Message Four The Vision and Experience of Christ in His Ascension (1) Christ Inaugurated, Exalted, and Enthroned to Execute God’s Universal Administration and to Carry Out God’s New Testament Economy through His Body
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  • 2014-12-02,
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Scripture Reading: Acts 2:33, 36; 5:31; 10:36; Phil. 2:9-11; Heb. 12:2

Acts 2:33 Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God and having received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, He has poured out this which you both see and hear.

Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you have crucified.

Acts 5:31 This One God has exalted to His right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.

Acts 10:36 The word which He sent to the sons of Israel in announcing the gospel of peace through Jesus Christ (this One is Lord of all)

Phil 2:9 Therefore also God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,

Phil 2:10 That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

Phil 2:11 And every tongue should openly confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

Heb 12:2 Looking away unto Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down on the right hand of the throne of God.

 

I. In His ascension Christ was inaugurated, exalted, and enthroned to exe­cute God’s universal administration and to carry out God’s New Testa­ment economy—Acts 2:33, 36; 5:31; Phil. 2:9; Rev. 5:6:

Acts 2:33 Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God and having received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, He has poured out this which you both see and hear.

Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you have crucified.

Acts 5:31 This One God has exalted to His right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.

Phil 2:9 Therefore also God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,

Rev 5:6 And I saw in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures and in the midst of the elders a Lamb standing as having just been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

 

A. Christ’s ascension was His inauguration into His heavenly offices for His heav­enly ministry; these offices include His being the Lord of all (Acts 10:36), the Christ (2:36), the Leader and Savior (5:31), the Ruler of the kings of the earth (Rev. 1:5), the Head of the church (Eph. 1:22-23), the Minister (Heb. 8:2), and the High Priest (4:14-15; 7:25-27):

Acts 10:36 The word which He sent to the sons of Israel in announcing the gospel of peace through Jesus Christ (this One is Lord of all)

Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you have crucified.

Acts 5:31 This One God has exalted to His right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.

Rev 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and has released us from our sins by His blood

Eph 1:22 And He subjected all things under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church,

Eph 1:23 Which is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all.

Heb 8:2 A Minister of the holy places, even of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man.

Heb 4:14 Having therefore a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast the confession.

Heb 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all respects like us, yet without sin.

Heb 7:25 Hence also He is able to save to the uttermost those who come forward to God through Him, since He lives always to intercede for them.

Heb 7:26 For such a High Priest was also fitting to us, holy, guileless, undefiled, separated from sinners and having become higher than the heavens,

Heb 7:27 Who does not have daily need, as the high priests do, to offer up sacrifices first for his own sins and then for those of the people; for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.

1. The man from Nazareth was inaugurated in His ascension to be the Lord of all—Matt. 2:23; Acts 3:6; 10:36; 22:8; 26:9.

Matt 2:23 And he came and settled in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, He shall be called a Nazarene.

Acts 3:6 But Peter said, Silver and gold I do not possess, but what I have, this I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene rise up and walk.

Acts 10:36 The word which He sent to the sons of Israel in announcing the gospel of peace through Jesus Christ (this One is Lord of all)

Acts 22:8 And I answered, Who are You, Lord? And He said to me, I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you persecute.

Acts 26:9 Well then, I thought to myself that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus the Nazarene,

2. His inauguration required a lengthy process that began with creation and continued with incarnation, human living, crucifixion, and resurrection.

3. In His ascension Christ was inaugurated as God and man, as the Creator and a creature, and as the Redeemer, the Savior, and the life-giving Spirit to execute God’s universal administration and to carry out God’s New Testa­ment economy.

B. Christ’s ascension was God’s exaltation of Him—2:33:

Acts 2:33 Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God and having received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, He has poured out this which you both see and hear.

1. The Lord Jesus humbled Himself to the uttermost, but God exalted Him to the highest peak—Phil. 2:7-9.

Phil 2:7 But emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, becoming in the likeness of men;

Phil 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient even unto death, and that the death of a cross.

Phil 2:9 Therefore also God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,

2. In ascension Christ is the God-exalted One, the One who has received a name that is above every name—vv. 9-11:

Phil 2:9 Therefore also God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,

Phil 2:10 That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

Phil 2:11 And every tongue should openly confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

a. The highest name in the universe, the greatest name, is the name of Jesus—the name of the incarnated, crucified, resurrected, ascended, and exalted One.

b. God made the Lord Jesus, as a man, the Lord in His ascension; thus, every tongue will confess that He is Lord—Acts 2:36; Phil. 2:10-11.

Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you have crucified.

Phil 2:10 That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

Phil 2:11 And every tongue should openly confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

3. In His ascension Christ was crowned with glory and honor—Heb. 2:9.

Heb 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little inferior to the angels because of the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death on behalf of everything.

4. In His ascension Christ was inaugurated into the headship of the universe; the Head of the whole universe is Jesus—Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22-23.

Col 1:18 And He is the Head of the Body, the church; He is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead, that He Himself might have the first place in all things;

Eph 1:22 And He subjected all things under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church,

Eph 1:23 Which is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all.

C. In His ascension Christ was enthroned to execute God’s universal administra­tion and to carry out God’s New Testament economy—Rev. 5:6; Eph. 1:10:

Rev 5:6 And I saw in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures and in the midst of the elders a Lamb standing as having just been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

Eph 1:10 Unto the economy of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth, in Him;

1. For Christ to be seated at the right hand of the throne of God indicates that He has been enthroned—Heb. 12:2; Acts 2:33.

Heb 12:2 Looking away unto Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down on the right hand of the throne of God.

Acts 2:33 Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God and having received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, He has poured out this which you both see and hear.

2. Christ is now on the throne to administrate the entire universe; He is the unique Administrator, the King of kings and Lord of lords—Rev. 19:16.

Rev 19:16 And He has on His garment and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

3. Christ’s administration is related to the universe, but His carrying out of God’s New Testament economy is to propagate Himself for His reproduction to build up the church, His Body—Matt. 16:19; 28:19; Acts 1:8.

Matt 16:19 I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of the heavens, and whatever you bind on the earth shall have been bound in the heavens, and whatever you loose on the earth shall have been loosed in the heavens.

Matt 28:19 Go therefore and disciple all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

 

II. Christ’s work of propagation is in His ascension—Matt. 28:19; Acts 1:8:

Matt 28:19 Go therefore and disciple all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

A. The subject of the book of Acts is the propagation of the resurrected Christ in His ascension, by the Spirit, through the disciples, for the producing of the churches—the kingdom of God—v. 3:

Acts 1:3 To whom also He presented Himself alive after His suffering by many irrefutable proofs, appearing to them through a period of forty days and speaking the things concerning the kingdom of God.

1. The propagation of the resurrected Christ in His ascension produces the churches—8:1; 13:1; 14:23.

Acts 8:1 And Saul approved of his killing. And there occurred in that day a great persecution against the church which was in Jerusalem; and all were scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.

Acts 13:1 Now there were in Antioch, in the local church, prophets and teachers: Barnabas and Simeon, who was called Niger, and Lucius the Cyrenian, and Manaen, the foster brother of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

Acts 14:23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church and had prayed with fastings, they committed them to the Lord into whom they had believed.

2. The churches produced by the resurrected Christ in His ascension are the kingdom of God—19:8.

Acts 19:8 And he entered into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them in the things concerning the kingdom of God.

B. Propagation is carried out by the Lord on the throne in the heavens; this means that His work of propagation is in ascension—2:33, 36; Heb. 12:2; Rev. 5:6:

Acts 2:33 Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God and having received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, He has poured out this which you both see and hear.

Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you have crucified.

Heb 12:2 Looking away unto Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down on the right hand of the throne of God.

Rev 5:6 And I saw in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures and in the midst of the elders a Lamb standing as having just been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

1. The ascension is the nature and the sphere of the Lord’s work on earth.

2. The work of the Lord in His recovery today should be a work in ascension—a work that has a heavenly nature and is in a heavenly sphere.

 

III. The ascended Christ executes God’s universal administration and carries out God’s New Testament economy through His Body—Eph. 1:22-23:

Eph 1:22 And He subjected all things under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church,

Eph 1:23 Which is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all.

A. We need to see that because the church is the Body of Christ, the position of the church is exactly the same as that of the ascended Christ—Col. 1:18; 2:19; 1 Cor. 12:27:

Col 1:18 And He is the Head of the Body, the church; He is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead, that He Himself might have the first place in all things;

Col 2:19 And not holding the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied and knit together by means of the joints and sinews, grows with the growth of God.

1 Cor 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.

1. The Body is the Body of Christ, the One who has been enthroned and given the lordship and authority in heaven and on earth and even under the earth.

2. He has received all authority, and as the Body we are identified with Him; therefore, we are in the heavenlies, we have the authority, and we can exer­cise the authority—Eph. 1:19-23; 2:6:

Eph 1:19 And what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the operation of the might of His strength,

Eph 1:20 Which He caused to operate in Christ in raising Him from the dead and seating Him at His right hand in the heavenlies,

Eph 1:21 Far above all rule and authority and power and lordship and every name that is named not only in this age but also in that which is to come;

Eph 1:22 And He subjected all things under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church,

Eph 1:23 Which is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all.

Eph 2:6 And raised us up together with Him and seated us together with Him in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus,

a. The authority of the Body is the authority of the Head exercised by the Body; thus, the authority of the Body is the authority of the Head.

b. As the church, the Body of Christ, we need to exercise the authority of the resurrected and ascended Christ—Matt. 28:18-19a; Luke 10:19.

Matt 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

Matt 28:19a Go therefore and disciple all the nations, …

Luke 10:19 Behold, I have given you the authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

B. Christ executes God’s administration and carries out God’s economy through the prayer of the church—Matt. 6:9-13; Acts 12:5b:

Matt 6:9 You then pray in this way: Our Father who is in the heavens, Your name be sanctified;

Matt 6:10 Your kingdom come; Your will be done, as in heaven, so also on earth.

Matt 6:11 Give us today our daily bread.

Matt 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Matt 6:13 And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Acts 12:5b … but prayer was being made fervently by the church to God concerning him.

1. The prayer of the church as the Body of Christ is the prayer that exercises the authority of Christ as the ascended Lord and Head of the Body for the fulfilling of God’s economy—Eph. 1:10; Matt. 6:9-13.

Eph 1:10 Unto the economy of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth, in Him;

Matt 6:9 You then pray in this way: Our Father who is in the heavens, Your name be sanctified;

Matt 6:10 Your kingdom come; Your will be done, as in heaven, so also on earth.

Matt 6:11 Give us today our daily bread.

Matt 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Matt 6:13 And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

2. The central goal of the church’s prayer is the goal of the eternal economy of God—the goal of Christ having a glorious church as His counterpart for His satisfaction—Eph. 5:27.

Eph 5:27 That He might present the church to Himself glorious, not having spot or wrinkle or any such things, but that she would be holy and without blemish.

3. The book of Acts reveals that the apostles’ work was done in full dependence on God as indicated by their prayer; they prayed themselves into God, and they prayed God into them—1:14; 2:1-4; 4:24-31; 6:4; 10:9-16; 12:4-14; 13:1-4; 16:23-26; 22:17-21.

Acts 1:14 These all continued steadfastly with one accord in prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

Acts 2:1 And as the day of Pentecost was being fulfilled, they were all together in the same place.

Acts 2:2 And suddenly there was a sound out of heaven, as of a rushing violent wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

Acts 2:3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which were distributed; and it sat on each one of them;

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, even as the Spirit gave to them to speak forth.

Acts 4:24 And when they heard this, they lifted up their voice with one accord to God and said, Sovereign Master, You are the One who has made heaven and earth and the sea and all things in them,

Acts 4:25 Who, through the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, has said, "Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples devise vain things?

Acts 4:26 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ."

Acts 4:27 For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel,

Acts 4:28 To do what Your hand and Your counsel predestined to take place.

Acts 4:29 And now, Lord, look upon their threatenings and grant Your slaves to speak Your word with all boldness,

Acts 4:30 While stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may take place through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.

Acts 4:31 And when they had so besought, the place in which they were gathered was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.

Acts 6:4 But we will continue steadfastly in prayer and in the ministry of the word.

Acts 10:9 And on the next day as they were journeying and drawing near to the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray around the sixth hour.

Acts 10:10 And he became very hungry and wanted to eat. And while they were preparing, a trance came upon him;

Acts 10:11 And he beheld heaven opened, and a certain vessel like a great sheet descending, being let down by four corners onto the earth,

Acts 10:12 In which were all the four-footed animals and reptiles of the earth and birds of heaven.

Acts 10:13 And a voice came to him: Rise up, Peter; slay and eat!

Acts 10:14 But Peter said, By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything common and unclean.

Acts 10:15 And a voice came to him again a second time: The things that God has cleansed, do not make common.

Acts 10:16 And this occurred three times; and immediately the vessel was taken up into heaven.

Acts 12:4 Whom also he seized and put in prison, delivering him to four quaternions of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people.

Acts 12:5 So then Peter was kept in the prison; but prayer was being made fervently by the church to God concerning him.

Acts 12:6 And when Herod was about to bring him forward, that night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains; and guards before the door were keeping the prison.

Acts 12:7 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shined in the cell; and he struck Peter's side and roused him, saying, Rise up quickly. And his chains fell off his hands.

Acts 12:8 And the angel said to him, Gird yourself and tie on your sandals. And he did so. And he said to him, Throw your cloak around you and follow me.

Acts 12:9 And he went out and followed him; yet he did not know that what was taking place through the angel was real, but thought that he was seeing a vision.

Acts 12:10 And passing the first guard and the second, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened of itself to them. And going out, they went forward one lane; and immediately the angel departed from him.

Acts 12:11 And Peter came to himself and said, Now I know truly that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me out of Herod's hand and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.

Acts 12:12 And when he became aware of this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John, who was surnamed Mark, where there was a considerable number assembled together and praying.

Acts 12:13 And when he knocked at the door of the entry, a maiden named Rhoda came to listen.

Acts 12:14 And when she recognized Peter's voice, she did not open the gate for joy, but ran in and reported that Peter was standing before the entry.

Acts 13:1 Now there were in Antioch, in the local church, prophets and teachers: Barnabas and Simeon, who was called Niger, and Lucius the Cyrenian, and Manaen, the foster brother of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

Acts 13:2 And as they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, Set apart for Me now Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.

Acts 13:3 Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

Acts 13:4 They then, having been sent out by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia; and from there they sailed away to Cyprus.

Acts 16:23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they threw them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them securely,

Acts 16:24 Who, having received such a charge, threw them into the inner prison and secured their feet in the stocks.

Acts 16:25 And about midnight Paul and Silas, while praying, sang hymns of praise to God; and the prisoners were listening to them.

Acts 16:26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken. And instantly all the doors were opened and everyone's bonds were unfastened.

Acts 22:17 And when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I went into a trance;

Acts 22:18 And I saw Him saying to me, Hurry, and go quickly out of Jerusalem, because they will not accept your testimony concerning Me.

Acts 22:19 And I said, Lord, they know that I was imprisoning and beating from synagogue to synagogue those who believe on You;

Acts 22:20 And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed, I myself also was standing by and approving and keeping the garments of those who did away with him.

Acts 22:21 And He said to me, Go, for I will send you forth far away to the Gentiles.

C. Christ executes God’s administration and carries out God’s economy through our correspondence to the move of the ascended Christ by doing a work of life—a move in life for the spread of the gospel—8:26-29; 9:10-11; 10:1-3, 9-22.

Acts 8:26 But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, Rise up and go south on the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. This is the desert route.

Acts 8:27 And he rose up and went. And behold, an Ethiopian man, a eunuch, a man in power under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was over all her treasure, had come to Jerusalem to worship.

Acts 8:28 And he was returning and was sitting in his chariot and reading the prophet Isaiah.

Acts 8:29 And the Spirit said to Philip, Approach and join this chariot.

Acts 9:10 And there was a certain disciple in Damascus named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.

Acts 9:11 And the Lord said to him, Rise up and go to the lane called Straight, and seek in the house of Judas a man from Tarsus named Saul; for behold, he is praying;

Acts 10:1 Now there was in Caesarea a certain man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort,

Acts 10:2 Devout and one who feared God with all his household, giving many alms to the people and beseeching God continually.

Acts 10:3 He saw clearly in a vision around the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him and saying to him, Cornelius.

Acts 10:9 And on the next day as they were journeying and drawing near to the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray around the sixth hour.

Acts 10:10 And he became very hungry and wanted to eat. And while they were preparing, a trance came upon him;

Acts 10:11 And he beheld heaven opened, and a certain vessel like a great sheet descending, being let down by four corners onto the earth,

Acts 10:12 In which were all the four-footed animals and reptiles of the earth and birds of heaven.

Acts 10:13 And a voice came to him: Rise up, Peter; slay and eat!

Acts 10:14 But Peter said, By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything common and unclean.

Acts 10:15 And a voice came to him again a second time: The things that God has cleansed, do not make common.

Acts 10:16 And this occurred three times; and immediately the vessel was taken up into heaven.

Acts 10:17 Now as Peter was utterly perplexed in himself as to what the vision which he had seen might be, behold, the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made diligent inquiry for Simon's house, stood at the gate.

Acts 10:18 And they called out and inquired whether Simon, who is surnamed Peter, was lodging there.

Acts 10:19 And while Peter was pondering over the vision, the Spirit said to him, Behold, there are three men seeking you.

Acts 10:20 But rise up, go down and go with them, doubting nothing, because I have sent them.

Acts 10:21 And Peter went down to the men and said, Behold, I am he whom you seek; what is the cause for which you have come?

Acts 10:22 And they said, Cornelius, a centurion, a righteous man and one who fears God and is well attested to by the whole nation of the Jews, was divinely instructed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and hear words from you.

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