Ezekiel-Bible Study 5:9-17 : “I the Lord have spoken it”

God reveals his glory to Ezekiel while he is in exile and he is led ‘and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit’ to the present place by the Spirit of which we have in Ch.3 vv.15-17

“Then I came to them of the captivity at Telabib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days./ And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,/ Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me”.

The Spirit while organizing it sets the period and speech as directly coming from God so seven days indicates more than number of days and ‘therefore hear the word at my mouth’ carries more than what it merely says. Seven denotes period for the message to be fully understood and the second which is formula we have come across at several places in its various forms. It refers to where it comes from and not to be taken literally. So Ezekiel’s trust must be complete; consequently the message is to be delivered to the recipient without any dilution or addition on his part. The principle is same as Jesus said, “For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you(Matt.10:20;Lk 12:12).

We have another example of the prayer of Jonah from the belly of the great fish, It is as finished in its composition and as in the manner the fish obeys the Lord God..”And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land(Jonah 2:10)”. It is the Spirit that helps with our infirmities and God the Spirit shall know when we pray in distress as Hannah prayer was heard, though out of intense distress no word would come out of her. Young Samuel was the proof that God heard her cry. He fully appreciates our circumstances. In this present crisis it is He who tracks and checks you so you shall not come to harm. Similarly when God chooses you for His ministry he knows how to get the best out of you. So Moses would serve His purpose as Jeremiah did. His tender age was no excuse. When the Lord Almighty has foreknown you and formed and shaped your world to which you enter as His watchman and as a sign are we to fool around with people who despise things of the Spirit?.

Ezekiel had a task however unpleasant it was between God and him. The Spirit was the mediator so when we read the living creatures owed to it,”Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels(1:20).

And I will do in thee that which I have not done, and whereunto I will not do any more the like, because of all thine abominations.

10 Therefore the fathers shall eat the sons in the midst of thee, and the sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments in thee, and the whole remnant of thee will I scatter into all the winds.

11 Wherefore, as I live, saith the Lord God; Surely, because thou hast defiled my sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations, therefore will I also diminish thee; neither shall mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity,

12 A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them.

13 Thus shall mine anger be accomplished, and I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted: and they shall know that I the Lord have spoken it in my zeal, when I have accomplished my fury in them.

14 Moreover I will make thee waste, and a reproach among the nations that are round about thee, in the sight of all that pass by.

15 So it shall be a reproach and a taunt, an instruction and an astonishment unto the nations that are round about thee, when I shall execute judgments in thee in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes. I the Lord have spoken it.

16 When I shall send upon them the evil arrows of famine, which shall be for their destruction, and which I will send to destroy you: and I will increase the famine upon you, and will break your staff of bread:

17 So will I send upon you famine and evil beasts, and they shall bereave thee: and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee; and I will bring the sword upon thee. I the Lord have spoken it.

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Ezekiel- Bible Study 5:5-8 “This is Jerusalem”

There is a literal Jerusalem, and as mentioned in the Book of the Revelation a Jerusalem spiritually called many other cities. In short literal Jerusalem and New Jerusalem, which is to be understood spiritually are entirely consistent with the Salvation Plan of God. This post continues with what was already touched upon in the previous post.

When John narrates the Vision of Two Witnesses gives synonym of this great city of David with this clue, ‘where also our Lord was crucified’. In rejecting the Son who was sent from God the nation of Israel brought judgment upon the city. First we shall consider the quote, “And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified(Re.11:8)”. Jerusalem as of old is finished. Jesus before his passion says in no uncertain terms,”For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord(Matt.23:39). Perhaps question arises,’Is not the present state of Israel fulfillment of prophecies of old? The prophet Hosea refers to this,”For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim:/Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days(Hos.3:4-5).”

In order to set the sequence of events leading to their realization in proper order we have this word of our Savior Lord “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory(Matt.24:30-31)”. We have another verse to consider,”Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him(Re.1:7). Including ‘they also which pierced him.'(Re.1:7) The Jews would not hear of the offer of Pilate, instead,”When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him(John 19:4-6)”.

Jerusalem as it is inhabited now is more of controversy and what is occupying all their attention: How to divide Jerusalem into two states? These are spiritually wilderness that is fit for wild asses and satyrs. Isaiah hits their problem right on spot,”But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it: and he(the Lord) shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness(Is.34:11)”.

“And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.(Is.25:7)” So where shall Messiah-King set up his Millennial Reign? As mentioned in the quote from Hosea it shall be latter days. The Church redeemed from the earth as in the Vision of the Woman clothed with the Son (Re.12) is represented by 144,000 mentioned in Revelation 14. They are on Mount Sion seen standing with the Lamb. Gentile Nations and the remnant of the Jews who are genuinely contrite over having rejected their Savior draw to the risen Christ and flock towards him. The Vail that is spread over the nations shall be lifted. In the previous post we already considered the Psalms 2 and 110 and Holy Zion is the New Jerusalem seen descending from heaven. The Marriage of the Lamb it is called and Millennial Reign is a time of peace. In short Jerusalem has raised its bar to which only those who are circumcised in heart or fleshy heart in which law is written shall enter. The Great Tribulation and the Beast occur only after the Millennial Reign where Satan is let loose for a while.

Thus saith the Lord God; This is Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries that are round about her.

And she hath changed my judgments into wickedness more than the nations, and my statutes more than the countries that are round about her: for they have refused my judgments and my statutes, they have not walked in them.

Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Because ye multiplied more than the nations that are round about you, and have not walked in my statutes, neither have kept my judgments, neither have done according to the judgments of the nations that are round about you;

Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, am against thee, and will execute judgments in the midst of thee in the sight of the nations.

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Ezekiel-Bible Study 5:1-4 “A third part”

Before we go into the significance of the text we need fix in our mind what does the Spirit intend by the expression a third part? In the Book of the Revelation also we shall come across in connection with the seven angels with the seven trumpets (Re.8). In the Book of Ezekiel we read thus “…Divide the hair./ Thou shalt burn with fire a third part in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are fulfilled: and thou shalt take a third part, and smite about it with a knife: and a third part thou shalt scatter in the wind; and I will draw out a sword after them(5:1-2).”

The three refers to Trinity and when we translate it in terms of judgment we are looking at sin of rebellion in terms of body, spirit and soul.

In Torah we have tetragrammaton which when transliterated is YHWH. It is written without vowels, Trinity is somewhat similar. When we consider the Lord Almighty he is expressed as the Father, the Son who is he but the Great Shepherd of souls, and the Holy Ghost.

In an earlier post we mentioned that God forbade Isaac from going to Egypt as his father did in the time of famine. God allowed Abraham to go since it was the necessity of his body. Similarly it was self preservation that necessitated the flight to Egypt surrounding the birth of Jesus.  This was predicted by prophet(Hosea 11:1)

How did children of Israel end up in Egypt? In the eyes of God what the patriarchs did to Joseph was sin against his father Jacob. The nation of Israel had to be delivered from Egypt as a synonym for sin. It was against the spirit and crossing the red sea would be in the larger picture of Salvation Plan of God a sacrament, of dying to sin in body. The deliverance of Israelites under the hand of Moses(faithful in all his house) is like a kangaroo word and the Spirit sets him a double for Jesus ‘over his own house.’ Here we see judgment of God in terms of the spirit. In order to show this difference we have the Spiritual Rock Christ following the Israelites in the wilderness. Babylon exile as with diaspora after the destruction of Jerusalem completes judgment of the nations- Egypt and Jerusalem thus represent body and spirit. Jerusalem as the city of God is over. Instead New Jerusalem represents the soul.  Jesus has completed the mandate given by his Father.( Psalms 2 and 110 make it clear the seat for Messiah is on the Mount that is not any literal place but of the new earth. It must occur before the great tribulation and at the end satan shall be loosed for a brief period-  and from then on events move very swiftly to the Judgment and the Marriage of the Lamb.

‘Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.’ David predicts Millennial Reign of his Lord from New Jerusalem. (He appears in mid-air and gathers his saints). These large movements of the Jews and the Gentiles constitute God’s promise to Abraham (Ge.12:3) becoming fulfilled.

God commands Ezekiel to shave his head and beard, signifies that he is shorn of his glory. As a watchmen what he speaks is as though coming from Him(4:2). As a sign what he does symbolically is underwritten by God,’and I will draw out a sword after them(v.2).

In 4:7 we came across this line,’and thine arm shall be uncovered’ while he prophesies to them, to indicate his helplessness in the iniquity of them. God shall avenge him which is made clear by vv.3-4. Shall not God avenge His children who cry unto him  against those powers-that-be who think they are expendable on account of their color or station in life? Earlier we had chicken hawks who saw to their children were spared from the draft while sending cannon fodder as if there is no dearth of them. In this present crisis also we find rules of lockdown and austerity for the ruled and another rule for the ruling class. All these evil shall be avenged, Israel is a stand-in for many other nations. ‘and cast them into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire; for thereof shall a fire come forth into all the house of Israel(v.4).

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Ezekiel-Bible Study 4:13-18 “Wages of Sin”

In following the lead from the Spirit we consider the Bible as God document; as with the eternal word we examine the case of Israel as an example, ‘Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come(1 Co.10:11)”. Ezekiel as a sign for Israel is intended by the Spirit as a stand-in for Jesus who was the Apostle, High Priest of our profession is also the Mediator. At every step our study emphasizes the universal than historical so rebellious house of Israel is a stand-in for our own times and practices. Tradition of Israel in our time is by hypocrisy of modern Christianity. Evangelicalism in the US is divided on white and ethnic minorities and it kept that way because they want to be politically correct and curry favor with political parties and endorse their policies however immoral on partisan lines. Is it not Pharisees of old, rehashed to fit with the times? “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:43)”.

13 And the Lord said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them.

Here the parable of the Prodigal Son comes to mind. Far away from his father’s the son is reduced to eat the husks given to the swines. Diaspora of Jews exposed them to alien customs and their traditions. Defiled bread is like the catch in the Parable of the Dragnet. the bad will be thrown away. (see note under v.17)

14 Then said I, Ah Lord God! behold, my soul hath not been polluted: for from my youth up even till now have I not eaten of that which dieth of itself, or is torn in pieces; neither came there abominable flesh into my mouth.

15 Then he said unto me, Lo, I have given thee cow’s dung for man’s dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread therewith.

16 Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care; and they shall drink water by measure, and with astonishment.

17 That they may want bread and water, and be astonied one with another, and consume away for their iniquity.

What a terrible thing to feel hungry despite of just having had a square meal? Body craves for nourishment may be it is on account of some ailment that body cannot absorb food. We have seen patients with Bulimea, it is a disorder. In terms of spiritual ailment what is an addiction? Your craving for drugs for instance goes deeper than your need for it. In a permissive society love of man and woman does not satisfy; experimenting before marriage does not prepare the spouse to find happiness; the more they seek it the end leaves them much worse. Wages of sin simply debases the user and the used. As in the case of body one’s calorific intake has nothing to do with satisfaction and  without treating the root cause the body suffers as a result. The exiled nation would consume away for their iniquity without addressing their rebellious nature. Isaiah would say,

“Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward./ Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint./ From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment./ Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers(Is.1:4-7)”.

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Ezekiel-Bible Study 4:5-13 “What defiles man?”

Tradition gave scribes and Pharisees a stick to beat Jesus with. He knew no sin and did no sin but the tradition of man leveled charge “Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.”.

What was law they made much of? For example the question of divorce as instituted by the Law of Moses merely arose because of sin. Jesus explained, “because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so(Matt.19:8)”. Similarly the Law that is eternal laid emphasis on fellowship with God. Law of Moses was admission of the imperfect man.  The division of scribes and Pharisees merely created tradition for the Jew to observe. Did it make them perfect?  As Jesus would observe, “All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.’ For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers (Matt.23:3-4)”. Law and traditions of man in themselves did not have power to restore fellowship with God. So Jesus excused the disciples who did not wash their hands before eating, “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.(Matt.15:11)” Later he explained it to his disciples thus, “Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?/ But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man./ For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: (vv.17-20)”

God first commanded Ezekiel to serve as a sign and he was to lie on his left side and on his right side for the iniquity of Israel and Judah respectively.  Period also is specified, ‘and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year(v.6)’.

He was to be rendered immobile ‘till thou hast ended the days of thy siege.’. What had he to do with the siege of Jerusalem? Collective sin of Israel and Judah however exacted its toll on him. Similarly why are we held accountable for the weird climate and global warming despite of being conscious of environment and conservation? Nations who destroyed it for quick profits and continue to do with impunity shall go on from bad to verse. Every citizen as Ezekiel in his day was powerless. So siege of Jerusalem is a sign that judgment of God shall surely descend on them. Their reliance on wealth shall be plundered and it cast to the four winds as it were. 

God set a diet for Ezekiel in which barley cakes baked ‘with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight./ And the Lord said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them(vv.12-13).

Have we not seen something similar becoming familiar? We are computer savvy but  are we good at separating facts from alternate facts? Do we not see people figuratively gobbling up fake news and misinformation peddled through Social Media platforms? It is moral filth coming out of man be it the President of a nation or of some neo-Nazi group.  How come nobody feels queasy over it as one feels to spot a citizen scavenging his food from trash can? The poor of the land is made to eat what and where he can find to stop his hunger. This is not about the body but signifies his moral depravity. They feel more at ease peddling alternate facts and fake news. How much barley and how much shit  does not matter to them. The Spirit holds out warning to us the terrible price sin shall exact from man who goes on in his disobedience.

 

For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.

And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.

Therefore thou shalt set thy face toward the siege of Jerusalem, and thine arm shall be uncovered, and thou shalt prophesy against it.

And, behold, I will lay bands upon thee, and thou shalt not turn thee from one side to another, till thou hast ended the days of thy siege.

Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof.

10 And thy meat which thou shalt eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time shalt thou eat it.

11 Thou shalt drink also water by measure, the sixth part of an hin: from time to time shalt thou drink.

 

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Ezekiel-Bible Study 4:1-4 “Sign”

What is the role of man in the creative Will of God?

He is a sign which is understood as naturally represented in the Fellowship of God with Man. As an emblem of it in the Book of the Revelation we see four beasts and twenty-four elders seated about the throne set in heaven. These serve as memorial to the Creative Wisdom and Power of God. Whereas man and other creation serve as the reality of the divine Will on the earth. In blessing man we have an understanding on the nature of the everlasting covenant. It marks peace with God. “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth(Ge.1:28)”.Everlasting covenant between God and Man covers both heaven and the earth.

The role of the angel of his presence is to teach us God’s sovereignty is not only over man but also his world. The living creature that is introduced in the Book of Ezekiel bring that to our mind. Living creature symbolized the place of man in context of other creation where he was the steward. For this reason ox, eagle lion represented man as representation of the Man in the Fellowship of God. The Spirit uses Adam as a representational figure. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:(Ro.5:12)”It is connected to Jesus Christ,”For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous(5:19)”.

God sets Ezekiel as His watchman and as a sign. The Spirit also tells how we are to consider our days on the earth. It is not entirely what it tells us. It is adequate for getting our tasks for the day. As expressions day and night, evening and morning as mentioned in the creation account shall have their own meaning.”Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity(v.4)”.

Jesus came to the world in order to restore pace with God. Isaiah predicted his birth and it was through a sign, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.(Is.7:14)”He was therefore serves as a sign.

When nations by law cause divisions it is a sure sign of sin is at the heart of it. Sin scatters relationship as house of Judah was divided from Israel. Jesus Christ through all and in all is what grace of God can achieve. Jesus said,”He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad(Matt.12:30)”.

 

Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and pourtray upon it the city, even Jerusalem:

And lay siege against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mount against it; set the camp also against it, and set battering rams against it round about.

Moreover take thou unto thee an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between thee and the city: and set thy face against it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel.

Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity.

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Ezekiel-Bible Study Ez.3:24-27 “Lock-down”

In this age of pandemic a term like lockdown is as familiar as least understood. God commands Ezekiel, ‘Go, shut thyself within thine house.’ Why Ezekiel had to suffer for the sin of rebellion that characterized the house of Israel? One answer is the nature of sin. It is an insult to the Holiness of God. God is long-suffering but that does not mean He is not taking counter measures to combat it. Secondly one always has to pay for sin of others. Towards this God had already prepared a body. The begotten Son explains it. Before his advent God raises people to control the spread virus and at times root out clusters of it. Herd immunity is achieved by partial judgments.

After the revolt of Korah and Dathan God commands Aaron thus:”You are to be responsible for the care of the sanctuary and the altar, so that my wrath will not fall on the Israelites again. I myself have selected your fellow Levites from among the Israelites as a gift to you, dedicated to the Lord to do the work at the tent of meeting.(Nu.18:5-6) Significant is this line,’so that my wrath will not fall on the Israelites.’ They were a gift to the people. God is particular as who should be double for his Son. He is the Mediator, High Priest and the Apostle. Whosoever chosen by God had to be by law of Gradation compatible. In the following verse he says,  ‘I myself have selected your fellow Levites from among the Israelites as a gift to you, dedicated to the Lord to do the work.” They were to work and intercession meant  he has a new motto: ‘God works hitherto and so I work. It is life of faith or total surrender.

“And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him(Is.59:16)”.

Why there was no intercessor? What answer shall modern Christianity give? One Pastor is sure that impeaching Trump will start a civil war and another is concerned that migrant caravans are the work of some Jewish groups. There is activism on much about nothing, merely for keeping controversies alive than bringing a healing where needed. In a nation so many millions are living below poverty line in  what ways they addressed the social injustice? Instead they were more Herodians and egging on the immoral leaders? Is there any one whose example could be Christ-like? Sin of hypocrisy now comes to surface and all that prosperity for which celebrity televangelist spent their time has made the pandemic the collateral damage of sin.  God indeed is long suffering but was all the meantime preparing the nation for a showdown. Consider the countries where the corona crisis has wreaked more havoc. Consider a land like Japan. Even their disciplined life where an obese citizen a rarity points the finger at the obscenity of undisciplined lifestyle of nominal Christians.  God is not mocked. Where Christianity was planted on the blood of saints dogs of get-wealth brand of Christianity pee as though they are entitled to.

God made Ezekiel a watchman and he had to suffer on their behalf.

Then the spirit entered into me, and set me upon my feet, and spake with me, and said unto me, Go, shut thyself within thine house.

25 But thou, O son of man, behold, they shall put bands upon thee, and shall bind thee with them, and thou shalt not go out among them:

26 And I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth, that thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be to them a reprover: for they are a rebellious house.

27 But when I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; He that heareth, let him hear; and he that forbeareth, let him forbear: for they are a rebellious house.

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