[Click here for Part 2]
Armageddon (PART 3)
THE MANY THEATERS OF THE WAR (CONT.)
In the process of this conflict with Syria and Egypt (and perhaps other unnamed countries), the antichrist will dominate the country of Israel (the beautiful Land) and will replenish his war chest by raiding Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia (Daniel 11:43). Three areas that will escape the antichrist's wrath at this point are Edom, Moab and Ammon, which constitute the present nation of the Kingdom of Jordan. It is not explained why this area is left alone, but it may well be because these people are not revolting against the world dictator at that time. Before we move on to the other battle zones of Armageddon, we need to consider further how the whole land of Israel is subjugated under the heel of the antichrist and, as the steam of Armageddon heats up, Israel becomes the focal point of the satanic fury of the ultimate war.
SUBJUGATION OF ISRAEL (CONT.)
Going back to the beginning of the Tribulation, we see that the anti-christ entered into an agreement with Israel:
We are not told the content of this covenant, but it is probably through this agreement that the territorial integrity of Israel is guaranteed and the Temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem. Relations between the two parties rapidly deteriorate, however, and after 3 1/2 years the antichrist commits the damnable act of what both Daniel and Jesus call the "abomination of desolation:"
Paul describes this same event in further detail:
2 Thessalonians 2:3b-4
This damnable act by the "man of lawlessness" in the holy sanctuary of the Temple in Jerusalem is a critical moment in prophecy. This is probably the one act the antichrist does that causes the Jewish people to make a wholesale defection from him. They may have gone along with him as a wonder worker of peace and prosperity at the beginning, some even thinking he was the Messiah. However, when he claims to be god, this is more than the Jews can stand, and they revolt against him almost to a man. If you are interested in learning more about the Abomination of Desolation, you might want to read the book Zola and I wrote on the subject, Satan in the Sanctuary. Jesus warns the Jews, especially the believing Jews, to flee from Jerusalem into the wilderness. Many Israelites do flee from the wrath of the Serpent (Satan, represented by the antichrist) as described in Revelation:
In our next article, we will endeavor to identify the place in the wilderness to which Israel flees to escape the satanic persecution. It is not clear where in the wilderness the woman, representing Israel, flees. However, many scholars, including Walvoord and Zuck, suggest that the location is none other than the ancient hidden city of Petra:
This hiding place was not clearly identified. Some suggest that it might be Petra, fortress capital of the Nabateans in Edom, south of the Dead Sea. This city has a narrow access which could easily be blocked but which opens up into a large canyon capable of caring for many thousands of people.1
Those of you who have taken the Grand Tour with Zola that goes into the Kingdom of Jordan and down to Petra know what a remarkable place it is. One can well imagine that it could serve as a haven for the Jewish people fleeing from the wrath of the antichrist. When we get to one of the latter stages of Armageddon in Edom in a later article, we will see why many Biblical scholars believe that Petra might well be the place of refuge.
[Click here for Part 4]
Why Progressive Dispensationalism?
Zola's Bulletin Board
Previously we have offered an Eilat-Petra extension or a Mediterranean cruise in addition to our Israel study tour. Now you can do everything in one trip (August 30 - September 17), pick just one of the extensions (September 4-17 or August 30 - September 14) or just take our Deluxe Study Tour (September 4-14). We make incredibly efficient use of our precious time there, and to fully appreciate the value of Zola's tour, please send for our free color tour folder [or click here to submit an online request]. In addition, you may want our free list of Israel Tour Comparison Shoppers Questions. Please call Diana or Becky at (214) 696-9760, during office hours, or 1-800-WONDERS anytime.
In Toledo, OH, WLMB-40 has begun broadcasting Zola on Sunday evenings at 10:30.
A Note From Zola
The death of Hafez al-Assad of Syria reduces by one the number of mass murderers still running Arab nations. Surviving are Saddam Hussein, Mu'ammar al-Gadhafi of Libya, the Iranian priests, and of course, Nobel peace prize-winner Yasir Arafat.
When Assad murdered 20,000 of his own citizens and then paved over the city of Hama, one could have doubted his ability to die in bed. But Arab dictators maintain a strange reverence among the people they own. Saddam and Gadhafi somehow are loved. And Arafat, arguably out of his mind, lives a high life in plain sight of his poverty-stricken slaves and does all that he can to avoid peace with Israel which would mean the end of his usefulness as a "revolutionary."
Perhaps I should have just left it at the headline of Charles Krauthammer's recent article, "There Is No Reason to Regret the Passing of Hafez Assad."
I don't want to take up too much space in this "Letters to Zola" issue, but suffice it to say that I'm very heartened by the audience response to the various subjects we are undertaking. Whether hurling epithets at the likes of Dr. Gerald Schroeder or Moody Bible Institute and Dallas Theological Seminary, or giving ideas on the situation in Israel, our people fairly throb with excitement and responsiveness. While all of our projects aren't necessarily pleasant ones, they're all done in the service of our Lord, and in the most Biblical manner in which we know how. I appreciate your interest and your faithfulness and even your helpful criticisms.
In view of our receiving so many leters on Progressive Dispensationalism, we will begin to put the best of them in the upcoming book, Battles with Seminaries, and it should make for some very interesting reading. If it helps combat the lack of interest in Israel and prophecy that has gotten hold of our major seminaries, then it will have done its appointed work.
Moody, Dallas, and the others are very quiet when it comes to our complaints, but I can believe that at least elements of the faculty at each school are beginning to ask some very pointed questions. The major question would be, "Is it really worth getting a few extra students to distort Biblical doctrine and teach what we know is false?"
We will publish the names of the Dallas Seminary board members (see page 9) so that you may write to these gentlemen and see if you can interest them in making some changes. They rank higher than the presidents of seminaries, and they may have a better sense of the mission of the school. The sharp deterioration in interest in Israel and prophecy over the past decade or so seems to be the result of new administrations more interested in financial matters than in what is actually being taught.
And as for financial matters, I know one thing that seminaries respond to is cash. If you point out that you are no longer supporting an institution because of what it is teaching, that institution will take you seriously (in proportion to how much they may be losing). I personally do not give to places where bad doctrine is taught. And, having had experience over some years with Moody Bible Institute, Dr. McCall and I won't be depositing any money in their bank.
And I wish we could encourage the students at seminaries to simply rebel against mistakes. Christian heroes like Martin Luther, John Calvin, and John Wesley set out to correct errors in their own church teachings, and they truly moved mountains. Yet they were simple men. Of Wesley, it was said when he died, "He left a knife, a fork, two spoons, and the Methodist church."
If students would simply stand up and rebuke professors or even walk out of classrooms when they hear mistakes, then perhaps the seminaries can yet be corrected and rejuvenated. I fear that the hand of God will be removed, or has already been removed, from schools that have become simply self-perpetuating fund-raising organizations. Seminaries tend to become more liberalized and to broaden their doctrines to get more students and more donations as time goes on.
This simply must not be allowed to happen to the schools we depend on to provide our pastors, our missionaries, and our other church workers.
Let's face it. These schools belong to us and not to some new administration lately come by to raise some money. Sorry if I seem too blunt.
For those of you who still have an interest in the country where we will shortly begin spending 1,000 years, our September Tour of Israel is especially exciting. On this tour, the TV crew will be taping a new series of programs about Galilee, with me teaching on location. For the first time ever, we are offering the Ultra Grand Tour (August 30 through September 17). You can take a cruise of the Greek islands of Mykonos, Patmos, and Rhodes, see the Acropolis with its spectacular Parthenon and Mars Hill in Athens, tour Corinth, and Ephesus, Turkey, then tour Israel before traveling on to the beautiful resort city of Eilat at the southern tip of Israel on the Red Sea, and Petra in Jordan. Or you can choose only one of these extensions with a tour of Israel. The Grand Athens Tour (August 30 through September 14) takes you on the Greek cruise and then to Israel. The Grand Petra Tour (September 4-17) goes to Israel and then to Eilat and Petra. And, of course, you can choose our Deluxe Tour of Israel (September 4-14).
Our tour of Israel offers you the opportunity to see all the major Biblical sites including the Mt. of Beatitudes, the Jordan River (where you can be baptized just as our Lord was), Mt. Carmel, Megiddo, Nazareth, the Western Wall, the Mt. of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Upper Room, the Garden Tomb, Masada, and the Dead Sea. You will also tour the beautiful Golan Heights and thoroughly explore and learn about the Old City of Jerusalem. You will see the original Dead Sea Scrolls and tour the Holocaust Museum. Take a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, visit Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, tour Masada, pray in the Shepherds' Fields of Bethlehem. Float in the Dead Sea, shop the marketplaces of Israel, eat hearty Israeli meals of the fruits and vegetables grown in the Holy Land where God promised He would "multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field" (Ez. 36:30). See the lush fields, groves, and flowers that are like jewels in the midst of the desert, and know that God's promise has been fulfilled. Call Diana or Becky at 214-696-9760 during office hours to make your reservation or for more information, or call 1-800-WONDERS any time for a full-color brochure.
And remember to pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
In regard to your exposing wrong teaching, it's really sad that so many are turning away from the truth. I want to tell you of a happening here in our area.
We had a fine Christian school here, and five of my grandchildren were going there. The very fine minister/administrator continued to preach the truth as God's Word had it, and some of the bigwigs and money folks didn't like his preaching, so they got rid of him. Then they got a new, young preacher/administrator who had been studying to become a priest in the Catholic church, and he was on fire for God. Before every parent-teacher meeting, he read the KJV Bible and prayed. Things began to move in a wonderful way. Parents were beginning to shape up, and God began to move in a mighty way. At the end of the term, however, the bigwigs and money folks were angry and said he had to go to seminary. Well, he went there three months and came back a very changed person.
When school began in the fall school term, he no longer read from the Bible, nor did he pray. The seminary taught him that it wasn't teaching for today, that it was only for their time. He came to my house one day to see my grandson who was living with me, and I asked him why he had changed, and that is what he told me they had taught him. The fire had gone out, and he was now very cold. Before, you could feel the warm spirit, now nothing.
I now call them "cemeteries" instead of seminaries. Keep on keeping on till Jesus comes. God bless you all.
A child of the King,
Dear Zola and Staff,
I teach seminary for Luther Rice Seminary in Atlanta, GA. I am an adjunct professor at the Orlando Extension Center. This semester I am teaching "Daniel and Revelation." I am solidly premillennial, pre-Tribulational and, of course, dispensational. Here is a question. I was explaining to my class that the ten virgins of Matthew 25 did not represent the church but rather Israel. The five wise virgins being saved Israel and the five foolish being unbelieving Israel. I took them to the passage that speaks about "one being taken and one being left." I stated that this referred to the Kingdom. The one who is taken is taken away to judgment, and the one who is left is going into the Kingdom. One of my students, who is premill and pre-Trib, came up to disagree. He said that he did not agree with the ten virgins interpretation and that he did not agree with the "one being taken" argument either. He mentioned that he did believe that Luke 21 was talking about judgment and the Kingdom, but that Matthew 25 was not. Do you have any idea where this came from? Is it part of the Progressive Dispensationalism that you have addressed? I would appreciate your insights and counsel on this matter. Thanks for all your fine work and ministry. I have followed you for years through my Mom's Sunday school class.
Please let me know about these questions. Blessings.
Professor Robert C. White,
As you know, there are many things in the Old and New Testaments that
should be interpreted as referring to Israel, but may then be applied to
us today in a secondary manner. As the saying goes, "one interpretation,
many applications." The problem is that too many times an application is
made without first giving the interpretation. This leads to confusion.
Dr. Tom McCall
Professor Robert C. White,
As you know, there are many things in the Old and New Testaments that should be interpreted as referring to Israel, but may then be applied to us today in a secondary manner. As the saying goes, "one interpretation, many applications." The problem is that too many times an application is made without first giving the interpretation. This leads to confusion.
Dr. Tom McCall
Dear Brother Zola,
During spring break, I had time with my grandson in Florida. He is finishing his third year in Cedar Hill and is looking for a seminary to attend after his fourth year. I acquainted him with your ministry and instructed him with the DIET program.
I have, as you know, had you on our Missionary Budget each month. I'm thankful to the Lord for your stand in a world that has lost most of theirs. I'm a retired Fundamental Independent Baptist preacher of 40+ years. I'm not retired from preaching and soul winning, just pastoring.
In my many years of serving the Lord, I've seen the changes in the churches and Bible colleges. The only thing that keeps me going is the blessed hope of His soon coming. Maybe today.
I pray for your ministry. Please put my grandson on your mailing list so he can keep abreast of the times.
I want to challenge you to do two things, both of which I doubt you will do (I hope I'm wrong):
Zola, it is time for your readers to hear more than just the broken record you play over and over again about the evils of Progressive Dispensationalism. You owe it to your readers to let them hear the case for themselves from one of the Progressive Dispensationalists themselves. To this, you could then argue your case against it. All I have heard you do so far, Zola, is speak about its evils, but you do not give your readers an opportunity to decide for themselves!! (Do you trust your readers?)
In answering Dr. Pettit, you say, "Believe me, I understand your errors perfectly and so do my viewers and readers."
Let me go on record as saying this is untrue. I, for one, have never heard the case presented for Progressive Dispensationalism, so since I don't really understand the issues, how many others are in my position?
Are you afraid of letting "one of them" present their case in your newsletter? If you are not willing to do this, then Dr. Pettit may be right when he asks, "Why is Zola so afraid of Progressive Dispensationalism?"
Surely, my request is not too much to ask? And it would be the honest thing to do; i.e., letting them speak for themselves versus only giving us your biased viewpoint.
I hope you will honor my request. Please give it some prayer.
If you take our newsletter, you know that we are open to all points of
view. We have pleaded with the seminaries to have anyone at all defend
Progressive Dispensationalism, and we have not had a single reply . If
you can find anyone professor, student, or administrator willing
to come forward and defend this damaging false doctrine, I will be glad
to publish that defense and answer it.
If you take our newsletter, you know that we are open to all points of view. We have pleaded with the seminaries to have anyone at all defend Progressive Dispensationalism, and we have not had a single reply . If you can find anyone professor, student, or administrator willing to come forward and defend this damaging false doctrine, I will be glad to publish that defense and answer it.
I thank God for your ministry, and I highly applaud your efforts to combat error in the Bible colleges and seminaries. I, too, have been deeply concerned over the gradual disappearance of traditional Dispensational teaching in the churches over the last two or three decades, and the consequent de-emphasis on the importance of modern Israel.
However, in the May issue of the Levitt Letter, Dr. McCall mentions those who believe in egalitarianism between men and women, lumping them together with those who believe in Progressive Dispensationalism and those who doubt the literal interpretation of the Bible and the Messianic prophecies, thus making them guilty by association. Dr. McCall is a fair man, and he probably didn't mean that each category applied to everyone involved, but his unfortunate choice of wording would seem to imply this.
There are those who believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible and the Messianic prophecies, and because of their belief in old-time Dispensationalism, have come to the conclusion that the New Testament does teach egalitarianism. For example, Jessie Penn-Lewis, an old-school Dispensationalist, wrote a booklet in 1919 (now out of print) titled "The Magna Carta of Woman According to the Scriptures," in which she sets forth what she believes are Scriptural reasons for accepting egalitarianism in this dispensation. She was a friend of William R. Newell, assistant superintendent of Moody Bible Institute in the closing years of the 1800s, commissioned by Dwight L. Moody, and author of the song "At Calvary" and a famous commentary on Romans. No one can accuse him of being a Progressive Dispensationalist. Whether he agreed with Penn-Lewis on egalitarianism, I don't know, but her reasonings from a literal interpretation of Scripture need to be given due weight. Unfortunately, space keeps me from going into detail, or mentioning other believers in traditional Dispensationalism who also held to egalitarianism. Many of them believe the Dispensational division requires it.
For me, the jury is still out on this issue, but I just want people to know that we can't lump everyone in the same category. Guilt by association is seldom valid. I don't even really mean this to be a criticism, just an observation. Please keep up the good fight you are waging!
Kindest personal regards,
What we are attempting to do is show that the institutions that allow
one to be taught also tend to allow the other to be presented by the
faculty. We would contend that both are departures from the literal
interpretation of the Scriptures. Progressive Dispensationalism, for
instance, departs from the literal understanding of the throne of David,
which is to be restored when the Lord Jesus returns to the earth to
establish His Kingdom. The P-Ds consider the throne of David to be
figurative and already existing in Heaven now.
In a similar manner, the egalitarians depart from the literal
interpretation of the Word when they say that men and women, who indeed
are equal in standing in the Body of Christ, are also equal in function
in the local church. Men should in no way get involved in the intimate
teaching of women on how to raise children
any more than
women should get involved in the shepherding and discipling of a flock
of men in the local church
(2 Tim 2:2).
The Scriptures recognize and
enhance these innate differences in function.
The point we are making is that the schools that are teaching one error
also seem to be teaching the other error and are open to a host of
Dr. Tom McCall
What we are attempting to do is show that the institutions that allow one to be taught also tend to allow the other to be presented by the faculty. We would contend that both are departures from the literal interpretation of the Scriptures. Progressive Dispensationalism, for instance, departs from the literal understanding of the throne of David, which is to be restored when the Lord Jesus returns to the earth to establish His Kingdom. The P-Ds consider the throne of David to be figurative and already existing in Heaven now.
In a similar manner, the egalitarians depart from the literal interpretation of the Word when they say that men and women, who indeed are equal in standing in the Body of Christ, are also equal in function in the local church. Men should in no way get involved in the intimate teaching of women on how to raise children (Titus 2:4) any more than women should get involved in the shepherding and discipling of a flock of men in the local church (2 Tim 2:2). The Scriptures recognize and enhance these innate differences in function.
The point we are making is that the schools that are teaching one error also seem to be teaching the other error and are open to a host of others.
Dr. Tom McCall
The government in Washington seems to have been corrupted by big
influxes of cash. The law is another example, as ordinary lawyers are
paid vast fortunes for relatively routine amounts of work. Even Israel,
giving up land to its worst enemies, seems heavily influenced by gifts
of aid from Washington.
Perhaps that's all there is to it. Teaching bad doctrines is an evil
thing and "the love of money is the root of all evil" (1 Tim. 6:10).
The government in Washington seems to have been corrupted by big influxes of cash. The law is another example, as ordinary lawyers are paid vast fortunes for relatively routine amounts of work. Even Israel, giving up land to its worst enemies, seems heavily influenced by gifts of aid from Washington.
Perhaps that's all there is to it. Teaching bad doctrines is an evil thing and "the love of money is the root of all evil" (1 Tim. 6:10).
RE: 'Enough is Enough!' or 'It is time for another look at the time and space you are giving the Levitt/McCall Seminary Crusade and perhaps time to return to other subjects.'
...It was with a disappointment that the Levitt Letter, Volume 22, Number 6, arrived today. The past months have contained what is probably a very worthwhile campaign to educated readers to the straying teachings at some of the seminaries across the nation. Yes, I now know much better how to respond to the problems of differing views on Dispensational teaching, but I long for other knowledge. My suggestion is that you limit what is obviously very important to you and Dr. McCall to one page in the Levitt Letter and move on to other subjects. Differences need to be brought to others' attention and serious flaws challenged and that has been done (and I have little doubt that you will continue to watch and act on this subject). What would be nice would be if this was given a space, put into perspective, and use some of the print space for other things. There is still a lot I do not know about Israel, past and present, and of course one can never glean all the meaning from the Scriptures. You have a unique ability and resources to teach these things, and I wish you would redirect some of this talent....
. . . Even the letter from Dr. Couch with its eight points didn't really deserve front page status. After reading it, I have a mental picture of him because of some of the 'key' words he included and the generational attitudes they usually express....
. . . I hope you receive this with a smile, and then maybe a little reflection. Sincerely, J.S.
You want to be taught about Israel. Well, let me teach you this: There
is a subtle wave of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiment in the best of
our seminaries today, and that is evident by what they teach and what
they don't teach. If I don't complain if we all don't complain
there will someday be none left to teach about Israel. The rebuke
of those in error is a Godly mission.
You want to be taught about Israel. Well, let me teach you this: There is a subtle wave of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiment in the best of our seminaries today, and that is evident by what they teach and what they don't teach. If I don't complain if we all don't complain there will someday be none left to teach about Israel. The rebuke of those in error is a Godly mission.
Dear Zola or Spokesperson:
Regarding the changes taking place within our seminaries today, please let me say that my pastor and I, on more than one occasion, have had some rather sharp disagreements. To use his words, "this is where you and I have a tremendous difference of opinion on the interpretation of differing texts." Some of those disagreements occur merely as I grow in my walk with the Lord (in the form of questions). However, more than one of those disagreements have involved an understanding of God's plan for Israel in the latter days. Because I follow your teachings on this matter, I do not think that it is I who does not understand God's will for the future.
I know that you cannot have an analysis of all seminaries, but I was hoping that perhaps you may have an impression regarding the Southern Baptist Seminary, which is where my pastor not only is from, but where he also received his Doctorate degree. I suppose that I was really wondering if I should be more open to correction, or might it be that the seminary from which he is a graduate is, in fact, the problem in itself?
It is significant that one of the leading proponents of the new hybrid
Progressive Dispensationalism, Dr. Blaising, has moved from Dallas
Seminary to Southern Seminary. Progressive Dispensationalism is a
movement away from standard Dispensationalism and toward amillennialism
in its "spiritualized" interpretation of the kingdom of Christ.
One Southern Baptist seminary we know of that appears to be on the right
track is Southeastern Baptist Seminary, Dr. Paige Patterson, President.
I hope this information is helpful to you.
Dr. Tom McCall
It is significant that one of the leading proponents of the new hybrid Progressive Dispensationalism, Dr. Blaising, has moved from Dallas Seminary to Southern Seminary. Progressive Dispensationalism is a movement away from standard Dispensationalism and toward amillennialism in its "spiritualized" interpretation of the kingdom of Christ.
One Southern Baptist seminary we know of that appears to be on the right track is Southeastern Baptist Seminary, Dr. Paige Patterson, President. I hope this information is helpful to you.
Dr. Tom McCall
Finally, I have enough sense to look you up on the Internet. Unfortunately, you have vanished from your usual time slot in the Seattle area, and I have been trying for some time now to get my weekly feeding of the Jewishness of Christianity. It seems that you vanished when I needed you the most, but apparently that wasn't true. I lost not one, but two boys on Alaska Air Flight 261, and since that tragic time, I have been overwhelmed by the blessings and miracles of God. Don't get me wrong, the loss of the boys was/is dreadfully horrible, but somehow God's delicate hand lifted and carried each of us through a depressed quagmire of emotion into the gates of His holy glory and mercy.
I have enjoyed your articles on Replacement Theology. I ran into it as a baby Christian about 10-12 years ago in the South. Charismatic fellow, good speaker impressed me. Took some time to shake off that teaching. I'll send you the tape when I run across it.
Be cool and keep fighting the good fight. I appreciated you taking the time to explain the Jewishness of it all.
Shalom, Mr. B.
Dear Mr. B,
I can't tell you how sorry I am for your terrible loss, and I can only
say that I admire your steadfast faith. I am humbled that you are
reading our materials, and we will try to serve you as best we can.
Dear Mr. B,
I can't tell you how sorry I am for your terrible loss, and I can only say that I admire your steadfast faith. I am humbled that you are reading our materials, and we will try to serve you as best we can.
Israel Today Interview
The following is a portion of an interview with an officer from the South Lebanese Army (SLA) for more than 22 years. He recently escaped from South Lebanon when the Israelis withdrew.
Israel Today: Mr. Aleyan, what is going to happen to the SLA soldiers who are in Lebanon now, those who did not manage to get out?
Aleyan: They will have to appear before the Lebanese military courts, and those who killed Hizbollah [Iranian-backed Syrian guerillas] fighters during the war will be executed.
Israel Today: And now you will live in Israel?
Aleyan: That's right, but I hope that the government will do its best to help us and our familieswho are scattered all over Israel nowfirst of all to be reunited. We are starting a new life in Israel.
Israel Today: Do you want to stay in Israel?
Aleyan: I have told my wife that we will not move to Italy or some other European country. We will stay in Israel until we are allowed to move back to our villages in South Lebanon.
Israel Today: Wasn't it difficult for you, a Moslem, to fight for the Jewish state?
Aleyan: No! And first of all, let me say that I am not the only
one who feels that way. The Hizbollah has no place in Lebanon. Besides,
the Israelis are not the evil people they are portrayed to be in the
Copyright © 2000 by Zola Levitt Ministries, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. All rights reserved. Brief passages may be quoted in reviews or other article. For all other use, please get our written approval.