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The Six Raptures of Scripture

The Six Raptures of Scripture

There are many who would deny the doctrine of the rapture suggesting that it is a recent doctrine introduced by Darby.Rapture of Church However, the certainty of the rapture from Scripture is well established. In fact, there are six raptures spoken of in Scripture…the one that we are waiting for right now is simply the fifth out of six. The six are:

  1. Enoch
  2. Elijah
  3. Jesus
  4. Philip
  5. Us/Believers in Christ
  6. The Two Witnesses

The first one was Enoch was walked with God, who was not and was then taken by the Lord. The Hebrew word lakakh is the equivalent of the Greek harpadzo. We then see that Elijah was taken up to heaven in a flaming chariot. “Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire [appeared] with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” (2 Kings 2:11) Next we learn from Revelation 12:5 that Jesus was taken up to God. “She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne,” (Revelation 12:5).  The word for caught up is the same word (harpadzo) that we find in the classic rapture passage of I Thessalonians 4:17 “Then we who are alive [and] remain shall be caught up [harpadzo] together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). What we learn is that the event in I Thessalonian, will be of a like nature to what happened in Revelation 12. We know what Jesus’ “rapture” looked like thanks to the detailed description in Acts 1:9-11.

Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their

Jesus’ Ascention and Rapture

sight.  And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel,  who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This [same] Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)

Thus, we see that when Jesus was caught up He was bodily and visibly taken up. It was not some allegorical event but it was very real.

The next rapture we learn about is when Philip was caught up after speaking with the eunuch.”Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.” (Acts 8:39)

The next rapture will be when the two witnesses are taken up during the tribulation in Revelation 11.

Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. (Revelation 11:11)
And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. (Revelation 11:12)

Finally, the rapture where believers will be taken up is found in I Thess 4:17 (see above).  The timing of that rapture is hotly disputed and this brief article is not the place to address it.

There really shouldn’t be any question about the rapture. Scripture is replete with passages that speak about it. It will be literal, bodily, and visible when it comes. We don’t know the day or the hour, but we do know that it is coming soon.

About Douglas

33 comments

  1. I don’t remember much of rneleatiovs, would any Jew be raptured? If anything we would need to pray not to be hit by falling planes whose pilots were called up’

  2. And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, Matthew 27:52

    What about this one?

  3. Tony Stormcloud

    What about John? Wasn’t he raptured in Revelation 4?

  4. The term “rapture” is more commonly used than harpazo and is not found in the Bible. While you will not find that exact word through a word search, the meaning of the words that are written remains the same and conveys the same idea. The term “rapture” comes from the Latin verb rapiemur which means “to seize, snatch, carry away.” This is the same meaning behind the Greek word that is found in the Bible, harpazo. It is found in the following scripture, which is the “harpazo” passage.
    1 Thessalonians 4:15-18For 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. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up [G726 harpazo] together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

  5. I have a few points about a rapture.

    First, if, as you say 6 or 7 have already taken place, then Christ is not our Savior, Christ stated He is the first born, If six or seven have “gone to heaven” then Christ lied.

    Another problem, to be in the third heaven one must be Spirit, which would mean that a resurrection took place. I have no understanding why God would need to take Spirit to the third heaven for protection from a physical wrath of God. A Spirit can stand in the middle of a thermonuclear blast and it can not touch them. They need no protection.

    One more, God promised His Saints the earth not heaven. Not one verse on “going to heaven” in the whole Bible.

    There are three Resurrections

    First is to Life,                This is the First Resurrection which is the Firstfruits
                                         and is to spirit

    Second is to judgement, This is everyone that has not had a chance for salvation.
                                        The abortions and babies, the 75% of the world that are not
                                        even nominal christians, Those that all died at Noah’s flood.
                                        This is to physical life for 100 years.

    The Third is to Damnation  This is the lake of fire and the 2nd death,
                                           this is to physical life then final eternal death

  6. Hi Doug, was fascinated and riveted listening on c2c until I heard you ways you dont believe in life on other planets. Then you lost all credibility.

    • Hi Don,
      I tuned in late to C@C, so didn’t hear Pastor Doug’s comments on life on other planets.  However, I agree with him.  A big story, but here I’ll just touch on the laws of probability.  I may be off a few zeros, as this is from memory:

      Carl Sagan estimated that the chances of life forming by chance anywhere in the universe as 1 in 10^ 5 billion.  That’s the number 1 followed by 5 billion zeros.

      Dr Salisbury of the Atomic Energy Commission tackled this problem, of just ONE DNA molecule that would be necessary for life that’s already started.  Not fully formed, intelligent life, but just a ‘glimmer’ of life.  He assumed the entire universe as the playing field, with four billion years, and every possible chances.  The chances are 1 in 10^450.  He asked other questions, and no scientist has been able (or not wishing too) to comment on what these numbers mean.

      Salisbury also stated that if the universe were somehow packed with earth-type planets, with all necessary conditions condusive to life, the chances are still 1 in 10^377.

      How big are these numbers?   The estimated number of molecules in the universe is 10^80.
      If I remember, it’s said that the universe could be packed side by side with earth size planets and the number of planets would be around 10^77.

      Emile Borel, math proability specialist said that any event of 1 chance in 10^50 or over will never occur, not matter if all the time, perfect conditions are assumed.

      And so, the question of life on other planets:  practically speaking, would I bet my life on it?  I would not.  I would not bet my life on 1 chance in 5, let alone 1 chance in 10^30!  And yet this is what bet is ‘on the table.’    Who do you bet on?  The accident theories of Darwin?  Or Jesus?

      Jesus stated 1/ He is God 2/  The Old Testarment is true.  Ie, Genesis is true history.  There is nothing there of life on other planets.

      Yes, credible witnesses have observed and even inter-acted with UFOs.  But look at what the UFOs teach:   that Jesus is not the one true God.  He is just a space brother, or just another
      ‘ascended master’….  that there is no need for Jesus’ sacrifice, no need for Heaven or Hell.  In other words, we can determine that the UFOs teach the same line as Satan.  So it is highly probable to guestimate  UFOs are demonic.    They can accomplish ‘lying signs and wonders ….. and deceive even the very elect ….’

      Taking a brief on UFOs…. note that in the past they claimed to be from Venus, or Mars, etc.  But when earth began exploring these planets, the UFO stories began to change.  Now they are from some far far away galaxy.   Their stories always change. 

      Satan wants us to place our ultimate bets on him.  He gives us gazillion to one odds that he is lying, and we can see this just from Vegas odds.    Jesus backs His claims up with fulfilling incredible prophecies written hundreds, thousands of years prior.  And when an honest critic looks at these prophecies, not to mention all the proofs of the Bible, that critic becomes a Christian.
      Look at Lawrence Luckhoo, Guiness Book top lawyer.  Simon Greenleaf, who wrote the legal profession’s ‘bible of evidence’….. he wanted to disprove Jesus’ Resurrection.  But after examing the evidence, he became a Christian, stating that the proofs were of the very highest order :  the most credible witnesses, the most honest historical documents, insurmountable circumstantial evidence (such as what happen to the apostles, who were frightened men prior to Christ’s crucifixion, and then just a few weeks later Peter is witnessing in Jerusalem, that he was Jesus alive.  This in the city where He was tortured and killed!  What made Peter take that chance?
      what explained the fact of Christians standing up the the might of the Roman Empire, giving their lives? 

      The evidence points to that God made Earth His special place.  Evidence does not support life on other planets.  After all these years, SETI etc. receives only static.   Yes, it’s possible that Satan can orchestrate a false messiah from the stars:  “I will save you!”   It’s possible he will claime that he and his race created life.  As Pastor Doug writes, in other words he will claim to be God.

      Looking out at UFOs and paying inordinate attention to their teachings turn away our focus from Jesus.  And Jesus is where the answer is to :  Is there life on other planets?   Why waste time on speculation, when the teaching of reality is already here?  Why wait for some ‘space brother’ or ‘super master’ to appear, when the Master has already appeared, and given His Living Super Book — the only book that passes all acid tests, unlike all other theories.

  7. [Howdy, Douglas. Here’s something I ran across on the net.]

    PRETRIB rapture SECRETS

        How can the “rapture” be “imminent”?
    Acts 3:21 says that Jesus
    “must” stay in heaven (He’s now at the Father’s “right hand,” Acts 2:34)
    “until the
    times of restitution of all things” which includes, says Scofield, “the
    restoration of the theocracy under David’s Son” which obviously can’t
    begin before or during Antichrist’s reign. (“The Rapture Question,” by
    long time No. 1 pretrib authority John Walvoord, didn’t dare to even
    list, in its scripture index, these too-hot-to-handle verses!) Since
    Jesus can’t even leave heaven before
    the tribulation ends, which is also when His foes are finally put down
    (made His “footstool,” Acts 2:35), the rapture therefore can’t take
    place before
    the end of the trib! (The same Acts verses were also too hot for John
    Darby – the so-called “father of dispensationalism” – to list in the
    scripture index in his “Letters” which covers Acts 2 and 3 much more
    comprehensively than Walvoord’s!)      
        Paul explains the “times
    and the seasons” (I
    Thess. 5:1) of the catching up (I Thess. 4:17) as the “day of the Lord”
    (5:2) which FOLLOWS the posttrib sun/moon darkening (Matt. 24:29;
    Acts 2:20) WHEN “sudden destruction” (5:3) of the wicked occurs! The
    “rest” for “all them that believe” is also tied to such destruction in
    II Thess. 1:6-10! (If
    the wicked are destroyed before or during the trib, who’d be left
    alive to serve the Antichrist?) Paul also ties the
    change-into-immortality “rapture” (I Cor. 15:52) to the posttrib end of
    “death” (15:54). (Will death be ended before or during the trib? Of
    course not! And vs. 54 is also tied to Isa. 25:8 which is Israel’s
    posttrib resurrection!)
       Many are unaware that before
    1830 all Christians had always viewed I Thess. 4’s “catching up” as an
    integral part of the final second coming to earth. In 1830 this “rapture” was
    stretched forward and turned into a separate coming of Christ. To
    further strengthen their novel view, which the mass of evangelical
    scholars rejected throughout the 1800s, pretrib teachers in the early
    1900s began to stretch forward the “day of the Lord” (what Darby and
    Scofield never dared to do) and hook it up with their
    already-stretched-forward “rapture.” Many leading evangelical scholars
    still weren’t convinced of pretrib, so some pretrib teachers then began
    teaching that the “falling away” of II Thess. 2:3 is really a pretrib
    rapture (the same as saying that the “rapture” in 2:3 must happen
    before the “rapture” [“gathering”] in 2:1 can happen – the height of
    desperation!).
       Here are some Google articles on the 182-year-old
    pretrib rapture view: “Pretrib Rapture Politics,” “Pretrib Rapture
    Scholar Wannabes,” “Famous
    Rapture Watchers,” “Pretrib Rapture Diehards,” “X-Raying Margaret,”
    “Edward Irving is Unnerving,” “Thomas Ice (Bloopers),” “Walvoord Melts
    Ice,” “Wily Jeffrey,” “The Rapture Index
    (Mad Theology),” “America’s Pretrib Rapture Traffickers,” “Roots of
    (Warlike) Christian Zionism,” “Scholars Weigh My Research,” “Pretrib
    Hypocrisy,” “Thieves’ Marketing,” “Appendix F: Thou Shalt Not Steal,”
    “Pretrib Rapture Secrecy,” “Deceiving and Being
    Deceived,” and “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty” – all by the author of the
    extremely accurate and highly endorsed book “The Rapture
    Plot” (see Armageddon Books).

  8. http://lds.org/hf/art/display/1,16842,4218-1-2-81,00.html  This is the URL to the Second Coming that you’ve use…beautiful picture, isn’t it!

  9. Interesting that the picture used to depict the second coming of Christ is from the LDS (Mormon) church.  Then again, non-LDS churches use a lot of Mormon writings, stories and pictures but simply “adapt” them or write “author unknown”.

  10. Hey Doug- I was searching your site to see if you had a detailed commentary on Matthew 24. I was listening to David Guzik sermon on this as well as his commentary from Blueletterbible. He supports two 2nd comings that explains why “no one knows the day and the hour” and yet we are told by Daniel that after the Abomination of Desolation we have 1,290 days for the Lord’s return.  If you have time could you please comment or direct me to the best teacher on the rapture. Thanks.  BTW, the commentary is at http://www.blueletterbible.org/commentaries/comm_view.cfm?AuthorID=2&contentID=7889&commInfo=31&topic=Matthew&ar=Mat_24_36

  11. Folks do what you will, I will wait for the return of Jesus as he establishes his 1000 year kingdom.  I’ll be working in the field until like everybody else Jesus takes us out of these bags of bones, and we return to our incorruptable body. Since I’ll be in my spiritual body anyway and Jesus will be returned, I will be heading to the nearest recruiting angel to serve as Jesus’ servant in the last fight. Of course the Angels won’t need me, but maybe I’ll get lucky and be assigned a duty in the world to come.

  12. I’ve studied this topic a lot over the years. I have come to the conclusion that 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18, 1st Corinthians 15:51-52, Revelation 14:14-16 are all speaking of the same event; the resurrection of the redeemed. (Living & dead in Christ) This is in agreement with John 6:44 and John 11:24 concerning the “last day.” Revelation 10:5-7 shows us the seventh angel which is about to sound. When he sounds time shall be no more in the sense that we have known it. The door of grace closes here and the opportunity for salvation ends. Revelation 11:15 says the seventh angel sounds and the third woe will come quickly; then the wrath of God falls on the unbelieving world which has received the mark of the beast.

    These events occur around the middle of the tribulation. (42 months / 3.5 years) Therefore, I believe the pre-trib rapture is incorrect. The saved will endure tribulation but NOT the wrath of God which is poured out in the 7 vials.

    If you study Daniel 12 there is interesting information there that helps with the time line of events. Realizing we are talking about the 70th week of Daniel, meaning the final 7 years of time; we read that Daniel desired to know the meaning of all he had been shown but the Lord told him he would not understand but at the end of time the wise would understand. Verse 11 or chapter 12 says; “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination of desolation set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” Therefore we have to understand a starting point for the 1,290 days. It seems the trigger to start this timing would be the signing of the peace treaty with Israel and the anti-christ. Verse 12 says; “Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.” (1,335 days) There is a 45 day difference here between the abomination of desolation and this “blessed day.” Why did the Lord say this was a blessed day? It’s my conviction that this blessed day is the fulfillment of the promise of 1stThessalonians 4:13-18, 1st Corinthians 15:51-52, Revelation 14:14-16. I believe it will happen close to the resurrection of the two witnesses that are killed and lie for 3.5 days in the streets of Jerusalem.

    Conclusion: Thessalonians 4:13-18, 1st Corinthians 15:51-52, Revelation 14:14-16 is the first resurrection. Revelaton 20:6 “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection.” Revelation 19:9 “Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” (Daniel 12:12 “Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.”)

    Take note that Revelation 14:14-16 is a picture of Jesus stepping out on the cloud (And remaining there.) to reap the earth for the harvest is ripe. The saved go up to meet Him in the air and He stays there. When I read discussions about the so called “rapture” this scripture from Revelation 14 is never mentioned…..

  13. It is significant that although you use glib phrases like “There really
    shouldn’t be any question about the rapture. Scripture is replete with
    passages that speak about it.”, you do not cite even one passage which
    actually states that! I would suggest that is because you well know
    there is not a single one. The passages which you cite from I Thess and
    Rev do not state what you claim; they are allegorical. In fact not once in scripture is the word “rapture” ever used.

    Do you really believe that when the disciples asked Jesus specifically
    when these things shall be, and He chronologically listed for them what
    will happen, He would have omitted such an important occurrence as a
    secret rapture? Of course not! He did not mention one because there is
    not to be one. He stated clearly that when He returns every eye shall
    see him; it will not be secret. In John 14 He made it clear that because
    He will have prepared a place for us He will come again to receive us
    to Himself. As the angels on the mount of Olives told the disciples,
    this same Jesus would come in like manner as they had seen Him go. In
    Zechariah 14 His return is also clarified, in that when His feet touch
    the mount of Olives again it will be split in two. In Matthew 24 v 27 to
    31 Jesus describes when the elect shall be gathered – not in secret,
    but after the Tribulation. In verse 20 He tells the elect to pray that
    our flight shall not be in winter nor on the Sabbath day (that means we
    should be keeping God’s Sabbath of course). If we were not still to be
    here then He would not have commanded us to pray thus. In a significant
    number of verses in the gospels He states that the Father will give them
    He has chosen to Him at the resurrection – not via a secret
    rapture. We can thus clearly see that this is at His second advent, when
    the dead in Christ shall also be raised.

    So remove yourself from delusion and prepare for the cleansing of the
    Tribulation, as Daniel explains to be cleansed as silver and gold by
    fire. Then will come the gathering as wheat amongst the tares, not in
    any secret rapture. There is not one single passage in scripture which
    actually states that there will be a secret rapture. There are two
    advents only not three.    

  14. How about Ezekiel in Ezekiel 8? Wasn’t that a rapture

  15. Referring to the “rapture” if meaning to be “changed” there is but one event . Enoach and Elias are indeed a foreshadow of the culminating event. A much debated topic to be sure. In our “gathering together unto HIM” , the possibility remains that this is separated from the resurrection of the beveling dead , albeit it shall occur shortly thereafter if not immediately, “at the last trump”. As is well established , “the rest of the dead will rise at the Great judgment ” after the Adversary is loosed “to deceive the nations” . Then will be fulfilled the words ” oh death where is your sting oh grave where is your victory”.

  16. I have read many books expounding a pre-tribulation rapture and I totally disagree with all. There are many scriptures that can be twisted to say whatever the reader wants. It does not make it so.

    John 6:44 Jesus said, “No one can come to Me
    unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up ON THE
    LAST DAY.”John 11:24 Martha said to Him [Jesus], I know
    that he [Lazarus] will rise again in the resurrection ON THE LAST
    DAY.1 Corinthians 15:51-52: Paul said, “Behold, I
    tell you a mystery; we [Christians] WILL NOT ALL SLEEP, but we
    will all be changed [at the rapture], in a moment, in the twinkling of
    an eye, AT THE LAST TRUMPET; for the trumpet will sound, and THE DEAD
    WILL BE RAISED incorruptible, and we will ALL be changed.

    2 Peter 1:19-21  We
    have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye
    take heed, as unto a light  that shineth in a dark place, until the day
    dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:  Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.There are many others that clearly establish the gathering unto our Lord
    after the tribulation, but these will always be a point of personal
    interpretation. Even His disciples were martyred for their faith. Why should we be any different?If all those preaching rescue before turmoil are right, then we have nothing to worry about. But, what if all the pre tribbers are wrong? Will you be ready?

  17. Could the “rapture” taken up be a spiritual one not a physical one for this time/age.??

  18. Doug, 

    One week ago, I left a comment on this article in which I simply said “Amen”. Upon further reflection, I have to say I was a bit hasty. I can agree with only FOUR of the above examples, i.e., #1) Enoch #2) Elijah #3) The coming rapture of the Body of Christ/ Believers, and #4) the “two witnesses”. Actually, Phillip wasn’t “raptured” in the sense in which most believers understand the meaning of “rapture”, he was simply transported by the Holy Spirit, from point A to point B, and continued to live his life as before. And, the “Ascension of Christ” was a unique event in history -God returning to heaven from whence He came. 

    • Hi,

      I would argue that Jesus and Philip were “raptured” in the biblical sense because the word just means to be caught up. Being caught up is always a physical transportation of the body. The problem is that we have allowed our theology to define the Bible and it should always be just the opposite. Thus, there are six times in the Bible where people are caught up in one form or another. Remember, the word rapture does not exclusively mean the taking of the church of course, the word rapture is not even in most translations today. Being caught up is in the text and that happened six times (perhaps more if I happened to miss some). Blessings!

    • Hi David, my point is that we need to rethink the word rapture. It means to be translated, taken up, caught up, etc. We generally use it exclusively of when the Church is taken up but it has a wider usage which of course is how we define words. Blessings

  19. Typo…The first one was Elijah was walked with God, who was not and was then taken by the Lord….Enoch, not Elijah.

  20. The Apocalypse Of John And The rapture Of The Church: A Reevaluation
    Study By: Michael J. Svigel
    http://bible.org/article/apocalypse-john-and-rapture-church-reevaluation

    See section of Rev. 12 on the usage of harpazo for rapture. G.H. Pember and some of the Brethren understood this passage in the same way.

    Doug Riggs 

  21. I am never disappointed when I visit your website, you have become my favorite apologist and theologian. Thank you for sharing your God-given intellect with us.

    • Manuel from Chile

      Also, the Midnightcall ministries has several studies regarding the rapture of the church, I strongly recommend it!

      There’s a ministry wich may like to check, http://www.repentandpreparetheway.org

      • Practically speaking, pan-tribulationist is open to all options:  whatever pans out. It’s fine if believers are taken away before the Trib; however, if not, believers should be perpared to endure the Tribulation.  That’s that.

        On a tangent, it’s interesting that many fine thinkers are in such disagreement; the one thing they agree on is that Jesus is coming back; and all speculations are secondary, and believers should not get all hot under the collar for opposing viewpoints.  This also points out that while the Bible is the infallible Word of God (1/ it’s God’s stamp that everything in it is historical / speaks of ultimate truths 2/ When God speaks, He is speaking directly, and we can depend on His integrity 3/ When fallible humans appear on the stage, God presents their stories without filters.

        One reason why there seem to be contradictions in Scripture, and different viewpoints is that it is about contradictory people.  In this life, we can’t see the big picture.  We see a little bit, and we err when we assume that little bit of truth is the entire picture.  Who knows if we will be raptured or not prior to Christ’s Second Coming?  We know the answer — only He knows.  We can’t be 100% certain.  We can take ‘educated guesses’ — for example, two women will be grinding at the mill.  One will be taken.  And the apostles ask,  “Where, Lord?”  (Where will they be taken?)  And Jesus answers — where the vultures gather.  Ie, the ones who will be taken will go to a bad place, a place of death.  We assume the ones who will be taken are ‘the good guys.’   But in comparing the differnt Gospels of the same conversation, it’s possible that Jesus is saying those who will be taken are the bad guys.

        But again, that’s just one example.  You can read studies of various scholars debating all sides of the topic.  Each one presents fine arguments.  And each one critiques the other positions, all with good intentions.  This is the way it should be; believers are not supposed to fight one another, that one thing is clear in Paul.  And it’s pretty clear, too from a common sense POV.  When Christians are throwing mud at one another in these venues, it gives fuel to non-Christians, because then we are just like the rest of the world.  And Scripture advises we are not like the rest of the world.  In a word, we’re suppose to have more class.

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