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The Bride of Christ!

Father Heart of God, the Preparer of the Bride for His Son

bride

There is an important topic in the Word of God:something that not one of us would consider naturally, especially if you are a man. How can I, a man, be a bride? This is the obvious question. Well, the Bible says that the relationship Christ holds with the church is similar to the relationship between a man and his wife. He initiates, we respond. He is the king, we reign with him. Let’s look at a few portions of Scripture together, to see this illustration.

 

Eph 5

23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.

24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,

27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church–

30 for we are members of his body.

31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”

This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the church.

bride1

There is a great book Destined For the Throne, authored by: Paul E. Billheimer. (ISBN l-55661-739-9) that I feel impressed to quote to illustrate this passage:

 

“The Church-The Central Object and Goal of History

This Man hanging upon that bloody cross amid the taunts and jeers of the passersby was “before all things” (See: Colossi ans 1: 17). That is, before history itself. He is the starting point of history, for “all things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made” (See: John 1:3). And the history that began in Him was and is fashioned and controlled by Him. “He regulates the universe by the mighty power of his command” (See: Hebrews 1:3, TLB). And it was and is fashioned and controlled by Him with a single specific purpose in view. That specific purpose and design is always the central and controlling factor of history no matter how wide its sweep may be.

Every event in history transpires to serve that purpose. Nothing, no matter how small, is excluded. The universe, including this planet, was created for one purpose: to provide a suitable habitation for the human race. The human race was created in the image and likeness of God for one purpose: to provide an eternal companion for the Son. After the fall and promise of redemption through the promised Messiah, Israel was born and nurtured in order to bring in the Messiah. And the Messiah came for one intent and only one: to give birth to His Church, thus to obtain His Bride. The Church, then — the called-out body of redeemed humankind — turns out to be the central object, the goal, not only of mundane history but of all that God has been doing in all realms for all eternity.

If this is true, then all history is sacred. There is no such thing as secular history. So history is simply “His story.” The entire universe in its totality is cooperating with God in His purpose to select and train His church as His Eternal Companion. The entire universe is ordered for this purpose, for all things belong to the Church and are for her benefit (See: I Corinthians 3:21-23). As the Lord of history, God is controlling all of its events, not only on earth but in all realms, to serve His purposes of bringing to maturity and eventually to enthronement with His Son, the Church, His chosen Bride. This was the glorious truth revealed to Paul when he wrote: “We know that all things [the entire cosmos] work together [are cooperating] for good to them that love God [the Church], to them who are called according to his purpose [the Bride]” (See: Romans 8:28)

The Heart of the Universe

From this it is implicit that a godly “romance” is at the heart of the universe and is the key to all existence. From all eternity God purposed that at some time in the future His Son should have an Eternal Companion, described by John the Revelator as “the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” (See: Revelation 21:9) John further revealed that this Eternal Companion in God’s eternal purpose is to share the Bridegroom’s throne following the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (See: Revelations 3:21). Here we see the ultimate purpose, the climactic goal of history. “

 

 

It seems we are being prepared for a great event in History, an event mentioned in Scripture as the Marriage supper of the Lamb. There are a number of passages that allude to this event, let’s look at them from the book of revelation for it is written:

 

(Rev 1:3 NIV) Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.

 

(Rev 19:7 NIV) Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.

 

KJV Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready.

 

(Rev 21:2 NIV) I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

 

(Rev 21:9 NIV) One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”

 

(Rev 22:17 NIV) The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.

 

There are several illustrations that refer to this romantic love relationship between Jesus and us, His church. He is referred to as the bridegroom, we as the bride. Let’s look at the one given to us in Matthew’s gospel and repeated again in Luke.

 

 

(Mat 9:15 NIV) Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.

 

(Mat 9:16 NIV) “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse.

 

(Mat 9:17 NIV) Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

 

Luke 5

34 Jesus answered, “Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them?

35 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.”

36 He told them this parable: “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old.

37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.

38 No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins.

And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.'”

 

Again we see this illustration spoken through the prophet, John the Baptist.

 

(John 3:29 NIV) The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.

 

Remember we are studying the Father Heart of God, how he is preparing a bride for His Son. This bride must hold royal position and prominence, for God is holy. Here is an intimate tid-bit meant to be spoken between lovers. Remember, how a man is to leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife in marriage. So we see this passionate degree of intimacy required of us by God.

 

Ps 45:9 Daughters of kings are among your honored women; at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir.

10 Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear: Forget your people and your father’s house.

The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.

 

KJV King’s daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.

Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also the thine own people, and thy fathers house;

So shall the king desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.

 

Some Bible scholars have said that the Song of Songs is a shadow and type of the love relationship between Christ and us, his beloved bride. It is difficult to read this book publicly without blushing, when I teach the section on sexuality in my upcoming couple’s course, and I bring out some of the more passionate quotes. For the sake of this course, let’s just look at some of the references to the bride.

 

(Song 4:8 NIV) Come with me from Lebanon, my bride, come with me from Lebanon. Descend from the crest of Amana, from the top of Senir, the summit of Hermon, from the lions’ dens and the mountain haunts of the leopards.

 

(Song 4:9 NIV) You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace.

 

(Song 4:10 NIV) How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much more pleasing is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your perfume than any spice!

 

(Song 4:11 NIV) Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride; milk and honey are under your tongue. The fragrance of your garments is like that of Lebanon.

 

(Song 4:12 NIV) You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride; you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain.

 

(Song 5:1 NIV) I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride; I have gathered my myrrh with my spice. I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey; I have drunk my wine and my milk. Eat, O friends, and drink; drink your fill, O lovers.

 

The Bible is full of illustrations on this romantic side of God, we teach prosperity around here, think of this. When I was dating Karen, every penny that came through my hands, I thought about how I could buy her flowers, or gifts, or a nice date somewhere. Think of Jesus looking at you this way. Let’s read:

 

(Isa 61:10 NIV) I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

 

(Isa 62:5 NIV) As a young man marries a maiden, so will your sons marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.

 

Here’s a beautiful word picture of praise and worship as it relates to prosperity. As we get lost in His presence in praise and worship, gratefully acknowledging every good thing He has done for us, He can’t help Himself, He blesses us.

 

(Joel 2:16 NIV) Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber.

 

(Jer 33:11 NIV) the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the LORD, saying, “Give thanks to the LORD Almighty, for the LORD is good; his love endures forever.” For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,’ says the LORD.

 

We used to have a meeting on Friday nights called ‘The Watch of the Lord’, which we called ‘date-night’ with Jesus. The format was really simple. We met around six O’clock for supper, then at around seven or seven-thirty, we put on a Vineyard worship tape,( we simply photocopied the lyrics and handed them out as song sheets) and sang along with the songs, determined to sing them to Jesus, not just singing songs. The idea being, to meet with God, heart to heart, face to face. The reason we called it ‘date-night’ was this: If I wanted to go on a date in the world, I would get dressed up, and take my babe to dinner and a movie, right. Afterwards, we might go dancing, and if we were married, the plan was to end up in bed together by the end of the night.

 

Well, we’d have dinner together. Then begin to sing praises to God, determined to fall in love with Him. He’d provide the movie.

 

For is it not written:

 

Acts 2:

17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.

18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.

19 I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke.

20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.

And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

 

We were young men, (still am, by the way) and we decided to simply believe this verse, that if we sought God to pour out His spirit, He would give us dreams and visions. That was our movie.

 

Around about midnight, we’d all have communion together, and if there were any needs for ministry, or prayer requests, we’d pray until we were done.

 

Spectacular things happened. Two girls fell out in the Spirit weeping, for two and one half days. Many of us had wonderful visions and dreams, and all of us fell radically in love with Jesus. Many miracles occurred during this time, and it was at this time that God birthed a powerful church in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada named City Church in power.

 

We need these nights again, for I long for the intimacy with God, that I knew then. The passion, the fire, the zeal of God, consumed me in a way that was almost fever pitch.

 

Well, let’s look at a last portion of Scripture, and see if we can see ourselves in it. The story of Abraham getting a bride for Isaac.

 

(Gen 24:1 NIV) Abraham was now old and well advanced in years, and the LORD had blessed him in every way.

 

(Gen 24:2 NIV) He said to the chief servant in his household, the one in charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh.

 

(Gen 24:3 NIV) I want you to swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living,

 

(Gen 24:4 NIV) but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac.”

 

Notice here, that Abraham was the one who chose the wife for his son, in his time. He knew when his son was ready. So for all you single men, wait on God, and He will bring you His choice of a wife, in His time.

Notice, also, that the father sent out his servant to go get the bride he had chosen. Even so, Father God, sends out the Holy Spirit to get the bride He wants for Jesus.

 

(Gen 24:5 NIV) The servant asked him, “What if the woman is unwilling to come back with me to this land? Shall I then take your son back to the country you came from?”

 

(Gen 24:6 NIV) “Make sure that you do not take my son back there,” Abraham said.

 

(Gen 24:7 NIV) “The LORD, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father’s household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give this land’–he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there.

 

(Gen 24:8 NIV) If the woman is unwilling to come back with you, then you will be released from this oath of mine. Only do not take my son back there.”

 

(Gen 24:9 NIV) So the servant put his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham and swore an oath to him concerning this matter.

 

(Gen 24:10 NIV) Then the servant took ten of his master’s camels and left, taking with him all kinds of good things from his master. He set out for Aram Naharaim and made his way to the town of Nahor.

 

(Gen 24:11 NIV) He had the camels kneel down near the well outside the town; it was toward evening, the time the women go out to draw water.

 

(Gen 24:12 NIV) Then he prayed, “O LORD, God of my master Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.

 

(Gen 24:13 NIV) See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water.

 

(Gen 24:14 NIV) May it be that when I say to a girl, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’–let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”

 

(Gen 24:15 NIV) Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor.

 

(Gen 24:16 NIV) The girl was very beautiful, a virgin; no man had ever lain with her. She went down to the spring, filled her jar and came up again.

 

Notice Rebekah, she was beautiful, a shepherdess, pure, a virgin. Just a note here for those of us that had been sexually active before marriage. Sexual sin brings condemanation, shame, and often ungodly soul-ties that can ruin one’s entire life. Yet, sexual purity can be restored. By the blood of Jesus, we become born again virgins in Him, and He washed us from the stain and shame of our past. For those involved in much immorality or pornography, this stain may run deep, but the cleansing and washing of the water of the Word, will remove the deepest shame and stain, if we allow it. Consecrate your sexuality to God, determine to become pure in thought and deed in this area, determine to not defile your future wife with your previous perversion, and God will cleanse you at the deepest level. It may take several years, but it is truly worth the painful journey, to be able to look at all women as sisters, daughters, mothers, and aunts, without lust coloring our vision. If you are struggling in this, go to a Christian bookstore and get books on sex and sexuality, and spend the needed hours listening to the Word of God, and meditating upon it. The Word of God will set you free.

 

On with the Biblical story:

 

(Gen 24:17 NIV) The servant hurried to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water from your jar.”

 

(Gen 24:18 NIV) “Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink.

 

(Gen 24:19 NIV) After she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have finished drinking.”

 

(Gen 24:20 NIV) So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, ran back to the well to draw more water, and drew enough for all his camels.

 

(Gen 24:21 NIV) Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the LORD had made his journey successful.

 

(Gen 24:22 NIV) When the camels had finished drinking, the man took out a gold nose ring weighing a beka and two gold bracelets weighing ten shekels.

 

(Gen 24:23 NIV) Then he asked, “Whose daughter are you? Please tell me, is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?”

 

(Gen 24:24 NIV) She answered him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son that Milcah bore to Nahor.”

 

(Gen 24:25 NIV) And she added, “We have plenty of straw and fodder, as well as room for you to spend the night.”

 

(Gen 24:26 NIV) Then the man bowed down and worshiped the LORD,

 

(Gen 24:27 NIV) saying, “Praise be to the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness to my master. As for me, the LORD has led me on the journey to the house of my master’s relatives.”

 

(Gen 24:28 NIV) The girl ran and told her mother’s household about these things.

 

(Gen 24:29 NIV) Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban, and he hurried out to the man at the spring.

 

Notice, the servant brought gifts, to woo Rebekah, just like the Holy Spirit gives gifts to cause us to fall more in love with Jesus. Some of those gifts will be financial, for Jesus is rich. He is the king.

 

(Gen 24:30 NIV) As soon as he had seen the nose ring, and the bracelets on his sister’s arms, and had heard Rebekah tell what the man said to her, he went out to the man and found him standing by the camels near the spring.

 

(Gen 24:31 NIV) “Come, you who are blessed by the LORD,” he said. “Why are you standing out here? I have prepared the house and a place for the camels.”

 

(Gen 24:32 NIV) So the man went to the house, and the camels were unloaded. Straw and fodder were brought for the camels, and water for him and his men to wash their feet.

 

(Gen 24:33 NIV) Then food was set before him, but he said, “I will not eat until I have told you what I have to say.” “Then tell us,” Laban said.

 

(Gen 24:34 NIV) So he said, “I am Abraham’s servant.

 

(Gen 24:35 NIV) The LORD has blessed my master abundantly, and he has become wealthy. He has given him sheep and cattle, silver and gold, menservants and maidservants, and camels and donkeys.

 

(Gen 24:36 NIV) My master’s wife Sarah has borne him a son in her old age, and he has given him everything he owns.

 

(Gen 24:37 NIV) And my master made me swear an oath, and said, ‘You must not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live,

 

(Gen 24:38 NIV) but go to my father’s family and to my own clan, and get a wife for my son.’

 

(Gen 24:39 NIV) “Then I asked my master, ‘What if the woman will not come back with me?’

 

(Gen 24:40 NIV) “He replied, ‘The LORD, before whom I have walked, will send his angel with you and make your journey a success, so that you can get a wife for my son from my own clan and from my father’s family.

 

(Gen 24:41 NIV) Then, when you go to my clan, you will be released from my oath even if they refuse to give her to you–you will be released from my oath.’

 

(Gen 24:42 NIV) “When I came to the spring today, I said, ‘O LORD, God of my master Abraham, if you will, please grant success to the journey on which I have come.

 

(Gen 24:43 NIV) See, I am standing beside this spring; if a maiden comes out to draw water and I say to her, “Please let me drink a little water from your jar,”

 

(Gen 24:44 NIV) and if she says to me, “Drink, and I’ll draw water for your camels too,” let her be the one the LORD has chosen for my master’s son.’

 

(Gen 24:45 NIV) “Before I finished praying in my heart, Rebekah came out, with her jar on her shoulder. She went down to the spring and drew water, and I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’

 

(Gen 24:46 NIV) “She quickly lowered her jar from her shoulder and said, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too.’ So I drank, and she watered the camels also.

 

(Gen 24:47 NIV) “I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ “She said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel son of Nahor, whom Milcah bore to him.’ “Then I put the ring in her nose and the bracelets on her arms,

 

(Gen 24:48 NIV) and I bowed down and worshiped the LORD. I praised the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me on the right road to get the granddaughter of my master’s brother for his son.

 

(Gen 24:49 NIV) Now if you will show kindness and faithfulness to my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, so I may know which way to turn.”

 

I will not digress here too much, but I will say this. Notice all the people that had to hear and obey God here in order for Isaac to get his wife. Abraham, the servant, Laban and Bethuel, and of course, Rebekah.

 

(Gen 24:50 NIV) Laban and Bethuel answered, “This is from the LORD; we can say nothing to you one way or the other.

 

(Gen 24:51 NIV) Here is Rebekah; take her and go, and let her become the wife of your master’s son, as the LORD has directed.”

 

(Gen 24:52 NIV) When Abraham’s servant heard what they said, he bowed down to the ground before the LORD.

 

(Gen 24:53 NIV) Then the servant brought out gold and silver jewelry and articles of clothing and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave costly gifts to her brother and to her mother.

 

(Gen 24:54 NIV) Then he and the men who were with him ate and drank and spent the night there. When they got up the next morning, he said, “Send me on my way to my master.”

 

(Gen 24:55 NIV) But her brother and her mother replied, “Let the girl remain with us ten days or so; then you may go.”

 

(Gen 24:56 NIV) But he said to them, “Do not detain me, now that the LORD has granted success to my journey. Send me on my way so I may go to my master.”

 

(Gen 24:57 NIV) Then they said, “Let’s call the girl and ask her about it.”

 

Interesting thought here. Despite all that confirmed the call of God on this marriage, the question was asked of Rebekah, will you go with this man?

 

(Gen 24:58 NIV) So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?” “I will go,” she said.

 

She said YES! Every lover that ever lived, remembers the day when his beloved agreed to marry him, and gave him her heart, her love, her covenant!

 

(Gen 24:59 NIV) So they sent their sister Rebekah on her way, along with her nurse and Abraham’s servant and his men.

 

(Gen 24:60 NIV) And they blessed Rebekah and said to her, “Our sister, may you increase to thousands upon thousands; may your offspring possess the gates of their enemies.”

 

(Gen 24:61 NIV) Then Rebekah and her maids got ready and mounted their camels and went back with the man. So the servant took Rebekah and left.

 

(Gen 24:62 NIV) Now Isaac had come from Beer Lahai Roi, for he was living in the Negev.

 

(Gen 24:63 NIV) He went out to the field one evening to meditate, and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching.

 

What was Isaac doing while he was waiting? Sowing and reaping. He was working in His father’s field.

 

(Gen 24:64 NIV) Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel

 

(Gen 24:65 NIV) and asked the servant, “Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?” “He is my master,” the servant answered. So she took her veil and covered herself.

 

(Gen 24:66 NIV) Then the servant told Isaac all he had done.

 

(Gen 24:67 NIV) Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

 

Ok, let’s look at this allegorically. Who was the son of promise in this? Answer, Isaac. Who was his father? Answer, Abraham. Who was the bride to be? Answer, Rebekah. Who was the servant in this account? Abraham’s chief servant, the one in charge of all he had. How does this illustrate the relationship between Jesus and the church, His bride?

 

Answer:

 

Jesus is anxiously awaiting his bride, serving in His fathers house. God the Father, has prepared a bride from her, a covenant woman, holy unto Him. He sends out his chief servant, the Holy Spirit, to woo her with gifts and even tests to see if she is worthy of His son, and finally brings her

 

Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

 

Isaiah 62:5 For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.

 

Homework:

 

Read “Destined for the throne” by Paul Billheimer.www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=200536

destined

 

Prayer: “God help me to be the bride of Jesus! Wreck my heart with a savage inbreaking of your love! Holy Spirit, ignite my passion for Him, and may I be white hot in love with Him!” AMEN!

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