The Assembling of the Brethren (Hebrews 10:25)

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Darrell C, Oct 10, 2015.

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The Verse refers to...

  1. 1. Believers that stop going to Church

    4 vote(s)
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  2. 2. Unbelievers that Reject Christ

    2 vote(s)
    25.0%
  3. 3. Both

    2 vote(s)
    25.0%
  4. 4. Who cares?

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Darrell C

    Darrell C
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    In a recent discussion I made the statement that I did not view the assembling of the Brethren here...


    Hebrews 10:25

    King James Version (KJV)

    25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.



    ...to be a warning not to be slothful in Church (and I use "Church" in the sense of referring to the building we go to in these days, which is usually in view when people speak about going to Church) attendance, and it was suggested that the issue be taken up in a debate forum.

    So, I will just open up the verse for discussion, and say that I do not see this as it is usually preached, which is...warning that those who are born again believers who stop going to Church are in view.

    Rather, in view is a clear warning to those who are unbelievers that reject Christ and the New Covenant altogether.

    The context of Chapter Ten involves the distinction between remission of sins through Christ and remission of sins through Levitical Service. While we can certainly see an exhortation to Church attendance (this is a given), I think it is a disservice to the Chapter for that to be the point that is always made, and never once have I ever heard the actual context preached.

    Now one point to consider is that if Church attendance were a determiner of salvation (and no-one said that in the discussion), and not going to Church a determiner of lack (or unfortunately, as some teach, loss) of salvation, and this is what is in view, then what do we do with those who are, or become impaired either physically or mentally? This point, I think, brings up the fact that there are just some people who cannot go to Church. And their salvation is not an issue.

    So there it is. This is of course a controversial issue at first glance, but again, I will clarify that I am not saying we cannot see the principle of assembling together as the general principle. What is in view in this thread is to place the statement in the context of the chapter (and Book) and see if that is the only principle in view, as that seems to be the sum total most people hear when it is mentioned.


    God bless,
     
  2. JamesL

    JamesL
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    This isn't about "attendance" at all. It's an abuse of scripture to press this as applicable to some who don't partake in once-a-week spiritual grocery shopping.

    it's also an abuse of scripture to view them as unbelievers. That view ignores plain statements made toward believers, of the necessity of endurance and the possibility of failure. It also necessarily redefines faith as fake vs. real, genuine vs. spurious, etc.

    That view begins with the false notion that only good people have eternal life, then forces a designation of "spurious" upon those who aren't good enough to deserve to be saved. After all, they didn't endure. They failed, etc...

    Believers do fail, do defect from the faith, do reach the end of their lives in disobedience, etc.

    And yet they are still eternally secure
     
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  3. Darrell C

    Darrell C
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    I agree with this completely but...ouch! lol

    Spiritual grocery shopping? That's a new one on me, lol.


    On the contrary, in view are those who forsake the assembling of the brethren, and these are not only unbelievers, they have willfully rejected Christ, the New Covenant, and the ministry of the Comforter:


    Hebrews 10:25-29

    King James Version (KJV)

    25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

    26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

    27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

    28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

    29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?



    We can't impose salvation on those who have rejected Christ, the New Covenant, and the Holy Ghost.

    That is what is in view in this passage, and that is what the writer warns those who have assembled, for within their ranks are tares, who will return to the Law, forsaking Christ, and in fact "crucifying Him again unto themselves." They do that by offering up the sacrifices of the Law again, which pictured the death of Christ when the Covenant of Law was active.


    No-one is denying that these statements are made towards believers, but, the warning goes out to the unbelievers among them. The believers will not forsake the assembling of the brethren in the context the warning is given. Believers might stop going to Church for certain reasons, but, they have not rejected Christ, the New Covenant, nor the ministry of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, the Spirit of Grace.


    "Endurance" never has a salvific connotation unless that salvation is physical (i.e., saved from physical death or harm).

    That is not in view.

    And that is the point of the thread, James, because this verse is used, even by preachers that also teach the Security of the Believer...as a passage exhorting faithful Church attendance.

    And like I said, certainly we can make that application, but only after the context has been thoroughly explained in it's primary intent.


    Which cancels out part of your argument:

    I agree, I think that the abuse of this text is to promote a works-based mentality.


    Agreed.

    This is true. Many Christians do not realize that the death penalty for sin, on a physical level as it was in the Old Testament...is still in place.

    God may take the life of the sinning believer, but He does not take away the eternal life which was given them in the Reconciliation that takes place when a person is saved.

    Thanks for the response, James.


    God bless.
     
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  4. agedman

    agedman
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    The context is that in the midst of the problems the believers will face in the difficult times of their living, they are to do and not do. They are to do - hold fast. They are not to do - forsake assembling together.

    It is never a matter of determining salvation, it is a matter of finding solace in fellowship. "...encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near."

    Neglecting the fellowship of other believers is dangerous.

    There is one area that I find a problem in some teaching, and that is that the fellowship is to be focused upon the local assembly one joins.

    The "holy huddle" in isolation approach isn't the teaching. Rather, it is the social gathering of all believers in the area that support for each other may be gained. It is unfortunate that the church of the Apostles has become splintered into so many pieces over issues that are froth and petty. So, now there are those who take the statement of Hebrews and make it into something it is not.

    If the near neighbor is a believer, it is better than a far away brother!
     
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  5. Darrell C

    Darrell C
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    I would just suggest that even if one made Hebrews 10:25 exclusive to faithful Church attendance, it wouldn't be a matter that is impacted by denominationalism, but a matter of remaining in the only fellowship in view in this Chapter, which is fellowship with Christ.

    The fellowship in view is the fellowship we have in Christ through the New Covenant. We can see in Scripture that even then there was a separation between Jewish and Gentile believers. It was not a doctrinal matter, but one of heritage. The elders demanded Paul partake of a specifically Jewish ceremony:


    Acts 21:17-21

    King James Version (KJV)

    17 And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly.

    18 And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present.

    19 And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry.

    20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:

    21 And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.



    Now Hebrews is, for obvious reasons, lol, addressed to a Jewish audience. The primary point the Writer makes is that they, as a people, are to embrace Christ (and all that entails). We do not see in his teaching that Jews are to remain under the framework of their heritage as prescribed in the Law, that is not his point, and we can see that the practice of the Law is to be progressed from to that which is perfect, or, complete.

    Now let's bring that into a modern context: someone is saved through a charismatic fellowship, but after study of Scripture comes to the conclusion he cannot continue to embrace doctrines such as Subsequent Baptism with the Holy Ghost, Baptismal Regeneration, or Slaying in the Spirit. HE leaves that fellowship.

    Does this mean he has forsaken the assembling of the brethren?

    Then we have someone brought up Baptist, who when he gets to the ripe ole age of 13...thinks himself wiser than his bronze-age thinking parents and starts to rebel against the teachings of the Bible. When he gets of age when he decides what he will do, he leaves that fellowship and never returns.

    This is the forsaking of the assembling of the brethren in a modern context.

    But...that is still not what the Writer is teaching.

    What he is teaching is that they are not to reject Christ, the New Covenant, and the ministry of the Comforter. They are not to return to the sacrifices of the Law, as some of them, based on his teaching in an overview...were doing.

    There is no practical application in this day to the intent of the writer, because not one person was brought up under the Law. While some have a pseudo Judaism, they are not going to the Temple and they are not offering up sacrifice for the atonement of sin and for remission.

    That is the context of this verse.

    And like I said, the general principle still applies, but not to the extent the writer is teaching his Jewish brethren. Those that forsook the assembling of the brethren, because they had trodden Christ underfoot, counted the Covenant by which He was sanctified unholy, and done despite unto the Spirit of Grace, would, if they returned to the practice of sacrifice of Levitical Service...be turning away from the only Sacrifice that would relieve them of the punishment promised for those who rejected Moses Law as well.

    The only difference being...they would be held far more accountable, and their punishment would be more severe.

    To inappropriately confuse people that they could be guilty of this for not being faithful in Church attendance is tragic. To use it as a method of faithful attendance is also tragic. The depth of the writer's intent should be taught to help people, and perhaps, if that were done...people would be more enthusiastic about attendance, lol.


    God bless.
     
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  6. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    There are such long posts here I'm not going to deal with all of them. I'll just say a couple of things. Vv. 23-24 say, " Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering. And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works."

    This to me locks in the immediately following statement of v. 25 as to believers. The Bible simply does not talk that way to non-believers. Now, the word "not forsaking" is a present active participle in the Greek, meaning that it is a continuation of the sentence exhorting to love and good works in v. 24. Why in the world would Hebrews exhort lost people, dead in sins, to live a good life? That is not good theology. So the "not forsaking the assembling" is to people exhorted to love and do good works--believers. In Friberg, the word means "forsake, abandon, desert."

    Again, the word "assembling" in v. 25 is the Greek noun ἐπισυναγωγὴν . It means a literal, actual assembly. It is used in only one other place in the NT, 2 Thess. 2:1, which is manifestly about believers being gathered together at the 2nd coming of Christ. Friberg's lexicon gives this meaning: "strictly, in a passive sense; an action being gathered together; of a community of believers meeting together." Therefore, a believer should not forsake the normal meeting of other believers, which takes place on Sunday in church (an assembly). And "forsake" does not mean simply missing once or twice for good reasons.

    Case closed, in my mind.
     
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  7. heisrisen

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    Amen. I had a pastor that would manipulate and use this verse say I should never miss church. He only cared about how many people he could get to attend. He also didn't talk about hot button issues, so I had to leave.
     
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  8. Darrell C

    Darrell C
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    Not really that long, but thanks for the response. I will break up my own response so that if there is anything within them you would like to respond to it will be a little shorter and easier.


    Unquestionably the Writer is speaking a literal fellowship.

    The assumption is that the warning could actually apply to believers.

    Look at the consequences of unbelief in Chapter Four:


    Hebrews 4

    King James Version (KJV)

    1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.

    2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

    3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.


    And when we place Hebrews 10:23-29 back into it's context, the similarity of the Writer's warning, and who it is meant for, becomes clear:


    Hebrews 10:23-29

    King James Version (KJV)

    23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised)

    24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

    25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

    26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

    27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

    28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

    29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?



    See the link and tell me if you think we can separate the context.

    Would you agree that unbelievers are in view in vv.26-29?

    And who is he still speaking to?

    As mentioned in the OP, the warning is not to trod Christ underfoot, count the Blood of the Covenant (Christ's) unholy, and do despite unto the Spirit of Grace.

    Can believers do that? If they did that, would we not say they were never saved?


    Continued...
     
    #8 Darrell C, Oct 12, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2015
  9. Darrell C

    Darrell C
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    Consider:

    Hebrews 2

    King James Version (KJV)

    1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.

    2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;

    3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;


    How would you define letting slip the things "we have heard?" Or "neglecting so great a salvation?"

    And we see again a contrast between the First Covenant and the New Covenant.


    Did not Christ exhort lost people to live a "good life?"

    Would we assume that everyone that was taught by Christ were saved?

    His warnings are similar:

    Matthew 13:24-26

    King James Version (KJV)

    24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

    25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

    26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.



    Now I ask you, John...could we suspect that there were tares in the Assembling of the brethren in that day?

    When you preach, do you not preach to the potential lost soul that sits within the sound of your voice?


    Continued...
     
  10. Darrell C

    Darrell C
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    That there were tares to which this warning was meant?

    The Writer distinguishes between those capable of committing the willful sin of vv.26-29 and those who had embraced Christ, the New Covenant, the Holy Ghost, and were not in danger of committing those sins and returning to the Law:


    Hebrews 10:39

    King James Version (KJV)

    39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.




    As mentioned in the OP, we can make that application because it is relevant to the believer, however, would you also see that the believers were capable of rejecting Christ?

    The Two Covenants are contrasted:


    Hebrews 10:26-29

    King James Version (KJV)

    26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

    27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

    28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

    29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?



    Now keep in mind that the point in v.26 is that there is no more offering for sin.

    The same thing is said here...


    Hebrews 10:16-18

    King James Version (KJV)

    16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;

    17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

    18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.



    ...but the context is completely different.

    Spoken to the Assembly, the point here is that the Sacrifice of Christ is a one-time offering never to be repeated, which is the entire point of the first half of this chapter.

    See the difference?

    Continued...
     
  11. Darrell C

    Darrell C
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    That is what is in view.

    Do believers do that?


    Agreed.


    We would differ in that as well, as I see it as a reference to the Rapture, and the "Day of Christ" a reference to the Second Coming.

    ;)

    But agreed, there is no question that believers are assembled, but, the question revolves around the context and whether it has faithful attendance in view...or apostasy.


    Precisely.

    I understand.

    But thanks for your participation, John.


    God bless.
     
  12. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    There is no warning in 10:25, just a command. You have to deal with the immediate context before you deal with the wider context. That is just basic hermeneutics. The warning in v. 26 is not based on the assembling, but on the idea of exhorting one another. About what? Make sure you don't apostasize, not make sure you don't stop assembling.


    23-15? ;)

    So you think v. 25 is not to believers? Help me out here. I'm not making exegetical sense of your position. If v. 25 is to believers, then what in the world is the literal assembly being discussed if not the ekklesia?


    In vv. 26-26 what we have in view are false believers who apostasize. This does not mean that those in v. 25 are all unbelievers, but just the opposite. Believers in v. 25 are told not to stop assembling (with the ekklesia in view), because then they would no longer receive the mutual encouragement that prevents apostasy.
     
  13. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Yes, a true believer may forsake the assembly of the church. Happens all the time, as any pastor knows. You then have to emphasize to the backslider the importance of attendance.
    Actually, I agree. I was using "2nd Coming" as a general term. I have it in two parts--the rapture and the 2nd coming in glory.

    Why could it not be both--faithful attendance of believers and fake believers who may apostasize?
     
  14. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    This is irrelevant. This passage is not telling lost people to live good lives.



    No, he did not. He exhorted disciples to live a good life. Living a good life without eternal salvation is irrelevant to God's plan, because even the "good" works of a lost person are as filthy rags in God's sight (Is. 64:6). Thus, a lost person can only do outwardly good works, while his motives are impure making those outwardly good works to actually be sinful.

    Relevance?

    Here you appear to be equating my preaching in a church I pastor to Heb. 10:25. You can't have it both ways. If the assembly is one of believers (church in 10:25), then of course there may be tares. So? That does not make the assembly itself apostate.
     
  15. Darrell C

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    There is no warning in this...


    Hebrews 3

    King James Version (KJV)

    1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

    2 Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.

    3 For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.

    4 For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.

    5 And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after;

    6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.



    ...until we get to here...


    8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:

    9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.

    10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.

    11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)

    12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.



    ...right?

    And we see an exhortation to, well...exhort, lol:


    13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.



    Not any different than the mixing of exhortation and warning in Chapter Ten.


    Continued...
     
  16. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    They are not parallel passages. (Hebrews is not internally synoptic.) So your point is?
     
  17. Darrell C

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    That is precisely the point I hoped to make in this thread: that the wider context is ignored and this verse inappropriately applied to mean faithful Church attendance. As I have said, certainly that application can be made, but then comes the error of tying believers who are not faithful in their church attendance to those who trod underfoot the Son of God, count the Blood wherewith He was sanctified an unholy thing, and do despite unto the Spirit of Grace, and...draw back unto perdition.

    The forsaking of the assembling of the brethren is what one who does not apostatize does, whereas those who do are directly defined in verses 26-29.


    I agree, and there is nothing complicated in verse 25. It is placing it in the wider context of the chapter and Book that is in view.


    I don't see that. The warning is directed at those who do forsake the assembling of the brethren. The forsaking is associated with the apostasy.

    Again, the believers in the audience are not those who draw back unto perdition, but those that believe to the saving of the soul.

    Now think about it, John...would those who draw back unto perdition forsake the assembling of the brethren? Does the Writer not establish two groups in view?

    Consider again, that he is writing to those associated with the Church, yet here...


    Hebrews 3:8-13

    King James Version (KJV)


    8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:

    9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.

    10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.

    11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)

    12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

    13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.


    No different than the warning in Chapter Ten. Written to those professing Christ, but the Writer, just like any preacher worth his salt...understands there are those among us that are deceived in their profession. Here the exhortation is...make sure you calling, continue to believe, do not harden your hearts.


    Continued...
     
  18. Darrell C

    Darrell C
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    It is the same message to the same people. Chapter Ten deals with the Hebrew people in specific regards to Atonement and remission of sins.

    Never said it was parallel, the point is that it is a warning to one audience which has more than just believers in it. It has those who are saved who will not apostatize, and those who will return to the sacrificial offerings of the Law.


    God bless.
     
  19. Darrell C

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    Exactly. That is who the warning goes to. The exhortation is identical in Chapter Three where this group has two choices, believe, or harden their hearts. In Ch.10, it is also an exhortation to continue in the faith.


    I never said they were all unbelievers, but there were unbelievers among true believers.

    And the only way to say "the opposite" is to say that born again believers can trod underfoot the Son of God, count the Blood wherewith He was sanctified unholy, do despite unto the Spirit of Grace, and draw back to perdition?

    Is that what you are saying, John?

    So one must go to church in order to keep from apostasy?


    God bless.
     
  20. Darrell C

    Darrell C
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    Really don't care for this expand feature.
     

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