What the Bible Really Says About LGBTQ+

This article is adapted from the video presentation, What the Bible Really Says About LGBTQ+ by Pastor Mark Finley.

In our quest for truth today, we challenge a societal norm.
Does the message of the Bible align with the current rise and acceptance
of the LGBTQ+ community, or does it contradict it? Join me as we open the word of God and study the scriptures.

In Ecclesiastes 3:7, we read there is a time to keep silent and a time to speak, and that verse has been echoing in my head. Why have I chosen to speak about this subject now?

First, I’m concerned—concerned about the direction our society is going, and how that direction impacts the church I love. I’m concerned about the next generation, and how young adults are imbibing a message that does not align with Scripture. I’m concerned about children whose minds are being saturated with information regarding the LGBTQ+ community. And so it is out of that concern, care, and love, that I speak today.

Now, there are certain things that have led me to the conclusion that it’s time to speak. Here are some examples:  

On June 24, 2023, the New York Post reported that at the recent New York Drag Queen March, activists chanted, “We’re here, we’re queer, we’re coming for your children.”1 It’s shocking, but not surprising. In recent years, such blunt, outrageous rhetoric has become commonplace. Two years ago, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus released a video in which 81 of its members sing a song with the refrain: “We’ll convert your children. Happens bit by bit, quietly and subtly, you’ll barely notice it.”

Have you followed the debates taking place in public schools today, where young children between four and eight years old are exposed to books on LGBTQ+ and sexual fantasies at a very young age? These children’s books are intentionally placed in schools to indoctrinate our children in a non-biblical agenda.

Jared Eckert, a researcher at the Heritage Foundation, points out children are being increasingly targeted with sexual content under the guise of comprehensive sex education or inclusivity. Beyond being inappropriate for children, Eckert cites research showing early childhood exposure to sexual content is linked to poor mental health, risky sexual behavior, and pornography addiction in adulthood.2

Overhauling America

Marshall Kirk and Erastes Pill, LGBTQ+ advocates, published “The Overhauling of Straight America,” outlining a master strategy for changing attitudes toward the LGBTQ+ lifestyle. Their plan is to influence public conversation by talking about this alternative lifestyle everywhere, with particular focus on media to change the mindset of individuals.

They go on to say, “So far, gay Hollywood has provided our best covert weapon in the battle to desensitize the mainstream. Bit by bit over the past ten years, gay characters and gay themes have been introduced into TV programs and films. On the whole, the impact has been encouraging.”3

When I looked at how the promoters of this lifestyle were attempting in every way to influence media to have their voice heard, I felt that a voice from the Word of God should speak. I felt we should allow God’s word to influence our thinking.

The Bible and Sexuality

“What does the Bible teach about sexuality? What does it teach about same-sex marriages? Are some people born with same-sex propensities? Are some people physically boys but psychologically girls? Is change possible? What is the Christian response?

First, let me tell you what the Christian response is not. As Christians, we condemn all violence against any human being. Not only is it inappropriate, but it’s a violation of God’s moral law. Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”4 Christ died on behalf of all humanity. Everyone has a fallen human nature and propensities toward evil. As Christians, we cannot have any superiority over another person and look at them with hate because of their actions. Jeremiah 17:9, tells us that everyone has a heart that is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, and Romans 3:23 states “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” But Christ, in His divine love, grace, and mercy, left the glories of heaven and lived in human flesh, facing every temptation we would ever face and was victorious over the evil one. So, there is no place for hate. If Jesus loved His enemies, we can reach out in love to all humanity, including those who may not live the lifestyle we as Christians believe is in harmony with God’s word. We all need God’s grace.

As Christians, we’re saved by grace. We rest in His love, and in the Christian ethic, we respect others’ freedom of choice, even if we do not agree with their lifestyle. So as Christians, while we cannot affirm a lifestyle that’s not in harmony with Scripture, we can accept the fact that people are free to make their own choices. They are free to live the life they choose to live, and that does not mean we condone their lifestyle. It’s important in this discussion to separate our compassion for others from their behavior or actions that are not in harmony with the will of God.

To Transform Culture

The purpose of the Church is to transform culture, not to be transformed by culture. The purpose of the Church is to change the culture, not to be changed by the culture.

The Bible is very clear on the transforming power of the grace of God through believers to transform culture. We find this in Romans 12:2“do not be conformed to this world.” I like the way the Phillip’s translation puts it: “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould,” but be transformed. How? “By the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Paul invites us to go out and change the culture; to be lights in this world of darkness. In in Philippians 2:15 he writes, “that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ.” If we walk in the light as Jesus is in the light, we walk in the truth of His Word. Remember Psalm 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

It’s the word of God that enables us to distinguish between truth and the lies of Satan. Love tells the truth. We can’t say we love another individual and lie to them.

According to John 8:44, Satan is the father of lies, and no lie is of the truth. “Love rejoices in the truth,” 1 Corinthians 13:6. So, the most loving thing we can do is share the truth of God’s Word, which presents in all of its beauty human sexuality and warns us clearly against deviation from God’s original plan.

The Biblical Basis of Marriage

So, let’s pursue what Scripture says about human sexuality. In Genesis 1, we find the basis of understanding all human sexuality. In verse 26 we read: “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. . .” And verse 27 is key: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Continuing in verse 28: “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

God created male and female in His image (vs. 26).

It is male and female together in the one flesh experience that reveals the magnificence of God’s image, the breadth of His image, the depth of His image, and it reveals His magnificent love.

1 John 1:8 says, “God is love.” That love is most fully manifest when a male and a female created in the image of God enter into the one flesh experience, giving themselves to one another in self-sacrificial love, as Christ did for us. So, the first reason God created male and female, two distinct, separate sexes, is to reveal the image of God in the perfection of the love they have for each other. The second reason is, He says in verse 28, is to “be fruitful and multiply”—to propagate the human race. Male to male and female to female sexual relationships are unnatural, and they are a violation of the divine order God gave in the book of Genesis.

In Matthew 19:4-6, Jesus affirms marriage is between one man and one woman: “And He answered and said to them, ‘Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” So again, we find Jesus affirming the creation story of male and female human relationships united in marriage. This is something God has done in His divine sovereignty.

Something Entirely Different

Now, the promoters of same-sex marriage propose something entirely different.

They propose union between two men or two women. This denies the clear biological, physiological, and psychological differences between men and women. It denies the reality of husband and wife coming together and from that sacred union of self-sacrificial love, producing children. Genetically, men and women are different.

Throughout the Bible, human deviation from God’s plan is pointed out, and contrasting with this is, true faithfulness between a husband and wife is highlighted. And these two concepts are in collision. For example, in Genesis 19 we find the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Homosexuality played a part in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Now, I recognize there are some who say Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because they were inhospitable. That’s partially true. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because there was rape and incest, and that is also partially true. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, some say, because of injustice. That’s true. But they were also destroyed because of homosexuality. You can’t leave that out, picking and choosing the reasons. Was Sodom and Gomorrah inhospitable? Yes. Were they filled with secular, godlessness, and materialism? Certainly. Incest and rape? Definitely. But you cannot leave out the idea that they were destroyed because of a deviation from God’s plan.

Martin Luther on Sex

I like what Martin Luther says. Commenting on Genesis 19 he said, “The vice of the Sodomites is an unparalleled enormity. It departs from the natural passion and desire, planted into nature by God, according to which the male has a passionate desire for the female. Sodomy,” or it could be said, homosexuality, “craves what is entirely contrary to nature.”5

When Luther addresses the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, he speaks about homosexuality. Male with male, burning with passion, one for the other. In the context of Genesis 19 and throughout the Bible, we have clarity that God created male and female to be in a loving relationship.

Life Principles

Scripture is clear. There are many people who look to society, to culture, to shape their values, yet the Scripture is clear in shaping our values. In the book of Leviticus, God outlines life principles for His people.

You find in Leviticus 18 what some people call “the purity code.” Now, this purity code also deals with moral and ethical standards, not simply the ceremonial law. It speaks of adultery, idolatry, and sexual depravity.

Leviticus 18:20“Moreover you shall not lie carnally with your neighbor’s wife, to defile yourself with her.” This is the seventh commandment on adultery. I don’t think anyone will argue that it’s a ceremonial law. Verse 21: “You shall not let any of your descendants pass through the fire to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God.” What commandment is that? First, second, and third. Then in verse 22,  “You shall not lie with male as with a woman. It is an abomination.” Now, was this simply a purity code? We have already seen the commandments mentioned in these verses. So, it couldn’t possibly be simply a purity or holiness code. It includes that, but you have moral and ethical standards there as well.

In a release titled, Homosexuality, Scripture, and the Church, Dr. Ekkehardt Mueller, a former associate director of the Biblical Research Institute, addresses these Bible verses. Regarding this passage in Leviticus, he writes, “It’s true that in the immediate or larger context we find terms referring to purity, holiness, and idolatry. Still, the question must be asked whether or not these references limit the warning against homosexuality to specific situations only. This restriction is clearly not the case. First, these two texts describe and condemn male homosexual activity. No exceptions are mentioned. Obviously they’re opposed to any homosexual activity. However, it’s very likely that they included lesbianism.”6

So, here you have a reputed scholar from the Biblical Research Institute explaining that this prohibition of male with male in Leviticus 18 is far more than simply a holiness code for ancient people in the ceremonial law; it has to do with the moral Ten Commandment law. The holiness code, indeed, is not simply something for ancient people. Its bedrock principles help us define the truth about human sexuality.

Born Gay?

What about the idea that some people believe they were born with a gay gene? Many say, “This is the way God created us. We are just made this way and we have genetic predispositions toward this. Some people are heterosexual, others are homosexual, some are transgender. It’s how we were made.”

There’s a fascinating article published in the well-respected journal, Nature, titled “No ‘gay gene.'” Published in 2019, the article reports on a study carried out by researchers at Harvard and MIT. After studying the genomes of nearly half a million people, the researchers concluded there is no such thing as a single “gay gene.”7

There have also been some fascinating studies on identical twins. With identical twins, you would expect them to have the same genetic disposition. But yet, how is it that some identical twins, a very small percentage, may lean toward LGBTQ+ tendencies and others do not? If they’re genetically the same, you’d expect that they both would. But that’s not what the research indicates.8

But let’s assume some people are born with tendencies for male to male or female to female sexual relationships. Does that necessarily make these tendencies God’s will? Let’s suppose a man is born with strong sexual desires for women, and let’s suppose he has a really difficult time controlling those sexual desires. Does that mean his tendencies are God’s will? What about a person born with a propensity toward alcoholism or drugs because of some genetic predisposition? Is that in harmony with God’s will?

David said, “in sin my mother conceived me” (Ps. 51:5). All of us have brokenness in our lives. All of us have fallen human natures and propensities toward evil. Some propensities in some people occur for a lot of unknown reasons, and we do not understand all of the reasons for LGBTQ+ tendencies—they are complex. There may be some genetic reasons, social reasons, environmental reasons. It’s a very complicated, complex situation. And again, I want to emphasize we reach out in love to all human beings. And while we accept all human beings, as Christians, based on the word of God, we cannot accept their behavior.

There Is Hope

But there is incredibly good news for every propensity that any human being may have! Second Corinthians 5:17—”Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

If we’re in Christ, we are new creations. This is the same Jesus who spoke and worlds came into existence, who spoke and earth was carpeted with living green and flowers blossomed, who spoke and created sun, moon, and stars. Jesus’ power can make us new. “Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” (Romans 5:20).

There is hope. There’s hope for the young person who has sexual desires and has expressed them outside of marriage, for the man who has committed adultery and has had passions he can’t control. There is hope for individuals who have LGBTQ+ relationships. And that hope is in the power and grace of Jesus Christ. Christ’s grace forgives us when we fall, and His grace enters into our life and changes us. It makes us new creations in Jesus.

The Apostle Paul talks about the incredible power of God’s divine grace in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.  First giving a warning, he then articulates incredible hope.

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators,” those who have sexual relationships outside the sacred bond of marriage, “idolaters, nor  adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you.”

“Such were some of you.” He speaks to the church at Corinth, a church that lived in a godless, immoral society. “But you were washed.” What does that mean? You walked through the water of baptism. You were cleansed by the grace of Christ. You confessed. You repented. God changed you. “You were sanctified.” It means you’re made holy, set apart for God. “You were sanctified. . .you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (vs. 11)

Here is the incredibly good news—whatever tendencies we have inherited or cultivated because of the brokenness of our lives, whoever we are, straight or gay, the grace of Christ can transform us.

Ellen White makes a marvelous statement in the book Ministry of Healing on this very point. “Those who put their trust in Christ are not to be enslaved by any hereditary or cultivated habit or tendency. Instead of being held in bondage to the lower nature, they are to rule every appetite and passion. God has not left us to battle with evil in our own finite strength. Whatever may be our inherited or cultivated tendencies to wrong, we can overcome through the power that He is ready to impart.”9

What hope!

There is no passion, inherited or cultivated, that Jesus Christ cannot give us strength to overcome.

“Christ has given His Spirit as a divine power to overcome all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil, and to impress His own character upon His church.”10 Here’s another statement. “The converting power of God can transform inherited and cultivated tendencies; for the religion of Jesus is uplifting.”11

Paul and Sexuality

The Bible is clear that LGBTQ+ tendencies are not in harmony with God’s will. When Paul goes through the book of Romans, he lists the lostness of humanity early on in Romans. In Romans 1, Paul talks about the fact the Gentiles are lost, and in Romans 2, he talks about the fact the Jews are lost. In Romans 3:23 we read, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” but there is salvation in Christ, justification by faith, as explained in Romans 4-6. In Romans 7, Paul goes through a great struggle, but in Romans 8, he finds there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus, and sin no longer controls him. It no longer controls us because we are not dominated by it any longer. We are free in Jesus in the context of the plan of salvation.

In Romans chapter one, the apostle Paul addresses this whole concept of human sexuality. This is in the context of the book of Romans that is exalting the cross of Christ, justification by faith, and the power of the Gospel to transform life, and Paul must set out to show the supremacy of Christ. He must set out the lostness of humanity. So, in chapter one, he deals with the lostness, vileness, and wickedness of the Gentile world. In Romans 2, he points out that the Jews, although they have the oracles of God, although they have the prophets of God, they’ve disobeyed them. He points out all humanity is lost. He must do that in the early chapters to come to the need for our salvation and justification by faith.

So, in Romans chapter one, Paul is cataloging the sins of the Gentile world. He writes: “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due” (vss. 26-27).

Notice Paul talks about men leaving the natural use of women. Where does he get the expression, “the natural use of women?” Referring back to verse 25 and earlier in the chapter, he’s talking about creation. So, “natural use” in the order of creation is a male and a female becoming married. But, he says, they change the natural use of nature, indicating that homosexuality is unnatural. Then, in verse 25, we read: “who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.” So, at creation God creates by a divine sovereign act, male and female.

Scholars Comment

In the Andrews Study Bible, in the comments made by scholars specializing in the Old and New Testament, we read the following on Romans 1:26-27

“These verses condemn homosexual activities. Unnatural sexuality, however, goes beyond homosexual behaviors. The New Testament sanctions only the monogamous relationship between male and female. It condemns all other forms of sexual activity, whether homosexual or heterosexual, as sinful.”12

In addition, the new Andrews Bible Commentary states the following in regard to Romans 1

Same-gender sexual conduct became Paul’s prime evidence of Gentile sinfulness (vv. 24-27). Unlike many in the Greek and Roman world who condoned and even praised same-gender sexual conduct, Jews with one voice considered such conduct to be against the natural order in God’s will. Any suggestion that Paul, if writing today, would have tempered his words when confronted with a loving, monogamous, and faithful same-sex couple or with evidence of homosexual orientation as a genetic predisposition is groundless. The Levitical laws against same-gender sexual conduct, with one male taking the role of the female confirmed his position (Lev. 18:22; 20:13: cf. Deut. 23:18; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; 1 Tim. 1:8-11; Jude 5-8). Paul’s indictment in Romans 1 includes women engaged in unnatural same-gender sexual conduct, which was well known among the Greeks. The focus of Paul’s condemnation is on same-gender sexual conduct itself. Such conduct is the result of our sinful nature, which is always subject to temptation, whether momentary or chronic, and is always remedied by reliance on faith in Christ to resist and overcome sin.”13

The biblical position on marriage and same-sex relationships is clear. God has created males and females to experience intimacy in a monogamous relationship within the sacred confines of marriage. Any sexual intimacy outside of marriage is a violation of the law of God. Homosexual relations are unnatural, sinful, and out of harmony with the law of creation and the moral law of God.

Strong Biblical Advocates

The Seventh-day Adventist Church has long been a strong advocate for positive, loving relationships within the context of marriage. Throughout its history, the Church has been clear that sexual relationships outside of marriage as defined by the Bible, are a violation of God’s will.

Recently, the Seventh-day Adventist Church published a reaffirmation statement, leaving no doubt as to where the Church stands on this issue:

“We reaffirm, without hesitation, our long-standing position as expressed in the Church’s Fundamental Beliefs: ‘Marriage was divinely established in Eden and affirmed by Jesus to be a lifelong union between a man and a woman in loving companionship. God instituted “marriage, a covenant-based union of two genders [male and female] physically, emotionally, and spiritually, spoken of in Scripture as ‘one flesh.’ The monogamous union in marriage of a man and woman is the only morally appropriate focus of genital or related intimate sexual expression. Any lowering of this high view is to that extent a lowering of the heavenly ideal.”14

The statement describes how homosexuality is a manifestation of the disturbance and brokenness of human nature: “Homosexuality is a manifestation of the disturbance and brokenness in human inclinations and relations caused by the entrance of sin into the world. While everyone is subject to fallen human nature, we also believe that by God’s grace and through the encouragement of the community of faith, an individual may live in harmony with the principles of God’s Word.”15

Then this important aspect of the statement:

“We hold that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, are loved by God. We do not condone singling out any group for scorn or derision, let alone abuse. Still, God’s word transcends time and culture and does not permit a homosexual lifestyle.

The Bible’s opposition to same- sex unions/marriage is anchored in God’s plan at creation for marriage in divine legislation and in Jesus’ explicit confirmation of a permanent, monogamous, and heterosexual relationship by God.”16

The Seventh-day Adventist Church has been very clear on this. We should, though, make a distinction between LGBTQ+ orientation and action. Each one of us, because of the brokenness of sin, have certain passions, desires, orientations, but by the grace of God we can choose not to act upon them.


What are some things we can take away from the biblical principles regarding human sexuality? I think there are at least five things:

1. God has created all human beings in His image. Through the fall and brokenness of sin we all have tendencies, propensities toward evil.

2. God calls us to love, not hate. The Christian ethic calls us to be compassionate and respectful of one another.

3. To love another doesn’t mean we approve a lifestyle out of harmony with God’s will.

4. The LGBTQ+ lifestyle is not in harmony with the Bible and according to Scripture deviates from God’s will and is sin.

5. Through the grace of God, all of us can experience new life in Christ through His transforming grace.

The most loving thing we can do is to share the amazing grace of Christ that forgives our past, transforms our present, and gives us hope for the future.

Jesus invites us to reach out as brothers and sisters in Christ, sharing the truth of God’s Word in kindness and compassion, recognizing that if any man or woman is in Christ, they are new creatures. Recognizing that the grace of God, the power of God, is greater than any sin. There is no sin that God’s grace cannot deliver us from by His grace and through His power. Let us embrace and love one another enough to share the truth of God’s Word, to pray together, to share the divine truths of Scripture together, and to watch the new creation take place in every single one of our lives.

By Pastor Mark Finley, a well-known evangelist, author, and retired General Conference vice-president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

  1. 1. Patrick Reilly, “Drag marchers spark outrage with ‘we’re coming for your children’ chant at NYC Pride event,” New York Post, June 24, 2023, https://nypost.com/2023/06/24/drag-marchers-spark-outrage-with-chant-at-nyc-pride-event-were-here-were-queer-and-were-coming-for-your-children/. ↩︎
  2. 2. Jared Eckert, quoted in Virginia Allen, “Are These 7 LGBT ‘Kids’ Books in Your Child’s Classroom or School Library?” The Daily Signal, August 09, 2021, https://www.dailysignal.com/2021/08/09/are-these-7-lgbt-kids-books-in-your-childs-classroom-or-school-library/. ↩︎
  3. 3. Marshall Kirk and Erastes Pill, “The Overhauling of Straight America,” Guide Magazine (Denver, CO), November 1987. https://bit.ly/OverhaulingStraightAmerica ↩︎
  4. 4. Unless indicated otherwise, all texts are from the New King James Version. ↩︎
  5. 5. Ewald Martin Plass, What Luther Says: An Anthology, Volume 1 (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959), p. 134. ↩︎
  6. 6. Ekkehardt Mueller, Homosexuality, Scripture, and the Church, Biblical Research Institute, Release 6 (Silver Spring: General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 2010), p. 14. adventistbiblicalresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/BRI-Release-6-2.pdf. ↩︎
  7. 7. Jonathan Lambert, “No ‘gay gene’: study looks at genetic basis of sexuality,” Nature, vol. 573 (5 September 2019): pp. 14-15, cited in Bennett Mcintosh, “There’s (Still) No Gay Gene,” Harvard Magazine, 29 August 2019, harvardmagazine.com/2019/08/there-s-still-no-gay-gene. ↩︎
  8. 8. Michael Balter, “Gay Is Not All in the Genes,” Science, 30 June 2008, science.org/content/article/gay-not-all-genes. ↩︎
  9. 9. Ellen G. White, Ministry of Healing (Mountain View: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1905), p. 175. ↩︎
  10. 10. Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages (Nampa: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1898), p. 671. ↩︎
  11. 11. Ellen G. White, The Adventist Home (Nampa: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1952), p. 206. ↩︎
  12. 12. Andrews Study Bible (Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press, 2010), p. 1469. ↩︎
  13. 13. Andrews Bible Commentary (Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press, 2022), pp. 1565, 1566. ↩︎
  14. 14. “Same-sex Unions,” Official document, Seventh-day Adventist Church, voted by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Executive Committee, October 17, 2012, adventist.org/documents/same-sex-unions/. ↩︎
  15. 15. Ibid. ↩︎
  16. 16. Ibid. ↩︎

Images: Freepik, AI-generated

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