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Tuesday: Christ-Centered Doctrinal Beliefs — 35 Comments

  1. As a people we have preached the law until we are as dry as the hills of Gilboa, that had neither dew nor rain. We must preach Christ in the law, and there will be sap and nourishment in the preaching that will be as food to the famishing flock of God.
    The Review and Herald, March 11, 1890
    She did not say don't preach the law but even the preaching of the law must be Christ centered message. We need strength to endure the race; sap and nourishment can only be found in Christ.

    • Preaching Christ is much more than talking "Jesus talk". It is about living the Gospel. I have atheist friends. They would not be my friends if I talked religious talk to them. But being there when they need a friend, listening when they need to be listened to, understanding when they need understanding, speaks volumes about what Christianity really means. preaching without talking is hard work, but rewarding at the same time.

      • Maurice,
        Your posting reminded me of a quote
        "Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary."
        Attributed to St. Francis

      • If we stay connected with Christ, sometimes we don't even realize that we are preaching. Although sinners, Christ can change the natural disaster resulting from our actions! But yes, we need to be wise and counsciously help what our hearts are impressed to do! Just staying connected to the Truth!

      • Imagine Jesus being only a good friend, and never preaching the gospel of peace. Or Paul, Peter, Noah, Jonah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, etc. How would others have known more than just a nice friend? There is power in a sincere "repent and believe the gospel", especially when coming from a good friend. This is why Jesus has given clear instructions that "repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations,...You are witnesses of these things."

        If we want to maintain earthly friendships with unbelievers, we won't preach. But if we obey Jesus' commission("with a loud voice") and hold forth the truth, shining as lights, the crooked and perverse generation that hates the truth will hate us. However, the honest in heart will be convicted by the Holy Spirit and may find Life if they choose it. But how will they know?

        Going back to the nice friend, what will their friends say to them at the appearance of Jesus and in the judgment? These things are true and coming quickly upon the unsuspecting.

        Lastly, "all who live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution". What is Godly? Is God silent but "nice" only? Does God "so love the world"? How did He show it? How is Jesus toward those He loves?(Rev 3:19)

        Their time is short. Very short.

        • Robert, I get your point, and there is a time to say something. But we need to remember that if our actions are not speaking loudly, our words will not be heard at all.

          Christianity in action is more than being nice. It is about being there when your friends need you. That can be challenging. You do not desert your friends because they do stupid things.

          Most of my atheist friends have been traumatised by experiences with people professing Christianity. They are not going to listen to words. They can still be surprised by action.

    • Preaching the law is preaching Christ. Preaching Christ is preaching the Law. The common saving element in both sentences is Christ. Therefore, I only need to preach Christ, period. Of course, that is only possible when I am saved by Christ, both now and in the hour of my falling asleep in Him.

      • Yet, if you eliminate the law, you eliminate the need for Christ. Also, to what did Christ always point? Was it not the law? Jesus is the Law demonstrated perfectly in a human life, showing all that it is possible.

        Jesus only exists because the law was broken. His life and death magnify the Law, which is merely an expression of God in terms we can easily relate to.

  2. What this lesson appears to be saying is Jesus is our only source of salvation. And that Jesus is our only way from earth to heaven.

    John 14:6
    Jesus says to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

    • And that is absolutely true. However, that does not leave out any who have not heard the name of Jesus. He is the Light that enlightens every person born on this planet.(John 1:9) And those who respond to His Spirit will be saved through Christ - whether or not they have heard His name.

      • Your last comment brings up the question, why has He not come yet? I like what Dennis Preibe says, " He is waiting for US to get our act together." Lets quit keeping Him waiting. Then another related question comes up, can we hasten the Lord's coming? Yes, but you say how, God knows the day and the hour. That is true. He also gives us the privlage of hastening His coming. How, by growing in Christ in our beliefs as well as our every day lives. Accepting the truth, and living the Gospel, which is what Christianity is all about.

        • Yes, God knows the day/hour because He has seen the day His people are sealed, once they commit to Him their entire being, and exhibit the Divine nature in all they say and do. This will take place during the greatest trial of faith any have ever seen outside of Gethsemane.

          God knows who (and when) and has described them in Rev 7, 14, 15, etc. Will it be this generation?

  3. Today's lesson states that "all true doctrine is anchored in Christ, and all should in various ways impact how we live".

    How does the sanctuary doctrine referred to in yesterday's lesson uniquely impact how we live? Asked another way, what change in how we live happens under this doctrine that would not happen if the sanctuary doctrine did not exist?

    • Thank you for this thought-provoking question. I am interested in reading what others have to share.

      From my perspective, the sanctuary doctrine, which teaches that Christ is even now mediating for us in the heavenly sanctuary, makes more real to me the close connection between heaven and earth. It makes me more conscious of living in the presence of Christ. Not only that, but it seems to me that He is even now fulfilling the prophecy of Mal 3:3. That reminds me that Christ wants to purify my heart and life, and I need to cooperate with Him. (See also Titus 2:14 and James 4:8)

    • The sanctuary doctrine of the old testament is the gospel of the new testament. Both call the sinner to repent, believe, and live a life that measures with the life of God, who is the fountain spring of all life that exists.

      If this doctrine(they are one), which is rife with "exceeding great and precious promises" does not transform the sinner, they are hopeless, for nothing else can.

    • Your thought inspiring question as to what impact it would have on our life if there would be no sanctuary doctrine, reminds me of what Christ is doing in heaven after his resurrection and ascension. If there was no High Priest nor a sanctuary in heaven, Christ would not have risen from the dead for our justification (Romans 4:25) in order for grace to be applied for us at the throne of grace in that heavenly sanctuary above, after his resurrection (Hebrews 4:14-16). Justificaton by grace at the throne of grace would not have been available for sinners in having their conscience cleansed from sin by the blood of Christ to serve the living God (Hebrews 9:14), which is justification and sanctification in that order, whithout which no man will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). Fortunately, the opposite is the case and the salvatory action of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary does impact our live in justification and sanctification centered within that heavenly sanctuary.

      Winfried Stolpmann

    • Phil, I understood your question to be probing as to where truth is anchored and how truth affects how we live. The specific truth under consideration here being that of the Sanctuary.

      Without the object lesson of the Tabernacle and its related operations we could lose our focus on the deadly, pervasive nature of human sin and God's generosity in wanting to relieve individual humans of its burden everywhere on Earth (Jn 3:16). We could lose our focus on the centrality of the substitutionary life (1 Pt 1:18-19; Lev 4:27,32; Jn 8:29,46) as well as the substitutionary death of Christ (Jn 1:29; Lev 6:25). We could lose our focus on Christ's role as symbolized in the High Priest (Heb 5:4-5).

      We could lose our focus on the weighty stewardship of the "regular priests" (Lev 10:3,9-11; Mal 2:7; Lev 21:8,17,21) who were sons of the symbolic high priest (Ex 29:1,4). We could lose sight of the object lesson that as Levi was given to Israel as a dedicated tribe of priests (Num 18:5-7), so Israel was given as a "priest nation" to the world (Ex 19:3,5-6). We could lose sight of the transfer of national Israel's "priest nation" function to a new nation (Mt 21:43; Acts 13:46-47).

      Have we apparently wandered away from Jesus' (Jn 2:19,21) and the Apostle's teaching (Acts 2:42) that the place within which Christ ministers is not a structure in the heavens, but in individuals right here on earth (Act 15:14-17; 1 Pt 2:5,9; Heb 3:6)? Could knowing that one is an offspring of THE High Priest and BORN for a purpose, actually affect lifestyle choices in attire (Ex 28:40), diet (Lev 10:9), family (Lev 21:7) and daily activity (Lev 13:1-3,34; 14:29,57)? Indeed the life of every priest is not just impacted, but is inseparably blended with his knowledge of Divine truth (Jn 17:15-16,20; 2 Cor 5:18-20).

    • Thankyou to each of you for your detailed responses with scriptural support. I can see that for some people, the OT sanctuary is a valuable object lesson that helps enhance their understanding of and appreciation for the range of implications inherent in Jesus provision of salvation, our co-operation with that salvation and our sharing of that salvation to others.

      Lynrol's point (backed up by John 2:19-21; 1 Pet 2:5; Heb 3.6) that the heavenly sanctuary is not a "structure", but consists of people is interesting. The doctrine of the heavenly sanctuary (Fundamental belief #24) appears to depart from this view when it states (in part) "There is a sanctuary in heaven, the true tabernacle which the Lord set up and not man. In it Christ ministers on our behalf...". Interesting ...

      • It has been my thought that the "structure" in heaven was represented by the structure on earth, but in a sense we could understand and learn from. Structure in heaven is not the same the earthly as I would imagine. In the earthly there were angels carved and embroidered, but in heaven they are real. The ark represented the throne, but it was not a replica. The veil represented Christ, standing between the sinner and a Holy God. No need for a curtain in heaven with Jesus there.

        I also do not imagine that Jesus is offering literal incense on an altar, which represented the prayers of the saints blended with the merits of Christ. Why use symbols in heaven? The "pattern" was the reality which the type only represented. There is a sanctuary, but it is reality, not type.

        The scriptures cited to support the idea that the sanctuary is people do not support that idea as they are speaking of the church or the human habitation of the Holy Spirit. The sanctuary is different and only the priest entered it while God dwells there. The only "people" represented are in the candles/lamps, which Jesus warns can be removed/spewed out.

        Ok, this late thought: it's possible there is a typical structure for the benefit of the unfallen worlds who are also learning of God that which only His dealing with sin and sinners could reveal. It's there now as scripture points out, but will not be there in the City of God when the dominion is restored.

        • Good thoughts Robert.

          Yes, the cited scriptures are talking about things under the New Testament/Covenant which is different to the Old Testament/Covenant. Old Testament, literal 'bricks and mortar' sanctuary (dwelling place of God) and literal priests. New Testament, indwelling by the Holy Spirit of believers who are now all members of the priesthood of believers. A developmental progression of increasingly 'intimate' involvement with the next progression being face-to-face communion with God and no priesthood in heaven and the New Earth.

          I do not find irrefutable evidence in scripture (including looking into the Hebrew/Greek words used) to support the idea of a literal sanctuary in heaven. Consequently, it is apparently not a key necessity for salvation to know one way or the other. And when we get to heaven and I find out there is/was a literal sanctuary there, I will be the first to admit I was wrong.

          For those who derive meaning from the belief that there is a literal sanctuary and Jesus is literally ministering in it for our benefit, I would not try to convince them otherwise. On the other hand, I find that new believers are able to access the understanding and appreciation of the necessary dimensions of salvation without having to first acquire a knowledge of the sanctuary.

          Interesting things to ponder indeed...

          • "I do not find irrefutable evidence in scripture (including looking into the Hebrew/Greek words used) to support the idea of a literal sanctuary in heaven."

            When you say "literal", you are not denying the fact that there is a "temple" in heaven?

            Consider the following scriptures:

            Heb 8:2,5; 9:8,11, 23, 24
            Revelation 11:19; 21:22

            A sanctuary is often a place of safety for wildlife, yet no building exists. It is simply a location set aside for preserving life. I believe the last scripture listed above might provide a clue concerning the manner of this heavenly "temple" that the earthly sanctuary was constructed to represent. In all the earthly types we see something greater than mere objects represented. Examples: Christ is the bread, the incense, the one attending the lamps closely and intimately, and above all, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Yet, Daniel saw a place where God was, with thrones set in place. John also bears witness to a throne set, surrounded by 4 living creatures and before which 24 thrones where 24 elders also sit, all surrounded by countless angels.

            We must conclude that God has an appointed place, and according to prophecy, an appointed time where salvation is being administered before the hosts in heaven, and from earth, those who follow by faith the heavenly proceedings.

            So there is something that was faintly shadowed in the earthly sanctuary of types. I agree with Phil that it's actual form is not vital to understand(since it is not yet revealed), and we need only believe in and experience ourselves that which has been revealed, which is taking place now on behalf of repentant sinners, and that Christ is there preparing a place for "as many as receive Him...and believe on His name".

          • In regard to the question "When you say "literal", you are not denying the fact that there is a "temple" in heaven?". I beleve the following.

            The full reality that God inhabits is so far above and beyond my ability to comprehend (eg 1 Cor 2:9).

            Consequently, God tries to help us understand relevant aspects of that reality in ways that we can relate to (the general principle).

            God therefore uses object lessons and metaphors that are relevant to the time, place, cultural context, etc for the audience He is communicating with at the time (varying specific application of the general principle).

            Those object lessons and metaphors are mere 'shadows' of the actual reality. A shadow is but a 2D grey outline of the 3D reality in existence - no actual details can be discerned other than the outline. As many a child has experienced, when the light is turned on the reality behind the shadow can be very different to what the child feared it to be.

            Thanks again for your thoughts Robert...

          • Very well said. It's also something to remember when we try to describe the Atonement. The way I see it, we need to accept what God says in His Word and trust Him with the details - even when they don't make logical sense to us.

          • Fair enough Inge.

            However, for me, I must follow 2 Tim 2:15. I believe that for truths as central to salvation as the Atonement (for example) that God has made - and is continuing to progressively make - enough 'light' available so that we can understand it sufficiently - and that it does make logical sense. Infact, when I find something that doesn't make logical sense I start digging deeper - and then what I discover always eventually makes logical sense. I have discovered that the English translations of scripture have a certain consistent bias in their interpretations that is not in the Heberew and Greek originals however - actually makes a huge difference when it comes to topics such as the Atonement, etc.

            As I see it, God invites us to "come and reason" with Him/His Spirit - which implies things making sense. I agree with Paul that there are matters essential to salvation that we can know - and that there are matters not essential to salvation where there are limits to what we can know. It is the latter category that I was referring to in my post above.

            Just letting you know where I am coming from when I post questions or points for consideration... I am not about being pedantic or trying to show others up. I just want to share what I am learning that it might help others grow too.

          • The "however" is probably not necessary, Phil. 😉 God did invite us to "reason" with Him, and He gives us understanding according to our ability to comprehend when we do that - sometimes even beyond what is explicitly revealed in Scripture. However, it seems to me that most groups that have gone off on tangents and left our denomination have done so by emphasizing one aspect of truth above all others or interpreted one aspect of truth in a way that set them apart. This is often accompanied by an "insider" mind set, as in "we understand something the rest of the church doesn't." And, of course, that mindset channels into pride and self-centeredness, the very opposite of the mindset that Christ modeled and to which He called us.

            I mentioned that sometimes God allows us to understand things that are not explicitly explained in Scripture, but I believe that when He does, it is good to remember that the Holy Spirit ministers to all of us and meets us where we are. If we take our understanding and insist that others must join us in it or be "wrong," we are not meeting the mind of the Spirit, it seems to me. We can share our understanding, but that does not set us free to judge others without the same understanding as "wrong."

            As for the Atonement, I understand from what Ellen White has told us that we will be growing in understanding of that subject throughout eternity. Thus there will remain aspects that we do not understand and that may not make "logical sense" to us - things we need to accept on faith. It seems to me that if everything made "logical sense," there would be no need for faith, it seems to me, and those with the best minds to understand would be in a superior position to those not gifted in the same way. (Examples that don't make "logical sense": creation ex nihilo, the incarnation, all true miracles, as well as some aspects of the Atonement, as taught in Scripture.)

            There is plenty in the Bible that is as clear as a sunny day at noon that is for us to practice so that we can trust God with those aspects we do not fully understand. Deuteronomy 29:29

            I don't recall who said this, but it's a good thought, in my paraphrase: "It's not the portions of the Bible that I don't understand that trouble me. It's those portions that I do understand."

            I'm just beginning to have some new insight on the Atonement and why only the death of the Creator Himself could make the way for sinners to be saved, but I need more time to formulate my thoughts. (But then I'm not sure that I can explain it better than Ellen White did. Perhaps it's just a matter of gaining a more personal understanding of what she wrote.)

          • Thanks again for your response. Elaborated responses have less risk of misunderstanding - but unfortunately do take up more time and room.

            I am genuinely happy for you that you are beginning to have some new insight on Atonement for I know of the even greater joy that you will experience as a consequence within (and of) that journey.

            If I may provide some reflection upon one point you mentioned: "It seems to me that if everything made "logical sense," there would be no need for faith..." While Heb 11:1 is most often cited as a 'definition' of faith, Romans 4:21 is a fantastic (crystalised) explanation of what faith is - being fully convinced that God will do what He says He will do. Hence, I would propose that it could make logical sense to me what God has said He will do, but I still need faith to believe that God will actually do the thing/s that make logical sense. I would therefore propose that logic never precludes the need for faith - and therefore I need not fear that too much logic will destroy my faith (I am actually finding the opposite to be true).

            Your words of caution regarding the risk to development of a 'narcissistic' (borrowing from William's post) attitude regarding development and 'promotion' of Truth are absolutely valid. My mind thought of 1 Cor 13:1 & 2 as a confirmation of what you were saying about that.

      • Phil and Robert, because Scripture declares that sin is a serious earth problem (Rev 12:12; Eph 6:12; 2:2-3) and since I happen to live here, I pay attention. My past and present, personal and observed knowledge is that sin is not to be trifled with! But if sin is as real as Scripture declares (and boy, do I believe it!), then God's promised counter measures command my greatest interest (Rev 12:11; Eph 6:11). Rev 12:11, for example, is quite typical of Scripture's message, which is that sin's antidote is anchored in the truth of the Tabernacle/Sanctuary object lesson--"the blood of the Lamb". The Tabernacle/Sanctuary is unrivaled in its Christ-centeredness. Consider the percentage of Tabernacle references that appear throughout Scripture--it is the alphabet of our language--solidly centered in Christ!

        If anyone is skeptical regarding the concept that the Tabernacle/Sanctuary symbolizing individuals within which Christ is ministering to provide relief to others under the wretched burden that is human sin, then please consider the evidence elsewhere in Scripture: Jesus started it...Jn 2:19,21; 14:23; Paul was prolific...Eph 2:20-22; 1 Cor 3:16-17; 2 Cor 6:16; 1 Cor 6:19-20; Heb 9:11,14,23-24; compare Isaiah 57:15 with Acts 7:48 and reconsider James' argument at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:13-17). In Israel, the Tabernacle, or place of ministry, was a central structure with the tribes residing all around it (see Num 3). Anyone in need of sin-relief couldn't miss that relief spot from which the High Priest (Christ) operated (2 Cor 5:18-20). In other words the structure is God's base of operation within the earth where sin is rife and all too real. Phil, consider this more as a clarification of Fundamental belief #24.

        • As God has said; what building can contain ME? (loose paraphrase)

          I understand the meanings of the scriptures you cite Lynrol, but I look to the specific references to the "temple" in heaven, and with all such scriptures combined, conclude that God has something that all creation can observe where salvation is being effected for repentant sinners. The types and shadows help us understand the realities that are of a living nature. As to where God's "temple" is, Jesus said "I go to prepare a place for you", so it isn't here. In the types we see in the work of the high priest a representation of this work of "preparing a place".

          That the church is a "dwelling", no one will argue against scripture, but it is not in heaven with the 4 living creatures, the 24 elders, etc. Yet the church must be the living evidence of the existence of the heavenly work being done for sinners. If so, they will be in direct conflict with the ways and practices of this wicked world(2 Cor 6:14-17).

          I might point out that the church is represented as being IN the temple of God, typified as the 7 lamps. This seems to also indicate the possible nature of the heavenly "temple" as more realities than actual physical properties.(?)

          • Robert, it is interesting that in your response to Phil (3/10 9:17 am) you refer to the "4 living creatures" and the "24 thrones where 24 elders also sit" of Rev 4 in apparent support of a "literal" heavenly sanctuary. Those same beings are mentioned in the following chapter with rich Tabernacle language. Take note of the words of their (Rev 5:8, BOTH the four living creatures AND the twenty-four elders) song, for they identify themselves as operating right here on earth (Rev 5:9-10). Can you see any similarity between their self-identity as "redeemed US to God by Your blood OUT of every tribe and tongue AND PEOPLE", "kings AND priests to OUR GOD" and "we shall REIGN ON THE EARTH" and Jesus' mysterious statement to His Twelve (Mt 19:28)? In Jesus' prayer He specifically states that His disciples, like Him, are "NOT OF THE WORLD" (Jn 17:16). Paul declared the citizenship of the redeemed being of "heaven" (Philippians 3:20) and boldly presented himself as "a pattern" (Philippians 3:17). I'm fairly confident of his basis for writing such a bold statement--stamped with the seal of Heaven's government (Jn 17:20; Rev 1:5-6; Mal 2:7; Gal 2:7-8)--all to accomplish the "atonement" of sin-filled humans with their Creator (2 Cor 5:18-19)!!

          • Lynrol, I'm not seeing how the passages you shared concerning the work of the church on earth is connected to the question of what is actually in heaven where the sanctuary/temple is concerned. And what are you suggesting concerning the 4 living creatures and 24 elders? They are in heaven, and we know the 24 elders were once on earth(perhaps those raised from the dead who ascended to heaven with Jesus?), being saved from sin through faith in the Lamb of God.

            Yes, the 12 apostles will sit on their 12 thrones(why is this mysterious to you?), as will every redeemed soul during the 1000 years in heaven judging the "dead"(Rev 20).

            As far as the structure of the "literal" sanctuary, who can say? I only know that scripture tells us of thrones being set, books being opened, the Son of Man, who is at the right hand of God, receiving a kingdom, then coming back to earth to receive it unto Himself.

            If I study the type, and reflect on Daniel 7, 8 and Revelation 11, I conclude there is something in heaven that does not exist on earth at this time, where Jesus is dealing with cleansing His people from sin, making up His kingdom, then removing the very record of their sin forever, and closing probation for Adam's race. At that moment, all are fixed by their choice for eternity.

            Yes, the 24 elders will reign on earth with all the redeemed once God brings down the city to earth at the end of the 1000 years to deal with the wicked and them make all things new. Everyone saved will reign with Jesus as priests and kings.

            Back to Revelation 11, where John is given a reed and told to measure the temple, the altar and those who worship there, while leaving out the courtyard. What do you see in this?
            Also consider Paul's statement that Christ is entered into the heavens as our priest(Heb 4:14).

            Lastly, what do you believe is actually taking place in the current judgment? Who is involved and what will be determined?

          • Robert, you raised multiple issues and questions related to the discussion which would require too lengthy and complex a response.

            I pointed out in my previous posts that the early church, in accordance with Jesus' prayer (Jn 17:20), adhered to the Apostle's doctrine (Act 2:42). I presented Scriptural evidence of their teaching on the subject recorded in Acts 15:6-21. Their understanding is the basis for my view of the Tabernacle being a symbolic representation of the "place" where Christ, THE High Priest, ministers being persons right here on earth. I encourage you to reconsider the weight of the evidence: James is speaking and endorsing Peter's preceding statement, both being Apostles (Lk 6:13-14). Both apostles are therefore endorsing a particular interpretation of a prophetic utterance found in Amos 9 (Act 15:16-17 is a re-quote of Amos 9:11-12). This chapter deals with the overthrow (Amos 9:8) and replacement (Amos 9:9) of national Israel with a largely Gentile "Tabernacle" (Mt 21:43; Act 13:46-47; Heb 9:11-12,14,23-24).

            Whether through sacrifices, circumcision, baptism, the Lord's Supper and the Tabernacle/Sanctuary, God has always sought to communicate with humans His plan to save us through symbols/parables (Mt 13:34-35).

  4. In saying He was the Truth, Jesus was saying that the will and truth of God was manifested in all He said and did, and would do on the cross, for the truth includes a promise of One who would bruise the serpent's head. (Yes, the truth includes the serpent who is real and deadly, and many don't know this.)

    This Truth also includes a Mediator for us in the presence of God and soon, a coming Savior, who will judge the world according to the Truth. Jesus is all this and more.

    What are we to do with truth? Since this Truth tells us we will be judged by It, it would seem prudent to learn it and live according to it, and in this quest we will find the Truth beautiful, fulfilling, and lacking nothing for our good and the good of all others if they too will accept it. So accepting Truth includes passing it on to others who know it not. This is being a good steward of Truth.

    Only in this acceptance of Truth, can it set us "free".

  5. "Those who study the Redeemer’s wonderful sacrifice grow in grace and knowledge." I am glad the author put this very important one sentence in todays lesson, it clairfyies the meaning of and dislosure of: Growing in Chist. Growing in Christ is the fruit of Christ centeredness, including when we are talking about our beliefs. We want our peers to see Christ in us, not just a caffeine free, non smoking, alcohol free, vegatarian.


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