Archive for the Angels Category

The Persian Empire

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Angels, Persia/Elam/Iran, Prophecy with tags , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2020 by paulthepoke

Daniel 8:20 As for the ram that you saw with the two horns, these are the kings of Media and Persia.

Media or the Medes or Madai, is a son of Japheth. Madai is Noah’s grandson.

Genesis 10:2 The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras.

Wikipedia

Historically, the Medes and Persians formed the Persian or the Achaemenid Empire.

Daniel was not written in chronological order. Historically, Daniel 8 was written before Daniel 5.

We know Daniel received understanding of the vision from Daniel 8:1 in the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar to be about 553 BC.

In receiving the vision, Daniel understood Babylon would no longer be a player on the world stage and the Babylonian Empire was on its last legs. Recall, Daniel was physically in Babylon. At the time of the vision, Babylon was the head of gold of world empires from Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in chapter 2.

In 553 BC, The Persians were led by Cyrus the Great (559 BC to 529 BC). At the time of Daniel’s vision, secular history records Cyrus was yet to invade and capture Babylon. Secular history records that would happen 14 years later in 539 BC. Legend has it, Babylon was taken by the Persians without any conflict.

This is where secular history and the Bible collide. Secular history says Cyrus captured Babylon. The Bible says Darius the Mede captured Babylon. Secular history has no mention of Darius the Mede. Critics of the Bible view the character of Darius the Mede as a work of fiction. Darius the Mede would continue to be a part of Daniel’s writings in chapters 6 and 9. Some critics even go to the extent Daniel never existed.

King Belshazzar’s reign would come to an end in Daniel 5 with the hand writing on the wall.

Daniel 5:30-31 That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom at the age of sixty-two.

The Persian Empire was on the cusp of its greatest power. Darius I would rule from 522 BC to 486 BC. Under his leadership, this would be the largest empire known to man at that time. It was often referred to as “The Empire”. Historical dates provided by Wikipedia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achaemenid_Empire

Wikipedia

The eastern border of The Empire was essentially the Indus River which runs through modern day Pakistan. The southern border in the eastern part of the empire was the 21st century Persian Gulf. The southern border extended west across what is northern Saudi Arabia into what is modern day Egypt and eastern Libya. The northern border ranged from what was the old Soviet republics in the east to the Balkans to modern day Turkey moving west. It is in the far northwest corner of the Achaemenid Empire where resistance was ultimately encountered in Macedonia or what we know as modern day Greece.

The Empire would come to an abrupt end as Gabriel is about to inform Daniel.

Gabriel’s Message: For the Time of the End

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Angels with tags , , , , , , , on June 14, 2020 by paulthepoke

Daniel 8:17b But he said to me, “Understand, O son of man, that the vision is for the time of the end.”

Gabriel is talking to Daniel while he is prostrate. Gabriel’s point is to reveal understanding and clarity.

Then Gabriel refers to Daniel as a “son of man”. This term has many applications. One, it refers to the humanity of an individual. Translated, it literally means “son of Adam”. Two, God uses this title frequently when addressing the prophet Ezekiel. The term is often associated as a calling card for a prophet. Lastly, Jesus frequently identified Himself as the “son of man”. This phrase is used over 80 times in the New Testament in reference to Christ. The term points to the humanity of Jesus and His office as a prophet.

Gabriel indicates the time point of the vision.

“…the vision is for the time of the end.”

Daniel 8:18 And when he had spoken to me, I fell into a deep sleep with my face to the ground. But he touched me and made me stand up.

Apparently Daniel was shaken to the point of a “deep sleep” by Gabriel’s approach and words. Daniel had not changed his physical position. He remained prostrate, until Gabriel helped him up off the ground.

wiki wallpaper

Daniel 8:19 He said, “Behold, I will make known to you what shall be at the latter end of the indignation, for it refers to the appointed time of the end.

In Gabriel’s introduction to Daniel, it is stated three times. This vision is about the end.

This time will not be pleasant. The time is translated and described in English as the “indignation”. This word does not do justice for the definition in Hebrew. The word is zaam. Other translations could include angry, rage, or fury. If a person is zaam, they are upset to the point of frothing at the mouth.

Challenging times are coming…

Daniel, Meet Gabriel

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Angels with tags , , , , , , , , on June 7, 2020 by paulthepoke

Daniel 8:16 And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Ulai, and it called, “Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.”

This is Gabriel’s formal introduction in the Old Testament. Gabriel is God’s chosen messenger to the prophet Daniel, who will document interpretation of visions.

Daniel reveals the time and place of the vision. The timing of the vision is revealed initially in Daniel 8.

Daniel 8:1 In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me, Daniel, after that which appeared to me at the first.

Scholars and researchers estimate the date of the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar to be about 553 BC.

Granted, Daniel is physically in Babylon at the time of the vision. But, Daniel sees himself in a specific place.

Google Maps: Hamadan, Burial site of Esther & Mordechai

Daniel 8:2 And I saw in the vision; and when I saw, I was in Susa the citadel, which is in the province of Elam. And I saw in the vision, and I was at the Ulai canal.

Per the ATS Bible Dictionary, the Ulai or Euleus River flows by the city of Susa. It was known as the Choaspes by the Greeks. Today, it is called the Kerkhah River. The river is about a mile and a half east of Susa.

Susa was the headquarters of the ancient Persia and Media Empire. Ancient Susa is also known as Shush or Shushan.

Little did Daniel know, Susa would be the setting for the story of the book of Esther. The events in Esther took place from 483-473 BC. Queen Esther and Mordechai are buried in Hamadan, north of Susa to this very day in the 21st century Iran.

From Daniel’s vision in 553 BC to the onset of Esther’s trials in 483 BC is 70 years.

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Daniel 8:15 When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it. And behold, there stood before me one having the appearance of a man.

Gabriel is introduced by the voice of a man. It seems Gabriel has the appearance of a man.

This is not just any man. The Hebrew word for “man” is geber. This is the term for a mighty warrior. It would seem that Gabriel is physically imposing.

Daniel has the same response to Gabriel as all the other people who meet him. There are two other people who would later meet Gabriel. They are Zechariah the priest and the Virgin Mary in the book of Luke. In all three cases, Gabriel scares the hell out of them.

Daniel 8:17a So he came near where I stood. And when he came, I was frightened and fell on my face…

Daniel was “frightened” or baath in the Hebrew. The word can also be translated as startled or terrified or overwhelmed (Strong’s Concordance). Other dictionaries use the word troubled.

Daniel also “fell on my face”. This is a sign of submission or reverence by Daniel. He realized he is in over his head.

Gabriel: Good News is Coming

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Angels with tags , , , , , , , on May 12, 2020 by paulthepoke

Luke 1:19 “I am Gabriel,” replied the angel. “I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.

Clearly, Zechariah is not sure what to make of all of this. Gabriel attempts to make it crystal clear. My word is good.

First is his name. Gabriel means “man of God” or “strong man of God”. The message to Zechariah is simple. He is listening to a “strong man of God”.

Second, Gabriel tells the priest his domain is the literal presence of God. The Greek word used is παρίστημι/paristémi. It means: to place beside, to present, stand by, appear. The idea is Gabriel is close to God. He is in the inner circle if you will.

…and I have been sent to speak to you… Third, God Himself sent Gabriel to personally talk to Zechariah.

…and to bring you this good news. This is the Greek word that is synonymous with “the gospel” message, εὐαγγελίζω/euaggelizó. Gabriel is personally bringing “good news” from God to you.

Luke 1:20 And now you will be silent and unable to speak until the day this comes to pass, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time.”

Zechariah is no different than any of us. He did not believe God’s message. And Zechariah was a priest serving God in the Temple at the time of these events. None of us are completely obedient. We all have times when we question or neglect what God has to say.

Because of his lack of faith, Zechariah would be silenced and diagnosed with Expressive Aphasia.  This is a type of aphasia characterized by partial loss of the ability to produce language (spoken, manual, or written), although comprehension generally remains intact. In Zechariah’s case, his loss was not partial. https://www.aphasia.org/aphasia-definitions/

Luke 1:18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.”

It would appear Elizabeth was not pregnant at this time based on Zechariah’s comments in Luke 1:18. There would be no whispering of sweet nothings in Elizabeth’s ear. John the Baptist was conceived by an old man with expressive aphasia and a sterile, old, geriatric woman. What seems impossible to humanity is God’s reality.

Notice, the length of time of Zechariah’s aphasia is open ended. Gabriel does not give a definitive time. He was mute for at least 9 months. Zechariah will not talk until Gabriel’s personal prophecy is fulfilled.

Zechariah ultimately regained his ability to speak. This is observed later in Luke 1. And when he recovers, he has a lot to say.

Luke 1:64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God.

See Zechariah’s song and prophecy in Luke 1:67-79.

Salvation is coming…

Forerunners to Christ, John the Baptist and Elijah

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Angels with tags , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2020 by paulthepoke

Luke 1:17 and he will go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.

The angel Gabriel continues his prophecy of Zechariah’s son, John the Baptist.

Look carefully, he (John the Baptist) will come before the Messiah. John the Baptist is not Elijah. John comes in the spirit and power of Elijah.

Later, Jesus Himself would confirm that John the Baptist functions as if Elijah.

Matthew 11:14 “And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come.” –Jesus.

John’s purpose is to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.

As Gabriel stated previously, the ministry of John the Baptist will associated with joy, gladness, and the grace of God. People will turn back to the Lord. This is the Hebraic concept of Teshuvah.

John the Baptist is associated with the first coming of Christ. Elijah is associated with the second coming.

In both the first and second comings of Jesus, the two forerunners to Christ will change the hearts of children and fathers.

Compare Gabriel’s comments to Malachi 4:5-6. These are the last words of the Old Testament. From Gabriel back to Malachi, it had been approximately 425 years since God had communicated with the Jewish people.

Malachi 4:5-6 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.

Elijah’s purpose… so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.

When Elijah comes a second time, he will precede the second coming of Christ. His ministry will be associated with the great and awesome day of the LORD.

Although he is not specifically named, Elijah is likely one of the two witnesses in Revelation 11. The skill set and characteristics of the witnesses are consistent with the prophet Elijah on his first mission.

See 1 Kings 17-21 and 2 Kings 1-2 for Elijah’s initial career and efforts.

Revelation 11:3 And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.

Elijah will be dressed in sackcloth. These garments are made of a coarse, dark cloth from a goat. In Elijah’s day, sackcloth was worn in times of mourning, distress, mortification, or penitence.

Elijah promises fire, drought, water to blood, and all kinds of plagues.

Elijah will be an instrument of judgment.

Return to the Lord

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Angels, Teshuvah/Repent with tags , , , , , on April 26, 2020 by paulthepoke

Luke 1:16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God…

And he will turnἐπιστρέφω/epistrephó in the Greek. As defined by Strong’s Concordance, the term means to return. Thayer’s Lexicon interprets the idea as to cause to return, to bring back, to turn oneself about, or come back. The idea is in a literal, physical sense. Stop going in the path one is taking. Turn and go in a different direction.

This term is used 36 times in the New Testament. Below are a few examples how ἐπιστρέφω/epistrephó is utilized.

Luke 2:39 When they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth.

Matthew 12:44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order.

2 Peter 2:22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

People were going the wrong way and had left the God of Israel. The angel Gabriel is telling Zechariah the priest his son to be, John the Baptist, will be the reason fellow country men will return to God.

Return to the Lord. To the Jew, this is the concept of Teshuvah. In our western world, the term we are familiar with is “repent”.

Teshuvah is a time to turn toward God. People are called to turn away from their sin, repent, and change course. Let go of the ways of the world. It is a time of inward reflection and sincere self-assessment. The goal is a change in lifestyle away from sin to obedience in God’s word. Return to God and His ways. This is not a warm and fuzzy spiritual word that causes your stomach to flutter or hair to stand on your neck. There should be some conviction. Be honest. Right is right and wrong is wrong. We can all do better. Prepare and turn to God with a joyful heart.

Teshuvah is a 40 day period in the late summer of the year. This is the season to prepare for the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah and the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur.

Elul is the last month of the civic calendar in Judaism. Elul is the sixth month of the religious calendar. Elul 1 marks the beginning of Teshuvah. The 40 day period of Teshuvah ends on Tishri 10 in the Hebrew calendar, Yom Kippur.

Gabriel: Prophecy of John the Baptist

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Angels with tags , , , , , on April 19, 2020 by paulthepoke

Luke 1:14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth

Gabriel is revealing the promise of Zechariah’s son to him, John the Baptist. Zechariah is told his son will result in joy and gladness. In the Greek language, the root word for joy is a form of the word for grace or χαρά/chara. In other words, Zechariah will experience joy because of God’s grace. As a father, Zechariah would also experience “gladness” or ἀγαλλίασις/agalliasis. The translation of “gladness” does not fully define the term. Other translations could include wild joy, ecstatic delight, exultation, or exhilaration as noted by Strong’s Concordance.

and many will rejoice at his birth… The birth of John the Baptist will result in others to “rejoice”. This is the verb form of grace or χαίρω/chairó.

John the Baptist will be a source of God’s grace.

Luke 1:15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.

for he will be great before the Lord.

God’s view of John the Baptist is “great” or μέγας/megas. John will be large, great, in the widest sense. -Strong’s Concordance.

And he must not drink wine or strong drink

Many take this charge to be a Nazarite vow. This concept has its origins in Numbers 6:1-21. John the Baptist is to set himself apart and dedicate himself to God for his entire life. John is one of three people in the Bible who were to devote their lives with a Nazarite vow to God. The other two were Samson and Samuel.

In general, there are three primary considerations when taking a Nazarite vow. One, a person is not to drink wine or any beverage product that comes from a grape. A person is not to eat grapes or raisins either. Two, no razor shall touch his head. In other words, no hair cuts or facial shaving allowed. Three, one is not to come in contact with a dead body.

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and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit…

Keep in mind, this is before the giving of the Spirit at Pentecost. That event was yet future.

There were not many people who were blessed with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit prior to John the Baptist. Aspects of the Spirit allowed Moses, Joshua, Saul, and Solomon to carry out various duties with God given insights.

King David particularly valued the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 51:10-12 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

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…even from his mother’s womb.

This promise is confirmed later in the book of Luke.

Luke 1:41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Luke 1:80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

Zechariah, Meet Gabriel

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Angels with tags , , , on March 22, 2020 by paulthepoke

Luke 1:11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

So Zechariah the priest is minding his own business by himself in the Temple…

And there appeared… ὁράω/horaó in the Greek. Defined, the term means to see or intently stare. Imagine being by yourself and a being shows up out of thin air. One might lock in on what is being seen.

Luke 1:12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him.

Let’s look at the description of Zechariah when he realized the angel later to be identified as Gabriel.

We have the benefit of knowing Zechariah is meeting Gabriel. Zechariah will find this out later in the conversation.

Luke 1:19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.

Zechariah was troubled or ταράσσω/tarassó. It could also mean to be stirred up or agitated.

Zechariah was overwhelmed or seized with fear or φόβος/phobos. The word can be defined as panic flight, fear, the causing of fear, terror. In English, we get the word “phobia” from the Greek.

Zechariah and the virgin Mary have the same initial response to Gabriel. The same Greek terms are used. Both were stirred up and scared.

Gabriel, for his part, has the same response to both Zechariah and Mary. He tells both of them to not be afraid and he calls them by name.

Luke 1:13a But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah…

Luke 1:30a And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary

Likely to Zechariah’s surprise, the being knows his name and his wife’s name Elizabeth. Then Gabriel shares some information with Zechariah. You are going to be a father and you are going to name the child John.

Luke 1:13b …and you shall call his name John.

Zechariah the Priest & Prayer

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Angels with tags , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2020 by paulthepoke

Luke 1:5a In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah…

Luke 1:8 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty…

This is the introduction of Zechariah the priest, father of John the Baptist.

But first, let’s look at the name Zechariah. His name means “Yah has remembered”. It would appear, Zechariah is the first person to talk to the angel (Gabriel) in the New Testament. We know that he has prayed for a child.

Luke 1:13a But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard…

A man whose name means “Yah remembers” has prayed to Yahweh. Yah has heard, remembered, and grants “Yah remembers” his wish. Then “Yah remembers” does not believe Yah remembered him and discounts the promise of a child.

Luke 1:18 “How can I be sure of this?” Zechariah asked the angel. “I am an old man, and my wife is well along in years.”

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Luke 1:11 Just then, an angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah, standing at the right side of the altar of the incense.

The angel was located at the right side. Symbolically, the right of God is known as a position of presence, power, and authority. Christ has ascended into Heaven and is located at the right hand of the Father.

golden_altar_of_incense

The directions for the construction and purpose of the altar of incense are located in Exodus 30. The priests are instructed to burn incense continually. This is a request for all generations. The burning of incense is perpetual.

Exodus 30:7-8 And Aaron shall burn fragrant incense on it. Every morning when he dresses the lamps he shall burn it, and when Aaron sets up the lamps at twilight, he shall burn it, a regular incense offering before the LORD throughout your generations.

The incense is fragrant and pleasing to smell. God only wants incense from this altar.

Exodus 30:9 You shall not offer unauthorized incense on it, or a burnt offering, or a grain offering, and you shall not pour a drink offering on it.

In Revelation, in the throne room of Heaven, the incense is equated with prayers.

Revelation 8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne…

Despite being a priest and serving God in the Temple, Zechariah did not believe God’s message. He was still granted his prayer request. But with his unbelief, there was a consequence. Silence!

Luke 1:20 And now you will be silent and unable to speak until the day this comes to pass, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time. -Gabriel

Do not underestimate the power of our prayers. Gabriel was located at a position of authority near the symbol for prayers.

Prayer should be part of our lives. God wants us to communicate with Him. He desires to hear from us. Our prayers are a sweet aroma to Him. He does listen and He always remembers.

1 Thessalonians 5:17-19 pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.

Gabriel: “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Angels with tags , , , , on February 23, 2020 by paulthepoke

Luke 1:36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.

Gabriel knows that Elizabeth and Mary are related family. Imagine being Mary, this being knows a lot about her circumstances.

Mary Elizabeth

So what relation is Mary to Elizabeth? The Greek word for “relative” is συγγενής/suggenes. The term is defined or translated as a relation; a relative or kinsman by multiple concordances. The King James Version is the only translation that utilizes the term “cousin” which may not be accurate. All other translations and even the King James Version typically uses the term “relative” or “kinsman” in the 12 times the term συγγενής/suggenes is used in the New Testament. We don’t know specifically the exact relation of Elizabeth and Mary. But we do know they are related. The two women have a history and they know each other.

Luke 1:39-40 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.

Elizabeth is described as being in “old age” and “barren.”

She is γῆρας/géras or old. This is the only time the term is used in the New Testament. In English, we get the word geriatric from the Greek.

Elizabeth is also “barren” or στεῖρος/steiros. The translators are kind. The word sterile could also apply. In other words, Elizabeth is a sterile, old, geriatric woman.

Zechariah is no spring chicken himself. Zechariah knows he is old too.

Luke 1:18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.”

As a reminder, this is not the first time God oversees a geriatric woman getting pregnant and giving birth.

Genesis 17:15-19 And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him.

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Luke 1:38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Ultimately, Mary responds to the grace afforded to her by Gabriel. She believes God’s messenger. And she chooses to tell Gabriel…

Behold or ἰδού/idou. Mary has turned the tables on Gabriel. Now, she is telling Gabriel to pay attention to her! Gabriel, you listen to me!

Mary proclaims to be a “servant” or a δούλη/doule. This is a female slave or bond maid. She is submitting her will to God and His plan. She is choosing to be a slave to God.

Mary is asking for Gabriel’s message to become her reality; let it be to me according to your word.

Gabriel believes Mary. And the angel departed from her.

Paul the Poke

Habakkuk 1:5 Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told. -LORD God

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