Revelation 16:10 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Revelation 16:10, NIV: The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in agony

Revelation 16:10, ESV: The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in anguish

Revelation 16:10, KJV: And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,

Revelation 16:10, NASB: And the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became darkened; and they gnawed their tongues because of pain,

Revelation 16:10, NLT: Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. His subjects ground their teeth in anguish,

Revelation 16:10, CSB: The fifth poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues because of their pain

What does Revelation 16:10 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This bowl judgment is unique in that it's specifically targeted at the "throne" of the beast. The fifth angel's bowl seems primarily to affect the center of the beast's kingdom, the heart of his power. While the other bowl judgments seem to be global, this one might be more localized. That opens up different possibilities for what it might actually be, in literal terms.

This judgment cloaks the beast's kingdom in darkness. The beast and his followers loved moral and spiritual darkness, now they experience a more tangible form of darkness. If this is a literal physical loss of light, it might mean all electrical grids fail, and environmental conditions combine to create a thick, noxious darkness. Without electricity, and in the grip of natural disasters, it would be nearly impossible to use a computer, drive a car, or conduct business. TV news would be silent. Business would fail. Fear will grip people's hearts.

When God smote the ancient Egyptians with darkness, people could not see one another and no one dared to move about (Exodus 10:22–23). The prophet Joel predicted that the tribulation would be a day of thick darkness (Joel 2:2). Afflicted by "harmful and painful sores" (Revelation 16:2) and scorched by the sun (Revelation 16:9), people will not be able to obtain medical help in the total blackout. They will gnaw their tongues in pain. This darkness will preview the horrible outer darkness in which the wicked will spend eternity (see Matthew 8:11–12).