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- In ancient times, Jewish prophets, men inspired by the Holy Spirit to speak on behalf of God, made writings which told of the coming of a king in the distant future.
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- These Hebrew scriptures refer to this king as the Messiah, which translates as the anointed one, which indicates a person empowered by the Holy Spirit to carry out a mission.
- Hebrew Scripture was written between 1440 and 430 B.C., and now is called the Old Testament by Christians.
- These ancient historical records set forth the position that the events of time unfold according to a plan established by God.
- Isaiah 46:9,10: Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure. (Citations KJV unless indicated).
- According to these records, known as Bible prophecy, the Messiah would be a person so unique, that his coming would be the climax of all history.
- To understand who Jesus Christ is, first it must be understood how he fulfilled and yet shall fulfill prophecy’s predictions of the meaning of history.
- The Bible indicates that problems arose for humankind as history began, which could only be solved by a special intervention from God in the future. [See What Is Spiritual Warfare?].
- Evil came into existence due to a revolt in the spiritual world, a cosmic upheaval led by a high level assistant to God, Satan, Isaiah 14:12–20; Ezekiel 28:11–19; Revelation 12:1–9.
- The conflict spread to the first human beings, Adam and Eve, who represented all humanity, causing them also to rebel against God, which is known as sin, and which drastically altered all creation and the nature of life, Genesis, chp. 3.
- In response to the fallen condition of humanity and the physical universe, God immediately began to reveal a plan for history, that would restore a remnant of people in
a relationship to him and cause a rebirth of all creation, Genesis
3:15; Romans 5:12–19; 8:21–23; Revelation 12:10,11; 20:1–3; 21:1.
- The first reference in Scripture to the coming of an anointed person to carry out a unique mission in history occurs at Genesis 3:15, which notes that the seed of a woman would bruise the head of Satan. As offspring were considered the seed of a man in ancient times, the father, this descendant of Eve who would oppose evil was to have an unusual origin.
- According to Bible prophecy, God will establish a worldwide kingdom, which will be a physical and political reality, as the crucial event to transform all history. [See What Is The Kingdom of God?].
- Around 2,000 B.C., God promised a man named Abraham, that his descendants through the line of his son Isaac would form a great nation occupying the land of Israel, although they first would be enslaved for 400 years, Genesis 12:1–9; 13:14–17; 15:1–21; 17:1–22; 22:15–18.
- Isaac’s grandchildren were forced into Egypt due to famine, where their offspring flourished, but where they eventually did become enslaved from about 1850 to1450 B.C., Genesis, chps. 37–50.
- However, a great prophet, Moses, freed the people by challenging the Pharaoh in the name of God, which led to a series of miraculous and devastating catastrophes falling upon Egypt, Exodus, chps. 1–18.
- In the wilderness outside of Egypt at the base of Mt. Sinai, the people were gathered, about two million in number, to make a covenant with God, which created the nation of Israel, a peculiar people and a kingdom of priests, Exodus, chp. 19.
- When the people conquered the land of Israel, Joshua, chps. 1–12, they lived as a confederation of tribes for about 400 years, Joshua 13:1–I Samuel 7:17. Then, the people appealed to the great prophet Samuel for a change in government to a monarchy, I Samuel, chp. 9.
- Around 1,000 B.C., God promised the second king of Israel, David, that one of his descendants would rule from his throne an eternal kingdom.
- I Chronicles 17:10–14:…Furthermore I tell thee that the Lord will build thee an house. And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build me a house, and I will stablish his throne forever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee: But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom forever: and his throne shall be established for evermore.
- Psalm 2:6–8: Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
- Psalm 72:1,2,5,8,11: Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son. He shall judge thy people with righteousness…They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations…He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth…Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.
- Actually, some of the passages from Scripture on this covenant with David also refer to his descendants in general, II Samuel 7:12–16; Psalm 89:1–4; 19–37; but, eventually the promise of the one anointed king, the Messiah, who was to come and to rule from the throne eternally, became the focus of attention for the people of Israel.
- As time went on, the people turned to other gods, and the nation slid into civil war and divided into two kingdoms. As the break with the Mosaic Covenant fell complete and moral decay grew rampant, God subdued the kingdoms by foreign conquest in 724 and 605 B.C., II Kings 18:9–12; 24:3,12; 25:1–10.
- Many of the people were taken as captives to Babylon, and then, the Jews came under the conquest and reign of Persia, II Kings 24:15,16; 25:11; II Chronicles 36:20. While enduring this hardship, they found refuge in the memory of the Davidic Covenant, and new prophets arose, giving greater detail on the coming Messiah and a new world order.
- Isaiah 2:4: And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
- Isaiah 42:1,6,7,9: Behold my servant…I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgement to the Gentiles…I the Lord…give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison…Behold, the former things come to pass, and new things do I declare….
- Jeremiah 23:5,6: Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
- Zechariah 2:11: And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto thee.
- While in captivity, the Jews focused on the message of Scripture which foretells of a great political kingdom, but other Bible passages are not entirely consistent with the popular image of a powerful ruler.
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- Prophecy given during the captivity also clearly indicates that the Messiah is actually God himself.
- Isaiah 9:6,7: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
- Daniel 7:13,14: I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
- However, the prophecies also describe the Messiah as going through a trail of suffering.
- Isaiah 49:3–6: And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified. Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the Lord and my work with my God…yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength. And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
- Isaiah 50:6: I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.
- Isaiah 53:3–10: He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief…we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions…and with his stripes we are healed…the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all…He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment…for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked…Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin….
- Some of the Jews believed the Messiah also would be a prophet greater than Moses.
- Scripture holds up Moses as the greatest of all prophets, Numbers 12:6–8; Deuteronomy 34:10–12.
- Moses declared the basis by which future prophets could be verified, Deuteronomy 13:1–3; 18:15–22.
- Although the passage from Deuteronomy, chp. 18, deals with prophets in general, it also seems to be indicating the coming of one ideal prophet like Moses. Verses 15,18: The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee…I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethern….
- How can there be a worldwide political leader, who is God himself, and who suffers trails as a person? To answer this question is to answer — who is Jesus Christ?
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- The mission of the Messiah actually has two main objectives, to occur at two points in time, establishing a body of people through spiritual renewal, and setting in place a world political system.
- 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ made his first physical appearance on earth, coming as a descendant of David, but also as the Son of God, the seed of a woman who was a virgin, Matthew 1:1–21; Mark 14:61,62; Luke 3:23-38. His ministry broke the spiritual power of evil and provided the means for a new people to come into a relationship with God, Luke 11:20; 22:28–30; I John 3:8.
- The historical record of these events is found in the New Testament.
- These scriptures were written in Greek by the Jews who were Christ’s disciples. (At the time, Greek was a universal language for learned and educated people of all cultures in the Roman Empire).
- This record also testifies to being the Word of God, John 14:26; I Corinthians 2:12,13; 14:37; Galatians 1:11,12; II Peter 3:15,16.
- Additional prophecies are reported in these final books of the Bible on a future, second coming of Christ, to set up the kingdom of God as a worldwide political system, Matthew 24:29–31; 25:31–34,46; I Thessalonians 4:16,17; Revelation 20:1–6; 21:1–22:5.
- Old Testament prophecy indicates a time table, beginning with the release of the Jews from captivity, to continue until the Messiah would be cut off, which corresponds to the life of Christ.
- Daniel 9:25,26: Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself….
- In this inspired vision given to Daniel, a week represents seven years. From the time of the Persian decree to rebuild Jerusalem in the 20th year of Artaxerxes, or 445 B.C. (II Chronicles 36:22,23; Nehemiah 2:1–8), until the death of Christ in 32 A.D.,
the prophetic time span passed of 483 years (69x7), using a 360 day
year, the biblical standard. [For the method of calculation, see
Daymond R. Duck, Daniel: God’s Word for the Biblically-Inept — Lancaster: Starburst Publishers, 1998, pp. 251,252. See also, R. Ludwigson, A Survey of Bible Prophecy — Grand Rapids: Academie Books, 1973, pp. 44–46].
- However, using a dual time frame to fit together the different roles for the Messiah described in prophecy did not occur to Christ’s followers until his first ministry on earth came to a close, Matthew 16:21,22; Acts 1:6–11.
- They expected Christ to set up the kingdom immediately. However, due to opposition from the religious leaders in Jerusalem, he was crucified by Roman authorities, Matthew 27:1-26. He permitted his death, that he could pay the penalty for the fall of humankind, as his life was free from sin, as he was both man and God, Luke 4:46,47; John 3:16; 19:10,11. [See What Is The Trinity?].
- Three days after his death, his tomb was found empty, and he appeared to hundreds of witnesses, the scars of his crucifixion still in his flesh, Matthew 28:1–10; Luke 24:13–39; John 20:1–21; Acts 1:3–11; I Corinthians 15:5–8. Still, he delayed setting up the kingdom and ascended to the throne of God in heaven, that his disciples could preach the message, that all who accept his shed blood
as the punishment for their sin would enter the kingdom of God and have eternal life, Matthew 28:18-24.
- As the disobedience of Adam represents the rejection of God by all humanity, so the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is leading to the creation of a new humanity.
- Romans 5:12: 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.
- Romans 1:28–32: And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate (perverted) mind…Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness,
maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without natural understanding, covenant- breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful…that they which permit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
- Romans 5:18,19: Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
- Prophecy indicates the Messiah must take on the sins of humanity as a sacrificial substitute.
- Isaiah 53:6,11: All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all…He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
- Psalm 22:14–18: I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax…My strength is dried up…thou hast brought me into the dust of death…the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet…They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
- The crucifixion of Christ is described in the New Testament, the prophetic 22nd Psalm fulfilled in detail, Matthew 27:24–54; John 19:16–30.
- The shedding of blood as a sacrificial substitute for sin is an essential feature of the Old Testament, and for 1,500 years before Christ, this requirement was satisfied by a constant slaughtering of animals, so many that their number is beyond counting. Leviticus 17:11: For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement (a compensation) for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul, cf. Exodus 12:21–27; 24;5–8; 30:10; Leviticus 4:4–8; 5:9; 7:2.
- Those who acknowledge Christ is the Son of God and accept his blood sacrifice may enter the kingdom of God. Romans 3:22–25: Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe…For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (appeasement) through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins….
- However, those who reject the righteousness of Christ shall fall into eternal judgment. Matthew 25:31,34,41: When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory…Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom…Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire….
- Why did Christ’s own people, the Jews, reject him as the Messiah and have him crucified?
- When the Jews returned to Jerusalem from captivity, they developed an elaborate system of religious practice, which became equal in importance to the Bible.
- By the time of Christ, their political state, Judea, was a protectorate of Rome. A religious party, the Pharisees, assumed prestigious positions of leadership in the state, based on an elite education in the beliefs of their venerated traditions, which emphasized legalistic observances and ancestral lineage.
- Christ’s ministry was announced by a prophetic forerunner,
John the Baptist, and when the Pharisees inquired how his message related to the Messiah, he denied their claims to being righteous and having special privileges based on ancestry, Matthew 3:5–10; Luke 7:29,30; John 1:19–26.
- Christ also condemned the Pharisees as hypocrites on beginning his ministry.
- He accused them of using twisted formulas to bring honor to themselves and to cheat the people, Matthew 16:6,11,12; chp.23.
- To Jesus, religion was based on love and faith, but the Pharisees substituted religious practices for the love of God, and therefore, they could not believe that Jesus was the Messiah, John 3:16; 5:37–47; 6:51,52; 7:45–49.
- Jesus even went so far as to accuse the Pharisees of being murderers and liars, John 7:19; 8:44, for he knew they would lie to have him murdered.
- At first, the official council of the Pharisees, the Sanhedrin, thought of Jesus as a teacher from God, but he let them know he was actually God’s son, who only could be the Messiah, John 3:12–18.
- Already, John the Baptist had revealed Jesus as the Messiah, John 1:29–36.
- Due to Christ’s teachings and the many miracles associated with his ministry, quite a controversy arose among the people in the region, questioning if he really was the Messiah or a deceiver, John 1:45–49; 4:25–42; 7:12,13,25–30,40–49.
- Then, the Pharisees began to question Jesus only to prove he was not the Messiah, John 6:41,42; 8:22–59.
- Christ’s popularity kept growing, but he did not uphold a special place of honor for the Pharisees or their legalistic religion.
- Therefore, they argued that this person could not be the Messiah, for he was not even a Pharisee, and he tried to expose their interpretations of Scripture as wrong, John 7:15–19,27.
- They took counsel on how they might have him killed, John 12:14.
- Some of the Pharisees believed in Christ, although they could not do so openly, John 12:42, and they insisted that no man should be condemned without a trial, John 7:51.
- However, according to the council, Christ’s condemnation was already complete, for he claimed to be God, when he was only a man from Galilee, John 5:16–18; 7:52; 8:56–59.
- The Pharisees began to plot how to discredit and entrap Jesus.
- They noted he did not have the proper ancestral pedigree to be the Messiah, John 6:42; 7:27,42,52.
- They looked for ways to accuse him from logical arguments based
on their religious traditions, but they always failed, Matthew 9:11–17;
12:1–8,9–14; 15:1–11; 19:3–9; 22:15–22,23–33,34–46; Luke 11:53,54; John
- As his popularity grew, they tried to demonize him, saying he could only perform miracles by the power of Satan, Matthew 9:34; 12:24; John 8:48; 10:19–21.
- They persecuted others who believed Jesus was the Messiah, John 9:19–23,24–34; 12:42; even to the point of plotting to kill a man Christ had raised from the grave, Lazarus, in order to quell his testimony, John 12:9,10.
- At one council, they decided Christ had to be killed to placate Roman authorities, John 11:47–53, as the people had tried to make him king, John 6:14,15. They consulted with government agents for this purpose, Mark 3:6, but they failed in trying to have Christ talk publicly against Caesar, Matthew 22: 16–22. Later, when Christ finally was arrested, two Roman governors proclaimed him innocent of any charges, Luke 23:14–18; John 18:38–40; 19:4,15.
- Many times they tried to kill Christ or have him arrested in the course of his ministry, John 5:16–18; 7:1,25,30,44,45; 8:20; 10:39; but, the hour of his death had not yet come.
- Finally, they based their case against Christ with the Roman authorities upon his claim to be the Son of God and the king of the Jews in a manner contrary to their religious tradition, which deserved a punishment of death, John 19:7,19. The sentence was carried out merely to placate the Pharisees, Matthew 27:24.
- Jesus Christ is both eternal God and man. He is God come in the flesh.
- The Bible clearly refers to Christ as the eternal God.
- John 1:1-3: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with the God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.
- John 1:14: And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
- Christ exercised the attributes of God in his ministry.
- He forgave sin, Mark 2:1–12.
- He performed miracles, Matthew 8:23–27.
- He claimed authority over Scripture, Matthew 5:21–48.
- He confirmed he would judge the world at the end of the age, Matthew 25:31–46.
- He spoke of creating a new covenant for salvation, Matthew 26:26–29.
- He claimed authority over the kingdom of God, Matthew 28:18.
- Christ was also truly human.
- He was conceived in a woman by the power of the Holy Spirit, Luke 1:35, and was born physically, Matthew 1:20–25.
- He grew in wisdom and stature, Luke 2:52.
- He was tempted, Matthew 4;1–10.
- He felt hunger, Matthew 4:2; 21:18, and thirst, Matthew 25:35, even weariness, Matthew 8:24, and anger, Mark 3:5.
- He even questioned if God had forsaken him, Matthew 27:46.
- However, it is beyond human experience and understanding to know how Christ can be both God and man.
- I Timothy 3:16: Beyond all question the mystery of godliness is great…. (NIV)
- Some scholars believe Philippians 2:6,7, best explains the nature of Christ’s incarnation, that as a man he emptied himself of being God to carry out his mission. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men.
- He died a physical death as a man, John 19:34; Mark 15:44,45, but being God and without sin, he was resurrected from the dead. He conquered death for all humanity, Mark 10:45; Luke 4:14–19; 19:10.
- Now, he sits at the right hand of God, Acts
7:55, Philippians 2:9,10. He prayed to the Father to send the Holy Spirit to be our comforter, John 14:16,16:7. Christ is acting as our advocate for our present life on earth, I John 2:1, and he prepares an abode for us in heaven, John 14:2. At the appointed date and hour, he shall return to judge all people and to set up his kingdom.
Would you like to know the eternal God, your anointed savior, Jesus Christ? Would you like to be a part of the kingdom of God, to be delivered from the power of death, and to pass into eternal life? Say the following prayer.
Dear Lord Jesus, forgive me for all the wrongful acts I have committed, for denying you and all that you have done in my life, for not loving others as you love them, for selfishness, pride, dishonesty, lust, greed, jealousy, or anything about my nature that falls short of your standards. I accept your blood covenant, that your crucifixion and death shall be a pardon for all my sins. From this day forward, I dedicate myself to you, to finding your will and your plan for my life, to making every effort to live according to your example. Now I praise you and thank you for accepting me into your kingdom, for giving me eternal life, and for making me a child of God. Let your Holy Spirit empower me to be the new person that I am, for the recreated life you are giving to me. Amen.
Congratulations! The miracle of salvation has just come upon you. Now, let the image of Christ shine through you and begin the adventure of sacrificing your life to the service of God. Join a fellowship with other Christians and undertake a comprehensive Bible study. And, be ready to become a completely new person, as the Holy Spirit continues his work in you.
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1. Hal Lindsay, The Messiah — Eugene: Harvest House Publishers, 1982.
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This outline constitutes a chapter from Only The Essentials: Clear and Simple Outlines on Complex Theology. Copyright 2001 by Montgomery Paul Webb. All rights reserved. However, permission is granted solely to private individuals to make ten copies of any disc containing this book, to include whatever other publications are available therein from the Church of the Love of Christ, for distribution to friends and acquaintances, on the conditions — 1. that the entirety of the contents of the disc is copied;— 2. and that absolutely no change, addition, or omission is made.
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Chapter outlines include — What Is the Bible? | Can God Be Known? | Who Is Jesus Christ? | Who Is the Holy Spirit? | What Is the Trinity? | What Is the Kingdom Of God? | What Is Faith? | What Is Holiness? and What Is the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus? | What Is the Church? | New Testament Giving and Prosperity. | What Is Spiritual Warfare? | Can Anyone Understand Predestination?
Additional chapters include — A Second Call to Reform and the Philosophy of the Church of the Love of Christ. | The Constitution of the Church of the Love of Christ.
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