Continued from Babylon the Harlot, Part 1
The Vision of the Beast - Five details describing the beast are given:
Blasphemous names (v.3) Had seven heads (v.3) And ten horns (v.3) The prostitute rides it (v.7) The beast was, and is not, and will come up out of the bottomless pit (Abyss) and go to his destruction (v.11).
The careful Bible student will immediately recognize this beast even before examining the angel's interpretation. In the first place, it is similar to the beast of Rev. 13 and doubtless represents what all beasts used symbolically represent: either a king or a kingdom that opposes God's will.
When John sees the great prostitute, he is "greatly astonished?" Actually, some parts of this vision should have been familiar to John, for it is obviously the same beast as that described in chapter 13.
The angel introduces his explanation with the words, "This calls for a mind with wisdom" (v.9), which indicate that only someone with the wisdom of God (found in the Word of God) can understand this vision.
17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
Go to chapter 13 and re-read the first 2 verses and the descriptive comments of those two verses for an accurate description of what the beginning of verse eight's meaning is. Revelation Chapter 13 Verse 1 - 2
This word "perdition" means ruin, loss, or damnable.
"The beast that thou sawest" - Beast
"Whose names were not written in the book of life". The false religious system of the end times will be very convincing and popular among the unsaved, but those who have committed themselves to Christ will understand that anything idolatrous is not of God.
17:9 And here [is] the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
We will see in this scripture that the city of seven hills is where this evil system has its headquarters. This is a marvel to the world who are not fully aware of the implications of the Bible it shows. Of course the bride of Christ, the Christians who have their names written in the Lamb's book of life since the world began, are aware of all of this and why it happened.
The seven heads of the Beast represent, seven mountains, on which the woman "sitteth". Seven Heads - Seven Mountains The city of Rome was known throughout the ancient world as a city built on seven hills or mountains. John notes that the wise mind will make the proper identification. The woman apparently represents idolatrous, anti-God civilization, centered at Rome but with worldwide influence (v.15).
The identification of the seven heads as Rome shows that the Beast will initially have his major base of operations at Rome. It is thought by many studying the end times that after the Harlot has been killed, the beast will move his headquarters to the actual city of Babylon during the last three and one half years.
17:10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, [and] the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
The seven heads of this beast mentioned, according to Tim LaHaye, are kings of the Roman Empire. The best definition is that they represent five kings up to the time of John; the sixth, Domitian, was the Roman king at the time of John, who then skips forward to the end time for the seventh head, which will bring the king of the revived Roman Empire. This Roman Empire was in great power; it fell, and will be revived again. Then see verse 11 as this is describing the antichrist who will be the eighth and final king who will rule the entire world (kingdom).
A rather interesting scripture regarding the Holy Spirit's description of the beasts that represent kingdoms appears in the book of Daniel. When one thinks of world governments, they take on a beautiful shape, as did king Nebuchadnezzar's dream in Daniel. In his dream, the beast contained 4 different types of metals. Each section of that image represented one of the four coming world kingdoms which at that time were coming (Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon was already there and was the first of the four).
Two governments had already come and gone at that time which were Assyria and Egypt.
Those 4 beasts found in Daniel 2 verse 35 are explained as Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar's dream for him. The four beasts in his dream is Babylon represented by head of gold. The two arms of silver represented the kingdoms of Media and Persia. The belly and thighs of brass (or bronze) represented Greece. And the fourth kingdom described the Roman Empire as the legs or iron. When God describes the coming world kingdoms, He uses beasts to symbolize them. Human beings look favorably on government as a great help to them, whereas God looks on government as a great hindrance to them, as does anyone who has studied history and observed government's bestial treatment of humanity.
Whether this scripture is describing kings or kings doesn't matter as they still mean the same which makes up the beast described here. The seven kingdoms or empires throughout history that have ruled over Israel and much of the known world are:
Egypt Assyria Babylonia Medo-Persia Greece Rome - The Roman Empire existing at the time of John which ceased to exist And then the seventh, the revived Rome which has not yet come Then the eighth and final will be the Antichrist (see verse This revived Roman Empire is represented in the book of Daniel by the 10 toes in the image of Daniel 2:41 - 44 and by the 10 horns on the fourth beast of Daniel 7:7, 20, 24, and in Revelation by the 10 horns on the first Beast (13:1; 17:3, 12, 13). It will exist as a major power only a short while, since it will then give its authority to the Beast (11-13).
17:11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
The beast, the final world kingdom ruled by the Antichrist, is the eighth king or kingdom. He is of the seven in that he is the culmination of all the previous, pagan, idolatrous empires and the reason many think the Antichrist will arise up out of the revised Roman Empire. But then he will go into perdition, the lake of fire.
Put another way, the beast that John saw is the Antichrist, the satanic ruler of the last and most powerful empire in human history, who will serve as Satan's instrument to attack Israel, persecute believers, conquer the world for Satan and oppose Christ. The Beast - Eight King
Scripture portraits him as an intellectual genius Dan. 7 v.8; an outstanding orator Dan. 7 v.20; a military leader without parallel in human history Dan. 7 v.23; a shrewd calculating and manipulating politician Dan 8 v.25; 11 v.21; and the ultimate religious charlatan 2 Thess. 2 v.4; The angel briefly reviews the detailed description of him given in Rev. 13 verses 1 -10.
17:12-13 "And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast." "These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast."
Reading in Daniel 2 v.45 the ten toes of the fourth beast (Roman Empire) were made of iron and miry clay making a brittle substance. This is speaking of the 10 kingdoms or kings which will emanate from the Roman Empire and be in existence at the time of Christ's return. Ten Horns - Ten Kings Their worldwide power will come in association with the beast. One hour indicates a relatively short time (18:10, 17, 19).
Next week - Part 4
Written by Jennifer Auld