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Arcana Coelestia #9372

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)      

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9372. And He said unto Moses. That this signifies that which concerns the Word in general, is evident from the representation of Moses, as being the Word (of which below); and from the signification of “He said,” as involving those things which follow in this chapter, thus those which concern the Word (see n. 9370). (That Moses represents the Word, can be seen from what has been often shown before about Moses, as from the preface to Genesis 18; and n. 4859, 5922, 6723, 6752, 6771, 6827, 7010, 7014, 7089, 7382, 8601, 8760, 8787, 8805.) Here Moses represents the Word in general, because it is said of him in what follows, that he alone should come near unto Jehovah (verse 2); and also that, being called unto out of the midst of the cloud, he entered into it, and went up the mount (verses 16-18).

(References: Exodus 24:16, 24:18)


[2] In the Word there are many who represent the Lord in respect to truth Divine, or in respect to the Word; but chief among them are Moses, Elijah, Elisha, and John the Baptist. That Moses does so, can be seen in the explications just cited above; that so do Elijah and Elisha, can be seen in the preface to Genesis 18; and n. 2762, 5247; and that John the Baptist does so is evident from the fact that he was “Elias who was to come.” He who does not know that John the Baptist represented the Lord as to the Word, cannot know what all those things infold and signify which are said about him in the New Testament; and therefore in order that this secret may stand open, and that at the same time it may appear that Elias, and also Moses, who were seen when the Lord was transfigured, signified the Word, some things may here be quoted which are spoken about John the Baptist; as in Matthew:

After the messengers of John had departed, Jesus began to speak concerning John, saying, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? a reed shaken by the wind? But what went ye out to see? a man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they that wear soft things are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out to see? a prophet? Yea, I say unto you, even more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, Behold I send Mine angel before Thy face, who shall prepare Thy way before Thee. Verily I say unto you, Among those who are born of women there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist; nevertheless he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he. All the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye are willing to believe, he is Elias who was to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear (Matthew 11:7-15; and also Luke 7:24-28).

No one can know how these things are to be understood, unless he knows that this John represented the Lord as to the Word, and unless he also knows from the internal sense what is signified by “the wilderness” in which he was, also what by “a reed shaken by the wind,” and likewise by “soft raiment in kings’ houses;” and further what is signified by his being “more than a prophet,” and by “none among those who are born of women being greater than he, and nevertheless he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he,” and lastly by his being “Elias.” For without a deeper sense, all these words are uttered merely from some comparison, and not from anything of weight.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135)


[3] But it is very different when by John is understood the Lord as to the Word, or the Word representatively. Then by “the wilderness of Judea in which John was” is signified the state in which the Word was at the time when the Lord came into the world, namely, that it was “in the wilderness,” that is, it was in obscurity so great that the Lord was not at all acknowledged, neither was anything known about His heavenly kingdom; when yet all the prophets prophesied about Him, and about His kingdom, that it was to endure forever. (That “a wilderness” denotes such obscurity, see n. 2708, 4736, 7313.) For this reason the Word is compared to “a reed shaken by the wind” when it is explained at pleasure; for in the internal sense “a reed” denotes truth in the ultimate, such as is the Word in the letter.

[4] That the Word in the ultimate, or in the letter, is crude and obscure in the sight of men; but that in the internal sense it is soft and shining, is signified by their “not seeing a man clothed in soft raiment, for behold those who wear soft things are in kings’ houses.” That such things are signified by these words, is plain from the signification of “raiment,” or “garments,” as being truths (n. 2132, 2576, 4545, 4763, 5248, 6914, 6918, 9093); and for this reason the angels appear clothed in garments soft and shining according to the truths from good with them (n. 5248, 5319, 5954, 9212, 9216). The same is evident from the signification of “kings’ houses,” as being the abodes of the angels, and in the universal sense, the heavens; for “houses” are so called from good (n. 2233, 2234, 3128, 3652, 3720, 4622, 4982, 7836, 7891, 7996, 7997); and “kings,” from truth (n. 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 4575, 4581, 4966, 5044, 6148). Therefore by virtue of their reception of truth from the Lord, the angels are called “sons of the kingdom,” “sons of the king,” and also “kings.”

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2233-2234, 7996-7997)


[5] That the Word is more than any doctrine in the world, and more than any truth in the world, is signified by “what went ye out to see? a prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet;” and by, “there hath not arisen among those who are born of women a greater than John the Baptist;” for in the internal sense “a prophet” denotes doctrine (n. 2534, 7269); and “those who are born,” or are the sons, “of women” denote truths (n. 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623, 2803, 2813, 3704, 4257).

[6] That in the internal sense, or such as it is in heaven, the Word is in a degree above the Word in the external sense, or such as it is in the world, and such as John the Baptist taught, is signified by, “he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he;” for as perceived in heaven the Word is of wisdom so great that it transcends all human apprehension. That the prophecies about the Lord and His coming, and that the representatives of the Lord and of His kingdom, ceased when the Lord came into the world, is signified by, “all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.” That the Word was represented by John, as by Elijah, is signified by his being “Elias who is to come.”

[7] The same is signified by these words in Matthew:

The disciples asked Jesus, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? He answered and said, Elias must needs first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, that Elias hath come already, and they knew him not, but did unto him whatsoever they wished. Even so shall the Son of man also suffer of them. And they understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist (Matthew 17:10-13).

That “Elias hath come, and they knew him not, but did unto him whatsoever they wished” signifies that the Word has indeed taught them that the Lord is to come, but that still they did not wish to comprehend, interpreting it in favor of the rule of self, and thus extinguishing what is Divine in it. That they would do the same with the truth Divine itself, is signified by “even so shall the Son of man also suffer of them.” (That “the Son of man” denotes the Lord as to truth Divine, see n. 2803, 2813, 3704)

[8] From all this it is now evident what is meant by the prophecy about John in Malachi:

Behold I send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of Jehovah cometh (Malachi 4:5).

Moreover, the Word in the ultimate, or such as it is in the external form in which it appears before man in the world, is described by the “clothing” and “food” of John the Baptist, in Matthew:

John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, had His clothing of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his food was locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:1, 4).

In like manner it is described by Elijah in the second book of Kings:

He was a hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins (2 Kings 1:8).

By “clothing,” or a “garment,” when said of the Word, is signified truth Divine there in the ultimate form; by “camel’s hair” are signified memory-truths such as appear there before a man in the world; by the “leathern girdle” is signified the external bond connecting and keeping in order all the interior things; by “food” is signified spiritual nourishment from the knowledges of truth and of good out of the Word; by “locusts” are signified ultimate or most general truths; and by “wild honey” their pleasantness.

[9] That such things are signified by “clothing” and “food” has its origin in the representatives of the other life, where all appear clothed according to truths from good, and where food also is represented according to the desires of acquiring knowledge and growing wise. From this it is that “clothing,” or a “garment,” denotes truth (as may be seen from the citations above; and that “food” or “meat” denotes spiritual nourishment, n. 3114, 4459, 4792, 5147, 5293, 5340, 5342, 5576, 5579, 5915, 8562, 9003; that “a girdle” denotes a bond which gathers up and holds together interior things, n. 9341; that “leather” denotes what is external, n. 3540; and thus “a leathern girdle” denotes an external bond; that “hairs” denote ultimate or most general truths, n. 3301, 5569-5573; that “a camel” denotes memory-knowledge in general, n. 3048, 3071, 3143, 3145, 4156; that “a locust” denotes nourishing truth in the extremes, n. 7643; and that “honey” denotes the pleasantness thereof, n. 5620, 6857, 8056). It is called “wild honey,” or “honey of the field,” because by “a field” is signified the church (n. 2971, 3317, 3766, 7502, 7571, 9139, 9295). He who does not know that such things are signified, cannot possibly know why Elijah and John were so clothed. And yet that these things signified something peculiar to these prophets, can be thought by everyone who thinks well about the Word.

[10] Because John the Baptist represented the Lord as to the Word, therefore also when he spoke of the Lord, who was the Word itself, he said of himself that he was “not Elias, nor the prophet,” and that he was “not worthy to loose the latchet of the Lord’s shoe,” as in John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory. The Jews from Jerusalem, priests and Levites, asked John who he was. And he confessed, and denied not, I am not the Christ. Therefore they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? But he said, I am not. Art thou the prophet? He answered, No. They said therefore unto him, Who art thou? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said Isaiah the prophet. They said therefore, Why then baptizest thou, if thou art not the Christ, nor Elias, nor the prophet? He answered, I baptize with water; in the midst of you standeth one whom ye know not; He it is who is to come after me, who was before me, the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to unloose. When he saw Jesus, he said, Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, After me cometh a man who was before me; for he was before me (John 1:1, 14, 19-30).

From these words it is plain that when John spoke about the Lord Himself, who was Truth Divine itself, or the Word, he said that he himself was not anything, because the shadow disappears when the light itself appears, that is, the representative disappears when the original itself makes its appearance. (That the representatives had in view holy things, and the Lord Himself, and not at all the person that represented, see n. 665, 1097, 1361, 3147, 3881, 4208, 4281, 4288, 4292, 4307, 4444, 4500, 6304, 7048, 7439, 8588, 8788, 8806.) One who does not know that representatives vanish like shadows at the presence of light, cannot know why John denied that he was Elias and the prophet.

[11] From all this it can now be seen what is signified by Moses and Elias, who were seen in glory, and who spoke with the Lord when transfigured, of His departure which He should accomplish at Jerusalem (Luke 9:29-31); namely, that they signified the Word (“Moses” the historic Word, and “Elias” the prophetic Word), which in the internal sense throughout treats of the Lord, of His coming into the world, and of His departure out of the world; and therefore it is said that “Moses and Elias were seen in glory,” for “glory” denotes the internal sense of the Word, and the “cloud” its external sense (see the preface to Genesis 18, and n. 5922, 8427).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135; Exodus 24:1-2)

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Arcana Coelestia 9374, 9378, 9379, 9382, 9386, 9429, 9504, 9779, 9806, 9828, 9954, 10027, 10090, 10215, 10251, 10337, 10355, 10375, 10396, 10397, 10400, 10432, 10450, 10460, 10468, 10528, 10549, 10551, 10635, 10636, 10641, 10690


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Apocalypse Explained 19, 64, 66, 83, 130, 355, 375, 701, 710, 735, 746

Other New Christian Commentary

John the Baptist 1

Elijah 1

Leathern girdle, the, which john the Baptist wore 1

Locusts 1

Raiment 1

Reed shaken with the wind 1


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg
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Arcana Coelestia #2813

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2813. And bound Isaac his son. That this signifies the state of the Divine rational thus about to undergo as to truth the last degrees of temptation, is evident from the signification of “binding,” and also of “Isaac his son.” That to “bind” is to put on the state for undergoing the last degrees of temptation, is evident from the fact that he who is in a state of temptation is no otherwise than as bound or chained. That “Isaac the son” is the Lord’s Divine rational, here as to truth, may be seen above (n. 2802, 2803). All the genuine rational consists of good and truth. The Lord’s Divine rational as to good could not suffer, or undergo temptations; for no genius or spirit inducing temptations can come near to Good Divine, as it is above all attempt at temptation. But Truth Divine bound was what could be tempted; for there are fallacies, and still more falsities, which break in upon and thus tempt it; for concerning Truth Divine some idea can be formed, but not concerning Good Divine except by those who have perception, and are celestial angels. It was Truth Divine which was no longer acknowledged when the Lord came into the world, and therefore it was that from which the Lord underwent and endured temptations. Truth Divine in the Lord is what is called the “Son of man,” but Good Divine is what is called the “Son of God.” Of the “Son of man” the Lord says many times that He was to suffer, but never of the Son of God. That He says this of the Son of man, or of Truth Divine, is evident in Matthew:

Behold we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man shall be delivered, unto the chief priests and scribes, and they shall condemn Him, and shall deliver Him unto the Gentiles to mock and to scourge, and to crucify (Matthew 20:18-19).

Jesus said to His disciples, Behold the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is delivered into the hands of sinners (Matthew 26:45).

In Mark:

Jesus began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders, and the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again (Mark 8:31).

It is written of the Son of man, that He shall suffer many things, and be set at nought. And the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill Him; but when He is killed He shall rise again on the third day (Mark 9:12, 31).

Behold we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests and the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him unto the Gentiles, and they shall mock Him, and shall spit upon Him, and shall kill Him, and the third day He shall rise again (Mark 10:33-34).

The hour is come; behold the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners (Mark 14:41).

In Luke:

The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and the third day rise again (Luke 9:22, 44).

We go up to Jerusalem, where all the things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished; He shall be delivered up unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and shamefully entreated, and spit upon, and they shall scourge and kill Him, and the third day He shall rise again (Luke 18:31-33).

The angel said to the women, Remember what He spake unto you when He was yet in Galilee, saying that the Son of man must be delivered up into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again (Luke 24:6-7).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2802-2803)


[2] In all these places by the “son of man” is meant the Lord as to Truth Divine, or as to the Word in its internal sense, which was rejected by the chief priests and scribes, was shamefully entreated, scourged, spit upon, and crucified, as may be clearly evident from the fact that the Jews applied and arrogated everything to themselves according to the letter, and were not willing to know anything about the spiritual sense of the Word, and about the heavenly kingdom, believing that the Messiah was to come to raise up their kingdom above all the kingdoms of the earth, as they also believe at this day. Hence it is manifest that it was Truth Divine which was rejected by them, shamefully treated, scourged, and crucified. Whether you say Truth Divine, or the Lord as to Truth Divine, it is the same; for the Lord is the Truth itself, as He is the Word itself (n. 2011, 2016, 2533 at the end).

[3] The Lord’s rising again on the third day also involves that Truth Divine, or the Word as to the internal sense, as it was understood by the Ancient Church, will be revived in the consummation of the age, which is also the “third day” (n. 1825, 2788); on which account it is said that the Son of man (that is, Truth Divine) will then appear (Matthew 24:30, 37, 39, 44; Mark 13:26; Luke 17:22, 24-26, 30; 21:27, 36).

[4] That the “Son of man” is the Lord as to Truth Divine, is evident from the passages adduced, and further from the following.

In Matthew:

He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man, the field is the world. In the consummation of the age the Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend (Matthew 13:37, 41-42); where the “good seed” is the truth; the “world” is men; “He that soweth the seed” is the Son of man; and the “things that offend” are falsities.

In John:

The multitude said, We have heard out of the Law that the Christ abideth forever; and how sayest Thou that the Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man ? Jesus answered them, A little while is the Light with you; walk while ye have the Light, that darkness overtake you not; for he that walketh in the darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have the Light, believe in the Light, that ye may become the sons of Light (John 12:34-35); where, when they asked who the Son of man is, Jesus answered concerning the Light, which is the Truth, and that He is the Light or Truth in which they should believe. (As regards the Light which is from the Lord, and which is the Divine Truth, see above, n. 1053, 1521, 1529-1531, 1619-1632)

(References: John 12:34-36; Matthew 13:37-38, Matthew 13:40-42)


[5] But that the Son of God, or the Lord as to Good in His Human Divine could not be tempted, as was said above, this is manifest also from the Lord’s answer to the tempter, in the Evangelists:

The tempter said, If Thou art the Son of God cast Thyself down; for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee, lest haply Thou dash Thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God (Matthew 4:6-7Luke 4:9-12).

(References: Genesis 22:9; John 12:34-36; Matthew 13:37-38, 13:40-42)

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Arcana Coelestia 2817, 2824, 3703, 3704, 3927, 4060, 4334, 4765, 4781, 4809, 5376, 6418, 7839, 8127, 8281, 8571, 8705, 8890, 8902, 8904, 8982, 9000, 9156, 9199, 9281, 9309, 9325, 9372, 9528, 9548, 9666, 9684, 9807, 10067, 10402, 10494, 10540, 10545

Heaven and Hell 86

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 201, 302, 303, 310


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 32, 242, 900

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Arcana Coelestia #8705

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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8705. 'And you are to bring matters to God' means mediation and intercession. This is clear from the meaning of 'bringing matters to God', when said in reference to Divine Truth, as mediating with the Divine Himself and interceding; for one who mediates and intercedes brings matters to Him who offers aid. Mediation and intercession are the work of Divine Truth because it exists nearest Divine Good, which is the Lord Himself. The reason why Divine Truth exists nearest Divine Good, which is the Lord, is that it goes forth directly from Him.

Since the opportunity is provided, the nature of the Lord's mediating and interceding will be stated here. People who believe that three persons constitute the Godhead, yet taken together are called one God, derive from the literal sense of the Word no other idea of mediation and intercession than this: The Lord sits on His Father's right hand and speaks to Him in the way that one human being does to another, bringing people's supplications to Him, and asking the Father for His sake, because He endured the Cross for the human race, to pardon and have mercy. An idea of intercession and mediation such as this every simple person derives from the literal sense of the Word.

[2] But it should be recognized that the literal sense accords with simple people's level of understanding, in order that they may be led into more internal truths which are actual truths. The simple cannot picture the heavenly kingdom except as an earthly kingdom, the Father except as a king on earth, and the Lord except as the king's son who is heir to the throne. The fact that such ideas are what simple people possess is plainly evident from the ideas the Lord's actual apostles had regarding His kingdom. Initially they believed, like all other Jews, that since He was the Messiah the Lord was going to be the greatest king on earth and was going to exalt them to a position of glory above all the nations and peoples throughout the entire world. But when they heard from the Lord Himself that His kingdom was not on earth but in heaven they could do no other than think that His kingdom in heaven was going to be exactly like a kingdom on earth. This also explains why James and John asked that they might sit one on His right and the other on His left in His kingdom, and why the rest of the apostles, who also wished to become great in that kingdom, were angry and argued with one another about which of them was to be the greatest there; and since such ideas were firmly fixed in them and could not be rooted out the Lord also told them that they would sit on twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel, see Mark 10:37, 41; Luke 22:24, 30; Matthew 19:28. But they did not at that time know what the Lord really meant by 'twelve thrones', 'the twelve tribes', and 'judging'.

(References: Luke 22:24-30; Mark 10:37-41)


[3] From all this one may now see what people's ideas about the Lord's mediating and interceding with the Father are like, and where they come from. But anyone who is acquainted with the more internal truths of the Word has an altogether different conception of the Lord's mediation and of His intercession. They conceive of Him interceding not as a son does on earth with his king and father, but as the Lord of all things with Himself, and as God by Himself; for the Father and He are not two but one, as He Himself teaches, John 14:8-11. The reason why He is called Mediator and Intercessor is that 'the Son' is used to mean Divine Truth, and 'the Father' Divine Good, 2803, 2813, 3704, and mediation is done by Divine Truth, through which lies access to Divine Good Divine Good, being like the fire of the sun, is unapproachable; but Divine Truth, being like the light from the sun, is approachable. It provides a person's inner eye - the eye of faith - with a means and access to [Divine Good], 8644. From this one may see what mediation and intercession are.

[4] Something must also be said now about how the Lord, who is Himself Divine Good and the Sun of heaven, comes to be called One who mediates and intercedes with the Father. While He was in the world, before He was fully glorified, the Lord was Divine Truth; during that time therefore mediation took place, and He interceded with the Father, that is, with Divine Good itself, John 14:16-17; 17:9, 15, 17. But now, ever since His Human has been glorified, He is called the Mediator and Intercessor because no one can think of the Divine Himself unless he envisages Him as a Divine Man (Homo). Still less can anyone be joined in love to the Divine Himself unless He is envisaged as such. The ideas of anyone who thinks of the Divine Himself without envisaging Him as a Divine Man, lack definition, and an idea in which nothing definite is seen is not an idea. Alternatively, to conceive of the Divine he may think of the visible universe stretching out endlessly or ending in obscurity. Such an idea ties up with that which worshippers of nature have; it also reduces the idea of the Divine to nature, and so ceases to be an idea of Him. From this it is evident that nobody with such ideas could be joined to the Divine through faith, or through love. Any joining together requires an object, and such joining depends on the essential nature of the object. So it is that in respect of the Divine Human the Lord is called Mediator and Intercessor, though He mediates and intercedes with Himself. The truth that no ideas can be formed to picture the Divine Himself is clear from the Lord's words in John,

Nobody has ever seen God; the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He has made Him known. John 1:18.

And in the same gospel

You have never heard the Father's voice nor seen His shape. John 5:37.

[5] However, it is a remarkable fact that none of those whose thought about God springs from self or the flesh have any definite mental picture of Him when they think about Him, whereas those whose thought about God does not spring from self or the flesh but from the spirit do have a definite mental picture when they think about Him, that is, they envisage the Divine within a human shape. That is the way in which the angels in heaven think about the Divine, and it was the way in which the wise people of old thought about Him. Furthermore whenever the Divine Himself appeared to them He did so as Divine Man; for the Divine as He passes through heaven is Divine Man. The reason for this is that heaven is the Grand Man, as has been shown at the ends of quite a number of chapters. From all this one may see what the intelligent in the world are like and what the intelligent in heaven are like. That is to say, one may see that the intelligent in the world dismiss the idea of the human; as a result of this no mediation takes place between their mind and the Divine, and they are therefore in thick darkness. But the intelligent in heaven picture the Divine within the Human; thus for them mediation resides in the Lord, and their minds as a result have light.

(References: Exodus 18:19)

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The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 310

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Divine Truth 1

Explanation of John 1:18 1


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg

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