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Revelation chapter 10

New International Version

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. 2 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.'
5 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.'
8 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. 11 Then I was told, 'You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.'
English Standard Version

1 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. 2 He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, 3 and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded. 4 And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.” 5 And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven 6 and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay, 7 but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.
8 Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, “Go, take the scroll that is 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 told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, “Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” 10 And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter. 11 And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”
King James Version

1 And 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: 2 And 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, 3 And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. 4 And 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. 5 And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, 6 And sware by him that liveth for ever 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: 7 But 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.
8 And 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. 9 And 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. 10 And 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. 11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
New American Standard Bible

1 I saw another strong angel coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud; and the rainbow was on his head, and his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire; 2 and he had in his hand a little scroll, which was open. He placed his right foot on the sea and his left on the land; 3 and he cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars; and when he had cried out, the seven peals of thunder uttered their voices. 4 When the seven peals of thunder had spoken, I was about to write; and I heard a voice from heaven, saying, 'Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken, and do not write them.' 5 Then the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven, 6 and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things in it, and the earth and the things in it, and the sea and the things in it, that there will no longer be a delay, 7 but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He announced to His servants the prophets.
8 Then the voice which I heard from heaven, I heard again speaking with me, and saying, 'Go, take the scroll which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the land.' 9 And I went to the angel, telling him to give me the little scroll. And he *said to me, 'Take it and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.' 10 I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it, and in my mouth it was sweet as honey; and when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter. 11 And they *said to me, 'You must prophesy again concerning many peoples, nations, languages, and kings.'
New Living Translation

1 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, surrounded by a cloud, with a rainbow over his head. His face shone like the sun, and his feet were like pillars of fire. 2 And in his hand was a small scroll that had been opened. He stood with his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land. 3 And he gave a great shout like the roar of a lion. And when he shouted, the seven thunders answered.
4 When the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write. But I heard a voice from heaven saying, 'Keep secret what the seven thunders said, and do not write it down.'
5 Then the angel I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand toward heaven. 6 He swore an oath in the name of the one who lives forever and ever, who created the heavens and everything in them, the earth and everything in it, and the sea and everything in it. He said, 'There will be no more delay. 7 When the seventh angel blows his trumpet, God's mysterious plan will be fulfilled. It will happen just as he announced it to his servants the prophets.'
8 Then the voice from heaven spoke to me again: 'Go and take the open scroll from the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.'
9 So I went to the angel and told him to give me the small scroll. 'Yes, take it and eat it,' he said. 'It will be sweet as honey in your mouth, but it will turn sour in your stomach!' 10 So I took the small scroll from the hand of the angel, and I ate it! It was sweet in my mouth, but when I swallowed it, it turned sour in my stomach.
11 Then I was told, 'You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages, and kings.'
Christian Standard Bible

1 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head. His face was like the sun, his legs were like pillars of fire, 2 and he held a little scroll opened in his hand. He put his right foot on the sea, his left on the land, 3 and he called out with a loud voice like a roaring lion. When he cried out, the seven thunders raised their voices. 4 And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven, saying, "Seal up what the seven thunders said, and do not write it down! "
5 Then the angel that I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. 6 He swore by the one who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, "There will no longer be a delay, 7 but in the days when the seventh angel will blow his trumpet, then the mystery of God will be completed, as he announced to his servants the prophets."
8 Then the voice that I heard from heaven spoke to me again and said, "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 and eat it; it will be bitter in your stomach, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth."
10 Then I took the little scroll from the angel's hand and ate it. It was as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I ate it, my stomach became bitter. 11 And they said to me, "You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages, and kings."

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).