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The History of The Doctrine of the Trinity
The first scriptural principle to be considered, when approaching the matter from a scriptural point of view, is the ONENESS OF GOD. God is constantly, repeatedly, and emphatically stated to be ONE, never three.
There is never a word anywhere in the Bible from beginning to end about such Greek metaphysics as "Three persons in the Godhead" or any such language.
When asked, "Which is the FIRST COMMANDMENT OF ALL?", Jesus answered (Mark 12:29),
"The FIRST of ALL the commandments is, Hear, O Israel, THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD."
And so we find throughout the Scriptures
"Beside Me there is no God" (Isa. 44:6).
"I am God, and there is none else; there is no God beside Me" (Isa. 45:5).
"I am God, and there is none else" (Isa. 46:9).
"ONE GOD and Father of ALL, Who is above ALL." (Eph. 4:6).
"Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is ONE LORD" (Deut. 6.4).
Why is not the simple scriptural picture sufficient? Why is it necessary to go the "Greek metaphysics" to find that the above Scriptures are all very misleading and actually there are three Gods?
To make Greek metaphysics and Bible testimony agree, it is said that there are "Three Gods in one." But for those who desire to be guided by the Word of God, the Bible clearly refutes this compromise. It very clearly distinguishes Jesus Christ, the Son of God, from the One Eternal God of Whom the above quotations speak. This is very important, and is fatal to Greek metaphysics.
"There is ONE GOD, AND one mediator between God and men, the MAN Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 2:5).
"There is but ONE GOD, the Father, of Whom are all things, AND one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things) (1 Cor. 8:6).
"This is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the ONLY TRUE GOD, AND Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent" (John 17:3).
Note well that this last quotation is Jesus Christ speaking; addressing God in prayer as the ONE TRUE GOD, and speaking of himself as separate from that One True God) and sent by Him.
We have seen the deplorable condition of the "Church" in the 4th century. Paul records:
"For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned that believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thess. 2:11).
In the light of this statement of Paul, would God permit such men as the church leaders of the 4th century to understand His holy Truth? It is a fundamental scriptural principle that the natural man cannot understand the things of God (1 Cor. 2:14).
When we see these emphatic scriptural declarations of the ONENESS of God, and the clear distinction between this One Eternal God, and the man Jesus Christ, His Son, and then we look at the metaphysical absurdities concocted out of platonic philosophy at this time, the only answer is that God sent them a strong delusion.
The simple picture the Scriptures present to us of Jesus Christ is that:
He was born a babe (Luke 2:7).
He "increased in wisdom" (Luke 2:52).
He "learned obedience by the things that he suffered" (Heb. 5:8).
He was "in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15).
He "offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared" (Heb. 5:7).
Try to honestly harmonize that with the trinitarian idea of omnipotent and omniscient co-equality and co-eternity. It just does not fit and CANNOT fit. To make it fit we must break down all the meaning of language. That is what trinitarians have done. Why should we try to make it fit? The Trinity is not taught in the Bible. Why then not just accept the scriptural account and forget about the "Trinity"?
If we regard Jesus Christ as personally existing and possessing all power and wisdom, before his scripturally recorded birth as a baby, then we simply deny the actual reality of his birth and his "increasing in wisdom."
The Scriptures declare that God's understanding is infinite (Psa. 147:5). Is it not then a denial of all the meaning of language to say that a co-equal constituent of this God "increased in wisdom," as he grew up from a babe to manhood?
To say that a constituent part of an omnipotent coequal Trinity of Gods became a helpless babe is an absurdity that the Scriptures do not require us to subscribe to. He could not be a helpless, newborn babe and an all-powerful, all-knowing co- equal ruler of heaven and earth at the same time.
Is God separable from His power and wisdom? Are not infinite power and knowledge inseparable elements of His very Godhead? (NOTE: "Godhead" is just an obsolete form of "Goodhood" - that is, "divinity," the quality of being divine.)
We are asked to believe that God changed Himself into a powerless and ignorant, helpless creature. What happened to His power and wisdom? DID He, or did He NOT, continue to possess His eternal attributes? But why should we labor further with such unscriptural ideas?
There are many things that are recorded of Christ that just cannot be made fit with the idea that he was an all-powerful) all- knowing God - a co-equal constituent of the "Godhead". It is recorded -
"Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being 40 days tempted of the devil" (Luke 4:1- 2).
"He himself hath suffered being tempted" (Heb. 2:18).
"In all points tempted like as we are" (Heb. 4:15).
"Ye have continued with me in my temptations" (Luke 22:28).
James declared (and it is surely a self-evident fact) that (James 1:13) -
"God cannot be tempted."
It is impossible to conceive of an all-wise, all-powerful God being tempted to sin. God could not possibly sin. Yet Jesus Christ was tempted in all points like ourselves, and if we say he could not possibly have sinned, we deny the reality of his tempting and of his overcoming.
Jesus WAS tempted; God CANNOT be tempted: therefore the Trinity theory is false.
Let us carefully consider a few of the many statements of Scripture that show the "Trinity" theory to be untrue.
"I can of mine own self do nothing. I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father Which hath sent me" (John 5:30). This is Jesus speaking. It is perfectly understandable in the light of the scriptural picture that Jesus was a man wholly dependent upon God. But how can it be fitted into the Trinity picture? Let us not run from these clear testimonies, but reverently ponder them, seeking guidance in truth.
"My Father is GREATER THAN I" (John 14:28).
If we believe the Bible, we cannot believe the man-made doctrine that Jesus was co-equal with God. The whole record of the Gospels - the plain, literal record of the life and sayings of Christ is in direct and continuous variance with this doctrine. How could the "co- equal" Trinity theory be more directly denied than it is in these words of Jesus? Can black mean white?
Scores of statements could be given showing that Jesus was truly a man, truly fighting against sin, truly overcoming; truly learning, truly praying to the ONE TRUE GOD Who was greater than he.
If he was an all-powerful God just PRETENDING to fight against temptation when really he could not be tempted, just PRETENDING to pray to someone greater than himself for help and strength, then we in effect accuse the whole Gospel record of being a deception and a cruel mockery of man's real weakness, man's real and bitter struggle against sin.
How can he be held forth as our example and incentive to overcome temptation and the weaknesses of the flesh - if all the time he was really an all- powerful and untemptable co- equal God?
Consider the following passages one by one. Honestly take full time to ponder them and compare them with the suggestion of the Trinity that Jesus was actually and in reality an eternal, all- knowing, all-powerful God, co- equal part of an omnipotent Trinity, who could not sin or be tempted.
The Trinity may have been a reasonable hypothesis for Plato in 400 B.C. He was groping in darkness. He had no divine revelation as has been given to us in the Scriptures. We have the light of Scripture. We do not need Plato's ignorant, pagan speculations, from which the Trinity doctrine was admittedly formulated.
"But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, NEITHER SON but THE FATHER" (Mark 13:32).
How could one omnipotent part of a co- equal Godhead not know something that another part knew? How, in fact, could there be anything that an omniscient, co- equal God did not know?
"For since by man came death, by MAN came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
"But every MAN in his own order: CHRIST the first fruits, afterwards..." (1 Cor. 15:21).
The fact that Christ was a man is repeatedly emphasized as an essential fact in the plan of salvation. The purpose required that a man - one of the fallen race - should truly overcome sin and temptation, and render perfect obedience to the One True God -
"For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the OBEDIENCE of one (one MAN, Jesus Christ, v. 15) shall many be made righteous" (Rom. 5:19).
It is neither scriptural or reasonable to speak of one omnipotent, co-equal God rendering OBEDIENCE to another co-equal part of the same one almighty God. "Obedience" implies distinction, and subjection of the obeyer to the obeyed.
Note well Jesus' answer when he was tempted -
"It is written, MAN shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of GOD."
He applies this command of God to himself as a MAN who was responsible to, and owed obedience to, the One True God. Note the even more striking answer to the 3rd temptation -
"It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve."
Jesus applies this command to himself, as obligated to worship and serve the One True God revealed to Israel. This is quoted from Deut. 8, just 2 chapters after the command -
"Hear; O Israel, the Lord our God is ONE LORD." Jesus Christ worshipped and served the ONE TRUE GOD.
"Whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of Man, it SHALL be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Spirit, it shall NOT be forgiven him" (Matt. 12-32).
How then can it be said that Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are co-equal, the glory equal; the majesty co-eternal, none afore or after other, none greater or less than other?"
"Jesus said to him; Why callest thou ME good? There is none good but ONE, that is, God" (Mark 10: 18).
Here Jesus plainly distinguishes between himself and the one God, affirming of God what could not be affirmed of himself, inasmuch as he was of mortal, human, condemned, sinful flesh (though perfectly sinless in life and character).
"To sit on my right hand is NOT MINE to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of MY FATHER" (Matt. 20:23).
Again, a clear limitation of Christ's prerogative, and proof of his subjection to God. Co- equal parts of "One God"? The Bible knows of no such contradiction.
"He prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt" (Matt. 26:39).
If Jesus and his Father are really just co-equal parts of the same One God, then obviously such a prayer could never be prayed. It is meaningless for the One God pray to Himself, and say "Not MY will but THINE." If both are part of one God, then there is but one will.
Be sure your conception of Jesus and God is in harmony with what the Bible reveals. Do not be satisfied with an "incomprehensible" theory, admittedly borrowed from "Greek metaphysics," that crushes all the beauty and meaning out of the life of Jesus Christ, the faithful and obedient Son who truly overcame and submitted to the will of the ONE TRUE GOD, His Father.
"Thinkest thou that I cannot now PRAY TO MY FATHER, and HE shall GIVE ME twelve legions of angels?" (Matt. 26:53).
One omnipotent co-equal ruler of the universe speaking of praying to another part of the same ruler for angels to help him? No, that is not the Bible picture, that's man's idea.
"The Son can do nothing of himself..." (John 5:19).
"The Father loveth the Son and showeth him all things He doeth (John 5:20).
"The Father hath committed all judgment to the Son..." (v. 22).
"The Father hath given the Son to have life in himself, and hath given him authority" (vs. 26, 27).
"I can of MINE OWN SELF DO NOTHING" (v. 30).
"I seek not mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me" (v. 30).
"The works the Father hath given me to finish bear witness the Father hath sent me" (v. 36).
One co-equal showing another all- powerful, all-knowing co-equal, giving him authority, sending him, giving him work? One all- powerful God appealing to his works as a proof that another God had sent him? Where is co-equal co-eternity if "the Father hath GIVEN the Son to have life in himself?"
It is unutterably sad that a meaningless jumble of words like the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity should throw a metaphysical and philosophical mist over such a beautiful picture as the Scriptures give of the life of our Elder Brother. Back to the simple truth of the Bible!
"Then cometh the end when he (Jesus shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father...
"And when all things shall be subject unto him (Jesus), then shall THE SON ALSO BE SUBJECT UNTO HIM THAT PUT ALL THINGS UNDER HIM, that God may be all in all" (1 Cor. 15:24-23).
The Son shall be subject to God, that God may be all in all. Jesus has been GIVEN "all power in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18) for the accomplishment of a purpose - that of bringing all things into harmony with God. When that purpose is accomplished, he relinquishes all power to God, that God may be all in all.
Trinitarianism cannot make head nor tail of this passage. As one eminent trinitarian commentator confusedly admits, subjection and co-equality are utterly incompatible opposites. Must God be subject to Himself, in order that He may be supreme over all?
The Scripture says -
"The head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man, and the HEAD OF CHRIST IS GOD" (1 Cor. ll:3).
The Trinity says -
"The glory co-equal, the majesty co-eternal, none afore or after other, none greater or less."
Which shall we take - the Scriptures or the Trinity? It is impossible to believe both.
"All power is GIVEN unto me in heaven and in earth" (Matt. 28:18).
This is Jesus speaking after resurrection and glorification. Could an eternal, all-powerful co- equal part of the supreme Godhead say, "All power has been GIVEN to me?"
Who could give power to an almighty co-equal God who from eternity had possessed all power as an essential part of his very divinity?
"The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" (John 18:11)
This was the cup which he prayed should pass from him, but submitted to because it was the will of God.
"The Revelation of Jesus Christ; which GOD GAVE UNTO HIM to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass" (Rev. 1:1).
One co-equal part of an all-knowing Godhead giving a revelation of the future to another part!
"Known unto God are all His works from the beginning" (Acts 15:18).
If Jesus Christ is a co-equal part of this God who has known all things from the beginning, how can it be said he has been given a revelation by, another co- equal pert of the Godhead? How could he say there were things he did not know (Mark 13:32)? How could he "increase in wisdom" (Luke 2:52)?
"The Lord hath said unto me, Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of Me and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance." (Psa. 2:7).
One co-equal, co-eternal being "this day" begotten; asking another part of the same co- equal Godhead being given the nations.
"Jesus cried with a loud voice, My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" Mark 15:34)
The inertia of long habit, carried over from the dark ages, maintains the doctrine of the Trinity in Christendom, like an incubus, and the scriptural picture is twisted and nullified to fit it. "God shall send them strong delusion."
"The Lord God shall GIVE unto him the throne of his Father David" (Luke 1:32).
How could such language be used concerning an eternal, omnipotent part of the supreme head and ruler of the universe? When will he be given the throne of his father David, and what does it mean? How can he be given rulership, if he is from eternity the all powerful ruler of all?
"He that SENT me is true, and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of Him.
"I do nothing of myself, but AS MY FATHER HATH TAUGHT ME, I speak these things." (John 8:26:29).
"I have told you the truth which I have heard of God" (v. 40).
"If I honor myself, my honor is nothing: it is my Father that honoreth me" (v. 54).
"I know Him and keep His sayings" (v. 55).
If Jesus was co-equal part of the Supreme Godhead, why was his own honor nothing and God's honoring him everything? Does a co-equal, co-eternal part of the Godhead need to be taught. Do not the Scriptures reveal that God is "infinite in knowledge?"
"Jesus said, My meat is to do the will of Him that SENT me, and to finish His work" (John 4:34).
"My doctrine is NOT MINE, but His that SENT me" (7:16).
"I am not come of myself, but He that sent me is true" (John 7:28).
"If He called them gods unto whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), say ye of him whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?" (John 10:35). -
As Jesus points out, the term "god" is occasionally used of men in Scripture to signify their sanctification and relationship to God.
(See Psa. 82:6, "Ye are Gods, and all of ye are children of the Most High, but ye shall die like men.")
The use of this term did not confuse them in any way with the ONE ETERNAL GOD, the Almighty Creator, but it does show that the term "god," properly understood, is applied to such as are sanctified by God.
"I have not spoken of myself, but the Father which sent me, He GAVE ME A COMMANDMENT what I should say and what I should speak" (John 12:49).
The Trinity represents one co-equal part of the Godhead giving a commandment to another co- equal part! A commandment proves authority of one part over another, but the Trinity says no part is before, or greater than any other part.
I speak not of myself: But the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works" (John 14:10)
See how different this is from the trinitarian idea. The Bible never says, as trinitarians say, that "God the Son" was in the man Jesus. The Scriptures always reveal the man Christ Jesus, born of Mary, as the Son, through whom the Eternal Father worked and manifested Himself -
"God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself" (2 Cor. 5:19).
The Scripture picture is so clear, the trinitarian picture so contradictory and confused. The Scriptures plainly teach that it was the Holy Spirit-Power of God (not "God the Son") that came upon Mary, and that this Spirit power of God caused the conception in Mary of him who should therefore be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35).
"God was in Christ..." Compare John 17:21 -
"As Thou Father art in me, and I in Thee, that THEY also may be ONE IN US....I in them, and Thou in me."
and John 15:4 -
"Abide in me, and I in you."
"He (God) shall send Jesus Christ" (Acts 3:20).
"For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you OF YOUR BRETHREN" (v. 22).
Jesus was not a co-eternal part of an omnipotent Godhead, but a prophet raised up by God.
"Of this man's seed (David's) hath God raised up a savior, Jesus" (Acts 13:23).
"It became Him (God) in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering" (Heb. 2:10).
God made Jesus perfect through suffering. Does this fit the co- equal, co-eternal idea?
Such passages could be duplicated many many times over. All show that the doctrine of the Trinity, developed in Platonic philosophy and Greek metaphysics, is completely out of joint with the simple scriptural picture.
We must approach Scripture unspoiled by any preconceived theological notions inherited from dark end pagan medievalism. We must get the basic-picture that Jesus Christ was truly a man who was born by the operation of the Holy Spirit of God upon Mary, and who grew to manhood and maturity, and increased in wisdom as he grew.
The whole efficacy of his mission depends upon its REALITY.
To say, to suit a theory, that he was a co-equal part of an all-powerful, eternal "Godhead" with
infinite knowledge and wisdom, and at the SAME TIME a striving, praying, learning, mortal man is to take all meaning out of words.
Either he WAS all-powerful, inherently and eternally, or else he was NOT. To say he was both is to juggle with words. Either he was immortal and could not die, or else he did die, and was therefore not immortal. (The Scriptures say God is immortal - 1 Tim. 1:17). Immortal means incapable of death. Jesus Christ died.
Either he was God and could not be tempted, or else he was tempted (as the Bible records) and was therefore not God.
Either he was God and therefore could not possibly sin, or else he truly resisted and overcame sin.
Either he was God, infinite in knowledge from all eternity, or else he increased in wisdom, learned obedience, was-taught of God, and recognized that God knew things that he did not. Either he was co-equal with God, or else his Father was, as he said) greater than he.
To say that in each case both of these alternatives are possible is to say that everything that is directly contradictory to Scripture may be equally true with Scripture, and therefore the Scripture is useless and meaningless. This is to lay down a principle whereby reason and meaning are cast aside and the absurdest of contradictions are gravely viewed as possible, though perhaps admitted to be "incomprehensible."
Anyone who studies the Word of God unspoiled by human philosophy will find that it is not cast in such a mold as stultifies reason and glorifies contradiction.
To sum up the scriptural testimony presented concerning Jesus Christ.
He was conceived in Mary by the overshadowing of the Spirit-Power of God;
after the normal period he was born a babe;
Increased in wisdom as he grew to manhood;
Continually prayed to God;
Offered supplication (humble entreaty) to God;
Was heard and saved from death in that he feared and was obedient;
Was tempted in all points like his brethren;
Was saved from death by strong crying and tears;
Received the Revelation of the future from God;
Did not know things God knew;
Was promised the throne of David by God;
Had no right to say who should sit at his right hand;
Was sent by God;
Was taught by God;
Was shown things by God;
Recognized his subjection to the commands to worship and serve God;
Is several times clearly DISTINGUISHED FROM the ONE TRUE AND ONLY GOD.
He is repeatedly described as a man;
Was raised from the dead by God;
Was glorified by God in answer to prayer;
Was given power and authority by God;
Was anointed by God with the Holy Spirit;
Said God was greater than he;
Said he of himself could do nothing;
Said the doctrine, words and works were NOT HIS but God's;
When addressed as "good" he distinguished between himself as a man of mortal flesh and God Who
alone is wholly good;
He was appointed by God as heir of all things;
He prayed to God that the cup might pass but he relinquished his own will and submitted to God's;
He was a prophet raised up by God from among his brethren;
God is to judge the world by him;
God is spoken of as the Head of Christ;
He cried, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me;
He was given commandments by God;
He was made perfect through suffering;
And he is finally to be subject to God and relinquish all power and authority back to Him that God may be all in all.
This is the scriptural picture of Jesus.
"By MAN came death, by MAN came also the resurrection of the dead" (1 Cor. 15:21).
As the Epistle to the Hebrews shows, it was essential to God's purpose, and to establish His justice, that life come through MAN - that a man should, strengthened and guided by God, render perfect obedience, overcome and subdue the sin- nature which all the race possesses, and destroy it by death.
A man who, having vindicated and fulfilled the law of sin and death passed upon the race through the sentence of Adam, should be able to be justly exalted to eternal life, never having sinned -- never once having served sin, whose wages are death.
In this process of obtaining eternal redemption for himself - (as the reflexive - middle - voice of the verb "obtained" in Heb. 9:12 states. The "for us" is spurious and RV omits) - in this process he opened up a God- appointed way of escape from the power of death for the condemned race of which he was a member and the accepted representative.
God's righteousness being thus demonstrated and vindicated (by a perfect obedience followed by the voluntary destruction and condemnation of the sin-nature in death), God is able justly to extend mercy to all who humbly approach Him in the appointed way under the covering of Christ.
Such must voluntarily die to themselves and be born into Christ and henceforth live in Christ and as part of Christ -
"I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God" (Gal. 2:20).
Those that unite themselves with Christ become in God's sight part of him and are included in his glorious victory over sin and death. This is the mercy of God.
The doctrine of the Trinity : 3 co-equal, co-eternal Gods -- contrary to Scripture and borrowed from the heathen Plato who knew nothing of God's revealed Truth -- completely destroys the beautiful, harmonious, righteous plan of salvation through a REAL man learning obedience and TRULY overcoming temptation.
Like a steamroller, the doctrine of the Trinity crushes all the meaning out of the picture the Bible gives us of the relationship between the Eternal, Almighty Father and the dependent, obedient Son - the latter glorified and exalted by the former because of his faith, obedience, submission, humility and real genuine victory over sin and weakness.
"He humbled himself, and became OBEDIENT unto death, even the death of the cross, WHEREFORE God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name" (Phil. 2:8-9).
This is OUR Christ, the REAL Christ, our brother, our example, our inspiration and incentive.
No matter how you wrestle with the doctrine of the Trinity, it cannot give you anything but an all-powerful, all-knowing, immortal, untemptable God going through the pantomime of pretending to grow, pretending to learn, pretending to overcome weakness, pretending to struggle with temptation, pretending to pray for help, pretending to receive strength through angels from a part of himself, pretending to receive commands and instruction (from himself), pretending to obey and submit his will to a co-equal part of himself.
To get around this, and to make Platonic philosophy fit Scripture, trinitarians talk of his "divinity" knowing something at the same time that his "humanity" did not know it; of his "divinity" being all-wise at the same time his "humanity" was learning; of his "divinity" being all-powerful at the same time his "humanity" was struggling against weakness.
Those who base their faith on the Bible, and with whom the speculations of Greek metaphysics carry no weight, will not temporize with such issue-begging absurdities. Jesus Christ was not two utterly contradictory persons. It was Jesus Christ himself who did and went through all the things recorded in the Bible.
Get your beliefs from the Bible. You will never find the Trinity in it, or anything like it. It is a product of an age of worldly wisdom and spiritual barrenness, as has been so clearly proven, right out of the mouths of trinitarians.
It is a product of the apostate Church of Rome and all who adopt it from Rome identify themselves with that ungodly system -
"Come out of her, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues" (Rev. 18:4). PART 1 || PART 3
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