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Thread: Paul: The Worship of the Lord Jesus

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    Paul: The Worship of the Lord Jesus

    A. The Jehovah's Witnesses believe the Lord Jesus is not God and so therefore should never be worshiped.
    1. Reverent adoration should be expressed only to God. To render worship to anyone or anything else would be a form of idolatry...True Christians do well to direct their worship only to Jehovah God, the Almighty (Awake! April 8, 2000, page 26+27). Since "every prayer is a form of worship" (The Watchtower, December 15, 1994, page 23) this would mean that praying to the Lord Jesus is not allowed.

    B. We have already seen elsewhere that Paul believed the Lord Jesus was to be prayed to/worshiped.
    1. See "Call Upon the Name of the Lord - Praying to Jesus" (Romans 10:13; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Timothy 2:22): http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/sh...the-Lord-Jesus

    2. See also "Doxologies to the Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Timothy 4:18): http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/sh...d-Jesus-Christ

    C. 2 Corinthians 12:8
    Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me (2 Corinthians 12:8, NASB).
    1. In verse 8 Paul declared that he implored the Lord. Someone might insist that besought doesn't have to mean prayer. If they resort to this argument I would ask if a Roman Catholic stated that he/she implored Mary (the mother of Jesus) would that mean they were praying to Mary?
    The obvious answer is yes.
    2. The JW's believe this is a prayer:
    The apostle Paul prayed for relief from what he called his “thorn in the flesh.” (2 Corinthians 12:7) This “thorn” may refer to a chronic eye affliction or to the constant harassment of opposers and “false brothers.” (2 Corinthians 11:26; Galatians 4:14, 15) Paul wrote: “I three times entreated the Lord that it might depart from me.” However, God knew that if Paul continued preaching despite this nagging “thorn in the flesh,” it would clearly demonstrate God’s power and Paul’s implicit trust in Him. So rather than grant Paul’s request, God told him: “My power is being made perfect in weakness.”—2 Corinthians 12:8, 9. (The Watchtower, Why Do Some Prayers Go Unanswered, January 1, 2009).
    Interestingly, the New World Translation in 2 Corinthians 12:8 does not read Jehovah but Lord.
    Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it would depart from me (2 Corinthians 12:8, NWT)
    www.watchtower.org/bible/
    3. Murray Harris: In secular Greek parakalew is a common word for invoking a deity for aid (The New International Greek Testament Commentary, 2 Corinthians, Murray J. Harris, page 859). He cites in footnote #167 the TDNT 5:775 which reads: for calling on the gods or God in prayer, with a suggestion of the original sense of invoking divine help, e.g., Plat.Leg., 11, 917b and931c (TDNT 5:775, parakalew, O. Schmitz).
    4. NIDNTT: In this way the early church bears witness to the fact that it regards Jesus Christ as its Lord and living head, who, having conquered death, is alive for evermore. Consequently one can enter into living, personal contact with him, talking with him just as one did when he was on earth (cf. Acts 9:10-16; 2 Cor. 12:8f) (2:867, Prayer, H. Schonweiss).
    5. NIDNTT: Paul also mentions the word that the exalted Lord spoke to him: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (v. 9) (3:315, Revelation, W. Mundle).
    6. TDNT: Paul tells us that three times he called on the risen Lord in vain for deliverance from the angel of Satan (5:794, parakalew, Schmitz).
    7. Danker: 8- In view of the context, v. 9, it is probable that Paul addressed these three petitions to Christ. If such is the case, it is a unique departure from Paul's custom, which is to address God as the one who is ultimately responsible for everything (cf. 5:18; Rom. 11:33-36). Paul's Jewish liturgical tradition is still firmly entrenched, but Christ is the natural object of his petition here, for it is in the proclamation of his service for all humanity that Paul is engaged. An answer coming from Christ will indeed be especially meaningful (Augsburg Commentary on the New Testament: 2 Corinthians, page 194).
    8. Vine: Prayer is properly addressed to God the Father, Matt. 6:6; John 16:23; Eph. 1:17; 3:14, and the Son, Acts 7:59; 2 Cor. 12:8 (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, Prayer, page 872).
    9. Murray Harris: It is scarcely open to question that the person addressed in Paul's plea for relief from the battering of the messenger of Satan was the Lord Jesus (The New International Greek Testament Commentary, 2 Corinthians, Murray J. Harris, page 860).
    10. R.T. France: In 2 Corinthians 12:8, for instance, who was the 'Lord" to whom Paul prayed? Normally his prayers are addressed to God, but "my power" in the answer to Paul's prayer appears to be identified with 'the power of Christ' (verse 9). It seems then that for Paul, Jesus was already so much identified with God that the same language was naturally applicable to each ("The Worship of Jesus - A Neglected Factor In Christological Debate?", R.T. France, Vox Evangelica, 12, c. 1981, 19-33 -> This quote here appears on page 29).

    D. Philippians 2:10
    so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth (Philippians 2:10, NASB).
    1. There are four passages as found in the New Testament (only by Paul) where "bow" (kamptw) is used - and everyone refers to worship (Philippians 2:10; Romans 11:4; 14:11; Ephesians 3:14).
    2. TDNT: kamptein gonu (gonata) is the gesture of full inner submission in worship to the one before whom we bow the knee. Thus in R. 14:11 bowing the knee is linked with confession within the context of a judgment scene, and in Phil. 2:10 it again accompanies confession with reference to the worship of the exalted Kyrios Jesus by the cosmos. At R. 14:11 kamptein gonu te Baal signifies surrender to Baal, and at Eph. 3:14 the formula kamptw ta gonata pros ton theon is a solemn description of the attitude of submission to God in prayer (3:594-595, kamptw, Schlier).
    3. Thayer: to bow the knee, of those worshipping God or Christ: Ro. 11:4; Eph. 3:14; Ro 14:11 (1 K. 19:18); Phil. 2:10 (Is. 45:23) (Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, gonu, page 120).
    4. Vine: to bend, is used especially of bending the knees in religious veneration, Rom. 11:4; 14:11; Eph. 3:14; Phil. 2:10 (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, Bow - kamptw, page 135).
    5. Murray Harris: Object of worship (Phil. 2:10-11) (Jesus as God, An Outline to the New Testament Testimony to the Deity of Christ, page 316).
    6. Robertson: 2:11 {Should confess} (exomologˆsˆtai). First aorist middle subjunctive of exomologeomai with hina for purpose. {Lord} (kurios). Peter (#Ac 2:36) claimed that God made Christ "Lord." See also #1Co 8:6; 12:3; Ro 10:9. Kennedy mourns that the term Lord has become one of the most lifeless in the Christian vocabulary, whereas it really declares the true character and dignity of Jesus Christ and "is the basis and the object of worship."
    http://www.godrules.net/library/robert/robertphi2.htm
    7. Holman Bible Dictionary: Kneeling was the posture of prayer (Daniel 6:10; Acts 7:60; Acts 9:40; Acts 20:3; Ephesians 3:14; compare 1 Kings 18:42), acknowledging a superior (2 Kings 1:13; Matthew 17:14; Matthew 27:29; Mark 1:40; Mark 10:17; Luke 5:8), or worship of God (1 Kings 8:54), Jesus (Philippians 2:10), or idols (1 Kings 19:18; Isaiah 66:3 where blessing an idol refers to kneeling before an idol)
    http://www.studylight.org/dic/hbd/view.cgi?n=3696
    Last edited by foudroyant; 06-20-2014 at 02:53 PM.

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    E. 1 Thessalonians 3:11
    Now may our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you (1 Thessalonians 3:11. NASB).
    1. Hogg and Vine: This verse is of much importance because of the doctrine of the Deity of Christ therein implied. The Epistle, it will be remembered, is one of the earliest Christian documents, and as such supplies most valuable testimony to primitive Apostolic teaching. From this verse then it is evident that the Thessalonians had been taught to think of the Lord Jesus as One with God, for: -
    a, Prayer is addressed to the Lord Jesus cojointly with the Father. It is equally important to notice that the Lord Jesus is united with the Father in respect of His Godhead, He is distinguished from the Father in respect of His personality:
    b, The Lord Jesus is associated with God the Father as controller of the ways of men:
    c, the Greek verb translated "direct" is in the singular number notwithstanding that two names form its subject. Thus the simple grammatical law, that a verb must agree with its subject in number, is set aside in order that the unique relationship existing between the Persons may be indicated:
    d, the sentence may be translated thus: But God Himself, even our Father and our Lord Jesus, direct our way unto you.
    (Galatians and Thessalonians, page 103).
    2. Robertson: Our God and Father himself (αυτος ο τεος και πατηρ ημων — autos ho theos kai patēr hēmōn). Note one article with both substantives for one person.
    And our Lord Jesus (και ο Κυριος ημων Ιησους — kai ho Kurios hēmōn Iēsous). Separate article here with Ιησους — Iēsous In Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1 only one article (not two) treating “our God and Saviour Jesus Christ” as one just like “our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” in 2 Peter 1:11; 2 Peter 2:20; 2 Peter 3:18.
    Direct our way (κατευτυναι την οδον ημων — kateuthunai tēn hodon hēmōn). First aorist optative (acute accent on penult, not circumflex first aorist active infinitive) of κατευτυνω — kateuthunō old verb to make straight path. Singular verb also, though both God and Christ mentioned as subject (unity in the Godhead). Apart from μη γενοιτο — mē genoito (may it not come to pass) the optative in a wish of the third person is found in N.T. only in 1 Thessalonians 3:11, 1 Thessalonians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:5, 2 Thessalonians 3:16; Romans 15:5, Romans 15:13.
    On verse 12: The Lord (ο Κυριος — ho Kurios). The Lord Jesus. Paul prays to Christ.
    http://www.studylight.org/com/rwp/view.cgi?bk=51&ch=3
    3. Gordon Fee: The present prayer is certain evidence that what Paul says in this next letter is already well in place by the time he writes these earlier letters to the Thessalonian believers. That he does this in such a matter-of-fact way, and without explanation or argumentation, is at the same time sure evidence that he must have previously instructed them not only on the saving work of Christ, but also on who the divine Saviour actually was. So while the opening prayer (v.11) is directed primarily to God the Father, as the emphatic "himself" makes clear, the remarkable inclusion of the Son as the compound subject of the singular verb seems to exist in anticipation of the rest of the prayer, which is directed solely to Christ.
    Two further matters need to be noted, both christological. First, one should observe (a) that Paul can pray to both God the Father and the Lord Jesus together as one (v.11), (b) that he can pray to both together but single out one as the object (grammatical subject) of the concerns of prayer at a given time (vv. 12-13), and (c) that in these earliest two letters he can pray to either separately (for the Father see 1 Thess 1:2-3; 5:23; for Christ see 2 Thess 3:5 and 16).
    Second, even though the first emphasis in this case is on God the Father, the final focus of the prayer is altogether on the Lord Jesus, which makes the singular verb and compound subject in verse 11 seem to be more than Paul's simply taking over "conventional liturgical language to which [he] and his readers were accustomed." (15) Indeed, this same phenomenon happens in reverse in 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, where Christ is mentioned first (including with the quotes [himself"]) while the pickup, exactly as in the present case, is with prayer addressed to the second divine person mentioned at the outset, namely God the Father. So one simply cannot be dismissive about the role of Christ in the present prayer. Here is a strict monotheist praying with ease to both the Father and the Son, focusing first on the one and then the other, and without a sense that his monotheism is being stretched or is in some kind of danger (The First and Second Letters to the Thessalonians, page 130-131).
    4. George Findlay: The association of “our Lord Jesus” with “God the Father” in acts of prayer and thanksgiving is a very noticeable feature of these two Letters; it affords impressive evidence, coming from the oldest N.T. writings, of the deity of Jesus Christ as this was conceived by the first Christians; the two are so identified that they count as one (cf. the words of Jesus in John 10:30, ἐγὼ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἕν ἐσμεν), blending in the singular optative predicate, κατευθύναι: see also 2 Thessalonians 2:16 f., and note. The petition of 1 Thessalonians 3:12 is addressed to “the Lord” solely. (Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges)
    http://www.studylight.org/commentari...cgi?bk=51&ch=3

    F. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
    Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, NASB).
    1. Hogg and Vine: For the inference as to the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ see note on "direct" at 3:11 (Galatians and Thessalonians, page 279).
    2. Barnes: Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself - This expression is equivalent to this: “I pray our Lord Jesus, and our Father, to comfort you.” It is really a prayer offered to the Saviour - a recognition of Christ as the source of consolation as well as the Father, and a union of his name with that of the Father in invoking important blessings. It is such language as could be used only by one who regarded the Lord Jesus as divine.
    And God even our Father - Greek: “And God, and ( και kai) our Father;” though not incorrectly rendered “even our Father.” If it should be contended that the use of the word “and” - “our Lord Jesus Christ, and God,” proves that the Lord Jesus is a different being from God - the use of the same word “and” would prove that the “Father” is a different being from God. But the truth is, the apostle meant to speak of the Father and the Son as the common Source of the blessing for which he prayed.
    http://www.studylight.org/com/bnb/view.cgi?bk=52&ch=2
    3. Poole: The apostle here addeth prayer to his exhortation: the word and prayer are to go together, whether it be written or preached; as the twelve told the disciples, Acts 6:4: We will give ourselves to the word and prayer. He had planted them a church, but he knew God gave the increase, 1 Corinthians 3:6. The persons he prays to are here, first,
    our Lord Jesus Christ; which was a good argument in Athanasius’s time, for the dignity of Christ, against the Arians; and so it is still, and now against the Socinians: for God alone is the object of worship, and the bestower of those gifts which he here prays for. Only the apostle, when he mentions Christ, delights to mention him in his relation to his people; so he doth for the most part in all his Epistles, and so in this text. He useth a pronoun possessive, our, for it is relation and interest which commendeth and sweeteneth any good to us. And the other person is
    God the Father, who is the Father of lights, from whom cometh every good and perfect gift, James 1:17; and whom in his prayer he mentions together with Christ, because no access can be to God but through Christ, and no good gift descends to us but through him. And so God the Father is mentioned in his relation to his people also, God, even our Father; and when Christ is ours, in him God is ours also. And the apostle thus looking, and thus speaking of Christ and of God, strengthens his own and their faith, for the obtaining of the gifts he prays for.
    http://www.studylight.org/com/mpc/view.cgi?bk=52&ch=2

    G. 2 Thessalonians 3:16
    Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all! (2 Thessalonians 3:16, NASB)
    1. NIDNTT: Concerning Jesus: He is the kyrios of peace and gives peace (2 Thess. 3:16), mercy (2 Tim. 1:16), and insight (2 Tim. 2:7) (2:517, Lord, H. Bietenhard).
    2. NIDNTT: 1 Thess. 3:10-13; 2 Thess 2:16 and 2 Thess. 3:16 are listed under "Intercessory prayer for others, including blessings and cursings" (2:874, Prayer, H. Schonweiss, C, Brown).
    3. Hogg and Vine: as the title "God of peace" refers to the Father, so "Lord of peace" is best understood of the Son. (Galatians and Thessalonians, page 292)
    4. Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown: Lord of peace — Jesus Christ. The same title is given to Him as to the Father, “the God of peace” (Romans 15:33; Romans 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:11). An appropriate title in the prayer here, where the harmony of the Christian community was liable to interruption from the “disorderly.” The Greek article requires the translation, “Give you the peace” which it is “His to give.” “Peace” outward and inward, here and hereafter (Romans 14:17). always — unbroken, not changing with outward circumstances.
    by all means — Greek, “in every way.” Most of the oldest manuscripts read, “in every place”; thus he prays for their peace in all times (“always”) and places.
    Lord be with you all — May He bless you not only with peace, but also with His presence (Matthew 28:20). Even the disorderly brethren (compare 2 Thessalonians 3:15, “a brother”) are included in this prayer.
    http://www.studylight.org/com/jfb/view.cgi?bk=52&ch=3
    5. George Findlay: “The Lord of peace” is surely Christ, as in the whole context (see note on κύριος, 2 Thessalonians 3:1 above), and regularly with St Paul. The previous context—2 Thessalonians 3:14 especially—suggests this prayer; the “peace” desired has reference to the Church troubles of the hour. (Cambridge Greek Testament for School's and Colleges)
    http://www.studylight.org/commentari...cgi?bk=52&ch=3

    H. The Jehovah's Witnesses belief that the Lord Jesus is not to be worshiped runs contrary to what Paul repeatedly affirmed.
    Last edited by foudroyant; 06-25-2014 at 03:44 PM.

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    Another prayer to the Lord Jesus by Paul is found in 2 Thessalonians 3:5.

    May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ. (NASB)

    1. Leon Morris: "The Lord" here is Jesus; we have another indication of the place Paul accorded him in this prayer addressed to him. The verb 'direct" (see on 1 Thess. 3:11) signifies the removal of all obstacles so that the way is cleared. The noun "heart" (see on 1 Thess. 2:4) stands for the whole of the inner life. Paul's prayer, then, is that the Lord will lead his friends to concentrate their thinking, their emotions, and their will on the love and steadfastness to which he refers. (The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians, pages 250-251).
    2. Alford: ὁ κύρ. is our Lord, as before.
    http://www.studylight.org/commentari...cgi?bk=52&ch=3
    3. Robertson: The Lord here is the Lord Jesus.
    http://www.studylight.org/commentari...cgi?bk=52&ch=3
    4. Vincent: The prayer is that their hearts may be directed to love God and to exhibit the patience of Christ.
    http://www.studylight.org/commentari...cgi?bk=52&ch=3
    5. Alexander MacLaren: A word or two of explanation of terms may preface our remarks on this, the third of the Apostle’s prayers for the Thessalonians in this letter. The first point to be noticed is that by ‘the Lord’ here is meant, as usually in the New Testament, Jesus Christ. So that here again we have the distinct recognition of His divinity, and the direct address of prayer to Him.
    http://www.studylight.org/commentari...cgi?bk=52&ch=3

    Just as Paul prayed to the Father and the Lord Jesus to "direct" (κατευθύνω) the way in 1 Thessalonians 3:11 he now prays to the Lord Jesus to "direct" (κατευθύνω) the believers hearts in 2 Thessalonians 3:5. In both prayers the underlying theme is "love" (2 Thessalonians 3:5; cf. 1 Thessalonians 3:12).

    Furthermore, this directing of the hearts by God in the Old Testament is used in relation to praying to/worshiping Him:
    Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, "If you return to the LORD with all your heart, remove the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your hearts to the LORD and serve Him alone; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines." (1 Samuel 7:3, NASB)

    O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, our fathers, preserve this forever in the intentions of the heart of Your people, and direct their heart to You (1 Chronicles 29:18, NASB)

    If you would direct your heart right and spread out your hand to Him (Job 11:13, NASB)

    Likewise, the directing of the hearts by the Lord Jesus in 2 Thessalonians 3:5 is used in relation to praying to/worshiping Him.

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    And yet all Christian denominations that I have encountered (except for the Sabeelianisers = oneness churches) teach that we we pray to God (the Father) through Jesus Christ...after all Jesus taught us to pray to "Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be thou name", and it is the Father's kingdom that Jesus taught us to pray for...(note 1 Cor 15, in the end times the Son subjects himeslf to his Father)...
    Last edited by apostoli; 07-31-2014 at 05:21 PM.

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    And yet the Bible records the Lord Jesus is the proper recipient of prayer as well.

    Matthew 6:9 was already addressed about 6 months ago:
    http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/sh...Jesus-answered
    Last edited by foudroyant; 07-31-2014 at 10:37 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by foudroyant View Post
    And yet the Bible records the Lord Jesus is the proper recipient of prayer as well.

    Matthew 6:9 was already addressed about 6 months ago:
    http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/sh...Jesus-answered
    Where in scripture is it attested that worship and prayer is directly directed to Jesus as opposed to him being a conduit to his Father? Jesus taught us to pray to "Our Father" not "Dear Jesus"....

    Questions arise: Do you ascribe to the Nicene Creed or reject it? Do you believe that before his incarnation the Son was begotten by his Father, not made, God from God? Do you believe that the Son is a distinct entity/individual from his Father? Do you believe the scripture's account that the Son was incarnated not of his own volition but was sent by his Father? Do you believe that in the end of times the Son will share his Father's throne, at the will of the Father? Do you believe, as A.Paul certainly did, that God (the Father) raised Jesus from the dead?
    Last edited by apostoli; 08-02-2014 at 06:05 AM.

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    tWebber tabibito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apostoli View Post
    Do you believe the scripture's account that the Son was incarnated not of his own volition but was sent by his Father?
    This one I'm not sure of. But that might come down to a nuance to "own volition". ... Willingly submitting himself to the Father's desire is not what I would categorise as "not of his own volition".
    Last edited by tabibito; 08-02-2014 at 08:02 AM.
    και εκζητησατε με και ευρησετε με οτι ζητησετε με εν ολη καρδία υμων

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    Quote Originally Posted by apostoli View Post
    Jesus taught us to pray to "Our Father" not "Dear Jesus"....

    This was already addressed in Post #5.

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    tWebber tabibito's Avatar
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    Act 7:59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
    (dreadful rendering, for all that it is correct: any word that identifies Christ as being called out to, rather than "God" would be more appropriate)
    Yup - Stephen calls out to Jesus. Where does it say he was praying or worshiping?
    Last edited by tabibito; 08-02-2014 at 09:27 AM.
    και εκζητησατε με και ευρησετε με οτι ζητησετε με εν ολη καρδία υμων

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    Quote Originally Posted by tabibito View Post
    This one I'm not sure of. But that might come down to a nuance to "own volition". ... Willingly submitting himself to the Father's desire is not what I would categorise as "not of his own volition".
    Fair comment. I was thinking of the several testimonies of Jesus wherein he credits his (Jesus') purpose to his Father. John 8:42 is an example "Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.

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