the Spirit Watch

The Trinity Studies:

An Analysis Of Gwen Shamblin's "Essence Of God" Statement

Part 13: "Why Did God Talk To Himself ? / The Final Argument /

Is The Image Of God Important?"

by Rafael D. Martinez, Co-Director, Spiritwatch Ministries


What heresy it would be to teach that when Jesus was baptized, the heavens opened and a voice came from the heavens while Jesus was still on the earth and it said, “This is myself, with myself I am well pleased,” instead of the actual scriptural version of “This is my Son…with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 17:5)!

I would certainly be in agreement with Shamblin that such a teaching would be indeed heretical because of its totally unscriptural nature. Trinitarians don’t believe that old canard that God was speaking with himself in the “form” of Jesus. The great problem for Shamblin, however, is that neither I nor any other Christian I know of teaches or believe such a thing. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – Shamblin’s continued careless distortion and blatant disregard for any objective appraisal of just what Trinitarian doctrine teaches pretty much demolishes her credibility.

How can this well-educated generation support that when Jesus was in the Garden, He said, “Not my will, but my will be done,” instead of the scriptural “Not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42)? Do you really believe that when Jesus was on the cross, He must have meant, “Myself, myself, why have I forsaken myself?” instead of what is actually in Mark 15:34: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” You cannot possibly have enough arguments to convince the world that God is not the Father and that Jesus is not the Son of God using the scriptures.

Trinitarians cannot seem to answer questions such as, “Are you saying that God transforms Himself into different beings?” and “Why does He talk to Himself, such as saying He was pleased with Himself at Jesus’ baptism?” and “Why would anyone want to begin to teach that Jesus is not the Son of God but actually God the Father?” It makes no sense at all.

This is, if it can be believed, even more needless repetition of Shamblin’s previous arguments, so I will be short and to the point here.

A former RF leader and ex-member, familiar with Shamblin’s rhetoric, recalls that she does little else in her teaching but repeat her same basic phraseology again and again, only pausing to restate and respin them when necessary. And when differences or inconsistencies seem to engender questions by her listeners for clarification, the ex-member dryly recalled, she would claim she’s been misunderstood and misquoted and would blame the questioner for laboring under a self-inflicted. confusion. This is the same pattern here - in an effort to avoid accountability for her false teaching and to keep her critics at bay, Gwen’s seemingly limitless capacity for reiteration is employed.

But the answers Shamblin makes a great fuss about have been given from Scripture. To her shameful discredit, Gwen simply won’t honestly and squarely consider them, choosing to cling to her self-imposed ignorance in the plain light of truth that beckons. It’s a self-anointed blindness she labors under. Trinitarians have never taught God changes into different beings – they have always taught that God is One who has revealed himself AS Three different Beings. God’s “talking to Himself” was actually dialogue between God the Father to God the Son as God the Spirit descended upon Him. And no one has “begun” to teach that Jesus isn’t the Son of God but the Church’s defenders of the faith have always taught the Jesus is God the Son – not the Father.

The Trinity doctrine makes perfect sense if one accepts the counsel of Scripture that reveals the Triune nature of God. The great problem for Shamblin is that it is foolishness to the carnal and feverishly contemptuous mindset of someone who rejects truth and chooses error – namely herself.

In the early 1600s, Galileo taught that the Earth and the other planetary bodies rotated around the sun, contradicting centuries of teachings that everything revolved around the Earth. As a result for teaching what they felt was heresy, Galileo was ultimately denounced, tried, and condemned by the Catholic Church. Found guilty because of what he taught, he was forced to live the rest of his life under house arrest – not for any heretical theological views, but because he defied the current beliefs by teaching that the Earth revolved around the sun. Almost 400 years later, in the fall of 1992, Pope John Paul II gave an address in which he admitted that errors had been made by the Catholic Church’s theological advisors in the case of Galileo. However, he still did not admit that the church was wrong to convict Galileo on a charge of heresy due to his correct belief that the Earth rotates around the sun. The generations since Galileo’s time have all paid for the wrongful conviction and treatment of this scientist, because one has to wonder how far science could have progressed if they had been free to follow his truthful discoveries.

Her discussion here switches gears and delves into the darker side of medieval history. I’m not entirely sure what Gwen’s point is here other than an attempt to draw a parallel between her situation and that of Galilei Galileo, the famous Italian scientist. Gwen seems to be trying to pull her martyrdom card, attempting to associate the medieval scientist’s plight with the scandalous “persecution” her and her sect faced for their rejection of the Trinity. It’s a clumsy fit that doesn’t work, but such subtleties are lost here, so we’ll need to take a brief look at this.

The Middle Ages of Western civilization were marked by a resurgence of intellectual, scientific and philosophical inquiry that forever changed history. This period is called the Renaissance. Galileo was one of the great intellects of this day. He asserted in the face of Roman Catholic church tradition in 1616 that the earth rotated about the sun, contrary to what was believed and advocated by the church itself. By 1632, his defense of this theory attracted great attention around Europe. At that point, the church’s office of the Inquisition entered the picture and demanded he recant of his theory at pain of arrest, torture and death. Gwen correctly, concisely and lucidly summarized the situation – which is one of the rare moments in this document in which that can be said.

However, when she dramatically speculates how the “generations since Galileo’s time” were deprived of scientific advances due to Galileo’s tribulation at the hands of the Vatican, Shamblin loses touch with reality. Galileo was not the first and only scientist whose speculation resulted in the description of what we now call the heliocentric theory. Other scientific contemporaries of his day like Johannes Kepler and Tycho Brahe, also building upon the work of others, set forth theoretical systems that mirrored Galileo’s observations. But it was the work of the Pole Nicholas Copernicus who first formulated the basic tenets of the theory - almost a century before Galileo did in 1530. In fact, it is his work that is universally recognized as the pioneering breakthrough in scientific discovery regarding the rotation of the earth around the sun. The triumph of this theory is commonly called the Copernican Revolution and is viewed by historians as one of the most significant developments in intellectual history. It forever shattered medieval thinking about the universe and paved the way for secularism to arise.

While Galileo’s astronomy supported and corroborated the heliocentric theory, it hardly originated it. Had Galileo never existed, there would have been others who would have arisen to contribute these observations since the spirit of Renaissance inquiry was so widespread. So Gwen’s attempt to drape herself in the garb of a bold, daring visionary daring to fight against the tide not only fails miserably but only further reveals how poorly she understands things she can sound authoritative about. This doesn’t surprise us, of course, since we know how cunningly she decries the title of prophetess, all the while allowing all under her “authority line” exalt her as one.


After reading this document, many will say that they have never believed that Jesus and God are the same being, but they are still a Trinitarian.” These people cannot have it both ways! The title of “Trinitarian” means you believe that God has 3 facets (God in three persons) but is ultimately one being, and so you cannot also believe that He, Christ, and the Spirit are 3 separate beings. This person who tries to claim it both ways is afraid of man and needs to take a stand against this wrong creed.

What this debate boils down to is this: either you support the Trinitarian creed or you do not. You cannot be a “Trinitarian” and think that you are not supporting God in two or three persons. It is a creed. You can’t sing on Sunday morning, “God in three persons, blessed trinity” if you are not supporting the “three-is-one concept.”’ If you believe that God and Jesus are the same being by way of the trinity creed, then you have to believe that THE GOD OF THE UNIVERSE made Himself into a baby, then let man kill Him on a cross, and then made Him rise again after 3 days!

Man cannot and did not kill the Alpha and the Omega on a cross. The God of the Universe did not die on the cross -- Jesus Christ died on the cross. Stop letting the blind lead the blind. Repent now from believing that God and Jesus are the same being. This is an abomination. What has happened to the New Testament teachings? Why have we let over 17 centuries go by without putting a stop to this madness? This very discrepancy has been one of the biggest arguments against Christianity from atheism and other religions. God cannot bless such false teachings.

Once again, I had to smile. Once again, Gwen’s woeful twisting continues, topped with her standard feint at coming off like a prophetic voice of corrective rebuke. Here, the belief that Jesus and God are two different beings, which is what Trinitarians have always believed, is somehow seen as a contradictory confusion to her. The doctrine of the Trinity perfectly explains this and the actual confusion is in Shamblin’s mind. At the risk of sounding unpleasant, I have to say that revisiting this endless repetition of her misunderstanding is actually a pointless and counterproductive. These protests have been amply answered already. We move on.

The Bible is far too clear on what “heresy” is. A heretic is someone who does not believe that Jesus is the Son of God. First John 2:22-23 says, “Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist--he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” A person who believes in the trinity believes that the Father and the Son are one person, denying the “Father” and denying the “Son.” So who is it that we will see when we get to heaven – the Father or the Son? Certainly not both, if you hold to the Trinitarian belief. You have denied that they can exist as two separate beings.

Gwen keeps swinging for the fences and keeps striking out. She keeps doggedly and stubbornly misrepresenting what Trinitarians believe. By now, we’ve gone over this point so many times that I really have lost count.

The only thing I think that I could legitimately observe at this point is to remind us of the old proverb that states that if someone repeats something long enough, people will think it’s true. In Shamblin’s case, this is obviously her strategy. This is a pathetic course she takes here, by continuing to spell out a “Trinity doctrine” no Trinitarian actually believes, but this is obviously what she wants her RF flock and the seekers they attract to catch this. It’s not a sophisticated or ethical approach, but an effective and formative one. It is sad, however that too many RF members have already suspended their critical thinking by this point for them and simply accept her barbed attacks as gospel truth. They are not taught to actually open the Bible and read the Scriptures for themselves, and ask the Spirit of God for understanding.

If you see my point at all, please know that there is no need to continue to support this unstable doctrine from centuries ago, since people are not burned at the stake anymore. You might find verbal persecution, but you should leap for joy and rejoice when you are persecuted for the sake of the Word and for Jesus Christ! There is only one thing to fear, and that is God.

I fully believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I do not believe that He will change into the Father, but He will remain the Son and be seated at the Father's right-hand side when we get to heaven (Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1). Luke 22:69-71 says, “But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.” They all asked, ‘Are you then the Son of God?’ He replied, ‘You are right in saying I am.’ Then they said, ‘Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips.’”

I hope Gwen somehow makes it to heaven, because the alternative is too awful to consider. The road there, it is said, is paved with good intentions and Gwen’s energetic compulsion of her Remnant flock to line up with what she considers to be God’s righteousness is among these well meaning directives. She seems to be among the number who will be rudely surprised on that day when she gives account of herself to God:

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-23 KJV)


Does the image of God really matter? The scripture tells us what His image is like, and this passage from Acts lets us know that how we portray Him really does matter to Him! “‘For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, `We are his offspring.' Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone--an image made by man's design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:28-30).

Paul says clearly that if we are made in His image -- “we are God’s offspring”--then we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone. Likewise, the Bible taken in context does not support the teaching or concept of the Nicene Creed, the trinity teaching that God is just a mystery. God spoke “face to face” to Moses in the book of Numbers; God walked in the garden in Eden in the book of Genesis. Many times the Bible refers to God sitting on the throne with Jesus at His right side. If we are told that we are created in His image, then why argue whether or not the image has a face, walks, talks, sits, etc?

I am grieved at the stubbornness of mankind, which rejects the Bible in favor of a man-made creed from 325 A.D. Paul said that we should not think of God “as an image made of God’s design.” The trinity has its own “god-head”, mysterious ghostly spirit image that it has taught and is not backed up by the scriptural teachings on the essence of God. As Paul said, there was a time when God overlooked such ignorance; however, now He commands all men everywhere to repent.

As we start this next section, it is evident that Shamblin recognizes just how crucial and fundamental this question is. She raises and then answers her own question: recognition of who God is and how He relates to mankind is of the most vital significance to anyone seeking to know Him and His ways. On this point, Gwen Shamblin and I can certainly and passionately share a hearty “amen.” However, I cannot emphasize enough that her twisted view of God is simply unbiblical and founded upon her own personal conviction drawn from her own dubious logic. She seriously departs from a balanced and Biblical view of who God actually is, and in so doing, she inevitably fell into a profoundly warped self-deception over what the Gospel that His Son preached actually is. For that, her errors must be exposed and refuted.

Her grandiloquent reference to her being “grieved at the stubbornness of mankind” betrays an inflated sense of largesse, a self-exalted perspective that betrays her God-complex. Because of the cultic elitism that permeates her thinking, her expressed view of being “grieved” can safely be assumed to incorporate just such a perspective. What her pseudo-omniscient view misses is that “mankind”, in much of the Third World doesn’t even know of the existence of the Bible, let alone the Triune revelation of God’s existence found in it. She forgets the millions in postmodern Western society who live pagan lives with no clear contact with sound Christian influence; for them, sound Christian doctrine is an incomprehensible mass of knowledge hardly as relevant than the wisdom found in the writings of the Buddha, Dr. Phil or Deepak Chopra. How can such people be characterized as the faceless mass of “mankind” who somehow knew enough about the Bible to “reject it” for the Trinity? It is another fanciful supposition of Gwen’s that simply doesn’t square with reality.

The spiritual darkness of the world is why Christian world mission for over two millennia has gone on, trying to spread news of God’s love and justice found embodied in Jesus Christ and made manifest by His Spirit. The Great Commission of Jesus in Matthew 28:19 to preach His gospel throughout the world to every person who will hear it is the basis of true Christian mission. And the Great Commission’s successes are the main reason Shamblin’s parasitical Remnant Fellowship sect can exist: without the growth of Christianity and Christian communities, their “remnant” vision could never have gotten off the ground. For all of its warts and failings, the Christian Church remains the main target of Shamblin’s hunt: Remnant Fellowship’s own twisted strategy for “evangelism” is to lead people into Weigh Down classes seeking new recruits for her false gospel as well as a positive cash flow. Although she may be able to attract a secular audience out of that postmodern society who want to hear about God and weight loss, the churched will always be in her Outreach department’s crosshairs.

That term is a misnomer. It is meant to encourage the Remnant belief that marketing weightloss programs is the equivalent of Christian evangelism and ministry. However, I’ve yet to hear of any Remnant missionaries going abroad to Sudan to bargain for the lives of captive Christians turned into slaves by armed Muslim warlords. I haven’t heard of a single Remnant missions trip to the Ukraine led by Tedd Anger to do work with the victims of domestic violence or alcoholism. When the devastation of hurricanes Katrina and Rita smashed into the Gulf states of America, where was Remnant Fellowship? They were listening on their webcasts to Gwen Shamblin’s ferocious false prophecy that the coming of hurricane Rita would totally destroy New Orleans. How many of them were trying to help feed or clothe or shelter the hundreds of thousands of suffering Americans? How many of the Outreach Department served with medical missionaries right now trying to provide emergency surgeries to the paralyzed who were injured in that horrible Pakistani earthquake in the fall of 2005?

The “counterfeit church” was involved in all of these gracious acts of ministry and more than I can describe here - not Remnant Fellowship. Their twisted vision is devoted to self-exaltation and a grossly conditional “love” they mete out to recruits as long as they comply with their “counsel.” For RF members, spiritual life is a continual bandwagon of parties, confession sessions, and attendance at RF functions to be reminded of how holy they supposedly are – punctuated by invitations for the hapless around them to shell out large amounts of money to subscribe to WDW programs. Like all other cults, their spiritual sterility and extremism would virtually guarantee extinction of Biblical Christianity altogether in a generation if, God forbid, they were actually commissioned by Him to fulfill it.

Trinitarians have never suggested that the image of God has anything to do with the stuff of material riches: they have always affirmed that the image of God has been eternally manifest in the Incarnate person of Jesus Christ, whose human temple is certainly one “not made with hands.” There is no argument from them as to whether God can speak, sit, walk, have a face and hands, etc. In fact, a Triune understanding of the nature of God has historically affirmed and defended the perfect unity of human and divine natures found in Him far better than any other God concept tossed around sectarian Christianity. God is a spirit and His essence was bodily contained for humanity to behold in the person of Jesus Christ. The dual nature of Jesus is a distasteful reality to Shamblin that undercuts her doctrine of salvation based upon her stubborn legalism.

Where Gwen Shamblin has gotten this perception that Trinitarians worship the divine Persons of the Trinity as if they were earthbound idols is another bizarre and inexplicable product of her fevered imagination. If there is ignorance to be repented of, it would be in order for Shamblin to be the first to exhibit it, since her repentance seems to be willful and rebellious. That is a far greater sin than being simply unaware of truth, for it is a conscious rejection of Biblical light. The Pharisees were guilty of the same sin when they attacked Jesus for it was they who said, as our Lord said of them in John 9:41:

  And Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind." Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, "Are we blind also?" Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, 'We see.' Therefore your sin remains.

Look again at the following passage from Acts 17:26-30:

“From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. `For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, `We are his offspring.' "Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone--an image made by man's design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.”

It is clear from this passage that we “should think” about the right image of God. It is clear from this passage that we have the right image of God, since we are His offspring. That is the image to associate God with…not stone or silver or gold or simply “spirit.” As I just stated, the image we have of God in the Bible is one who sits, talks, walks, etc. All of these are pictures that God has used to build the image that He wants us to have while on earth. God’s image and the image of His Son do matter, and more importantly, the understanding of God’s position, Jesus’s position, and our position in creation matters greatly. God is the Father. Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of the Father, and He now sits at the Father’s right hand side. We are mankind, with Christ as our Savior and the Head of the Church.

This subject is very important because when Jesus was praying to the Father, His goal was to make His own position and God's position known. “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”(John 17:3). As the centuries went by, anyone who disagreed with the man-made doctrine of the Nicene Creed was deemed a “heretic,” far from the definition of a heretic in the Bible. Again, First John 2 would say that anyone who did not acknowledge that Jesus Christ was the Son of God was a heretic or the anti-Christ. My prayers are with you so that you can see God's Word in the light that He wants Himself and His Son revealed.

To Gwen, the “right image of God” matters because, as we’ve said, the orthodox Christian understanding of ultimate spiritual reality based in the Triune Godhead deviates from her unbiblical “authority line” tradition. It's easy to see why we can agree with her here .. the self-revelation of God makes all the difference in the world.

An old Latin theological term applies here: Shamblin’s hierarchy of authority is effectively an “ordo salutis”, or “order of salvation.” This is an understanding of the sequence of God’s saving acts that will bring salvation to a person (an example of this is the old “Romans Road” Gospel presentation taken from various verses in the book of Romans). In her Remnant reality, no Trinity can exist. Christ’s obedience to His Father, the One True God, has made him worthy of being the Savior, and being a non-divine human being of some ill-defined manner, salvation flows from him first – but not because He is God whatsoever. Shamblin defends this point to the teeth because her entire belief system is based upon that one crucial issue.

Once more, Gwen’s castigation of the Council of Nicea arises,  accusing the Trinity doctrine as its unique creation. We’ve already looked into just why the Council of Nicea was convened and under what conditions it met. However, we must again remember that the Council of Nicea did not as Shamblin suggests “come up with” a “man-made” doctrine out of the fear of being confused with Greek polytheism: it met in direct response to the kind of heresy on the nature of God that Gwen herself concocted a few years ago. The belief in the deity of Christ was at the heart of Christian faith and was being directly challenged by many a heretical sect but none as challenging as the Arian faction. It was hardly a paper tiger in the fledgling Christian church culture just waiting to be pushed around: all reports show that their presence at the council was significant and energetic. This again shows that there was no powerful elite of corrupt doctrinaires lying in wait to pervert “the truth” who exercised an absolute rule over the church backed by the legions of Roman civil power.

In the end, the bishops simply reaffirmed what Scripture already had long before revealed about the Triune nature of God and issued their own concise statement on it. We’ve seen the Biblical record, which itself was simply a record of apostolic teaching that preserved for the ages Christ’s self-revelation through inspired men of God. And again, this “new concept” as Shamblin has previously described it completely distorts what the council was actually agreed upon. The Almighty was not and is not viewed by Christians as a god who changed in the first years B.C. to morph into separate persons in the freakish way Gwen wants to impress upon her audiences (first calling the Trinity concept a “two headed” monster and now a ghostly spirit image - she can’t quite describe the distortion in her head).

It would be appropriate for us to again review what the Council taught to compare their sound teaching with the heresy Shamblin would turn the church into:

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father. .. And whosoever shall say that there was a time when the Son of God was, or that before he was begotten he was not, or that he was made of things that were not, or that he is of a different substance or essence [from the Father] or that he is a creature, or subject to change or conversion — all that so say, the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes them.

To be anathematized was to be disfellowshipped from the Christian congregation as a pronouncement of divine judgment for persisting in embracing false doctrine. Social ties were to be broken and further association with them was forbidden. The early church, recognizing its solemn responsibility to do this when necessary, did not hesitate to apply it when those teaching heresy refused to be corrected. This was done in the hope that those in error might turn back to God in having to deal with the consequences of their twistings of His truth. Repentance was a real possibility and those who did might be reconciled back to God, but there was first the firm and unyielding hand of chastisement of those who turned away from the faith. The Bible says such discipline is always painful but necessary for the chastised to submit to so it may instill “the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11 NIV).

At the height of the controversy, just before the Nicene Council was called, an Egyptian bishop named Alexander in vain sought to restore Arius. His epistle to another bishop in Constantinople around 312 AD about the sad affair was meant to be both cautionary and instructive. We cannot improve upon the excellent traditions of discernment our spiritual forefathers developed on the basis of the Scripture so we will share an excerpt from them. It helps us see how the early church was to understand what it meant to be under an anathema and what kind of unruly and disruptive behavior in the Church would make such a drastic measure necessary and appropriate:

“These things in part have I written in this epistle, thinking it burdensome to write out each accurately, even as I said before, because they escape not your religious diligence. Thus do we teach, thus do we preach. These are the apostolic doctrines of the Church, for which also we die, esteeming those but little who would compel us to forswear them, even if they would force us by tortures, and not casting away our hope in them.

To these Arius and Achilles opposing themselves, and those who with them are the enemies of the truth, have been expelled from the Church, as being aliens from our holy doctrine, according to the blessed Paul, who says, ‘If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed; even though he feign himself an angel from heaven.’ And also, ‘If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing,’ and so forth.

These, therefore, who have been anathematized by the brotherhood, let no one of you receive, nor admit of those things which are either said or written by them. For these seducers do always lie, nor will they ever speak the truth. They go about the cities, attempting nothing else but that under the mark of friendship and the name of peace, by their hypocrisy and blandishments, they may give and receive letters, to deceive by means of these a few ‘silly women, and laden with sins, who have been led captive by them,’ and so forth. (13) 


(13) Ante Nicene Fathers, volume 6, p. 296)

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