What Did I Believe Immediately After Leaving the Message?

A Statement of Faith in March 2013

I have often been asked what I believed when I left the message. Leaving the message didn’t include a wild desire to run from God, nor was it founded on a bitterness towards people in the church. I couldn’t think of any enemies I may have had whatsoever. I simply had strong issues with the premise of “The Message of the Hour”, and the apparent issues surrounding Brother Branham and the idea of Malachi 4 / Revelations 10:7 being accurate or true.

I wrote this in March of 2013, within a week of when I decided I no longer wanted to associate myself as a “Message Believer” (based on my opinion of things at the time I left the message).

My views have further evolved, but to a large degree they remain similar. The views I have on doctrine have definitely further evolved – but I didn’t specifically go into those details then as “doctrine” was something I knew I needed to examine. The point I want to make with this post is just to encourage you that we will all start somewhere in our walk away from the message; and it doesn’t have to match anyone else’s view. It might be a good idea to record your ‘personal statement’ too and watch how you progress.

Here is what I wrote back in March 2013:

1. I acknowledge that I do not believe Bro. Branham’s message like I once did.

I made him an absolute, to the point that I would exalt him above scripture. I would sooner believe Bro. Branham than I would the Bible.
Now, I will choose the Bible above Bro. Branham.

2. I do not believe all Bro. Branham’s visions & prophecies came to pass, or that he was flawless in “Thus Saith the Lord”.

His accounts are often unverifiable, wildly inconsistent, and unreliable. Circumspect discernment casts a shadow of doubt on aspects of his ‘vindication’. Blind faith is not acceptable to us. Yet we DO KNOW there are accounts which are true, and thus, we know he was used of God.

3. I do believe Message Believers are Christians.

So long as they are depending on Jesus Christ as the source of their life, the redeemer of their souls, their Bridegroom, the Truth, the Way – we are brothers and sisters, and co-heirs with Christ.

4. I believe the election of God is God’s Choosing.

The rapture is for those who are in a relationship with Christ, regardless of denominational ties. God simply wants to know this:

  • Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
  • John 3:5 “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
  • Luke 18:8 – “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”
  • Matthew 7:19 – “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
  • Fruits of a Christian Life – Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
  • Does He Know you? Relationship with the Person of Christ: Matthew 7:21 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

5. I DO believe:

  • that there will be a spotless Bride.
  • there is no system or organization that can produce ‘life’ – it is the Life of Christ that brings resurrection and redemption.
  • Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.
  • The days of miracles are not passed.
  • Paul laid the foundation of the Christian church, which we believe and follow. We follow any man only as they follow Christ.

6. I believe the criteria of being the Bride does not consist in believing the “Word of the Hour” (that is unfounded in scripture).

The Bride is:

  • Chosen of God, and God alone knows His own.
  • Made clean and righteous by the blood of the Lamb.
  • Overcomes by a Christian testimony.
  • Has been washed by the Word, and thus, can be espoused to God ‘clean and spotless’.
  • Is required to fulfill the Law of Christ, not the law of Moses. The Law of Christ is simply this: Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, Love thy neighbour as thyself.

7. Sadly, I believe the Message of the Hour is a system that largely results in fruit of fear (by nicolaitanism / pharisaical priesthood).

It often does little to promote relationship, but enforces strict obedience to doctrines, teachings, and mosaic law. Believers are afraid to seek genuine, heart conversion – they fear confessing a ‘lacking’ and rather rest in association with ‘the prophet’, in knowledge (called revelation) and appearances. We largely sought the evidence of a polished sepulchre (burial place – resurrection and genuine life are not required with a little polish), and are satisfied with performance and obedience rather than freedom in Christ.

8. I do not believe the standards of Bro. Branham are necessarily supported by scripture. In fact, the only way we can make some of them work at all is by “just believing”.

9. The “Mysteries” of God are not required to be a member of the elected body of Christ, except for the mystery of Christ and the Church.

10. I simply want this for our Christian testimony, after receiving our Salvation in Christ:

  • Our fruits to be evident.
  • Our faith to active.
  • Our love to be perfected.
  • We want to be found with the ‘samaritans’, and fellowshipping with the ‘publicans’ and the ‘common’ folk.
  • We want to be serving in the body; not in the box.

11. Malachi 4 may or may not be fulfilled by William Branham.

To us, that isn’t vital as we simply want to determine to be found faithful, seeking God and labouring in His field when He calls us to meet Him. We do not reject Brother Branham; we thank god for his ministry and gift to the Body of Christ. But our trust is in Jesus Christ to save us, and lead us as a guide.

Just as many came to Christ without the Baptism of John, many will come to Christ without the message of William Branham. The GOSPEL STANDS.

12. Regarding Standards

It is the Weak who live by meats / special holy days / legalism.
But do not mock one another. Do not offend one another. Respect one another.

Romans 14
1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

The Kingdom is not meat & drink but Righteousness, Peace & Joy in the Holy Ghost

Romans 14
17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
18 For he that in these things (righteousness, peace, joy) serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
20 For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.

God Decides What is Clean

Peter related “clean” vs “unclean / common” to his own view on meats. He refused to see God’s view, though God told him.
God rebuked Peter saying “Do not call unclean and common what I have made clean”, and applied this principle/teaching to Peter’s willingness & ability to approach a ‘gentile’.

Acts 10
28 And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

14. I refused to discount, and disfellowship anyone.

And in choosing this path, we are choosing to step from the comforts of a “message community” and to put our faith and Christian heart in application. We feel we need to do this to grow further in Christ. Our hope is to serve the Body in a manner that causes us to grow in love, with no respect of persons or fear of men.

James Rozak

Creator of Morning Mercy & Former Message Associate Pastor.

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20 Responses

  1. Elsie says:

    I would love to thank you for this article indeed it helped me a lot since I have been struggling about leaving the message of the hour..my husband was a deacon and everything was fine things went bitter after he lost his job no one was willing to associate with our family as we were leaving life of poverty.
    You won’t believe if I say to you right now that people who are helping us is Christian from what we call (denominations) where is my pastor or so called brothers and sisters as we were told that if you’re a believer everyone in Church is ur family but I don’t see that now…my family is being helped by strangers.. My Husband it’s like doubting everything since we used to believe every teachings of bro branham but now me I’m no longer interested and I have asked GOD to guide me also give my Husband hope so that he can trust God again..it hurts me when I see him spending more time on useless things than to read the Bible. .plz Sir pray for my Family we need GOD guidance. His holy spirit we need him more than before… GOD BLESS YOU

  2. Hi James

    A very interesting site. I am presently in the process of leaving a splinter group from the ‘message’. I identify and agree with much of what you have written on this site.

    One interesting deviation you and I have is that in the process of coming to the conclusion that Branham was a fraud, (and I use that term freely) I also dug even deeper into claims the bible itself makes. I now find no grounds for the existence of any god(s) let alone his prophet. From your site you seemed to have retained a belief in God which I find interesting considering you have come out from what is probably one of the most extreme Christian offshoots.

    I’d be interested as to why you retained a belief in God, and what version of Christianity you identify with.


  3. Hello James, I have left the message. I just wanted you to know. Too many problems and contradictions. I am 59 and have been exposed to the message sence I was 16. I have made a little blog about what I believe. I hope you enjoy it!

  4. Joseph says:

    Wow, another website designed to garner attention and pity from a disheartened Christian. Oh James, I had such high hopes for you……

  5. James Rozak says:

    Dear Joseph,

    I am supposing you might know me personally, from the way you’ve addressed me. Thank you – for your hope in me, and I am sorry that I disappoint you. However, though we assuredly have different opinions – I don’t think it’s fair to suggest a difference of opinion demonstrates a lack of sincerity. I believe, wholeheartedly, that the people I once walked with in the Message are sincerely believing and doing their best. I believe that despite the fact I disagree with the Message. I still tune into message sermons now and then – and I listen with ears that remembers the phrases, the atmosphere, the sincerity. I simply wish they might have come to the same conclusion I did about William Branham, if they had weighed the information I did contesting his ministry.

    So – do you assume I am only seeking pity and attention? You don’t suppose I actually care for people who may be taking the road I did, and who are about to undergo the most painful emotional experience of their life? I am sorry you think so. In any case – I hope you, Joseph, are happy and well in your journey. Blessings to you!

  6. Trina says:

    Can you please tell me which accounts we DO know to be true, concerning WMB? You pointed this is out in your details in #2.

  7. James Rozak says:

    I just want to be clear; when I wrote this “Statement of Faith”, it was not even a week after I had left my church. I didn’t leave because I had absolute clarity on who William Branham was. I was not yet willing to say even William Branham was a false prophet, or how my concerns impacted my views of the Malachi 4 prophecy. My position at that time was that the Message followers (myself included) were being shockingly dishonest and willfully blind to not acknowledge the substantial problems that had been exposed. My concern was so significant, I was willing to surrender my ministry and lose my place in the community – regardless of the cost.

    When I said that “WE DO KNOW” there were accounts which were true, I did so genuinely believing that William Branham was still a powerful man of God, and many of the things he said must have been true. It was as much as I knew at that time. I was trying desperately to maintain a bridge between where I was and what I formerly believed; I didn’t want to lose my amazement and respect for this man whom I held in such regard. I also felt that expressing as much respect as possible for William Branham would allow me to maintain bridges with my former friends and relationships in the church.

    However, none of those sentiments of hope and respect are rooted in reality. One of the most powerful things about leaving the message is the freedom of mind that occurs: you can begin to think without constraints or pressure to hold together the pieces of the Message that were confusing, vague, fragmented and broken. I could look at things critically and honestly. My opinion is – it’s hard to know if anything is true at all. I do not believe he foretold a single credible prophecy that came to pass. Yes, he told stories about real people and, in many cases, actual events. But based on examination of his words, his proclivity towards dishonesty, embellishment, incorrect facts and fear tactics – there was little, if anything, about his claims that can be verified. In other words, for myself, I cannot name any accounts which I count as being “true”.

    Thank you for the question!

  8. James says:

    Hi. It is always good to air out your opinions. William Branham did not tell us to follow him, rather he pointed the world to Christ. I am a message believer as you so call them. Now note that those who believe the message and don’t see Christ through the message are very wrong. Now let me shock you, you cannot follow the bible in its entirety without the light of the message, otherwise it will appear to contradict, which cannot be provided it is the word of God. For the many doctrines in the message, don’t blame the message rather blame the the people. Can you blame Jesus yet Judas was his treasurer? Point one place where the prophet said he was above the Bible. In fact he said that for Him and his congregation, the Bible is the absolute. The message of the Hour is back to the Bible, and not everybody in the message of the hour is the bride of Christ. I don’t think there is another truth of the Bible outside the message of the hour. Don’t follow the people in the message, follow the message, and it will lead you to Christ. It is not a replacement of the Bible as many of its believers think, but to the true believer, it is back to the Bible.

  9. James Rozak says:

    Greeting, James – thank you for your comment and desire to present a viewpoint. I feel you wrote in concern, and I always appreciate that. I also can assure you that nothing you wrote was a shock – nor was it anything I hadn’t said myself when I was a minister in the message.

    I think the difference we have comes to a collision in the opinion we have of ‘the prophet’. You asked me to point one place where he placed himself above the bible – and I don’t necessarily think that it the way of looking at it. He did not need to make himself ‘above it’ – he just needed to make himself ‘equal to it’. When the bible is ‘the top’ authority, being equal to it is all that is needed to assume that authority. You yourself have said that the “message” is the ONLY way back to the bible. That alone places ‘the prophet’ in a position where he is THE doorway and THE ultimate authority. For as the prophet said many times – the Message and the Messenger are one. To reject the messenger is to reject the message. If you esteem the message as being the only way to the bible – then how highly do you have to place the prophet? How can you then freely respond when someone, truthfully, can show you failures, lies and deception in the testimony and account of William Branham? You can only ignore, turn away, deny and refuse to look or question – instead having to devise ways to explain away to one’s own satisfaction.

    One does not need to deny all things that William Branham taught. You can believe passionately the premise of living a holy life and the power of God – as many Christians do outside of the message. You can legitimately feel that the fire in the church has fallen into lukewarmness. But holding these views should not be required to swallow all that this ‘prophet’ claimed and spoke – to the point of absurdity and blind devotion.

    I wish you well, sir – despite our difference. 🙂

  10. Sarah says:

    Hi James,
    Thank you for writing this post and replying to the comments. I have been struggling with being in the message for years after marrying my husband. If you were not born in the message, some of the doctrine can be a little difficult to understand and accept. I do believe he was used by God but I can’t see him being the only way to God. I want to leave the church but the guilt and disappointment is what is keeping me there. I appreciate your post as it gives the reader an alternate viewpoint to making an objective decision without being overly cynical.

  11. Arnie says:

    Some of them MIGHT be Christians…the one I married certainly didn’t seem to be. Jesus spoke of the white washed tomb….she had the look on the outside but nothing going on in the heart.

  12. Colin A says:

    Interesting post…WMB did point us to Christ and yes the message is not the problem its 100% correct, its the people thats making this message a denomination with there forms and creeds. I heard a preacher in a message church says that you could never meet the angel at home as you could only meet him in this church…like church has got anything to do with your salvation…i believe the third pull was not suppose to be a public display and i do believe the church ages is over …LOOK at the condition of the church…it will never survive because a church was never ordained by God…Yet today the church is the peoples ultimate…Deceived as in Matthew 24;24 and dont know it… So much to be said…sorry for being straight.

  13. James Rozak says:

    No need to apologize for being straight, Colin – better to say what you think! It won’t offend me.
    I would say your thoughts reflected nearly exactly what I believed too; for the few years I was in the Message especially. The churches were not “the answer”, especially as it became clear that over the years, there were endless displays of disfellowship, bickering and difference. It would become ever more the condition and preparedness of the heart in relationship to God, knowing that the elect bride were “the called out” FROM the church. However – where we disagree is that the message and the “prophet”, clearly to me, were false. The condition of message churches is a subject rendered irrelevant beyond that determination. I understand your view wholeheartedly, from the perspective of a Message believer. I would likely agree with you still, if I were a message believer. I appreciate you sharing your view and your words!

  14. Colin says:

    Thanks for the feedback…sad to hear you say the message and the prophet is false…reminds me of the part when Jesus said the words ,if you dont believe me believe the works….and the works that was done could not have been false…the dead was raised and the blind could see so how could the miracle of the Lord be false ..See the problem is that the people that say he is false is the people that come from the church and that never had that personal experience and walk…Need to remind that Jesus was crucified by the very ones that was seeking him so what makes this time any different to now …Every Prophet stood alone and did not need anybody to prove there message right …THIS MESSAGE WAS NOT FOR EVERYONE BUT FOR THOSE THAT BELIEVE…On another note…The mark of the beast is DENOMINATION and all the people in the churches that goes to church thinking they serving God is actually serving satan …sad but true….words is mixed up but i know you will understand.
    Much to be said!!!

  15. James Rozak says:

    Hello again, Colin! For me, the only sad thing about saying William Branham was false is that I wholeheartedly believed it for so long – and although his deceptions are so clearly documented, it fascinated me that people choose to dismiss or ignore the issues. While I understand everything you said (it is the run-of-the-mill, standard script that I’ve heard repeated thousands of times)…. my question is, would you be able to identify a false prophet? What would it take for you to acknowledge or change your mind? Are false prophecies enough? Are lies told as though they were fact enough? What if there were dozens of examples of these? What if things claimed as the pure, unadulterated truth were – in fact – highly problematic and inconsistent?

    Your words are classic demonstration of fallacy. “You just never had a real experience”. “Every prophet stood alone and did not need anybody to prove it”….”It’s not for everyone but for those that believe”. I used those same phrases many times, and hid behind them – because they absolved me from the discomfort of critically thinking and doing the work of “proving all things”. Until I actually tried to answer the critics of William Branham, and read the supposed “lies” and claims of error; I was certain they were rubbish. What I discovered was …there are problems. Lots and lots of problems. I had a choice to cast aside honesty – and default to saying the same things you are saying. Or… I could be honest and say… “I think he was wrong about __________”.

    We’re in a different place. If you’ve done the work of honestly examining the issues – and still believe William Branham is a true, honest prophet – then blessings to you as you continue on your way. I’m not here to dissuade you if you’re full of faith and happy. As for me — my integrity demanded I be honest about what I discovered; it wasn’t enough to recite the “only believe” scripts. If we disagree — so be it, and I would wish you prosperity and happiness.

  16. Victor says:

    Hi, James, Nice Write up, I loved how you have been able to reply to everyone. I need your advice and prayer points to pray for a particular person who I am in love with, although now we are not together. You see, for me, I grew up in a more sound doctrine and I could see clearly what the scripture means and says. Growing up, my parents made sure they deeply immersed me in the scriptures and not the writings and beliefs of a church founder. Growing up, I had to use different bible versions, so I could clearly understand what the bible was saying, even using the bible with later tests and illustrations such as the Dake bible. Currently, I don’t even attend the same church as my parents, and that’s because of where God wants me to be now. Now down to the main issue, I fell in love with a message believer, in fact, she was born into one and every of her family is in the message. Yes, it was quite difficult for her to see things clearly and what I did at a point was for us to solely focus on God’s word which is the bible and no sermons reviewing. Obviously, she wanted me to convert to be a message believer, and I agreed to join the church. After several months of listening to the message, I could clearly see heresy being preached. I knew this wasn’t right. I could see the idolization. I could see message believers taking sermons books as God’s word and a form of mandate and authority. It was more like the message or his sermons couldn’t be contested. Like his sermons were final, anything he said was the truth and not necessarily in some aspects viewed as his own opinions on some certain things. The issue I had was to bring my ex-fiancé into the light, yes I did make progress at some certain point in time, a point where she started seeing all I was saying, but she fought back because I was making her lose interest in what she has believed was true for her whole life hence the split. I very much love her and even though we don’t end up together in the future, I am willing to intercede for her, the question is what can I do to break her from this false doctrine and what type of prayers? What helped you?

  17. James Rozak says:

    Victor – thank you for your message, and I apologize for a long delay in responding! This is such a difficult thing – and I am very sorry to know you faced this circumstance. In truth, there is very little I can specifically say about what you can do. Every situation is unique, and much can depend on her relationships to her family, her church/pastor, her understanding of doctrine and the way her church operated. The way I broke from the message was very specific to my experience of observing issues, seeing the lack of answers for “problems” from leadership, the emphasis on silencing doubt rather than answers question. For me, as a former pastor – I found it alarming, and it made me want to learn more for myself, rather than listen to ‘fear’. Not everyone has the same level of awareness, curiosity, or concern to find answers in the face of confusion or fear. That said – pointing out “cognitive dissonance” is a key. By that, I mean if I were able to point out to you that something you believe is based on a lie — and you are full of conflicting feelings about whether it’s a problem and should be questioned more or a feeling that you should just dismiss it outright because it’s what you’ve always believed & the prophet/pastors/parents can’t be wrong – then this should cause alarm. If you can see something is wrong – why cannot it be honestly questioned? Why can’t it lead to more questions? This is called cognitive dissonance.

    I have always believed that you cannot tear down someone’s idol. You can show them the issues – but THEY have to tear it down themselves. They need to break it apart. They need to pick up the hammer; otherwise, if you do it, she’ll just rebuild it. And you can’t force it. You can encourage it. You can keep the problems in front of her. But she’d need to make that choice – and you can support that. None of this is easy – and for yourself, you may not be full knowledgeable in all the issues – but it would be good to educate yourself if there were every opportunities to present questions.

    As for prayers, sir, if you are a praying person – then by all means, you pray. I can’t give you prayers to pray – you have a relationship with your faith, and you seek for her heart and eyes to open.

    In all, I sincerely hope for a good outcome. Your heart is good for wanting the best for her, even if you are not ‘with her’. That is honorable and loving – and I recognize that.

  18. Sandra says:

    Thank you James and well said. my husband and I visited the land of some of the followers in Jeffersonville many years ago. I see now it was God that kept us where we needed to be. God is good and will always reveal the rabbit trail paths the enemy likes to illuminate for us. The Eklessia is not in one organization because Jesus never wanted people to rely on the methods, but rather God as their source. Be blessed, and I’m sure I will see you someday in the next life.

  19. Shoshanna says:

    Hello Sir:
    I would like to commend you on the stance you have taken for the gospel of Christ and HIS way. A message believe for 15years until a few years ago when I was given a dream…simply I was shown other believers singing songs that message believers sing and in the dream, I was angry…(why should THEY be singing OUR songs!” and the counsel I receive was “read Mark 3:23” I understood that the creator’s children was everywhere, in every denomination. Since then it has an upward struggle as I am married to a message believer who is so immersed in his beliefs that he sees nothing else but “the word.” Yet he would call his wife and children “fools” and justify it by saying that Jesus called his opposers foolish. And most of these outbursts come immediately after listening to a sermon.
    So many inconsistencies, I can’t begin to tell you. He follows a Trinidadian pastor who recently was caught with millions….and my husband et al see nothing wrong in that. Pointing out what the bible tells us what to do with money, feeding the poor etc. fall on deaf ears.
    I am saddened and stressed on a daily basis because I know inwardly that this is all WRONG yet they cannot see. I am in a prison. My closest friends are other believers from other faiths who give me such love and support which is so lacking in the message churches. What hurts the most is the insults and conflicts my husband has with our children who also are questioning and pushing back against the doctrinal heresies of the church….and you know who are the “instigator and jezebel, and demon possessed woman” for corrupting our children?…me. Sir the pain in my heart knows no bounds. I see and know so much of the blind faith which are so destructive to any spiritual relationship but somehow nothing penetrates this barrier of religiosity present of the message people…and please don’t correct me. I know what I am talking about. ANYONE who puts a man’s word above the Creator’s word will fall into idolatry and will display ALL the evidence of a cult, and anyone who opposes them would be subject to abuse and ridicule. Any religion displaying such traits are misguided and unfortunately not lead by God’s Holy Spirit, Please pray for my family sir. and may The Creator richly bless you. Thank you for taking a stand for truth.

  20. James Rozak says:

    Shoshanna, I am most sorrowful to know of the struggle you are experiencing. I am happy to hear you have a community of supportive friends who can help encourage and offer kindness; that will help sustain you. I certainly hope that, in time, change will come for you and your family. I wish there was a solution to offer in helping change the heart of your husband, for his sake and your family.

    I am familiar with Mr. Dayal, whom I believe is the pastor you speak of. It is an example of how, despite wrong-doing and illegal behavior, many a message follower cannot recognize the concern or question the integrity of leadership. It absolves William Branham of his own dishonesty – for what is honesty worth, when words and claims of spiritual goodness mean nothing?

    Be strong, hold to keeping your heart soft and kind, and surround yourself with positive support – as you have.

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