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Author Topic: SIGNS OF HIS COMING  (Read 6712 times)
Joe Sperling
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« on: May 29, 2008, 12:25:14 am »

I have been looking at all the signs lately that point to Jesus coming back, and truly am
astounded!!  We all know that we do not know when that will be, but here is a quick list (there
are many other signs of course) of some things that definitely point to the imminent return of Jesus:

1.  Israel just turned 60 years old.  Jesus said when referring to the fig tree sprouting, which is an obvious
reference to the rebirth of Israel, that "This generation shall not pass until all these things be fulfilled". In Psalm
90, Moses says the following: The length of our days is seventy yearsor eighty, if we have the strength; (V.10)  Is he giving the definition of a "generation", and if so, would the generation Jesus is referring to be 70-80 years in length? Take note that Israel was "born" as a nation in 1948.  
If a generation is 70 years, or possibly eighty years,  60 of those years have already passed since Israel became a nation! Are the "times of the gentiles" almost at an end, which would usher in the great tribulation?

2.  The Prophet Daniel was told "knowledge shall increase rapidly in the last days"---we know men went from discovering flight in 1903 to landing on the moon in 1969-----an absolutely huge leap in just a few years!  And technology has become so advanced, that things considered science fiction only 40 years ago are now reality (cell phones as just one small example).

3. Revelation says that 1/3 of all people die on the earth after one judgment.  This is very possible, due to nuclear weapons---but only possible since 1945----before then the thought of 1/3 of the population dying all at once seemed absurd! But now an absurdity is a reality.

4. The "beast"(antichrist) will be seen by the whole earth at one time according to Revelation.  Not too long ago this was impossible, but now through satellites and television the whole world literally COULD see one man at one time. And again, as little as 40 years ago this seemed to be an impossibility!

5. The beast will be able to "track" the whole world, deciding who can buy or sell-- they must have his mark.  Again, not too long ago this would have been impossible---but now with sophisticated computers it is very possible to literally track and control the whole world (at least the world is moving rapidly towards this reality).

6. Jesus said "This Gospel must be preached to all peoples and then the end shall come". I received a brochure from Wycliffe Bible Translators a day ago, that says that this generation of Christians is experiencing the greatest and fastest completion of Bible translation into other languages since the Church began! 1/3 of the world still has no Bible in their language, but rapid translation is occuring with a 2038 date being calculated when all the world will have a Bible in their own language! But Wycliffe is working and praying for a 2025 date! Just 17 years away!

7. Catastrophes have definitely increased in rapidity recently with the Tsunami, wtih earthquakes and cyclones becoming common place. The "birth pangs" Jesus spoke of are definitely getting closer together and more intense.

8. Disparity between rich and poor(a sign of the last days)---has become a grim reality---just watch TV and see people winning millions of dollars on game shows, while just a channel away you'll find children starving to death. There is a  TV show where a person can win half a million dollars for just telling the truth and avoiding being caught in a lie! The rich get incredibly richer, and the impoverished ranks grow greater each day! Greater than ever before!

9. Jesus said "men's hearts will be failing them for fear"---look at the global affect of terrorism!  It is a hidden attacker which causes great fear. Revelation talks of men being "beheaded"---only muslim terrorists behead people!

10. Revelation says the beast will make an image which will mimic him exactly. Older commentaries say it will be a statue--others say it could be a robot, etc.----but imagine if what John saw was the beast speaking with a huge televison monitor behind him?  It would appear that the beast had an image that did exactly what he did! We're so used to seeing TV's or monitors, but to John, a first century man thrown into the future, the person talking on TV or a monitor would look like another entity--an image of the beast, moving exactly like the beast himself!  

11. Babylon:   In Revelation it mentions Babylon being destroyed in one day.  A huge metropolis--a place where the world lives in luxury, spends billions of dollars, and money is everything.  Right now in Dubai the largest mall ever built, and the tallest building which has ever existed, are being erected.  Dubai is a modern day Babylon for sure.  Now, where is Dubai?  It is in the middle of fanatic muslim countries who hate capitalism.  Is it possible that Dubai, with all of it's wealth could be destroyed in one day?   YES!!  Dubai is quickly becoming THE capitalist center of wealth, with millionaires like Trump investing millions to erect buildings there.  Is this new "tallest tower in the world" a revisiting of ancient Babylon with it's famed tower where man tried to "reach the heavens"? One nuclear weapon and Dubai could be gone in an hour, with the world weeping over all of the money that was lost in that devastation!!

We cannot ignore these signs----there are too many to just brush off. We as Christians need to rejoice and lift up our heads, waiting for Jesus Christ to return!!  We could be raptured tomorrow!  It really could happen! There WILL be scoffers in the last days--we need to avoid being one of them!   Jesus is coming back very soon! Amen!!
« Last Edit: May 29, 2008, 04:19:12 am by Joe Sperling » Logged
Joe Sperling
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« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2008, 09:49:09 pm »

I was watching a PBS program last night about Israel and their origins, and
how the Bible came to be written. It really got me to thinking about what a miracle
Israel is, and how their very existence proves the existence of God. God throughout
the Old Testament promises that Israel will one day inhabit their land once again---
and in 1948 that prophecy was literally fufilled.

It is extremely interesting to note some things that happened right before Israel became a
nation. As though knowing that a long-time prophecy was about to be fulfilled, Satan, through
Adolf Hitler, literally tried to wipe the Jews off the face of the earth. 6 million Jews were murdered
before Hitler was finally stopped. The Swastika, a broken cross, was his symbol of domination. Just
three years later, in an utter miracle, a nation of these same people came into existence. Ironically,
Satan's attempt to destroy this people actually helped in bringing them together as a nation far more
quickly, as the world reacted in horror to what had happened to the Jews. In a short succession of time
the following things happened:

1943-1945  Attempt to exterminate the Jews
1945          Atomic bomb invented and used for first time (man can finally and truly destroy the world)
1947          Dead Sea Scrolls found, verifying the Hebrew scriptures are the same as they were 2000
                 years ago.
1948          Birth of Israel
1967          Jerusalem taken by the Jews

Since 1945 the world's knowledge has accelerated to such an extent it is astounding!  Israel is truly THE SIGN that God is at work in the world, and that there is an enemy dead set against this same God, as even today Israel is completely surrounded by enemies seeking to destroy her.  If one comes to doubts about the existence of God, look to Israel.  If you ask "Is there a God?"  then ask yourself, "Does a nation called Israel exist?"  God has fulfilled his promise in re-creating Israel.  God kept his promise concerning Israel.  Will he keep his promise about returning to the earth physically, with His saints with him?  YES---we can be assured without a doubt that he will!

We don't know when---but it could happen at any moment!  What a great day that will be!!
« Last Edit: December 02, 2008, 10:17:51 pm by Joe Sperling » Logged
Joe Sperling
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« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2008, 11:17:58 pm »

This is all pure conjecture and has no basis in Scripture, but I thought I'd share
it anyway.   Grin  This morning when I was driving to work I saw all the cars on the
freeway and thought of all the fuel being eaten on a daily basis, and how important
the Middle East and oil has become. Oil has literally become something the whole world
needs to survive at this time.

But where does oil come from?  It is called "fossil fuel" because it comes from vegetation and
animals, etc., from long ago. We all know that the Middle East has the largest deposits of fossil
fuel in the whole world (at least right now that is the case).  Now---and here is where all the
conjecture comes in  Grin  the "Garden of Eden" was in the Middle East according to the Bible, where
it names the rivers that now flow in Iraq, as flowing near Eden.  Eden must have had enormous amounts
of vegetation and animal life in it.  And we don't know how large the garden was either.  It is interesting that where Eden USED to be there are HUGE deposits of "fossil fuels".

It is also interesting that only in the last 100 years or so has oil become so very important to the whole world. Man has also advanced tremendously in the last 100 years.   So could it be possible that where man began (EDEN) will also be what man fights over (in the form of fossil fuels from that very garden) in these last days?  Could the very gas in our cars (if from the middle east) be remnants of the very garden where man first began on this earth?  Will a war over the remnants (fossil fuels) of Eden be part of what leads to Armageddon?

I know this is all conjecture----and of course, these very fuels I am talking about could have been in the earth far before Eden was ever created----as scientists say the earth is billions of years old.  But it is a very interesting thing to think about---man's beginning was in Eden, and the end of the present system of things may be a result of Eden--at least it's fossilized liquid remains.

---cue Twilight Zone music....   Cheesy



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Joe Sperling
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« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2009, 12:41:34 am »

I recently purchased a book called "Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth" by Clarence
Larkin.  I already had his commentaries on Daniel and Revelation.  He was a "dispensationalist"
teacher of the late 1800's/early 1900's.  He made some amazing charts and drawings--I have
always enjoyed looking at them.  He is not the "end all", or a source with "all the answers" by
any means,  but much of his teaching on the end times is very enlightening.

The book above was written in 1920----28 years before Israel became a nation again.  Mr. Larkin was no "prophet" and did not claim anything of the sort----he based everything he wrote totally on what he believed the Bible taught.  As I read though, he said "The nation Israel WILL become a nation again one day. Though it seems an impossibility, it will happen, because the Bible says so" (paraphrase).    He adds later "shortly before the "times of the Gentiles" come to an end, the Jews will again be gathered in their land and form a nation."  He states they will be a largely secular society though, "unconverted", when they do return to their own land.

I find it intriguing to read older books like that.  What he stated (based on what he saw in the Bible, and not on any 'revelation' or 'prediction' of his own) has come true. Israel is indeed a nation, and a largely secular one as he had stated (again, based on what the Bible itself predicts).

What I found to be very exciting was his statement that "shortly before the 'times of the Gentiles come to an end' Israel will become a nation again".  He doesn't say the times of the Gentiles will "end" with the formation of Israel, but the formation will be a sign that the 'times' are shortly coming to an end.  I believe he based this on what Jesus said about the Fig tree, and 'when you see it start to bud you know spring is near'.  The Fig Tree is a symbol for Israel and the Fig Tree did begin budding again in 1948.

I truly believe we are very close to the end of the "Times of the Gentiles".  We can't set dates---but check out the signs once again:

1939-1945   Attempt by Satan (through the Nazis) to annihilate the Jews from the planet.
1945           Atom bomb invented---for first time man can destroy the world.
1947           Dead sea scrolls found---they prove God's word has been protected and preserved
                 since ancient times.  Version of Isaiah is virtually identical to what we have today.
1948           Israel becomes a nation (just three years after the Jews were almost wiped out!!!)
1967           Israel captures Jerusalem

                  Since these things have happened we have EXTREMELY RAPID growth in man's intelligence.  We have computers that can literally track almost everyone on the planet, satellites that could broadcast the image of a man to the whole world at once, and television itself which literally could explain the "image of the beast" Revelation says will be seen throughout the world.

Add to this that within 25 years all the remaining languages that need Bible translation could be reached (this could be accomplished even sooner according to Wylcliffe Bible translators)--"this gospel of the kingdom must be proclaimed throughout the whole world, and then the end will come".

Then check out the EU, the Internet, Dubai City (Babylon?) and Iran's threats to wipe out Israel. Also, check out the huge amount of "apostasy" that is going on.  Just Google "deconverts" and see how many people claim they "used to be Christians but believe no more". I have engaged many of them in conversation myself--it is both saddening, but awe-inspiring that so many are apostasizing just as the Bible said would happen shortly before the end.

Again, we can't set dates, but we need to be looking up-----Jesus truly is coming very soon!!  Cheesy Cheesy
« Last Edit: March 20, 2009, 02:32:59 am by Joe S » Logged
Joe Sperling
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« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2009, 12:16:53 am »

Back in March I made the post below.  I read the below book through, and have begun to read it again.  An intriguing aspect is that Larkin mentions there could be an "overlap" period where the "Times of the Gentiles" begin to end and formation of Israel takes place. In other words that it is possible that Israel could become a nation again and continue some years at the same time that the "Gentile times" are coming to an end. Again, as metioned below, Larkin is no "end all" or "supreme authority" on prophecy.  But because his books were mainly written in the 1910's and 1920's they are very intriguing (written before Israel became a nation in 1948, before nuclear weapons, or computers, etc. etc.) as prophecy has been fulfilled since then.  If anyone is interested in obtaining "Rightly Dividing the Word" or other books here is the link:

http://www.larkinestate.com/
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Oscar
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« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2009, 03:29:48 am »

Joe,

This morning I taught on "El Apocalipsis" in the Spanish training class of my church.  The emphasis of the lesson was that Revelation is a letter of encouragement to churches suffering persecution by the Roman Empire.  The thrust of the book is "Christ wins, Satan loses".  John has written a letter to real churches to encourage them to endure persecution even to the death through Christ's strength. To encourage them he has shown them the horrible judgements that will fall on his enemies, and the blessed future in store for his people.

I am still a dispensationalist, and I believe that the book does contain prophecies of future events.  however, the thrust of the book is moral, not an interpretation of future political events.  One clue is that the hundreds of books written in the past about how Revelation deals with "today's" events have all proved to be false as time marches on.  I remember one "renowned" Bible teacher who announced that Menahim Begin was the King of the North and that Anwar Sadat was the king of the South. He was proved to be correct when Christ came in 1988.  :rofl:  Now I am joking about our former great leader being "renowned", but the widely respected Bible teacher Hal Lindsay was on board with the 1988 return of Christ. So were many other respected teachers.

The general rule governing Bible exegesis is that the meaning of the scriptures is what the author intended to say, and that it cannot mean what he did not intend to say.  Assigning symbolic meanings to all sorts of details and organizing systems of interpretation around them rarely rises above the level of speculation.

Blessings,

Tom Maddux

« Last Edit: June 01, 2009, 03:33:14 am by Tom Maddux » Logged
Joe Sperling
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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2009, 04:58:33 am »

One clue is that the hundreds of books written in the past about how Revelation deals with "today's" events have all proved to be false as time marches on.

Tom---

This is very true in many cases.  But I have to mention that the opposite is also true.  In the book I mention by Clarence Larkin he makes no "specific" predictions about dates, etc.,  but he does clearly state that Israel MUST become a nation again before the last days events can fall into place. He wrote the book in 1920, so it is very instructive to see what he says, as Israel HAS BECOME a nation since then. 

Sure, setting dates and trying to label "this leader" or "that leader" as the Anti-Christ etc. is pure stupidity.  But studying Revelation in a prophetic manner can be very enlightening----and also very exciting too!  Because there are definite signs (Israel being the main one) concerning the "end times". 

I read "The Late Great Planet Earth" back in the 70's.  Sure---some of what Hal Lindsey said was off-base--but other parts----he mentions how IRAN will be a world power (and in 1969 they were far from being that) have definitely fallen into place.  All we really have to do is look around us---Daniel said that "knowledge would increase rapidly" in the last days.  In 1969 Hal Lindsey was talking about "tatoos" or "marks" of "666"---here we are in 2009 and KNOW that most likely this "mark" will be a bar code of some kind---it will definitely be tied in with computer tracking of some kind. (though admittedly with inventions coming so rapidly who really knows?).

Hal Lindsey also mentioned the "United States of Europe"---and even now we can see that coming about more dramatically than ever.  The Euro dollar links many of these countries together.

I agree that many of the "teachers" of the past have said some very stupid things-----but there are also some teachers (I put Larkin in this class) whose works are just as relevant now as they were then (1920).  I don't believe Jesus would have told us to keep "watching" and to keep our eyes open ("when you see these things approaching...") if he did not intend for us to study them, and always be looking for things that will fulfill the prophecies.

I mean, back before Herod's time, I'm sure there were people "predicting the date when Messiah will appear" and basing it on prophecies of the Bible.  And there were probably quite a few people right before Herod's rule who said "One clue this is untrue is that as time marches on more and more of these "predictions" and "writings" prove false". And perhaps they stopped looking for the Messiah---right before Jesus was born.
The wise men had kept their eyes open though.

I understand though where you are coming from Tom.  But I also wonder too if there is not a certain danger in discounting prophecy concerning political events--could we be putting on blinders when we need to be using binoculars?   Again, we can't set dates, or try to make things "fit" our agenda.  But I think we can look around us and see technology advancing so rapidly it is utterly amazing.  Yet, at the same time the world has grown more and more evil in leaps and bounds.  I think it's hard to miss that the time has drawn very near--it could be 10 years---it could be 100 years----but I think it will be soon!  Smiley
« Last Edit: June 02, 2009, 05:02:39 am by Joe S » Logged
outdeep
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« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2009, 06:18:49 pm »

Here is a link to some MP3 and resources about preaching Apocalyptic Literature.  I haven't listened to it yet but I have enjoyed D. A. Carson and have listened to some of his lectures on Revelation.

http://theologica.blogspot.com/2009/06/preaching-apocalyptic-literature.html#comments

I think a big step in any dealing with the book of Revelation is to understand the specific type of literature Revelation is.  There were lots of Apocalyptic works at the time of John's writing so folks understood how to read the book.  Just like we know how to read science fiction vs. the Orange County Register, people of that day knew not to read an Apocalyptic work like one would read a historical narrative or an epistle.  The symbols would have been obvious to the first century much like "Dodger Blue" or "W" (as President) are cultural references that make perfect sense to us today.  The symbols in Revelation is much more of a "brain teaser" or "riddles" to us today because we are 2,000 years removed from their culture and thinking.  Further, symbols in Apocalyptic literature is just that - symbols.  The mark of the beast is symbolic of something real but not necessarily a bar code chip implanted into our forehead.  The lake of fire is symbolic of ultimate judgment, but not necessarily a giant can of Sterno in the center of the earth.  We moderns want to read Revelation like a narrative but no one in the first century would have treated Apocalyptic symbols in that way.

I think we should be open to the application of this prophetic book to current or future events.  However, as the Bible itself shows in Christ's first coming, man has a great legacy of interpreting prophetic scripture wrong until after it happens almost 100% of the time.  I believe if I was a first century reader and received John's book I would have understood most of the symbolism based upon what was going on around me - The hills sat upon would have been Rome, the Anti-Christ would have been Nero and I believe there one one level that would have been a valid interpretation.  On another level (because prophecy often has more than one level of meaning), there is a specific Anti-Christ to be revealed in the future.  Who (or what) that is and what it will be like, we won't know until it happens.  So far, it wasn't Hitler, Kissinger, Nixon, the Catholic church or any of the popes as folks thought.

So I am less inclined to read Revelation with a newspaper in hand but how Apocalyptic genre is intended to be read - as a colossal battle between good and evil where good ultimately prevails.  This was the message of John to the persecuted church - keep going:  in spite of all things we are on the winning side.  The symbols probably meant something very specific to the early church and they understood their meaning for what they were going through.  It probably will play out with other levels of meanings and connections in the future.  But trying to solve riddles to "guess the end"?  Even if we are right 50% of the time would that give me any more security?  The 50% wrong can cause me to make some really bad decisions such as the folks in the 1970's who decided not to get a college degree because Christ was returning in the 1980's.  Accepting the fact that we can speculate but don't really know is not putting on blinders.  Putting on binoculars is looking past the specific details and seeing that Christ will ultimately triumph and encouraging ourselves to keep going through hard times because we are on the winning side.  It will all make sense when we get there.
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Joe Sperling
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« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2009, 08:43:19 pm »

"Accepting the fact that we can speculate but don't really know is not putting on blinders.  Putting on binoculars is looking past the specific details and seeing that Christ will ultimately triumph and encouraging ourselves to keep going through hard times because we are on the winning side.  It will all make sense when we get there".

Thanks for the post Dave.  Very true---we ARE on the winning side. Again though, I think that there is no lack of wisdom in trying to make more sense of it now.  Jesus himself said to observe the "signs"---that we can definitely know "when the day is approaching". Of course, we cannot understand all of the symbology---we do not know definitely what the "mark" will be, etc., but we can "observe the sky" as Jesus said and determine if the storm is getting closer!

I mean, what is God's purpose in giving so much prophecy, and in giving the book of "Revelation" if we are to have an attitude of "it will all make sense when we get there"? 

"The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, to show his servants what must happen soon. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who gives witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ by reporting what he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud and blessed are those who listen to this prophetic message and heed what is written in it, for the appointed time is near". (Rev. 1:1,2)

Why show us if we are not to study and give heed? Though I understand what you are saying Dave, I believe investigating prophecy in the larger sense (when I say larger sense I mean not trying to "fit" specific people as the Anti-Christ, etc.,  but on the other hand, not ignoring the HUGE SIGNS of the last days all around us:  Israel, Iran, Nuclear weapons, AIDS, satellites, the Internet, the huge importance of the computer in our society, The translation of the Bible by 2025 in ALL languages is now possible, Dubai City (a virtual Babylon), mass thievery in identify theft, etc. etc.) is VERY important.

Saying "it will all make sense when we get there" is a very true statement. But in another sense I think it is a bit like  putting blinders on. One can fall into a "Oh well, whatever happens, happens" attitude, and stop "looking up" for the return of the Lord.  The Lord said to "watch" for his return---not just "wait".  Watching and waiting are quite different. For example, "watching" for a boats return is an active and continuous observation---looking for "signs" of the appearance of the boat---constantly scanning the horizon. Looking hopefully and joyfully for the return or arrival of a relative.  While, on the other hand, "waiting" would be taking an attitude of "when the boat gets here it will get here".  The Lord definitely said to watch. We can have faith the Lord will come back and simply wait for Him----but Jesus said he wants us to be actively "watching" for Him---even though WE KNOW he will return one day---he wants us to be "actively" watching the "signs", scanning the horizon so to speak, excitedly anticipating his return!

But I appreciate yours and Tom's take on this.  I would suggest though, if you can get a copy, to read "Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth" in the link I provided.  I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the book, and much of the wisdom written in it.  It is not full of "speculation", but is based solely on Scripture.  He predicts no dates, or political figures, or governments who might be the "anti-christ" (except for the re-establishment of Israel which did happen).  I believe the reason the Lord wanted us to keep "watching" is to remain excited and ready---and not fall into complacency or a procrastinating attitude concerning his return.

"Putting blinders on" may not be a good way to put it. What I am trying to say is that there are always two ends to a spectrum.  Concerning prophecy there definitely are the "fanatics" who are ready to call Obama the "Anti-Christ", and whose Christian life resembles a Jack Chick tract. But I believe we need to be careful we do not end up at the other end of the spectrum either where we take an attitude of "whatever!" and stop 'watching intently' as we should be doing. By the way, if I am misunderstanding your point, forgive me, it wouldn't be the first time I have misunderstood the intent of a post.  Smiley

Personally, I love reading prophetic books---even if some parts make me laugh.  They keep me "awake"---as we can so easily drift into sleep here in this world---and lose the great expectancy and joy we first had as Christians when thinking upon the Lord's return which could come at any moment! These books should not lead to me quitting my job and standing on a roof top  Grin if I have any sense, but they can keep me watching for that great and awesome day when the Lord truly does return!!

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 
And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure
". (1 John 3:1,2)

Just want to keep the hope alive!!   Grin
 



« Last Edit: June 02, 2009, 09:10:37 pm by Joe S » Logged
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