Christ’s death is everything to us as a people; in fact, in the future, it will be seen more clearly that His death has meant every true blessing ever bestowed upon a race under rebellion. Seeing that Christ’s death holds such high importance for us, the details of this prophecy deserve much closer attention. It’s not the purpose of this article to delve so much into the prophetic timeline in-and-of itself, but rather to bring to view more fully what that beautiful prophecy tells us about His saving work for our souls.
Daniel is told that “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the revelation of the Prophet, and to anoint the Holy of holies.” (Dan. 9:24)
There are a lot of points here, and while we won’t do an exhaustive study on each point, we will let the Scripture unfold their true meaning.
A DETERMINED TIME
In the prophecy, seventy prophetic weeks (equalling 490 years, see Ezek. 4:6) were given to the nation of Israel to bring the effectual gospel into their experience.
We are not left in darkness as to when this gospel prophecy was to begin. We’re told that “from the going forth of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem” the beginning of the prophetic period was to take place. Daniel understood well as he searched the holy utterances of the Holy Ghost through Jeremiah the prophet regarding the restoration of Jerusalem. The city had fallen and become desolate because of their sins according to Jeremiah’s prophecy, and foremost in his prophecy was the eventual destruction of their cherished temple, which was to be the light proclaiming the gospel of the Messiah to the world. Yet, intead of proclaiming the gospel of salvation from sin to the world, the people conformed to the world, and lost sight of the gospel; the people of the true God were quickly diminishing from the land, and to preserve the knowledge of God and the gospel to meet the emergency, God permitted the overthrow of Jerusalem.
Yet in his prophecies declaring judgment, there was hope for restoration: a promise of an abundance of mercy. “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: … But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jer. 31:3-34) God’s purpose is, and always was, to bring this gospel experience to His people, and Israel’s national restoration was no exception to that fact. The gospel promise given to them was the covenant promise of His blessing outlined in final words of Deuteronomy (Ch. 27-31) to be given to “every nation, and tongue, and kindred, and people” (Rev. 14:6). Yet God would not fail to extend every available opportunity divine love could bestow to bring the restored nation into that experience: He would send His own Son- the strongest argument for the gospel that He could give.
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness.” (Jer. 33:14-16)
Should Israel fail to repent, He gave the prophecy of the Messiah’s timing as a final desperate appeal from God for His people to enter into the covenant blessings alotted to them if they would understand and believe His Word. Thus there was “determined upon thy people and thy holy city” into it. Divine forebearance had given ample time and provision for this to be secured for them. Just as many signs and proofs were given of the warning of Noah’s divine call to judgment before the flood, even so many signs and tokens of divine mercy were revealed to a people who had slighted the messages given to them more often than not. Jehovah would leave no door of excuse left open for His people to blame God for lack of opportunity to understand His love, goodness, and longsuffering towards the children of men.
Seventy weeks were appointed to Israel to declare to them “that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance” (Rom. 2:4). “From the going forth of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem” marked the beginning of the prophecy to Israel “unto Messiah the prince”. Babylon had taken captive Israel from 606 B.C., and it was only at their fall that a decree for the rebuilding of the city was to be found. Yet it wasn’t the first commandment by Cyrus to build up Jerusalem’s temple in 536 B.C., nor was it the second commandment by Darius in 522 B.C., but the third commandment, through Artexerxes in 457 B.C. “And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.” In this time, God had raised up prophets, and did not commence the probationary prophetic time for their status as a special nation of God, and the judgments, from which they were mercifully spared, would be permitted to befall them again since they failed to learn the lessons necessary for them to learn.
From this time, sixty-nine prophetic weeks (483 years) brought only one final week remaining for Israel to embrace these most precious lessons, and be a light distinct and peculiar from the world for their knowledge of God and His Messiah, as well as His law.
In preparation for this final week, God raised up John the baptist, “to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:17) Abraham was the father of the faith that justifies, and his example of believing in the power of God and His promises was to be followed if Israel were ever to enter into even the beginning lessons of salvation.
But what were those lessons so necessary for them to learn, and what was that gospel experience so necessary for everyone that professes Christ as their Savior?
In Daniel, the very sum of the gospel message and it’s purpose is given: “to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the revelation of the Prophet, and to anoint the Holy of holies.” That gospel has been the same from the beginning, and it’s purpose was always to be kept in view by God’s people. The work here described is only possible by faith in Christ, for it is this experience that Christ alone can impart to every believer in Him. The same gospel that the apostles preached was the same gospel offered to Israel, and there was no difference, for “unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them,” said the apostle to the Hebrews, “but the word preached to them did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” (Hebrews 4:2)
MIDST OF THE WEEK
We are told that “in the midst of the week, He (the Messiah) shall cause the sacrifice and offerings to cease,” (Daniel 9:27); the sacrifices that were instituted by Christ Himself after our firstparents fell were to cease forever. The hope that was instituted in the sacrificial system pointing to His own death in the garden of Eden was to close when His death was brought to view at the garden of Gethsemenane to the sacrifice of Himself. The prophecy further explains what manner of work would take away this sacrificial system: “Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself.” (Daniel 9:26) Who was Christ cut off for? Not for Himself. In Isaiah we find the answer. “He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of My people was He stricken.” (Isaiah 53: 8) Christ was cut off for the transgressions of God’s people.
FINISHING THE TRANSGRESSION
Looking further into this, what experience was Israel required to take in according Daniel’s Messianic prophecy? They were “to finish the transgression”; this was the work necessary for Israel, but only through faith in Christ’s work could they begin to cease from sin. “Whosoever commits sin is a servant of sin.” A determination had to be made by the servant of sin that he must be restrained from his continual transgressions, thus feeling his need of salvation and be led to look to the Messiah for power to cease forever from that thing. Christ alone places a restraint on the power of sins. He is called “Jesus (Salvation), for He shall save His people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21) A determination to cease from sin is necessary. This process may to some be a painful ordeal because it requires self-denial. We’re told that “he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.” (1 Peter 4:1-2)
MAKING AN END OF SINS
The message of John the baptist was to “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.” That message was but a reiteration of Daniel’s message of how an end of sins could be made. It is only through the power of the cross that an end of sins was made. We’re told that “He hath made Him (the Messiah) to be sin for us, who knew no sin.” (2 Cor. 5:21) and when He was made to be sin, He died the death of the transgressor, for “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). By this, Christ effectively made an end of sins. The Scripture tells us that “he that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sins from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8)
The gospel is the power of God to salvation to everyone that believes; and the power of Christ and Him crucified when preached is the gospel that declares the devil’s works to be destroyed in the life of all who believe in Christ as an abiding Savior. Those who take in this belief of Christ’s crucifixion for their sins, Christ gives power of being crucified to sin. For this reason, “if ye through the Spirit do mortify (put to death) the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” (Rom. 8:13) “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” (Gal. 5:24) This puts to death our old experience in sin, prepatory to enveloping us in a much brighter experience: “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” (Rom. 6:6) This last verse sums up for the gospel what “destroying the works of the devil”; sin is destroyed in Christ, and slavery to the devil is assured.
By His death, Christ has effectually, by making an end of sin in your experience by His own cross, destroyed the claims of the devil to your soul and the chains of sin that enslaved you. The child of God need only believe this wonderful promise and it is assured to them by a power that is greater than that of mortal flesh, for the divinity of the Son of God may accomplish this for them and in them. After Christ sent out His disciples to proclaim the gospel, they cast out devils. “And he (Christ) said unto them, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power …over all the power of the enemy:…Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:18-20) When this experience is apprehended, and the devil is cast out, may our voices join with angels, testifying: “Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;” (Heb. 2:14
Christ becomes the reconciliation of all men to God, uniting both in His body, while also uniting all humanity in one. “And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:” (Eph. 2:16) Iniquity brought separation between God and man. “your iniquities have separated between you and your God…” (Isaiah 51:1) Even more than separation from God, iniquity brings separation of one another because “the works of the flesh” separated from God “are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.” (Gal. 5:20-21) It is only reconcilation to God through the gospel that brings uniting of purpose, of mind, and of heart with Him, and it is only when others are so reconciled to Him, that reconciliation may take place between one another.
It was God’s purpose for Israel to so fully embrace the gospel experience that they would bring the message of reconciliation to the Gentiles. And this reconcilation was only possible through faith in the Messiah. For He was “bruised for our iniqities…and by His stripes we are healed.” It was this bruising by faith in His cross, foretold to our firstparents in Eden (Genesis 3:15) that could bring reconciliation with God to man, and bind up all of humanity in the heart of Christ. “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” (Ezekiel 11:19-20)
By this means, the gulf separating man from God would be closed, and peace would be restored. “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.” (Col. 1:20-21) All of mankind, not excepting the nation of Israel, had felt this separation from God by choosing their own ways above the ways of God; the whole world was guilty and ought to be forever shut out from the light of His Presence, but the gospel speaks better things to man, that none may fail of having hope. “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Cor. 5:19) God purposed that Israel should not only be a repentant people, but also a people that revealed by their lives that they were clear and distinct from the charge of separation from God; they were not aliens (foreigners) from the inhabitants of heaven, but they were to, by their works, reveal the divine nature to the world alienated to God.
Everlasting righteousness is the righteousnesss that is declared in the law of God: “Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law;” (Isaiah 51:7) We should not suppose that God thought Israel should establish their own form of righteousn ess, which is imperfect, but God’s perfect righteousness: “The law of Jehovah is perfect…” (Psalm 19:7). Only perfection can satisfy the bringing in of everlasting righteousness, and not merely a religion of external lawkeeping can satisfy the demand of such a righteousness which requires the heart complete and entire. Speaking of the righteousness of man apart from God’s righteousness, we read: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness is as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)
A man, separated from God, seeking to keep the law he broke to obtain righteousness before God would make His justice of no effect. It practically states that a man, who is in bondage to sin, can establish his own righteous standard (which lowers the standard of God’s law), and makes of no effect the righteous justice of God in executing judgment against the transgressor of the law. Such a righteousness is further a claim by the man who attempts such that he does not require mercy, because he can, apart from God, satisfy the demands of the law. Everlasting righteousness is God’s righteousness. If a man cannot reveal perfectly the righteousness of God, in heart and mind, he has failed of obtaining that which he was working so hard to achieve. “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” (Rom. 10:3) Israel failed of this everlasting righteousness because they tried to establish their own apart from God. They made their abode in their sinful state, alienated from God. Jesus spoke further of this righteousness of the seemingly most religious class of people, widely supposed by all to be righteous: “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:20)
Not even the most religious of men could satisfy the demands of God’s righteousness. Man, apart from God, cannot seek, through the law that he broken, to negotiate reconcilation with God. For God to do this, His righteousness He would have to abolish, but He says “my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.” (Isaiah 51:6) He would have to do away with His law, or change it to meet the standard of the man fallen into sin. Christ would never have had to die to pay the penalty for the broken law to bring reconcilation for sin (which is transgression of that law) if that could be so: “for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Gal. 2:21)
We hear the conclusion of seeking to be established as a sinner working for righteousness in these words: “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:” (Romans 3:20-22) How does the righteousness of God, which is in the law, come to a man? It is by faith. And how is it by faith? It is by faith in Jesus Christ, in the salvation offered through Him. Even so, He said, “Do not think I have come to destroy the law or the prophets. I have not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:19) Christ fulfilled that law perfectly. The Messiah fulfilled God’s everlasting righteousness in human flesh. He then died for the broken law which we broke, although He did not. Since “the wages of sin is death”, we may truly say with the apostle to the Galatians, “I through the law am dead to the law” (Gal. 2:19). I am dead, crucified, powerless to do any good thing; death is my lot. Yet Christ joined Himself to my death, so the apostle does not finish there, but says, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless, I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20) Christ liveth in me to fulfill the law that He came to perfectly fulfill; His divinity meets my humanity; His everlasting righteousness to rise above that of a mere human standard. “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:3-4)
This was the experience Israel was to have. Sin was to be condemned in the flesh by faith of the Messiah. Not their sins in His flesh alone, but by faith that He would do this, He condemns sin in their flesh and ours, and by His divine Spirit, reaches humanity with a divine righteousness that satisfies the demands of the law. Many seek to do the deeds of the Christian life without Christ and without any saving power found in the gospel, but those who do this are powerless to bring any real fruit to God’s glory; they cannot have any just conception of how high the standard of bringing in “everlasting righteousness” is. “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.” (Psalm 119:142) Faith takes hold of divine salvation, and Israel could only obtain it through Him, after they had made an end of sin, and had been reconciled to God from their inquities.
The thought of them bringing in His righteousness should have brought them to see their utter failure of attaining to it, and might have drawn their soul out to God’s salvation; then He would establish Himself in their experience as their righteousness, and fulfill the law in them. “In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, JEHOVAH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Jer. 23:6) Of those who are born of God, He says, “And all your children shall be taught of the Jehovah; and great shall be the peace of thy children. In righteousness shall you be established…This is the heritage of the servants of the Jehovah, and their righteousness is of me, saith Jehovah.” (Isaiah 54:13-17)
THE REVELATION OF THE PROPHET
When we transgressed the law of God, we declared we are sinners, having not His righteousness, “for all have sinned, and have come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). God’s glory is His character. In the mount Sinai, when Moses asked God, “Show me Your glory,”, He responded, “I will cause all My goodness to pass before you.” All the goodness of God is His glory; that goodness is revealed in the law. We are told, “Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high.” (Psalm 71:19) To commit adultery is to lust, but to not commit adultery is to have perfect faithfulness. To murder is to hate without a cause, but to love is to lay down your life for the sake of another. To make a graven image is to conceptualize false ideas of God in your mind, but to not make a graven image is to know God as He is in truth. This glory of God is revealed in the fruit of the Spirit of Christ, which is “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: there is no law found against these.” (Gal. 5:22-23)
Israel was to have sealed upon them “the revelation of the Prophet”, which was Christ. That Prophet that Moses foretold was He who baptizes every prophet with the Spirit of prophecy: these are the born again children of God (Revelation 12:17) When the experience of reconciliation by the Messiah is made, then He becomes the righteousness of the believer. Instead of the believer coming short of His glory, as He formerly did, he now beholds Christ in the law, and that Christ is His source of strength to keep that law, and instead of finding condemnation in the law, he finds Christ His strength to fulfill that law. Thus the revelation of the Prophet comes to them, and this revelation is to be sealed in them: “Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.” (Isaiah 8:16) For “after ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise…” (Eph. 1:15).That Holy Spirit that is in you is the same which fulfills the law in you. It is that same Spirit that is said “Christ liveth” in you. And the apostle summarizes the sealing of the perfect revelation of the Prophet in these words: “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor. 3:17-18)
The experience of salvation is to behold Christ, and Christ is to save us from our sins that caused us to fall short of the glory of God. By Christ, in us, it is no longer said that we are short of the glory of God, but rather, are going “from glory to glory”, being restored into that image from which we fell, and this is by beholding the revelation of His glorious righteousness, which He then fulfills in us, like a mirror, Christ’s work is to see His reflection in us that the gospel work may be complete. This is the seal of righteousness which Israel needed from the gospel, and which we need also today. Anything apart from this fails of bringing in everlasting righteousness, and the seal of His revelation cannot be placed upon such. It is the religion of works that denies the gospel experience, and the apostle Paul says is blinded. “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2 Cor. 4:3-4)
ANOINTING THE HOLY OF HOLIES
The final experience to be realized in the gospel was the anointing experience. The language here is twofold, and too much could be said to lay it all out plainly here. Yet the Sanctuary on earth was anointed and consecrated with the blood of bulls and goats: a symbol of the blood of Christ. “It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.” (Heb. 9:23) The heavenly Sanctuary had a better sacrifice, “foreordained before the foundation of the world, but manifest in these last times for you” (1 Pet. 1:20). He was the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8).
Christ’s sacrifice was to consecrate the gospel and Sanctuary service forever. His blood that makes the experience of Daniel a reality in the believer’s life is called “the blood of the everlasting covenant”. Anciently, with the animal sacrifices pointing to this Great Sacrifice, blood not only anointed and consecrated the sanctuary articles, but also was anointed on the people, saying “This is the blood of the covenant that God has enjoined you to.” (Exo. 24:8) This was blood that was seen on the flesh and blood Israelites, but the blood that was still yet unseen, still being future, they were enjoined to by faith (Heb. 11:1), even as we are. Christ, who before He was cut off in the shedding of that blood of the covenant, had a mission to enjoin to that covenant souls amonst Israel to make them partakers of this wonderful gospel experience. Amongst Israel“He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week” and if after this last week expired, and Israel still failed to attain to the gospel experience, the gospel of reconciliation would be taken to the Gentiles without them having the high honor of bringing it to them. God’s longsuffering with them as a holy nation and people would cease, and He would employ those “many” (a remnant) who confirmed the covenant by faith in Christ’s blood, who were reconciled to God, and God was in them now to “reconcile the world unto Himself.”
The anointing of the Holy of holies happened when the Sanctuary and the people of the Sanctuary were consecrated with the blood of the covenant. Yet it was also anointed once every year with the blood of the slain victim, the sacrifice for sin, when the Ark of the covenant was anointed with the blood of the lamb. Far more than consecration, it was to represent atonement (being made at one with God). The blood of the atonement sacrifice was sprinkled on the throne of the covenant, called the mercy seat, thus sealing the everlasting mercy of God towards His people. His justice was satisfied, and mercy forever secured, the people were by faith in the blood to be made at one with God. After this, there was to be no more opportunity for repentance toward God; any who didn’t repent before this experience was shut outside of mercy, and was cut off from amongst the people. That was only to be an object lesson of the true Sacrifice and the true anointing of the Holy of holies. When the case of all is determined, because they refuse to embrace the gospel experience, or else they have this covenant experience confirmed in them by the acceptance of the work of the Messiah, they may know with confidence that He makes atonement for them. “we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” (Romans 5:11)
Yet the consummation of this atonement, where the blood of mercy’s covenant pleads no longer is at the finishing of the work of the Sanctuary, in the Holy of holies, when every soul has chosen to repent and believe the gospel, or else has rejected it.
Thus the gospel experience unveiled in Daniel’s prophecy, “to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the revelation of the Prophet, and to anoint the Holy of holies” is the gospel experience brought to view, and will be revealed in all who would believe the gospel of Christ. There will be no middle ground. Those who are in covenant relationship with God by the blood of Christ will have this experience, and all who have not this experience are not in covenant relationship with God, to whom He says “I never knew you. Depart from Me, ye workers of iniquity.” (Matt. 7:23) Thus the final pronouncement is made: “He that is unrighteous, let him be unrighteous still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” (Rev. 22:11). The anointing of the Holy of holies is not only an individual consecrated experience with the gospel, but also a worldwide corporate event for every soul. What side will you be on?
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