Can you see much difference between the situation Jesus was in, and the current hatred and murder against critics of Islam? There is little difference, because the attitude is the same – obey the people claiming to be the ‘authority’, or die! Little changes throughout history and, as I have said elsewhere recently, what we are seeing in Jesus’ day is historical fascism. Jesus spoke to the Jews in truth; He explained what their Old Testament had already told them – yet He was targeted from the start by the ruling ‘authorities’, the Sanhedrin. Not all of them, but most.
The same reaction can be found today, when God’s men preach truth and those who are godless do not like it. This is because, in their eyes, truth is trumped by what is politically correct. Jesus was never politically correct! He was just truthful. And most people hate the truth, because it is light, and sin hates the light. Can you imagine what it must have been like, knowing that “the Jews sought to kill him”?
After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him.
Jesus spoke with blunt honesty to the Jews at Capernaum. Christians today, who see their brethren hounded by cultists, governments and wicked groups, look on with distaste, and say “It is their own fault for speaking out the way they did!” To them, anyone who speaks up is a reasonable target for hate and even death. I know this occurs, because I am one of the preachers they have talked about! But, I am only an unworthy servant – Jesus was and is the Son of God, God Himself!
Jesus “would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him”! By ‘Jewry’, Jesus meant ‘Judaea’. Rather, He stayed amongst His own people in Galilee. It was not yet His time to die, and Jesus wanted to avoid the inevitable until His plan was accomplished. Then, as now, ‘free speech’ was dealt with by murder and hatred.
Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand.
His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest.
For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world.
For neither did his brethren believe in him.
The “feast of tabernacles was at hand”. This was a feast, one of three, that ALL Jewish males were expected to attend in Jerusalem. Though initiated a few thousand years before, it had come into disuse until revived again. God told the Jewish leaders to hold a feast for seven days from the fifteenth day of the seventh month* (so we can place this feast accurately in the time of Jesus). On the first day the people were told not to do any work. For seven days they sacrificed to the Lord, with fire. A special sacrifice was also made on the eighth day. (See Leviticus 23:34-on). This feast was an obligation from God.
(*Note: The seventh month is the Jewish New Year, Tishri. The fifteenth day was Sukkot or fifteenth Tishrei, or month number seven. Thus it was the Feast of Booths, or Feast of Tabernacles. Modern Jews still build small booths in their gardens, where they eat and sometimes sleep, in memory of the time of the Exodus and dwellings were fragile. Every day of Sukkot Jews wave four plants, called ‘species’. In Leviticus these plants were magnificent trees, palm trees, thick trees and willows of the brook. The Talmud mentions specific examples. There is a lot more to this ceremony. Jews believe Adam and Eve were created in this month. The Gregorian calendar places this month straddling September and October).
Jesus’ neighbours and friends urged Him to go back to Judaea to perform miracles. After all, they said, a man should act openly and not do these things secretly. But, they urged Jesus because they did not believe Who He was either! Throughout my ministry, I have always received ‘counsel’ from many who sit and do nothing, but who want me to speak out boldly no matter what the consequences! They then applaud when there is success, but shy away when there is not!
This is like those who attended the Roman arenas, watching people eaten by lions! They sit in comfort with the eyes of voyeurs, while others do the work and suffer the punishment of men. It is like that today, and I have been at the hands of wicked men many times and continue to suffer their evil ways. But, still I am pushed forward to entertain other Christians. They love to ‘tut-tut’ if they think I go wrong, but do nothing to help or to prove their own Christianity... and I am but a servant of God.
Jesus WAS and IS God! Yet, they pushed Him forward, knowing He was threatened with death. But, Jesus was not to be urged-on by anyone! As the Lord He did whatever He wished to do, at the time He determined. Everything He did and said was on His own terms. And this is how Christian preachers and others must live. Never be driven to action by onlookers! Only do what God wants you to do. And, as far as possible, do it without pride, or arrogance, or anger.
Note: Have you noticed how this encouragement by friends and family is similar to the way Satan had earlier urged Christ to prove His divinity by throwing Himself off a cliff?
Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready.
The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.
Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come.
When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee.
Jesus was unmoved by their urging. He told them it was not time to end His life. But, He added, it was always THEIR time. What did He mean by that? Jesus meant that every moment of His earthly life was mapped out in Heaven, whereas, for most people, it does not matter if they go here, or go there, or in what time. The time for Jesus to go to Jerusalem was not quite yet, but they could go with impunity, for no man was after their blood.
Here we can deduce He was speaking to His disciples, for otherwise the words “The world cannot hate you...” are meaningless. “You” refers to those who believe. And those who belong to Christ are always hated by the world. ‘Friends’ and neighbours only tolerate a Christian so long as he does not speak of hell, or sin, or the need for salvation, etc. Nor will they hate the Christian if he goes along with their lifestyles and ways. It is when he stands apart, proving his faith, or speaking against sin, that they begin to hate. It will not usually show itself, but it will erupt when the right occasion comes along.
Jesus replied by saying that the world hated Him, but, at this time, did not hate them. At another time He told followers that the world hates them because the world hates Him. If we go by this maxim today, we can say that few Christians are hated by those about them. Why not? Because they do not adequately (if at all) show they are Christians by their beliefs and behaviour! The reason that the unbelievers in the world hate Christ and us is that their lives are dark as hell’s night; fruitless trees deserving to be cut down. By contrast ours (if we are faithful) is like a spotlight, glaringly revealing their sin. Is this what YOUR Christian life is like? Can onlookers see you are different? That you are a believer? That you do not tolerate sin? No Christian can be amongst people without declaring their sins to be evil.
Jesus then said: ‘YOU go to the feast, but I am not going to it... yet!’ (He WOULD go, but not with them). As He told them, His time was not yet come. Jesus was not afraid to go to Jerusalem. His reason is not fear, but the need to allow His plan to come into being. After refusing their persuasion, Jesus then stayed in Galilee.
But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.
Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he?
And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people.
Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.
His disciples walked to Jerusalem to attend the great feast. Then, alone, He walked there, too, so as not to be associated with them. Jesus was known to be surrounded by throngs of people. By going privately, He could not be identified as the troublemaker Pharisees made Him out to be. When the Pharisees did not see Jesus with His disciples, they asked where He was. Of course, they did not know.
During the time of the feast, which lasted seven days, everyone’s conversation was about Jesus. Some said He was a good man, while others said He deceived everyone. How a man could ‘deceive’ when everyone saw the miracles, I cannot tell! But, that is how sinful people are, even when they have evidence of God. Though Jesus was on everyone’s lips, they dared not speak openly, because they feared the reaction of the Pharisees (‘Jews’). It seems even then people were ‘PC’, fearing to be critical or even to ask questions that leaders did not like, for fear of retribution!
In churches today, most attending them are afraid to ask too many questions, or to be critical, or to contradict the pastor. Very often I receive queries prefaced with an apology for asking a question or making a comment. Such is the influence of church ‘leaders’ on congregations! This is evidence of a PC attitude, where none should exist. If members of a church cannot ask a question or make a comment without being sternly rebuked, there is something wrong. Yet, it is a fact that no church in my locality would welcome me through their doors. This is because, as some have admitted, they fear what I would say.
I still remember that before I began to attend a particular church (prior to finally starting our own church), the deacons heard I was coming, and held an emergency meeting. Most wished to stand in the doorway, all lined up, to stop me entering. Only one deacon spoke out, and so I was allowed entry. Attendance there lasted a year, before I could no longer put up with the pastor’s arrogance and use of bad theology! In fact, just before I left, one deacon raised his fist to me, though I had not said nothing controversial at all to anyone for the whole year! Any Christian who says anything against sin will receive the same kind of treatment. This is guaranteed.
Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.
And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?
Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.
If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.
Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?
In the middle of the feast-week, Jesus went to the Temple to teach. It was His time to do so. The Jews (including those well-taught in theology and the Torah) were amazed that a man who had apparently no rabbinical training could speak so well. Today, men who have not received any kind of ‘recognised’ college or Bible tuition (by approved teachers, of course!) are not given much opportunity to preach or teach. This, of course, is nothing but pride and arrogance.
Many men in the past had no formal training. Their approval and calling came direct from God, and it was found in the power of what they said and did. Today, much of the PC attitude has solidified so that men who have not attended a college or studied intensely, will never be asked to speak anywhere. Before I began on my long road to learning in higher education I was asked to join the local preachers’ fraternal. The aim was to listen to the ‘approved’ pastor and to copy his methods. In this way the one attending could copy him and therefore not be a rebel! I did not last very long! After that I embarked on many years of theological study, but in a way that I could not be influenced by the other pastors, whose lives and teachings were generally unbiblical. To put it another way, I could no longer tolerate being ‘PC’.
Jesus knew their murmuring and said that what He talked about did not come from Him but from the Father (verse 16). By ‘doctrine’ He meant teaching. (See my article on doctrine). Furthermore, anyone who knew this doctrine could speak it, and so prove for themselves whether what He said was true or a lie. It is a fact that after so many years of independence from worldly influences in the churches, I can see false doctrine a mile off, and a fake preacher from a long way off. His whole manner, speech, attitude and doctrine just does not fit what Jesus proclaimed, and is not a reflection of Heaven’s truth. Any man called by God to ministry can see what I see, so I am not trying to be better than others. If anything, I can recognise falsity moreso because I was once of the same type.
Jesus pinned down the Pharisees by saying that a man who speaks from his own mind and heart is arrogant and proud. His purpose in preaching is to get attention for himself, and so that others will think of him as being better than they are. This is very true today, too. Only those who preach direct from God are true, said Jesus. It is a fact that if a man has to ask how we know who and what is true, then he has not yet been called to preach and has not properly been taught true doctrine. Suffice to say that a man thus called by God is righteous, because he speaks of God and not of himself. That is, he does the will of God, and this alone leads him to know true doctrine when he sees or hears it.
Jesus then accused His listeners of a stark fact: that Moses taught the people personally and gave them God’s law, but they still did not obey. Note that Jesus did not say “some of you”, but “none of you”! His words were not just an accusation, but a sure charge against them. None of them kept God’s law! I assume that He was at that precise time addressing the Pharisees, who would have been around him like so many flies. There were a few genuine believers who obeyed the laws of Moses, but not amongst the rulers. After charging them thus, Jesus asked the blunt question: “You claim to know the law, so why is it you intend killing me?” The very law they said they followed was against their intention! But, when a man of God speaks out in truth, he will be hated and persecuted, even by those who say they are brethren.
The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee?
Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel.
Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man.
If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day?
Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
The Temple was filled with thousands of Jews that day, and almost to a man they shouted that Jesus must surely be filled with a devil and was deluded. They scorned Him for saying men were ready to kill Him. This is because the Pharisees were too clever to publicly express their hatred before the people, so they had no idea what was happening.
Christians today often follow their pastors and certain preachers, without checking on what they are taught. So, their lives are predicated on lies and bad doctrine, the ‘doctrines of devils’. In this way whole movements of heresy begin and are sustained. Woe betide the man who rebels against this heresy – the truth is not wanted when heresy is the normal fast-food of the people!
Once again, Jesus did not dignify the peoples’ assumption with a direct response. Instead, He challenged them. ‘I have done one miracle and you are amazed. Moses commanded you to circumcise, and this you do on the weekly Sabbath. You do not argue against this on a Sabbath, but you argue against me for making someone whole!’ (His reference to this ‘one’ miracle was to the man he healed on the Sabbath). He was saying, ‘What is the difference?’
He went on to warn them not to judge by what the Pharisees accused Him of, but to judge righteously. “Righteous judgment” means making a decision to do something that is right with God. Was it right to heal a man of a lifelong disease on the Sabbath? As He said at another time, the Sabbath was made for man, and not as a hammer to rule mankind.
In churchdom today many react badly to what they perceive to be a wrong word or action. They have no true idea of what scripture says, but they rely on their emotions and the bad teachings of others, and have a ready tongue to lash others with, if those others do not comply with their version of ‘truth’. Their judgment is not righteous! Thus saith PC!
Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill?
But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ?
Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is.
As the arguments between the people, and the people with the Pharisees, raged about Jesus, some realised that this man before them, named Jesus, must be the one the Pharisees wanted to kill. The Pharisees had not told them, as the comments above imply, but Jesus Himself told them He was being hounded with death threats.
‘Some’ in the huge crowd commented on His very bold speaking and teaching, and the way his enemies did not oppose Him publicly. They said ‘Don’t the rulers know this is the Messiah?’
Then came a problem in the eyes of the crowd: ‘Wait a moment, we can see this man before us, yet we are taught that when the Messiah comes we will not know where He is!’ Their ignorance, the result of bad teaching by the Pharisees, resulted in their flawed understanding. No man will know when Christ comes again, but, once He arrives, the very power of His presence will be enough to identify that He is God! What Christ did and said on earth were proofs enough that He was God!
Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not.
But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me.
Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.
In response, Jesus ‘cried’ or spoke very loudly, so that his voice carried over the arguments in the crowd. ‘You know me! You know where I was born! Though in human form, I did not come for my own benefit. I was sent by the Father, Who you clearly are ignorant of’.
‘But’, He continued, ‘I know the Father, for I was sent by Him, and so I came from Him’. Once again, this enraged the pro-Pharisee Jews, and they tried to mob Him, to inflict violence. But, they failed, “because his hour was not yet come”. Nothing can happen to a believer unless it is ordained by God, Who determines the time and place also. Therefore, when a believer witnesses and a wicked plot is made against him, nothing will happen unless and until the Lord allows it. This is now how I see the wicked attacks on me by homosexuals in 2005, resulting in my loss of career.
And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?
The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him.
Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me.
Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come.
Though some in the crowd (possibly encouraged by the Pharisees) wanted to do Christ harm, ‘many’ in the crowd believed in His words. Using divine logic, and being touched by the Holy Spirit, they said ‘Even if another is the Messiah, would he do even more miracles than did this man?’ It is rather obvious, that if a man has performed the ultimate proofs that he is who he claims to be, how could anyone else do more? 100%is 100%!!
The Pharisees and chief priests, hearing these comments, were very angry, and commanded Temple officers (a kind of religious police force) to take Jesus by force. Knowing this, Jesus said ‘I will only be here for a short time, and then I will go to be with the Father’. Then, you will want to find me, but you will not, and where I am, you cannot follow.’ To unbelievers, this was nothing but gobbledygook! Even the disciples were perplexed. And, to be open about it, if we did not have the full Bible, we could not understand it either!
With the Bible before us, we know what Jesus was referring to: He would not be on earth long, only “a little while” because the Pharisees would finally get their way and kill him*. After His death He would return to Heaven to be with the Father. Then, people will try to find Him, but He would be ascended into Heaven, where the Pharisees could not follow. Only those who are elect and saved could enter Heaven.
(*Note: It is a fallacy to say that all the Jews are guilty of the death of Christ. Many believed in Him. His death was organised and brought about by the majority [not all] of the Sanhedrin. They dealt swiftly with Jesus, before the Jews could do anything about it. Thus, the blame for His death was NOT ‘the Jews’ per se, but their wicked religious leaders).
Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither will he go, that we shall not find him? will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles?
What manner of saying is this that he said, Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come?
In this section, “the Jews” must again refer to the Pharisees. Their questions amongst themselves were more scornful than genuine. Note that they did not ask Jesus Himself, but talked amongst themselves. This is how people maintain aggression or hate towards someone... the danger in asking a direct question means an answer might come that they might not like to hear! In my own case, Christians in my town have never bothered to ask me what I believe or teach. They prefer to mutter against me in their small groups, fed by unscrupulous pastors who hate truth, and those who speak it without their consent! I do not think they could handle any answers I might give! And so it is with many genuine men in ministry who have enemies (ALL of us do – because Satan loves to stir up dissension against God’s real pastors, etc.).
The Pharisees wondered if Jesus might go and search out the “dispersed among the Gentiles”. That is, Jews who lived amongst Greek nationals, and possibly the Greeks (non-Jews) themselves. Would Jesus do this, they asked, if they stopped Him speaking to the Jews under their control? There is an implication here that the Pharisees hoped He would leave Jerusalem and even Israel, and try to find followers in foreign parts. (Then, they would be rid of Him).
They also queried, with evident annoyance, what Jesus meant when He said He would go where the Pharisees would not find Him. They were SO angry! When someone hates you this much, anything you say and do is always ‘wrong’, and their anger finally blows up like a volcano, exploding hatred far and wide. As I have discovered in my ministry, such hatred knows no bounds and the haters will do anything to prove their point, or to harm you. The Pharisees were heading for a final showdown, and Jesus’ time on earth would be up. And Jesus knew it. As with any enemy, their questions were not genuine, but simply fodder for their intense hatred. This is why questions of this type need not be answered.
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet.
Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee?
Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?
On the very last day of the feast, Jesus preached on thirst: ‘If you are spiritually thirsty come to me and I will give you living water that will save you. If he believes in me (as is said in the Torah) rivers of living water will flow out of his belly.’ The following verses explain what Jesus meant by this: when a person is saved, he will be indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The belly is symbolic of the inner man. But, the Holy Spirit was not sent until Jesus’ time on earth (including the days after His death) was fully completed.
Jesus’ listeners must have understood His words, for they did not query them or look perplexed; they were familiar with Old Testament teachings. Many standing there were amazed and acknowledged Him: “Of a truth this is the Prophet”. A number of meanings can be ascribed to this word, ‘prophet’, but in this text it refers to the Messiah. (The capital ‘P’ was inserted by the translators to aid understanding).
Others, too, said that He must be the Christ (Messiah), but critics drew attention to the place of Jesus’ birth. It was common to say that nothing good came out of Galilee. So, how could the Messiah possibly arise out of such a begotten place? This is similar to the way Christians do not want to hear preachers who are not from the ‘right’ Bible college, or approved by the ‘right’ pastor, or who do not teach the ‘right’ things... all indications of pride and disastrous ignorance. God sends whom He will, the right man to the right place at the right time! The Lord does not have a special list of men born into the ‘right’ family in the ‘right’ geographical areas!! The right man can be a great surprise to listeners.
The arguments raged: scripture tells us that the Messiah would be born to someone in direct line from David, in Bethlehem; this is where David used to be. Honest questions are never to be thrown out, but stupidity and scorn do not deserve an answer. Jesus’ words and miracles were proof enough, yet they were forgotten by men who did not wish to believe. Today, atheists are some of the most childish people on earth. They not only scorn the very idea of God, but they insist on saying the most stupid of things. (And, sometimes, so do ignorant Christians).
So there was a division among the people because of him.
And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him.
Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him?
The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.
Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived?
Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?
But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.
Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,)
Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?
They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.
And every man went unto his own house.
One cannot deny the upheaval Jesus caused by speaking in the Temple! And, rightly so! If preaching and teaching does not raise hackles, then what worth is it? The majority of preachers carefully couch vital truths in soft language, for fear of offending hearers. What foolishness. Often, it is the offense that drives hearers to their knees or to contemplation of the truth. The rest will be offended because they are unsaved and do not care. This is why I reject strategies and complex plans to hide my true intentions. Such are human devices! Jesus did not do it, and nor should we.
Though some (the Pharisees or officers?) in the crowd wanted to drag Jesus to the authorities, no-one dared to do so. The text says that the leaders wanted Temple officers to arrest Jesus, but they returned to their masters without Him. They were furious, and demanded to know why the officers came back without the prisoner.
The officers honestly gave their reason – ‘No man has ever spoken with such power and authority as this man!’ They recognised Who Jesus was, or at least His obvious authority, even if they could not acknowledge it openly. In their reply is an implied acceptance that Jesus was Who He said He was.
I can imagine the chief Pharisees jumping up and down in sheer wrath. ‘What, don’t tell us He has duped you, too?’ As if their own minds and hearts were superior to that of their underling Temple guards, they sarcastically asked if any of the rulers believed in Jesus. (One at least did, but he kept it secret). In this statement we find another modern idiocy, that the leaders of anything must be superior and always right, and, that consensus rules. I do not think I need labour that point.
The furious Pharisees burst out that those who did not know their laws (they could not be referring to the laws of Moses) are cursed. This is a powerful and dangerous thing to say, for it means the one who is cursed is open to God’s wrath and punishment. I remember being cursed in this way by many charismatic leaders at the time of the foul Toronto Blessing, even from their pulpits. God will deal with them.
Nicodemus (who visited Jesus at night to receive teaching), a member of the ruling Sanhedrin, issued a warning to be careful. ‘Surely’, he said, ‘our law states that a man cannot be judged guilty without his judges hearing what he has to say, and what he has done?’ The answer from his fellow rulers was swift and full of bile: ‘Don’t tell us you, too, are a Galilean? Look for yourself at the evidence – no prophet ever came out of Galilee!’ This is a typical ploy used by those without a proper argument – they try to humiliate their critics. Make them look stupid, so others will not dare join them. The best example today is the homosexual lobby.
After that spiteful reaction, all the Sanhedrin went to their respective homes. Nevertheless, the intrigue and hate were boiling up to a red hot satanic pitch, and many who literally hated Christ would continue to seek ways to catch Him out. They wanted Him dead, and would not rest until He was killed.
© January 2015
Published on www.christiandoctrine.com
Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH
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