Do the Blood Moons Really Mean Anything?

blood moonThe great interest in the rare phenomenon of a series of blood-red moons raises a couple of important questions that need to be answered.

Does the Bible teach that events in the heavens may have spiritual meaning?

The first chapter of the Bible declares that the lights in the sky will serve as “signs and seasons” (Genesis 1:14), and Revelation, the last book gives several prophecies of changes in the sun and the moon, and falling stars (asteroids) during the Tribulation (Revelation 6:12-17; 8:10-12). In between these books there are many other examples of the spiritual importance of the heavenly bodies.

The Hebrews had their own ancient understanding of the meaning of the constellations (Job 9:9; 38:31-33). This concept has been called “The Gospel in the Stars” describing the spiritual battle between good and evil, and the promised coming of a heroic virgin-born Savior who would destroy the power of the dragon.

One of the prophecies about Messiah was that He would be “a star out of Jacob” (Numbers 24:17). In the days of the Babylonian Empire, Daniel was the only one who could interpret the Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. The king rewarded Daniel by making him the head of his wise men, the Magi. Hundreds of years later, descendants of those Magi recognized an unusual series of events in the sky that they interpreted to be a fulfillment of the passage in Numbers, so they went to Israel and were directed to the place where the infant Jesus was (Matthew 2:1-2, 9-10).

Another prophet, Joel, wrote:

The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.-
Joel 2:31

Jesus, teaching about the future, corroborated this prophecy:

 Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. – Matthew 24:29-30 (See also Luke 21:11, 25-28)

The same prediction was mentioned by Peter (Acts 2:20). It was also described in John’s vision (Revelation 6:12-14).

However, these passages are clearly referring to a yet-future time at the end of the dreadful Tribulation Period, just before the Glorious return of Christ to the earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:11-16).

If the current series of blood moons are not a fulfillment of that still-future day just before the Lord returns to reign, what significance do they have? John Hagee in his book, Four Blood Moons: Something Is about to Change, correctly demonstrated that there is an uncanny connection between the past occurrences of this phenomenon and major developments in the history of the Chosen People when their enemies were dedicated to their destruction. They especially point to the time-frame of 1493-1494, when Jews were being exterminated and driven out of Spain. But at the same time Columbus discovered America (1492), which would become a haven for Jewish people. They also note that this tetrad of blood-moons occurred in 1949-1950, just after Israel had become a nation (1948), and were attacked by their neighbors from all sides. The tetrad also occurred in 1967-1968, when Israel had to fight the “Six-Day War” and gained much additional property from its enemies.

This current tetrad of blood moons also comes at a time when Israel’s very existence is being threatened by Iran’s nuclear program. Iranian leaders have repeatedly expressed the desire to annihilate Israel. This particular series has an additional aspect that makes it even more significant. These eclipses all occur during the celebration of the Jewish festivals of Passover and Tabernacles. Hagee says all of this means something big is about to happen, but he wisely does not claim to know what that development will be.

 

Do we have to choose between spreading the Gospel or teaching prophecy?

In recent years it has become increasingly popular for pastors and Bible teachers to minimize the importance of prophecy. A CNN article about the Blood Moons quoted a professor at a Bible College, saying, “But instead of looking to the heavens for signs of the future, Christians should focus on the hope and promise of the gospel message and seek to reflect Christ in word and deed.”

Have they forgotten that during the major revivals of our generation, such as the Jesus People movement, the Gospel spread like wildfire, and the leaders of the movement were excited about Bible prophecy? The proper teaching of prophecy does not stifle hope, but it does stimulate evangelism.

The alternative, being chosen by too many spiritual leaders today, is to ignore prophecy, which represents more than a fourth of the Bible! The solution is not a question of “either/or” but of “both/and.”  Let us proclaim both the Gospel and Prophecy.

Posted in Eschatology, Evangelism, Fearful Events, Heaven, Israel, Middle East War, Revelation, Revival | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bible Treasures for Our Grandchildren

treasureAt the current rate we have more than thirty thousand visitors to Prophecy Central each week. It is a tremendous privilege to provide Bible truth to so many fellow-pastors, Bible teachers, serious followers our Lord Jesus, and others who may just be searching for knowledge.

It energizes me to rise early and update the information about the unchanging Gospel to an ever-changing world.

However, there are eight very special people who don’t visit my site very often. They are our grandchildren, and I understand that most of them are not ready to dive into the depths of eschatology. Our children are well grounded in God’s Word, and our great-grandchildren are still very young. But how can I share the wonderful riches of the Bible with our rapidly maturing grandchildren while we still have time?

I believe that the Lord has shown me that, starting today, I should text each of them one verse or short passage each day, and accumulate those Bible Treasures in a special section of Prophecy Central that they can visit from time to time when they want to review the timeless instruction and promises from the Book of Books.

I don’t think they would mind if you visit their section from time to time. It is:

 

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Things to Come

 

revhead-sAt long last I am beginning Volume Two of the “Rejoicing in Revelation” Series!

The first Volume, covering Chapters One through Three of the matchless book of Revelation is in the final stages of editing now. It is much longer than I had originally thought it would be, but it was a fascinating journey through the prophetic messages to the Seven Churches of Asia. The title is “The Church in History and Prophecy.” It should be available in book form later this month. The shorter segments that were posted week by week during the past year are still available online as well.

The first installment from the next volume is “Come up Here” from Revelation 4:1. This verse is symbolic of the next great prophetic event for Christians: The Rapture of the Church. Between this segment and the new “Appendix C” about the Rapture, you will find the major reasons for believing in the Pre-Tribulation view of the Rapture.

Rejoicing in Revelation

Contents/Index

Come Up Here

Appendix C – The Rapture

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Speak Up!

Do you think a Christian University should hire professors with same-sex partners? Would you send your children to a school that is more concerned about being politically correct than it is about being biblically correct?

Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, is considering hiring instructors who are in “covenanted” same-sex relationships. They are conducting a six-month “listening process” that began in January;  and the school is soliciting input from the general public.

We are all sinners. Homosexuality is not worse than other sins. However it is not the loving thing to do to condone anyone’s sin, or to agree with those who say homosexuality is not a sin. See our discussion of Homosexuality and the Bible for a review of what the Bible actually says about same-sex relationships and the importance of loving people enough to help them find God’s will for their lives.  If we really love these people, we must encourage them to accept the Bible’s teaching and gain a measure of spiritual victory like the rest of us who struggle with our own sinful natures.

Get involved: Take the survey and let the university know where you stand.

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Where Does Bitcoin Fit into the End Time Scenario?

The bitcoin logo

The bitcoin logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The concept of a theoretically safe method of buying and selling via the Internet is definitely compatible with what we know about the prophesied future, especially during the Tribulation.

There will be a one-world government with a common currency controlled by international banks. Bitcoin, or some similar system, could be the medium of exchange for the Beast’s economic dictatorship (Revelation 13).

Christians during that time will be killed or driven underground, where they will need some alternative method of obtaining necessities of life. A different version of electronic currency might assist them, but only if Christians have access to an alternative method of electronic communication, since use of the main Internet (or whatever it will be called then) will be denied to them.

In the meanwhile, during this current time period, the “beginning of birth pains” (Matthew 24:4-8) – preceding the Rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation–Bitcoin might also allow people to conduct business in spite of oppressive government controls.

A limited number of bitcoins are created each year by prescribed methods of “mining.” They have no intrinsic value, but neither does our paper dollar now that it is not based on gold. Ownership of bitcoins is maintained on the Internet and identified only by a complex user number and a safe password. Advocates of the rapidly expanding Bitcoin currency claim that it is safe because of its cyber-encryption but wealth can be stolen if the owner reveals the passwords. The whole concept is extremely volatile at present, and has been misused in a variety of ways that make Christians and conservatives cautious.  Some people have become millionaires by using the system, but others have gone into bankruptcy. Nevertheless, it has grown exponentially during its first few years, and an ever-increasing number of businesses, great and small, are accepting bitcoins as payment.

Only time will tell whether or not this currency concept will last, and if it does, whether or not it will be used when the Beast imposes the Mark of the Beast and limits commerce to those who have his mark.

Posted in Antichrist, Beast, Economy, Eschatology, Mark of the Beast, New World Order, Personal Computers, Revelation, Technology | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Ukraine in Bible Prophecy?

Marching

Marching (Photo credit: jf1234)

Now that Ukraine is in the headlines, the question arises, “How does this former Soviet Union country fit into end time prophecy?” If it does become a significant player, it will be because of its relationship with Russia.

Before the fall of the “Iron Curtain” in 1991, Ukraine had been a vital part of the Soviet Union. It was the agricultural center of the union and hosted one of the largest military bases. Since that time it has been an independent nation, but still closely allied with Russia. However, in 2009 the European Union established the “Eastern Partnership,” in order to implement discussions with former Soviet Union countries about trade, economic strategy, travel agreements, and other issues. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Partnership)

Ukraine was scheduled to join the partnership in November of 2013. Russia exerted intense pressure on the country not to join the partnership.  They withheld natural gas and other vital supplies. Viktor Yanukovych, the President of Ukraine, decided not to sign the agreement.  This caused a great uprising by the people of the country who, for the most part, preferred to be aligned with the European Union.

Hundreds of thousands of citizens assembled to protest the decision in the Maidan (“Independence Square”) in their capital city of Kiev. (http://www.businessinsider.com/ukraine-protests-what-you-need-to-know-2013-12) This protest continued, with great numbers of them camping out for three months!

On February 18, 2014, Ukraine police began trying to disperse the crowd.  This led to open fighting in Kiev that could become a civil war.

So, back to the question of whether or not Ukraine is in Bible prophecy, it is not mentioned by name (or by known biblical ancestors), but its relation to Russia is significant. If it continues to be held in Russia’s orbit of influence, it could very well be a participant in the War of Gog and Magog.

More than 2500 years ago the Lord told Ezekiel to record a prediction about the re-establishment of Israel as a nation (Ezekiel 36 and 37).  Israel did become a nation in startling fulfillment of this prophecy in 1948.

Next, Ezekiel predicted a dreadful war against the new nation (Ezekiel 38-39).

Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. Persia, Ethiopia, and Libyaare with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops—many people are with you. – Ezekiel 38:1-6

For generations prophecy teachers had been identifying Russia as the most likely leader of this coming War of Gog and Magog. Russia will be assisted by Persia (Iran), Cush (Ethiopia & Sudan), Put (Libya), Gomer, Beth Togarmah and other nations (possibly Turkey and/or other Islamic nations like those once part of the Soviet Union). Most of these names are listed in the genealogies of Genesis 10.

God will bring a quick end to this future war. He may use literal fire and brimstone, as in the days of Sodom, or he might pit nation against nation, the way he often did in the Old Testament, to precipitate a nuclear exchange.

 I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains,” says the Lord God. “Every man’s sword will be against his brother. 22 And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. 23 Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.”’ – Ezekiel 38:21-23

Current conditions on the world scene make it conceivable that this war could be materializing. Because of the leadership vacuum in the world recently, Forbes
magazine named Russia’s President Vladimir Putin “The world’s most powerful person.”He is a relic from the KGB era with ambitions to rebuild Russia’s greatness. He has injected himself, and Russia, into the affairs of the Islamic Middle East in a forceful way. In the process, he reveals his animosity toward Israel.

Putin is embarrassed by Ukraine’s rebellion, and determined to solidify Russia’s control. If Russia does succeed in forcing Ukraine to side with them, this could be the start of a new take-over of other Eastern European nations as well.

It could also be a wake-up call to the European Union. They will realize that they need to adopt stronger leadership. A powerful commander could help the EU form the final evil world government that was prophesied in Daniel 2:36-45.

Posted in Eschatology, Gog and Magog, Islam, Israel, Middle East War, Revived Roman Empire, Uncategorized, Wars | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is the World Ready for a “Benevolent Dictator”?

The world is a mess! Look at today’s headlines. Between the fear of another economic collapse and a startling surge of wars and rumors of wars, none of our world leaders seem to have the right answers.

President Obama has a 63% no-confidence vote from Americans according to the latest Washington Post poll.

Forbes recently named Russia’s Vladimir Putin, “the world’s most powerful person,” but he may not be able to stop Islamists from perpetrating terror attacks during the upcoming Olympics.

Ukraine is experiencing a massive revolution against the dictatorial powers of their government, which wants to side with Russia instead of Europe.

Peace talks are going nowhere in Syria, where more than 100,000 have already died in their civil war.

An intensive effort by U.S. Secretary of State to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians appears to be doomed to failure.

Iran could produce nuclear weapons in a very short time in spite of negotiations with leading world powers to slow their pace. This poses an existential threat to Israel and other nations in the Middle East.

Even in Africa several countries are in chaos because of terrorism. More than 2,000 people have died in violence in the Central African Republic caused by a Muslim take-over of the majority-Christian country.

Continuing violence in Egypt three years after their Arab Spring,  and the recent overthrow of the rule by the Muslim Brotherhood,  has prompted the temporary leaders there to hold early elections for a new President.

There’s more, but this is enough to make our point.

At the end of the Church Age, and the beginning of the Tribulation Period, the Book of Revelation describes the grand entrance of the rider on a white horse.

Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals;and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.” And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. – Revelation 6:1-2

As explained later in Revelation 13, this ruler will be the Beast (or Antichrist); the evil world dictator of the end times. He won’t appear as an evil person, but as a wise savior for the world when it is in turmoil. Many times in world history a “benevolent dictator” has come to power, promising to end wars and bring prosperity. Perhaps the world is about ready for him to make his debut. 

http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/ABC-Post-weakness-no-confidence/2014/01/27/id/549188

http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/olympics-security-threat-mccaul/2014/01/26/id/549093

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25907140

http://www.policymic.com/articles/79605/11-insane-images-of-the-revolution-happening-right-now-in-ukraine

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21595004-conference-syria-not-enough-west-should-also-arm-rebels-desperate-times

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/01/09/kerry-lone-optimist-in-middle-east-peace-talks-say-israelis/

http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/22/politics/iran-us-nuclear/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

http://www.wnd.com/2014/01/muslim-violence-surges-in-christian-majority-country/

http://on.aol.com/video/egypt-calls-early-presidential-election-as-violence-spreads-518100191

Posted in Antichrist, Beast, Economy, Egypt, Eschatology, Islam, Israel, Mark of the Beast, Middle East War, Peace, Rapture, Terrorism, Wars | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Joyous New Year! Year of the Third Great Awakening?

Could 2014 be the greatest year ever for our generation?  “Not likely,” you might say, and I understand your feelings.

By any honest calculation, our nation – and indeed our world – is in serious trouble, Economists warn that the only reason our economy has not collapsed is that the Federal Reserve is printing paper money to pay the government’s reckless spending, and this will lead to an eventual disaster. Terrorism keeps raising its ugly head at various places all over the globe. Middle East tensions are escalating by the day, and a nuclear exchange is becoming more likely. Persecution of Christians and other human rights abuses are accelerating. And, perhaps most discouraging of all, immorality is considered normal by too many people.

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! – Isaiah 5:20

The good news is that these very factors could lead to a much-needed spiritual revival. As a pastor I have always taught, “As the night gets darker, the light shines brighter.” In our recent study of Church history, and especially the Period of the Missionary Church (Mid-1700’s – 1900’s), we saw that the great revivals grew out of a sense of spiritual need. The most recent one, the so-called “Jesus People Movement,” came on the heels of the sexual revolution and drug culture of the ‘60’s and ’70’s. When a godless life style leaves its victims empty, there is a golden opportunity for the Bible’s message of salvation to be welcomed and received.  

Here are some of the alarming developments on the “dark” side of this spiritual battle. (They are documented on our Apostasy and Revival pages.)

A new survey by the Barna Group showed that More than 3 in 4 Americans say the country is in a state of moral decline—and almost 1 in 3 attribute the cause to a “lack of Bible reading.” 

The Supreme Court struck down a California initiative that defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman. It also invalidated parts of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Throughout the year various states legalized homosexual marriage. It is now permitted in 18 states.

A morning-after contraception/abortion pill was made available without prescription to girls of all ages by order of a federal judge.  

A new California law will allow school children to decide for themselves, and presumably change their minds from time to time, their own gender. Boys will be allowed in girls bathrooms and locker rooms, and vice-versa.

Pro-abortion demonstrators consider late-term abortions “sacred ground” and try to assault legislators who want to restrict abortions after 20 weeks.

The A&E television network suspended Phil Robertson, patriarch of the very popular “Duck Dynasty” series, when he was quoted by GQ magazine saying that homosexuality is a sin. He paraphrased a biblical passage (1 Corinthians 6:9).

Today’s Rose Parade will feature the marriage of two men aboard a float.

However, here are pieces of encouraging news from the “light” side of this struggle that may indicate a new spiritual revival is brewing.

At the Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC, Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, author of the best-selling book “The Harbinger,” called for the nation’s leaders to return to God.

An audience that heard a debate between former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams and atheist professor Richard Dawkins voted 324 to 136 that Williams’ case was more reasonable than Dawkins, and that religion does have a place in the 21st century.

Numerous Muslims have turned to Christ after having dreams about Jesus in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Syria and the West Bank of Israel. Evangelist Tom Doyle has written a book about it.

In March the television series, “The Bible” was a tremendous success.

Trans World Radio announced that within less than two years they will be able to deliver Christian content to nearly 60 percent of the people of the world in their own language.

Sat-7, a Christian broadcast organization transmitting programs to the Middle East and North Africa has now launched its own You Tube Live channel to make their outreach even more effective.

Billy Graham released a world-wide evangelic message by DVD and television broadcasts on his 95th birthday of what would probably be his last public message about the Cross of Christ. In the U.S. some 24,000 churches organized groups to invite people into their homes and congregations to hear the message.

More than 620,000 Californians signed a petition against the “bathroom bill” in just 80 days. Only 500,000 were required to put the issue on the ballot for the state elections.

New York City may be on the brink of another “Great Awakening.” Before the 911 attack on the Twin Towers in 2001 there were not many churches left in the city,  but since then there has been a surge of evangelicalism and a significant growth of the number of churches. Roots of a revival go back to David Wilkerson’s founding of Teen Challenge in the ‘60’s, the dynamic ministry of the Cymbalas at Brooklyn Tabernacle, and the founding of King’s College in Empire State Building.

A tremendous outpouring of support for Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson by their millions of viewers, made it clear to A&E Network that they think he had the right to express his own views and quote the Bible on the sensitive topic of homosexuality. The network decided to lift his suspension from the program.

The coming year is being called the “Year of the Bible at the box office,” with at least four major releases on Bible topics: “Son of God,” “Mary Mother of Christ,” “Noah,” and “Exodus.”

It was also revealed at the end of the year that there was a return to the practice of naming children after Bible characters.

The question arises, “If these are the end times, would God send a revival when He has already predicted apostasy and spiritual decline?”

The answer is “Yes!” He gave opportunity to Noah’s family, Lot’s family, and the believers in Jericho and Nineveh to repent and be spared. Why wouldn’t He give an opportunity, especially to the young people of our generation who have never really understood the Gospel? 

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. – 2 Peter 3:9

Revival must come through God’s Holy Spirit. But His people must really want it.

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. – 2 Chronicles 7:14

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Our Christmas Gift for You!

Lambert Dolphin and I are giving free copies of our popular prophecy primer to visitors to our websites.  This is a complete copy of Connecting the Dots: A Handbook of Bible Prophecy.

The free download is available in two different formats. The one that will be most helpful on a personal computer is the pdf file. It has set page numbers and the reader will be able to use clickable links from the Table of Contents to move quickly to the beginning of a chapter or one of the appendices. 

For smart phones and other mobile devices the doc file allows the best handling of the text so that the book is quite readable, even on a small screen. Applications like QuickOffice, which comes with the Android phone, allow you to search for a particular word or phrase and move quickly from one occurrence to the next.

This book has been very well received, and will still be available in print and Kindle formats from Amazon, and other booksellers. Many Bible students prefer a standard book that they can mark up. They like to add their own notes and cross references. Therefore, the printed Paperback and the Kindle electronic reader versions will still be available at a nominal cost. They have enhanced links from the table of contents, index and notes. These are still in print and available from Amazon.com.

Click here for your free download! A free study guide is also available. Have a Blessed Christmas and a Wonderful New Year in the Lord! May it be your best year ever for serious personal Bible study!

Posted in Apostasy, Christmas, Connecting the Dots: A Handbook of Bible Prophecy, Earthquakes, Egypt, Eschatology, Fearful Events, Gog and Magog, Islam, Israel, Mark of the Beast, Middle East War, Persecution, Rapture, Revelation, Revival, Revived Roman Empire, Technology, Terrorism, UFOs, Wars | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Thanksgiving Notebook

Wikipedia - public domainI found a treasure last week! It was one that I had buried ten years ago by accident.  It was a project that I had started twenty years ago. I called it my “Thanksgiving Notebook.” Having discovered over the years that I needed to be reminded of all the things for which I should be grateful, I had started this collection of memories one Thanksgiving season, and had added to it every year at this time.  Whenever I would revisit the hundreds of encouraging things that had come into my life because of the goodness of the Lord, I was able to worship Him better and be happy about what a wonderful life I had been privileged to live.

I had accidently placed this notebook in a large box of computer software documentation in 2003, and never had occasion to look in that box until recently. Every year at this time I searched our bookshelves, closets and other likely places, but I had almost given up hope of ever seeing this history of the Lord’s blessings again.

Philippians 4:6-7 says,  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I have had occasion several times to conduct a class on how to start one of these notebooks and keep it up from year to year.  If you might like to consider making one of your own, here are the notes from the class.

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