Promise of Jesus Coming:LITTLE GODS AND BROKEN POTS (C3)
Tiny imaginations create potsherd gods.
Prophecy is often like one of Claude Monet’s impressionistic paintings, perhaps like one of his “Gothic Cathedrals.” There are dots of specific color applied to the canvas beside other dots. When we stand close and first examine the features, they seem confused and blurred. When we stand back to see the overall pattern, suddenly the meaning of each dot converges in the eye and we see the whole as a masterpiece. God’s brush likewise paints detail after complimentary detail through His Word, until He unveils to our eyes the whole picture and we can admire how Scripture reveals His symmetry. So now, we can look at the completed picture of God’s Word and we see truth which was hidden to Old Testament Believers who saw only their parts of God’s plan.
Jesus chose to paint His testimony in prophecy. The more completely we rightly can see God’s precepts, the clearer we see truth about Him. Match the lines, discern the patterns, and we discover how perfectly God has divided His Word.
We remember that Paul was called to minister to Jews and Gentiles, to all men, about a mystery, a fellowship, called the Church. When Paul said that before him, God had declared to His people this mystery, it obviously means that Old Testament prophets wrote what they did not understand. Since Paul, all men can see what was once a mystery to those ancient writers.
Watch the development of this mystery (Isa. 28:10), as seen from New Testament perspective. Paul used Scripture as our authority on Scripture. “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God Who created all things by Jesus Christ” (Eph. 3:9). “Even the mystery which hath been hid from the past and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints.” (Col. 1:26)This is the mystery of which Paul had special knowledge. “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory,” (1 Cor. 2:7). “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery . . . Whereby . . . ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ,” (Eph. 3:3,4). “[A]ccording to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began.” (Rom. 16:25)“[T]his mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:27). “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church,” (Eph. 5:32). The end of His Mysteries is declared from long ago (Rev. 10:7). “. . . [T]he mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.”
THE RAPTURE (UPSPRINGING) IS IN ISAIAH 45
Remember Isaiah’s words: “Drop down ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the Lord hath created it.” (Isa. 45:8).
At this Upspringing, the dead in Christ will be resurrected from the grave, “together” with all the living believers who will be changed. “. . . We [living believers] shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1 Cor. 15:51,52).
“All” means that no true Believer will remain here. We will all spring up, “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them [that were in the graves] in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thes. 4:17).
This whole process will take just the twinkling of an eye at the church’s last trump. Remember, Paul’s epistles were addressed to all the churches. This is not Israel’s last Tribulation trump (Rev. 10:7), but the last trump of the church, our call to the Rapture (1 Cor. 15:52).
The “Upspringing” is the first Biblical description which is identical to what we call the “Rapture.” The “Upspringing” has a clear meaning and, like the term Rapture, seems better than repeating the whole description each time we refer to His Coming to receive the church in the air and take us home with Him. Though this study will not establish the date of His coming, it will show the timing of events of the Upspringing.
In Jesus’ coming for the church, the righteousness of heaven will descend, and the righteousness of heaven and earth will spring up together. It is easily distinguished from Jesus’ “Faithful Judgment Throne Coming.” That will be the Faithful Warrior coming to the Earth with His bride to execute war at the end of the Tribulation. “And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.” (Rev. 19:11)
At this later Faithful Judgment Throne Coming, Christ will return to Earth to gather His remnant of new Tribulation Believers (wheat-crop of Endurers) to His threshing floor of separation. This Faithful Judgment Throne Coming will preserve the Tribulation survivor’s human seed, illustrated by wheat. These survivors will preserve human seed, to populate Earth in the Millennium. Noah’s family exited the Ark in human bodies capable of producing children from the lineage of Adam. So the flesh of those Enduring Tribulation Believers’ must be saved (Mat. 24:22) to bear children in the Millennial Kingdom.
God’s Faithful Servant will endure to enter into the Millennial Kingdom. This will be on Earth. We will have human bodies and rule over God’s goods (Mat. 24:47). Israel will not “Spring up together” like “all” the saints who were caught up before the Tribulation.
Some Tribulation Believers who will be martyred will join the Old Testament Believers like Daniel (12:13) as the final part of the First Resurrection. Many martyrs will rule in the Millennium with Christ (Rev. 20:6).
A proper understanding of the contrast between Jesus’ Upspringing-Coming and the Faithful Judgment Throne Coming will clarify the springing up. This upspringing to ever be with the Lord will be unique to the Raptured. As Isaiah 45:8 predicts, the dead in Christ will rise together in the air with those of us that are alive and remain. We saw that this description matches the Rapture of the Church. You and I will be part of that Upspringing group.
THE TRIBULATION IS ALSO IN ISAIAH 45
God also predicted His plans for when Israel will believe and flee in the Tribulation. “Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confused, world without end” (Isa. 45:17).
Shame and confusion for Israel will end. Some Jewish individuals have experienced this freedom already. They have realized that they had rejected Yeshua/Jesus. Their national pride has melted by the conviction that all sinners feel as they come to know Jesus. In the Tribulation, the shame and confusion of the entire nation of Israel will clear into focus. Many will see Him as their promised Messiah. From the Tribulation into the Millennium, deliverance waits for God’s remnant until the time comes to pass. “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord has said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call” (Joel 2:32).
TIME AND MOTIVES HAVE HIDDEN HIS PRECEPTS
The Lord’s servants, the Old-and-New Testament prophets, and even His angels have struggled through the centuries to understand prophetic things (1 Pet. 1:11,12). Although God’s plan was already concealed in His Word, it was not God’s time to reveal it. Those who searched, but were not dogmatic about their theories because God’s time had not yet come, were in good company. Those humble, sincere searchers are very different from people who have dogmatically distorted Scripture to fit their distorted potsherd schemes.
I believe that most people who invent new falsehoods reach points where they know they are superimposing their own ideas on God’s plans. These inventors may insist their fabrications are true while they consciously distort Scripture. Others simply repeat legends. These errors were received from past generations to whom the understanding was still shadowed. God told Daniel that some things were not for him to understand. Daniel accepted that these things were reserved for the time of the end.
JESUS’ TWIN PRECEPTS ARE THE BASIS OF HIS PROPHETIC TESTIMONY
Four verses after the Millennial promise of Isaiah 45:17, God rested His ability to predict the future on three parts of His nature. He said that, from ancient time, He dictated the future:
(1) By His sovereignty,
(2) By His justice, and
(3) By His salvation:
“Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together; who hath declared this from ancient time? Have not I the Lord? And  there is no god else beside me;  a just God; and  a Savior; there is none else beside.” (Isa. 45:21).
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WE HAVE BEEN SMOTHERED BY CONFUSION ABOUT HIS COMING
The doctrine of the Pre-tribulation Rapture says that Jesus will come again before the seven-year Tribulation to rapture the Born-again Church and remove us to heaven. Partial Rapturists say He will Rapture only a qualified part of the Believers. Mid-Trib. Rapturists say He will Rapture all Believers in the middle of the Tribulation. Later in the Tribulation comes a new theory called “the Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church” which is a late tribulation Rapture. Thepost-Tribulation theory places the Rapture near the end of the Tribulation. The list goes on. Only one of these can be true.
God knew men would distort His testimony. Their distortions would cause the world to mock. So, right between the descriptions of the Rapture and the Tribulation, Isaiah 45 tells how to recognize the root of confusion about His Coming promises. In this same passage, Isaiah 45 is His explanation of how erroneous theology begins.
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ALL FALSE DOCTRINES ORIGINATE IN GENESIS 3:5
After Isaiah’s description of the Rapture, the very next verse addresses vanity as the cause of end-time confusion. In man’s desire to be as God (Gen. 3:5), people devise their own agenda for the future. They think they can force their outcome on God. God says such theologians are like broken shards of pottery. They argue their fragmented ideas, opposing the purpose of the Potter of the universe.
The Creator used a potter’s term for how He squeezed clay through His fingers, when God formed Adam. God can shape a man. Men can only imperfectly shape dead clay. And the clay that men shape to fire in a kiln usually ends up broken. These fragments, potsherds, bring us to Isaiah 45:9 “Woe to him that striveth with his maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the Earth. Shall the clay say to Him that formed it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?”
“No hands” is a potter’s term. A large vessel was made with “hands” or handles, something to grasp it with. “No hands” is an accusation that, if God did create, He did not do it so they could get a handle on it. What vanity! How dare men accuse God because of His work! It portrays a concept of a very little god. It denies that God’s fashioning of the world is beyond our understanding.
People who are willingly ignorant of Who formed them think they can command God. They insist that His works are confined to their understanding so that He measures less than they do. Soon they make themselves gods. Three times, God used a similar phrase for manufactured gods.
- He spoke to those “that say to the molded images, Ye are our gods.” (Isa. 43:17).
- In sarcasm, He invited men who think they are gods to predict the future. “Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods” (Isa. 41:23).
- Psalm 82 begins with God’s authority as God. He mocks the vanity of the wicked that refuse to believe, who refuse to understand. Jesus said that such are of their father the devil. God laughs at these who would substitute their puny schemes for His magnificent plan of salvation, “He that sitteth in the Heavens shall laugh, the Lord shall have them in derision.” (Ps. 2:4).
AND SATAN WALKED IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN
In Eden, Satan’s offered that Eve should be as God. Actually, that is Lucifer’s own failed dream. God’s response is recorded in Ezekiel 28 where God told Ezekiel to deliver a message to the vain king of Tyre. The message extended to that king’s death. Then, God told Ezekiel to speak to the King again. We might ask, why prophesy to a dead man? The answer is in discerning that no Earthly king qualifies for this additional description. No human king was “the anointed covering Cherub” who became immersed in evil. God was now speaking past the dead King of Tyre, to the evil being that had directed that king and will yet empower the Antichrist. Ezek. 28:12-15 tells us“. . . thus saith the Lord God; thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom and beauty. Thou hast been in Eden, the garden of God . . . Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth: and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee . . .”
No human after Adam was created “perfect,” and no human has ever been the “anointed Cherub that covereth.” This person was clothed in precious, prepared stones in the day he was created. Humans are not clothed until their delivery about nine months after they are created. Even then they are not usually clothed in precious prepared stones. Iniquity originated in Lucifer, not in a human. Humans were barred from Eden after Adam sinned, yet this person was the sum of beauty when he was in Eden. Therefore God was now addressing Satan as the evil power that energized the King of Tyre. Look back once more at Ezekiel 28:12,13.
This cherub chose rebellion, and he fell. Before falling, God said he possessed the sum of wisdom and beauty in Eden. In his attempt to become God, he will yet become a man, perhaps when he imitates the incarnation of Christ as he empowers the Antichrist. “Wilt thou yet say before Him that slayeth thee, “I am God”? But thou shalt be a man, and no god in the hand of Him that slayeth thee.” (Eze. 28:9).
When did Lucifer walk in Eden, full of wisdom, in the glory of his creation-day suit? In fact, when was “The day thou wast created”?
If God made all the host of the heavens and the Earth in those six days, then He created the angels in that week, too. This cherub was created with the host of Heaven, in those six days. He walked in Eden in perfection before he fell.
Several passages outside of Genesis give us some insight about his creation. They speak of angelic praise and this Cherub’s presence in the Garden of Eden. There is only one Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:8; 3:23; Isa. 51:3; Eze. 31:9, 36:35). That garden became desolate after the fall (Joel 2:3).
Before the fall, Adam and Eve had not yet eaten of the fruit of the tree of life, nor had that perfectly fertile couple become pregnant. Because everything in creation was still “very good” on the sixth day, Lucifer could only have been a few days old when he disguised himself. He appeared as the beautiful serpent to tempt Eve. Within that narrow time frame, Satan would have been nearly brand new when He rebelled. Certainly, he was far younger than our natural minds might suppose.
Perhaps Satan used the serpents’ form because using his glorious appearance might have alerted Eve when he was questioning God’s Word. His duty was to not question.
Evil angels still appear as angels of light, and that fallen cherub apparently still has the glorious covering that God designed for him. His lie persists, that sin will make us happier, wiser, more like God. Potsherd teachers take worship for themselves. They love it when others adore them. They do not understand becausethey will to not know the truth. They walk in darkness. They upset God’s foundations. They make their own rules as though they are gods. Yet, they think they are all his children. “They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of Earth are out of course. I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are the children of the Most High.” (Ps. 82:5,6).
God mocks the vanity of unjust, sinful men. In darkness, the foundations of the Earth (the universe) are out of course. Darkness chases a creator who is a godless bang instead of a glorious Being of light. God mocks those who willfully choose not to understand. These are they who walk in darkness, who make themselves to be objects of worship.
Jesus used the same passage in exactly the same way while standing on Solomon’s Porch. The Jews in the temple wanted to stone Him for declaring Himself to be the Son of God. His only begotten sonship was a clear declaration of deity. The Jewish mind recognizes that the life force of the son is of exactly the same quality as the life of the father.
To those who refused to believe that Jesus had the life force of the Father in Him, Jesus essentially said, “Will you make your own rules? It is written that you are gods, and you would kill me for saying that I’m God’s son? What makes you able to judge me? I have shown you that I am sent from God. If you won’t believe me, believe my many good works. For which of them will you stone Me? And they sought again to take Him.” (Jn. 10:31-39).
Broken pottery is worthless. Job used some potsherds (broken pottery) to scrape his boils open. Others have used them like scrap paper to scribble a list or even to record a small transaction. Most were used as landfill, being valued as less than dirt.
Potsherd “advisors” who would command God are fallen, broken, and unable to contain truth. Today we’d call them “cracked-pots,” imposing their vain ideas on God’s eternal plans. Isaiah 45 explains the source of error. “Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his [Israel’s] Maker, ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.” (Isa. 45:11).
Every dogmatic but wrong theory of God’s plans for His sons will reap woe! Even the world is exasperated at potsherd schemes. They are sick of hearing about failed plans for God’s sons.
While it is good to search for God's meaning, it is evil - and, impossible - to use potsherd theology to dictate our plans to God. The message cracked-pots love is, "I'm okay, you're okay." The message they hate and will not hear is that there is only one source of truth.
"Woe to him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the Earth." (Isa. 45:9).
What fragmented piece of clay, what mere man, would dare command his maker, the Potter of the universe? God says that cracked-pot theologians do that. Every wrong plan for His Coming has done that.
God has laid bare the heart of the teacher of error. The false teacher’s heart is exposed. In the context of Rapture and Tribulation, God says that people come toask him about His plans for His sons (Isa. 45:11); and at the same time they command Him about the outcome of the work of His hands. Potsherds, crackedpots, such teaching strives against their maker. When their error is proven, the world uses the fact of that error to mock God’s prophecy.
Perhaps someone can think of an exception. Maybe there is a teacher they just love, whose dates have been wrong. Could God really mean, that—to the degree that their teaching proves to be wrong—their crackedpot theology opposes Him? Exactly. The whole point of Isaiah 45 is: regarding the Upspringing and the time of Israel’s Tribulation, GOD has already told people the truth! Jesus may be weeping again.
VESSELS GOD CAN USE
On the other hand, nobody is born mature. We become spiritually mature by sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and by exposure to good doctrine. Learning, obedience, and wisdom delight God, so that His Spirit teaches His Word. He invites us to study and compare Scripture.
The Lord’s twin precepts glorify His Name. They reveal His plans for the Church (Isa. 45:8) and His future rescue of a remnant of Israel through the end of the Tribulation and into His Millennial program (Isa. 45:17).
PROPHECY ABOUT HIS COMING BEGINS IN GENESIS
Creation and evolution compete for our faith. Even among people who say they believe in Jesus, there are about as many concepts of Genesis as there are of Revelation. Confusion exists about creation, about theistic evolution, and the gap theory. Some believers still don’t even understand that evolution is not true science, but it is the religion of the humanist. Humanist faith ignores the facts that many creatures have become extinct, yet not one single new, spontaneous life form has appeared. Why not?
It's this simple. People who assemble the pieces of prophecy without God's one template (and two matching patterns) must always have gaps and pieces that do not fit perfectly. Conversely, following His Word to find the only correct placement for each piece in God's pair of patterns allows the unmistakable glory of God's design to emerge.
Prophecy offers the only magnificent, on-going laboratory experiment. It successfully and faultlessly proves that God created everything and that He has truly predicted the world’s future. He Who knows the end, knows the beginning with equal validity. The God who hid the patterns for Jesus’ Coming promises in Genesis, has proven His qualification. Our Lord reminded us twice that He will come again to take us there. One reminder was before and one was after Jesus’ beautiful promises to prepare mansions for the saved in His Father’s house. John 14:1-6,“And now I have told you before it is come to pass, that when it is come to pass, ye might believe.” (Jn. 13:19; 14:29).
One who teaches prophecy (Jesus’ testimony) wrong, attacks the essence of Jesus’ witness: “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Rev. 19:10) “I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass, I showed it thee.” (Isa. 48:5). These verses show that God delights to reveal what He will do. When His prophecy is ripe He reveals the next stage of His program for those who will study His testimony.
If a theology rests on personal experiences, current world circumstances, erroneous legends, or Satanic whispers (that we can be as God), instead of God’s testimony, the conclusions must be wrong (2 Pet. 1:20). God is eager to reveal His ancient plans from Scripture when our premises are pure before God, when we seek His patterns correctly, when He gets the praise, and when His time has come (Dan. 10:11-14).
Is the belief that God's true plan cannot be identified, unifying and irenic?
A true understanding of the rest of God's plan of salvation,
is the only true basis of peace and reconciliation.
Should we imagine that, after the Rapture, God will say,
"See! I gave you many alternative plans, and now I made one of them work"?
Hardly! It is Jesus' testimony, the foundation for God's twin precepts and lines,
which will prove that God has done what He said.
Jesus is our peace and reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:19)!
Only Jesus' prophetic testimony is truly irenic.
All other plans for His coming are potsherds,
condemned by God because they are full of doubt and confusion.
THE “BLESSED HOPE” UNIFIES BELIEVERS
While Satan battles to divide Believers, Jesus prayed that we might be one as He is one with the Father. That unity includes agreement about the rest of the plan of salvation. If this is God’s test, how does Christianity’s report card score? “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together by the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1 Cor. 1:10).
HEALING IN CHRIST’S BODY
Is it possible to end this division among Believers? Can Believers agree perfectly concerning God’s revealed secrets, about Christ’s future appearances to those who look for Him? It is more than possible. It is the purpose of end-time prophecy. This is why it essential that we know His one, true plan.
In Revelation, Chapters 2&3, God offered special blessings seven times. These blessings were to those who “Hear what the Spirit says to the churches” about His Coming. Blessings are promised to strengthen our witness. Perhaps each of us comes to this study comfortable on one side or another of our favorite “agree to disagree” issue. It’s time to throw out our collections of crackedpot theology shards, and to use only God’s pattern-pieces. His criterion is simple. We must always conform our thinking to His. We have to work carefully and put each detail, by biblical authority, in God’s exact place.
Dear reader, is God's true Church perfectly joined in mind and judgment? Foundational to healing this schism is understanding the Biblical basis for God's twin precepts.
I am not talking about an ecumenical mush. Rather, we need to sharpen our swords and rightly divide the Word of God. Paul did not write to Titus about “many” reasons for the Blessed Hope. The single “reason” for our hope is one doctrine (2 Pet. 1:20). Do we have one right understanding of the Day of His Coming? (2 Pet. 1:20) “No,” we may think, “And we never will.” Well, Jesus prayed that we should have that unity with the plan of God. Do we want to be on His side or against Him? Understanding His Coming promises does not start in Matthew, but in Genesis. As we explore God’s sovereignty, the majesty of His patterns will become clear. The splendor of God’s prophetic artistry awaits our admiration.
In 1948, many believe that we saw the budding of God’s fig tree, Israel. If so, then the events surrounding His Coming were activated. Faith needs to recognize God’s plan during this process. As it comes to pass, Believers should believe His plan. Anyone who correctly follows the details of His directions can know the order of His plans with certainty.
To accomplish the purpose of prophecy, we need to understand His preparation for His Coming, beforehand. As each part of His plan is fulfilled, faith knows Whose work it is, and believes. Look up. Our redemption draws near.
Remember those three professors of the Trinity Evangelical Divinity College (Gleason L. Archer Jr., Paul D. Feinberg, and Douglas J. Moo) who put their varying ideas in the book, “The Rapture: Pre-, Mid-, or Post-Tribulational,” (Zondervan, 1984). They used the word “irenic” to ironically describe their work. Irenic means “to promote peace and reconciliation.” The book had major sections written by advocates of several popular Rapture theories. Each was given space for rebuttal. They concluded that no one had authoritative answers convincing to the others. Their net impact was that the best answers of the best representatives of God gave no basis for reconciliation. They wanted to promote peace without the sure understanding of the pans of the Prince of Peace.
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Remember that Jesus had a narrow circle of twelve people with whom He ministered. Some were fishermen, and Christ gave them their greatest catch. They were not trained theologians. They were sometimes wrong. One was a thief and a devil. Jesus was patient, and He often taught them privately. He also had wider circle, the seventy. They knew less than the twelve, but He ministered to and through them also. Outside that circle some were false teachers who deliberately enforced their schemes instead of His plans. For them, Jesus braided a whip and overthrew tables. He told us not to fear the prophets of error, because true prophecy is not double-minded. Prophecy should not be the basis of dividing fellowship. Still, no more than one set of precepts and lines can ultimately be right.
On this part of Jesus’ testimony, true Christianity should be
perfectly joined without division of mind or judgment.
It can and should demonstrate the unity of God’s Holy Spirit.
“Surely the Lord will do nothing but He revealth His secret unto His servants and the prophets.” (Amos 3:7) The reason we can understand is found in God’s fullness of time. Now, we can look back to see the whole clearly. Remember how, at a distance, Monet’s “Gothic Cathedral” blends perfectly organized dots of color into beauty. God’s plans are even more magnificently arraigned.
Potsherd prophetic plans look more like Salvador Dali’s surrealist melting clocks. They are painted with an almost photographic clarity, yet reality sags into distortion. In moments of honesty, people who make their own rules for life say, “Yeah, there are parts of my life that look like that—melting away into uselessness.”
Come, see God’s plan.
See how beautifully the lives of Noah and Lot were planned from the beginning to prove the Lord God’s only true plan.
His twin patterns (for prophecy) reveal the Day of the Coming of the Son of Man.
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