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Archive for the ‘Garden of Eden’ Category

A picture of a starving child is a picture of the greed, ignorance, and apathy of man. It has always been the policy of man to starve enemies into subjection, and to ignore the undesired. That is not what God wants (Matthew 5:43-45). It is not the will of God that has led to the suffering we see in the world today, but the policies of man. We are self-willed, and we sin.

Long ago, in the garden of Eden, the first human beings chose to know good and evil, and to make their own decisions about all things as if they were gods. Because of that decision, evil is loosed to walk the earth, and human beings create many “impossible” situations, where there are no pleasant answers. We live in the shadow and consequences of prior human choices, and others will walk in ours. It is a long walk in the darkness.

Jesus said that whatever is done to others is done to him (Matthew 25:42-45), so a picture of a starving child is also a picture of God. God starves with the starving. It was God who created the empathetic and sympathetic qualities that human beings sometimes exhibit. Those are characteristics of God. In fact, the only way to hurt God is to harm his creation. The enemy of all humanity knows that when he targets a person, he nails the Messiah. God has been the primary target all along.

As any caring person knows, love draws us into the pain of others (1st Corinthians 12:12,26, and 13:4-7). Love makes God vulnerable along with us. The cross of Jesus is the physical manifestation of that phenomena. The crucifixion of Jesus is the perfect expression of God’s entanglement in our world’s problems. Where is God when we are hurting? He is there on the cross.

The name Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23) means “God with us.” “El,” in the ending of the name, is a Hebrew name for God. The Greek spelling is Emmanuel. In Greek, “eme” means “me.” The Greek word “manna” comes from the Hebrew “man,” the word for the bread (Exodus 16:14-18) that fell from the heavens during the exodus of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt. Jesus compared himself to this manna (John 6:32,33) which came down from heaven. He is the broken bread (1st Corinthians 11:23-24), the antidote for the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. “Manuwn” is a little used Hebrew word meaning “heir,” or “son.” I think all these words and meanings are implied in the prophetic name Immanuel.

The Bible teaches that Jesus is the physical manifestation of God. In John 14:8, Philip said to Jesus, “Show us the Father, and it is enough for us,” but nothing is ever quite enough for man. The world is not enough. The next verse gives the answer of Jesus, “Am I with you so long, Phillip, and you haven’t known me?” “The one seeing me has seen the Father.”

The Bible tells us that Jesus wept (John 11:35), and that God was in Jesus reconciling the world unto himself (2nd Corinthians 5:19). The tears of Jesus were the very tears of God. Jesus displayed emotions, and his emotions are those of God. Evil denies all of this, and either claims that God does not exist, or it presents him as being distant and unaffected. Evil uses every possible angle against God, but it all comes into focus at the cross.

“I like pain,” a man once said to me, “It keeps me on my toes.” “I like pain,” said another. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t know I was alive.” The statements were an attempt at humor, but they are sad words nevertheless. Another man said to me, “I don’t think that other people feel things like I do, and it makes me want to hurt them.” I tried to convince him that his thoughts were not true either of man or God. How many people want to hurt God because they think that God does not feel? God sees, God hears (Psalms 94:9), and God feels (Luke 13:34).

I’m sure that God does not like pain, and I don’t like it. A man once tried to convince me that Jesus didn’t really suffer when he was crucified. That man’s professed view was that Jesus was so spiritually exalted that he was beyond physical suffering, but love doesn’t make one immune to suffering. It magnifies it instead, yet love gives us purpose.

Jesus faced the cross in spite of the suffering, because that was the way to get us to face the truth, and it is the way to change our hearts. Why doesn’t God simply force all of us to do the right thing? Well, where do we want him to start, and where do we want him to stop? Can we get a consensus on our guidelines for God’s conduct, and would that agreement be the right one? Love must be voluntary.

We hurt ourselves when we harm others, and we hurt others when we harm ourselves. We hurt God when we harm ourselves and others, and we harm ourselves and others when we hurt God. That is life on Earth in a nutshell. Is that what we want, or is evil using, and confusing us?

Jesus said, “If I am lifted up (crucified), I will draw all mankind unto myself.” This he said signifying what death that he would die (John 12:32-33). The Messiah’s death on the cross might seem to us like the all-time low of his eternal existence, and it was, but at the very same time, it is the all-time high mark of sacrificial love. Jesus, on the cross becoming one with every one of us, (2nd Corinthians 5:21, becoming sin for us) taking all our wrong into his own body, and destroying it in his death while saving the souls of all who will believe in him, is the height, depth, and breadth of God’s love.

We cannot see God in his true light (glory) if we do not see the depth of Christ’s suffering. There is a tendency in the churches to gloss this over, and only glory in the resurrection, but if we don’t acknowledge the communion of the suffering of God for man (1st Corinthians 11:26), we are missing the reason for his long journey down to Earth. If we do not see the suffering of the Messiah, we won’t be as able to deal with our own suffering, and we can’t see very far into the heavens of God’s love. This earth is a world of suffering, but it is not our final destination.

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Without thinking, many times I’ve assumed that I knew the meaning of a word when I actually only understood it in a general sense. The difference can sometimes be important.

An old Webster’s dictionary states that sin is “an offense against God,” and a “misdeed, or fault.” That definition seems to convey the idea that sin is harmful to others, and to God. That is how life actually is, though only God is aware of all the repercussions of our actions. Only God can rightly define sin.

A Webster’s from a later date defines sin as “the breaking of religious law or a moral principle, especially through a willful act.” That definition isn’t quite so good, because people invent all kinds of conflicting “religious” and “moral” rules. The religious leaders of the day called Jesus a sinner (ref. the ninth chapter of John, esp. 9:24,25) though he was actually God in human form. Sin distorts our view others, ourselves, and God.

The same dictionary gives a definition of “innocence,” as “freedom from guilt or sin, especially through lack of knowledge of evil.” That’s a pretty good definition, but innocence is another word with many shades of meaning. It doesn’t mean a total absence of potential for sin. Webster’s gives the origin as the Latin word “nocere.” By attaching the prefix “in,” the literal meaning becomes “without harm.” “Nocere” means “to harm,” and is related to “gnosis,” the Greek word for knowledge. Knowledge is a tool often used in harmful ways.

Before going any further, I want to say that I’m afraid we sometimes try to define words and doctrines to such length that we unintentionally hinder the Lord’s desire. When there is so much fine print, the most important meanings can sometimes be overlooked. I don’t want to minimize the importance of correct doctrine, but interpretations of Bible doctrine cannot take the place of Jesus. Jesus is alive, and he is the savior.

I am sure that God had given Adam and Eve a high level of intelligence before they ate from the tree of knowledge, but there was an absence of guile. Now our world has become one great altar of the innocent. The innocent seem to get caught in the middle of everything, and even though God extends special grace to them, they yet suffer along with the guilty. They are dragged into the guilt.

God is often blamed for the suffering of the innocent, but the evils of this world are caused by the freewill of man, and not the ill will, or non-existence of God. We abuse our freedom of will in every way imaginable, and then blame God for failing to prevent us. Sometimes God, who is guilty of nothing, does interfere with us, and then we blame him for interfering.

Although we are all descendants of Adam and Eve, and God has made all of us of one blood (Acts 17:26), a divisive force called sin separates us from one another, and from God. A person who has wronged someone will often try to avoid that person due to feelings of guilt, even if the injured party is seeking reconciliation. If the offending party feels no guilt, that makes reconciliation even more difficult. If the truth were told, most often there’s enough guilt for everyone to share.

Obviously, man is not “good enough” to inhabit a perfect world for eternity. For a heaven to exist for us, God must alter (altar) the physics of our very being. We must be given a new “heart,” and even a new body (1st. Corinthians 15:40-57), or we would spoil paradise just as quickly as did Adam and Eve. The teaching of evolution is that the suffering and sacrifice of the innocent will continue so long as life exists, but the Bible predicts a very different future.

The day of at-one-ment has not yet been realized in the physical world, but the Lord who knows the potential of every child, and the secrets of every soul, has become the sacrifice of the atonement. The idea of the world being “as one,” was first the dream of God himself, and it is the height of vanity for us to imagine that we can achieve this without God and Christ. There is not only sky above us, but also the living God, who has shed his own innocent blood for us. Only he can deliver us into lasting communion.

To repeat something said in an earlier post; Noah was told (Genesis 6:14) to pitch the ark inside and out with pitch (Hebrew “kopher”), a substance formed along with tar (ref. my preceding post). You can see in that word the origin of our words, “coffer,” and “cover.” Noah’s ark was the only vessel to carry survivors to safety in the new, post-flood, world. In other cases, forms of the word are translated as “ransom,” or used in speaking of sin that has been purged, and as the name for the golden cover of the ark of the covenant (the mercy seat). The same basic Hebrew word (kaphar), is used for that which is known as the sacrifice of the atonement (at-one-ment).

Can God “cover” us within, and without, so that we can be “one,” and our sin become as if it had never been? Paul, in Galatians 2:20, speaks of himself as being crucified with Christ, and yet living, and Christ living within him. I think that God would experience a “crucifixion” just by living with man, and certainly by coming to live “within” us. Colossians 3:3 says of the believer, “For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” No matter how wild the storms may grow, those who are “in Christ” are ultimately as safe as Noah and his family were in the ark.

God has become one with us in the suffering of this world. The innocent, and the forgiven, will someday live in at-one-ment with God in a world far beyond the reach of suffering (John 3:16). The physics of the atonement are a mystery, but the existence of sacrificial love helps us to believe in it. People who love each other must believe in each other, and because of our human weakness, we must sometimes believe in something beyond each other.

P.S.   I’ve tried retyping a section of the text of this post where the font size appears different. It will not come out right, no matter what I try. I will have to leave it as it is.

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“Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it… thorns and thistles it will bear… till you return to the ground, for from it you were taken…” That which is termed a curse in Genesis 3:17-19, would be classified by Evolutionism as “survival of the fittest.” Man was persuaded by the serpent that things didn’t have to be as God said; all of creation has now drifted into a struggle for survival because of that. Chance and change are results, and not the original causes.

Evolutionists think that the struggle was going on for millions of years before man, and that man arose out of if. That view flatly contradicts the Script. If that were true, then the earth was cursed to begin with, and was not “very good,” as Genesis calls it. God didn’t desire change, but he must allow man to get a taste of it.

A woman must now go through a lot of pain to give birth to a child. That’s a unique aspect of the curse that they alone experience, but they endure it because of the blessing in it. It seems kind of strange that God didn’t use the word “curse” when speaking directly to the woman in Genesis 3:16.

When 1st. Timothy 2:15 speaks of a woman being saved by childbirth, that doesn’t mean that women must bear children to be saved. It means that in anticipating a child, and in the painful birth process, women often come to identify with God. They gain a better understanding of God’s own pain and longing for us. They can better understand the cross of Jesus, which is symbolically compared to childbirth (John 16:21, and Isaiah 53:10-11).

That may partially explain why more women than men attend church, and why greater percentages of them become Christians. Eve was the first deceived; it could easily have been the other way around, but that’s just the way it happened. The part Adam played was more deliberate. He may have accepted the forbidden fruit from Eve partially because of his love for her. Oh well; all for one, and one for all. Now however, more males than females remain under deception, continuing to reject Jesus. “Man is the measure of all things,” or so he has come to think.

Before Adam and Eve departed from Eden, God clothed them in garments of skin (Genesis 3:?). I don’t think we can grasp the seriousness of that occasion. I absolutely think the correct interpretation of the Script is that death did not exist before Adam and Eve. Now all creatures experience death because of man, and not only the creatures, but the creator also. Believe it or not, the “Lamb of God,” the only “begotten” son of God, has died for us. We’re all in this together.

The eating of meat was not “sanctioned” by the Script until after the flood of Noah. Creation was originally intended to be vegetarian. The post-flood world was a much less hospitable place for life, and many people became hunter-gatherers to keep from starving. Many of these tribes retained a vague concept of sacrifice. It was a commonly held belief that animals sacrificed themselves for man.

It shouldn’t have been a great leap of faith to understand instead, that God sacrificed everything for the survival of man. That is, he permitted man, for lack of a better word, to take the life of animals, in order to live. It isn’t far from there, to grasping that God has given his life for our lives. He has been more adversely affected by the curse of change than you and I (Galatians 3:13). He has seen it all.

The departure from Eden was like a death in itself. I’m sure that YHWH Elohim felt nailed there even then, watching Adam and Eve leave their garden. He is (ref. Revelation 13:8) the “Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world.”

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There were two trees in the midst of the garden of Eden; the tree of knowledge, and the tree of life. There was no prohibition against eating from the tree of life. Adam and Eve could have chosen life instead of unbridled knowledge. God continues to offer us a choice, but if man thinks he can create Utopia through knowledge, then he had better think again.

The word “utopia,” can mean either “good place,” or “no place.” There is no such thing as paradise without God, no matter how desperately it’s wanted. I understand that we must try to make our world a better place. Without hope, and without a dream, we resign ourselves to fatalism. Our dreams, and our buildings are fragile though. Someone is always tearing them down to make room for something bigger. Mans attempts to build a more utopian society have led to much violence over the course of history.

I can’t help but see the contrast between my poor paradise, and the Paradise of God. I once thought that you could obtain some measure of success if you would work. I still recommend work, but it takes more than that. Then there’s the promise of education. Some say you’ve got to work smarter, not harder. There’s truth in that also, but no guarantee. It’s hard to weigh the risks against the cost.

God understands that we need hope, but also that it must be in him. Dreams that aren’t grounded in reality ultimately do us more harm than good. Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV), “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” God has a dream for each of us, but we must choose to go with him. We can’t keep running the other way.

Some interpret Genesis 2:5-6 to mean there was no rain until the time of Noah. I’m not certain of that interpretation, but it is possible that the river of Eden welled up from a great underground source. God created a paradise for man along the river, and the tree of life was in the midst of the garden, along with the tree of knowledge (Genesis 2:9). God barred Adam and Eve from Eden, not only to protect paradise from man, but ultimately to keep it for them. The geographical area of Eden was later destroyed by Noah’s flood.

Revelation 22:7, speaks of the “tree of life in the midst of the paradise of God.” The river flowing through the paradise of God (Revelation 22:1-2) springs from “the throne of God, and of the Lamb.” The tree of life grows along both sides of the river. The garden of Eden was designed following the same basic pattern as the new paradise of God will be. In the new paradise however, knowledge will only grow to its proper height. The days of mindless experimentation will be past.

There were two criminals crucified along with Jesus. Initially, both of them mocked Jesus, as did most of the crowd gathered there. As the excruciating day wore on, something changed the mind of one of them (Luke 23:42-43). Something convinced him that Jesus really was “the Lamb of God.” He decided, as I have, that he would love to have a king like Jesus. Since there is no one else like him; it must be him.

So, how do we reach the tree of life in the paradise of God? The one criminal finally stood up for Jesus against the other (about as well as he could stand in his circumstances). He said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom,” and Jesus answered, “…today, you will be with me in Paradise.” Revelation 22:17, “…Let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.”

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If a tree once existed that would have enabled Adam and Eve to live forever, then it’s possible that science could stumble upon some secret that would have a similar effect. Scientists have suggested that someday we may gain the knowledge to “extend our lives indefinitely,” so the Bible and science are in general agreement about the possibilities. They predict the same things, but a different overall outcome.

These things are not as fantastic as they may sound. I’m mentioning them because I don’t want anyone to be caught by surprise if science stumbles upon some secret of life, previously known only to God. Often, even the church is unquestionably accepting of science. For example, many would reject a “supernatural” appearance of Antichrist, but wouldn’t recognize him in the guise of science.

Man wants knowledge, but he wants to be the one who decides between right and wrong for himself. We fuss and fight all the time over that very thing. Man wants knowledge without God. Man wants love, but he thinks that to be loved is to be worshipped. Man wants things the way he wants them, and not the way they should be. He wants to be loved, but he fails to love.

Man wants paradise for himself, and thinks that everyone else messes it up. Man wants life, and he will kill to get it. He wants life without God. Man wants freedom, but he doesn’t want freedom for God. Man has nailed the hands and feet of God to a tree. Just as the people around us get dragged into our mess, so does God, and sometimes Jesus gets in the way of what people want to do.

We think that he’s interfering with our quest for life, but it’s actually just the opposite. He said that he had come so that we could have life. Most often, when the word “tree” appears in the New Testament, the original Greek word was either “dendron,” or “suke.” Some verses say that Jesus was crucified on a cross (Greek “stauros”), and a few verses such as Acts 5:30 use the word “tree.” It’s just saying the same thing in a different way, but using the word “tree” allows some added symbolism.

The Greek word for “tree” in these verses is “Xulon,” which usually refers to something made from the wood of a tree, as is a cross. That draws my attention to something else. The expression, “Tree of Life,” is rarely used in the New Testament (Revelation 2:7, 22:2, 22:14, and some manuscripts 22:19). Xulon is the Greek word that’s translated as “tree” in each of those verses. He was crucified on a “Xulon,” and it is the “Xulon of Life.”

In Eden, man ate from the Tree of Knowledge (“Ets Daath” in the Hebrew), and began trusting in his own knowledge. Man lost the way to the Tree of Life. The antidote to believing in man, is to believe in Jesus (the) Christ. His cross (his death) is the way to life. Death has bruised his heel (Genesis 3:15). The heel that was so bruised, scrubbing against the wood of the cross, will someday crush the head of Death (literal death, but also Daath, or man’s knowledge).

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Adam and Eve had never experienced fear until they ate from the tree of knowledge. After eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve developed a paranoia. They dressed themselves in leaves, and when God came to visit them, they hid in the trees. It’s interesting to me that paper for our books comes from the pulp of trees, and that “leaf,” is another word for a page.

Children playing hide and seek sometimes think that if they can’t see you, then you can’t see them. Sometimes, it’s only their eyes that are hidden. That’s the way it is in this forest of books and ideas in which we live. We can’t see God because of the way we educate ourselves. The knowledge that we think we have closes our eyes to the knowledge of God. It isn’t only Atheism and Evolutionism that make it difficult to see God, but also Religion. Many people hide behind a god of their own making. They’re afraid of God, but not so afraid of a god they can control.

I’m very conscious of the fact that I’m not qualified to do a thorough study of the Tree of Knowledge. You would need unbiased scientists from all fields, especially Genetics and Neurobiology. You would need language experts (all languages), computer experts, theologians, and endless others. No one “puffed up” by their own knowledge (1st. Corinthians 8:1) is qualified, and everyone would have to cooperate fully.

As you can quickly grasp, that isn’t going to happen until the Lord’s return. People knowing only what little can be gleaned here and there have to try to get the word across, so I’m going to do the best I can. I know that God helps us, and some begin to understand and believe, in spite of our weaknesses.

I think the tree of knowledge (Genesis 2:16-17 & 3:1-8) was an actual tree, though the logical and symbolical meanings are as profound as its physical effects. I don’t know how it had the genetic effect that it had, but I do know that substances in many plants affect our minds, as well as our bodies. Some drugs can induce paranoia, but there is probably much more to the forbidden fruit than that. Scientists studying the effects that food substances have upon genetics are beginning to unravel some strange secrets. Modern science is proving that the foods we eat can alter genetics, just as the Script says of the forbidden fruit.

When Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Science (from “Scientia,” the Latin word for knowledge), devolution, or deviation from design began to occur. Devi-ations from design don’t prove Evolution. They are evidence of Devolution instead. They show the influence of the Dev-ill (Hyll, or Heylel) upon creation. I hope to go into more detail on this next week, and furnish some references and topics for further study. Truth is truly stranger than fiction.

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They knew things we couldn’t imagine, yet they were so naive; Adam and Eve. There was so much they didn’t know. Adam didn’t know anything about competing for a girl, or a job. In the garden of Eden, he didn’t know any thing about losing, being cheated, being broke, or broken-hearted. There was no rivalry. Adam and Eve were one; they were one flesh (Genesis 2:21-25).

If they disagreed on anything, I don’t think they would have noticed. There would have been no anger. Eve didn’t know that it was possible for the male to become domineering. She didn’t know anything about pornography, or child trafficking, or rape. They wouldn’t have understood sweat and toil, pain, or age. Violence, murder, war, and death would have been farther from their thoughts than we can imagine.

God recognized the possibilities, and warned them. We know little, of course, about how much they were actually told. I’m sure that God would have given them as much information as possible without doing harm to their psyche, but they had never experienced such things. There are a lot of things that you don’t really understand unless you’ve experienced them.

There are very few things that couldn’t be used in some harmful way. I’ve only experimented superficially with that idea, but I think it’s safe to say that any bit of knowledge can be twisted. If intelligence is to exist, then a tree of knowledge must exist, and knowledge can be used for good, or for evil.

The Script in Genesis says that everything God created was “very good,” so we know that God-given knowledge is good. God could only have given us very limited intelligence if he had not “allowed” freewill at the same time. Freewill is intertwined with intelligence. One cannot exist without the other. We would only be able to think as we were programmed to think. We would be robots.

The angels, possessing greater intelligence than man, would automatically have freewill, and they would have freedom. God would not have created beings with freewill if he hadn’t intended for them to be free. He did not intend for one person to exercise their freedom by enslaving another, though such a possibility would exist. Slavery was invented by man. If God had only made that which neither man nor devil could mess up, creation would be very small. I don’t believe in blaming God for every idea that comes to our mind.

God didn’t create a devil, but an angel could become a devil. Here’s how it could happen. It could happen just as it happened to man. A thought could arise within the mind of an intelligent being. Thoughts such as this; “It doesn’t have to be this way, many deviations are possible…” could lead to conflict. When conflict arises, it’s necessary for love to exist on both sides for the difference to be resolved. If one party is loving and sacrificial, and the other rejects that, then they must come to a parting of the ways.

I’m not a real fan of John Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” but I think that some bit of it is true to life. Milton has Satan lamenting at one point that God had kept some knowledge hidden from him, and that he had underestimated God’s strength because of that. I think something like that is likely to have happened.

The angel who transformed himself into God’s adversary had seen God create the earth, but he had never seen anything warlike about God. Isaiah 14:12-15 tells part of the story; “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer…for you have said in your heart…I will exalt my throne above the stars of God…I will be like the most high.

Speaking through Nachash (the serpent), this is what Heylel told Eve about knowledge; “You will not surely die…in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God (or gods)…” He deceived his own self, a third of the angels, and then Adam and Eve with the same kind of thinking. Well, now we know more stuff, but we’ve forgotten much truth in the process. Collectively, we still don’t know that knowledge will lead to the complete downfall of man, but we’re getting closer to that discovery. We are outsmarting our own selves.

The name “Lucifer,” is a translation of the Hebrew name “Heylel.” I’ve mentioned that fact before in part 2 of “Hallucinations” (my July 2011 archives), and part 2 of “Hell” (my Jan. 2011 archives). There’s another thing that can be added. (Please note that I do not believe in practicing either numerology or gematria. These things may hold some distorted factual information, just as myths, or lies in general, may contain some fragmented truth).

I’ve mentioned before that the symbols of the Hebrew alphabet have individual meanings and are also used as numerals. The Hebrew symbols used to spell “Heylel,” in our language become HYLL. Meanings associated with “H” are, behold, look, window, or hole. “Y” means the hand. “L” means to goad, push, drive, or teach. The letter “L” used twice in the name seems to indicate an extreme. Heylel could be read as, “Behold the hand that pushes, and pushes.”

Mankind is being driven toward self-destruction, and it is Heylel that is doing the driving. Second Corinthians 4:4 calls Satan (Heylel) the “god of this world,” or “the god of this age…” depending upon the translation. Only the hand of YHWH the true God, only the hands with the nail holes, can stop Heylel.

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