Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Revelation 16:10

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The seat of the beast - Επι τον θρονον του θηριου· Upon the throne of the wild beast. The regal family was smitten by the fourth vial; they did not repent: then the fifth angel pours out his vial on the throne of the wild beast, or antichristian idolatrous power.

Was full of darkness - Confusion, dismay, and distress.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast - The previous judgments had been preparatory to this. They all had a bearing on this, and were all preliminary to it; but the “seat” - the home, the center of the power of the beast - had not yet been reached. Here, however, there was a direct blow aimed at that power, still not such yet as to secure its final overthrow, for that is reserved for the pouring out of the last vial, Revelation 16:17-21. All that is represented here is a heavy judgment which was merely preliminary to to that final overthrow, but which affected the very seat of the beast. The phrase “the seat of the beast” - τὸν θρόνον τοῦ θηρίου ton thronon tou thēriou- means the “seat” or “throne” which the representative of that power occupied, the central point of the Anti-christian dominion. Compare the notes on Revelation 13:2. See also Revelation 2:13. I understand this as referring to the very seat of the papal power - Rome - the Vatican.

And his kingdom was full of darkness - Confusion - disorder - distress, for darkness is often the emblem of calamity, Isaiah 59:9-10; Jeremiah 13:16; Ezekiel 30:18; Ezekiel 32:7-8; Ezekiel 34:12; Joel 2:2.

And they gnawed their tongues for pain - This is a “most significant expression of the writhings of anguish.” The word rendered here “gnawed” does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament, nor is the expression elsewhere used in the Bible; but its meaning is plain - it indicates deep anguish.

Uriah Smith
Daniel and the Revelation, 645

Verse 10

The Fifth Plague. — An important fact is established by this testimony; namely, that the plagues do not at once destroy all their victims; for some who were at first smitten with sores, we find still living under the fifth vial, and gnawing their tongues for pain. An illustration of this vial will be found in Exodus 10:21-23. It is poured upon the seat of the beast, the papacy. The seat of the beast is wherever the papal See is located, which has been thus far, and without doubt will continue to be, the city of Rome. “His kingdom” probably embraces all those who are subjects of the pope in an ecclesiastical point of view, wherever they may be.DAR 646.1

As those who place the plagues in the past have the first five already wholly accomplished, we here pause a moment to inquire where, in past ages, the judgments here threatened have been fulfilled. Can judgments so terrible be inflicted, and nobody know it? If not, where is the history of the fulfilment? When did a noisome and grievous sore fall upon a specified and extensive portion of mankind? When did the sea become as the blood of a dead man, and every living soul die in it? When did the fountains and rivers become blood, and people have blood to drink? When did the sun so scorch men with fire as to extort from them curses and blasphemy? And when did the subjects of the beast gnaw their tongues for pain, and at the same time blaspheme God on account of their sores? Interpreters who thus put such scenes in the past, where a shadow of fulfillment cannot be shown, openly invite the scoffs and ridicule of the skeptically minded against God's holy book, and furnish them with potent weapons for their deplorable work. In these plagues, says Inspiration, is filled up the wrath of God; but if they can be fulfilled and nobody know it, who shall henceforth consider his wrath so terrible a thing, or shrink from his judgments when they are threatened?DAR 646.2

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The heart of man is so desperately wicked, that the most severe miseries never will bring any to repent, without the special grace of God. Hell itself is filled with blasphemies; and those are ignorant of the history of human nature, of the Bible, and of their own hearts, who do not know that the more men suffer, and the more plainly they see the hand of God in their sufferings, the more furiously they often rage against him. Let sinners now seek repentance from Christ, and the grace of the Holy Spirit, or they will have the anguish and horror of an unhumbled, impenitent, and desperate heart; thus adding to their guilt and misery through all eternity. Darkness is opposed to wisdom and knowledge, and forebodes the confusion and folly of the idolaters and followers of the beast. It is opposed to pleasure and joy, and signifies anguish and vexation of spirit.
Ellen G. White
Early Writings, 64-5


In a view given June 27, 1850, my accompanying angel said, “Time is almost finished. Do you reflect the lovely image of Jesus as you should?” Then I was pointed to the earth and saw that there would have to be a getting ready among those who have of late embraced the third angel's message. Said the angel, “Get ready, get ready, get ready. Ye will have to die a greater death to the world than ye have ever yet died.” I saw that there was a great work to do for them and but little time in which to do it. EW 64.1

Read in context »
Ellen G. White
Early Writings, 289

I then saw Jesus leading His people to the tree of life, and again we heard His lovely voice, richer than any music that ever fell on mortal ear, saying, “The leaves of this tree are for the healing of the nations. Eat ye all of it.” Upon the tree of life was most beautiful fruit, of which the saints could partake freely. In the city was a most glorious throne, from which proceeded a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal. On each side of this river was the tree of life, and on the banks of the river were other beautiful trees bearing fruit which was good for food. EW 289.1

Language is altogether too feeble to attempt a description of heaven. As the scene rises before me, I am lost in amazement. Carried away with the surpassing splendor and excellent glory, I lay down the pen, and exclaim, “Oh, what love! what wondrous love!” The most exalted language fails to describe the glory of heaven or the matchless depths of a Saviour's love. EW 289.2

Read in context »