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The Day of Atonement
We gather together on the Day of Atonement, and we fast as a symbol of our affliction, knowing the awesome redeeming AND destructive power of Yahweh, that He is a just Elohim, issuing mercy to the righteous and condemnation to the unrighteous – and (pointing to the fulfillment of this Day) knowing that “then, we SHALL know that His name is ‘Yahweh’.”
We acknowledge this 5th Appointed Time in Yahweh’s Plan of Salvation by meeting together in obedience to His commandment to “afflict our souls” on this day. While working to understand the nature of this set apart day, its significance to our lives and its place in Yahweh’s Plan of Salvation, I learned that William Tyndale, while laboring to translate the 1526 English Bible, had recognized that there was no word to convey the doctrine of Yahshua’s sacrifice, which accomplished both the remission of sin and the reconciliation of man to Elohim. So, he coined a word that would encompass both actions. He wanted to overcome the inherent limitations of the word “reconciliation” while incorporating the aspects of “propitiation” (appeasement through sacrifice) and forgiveness. His proposed word was comprised of two parts, “at” and “onement,” which also means reconciliation; but, since he was creating a new word, he could define it as he wished, so he included the concept of a “covering”. Reconciliation comes from Latin roots “re” meaning “again”; “con” meaning “with”, and “sella” meaning “seat”. Re/con/ciliation, therefore, literally, and simply, means “to sit again with.” It does not contain the aspect of forgiveness in response to self affliction. (A picture of reconciliation might be when my wife and I return home from work. When we both get there, we are “reconciled”. However, “atonement” occurs when she and I sacrifice our minds, hearts and bodies to each other in that place of “sitting again with each other.”) In the Jewish holiday title of Yom Kippur, the Hebrew word is ‘kaper’ ing … ‘a covering’, which, like the word “reconcile”, does not fully convey the idea of affliction and forgiveness, in and of itself. Tyndale defined his word to include the idea of affliction and forgiveness, not just forgiveness.
On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a Day of Atonements [Yom HaKipurim, meaning the “Day of the Coverings”]: it shall be an holy convocation [a qodesh miqra] unto you; and ye shall afflict [anah – to look down upon self, abase self, deal harshly with, defile, force down, humble, hurt, ravish, submit self, and weaken] your souls [nephesh – your vitality; your body, heart, mind, lust, pleasure and appetite], and offer an offering made by fire [ishshah – a sacrifice] unto Yahweh. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you [lakapeer alechem] before Yahweh your Elohim. “If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people. As for any person who does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. You shall do no work at all. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. It is to be a Sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall humble your souls; on the ninth of the month at evening, from evening until evening you shall keep your Sabbath,” Leviticus 23:27-32.
And Aaron shall make an atonement [w’kiper] upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements [Yom HaKipurim]: once in the year shall he make atonement [y’kapeer] upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto Yahweh, Ex 30:10 NKJV.
All Scripture referred to in this article is from the New King James Version.
Here is an interesting thing. What we call “the Day of Atonement” is actually misnamed. It is the “Day of Atonements”, plural! In Ex. 30:10, quoted above, the word “atonements” is the translation of the Hebrew kippur, and Strong’s concordance shows the plurality of the word: “OT:3725 kippur (kip-poor’); from OT:3722; expiation (only in plural): - atonement.” (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek- Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
Yahweh’s word clearly delineates the fact that there is to be a complete abasement of ourselves due to our moral frailty, our flesh, our sinfulness. In response to our genuine display of humiliation to Yahweh, He then provides a covering for us. Here, in this life of trial and tribulation, His covering hides our weaknesses and fallibilities. But this Day of Atonement is the foreshadowing of the REAL Day of Atonements, when we shall have incorruptible bodies, wherein there are no corruptible thoughts, corruptible feelings or corruptible actions. THAT is the Day that THIS day is preparing us for.
If the Day of Trumpets is the day in which Yahshua comes down from heaven riding a white horse, wearing a garment baptized in blood, “trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored”, then the Day of Atonement must be a picture of being “covered” or hidden from such heavenly wrath. It is the final day of 10 days of tribulation and hardship; but, it is also a day of deliverance. Yahshua will be setting up His government. He will destroy the works of man’s government and institute a regime that is ruled by the Laws He once established. He will rule with an iron rod; and, He will usher in those whom He covered, through the 12 gates bearing the names of the 12 tribes of Israel and Yahshua’s 12 Apostles, into His Millennial Reign. Until then, we wait, preparing for the day Yahshua returns, the days of tribulation, the day of redemption, the Thousand Year Reign, and the day upon which Yahweh will cast out all evil. We will do this by immersing ourselves into the Word of Yahweh, teaching righteousness and living daily in obedience to His will.
Atonement is a promise made by Yahweh to those who are obedient to His word. There are two such atonements made among the Appointed Times of Yahweh. The day of affliction, as described above, is the second promise of Atonement, which is for the spiritual nation of Israel. The first promise is the atonement made for all of us, en masse, by Yahshua the Messiah. It is called “Passover” – and it celebrates the atonement Yahshua made for each of us. He suffered the stripes meant for us and died for our sins; and He became the propitiation for our sins, wiping away the “ordinances written against us.”
And you, being dead in your trespasses [according to the law of sin and death: if you sin, you die] and the uncircumcision of your flesh [meaning ignorance of your sinful nature], He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having cancelled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it [the charges against us] out of the way, having nailed it to the torture stake. Having disarmed principalities and powers [of this evil world], He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. So let no one judge you in food [that is, as you abstain from eating unclean foods] or in drink [as you abstain from drunkenness], or regarding the Appointed Times, the new moon [either the act of determining months by the new moon, or a new moon celebration] or Sabbaths, which are a shadow [not a mere shadow, as some versions render it, because “mere” is NOT found in the Greek! Instead, “shadow” means a covering, something that is hidden or protected] of things to come, the substance [of which covering] is the Messiah. Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels [heathen practices], intruding into those things which he has not seen [that is, the Word of Yahweh], vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from Yahweh. Therefore, if you died with the Messiah from the basic [from base, dishonorable, improper, sordid, vile or immoral] principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations [dogma], “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using — according to the commandments and doctrines of MEN? These things [the false doctrines of men] indeed have an appearance of wisdom in selfimposed [man-made] religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh [in other words, these false doctrines do not speak out against sin], Colossians 2:13- 23.
In these verses, Paul (Shaul) is reflecting on the words of Isaiah.
Then the Sovereign said, “Because this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote [doctrines taught by man], Therefore behold, I will once again deal marvelously with this people, wondrously marvelous; and the wisdom of their wise men will perish, and the discernment of their discerning men will be concealed.” Woe to those who deeply hide their plans from Yahweh, and whose deeds are done in a dark place, and they say, “Who sees us?” or “Who knows us?” You turn things around! Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay, that what is made would say to its maker, “He did not make me”; or what is formed say to Him who formed it, “He has no understanding”? Is it not yet just a little while before Lebanon will be turned into a fertile field, and the fertile field will be considered as a forest? On that day the deaf will hear words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. The afflicted also will increase their gladness in Yahweh, and the needy of mankind will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. For the ruthless will come to an end and the scorner will be finished, indeed all who are intent on doing evil will be cut off; who cause a person to be indicted by a word, and ensnare him who adjudicates at the gate, and defraud the one in the right with meaningless arguments. Therefore thus says Yahweh, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: Jacob shall not now be ashamed, nor shall his face now turn pale; but when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst, they will sanctify My name; indeed, they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob and will stand in awe of the Elohim of Israel. Those who err in mind will know the truth, and those who criticize will accept instruction, Isaiah 29:13-24.
It’s interesting to me how frequent the idea of hiddenness or covering is used in Scripture. Yahweh says if we cover ourselves from Him, we shall be destroyed. If we humble ourselves by recognizing our faults, He will hide us from tribulation. He will redeem those of a humble and contrite heart.
Submit yourselves, then, to the Almighty. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to Yahweh and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you doubleminded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before Yahweh, and He will lift you up, James 4:7-10.
Here, in the book of James, is the picture of submission to the ONE authority, above all. James tells us in Chapter 1:27,
Pure religion and undefiled before Elohim and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
The real name of James is Ya’aqob. James is a translation of the Greek Iakobos, which, by Strong’s concordance, is the same as the Greek Iakob. Also, by Strong’s concordance, this Greek word is derived from the Hebrew Ya’aqob.
Is it not true that those who have been granted compassion for others have only received it through their grief, mourning and wailing – crying because of the evil that exists in the world? We grieve because we KNOW that there is hope for a living rest, for a living peace, and for a living love; and we know that few see it. The laughter turned-to-mourning and the joy-turnedto-gloom that Ya’aqob is speaking about is not heavenly laughter and joy, but the pleasures of this world that ensnares even the compassionate. Being “lifted up” is the true joy of knowing that there is an Authority who rules from on high, and Who will destroy evil when evil’s course has ended, and will bring the righteousminded into His fold.
Until then, we are here to learn compassion for others – in the face of evil. Compassion is the most powerful lesson we can learn, because compassion is the primary power of Yahweh, as demonstrated through His Son, Yahshua. As we humble ourselves to forgive others of their acts of evil toward us, Yahweh will humble Himself to forgive us.
Then Moses pleaded with the Yahweh his Elohim, and said: “Yahweh, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’” So Yahweh relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people, Ex 32:11-14 NKJV.
The word “relented” in verse 14 is Strong’s #5162, nacham, meaning to sigh, i.e. breathe strongly; by implication, to be sorry, i.e. (in a favorable sense) to pity, console or (reflexively) rue. It is used in the KJV as the words “comfort, ease and repent.” (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, Biblesoft and International bible Translators, Inc.)
Yes, He will *relent* of the judgment against us for our acts of unkindness or evil, when we, out of humility, repent of our disobedience to Yahweh – that is, our rejection of Him, in our lives.
Ultimately, “forgiveness” means, “I will not avenge others’ acts of destruction toward me, but will continue to show compassion”. The phrase in Matthew 6:12, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors,” means “We know that You, Heavenly Father, will forgive us of our transgressions against You in the SAME manner that we forgive those who have transgressed against us.” Most people don’t know the personal power contained within this verse, the *absolute* power that the Creator has placed in our hands for our own redemption. WE are essentially in control of our redemption. All we have to do is learn compassion. How do we do that? Through humility, understanding that we have no power, except that it be given to us by Yahweh.
Something tells me we have a long way to go, but the reward will be so amazing that ANYthing we find “joyful” here on this planet, now, will pale in comparison to the empowered Joy of living amongst compassionate people, none of whom will be evil-minded, none of whom will hurt us. THAT is the hope that I see for all of us. That is my personal hope, too. And this is how I know that compassion is in us. Because we grieve that this empowered, heavenly Joy is not here now … that there is evil in the world ... and, we know that evil is still present … within *us* … all of us.
THAT is why we needed a perfect Lamb to die for our sins, because all mankind was born incapable of purity. That’s the way it *is*. But, Yahshua changed all that. We are not yet perfected; we are not yet redeemed or “born again”. But, the promise of our redemption is offered to us with a condition – that we act with compassion toward Yahweh and His Son, Yahshua (“If you love Me, you will obey My Commandments”), and that we have compassion for our fellow, asyet- unperfected, family of Mankind.
In my secular work, I facilitate therapy groups for mentally ill criminals on how to create compassion for others. I teach a worldly understanding of how all of us get to a place of evil-doing; that is, why we all have (at one time or another) acted out our anger toward others. And then, I work to assist them in how to correct those destructive beliefs that lead us to destructive acts of anger. But, this worldly understanding is only a rung on the ladder of deeper understanding – a ladder that we (Believers in Yahweh) have been called to climb. In the story of Ya’acob’s ladder, he said, in Genesis 32:30, “I have seen Elohim face to face, and my life is preserved.”
I dedicate my life to seeking “the lost sheep of the House of Israel,” as Yahshua explained about Himself in Matthew 15:24, and as He told His disciples to do in Matthew 10:6. I follow the Shepherd, as one of the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel. You, who are reading this article and are not familiar with these ideas, are invited by the Shepherd to follow Him. He is a Good Master, because He serves the Mighty One of Israel, Yahweh Elohim, who is perfect in compassion. Here, let me have Isaiah tell you about Him:
Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of Yahweh been revealed? For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of Elohim, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but Yahweh has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due? His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in His death, because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth. But Yahweh was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of Yahweh will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, and He will divide the booty with the strong; because He poured out Himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors, Isaiah 53:1-12.
Is the work of Atonement finished? Are we free now to make up our own rules, since the Son of the Father has reconciled all sins to Himself? No. There is much good work to be done. We must endure to the end and, through self-atonement (denying ourselves worldly, evil pleasures), honor Yahweh and His Son who have lifted the veils over our eyes that we may see the promised land.
But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Sovereign so that we will not be condemned along with the world, 1 Corinthians 11:31-32.
When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to Yahweh”; and You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah, Psalms 32:3-5.
I have surely heard Ephraim grieving, “You have chastised me, and I was chastised, like an untrained calf; bring me back that I may be restored, for You are Yahweh my Elohim. For after I turned back, I repented; and after I was instructed, I smote on my thigh; I was ashamed and also humiliated because I bore the reproach of my youth. Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he a delightful child? Indeed, as often as I have spoken against him, I certainly still remember him; therefore My heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him,” declares Yahweh, Jeremiah 31:18-20.
But when he came to his senses, he said, “How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.’” So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But the father said to his slaves, “Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.” And they began to celebrate, Luke 15:17-24.
Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your Menorah out of its place – unless you repent. Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the called-out ones. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of Yahweh, Revelation 2:5-7.
For indeed He was [impaled] because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of Elohim. For we also are weak in Him, yet we will live with Him because of the power of Yahweh directed toward you. Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Yahshua HaMashiach is in you— unless indeed you fail the test? (2 Corinthians 13:4 5 NASB)
We were created by Yahweh to be His Sons and Daughters in One Family. As our Heavenly Father, He gave us His instructions for living, and offered us a covenant. If we will obey His instructions (fundamentally called “the Ten Commandments”), He will bless us. Years later, Yahweh sent His Son, Yahshua, to validate His Father’s Laws and explain the depth of Yahweh’s blessings. This perfect lamb of Yahweh shed His blood as a propitiation for our sins, so that the blessing of eternal life might be revealed – in the Resurrection. It is out of Yahweh’s compassion – the compassion of a father for an only child – that He makes known to us His Plan of Salvation.
Yahweh’s Plan of Salvation
1. Yahweh has provided for us a propitiation for our sins, the Sacrificial Lamb, Yahweh’s own Son, Yahshua (whose name means “the Salvation of Yahweh”), who was beaten and killed for our sins, shedding His blood in our place so that we may have eternal life with the Father;
2. Our portion of the Plan of Salvation is to walk away from our sins and to walk within the guidelines set forth in His Law. We are to repent of our violation of His Law;
3. If we are willing to make the commitment He asks of us and publicly “die” to iniquity, sin and lawlessness, and be immersed in the name of Yahweh’s Son, Yahshua, then He will provide His Spirit, His Set-apart mind and heart – in other words, His Character – within us, by way of the laying on of hands of the Elders, so that we may learn to completely obey His Law;
4. There will be only a few, called and chosen by Elohim, who commit, honor and fulfill their covenant with Yahweh. When in this life to choose eternal life through obedience to the Law and through belief in the Messiah Yahshua, the time will come for an end to wickedness and to those who have chosen to rebel against the Law of Yahweh. That time will be heralded by the sound of the Trumpet of Yahweh and the return of His Anointed One, Yahshua, wearing garments baptized in blood. Upon that Day, the Day of Yahweh, a horrible day of wrath – a day of the beginning of affliction – those who are living in rebellion against Yahweh will sacrifice their own blood for their sins. The Righteous dead, resting in peace, will be resurrected unto eternal life in this, the First Resurrection;
5. Those who have guarded their covenant with Yahweh, and are therefore covered by the Redeeming blood of Yahshua Messiah, will be saved from that destruction. They will pass through the devastation that Yahweh’s wrath has had on those around them. Quietly. Tearfully. Trembling. They will awaken to the prophesied blessing that they have survived the destruction heralded by the trump 10 days prior, by the saving grace of Yahweh in Yahshua Messiah. Five days later comes a new era;
6. The Redeemed of Yahweh, His Elect, will enter into a Thousandyear reign with Yahshua, King of kings on earth. His Law shall be taught and His elect shall govern those born in that Kingdom. The Tempter (and Accuser of those who submit to his temptations) shall be restrained at that time until the end of that age, when he will be freed, and those unrighteous or untaught souls who died prior to this Reign will be resurrected, taught and subjected to temptation; and
7. At the end of the Millennial Reign of Yahshua the Messiah, those who rejected the Law and Yahshua the Messiah, or who never received the Law or the Messiah,will be raised from the grave in the second resurrection, and will be judged according to their willingness to accept Yahshua as their redeemer and walk in the way of Truth. Those who reject Yahweh and His son, Yahshua, will, along with Satan and his devils, be tossed into the Lake of Fire. This will end all wickedness, pain and death. Those who “believe and do” will merit eternal life. This is the beginning of eternal life with the Father and His Son, the glory of which no man can imagine.
This is an awesome plan! Where is it written? Why does hardly anyone KNOW about the Plan of Salvation of the Creator of the Universe!?
If you were to buy a study Bible that describes the prophecies by Yahshua the Messiah, written by either a Christian or a Jew, will you find this plan so defined? Probably not! Why not!? The simple answer is that the Jewish editor has likely been taught, through tradition, not to accept Yahshua as his personal Savior. Consequently, he rejects the teachings of the New Testament, in which the fulfillment of the prophecy of Yahweh’s Plan of Salvation is revealed. The Christian editor, being taught by tradition that the Law of Moses is dead, rejects the Old Testament, wherein the Plan of Salvation is most simply prophecy – in the 23rd Chapter of Leviticus. Here, Yahweh’s Plan of Salvation is described, step by step and detail by detail. They are His Appointed Times, which we refer to asthe “Feasts of Yahweh.”
He appointed to us the seventh day of the week as His Sabbath Day to separate ourselves from the sinful world. He appointed to us His Memorial Passover, a Day to honor the sacrifice of His Son, Yahshua. He appointed to us the Seven Annual Feast Days: the 1st and last days of Unleavened Bread to call us to repentance from a sinful life, the Feast of Weeks (or Pentecost) to give us the wisdom and strength through the Holy Spirit to fulfill our commitment to Him, the Day of Trumpets (the Day of Alarm, because it is the Day of Yahweh) to announce the Coming of the Messiah, the Day of Atonements in which (from the previous 10 days) evidence is seen that the world of evil has been cleansed, the Feast of Tabernacles to prepare for a Holy eternal life with Yahweh, and the Last Great Day to rid forever the existence of evil. These are the weighstations (as it were) on the Pathway to Eternal Life with Yahweh. This is His Plan to Redeem us.
May we strive to live humble, yes, afflicted lives by removing the leaven of greed, pride, self righteousness, hate, envy, lust, willfulness, disrespect and false rulership from within our hearts. Instead, Heavenly Father, Almighty Yahweh, may You teach us to give to others, to serve others, to be slow to argue and complain, to see beyond others’ malfeasance and into their troubled hearts; and may You forgive us of our transgressions in the light of our grief and sorrow for leaving “home”, believing that we can manage our lives without You.
-Elder John Fisher
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