It Is Finished

The last thing that Jesus spoke before He breathed his last breath was “It is finished”.  In English, this phrase takes up three words but in the original language, Jesus spoke a single verb which we in English translates “It is finished”.  This word that Jesus spoke before He breathed his last breath, “it is finished,” is an interesting word, because it is not a past tense word such as “It finished”.  It is not a future tense word such as “It will be finished”.  It also is not a present tense word such as “I am finishing”.  It is what we call a perfect tense word. This is hard to translate in English but it is edifying to understand.  A perfect tense action is an action that was completed in the past but has present effects in the present and into the future.  This is the thrust of Jesus’ statement as He dies on the cross.  Two central aspects:

First: The work that I have come to accomplish is done: The wrath of God that sinners deserve is finished being paid for on the cross.  The obedience to the father that He was supposed to do perfectly is done.  No more payment for sin must be bore.  It is finished.

Second: This finished work of redemption has present effects that continue into the future.  The finished work on the cross means, you don’t have to go searching for forgiveness anymore.  You don’t have to work your way to right standing with God! It is finished! Jesus has finished defeating the power and penalty for sin.  You can now walk in newness of life for all the was required is finished on the cross.  As Hebrews 10:14, “By a single offering he (Jesus) has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”

This changes the way we live life.  There is no longer a need that was not addressed and taken care of as Jesus suffered for us.  Do you need healing?  Jesus says, “It is finished.”  As a sinner, you need forgiveness.  Jesus on the cross says to you who have turned to him in faith, “It is finished.”

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Take care of your Family: The Mandate of the Bible & the Example of Jesus.

This morning (10/25/2015) I preached the glorification of Jesus on the cross in John 19:16-30.  While Jesus was suffering crucifixion, He arranges for His disciple John to take care of His mother in His absence.

25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

Here in the text, Jesus sets an example for us as he fulfills the command of God to “Honor your father and mother” (Ex. 20:12).  The reason I did not focus on this in the sermon much is that this is not John’s main point or intention as he includes this in the passion narrative.  It seems that John’s main focus is not on Jesus as our example but rather Jesus as being obedient to the father in our place and displaying his love for his people in creating a new family called the church.  Nevertheless there is still a lesson that we see by Jesus’ example.  Even in his great agony and pain, Jesus has a concern for the well-being of His mother.  As He is bearing the sins of the world, His heart is full of compassion for His mother, seeing His need to provide for her.

This call for us to take care of our family is modeled for us in this passage and also commanded of us in the Bible.  I already mentioned Exodus 20:12.  We also have 1 Timothy 5:8 which says, “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”  This is a stern warning and a clear command.  A mark of a follower of Jesus is one who like Jesus has compassion on those in His own family, seeking even to their dying breath to preserve the well-being of the family, especially ones parents.  It is not the job of the government to take care of your parents (though I am thankful that they are often willing to help when there is need).  As long as you are still alive and able, it is also not the churches’ responsibility to provide for your parents (Read 1 Tim. 5:3-16).  It is your responsibility. Follow the example of Jesus and the mandate of the Bible: take care of your family, especially your parents.

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How we may Read the Scriptures with most Spiritual Profit

This is a fruitful outline from a written sermon by the English Puritan Thomas Watson.  This godly man did not have an easy life, as he faced much persecution and lost all of his young kids during his lifetime.  In the midst of suffering, Watson found his hope not in his situation but in God and in the words of Scripture.  Reading Watson’s sermon gave me much spiritual profit and here is the basic points that Watson makes.  Some of the points are written word for word, but many points are simplified so they can be understood easily.

How we may Read the Scriptures with most Spiritual Profit

  1. Remove those things which will hinder your profiting
    1. Remove the love of every sin
    2. Take heed of the idols which will choke the word read
    3. Take heed of mess around with scripture
  2. Prepare your hearts to the reading of the word.
    1. In controlling our thoughts
    2. In getting rid of unclean affections
  3. Read the scripture with reverence
  4. Read the book of scripture in order
    1. “we do not read a friend’s letter in the middle”
  5. Get a right understanding of scripture.
    1. “if the word shoot above our head, it can never hit our heart.”
  6. Read the word with seriousness
  7. Labor to remember what you read
  8. Meditate on what you read
    1. “Reading brings truth to your head, meditation brings it into our heart.
  9. Come to the reading of scripture with humble hearts.
  10. Give credence (acceptance as true) to the word written
  11. Highly Prize the scriptures
  12. Get a passionate love for the word.
  13. Come to the reading of the word with honest hearts.
    1. Willing to know the whole counsel of God.
    2. To read it that we may be made better by it.
  14. Learn to apply scripture
    1. “A medicine will do no good, unless it be applied”
  15. Observe the commands as well as the promises.
  16. Let your thoughts dwell longer upon the richest passages.
  17. Compare yourselves with the word.
  18. Take special notice of those scriptures which speak to your particular situation.
  19. Take special notice of the examples in scripture
  20. Leave not off reading the Bible till you find your hearts warmed
  21. Set upon the practice of what you read.
    1. “reading without practice will be a torch to light men to hell”
  22. Make use of Christ’s prophetical office
    1. Tread often the threshold of the sanctuary (Go to church)
    2. Pray that God will make you profit
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Pilate’s Need and Yours: Regeneration

While Jesus stands before Pilate he proclaims this “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice” (John 18:37). What we see in this passage is Jesus bringing Pilate to see his need for the truth.  Pilate thinks that Jesus is insignificant to his life as long as Jesus does not cause a revolt or military war.  Jesus corrects Pilate’s misunderstanding with this confession to him.  Jesus proclaims that he “bears witness to the truth” and “everyone who is of the truth listens to His voice”.  This explains Pilate’s condescending response, “What is truth” (v. 38). Jesus sought to make clear to Pilate and to make clear to us, he calls people to become part of “the truth”.  Jesus is calling for a supernatural transformation.  There are many terms that the Bible uses for this transformation but here are a few.

  • Regeneration
    • Titus 3:5 “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit”
  • Reconciliation
    • Colossians 1:21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,
  • New Birth
    • John 3:3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.
    • John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
    • 1 Peter 1:23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God
  • Born of God
    • John 1:13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
    • 1 John 3:9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.
    • 1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.
    • 1 John 5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.
    • 1 John 5:4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
    • 1 John 5:18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.
  • Made Alive
    • Ephesians 2:1–7 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
  • Made a New Creation
    • 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Unity in Truth

As churches stray from the biblical teachings, they will generally become more man centered and less God centered.  This means that the purity of the church needs to be examined next to the unity of the church.  Unity is God’s will for the church and this is a large way the gospel is displayed to the community.  God calls us to seek for unity in both the visible local church and the invisible universal church.  We can do this through being gracious to those in our church in understanding differences, as well as cooperating with like-minded churches to spread the gospel and serve the community.

But an important aspect of these two things (unity and purity) is how they relate to one another.  Both purity and unity in the church are important, but there are clear situations where the need for purity must be placed ABOVE a desire for unity (See 1 Cor. 5 and 2 John).  There does come a time where doctrinal differences, matters of conscience, and simple practical issues require people to split off from a church or churches to stop working together with certain things.  Though Christians should seek to bring change within the church in biblical ways, leaving the church is sometimes the best option.  There are many examples of this in Church history.  For the first part of the early church, there was unity despite some need for the removal of false teaching.  But, the protestant reformation was sparked when Luther raised issues with Catholic doctrine (as they were taking money from people in exchange for claimed forgiveness from God) and was excommunicated in 1521.  Purity and Unity in the church are important and they relate in many parts of church life and as I talked about in the sermon, this unity is rooted in love.

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The King James Only Controversy: Can We Trust Modern Translations?

By James White

Many major conflicts and much unnecessary confusion has sprung up since the publishing of updated Bible translations such as the New International Version (NIV), the New American Standard Version (NASB), and others.  Many teachers and writers such as G. A. Riplinger, Peter Rickman, Samuel Gipp, and others rose quickly to attack modern translations as being heretical and even as being part of a conspiracy in partnership with the New Age Movement. James White masterfully addresses the controversy and questions surrounding modern translation in his book The King James Only Controversy.  White is the director of an apologetics organization and often takes part in debates on many different issues.


The main thesis of this book is that Modern Bible Translations are trustworthy and they translate the original text with high accuracy.  White does not claim in the book that the King James Bible is a bad translation and this is not the point of his book. White rather argues that the King James Version (KJV) is not the only faithful Bible translation and furthermore, the KJV does have some problems that some of the newer Bible translations correct.  As White says in short, “I oppose KJV Onlyism, not the King James Version itself” (18). While much of this debate has focused around emotions, personal insults, and conspiracies, this book seeks to be a clear, faithful evaluation of modern Bible translations and the accusations often brought against them.

White begins his argument in Chapter One: King James Only with a survey of the five main groups that argue that the KJV is the only translation that Christians should use.  He holds most of his corrections and arguments for later chapters but states at the end of the chapter that “Fellowship should never be based upon the English translation one carries and studies” (29). Chapter Two: If It Ain’t Broke… points out the root behind the KJV only controversy as a rejection of anything new and improved due to a love for tradition or the way things have always been done.  He uses this to go back to the way the Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate dealt with the same problem.  White then continues to guild his argument with Chapter Three: Starting at the Beginning by laying basic groundwork on issues such as textual criticism, translation, and textual variants.  This chapter sets White up to begin the bulk of his specific arguments in Chapter Four: Putting It Together.  In this chapter, the book examines some of the claims of the KJV only camp mostly focusing on the history of the textual transmission of the Greek New Testament (NT) and the Textus Receptus (TR).  This chapter explains the elevation of the TR as the authorized text also explaining the flaws of this argument.  White finishes this important chapter with the history of the formation of the KJV and its later additions.

Chapter Five: The King James Only Camp takes a minor shift of attention, addressing specific advocates and writings of the KJV only camp, pointing our their logical fallacies, misunderstandings, and the clear deceitful aspects of the writings associated with this movement.  Chapter Six: Translational Differences, begins White’s investigation of differences of translation especially between the KJV and modern translations.  He explains why many of the differences exist, clearing up misunderstandings and conspiracies that undergird much of the controversy.  The next chapter, Textual Differences, is similar to the previous but addresses differences in manuscripts which effect translations, bringing about the same result as chapter five.

Chapter Eight: The Son of God, The Lord of Glory, examines and explains the texts which KJV only advocates use to accuse modern translation of undermining the deity of Jesus.  The claim that he is addressing here is the claim that “words like ‘Lord’ and ‘Christ’ disappear with regularity from the corrupted Alexandrian texts upon which modern translations are based” (245). Part One of the book ends with chapter nine which addresses some important problems in the KJV and chapter ten which answers some questions surrounding modern translations and the KJV.  White’s goal is not to accuse the KJV of being a bad translation, but rather to simply address the misunderstanding that it is inherent and the modern translations are heretical and bad.  Part two of the book goes though many different texts, many of which were already dealt with in the book that can be used to accuse modern translations of being faulty or bad.

Critical Evaluation

White succinctly and clearly argued his thesis in a pervasive way.  His arguments are lacking logical fallacies and focus on the facts, the history, and the words of Scripture.  While this issues are difficult and mixed with of confusion in many churches, White shows himself to be a faithful scholar and an apt teacher on the issues surrounding this controversy such as language, translation, textual criticism, and many others.   The main thesis of this book, that Modern Bible Translations are trustworthy and they translate the original text with high accuracy, was most definitely well supported in the arguments of chapters one through ten and then proved exegetically in the second section on texts not already addressed in depth.  I would like to argue that White’s arguments had no holes or needs for revision.

The first major strength of the book was White’s knowledge and use of Church history in his arguments.  Though his argument cannot be made on the basis of history alone, White does an amazing job of explaining in chapter two how the KJV only argument is not new but was used on both the Septuagint and the Vulgate.  This supports White’s argument in a huge way, giving readers and big picture perspective on Bible translation through history.  This also exposes many of the arguments of the KJV only camp.  He finishes this argument with a home run statement, “The emotions that drive today’s KJV Only controversy are nothing new at all… As soon as we become more attached to our traditions then we are to truth, we are in very deep trouble” (40).  Similarly, in chapter four, White is able to clearly present the history of the KJV and the manuscripts behind it to clear up misunderstandings about this as well.

The second big strength of The King James Only Controversy is related to the previous quotation.  White is clear on the misunderstandings in the KJV only controversy but does it with pastoral care.  Though White may be a feisty debater, his book leaves the reader no room to accuse him of being insulting or demining.  This most definitely helps his thesis and avoids distractions.  His big concern is clearly not to shame anyone or to win the argument for the sake of winning.  His pastoral care comes through in the book as he talks about the terrible books that have come out on the subject and the way churches have been split over this issue especially in Chapter Five: The King James Only Camp.  Never does White throw the type of personal insults that are so common in literature on this topic and he does not seek to question the intelligence of those he disagrees with.  Through this pastoral care, it is made clear that his argument do not stand or fall on conspiracy theories, or the character of those in the KJV only camp, but on the facts that are presented through the pages of his book.

The strongest aspect of the book that White used to support his thesis was his exegetical and textual explanations.  His tables and explanations of texts, especially those that are commonly used in false accusations against modern translations, were in depth enough to present the facts, yet simple enough to not require a PHD.  White does not waste very much time giving logical explanations in response to accusations that modern translations are undermining the deity of Jesus or other related matters.  He gets right to the text and the original Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, giving the reader who is actually interested in facts and truth the ability to see it for himself.  This is also related to another main strength that White had which is knowledge of textual criticism and his ability to explain the art and science of this important work.  This was especially clear in chapter seven on textual differences where he explains at all the manuscript families in a fairly understandable way.  He clear understanding of the techniques of textual criticism also supports his argument as he answers the faulty methods of many who argue against modern translations.  For example, White correctly states, “We cannot simply count manuscripts but must weigh them, looking at their general character, age, and text-type” (198).

The final strength that I want to bring up from the book is especially found in part two.  White’s book is not just good for a one time read, but is also a useful reference tool.  He supports his thesis in such a clear and organized way, that it can be referenced when someone stumbles upon a text that has different translations.  In some ways, this section is also the nail in the coffin that completes his thesis.  By the end of the book, just about every text that KJV only people may use to “trap” someone who uses modern translations has been skillfully addressed.


The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust Modern Translations? is by far the best book on this important issues which still causes major problems.  I am thankful for this work because it equips the church to better understand the Bible, how we got it, and how we should think about different translations of God’s Word.  I would personally recommend this book to anyone who wants a better greater of modern translation, or has some confusion about the King James only controversy.  This book caused me to have a great respect for the KJV and a greater trust in our English Bibles.  I hope and pray God will continue to use this book to strengthen the church and clear up misunderstandings we may have on God’s Word and its translations.

This book review was written by Pastor Jonathan Ahlgren.

You can buy this book here.

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The I AM Gives Himself Up

We have before us in John 18 a glorious paradox.  The one who is by nature God and boldly claims the divine name of I AM, delivers himself up to be killed.  We can clearly see in the text that Jesus did not have to be arrested.  He is after all the sovereign Lord of the universe.  Jesus chose to give himself up so that sinners like us can be saved through repentance and faith.  Think about this for a minute.  The one who in Isaiah 48:12 said, “I am he; I am the first and I am the last.  My hand laid the foundation of the earth and my right hand spread out the heavens when I call to them they stand forth together,” he is the one who was willingly delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.  There are several application points that I see in the text.

  1. We are called to humility. Though Jesus is very bold in the way he delivers himself up, he also does it humbly especially considering the fact that he is in his vary nature God.
  2. We are called to service & sacrifice. At the point of his arrest, Jesus was not serving himself but rather his father and his people.  Just as Jesus sacrificed himself, so also we are called to sacrifice our lives to God and to others.
  3. We are called to worship. I think this is the main point of the passage. Jesus is not some cool guy that we like to talk about.  He is our God and we are called to fall down and worship him.
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The Anonymous Christian

I would like to say up front, that the ‘anonymous christian’  which is the teaching that I am addressing and will describe in more detail in the second paragraph,  is un-biblical and dangerous. The idea of an anonymous christian is contrary to what the Bible teaches and destroys any motivation for missions and evangelism. I do not write this to bash or hate on any person or any denomination including the Catholic Church but merely to point out a false teaching that is present in many churches including the Catholic Church. The Bible teaches us that Jesus is the only way to God.  He says himself, “No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you had known me, you would have known my Father also” (John 14:6).  In the text I preached on this morning Jesus says, “This is eternal life; that they know you the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).  This is the fact of the matter; there is no true God honoring, eternal life bringing ‘religion’ accept that which is centered on repentance towards the God of the Bible and faith in Jesus Christ.

Yet in our day there has surfaced a false teaching that says that there are many ways to God besides Jesus and that one can be an ‘anonymous’ (unknowing) Christian who does not have a relationship with Jesus.  In other words, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and even Atheists with a ‘good heart’ who are ‘seeking moral goodness’ can be seeking God unknowingly and be a Christian unknowingly.  This does not line up with Jesus’ words that eternal life has at its center, knowing the one true God and Jesus Christ as well as accepting Him in faith.  Romans 10:13-15 puts it this way, “all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.  How will they call upon him in whom they have not believed?  And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?”  This is the heart of our mission work.  Jesus is the only hope of eternal life for the world, therefore we preaching Jesus to all people in view of eternal life for all who turn to him and eternal damnation for all who reject him.

Here is what the official Catholic Catechism says in relation to Muslims being ‘anonymous’ Christians:

“841 The Church’s relationship with the Muslims: The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”¹

This teaching is dangerous and un-biblical.  We must recognize the need to share Jesus will all people of every religious for apart from Jesus there is no salvation.

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Gender Roles Part II The Church & Home

The NT gives even stronger support for the complementary understanding of gender (that men and women are equal in worth and dignity but distinct in callings and roles).  Ephesians 5:22-33 tells wives to submit to their husbands as to the Lord and husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loved the church.   1 Peter 3:1 calls wives to be subject to their husbands, even if they are unbelieving and husbands in v. 7 are called to show honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, not to be mistreated but protected and loved.  In Titus 2:3-5, women are called to be homemakers, submissive to their own husbands.  Not only do men and women have different roles in the home, but they also have different roles within the Church.   Even though God has given spiritual gifts to both men and women in the church, and even though He calls both men and women to serve the church together, He has also made clear that he has called men and women to different tasks within the church.   Women in Titus 2:4 are called to teach younger women, but the task to teaching and exercising authority over men in the church is reserved for men only according to 1 Timothy 2:8-15 (also see 1 Cor. 14:34-35).  Women must be encoraged to serve in the church and even exercise the right to vote, but specifically in v. 12 there are two prohibitions for women in the church.  Women are not to teach men in the church and women are not to exercise authority over men in the church.   Egalitarians are quick to push this passage away along with the many other that have been sighted on the grounds that they are simply cultural, but v. 14 grounds these differences in creation.  God created men and women differently, and God calls the church to recognize and abide by these differences, for his glory, and our joy.  Rejecting biblical manhood and womanhood is a rejection of God’s good design for the family, the church, and human flourishing.

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Gender Roles Part I Old Testament Backgrownd

In a culture of confusion on the issue of gender and gender roles, it is important for us to come to a strong biblical understanding of manhood and womanhood.  For the past few years especially, Christians have generally been divided into two camps on the issues of gender roles and what it means to be man and woman.  Starting with Genesis 1, we see that God created man and woman in his image after his likeness (v. 27) and commissioned both of them to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion”.  Both egalitarians and complementarians (The two conflicting understandings of gender) agree that men and woman from this text are clearly equal and value and worth being made in God’s image different than the rest of the animal kingdom.  Between these two positions though, the controversy arises on whether men and woman are called by God to carry out their commission in the same way.  In other words, some Christians disagree on if God calls men to subdue the earth and fulfill his will in a different way than women do.   Complementarians say yes and egalitarians say no and the deciding point comes largely in Genesis 2 and 3.  There we have an up close look at the creation of man and woman as well the curses to each.  In Genesis 2, God creates the woman as a helper to the man (v. 20) and as a sign of leadership, the man names the woman (v. 23).  Then in chapter three, God brings the curses to mankind for his sin, focusing on the man and the woman separately.  God curses man by cursing the ground and making work difficult and painful.  God curses the woman by bring a curse on child bearing.  Then, most importantly we see in v. 16 God says to the woman, “Your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you”.  With all of these passages, Egalitarians argue that gender distinctions when it comes to gender roles are a result of the fall.  I personal see these texts, as well as several in the NT, point to clear distinctions between male and female gender roles that was given before the fall, and a distortion that came about after the fall.  In other words, gender roles were not introduces at the fall and therefore need to be abolished, but rather they were distorted and need to be restored.  Looking at Genesis 3:16, which I quoted above, the word desire in the text is clearly referring to a controlling destructive desire (cf. Gen. 4:7), not a respectful submissive desire as egalitarians suggest.  Furthermore, the ruling over that the man will perform due to the fall is not referring to sacrificial leading headship, but in context is referring to an abusing ruling over that is the complete opposite of biblical leadership (Eph. 5:25-28).  In next week’s note from the pastor, I will address NT passages about gender roles.

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