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Revelation chapter 10

English Standard Version

New International Version

New American Standard Bible

Christian Standard Bible

New Living Translation

King James Version

1And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: 2And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, 3And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. 4And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not. 5And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, 6And swore by him that liveth forever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: 7But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. 8And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. 9And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. 10And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. 11And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
New King James Version

What does Revelation chapter 10 mean?

This chapter is brief, introducing an interlude between the sixth and seventh trumpet judgments. The interlude consists of two main events. Here in chapter 10, John sees a "mighty angel" and is instructed to symbolically eat a little scroll. At the beginning of chapter 11, John is tasked with measuring parts of the temple and provided with further end-times prophecies.

This chapter begins by describing a "mighty angel." He holds in his hand a "little scroll," distinct from the scroll of God's judgment described in chapter 5. Based on this passage, some interpreters believe the "mighty angel" is actually Jesus Christ. Others suggest the "mighty angel" is the archangel Michael. In either case, this being calls out and the result is the sound of "seven thunders" (Revelation 10:1–3).

What follows is a rare instance where God explicitly instructs someone—John, in this case—not to reveal what He has seen and heard. Whatever message was contained in the voice of the seven thunders, that information is not to be included in John's writing. This is an important reminder: that God alone knows everything which is occurring. We are not meant to know all things, and we cannot claim to know all things—either about the end times, or any other subject (Revelation 10:4).

This passage also reminds us that God, in the present day, is restraining the influence of evil (2 Thessalonians 2:7) and holding back on judgment (Revelation 7:1–3). He exhibits patience for the sake of our salvation (2 Peter 3:9). At some point during the end times, however, God will no longer hold back. There will be no more delay, and the catastrophes of the great tribulation will happen according to their own "natural" timeline. God's merciful restriction of evil, and loving hindrance of judgment, will end (Revelation 10:5–7).

John is then given a highly symbolic order: to eat the small scroll being held by the mighty angel. This echoes a similar instruction given to the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 2—3). The initial acceptance of God's word is "sweet," knowing it is communication from God. And, the ultimate message is one of reconciliation and peace. However, mankind's process of reaching that peace involves judgment, mayhem, and death. This is the "bitterness" of preaching a "sweet" gospel to the world: knowing that those who reject God will face His terrible wrath. As part of that bitter obligation, John is required to continue to deliver prophecy about many different things (Revelation 10:8–11).
What is the Gospel?
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