Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
November 18, 1997
Last Updated :
November 7, 2012
Abraham's Seed Multiplied, Jacob's Controversial Blessing, Joseph Manasseh And Ephraim, British Israelism And Abraham's Legacy, Nation And Goyim, Forty Years In The Desert, Joshua And Caleb, Conditional Blessing Of Canaan, God Can Break His Promises, Christian Identity, Aryan Nations, Victory Through Faith, Vision, Courage, Perseverance And Obedience, God Can And Will Deliver His Children, Spiritual Warfare, Fainting In Our Minds, Ethnic Cleansing, Disobedience Leads To Defeat
Having now explained these things to you, let's backtrack a little in our lesson, as we still haven't discussed why Judah was unable to achieve a victory that day over the people of the plains. As we know from Biblical history, and as we have already seen earlier in this series, once ancient Israel had grown into a great nation in the land of Egypt, the Lord put the pressure on them through slavery, in order to make them long for deliverance; and He eventually drove them out of the land of their former hosts. It was only in this way that they would obey Him, and migrate to the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. According to the Scriptures, two years after their deliverance from Egypt, when Moses performed a census of the people, we are told that excluding the Levites, the women, the young children and the old men, there were over six hundred and three thousand fighting men of twenty years of age or older, as we see here:
"So were all those that were numbered of the children of Israel, by the house of their fathers, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war in Israel; Even all they that were numbered were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty. But the Levites after the tribe of their fathers were not numbered among them."
Numbers 1:45-47, KJV
From Abraham's small family, his descendants had indeed multiplied as the stars of the heavens. Not only did it now include the liberated nation of Israel, but it also included the twelve Arab nations on Ishmael's side of the family, as well as the children of Abraham's other sons by his second wife, Keturah; none of whom went into captivity. As I noted earlier, I also discuss this topic in such articles as "Job and the Land of Uz: A Biblical Mystery?". In fact, there is a promise which was made to Jacob which has been a source of debate for many years. In the thirty-fifth chapter of the Book of Genesis, we discover the following verse:
"And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins;"
Genesis 35:11, KJV
When Jacob was on his death bed in the land of Goshen in Egypt, his son Joseph, now called Zaphnath-paa-neah, came to him with his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, who were born to Joseph of his Egyptian wife, Asenath, as we see here:
"And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphnath-paa-neah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt . . . And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him. And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house. And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction."
Genesis 41:45, 50-52, KJV
It was at this time that Jacob shared the above promise with Joseph, and proceeded to bless Joseph's two sons; however, to Joseph's surprise, and although he protested, his father gave the greater blessing to Joseph's younger son, Ephraim, in the following words. I have added names in brackets for the sake of clarification:
"And his father [Jacob] refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he [Manasseh] also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother [Ephraim] shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations. And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh."
Genesis 48:19-20, KJV
According to certain Christian teachers, the above reference to "a nation" and "shall be great", is supposedly a prophecy concerning the United States of America; while the reference to "a company of nations" and "a multitude of nations", is said to be speaking of the British Commonwealth. These two doctrines have acquired the names of "British Israelism" and "Abraham's Legacy", and there may be other names for them as well. They appear to be particularly popular with those who belong to so-called "white supremacist" groups. I have read quite a bit of material concerning this interpretation; and while it is quite awe-inspiring, currently, I am by no means convinced that it is correct, due to my study of the final chapters of the Book of Jeremiah. I believe that part of the problem is due to a poor understanding of the word "nation". When we hear the word "nation" today, we normally think of different countries of the world; however, in Biblical times, the word had a variety of meanings.
According to my Hebrew lexicon, the word "nation" is derived from the Hebrew word "gowy" or "goy", the plural of which is "goyim". It is variably translated into English as nation, heathen, Gentiles, or people. This is why, in part, the Jews refer to we Gentiles as "goyim". For a fuller understanding of this word, please refer to the controversial series "The International Jew and the Protocols of Zion". As you will see shortly, while Canaan was one land, it was inhabited by seven different "great nations", or ethnic groups, according to the words of Moses. Earlier in this study, I explained the exact land area which was promised to the descendants of Abraham; therefore, I am more inclined to believe that the promises made to Jacob, and the blessings he gave to Ephraim and Manasseh, were fulfilled within the same confines of that land area. A further explanation of the errors found in the "Abraham's Legacy" and "British Israelism" doctrines will be discussed in a separate upcoming article on this topic.
To continue, as I mention in other articles, because of their sins of rebellion and unbelief, the Lord caused the liberated children of Israel to wander in the wilderness, that is, in the desert areas of the Sinai Peninsula, for a total of forty years, until the discontent older generation had died off. According to the word of the Lord, the only two people from that generation who survived the ordeal of the desert, were Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jehunneh, as we see by these verses:
"And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die. And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land, Even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the LORD. But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of the men that went to search the land, lived still."
Numbers 14:26-38, KJV
As the previous Scriptures state, all of the six hundred thousand men of war died of old age or other causes without having ever reached the Promised Land. This is why the Lord told Joshua to perform a second circumcision following the forty-year ordeal, as we see here:
"And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise: All the people that came out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt. Now all the people that came out were circumcised: but all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, them they had not circumcised. For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: unto whom the LORD sware that he would not shew them the land, which the LORD sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey."
Joshua 5:4-6, KJV
As I explained in part one, God's blessings of protection and provision are conditional. They can be given, or they can be taken away, according to our belief in, and our obedience to, the Word of the Lord. Some people erroneously teach that God cannot break His promises once He has made them, and that for Him to do so would make Him a liar; however, this is not true whatsoever. The previous verses are a clear example that God can indeed break His Word if He so desires, if it suits His Divine Purposes. Who are we humans to tell Him that He can't? Please take note of that phrase "ye shall know my breach of promise". In other words, the Lord was saying "You failed to keep my word; you failed to have the faith to enter the land of promise; therefore, I am withdrawing my promised blessing from you". Of course, we know that the Lord later restored the blessing following the forty-year chastisement; but the point is, God did break His promise to them, and He gave it to their children instead. Technically-speaking, you can say that He still kept His promise, but He did not keep it with those to whom He had originally made it, because they all died in the wilderness; so it was a "breach of promise".
That God should choose to operate in this fashion should not really surprise us in the least. Allow me to ask you a simple question: As responsible parents, don't we also do the same thing with our own children? If we promise them a particular thing, and then they do something which displeases us, is it not within our right and power as parents to take back our word, and to withhold, either temporarily, or perhaps even permanently, that which we had promised them? Why then, do some people insist that God, the Creator of the Universe, cannot do the very same thing? Who are we to set limits on what God can or cannot do? Who are we to say that God can't break His promises, for whatever His reasons? Would this not be placing ourselves above God, by dictating what He can and cannot do? Be it far from us to do such a thing!
One of the conditions which the Lord set before the children of Israel in regards to their inheriting the land of Canaan, was the following one spoken by Moses in the seventh chapter of the Book of Deuteronomy:
"When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire."
Deuteronomy 7:1-5, KJV
Before getting to my main point, please notice, as I stated earlier, that in the previous verses, Moses referred to the ethnic groups which lived within the confines of Canaan, as "seven nations greater and mightier than thou". This clearly proves that our modern understanding of the word "nation" cannot always be applied to the ancient Biblical texts; and this is one of the main flaws with the "British Israelism" and "Abraham's Legacy" doctrines, which I mentioned earlier. So again, I remain convinced that God's promise to Jacob concerning a great nation, and a company of nations, was fulfilled through Ephraim and Manasseh, within the physical confines of the land of Israel, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the United States of America, or the British Commonwealth, as some Christian extremist groups, such as Christian Identity, Aryan Nations, etc., claim. They are deceived in my view, and are in fact corrupting the meaning of the Scriptures, in order to achieve a political agenda, through a campaign of hate and discrimination against anyone who is not of the white race.
Contrary to the above commandment found in Deuteronomy, we know that instead of having the faith and the conviction to obey the Lord, by utterly destroying their enemies in the land of Canaan, which in reality was a clear-cut example of ethnic cleansing by the way, the Israelites compromised with them, by allowing some of them to remain alive. It is at this point in our lesson that we return to the story of the tribe of Judah and their fight against the valley people. In my view, the problem wasn't that the Lord was unable to give them the victory that day; it was that they simply did not have the faith, vision and courage to persevere and obey until the battle was won, as they had been instructed to do by the Lord, through Joshua, in the very first chapter of the book named after him. Consider the following verses:
"Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."
Joshua 1:6-9, KJV
Obviously, the Lord knew what lay ahead for the children of Israel. He knew that victory would not come easy for them. He realized that they would face many temptations, and have many hard battles to fight; thus He had Joshua encourage them that day. Not only did Joshua exhort them to remain faithful and true to God's Word, as had been delivered to them by Moses, but he also encouraged them to be strong in battle as well. While the children of Israel fought many battles in the flesh against their enemies, what we need to remember, is that the main battle was really in the spirit; because they had to constantly demonstrate faith and belief in God's promises to them; even though in the coming years, they would be fighting against a total of seven nations of people, who Moses had clearly told them were greater than themselves. So not only were the Israelites fighting wars against physical enemies, they were fighting spiritual wars as well. They were fighting against their own doubts and fears; and they were fighting against the demonic forces which controlled the peoples and lands they were told to conquer.
While there were indeed giants in the land of Canaan, as the spies had reported back to their commander-in-chief, Moses, the Lord was more than able to give the Israelites victory over them, by delivering all of the Canaanite nations into their hands; if they were only willing to display the same level of faith, obedience and valour as King David and his mighty men of war, who would later defeat the Philistine giant, Goliath, and his brethren. As the Lord had clearly promised them earlier through Moses:
"And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee."
Exodus 23:31, KJV
In the New Testament, we find another kind of deliverance, which the Lord wrought for those men who were faithful to boldly share the Gospel of Salvation. For example, we are told that when the Apostle Paul and his companions faced persecution and the threat of death in Asia, they trusted utterly in the Lord to deliver them from the same; and He did, as we see here:
"For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;"
2 Corinthians 1:8-10, KJV
So whether we are talking about the Israelites of old, or the children of God today who preach the Gospel in foreign lands, the Lord is more than able to deliver His children from any circumstance and give them victory; and He will; if we will simply place our faith and trust utterly in Him. A few more verses on this topic of deliverance through faith in, and obedience to the Lord, are the following:
"The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them."
Psalms 34:7, KJV
"But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble. And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him."
Psalms 37:39-40, KJV
"Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me."
Psalms 50:14-15, KJV
"And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee."
Jeremiah 1:19, KJV
"And I will make thee unto this people a fenced brasen wall: and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee: for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith the LORD."
Jeremiah 15:20, KJV
"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
Hebrews 11:6, KJV
"For with God nothing shall be impossible."
Luke 1:37, KJV
Psalm 91 in its entirety is another good example of God's wonderful promise to deliver His children from their trouble.
Returning to the Israelites and their initial survey of the land of Canaan, perhaps part of their problem was that they were trusting too much in themselves, and in the physical size, strength and experience of their own army; which by the outward appearance, may indeed have seemed like no match against the giant inhabitants of the land of Canaan, which were numbered as the grasshoppers. God was purposely placing them in a situation where they were going to have to utterly depend on Him, and not in the strength of their own army. As King David would later write:
"Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God."
Psalms 20:6-7, KJV
So as I stated earlier, their battle was really a double one. Not only were the Israelites going to have to fight against a powerful physical army, but first they were going to have to conquer the doubts and fears in their own hearts, and truly become warriors of the spirit; because that is where the real battle begins; in our minds. Consider the following verses:
"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;"
2 Corinthians 10:3-5, KJV
"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses."
1 Timothy 6:12, KJV
"Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."
2 Timothy 2:3-4, KJV
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:"
2 Timothy 4:7, KJV
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
Ephesians 6:10-12, KJV
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12, KJV
As I point out in some of my other articles which deal with the spiritual nature of our warfare, once we lose faith, faint in our minds, and surrender in the spirit, physical defeat may soon follow as well. If we lose the vision for why we are fighting, we will eventually give up, lose the battle, and perish. As we are told in the Book of Proverbs:
"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
Proverbs 29:18, KJV
God had given the Israelites the Heavenly Vision through Moses, Joshua, Caleb and others. He had given them His Law, as well as His promise that all of Canaan would eventually be theirs; but perhaps they were beginning to lose faith, as well as the vision. Concerning fainting in our minds, Paul had this to say to the persecuted Christians of the First Century:
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin."
Hebrews 12:1-4, KJV
Perhaps the children of Israel were also becoming weary of battle; not only in a physical sense, but in their minds as well. Perhaps they were even beginning to wonder if all of the violence and killing was worth it all. I mean, if you stop and think about it, the task which the Lord gave them to do was not an easy one, much less a pretty one. Let me remind you again, that the Lord told them to kill everyone, both men, women and children, without mercy. As I stated earlier, what the Lord commanded them to do, was in reality a form of ethnic cleansing. Ironically, what the Israelis are attempting to do today with the controversial barrier wall, and other measures, basically amounts to the same thing; and there are some radical Jews who do in fact want every single Palestinian removed from the State of Israel. There are statements made by certain Israeli politicians which verify this very point. But concerning the ethnic cleansing of the Promised Land thousands of years ago, consider the following verses:
"And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them . . . And thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them: neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee . . . But the LORD thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed. And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them."
Deuteronomy 7:2, 16, 23-24, KJV
We honestly don't know what might have been going through their minds, but it does seem that they were starting to lose the vision, and growing battle weary. Consider these facts. Moses had already died; Joshua had already died; and Caleb was already an old man, as were the other elders of the people. In short, the fiery leaders of their original liberation movement from Egypt were slowly dying off, and were no longer there to inspire and lead them on; and the miracles of Egypt and the Red Sea were now decades behind them. As you will see in the next part of this series, these factors contributed directly to their lack of willingness to fully obey the Lord's command. Thus, not only did they fail to destroy all of their enemies as they had been ordered to do by the Lord, but they compromised by placing them under bondage instead, and made them pay a tribute. Consider the following verses. The chapter begins with some wonderful victories being wrought by the Lord; but then the last half of the chapter is full of compromise and defeat:
"And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron . . . And the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem unto this day . . . And the spies saw a man come forth out of the city, and they said unto him, Shew us, we pray thee, the entrance into the city, and we will shew thee mercy. And when he shewed them the entrance into the city, they smote the city with the edge of the sword; but they let go the man and all his family. And the man went into the land of the Hittites, and built a city, and called the name thereof Luz: which is the name thereof unto this day. Neither did Manasseh drive out the inhabitants of Bethshean and her towns, nor Taanach and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Dor and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Ibleam and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Megiddo and her towns: but the Canaanites would dwell in that land. And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute, and did not utterly drive them out. Neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them. Neither did Zebulun drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, nor the inhabitants of Nahalol; but the Canaanites dwelt among them, and became tributaries. Neither did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Accho, nor the inhabitants of Zidon, nor of Ahlab, nor of Achzib, nor of Helbah, nor of Aphik, nor of Rehob: But the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: for they did not drive them out. Neither did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Bethshemesh, nor the inhabitants of Bethanath; but he dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: nevertheless the inhabitants of Bethshemesh and of Bethanath became tributaries unto them. And the Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountain: for they would not suffer them to come down to the valley: But the Amorites would dwell in mount Heres in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim: yet the hand of the house of Joseph prevailed, so that they became tributaries."
Judges 1:19, 21, 24-35, KJV
What a sad, sad story; and what a poor example of obedience to the Word of the Lord. It is evident that the Israelites were obviously losing their will to fight, and had begun to compromise with their enemies. This was not what the Lord had instructed them to do whatsoever. They were supposed to utterly destroy them, and not spare their lives and place them under tribute. Let me repeat again: God's blessings depend upon our faith and obedience to His Word. The minute the children of Israel began to disobey the Lord, they also began to lose their battles against their enemies. In short, their lack of faith and disobedience to the Lord, along with their compromises, was a sure recipe for their defeat.
As we continue this series in part five, we'll be discussing such issues as the deepening apostasy of the Israelites; the destruction of faith by our disobedience; the Lord's ability to save; the strong delusion of the Endtime; being separated from God through sin; how God will sometimes turn away from our prayers; God's vessels of wrath; kings Saul, David and Solomon; nation of Israel divided; the apostasy of the Jewish kings; the Assyrian and Babylonian invasions; seventy years of Babylonian captivity; the rebuilding of the Temple; inter- racial marriages in Israel; Ezra's intercessory prayer; a list of the heathen nations which influenced the Israelites; Canaan's curse; the migration of the Hamites; the possible origin of the negroid race and the mystery of the Shulamite. Once again, I trust that you will join me.
Please go to part five for the continuation of this series.
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