A Guest Article
Medicine defines the blood as a vehicle
for transporting nutrients, cellular wastes, hormones, electrolytes
and other substances throughout the body. The blood is a stream
for feeding and cleansing each cell in the body. It also acts
as a post office, carrying special biochemical messengers to special
destinations in the body.
Scripture says that the life is in the blood (Lev 17:11). When the blood is drained from a body there is no more life left in it. The believer knows that the Blood of Christ has special meaning and life. It washes us from our sins (I John 1:9), it redeems us (Eph. 1:7), it gives us the new covenant (Luke 22:20), it gives us eternal life (John 6:54), it is the payment of the penalty of our sins (Rom. 3:25), it is our justification (Rom 5:9), it has brought us near to God (Eph 2:13), and it is the power to overcome (Rev 12:11).
Human blood never rests. It never stops cleansing and feeding each cell in the body from the moment we are born until we die. Each cell is bathed in this cleansing stream throughout its entire life span, and owes its moment-to-moment existence to this never ending supply stream.
This simple truth applies also in the Body of Christ. No cell in the Body can pull back from this nourishing stream and hope to survive. Every individual cell in the human body is dependent upon the bloodstream for its nourishment and life. This is also true in the Body of Christ. God has designed His Body so that all of us are forever dependent upon His Blood for our spiritual life.
Divine Blood also never rests. It is ready and available to provide all of our needs at all time. Since we as individual believers are all cells in the Body of Christ, we need to be washed and fed by the Blood moment-to-moment just like the cells are in the human body. There is no other method of provision for our existence than through the Blood. However, there is one important difference between the physical cells and our spiritual existence. We can exercise our free will and pull back from the Blood if we choose. We can choose to be independent of its influence. Tragically, many who start with the Blood fall away because of deception, pride, self interest, lust, money and other distractions. Such separation is just as deadly spiritually as is a loss of blood supply in the physical body.
In the human body, when the blood supply fails to feed any tissue, whether it is a microscopically small area or a much larger area, that area immediately undergoes cell death. This is what happens in the case of a stroke or a heart attack. In the stroke, a blood clot in the blood stream plugs up an artery in the brain. All the brain tissue that was depending upon this artery to feed it suffers immediate death from lack of oxygen. If it is a small stroke it won't affect brain function much, but if it is a large clot, then more brain tissue dies. Massive strokes can lead to death. In the heart, the clot causes death of heart muscle. Again, a small clot causes a small area of damage, and larger clots produce larger areas of damage. Likewise, massive clots in the heart cause massive heart attacks which can be fatal.
From these examples it should be obvious that the human body has no back-up system to use if the bloodstream fails. Death is the inescapable result. So should it be obvious that any believer that separates himself from the Blood will find spiritual death just as inescapable. Any preacher or teacher who says that the Blood is not relevant any more is talking foolishness. Without the Blood there is no life in Christ. And there is no alternative therapy that can substitute for the Blood. If you have based your salvation on anything but the Blood you are in danger of spiritual death.
NOURISHMENT THROUGH THE BLOOD
Now let's see just how the blood
provides nourishment for the entire body. Scripture says that
first comes the physical, then the spiritual (I Cor 15:46). In
the physical body the blood uses a process of exchange to accomplish
its work. It goes like this: a red blood cell travels through
the lungs until it reaches a very thin membrane which separates
the blood from the air moving through the lung. This membrane
is so thin that the red blood cell can absorb oxygen from the
air through it. The hemoglobin in the red blood cell latches on
to the oxygen and holds it for the long journey to the various
parts of the body. At this same time the red blood cell is releasing
its load of carbon dioxide through the membrane out into the lung
to be exhaled. The red blood cell never stops during this process.
This process happens while it is moving through the very small
vessels in the lung, being pushed along by the force of contraction
of the heart beat. The Creator made sure that there would be enough
time for all the red blood cells to complete their exchange before
they leave the lungs.
Once they leave the lungs, they travel to every organ, tissue and system in the body, making sure that each cell has its needs met at all times. The path that the red blood cell takes after it leaves the lungs appears to be random, but each red blood cell is guided by the Creator so that each cell in the body can receive its full nourishment of oxygen and can also release its load of carbon dioxide to the red blood cell, so it can be transported back to the lungs to be exhaled. If this nourishing stream ever stops, then the level of carbon dioxide quickly builds up to poisonous levels in the cells.
Now, let me pose what sounds like a silly question. What would happen if the body tissues wanted to hang on to their carbon dioxide and not go through the process of exchange with the blood.? The answer to this question is so obvious that it appears absurd. The body tissues would die and death of the entire body would soon follow. It is obvious what would happen in the human body if any of the body parts refused to allow this exchange through the blood. Now let me ask the same question of the Body of Christ. What happens when a believer refuses to give up his sin to the cleansing power of the Blood? What would happen if he stubbornly refused to release his sin and let the Blood cleanse and renew him? He would loose the only provision God has made for cleansing from sin. Nothing else in the world can substitute for the cleansing power of the Blood of Christ. If a sinner refuses to release his sin and be cleansed by the Blood then he stays in spiritual death.
In the human blood each cell must release its toxins to the cleansing power of the blood. In the Body of Christ each believer must release his or her own personal sin to the cleansing power of Christ's Blood. In return, he receives not just cleansing, but eternal life, deeper sanctification, and the very presence of Jesus within. Who would not want such an exchange? Anyone foolish enough to want to retain his sin and refuse the exchange of the Blood is a fool indeed.
The sad truth about human nature is that people are so deceived that they would rather keep their sins and shut Jesus out. All the saving power of God can be brought to a complete stop by a simple exertion of the human will against what God wants to do for the soul. Just as human blood will never force its life giving nutrients upon any cell, so He will not force Himself into the life of anyone. It is up to each individual cell to partake of this life giving stream, both in the human body and in the Body of Christ. It remains with each of us and our free will to partake of the riches He has for us.
CELLS IN THE BLOOD
In order to do this it takes a vast number of red blood cells, all committed to doing the same job. Where do they come from? The answer to this question reveals one of the most awesome displays of the Creator's genius in the entire human body.
Red blood cells are made in the bone marrow. There are usually 5-6 million red blood cells per cubic milliliter of blood in the man and 4-5 million in the woman. They last about 120 days before they wear out. Inside the bone marrow there are untold millions of cells that are constantly reproducing new red blood cells. In fact, the average size adult human body is turning out around 3,000 new red blood cells per second!
In each of these cells is the hemoglobin mentioned earlier. Each hemoglobin molecule contains over 600 amino acids which have to be laid out according to a precise blueprint. If even one of the amino acids is placed out of sequence a fatal blood disease can result. This is how sickle cell anemia originates. In sickle cell there is only one amino acid out of its proper sequence, but this small change can cause sickness and even death to the body.
From this amazing example it should be obvious that there are no unimportant cells in the bone marrow. Each microscopic cell is needed to accomplish the job of making enough red blood cells to nourish the entire body. If even a few of these bone marrow cells malfunction then the whole body can become quite ill. This is where leukemia starts. When the bone marrow cells start making too many cells or make cells that are malformed and unable to do their job correctly, then the whole body suffers from leukemia. Medical science is full of such examples of whole body sickness caused by malfunction of one small part of the body.
COOPERATION HELPS ALL OF US
One simple truth that is seen over
and over in the study of human physiology is that of interdependence
and cooperation between body parts. When seeing the many parallels
between cooperation in the human body and God's plan for cooperation
in the Body of Christ, it is easy to conclude that many, many
believers are dependent upon a few cells for their maintenance
and nourishment. In fact this could be made personal by saying
that many believers are dependent upon your proper function in
the body for their spiritual nourishment. You do not have to be
a famous evangelist to have a vital role in the Body. Nor do you
have to have direct contact with believers to have a life giving
role in their lives. Simple, loving obedience to the Head in your
own personal life will have profound, far reaching effects for
good in the Body of Christ.
The idea behind all human physiology is cooperation, and this should be the overriding idea behind all function in the Body of Christ. This example of how the blood is made in the bone marrow should serve to reinforce this idea. I know that this concept is hard to grasp at first, because each of us will say, "But I have such a small part in the Body." That is true. You do have a small part, but it is a life giving part. How can we have a body without blood? And how can we have blood without these bone marrow cells to make the blood cells for us? The bone marrow cells do not see the full fruit of their obedience. They will never have the vision to fully appreciate the glorious importance of their work. This is how it should be. We are not supposed to see the whole picture now. We are supposed to do our 'small' job and leave the final results to the Head.
I hope that by now you are beginning to see how important it is that each cell in the Body of Christ performs its pre-ordained role for the good of the whole body. Jesus has deliberately built into the human body such microscopic precision and interdependence as a model for the cooperation of all believers. He will not be completely satisfied until there is just as high a degree of precise performance and cooperation in His Body. The minutest details of your life and walk with Him are important to Him because He knows how your walk of faith and obedience will add to this overall harmony. From the example of the bone marrow it can be argued that there is no such thing as a small sin to Jesus. The small things become very important when they are withheld from the Body.
EXCHANGE THROUGH THE BLOOD
The blood is constantly active in the process of exchange already mentioned. Not only are the red blood cells exchanging oxygen for carbon dioxide in the lungs, but other parts of the blood are exchanging waste products for nutrients in each cell. This process is quite complex in its entirety, but lets look at just a few parts of this life sustaining process.
When you exercise a muscle to the point of fatigue often you feel a burning in the muscle. This is caused by the buildup of lactic acid in the muscle. Lactic acid is a by-product of normal muscle contraction, and when it accumulates it can be mildly toxic to the muscle. Fortunately, when it builds up during intense contractions, it is quickly swept away by the bloodstream and transported to the liver where it can be changed and used for fuel. Without this constant cleansing of the muscles even simple muscle movements would be nearly impossible because of pain. The blood is constantly exchanging the lactic acid for nutrients that the muscles can use for further activity. This principle of exchange is seen in everything the blood does for the body.
Have you ever considered how many exchanges were made by the Cross and the Blood of Christ? We are going to explore this idea, but first let me say that I wish to thank Derek Prince for first introducing me to this idea of the exchange that occurred at the cross. When I first heard this teaching on one of his tapes it really helped me to see more of the fullness of Christ's work for me. If you wish to have a complete study of the exchange at the cross please contact him at Derek Prince Ministries, Box 300 Fort Lauderdale, Fl. 33302. These are some of the exchanges that took place on the cross:
1. 2 Cor 8:9 says he became poor so that we might become rich.
2. Eph 2:6 states, "He has exchanged our residence on earth for eternal residence in heaven in Christ," and verse 13 states that He has traded our distance from God for His nearness.
3. Col. 1:13 says, "He has delivered us from the power of darkness and has conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love."
4. Rom 6:6,8 says, "Our old man was crucified that the new man (Christ) could come to life in us," also v 14, we are moved out from under the law and into grace.
5. Phil 2:6-11 states, "Jesus exchanged His place of rulership in heaven for a life with us on earth."
6. Isaiah 53:5 says, Jesus received the punishment that was due to us. He suffered in our place.
There are many more examples of this principle of exchange through the blood of Christ. I would invite you to make your own personal list. Such a study will strengthen your faith in Christ and His Blood. Keep in mind that human blood was designed and created for this principle of exchange and so is the blood of Christ. First the natural exchange, then the spiritual.
WHAT THE BLOOD IS DOING FOR YOU
Now let us consider the blood from another perspective. The blood has many other roles besides the nutrient exchange already mentioned. It is capable of doing many things at the same time. At any one time your bloodstream is doing all of these:
1. Feeding your leg muscles with the proteins they need to contract, as you work throughout the day.
2. Delivering hormones to the digestive organs to trigger the release of digestive enzymes.
3. Fighting infections in the lung from pollen, smoke and air pollution.
4. Feeding the brain exactly the right amount of blood sugar for mental activity.
5. Transporting toxins from your food out of the digestive tract to the liver.
6. Carrying white blood cells to areas of inflammation. This could be a small area of tenderness in your gums, or a major insult like a sprained ankle.
7. Providing enough blood pressure to the brain to maintain consciousness.
8. Carrying thyroxin hormone from the thyroid gland to each cell to set proper body temperature.
This list could go on and on. Thousands
of special, unique functions are occurring simultaneously in the
human bloodstream. There is only one bloodstream but each of these
thousands of functions are occurring at the same time under the
control of the head.
This same principle is true of the Blood of Christ. It is capable of meeting unique, personal needs all over the globe at the same time. These needs are all different in different parts of the world. Different churches, nationalities, economic environments, and levels of political freedom require different ministries from the Blood. But the blood is so diverse, so all nourishing, so complete for each believer that not one single need in one single church anywhere goes unmet. The Blood of Christ is all sufficient for all believers of all time. Just as your blood is always nourishing each of your cells, so is the Blood of Christ nourishing each believer throughout the world.
The divine Blood of Christ is doing all these functions at the same time:
1. Salvation of young people in Puerto Rico
2. Sanctification of teenagers in Montreal
3. Spiritual warfare to defend elderly believers in China
4. Giving the power to overcome to pastors in Mexico City
5. Delivering from pornography in Denver
6. Defeating Muslim principalities and powers over the former Russian empire.
7. Healing Aids victims in Africa
8. Providing protection from fear to a child in New York
Do you begin to see the marvelous
ongoing parallel that exists now between the human blood and the
divine blood? Just as the human blood is busy doing countless
numbers of jobs, to meet all the body's needs all at the same
time, so is the divine blood, the Blood of Christ, constantly
at work providing for the spiritual needs of all believers all
over the earth.
This nourishment is different for each individual cell in the body. No two will receive exactly the same sustenance. Each has slightly different needs so each receives a slightly different nourishment from the blood. What is nourishing and essential for one group of cells is cast off as unimportant by other groups of cells. For example, the lactic acid mentioned earlier that results from muscle contraction is mildly toxic to muscles but can be metabolized as fuel by the liver and heart.
All cells need the basic nourishment of protein, fats, carbohydrates and water from the diet, but beyond these basics each cell has the unique and God given ability to receive special nutrients from the blood that will be especially important to them. Science still does not know exactly how each cell does this.
Throughout the course of it's life each organ has differing needs for proteins, fats, and sugars. If one organ needs more sugar than others it can easily obtain this from the ever present blood stream. God has already put those nutrients at it's doorstep. God has seen the need beforehand and has already provided it in the blood. This is a good example of how God is Jehovah-Jireh, the one who supplies all of our needs.
What is true in the natural is also true in the spiritual. God knew before the foundation of the world that His children would have differing needs for spiritual food, and He provided for all these needs in His Blood.
If one believer needs more mercy than others, it is already available in the Blood. If another believer needs more purification than others, it is already available to him in the Blood. All these believers have to do is to open up and receive the perfect recipe for perfection that has been prepared for them in the Blood. What they actually receive from the blood will be different but the end result is the same: the Blood is abundantly able to feed and nurture both of them to perfection.
THE SMALL AND THE GREAT
The hormone system produces chemical messengers that are released into the blood, but only affects a few organs. The other organs ignore these chemicals. How do the cells know which ones to receive and which to ignore? Science does not know. But we do know that each cell does have this innate ability to receive what is especially intended for it from the bloodstream. Likewise, each believer should know how to receive his special personal needs from the Blood by believing that God has already put them there for him. Just as Jesus put an innate ability into each cell to take and receive from the blood what it needs, so will He give to you the ability to receive exactly what you need at each moment in your spiritual life.
Perhaps the Blood of Christ is ministering a different message to you than to others in your church. Are you wrong? Are they wrong? Probably not. While we all share the basics of salvation, the Blood could be doing a personal and unique work in you that perhaps you don't see in fellow believers around you.
When you see this happen, don't thing that you are being led astray. No, rather, you are being fed with special food from the Blood for a special work. Others may ignore this special nourishment but you cannot because it is doing a special life giving work in you that God has called you to. Praise God! He always provides the tools and resources needed for each believers special work. As long as a believer is receiving his life and food from the Blood he will be completely nourished, even though it may appear that he is growing spiritually in a manner different from others. Just as many different body parts are all nourished for growth by the blood, so is Jesus feeding and raising up many different kinds of believers for many different roles in His Body.
No cell can dare be ignored lest the body become sick, and no believer will ever be ignored by the Savior and His Blood. Jesus has promised us that He will always take care of us and His provision is always through His blood.
IMMUNITY, HUMAN AND DIVINE
One more very important function
of the blood is to provide immunity against infections. The blood
carries in its life giving stream many specialized proteins and
other substances that provide a protection against infection for
all other cells in the body. This is a defensive function that
is designed to keep infection from gaining a foothold in any of
the tissues or systems of the body. Anywhere the blood goes it
carries with it this protective feature.
How does immunity occur? It happens through a blood reaction after first exposure. Let's take the common example of the measles. Measles is a relatively harmless disease of childhood, which most children will be exposed to before they grow up. During this first exposure the virus will enter the bloodstream triggering a full response by the white blood cells. This response is similar to the riot squad arriving on the scene of an urban conflict. These white blood cells have an aggressive, militant attitude about any invader they find. They do not come just to talk. They come to neutralize and kill.
The white blood cells will analyze the shape and character of the proteins on the outside of the virus and will figure out a way to neutralize them so that they cannot cause any damage to tissues in the body. Once this process is completed the child will not only be able to fight off the present infection of measles, but also has become immunized against further measles attacks. This immune memory in the white blood cells will last for the rest of the child's life. Should he be exposed to the measles virus at any time after this initial exposure, his immune system will mount such an effective counterattack that he will probably not even feel sick.
How does this relate to the Blood of Christ? Heb 2:17-18 says: "Therefore in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted."
When Jesus was made like us and was born of a woman into a physical body, this was His first exposure. He made contact with all forms of sin and temptation but yielded to none of them. The important difference here is that Jesus was exposed not just to physical disease, but to all the effects of sin in a fallen world so that He could bring the remedy for each one to us through His Blood. While on earth Jesus knew hunger, thirst, poverty, loneliness, betrayal by a friend, political persecution, desert heat, temptation, disappointments by those closest to Him, harassment by religious people and finally intense physical pain culminating in His death.
You may be assured that whatever sin or life problem you are facing, Jesus has faced it already and has the perfect remedy in His Blood. There is no human need of any kind that does not find its provision in the Savior's blood. Through it we have been given all that pertains to life and godliness (II Peter 1:3).
Remember that Jesus was tempted in all points just as we are, yet He did not sin (Hebrews 4:15) and we have His Blood, therefore we have the perfect remedy for sin. When Jesus lived on earth He made contact with all forms of sin and every curse from the fall.
Remember also that Jesus became 100% man. He did not ignore the smallest details of humanness in His life on earth, so that His provision for us could be 100% perfect. He embraced the entirety of man's fall when He came to earth. All the darkness, loss, and evil that resulted from Adam's fall fell squarely on His shoulders.
The New Age is looking for a teacher or Master that will come from heaven to earth and will be ultraspiritual. They want a savior that is all heaven and no earth. But Scripture was careful to say that Jesus had to be made like His brethren so He could have compassion that was produced by His own personal experiences on earth.
When I was a young believer, Bible teachers would tell me how human Jesus was. I would think, "So what. I am human, too, and I don't like it one bit. Tell me about His divinity and His sinless perfection." But now I see that if He had not become 100% man, then we could not identify with Him as a fellow human being who knows and understands what our problems are. "He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since He Himself is also beset by weakness" (Heb 5:2).
What does it mean to be immune? One thing it does not mean is that you will never have to be exposed to an infectious agent again. Someone who is immunized does not say, "I am so strong that they would not dare attack me." That is foolish and proud. What you can say is, "I have been exposed to that before and if it attacks me again my body knows how to fight it and will certainly prevail against it so I won't have to suffer again."
The believer has an even better response: "I have never faced this sin or problem before, but I am in Christ and He has faced it before and my defense is found in His Blood. In His Blood I will find all provision and defense that I need because His Blood is perfect and perfect blood provides perfect immunity."
Having spiritual immunity does not mean we will never be attacked. What it does mean is that we have abundant weapons to prevail in a fight (II Cor 10:4). As long as any believer is in this world, he will be subject to attack from the world, the flesh and the devil. But he may have every confidence that the Blood of Christ can make him so strong that he will prevail in all these battles and will emerge as "more than a conqueror" (Rom 8:37).
Craig Henderson, D.C., email@example.com
Dr. Henderson was born and raised in Glenwood Springs, Colorado and graduated from Colorado Mountain College there in 1975. He attended Palmer College of Chiropractic from 1975 to 1978, graduating Cum Laude with the degree of Doctor of Chiropractic. He practiced in Paonia, a small coal mining town in western Colorado for 7 years, then moved to Williston, Florida in September of 1985. Dr. Henderson been in private practice here for 17 years. His work involves a wide spectrum of spinal complaints including headaches, low back pain, car accidents and horse falls.This region of Florida has almost as many horses as is found in Kentucky, so he treats a wide variety of horse related injuries. He also likes to use nutritional formulas to hasten the healing process. He became a Christian when he was 19 years old. His mother was an alcoholic, drug addict and chain smoker. He was not looking for God but He sure did pursue and find him. He has now known the Lord Jesus for 34 years. Lately he and his wife have been deeply blessed to discover the Jewish roots of our faith. This has started him on a study that is truly challenging and exciting. Your email to Dr. Henderson is welcome.
BLOOD [Hebrew: dam. prob. < adam "be red"; Greek: haima]. Blood in the OT is the life principle, both animal (Lev. 17:11) and vegetable (Dt. 32:14, the blood" oft the grape) Its atoning power in the OT sacrifices foreshadows the ultimate atonement by the blood of Christ. The word ha a figurative sense in both the OT and NT for bloodshed or murder (Gen. 37:26, Hos. 4:2, Rev. 16:6).
I. Primitive Ideas: Although the real function of th blood in the human system was not fully known until the fact of its circulation was established by William Harvey in 1615, nevertheless from the earliest times a singular mystery has been attached to it by all peoples. Blood rites, blood ceremonies, and blood feuds are common among primitive tribes. It came to be recognized a the life principle long before its function was scientifically proved. Naturally a feeling of fear, awe, and reverent would be attached to the shedding of blood. With man uncivilized peoples scarification of the body until bloc flows is practiced. Blood brotherhood or blood friendship is established by African tribes by the mutual shedding (blood and either drinking it or rubbing it on one another bodies. Thus and by the intertransfusion of blood by other means it was thought that a community of life and interest could he established.
II. Hebrew and OT Customs: Notwithstanding the ignorance and superstition surrounding this suggestively beautiful idea, it grew to have more than a merely hums significance and application. For this crude practice intertransference of human blood there came to be symbolic substitution of animal blood in sprinkling or anointing. The first reference in the OT to blood (Gen. 4:10) is figurative, but highly illustrative of the reverential fear manifested upon the shedding of blood, and the first teaching regarding it. The rite of circumcision is an OT form of blood ceremony. Apart from the probable sanitary importance of the act is the deeper meaning in the establishment of a bond of friendship between the one upon whom the act is performed and the Lord Himself. In order that Abraham might become "the friend of God" he was commanded that he should he circumcised as a token of the covenant between him and God (Gen. 17:10ff).
It is significant that eating blood was prohibited in earliest Bible times (Gen. 9:4). The custom probably prevalent among heathen nations as a religious rite (Cf. Ps 16:4). This and its unhygienic influence together doubtless led to its becoming taboo. The same prohibition was made under the Mosaic code (Lev. 7:26).
Blood was commanded to he used also for purification or for ceremonial cleansing (Lev. 4:5-7, 51ff, Nu. 19:4) provided, however, that it he taken from a clean animal. In all probability there is no trace of the superstitious use of blood in the OT, except perhaps in I K. 22:38 but everywhere it is vested with cleansing, expiatory and reverently symbolic qualities.
III. NT Teachings: As in the transition from ancient
to Hebrew practice, so from the OT to the NT we see at exaltation
of the conception of blood and blood ceremonies. In Abraham's
covenant his own blood had to be shed. Later an expiatory animal
was to shed blood. (Lev. 5:6), but there must always be a shedding
of blood. "Without the shedding of blood then is no forgiveness
of sins" (He. 9:22). The exaltation of this idea finds its
highest development then in the vicarious shedding of blood by
Christ Himself (1 John 1:7) As in the OT "blood" was
used also to signify the juice of grapes; the most natural substitute
for drinking blood would be the use of wine. Jesus takes advantage
of this and introduces the beautiful and significant custom (Mt
26:28) of drinking wine and eating bread as symbolic a the primitive
intertransfusion of blood and flesh in a pledge of eternal friendship
(cf. Ex. 24:6ff, Jn. 6:53-56). This is the climactic observance
of blood rites recorded in the Bible. (International Standard
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