Revelation 3:10 states:

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

Radio Ministry in the U.S. is massively slanted towards dispensational theology and it is hard to avoid either the assumption or the overt teaching of a pre-tribulational, pre-millennial rapture of the Church.

Recently on the "Understanding the Times" radio ministry there was a guest, Dr. Ron Rhodes, who made a remarkable claim. He said that the "from" (the Greek ek, ex) highlighted in the above verse always and only indicates a removal and, therefore, those who understand Rev. 3:10 as saying that the faithful will be protected "through" the hour of temptation cannot possibly be correct.

Dr. Rhodes declares that the only possible understanding of the verse is that the faithful will be removed prior to the hour of temptation and that this verse is a "slam dunk" for the pre-tribulation rapture position because of "ek".

This seems somewhat dismissive of the word "keep" which carries the meaning of "to guard from injury or loss" and figuratively may mean "to keep unmarried", as though the hour of temptation is to become espoused to another other than Christ.

Is it correct that, textually and by context, Rev. 3:10 is a "slam dunk" for the pre-tribulation rapture of the Church?

  • 4
    @All - due to the breadth of interpretive frameworks applied to Revelation, please do keep responses focused as tightly as possible on the text and claim Mike is asking about, and avoid getting caught up in wider doctrinal debates. Feel free to raise a flag if you would like help opening a chat or cleaning comment threads that aren't constructive critique of any question or answer.
    – Steve can help
    Commented Sep 21, 2021 at 13:36
  • I thought most dispensational teaching believe that the book of Revelation was for Israel. If that is true why would a dispensational teacher take a teaching out of Israel for the body of Christ that has a different expectation. Could keeping them out may not mean keeping them from the trial but keeping those who are in the trial so they can come out victoriously.
    – Sherrie
    Commented Sep 21, 2021 at 17:07
  • @Sherrie This passage is addressed "to the angel of the church in Philadelphia". Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 11:46
  • Mike, You said that theRadio Ministry is slanted towards Dispensational theology and Dr. Rhodes declares that the only possible understanding of the verse is that the faithful will be removed prior to the hour of temptation and that this verse is a "slam dunk" for the pre-tribulation rapture position because of "ek". Revelation Is picking back up with the nation of Israel which is always associated with endurance to the end. Why would a Dispensationalist take any sign of their departure out of book of Revelation for they will be gone before these things take place. That was my point.
    – Sherrie
    Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 23:19
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    @Mike, That is so interesting, I did not know that. In either case hope in Him to take one out or hope in Him to endure.
    – Sherrie
    Commented Sep 23, 2021 at 14:19

9 Answers 9


The Greek language in question is more complex than has been indicated in your explanation of what Dr. Ron Rhodes said. Of course, he may have given a more fulsome explanation of the Greek to substantiate his claim that ek "always and only indicates a removal". There are three Greek words that may be involved when speaking of motion away from something (or some period of time).

Here is what The Companion Bible (Bullinger) says:

" iv. apo governs only one case (the Genitive), and denotes motion from the surface of an object, as a line drawn from the circumference; it thus stands in contrast with ek which denotes a line drawn from the centre; while para denotes a line drawn as a tangent. Hence, it is used of motion away from a place (e.g. Mat.3:16, 8:1, Acts 15:38); marking the distance which separates the two places, or the interval of time between two events (e.g. Mat. 19:4, Acts 20:18.) It also marks the origin or source whence anything comes, such as birth, descent, residence (e.g. Mat. 2:1, 15:1, 21:11, Acts 10:23, 17:13), or of information (e.g. Mat. 7:16).

Apo may consequently be used of deliverance or passing away from any state or condition (e.g. Mat.1:21, 14:2, Acts 13:8, Heb.6:1)...

v. dia governs two cases (the Genitive and Accusative). With the Genitive... it denotes the passing through whatever is interposed between the beginning and the end of such action. With the Accusative it has the sense of on account of, or because of (e.g. Mat. 27:18, Mk.2:27, Rev.4:11).

vi. eis governs only one case (the Accusative). Euclid uses eis when a line is drawn to meet another line, at a certain point. Hence it denotes motion to or unto an object, with the purpose of reaching or touching it (e.g. Mat.2:11, 3:10, Lk.8:14, Acts 16:10). From this comes the idea of the object toward which such motion is directed (e.g. Mat.18:20, 30, 1 Cor.12:13, Gal. 3:27); and for, or with respect to which such action or movement is made.

vii. ek governs only one case (the Genitive), and denotes motion from the interior. It is used of time, place, and origin. It means out from, as distinguished from apo, which means off, or away from. Ek marks the more immediate origin, while apo marks the more remote origin; of expressing the intermediate meanings. (Appendix 104 - Prepositions - pp148-9)

From that, it seems that both ek and apo govern the Genitive. Apo is used of motion away from the surface of an object, while ek has the sense of motion from the interior. In Revelation 3:10, ek speaks of a time, and not a place. It does speak of movement, but to move from that hour of temptation is not necessarily to be removed from the earth which experiences that time of trial. Indeed, were moving away from the surface of the earth implied, then apo would have been the word of choice!

Dr. Rhodes seems to have taken a great leap of interpretation which neither text nor context indicates. Christians are said to be in the world, but not of the world - they are removed from the worldliness that surrounds them, yes, whilst still remaining in the world.

Conclusion: While ek always and only indicates a movement away, that is not the same as being physically removed from a place. The verse speaks of a time, not a place, so that removal can only refer to symbolic, protective movement, not literal, bodily removal off the earth to heaven. The pre-tribulation rapture position could have been substantiated had apo been used, but it wasn't a word chosen by the angel. And angels always choose their words carefully.

The text does not mean only a physical removal. Context gives no hint of a physical removal either.

Much more could be said to question the idea of the Church being raptured up and away off the planet prior to a time of great tribulation hitting earth's inhabitants, but another question would be required to deal with that.

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    Yes, agreed. 'From' the point of origin, is the meaning. Not 'from' the entire sphere of influence.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Sep 21, 2021 at 15:39
  • Regarding "apo", Dr. Rhodes made the exact opposite point (if you can believe it), saying had "apo" been used it would back a non-rapture position. Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 12:02
  • @Mike Borden Well, somebody has got crossed wires somewhere! I worry that this might be a similar case to a different group trying to claim Greek words about the temple support their interpretation of Revelation that some people are not in heaven even through the verses clearly say they are. It would be good to get a Greek scholar's clarification about Dr. Rhodes claims.
    – Anne
    Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 15:00

I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. [John 17:15 KJV]

In this text Jesus does not pray for the disciples to be removed out of the world. But he does pray for his own to be kept from the evil.

Thus, his own can be kept from the evil without being removed from the world.

Therefore it is perfectly possible that Christ's sheep should be kept from the hour of temptation without being physically removed from the world itself.

The wording εκ της ωρας του πειρασμου (from the hour of temptation) in John 17:15, uses the same construction (and, importantly, the same preposition) as does εκ του πονηρου in Revelation 3:10.

Therefore it can by no means be said, categorically, that the only meaning of this verse is an absolute removal of persons from the earth.

As with all doctrine, many texts must be examined, competently and sensibly, before arriving at a conclusion. It is never a good idea to enforce doctrine based on a single text of scripture.

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    Excellent from you & Anne. I know Ron Rhodes from the 1980's. He worked with Dr. Walter Martin (one of my mentors) at the Christian Research Institute. He's written many good articles and books. On this issue he is "over the top." He is "assuming" a rapture of the Church as an event distinct from the second coming. Note 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7 as it relates to the word" from." "It is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give rest/relief to us-WHEN Jesus is revealed with His angels. This is the 2nd coming, not the rapture. What do we get rest "from?"
    – Mr. Bond
    Commented Sep 21, 2021 at 22:02
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    Were you and Anne to combine answers I could mark only one as accepted. As it stands now, I am torn between the two. +1 Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 12:09
  • @MikeBorden On a purely academic level, there is no doubt that Anne's is the better answer.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 12:10
  • @Mike Borden. I am confused as well. My Str. Conc. has the Greek word apo listed for the King James word. "from". According to the Strong's dictionary "ek" mostly translates to out. If you look at the many words that are compound words using ek you can see Strong's got it right. Ek is out. Apo is from the majority of the time. Either Rhodes has it totally backwards or the King James and Strong's used apo when the original text had ek. When I debated a seminary prof on this he pulled out a little Greek new testament that used ek. I unexpectedly took the book out of his hand.TBC
    – RHPclass79
    Commented Dec 9, 2023 at 7:09
  • When I looked inside the cover there was no publisher. I asked where he got the text, he didn't answer. I am guessing there are some new translations out there that use ek because they had a preconceived idea it should be there. Nigel J and Dottard may be able to help solve this.
    – RHPclass79
    Commented Dec 9, 2023 at 7:15

The idea of needing to physically remove someone in order to keep them from temptation, while certainly possible in theory, is not what we see elsewhere in scripture.

E.g. in revelation, there are many condemnations of those who "dwell on earth" versus those who dwell in heaven:

e.g. Rev 11.10:

And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. [KJV]

And in Rev 13.13-14:

And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. [KJV]

But we are told elsewhere that the beast deceives all but the elect, who then presumably do not dwell on earth but in the heavenlies.

Finally we are told in Rev 12:12

Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. [KJV]

But scripturally, the idea of dwelling on earth and dwelling in heaven refers to those who do not believe versus those who do:

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

So if we are dead, then the various plagues and trials do not torment us, because our lives are hid with God in Heaven. Then we do not dwell on earth, are not deceived by the beast, and do not partake of the earth's plagues.

This has nothing to do with physically being removed from the earth, or at least it need not have anything to do with it.

Eph 2.4-7

But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, and we being dead in trespasses, he made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are saved), and raised us together and seated us together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, in order that he might show in the coming ages the surpassing riches of his grace in kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. [LEB]

This passage is not referring to being levitated out of the planet, but referring to us "dwelling" in the heavenly places in Christ, as believers, right now, and to the degree that we are dwelling in him, the plagues sent to the earth cannot touch us because we are dead to the things of this world, both its blessings and its curses.

“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces who call out to one another, saying, ‘We played the flute for you and you did not dance; we sang a lament and you did not mourn.’ [Matt 11.16-17 LEB]

The earthly parable for this is the Exodus, in which plagues were sent on the Egyptians but did not touch the Israelites as they were the type for the bride. They were physically in Egypt but represented the bride whose true identity was with God, and thus they could not be harmed by the plagues sent to Egypt.

  • Our citizenship (politics) is in heaven. +1 Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 11:57

Wait what? How is that passage even end times?

This section is in the letters to the churches before the revelation of end times itself. A perfectly reasonable interpretation of the passage is the testing is within the lifetimes of the readers, possibly the persecution under Nero.

While some interpret these passages as the times of the church; they are better seen as possible states of the church and the corrections for each are given.

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  • Many dispensationalists use the fact that the word Church does not appear in Revelation beyond chapter 3 as evidence that the Church is not in view until the word Church appears again in chapter 22. Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 11:52
  • @MikeBorden: I would suggest that is a plausible argument but has very little to do with OP's question.
    – Joshua
    Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 17:15

It would be wrong. Not right as its not in context. And heres is why.

Context is vital. Kept the word of patience, Keeps one from That Temptation.

Revelation 3:10 “"Because thou hast kept the word of my patience", I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”

Christs teachings,as Revelation ; allows one to stand against Satan's deception. In this way they're kept from temptation. Revelation 13, of the second beast, and 2 Thess 2 for instance describes Satan arriving as per Gods plans, pretending to be Savior of the word Jesus and God.

So keep, is already defined for us throughout Revelation and The Bible. It is never used to remove Christians from The Tribulation. You'd have to understand what The Hour of Temptation is all about.

If they were going somewhere, they'd not have been told to hold fast what they have, prevent those stealing their crown and overcome.

Revelation 3:

11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

Note: Satan has to be here, for this statement to make sense to us "I come quickly". Satan arrives before Christ. Satans time is 5 months as per Revelation 9. Christ shortening his deception for the Elects sake, because they'll be here also Matthew 24:22 .

After the two witnesses are killed in the gathering arena. There will only be three days before Christ returns. Revelation 11:8-14 . The passage even tells us which woe it is. So this explains Christ had not arrived yet.

Paul explains that it is The Truth from God that keeps one.

1 Thess 5:4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

Thief is a very negative situation. The consequence of not understanding Gods word.

Paul did not say the day would not overtake them because they would be removed. The day would not overtaken them, because they're not in the dark concerning scriptures. It is the Truth on those matters that saves them from temptation. Thus averting Gods wrath for taking Satans deception, aka the mark.

A Thief only strikes those who least expect them, who are not watching, and at an hour and conditions which is most inconvenient for the victim .

If Christians believe Christ to be here already (to rapture), they wont be expecting The Real Christ at His return at the 7th Trump. They'll come to a rude awakening that they're Satan worshipers.That means the events of the end times, has already struck them as a thief, and Satan made away with their salvation. In their ignorance of Gods words about end times, and their chronological order, they've worshiped Satan thinking hes Jesus.

John 10:10 King James Version 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Revelation 17:16 “And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.”

1 Thess 5: 5 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.

2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 (kjv)

10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

The Hour of Temptation is always in reference to the 6th Trump and Satans trials .

Revelation 2: 10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

The same teaching is called the delivering up in Matthew 24. Where the Holy Spirit speaks through them; The Elect.

If one has advanced warning that Satan arrives pretending to be God performing miracles, then one cannot possibly find him tempting. In that way they escape deception aka apostasy .2 Thess 2.

Christ gave an equivalent teaching to the Mark of the Beast, in Matthew 24, woe to women with child and give suck in those days. Its easy to understand that If Christ has been away for 2k years, He returns to find His bride with child, it means she was unfaithful. She would become that whore that Satan and his 10 fallen angel kings hate; back in Revelation 17:16.

We have advanced warning of this from God Himself and The Lord Jesus Christ. Why a man made doctrine of rapture, has superseded scriptures is beyond comprehension and is ripe for Satan's use. And he will.

Ezekiel 13: (kjv)

19 And will ye pollute me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by your lying to my people that hear your lies?

20 Wherefore thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against your pillows, wherewith ye there hunt the souls to make them fly, and I will tear them from your arms, and will let the souls go, even the souls that ye hunt to make them fly.

21 Your kerchiefs also will I tear, and deliver my people out of your hand, and they shall be no more in your hand to be hunted; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.

Matthew 13:19 “When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.


No. This can be considered as physical protection for members of God's Church during the Tribulation that precedes Christ's return.

Some, especially those that consider the messages to the 7 churches to be symbolic prophecy for 7 Church Eras, interpret Revelation 3:10:

Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.

as referring to the small remnant of God's Church that has remained faithful until the end times (unlike the “lukewarm” Laodiceans, who have the truth but don't practice it strongly enough).

Further, they believe that “the hour of trial” refers to the Tribulation, and that the members of the Philadelphian Church will be physically protected during this period (2½ years of Tribulation and 1 year of the Day of the Lord):

But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.
— Revelation 12:14

The Laodicean Church will be persecuted though:

And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
— Revelation 12:17

It is during this Tribulation that many Laodiceans (and other people that had known or had previously heard God's truth but hadn't really believed it) will remember what they had heard, become fully convinced of its truth, and be saved:

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
— Revelation 7:9,10

Matthew 25:1–13 (The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins) is thought to indicate that fully half of the Laodiceans will not be saved.

A strong advocate of this view is the appropriately named Philadelphia Church of God (with publications at theTrumpet.com | World News, Economics and Analysis Based on Bible Prophecy).


No, I don't view Revelation 3:10 as being a "slam dunk" for the pre-Trib rapture position. I haven't read Rhodes, but Charles Ryrie[1] argues that ek is being used here not to assert that the faithful would be kept from trial but from the "hour of trial" (ESV), which dispensationalists often understand to be referring to the Tribulation period, which is elaborated in the following chapters of Revelation. Thus Ryrie, per my reading, is not saying that the preposition ek itself must mean "rapture," but that in the immediate ("hour of trial") and broader (Rev. 6+) context the statement conveys such.

While I broadly agree with Ryrie on the whole pre-Trib rapture view, I don't find the argument from Revelation 3:10 to be persuasive, from a contextual basis. Perhaps there is some variation in how dispensationalists approach Revelation 2–3, but I see these letters to the churches as being addressed to historical churches, though offering some universal principles. Thus, the "from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world" (3:10) must first be understood as referring to near-term persecution.

In contrast, the letter to the church of Smyrna says:

"Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life." (ESV)

If we are to take these letters as substantively focused on the end times events which are elaborated later in Revelation (which I don't), then is Revelation 2:10 conveying that all churches will have ten days of tribulation?

Hence, my contention is that the near-context of Revelation 2:10 resists the Rhodes/Ryrie approach to Revelation 3:10.

[1] Charles C. Ryrie, Basic Theology (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1999), 562–564.


Rev 310 is speaking to him who overcomes before the hour of temptation, the mark of beast. It's the over-comers who will be protected at that time. They overcome by the blood of the lamb, the word of their testimony and love not their life unto death. They love not their fallen thought life unto its death. Its spiritual warfare casting out of the mind everything that oppresses itself against Christ. These stand on the finished works of Christ, They receive their complete redemption from the fall. Now they are experiencing the full stature of Christ. They are a mighty army. Joel, rev 12 and all through the world. Now they are called Zion that mountain

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    It seems Rev. 3:10 is speaking to those who have "kept the word of my patience". Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 11:48
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    Please proof read your posts before submitting them here, this is just filled with typos!
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 1:41

What I find interesting for those who argue that the passage in question isn't referencing a pre-trib rapture, and the question I would pose to those who believe this is as follows.

If "tereo" in this context means to keep and guard, and we leave out "ek" meaning from, or, out of, and this passage just speaks to how the Lord will guard His people through this time... you have to ask yourself what kind of a God you believe in.

The reason I say that is because if you look ahead to Revelation 6, you see the martyrs under the altar who were slain for the testimony they held, and to whom are told they need to wait a little while longer while more of their brethren are slaughtered.

In light of being "kept" through the tribulation, this is a pretty poor job of keeping on God's part.

If we are going to compare how the Hebrew people were kept in Goshen as the plagues were poured out on Egypt to what happens in Revelation, then we would not see the martyrs under the altar who are being slaughtered during this time frame. Pharoah did not run through Goshen slaughtering the Hebrew people.

In summation, Revelation 3:10 says that those who endure will be kept from or out of the hour of trial that comes upon the whole earth, and if this doesn't point to the rapture of the faithful church, you would have to explain why God is unable to actually keep His church through the triubulation without countless martyrs at the hand of Antichrist.

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    Commented Mar 14, 2022 at 14:13
  • Is the assumption, then, that if one dies physically they have not properly been "kept" by God? Jesus said sort of the opposite...a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. Commented Mar 15, 2022 at 12:40
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    Mike, welcome to Hermeneutics! Here, we want Questions and Answers with a heavy Bible study tone and content which quotes Bible; Theology is kept for the Christianity.SE site and quotes Bible with theology literature and tradition. Your Answer has a theology tone, ie "you have to ask yourself what kind of a God you believe in." That's not a Bible study method, it's a theological point. Same fits with your final paragraph...
    – Jesse
    Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 2:34
  • 1
    ...You seem very knowledgable, and while it would be fun to discuss theology with each other, please use your knowledge of the text a little more, that way users will upvote your Answer and not flag it for delete. One way could be to demonstrate words in Greek, then how they might translate to English more than one way, such as "This text... could lead to this [micro understanding/interpretation]... but translated this way... would mean this [micro understanding/interpretation]. You could explain the text many ways, but I'm curious how you would handle it that way. All the best!
    – Jesse
    Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 2:38

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