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Featured The Restrainer and the Restrained

Discussion in 'Eschatology & Prophecy Forum' started by brakelite, Nov 20, 2018.

  1. brakelite

    brakelite Well-Known Member

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    There has recently been a number of eschatological discussions whereby the so called "restrainer" of Paul's letter to the Thessalonians has been referenced, so I thought I might offer the following thoughts on the topic.
    Now we beseech you brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, that ye be not troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of the Lord is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what with-holdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way, and then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: even him whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

    2 Thessalonians 2:1-10


    And the Dragon gave him his power, his SEAT, and much authority." Revel. 13:2

    The above verses are perhaps, alongside Daniel 7 and Revelation 13, the most significant texts in the entire word of God as to revealing the identity of the Antichrist of scripture. When reading Daniel 7 and Revelation 13, and in contemplating the above, the reader cannot help but be impressed with the detail and amount of information given regarding the nature, the thoughts, beliefs and practices of this entity who from the beginnings of the Christian faith to the present time, has shed such a dark forbidding cloud over the true church. In these few short verses the apostle Paul has given his readers a clear and unambiguous signpost pointing directly to the rise of the man of sin, the son perdition. A signpost that he first revealed to the Thessalonian church in person, and reaffirmed in this letter. Bible scholars for centuries have agreed that the reason Paul was less than forthcoming in his letter in naming the ‘restrainer’ directly as he is commonly known, was because there was a very real danger involved in so doing. That danger coming from the restrainer himself, the Roman pagan empire who ruled the then known world at that time, and who, if upon reading this letter and realizing that Paul was here saying that their power was about to be swept away to make way for another, Paul would have been immediately arrested and charged, tried, and executed for sedition. Also, because the Thessalonians already knew who Paul was talking about, it was not necessary for Paul to risk naming Rome again.

    Practically all the early commentators and church fathers were unanimous in their belief that Paul was referring to the empire of Rome in general, and to the emperors in particular. Let me provide a few quotes from those early church statesmen from their comments on this matter.

    Let me start with Tertullian (160-240 A. D.):

    “‘For the mystery of iniquity doth already work; only he who now hinders must hinder,

    until he be taken out of the way.’ What obstacle is there but the Roman state, the falling

    away of which, by being scattered into ten kingdoms, shall introduce Antichrist upon (its

    own ruins)? ‘And then shall be revealed the wicked one.” “On the Resurrection of the

    Flesh,” chapter 24; Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. III, p. 563

    (Author: There is some debate as to whether the ‘falling away’ referred to here is in reference to the empire, or the church. Some say one, some the other, while some would contend that it can apply equally to both. Either way, Tertullian was certain in his belief that the restrainer was the Roman Empire. That it was Rome itself that inhibited in some way the rise of the antichrist. This was generally accepted throughout the church at that time, and it was common for the church to pray to God that He would keep the Roman power intact in order to keep the antichrist to coming to power in their time. Interesting also is Tertullian’s reference to the ten kingdoms that would result from the break up of Rome. This is a direct reference to Daniel 7 and the ten horns that would grow from the 4th beast, Rome. The Antichrist, according to Bible scholars, was the 11th horn. Tertullian was using the historicist method of prophetic interpretation, that method which viewed prophecy as an historical unfolding throughout history from the time the prophecy was first given, and culminating at the second coming. This is significant when understanding Paul’s letter, because Paul is clear that the Antichrist would appear as soon as Rome moves aside, and that very same Antichrist would still be there to be judged at the second coming. Not futurist, not preterist, but a historicist approach, just like Tertullian.)

    In yet another comment, Tertullian states: “The very end of all things threatening dreadful woes is only retarded by the continued existence of the Roman Empire.”

    (“Apology,” chapter 32; Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III, p. 43).

    A little later Lactantius,. in the early fourth century wrote: “The subject itself declares that the fall and ruin of the world will shortly take place; except that while the city of Rome remains, it appears that nothing of this kind is to be feared. But when that capital of the world shall have fallen, and shall have begun to be a street, which the Sibyls say shall come to pass, who can doubt that the end has now arrived to the affairs of men and the whole world? It is that city, that only, which still sustains all things.” (“The Divine Institutes,” book 7, chapter 25; Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. VII, p. 220).

    Also early in the fourth century Cyril of Jerusalem (318-386 A. D.)had this to say: “But this aforesaid Antichrist is to come when the times of the Roman Empire shall have been fulfilled, and the end of the world is drawing near. There shall rise up together ten kings of the Romans, reigning in different parts perhaps, but all about the same time; and after those an eleventh, the Antichrist, who by his magical craft shall seize upon the Roman power; and of the kings who reigned before him, ‘three he shall humble,’ and the remaining seven he shall keep in subjection to himself.” (Catechetical Lectures,” section 15, on II Thessalonians 2:4; Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. VII, p. 108 [New York: The Christian Literature Company, 1895]).

    (Author: Much could be said about this quote; he also is clearly linking the prophecy of Daniel to the text of Paul’s, agreeing with other eminent writers of his time that out of Rome would evolve ten kings, 3 of whom the antichrist would subdue. When the restrainer, Rome, was to be taken out of the way, and the horns of Daniel 7 arise, the antichrist would be revealed.)

    Ambrose (died in 398): “After the falling or decay of the Roman Empire, Antichrist shall appear.” (Quoted in, Bishop Thomas Newton,Dissertations on the Prophecies, p. 463)……

    ….and Chrysostom (died in 407): “When the Roman Empire is taken out of the way, then he [the Antichrist] shall come. And naturally. For as long as the fear of this empire lasts, no one will willingly exalt himself, but when that is dissolved, he will attack the anarchy, and endeavor to seize upon the government both of man and of God.”

    Homily IV on 2 Thessalonians 2:6-9,” Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. XIII, p. 389

    [New York: Charles Scribner’s and Sons, 1905]…..

    …and finally Jerome (died 420): “He that letteth is taken out of the way, and yet we do not realize that Antichrist is near.”

    (Letter to Ageruchia, written about 409A. D. Letter 123, section 16; Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. VI, p. 236

    to be continued....
     
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  2. brakelite

    brakelite Well-Known Member

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    continued from above....
    Jerome’s testimony is interesting. He admits and agrees with other early church fathers of his era that Rome was the restrainer, and had been removed in his (Jerome’s) lifetime. Yet it had not yet been made apparent who the power was that could definitively be called the Antichrist. Why? Because from Jerome’s perspective, he could not see all the signs of the Antichrist’s coming, as they had yet to be revealed in history. The capital of the empire had been removed to Constantinople, and the Gothic barbarian kings were already well entrenched in ongoing battles and wars to decide who would rule over the territories not long since vacated by Rome, but the three horns to be subdued were still in power. When they were subdued, it would then be known by whose power they were done away, and the identity of Antichrist would be revealed.


    I think it would be very helpful if I here provided a quote from the eminent Catholic historian, Cardinal Manning.


    “Now the abandonment of Rome was the liberation of the pontiffs. Whatsoever claims to obedience the emperors may have made, and whatsoever compliance the Pontiff may have yielded, the whole previous relation, anomalous, and annulled again and again by the vices and outrages of the emperors, was finally dissolved by a higher power. The providence of God permitted a succession of irruptions, Gothic, Lombard, and Hungarian, to desolate Italy, and to efface from it every remnant of the empire.
    The pontiffs found themselves alone, the sole fountains of order, peace, law, and safety. And from the hour of this providential liberation, when, by a divine intervention, the chains fell off from the hands of the successor of St. Peter, as once before from his own, no sovereign has ever reigned in Rome except the Vicar of Jesus Christ.”


    (Henry Edward Manning, The Temporal Power of The Vicar of Jesus Christ, Preface, pp. xxviii, xxix. London: Burns and Lambert, 1862).


    Manning has clearly given an excellent summary of history which directly correlates with the prophecies of Daniel and Paul. While attributing the fall of Rome to God and the rise of the papacy to Him also, Manning seems oblivious to the fact that he is revealing the perfect fulfillment of the prophecy of Paul and Daniel. That when Rome fell, the ten nations arose, three were subdued, and the ultimate victor was the papacy! It was the papacy itself that the empire of Rome was restraining. It was the papacy that arose after the establishment of the ten horns. It was the papacy that had a major role in the subjugation of the 3 horns because being supposedly Arian in belief they were directly opposed to the rule of the pontiffs. 9there is additional evidence these Gothic Nations observed the 7th day Sabbath which Rome saw as a rebuke to Catholic "authority").It will be the papacy that will still be here at the second coming. Therefore it is the papacy which perfectly fulfils the criteria demanded of it in order to be identified as the Antichrist. And that my friends are precisely the reasons all non-Roman Bible commentators from the time of the 12th century on were almost unanimous in identifying the papacy as the man of sin. The power who entered the church (the temple of God) and by claiming the power to forgive sin, and shut out of heaven whom he will, and claiming universal spiritual and temporal authority over all the earth, thus claiming the prerogatives of God, “opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”


    The ten kings who vied for power as the Roman Empire disintegrated before them and from which 7 nations of modern Europe can trace their descent are known by most historians as being the Anglo-Saxons (Britain), the Allamanni (Germany), the Franks (France), the Lombards (first around the Danube then Italy), Visigoths (Spain), Burgundians (Burgundy/Switzerland)) and the Suevi (Portugal).


    These seven of the ten Barbarian kingdoms were converted to Christianity and submitted to the authority of the Bishop of Rome. However, three of the kingdoms converted to Christianity but embraced the heretical teachings of Arius, at least according to their arch enemy, the Papacy. Arius (who was presbyter in Alexandria around the year 320 A. D.) taught that ‘Christ was created out of nothing as the first and greatest of all creatures’, very similar to Jehovah Witness teachings of today. The teachings of Arius were condemned in two great church councils, Nicea (325 A. D.) and Constantinople (381 A. D.). These three kingdoms were a threat to the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome [later called the Pope]. To make a long story short, these three kingdoms eventually were uprooted by the imperial power acting under the influence of the Bishop of Rome. The Ostrogoths (originally from Yugoslavia), by order of the emperor, dealt the heretical Heruli a devastating defeat in 493 A. D. The Pope requested the emperor to do something about the unorthodox Heruli. In response, the emperor sent Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths to do battle with Odoacer, king of the Heruli. Odoacer was slain by Theodoric and the Heruli disappeared from history. Then the Vandals were crushed (in 534 A. D.) by Belisarius, general of emperor Justinian’s armies. But there was one remaining horn which needed to be uprooted, and it was the most formidable of all: the Ostrogoths. After the Ostrogoths conquered the Heruli, they became extremely powerful. They were Christians, and much could be said of their life and their conversion as a result of the missionary zeal of Ulfilas, but their Christianity was of a much different nature that that of Rome, so the Bishop of Rome [the Pope] implored Justinian to uproot the Ostrogoths. There were several battles between Belisarius and the Ostrogoths. The decisive battle, however, was in February of the year 538. The armies of Justinian, as well as the ravages of disease, decimated the armies of the Ostrogoths, they were expelled from Rome and in short order, disappeared from the historical scene in Europe.


    There is some debate as to why the operations of the little horn should be restricted to the western hemisphere of the old Roman territories. The eastern portion of that empire was eventually taken by Islam, so the question is often asked, why cannot Islam be the Antichrist? I think that the following quote from the eminent Bible scholar and historian Sir Isaac Newton as quoted by Thomas Newton, gives the answer.


    “Antichrist, then (as the Fathers delight to call him), or the little horn, is to be sought among the ten kingdoms of the western Roman Empire. I say of the western Roman Empire, because that was properly the body of the fourth beast; Greece, and the countries which lay eastward of Italy belonged to the third beast; for the former beasts were still subsisting, though their dominion was taken away. ‘As concerning the rest of the beasts,’ saith Daniel, ‘they had their dominion taken away; yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.’ Daniel 7:12. ‘And therefore,’ as Sir Isaac Newton rightly infers, ‘all four beasts are still alive, though the dominion of the three first be taken away. The nations of Chaldea and Assyria are still the first beast. Those of Media and Persia are still the second beast. Those of Macedon, Greece and Thrace, Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt, are still the third. And those of Europe, on this side of Greece, are still the fourth. Seeing therefore the body of the third beast is confined to the nations on this side the river Euphrates, and the body of the fourth beast is confined to the nations on this side of Greece; we are to look for all the four heads of the third beast among the nations on this side the river Euphrates; and for all the eleven horns of the fourth beast, among the nations on this side of Greece.” (Thomas Newton, Dissertations on the Prophecies, pp. 239, 240).

    Just as an additional comment. Notice Newton's description of the geographical trend in the appearance of the various beasts. The first in Babylon, and the rest rising in steadily western direction...Persia...Greece...Western Europe. Interestingly the first beast of Revelation is a composite of these four beasts, thus fulfilling the prophecy which speaks of the dominion being taken away, but their character living on. And such it does in the Papacy. But there is yet another beast that rise from the earth. The second beast, or what is called the "false prophet", of the second portion of Revelation 13. The others rose from the sea, depicting a populous and turbulent political arena, and note also that each beast were predators, which suggests they arose as a result of war, and not as peaceful ventures, including I would suggest applies equally to the 11 horns. But that last beast, he comes up from the earth. And he is like a lamb. Not a predator at all. And rising from a less populous region and with far less strife and war involved...at least in the beginning. But he later spoke as a dragon, suggesting a change in character. Question...as we continue in a westerly direction from western Europe, what nation lies there which rose up relatively peacefully?
     
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  3. n2thelight

    n2thelight Well-Known Member

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    I understand what you are saying ,but that was just a type.

    I Corinthians 10:11 "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."

    "Ensamples" in the manuscripts is the Greek word "tupos", number 5179 in the Strong's Greek dictionary. "a sample, or type; i.e. a model for imitation, a fashion, for manner, or form." So Paul is telling us that those things that we read about in the Old Testament, of the events of the prophets of old are examples of what we should be looking for in our day. This is written to alert all people to be aware of how it shall be before Christ returns. What was written in the Exodus, or in Amos is written as examples for our admonition or warning. All of the Scriptures is given as a warning to those who are living in the times of the ends of this world age of the flesh. We will see the end of the flesh age come to a close, and there are many things that will come to pass right before our eyes that were written about in detail way back in the Old Testament time, and Paul is telling you and I to wake up to those warnings.

    Each of the events that took place, the opening of the Red sea, the building of the false religious forms, and so on. God is telling us "look little children that is what is going to happen to you at the close of this earth age". We are living in that age, and these things are happening now. Can you learn by this? It is so simple. God did not leave us helpless nor hopeless in these end times, and that is why we must become skilled in all of His Word. It is all an example of what is going to befall us in our generation.
     
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  4. bbyrd009

    bbyrd009 Groper

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    ha, funny how popular this opinion is even today i guess huh, just insert USA for Roman Empire?
     
  5. Willie T

    Willie T Well-Known Member

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    Gosh, I guess I had been a little foolish in hoping this might be a rational discussion. Oh, well, why should it be?
     
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  6. Keraz

    Keraz Active Member

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    Taking too much teachings from the Early church Fathers is as bad as thinking the teachers of today have all the truth.
    They do have some useful things to say, but it isn't scripture and they just argued amongst themselves, again; just like it is now.
    That we await a One World Government ruled by 10 Presidents, is plain from Daniel 7:23-24, Revelation 17:12-13 The 10 divisions of the world has already been decided. google; 10 world regions.

    As for who is the Restrainer in 2 Thess 2:7, it has to be either God Himself or the Holy Spirit, who is at present limiting Satans powers.
    These prophesies have yet to happen and I believe that I will see it all.
     
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  7. Enoch111

    Enoch111 Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. The ECF had many things which were sound, and also many things which had no solid basis in Scripture, and led to false doctrines.

    The Restrainer no doubt is God Himself (as seen in Job), and because He has sent the Holy Spirit into the world since Pentecost, it is God the Holy Spirit who presently restrains Satan, and does not allow the world to become totally wicked and depraved. However that will change when the Antichrist is allowed to take total and absolute control of the earth for 3.5 years (42 months) in the future.

    Even Michael the archangel -- a very powerful spirit being equal to Satan -- said to him *the LORD rebuke thee*, and the LORD had already said about the LORD.

    And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? (Zech 3:1,2)

    When there is war in the heavens, Michael casts Satan and his evil angels down to earth only at God s command (as he does all things only at God s command).
     
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  8. Jay Ross

    Jay Ross Active Member

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    Depends on who we consider to be the King of the North spoken about by Jeremiah in chapter 50-51 during this present time. Know what I mean.

    But it would also mean that we have moved on from the time of the reformations fathers at long last. LOL
     
  9. CoreIssue

    CoreIssue Well-Known Member

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    I agree with all you said except for the last paragraph. The war in heaven is ancient history. And angels it fell are chained in caves of darkness and the pit before Adam was created.
     
  10. ScottA

    ScottA Well-Known Member

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    The problem with continuing in that vein of logic...is that you will get the same as they got: Each generation being lead to the next by leaders who fully expected a worldly fulfillment (like the signs that Christ was asked about, and those who demanded them, whom He said were evil) of a matter of the Spirit which was to be sent by Christ, as foretold by Joel the prophet, upon all flesh.

    If one has an ear to hear...it should be obvious that the matter speaks of Satan's hold upon the world. The mistake, and what is not obvious, is that the time frame is not a particular time - but all time, that being the time of the restrainer, the time of Satan's rule.

    So, rather than falling into that progression of put offs leading to the next generation of put offs...the greater insight comes from "the renewing of your mind" and an understanding of what Paul (the apostle to the gentiles - and every generation of the times of the gentiles) only eluded to. You see, Paul was not left with all the answers, but rather "sufficient grace" for what was to be many generations. And we can thank him for it - because if those generations of leaders who walked in darkness until now, had come to the knowledge of the truth, we would not have been born or spared.

    Yet, each time knowledge is increased as revealed by God...it is rejected.
     
  11. brakelite

    brakelite Well-Known Member

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    Those wicked people who were asking for signs were looking at Christ in the face, denying Him when He was standing in front of them, and they demanding proof as to who He was despite the many evidences from scripture that proved His authority and identity as the Son of God. That has nothing to do with the second coming which Jesus admonished all to watch out for...and called the ones who didn't watch foolish.
    And those that were filled with the Spirit spoke of Christ returning yet in the future, just as the two angels told the disciples at the ascension...that Jesus would return in like manner as He arose. Physically and visibly. Not as a Spirit. But as lightening from east to west....unmistakable.
     
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  12. bbyrd009

    bbyrd009 Groper

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    yet we have "Return to Me, and I will return to you," the only "return" you can Quote, and them two angels did not say what you are inferring wadr, that is your expectations talking.

    Obviously standing there looking up into the sky would be advisable if your pov were accurate?
     
  13. CoreIssue

    CoreIssue Well-Known Member

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    Acts 1:11 New International Version (NIV)
    11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
     
  14. bbyrd009

    bbyrd009 Groper

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    this is a dialectic statement that is being interpreted logically, by someone using both eyes,
    and your best shot here i guess is to just put me on ignore right now? :D
     
  15. bbyrd009

    bbyrd009 Groper

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    Obviously standing there looking up into the sky would be advisable if the pov were accurate?
     
  16. CoreIssue

    CoreIssue Well-Known Member

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    If you don't agree taken it up with the management upstairs.
     
  17. bbyrd009

    bbyrd009 Groper

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    :rolleyes: hilarious, ok, ty, but if i don't agree with...what?

    All i said was "Obviously standing there looking up into the sky would be advisable if the pov were accurate?" i did not post an opinion at all there?
     
  18. CoreIssue

    CoreIssue Well-Known Member

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    Ah!! An attempt at humor. thumbsup2.gif
     
  19. bbyrd009

    bbyrd009 Groper

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    ha no, an attempt at a straight answer lol,
    that i do not even need a reply to, see,
    the answer is self-evident?
     
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  20. ScottA

    ScottA Well-Known Member

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    You are missing the point. I didn't say that it had something to do with the discussion, only that it sets a precedence for looking for something to be fulfilled of God via something of the world. The point being, that we run the same risk of completely being blind, by now doing the same when looking to the church leaders who were at the time "now seeing dimly." Very bluntly, that means: they were "the blind leading the blind."

    I am saying we have good reason not to follow their blindness. I am advising against it.
    That is not all that is written. But why refer to those who were in effect speaking in tongues without a translator, when you could refer to Christ who said, "Behold, I come quickly?"

    What more do you require?
     
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