PARABLE OF THE MUSTARD SEED

This Lord's Word Explained Bible study is, Parable of the Mustard Seed, the Parable of the Net is also included in this document. To understand this parable of the mustard seed more easily, you will need to read The Parable of the Kingdom and Sower Scripture Definitions; The Grass, The Branch(es), and The Vine; Fruit - Tree of Life and The Great Tree. These documents will help you in understanding this one.

As with most stories or parables, there are two sides, stories or meanings within. There is the positive story or the good spirits, and there is the negative story or the evil spirits. I will put all 3 gospel stories in this document and try to give you both perspectives, as well as the overall meaning of this story.

All text taken from the King James Version of the Bible

Let us begin this Bible study with a prayer, O God, thy heavenly Father, grant me the wisdom and knowledge, so that I may be able to understand this document, in Jesus name. Amen.

Matt.13:31-32 - Another parable put he (Jesus) forth unto them saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed his field: (32) Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

Mark 4:30-32 - And he (Jesus) said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? (31) [It is] like a grain of mustard seed, which when sown, in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: (32) But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.

Luke 13:18-19 - Then said he (Jesus), Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? (19) It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.

Birds and/or fowl are "spirits," - they can be 'good spirits' or 'evil spirits.'

Let me give you the definitions for a few of the words and/or phrases found in the above parable so that you will have a better understanding. All definitions are from the Strong's Concordance -

birds and/or fowl #4071 - N.T. - from a derivative of #4072 - AV - fowl, birds - 1) flying, winged, 2) flying or winged animals, birds, 2a) the birds of the heaven, i.e. flying in the heaven (air) - found in - Matt.6:26; 8:20; 13:4, 32; Mark 4:4, 32; Luke 8:5; 9:58; 12:24; 13:9; Acts 10:12; 11:6; Rom.1:23; James 3:7

from a derivative of #4072 - middle voice of a primary verb - AV - fly, flying - 1) to fly - found 5 times in Revelation 4:7; 8:13; 12:14; 14:6; 19:17;

of the air #3772 - N.T. - perhaps from the same as 3735 (through the idea of elevation); the sky - AV - heaven, air, sky, heavenly + 1537; - 1) the vaulted expansion of the sky with all things visible in it; 1a) the universe, the world; 1b) the aerial heavens or sky, the region where the clouds and the tempests gather, and where thunder and lightning are produced; 1c) the sidereal or starry heavens; 2) the region above the sidereal heavens, the seat of order of things eternal and consummately perfect where God dwells and other heavenly beings - this number can be found 284 times

#1537 + heavenly - from #3772 (see above) - AV - 1)heavenly- 1a) heavenly; dwelling in heaven; 1b) coming from heaven; - found 6 times - Matt.6:14, 26, 32; 15:13; Luke 2:13; Acts 26:19

#2032 heavenly + #1537 above - from #1909 and #3772 - AV - heavenly, celestial, in heaven, high; - 1) existing in heaven; 1a) things that take place in heaven; 1b) the heavenly regions; 1b1) heaven itself, the abode of God and angels; 1b2) the lower heavens, of the stars; 1b3) the heavens, of the clouds; 1c) the heavenly temple or sanctuary; 2) of heavenly origin or nature; - found 21 times

heavenly #3770 - AV - heavenly; - 1) heavenly; 1a) dwelling in heaven; 1b) coming from heaven; - found 6 times

lodged #2681 - N.T. - from #2596 and #4637 - AV - lodge, rest - 1) to pitch one's tent, to fix one's abode, to dwell; - found in - Matt.13:32; Mark 4:32; Luke 13:19; Acts 2:26

from #2596 - a primary particle; prep - AV - according to; after; against; in; by; daily + 2250; as; - 1) down from, through out; 2) according to, toward, along - this number can be found 282 times

and from #4637 - from #4636 - AV - dwell; - 1) to fix one's tabernacle, have one's tabernacle, abide (or live) in a tabernacle (or tent), tabernacle; 2) to dwell; - found in - John 1:14; Rev.7:15; 12:12; 13:6; 21:3

from #4636 - from #4633 - AV - tabernacle; - 1) a tabernacle, a tent; 2) metaph. of the human body, in which the soul dwells as in a tent, and which is taken down at death; found in - II Cor.5:1, 4 - {- perhaps, the end of the world (or, the end of time)}??

please look up for your #4633 for yourself

Now from the definitions of the words and/or phrases above, we can see that the birds/fowl of the air which lodge in the branches, are spirits (good and/or evil) in the heavens which dwell in the branches. And looking at the Parable of the Fruit--Tree of Life, we see that trees in the Bible are referred to as people. If we also look at The True Vine, we see that the branches are people which produce qualities and characteristics - the good ones we are to cultivate, and the bad ones we are to cast out.

As with most parables, you are going to have to go from spiritual, to reality, and back to spiritual again to understand what Jesus is referring to. For the most part, it is a spiritual story.

You are also going to have a good understanding of the Parable of the Sower; The Parable of the Seed; Tares; Parable of the Tares of the Field; the Parable of the Net, as well as The True Vine, most of these documents you can find on my index page, many of the titles have been listed at the bottom of this document and have a direct link.

The very first line in each of the gospel versions says, ...The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed,.... - Matt.13:31; ...Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? - Mark4:30; Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and where unto shall I (Jesus) resemble it? Luke 13:18

Jesus is trying to explain what the kingdom of heaven or God is like or resembles, or what can he compare it with. In fact if you change the words around a bit in the Luke version and say, 'What shall I resemble the kingdom of heaven to.' Jesus is trying to compare what the kingdom of heaven starts out like and how it develops. So, in otherwords, the kingdom of heaven starts out very small - very, very tiny, and as it grows, and develops, it is able to hold more.

Now this is more a spiritual story, which takes place in your mind, rather than a reality story, which is something that you can see, touch or feel, like a table or chair, etc.- these things you can see, touch.

Now before we can move on, we must ask ourselves a few questions.

  1. What is the seed?
  2. Where is the seed planted?
  3. Where is the kingdom of heaven that Jesus is referring?

In order to answer these questions, we must incorporate the Parable of the Sower and the Parable of the Seed in with this parable, as it is just a continuation (for example, from one parable into the next in Matthew chapter 13, however, I will use all three versions of the above two parables, to help you see what Jesus is referring to.)

So let us look at these questions -

#1 - What is the seed - The "seed" is the word of God. - Luke 8:11. The Bible tells us what the seed is.

#2 - Where is the seed planted? Think about this for a minute, if you said, in the ground, then I ask you, what good will it do to plant the word of God in the ground. Where is the only place the "word of God" will do you and me any good, since it is "the word of God" that Jesus came to tell us about, and Jesus is the sower. Again, let us look at the parable of the sower - Matt.13:19 - ...the word of the kingdom...was sown in his heart (or, mind); also in Mark 4:15 - ...the word that was sown in their hearts, (or, mind). So, the "word of God" is planted or sown in your mind.

#3 - Where is the kingdom of heaven Jesus is referring to? This may be a bit more difficult for you to grasp, but not really, if you understand the two concepts above and REMEMBER - we are talking about the spiritual aspect of the story. If the "seed" is "the word of God" and it is "planted or sown in your mind," - then, where is the kingdom of heaven (that Jesus is referring to) - the only place it can be - in your mind. It cannot be in the ground and it cannot be *in your pants, however, Satan would like you to believe either one.

There are several scriptures that say - "the kingdom of heaven is at hand," John the Baptist said it first in Matt.3:2, Jesus said it in Matt.4:17, Jesus told his disciples to go out and preach this in Matt.10:7, and sometimes it may use the phrase, "the kingdom of God is nigh at hand," Luke 21:31, but the meaning will be the same.

Let me give you the definition for the phrase -

the kingdom #932 - N.T. - from #935 - AV - kingdom (of God), kingdom (of heaven), kingdom (general or evil), (Thy or Thine) kingdom, His kingdom, the kingdom, (My) kingdom - 1) royal power, kingship, dominion, rule, 1a) not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right or authority to rule over a kingdom, 1b) of the royal power of Jesus as the triumphant Messiah, 1c) of the royal power and dignity conferred on Christians in the Messiah's kingdom, 2) a kingdom, the teritory subject to the rul of a king, 3) used in the N.T. to refer to the reign of the Messiah. This number can be found 162 times.

from #935 - probably from #939 (through the notion of a foundation of power) - AV - king, King (of Jews), King (God or Christ), King (of Israel - 1) leader of the people, prince, commander, lord of the land, king. This number can be found 118 times

probably from #939 (through the notion of a foundation of power) - from baino (to walk) - AV - foot (sole of) - 1) a stepping, walking, 2) that with which one steps, the foot. This number can be found only once - Acts 3:7

Now let me give you the definition for -

is at hand #1448 - N.T. - from #1451 - AV - draw nigh, be at hand, come nigh, come near, draw near - 1) to bring near, to join one thing to another, 2) to draw or come near to, to approach. - This number can be found 43 times

from #1451 - from a primary verb agcho (to squeeze or throttle; akin to the base of 43) - AV - nigh, at hand, nigh at hand, near, from 1, nigh unto 1, ready - 1) near, of place and position, 1a) near, 1b) those who are near access to God 1b2) The Rabbis used the term "to make nigh" as equivalent to "to make a proselyte", 2) of time, 2a) of times imminent and soon to come pass. This number can be found 30 times

"The kingdom of heaven is at hand," is for you and me, right now, today, it is repenting and living your life the correct way - walking with God - following the commandments of God - See - Ten Commandments

You will need to read and study - The Foundations of Heaven and Earth, to fully understand where the kingdom of heaven is, however, I will give you a short version of where this kingdom of heaven is that Jesus is referrring to in this parable, as well the other parables mentioned in this document..

II Cor.12:2 - I (Paul) knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.

caught up to the third heaven - II Cor.12:2

Acts 22:17 - And it came to pass, that, when I (Saul/Paul) was come again into Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; - See - Temples of God--Churches

So we can see from II Cor.12:2, that there are 3 levels of heaven, and the one that Jesus is referring to in the Parable of the Mustard Seed - this particular kingdom of heaven - is in your mind. This is also where the kingdom of heaven is in the Parable of the Sower; the Parable of the Seed; the Parable of the Good Seed in his Field, but while men slept, his enemy (the devil, (or evil spirits)) came and sowed tares among the wheat ( see - Matt.13:24-30); then comes the story, or Parable of the Mustard Seed; the next parable is about leaven - but all the parables in Matt.13, are about the kingdom of heaven, so it is important to know and understand where the kingdom of heaven is.

Continuing in Matt.13:35, Jesus sends the multitude away, and the disciples ask Jesus to, ...Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field, Matt.13:36. So Jesus begins by telling them who the sower is - (37) He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man, (38) The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;

Okay, let us examine verse 38 for a moment - The field is the world.... REMEMBER - we are talking about the spiritual aspect, which is in the essence of your mind, not the reality aspect, which you can see, touch or feel. It says, "the field is the world," but in the spiritual aspect, the field is your mind, that is where things get sown or planted, that is where the spiritual things grow and develop, and that is where the spiritual messages (both good and evil) become lodged - in your mind.

Okay, so now we can get back to the Parable of the Mustard Seed for a while - it should be much easier for you to see and understand this parable now, as I have explained many of the different words and phrases above.

So we know the kingdom of heaven is in your mind and that it is like a grain of mustard "seed," (the word of God), which a man (Jesus) took and sowed his field (sowed the word of God in his/your mind.)

This next part is the reality part - when you are born, you have little or nothing in your mind, as you grow, you learn things, and these are sown or planted in your mind, some things may be good, and some things may not be so good. One of the first "good messages" that we are usually taught as a child, is that "Jesus loves us." This "good message" is planted or sown in our minds and it stays there, or it becomes lodged there. However, we also receive, or learn "bad messages" and they also become lodged in our mind.

I can give you the explanation of the parables, but, REMEMBER: You are responsible for working out your own salvation with the Lord - Phil.2:12

Now we are going to go back to the spiritual aspect again, and we are going to continue in Matt.13:33 - Jesus is still teaching the disciples about "the kingdom of heaven,"using different stories, or analogies - the next one is about leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened, (33) (- please see - Parable of Leaven), then the next one is Parable of the Tares of the Field, (36-43) - (please see index page), the next one is about treasure hid in a field, (44), then a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: (45)

This parable continues and includes the -

Parable of the Net

And finally Jesus tells his disciples the story in Matt.13:47-50 - the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered every kind: (48) Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. (49) So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, (50) And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. - See - Furnace of Fire/Lake of Fire and Brimstone

So, let us examine what this means, because it all ties into the Parable of the Mustard Seed. I will be using both spiritual and reality here to explain this for you. Okay, let us look at verse 47 - again, Jesus is using a comparison - the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered every kind: The (fishing) net gathered both good, or eatable fish, and bad fish, or fish that were not eatable. Verse 48 - And when the net was full, they drew the net to shore and then sat down and gather the good fish into vessels, but cast the bad away.

Please notice that it does not say that the net was cast into the sea from a boat, it could have been, it is not really that important, however, what is important in the the phrase in verse 48, - '...and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.' In reality, Jesus is talking about good fish, or the eatible fish were gathered and kept, (or, put in a place of safe keeping,) but the bad fish, or non-eatable fish, were cast away. However, in the spiritual aspect, what Jesus is referring to is "good spirits," were gathered and put in a place of safe keeping, and "bad spirits," were cast away.

Let us look at verse 49 and 50 - So shall it be at the end of the world: (or the end of the age of time), the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, (50) And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Let us go back and look at part of the Parable of the Tares of the Field in Matt.13:39-43 - ...the harvest is the end of the world, (or, the end of the age of time); and the reapers are the angels. (40) As therefore the tares (or, the evil spirits) are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world, (or the end of the age of time). (41) The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; (42) And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (43) Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. - See - Parable of the Tares of the Field; Iniquity and Vanity; Furnace of Fire/Lake of Fire and Brimstone; Love Every Body with Righteousness

So, in both parables - the Parable of the Net, and the Parable of the Tares of the Field, it speaks of the end of the world, (or, the end of the age of time), both stories tell us in their own way, about the reapers who are the angels, and both tell us that the angels will sever or gather the good, or just from the wicked, and both tell us that the wicked will be cast into the furnace of fire, and both stories tell us that there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth (of the wicked spirits because it is the end for them.) So at the end of the world, (or the end of the age of time) there will be no evil spirits allowed in the kingdom of heaven, (or, the place of safe keeping) - period.

After Jesus has explained all these thing to his disciples, he says to them in Matt.13:51 - ...Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord.

The "end of the world," (or, the end of the age of time), in itself also has two meanings. I will be fairly brief, and you can figure the rest out for yourself. Yes, it means at the time when Jesus returns, but not everybody is going to live until Jesus returns, (approximately 2,000 years from the time Jesus was born) - so the 'end of the age of time,' - for most of us, this means the time of harvest, or, at the time of death - the evil spirits, (or, the tares - which do the works of the flesh,) will be gathered and burned and the good spirits, (or, the wheat - which have cultivated the fruits of the Spirit), will be gathered into my barn (the barn of Jesus, or a place of safe keeping.) - Matt.13:30.

Let me try to explain here, that when we die, or expire, our spirit returns to God and it waits until God tells Jesus to return to earth to rule and reign for a thousand years. You do not become an angel when you die. If you believe this, then you must not believe in the resurrection. Think about this for a minute, you are born as a human, when you die you cannot become an angel and then when Jesus returns to earth, switch back to being a human at the time of the resurrection. (See the story of the Dry Bones, or the Valley of Dry Bone in Ezekiel 37, also see, Where Are Heaven and Hell.) And God is not going to allow any evil spirits in the waiting place, or the place of safe keeping - the angels reap the evil spirits at the end of the age of time, or at the time of death. When Jesus Christ returns to earth to rule and reign for a thousand years, most of us will be back on earth learning the ways of the Lord - keeping the commandments, all of them, and doing the fruit of the Spirit - See - Ten Commandments; Parable of the Fruit-Tree of Life; Commandment To Work.

However, I have no biblical proof (other than the scripture provided below,) that the theory the "end of the age of time," above is correct, but it may have some merit. Read - I Thes.4:15 - For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

Read Revelation 14:15-19 for your self and note the scripture on "reap," and the one who does the reaping.

I would also like you to note, that it goes without says, that those who hear the word of God, but only stick with it for a little while, because when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, after a while they become offended, while others will become more interested in the riches of this world and the word of God is choked out of them and they become unfruitful, they do not work at ridding themselves of the works of the flesh and strive to do the fruits of the Spirit, and they do not bring anybody to God to hear his word. But those who hear the word of God and understand it, bring others to hear the word of God, some may bring many people, while others may only bring a few.- see - Matt.13:21-23 - because the birds/fowl (the spirits - good and evil) lodge in the branches (or, minds) and try to influence your daily lives. - See - Parable of the Sower for a list of the "works of the flesh" and "the fruits of the Spirit."

The Parable of the Mustard Seed is just an extended version of The Parable of the Sower, the Parable of the Seed, the Tares, as well, you must incorparate the Parable of the Tares of the Field and the Parable of the Net.

________________

* The referrence to "in your pants," above - some people are teaching that the "seed" in the Parable of the Sower is - 2) the semen virile, 2a) the product of his semen, seed, children, offspring, progeny - (all definitions are from the Strong's concordance.) And that the serpent impregnated the woman.

I know that this theory is being taught, because I have had people e-mail me and tell me I have the story of the parable of the sower incorrect and they have proceeded to tell me their theory using the definitions above.

The only thing the serpent/Satan did was to impregnate or poison the woman's mind - that is, the serpent/Satan deceived, or lied to the woman regarding eating of the tree of good and evil. This is the spiritual part of the story. It tells us in John 8:44 ...the devil was a murderer from the beginning, and he abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he (the serpent/Satan/the devil) speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

The Bible plainly tells us in Gen.4:1-2, who was responsible for the conception of Eve and who the father of Cain and Able are - it was Adam. This is the reality part of the story.

In order for the "seed" to be used as in definition 2) and 2a) above, God, or the Holy Spirit would have to impregnate the people (the women) himself, and the only one that I am aware of in which the Holy Spirit has done this is with Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. So using these definitions (2 and 2a) above) and this theory, we can then know that this is not the "seed" of God, because God or the Holy Spirit, has not impregnated the women himself.

However, in the spiritual story the definition that should be used is - 2c1) of divine energy of the Holy Spirit operating within the soul by which we are regenerated. Why? Because God is spirit, John 4:24, and the "seed" is the word of God - Luke 8:11 - it is the word of God which is being sown or planted into your body (or more specifically, your mind), *it is not the act of producing offspring, that is the seed - because that type of seed, cannot be the word of God story line. The word "seed" is an identifying word - use your discretion and apply the correct definition to the scripture you are reading.

Since there is a good story, vs. an evil story, they would be - if the "seed" is the word of God, which is the 'good story;' - then the 'evil story' would be the one Satan has been telling us right from the time of Adam and the woman (Eve) when Satan deceived the woman and told her that she would certainly not die if she partook of the fruit of good and evil, which God clearly commanded Adam and the woman not to eat, in fact, they were not even to touch at it. - Gen.3:3

But what is "it." Well that is another story that I hope to be able to write for you one day.

Now if you read on, you will notice that the serpent (Satan) beguiled Eve (the woman) and both Adam and Eve partook of the fruit which God commanded them to not even touch, and God was very angry with them and removed Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden. Of course, Eve conceived because the serpent deceived her and Adam and they partook of the forbidden fruit. So this is clearly, not the "good seed," is it - because it is based on a lie and a deception, and we know this was bad, because of what God does and says to all the parties concerned, Adam, Eve and the serpent (Satan). Both Adam and the woman (Eve) were removed from the garden of Eden because they disobeyed God's instruction, and followed their own thing - they partook of the forbidden fruit, or the way of the "works of the flesh," but, they did repent. Please read the complete story for yourselves in Genesis, chapter 3. Satan was also removed from the garden of Eden and has not repented, and has been deceiving the people since the beginning of time. Satan/the serpent/devil/Lucifer, thinks the is going to ascend into heaven exalth his throne above the stars of God and be like the most High - Isaiah 14:12-14 (You may find additional information, or help in the document, Mark of the Beast--666)

In Gen.4:1-2, we see clearly who the father of Cain and Abel are, let us take a look - (1) And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. (2) And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

You will also have to know and understand, where the "spiritual" garden of Eden is, a story I hope to be able to write one day, so you will be able to understand this as well.

REMEMBER: - God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

PLEASE NOTE : There is indeed, a story line for "seed - as the offspring," (eg., the offspring of Abraham, Noah or Jacob, there is even the offspring of the giants), but they are an entirely different story lines. Please do not confuse the story lines or use the wrong definition when you are reading. You can read a document regarding the giants, at the following website - www3.sympatico.ca/bibleprophecy/giants.htm - entitled, "The Giants and the Sons of God"


NOTE: Providing that the definitions in the Strong's concordance are correct, I have given you the best interpretation that I can at this time.


Parable of the Kingdom and Sower Scripture Definitions
Parable of the Kingdom and Sower
The Grass, The Branch(es) and The Vine
Parable of the Fruit - Tree of Life
The True Vine
Parable of Brethren With Jesus Christ
Commandment to Work
The Foundations of Heaven and Earth
Parable of Tares of the Field
Iniquity and Vanity
Furnace of Fire/Lake of Fire and Brimstone
Love Every Body With Righteousness
Ten Commandments
Judgment of the Nations
Mark of the Beast--666
Where Are Heaven and Hell
Parable of The Kingdom of Heaven


This document is meant to help you understand your Bible more easily, however, it may not give you all the answers, you will need to study your Bible as well as read other documents, but let no one deceive you, prove all things; hold fast that which is good, because, ultimately, you, are responsible for your own salvation.


Let us end this Bible study with a prayer - O God thy heavenly Father, please help me to be a better person each day, to follow the commandments and the fruits of the Spirit, help me to strive each day to be more in thy presence, in Jesus name I ask. Amen.


INDEX


The Lord's Words,
Verses and Parables Explained
http://www3.sympatico.ca/lords.word
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Created: Tuesday, December 28, 1999
Last updated: Sunday, May 04, 2003




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