Revelation 17:7–11 (NKJV)
The last passage of Scripture discussed the appearance and description of the harlot Babylon and the scarlet beast. Today’s passage will unravel some of the deeper meaning of this picture.
7 But the angel said to me, “Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. 8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.Revelation 17:7-11
9 “Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. 10 There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time. 11 The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.
While this explanation is rather cryptic and does not specifically identify the players in the picture, it does begin to outline where they came from. The beast represents a demonic figure that comes out of the bottomless pit, considered a hellish source of demonic power. He has a limited time period in which to work. The people of the earth marvel at the beasts abilities, and are deceived into taking the mark and worshipping the beast. This is most likely the beast who will be worshipped, and is also likely the demonic influence that brings the seven mountains, or seven kings, into alliance to support the woman, Babylon, in her deceptive cause. This wisdom or understanding helps those who read this revelation to understand how things will unfold in the Great Tribulation. This beast upon whom the woman sits, is a being who was, who is, and who will be. He is destined for destruction (perdition) and yet will continue to exist, as he is sent back into the bottomless pit.
This alternate picture of the kings or emperors of Rome discusses those who have served and are now fallen, one who now serves, and another that is yet to come. At the time of the writing of this book of Revelation, this was the current situation. Five great emperors were fallen, and one was serving, with another to come. However, this number seven again has significance as the number of design and completeness, perhaps relating to the number designed to serve during the Tribulation in this one-world government. This would again fulfill the “immediate and later” nature and implications of practically all prophetic utterances in the Bible. While those reading the Revelation at the time of its writing may be stirred to piety by the similarity to the Roman Empire of their day, those who live in modern times would be likely to see patterns in today’s world that would inspire us to be ready for the coming of Christ. This will ultimately be fulfilled during the Tribulation for all to see who will see. The most telling meaning of this is the fact that the world systems observed throughout history are the basis upon which the beast and the harlot will build their worldwide power and influence. Yet there will be kings who reign with the antichrist during the Great Tribulation for a time that represent the ten horns, which will be discussed in the next passage. The deposement of the the harlot Babylon is coming in the next several passages, and will be utterly devastating. Christ always wins.
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