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John 1:19-4:54, Part 1 (of 6 Parts)

by Karl Kemp  
11/27/2012 / Bible Studies

"Scripture Quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible, Copyright 1960, 1962, 1953, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission." (

The original version of this paper was published in August, 2005. It was modified to some extent (a rather limited extent) in 2007 to produce the internet version of the paper. I was able to use footnotes, bold, italics, underlining, etc. in the original paper and in the internet edition. In October, 2012 I am splitting this paper into six parts and putting it in the proper format to put on several Christian article sites. I am making some improvements to this paper at this time, including correcting a few typographical errors, rewriting a few passages, adding a little content, and updating cross-references to my other writings.

All quotations from the Bible were taken from the New American Standard Bible, 1995 edition, unless otherwise noted. Sometimes I will use double brackets [[ ]] or (( )) to make them more obvious.

Contents (and the page numbers of the original and internet versions of this paper for your information):

John 1:19-54..... 1

John Chapter 2..... 9

John Chapter 3..... 14

John Chapter 4..... 28

Other Verses, Topics that Are Discussed in this Paper:

Deuteronomy 18:15-19..... 1

Isaiah 40:3-5..... 1, 2

Malachi 3:1..... 2

Malachi 4:5, 6..... 1, 2

On water baptism, the new birth, and baptism in the Spirit..... 3, 4, 14-17

JOHN 1:19-51.

John 1:1-18, the super-important prologue for the Gospel of John, is discussed verse-by-verse in a paper on my internet site (Google to Karl Kemp Teaching). I also have papers on John chapters 5-8; chapters 10-12 (with 9:35-41); chapters 13-17; and chapters 18-20 on my internet site. All the papers are verse-by-verse studies. John 9:1-5 are discussed on pages 49-52 of my book, "Holiness and Victory Over Sin."

Now we'll start with John 1:19.

"This is the testimony of John [John the Baptist], when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem [John 1:28 shows where John the Baptist was when the priests and Levites came to question him.] to ask him, 'Who are you?' (20) And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, 'I am not the Christ.' [Compare John 1:7, 8, 15; 3:28-30; and Luke 3:15-17.] (21) They asked him, 'What then? Are you Elijah?' And he said, 'I am not.' [[Compare Matt. 16:14. In one sense John the Baptist was Elijah. (His ministry was a partial fulfillment of the prophecy regarding the coming of Elijah the prophet of Mal. 4:5, 6.) Jesus said so (Matt. 11:14; 17:10-13; and Mark 9:11-13). ((I had a footnote: See my paper that includes a verse-by-verse study of Malachi 2:17-4:6 on my internet site. For one thing, I deal there with the fact that the ministry of the two end-time prophets of Rev. 11:3-12 (or at least one of those prophets) will be required to exhaust the fulfillment of the prophecy of Mal. 4:5, 6 (and the prophecy of Isa. 40:3-5). That end-time ministry will take place just before the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, when He comes to judge the world at the end of this age. John the Baptist's ministry helped prepare the way for the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.))

The angel Gabriel told Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, that "[John] will go as a forerunner before Him [God the Son] IN THE SPIRIT AND POWER OF ELIJAH [my capitalization], 'to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children' ["quoting" from Mal. 4:6], and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord" (Luke 1:17).

God may not have revealed to John the Baptist that he was to fulfill the role of Elijah the prophet of Mal. 4:5, 6, or John may have denied that he was Elijah because the Jews were thinking in terms of the prophet of old coming back in the last days. John wasn't Elijah in that literal sense, but he came IN THE SPIRIT AND POWER OF ELIJAH and partially fulfilled the prophecy regarding "Elijah the prophet" of Mal. 4:5, 6.]] 'Are you the Prophet?' [[See Deut. 18:15-19; John 1:25; 6:14; and 7:40. I'll quote the paragraph that F. F. Bruce has regarding "the Prophet" here ("Gospel of John" [Eerdmans, 1983], page 48). "These words of Moses [Deut. 18:15-19] were early understood to point to one particular prophet, a second Moses, who would exercise the full mediatorial function that Moses had exercised. the end of the Pentateuch it is recorded that 'there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face' (Deut. 34:10). It came to be believed that the prophet like Moses would not be raised up until the end of the age. In some circles, especially among the Samaritans, the Messiah was envisaged in terms of this coming prophet.... (Bruce has a footnote here, "See comments on John 4:19, 25 (pp. 108, 111). Compare the expectation of an end-time prophet in the Qumran text [Dead Sea Scrolls] quoted in n. 34.") ...."]] And he answered, 'No.' (22) Then they said to him, 'Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?' (23) He said, 'I am A VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, "MAKE STRAIGHT THE WAY OF THE LORD," as Isaiah the prophet said [in Isa. 40:3].' [[John's call for repentance, his baptism of repentance, and his pointing people to the Lord Jesus Christ was designed to "make straight the way of the Lord" before the Lord comes to save and to judge; he thus partially fulfilled the prophecies of Isa. 40:3-5 and Mal. 4:5, 6. (See under verse 21.) See Matt. 3:1-12; Mark 1:1-8; Luke 3:1-18. ((Isaiah 40:3 is quoted in all three passages. Mark 1:2 also quotes from Mal. 3:1. (I had a footnote: Malachi 3:1 is an important prophetic verse dealing with the ministry of John the Baptist and the end-time prophets of Rev. 11:3-12. See under Mal. 3:1 in my paper on Malachi 2:17-4:6.) Luke 3:5, 6 go on to quote most of Isa. 40:4, 5 from the Septuagint version.))]] (24) Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. [[The NIV translates, "Now some Pharisees who had been sent questioned him." I'll quote part of what D. A. Carson says here ("Gospel According to John" [Eerdmans, 1991], page 144). "By far the best alternative is that of the NEB: 'Some Pharisees who were in the deputation asked him.' "]] (25) They asked him, and said to him, 'Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?' [See John 1:19-21.] (26) John answered them saying, 'I baptize in water [a baptism in water tied to repentance (cf. Matt. 3:1-11; Mark 1:1-5; and Luke 3:1-14)], but among you stands One whom you do not know [referring, as the following words demonstrate, to the Lord Jesus Christ]. (27) It is He who comes after me [[Christ came after John the Baptist in that John was born first by about six months (see Luke 1:5-57, especially verses 26, 36, 56, 57) and in that the ministry of John the Baptist began first, so he could help prepare the way for Christ Jesus through calling the people to repentance and pointing them to Him and His all-important ministry as Savior and Judge.]], the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie [cf. Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:7; and Luke 3:16].' (28) These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. [[There is much uncertainty as to the location of this Bethany (clearly to be distinguished from the village of Bethany very near Jerusalem, where Lazarus, Mary, and Martha lived), but it was beyond (on the east side of) the Jordan River, near the river - John was baptizing in that river (cf. Matt. 3:6, 13; Mark 1:5, 9).]] (29) The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, 'Behold, the Lamb of God [cf. Isa. 53:7; John 1:36; Acts 8:32; 1 Pet. 1:19; Rev. 5:6, 8, 12, 13; and 6:1] who takes away the sin of the world! [As Isa. 52:13-53:12, for example, show, Jesus took away the sin of the world (for all believers) by bearing our sins with the guilt (so we could be forgiven) and with our penalties (so we could get out from under those penalties, especially the penalties of spiritual death and bondage to sin [cf., e.g., Matt. 1:21; 1 Pet. 1:14-20; 2:24, 25; and 1 John 3:5]), not to mention being saved from the lake of fire. Furthermore, He opened the door to eternal glory for us.]] (30) This is He on behalf of whom I said, "After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me [See John 1:15.]." [[See under John 1:27. Christ Jesus existed before John the Baptist in that He was God the Son, who always existed with God the Father and God the Spirit, and through whom all things that were created were created (see John 1:1-3). As I mentioned, my verse-by-verse study of John 1:1-18 is on my internet site. See my papers "The Name Yahweh and God the Father and God the Son"; "Who Do We Worship?"; "Who Do We Pray To?" and "More on the Trinity" on this Christian article site.]] (31) I did not recognize ["know" NIV; NKJV] Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel [cf., e.g., John 1:6-8, 15, 26-36], I came baptizing in water.' [[John the Baptist undoubtedly knew a lot about Jesus (cf. Luke 1:39-80), but it wasn't confirmed to him that Jesus was the Christ, who would be anointed with the Spirit in a very special way and who would baptize in the Holy Spirit (see John 1:32, 33), and that He was the Son of God (see John 1:34), until He saw the Spirit descend on Jesus and remain on Him (see John 1:32-34; cf. Matt. 3:16, 17; Mark 1:10, 11; Luke 3:21, 22; and Acts 10:38). On the promised Christ/Messiah (the Anointed One), see, for example, Isa. 11:1-10; 42:1; and 61:1-3 with Luke 4:14-21. The word "Christ" comes from the Greek and means the Anointed One; "Messiah" comes from the Hebrew and means the Anointed One.] (32) John testified saying, 'I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. [See under John 1:31.] (33) I did not recognize ["know" NKJV] Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, "He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him [See under verse 34.], this is the One who baptizes [or, immerses] in the Holy Spirit." [[Baptism/immersion in the Holy Spirit is mentioned six other places in the New Testament (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; Acts 1:5; 11:16; and 1 Cor. 12:13). The first three references, and the fifth (Acts 11:16), all refer to these same words spoken by John the Baptist about Jesus Christ being the One would baptize/immerse in the Holy Spirit, and Acts 1:5 is very similar. In Acts 1:4, 5 Jesus (after He was resurrected and shortly before He was taken up to heaven in a cloud forty days after His resurrection) told His disciples "to wait FOR WHAT THE FATHER HAD PROMISED [my emphasis], 'Which,' He said, 'you have heard from Me; (5) for John baptized with [in] water, but you will be baptized with [in] the Holy Spirit not many days from now [some ten days after His ascension, on the day of Pentecost]." In the Old Testament THE FATHER HAD PROMISED that the time would come that He would pour out the Holy Spirit on His people (cf., e.g., Isa. 32:15-18; 44:3-5; Ezek. 36:25-27; 37:14; and Joel 2:28, 29 with Acts 2:16-21). These Old Testament verses (with the exception of Joel 2:28, 29) put all the emphasis on the LIFE-GIVING (which starts with the new birth), SANCTIFYING (MAKING HOLY) work of the Spirit.

It has been clear to me for a long time (since I made it a priority over a ten to fifteen year period to carefully search out the balanced truth of what the Bible has to say on this topic) that baptism/immersion in the Spirit (in all seven uses of these words in the New Testament) includes the new birth, the new-covenant sanctifying (making holy) work of the Spirit, and the new-covenant charismatic dimension of the Spirit's work. Pentecostals and charismatics typically define baptism/immersion in the Spirit as something that follows (as a second experience) the new birth by the Spirit. ((I had a footnote: Pentecostals and charismatics should be commended for insisting that the charismatic dimension of the work of the Spirit is available to believers today and for leading the way to enter that dimension of the Spirit's work in our generation. That dimension of His work is extremely important and we need all of the grace that He has made available to us. It is also true that many Christians in our day enter the charismatic dimension of the Spirit's work as a second experience.))

However, for one thing, that viewpoint doesn't fit the context in which John the Baptist spoke these words (see Matt. 3:1-12, for example). He was speaking to people who were not born again and who desperately needed the life-giving, sanctifying (making holy) work of the Spirit. That's what they needed to get ready for the day of judgment that John the Baptist warned about. All the emphasis of the context in which John the Baptist spoke these words about Christ Jesus baptizing/immersing in the Spirit, and the overall context in which the apostle John reported these words (here in John chapter 1), is on the new birth and the sanctifying (making holy) work of the Spirit, not on anointing believers for the charismatic dimension of His work (see, for example, Matt. 3:1-12; John 1:12, 13, 23, 29, 36; 3:3-8, 14-21).

The charismatic dimension of the Spirit's work in believers is included in what baptism/immersion in the Spirit means in the New Testament. Jesus Himself ministered in the charismatic dimension in a powerful way after He received/was anointed with the Spirit, and the book of Acts and 1 Corinthians chapter 12 (I had a footnote: Baptism/immersion in the Spirit is specifically mentioned in Acts 1:5; 11:16; and 1 Cor. 12:13.) and other passages put some emphasis on the fact that baptism/immersion in the Spirit includes the charismatic dimension of the Spirit's work. Christ Jesus (the God-man) was different than us in that He already had spiritual life and was perfectly holy and without sin before He received the Spirit. He didn't need to be born again by the Spirit or sanctified by the Spirit like we do.

I have discussed the important topic of baptism/immersion in the Spirit in some detail in my writings, aiming for the balanced truth of what the Bible teaches. See my paper "Charismatic Gifts and Charismatic Chaos," (pages 17-20), including the footnotes. (That paper isn't available on my internet site or this Christian article site, but I could send you a copy of the paper.) I'll quote a paragraph from what I said there about other discussions on this topic in my earlier writings, "Start with the discussion of 1 Cor. 12:13 in my paper that includes verse-by-verse studies of 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14 that are available on this Christian article site, including the subsection titled, 'Further Discussion on the Meaning of the Words "Baptism in the Holy Spirit" in the New Testament.' In a footnote under 1 Cor. 12:13 I cited references to further discussions on this important topic from my book "Holiness and Victory Over Sin" (pages 125-139) and to my "A Paper on Faith" on my internet site (starting with Acts 15:1-11 near the end of paper; read to the end of the paper). To get the full picture it will be necessary to read all three discussions. This topic is controversial; that makes it all the more important. We must seek God for the balanced truth of what the Bible teaches. Most Christians assume what they believe is the balanced truth already (on all or most topics); but those holding differing viewpoints can't all be right. Very often we have part of the truth, not the whole truth/the balanced truth." How precious is the truth!]] (34) I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.' [[On Christ's being the Son of God, compare, for example, John 1:34, 49; 3:16, 18; and 20:31. John the Baptist had seen the Spirit descend and remain on Jesus (cf. verse 33) right after he baptized Him in water (cf. Matt. 3:13-16; Mark 1:9, 10; and Luke 3:21, 22). John also undoubtedly heard the voice from God the Father out of heaven on that occasion testifying that Jesus was His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased (Matt. 3:17; Mark 1:11; and Luke 3:22). John the Baptist clearly understood that Jesus was much more than just a very special man (cf. John 1:15, 27, 29, 30). John had undoubtedly learned of the virgin birth from his parents (cf. Luke 1:26-56; in Luke 1:43 Elizabeth said, "And how has it happened to me, that the mother OF MY LORD [my emphasis] would come to me?"). Mary and Elizabeth were related (Luke 1:36).]] (35) Again the next day [The NIV translates, "The next day John was there again...." This next day was the day after John proclaimed in the presence of Jesus that He was the Lamb of God, the Anointed One (as recorded in John 1:29-34). The day before that he had testified about Him, but Jesus wasn't there and John didn't identify Him (John 1:26, 27).] John [John the Baptist] was standing with two of his disciples [We know that Andrew, the brother of Peter was one of the two disciples (see verses 40, 41). There is widespread agreement that the other (unnamed) disciple mentioned here was John, the apostle who wrote this Gospel. (The other unnamed disciple here could have been James, John's brother.) John never directly mentions himself (or his brother James) in this Gospel. ((John is indirectly mentioned in John 13:23-27; 19:26, 27; 20:2-10; 21:7, 20-24; and undoubtedly also 18:15-17. (I had a footnote: John 21:2 is something of an exception in that "the sons of Zebedee" (which would be John and James his brother) are directly mentioned. For one thing, John chapter 21 seems to have been added to John chapters 1-20. Also, it is clear that John did not write verse 24 of chapter 21, at least he didn't write the last words of that verse, "This is the disciple [John] who is testifying to these things and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true.")) The detailed information in these verses (and throughout the Gospel of John in general) came from John's being an eyewitness; he was qualified to testify to the truthfulness of these things (see John 21:24, which I just quoted).] (36) and he [John the Baptist] looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, 'Behold, the Lamb of God!' (37) The two disciples heard him [John the Baptist] speak, and they followed Jesus. [John the Baptist apparently made it clear that the two disciples should follow Jesus.] (38) And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, 'What do you seek?' They said to Him, 'Rabbi [cf. John 1:49] (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?' (39) He said to them, 'Come, and you will see.' [Jesus encouraged them to follow Him.] So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. [[In the margin the NASB has a note regarding the "tenth hour": "Perhaps 10 a.m. (Roman time)." The most common view is that this was the tenth hour after sunrise, about 4 p.m. ((I had a lengthy footnote: I'll quote part of what Andreas J. Kostenberger says here ("John" [Baker, 2004], page 75). "The evangelist's reference to the 'tenth hour' is the first reference to time in this Gospel (later instances are 4:6, 52; 19:14). Clearly, by mentioning the time, the evangelist gives evidence of eyewitness testimony (e.g., Morris 1995: 138-39). Though it is sometimes argued that Roman reckoning of time commenced at midnight - so that 'tenth hour,' for example, would mean 'ten in the morning' (HCSB [Holman Christian Standard Bible]; NASB footnote) - the preponderance of evidence suggests that in the first century of Jesus' Palestine, time was counted from sunrise to sunset (i.e., from about 6 A.M. until about 6 P.M.; cf. John 11:9)." Kostenberger has a footnote here, "Carson (1991: 156-157) points out that the primary support for the Roman time-reckoning theory come from Pliny the Elder, who notes that Roman authorities (like Egyptian ones) counted the official civil day from midnight to midnight - for example, in cases of leases and other documents that expired at day's end. But Pliny himself says that 'common people everywhere' conceive of the day as running 'from dawn to dark' ("Natural History" 2.188). See also the discussion in Morris 1995: 138 n. 91.")) I prefer the viewpoint that John used the so called Roman time in this Gospel and that it was about 10 a.m. This viewpoint is quite relevant to the interpretation of John 19:14. See under John 4:6 and 4:52 in this paper and under John 19:14 in my paper on John chapters 18-20, which is on my internet site and probably will be on this Christian article site in the near future.

I'll quote part of what William Hendricksen says here ("Gospel of John" (Baker Book House, 1953), pages 104, 105. "... Does this mean...about 4 P.M.? This would be in accordance with the Jewish method of computing time, recognized in the Synoptics. But the same method was frequently used among the Romans. [The Romans]...also started from midnight and from noon, just as we do today. They employed the latter method in order to designate the hours of their civil day (e.g., in dating leases and contracts). However, contemporary records do not make clear just where the one method of figuring the hours ended and the other began. Usage probably differed in different regions. ... ...we believe (with A. Edersheim, A. T. Robertson, F. W. Grosheide, and many others) that much can be said in favor of [10 A.M.]: (1) John is writing at the close of the first century. His readers are Christians from among the Gentiles (mostly). ... He may have used the Roman civil-day method. (2) In 20:19 the author must mean the Roman day. [Hendricksen's point here that "as the Jews compute the days it was no longer the first day of the week" when Jesus appeared to His disciples, but John says (in John 20:19), "So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week...." Under John 20:19 (page 458) Hendricksen goes on to say, "But John, though a Jew, is writing much later than Matthew and Mark, and does not seem to concern himself with Jewish time reckoning."] ... (3) The context would seem to favor this interpretation. We read, 'They remained with him that day.' Had it been 4 P.M., we would have expected, 'They remained with him that evening.' Cf. Luke 24:29. Also, if the tenth hour means 10 A.M., there is sufficient time on that same day for the search which resulted in the bringing in of two more disciples: Simon Peter and (in all probability) James. (See verses 41, 42)." [As Hendricksen continues with his reasons 4 and 5 he argues that the so-called Roman method fits the other three verses where the time is mentioned in the Gospel of John better, and especially for John 19:14.]

I'll also quote part of what B. F. Westcott says regarding the time here ("Gospel According to St. John" (Baker, 1980 reprint), page 49). "The tenth hour, i.e. 10 a.m. Compare John 4:6, note, and additional note on John chapter 19 [that deals with the time in John 1:39; 4:6, 52; and 19:14 (pages 324-326)]. An early hour seems to suit best the fulness of the day's events: The conviction - the finding of Peter - the finding of James. ...."]] (40) One of the two who heard John [John the Baptist] speak and followed Him [Christ Jesus], was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. [[Compare Matt. 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; and Luke 5:1-11. (I had a footnote: These verses in the Synoptic Gospels [Matthew, Mark, and Luke] speak of things that came to pass later than the things spoken of here in John chapter 1.) As I mentioned under verse 35, there is widespread agreement that the other disciple was John, the writer of this Gospel.]] (41) He [Andrew] found first his own brother Simon [The NIV translates, "The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon...."] and said to him, 'We have found the Messiah [from the Hebrew; it means the Anointed One; cf. Dan. 9:25]' (which translated means Christ [from the Greek; it means the Anointed One]). [[Evidently Simon Peter was a disciple of John the Baptist too (along with Andrew and the other disciple, apparently John). It is clear that Peter was in that vicinity at that time; he undoubtedly had come with the others to be with John the Baptist. Otherwise Andrew could not have found him and brought him to Jesus that same day. (I had a footnote: Note that John 1:43 goes on to speak of things that happened the following day, even as verses 29-34 spoke of things that happened the preceding day.) Assuming the other disciple was John, it is probable that he also went and found his brother, James, and brought him to Jesus. (I had a footnote: Some commentators believe the word first in verse 41 refers to the fact that Andrew found his brother first, and brought him to Jesus, which includes the idea that the other disciple also found his brother and brought him to Jesus.) Apparently James was a disciple of John the Baptist too and was there in that vicinity. It is clear that these four men (Andrew, Peter, James, and John) had kindred hearts and did things together; they were in the fishing business together (see the references under verse 40), apparently they were disciples of John the Baptist together, and we know that they all became apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the listing of the twelve apostles in Matt. 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16; and Acts 1:13 (eleven apostles are listed in Acts 1:13; Judas had fallen away), these four apostles are listed first.]] (42) He [Andrew] brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas [[cf. 1 Cor. 1:12; 3:22; 9:5; 15:5; Gal. 1:18; and 2:9, 11, 14 ((I had a footnote: I'll quote a few sentences from what D. A. Carson says here ("Gospel According to John" [Eerdmans, 1991], page 156). "...Cephas: doubtless in Aramaic the expression was kepa, a word meaning 'rock.' The terminal 's' in 'Cephas' reflects an attempt to give the Aramaic word a Greek spelling (a pattern also adopted by Paul, e.g. 1 Cor. 9:5; Gal. 1:18). Because most of his readers cannot be expected to know any semitic language, John provides the translation, 'Peter.' "))]]" (which is translated Peter ["I.e. Rock or stone" (margin of NASB). Cephas is from an Aramaic word meaning rock, and Peter from a Greek word meaning rock.].

We will continue this verse-by-verse study of John 1:19-4:54 in Part 2, starting with John 1:43.

Copyright by Karl Kemp Karl Kemp worked as an engineer in the space field throughout the 60s. He became a born-again Christian in 1964. He received an MA in Biblical Studies in 1972. He has been a Bible teacher for 45 years. See the website for more info on his books, papers, etc.

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