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The Goodness and the Severity of God
Romans 11:22 "Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off." For the most part, men tend to go from one extreme to another. When we understand both the goodness of God on one hand, and the severity of God on the other, it will help keep us in balance so that we walk down the straight and narrow path the leads to eternal life. Most want to only hear and talk about the goodness, the love, the mercy, the patience of God, and all that is positive, but me must also know the judgment and severity of God, without getting off balanced and forgetting about the mercy and goodness of God. Ecclesiastes 7:18 "It is good that thou shouldest take hold of this; yea, also from this withdraw not thine hand: for he that feareth God shall come forth of them all." We need to hold onto both things, the goodness and severity of God. God is love, but He is also "a consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:29).
Exodus 33:18-19a "And he said, I beseech thee, show me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee;" God is going to show something of His nature and character. (V.19b-20) "and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live." When we realize how awesome God is and have a healthy respect for Him and fear of His judgments, then we will walk in obedience to Him. When you start thinking it doesn't matter about things concerning your walk with God and your lifestyle, it's because you have lost your fear of God's judgment, and your love for Him. (V.21) "And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:" The only way to have fellowship and communion with the Father is thru Jesus, who is our Rock. (V.22-23; 34:5-6) "And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen... And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth," That's the mercy of God, but there is more. (V.7-8) "Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped." Now Moses sees the awesomeness of God.
This visiting of the sins of the fathers, is why sons and daughters continue in the ways of their parents. Yes a daughter can learn the ways of a mother who is a witch, and become one too, by practice and choice. But, also a young boy can see his father, a drunk, and hate it, yet when he grows up, he one day finds that he too has become a drunk. The curse has been passed on in either case. They are a curse upon the family passed down that can only be broken by the Lord. How do you break hereditary sins? Ezekiel 18:19 "Doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live." You are set free from the curse of your parents when you give yourself to obedience to God's Word, to walk in it and live by it. Then your children will see you and follow your lifestyle. That's why God wants Godly parents "That he might seek a godly seed." (Malachi 2:15).
Nahum 1:2 "God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies." Now does Hebrews 13:8 say Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever? Malachi 3:6 says "I am the Lord, I cchange not." So God hasn't changed, but most today don't know this side of God. When you start breaking God's Word, and your covenant with Him, then you come under His judgment and He becomes your adversary. When you walk in sin and rebellion against God's Word, you become God's adversary. But most don't know this. Nahum 1:3 "The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet." The book of Jude and 2 Peter show how God deals with sin...
Proverbs deals allot with the subject of the fear of God. Proverbs 1:7 "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction." I believe these are the same as the foolish virgins. Hosea said my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, but also because they reject knowledge. "Fear - is the beginning of knowledge." You can have all kinds of knowledge of God, but if you have no fear of Him, your knowledge will be distorted and perverted. So you come up with doctrines like once saved, always saved. They see this side of God's love and overlook His judgment. The problem is, such one sided knowledge of God is not the truth, because it is off balanced, because they have no boundaries. But in the truth of God's Word there are boundaries. That's part of why God gives us His Holy Spirit, to help us contorl ourselves and to lead us into all truth and place boundaries on our lives. If you willfully follow error, you cannot claim to be following the H.S., and the fault is your own. You have a free will and you choose what you will believe and follow after. God loves you enough to want you to come to a knowledge of the truth that will result in your deliverance from the lies of men and devils and bring you to salvation. When the evil spirits come to you to lead you into sin, the Spirit of God will come upon you and bring a fear of God upon you and stop you and keep you from sin.
Proverbs 2:5 "Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God." You cannot come to a true knowledge of God without the fear of God, for that is the begining of knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." "All your ways." We have to constantly acknowledge Him, His will and purpose for our lives. We have to daily deny ourselves, our will and choices. Remember every mans ways is right in his own eyes. That's why we have to learn to walk in His way. Proverbs 14:12 "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Prov.3:7 "Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil." This is a place where we really miss God. (V.8-10) "It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine." Now God injects the subject of tithes and offerings in the middle of this. Why? If you will not honor God in this, the least of things to Him, then you will not obey and follow Him in the more important things either. Why? For where your treasure is, there you heart is also. If we don't tithe, God says we are robbing Him. (V.11-12) "My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth." The fear of God, turning away from evil, and the judgment and severity of God has to do with His discipline for His sons.
Proverbs 9:10 "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding." If you have no fear of God you have no true wisdom. That means you wisdom will be perverted also. Everything thing you see through a view that has no fear of God is perverted. Proverbs 8:13 "The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate." When you have this fear of the Lord within you, it will cause you to hate evil, pride, and all that is of the evil way; the broad way that leads to destruction. Those that are proud will be cut off, the humble walk in obedience to God. Pride causes one to be rebellious against God.
Proverbs 14:27 "The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death." Most would say a message that speaks of God's severity and judgment is a negative message, but we must understand that even the seemingly most negative thing God says, is positive if we take heed and respond correctly to Him Word. The end of faith, obedience and repentance from sin and rebellion will always be positive. We have to constantly be alert by communion with God, by prayer and by His Word. Satan is still as a roaring lion seeking those he can devoir (1Peter 5:8). A snare is something you can't see coming with your natural eyes, but it will result in death. Many are being caught up in the snares set by hell, because of rejecting God's warnings and rebelling against Him. These snares have to do with sin. The wages of sin is death. So snares that result in death, are snares of sin. It's still lust - sin - death acc. To James 1:15. We are snared with lusts of the flesh and eyes.
Let's look at the goodness and severity of God. Now many in the charismatic movement use the first 13 verses of Deuteronomy chapter 28 and never read the rest, but if the first 13 apply to you, then all 63 verses apply to you. Deuteronomy 28:1 "And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:" Today there is not much diligence in the church, but complacency and being at ease. Now nations, plural is always symbolic of the powers of hell. When we walk in obedience to God's commandments, He will cause us to walk in victory over the powers of hell. (V.2) "And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God." You don't have to chase after blessings, only the giver of all good things. And let's not forget Hebrews 5:9 "And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;". The problem is that we don't see things the way God sees them. Our ways are not His ways. . . God calls disobedience, rebellion and stubborness.
Acts 3:22 "For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you." This isn't teached much today. Obey in all things. Moses was a type and shadow of Jesus leading His people. Many men who have stood for the truth were branded as heretics, and many killed for it, as John Huss. Others as Martin Luther, they would like to have killed. Jesus said my sheep will hear my voice. (V.23) "And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people." Singular - God's people. (V.26) "Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities." That means you won't continue in sin. When you turn the grace of God into lasciviousness as Jude 4 speaks of; it means to be morally unrestrained. You have removed the boundaries of God's Word.
Deuteronomy 28:6-7a "Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face:" Anger, lust, pride, greed are your enemies. They will defile your life. All uncleanness, hatred and strife is your enemy. All the lusts of the world are you enemy. (V.7b) "they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways." James 4:7 "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." You can't submit to God without obedience. You can't resist the Devil without obedience to God. Deuteronomy 28:8 "The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee." The land He will give you is "righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17)." (V.9) "The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways." We are to be a holy people, a peculiar people (1Peter 2:9; 2Timothy 3:16) Scripture is given to us for instruction in how to walk in righteousness. 1Peter 1:14-15 "As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;" The lusts of the world are like a sirene call, enticing you to sin against God. We have been called to walk in holiness - as a manner of lifestyle. (V.16-17) "Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:" In the fear of the Lord. As we walk in covenant with God, we maintain our position "in Christ," raised up above the principalities and powers of this world. But when you begin to walk in disobedience, you will loose your position that you have "in Christ." It isn't an instant thing, but it will happen. You will find yourself like the pharisees saying to Jesus, "don't you know who we are? We are God's chosen people." Jesus almost laughed at them. He mocked them and called them children of the Devil. (V.18) "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;" What is the testimony of His blood? Rev.1:5-6 "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.". It's that Jesus came to destroy the works of the Devil - in your life. 1John 3:8 "He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.". The blood of Jesus frees us from sin and slavery to sin, and the wages of sin which is death. He did this by dying for us, in our place. 1Peter 1:22 "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:" Obedience to the truth is what purifies your soul.
Deuteronomy 28:12a "The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season," The rain is the Holy Spirit. Yes these things are natural, but it's first the natural then spiritual. So there is a dual application of most scriptures. (V.12b-14) "and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them: And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them." The garden of Eden was a picture of the goodness and severity of God. They walked in His goodness and enjoyed His blessings until they sinned by disobedience. Then they learned of the severity of God as He judged them and cast them out of the garden. Today many would say, it's okay, you can eat of that tree also. It won't hurt you. God is love. He won't really judge you if you eat. It's alright, you'll see. Just tell God your sorry afterward, and He will forgive you. You won't really die. God didn't mean it that way. He will overlook your sin. Because of a lack of the fear of God, men pervert His ways and His Word. All the verses of God throwing people out of His kingdom, they say He didn't really mean that way - literally. But He did and He does throw people out of His kingdom.
Now the severity of God. Deuteronomy 28:15 "But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:" Just like the blessing. Allot of those who call themselves God's people are full of these curses. It doesn't take much to figure out that curses are not blessing, nor to figure out who is in charge of the curses. (V.16) "Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field." You can't run away from yourself or the results of your sin. (V.18) "Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body," Your children! You say, why does bad things happen to little children. Some say "why does God allow such, if He is so good, and He is God." Simple, it isn't His fault, it's yours! We cause bad things to come to our children by our sins. (V.19) "Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out.". Deut.30:19-20 "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me." We don't say with our mouths, "God I forsake you." It's with our deeds that we forsake Him. (V.22) "The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish." "They" - the powers of hell turned loose upon you. If you didn't see this in the Bible, you would think as most professing Christians today that this doctrine is error. The sword is God's judgment. If you don't repent when under His judgment you will perish, be removed from His presence and His kingdom. John 15:10a "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love;" This is the love of God. (V.6) "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned." To abide in Him is to keep His commandments. Matthew 7:19 "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." There are two kinds of trees, and two kinds of fruit, good and evil. Satan is the tree cutter. You and I are the trees. The fire is hell.
We are looking at the goodness and severity of God. Matthew 7:14 "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." This is so because most don't want to give up walking in evil. They want to keep walking in their sins, and have a doctrine that makes them comfortable and tells them they can still go to heaven anyway. Unfortunately it isn't true. It isn't possible. (V.13) "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:" The gate is wide because the boundaries have been removed. By who? (V.15) "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." They talk about Jesus, but they teach you that you can get by with sin and compromise, but they lead men to hell. (V.22-23) "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." They may have been filled with God's Spirit at one time, but something happened. They began to walk in presumption of God and didn't overcome sin.
Deuteronomy 28:25 "The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth." Whose your enemies? The order has been reversed. (V.26) "And thy carcase shall be meat unto all fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray them away." Canaries and chipmunks aren't going to eat your flesh; but you will become food for devils. Those are the enemy we are in a battle against. If you walk in sin you can rebuke them till your blue in the face, and until you repent, they will laugh at you. It says no one will 'fray' - frighten or chase them away. (V.27-28) "The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed. The LORD shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart:" Mental disorders are a curse, a work of devils. Many 'mad' people once knew and walked with God. Supposively the 'son of sam' who killed so many people was once a spirit filled believer. To walk away from God is not a good thing, these people are turned over to the evemy for torment. (V.29) "And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee." How do you get out of it? Repent and cry out to God. It has to become a way of life for us. Jesus did it (Heb.5:7)!
Deuteronomy 28:45, 47 "Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee:... Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things;" You don't just serve Him to escape hell, but with joy. It's an honor to know and walk with Him. He has given us all things and most just take it for granted and trample upon His Word and the blood of Jesus and making a mockery of His Name. He doesn't take that lightly.
Col.3:3 "For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." This is supposed to be your testimony. That you have died to sin and the old sinful nature. (V.4-5) "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:" This is the way we are to think and walk. Mortify means put to death. We are to consider ourselves dead to all these things listed. That's Rom.6:11! (V.7-8) "In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth." Here blasphemy is railing or slandering someone. (V.9-10) "Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:" This is true knowledge. There's allot of false knowledge of God. God has set us free from the power of sin, He has raised us up from being dead in our trespasses and sins and made us kings and priests unto God and we live and walk by faith in Christ, and our lives are hid with Christ in God, and we have been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. But what if I should begin to think that it doesn't really matter how I walk, and I can somehow get by with sin? Col.3:6 "For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:" If you practice the things listed here in this chapter, the wrath of God will come. It's the severity of God.
Deuteronomy 27:11-13 "And Moses charged the people the same day, saying, These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people, when ye are come over Jordan; Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin: And these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse; Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali." Summary: God made this picture to emphasize His Word, and the reality of the blessing of keeping His covenant and the curses of breaking covenant with Him. This was to help them remember and not forget these things. In Joshua 8:33 they repeated this same ritual. Yet the people forgot as we have today. No one knew about the curses given on Mount Ebal. Nothing has changed of God's requirements, only God has given us more and better promises, His forgiveness and His Spirit and a greater revelation of Him through Christ Jesus. What excuse do we have? We have been given His Name, and authority; His life and Spirit.
Romans 11:19 "Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in." This was natural Israel that failed to submit to the new covenant of the blood of Jesus. His chosen people were cut off from God. (V.20) "Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:" We must have the fear of the Lord to turn us away from sin. Yet so many say, we are not under the law, but under grace. Yes, grace, not grease. Titus 2:11-12 "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;" It doesn't cover our sin while we continue to walk in evil. It does matter how we live our lives. Romans 11:21 "For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee." You. Put your name there. (V.22) "Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off". Please notice the 'if'; His goodness is conditional. It has to do with your walking in faith and obedience. Cut off doesn't mean you miss the rapture and you get another chance in the tribulation, it means you are cut off from God and you don't make it to heaven. You go to hell. (V.23) "And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again." If the Jew turns from his unbelief to faith in Christ, he too can be saved. That also applies to us. Those who have backslid and then returned to the grace of God know this. It's good news to the one who will repent of his sins and turn back to God.
You know that it's worse for us who have known God to go back to sin than for those who have never know Him. 2Peter 2:20-22 "For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. or it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire." That tells me those who claim to be God's people don't know this nor believe it. This is how God sees those who He has washed in His blood who go back to their old sins. It's like a king and a priest, which you have been made, getting on their knees and acting like a dog licking up his vomit. That should make us want to stop sinning.
You say, how do I get out of God's judgment. Acknowledge your sins and repent and ask God to put a fear of His judgment in you. Psalms 119:120 "My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments.".
Ezekiel 18:21-23, 27-31 "But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?... Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die. Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal? Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgression; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?" All God is looking for is for you and I to change our ways and turn to Him and become obedient to His Word. Then He promises to deliver us from His judgments. Praise His Name!
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