blemish; the penalty of sin was transferred to the innocent beast, which thus became his immediate substitute, and typified the perfect offering of Jesus Christ. Through the blood of this victim, man looked forward by faith to the blood of Christ which would atone for the sins of the world.

If Adam had not transgressed the law of God, the ceremonial law would never have been instituted. The gospel of good news was first given to Adam in the declaration made to him that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head; and it was handed down through successive generations to Noah, Abraham, and Moses. The knowledge of God’s law, and the plan of salvation were imparted to Adam and Eve by Christ himself. They carefully treasured the important lesson, and transmitted it by word of mouth, to their children, and children’s children. Thus the knowledge of God’s law was preserved.

Men lived nearly a thousand years in those days, and angels visited them with instruction directly from Christ. The worship of God through sacrificial offerings was established, and those who feared God acknowledged their sins before him, and looked forward with gratitude and holy trust to the coming of the Day Star, which should guide the fallen sons of Adam to heaven, through repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Thus the gospel was preached in every sacrifice; and the works of the believers continually revealed their faith in a coming Saviour. Jesus said to the Jews: “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?”

It was impossible, however, for Adam, by his example and precepts to stay the tide of woe which his transgression had brought upon men. Unbelief crept into the hearts of men. The children of Adam present the earliest example of the two different courses pursued by men with regard to the claims of God. Abel saw Christ figured in the sacrificial offerings. Cain was an unbeliever in regard to the necessity of sacrifices; he refused to discern that Christ was typified by the slain lamb; the blood of beasts appeared to him without virtue. The gospel was preached to Cain as well as to his brother; but it was to him a savor of death unto death, because he would not recognize, in the blood of the sacrificial Lamb, Jesus Christ the only provision made for man’s salvation.

Our Saviour, in his life and death, fulfilled all the prophecies pointing to himself, and was the substance of all the types and shadows signified. He kept the moral law, and exalted it by answering its claims as man’s representative. Those of Israel who turned to the Lord, and accepted Christ as the reality shadowed forth by the typical sacrifices, discerned the end of that which was to be abolished. The obscurity covering the Jewish system as a vail, was to them as the vail which covered the glory upon the face of Moses. The glory upon the face of Moses was the reflection of that light which Christ came into the world to bring for the benefit of man.

While Moses was shut in the mount with God, the plan of salvation, dating from the fall of Adam, was revealed to him in a most forcible manner. He then knew that the very angel who was conducting the travels of the children of Israel was to be revealed in the flesh. God’s dear Son, who was one with the Father, was to make all men one with God who would believe on, and trust in him. Moses saw the true significance of the sacrificial offerings. Christ taught the gospel plan to Moses, and the glory of the gospel, through Christ, illuminated the countenance of Moses so that the people could not look upon it.

Moses himself was unconscious of the beaming glory reflected upon his face, and knew not why the children of Israel fled from him when he approached them. He called them to him, but they dared not look upon that glorified face. When Moses learned that the people could not look upon his face, because of its glory, he covered it with a vail.

The glory upon the face of Moses was exceedingly painful to the children of Israel because of their transgression of God’s holy law. This is an illustration of the feelings of those who violate the law of God. They desire to remove from its penetrating light which is a terror to the transgressor, while it seems holy, just, and good to the loyal. Those only who have a just regard for the law of God can rightly estimate the atonement of Christ which was made necessary by the violation of the Father’s law.

Those who cherish the view that there was no Saviour in the old dispensation, have as dark a vail over their understanding as did the Jews who rejected Christ. The Jews acknowledged their faith in a Messiah to come in the offering of sacrifices which typified Christ. Yet when Jesus appeared, fulfilling all the prophecies regarding the promised Messiah, and doing works that marked him as the divine son of God; they rejected him, and refused to accept the plainest evidence of his true character. The Christian church, on the other hand, who profess the utmost faith in Christ, in despising the Jewish system virtually deny Christ, who was the originator of the entire Jewish economy.

Jenny @ 5:30 pm