Revelation 10: Jesus' Claim to Planet Earth

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Bible Study Series: Revealing Jesus in Revelation

Revelation Chapter 10: Jesus' Claim to Planet Earth 

by I Gordon

Revelation 10 Bible study An angel claims the planet for JesusWell welcome once again as we move through this amazing book that is called Revelation. It is an incredible unveiling from God, declaring what is to come before it has ever been. How amazing it is that we are seeing events line up in our very day that declare that these prophecies recorded 2000 years ago are very close to playing out in real time! And so we remember that Jesus said when you 'start' to see these things, look up for your redemption draws near! Therefore we are to keep our hearts and minds fixed on the things above. And I hope that this series we are doing through Revelation has, and will be, helpful in doing just that. Each chapter so far has given us a unique aspect of this upcoming story.

  • Chapter 1 presented Jesus... the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Living One whom all eyes shall see!
  • Chapter 2-3 showed a panoramic view of the entire Church age, from Ephesus to our 'lovely' age of Laodicea.
  • Chapter 4 gave us a glimpse of the rapture and heaven - Can't wait!
  • Chapter 5 was the story of redemption showing the One, the only One, that can truly claim ownership of this planet. And it is not a spoiler alert to say it starred the Lion and the Lamb!  
  • Chapter 6 had an overview of the tribulation from the Antichrist to the coming of Jesus Christ.
  • Chapter 7 gave an overview of eternal salvation and heavenly graduation in the upcoming tribulation.
  • Chapter 8 was, well, the greenie's worst nightmare focusing on the worship of, and judgements upon, creation.
  • Chapter 9 was the unlocking and unleashing of Abyss, giving a very clear reason why we don't want to be on earth at that time!

Now in case we become fearful or too focused on the dark demonic side from the eye-opening events of chapter 9, chapter 10 before us today gives us a glimpse of the good side of the angelic realm. Just as we saw a pause between the 6th and 7th seal to discuss salvation in Revelation 7, so there is a pause between the 6th and 7th trumpet blasts to discuss God's claim to this planet.1 So today we will...

  • Look at the angelic realm, 'the good guys', and their role in the coming days 
  • Explore the Lord Jesus' claim to planet earth
  • Show why there has been such a delay in God completing His plan
  • See what happens when that delay is over and the mystery of God is finished 
  • Ponder why John had a pretty average lunch and what that means for us! 

A mighty Angel... or Jesus?

Rev 10:1 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars.

So it begins with a description of a strong or mighty angel that some believe is Jesus Himself. The reasons for doing so are because of the obvious connections to the description of the Lord Jesus given in Revelation chapter 1. Speaking of Jesus, there we read:  

Rev 1:14-16 His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. (15) His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. (16) In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.

J. Vernon McGee writes about this disagreement amongst scholars, in his own humorous way, stating:

 "There has been definite disagreement among outstanding and fundamental Bible expositors as to the identity of the mighty angel. Godet, Vincent, Pettingill, DeHaan, Ironside, Walter Scott, and William Kelly all identify the strong angel as Christ. Newell and others consider him to be just an angel of great power and authority, but not Christ. Dr. John Walvoord takes this viewpoint, and Vernon McGee takes it also. If you go with either crowd, you will be in good company. In the first group are some men I have great respect for and whom I love in the Lord. I have personally known three of those men, and they were my dear friends. If you follow them, it will be all right, and you will be in good company; but if you want to be right, you want to come along with me on this!"
J. Vernon McGee

And while I am a nobody, I go along with Newell, Walvoord, McGee and others on this as well. As much as I love to see Jesus in any text, I can't do it with this passage. While the preincarnate Lord Jesus was given the title of the 'the Angel of the Lord' in many Old Testament appearances (for example Gen 16:13, Gen 24:7, Gen 31:11, Jdg 6:22), He is never spoken of as an angel in the New Testament. In fact He is clearly differentiated from them, being far greater than them (Heb 1:3-5). This, as the text says, is 'another mighty angel' and the Greek word for 'another' means 'of the same kind'. It points back to the previous 'mighty angel' that was mentioned in Rev 5:2. Both are angelic, not the Lord Jesus, but let's not underestimate how awesome these angelic beings are! If the last chapter focused on the unseen fallen spirit world, it would be good to focus a little on the unseen unfallen spirit world. Throughout Revelation angels play a huge role where they are seen to:

Angels in Revelation
  • Minister and protect the seven Churches (Rev 1:20)
  • Worship before the throne in the very presence of God (Rev 5:11)
  • Administer God's judgement through the trumpets and bowls especially (Rev 7:1-2, 8:2, 15:7)
  • Claim this planet on behalf of God (Rev 10:5-6)
  • Fight against Satan and his angels (Rev 12:7-9)
  • Proclaim the everlasting gospel to all on earth from mid-air (Rev 14:6) 
  • Give solemn warnings against taking the mark of the beast (Rev 14:9)
  • Harvest those that are evil to judge and remove them (Rev 14:17-19)
  • Declare and explain prophecy to God's servant John (Rev 17:7,15, 19:9)
  • Illuminate parts of the planet through God's reflected glory upon them! (Rev 18:1)
  • Throw Satan and his minions into the Abyss (Rev 20:1)
  • Stand at the gates of the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:12)

There are 10,000 times 10,000 of these angelic beings according to Rev 5:11 and yet as powerful as they are, scripture tells us they long to look into the things of salvation... something we as believers have! (1 Pet 1:12). So what do we see with this mighty angel who comes down from heaven to earth on an important God-given mission?

He is robed in a cloud - The cloud refers to the Shekinah, the cloud of glory that went before Israel in their exodus. This is an indicator that this angel has come directly from the presence of God.
Has a rainbow above his head - No, he isn't supporting LGBT or just come from a Pride parade. His rainbow will have all 7 colors, not 6 like the common pride rainbow flag2, and reminds us of God's glory, not the pride of man. The real rainbow points back to why God gave it in the first place - and that is to show that God remembers, and is faithful, to His covenants!
His face was like the sun - Now before you say 'face like a sun? Oh that must be Jesus!' let me just point out that in Rev 18:1 there is an angel that illuminates the earth with this reflected glory! They display and reflect the glory of God because they have been in His presence - much as Moses' face shone and reflected God's glory after being in His presence.
Legs like fiery pillars - this speaks of judgment and gives a certain 'don't mess with me' kind of feel! 

While he could be a high ranking angelic being, some believe this mighty angel is Michael himself. Either way, he is clearly powerful and impressive, and he comes with a message.  

How big is this angel? And what did the 7 thunders say? (Please?!?)

Rev 10:2-4 He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, (3) and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. (4) And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, "Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down."

When I first read this my initial thought was the slightly unspiritual 'ok how big is this dude?' I mean he places his right foot on the sea and his left on the land. This is not just dipping a toe in the shoreline's water while doing the splits and having the other leg on the sand. I've done that several times and, as far as I know, it hasn't impressed anyone so far. But scripture makes a big deal of this action. Three times in this chapter we read that this angel had one foot on the sea and one on the land (Rev 10:2, 5, 8). And unlike my efforts, this is actually impressive. In fact it even impressed Greek scholar Dr. A.T Robertson who writes: 

'The size of the angel is colossal, for he bestrides both land and sea... It makes a bold and graphic picture.' 

But he is not just showing off. There is another reason for placing one foot upon the sea and one on the land, and this is because he is claiming both on behalf of its creator, Jesus Christ. Hold that thought... we'll come back to it later!

So as he straddles both sea and land he lets out a roar and when made, the seven thunders spoke. This is all slightly mysterious. The seven thunders haven't been revealed before although there are various scriptures that speak of thunder, often the voice of thunder, from heaven (Rev 4:5; Rev 6:1; Rev 8:5; Rev 16:18, Job 40:9, Joh 12:29). An interesting cross reference is Psalm 29 which speaks of the voice of God, saying God thunders, and it lists seven attributes of His voice:

  1. The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters. (vs 3)
  2. The voice of the LORD is powerful (vs 4)
  3. The voice of the LORD is majestic. (vs 4)
  4. The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. (vs 5)
  5. The voice of the LORD strikes with flashes of lightning. (vs 7)
  6. The voice of the LORD shakes the desert; the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh. (vs 8)
  7. The voice of the LORD twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, "Glory!" (vs 9) 

And the Psalm concludes with 'The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD is enthroned as King forever. The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.' So it is speaking of His voice at the judgment of the flood and how He, the LORD, is enthroned as King forever. And this voice will again sound in the coming judgement upon this earth to establish once and for all, who is King! That is what this chapter is about - The proclamation that the LORD is King and He is taking back His planet! And there is nothing that Satan or any demon spirit can do about that! Hal Lindsey writes about this angel and his proclamation:

Men probably won't be able to actually see this dramatic event taking place , for it will most likely occur in the spiritual realm. But while the angelic hosts of heaven as well as Satan and his demon legions look on, this angel will claim initial possession of planet earth for Jesus. The fact that Satan doesn't prevent the angel from accomplishing his mission bears witness to this angel's great authority. 

So... what did the 7 thunders say you ask? Well, glad you asked. The seven thunders said.... something not allowed to be revealed! They spoke, John was about to write it down but someone from heaven stopped him! Oooooh! Welcome to the most frustrating verse in all of Revelation! It is like when your friend says to you "oh wow... did you hear what Betty said?' 'No what did Betty say?' Well, boy, you're not going to believe this, Betty said that... um, actually no... no, no I better not. No, just forget that I said anything. Anyway, so what's with this weather we've been having aye?' Argh! What did Betty say?!? It would be better to have not said anything at all! That is how I feel with these 7 thunders although it does certainly add to the intrigue! So while I'd really like to know, alas, for now I must get used to disappointment! : )

But there will be a reason for even mentioning that the seven thunders spoke at this time. Revelation is given to reveal, not conceal, and in the day that they do speak we will understand why it was not allowed to be revealed any earlier. It could well be something that God did not want revealed to the enemy. We shall see. But there are some more clues we can get from what the angel says next...

The Mystery of God Revealed

Rev 10:5-7 Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. (6) And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, "There will be no more delay! (7) But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets."

This angel, who is still standing on both the sea and the land, lifts his right hand to heaven giving a solemn oath by Him who lives forever (this again indicates that this is an angel and not Jesus), saying that there will be no more delay. When the seventh angel sounds his trumpet the mystery of God will be finished. There are several very interesting points to take from this around the declaration, the delay and the mystery:

  • The declaration - Firstly notice that this angel swore by Him who created the heavens, the earth and the sea - and all that it contains. Now we see why it says three times in this chapter that he stands upon both the sea and the land. He has a message from the One who created all things. The heavens, the earth and the sea are all the Lord's. Jesus made them, He owns them. He paid the price to redeem them. And He is coming for them. So as this angel obeys the Lord and places his feet upon both land and sea, he is symbolically showing that Jesus is claiming it all back! As an Old Testament example, remember how God said to Joshua concerning the Promised Land 'I will give you every place where you set your foot' (Josh 1:3)?3 That is what is playing out here, but not just for the land of Israel but for the whole planet!
  • The delay - Secondly notice that at the sound of the 7th trumpet, there will be no more delay. God is currently delaying His judgment. Now you and I may be praying 'delay no longer please' for we want to see the King return and righteous reign! This place is tiring! But for the sake of the lost, God is currently delaying His return. Peter says this very thing where, in the context of the Lord's return and judgement of this world, he writes 'The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (10) But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.' (2Pe 3:9-10) In other words what currently stops the judgement of God, is the goodness of God, even towards those that currently hate God! But that day of judgment will come and at the time of the 7th trumpet there is no more delay. The martyr's of the 5th seal will be pleased and get their prayers answered for they too have longed for this day! (Rev 6:10-11)
Application - Answering unbelievers: Why does God allow suffering today and how do we respond? 

A classic argument from atheists and unbelievers is 'well if God is good and He is all powerful, then why is there evil and chaos in the world? Why doesn't He do something? He can't be both all good and all powerful else He wouldn't leave it like this!' 

One answer of course is "be careful what you wish for Mr. Atheist! For when God decides to deal with the evil in the world, that will include you!' God does not do half a job and when that day comes to put things right, it will be done completely. But this is not a day that the unbeliever should desire or look forward to. In the meantime, all unbelievers should be thankful for the amazing patience and mercy of God that gives them extra time to believe and accept His free gift of salvation! God's delay is based on His love. It is for the purpose of salvation. But He has set a day and once that comes, there shall be no more delay! In the words of Daniel. 'the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.' (Dan 2:44) 

  • The mystery - At the time of the seventh angel, when that trumpet is blown, the mystery of God is finished, Complete. Over. Accomplished. So when is this and what is this mystery? This is at the second coming of Jesus. Later in Revelation 11 we see that when the 7th trumpet sounds '...there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever." (Rev 11:15). So that gives us the timing. God's plan has been accomplished at the sound of the 7th trumpet. This is one of the reasons why I see the seals, trumpets and bowls all ending (though not starting) around the same time, in the events surrounding the return of Jesus Christ. So what is the mystery of God that is finished at this point? A mystery is something once hidden but now revealed (Rom 16:25-26). So, as we read, this mystery includes all that He spoke about through the Old Testament prophets including the judgment of the wicked and the establishing of His kingdom and rule on earth once again. I can't wait for that. I really look forward to everything being put right in all of creation. I would love to play-wrestle a lion. There would have to be some rules of course. No biting comes to mind and sounds sensible. Especially for my opponent. I would also love to bear-hug a bear... and have no fear, that death is near! : ) So bring on the day when all of creation is at peace. But the mystery of God is far greater than just this for it is both a plan that is completed and a person that is revealed! It is the mystery about God Himself that will be finished! And this is what I look forward to the most. 
The Mystery of God... no more!

God Himself is currently a mystery. He is hidden and not yet revealed to humanity. Unbelievers ignore Him or state that He doesn't exist. Believers know Him but we have not seen Him with our eyes... yet. But God wasn't always a mystery. In the garden of Eden, God walked with His creation (Gen 3:8). He created Adam and Eve and enjoyed fellowship with them and was with them. This was how it was designed to be right from the beginning. And yet in the fall, God became a mystery. As sin entered, the Lord withdrew. But as He did so, He spoke of the day when He would return - a day when the mystery of God would be no more, A day when He, God Almighty, would be revealed4. A day when 'every eye shall see Him!' That day, for this world, is when the 7th trumpet sounds. It is the day of the Second Coming. Jesus came the first time with His glory concealed. He comes the second time to be fully revealed... as the Alpha and Omega, as the One who has defeated hell and death... and as God Almighty!  

So summing up this little section, we have seen that something called the seven thunders will speak around the time of the seventh trumpet. It will be revealed on that day what what they say but it is connected to the voice of God and a declaration of God's rule over this planet. As one last interesting cross reference, we see that King David also spoke of this day in Psalm 18 and ties the thunders, the voice and the coming of the Lord, all together. This Psalm seems to take us to the cry of Israel on the very day of His return. Here is the climatic scene leading up to the time 'when there is no more delay':

Psa 18:5-14 The cords of Sheol surrounded me; The snares of death confronted me. (6) In my distress I called upon the LORD, And cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, And my cry for help before Him came into His ears. (7) Then the earth shook and quaked; And the foundations of the mountains were trembling And were shaken, because He was angry. (8) Smoke went up out of His nostrils, And fire from His mouth devoured; Coals were kindled by it. (9) He bowed the heavens also, and came down With thick darkness under His feet. (10) He rode upon a cherub and flew; And He sped upon the wings of the wind. (11) He made darkness His hiding place, His canopy around Him, Darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies. (12) From the brightness before Him passed His thick clouds, Hailstones and coals of fire. (13) The LORD also thundered in the heavens, And the Most High uttered His voice, Hailstones and coals of fire. (14) He sent out His arrows, and scattered them, And lightning flashes in abundance, and routed them.

A scroll: Yum yum... but not for the tum! 

Rev 10:8-10 Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: "Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land." (9) So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, "Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey." (10) I took the little scroll from the angel's hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour.

John is now told to go up to this impressive angel and take the scroll from his hand. If it was me I'd probably go up knees knocking saying 'Um please good sir... is there any chance that I could just take a peek at that little book, I mean, even maybe, if you'd be so kind, for a very short period of time?' But not John! He knows this angel, as mighty and huge as he is, is but God's servant. He is one of the good guys and they are on the same team. And so he takes the book but it comes with an interesting twist. When he reads the fine print, He not only has to take it, he has to eat it! So John eats it as commanded and it is yummy, yummy, but not for the tummy! So what is all this about?

  • What is this little scroll? This scroll is not defined so it is speculation and there are a few ideas out there, but it seems to be a new scroll containing the prophecies still to be revealed from Revelation chapter 11 onwards. The word for 'scroll' is different to that used of the 7-sealed scroll of Revelation 6 and speaks of a smaller book.  
  • Why does John have to eat it? You may not have ordered a scroll at your local café for lunch, and it's certainly not as appealing as a BLT sandwich... but this is an outward picture expressing a spiritual truth. God's people have to 'consume' His word before they can give it out. This is not new. Both Jeremiah and Ezekiel, as prophets in the Old Testament, had to eat God's word before they delivered it (Jer 15:16; Eze 2:8-3:4). We too are to feed on God's word before sharing it. That is why God's word is likened to bread (Matt 4:4), milk (1 Pet 2:2), meat (1 Cor 3:1-2) and honey (Ps 119:103). John would first consume and digest the words of this prophetic scroll so that it is part of him, and then pass on to others.  
  • Why was it sweet in the mouth and sour in the stomach? There is both a sweet and sour nature to these words in Revelation and God's word in general. I have tasted that while preparing these messages on Revelation. Maybe you have when reading/hearing them. There is the sweetness of what is coming for believers. There is the wonder of the Rapture, Heaven, the New Jerusalem and eternal state. There is the sweetness of knowing that we'll see those again who have died in Christ. There is amazing sweetness in the thought that we will see and be with our Savior! But this sweetness is contrasted with the sourness for unbelievers. It is offset by the bitterness of judgement and even demonic oppression for those left behind. I feel an application coming on!
Application - The Sweet and Sour Gospel
The Gospel we have been given is both sweet and sour. Both the Gospel and our lives as Christians give an aroma that we share with others. But note what scripture says:

2Co 2:14-16 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. (15) For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; (16) to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?

There is both a sweetness and a bitterness in all these words. There is an aroma from life to life, and also from death to death. The gospel gives life and eternal sweetness from those that believe while condemning with bitterness those that will not humble themselves before God. Goodness... what a task! No wonder Paul ends by saying 'And who is adequate for these things?' What is important is that you are simply obeying what God places on your heart. We can't save all. We can't help all. The size of the task and responsibility can seem overwhelming. But we just need to be responsive to what role and task, even if it seems but small, that God is calling us to.  

John has to prophesy again

Rev 10:11 Then I was told, "You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings."

The words of the scroll that John just consumed will come forth again. He is recommissioned, if you like, to prophecy once more. Up until now John has been given, and spoken, mainly 'big picture' prophecies that have taken us to the time of the 7th trumpet and the coming of His kingdom. But when John prophesies again, starting from the next chapter, it will be more specific. 

  • It will focus more on key individuals like the two witnesses, the beast and false prophet. 
  • It will speak of key nations and cities like Israel, Jerusalem and Babylon. 
  • It will speak of kings and people groups like the ten kings, the kings of the earth and most importantly, the King of kings! 

So key characters and themes are going to be clarified in the coming chapters as we shall see.  


So, as we conclude, we have seen that Revelation is both bitter and sweet. For the unbeliever, it portrays a bitter future though this can be sweetened in a moment to one of fullness of joy if they would but turn and believe in the person and work of Jesus for salvation. For the believer, the most bitter life now will change in a twinkling of an eye, to one sweeter than honey. Both can occur in one day and one moment. As believers we are to watch, wait, worship and work. We are to keep our heads in His word, our hearts in our heavenly home, and our hands to the plow. There has been a long delay. So much so that some think Jesus isn't coming. But God's word anticipated this. Jesus spoke of the 'delay' and 'a long time' for His return often in His parables5. So yes the Bridegroom has delayed His coming. We've seen that it is His goodness and desire to see more saved that has caused this. But the day is close and soon the declaration will be made that 'there will be no more delay.' His claim is based on the fact that He is its creator, owner and redeemer, and He will take this earth. 

Until then, as Larry Norman sings concerning this Christian life, 

"Let this good life be the life I lead
Let my faith grow like a mustard seed
And let your love be all the love I need
To carry me all the way home"

Amen. Hold fast to your faith. That day is close and at hand. God Bless.


  1. You could actually get a pen or pencil and put an open bracket in your Bible at Rev 10:1 and add a closing bracket at 11:13. Some people don't see this and think that the announcement of the 2nd woe in Rev 11:14 relates to the earthquake that occurs in Jerusalem in Rev 11:13. But that is NOT the case. The three 'woes' are trumpets 5, 6 and 7. The 2nd woe being over relates back to the demonic release and associated deaths of Rev 9:13-19

  2. While there are various pride flags, it is interesting that the most common one uses six colors instead of the actual God-designed rainbow that has seven. Seven is God's perfect, complete number. It points to Him. Six is the number of man that falls short of God's glory.

  3. Moses also spoke to Caleb, the man of faith - 'So on that day Moses swore to me, 'The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.' (Jos 14:9) And Caleb, through faith, walked the land and was given his rightful inheritance. And thus too, shall all that walk by faith. This angel in Rev 10, as God's servant and messenger, is standing upon the sea and land claiming it all back for God. But this world was not created for angels but for man and shall be part of our inheritance. Psalm 8 is a good one to read here.

  4. I have written about this more here:

  5. Parable of the Faithful & Wicked Servant - Mat 24:48 "But if that evil slave says in his heart, 'My master is not coming for a long time,' "
    Parable of the Talents - Mat 25:14 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country... After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
    Parable of the Ten Virgins - Mat 25:1-6 "Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom... "Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. "But at midnight there was a shout, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.'

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