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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 1: Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:55 am
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Did apostles think they were writing the 'word of God'?

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I'm sure this has been done many times, but I haven't seen one in my last month or two here so having just written some comments on it I figure I'll open a new thread too.

Please note that this thread is about the opinions of the earliest Christians and authors of the Tanakh; to discuss how they viewed their evolving religion, not to attack Christianity - there's plenty of other threads for that.


    Hi Roger and welcome to the forum Smile There's no particular orientation to the forum as a whole - we've got folk from all sorts of Christian denominations as well as from non-Christian religions, non-religious theists, atheists, ignostics, agnostics, agnomists and probably everything else in between. I myself haven't been a Christian since more than thirteen years ago, but I think it's more educational, enjoyable and constructive to look for ways in which traditional religious beliefs might be tweaked into more modern, rational understandings; rather than just crudely and (in the case of this thread) rudely bashing on traditional beliefs using an equally fundamentalist mindset.

    On your point specifically, many Christians don't share the idea that the bible is a perfect Word of God - Jesus is the Word of God, after all - and in fact that doctrine is seemingly contradicted by the bible itself as merely a relic of the old covenant, when God's people did not want his direct spiritual guidance. And even from that old covenant perspective, there's a pretty stern warning in Deuteronomy against considering things to be the word of God when they are not spoken in his name (as most of the bible is not) or are seen to be untrue (which some such as these gospel contradictions obviously must be):
      Deuteronomy 18:15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. 16 This is according to all that you asked of the Lord your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’ 17 The Lord said to me, ‘They have spoken well. 18 I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him. 20 But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ 21 You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ 22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

      Jeremiah 31:31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

      2 Corinthians 3:1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you? 2 You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3 being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 4 Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, 6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7 But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?


    Since the doctrine of biblical inerrancy also leads to all kinds of irrational attempts to justify contradictions and oppressive teachings found in some parts of the bible, I'm more than happy to promote a more accurate view of the 'new covenant' as a much better alternative Smile

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 2: Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:40 am
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rogerg wrote:

Hi Mithrae

Thank you for the welcome. I'm hoping that with your permission we can have an ongoing dialog regarding things spiritual from time to time. However I can be kind of dense so please bear with me but I'll do my best not to be too burdensome. Anyway, in reviewing your reply I was unable to find a problem with the verses included so I've probably missed your specific point. Are you using them in some manner as validation that the biblical writers (whom most Bible believing Christians consider to be prophets) lied and/or prophesized falsely? At your convenience if you would be so kind, please illuminate further.
Thank you
Roger


For one example, all four gospels give different accounts regarding the angels at the tomb of Jesus:
- Matthew has one angel descending outside the tomb
- Mark has one "young man" waiting inside the tomb
- Luke has two men in dazzling clothes suddenly appear inside the tomb
- John has two angels meet Mary Magdalene alone, after they'd told the disciples and Peter and John had seen the tomb

The authors don't claim to be prophecying and they may not have been deliberately dishonest, but it's obvious that at least three of the accounts are inaccurate in those details. Deuteronomy suggests that if something is not spoken "in the name of the Lord" or is not true, it is not the word of God: These gospel accounts miss both of those criteria. So why do Christians call them the word of God? The authors were not false prophets, just fallible human beings trying to tell a story they considered critically important. But people who declare those stories to be the word of God when they obviously are not, well, that does seem to be false prophecy.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 3: Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:26 am
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Composed AFTER the letters of Paul, Mark and Matthew were INTENDED as symbolic fiction, being written in a symbolic ring structure like this:

A B C D D C B A

Watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2e7uhaed594&t=1367

Only with Luke-Acts did Christians start to view the four Gospels literally.

The sayings of Jesus in the Gospels are things Paul originally said. See Nikolaus Walter's ‘Paul and the Early Christian Jesus-Tradition’.

The events in Mark and Matthew are based on the Old Testament, directly borrowing its language:

The Donkey(s) - Jesus riding on a donkey is from Zechariah 9.

Mark has Jesus sit on a young donkey that he had his disciples fetch for him (Mark 11.1-10).

Matthew changes the story so the disciples instead fetch TWO donkeys, not only the young donkey of Mark but also his mother. Jesus rides into Jerusalem on both donkeys at the same time (Matthew 21.1-9). Matthew wanted the story to better match the literal reading of Zechariah 9.9. Matthew even actually quotes part of Zech. 9.9.

The Sermon on the Mount - The Sermon of the Mount relies extensively on the Greek text of Deuteronomy and Leviticus especially, and in key places on other texts. For example, the section on turning the other cheek and other aspects of legal pacifism (Mt. 5.38-42) has been redacted from the Greek text of Isa. 50.6-9.

The clearing of the temple - The cleansing of the temple as a fictional scene has its primary inspiration from an ancient faulty translation of Zech. 14.21 which changed 'Canaanites' to 'traders'.

When Jesus clears the temple he quotes Jer. 7.11 (in Mk 11.17). Jeremiah and Jesus both enter the temple (Jer. 7.1-2; Mk 11.15), make the same accusation against the corruption of the temple cult (Jeremiah quoting a revelation from the Lord, Jesus quoting Jeremiah), and predict the destruction of the temple (Jer. 7.12-14; Mk 14.57-58; 15.29).

The Resurrection - Jesus was known as the ‘firstfruits’ of the resurrection that would occur to all believers (1 Cor. 15.20-23). The Torah commands that the Day of Firstfruits take place the day after the first Sabbath following the Passover (Lev. 23.5, 10-11). In other words, on a Sunday. Mark has Jesus rise on Sunday, the firstftuits of the resurrected, symbolically on the very Day of Firstfruits itself.

Barabbas - This is the Yom Kippur ceremony of Leviticus 16 and Mishnah tractate Yoma: two ‘identical’ goats were chosen each year, and one was released into the wild containing the sins of Israel (which was eventually killed by being pushed over a cliff), while the other’s blood was shed to atone for those sins. Barabbas means ‘Son of the Father’ in Aramaic, and we know Jesus was deliberately styled the ‘Son of the Father’ himself. So we have two sons of the father; one is released into the wild mob containing the sins of Israel (murder and rebellion), while the other is sacrificed so his blood may atone for the sins of Israel—the one who is released bears those sins literally; the other, figuratively. Adding weight to this conclusion is manuscript evidence that the story originally had the name ‘Jesus Barabbas’. Thus we really had two men called ‘Jesus Son of the Father’.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 4: Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:36 pm
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Mithrae wrote:

rogerg wrote:

Hi Mithrae

Thank you for the welcome. I'm hoping that with your permission we can have an ongoing dialog regarding things spiritual from time to time. However I can be kind of dense so please bear with me but I'll do my best not to be too burdensome. Anyway, in reviewing your reply I was unable to find a problem with the verses included so I've probably missed your specific point. Are you using them in some manner as validation that the biblical writers (whom most Bible believing Christians consider to be prophets) lied and/or prophesized falsely? At your convenience if you would be so kind, please illuminate further.
Thank you
Roger


For one example, all four gospels give different accounts regarding the angels at the tomb of Jesus:
- Matthew has one angel descending outside the tomb
- Mark has one "young man" waiting inside the tomb
- Luke has two men in dazzling clothes suddenly appear inside the tomb
- John has two angels meet Mary Magdalene alone, after they'd told the disciples and Peter and John had seen the tomb

The authors don't claim to be prophecying and they may not have been deliberately dishonest, but it's obvious that at least three of the accounts are inaccurate in those details. Deuteronomy suggests that if something is not spoken "in the name of the Lord" or is not true, it is not the word of God: These gospel accounts miss both of those criteria. So why do Christians call them the word of God? The authors were not false prophets, just fallible human beings trying to tell a story they considered critically important. But people who declare those stories to be the word of God when they obviously are not, well, that does seem to be false prophecy.

Please keep in mind that God purposely wrote the Bible NOT to be easily understood. Please observe:

Proverbs 25:2
It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.
By "kings" God is symbolically referring to the elect-- kings spiritually that is.

Romans 11:8
(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.

Anyway, with this in mind, we have to be ready and willing to use every logical deductive device at our disposal on multiple levels. If we choose to be too casual about our biblical interpretations, we will never find the spiritual truth it offers.

In regards to the verses you've sited above, what may not be obvious and which God did not directly address in them, is the timing of those events. It is within our human nature that when reading them to assume that one occurs immediately after, or in close proximity to, the next. This assumption may not necessarily be correct-- in other words, what isn't specifically said (or has been left out) can be as, or more important than, what is said. And along those lines, because a verse may only reference one "man" or an "angel" (and btw, those terms also have symbolic application in the Bible), that doesn't preclude the possibility that a second man or angel might also have been present - again what isn't stated is very important too.

The following examples may not be the best but you should be able to get the idea from them:

Mark 16:3 & 4
And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?
And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.

Luke 24:2
And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulcher

From Mark 16:3 & 4 one might conclude that while Mary and Mary were at the tomb the stone was rolled back because the verses on their own do not address the timing of the events. However in Luke 24:2 we can see that it is possible the stone was rolled back prior to their arrival.

God often purposefully chooses not to completely reveal all aspects of an event in the writings of any one of His scribes, but sprinkles it across the writings of several. This is the mistake many people make when trying to interpret something - they expect A to be a mirror of B, but that's just not how God wrote the Bible. Luckily for us, God is responsible for it and made sure it was written as one completely integrated book. We can therefore have full faith and confidence and probe it with the highest level of scrutiny possible.

I guess to summarize, if one believes the Bible to be the one and only inspired word of God, one would be willing, even eager, to scrape, pull, tear, bite - whatever is needed, to get to its eternal truth.
Hope this makes sense.

Regards
Roger

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 5: Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:53 pm
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rogerg wrote:

I guess to summarize, if one believes the Bible to be the one and only inspired word of God, one would be willing, even eager, to scrape, pull, tear, bite - whatever is needed, to get to its eternal truth.
Hope this makes sense.

Regards
Roger


It makes sense, of a sort - I heard the same argument from my grandfather back in the day. Back when I was still a Christian, in fact. But as I pointed out to him, if a prophet had told David that he would have victory over the Philistines and he'd ended up being defeated, do you really think that David would "be willing, even eager, to scrape, pull, tear, bite - whatever is needed" to pretend that it was accurate? Would he sit around saying that maybe it referred to a victory on some future occasion, or maybe it meant a 'spiritual' victory?

Of course not. If the information is false, it is not the 'word of the Lord.' That is stated plainly and unequivocally in Deuteronomy.

And if it is the word of the Lord, it should be spoken in the name of the Lord. Again, plainly stated.

I'm pretty sure the writers of the gospel never declare "This is the word of the Lord." Nor does Paul - except a few specific points in 1 Cor. 7, 11 and maybe 15; and the fact that he does make that distinction a few times suggests that the rest of the time he was writing his own words - nor does anything else in the New Testament if memory serves except the book of Revelation. So why would you even start to believe those books to be "the one and only inspired word of God," when they don't claim to be?

And even if they did claim to be, the presence of obviously false information would show that they are not. There's no way to reconcile the angels at the tomb; it's not just that some gospels "didn't mention" the second angel, they all have the angels appearing at different times or manners or places. And this isn't a trivial detail, it's their record of the most important event in the whole bible! Even if they claimed to be writing the word of God (which they didn't), if that were so the resurrection story above all would have been free from error. Whether or not the core information is true, at least three of the gospels have got some of the details wrong, and therefore according to Deuteronomy are not the word of God. And they don't even claim to be.

So declaring that they are the word of God is essentially false prophecy. Human error is understandable, excusable - even expected. But declaring that those errors were God's...?


And more broadly (and perhaps theologically more important), when it comes to the New Testament especially the notion that God was still communicating primarily through writing violates the whole concept of the new covenant itself - that it would be a covenant of the Spirit which brings life, not the letter which kills (Jer. 31:31-34, 2 Cor. 3:1-7, 1 John 2:27 etc.).

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 6: Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:44 am
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[Replying to post 5 by Mithrae]

And if it is the word of the Lord, it should be spoken in the name of the Lord. Again, plainly stated.

Are you referring to Deut 18:15 - 22 in the above (told you I could be dense) ? Anyway I didn't find anywhere where God sets-forth a requirement that the prophet must verbally make the statement that the prophet is speaking in the name of the Lord before his pronouncement-- I might easily have missed it though but 18:21 & 22 and the others you reference don't look like it to me. It seems only to require that that which is prophesized must come to pass to show it has come from God. If you would, please send me the specific verse(s) so we can both have the same ones view to avoid confusion -- appreciate it. I'll try to address your other points later.

Thanks
Roger

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 7: Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:30 am
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[Replying to post 6 by rogerg]

Hi Roger, I've highlighted the relevant phrases below:
    Deuteronomy 18:15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. 16 This is according to all that you asked of the Lord your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’ 17 The Lord said to me, ‘They have spoken well. 18 I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him. 20 But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ 21 You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ 22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.


It's worth noting that this clearly-stated biblical criterion aligns with common sense also: Even in secular contexts, if I were relaying the words of Carl Sagan for example but not telling anyone that's where I got them, it would be not only dishonest and immoral, but potentially illegal too. How much moreso for any person who fails to mention if their words were from God himself!

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 8: Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:15 am
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Mithrae wrote:

rogerg wrote:

Hi Mithrae

Thank you for the welcome. I'm hoping that with your permission we can have an ongoing dialog regarding things spiritual from time to time. However I can be kind of dense so please bear with me but I'll do my best not to be too burdensome. Anyway, in reviewing your reply I was unable to find a problem with the verses included so I've probably missed your specific point. Are you using them in some manner as validation that the biblical writers (whom most Bible believing Christians consider to be prophets) lied and/or prophesized falsely? At your convenience if you would be so kind, please illuminate further.
Thank you
Roger


For one example, all four gospels give different accounts regarding the angels at the tomb of Jesus:
- Matthew has one angel descending outside the tomb
- Mark has one "young man" waiting inside the tomb
- Luke has two men in dazzling clothes suddenly appear inside the tomb
- John has two angels meet Mary Magdalene alone, after they'd told the disciples and Peter and John had seen the tomb

The authors don't claim to be prophecying and they may not have been deliberately dishonest, but it's obvious that at least three of the accounts are inaccurate in those details. Deuteronomy suggests that if something is not spoken "in the name of the Lord" or is not true, it is not the word of God: These gospel accounts miss both of those criteria. So why do Christians call them the word of God? The authors were not false prophets, just fallible human beings trying to tell a story they considered critically important. But people who declare those stories to be the word of God when they obviously are not, well, that does seem to be false prophecy.

Quote:
Deuteronomy suggests that if something is not spoken "in the name of the Lord" or is not true, it is not the word of God


Does one refer to?

Deuteronomy 18:22
22"When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.
http://biblehub.com/deuteronomy/18-22.htm

What if the thing spoken is about the past?
Regards

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 9: Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:07 pm
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Mithrae wrote:

[Replying to post 6 by rogerg]

Hi Roger, I've highlighted the relevant phrases below:
    Deuteronomy 18:15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. 16 This is according to all that you asked of the Lord your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’ 17 The Lord said to me, ‘They have spoken well. 18 I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him. 20 But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ 21 You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ 22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.


It's worth noting that this clearly-stated biblical criterion aligns with common sense also: Even in secular contexts, if I were relaying the words of Carl Sagan for example but not telling anyone that's where I got them, it would be not only dishonest and immoral, but potentially illegal too. How much moreso for any person who fails to mention if their words were from God himself!


Hi Mithrael

First, generally speaking as far as the New Testament is concerned, I understand it to be the fulfillment of prophecy, not the stating of the prophecy - it is fulfillment of prophecy made in the Old Testament.
Second, there was no general commandment given by God to His prophets
to state "This is the word of the Lord" to validate what they prophesized would come to pass (however, the NT is the fulfillment, not the prophecy). That it came to pass in the NT was the only possible validation of OT prophecy, and one might also say, visa versa.
Sorry don't have time to address the other points of your post right now but will asap.

Regards
Roger

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 10: Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:14 pm
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paarsurrey1 wrote:

Mithrae wrote:

rogerg wrote:

Hi Mithrae

Thank you for the welcome. I'm hoping that with your permission we can have an ongoing dialog regarding things spiritual from time to time. However I can be kind of dense so please bear with me but I'll do my best not to be too burdensome. Anyway, in reviewing your reply I was unable to find a problem with the verses included so I've probably missed your specific point. Are you using them in some manner as validation that the biblical writers (whom most Bible believing Christians consider to be prophets) lied and/or prophesized falsely? At your convenience if you would be so kind, please illuminate further.
Thank you
Roger


For one example, all four gospels give different accounts regarding the angels at the tomb of Jesus:
- Matthew has one angel descending outside the tomb
- Mark has one "young man" waiting inside the tomb
- Luke has two men in dazzling clothes suddenly appear inside the tomb
- John has two angels meet Mary Magdalene alone, after they'd told the disciples and Peter and John had seen the tomb

The authors don't claim to be prophecying and they may not have been deliberately dishonest, but it's obvious that at least three of the accounts are inaccurate in those details. Deuteronomy suggests that if something is not spoken "in the name of the Lord" or is not true, it is not the word of God: These gospel accounts miss both of those criteria. So why do Christians call them the word of God? The authors were not false prophets, just fallible human beings trying to tell a story they considered critically important. But people who declare those stories to be the word of God when they obviously are not, well, that does seem to be false prophecy.

Quote:
Deuteronomy suggests that if something is not spoken "in the name of the Lord" or is not true, it is not the word of God


Does one refer to?

Deuteronomy 18:22
22"When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.
http://biblehub.com/deuteronomy/18-22.htm

What if the thing spoken is about the past?
Regards


Paarsurrey1 I don't quite understand your question - sorry. Please clarify

Regards
Roger

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