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The Single Greatest Sign of the End Times - By Britt Gillette - https://www.raptureready.com/2019/05/18/single-greatest-sign-end-times-britt-gillette/
It seems like everywhere we look today, we see violence, hatred, and debauchery of every kind. Cities track the number of murders year-to-date, and the local news reports on whether or not the latest body count is a new record. Films and television shows constantly push the envelope, portraying ever increasing violence and sexual immorality of every kind. This is what Paul said the last days will be like. He said people will love only themselves and their money. They'll be boastful, proud, scoffing, disobedient, ungrateful, unloving, and unforgiving. They'll consider nothing sacred. They'll slander others and have no self-control. They'll be cruel and hate what is good, betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God (2 Timothy 3:2-5). This is the exact type of behavior we see today. Therefore, it's no surprise so many people think the end is near.
It turns out what many people instinctively think is actually true. The end is near. How can I be so sure? Because Jesus and the Hebrew prophets cited specific events they said will mark the end times. Today, we see those events. The Gospel is being preached to the ends of the earth (Matthew 24:14)... Travel and knowledge are increasing exponentially (Daniel 12:4)... The Jewish people once again control Jerusalem (Luke 21:24)... And these are just a few of the signs. Jesus said, "When you see all these things take place, stand and look up, for your salvation draws near!" (Luke 21:28). This means the convergence of all these signs is the #1 reason to believe His Second Coming is near.
But among all the signs, which one is the greatest? What's the most important individual sign Jesus is about to return?
Without a doubt, I believe the greatest sign is the regathering of the Jewish people back in the land of Israel. Not only did God promise it would happen in the last days, but the Tribulation itself cannot occur without Israel. Here are just a few end times events that require the nation of Israel:
The Antichrist's Covenant - The Tribulation begins when Israel agrees to a covenant or treaty with the Antichrist (Daniel 9:27). How could Israel agree to such a covenant if it doesn't exist?
The Purpose of the Tribulation - God's primary purpose in the Tribulation is to fulfill His promises to the nation of Israel (Daniel 9:24). Before this can happen, Israel must exist.
Jerusalem - Jesus said the Jewish people will lose control of Jerusalem, but later, they will regain control (Luke 21:24). Only then will the end times events He described take place. This means the Tribulation cannot occur unless the Jewish people control Jerusalem.
Ezekiel 38-39 - The Bible says in the last days, when God brings the Jewish people back into the land from the many lands where they've been scattered (Ezekiel 38:8), a massive coalition of armies will invade Israel. This can't happen unless Israel exists.
Israel's "Exceedingly Great" Army - Ezekiel says Israel will have an "exceedingly great army" in the last days (Ezekiel 37:10). God says Israel will be like a fire among sheaves of grain, burning up the neighboring nations (Zechariah 12:6). He says even the weakest soldier among them will be like David (Zechariah 12:8). Again, how could all this happen if Israel doesn't exist?
The Abomination of Desolation - In the middle of the Tribulation, the Antichrist will put an end to the Temple sacrifices and offerings (Daniel 9:27). Then, he will sit in the Temple and proclaim himself to be God (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). This is an act of desecration Jesus calls "the abomination of desolation" (Matthew 24:15). Before it can take place, the Jewish Temple must exist. The Roman legions destroyed it in A.D. 70. This means a new Temple must be built. And for that to happen, the Jewish people must be back in the land and in control of Jerusalem.
These are just a few of the events the Bible says will take place in the end times. How can they happen if Israel doesn't exist? They can't. They require the Jewish people back in the land of Israel. Without a doubt, Israel plays the lead role in God's end time plan. Without it, there can be no end times.
Prior to May 14, 1948, this presented a problem. Israel did not exist. In the eyes of the world, Israel was gone forever. But those who understood bible prophecy knew better. They knew God promised to bring the Jewish people back into the land. They knew the Hebrew prophets said over and over again the people of Israel will be brought back into the land in the last days. And that's exactly what happened.
The entire Bible (and the Old Testament in particular) contain specific and undeniable promises from God to bring His people back into the land of Israel. For example, God promised Moses and the Israelites: "Even though you are banished to the ends of the earth, the Lord your God will gather you from there and bring you back again. The Lord your God will return you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will possess that land again" Deuteronomy 30:4-5 (NLT).
Throughout Israel's history, one prophet after another said the same thing. Through them, God promised to bring the Jewish people back into the land despite the hardships they faced (Isaiah 43:1-13). He promised to call them from "the farthest corners of the earth" (Isaiah 11:12), from "among the nations" (Ezekiel 39:28), and from "north, south, east, and west" (Psalm 107:3). He promised to bring them home and display His holiness to the nations (Ezekiel 20:41-42). He promised to welcome them home from "the lands where they were scattered" (Ezekiel 20:34). He said He would restore them to the land of Israel from distant lands (Jeremiah 30:2-10). And God promised, though scattered among the nations, His people would never forget Him, and He would bring them back into the land of Israel (Zechariah 10:9). God kept His promise. Modern day Israel is the proof.
But God promised to do more than simply restore the nation of Israel, he said how He would do it. He said Israel will be created in a single day (Isaiah 66:7-8), return as a united nation (Ezekiel 37:22), transform from a desolate wasteland to a lush garden (Ezekiel 36:34-35; Isaiah 51:3), and form "an exceedingly great army" (Ezekiel 37:10). Each and every one of these things happened.
When Will All This Happen?
But as amazing as these fulfilled prophecies are, what surprises most people is when God said they will be fulfilled. Because the Hebrew prophets directly linked the rebirth of Israel with the Second Coming of the Jesus Christ.
Through the prophet Hosea, God said the people of Israel will go a long time without a king, sacrifices, sacred pillars, or priests, then they will return to the land and seek their God and Messiah in the last days (Hosea 3:4-5). The prophet Joel said the armies of the world will gather together for the battle of Armageddon "at the time when God restores Judah and Jerusalem," bringing His people back from among the nations where they were scattered (Joel 3:1-2). In other words, once God restores the nation of Israel, Armageddon and the end times will soon follow.
God promised the Jewish people will return to the land and the desert will bloom (Isaiah 35:1). Then the Lord will return to destroy Israel's enemies (Isaiah 35:2-4). Through Jeremiah, God promised to gather the remnant of His flock from the nations where he had driven them and bring them back into the land (Jeremiah 23:3-4). Then, He promised to raise up a righteous descendant of King David, a king who will rule the land with wisdom (Jeremiah 23:5-6). This is the long-awaited Messiah, and He will come to rule "when the people are back in the land" (Jeremiah 23:7-8).
Through Isaiah, God promised to restore the nation of Israel and raise its flag among the nations (Isaiah 11:12). When that happens, God says "the wolf and the lamb will lie together" and "leopards will lie down with goats." Even a baby will play with a cobra and not be bitten! (Isaiah 11:6-9). The heir to David's throne (Jesus Christ) will rule over the nations, transforming the world into a place of peace and tranquility (Isaiah 11:10). This describes the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus Christ. And when will His Kingdom come? After His people are re-gathered "from distant lands" and "the ends of the earth" (Isaiah 11:11-12) and after Israel is reborn as a single, unified nation (Isaiah 11:13).
As if all this weren't enough, Jesus said when the Jewish people return to the land, they'll regain control over Jerusalem. He said the Gentiles will trample Jerusalem until the times of the Gentiles come to an end. When this happens, He said it's a sign of His return (Luke 21:24). In 1967, the nation of Israel took control of Jerusalem for the first time in 1,897 years. Coincidence? No. Jesus said the generation that witnesses these events will not pass away before He returns (Luke 21:32).
This year, the modern day nation of Israel celebrates 71 years since its founding. It's been 52 years since Israel retook control of Jerusalem. How many more years can go by before the generation that witnessed these events is gone? How many more years can go by before Jesus returns? It can't be many.
Why It Matters
The regathering of the Jewish people back in the land of Israel is the #1 sign of the end times. For 1,878 years, this sign didn't exist. Today, it does. Think about the miracle this represents. Throughout history, conquered people disappear. They assimilate into surrounding nations. Where are Israel's ancient neighbors? Where are the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites (Dueteronomy 7:1)? They're lost to history. Yet despite almost 2,000 years without a homeland, the Jewish people continue to thrive. They still retain their unique cultural, religious, and ethnic identity. Despite almost 2,000 years of rampant anti-Semitism, marked by the Spanish Inquisition, Russian pogroms, and the Nazi holocaust, the Jewish people are still around. Now, they're back in the land. This is nothing less than a modern miracle. It's clear evidence for the whole world that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the one true God. It's also the number one reason to believe Jesus is coming soon!
Britt Gillette is author of the free ebook Coming to Jesus as well as the books Signs of the Second Coming and Racing Toward Armageddon. Receive his book 7 Signs of the End Times for free when you sign up for his monthly newsletter.
What would a Palestinian state actually look like?
- Elan Journo - https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/What-would-a-Palestinian-state-actually-look-like-590541
In 1970s Lebanon, the Palestinian movement established its dominion within refugee camps.
The Trump administration is poised to announce a "Deal of the Century" to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hints and leaks suggest that the proposal would stop short of endorsing the goal of a sovereign Palestinian state. That prospect has pushed some into mourning.
The Trump plan, writes distinguished American diplomat William Burns, will likely be "a eulogy for the two-state solution." The administration is about to "bury the only viable plan" for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
The goal of a Palestinian state is commonly seen as an obvious good - and the fact that it has yet to be realized, a mark of shame for Israel and the United States. But, whatever the actual terms and merits of President Donald Trump's proposal, we need to question the diplomatic article of faith that Palestinian statehood is necessary for peace.
If you care about justice and the rights of individuals - of Palestinians and Israelis - here is a crucial question seldom asked. What would such a Palestinian state actually look like?
No need to speculate; there have been four Palestinian quasi-states that provide ample data. In Jordan (1968-1970); in Lebanon (1970-1982); the Palestinian Authority in parts of the West Bank and Gaza (1993-onward); and most recently, the Hamas regime in Gaza (2007-onward).
To the extent the Palestinian movement has gained any semblance of self-rule and territorial control, it has built quasi-states that are militant and dictatorial - much to the detriment of the Palestinian people themselves and the goal of peace.
In Jordan in the late 1960s, the Palestinian movement created a mini-state with autonomous shadow-government institutions in all spheres - military, political and social. Palestinian factions ran their own police forces and courts of law, arresting people and punishing them at will. This authoritarian regime was a base of operations for launching attacks on Israel. A plot to overthrow the Jordanian regime led Jordan to liquidate this militant Palestinian quasi-state.
In 1970s Lebanon, the Palestinian movement established its dominion within refugee camps. It imposed taxes, operated courts, conscripted men of fighting age and reshaped the school curriculum - to ensure thought control. The Palestinian movement also seized several coastal towns in Lebanon and parts of the Lebanese administration, and "enforced its will with an iron hand." From southern Lebanon, Palestinian fighters launched rockets on Israeli towns. This Palestinian quasi-state fell apart after Israel retaliated by sending forces into Lebanon.
THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY (since 1994) was the fruit of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. An interim step toward full sovereignty, the PA enjoys formal recognition and far more autonomy than the previous quasi-states - and it has been correspondingly more oppressive and militant.
The Palestinian Authority quickly became yet another Middle East dictatorship, notorious for controlling the press and silencing opponents. The PA operated multiple, competing security forces. Its courts lacked any semblance of judicial independence. Arbitrary arrests were common, and leaders of the regime expropriated their own people's money and property.
Even with only limited self-rule, the Palestinian Authority provided space and abundant resources to foment and carry out attacks on Israel. In the early 2000s, the regime orchestrated a brutal terrorist war against Israel.
By 2007, the Palestinian Authority split in two: one quasi-state headed by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in parts of the West Bank; and the second run by the jihadists of Hamas in Gaza, a militant regime shaped by Sharia law.
Hamas methodically indoctrinates its subjects on TV, in print, on radio and at the mosque, hammering the themes of holy war and martyrdom for the cause. True to their ideas, the jihadists of Gaza have launched thousands of rockets targeting Israeli cities. These led to several wars and many skirmishes - the most recent in early May.
A common denominator among these four Palestinian quasi-states?
Whenever the Palestinian movement has attained a modicum of self-rule over a stretch of territory, it has subjugated its own people and waged war against Israel.
No honest error or inexperience with governance can explain this pattern. It reflects the ideas animating the leading factions of the Palestinian movement. For many years, the movement's spearhead was the PLO. Its numerous factions espoused a mixture of Marxism-Leninism, watered-down socialism and variations on Arab nationalism. Since the 1980s, Islamists have moved to the vanguard of the Palestinian movement. All these factions are self-consciously hostile to freedom and individual rights.
Some argue we must disregard the evidence of these quasi-states, because they fall short of full sovereignty. We should suspend judgment until a sovereign, independent Palestinian state is realized. That's absurd. Why expect that handing authoritarians and theocrats more political power will convert them into champions of individual freedom?
The idea of national self-determination cannot be a license to subjugate. No individual, no group of individuals, no self-identified national community has the moral right to create a tyrannical regime.
Is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict solvable? Actually, yes, as I argue in my book What Justice Demands, and a crucial starting point is to fundamentally rethink our past approach to the conflict. Anyone concerned with the fate of individual Palestinians and Israelis who desire freedom and justice must question the lethal premise of the "two-state solution." Handing the Palestinian movement even greater political power is a recipe not for peace, but for continued strife.
News from Hal Lindsey Media Ministries - Hal Lindsey -
Dear friends and viewers of "The Hal Lindsey Report," today I am excited to tell you about a change in my television ministry.
For 23 years, at TBN and here on the "Report," I have kept you informed about important events across the world that I felt had significant prophetic implications.
Some of those stories were covered by the mainstream media, but many of them were ignored, even distorted, by the western press. I felt it was important to make you aware of the many fronts on which Satan is attacking our national heritage and the insidious ways he is preparing the world stage for the coming of the Antichrist.
From the rise of Islam around the world to the decline of western Europe into post-Christian decay. From the fierce battle for control of the world by the globalists to the rise of nationalist movements who seek to reestablish sovereignty and return to Christian roots.
From the migrant invasions of Scandinavia and North America to the death spiral of western societies because it is now politically incorrect for the descendants of white Europeans to have children.
From the return of rampant drug addiction to the rise of rampant socialism, I have warned you that everything - everything - that Jesus and the prophets predicted for these days is coming to pass.
We read the ancient prophecies in every day's headlines.
But after almost a quarter of a century of dealing with crushing weekly deadlines and workloads, I feel it's time to return to the basics of my ministry: Teaching the Word of God.
So, beginning with this week's program, I will no longer cover the world of geopolitics from my news desk. Instead, I will meticulously guide you through the Scriptures as they relate to the end times. In fact, with this week's program, I will begin an extended, and intense, study of the Book of Revelation.
In future series, I will examine the books of Daniel and John. And I will often go through them verse by verse, even phrase by phrase, to open to you the wonders and the power of God's written Word.
It's going to be exciting!
So thank you for being a faithful viewer and supporter the past 23 years, but don't get off the bus yet. In many ways, the best is yet to come. Now, we are focusing our efforts on learning and discerning the prophecies straight from God Himself.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: The Hal Lindsey Report can be found on Daystar Television Network, www.hallindsey.com or www.hischannel.com .
Peace and Encouragement - by John Lysaught - https://www.raptureready.com/2019/05/24/peace-encouragement-john-lysaught/
John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
In these troubled times, the followers of our Lord and Savior need peace in their hearts and encouragement to endure and keep going. It is hard. It isn't just negativity towards Christians but everything else going on that troubles our hearts, stemming from the world we live in.
The stress of the world falling apart around us is disheartening. Abortions, gender confusion, war, violence, etc., all give us trouble in our hearts because we know the truth and others don't. We want to just grab people and shake some sense into them, but they are blinded by the enemy. So, we are left to ourselves to navigate the waters of life knowing that many will be lost, to include close friends and family.
To have the peace Jesus desires us to have, we must be encouraged in our faith. We need encouragement. We need motivation. It can be hard to find motivation to stay strong when we are facing an uphill battle with those that oppose us and a world falling apart all around us. It is tough. It is difficult. It can discourage us at times, and this can affect our relationship with Jesus.
Joshua 1:9 tells us, "Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."
We can forget this now and again. This verse should remind us that God does not abandon us but is standing with us at all times. This encouragement gives us the strength and audacity to hold our ground, even as society continues to test the boundaries of decency and morals.
You see, society wants to discourage us and stir up our hearts to not have peace. Has this been successful? Of course it has. Satan has been shaping society to his evil ways since Adam and Eve fell. This is coming to a head now as Satan's ploys are exponentially getting worse day after day. The day will come when we will go to our Savior, and we must not have our peace or encouragement negatively affected until then. To do so gives Satan power, and we don't want him to have that.
During these last days, we must continue to stand our ground and not lose our oomph for our Lord Jesus.
John 16:33 explains to us, "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
Just because we face tribulation does not mean that we cannot be encouraged or have peace. This is telling us just the opposite. We can have peace in the midst of tribulations which we are in the middle of. Yes, we will face troubles. Jesus knows this and assures us that, even though we do and will continue to have them, He is still there and He is still our Lord, worthy of our praise and worship.
In Isaiah 43:2 we are told from God through the prophet Isaiah that, "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee."
It is in the fleeting moments of despair when contemplating the rate of decline in morals and human decency that we can lose peace in our hearts and the encouragement we need to drive on. What is this verse telling us? It is simply saying God will not leave us and He is with us every step of the way. We can be assured that He is there, even in the moments when we question His presence in our lives and in the world. We can take heart that God IS all powerful and IS in control of human history.
When we find ourselves in moments of discouragement, we need to remember that God is in control, and praise Him for His power and glory.
Psalm 69:30 reminds of this when it says, "I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving."
To do anything less than praise God, even in moments of discouragement, would be doing a disservice to our faith in Him. He is worthy and deserving of our praise and worship, not only in the good times, but even in the bad times because He is God; He is the great I AM.
When we give our praise to Christ, we cannot help but be encouraged. I've personally never met someone who has said after they gave praise to Christ that they felt more discouraged. No, they felt more encouraged and at peace in their lives. Giving praise allowed them to keep moving forward when others would fall behind.
With all that is going on, doesn't our Savior deserve praise? Of course! When we face a trial or tribulation, doesn't Jesus still deserve praise? Yes! When we give our praise to Him, it reassures us that He is still in control. We will find peace when we give Him praise, and we will get encouragement. It is when we stop giving praise to our Savior that we will find ourselves in the pit of despair and feel hopelessness in life.
Psalm 34:1 says, "I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth."
This does not say only in the good times or when things are all hunky-dory. No, it says at all times. Even in the environment we live in now, we must continue to give Him praise. Why? Because God is the God of everything; and by doing so, we can attain peace in our hearts.
Isaiah 26:3 says, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee."
Isn't this a wonderful statement? This verse assures us of perfect peace for those who trust God and keep mindful of Him all the time. One cannot think of God and not have peace; and with peace comes encouragement to continue in Him and stay the path.
Look, Satan doesn't want us to have peace or encouragement in God. Satan wants us to be troubled by events and how we are being treated and looked down upon in the world as believers. He wants to shake the foundation of our faith. He wants to throw a wrench in our relationship with our Lord. He wants to destroy us.
We can't let Satan do this to us. We can't worry about this or that or have our peace in God taken away. If our peace is taken, then our trust will be shaken. When our trust is shaken, then our faith can be shaken as well. He is wily for sure, but we can overcome by doing what Isaiah 26:3 says above. When we keep our mind on the things of the Lord, our resolve will be increased, and Satan will lose in his battle to destroy us.
Part of being encouraged and having peace is to renew our minds (Rom 12:2). This renewing is an act that needs to be done continually. This act of renewing our minds will keep us focused on the prize ahead, not on the troubles we are now facing in these last days. It can be hard, but it is an exercise we need to get into the habit of doing to keep our faith and attitude towards God and our circumstances in the Light of God.
The unbelieving man and Satan don't like us for this aspect of our faith. The unbelieving man wants to drag us down to their level of suffering - they can't stand that we can have peace in the middle of a storm. Satan wants to ruin our relationship with our Savior. Between the both of them, we do face a difficult time, but it doesn't have to be so.
By constant prayer, praise, and study, we can be encouraged and have the peace of God in our lives and hearts. This isn't to be taken lightly. We must stay focused and practice this. By doing this, our relationship with Christ will only move forward, and we will have more resolve to stand against those people and circumstances that can work to discourage us.
Take care and God bless.
Daily Jot: Headlines of darkness - Bill Wilson -
Each morning before writing The Daily Jot, I peruse the headlines to get an idea of what to write. Some of the stuff that is going on looks like remnants of a satirical magazine from the 1970s, like Mad or Cracked. Problem is, these are real and people actually are making these headlines and other people are believing them. I can see how so many people are angry because the headlines are angry. Anger begets anger. Other headlines are just stupid-news not even worthy of coverage. Still others are headlines from stories that make no sense, falling somewhere between fake news and outright personal attacks. If you didn't have Christ in your life, you may well be full of fear, anxiety, and depression. Read on if you dare.
One of the most humorous headlines this morning is: "Biden campaign pitch: Make America normal again." Really? His idea of normal is abortion on demand with no restrictions, men saying they are women and using women's restrooms and playing women's sports, smelling women's hair and hugging them whether they want him to or not, using his position to help his son bilk China out of millions, saying that his biggest climate change proposal is to get rid of Donald Trump. Yep, that's Democratic frontrunner for President Joe Biden, wanting to make America normal again. He's a 76 year old white guy-isn't his Party the one that hates white privilege and believes old white men are the problem of society? He's the frontrunner of the Democratic Party hypocrisy machine.
Oh, then there are those who hate, and just want to call everyone else haters. How about these headlines: "CBS hosts laugh at dumping milkshakes on "right wing" politicians," "Actress: White Women complicit in abortion laws causing Black women to die," "Pelosi cover-up remark seemed to unravel Trump psychologically, "Democrat: Trump Administration murdering children," "Pelosi: Anti-abortion laws about white guys "fear" of women," "Abortion activists scream obscenities at pro-life teen," "New York Times: Pregnancy kills. Abortion saves," "States enacting abortion bans thought it OK to rape slaves,""NYC Department of Education: 'Individualism' Is 'White Supremacy Culture'." These are just from this morning.
These are the headlines of darkness. They reflect dark hearts and dark intentions. If you ponder them too long, they will have a dark impact on you. They are examples of the times in which we live. They are the product of the lights of the world being hidden under a basket-or, if you will, inside the four walls and the roof of churches across America. Yes, I'm big on getting out and engaging with people, shining that light even if it is uncomfortable. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, "For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." Christ said in Matthew 5:16, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." That's the answer to headlines of darkness.
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"Folks, it's all beginning to unravel. America is in more danger of falling than at any time in its history. But I believe Bible prophecy predicts this very decline. From this point on, we believers have to get serious. We are going to face discouragement, disillusionment and, most certainly, persecution in the time between now and the Rapture. But don't be discouraged or disillusioned. The coming turmoil will provide us unrivaled opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel. So be ready to share your faith and your hope with those who need Christ. We still have time to reap a great harvest of souls for God's kingdom!" - Hal Lindsey
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