Category Archives: Spiritual Gifts

Unknown Tongues

I Corinthians 14:13-25

What is an unknown tongue. It is a language that the user has not learned. That is a language such as German or French that possibly an English speaking person that has not learned any German or French under the power of the Holy Spirit, speaks it fluently so that a person that speaks that language understands the Word of God. Acts 2:4 relates the gathering at Jerusalem and the many different nations represented. The Holy Spirit gave the members of the church a gift to speak so that every nation heard in their native tongue. It was unknown in that the speaker did not know the language. They had never learned it. We are to speak to edify the church and those in it. Paul says that if you have an ecstatic utterance, it does not do the church any good so save that for private time. The Greek language uses the same Greek word (glossa) here and in I Cor 14. The complete or whole thought and idea that Paul makes in I Cor. 14 is clarity of speech so that all would understand and thereby the whole church may profit from everything said.

Paul says in I Cor. 14:19 “Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.” This passage is very clear and no one should misunderstand unless, there is that fleshly desire to be demonstrative and claim something that would put a person in a place of preeminence. There are those that wrestle with the scripture to their own destruction. May we always desire the sincere meat of the Word so that when we stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ we will hear well done. Paul closes with the admonition – “Let all things be done decently and in order.”
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Spiritual Gifts 8

I Corinthians 14 naturally divides itself into 3 divisions. They are 14:1-12 – The Gift of Tongues; 14:13-25 – The Gift of Interpretation; 14:26-40 – The Author of Peace. My proposal is to look at each division separately.

The first verse is an encouragement to edify the Church. The very idea of speech is to convey thoughts and ideas for the edification of others. The encouragement by Paul is to prophesy. This is so that man might enlighten the Church. The follow-up in verse two says that no man understands one that speaks in tongues. Paul’s substantive statement in verse 5 should convince doubters – “…for greater is he that propesieth than he that speaketh with tongues…” So many so-called tongue speakers leave the impression that this is the greatest thing, speaking in tongues. Paul does not agree. Paul says, in verse 6, there is no profit for others. What is profitable to others? Knowledge, prophesying, and doctrine.

Then Paul calls for words easy to be understood. “See that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. That is fairly plain to understand. We do not want to be called “…barbarian…” therefore we should seek to speak plain, simple words of understanding that others may understand and be edified and glorify God.

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Spiritual Gifts 7


The love chapter is the way most see I Corinthians 13. Verses 1-7 and 13 are really keyed upon when this chapter is discussed. This is fine as far as it goes. We must examine the reason for writing verses 1-7 What end is Paul trying to achieve?

To do this we must examine the writings a little at a time. Paul is saying there is something greater than the gifts that the Church at Corinth was using and abusing. Verse 13 does a lot to clue us in. “

1Co 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. “

Paul is telling the Church there is something greater and better than the gifts that are only partial. Notice that prophecy, understanding all mysteries, all knowledge, and all faith to remove mountains are gifts that are inferior to the gift of love. If we don’t love the Lord and His people above all of these gifts we are what? Paul said we become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. Does he mean we are ding-a-lings? Just a little humor. What it means is a cacophony, a harsh and discordant sound. Not a symphony of well arranged notes and chords that are pleasing to the ear but disharmony and harsh, displeasing noise that has no rhyme or reason. These, certainly are not words of recommendation.

A further examination reveals what Charity does and what it does not do. What it does do is suffer long and is kind. What it does not do is vaunteth not itself, nor is puffed up, behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil: Rejoiceth not in iniquity. What have we seen with those that claim different gifts? Lets look at the vaunted and puffed up. Those that have claimed the gift of tongues and to a certain degree, other gifts;take pride in their accomplishment. There is the sense that they are more righteous because they do these things. They seem to want all others to engage in the gift of tongues, particularly. This is totally contrary to chapter 12 which states that not all have the same gift. Yet the prevailing thought is that everyone should speak in tongues. This has to be classed as heresy. Paul declares the sovereignty of God is giving the gifts to the ones He chooses. Notice particularly, verse 6, “rejoiceth in the truth: Can we not simply accept chapter 12 as Paul wrote it instead of vainly trying to explain it away. I Corinthians 12:6-11 amply explain that not all have the gift of tongues, or wisdom, or healing. The word is plain.

I Corinthians 13:8, Paul makes a clear statement about the partial gifts. “…they shall fail;.. they shall cease;…it shall vanish away.” It behooves us to find when these gifts shall fail, cease, vanish away. In the finding, we must be honest. In I Corinthians 13:6 “…but rejoiceth in the truth:.” We need to examine verse 10 because Paul is letting us know that he is telling us of when this will take place.

1Co 13:10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

Look at the construction of the sentence. Those that want to live with imperfect and partial knowledge state that this refers to the second coming of Jesus. For this reason we still have these partial gifts. May I contend with you that if this is the meaning of this passage, Paul is reviling Jesus by the term that. The love and respect we know Paul to have to the Savior would demand that Paul use the term He to cause this passage to read – “ But when He which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. “…that which is perfect…” is a common noun and is neuter. That means it is not masculine or feminine. My “Idiot’s Guide to Grammar & Punctuation says that common nouns refer to things such as – hair, emeralds, keys, time, whatever – things and stuff that have words for what they are but don’t have their own specific names. After checking my English, I then turned to the Greek language and found that this phrase could not possibly be speaking of a person such as Jesus. Those that would argue for this phrase being Jesus is making up, totally, a false argument based upon what that person wants this phrase to be. This would be tantamount to adding to the scripture which is forbidden in Revelations.

May we continue our search for the meaning of this passage by going to James 1:25.

Jam 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

Look at the word perfect. What does this word mean? There are those that would use this to refer to Christ as the only perfect one. One must remember this is an Old English word.




Thayer Definition:

1) brought to its end, finished

2) wanting nothing necessary to completeness

3) perfect

4) that which is perfect

4a) consummate human integrity and virtue

4b) of men

4b1) full grown, adult, of full age, mature

Part of Speech: adjective

A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G5056

Citing in TDNT: 8:67, 1161

The above meanings are fulfilled today. The Word of God having been completed has given us all we need to know today. It is complete as to it’s instruction in salvation, in how to live, in what the Church is and is to do, in who Jesus is, in who God is and how He wants to be worshiped. Let us add one more verse to make even more solid that Paul is talking about the Completed Word of God. James 2:12.

Jam 2:12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.

We have to agree that this verse is speaking of the same thing that James 1:25 speaks of.

Both speak of the law of liberty. James 1:25 relates that the one that looks into the law of liberty and continues in it will be blessed. Where else but the Word of God is it spoken how we should live our lives. James 2 states that we will be judged by the law of liberty. One only needs a short time of research to find that the Word of God will be used to judge all. Now that which is perfect in I Corinthians 13 can only refer to the perfect law of liberty that will judge the saint and sinner one day, Gods Word, the Bible.

Paul compares the desire for the partial gifts as childishness. He calls us to put away childish things. There will always be those that do not grow in the Lord and live their lives as “bottle babies,” never able to eat the meat of the Word of God.

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Spiritual Gifts 6


May we take a look at I Corinthians 12.

There were a number of things that the Church at Corinth was doing wrong. Paul has been setting them straight in previous chapters on several different areas. Now he proceeds to the misuse and abuse of the gifts. Verses 1-11 We have basically covered these verses in previous studies. I do like the way Paul starts out – :I would not have you ignorant brethren.” Paul inspired by God wants to enlighten us as to the Gifts.

Verses 12-31 compares the gifts to the body. First let us clear up one item that is commonly misunderstood about the pastor epistles. Paul is writing to the Church at Corinth and comparing it to the body of a person. He is not comparing a universal anything to the body, just the Church at Corinth. Within the Church at Corinth, Paul is making the point that not all will speak in tongues. Today, there are those that have made several statements to me. One is the question about me having ever spoken in tongues. No I haven’t. God has blessed me with the gift of preaching. There is also the statement that one has not received the Holy Spirit until that person speaks in tongues. I have no clue where this came from or what scripture is used to try and support this fallacious statement.

The gifts are listed one by one. Now list the parts of your body one by one. Paul makes his point so clear that none should be able to misunderstand. If your body was all mouth how noisy it would be. The body could not go anywhere because of no feet. The body could not gain knowledge because there would be no ears to hear. Each part of our body serves a specific purpose. The same is applicable to the Church. Each gift was given for a specific reason or purpose. The misuse and or abuse of these gifts is a concern for Paul. His statement is that one would be given one gift and someone else another gift. Not all would have the same gift.

Paul says to “…covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.”

Next time we will look at chapter 13.


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The Permanence Of The Spiritual Gifts


At the center of the “Charismatic debate” stands the question of whether all of the spiritual gifts found in the New Testament are available for today.

The Bible clearly teaches that at least some spiritual gifts were temporary. I Corinthians 13:8-10.

Spiritual gifts may be grouped into 2 categories:

Sign Gifts” – Passing And Passe.

The Purpose Of Sign Gifts.

This question is hardly ever asked in regard to many of the things that are picked up as doctrine by many sects and denominations. I prefer to ask the purpose of things because I believe that God and His Son, Jesus Christ do things with a purpose in mind. I guess one could say that God and His Son are not purposeless.

We can peruse Mark 16:20 “And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

We can see a reason for the signs. May I remind you that the written word was not available at this time. For this reason, confirmation is needed.

Take a look at – Heb 2:4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

These two verses reveal that “signs” were given for the purpose of accreditation.

A school goes through a process of accreditation which then testifies that they are a school that is qualified to teach and instruct others. Notice how these “sign” gifts work in – Joh 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

Joh 3:2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

Now we are starting to see how this works. People doubt and Jesus or the apostles perform a miracle and the people are convinced. They had no writings to convince them that they were from God or that they were giving the word of God, but not was not unprepared to confirm them as representing Him by “signs.”

They accredited God’s manExodus 4:1-9; John 20:30,31; Acts 2:22; II Corinthians 12:11,12.

They accredited God’s messageMark 16:20; Acts 4:29,30.

The Provision Of Sign Gifts.

One of the characteristics of the Jewish heart is the need for a sign. I Corinthians 1:22

Take a look at – Exodus 4:30,31; 31:13; Numbers 14:11; Judges 6:17; I Samuel 10:7-9; Isaiah 7:11,14; Ezekiel 4:3; Matthew 38,39; 24:3,30; Mark 8:11,12; Luke 2:12,34; I Corinthians 14:22

There are two things we find in these passages: 1. Jews were always present. 2. An Apostle Was Always Present.

The Profile Of Sign Gifts.

We have 4 gifts that are listed in Mark 16:17,18. They are: casting out devils, speaking in tongues, taking up deadly serpents (Miracles,) and healing.

We see the fulfillment of this prophecy of the Lord.

Each of the signs mentioned here have been fulfilled in the Book of Acts. – Acts 16:18; 2:4; 28:3-6; 3:6-8.

There is no warrant for seeking any further fulfillment of this passage.

We May Eliminate These Gifts From The Portfolio.

The gifts of healing, miracles, tongues (and interpretations,) may be omitted from the listing above on the basis that sign gifts were temporary.

The Passing Of Sign Gifts.

According to I Corinthians 13:8, “tongues shall cease.”

The gift of tongues is one of the sign gifts – thus we see that sign gifts were temporary.

Signs were specifically for the nation of Israel.

According to Micah 7:15, signs would be seen only when Israel was in its land.

The sign of “tongues” was a specific warning of imminent judgment upon Israel – Deuteronomy 28:49,64; Isaiah 28:11; 33:19; Jeremiah 5:15; I Corinthians 14:21,22.

In 70 A.D. This judgment came. Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans and the nation dispersed, no longer in the land. There is no Biblical record of any sign after this date.

When the sign was fulfilled, the sign ceased.

The Peril With Sign Gifts.

There is an extreme danger in seeking after the sign gifts today. This is because Satan is also able to produce “signs and wonders”Exodus 7:to-12,22; 8:7,18; Mark 13:21-23; II Corinthians 11:13-15; II Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 13:13,14.

Satan is well able to provide what is sought. This is what many are seeking today, signs and wonders that justify fleshly desires that cause people to feel that they are more spiritual than others. Study the scripture and judge what you experience by the word.

So many feel something today and try to judge the scriptures by their experience. The problem is the ability to discern between the flesh and the spirit. There are those that feel fleshly desire is spiritual impulse. The Word tells us which is which.

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Spiritual Gifts 4


Spiritual Gifts Are To Be “Stirred Up” And Used.

According to I Timothy 4:14s, a spiritual gift can be neglected.

God’s intent is that it be “stirred up,” II Timothy 1:6 through searching the Word of God, giving “thyself wholly” to it, and using it to the glory of God, I Peter 4:11b.

According to Romans 12:6-8, God expects us to concentrate on exercising our gift in the church. This is seen in the words, “let us” and “let him.”

Joy Comes In Exercising The Spiritual Gift.

The Greek word which is translated “gift” in our English Bible is ‘charisma.’ This comes from another word, ‘char,’ which means JOY. (The word ‘charis’ means “grace.”)

Thus we see spiritual gifts in the light of God graciously giving us the desire to do His will – Philippians 2:13.

In Studying The Subject Of Spiritual Gifts, The Word Of God Takes Precedence Over “Experience.”

Isaiah 8:20. If experience is our basis then we logically have to accept all experiences.

If experience is our rule of faith and practice, then we are judging the Bible to be true or false according to our experiece. The Bible is to be our rule of faith and practice in all things, and what we experience is to be judged by the Bible, the Word of God.

If we were to say, “I have looked into the eyes of a man and I saw his soul and he has not been saved; the Bible would judge us on the truth or falseness of that statement.


A list of spiritual gifts mentioned in the New Testament is compiled from the following Scriptures:

Bible Listing Of Spiritual Gifts.

  1. Wisdom – I Corinthians 12:8
  2. Knowledge – I Corinthians 12:8
  3. Faith – I Corinthians 12:9
  4. Healing – I Corinthians 12:9,28
  5. Miracles – I Corinthians 12:10,28
  6. Prophecy – I Corinthians 12:10; Romans 12:6; I Peter 4:11
  7. Discernment – I Corinthians 12:10
  8. Tongues – I Corinthians 12:10,28
  9. Interpretation – I Corinthians 12:10
  10. Helps – I Corinthians 12:28
  11. Governments (Ruling) – I Corinthians 12:28; Romans 12:8
  12. Ministry – Romans 12:7; I Peter 4:11
  13. Teaching – Romans 12:7
  14. Exhortation – Romans 12:8
  15. Giving – Romans 12:8
  16. Mercy – Romans 12:8

Bible Listing Of Gifted Men.

Ephesians 4:11

  1. Apostles

The office of “apostle” has ceased.

Although the Greek word ‘apostolos’ means “sent one,” or “missionary,” the Biblical qualifications for the office of apostle were that they must have been:

    1. An Eye-Witness Of The Resurrected Christ.

Acts 1:22; I Corinthians 9:1; 15:8

    1. Audibly Called To Be An Apostle By The Lord Jesus Christ.

Matthew 10:5; Romans 1:1

    1. Been baptised by John.

Acts 1:22

For this reason we do not have apostles today. There is no such thing as “Apostolic Succession.”

  1. Prophets

The office of “Prophet” was two-fold.

The “fore-telling” aspect of the New Testament prophet ceased with the completion of the New Testament Scriptures.

According to Romans 16:26, the human writers of the New Testament were prophets.

  1. Evangelists

An Evangelist primarily establishes or builds up a church NUMERICALLY through Gospel preaching. (Acts 8:5-12,26-40; 21:8.) He is a “Gospeller” – or a missionary.

  1. Pastors And Teachers

A Pastor primarily builds up an established church SPIRITUALLY through preaching and teaching the whole counsel of God. (Acts 20:27,28; I Peter 5:1-3.)

According to Ephesians 2:20, the temporary offices of apostles and prophets were FOUNDATIONAL – whereas the permanent offices of evangelist and pastors and teachers are FUNCTIONAL. (These offices are not mutually exclusive – a pastor is to “do the work of an evangelist.” – II Timothy 4:5.)

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Spiritual Gifts 3


Every Church Member Has A Spiritual Gift.

I Corinthians 12:7,11; Ephesians 4:7; I Peter 4:10.

No one misses out! However, note the following:

  1. Every Believer Has Already Received A Spiritual Gift.

I Corinthians 12:7 is in the complete tense. The gift is received at the moment of receiving the Holy Spirit – at the instant of salvation. Ephesians 2:8,9 clearly shows and clearly states that salvation is a gift and the resulting sealing by the Holy Spirit is an exstension of salvation. Everyone saved has this gift from God.

  1. Not Every Member Has The Same Gift.

I Corinthians 12:29,30 – Who would have thought that teaching or preaching is a gift. There is so much talk about those gifts that are highlighted by pentecostals and chrismatics. Could we get back to the best gifts mentioned in verse 31 and covet those.

  1. All Gifts Are necessary.

I Corinthians 12:14-26 – For the unity of the church, and the edification of the church makes the best gifts more desirable and necessary.

Some gifts may appear more noticeable, even more desirable – but all gifts are equally necessary.

The Sole Purpose Of a Spiritual Gift Is To Edify A Chruch.

The big problem in the church at Corinth was the flaunting of spiritual gifts as a matter of pride and ‘spirituality.’

The only right motive is “edification,” “profit,” “enhancing,” and building up” a church.

I Corinthians 12:7; 14:12; Ephesians 4:12-16.

Every reference is in relation to the Church. It is not to impress or inflate egos.

There Are Tree Distinct Areas To The Study Of Spiritual Gifts.







I Corinthians 12:4

I Corinthians 12:5

I Corinthians 12:6

The basic ability which God

places within each member to express His love

Listed in: Romans 12:3-9

The opportunities for service in the church which enable the exercise of the motivation.

Listed in: I Corinthians 12:27-31; Ephesians 4:11

The actual fruit in the lives of others to whom we minister.

Listed in: I Corinthians 12:7-11

When we exercise our MOTIVATION (Romans 12) through our MINISTRY, the Holy Spirit determines what MANIFESTATIONS will benefit those in the church body best.

We are not to seek after manifestations, but to concentrate on our motivations.

The Possession Of A Spiritual Gift Does Not Mean “Spirituality.”

The church at Corinth had within its membership every spiritual gift (I Corinthians 1:7a,) but was at the same time carnal, schismatic, and full of serious problems. I Corinthians 1:11; 3:1-4. Notice that while the church had every gift, none of the members had all of the gifts.

Spiritual Gifts Are To Be Discerned.

A spiritual gift may be discerned through:

  1. The Word Of God.

Studying the Word of God and hearing it preached will enable a believer to discern his gift – Romans 1:11; 15:29.

  1. The Presbytery.

I Timothy 4:14

A pastor often discerns the spiritual gifts within the membership of his church.

In this case, Timothy’s gift came through prophecy – preaching, and was recognized in him by the pastors of his church. The ‘laying on of hands’ was their symbolic recognition of , and identification with, that gift.

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General Facts Concerning Spiritual Gifts


Spiritual Gifts Are God-Given Abilities For Service.

Eph 4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

Eph 4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

  1. Talents. – Talents are certain natural abilities, which need to be enhanced by training and education, and may be used in many ways – for good or bad.

  1. Gifts. -Spiritual gifts are God-given abilities to serve the Lord in the church. Notice that each one of these are given to individuals apart from the church but are given to those in the church and apparently busy about the Masters business.

They are given by the Holy Spirit. – I Corinthians 12:4,7. 1Co 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 1Co 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

The ministry of the Holy Spirit is essential for effective Christian service, and these gifts are a manifestation of the Holy Spirit in the believer.

Spiritual Gifts Are Sovereignly Bestowed.

I Corinthians 12:11 – 1Co 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

The bestowing of spiritual gifts is NOT the result of spirituality, but as the Holy Spirit Himself wills.

Since these gifts are given according to the sovereign will of God, tere is no purpose in seeking or praying for a certain gift.

1Co 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

This command was given to a church body. I Corinthians 1:2 Paul has addressed this letter to the church at Corinth. This was not addressed to all the saved or all the world. It was addressed to those that had been born-again and had been baptized and make members of that local church.

1Co 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

1Co 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

Until Next Posting or the Lord’s Return



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We will look at this subject in small pieces so that they may more readily be absorbed. This subject has a very emotional and fleshly attachment to it that has a tendency to direct the thoughts and energies of some that feel a need for a sign to be attached to their spirituallity.

The history: In 1896 a Southern Baptist by the name of Richard Spurling declared that the restoration of the first century A.D. Gifts-including those of tongues and healing – had occurred at a revival meeting in North Carolina. In 1901, students of Charles Parham at the Bethel Bible College, Topeka, Kansas, announced they had received “the baptism” and had spoken in tongues. In 1907 William Seymour, a black Nazarene preacher, founded what was to become the world famous “Azusa Street Revival” in Los Angeles, California.

Thus began Pentecostalism, rooted in the “Holiness” movement, issuing in a number of disunited denominations, and characterized by Arminian (the loss of one’s salvation) theology, sensationalism, the “gift” of tongues and healing. This movement found little acceptance amongst the mainline denominations, and by the 1950’s was in a state of decline.

It was at this time, under the leadership of Demos Shakarian, a wealthy Californian, that the “Full Gospel Business men’s Association” was formed. This movement adopted tactics of infiltrating the established mainline denominations promoting their views on the “gifts,” and financing and editorializing what was in the 1960’s and 1970’s, to explode into the Charismatic Movement.

Consequently there is a great focus on the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the area of Spiritual Gifts today.

The Book of I Corinthians, chapters 12,13, and 14 deals with the subject of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

    In considering this subject ist is important to keep in mind the following:
  • The Book of I Coringthians was primarily addressed to “the church of God which is at Corinth.” This was a literal, local, visible, assembly of baptized believers – I Corinthians 1:2.
  • The Book of I Corinthians was also a circular letter, addressed to believers associated with “every place– i.e. who were in other New Testament churches.
  • The subject of I Corinthians is ‘divisions’ and ‘unity’ – I Corinthians 1:10. It is not a complimentary letter.
  • The occasion for writing I Corinthians was ‘contentions’ – I Corinthians 1:11.
  • The time of writing the Book of I Corinthians was 55 A.D. – 25 years after the events on the Day of Pentecost.

Now we have a little back ground and will proceed with the next posting.



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