Roman Catholicism, Water Baptism and the Holy Trinity Part 5
Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics

Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
January 2, 2009

Last Updated :
January 2, 2009

Length And Importance Of John The Baptist's Baptism Ministry,
Putting Away Childish Things And Reaching Spiritual Maturity,
Peter Receives Understanding Regarding True Baptism By Blood,
Promise Of The Holy Spirit, Peter's Evangelism Crash Course
Matthew 28:19 Spurious Text Debate, False Doctrines In The
First Century Church, "Great Apostasy", Holy Trinity Phrase,
Emperor Constantine, Edict Of Milan, Roman Catholicism Rises,
Bishop Eusebius Pamphilius Warns Of Matthew 28:19 Corruption,
Theologian Frederick Cornwallis Conybeare's View On Eusebius,
Justin Martyr And Dialogue With Trypho, The Demonstrations Of
Aphraates, Bishop Macedonius And The Arian Macedonians Rebel,
In My Name - Not Holy Trinity Phrase, 1st Council Of Nicaea,
Nicene Creed, Athanasius The Trinitarian, Arius Is Condemned

Let's return momentarily to the ministry of John the Baptist.
We have no idea how long John the Baptist had been baptizing
people in the Jordan River prior to Jesus' arrival there to
be baptized by him, but it must have been for some time. If
we consider that Jesus began His earthly Ministry at around
the age of thirty, and that his cousin John was approximately
six months older than Jesus, then perhaps John also began his
public ministry at around the same age as Jesus; which means
that perhaps John had been baptizing people in the Jordan for
that amount of time; that is to say, six months. Of course,
this is merely speculation on my part. The point is, seeing
John perform water baptisms had become a very common sight by
that time. He was probably the talk of the town. King Herod
certainly knew about John, which is why John eventually ended
up dead.

The fact that Jesus was baptized by John may have resulted in
the Apostles making the assumption that water baptism was a
necessary ritual which they must continue to perform. As we
have already seen, for a time, water baptism did serve a very
important function. John's baptism of repentance not only was
a catalyst for preparing people's hearts to receive the true
Messiah when He arrived, but John's ministry was likewise the
prophesied vehicle that God used to introduce the Messiah to
the world. However, it is my belief that once these tasks had
been accomplished, water baptism was no longer necessary; and
that is why God took John the Baptist out of the way, through
his Graduation to the Heavenly Realm. It was time for the
baptism by fire to become a reality -- the Holy Spirit.

It was not until years later, after Jesus' physical presence
had been taken from them by His Ascension, and they had time
to mature in the Spirit, that His followers began to acquire
a deeper understanding of Jesus' teachings. Even after Jesus
arose from the dead, they were still in the dark regarding a
lot of issues, which He began to explain to them more fully
in the final chapters of the Gospels. But it was really the
baptism of the Holy Spirit -- the baptism by fire on the day
of Pentecost -- which opened their spiritual eyes the most.
I believe that is what Paul meant in part by the following
verses. He is saying that we must leave some things behind,
and move on to the deeper spiritual truths of God's Kingdom:

"For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that
which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall
be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I
understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I
became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see
through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know
in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."
1 Corinthians 13:9-12, KJV

"For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need
that one teach you again which be the first principles of the
oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and
not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is
unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But
strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even
those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to
discern both good and evil. Therefore leaving the principles
of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not
laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works,
and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of
laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of
eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit."
Hebrews 5:12-6:3, KJV

Earlier in this series, I mentioned that the act of Noah and
and his family being saved in the Ark from the waters of the
Great Flood was a foreshadow of the Salvation to come through
Christ in the New Testament. I connected that ancient event
to a verse found in Peter's first Epistle. Even though Peter
also baptized in the Book of Acts, we later find him stating
that true Baptism, and true Salvation has absolutely nothing
to do with water. In comparing Spiritual Salvation to Noah
and the Flood, Peter writes the following. Please notice the
words that are enclosed in parentheses:

"Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering
of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a
preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by
water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now
save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but
the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the
resurrection of Jesus Christ:"
1 Peter 3:20-21, KJV

Please notice carefully that Peter makes it clear that he is
not referring to water baptism which cleanses the flesh; he
is in fact referring to a Spiritual Baptism through faith in
the Resurrected Christ. If we remove Peter's clarification
that is found in between the parentheses, we're left with the
phrase "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now
save us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ". If Peter does
not mean water baptism, what other baptism can we connect to
the Resurrection of Christ? Obviously, the baptism by blood,
the sprinkling of blood, which was followed by the Lord's own
Resurrection. This is the baptism which "doth also now save
us", because as Paul wrote, "without shedding of blood is no
remission". The baptism by blood is the only thing that will
result in the remission of sins, Salvation, and eventually,
our own resurrection from the dead, which in fact occurs on
a daily basis as the New Man rises to serve the Lord.

Even though Peter clearly water baptized Cornelius' family in
Acts chapter ten, notice what he states only a chapter later,
when he is recounting the vision which he had been given by
the Lord on the rooftop in Joppa, (regarding the sheet which
contained the unclean animals), and the baptismal experience
that he had experienced with the Gentile believers, to some
contentious Jewish believers in Jerusalem. Peter tells them
in part:

"And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on
us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord,
how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye
shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost."
Acts 11:15-16, KJV

Peter was in fact referring back to Jesus' words, which He
had shared with them in Acts chapter one, just prior to His
Ascension into Heaven. Jesus told them to wait in Jerusalem
for the promise of the Holy Spirit, as we see here:

"And, being assembled together with them, commanded them
that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the
promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized
with the Holy Ghost not many days hence."
Acts 1:4-5, KJV

In short, Peter is finally beginning to get the picture. He
is getting a crash course in some of the deeper meanings that
were behind Jesus' teachings. Up until Acts chapter ten, he
held the belief that Salvation was only meant for the Jews;
but then God gave him the rooftop vision with the sheet full
of unclean animals, and then instructed Peter to go the house
of a dirty filthy Roman, the very people who had murdered his
beloved Master, and preach Salvation to them. As if that was
not enough, not only did those Roman citizens receive Jesus,
but then they were filled with the Holy Spirit as well, just
by hearing Peter preach to them. So as I said, dear Peter was
learning and growing in the Spirit, and was beginning to gain
the world vision for souls that the Lord wanted him to have.
Salvation, the Holy Spirit and being a Disciple of Christ was
no longer just a private little club for Jewish Disciples.

Peter began to understand that the physical baptism of the
flesh with water does absolutely nothing for anyone. It is
only accepting Christ, being sprinkled with His Blood, (the
baptism by blood), and then being immersed in the baptismal
fire of the Holy Spirit, that really counts. When Cornelius
and his family received the Gift of the Holy Spirit, even
before they were baptized with water, I suspect that this
experience really shocked Peter. The entire experience of
even going to see a Roman centurion must have shocked dear
Peter. I can't help but wonder if perhaps the reason why he
even proceeded to baptize them with water, is because he was
totally blown away, and really didn't know what to do. As I
said, it seems that God was giving Peter a crash course in
world evangelism; He was giving Peter a world vision; for as
Jesus Himself had said, He would draw all men unto Himself,
and not just the Jews.

I can just imagine what may have been going through Peter's
mind at the time. "Well, if these people are receiving Jesus
without water baptism, and if they are being immersed in the
Holy Spirit just by hearing my words, or merely as a result
of our laying hands on them, then why are we even continuing
to water baptize them? They are already saved, and already
filled with the Holy Spirit, so what purpose does the ritual
of water baptism continue to serve?". Perhaps that is why
Peter wrote what he wrote in his first Epistle, as we saw

At this point, we are going to change gears in our discussion
once again. As we saw in part two of this series, one of the
key verses which is often used by baptismal regenerationists,
such as Roman Catholics, in their attempts to convince people
that water baptism is necessary in order to obtain Salvation,
is John 3:5. However, this is by no means the only verse that
is used to try to support their misguided doctrine. There is
in fact another very controversial verse which has resulted
in a considerable amount of debate over the centuries. In an
online Roman Catholic test that I discovered while conducting
some research for this series, it referred to the following
verses as "the clearest biblical warrant for baptism":

"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is
given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and
teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to
observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo,
I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
Matthew 28:18-20, KJV

As I shared with you in part one of this series, it is based
upon the previous verses found in the Gospel of Matthew, that
we find the following paragraphs in the Catechism of the
Catholic Church:

----- Begin Quote -----

". . . that the essential rite of Baptism consists in
immersing the candidate in water or pouring water on his
head, while pronouncing the invocation of the Most Holy
Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit . . .
present the fruit of Baptism, or baptismal grace, as a rich
reality that includes forgiveness of original sin and all
personal sins, birth into the new life by which man becomes
an adoptive son of the Father, a member of Christ and a
temple of the Holy Spirit. By this very fact the person
baptized is incorporated into the Church, the Body of
Christ, and made a sharer in the priesthood of Christ."

----- End Quote -----

On the surface, it may appear that the Roman Catholics, and
other churches which promote water baptism, are right on the
mark regarding this issue; but don't be too quick to jump on
their band wagon, until you've examined all of the Biblical
evidence. As we have already seen, the belief regarding the
absolute necessity of water baptism in order that one might
obtain Forgiveness of sins, and Salvation, or to be anointed
with the Holy Spirit, is not quite as solid as it at first
appears to be.

As I said, over the centuries, there has been a considerable
degree of debate surrounding the previous set of verses; in
particular, the nineteenth verse, which makes a reference to
the so-called "Holy Trinity", as well as to water baptism.
The fact is that a growing body of Biblical scholars are now
convinced that this verse is spurious text which was edited
by the so-called "Church Fathers" sometime during the "Great
Apostasy". This is the name given by some people to a period
of about three hundred years which immediately followed the
First Century, when a lot of heretical doctrines crept into
the body of Christian beliefs. The truth, however, is that
this had begun to occur even before all of the Apostles had
died. Just as Jesus continually exposed the false doctrines
of the Scribes and the Pharisees, the First Century Apostles
and Disciples likewise had to contend with false doctrines
creeping into the Early Church, as we can clearly see by the
following verses:

"Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of
the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees
and of the Sadducees."
Matthew 16:12, KJV

"That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro,
and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the
sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in
wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up
into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:"
Ephesians 4:14-15, KJV

"Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For
it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace;
not with meats, which have not profited them that have been
occupied therein."
Hebrews 13:9, KJV

"As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went
into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they
teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and
endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than
godly edifying which is in faith: so do."
1 Timothy 1:3-4, KJV

"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times
some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing
spirits, and doctrines of devils;"
1 Timothy 4:1, KJV

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound
doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to
themselves teachers, having itching ears;"
2 Timothy 4:3, KJV

So in truth, the doctrinal corruption which occurred during
the so-called "Great Apostasy" was merely a continuation of
what had already begun to occur before all of the Apostles
were dead. At any rate, it has been speculated that Matthew
28:19 may have been altered as early as the Second Century.
The corruption, assuming that it really is corrupted text,
is that the middle phrase "baptizing them in the name of the
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" was inserted
into the verse.

The general belief is that the text was changed in order to
promote the doctrines of the "Holy Trinity" and water baptism
which would eventually be espoused and forcefully promoted by
the still-nascent Roman Catholic Church; which, as I explain
in other articles, became a recognized religion of the Roman
Empire during the reign of Emperor Constantine in the Fourth
Century. This was a result of the Edict of Milan, which was a
document that was signed by Constantine I in the eastern half
of the Roman Empire, and by Licinius in the western half of
the Roman Empire. This document made the already-corrupted
Christian faith a "religio licita", that is to say, a "legal
religion", in the Roman Empire. These events occurred around
313 AD. If you wish to learn more about this event, and what
effects it had on our Christian faith, I encourage you to
read the list of articles and series below, and others which
you will find on our website, particularly in the Roman
Catholicism section:

Book Of Enoch: Truth Or Heresy?
Gargoyles: Satan Loves Church Buildings
Have You Read The New Scriptures Yet?
History Of The Authorized King James Bible
Our Pagan World: The Easter Myth Exposed
The Seven Heads
Where Are The First Century Churches?

As I said, the idea that Matthew 28:19 contains spurious text
is not a recent development. It is a debate which has raged
for centuries. In fact, a number of historical sources state
that during the early Fourth Century, the Greek historian and
bishop of Caesarea, Eusebius Pamphilius, repeatedly warned of
the dangerous corruption that is found in this verse. While
conducting my research for this series, I discovered that in
multiple copies of his writings, Eusebius Pamphilius quoted
from Matthew in the following manner:

"Go ye and make disciples of all the nations in my name,
teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I commanded
Matthew 28:19 Eusebius Version

My research has revealed that Eusebius Pamphilius quoted the
verse from Matthew in this fashion eighteen different times.
As you can see, the entire phrase regarding baptism and the
"Holy Trinity" is not present in Eusebius' rendition of the
verse, and he has used the phrase "in my name" in its place.
As the bishop of Caesarea, Eusebius had direct access to an
extensive library of documents, manuscripts and books which
he had inherited from his predecessor and mentor, Pamphilius.
It makes perfect, logical sense that the reason why Eusebius
would write Matthew 28:19 in this fashion, is because that's
the way he found it written in the many documents which were
at his disposal. This issue is confirmed for us by British
theologian, Frederick Cornwallis Conybeare, who in the 1902
edition of the Hibbert Journal, a magazine published by the
Hibbert Trust, (aka Anti-Trinitarian Fund), wrote as follows:

----- Begin Quote -----

"It is evident that this was the text found by Eusebius in
the very ancient codices collected fifty to a hundred and
fifty years before his birth by his great predecessors. Of
any other form of text he had never heard, and knew nothing
until he had visited Constantinople and attended the Council
of Nice."

----- End Quote -----

Seven years later, in his 1909 work entitled "History Of New
Testament Criticism", in the fifth chapter entitled "Textual
Criticism", Conybeare reaffirms his belief in the corruption
that is found in Matthew 28:19 when he states:

----- Begin Quote -----

"It is clear, therefore, that the MSS which Eusebius
inherited from his predecessor, Pamphilus, at Caesarea in
Palestine, some at least preserved the original reading, in
which there was no mention either of Baptism or of the
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."

----- End Quote -----

Subtle hints exist in the writings of Christian leaders who
lived prior to Eusebius Pamphilius, which also suggest that
they too were only familiar with Matthew 28:19, as Eusebius
would later write it. For example, Justin Martyr, who wrote
during the middle of the Second Century, states as follows
in a work commonly known as the "Dialogue With Trypho":

----- Begin Quote -----

"God hath not yet inflicted, nor inflicts the judgment, as
knowing of some that still even today are being made
disciples in the name of his Christ, and are abandoning the
path of error, who also do receive gifts each as they be
worthy, being illumined by the name of this Christ."

----- End Quote -----

Justin Martyr's "Dialogue With Trypho" is only preserved in a
collection of excerpts of early Christian writers known as
the "Sacra Parallela". This anthology, or "florilegium", may
possibly date to around the Sixth Century. The name "Trypho"
may possibly be a reference to Jewish philosopher, priest and
rabbi, Tarfon Tryphon Zarezan. The previous dialog dealt with
Justin Martyr's attempts to convince Trypho of the validity
of the Christian faith from the Old Testament Scriptures, or
Tanakh. Please notice that Justin Martyr twice emphasized the
name of Christ in the previous quote, in direct reference to
making Disciples. Martyr does not mention anything regarding
baptizing them in the name of the "Holy Trinity". This is in
perfect agreement with the form of Matthew 28:19, as promoted
by Eusebius.

Another example of Matthew 28:19 being used in a form similar
to that promoted by Eusebius, can be found in the writings of
one of Eusebius' 4th Century contemporaries, Aphraates. Known
also as Aphrahat in the Syriac language, and referred to as
the "Persian Sage", he was an Assyrian Christian who was born
in Persia in the final quarter of the Third Century. Found in
a collection of his twenty-three writings, which are known as
"The Demonstrations", or "The Homilies", is this line:

"Make disciples of all nations, and they shall believe in me."

In commenting on this text, theologian Frederick Cornwallis
Conybeare stated the following in the Hibbert Journal:

----- Begin Quote -----

"The last words appear to be a gloss on the Eusebius reading
'in my name.' But in any case they preclude the Textus
Receptus with its injunction to baptise in the triune name.
Were the reading of Aphraates an isolated fact, we might
regard it as a loose citation, but in presence of the
Eusebian and Justinian text this is impossible."

----- End Quote -----

The previous quotations from early Christian writers is not
the only evidence which strengthens Eusebius' rendition of
Matthew 28:19. There were others who opposed the intentions
of the nascent Roman Catholic Church to create the so-called
"Holy Trinity" doctrine out of thin air. One such group were
the followers of Macedonius, who was a Greek, and the Bishop
of Constantinople during the latter half of the 4th Century.
Known as the Macedonians, they followed in the footsteps of
Arius. Based upon the clear evidence that is found within the
New Testament, they refused to accept the position held by
Athanasius and other bishops, who promoted the false belief
that the Holy Spirit is a third person in a so-called "Holy
Trinity". Neither did they accept that Jesus Christ is equal
to God the Father, as I likewise point out in a number of my
articles. Under the protection of Constantius II, the son of
Emperor Constantine I, Macedonius and his followers prospered
in Constantinople for a time, but not without much bloodshed
and controversy.

Please keep in mind that these events occurred only a few
decades after the 325 AD adoption of the Nicene Creed, and
there was still a lot of heated doctrinal debate occurring
as a result of Arianism, and other doctrines. It was a time
when various religious factions were attempting to maintain
control over the church. Of course, we know that the false
doctrines of Roman Catholicism would eventually prevail, and
both the necessity of water baptism and the "Holy Trinity",
would become established doctrines, along with a number of
other false beliefs and practices. At any rate, Macedonius
fell from grace when he decided to disinter the remains of
Constantine I, in order to repair his sepulchre, and he was
eventually deposed in 360 AD. The Macedonians were likewise
eventually branded as heretics in 381 AD, when Theodosius I
called the First Council of Constantinople.

While Eusebius is believed to have been a Trinitarian,
meaning that he embraced the doctrine of the "Holy Trinity",
he possessed a strong desire to preserve the integrity and
the purity of the original Gospel manuscripts, as they had
been written by the First Apostles. Thus, he was strongly
opposed to the changes which had been made to this verse in
Matthew chapter twenty-eight.

So we must ask ourselves, if Eusebius Pamphilius is correct,
and his version of the verse is the original, inspired form
of the verse, as written by the Apostle Matthew, then who is
responsible for the so-called "inspired" version that's been
popularized in so many Bibles for so many years? The obvious
answer is those early, so-called "Church Fathers". Eusebius
felt so strongly concerning this issue, that in a number of
his commentaries, such as "Demonstratio Evangelica", he said
the following regarding why Jesus said "in my name" in that
verse, and not "in the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Ghost":

----- Begin Quote -----

"For he did not enjoin them 'to make disciples of all
nations' simply and without qualification, but with the
essential addition 'in his name.' For so great was the
virtue attached to his appellation that the Apostle says,
God bestowed on him the name above every name, that in the
name of Jesus every knee shall bow of things in heaven and
on earth and under the earth. It was right therefore that he
should emphasize the virtue of the power residing in his
name but hidden from the many, and therefore say to his
Apostles, Go ye and make disciples of all nations in my

----- End Quote -----

Eusebius wasn't even aware of the corrupt version of the text
in the Gospel of Matthew, until he participated in the First
Council of Nicaea, that was called by Emperor Constantine in
325 AD, in the northwestern region of Asia Minor, then known
as Bithynia. Today, this region is a part of Turkey. Ancient
Nicaea, which in our modern times is now known as the Turkish
city of Iznik, was located approximately seventy miles to the
southeast of Byzantium. This city later acquired the name of
Constantinople when Emperor Constantine set up his eastern
capital there. Today, the city is known as Istanbul.

As I explain in the seven-part series "The Seven Heads", the
First Council of Nicaea was attended by over three hundred
bishops who had gathered from throughout the Roman Empire, in
order to establish the formal doctrines of the Fourth Century
Roman Catholic Church. As I said earlier, by this time, about
three hundred years had passed since the time of Jesus Christ
and the First Apostles, and their original teachings had been
corrupted by many heretical doctrines during this period of
doctrinal turmoil known as the "Great Apostasy". One of the
more significant results of the gathering in Nicaea, was the
acceptance of the Nicene Creed as a symbol of the fundamental
beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church. To this day, its tenets
are accepted by a variety of churches to varying degrees. It
should be noted, however, that there's more than one version
of the Creed, such as the 325 AD version, the 381 AD version,
the Athanasius version, etc.

While a number of churches do recognize the authority of the
Nicene Creed, (such as the Roman Catholic Church and some of
its derivatives), not all churches, and not all Christians
are of this persuasion. One of the reasons for the rejection
by some Christians, is that the Nicene Creed establishes the
so-called "Holy Trinity" doctrine; which, as we have already
discussed, finds its support, in fact, its only support, in
the questionable rendition of Matthew 28:19. It appears that
a large part of the blame for the corruption that's found in
this verse, and for the formalization of the "Holy Trinity"
in the Nicene Creed, is cast upon none other than Athanasius,
who was the bishop of Alexandria, and also a contemporary of

Athanasius' notoriety is due primarily to his conflicts with
Arius, who was a Fourth Century Christian priest, and also a
resident of Alexandria, like Athanasius. The basis for the
powerful conflict between Athanasius and Arius, was that the
former was a Trinitarian, (or firm believer in the doctrine
of the "Holy Trinity"), while the latter was not. Arius was
not convinced that Jesus Christ is equal to God the Father,
and questioned whether or not Jesus had existed eternally
with the Father. He in fact posited that Jesus may have been
created by God the Father, and did not accept the existence
of a physical "trinity" as is expounded by the Trinitarians.
It was in fact this conflict which resulted in Constantine
evoking the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. As I said earlier,
the result was the establishment of the Nicene Creed as the
symbol of orthodox Roman Catholic beliefs at that time.

With the acceptance of the Nicene Creed, Athanasius had won
the doctrinal battle. Arianism was condemned, and Arius was
ruled a heretic at the Council of Nicaea. Let me also point
out, however, that Athanasius was eventually condemned and
exiled by Emperor Constantine, during a synod in 335 AD, at
which Eusebius of Caesarea was present. Athanasius had in
fact refused to attend two synods called by Eusebius during
the previous years.

Please go to part six for the continuation of this series.

⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .

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