New Jerusalem: No Blemishes, No Spots (2)

God chose us in eternity past to “be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 1:4) and in eternity future New Jerusalem, the holy city, will be holy and without blemish.

The prior post presents the Lord’s work to make us without blemish. In addition to the verses there, Colossians 1:22 says, “He now has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and without blemish and without reproach before Him.” His death, for our reconciliation, has the goal of New Jerusalem holy and without blemish.

New JerusalemDespite what He has accomplished, we should not wait passively. Philippians 2 exhorts us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (v. 12). We work by cooperating with God who operates within us (v. 13).

By this cooperation, we will be without murmurings and reasonings (v. 14), “that you may be blameless and guileless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine as luminaries in the world” (v. 15). In this shining we present the word of life to worldly people (v. 16).

Our cooperation with God’s operation in us causes us to be without fallen humanity’s blemishes and with divine shining as channels for the word of life, that God’s salvation might reach people in this crooked generation.

Peter, based on our expectation of the new creation with New Jerusalem, exhorts us “be diligent to be found by Him in peace without spot and without blemish” (2 Peter 3:14).

In Revelation 14:1-5 we see overcomers, firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. Part of their description is that they “are without blemish.” Surely these overcomers lived according to the exhortations in Philippians 2 and 2 Peter 3. Not only are they without negative blemishes, they are also singing a heavenly song of praise, a foretaste of New Jerusalem.

Photo by Nick Pitsas, courtesy of CSIRO Australia.

Living Water Flowing Out unto Eternity!

John 7:38 records the Lord Jesus telling us, “He who believes into Me, as the Scripture said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.” John explains in verse 39a, “But this He said concerning the Spirit, whom those who believed into Him were about to receive.” This promise is fulfilled now in our Christian life; since the resurrection of Jesus Christ, everyone who believes receives the Spirit who flows as living water.

In Revelation 22:1 the apostle John tells us “he [an angel] showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its [New Jerusalem’s] street.” This is the eternal fulfillment of John 7:38-39.

This post is the overflow of a recent morning’s singing of praise to the Triune God as the flowing eternal life. Verses 1 and 6 (below) speak of this flow unto and thru all eternity. This immediately reminded me of New Jerusalem and Revelation 22:1. Verse 7 (also below) speaks of our singing and ever praising the Triune God. This praising, like the flowing, is characteristic of New Jerusalem.

Hymn information: author Witness Lee, composer C. Hutcheson, words and music

New Jerusalem__O God, Thou art the source of life,
____Divine, and rich and free!
__As living water flowing out
____Unto eternity!

__The love of God, the grace of Christ,
____The Spirit’s flowing free,
__Enable us God’s wealth to share
____Thru all eternity.

__The Father, Son, and Spirit-one,
____So richly care for us;
__Thy love with one accord we sing
____And e’er would praise Thee thus.

The love of God, the grace of Christ, and the Spirit’s flowing free are with us to be appreciated by us both today (2 Cor. 13:14) and in New Jerusalem.

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The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation 14 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

Revelation 19:10 tells that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit (the essence, the focus, the heart) of the prophecy (the book of Revelation). Throughout Revelation Jesus Christ is carrying out God’s economy to bring all God’s people to New Jerusalem and all that is of the devil to the lake of fire.

Skipping over the two beasts in chapter 13, we look at Jesus Christ in chapter 14. It begins with a praise before the throne. There are many praises in Revelation—here and chapters 5, 12, 19—and surely there will be more praises in New Jerusalem. Perhaps we could say that praising our Lord keeps us on our journey to New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemVerse 14:5 tells us that no lie is in those who sing. The devil is the source of lies (John 8:44) and Jesus is the truth, the reality (John 14:6). The singers are one with the Lord and have nothing to do with the devil.

Verse 14:5 also tells us that “they are without blemish.” This is His doing (with our cooperation), washing us with His living word that we may be without blemish (Eph. 5:26-27).

In 14:9-12 there is a warning not to worship the beast. The Lamb is worthy and we worship Him. We praise Him with our words and our singing.

In 14:14 on a cloud is “One like the Son of Man sitting, having a golden crown on His head.” The crown is another affirmation in Revelation that Jesus Christ is the Ruler over all (1:5, 19:16). He now reaps the ripe harvest of the believers, the culmination of His sowing in Matthew 13. This ripeness is a matter of maturity, a maturity which is needed for New Jerusalem.

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Christ as the Riches in Christian Life

God’s unsearchable riches will be displayed through New Jerusalem. These riches are not only for New Jerusalem; they are for us to experience in our Christian life now.

New JerusalemGod’s rich mercy and kindness brought salvation to us. And the Holy Spirit has been “poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5-6). By this Spirit in us we have a daily renewing.

As the Spirit imparts the riches of Christ into us, our hearts are “being knit together in love and unto all the riches of the full assurance of understanding, unto the full knowledge of the mystery of God, Christ” (Col. 2:2). Like prior verses, here we see that there is no separating the riches from the Person of Christ.

We can also “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom” (Col. 3:16). This dwelling helps, and is helped by, “singing with grace in your hearts to God.” Even in New Jerusalem, Christ, the living Word, will be dwelling in us. I believe that in New Jerusalem we will still be singing with grace to God. Besides singing now, it is also good to pray and praise with the word.

Furthermore, we can call on the name of the Lord. Whether almost silently or very loudly, we can call O Lord Jesus. “There is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all and rich to all who call upon Him” (Rom. 10:12).

All these Christian practices keep us holding our Head, Christ, and growing up into Him. This bring us to the building up of the Body of Christ by the rich supply out from Him (Eph. 4:15-16, Col. 2:19). This present, living building up is for New Jerusalem, God’s eternal building.

Bible verses quoted in these posts are from The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, published and © by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim CA, 2003. The New Testament of this Bible, with outlines, footnotes, and cross-references, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry. Besides this New Testament, many books published by Living Stream may be read online.

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Christ, God’s House, God’s City, the Earth

God intends that Christ have the preeminence in all things (Col. 1:18) and that Christ be all in all the believers (Col. 3:10-11). Our experience of Christ brings us into the reality of God’s house, which is the church today (1 Tim. 3:15) and New Jerusalem in eternity. The enlargement of God’s house is God’s city. Through the house and city God in Christ will reign over and bless the whole earth.

Here is a song about Christ, house, city, earth (music). This song captures the high points of messages on Christ and the Church Revealed and Typified in the Psalms (book)*.

www.hymnal.net:en:hymn:h:1224

Here is the summary of posts about New Jerusalem typified in Psalms, with a link to each.

Psalms with a shadow of New Jerusalem—an overview.

Psalms 2-22: New Jerusalem is a city in Christ’s resurrection.
Psalms 22-27: redeemed by Christ’s death and regenerated for New Jerusalem.
Psalms 29-46: shadows of New Jerusalem’s river of life.

Psalms 36-50: God’s lovingkindness and light, our singing and praising.
Psalms 66, 68: we rejoice in Christ’s victory.
Psalms 73, 84: we dwell in God’s house today; He will bring us to New Jerusalem’s glory.

Psalms 87-98: we dwell in Christ now and in eternity.
Psalms 100-107: we, in New Jerusalem, and the nations around the city, will praise.
Psalms 110-118: we go through gates of righteousness to praise God in His house.

Hebrews 2, quoting Psalm 8: today we do not see all that God has done but we see Jesus.
Psalm 118 (2): Christ is the Cornerstone; God’s building, now and eternally, is in Christ.
Psalm 118 (3): we rejoice, bless the Lord, are built together, & await His second coming.

Psalm 122, 132: we go with rejoicing to God’s house and city to enjoy Christ together.
Psalms 133-136: we are one in Christ Jesus and in His life, now and in New Jerusalem.
Psalms 135-147: O Jehovah, Yours is an eternal kingdom, manifested in New Jerusalem.

Psalms 138-145: Jehovah is much to be praised; His greatness is unsearchable.
Psalms 145-150: hallelujah…praise Him…praise Him…sing His praise.

This and many other books by Witness Lee may be read online here.

Shadows of New Jerusalem, Psalms 145-150

This concludes our look at plain words and shadows in Psalms about Christ, God’s house, God’s city, and God’s blessing to the whole earth. The eternal reality of these is Christ on the throne in New Jerusalem at the center of the new heaven and new earth (Rev. 21:1-2).

Psalms 145 to 150 anticipate eternity in New Jerusalem full of praises and singing. Here are some of the praises:
bread, pixabay.comPsalm 145:10, “All Your works will praise You, O Jehovah; and Your faithful ones will bless You.”
Psalm 146: 1, “Hallelujah! Praise Jehovah, O my soul!”
Psalm 146:2, “I will praise Jehovah while I live; I will sing psalms to my God while I yet have being.”
Psalm 148:1-2, “HallelujahPraise Him…Praise Him”
Psalm 149:1 “Hallelujah! Sing a new song to Jehovah; sing His praise in the congregation of His faithful ones.”
Psalm 150:1-5, “Hallelujah! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him…Praise Him” New Jerusalem is His eternal sanctuary in which we will praise God.
Psalm 150:6, “Let everything that has breath praise Jehovah. Hallelujah!” We have breath now so we can praise Him now and unto New Jerusalem.

We should not delay our praising and singing until New Jerusalem. The church life in Jerusalem began with “praising God” (Acts 2:47), and Hebrews 13:15 says “Through Him [Jesus, v. 13:12] then let us offer up a sacrifice of praise continually to God, that is, the fruit of lips confessing His name.”

Colossians 3:16 is also for us today, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to God.” When His word is life to us, we sing with grace in our hearts to God.

Our foretaste of New Jerusalem is our current praising and singing.

Hallelujah is a Hebrew word meaning praise Jah; Jah being a shortened form of Jehovah.
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Shadows of New Jerusalem, Psalms 133-136

The Psalms portray New Jerusalem by speaking of Christ (who is on the throne at the center of New Jerusalem), God’s house and city (shadows of New Jerusalem) and the earth (to be replaced by the new earth).

Psalm 133:1 says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell in unity!” This is true today as we “are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). Today it is good and pleasant to dwell in Him. Much more in New Jerusalem!

Psalm 133:3 says, “Like the dew of Hermon that came down upon the mountains of Zion. For there Jehovah commanded the blessing: life forever.” David touched the eternal, spiritual reality in writing this. We enjoy Christ our life now and New Jerusalem will be the utmost of this blessing of this life.

New JerusalemPsalm 135:1-3 say, “Hallelujah! Praise the name of Jehovah; praise Him, you servants of Jehovah, who stand in the house of Jehovah, in the courts of the house of our God. Praise Jehovah, for Jehovah is good; sing psalms to His name, for it is pleasant.”

Today we praise God and sing to His name while standing in His house, the church (1 Tim. 3:15). Tomorrow we will do more in New Jerusalem.

Psalm 136:1, “Give thanks to Jehovah, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is forever.” We can easily declare that He is good, if we reckon goodness for His purpose rather than for our human comfort or success. “All things work together for good to those who love God” that we may be conformed to the image of His Firstborn Son and be glorified to match New Jerusalem (Rom. 8:28-30).

In New Jerusalem we will see most clearly that “His lovingkindness is forever” and certainly we will give thanks.

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Shadows of New Jerusalem, Psalms 100-107

New JerusalemMany Psalms prophesy concerning Christ; they also speak about God’s house, city, and blessings to the whole earth, all of which are forerunners of New Jerusalem in the new creation.

Psalm 100:1-2, “Make a joyful noise to Jehovah, all the earth. Serve Jehovah with rejoicing; come before His presence with joyful singing.” Today we serve with rejoicing, joyful singing, and praising the Lord. In the new creation, all the earth will make a joyful noise.

Psalm 102:21-22, “The name of Jehovah may be declared in Zion, and His praise, in Jerusalem, when the peoples are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve Jehovah.” We declare and call upon the name today (Rom. 10:12-13). The eternal fulfillment of verse 22 is “they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it [New Jerusalem]” (Rev. 21:26).

Psalm 106:1, “Hallelujah. Give thanks to Jehovah, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is forever.” “Forever” points clearly toward the new creation and New Jerusalem.
Psalm 106:48, “Blessed be Jehovah the God of Israel, from eternity to eternity. And let all the people say, Amen. Hallelujah.” Today should be and New Jerusalem will be full of praising, blessing, and thanksgiving.

Psalm 107, 2-3a, 7, “Let the redeemed of Jehovah say so, whom He redeemed from the hand of the adversary, and gathered out of the lands….And He led them on a straight way that they might come to a city of habitation.” Today we have “the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24) and are on “the straight way” (2 Peter 2:15) to New Jerusalem, our city of habitation.

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New Jerusalem—Magnification of Christ (2)

The prior post presented Paul’s individual magnification of Christ (Phil. 1:20) as a miniature of the corporate magnification of Christ in New Jerusalem. The Greek verb translated magnify means to declare to be great, to glorify, to praise, to exalt.

Although magnify is not in Revelation, the magnification of Christ is seen in the glory of the city: “And he [an angel] carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God.” (Rev. 21:10-11a)

New JerusalemBased on Paul’s example, we magnify Christ today by living Him, by believers praying for us, by the bountiful supply of the Spirit, and by His excellency motivating us to count everything else as a loss (Phil. 1:19-21, 3:7-8).

Another magnification is in Luke 1:46-47, “Mary said, My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has exulted in God my Savior.” First, Mary’s spirit exulted in God; then her soul magnified the Lord. Her praise to God issued from her spirit and was expressed through her soul. Her spirit was filled with joy in God her Savior, and her soul manifested that joy for the magnifying of the Lord.*

Based on Mary’s example, our magnification of Christ is by the joy of the Lord. In our-selves and our situations we often feel we cannot rejoice, but we are in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). In Him we can rejoice now and we will rejoice in New Jerusalem. Philippians 3:1 and 4:4,

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”

Acts  16:25 describes an undesirable situation, a prison: “about midnight Paul and Silas, while praying, sang hymns of praise to God; and the prisoners were listening to them.” Christ in us is able, any place, any time, any situation, for our praising to magnify Him; how much more in New Jerusalem!

* from footnote on Luke 1:47 in NT Recovery Version Online.
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Shadows of New Jerusalem in Psalms 66, 68

In the Psalms we can see many prophecies and allusions to Christ and God’s house and city. These ultimately point to New Jerusalem with Christ as its center to be God’s eternal house and city with His reign on new earth.

Psalm 66:1, 4, “Shout joyfully to God, all the earth….All the earth will worship You and sing psalms to You; they will sing psalms to Your name.” Not only within New Jerusalem, but also all the nations around it will shout with joy and worship God by singing.

New JerusalemPsalm 68:3, “The righteous will rejoice; they will exult before God and be glad with rejoicing.” We are righteous in Christ (1 Cor. 1:30), so we rejoice now (Phil. 4:4) and in New Jerusalem.

Psalm 68:18, “You have ascended on high; You have led captive those taken captive; You have received gifts among men, even the rebellious ones also, that Jehovah God may dwell among them.” This is quoted in Ephesians 4 in reference to the ascension of Christ and of His giving of gifted members to take the lead in the building up of His Body (forerunner of New Jerusalem) so that God may dwell among us.

Psalm 68:20, “God is to us a God of deliverance, and with Jehovah the Lord are the goings forth even from death.” Through His death Christ delivered us from sin (Rom. 8:3), the flesh (Rom. 8:11-12), the world (John 12:31-32), death (2 Tim. 1:10), and the devil (Heb. 2:14). Today we do not yet see these things abolished but in the new creation and New Jerusalem none of these will be present.

Psalm 68:29, “Because of Your temple at Jerusalem, kings will bring a gift to You.” This happened at Solomon’s time and will occur much more in the kingdom and to the fullest in the new creation with kings bringing gifts to New Jerusalem.

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This series about the Psalms will resume several weeks from now.

Shadows of New Jerusalem in Psalms 36-50

The Psalms speak about many things; looking at them from the New Testament, Christ, house, city, earth are the key words. Each is fully seen in New Jerusalem.

Psalm 36, in addition to the river and fatness, touches God’s lovingkindness and light. New Jerusalem will have a fullness of lovingkindness. Furthermore, the city will be full of light; “there will be no night there” (Rev. 21:25). In New Jerusalem God Himself in Christ as the light of life will obviate the need for any other kind of light.

This shining God is also foretold in Psalm 50:2, “Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth.” New Jerusalem, the heavenly Zion on the new earth, is the perfection of beauty because it is saturated with the Christ who is perfect in every way. In response to this perfection, there is praise in New Jerusalem, as foreseen in Psalm 65:1, “Praise awaits You, O God, in Zion.”

Psalm 47:1, “Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with the voice of a triumphant sound.”
Psalm 47:6-8, “Sing psalms to God, sing psalms; sing psalms to our King, sing psalms. For God is the King of all the earth; sing psalms with understanding. God reigns over the nations; God sits upon His holy throne.” God and the Lamb will be on the throne in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:5, 22:3) and we will sing psalms there.

Psalm 48:1-2, “Great is Jehovah, and much to be praised in the city of our God, in His holy mountain. Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, the sides of the north, the city of the great King.”

New JerusalemWe should expect New Jerusalem to be full of praises and full of singing. New Jerusalem will be exceedingly joyful within and it will also be “the joy of the whole earth.”

Here is the second verse of a song about Christ, house, city, earth:
_Christ brings us to God’s house to dwell,
_Where all day long His praises swell.
_O hallelujah! None can tell
__How lovely is God’s house!
___How lovely is God’s house!
___How lovely is God’s house!
___O hallelujah! None can tell
____How lovely is God’s house!

Praise Him now and in New Jerusalem!

In Spirit to See and Enter New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThis is concludes a series of posts about seeing and entering New Jerusalem. The key is “carried away in spirit onto a great and high mountain” to see this wonderful eternal city (Rev. 21:9-10). Here is a one sentence highlight, a verse reference, and a link for each post.

❖ The consummation of Revelation is New Jerusalem, presented by the Bible in figurative language. We need the Lord to carry us away in spirit to a high mountain to see New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:10-11) and to understand the spiritual significance of all its elements.

In Exodus 24 and 34 Moses was at the top of a mountain, in God’s presence, in glory, and received God’s speaking, including the vision of the tabernacle, a forerunner of New Jerusalem.

 Isaiah 52:7 says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news…” All God’s good news, including New Jerusalem as His consummate news, is announced by people “on the mountains” no matter what their physical location.

Israel’s journey to Mt. Sinai portrays our Christian journey to the mountain to see New Jerusalem. The first steps in their journey were redemption, eating the passover lamb and unleavened bread, and crossing the Red Sea.

❖ The next step in Israel’s (and our) journey is to sing and praise the Lord for His victory and His kingdom. This brings us onward to the wonderful experience of the springs of living water.

 Eating the manna (a picture of Christ—John 6) daily and drinking the water (a picture of the Spirit—John 7) out of the rock are essential nourishment for our Christian journey.

❖ On our journey we also need to fight against the flesh but not in our own strength. Rather, “Walk by the Spirit and you shall by no means fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).

❖ In Exodus 19 to 23 God spoke the ten commandments and many supporting ordinances. All God’s words show our shortages apart from Christ. Nevertheless, “the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from every sin” (1 John 1:7).

❖ On our Christian journey we need Jesus Christ as our burnt offering, as the person absolute for God. He is our replacement and we are identified with Him. This is portrayed in Leviticus 1:3-4.

 Christ as the burnt offering replaces us by coming into us to live in us and through us. It is by Christ our life and by our walk according to the spirit (Rom. 8:4) that we can see the vision of New Jerusalem.

 When Moses went up the mountain he entered into the cloud (which cut off his view of everything earthly) and was there forty days in the glory of the Lord (Exo. 24:15-16, 18). When we give time to the Lord, He will reveal His heart to us.

 We journey from death and slavery in the world to a spiritual mountain to see and enter New Jerusalem. For this journey, Christ is our life (Col. 3:4) and we walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4).

❖ Our seeing of New Jerusalem depends both on the Lord’s mercy and on our cooperation. By the Lord’s mercy, may we let the Spirit dwell in us, live in us, be active in us, so that the Spirit can reveal more to us (Rev. 21:9-10).

❖ On a mountain the Lord spoke the reality of the kingdom of the heavens, which leads to New Jerusalem. In ourselves we cannot reach this level, but we have the life of our heavenly Father (Matt. 5:48).

❖ The Lord Jesus went to a mountain to present the kingdom (Matt. 5–7), to be transfigured (Matt. 17), to speak about this age and His return (Matt. 24), and to ascend (Acts 1). Our need is to come to Him. “His disciples came to Him” (Matt. 5:1)

❖ Everything written in the Old Testament, including Israel’s journey to Mt. Sinai, is for our instruction, admonition, and encouragement (1 Cor. 10:11, Rom. 15:4). Today, our job is to hold Jesus Christ, who is the reality (Col. 2:16-19).

❖ Recent posts have been about seeing New Jerusalem. After we see, how do we enter into the present reality of New Jerusalem? The answer is in John 3—be born again to see (v. 3) and to enter (v. 5).

❖ In John 3:5 we are born of water (terminating our old life) and the Spirit (generating our new life). In Galatians 2:20 “it is no longer I who live”—my old life, “but it is Christ who lives in me”—my new life. The more Christ lives in us the more we see and enter New Jerusalem.

❖ We need to be uplifted to a high mountain that we may see New Jerusalem as God’s eternal dwelling place for the fulfillment of His eternal purpose. (Rev. 21:9-10)

New Jerusalem

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In Revelation 21:9-10 John tells us that an angel carried him away in spirit to a great and high mountain and showed him the holy city, New Jerusalem. This clearly was not John’s effort. Likewise, our seeing of New Jerusalem is not by our determination nor by our striving. We simply turn to the Lord, open our whole heart to Him, and wait on Him. In His time He will give us the vision of New Jerusalem.

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“One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, Come here; I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God.” (Rev. 21:9-11a)

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