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Old Testament Interpretation VI

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Question #1:

Wasn't David's fist wife Michal childless?

So the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bore to Saul, and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite;
2nd Samuel 21:8 NKJV

Response #1:

Yes she was. 2nd Samuel 21:8 contains in much of ms. tradition a transcription error of Michal for Merabh (her sister), no doubt with the letter resh being accidentally read as a kaph in the mind of the scribe (the two letters are often confused), resulting in him easily substituting the more well known daughter of Saul for the less well known one. There is some ms. evidence for this being the case as well, both in Hebrew and in the LXX.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Good day Dr. Luginbill,

I hope you are having a good Sunday. Sadly, it's work day where I live as we get Fridays off. My family and I are currently studying the Coming Tribulation and before I head on to my question, I want to say a big thank you for all your effort that has gone into this study. It is intense and in-depth and it clearly identifies God's wisdom and His blessing upon you. We are amazed to see the exact similarities between the earthly and heavenly temple and also amazed on how everything in the Bible points to Jesus Christ, right from Genesis to Revelation. Wow!

Coming to my question, would you please tell me the difference between the bronze/molten/brazen sea and the laver sea? What about the 12 bulls on which the bronze sea stood? I understand that they were removed on a later stage but I want to know if they have any resemblance to the heavenly temple. I am not sure if you have already mentioned about this and if I have missed it somehow. Secondly, according to your drawing of the earthly and heavenly temples, it seems that the veil is at the entrance and the laver sea is behind the veil whereas I was under the impression that the veil is what separates the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. Please forgive my lack of knowledge, if any.

If you have the time, I humbly request you to please explain.

Thanks and regards,

Yet another student,

Response #2:

Thanks much for your encouraging words! It's always a blessing to hear about my brothers and sisters benefitting spiritually from these materials.

As to your question, the only difference between the two is that the sea which stood on the brazen bulls was part of Solomon's permanent temple complex; the other sea was the one which accompanied the tabernacle in its journey's (and was for that reason necessarily smaller).

As to the drawing, you are absolutely correct about the inner veil (there is also the outer veil at the entrance to the Holy Place). I'm somewhat less than gifted as an artist (needless to say). The "veil" mentioned in that diagram is the curtain of the temple court containing the "gate" which separates the outer world from the temple complex, and which represents the barrier between believers and unbelievers. It's a curtain (as the other two are also curtains), but "veil" is perhaps a bit misleading (even if technically correct), so apologies for any confusion.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Hello Dr. Bob,

Thank you for your swift response. I understand now, that all this while you have been speaking of the Tabernacle during the time of Moses and I was misunderstanding it to be the Tabernacle/Temple built by Solomon. So, it is the Tabernacle, built during the time of Moses, that's an exact representation of the Heavenly Temple. It all makes sense now! So, would I be right in saying that the 12 bronze bulls are not reflected in the Heavenly Temple? Is there any meaning to these bulls? Also, could they be of pagan origin or maybe, as I have read elsewhere, it could possibly be identified with the 12 tribes?

Many thanks for your support.

Yours in our Blessed Savior Jesus Christ,

Response #3:

Yes, that's it exactly. And you are also correct that the bronze bulls upon which the larger basin of the temple stood are not represented in the heavenly scene of Revelation. Solomon's temple took a number of liberties with the actual commandments to Moses, the bronze bulls being but one of among many things which were either not prescribed or else were altered in some way. In the holy of holies, Solomon had a huge carving of two cherubim placed on the rear wall of the inner sanctum. The result was that the poles of the ark no longer fit as they did in the tabernacle and protruded slightly into the holy place (1Ki.8:8; 2Chron.5:9). As to the bulls, Solomon may have had the tribes in mind but scripture doesn't say. There is not any obvious pagan purpose – Solomon's heart was "right with God" in these early days; only later did his many pagan wives lead him astray (not that he's not responsible). Since scripture never impugns these additions, we may at least safely say that the bronze bulls were not used for idolatrous purposes (as the golden calves commissioned by Jeroboam certainly were: 1Ki.12:25ff.).

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods. Thank you for your dedication to Gods word and relating it to us lay folk!!

My question is in regard to the Ark of the Coventant.

King Solomon had hidden the Ark for safe keeping until Gods appointed time . . .
2Chronicles 35:3

The link quotation below is telling that there are folks who have found the Ark…. Can this be? This is from Jimmy DeYoung site. Thank you for your time in regard to this.

May our Lord keep you safe, sane and ready!!

Several months ago the Temple Institute was delighted to announce the birth of a perfect Red Heifer here in the United States. This heifer was a proper and fitting candidate for the ordinance of the red heifer found in Numbers 19, which is a prerequisite to the restoration of the purity and the ultimate resumption of the divine service in the Holy Temple. Unfortunately, upon recent inspection, it has become clear that this red heifer has become disqualified for use for the ordinance of the red heifer and is now unfit according to Biblical law. However, Rabbi Chaim Richmond, the International Director of the Temple Institute, and the expert on the Red Heifer, says that they have learned much from this experience and it has been a great inspiration for the Temple Institute's work to build a Temple in Jerusalem. Jimmy's Prophetic Prospective on the News: Even without a Red Heifer, the Temple Institute is well prepared to build the next Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple Institute, for over 30 years, has been preparing to build the next temple in the City of Jerusalem, which Biblical law requires of the Jewish people. Over 28,000 men who say they are qualified from the tribe of Levi to be priest in that Temple have been studying the priestly duties. All the implements have been made and are in storage to be used in this next Temple. They have the Table of Showbread, the Alter of Incense, and the seven branched candelabra - the Menorah; in fact there are those who know exactly where the Ark of the Covenant is, three men have visited the location and are ready to bring it out when there is a Temple on the Temple Mount. The Ark of the Covenant is known by these three men because of the scriptures, 2 Chronicles 35:3, which indicates that the Ark of the Covenant was moved to a location that Solomon had built to protect it during a time of trouble. The Priestly Garments have been made, in fact one Rabbi, the first one to receive his priestly garment, says that his priestly garment is hanging in his closet. He is ready to put it on and report to the Temple Mount for duty. Over 4,000 harps have been prepared to use in the Temple, the 70 wise Jewish scholars, the Sanhedrin, has been reformed and in reality everything is prepared to build that next Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Response #4:

Good to hear from you.

All 2nd Chronicles 35:3 proves is that in Josiah's day the ark still existed (1Ki.14:25-26 does not mean that the ark was taken at that time either, pace "Raiders of the Lost Ark" et al.). The Romans very thoroughly looted the temple in 68 A.D., and column of Trajan portrays some of the plunder, including the menorah, being carried along in triumph at Rome. Given that the ark was covered with gold, it is certain that the legions wouldn't have overlooked that valuable artifact.

I have heard this particular scam before (see response #2 at the link: "Christians Beware: Internet Frauds and the Need for Spiritual Discernment"). Given the hoopla people make about a made-up artifact, the so-called "shroud of Turin", what are the odds that if anyone really did find the ark (certainly the gold would still be in tact) it wouldn't make the main stream news? People like the person quoted here are trying to promote interest in their own ministries (donations), and sales of books, tapes, dvd's, etc.

The Plan of God is proceeding apace and needs no human intervention to succeed. When Moses and Elijah return at the beginning of the Tribulation, they will give whatever instructions are necessary to revive the Jewish temple worship (see the link); but the Rabbis who are involved in this sort of thing now are not even believers, and the gentiles prophecy-mongers who hype their activities are very confused about actual biblical prophecy (to but the most generous interpretation on it).

There are no unfulfilled prophetic events prophesied to occur before the Tribulation begins. But things will begin to happen soon enough – just as soon as the seventh seal is broken.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hi, Doc.

I pray all is well with you. I can't figure out with certainty the 390 and 40 year periods and their respective symbolism in Ezekiel 4:5-6. I am understanding that the time from Jeroboam's revolt of the northern tribes to the time of its takeover/destruction is more than likely the 390 years, but what of the 40? I just don't trust other commentaries I've read so I'll not be bothering with bringing them up. I've searched your site, but didn't find anything. Thanks again, and good work on the Pneumatology study! I just finished it. Bless you and your work, brother.

Response #5:

You're most welcome.

I haven't written anything on the numbers in Ezekiel chapter four. The main point for me is that this has already been fulfilled; i.e., the numbers don't have any significance for us going forward. Most people who have weighed in on this take the 390 as going backward in time. The problem is that we aren't told when the clock starts. Ezekiel, it is generally calculated, was given this prophecy in 593 B.C.; 390 years earlier is 983 B.C. – somewhere in the middle of David's reign. On the other hand, if we posit the 390 to coincide with the sin of Jeroboam, ca. 928 B.C., that would mean that the 390 years would have to stretch from that point forward to ca. 538 B.C. Now this last date is the date on which Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon, as a result of which there began the process of the restoration of the exiles from Judah back to the land.

Judah's 40 years seems harder to anchor. Again, going backward from time of writing also doesn't seem to be significant since that would put us in the middle of good king Josiah's reign. If we work back from the fall of Jerusalem seven years later, however, we get a date that might work. The year ca. 626 could have been the year in which the book of the Law was found (i.e., 586 + 40 = the commencement of Josiah's reign in ca. 640 B.C., plus the 18 years of 2Ki.22:3 plus roughly three years of work before the book was found). It was at that time, Josiah was given the Word of the Lord:

"Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read. Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched."
2nd Kings 22:16-17 KJV

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Hi Bob,

Thank you for inviting me to read this study about the Holy Spirit. I have started and I am honored. But, on another subject, can you give me your thoughts? Do you believe the ark of his testament is the 10 commandments? and if so, are the 10 commandments eternal, as some believe?

And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was SEEN in his temple THE ARK OF HIS TESTAMENT: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
Revelation 11:19 (KJV) 19

Response #6:

The ark is a piece of furniture in the tabernacle/temple representing the Throne of God (in the form of a battle chariot). Please see the links:

The ark of the covenant

The appearance of the ark in Revelation

The ten commandments are part of the Word of God and in that sense are most definitely eternal – as the entire Word of God is. It is true that the stone tables of the Law were stored in the ark (cf. 1Ki.8:9; Heb.9:4). Neither the tablets nor the earthly ark exist any longer, however.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Ok Bob, if the ten commandments are most definitely eternal (before all time) and God is before or in the beginning, never changing, but changing constantly, how does 'Honor thy Father and thy Mother' (and rest) have a place in heaven? I understand the First four commandments apply to God, but who do the last 6 apply to in heaven?

Response #7:

There is much in the Old Testament which has no application to us gentile Christians of the Church Age today – and yet it is a blessing to have it all. There is much in the Bible that will not apply in heaven – we won't be capable of sin once resurrected – but it will no doubt be a blessing to have it. The Bible is the complete content of information (aside from natural revelation) which we are blessed to have in the world as our source of the truth for learning about and walking with and serving our Lord. In heaven, we will "know even as we are known" – but it will still be a blessing to have the Bible (then known entirely and without error) as a memorial to the battle we fought in this life on behalf of our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – because, after all, the Bible is all about Him from alpha to omega.

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Hello Dr.,

Thank you for your reply. I see what you mean by glorification here. It makes sense and everything else related falls in place now. I'd like to ask you another question. This one is not related to His glorification but rather with an unusual chapter in the Bible. My sister and I had shared a few dialogues (friendly) last night as to what might have been the case here - 1 Samuel 28. This is the place where the spirit of "Samuel" appears to Saul. Now I may be mistaken but I remember reading that you too believe this spirit is indeed Samuel and not a spirit of witchcraft.

This is what our debate was about. I believed that the spirit was of Samuel indeed and that God had sanctioned this one incident because the Bible also clearly identifies it as Samuel but my sister had good points of argument as well. She says, why would God ever sanction something like this through the hands of a witch. He could have used any other method to correct or rebuke Saul. By doing this isn't God going against His own standards; so why would He let this happen? These are the thoughts of many other people in our church as well.

I know you believe the spirit to be of Samuel himself and that your point is that the witch herself was shocked but couldn't it also be that the witch was shocked and fearful because she realized that the man before her was Saul and that she wasn't scared because she saw an actual ghost.

Would you be able to give me some more compelling evidence in this matter? Please?

Thank you so much!

Yours in Jesus Christ.

Response #8:

You're very welcome. As to your latest question, I have to observe that people are often inclined to impose on scripture their own ideas of what the Bible can and cannot say and what God can and cannot do – irrespective of what the Bible actually does say and what God can and does do oftentimes (a good example of this is in any case where in His complete control of history the Lord does make use of evil spirits; see the link).

In 1st Samuel 28:12 the Bible states that "the woman saw Samuel".

In 1st Samuel 28:14 the Bible states that "Saul perceived that it was Samuel".

In 1st Samuel 28:15 the Bible states that "Samuel said/spoke to Saul,".

In 1st Samuel 28:16 the Bible states "Then said Samuel".

In 1st Samuel 28:15 the Bible states that Saul "was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel".

There are other indications in the passage that this is indeed Samuel (I will give you the links below where this is discussed), but any honest discussion of this passage has to begin with an admission that the Bible very clearly describes this person as Samuel so often and so indisputably that one would have to pronounce the Bible itself "wrong" in order to escape this fact.

Why God did things this way is another question entirely, but starting from the logic "I myself don't think God ought to do things this way, therefore this is not the way it happened" is the road to perdition. Christians who wish to actually learn truth from scripture have to start with the proposition that the scripture is the truth. Period. How to derive truth from scripture when things are complicated is the business of informed, humble theology and of godly exegesis to be accomplished by prepared and gifted teachers whom the Lord and placed in His Church for that purpose – and every Christian is certainly free to find just the right teacher and ministry for him/herself. But no Christian will ever get anywhere spiritually by substituting his/her own preconceptions and opinions for the actual truth of scripture. If we really are interested in learning and growing and carrying out the Lord's will for our lives, we are going to be surprised, challenged, and confronted with all manner of truths we find personally difficult, in the abstract and in terms of our personal circumstances too – and we will be tested thereby. Importantly, it is only through the actual truth actually believed and held fast to that we will ever be able to pass the tests of spiritual maturity (let alone grow to spiritual maturity in the first place) so as to be in a position to be useful to our Lord in ministering to His Body the Church.

Here are those links:

Was Saul saved? Samuel and the Witch of Endor

The Witch of Endor and the Spirit of Samuel

Spiritual Warfare II (the witch of Endor)

Eternal Security and Perseverance (the case of Saul)

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who is the very truth, the living Word of God.

Bob L.   

Question #9:

Dear Dr. Bob,

Amen!! You have said it perfectly. Thank you very much. What I admire and love about the Word of God is the fact that it never refrains from the truth, how much ever harsh or unbelievable it may be. It has stood the test of the toughest critics I've come across. And this is what got me to the faith, to begin. I love The Lord and I love His Word and may the Good Lord keep blessing you as always with wisdom from above as you indeed have been a major help and blessing for many.

Yours in Jesus Christ.

Response #9:

You're very welcome!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:

I would like to know if you have any info about the Jewish traditions on burying their loved ones in the Old Testament time. Pertaining to those that did the burying did they have to go through certain things to cleanse themselves or any burnt offerings? Everything you have and anything else you suggest to look for will be a big help. Thanks

Response #10:

Good to hear from you. There were regulations in the Old Testament for cleansing oneself according to the Law after having contact with the dead (Num.18:11-21), and priests and Nazarites had special restrictions (Lev.21:1; 21:11; Num.6:6).

Generally speaking, the Israelites buried their dead immediately after death (Joseph was an exception, having been embalmed in the Egyptian manner and placed in a sarcophagus in order for his body to be brought into the land following the exodus). When possible, tombs were constructed and spices placed upon the body or wrapped up with the body.

The Israelites did not make offerings to the dead, however (Deut.26:14; Ps.106:28); that was a pagan practice.

In short, the Jewish method espouses confidence in the resurrection, with the symbolism of burial demonstrating not a vain hope of this body surviving somehow, but demonstrating that believers understand that death is not the end for us: God will resurrect these mortal bodies into immortal form on the great day to come.

Here are a couple of other links on this:

Burial or Cremations?

The Physical Death and Burial of Jesus Christ

Also, Alfred Edersheim in Sketches of Jewish Social Life in the Days of Christ (Grand Rapids 1982) has a chapter which touches on burial customs at the time of Christ entitled "In Death and After Death" (pp.161-181). This is available online at the link: Chapter 10.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Dr. Luginbill,

I hope this email finds you well and I continually pray for you, your family and your ministry. I am reading Exodus and have a question about Israel sojourning in Egypt. Was it 215 yrs or 400 yrs? I have attached a quick 13 page powerpoint slide stating the total sojourning in Egypt was 215 yrs not 400 yrs. Can you provide some insights? This diagram makes total sense to me. As you know I come to you as final authority after doing initial research because I trust your knowledge of the Word of God.

Thank you and God bless you.

Response #11:

As near as I can figure, the gist of these slides is to build on a (seeming) discrepancy between Galatians 3:17 and what I read in the Old Testament:

(40) Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. (41) And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years—on that very same day—it came to pass that all the armies of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.
Exodus 12:40-41 NKJV

The main problem is that the solution creates more problems than it solves. There are other chronological details which are confused if the Israelite sojourning in Egypt is cut in half, not least of which is the calculation of the seven millennial days; here's a link to where that chronology is outlined in this regard: Millennial Days 3 and 4.

But does Galatians 3:17 mean what this person wants it to mean? I think not. When Paul says "the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later" (NASB), while in English it seems as if there is a necessary and very specific connection between the time of the covenant given to Abraham and the time of the giving of the Law, the Greek gives a different impression. In the Greek, the preposition meta with the time phrase is placed after the definite article and before the word for Law with its participle, saying, literally, "the-after-430-years-having-come-about-Law"; since Paul uses the entire phrase essentially as an adjective, the idea that he is intending to give specific chronological information is misguided: this is a device to emphasize that the Law is later than the promise (by at least 430 years). When writing this epistle, Paul no doubt did not have a precise number in mind as to just how long the time lag was between the covenant and the Law (that was not his purpose). Indeed, since God's covenant to Abraham is first presented at Genesis 12:1-4, and later confirmed at various places: Gen.13:14-17; 15:1-7; 15:18-21; 17:1-8), one has to wonder in that case precisely where the starting point would be for the 430 years (they all represent different times). More than that, the Law was given over a period of forty years, and did not begin to be given immediately after the Exodus from Egypt. So we also would have to wonder in that where the stop point would be? In fact, it is at Genesis 15:13, in the context of the third mention of the covenant that the Lord tells Abraham that there will be 430 years in Egypt – in a very straightforward way at that. And notice, Abraham is already in the land at this point and has been for some time (so where is the starting point from that perspective?).

What is really going on here is that Paul does have Genesis 15 in mind when he mentions the Law and the covenant and the 430 years, and he uses that same figure – a quote from scripture – to show that the promise came well before the Law (not in order to say anything definitive about the chronology of those times). If Paul had calculated up the extra time and then placed the composite number here instead of 430, no one would have understood where he got the number without him giving a very lengthy explanation – and by then the simple point he was trying to make (i.e., that the promise predated the Law by many years) would have been lost. Still, we would be right to build something out of Paul's words if they could not be legitimately read a bit differently from what we do have in the Greek (though that would sow other instances of confusion). Blessedly, however, the right way to understand the key phrase in Galatians 3:17 is as follows: "The Law which came later [by at least] 430 years (i.e., since we know that this number is present in the passage where Abraham believes: Gen.15:6)"; the Law thus certainly can't do away with the promise which preceded it (by so much time at least and, obviously, actually more: since the passage Paul refers to says 430 years "in Egypt" and neither Isaac nor Jacob was even born yet when the Lord said these things).

Finally, one needs to mention that there is an unfortunate addition to the LXX text (and the Samaritan Pentateuch) at Exodus 12:40 which adds "and Canaan" to the text; however, this does not occur in the Masoretic (Hebrew) text and is not part of the scripture. If it were, it would contradict Genesis 15:13 (not just Gal.3:17). Further, the Lord's description of the Egyptian sojourn is very compelling in speaking about future suffering. Article author wishes to try get around that problem (for him) and make what happened in Canaan "severe affliction", but that doesn't even pass the "sniff test" – though it does give us the first idea of the string of problems (there are many others) created by making this false calculation.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hello Dr Luginbll,

I pray all is well. I was wondering about the practice of casting lots in the Bible. I noticed in Luke 1:9, it seems that casting lots was apart of the priest custom, but I do not recall it being so in the OT law? How common was the casting of lots in Biblical times and would this be leaving things to chance and not fully trusting in GOD or am I missing something here?

Thanks as always

Response #12:

Hello Friend,

It's true that lots were cast from time to time in Israel to ensure an impartial distribution, as for example when the land was divided:

"To a large tribe you shall give a larger inheritance, and to a small tribe you shall give a smaller inheritance. Each shall be given its inheritance according to those who were numbered of them. But the land shall be divided by lot; they shall inherit according to the names of the tribes of their fathers."
Numbers 26:54-55 NKJV

So using the lot as a device to determine the order of service for the priestly courses, while not specifically ordained by the Lord (as in the case above), seems not out of place. The only instance of the use of lot (of which I am aware) after the first advent was the one engaged in by the apostles to replace Judas (Acts 1:15-26). That incident, however, shows the general folly of using the practice. Peter and company gave the Lord two choices. However, the Lord had already chosen Paul (see the link). Following the coming of the Spirit that next Pentecost, casting lots is not engaged in again in scripture – and that restraint should be our practice as well. The Lord has a specific plan for each of us and a specific direction in each and every circumstance. Whenever we assume to know all the possibilities (so as to leave up to Him only the chance to pick between the options we think best), we will always be making a big mistake – just like Peter and company did.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Hi, again Doctor.

So I'm reading Numbers again and I'm STILL stuck on the Balaam/Balak issue. Numbers never directly discloses that Balaam was the source of the idea of seduction of the Israelite men even though The Lord explicitly says in Revelation it was he who instructed Balak to entice them. Is this simply a matter of faith in what was later said? Obviously it's true, The Lord said it, but I'm left with the "why doesn't it say so in Numbers?" Also, why does Micah 6:5 tell the Israelites to remember Balaam's oracles if he was the source of the idea (the blessings part, I'm guessing)? Was Balaam even a believer? I take it that at one point he was, but based upon The Lord's later evaluation that he sold it for earthly gain; am I far off? This seems to be an example of The Lord's faithfulness and words being perfectly true even when we fail, but I can't help wondering.

And all the while I'm still ablaze with tests and I THINK it's getting easier (could be just the start, though) so we'll have to see how 2015 turns out.

I'm praying for your healing and ministry, brother.

Response #13:

Good to hear of your spiritual successes! Keep on fighting the good fight. I am keeping you in my prayers, and thanks in advance for yours as well. A big week for a friend of mine trying to get a job after a very long period of unemployment.

On Balaam, I think you have hit the nail on the head (repeatedly). It should not be terribly disturbing that there are things which are true but not present in the Old Testament which, after all, is a very short book considering that it details from the divine perspective the entire history of the world and that of the Jewish people from the beginning to the Messiah's first coming. Since the Holy Spirit knows all, filling in occasional details is no difficulty for God (even though it can occasionally be one for us if we are too concerned about secular source criticism – many intellectuals have foundered on that and related "rocks"). After all, Moses wasn't around at the garden of Eden (e.g.), and yet we know that everything he wrote about it in Genesis was the absolute truth.

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Dr. Bob,

I hope all is well with you. Thank you for your continued prayer and may God continue to bless you and your ministry.

I have a question as it relates to the concept of kinsman redeemer. It is my understanding that the first born son of the person being redeemed is dedicated to the deceased husband so his lineage and/or inheritance can continue. Why in the story of Ruth and Boaz, is that not the case? In Ruth 4:21, the genealogy states Boaz begot Obed, which is accurate, but no mention of Ruth's first husband who died.

Can you explain that concept to me or am I missing something as it relates to this story?

Thank you again for your continued support and willingness to help us grow in Christ.

God bless you.

Response #14:

I am keeping you in prayer, and I thank you for your prayers as well. God helping us, we will have good news to report to one another by and by.

As to your question, the "kinsman redeemer" was the nearest kin, and that was the case for Naomi's son, Ruth's husband who had died – almost (the book of Ruth reports a nearer kinsman who was not willing to redeem the land since it involved taking Ruth to wife to raise up seed for: Ruth 4:1-8).

Obed is the child of Boaz and Ruth, as you note, but as this instance demonstrates the lines are combined so that nothing is lost. In this way, "the name of the dead" is maintained with his inheritance (Ruth 4:5), but the one doing the "levirate service" is not deprived of the use of that inheritance nor the proper share in the offspring which are truly his. This is another case where over-literal interpretations of the Law which do not appreciate the true spiritual power behind it can easily "come a cropper". Onan, for example, made this same interpretative mistake (as apparently did the man who was nearer kin than Boaz: Ruth 4:6), but in both instances such was not in fact the case: Boaz had Obed through Ruth and Judah had Perez and Zerah through Tamar, and all these are definitely counted as their own offspring, even though they do have the effect of preserving the name and inheritance of the deceased:

"Through the offspring the LORD gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah."
Ruth 4:12 NIV

Blessedly, we are under a better covenant, a New Covenant, wherein the spiritual realities and their power are now hidden no more, but manifest to all who have the Spirit and walk closely with Jesus Christ.

But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.
Hebrews 8:6 NIV

Your friend in Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Who was the Angel of God Moses, Aaron, and the 70 elders met? Because it says that "He did not raise his hand against him and they ate and drank with Him". Was it Christ because it sounds similar to the Passover feast Christ had with the apostles in the New Testament?

Response #15:

I believe you are correct (nice parallel!). From a recent posting:

Were this a vision, as in Daniel's vision of the Father or John's vision of the Father in Revelation, we might naturally take this as being the Father. However, since "no man has [actually in his physical body] seen God [the Father in His divinity] at any time" (Jn.1:18; 1Jn.4:12), it seems better to take this as a Christophany with our Lord representing the Father in the same way that He did in Isaiah chapter six (compare Jn.12:41). Here is a link to where this is discussed: "Christophany in Exodus".

Question #16:

If The Angel of God is Jesus since an actual man named Joshua fought for God in the Battle of the Amalekites, why is Jesus named Joshua when He escorts Moses to The Father? Conveniently I read Hebrews before continuing Exodus and it called Christ by that same name:

8 For if [d]Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that.
footnotes: d. Hebrews 4:8 Gr Jesus (NASB)

8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. (KJV)

8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. (NIV)

Response #16:

I'm not sure what you mean by "Why is Jesus named Joshua when He escorts Moses to The Father?". What verse are you referring to? In the Pentateuch and also in Joshua, Joshua is Joshua. I think the point of confusion may be the KJV version you are using. The names "Joshua" and "Jesus" in the New Testament are the same name, so, when translating, "Joshua" should be used where "Joshua" is meant. Unfortunately, KJV used "Jesus" in Hebrews 4:8 for the son of Nun.

Question #17:

Why did God call Moses on the 7th day and he had to wait for six days to enter The Father's presence. And why did he stay on that mountain for 40 days and nights? It took that long for God to give him instructions concerning The Tabernacle?

Response #17:

These are good questions. Generally speaking, numbers are not meant symbolically in scripture, but sometimes they are chosen for symbolic reasons and that seems to be what the Lord has in mind here. After all, as you rightly discern the Lord could have called Moses up immediately and given him all the information almost just as quickly. Seven after six is the symbol of perfect completion (as with the seventh day of re-creation or the seventh day of human history, the Millennium); 40 is a number of fullness and symbolizes here, I should think, the perfect fullness of our time with the Lord in the eternity which this incident foreshadows. It was also, we note, a good and perfect time of testing (cf. our Lord's 40 days in the wilderness – a perfect test) and demonstrated the impatience and spiritual deficiency of the people.

Question #18:

Why was The Tabernacle to be surrounded by goat skins curtains and the tent covered with ram skins dyed red?

Response #18:

On the symbolism here, please consult the link: "The Exterior of the Tabernacle"

Question #19:

29 "Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart on the breastpiece of decision as a continuing memorial before the Lord. 30 Also put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastpiece, so they may be over Aaron’s heart whenever he enters the presence of the Lord. Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the Lord. .... and he will bear the guilt involved in the sacred gifts"

What was the purpose of this? I thought Christ was suppose to bear the guilt of people. Is it because he had given Aaron the responsibility of making the decisions for the Israelites? Is this due to the Holy Spirit not working the same way in the Old Testament?

Response #19:

The Old Testament rituals symbolized the reality of Christ's coming sacrifice. The high priest is a "type of Christ", that is, he symbolizes Christ's sacrifice. The tabernacle itself is a type of heaven, so that the high priest carrying the blood of the sacrifice and pouring it out on the ark of the covenant is a picture of our resurrected Lord presenting Himself in heaven after the victory on the cross. As Paul says in Hebrews, "For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins" (Heb.10:4 NASB). These animal sacrifices merely represented the reality of our Lord's dying spiritually in Calvary's darkness for all of the sins of the world.

Question #20:

Did anyone enter the Most Holy Place? Because entering the Holy placed caused them to die due to guilt. So what happened when one entered the Most Holy Place that was behind the curtain?

Response #20:

This only happened once a year on the day of atonement, and only the high priest entered to make sacrifice for all the sins of the people. The penalty for unlawful entry was death. We are not informed, if memory serves, of any such willful violation (but cf. 1Sam.3:3-4), or what happened, but consider what happened to Uzah (2Sam.6:6-7).

Question #21:

"This is to be a lasting ordinance for Aaron and his descendants" What is an ordinance? And why Aaron and his sons?

Response #21:

There are a number of Hebrew words which all relate to specific laws: "statute", "judgment", "decree", "commandment", and "ordinance" being among the most common. They are all synonyms for things God tells us to do (or not do), but each word has its own unique "flavor" and that can be important. This word you ask about, "ordinance" (in KJV), is from the root chaqaq, and means, literally, something which has been inscribed, so that the permanence of the command is stressed. God chose Aaron and his sons for His own reasons; the principle that God's choice of who will administer His truth is an important one indeed, for Christ is the ultimate choice of Priest, also called by the will of God (see Hebrews chapters 5-8). Just as those who arrogated to themselves the rights of the priesthood without God's call were subject to destruction (Lev.10:1ff.), so anyone today who pretends to be a teacher but who is not called to be such will be risking God's great displeasure . . . especially if the unauthorized teaching is decidedly false.

Question #22:

Why did the covenant between God and Israel have to be through blood?

Response #22:

Animal blood represents the "life" of the animal slaughtered. In the analogy, the literal blood of animals represents our Lord Jesus' giving up of His life on the cross in dying for the sins of the world. The latter is called "the blood of Christ" – not literal blood (for His blood was still in His body after He gave up His spirit as shown by the release of blood when His side was pierced), but something much more precious, namely, His spiritual death in atoning for every single human sin. Please see the links: in BB 4A: "The Blood of Christ" and "The Spiritual Death of Christ".

Question #23:

Hi Bob,

I have prayed to God for wisdom instead of philosophy (should be called misosophy instead) and He has heard my prayers. I invite you to inspect my interpretation of Proverbs to see if it "checks out."

Have you noticed that Proverbs begins with a description of a figurative woman named "wisdom" and ends with a description of another woman called "the perfect wife"? Most evangelicals take this as a checklist for what to see in a wife, but I do not think that "the perfect wife" exists anymore than "lady wisdom" does in a literal sense. I mean, can any husband look at her wife, no matter how virtuous she may actually be, and say that she meets every one of those criteria? (He can't.) The "punchline" of the entire book of Proverbs is that if a man wants to identify the perfect wife, and use the final chapter to do so, he will find that he should be prepared to marry "lady wisdom" herself! This isn't to say that therefore everyone single should "marry wisdom" and stop searching for a wife, but rather that the only flawless "marriage" besides Christ and His church is that of a wise man and "lady wisdom." However, those with God's favor will avoid the quarrelsome woman (who is "lady folly").

Sincerely,

Response #23:

I would agree that 1) there is no more such a thing as a perfect wife as there is a perfect husband, and that 2) there may be an application at the end of Proverbs of Wisdom to this woman and vice versa. I would not, however, wish to rule out the other more obvious things in any interpretation.

Hope it goes well with you, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24:

He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved.
You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains.
At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.
The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them.
You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth.
Psalm 104:5-9

What is Psalm 104 talking about?

Response #24:

This passage, Psalm 104:5-9, is a poetic description of the re-construction of the earth during the seven days of re-creation.

In this Psalm as a whole, by poetic conflation, we see a panorama of creation:

vv.1-3: preexistence of God;

v.4: angelic creation;

v.5: original situation of earth;

v.6: earth after judgment;

vv.7-8: re-creation;

v.9: situation after post-judgment restoration (works for after the re-creation but technically the "never again" works only after the removal of the flood waters);

vv.10ff.: how things stand "now".

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #25:

"And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind."
Isaiah 66:24 NIV

Does Isaiah 66:24 imply that the Lake of Fire will be "tour-able" during the Millennial reign, or is this poetic conflation?

Response #25:

On Isaiah 66:24 and the lake of fire, it won't be possible to "tour it" (praise God), but there will apparently be limited ability to view it. Here is an excerpt from CT 6:

Finally in this regard, we have seen in previous installments of this series that the heavenly sea, the "waters above" as seen from the heaven-side of things, constitutes a sort of viewing-port for the observation of all that is currently happening on the present earth (Rev.4:6; 15:2; cf. Ezek.1:22-28; 10:1).65 We are told in Isaiah's final verse (i.e., Is.66:24), that saved humanity will "go forth and look upon the corpses of the men who rebelled against Me, for their worm will not die and their fire will not be quenched and they will be abhorrent to all flesh". So while the earthly sea will be no more, it is likely that the heavenly sea will come to earth along with the New Jerusalem, with phrasing, "go forth", indicating that the viewing-port will be somewhere outside of the city.

Yours in our dear Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #26:

I read what you wrote on the Fall of Man and I was surprised when you wrote that there were two trees in the middle of the garden planted next to each other! I thought it was one tree planted in the middle of the garden:

So did The Tree of Life have fruit of life in them, or was it that eating that tree would make them live forever because The Lord said to eat it? Because there were other trees in the garden and those didn't make them live forever. I know the Bible doesn't tell us everything since it testifies that itself, I'm just wondering did Adam and Eve know about The Tree of Life.

Response #26:

Regarding the questions on Genesis, I will give some very brief answers here because this entire subject is complex but has been covered in just the order you ask about it at the following link: In BB 3A: "Status Quo in Paradise" followed by "The Fall of Man".

They knew and would have continued to live forever after the fall if the tree had continued to be available (Gen.3:22-24).

Question #27:

When The Lord told Adam to not eat from the Tree of Good and Evil because he would die, did He call the tree that because He foreknew they would understand evil and good from disobey His command, and the author writing Genesis knew God wanted us to understand His omniscience?

Response #27:

That is part of it; knowing good and evil is unnecessary in paradise for perfect, sinless people. For sinful people in a sinful world, however, being able to discern the difference is absolutely essential, both to survive and even more importantly to be motivated to look to God for the answer to life after death.

Question #28:

Adam and Eve were good since The Lord created them so when they disobeyed God did they hide themselves because they became aware of God's goodness and didn't want their wicked deed exposed?

Response #28:

Yes, they were (rightly) afraid for having done wrong, but they had a typical, human reaction: trying to cover up their guilt rather than admitting it (the fig leaves).

Question #29:

Since they panicked upon hearing the Pre-incarnate Christ walking in the garden, was Christ the one who confronted them? Scripture says no one's seen The Father, but Christ hadn't humbled himself unto the Father until later, so how is it that they could be near Him without being destroyed? Being that The Son is the only way to The Father and in Exodus 24 The Father sends the Israelites Christ in the form of an angel, saying to listen to him because "My name is in Him", I am lost. Not to mention in Ch 33 the Israelites groan when they are told that The Father will not be coming with them, but The angel would, and to take off their ornaments.

Response #29:

Yes, this is the Lord Jesus Christ (a Christophany; see the link).

Question #30:

I saw that you wrote that the devil called The Lord God "God" to Eve to challenge his authority, so does that mean that The Father referring himself as "The Lord God" is from Christianity only?

Response #30:

God is a perfectly fine name for God; "Lord God" is more emphatic; the devil wished to bring God down to Eve's level (in her thinking) so he used the less emphatic name.

Question #31:

Thank you Dr. for the continued prayer. His peace has already been felt. I hope you and your family are doing well.

I have a question as it relates to 1 Samuel. I believe my exegesis is correct but want confirmation or clarification if not. When Saul pursued David the second time and David took his spear and jug while he was asleep, in 1 Sam 26:19, David said to Saul ...."for they have driven me out this day from staying in the inheritance of the Lord saying" Go serve other Gods". I take it to mean he is saying to Saul, your pursuit of me is causing me to seek to a neighboring country who worship Idols. This also leads to 1 Sam 27:11, where David said " And David said in his heart, "I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any border of Israel. So shall I escape out of his hand."

Is this an example of not waiting and trusting on the Lord by David? David took the matter into his own hand by making his statement in 1 Sam 26:19 about serving other gods, actually come to fruition. I am just trying to glean some lessons from these passage and it ultimately tells me that waiting on God and trusting on Him no matter the circumstance is the best route. The reason why I came to that conclusion because David specifically states "And David said in his heart" rather than consulting Christ.

Thank you much and my prayers go to you and your family and this ministry.

Response #31:

You are most welcome. As to your question, I think you have this exactly right. I do think that David should have persevered and not despaired. Going to Gath again was clearly a mistake and caused problems arguable worse than having to be continually on the lookout against Saul. And just as God had delivered David in this incident where he did begin to despair, so God would have done so time and again, no matter how close a call this incident was (or others might be). It is a good lesson for us all that when we are under testing it is very typical to do well for a while, maybe for a long while, but then become frustrated or scared or despairing because of some satanic stimulus and risk failing the test which we have otherwise been handling very well – as if "this is never going to end!" If it could happen to David, we certainly need to keep in mind that it could also happen to us, and for that reason to resolve to keep doing the right thing, even unto death, if necessary.

Yours in the One who died for us that we might have life eternal with Him, Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior.

Bob L.

Question #32:

I was wondering could you explain why Cain and Abel are not mention in the generation of Adam.

Thanks

Response #32:

That is because neither one had any godly progeny, Abel, because he was killed first, Cain, because he was an unbeliever. There are many individuals who are not in this list. After all, Cain is able to build a city already by the time of Genesis 4:17 (no doubt with many inhabitants) sometime after his marking and marriage. The list in Genesis chapter five gives the line of the Messiah, the godly line of those who "called upon the Name of the Lord", but we shouldn't assume that those mentioned were the only offspring of each person named (we know they weren't for Adam and Eve; and please note that in the list the men mentioned all "had other sons and daughters" – none of whom are named), or that there weren't other families. Genesis chapter six describes a situation which, however one interprets it, has the earth populated by many more people than just Noah and his family.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #33:

Hello Bob,

I trust all is well with you. I would like to ask about something that I have wondered about a long time - I'm not sure you have written about it, but possibly. I've never understood the meaning of the Tree of Life found in Genesis. I believe it to be an actual tree but why is it the "Tree of Life"? We know the Scriptures tell us that after Adam and Eve fell, they were banished from the garden and kept away from the Tree of Life. What would have happened if they ate the fruit of this tree? Why is it special? What does a tree represent in Scripture? There is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil which I have always thought was simply symbolic representing a rule that God set to test Adam and Eve's obedience. But then the Tree of Life makes you think that tree is something more than a symbol with special properties. But a tree with special properties? I don't get it. I would be very interested in your interpretation.

Thank you,

Response #33:

Good to hear from you again. Apologies for the delay in response (I was out of town visiting family). As to your question about the tree of life, here is what I read in Genesis:

Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever"—therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.
Genesis 3:22-24 NASB

So it seems that if humanity had continued to have access to the tree of life, mortality would not be the issue it is today – and that would change everything, most importantly by removing the incentive to seek after God as the only answer to the problems of sin and death. Was the tree necessary in Eden? Scripture does not give a direct answer but I believe that the fact that death is only prophesied in the case of eating of that other tree means that Adam and Eve would not have had to eat of the tree of life to live indefinitely. It is a moot question for two reasons: 1) they did eat of the tree of knowing good and evil so as to become mortal and be expelled from the garden; 2) we may safely assume that as long as they were (or would have been) in the garden they did (and would have continued to) eat of the tree of life. We know from Revelation that the tree of life will exist in the New Jerusalem and that it will be for pleasurable partaking (see the link), so we can safely posit that also in Eden it was a blessing wherein partaking was enjoyable and bestowed enjoyable benefits (rather than being a necessity like taking vitamin pills or some such analogous thing today).

As to the tree of knowing good and evil, eating is a very tangible activity and leaves absolutely no doubt about the fact that "done is done". God was very fair in this (as in all things, obviously): Adam and Eve couldn't have ever accidentally disobeyed. And the eating did have an immediate tangible effect as well – they died spiritually and also as a result "came to know" good and evil. That was a very necessary development for sinful people to navigate in a sinful world and have any hope of coming to the realization of their need for a Savior. All this is written up at the following links (see the first one in particular for the full interpretation):

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil (in BB 3A)

The knowledge imparted by the tree

The tree not a mere symbol

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #34:

Bob,

Thanks so much for such a timely response. I read your email and then went through the links - and never thought of it as you write that Jesus is the Tree of Life - that means everything to understanding it. Wow, thanks so much. And then I formed my own details about the tree tonight. but then I went back over your links and saw things I didn't see before which illuminated what I had been thinking and wondering about it (such as the cherubim guarding it, etc). I was also thinking that the Tree of Life possibly contained Jesus' redemptive powers or something close to it. So, did they eat of this fruit before the fall? Most likely, so then why not immortality? They didn't need redemption before the fall so eating of the fruit provided other special benefits as you say but not necessarily immortality? The Garden of Eden was no doubt a very special place with many special properties. We know so little directly but can sense it's many blessings. What happened to the Tree of Life? The tree had its purpose for its season although that may have been a very long time but the plan changed after the fall and that special anointing eventually left that physical tree.

Thanks again,

Response #34:

You're most welcome. We do know this from Genesis:

After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
Genesis 3:24 NIV

So for as long as the tree was still in existence, it was inaccessible only through divine provision of tangible protection. Not only the tree but also the entire garden of Eden is clearly not around today. I would postulate that it was wiped out by the Great Flood. I have also posited that the location was that of present-day Jerusalem. This, after all, will be the location of the headquarters of the Millennial Paradise, the Kingdom of Jesus Christ – and the ultimate Eden, the New Jerusalem, is where the tree of life will reappear.

As to its properties, as suggested before (and as written up in the link: "the Tree of Life"), while it did have rejuvenative properties (so Adam and Eve had to be kept from it after the fall), that was a post-fall hypothetical "problem". In Eden before the fall – and in the New Jerusalem - there was/will be no such need. Rather, the tree is for blessing (just as that other tree was for cursing, though it provided important information for sinful people, once they had sinned).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #35:

Hello Bob,

It's not usual for Christians to wonder about how Adam and Eve's children had children - and how that happened knowing what we know now about interbreeding. How is it that siblings could have had children - did they feel differently about it back then? When did that change? Why weren't there a lot of deformities? Or maybe there were, but then it seems like a rough way to start the human race. I would be very interested in your opinion.

Thank you

Response #35:

Yes indeed there was sibling marriage in the beginning, and indeed all manner of very close marriage. After all, we are told that from "one man", meaning Adam, God made all the nations (Acts 17:26), and also that Eve was "the mother of all living (human beings)" (Gen.3:20). The genetic problems that occur today from such marriages were obviously not the same issue in the beginning – no doubt because there we are talking about the original two and their immediate offspring (not to mention the fact that God has anticipated and provided for absolutely everything that has or will ever transpire in this short space of history). For those concerned about this, it is also good to remember that after the flood the "choke-point" was similarly narrow, with only "eight persons" surviving from the very large antediluvian population. Please see the links:

The pre-flood population

Genesis Questions (Q/A #4)

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #36:

Hi Bob,

Why does God tell David to destroy the Amalekites, but then deny him the opportunity to build the temple because he is a man of war and bloodshed? Wasn't the reason he became a man of war and bloodshed because he was following God's orders?

Sincerely,

Response #36:

As to your question, the Lord gave David absolutely everything, and when he had it in his heart to build the temple, He gave him the prophecy of his dynasty continuing forever in the person of Himself, the Messiah. I don't think we need to feel sorry for David in the least. It makes sense to me for the Lord to be very careful to distinguish between war and peace, and to draw a sharp boundary between deliverance in trial and peace and prosperity thereafter – the difference between the Tribulation and the Millennium.

Hoping for a great summer for you as you look forward to all the wonderful possibilities ahead.

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #37:

Hi Bob,

Even though the Bible describes Jesus' appearance only after He is resurrected, there is one source where we will be able to see Jesus' pre-resurrection appearance.

"And from its midst [the cherub] was the likeness of four living beings, and this is their appearance; they had the likeness of a man" (Ezekiel 1:5)

Because the face of a man symbolized Christ's ministry as a servant, the Cherub most likely bears His pre-resurrection appearance.

Response #37:

Interesting suggestion about the human cherub face!

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