Jehovah’s Missing Witnesses

6 12 2016

Shouldn’t Jehovah’s Witnesses witness? I mean it is in their name isn’t it? I have always pondered this question and I have yet to find an answer. The lackof witness does answer other questions about this organization.

To be honest most followers of the Watchtower aren’t too interested in witnessing when not “on the clock.” They don’t seem too concerned about the souls of those around them nor do I sense any urgency in them to share their message. This puzzles me for the mere fact that their claim to fame is that they are the sole and true witnesses of God.

I do a lot of door to door evangelism and I often encounter Watchtower followers in their homes. What I find is that time after time the majority and I mean 9 out of 10 encounters leads to them simply turning me away saying they are Jehovah’s Witnesses. This has always puzzled me.

The first reason is that they usually tell me how good it is that I’m out doing what I’m doing. I’m sure the Watchtower teaches lying is a sin and yet they lie to me on a regular basis. If they are right and my doctrine is wrong then the individual follower of the Watchtower cannot believe in their heart of hearts that what I’m doing is good.

I’m a false teacher to them. I have a false idea of God and a corrupted Bible. There is no way that what I’m doing is good. The reason I believe that they tell this lie is to avoid talking to me which brings me to the second reason I’m puzzled.

Are they not concerned for me? Why don’t they try to win me? Why don’t they show me my errors rather than cheer on my false beliefs? Are they not witnesses of the one true God? If they are then why shun some lost soul headed for nothingness after death with no hope of resurrection in Jehovah’s kingdom?

When they come to my door I’m quick to try and share the Gospel with them. I am quick to try and reason with them on the nature of God and Jesus Christ. I see them as sinners headed for eternal destruction and it moves me to want to see them saved. Why do they lack this moving?

When I am out in public I try and pass out Gospel tracts or witness to people when the opportunity arises. I have dealt with and encountered people I knew were Watchtower followers and never did they hand me a magazine or talk to me about the coming kingdom. There seems to be no concern for it.

The answer is very simple. They are not saved people. The moving that I feel is the compelling of the Holy Spirit and one evidence of being filled with the Spirit is the boldness to witness.

And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:31)

Watchtower followers witness in large part not because they love the lost, or because they are concerned for the souls of mankind. Their motivation is their works based religion. They are taught that in order to be saved they must be witnesses and go out a certain amount of time and talk to people.

They serve out of obligation which is why we see them walking slowly or stopping between houses. They are killing time. I have seen them stand at a door and ring a door bell for upwards of 5 or 10 minutes. The reason is that once they realize no one is home they can kill time and say they were at a door.

When I come to their door they are not getting credit for witnessing so they just don’t. They are also told not to talk to people who know their Bible and can answer their doctrines. The Watchtower as an organization sees the dangers of allowing their people to hear the truth. My pastor has no concern with me talking to a witness because I know the Bible.

Their lack of concern for witnessing and their witnessing out of necessity are further proofs that something is wrong. We see in the Bible and in church history men and women concerned for the souls of men sharing the Gospel with people at all times and under all circumstances. They were not required to but they were obedient to the Lord and concerned for the souls of mankind.

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Ministry Update for June 2016

6 07 2016

“For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:5-6)

 

We had a great month of ministry in June. We gave out around 1,200 Gospel tracts and had many good conversations about eternity. We changed our day of preaching at the Downtown Bakersfield bus station to Thursday mornings.

On our first Thursday we had a bountiful time of ministry with many taking tracts. Amy and I were able to witness to a JW lady who actually approached us before leaving quickly. I had a couple come up after I preached and ask about the sermon sine they came by during the end of it and I was able to share the Gospel with them as well.

Our second time out there we had several come up to us after the preaching to talk about the Gospel and many tracts were given away. We are finding people very open to listening to the Gospel and crowds usually gather after the preaching has started. We even noticed a JW man hiding behind a concrete column listening to my sermon from Hebrews 3.

Early in the month we had a wedding to attend for friends in Canada. During the trip we had the blessing of going out to share the Gospel door to door with Harvest Baptist Church of Langley, British Columbia. Towards the end of the month I was blessed to lead a group from church as we went door to door with the Gospel. Pray for us as we press on with going into the prisons to preach as well as pursuing other ways of spreading the Gospel.

We will be witnessing at the MLB All Star outreach July 9th through the 12th. Pray for us during that time that many would be saved. We are also planning and raising funds for a 10 day trip to London, England in October to preach and witness there as well. Consider supporting us monthly or in a one time gift as we seek to expand our ministry for the glory of God.





Before the Watchtower

9 09 2015

If one is to believe the claims of the Watchtower in regards to them being God’s chosen organization on earth, and the only trustworthy interpreters of the Bible then we have to ask ourselves what was before the Watchtower. The watchtower as an organization only dates back to July of 1879. This is over 1800 years after the time of Christ.

Was God without witnesses? Was there no one to herald the news of the kingdom? Did no one during this time follow God and thus merit resurrection in the kingdom?

I have asked this question many times in conversation with witnesses and they never seem to have an answer. It does seem strange that God would leave Himself without witness. The problem is that they have been taught not to question and herein lies the problem. This was the great problem in the time of Christ.

The people had been taught by their leaders what Messiah was to do when He came and when Jesus came many rejected Him because they never stopped to question whether their leaders were right. If I felt that something didn’t make sense I can’t imagine my church telling me to just ignore it. Telling me this would raise more questions.

Was there no correct Bible? The Watchtower Society claims that their Bible is the true Word of God and that all other Bibles have been corrupted. The New World Translation wasn’t released until 1961. Before this time even the Jehovah’s Witnesses used the King James Version.

If the claims of the Watchtower are true then God left us over 1900 years before giving us an accurate translation of His Word. This also means that for 82 years the followers of the Watchtower themselves used a corrupt Bible. How can their doctrines be trusted? How can their claim to God’s truth be substantiated?

For all those centuries before 1961 or even 1879 who interpreted truth? I have heard witnesses say that it’s dangerous for a person to interpret the Bible on their own. How can this be that there was no interpreter for the majority of history? Will anyone before this tie be in the kingdom? How could they be if salvation is only through an organization that didn’t exist for nearly 1900 years?

For someone like myself there is no crisis with this question. As a Baptist I can tell you that my church did not exist throughout church history. The good thing for me is that salvation doesn’t come from my church it comes entirely from Christ. My church follows a line of believers throughout history who followed God and His Word.

Those called Christians have always existed. They took different titles and worshipped often in different ways but they were true to the Word of God and salvation by faith alone. The truths I cling to were not derived in the last few years as the Watchtower was but rather passed down by faithful testimony and holy men.

The King James Bible I use is not the only true translation of the Word of God. The Watchtower claims that no one including their own organization had the Word of God uncorrupted prior to 1961. My Bible has existed since around 1789.

It was preceded by the 1611 King James which was preceded by the Geneva Bible, Bishops Bible, Tyndale Bible, and so on. All of these contained the Word of God preserved and uncorrupted. There is no point in history that a true and perfect Bible did not exist. The Watchtower and its followers cannot make this claim.

Is the Watchtower the keeper and interpreter of God’s truth? This question must be asked. Whenever an organization makes a claim in regards to God we must test the claim. The apostle John would agree.

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)

Let’s ask a few questions to test the claim of the Watchtower. The first question I suppose is simply where did this authority come from? Do we see a passage in Scripture where Jesus empowers the Watchtower? Well of course not because they didn’t exist until nearly 1900 years later.

The Bible tells us that God’s truth is held up and supported by the church. This means the keeper of God’s truth is His church.

“These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:14-15)

The church existed for all the years leading up to 1879 and then someone starts another group which claims to be the sole source of truth. What seems more likely that God left Himself without witness for 1900 years or that the group that rose much later strayed from the truth? I think the obvious answer is the second one.

If salvation is through the Kingdom Hall then reason tells us that no one could have been saved prior to its inception. I have brought this up to many witnesses who admit they don’t have an answer. They go on to tell me that they feel uncomfortable with the conversation. Why is that? I sure don’t. The answer is that they have been taught not to question the organization that controls their salvation.

The second question is who started the Watchtower? Who gave it authority? The Bible claims that Jesus Christ founded the church.

“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:13-8)

The Bible claims that the Holy Spirit empowered the church at Pentecost.

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

The church was founded by Jesus Christ and empowered 2000 years ago and yet the Watchtower which was founded by a man named Charles Taze Russell nearly 1900 years later claims it is the true church. They cannot claim to be Christian. They deny that they are part of the church that He founded. When the church was empowered with the Spirit 2000 years ago Jesus said that from that time they would be His witnesses and yet the Watchtower which arose nearly 1900 years later possesses the true witnesses.





Rick Preaching in Downtown Bakersfield from Hebrews 1

8 05 2015

This is a sermon preached by Rick Garland on the streets of Downtown Bakersfield at the main city bus station. It was taken from Hebrews 1 concerning the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many listened during the message and several came form farther away to hear the preaching better. The Lord even showed kindness by a stranger giving the preacher a bottle of water.

 





Was Jesus An Angel?

4 09 2014

The Watchtower Society teaches their followers that Jesus is one and the same as Michael the archangel. Is this true? Well the easiest way to find out is to look at the Scriptures. The Watchtower Society claims it is the only way to interpret the Bible and for individuals to do it is dangerous. All cults see themselves as the interpreter of God’s Word. The Mormon Church and the Roman Catholic Church as well as the Church of Christ all teach themselves to be the one true church and the only truthful way to know the Bible. The reason cults do this is because you can’t read the Bible and get to their doctrines without their help.

Michael is mentioned 5 times in the Bible and he is never equated to Jesus.

“Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” (Jude 1:9)

“But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.” (Daniel 10:13)

“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [even] to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” (Daniel 12:1)

“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels.” (Revelation 12:7)

“But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and [there is] none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.” (Daniel 10:21)

The next question to ask is does the Bible say anywhere that Jesus is an angel? The answer of course is no not at all. The Bible teaches clearly that He is superior and high above the angels but it never says He is one of them.

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Hebrews 1:1-3)

We see in Hebrews a good description of the person and position of Jesus Christ. He is the express image of the person of God the Father. He is the creator of all things and the sustainer of all things.

“Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” (Hebrews 1:4)

The verse above doesn’t call Him the greatest of the angels but greater than the angels. This separates Him from the angels and makes the point that He was never Himself an angel.

“For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” (Hebrews 1:5-6)

In this passage we see again that Jesus is set apart from the angels. None of the angels are begotten of God (which refers to His position not creation). The angels in fact are commanded to worship Jesus. Worship is reserved for God alone and yet they are commanded to worship Jesus.

“And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.” (Hebrews 1:7-8)

These verses tell us that the angels are ministering spirits but the Son is declared to be God.

“But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?” (Hebrews 1:13)

It was to Jesus not the angels who was told to sit on God’s right hand until His enemies are made His footstool. Jesus is exalted so much higher then the angels because He is by position higher then the angels. He is one and the same as God. Is Jesus an angel? Hear the testimony of the Scripture and let this settle it for.

“For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:5-17)





Was Jesus Created?

22 05 2014

The Watchtower Society claims that Jesus is not the eternal God but rather a created being. They claim that He is the first of God’s creation and the greatest. The question we have to ask is simple: Does the Bible back up their claims? Let’s look at the verse they use to teach this doctrine.

“Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” (Colossians 1:15-17)

They take the word “firstborn” and they teach their followers that Jesus was the firstborn or first created being and then He created all other things. Is this really what firstborn means in the Bible? Well we need to compare Scripture with Scripture and see what we find. We know that David was not the first born son of Jesse.

“And the three eldest sons of Jesse went and followed Saul to the battle: and the names of his three sons that went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next unto him Abinadab, and the third Shammah.” (1 Samuel 17:13)

Even knowing this truth the Bible clearly calls David the firstborn even though he was actually the youngest.

“I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him…Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.” (Psalm 89:20, 27)

How could David be firstborn when he was the youngest? The answer is simple when you understand the context the word firstborn is used in. It is used not to show order of birth or creation but to show prominence or order of importance. David was the youngest son of Jesse but to God he was elevated to a place of importance. We see the same wording in regards to Ephraim. He was the youngest yet he is called the firstborn.

“And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house. And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.” (Genesis 41:51-52)

“They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.” (Jeremiah 31:9)

Neither of these were the first created or first born sons and yet they are given this title just as Jesus Christ is given it in Colossians. This title was even given by God to the nation of Israel even though Israel was not the first born or first created nation.

“And the Lord said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go. And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.” (Exodus 4:21-23)

The Watchtower Society might even claim that the term begotten proves that there was a time when Jesus was created. This term is used a few ties in relation to Jesus.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

“I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” (Psalm 2:7)

“For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” (Hebrews 1:5-6)

So what does it mean to say that Jesus is the only begotten Son of the Father? Does this prove there was a time when He was created? No it does not. In fact we have again a title of position or esteem given with no respect to birth order. Was Isaac the first born of Abraham? No, it was Ishmael and yet Isaac is called the only begotten son of Abraham.

“By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son.” (Hebrews 11:17)

Both of these terms refer not to order of creation but are titles of position over creation. Jesus eternally existed with the Father before the creation of the world.

“And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” (John 17:5)





The Bible and the Triune God

14 05 2014

I have often been challenged usually by members of the Watchtower Society to show just one verse in the entire Bible that would teach or support the Trinity. The Watchtower Society claims for itself the distinction of being the only interpretation for the Word of God available to followers of Jehovah. The question I have to ask is what did people do before the Watchtower Society was formed? Was there no revelation of God to mankind? Any honest member would have to say they don’t know the answer to that question.

I surely don’t claim this to be exhaustive concerning the subject of the Trinity. I want to give a few of the references that teach without a doubt the nature of the Triune God. We will also try to answer a few questions as well. We know the Bible declares that there is only one God.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.” (Deuteronomy 6:4)

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5)

The Bible is clear that there is only one God and yet the Bible refers to God in the plural. We see this more then once in the text of the Scriptures.

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:26)

“And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” (Genesis 11:5-7)

“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)

When we look into the Bible we must understand it for what it says and not try to find what we want to believe. We must understand and embrace God for who He reveals Himself to be and not try to find in Scripture justification for a god we make up in our minds. The Scripture both says there is one God and yet refers to God in the plural. We know that God the Father is God and few will deny that but is Jesus Christ God as well? The Scripture says that He is.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1, 14)

“Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.” (Romans 9:5)

“And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” (1 John 5:20)

“But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.” (Hebrews 1:8)

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16)

The Bible also refers to the Holy Spirit as God as well. There are numerous texts which teach this but we will look at only a few of them here.

“But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.” (Acts 5:3-4)

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16)

We know that God the Father appeared to Moses in the burning bush and identified Himself as “I Am.” Jesus identified Himself in the same manner.

“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:56-58)

Jesus called Himself equal with God the Father on several occasions.

“Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?” (John 14:8-9)

“I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30)

Jesus called Himself equal with the Holy Spirit.

“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you…But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:18,26)

The apostle John declared that all three were indeed one.

“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” (1 John 5:7)

Common objections to the doctrine of the Trinity.

1. The word Trinity is not in the Bible. Let me answer this by asking do you believe in a monotheistic God? If your reading this and you follow the Watchtower then you do yet that word is not in the Bible.

2. The Trinity is no logical. Speaking in simple human terms nothing about God is logical to our finite minds. If God were easy to understand He wouldn’t be God. The virgin birth is illogical, the idea of a self existing eternal being is illogical, the idea of the supernatural is illogical to most people. The Trinity is not illogical it is a paradox that we can only glimpse with our understanding. It will take eternity for us to understand and comprehend the person and nature of God.

3. The doctrine of the Trinity comes from paganism. This is historically false. There have been no trinitarian gods in pagan history. There have been societies that worshiped multiple gods but this is different from the Christian God. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not three separate gods ruling together they are three separate and distinct beings and personalities who share the essence which makes them God. They have the same power, same title, same will, same knowledge, same attributes and are each co-eternal which means always existing having neither beginning nor end. This is never found in paganism.








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