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The Book of Revelation
Chapter Fourteen
One Bahá'í's Concept

CONCEPT BOX

The prophecies for the last days in the Book of Revelation are to the whole world and in this chapter we begin to see both the New Song regarding the Teachings of God and the problems that will befall the world in its struggle to accept the Teachings.

Because these prophecies have not yet been all fulfilled, what we may see in them can only be speculative. Here we have slavishly followed the order of what we accept as the appearance of the world's religions in trying to anticipate what they may mean. After the events, the actual relationships to the scriptures will be able to be more clearly seen.

Bible Verses

[1] And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.

One Bahá'í's Concept

V.1 John looked and saw a lamb (The Báb) on mount Zion and with Him were his followers, (one hundred and forty-four thousand). The city of Jerusalem is built on Mount Zion, and frequently is mentioned in the Bible. Here it refers to the New Jerusalem, which is a symbol for 'The Law of God', which is now established on Mount Carmel in Haifa.

The body of the Báb came to Its final resting place after being transferred from place to place for sixty years. His body was ceremoniously deposited by 'Abdu'l-Bahá within its sacred casket on Mount Carmel in Haifa on Naw-Rúz, March 21, 1909 C.E. at what is known as the Shrine of The Báb which 'Abdu'l-Bahá had built especially for it.

The 144,000 is a number that adds to nine, a symbol for the Bábí and Bahá'í followers. Mount Carmel is now the World Administrative Center, and a place for the future Bahá'í Commonwealth to gradually be established. The promises of God as recorded in the Holy Scriptures, have been fulfilled.

    XVI. The time foreordained unto the peoples and kindreds of the earth is now come. The promises of God, as recorded in the holy Scriptures, have all been fulfilled. Out of Zion hath gone forth the Law of God, and Jerusalem, and the hills and land thereof, are filled with the glory of His Revelation. Happy is the man that pondereth in his heart that which hath been revealed in the Books of God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. Meditate upon this, O ye beloved of God, and let your ears be attentive unto His Word, so that ye may, by His grace and mercy, drink your fill from the crystal waters of constancy, and become as steadfast and immovable as the mountain in His Cause.
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh)

[2] And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:

V.2 John heard a 'Voice from Heaven', which is Bahá'u'lláh, the One promised by the Báb, and the waters are the symbol of His teachings. The teachings are like thunder as they give strong new meaning to life. They come with a strong justice system for the world. The harps are the happiness and joy to the hearts that listen.

[3] And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

V.3 They sang a New Song, a song of thanksgiving, love and peace, before the throne of Bahá'u'lláh. The followers of the Báb sang along with the four beasts (the rulers - see Chapter 4:7) and elders who help spread the Message. The New Song is the New Message for the world that brings joy, love and peace, The 144,000 being a symbol of those who first responded to the New Message.
    Within the treasury of Our Wisdom there lieth unrevealed a knowledge, one word of which, if we chose to divulge it to mankind, would cause every human being to recognize the Manifestation of God and to acknowledge His omniscience, would enable every one to discover the secrets of all the sciences, and to attain so high a station as to find himself wholly independent of all past and future learning. Other knowledges We do as well possess, not a single letter of which We can disclose, nor do We find humanity able to hear even the barest reference to their meaning. Thus have We informed you of the knowledge of God, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. Were We to find worthy vessels, We would deposit within them the treasures of hidden meanings and impart unto them a knowledge, one letter of which would encompass all created things.
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    The Summons of the Lord of Hosts,
    p. 35,
    Suriy-i-Haykal / Surih of the Temple:66)
    853. The Cause of Bahá'u'lláh is the same as the Cause of Christ. It is the same temple and the same foundation. Both of these are spiritual springtimes and seasons of the soul-refreshing awakening and the cause of the renovation of the life of mankind. The spring of this year is the same as the spring of last year. The origins and the ends are the same. The sun of today is the sun of yesterday. IN the coming of Christ, the divine teachings were given in accordance with the infancy of the human race. The teachings of Bahá'u'lláh have the same basic principles, but are according to the stage of the maturity of the world and the requirements of this illumined age.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    Bahá'í Scriptures,
    p. 461)

[4] These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

V.4 The new believers are referred to as virgins, as they are not bogged down with dogmas, creeds and man-made order.
    'We were the first who followed the commandments of God: we are the source of command and its origin, and the first-fruits of all good and its consummation: we are the sign of the Eternal, and His commemoration amongst the nations.'
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    A Traveler's Narrative,
    p. 76)

[5] And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

V.5 No fault could be found in the new believers, as they spoke no guile. They gave up their hereditary dogmas, creeds and hatred after receiving the New Teachings of love and unity.
    At all times and in all ages of the world, religion has been a factor in cementing together the hearts of men and in uniting various and divergent creeds. It is the peace element in religion that blends mankind and makes for unity. Warfare has ever been the cause of separation, disunion and discord.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    The Promulgation of Universal Peace,
    p. 97)

[6] And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

V.6 John saw another Angel in the midst of heaven which includes all the people of the world. We relate this to the Sabean Faith which is the Ancient Faith which has touched the hearts of native mankind in every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, throughout the world from the First Nations and Inuit of Canada, and the early peoples of South America and Africa and throughout all the islands of the seas everywhere throughout the world.

All the religions of the world have been waiting for this glorious day. All the world knows of it's coming and are eagerly waiting, expecting their own Revealer to appear. God works in ways that we are not expecting. A beautiful example of this idea is found in the Book of Mormon.

    NE2 29:8 Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.

    NE2 29:9 And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.

    NE2 29:10 Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.

    NE2 29:11 For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written.

    NE2 29:12 For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it.

    NE2 29:13 And it shall come to pass that the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews; and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews.

    NE2 29:14 And it shall come to pass that my people, which are of the house of Israel, shall be gathered home unto the lands of their possessions; and my word also shall be gathered in one. And I will show unto them that fight against my word and against my people, who are of the house of Israel, that I am God, and that I covenanted with Abraham that I would remember his seed forever.

[7] Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

V.7 The Angel is telling us to Fear God, and to give Him Glory. He reminds us that God is all-powerful, that He created the earth, and also the waters, which is the symbol for All Knowledge and He also says that it is now the hour of His judgment.
    Verily I say whatsoever ye have concealed within your hearts is to Us open and manifest as the day.
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    Persian Hidden Words no. 60)

[8] And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

V.8 Another angel, being the second in order and therefore identified here with the Hindu religion, comes to tell us that Babylon, the greatest city of the world in its time (which many see as a symbol or archetype of New York, the greatest city of our time), has fallen. It is a system that is corrupt because of materialism, and the people are drawn into it. A city that symbolizes the center of greed, materialism, and immorality in the world.

For some reason, both here and in (Rev.18:2) the fall of Babylon is announced by the Angel that we identify with the Hindu Religion. It could well be that the archetype of Babylon applies equally well to New Delhi, another Great City, often identified with teaming masses of the impoverished. We can particulary see the possibility of the fate of Babylon the Great befalling cities in India considering that both India and Pakistan are antagonistic nuclear powers. These speculations about future external events may be just vain imaginings. One can never know such meanings until after they have occurred. In any case it is not the events of the physical world that are the most significant but rather those of the spiritual.

    Busy not thyself with this world, for We test the gold with fire, and with gold We test Our servants.
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    Arabic Hidden Words No.55)

[9] And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,

V.9 The third angel, identified with the Jewish religion, is warning us that those who hold in their minds and hearts devotion to Satan (Satanic desires and goals) have the mark of 'the beast' and will be punished. The opposite is true of those who focus their love and intention on God.
    Whosoever hath this Divine Lamp before his face, his forehead shall glisten with manifest light and his speech shall take effect in all minds and spirits, and God shall assist him by the power which penetrateth the essences of things.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    Bahá'í Scriptures,
    p. 471)
In the previous chapter there was discussed the concern and concepts that many people have about the significance of the symbol of "the mark of the beast". Here we see that such "marks" are actually marks of character. In the case of the "mark of the beast" that of bad character in that people put their mind, hearts, souls, hands to the work of the "beast", or that which is satanic.

[10] The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

V.10 The third angel states that those who turn away from spiritual values shall 'drink the wine of the wrath of God'. With indignation it is to be poured out upon those who follow the ways of the 'beast' and who follow the deceitful ways of the past. The torment is war and terror. That this occurs in the presence of the holy angels and the presence of the Lamb, is indicative that it occurs in Israel and the Holy Land, where we do indeed today see the precursor of a universal struggle.
    By the righteousness of Him Who is the Absolute Truth, were the veil to be lifted, thou wouldst witness on this earthly plane all men sorely afflicted with the fire of the wrath of God, a fire fiercer and greater than the fire of hell, with the exception of those who have sought shelter beneath the shade of the tree of My love. For they in very truth are the blissful.
    (The Báb,
    Selections from the Writings of the Báb,
    p. 12)

[11] And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

    "On the day when the heaven shall give out a palpable smoke, which shall enshroud mankind: this will be an afflictive torment."
    [1 Qur'án (Koran) 44:10.]
    .The symbolic term "smoke" denotes grave dissensions, the abrogation and demolition of recognized standards, and the utter destruction of their narrow-minded exponents. What smoke more dense and overpowering than the one which hath now enshrouded all the peoples of the world, which hath become a torment unto them, and from which they hopelessly fail to deliver themselves, however much they strive? So fierce is this fire of self burning within them, that at every moment they seem to be afflicted with fresh torments.

    Ere long, thine eyes will behold the standards of divine power unfurled throughout all regions, and the signs of His triumphant might and sovereignty manifest in every land. As most of the divines have failed to apprehend the meaning of these verses, and have not grasped the significance of the Day of Resurrection, they therefore have foolishly interpreted these verses according to their idle and faulty conception.

    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    The Kitáb-i-Íqán,
    p. 76)

[12] Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

V.12 Praise is given to those who keep the commandments of God, in all the religions, and who have faith as Jesus taught. Those who are committed to their religions are always tested. Such has been the case in the past and it is erroneous to think that such will not be the case in the future.
    Thus hath the Dove of holiness proclaimed: "Do men think when they say 'We believe' they shall be let alone and not be put to proof?"[Qur'án (Koran) 29:2]
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    Gems of Divine Mysteries: Verse 32)

[13] And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

V.13 A Voice (identified with Bahá'u'lláh) came again from heaven telling John to write, saying that the labours done without thought of self , will follow them to the next life.
    "The good word" and pure and holy deeds ascend to the glorious Heaven of Oneness. Strive that thy deeds may be cleansed from the dust of hypocrisy and from the turbidness of self and passion, and thus enter the glorious Presence of Acceptance.
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    Bahá'í Scriptures,
    p. 181, No. 251)
[14] And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.

V.14 John saw a white cloud and saw one 'like' the Son of Man (Jesus) with a golden crown. The gold crown means Divine Authority. The white cloud indicates that the One 'like' the Son of Man is the Báb who is still hidden from the knowledge of most of mankind. The cloud is described as 'white' but still it is symbolic of men's thoughts that conceal Him from them. The darker the cloud - the more the concealment.
    Tear asunder the veils and curtains of these dogmas, remove these accumulated, suffocating increments, dispel these dark impenetrable clouds, that the sun of reality may shine from the horizon of eternity.
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
    Divine Philosophy,
    p. 162)
The sharp sickle He holds in His hand is symbolic of the judgment of mankind that is about to come.
[15] And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.

V.15 Another angel, being in the order of religions - the religion of Zoroaster, appears to say that it is time to reap, that the harvest of the earth is ripe. This is known as the judgment day. Bahá'u'lláh tells the people of the world:
    O YE PEOPLES OF THE WORLD! Know, verily, that an unforeseen calamity followeth you, and grievous retribution awaiteth you. Think not that which ye have committed hath been effaced in My sight. By My beauty! All your doings hath My pen graven with open characters upon tablets of chrysolite.
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    The Persian Hidden Words No. 63)
These events may well be identified with Zoroaster because His Religion is identified with the religion of Persia which is modern day Islámic Iran. One might speculate on the "sharp" sickle in light of current day events regarding nuclear inspections in Iran, but time will tell. This is the only series of Angels that does not conclude with the Seventh Islámic Angel and this is the only connection to Islám in this series, which is noteworthy because it may thus identify one specific Islámic country.
[16] And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.

V.16 This verse goes back to Verse 14 where the One on the cloud is noted as being the Báb (the Gate) towards a New Day and a New Era. The old order must be rolled up and a new order put in place. He was requested to thrust His cycle on the earth as a symbol toward the beginning of the Day of judgment. The beginning of Judgment Day has happened and falls forward from the time of the Báb's declaration in Persia.
    Beseech ye the one true God to grant that all men may be graciously assisted to fulfil that which is acceptable in Our sight. Soon will the present-day order be rolled up, and a new one spread out in its stead. Verily, thy Lord speaketh the truth, and is the Knower of things unseen.
    (Bahá'u'lláh,
    The Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh,
    p. 121)

[17] And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. V.17 Another angel appeared from the same temple, this one in the order of religions being that of the Buddhist Religion, and curiously He also has a sharp sickle as we note in current events that the nuclear threat now also comes from that part of the world.
    A process, God-impelled, endowed with measureless potentialities, mysterious in its workings, awful in the retribution meted out to every one seeking to resist its operation, infinitely rich in its promise for the regeneration and redemption of human kind, had been set in motion.
    (Shoghi Effendi,
    God Passes By,
    p. 402)
[18] And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.

V.18 Another angel appeared, being the Christian Religion in the order of Angels, with the power of fire, telling this angel to reap, as the time has come to gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, that the grapes were fully ripe.

As noted in the Appendix at the end of Chapter 8, Fire is associated with Christianity (the Religion of the Whites) in Indian Prophecy. Certainly, it has been the followers of the Christian Religion, the US, Russia (historically a Christian country), Britain and France, that first brought this nuclear power of fire that can ignite a world wide conflagration with the Islámic (Iranian, etc.) and Buddhist (Korean, etc.) possessors of sharp sickles.

    Against the background of these afflictive disturbances -- the turmoil and tribulations of a travailing age -- we may well ponder the portentous prophecies uttered well-nigh fourscore years ago, by the Author of our Faith, as well as the dire predictions made by Him Who is the unerring Interpreter of His teachings, all foreshadowing a universal commotion, of a scope and intensity unparalleled in the annals of mankind.
    (Shoghi Effendi,
    Messages to the Bahá'í World - 1950-1957,
    p. 103)
[19] And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.

V.19 This angel also thrust in the sickle. The vine of the earth was gathered and thrown into the winepress of the wrath of God.
    He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth and whatever lieth between them and He truly is a witness over all things. He is the Lord of Reckoning for all that dwell in the heavens and on earth and whatever lieth between them, and truly God is swift to reckon. He setteth the measure assigned to all who are in the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them.
    (The Báb,
    Selections From The Writings of the Báb,
    p.171)

[20] And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

V.20
    ISAIAH
    63:3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.
    63:4 For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.

Chapter Fourteen Appendix
Symbolism of 666 and Other Names and Numbers

The number 666 has concerned many people as being identified with the Anti-Christ. Others have seen it as a measure of time, and while it does have a close connection to both Islámic times, and the Islámic calendar, there follows an explanation of how it is said to represent a name.

First, briefly, the relationship to the Islámic calendar. The Islámic calendar begins in 622 C.E., and significant events happened in the religion in the vicinity of 666 C.E., specifically with the assassination of Ali, (Muhammad's chosen successor according to the Shiites) in 661.

Secondly, in relation to the Christian calendar, if we add 666 years to the 622 date of the beginning of Islám we come to 1288 C.E. which is also a significant time, especially if one carries the date as a duration from 10 years after the Hegira.

However, given that the date is a Islámic date, in relation to the Islámic calendar, as are other prophetic dates in the Book of Revelation, then because the Islámic calendar is a lunar calendar and starts from zero in 622 C.E., the year 666 on the Islámic Calendar is 1267 on the Gregorian Calendar. There are many anomalies about calendar dates. There is of course the Julian calendar and corrections that have been made in the Gregorian calendar to bring it more in attune with season (a matter controlled by the Catholic church).

The main point, however, about the number 666 is that it is said to be the number of a NAME. A curious and significant point is that the Islámic religion uses a letter to number system called Abjad to give numeric equivalences to names.

Exactly how the system works requires an understanding of Arabic. There are a couple of versions, with minor distinctions, (one being used in Spain and North Africa) but the details will be beyond anyone except an Arabic specialist.

The Abjad values and their mnemonic groupings are as follows. Short vowels have no value (except in the beginning of a word, where they are necessarily accompanied by alif/hamza). Note that hamza (') and `ayn (`) are different letters with different values, as are the letters followed by dots (which would be under-dots in printed versions of texts rendered in accord with the Romanization system used by Shoghi Effendi for Bahá'í texts). The hamza and alif have the same value (i.e., á = ' = 1).

Some systems of teaching Abjad tie the categories to the seven colors of the rainbow, which has a curious significance in The Book of Revelation but is beyond what we will delve into here.

abjad:

hawvúz

h.ut.yi

kalaman

sa`fas.

á/'   1 h        5 h.      8 k      20 s    60
b     2 w/v/ú  6 t.       9 l       30 `    70
j      3 z        7 y/í    10 m     40 f     80
d     4 n      50 s.    90

qarashat

thakhidh

d.az.gh

q     100 th    500 d.     800
r      200 kh    600 z.     900
sh    300 dh    700 gh    1000
t      400

In the maghrib (Spain and North Africa), the following variant values obtained, to wit: s.= 60, d.= 90, s= 300, z.= 800, gh= 900, sh=1000.

The characters in their original are of course Arabic characters and the English equivalents that one uses depends upon the transliteration system. Bahá'í's use that designated by Shoghi Effendi with Abjad values as represented above. So now based upon the above table one can examine the number 666.

The simplest way of representing 666 would be to let each letter stand by itself. Therefore three sixes would be either 3 w's, 3 u's or 3 v's. One could then imagine that the 3W's stand for World War Three - or for that matter that name of the beast is the World Wide Web :)

However, the Book of Revelation is very specific about this matter, and says that number is not six, six, six but rather six hundred and sixty - six, and astoundingly this fits right in with the Abjad system. In fact, it is the usual way of determining the value of names in the system to be equivalent to each other - and that is to add up the value of the digits. For example the word "bádí" (2-1-4-10=17) would be considered the mystical equivalent of "háháh" (5-1-5-1-5=17). The system is not quite that easy for a westerner to follow because of three factors. Vowels are not usually represented or counted except in certain circumstances as when some start a word, or where they have an aspirated sound called the hamza. Moreover, there is a distinction among the consonants depending on the associated vowels and how they are marked in the Arabic. For example note that there is "d" with a value of "4" and a "d." with a value of "800". Nevertheless, from the above explanation one can see the nature of the system although they would have to rely upon the credibility of an individual expert in the language to tell them the actual numerical value of specific words.

Some students of the Qur'án attach these mystical values to such things as the disconnected letters preceding the Surahs of the Qur'án, another subject beyond the scope of this discussion. However, from what has been said it should now be apparent that there are many words that may have the same numerical value, and are therefore sometimes used in some mystical equivalent. One can therefore look at the unique numerical equivalent of each word and say that it matches the unique numerical equivalent of certain other words. And one may take a unique numerical value and seek words that fit it. BUT one can't - by having a unique numerical value - know the one word that fits it.

Looking again at the chart - one might say 600 = kh, 60 = s, and 6 = w or v or ú, and then try to fill the vowels in between sort of like they do on the show Wheel of Fortune. However, it is NOT that simple because we are talking about the total value of the word and NOT the value of the letters in order. The number 666 could just as well be arrived at from an Arabic word having a combination of letters that have the values 200,400,40,20,2,4 or r,t,m,k,b,d in any order with the appropriate vowels interleaved in between but even then the significance of any one word might be seen in its having an equivalence to some other word.

One hears many suggestions for the interpretation of the number 666, all the way from its being an address to a date, but even if the Abjad system is the correct system for interpreting it the main mistake is in looking upon the Book of Revelation as a Book of Prophecy rather than as a Book of Proof. This latter matter is covered in the Conclusion of this book.

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