Revelation 17

womanbeast

Nothing is perhaps more fascinating in all of Scripture than the book  of Revelation. The symbols, the descriptions, the story, all point to an exciting and yet fearful time for His children. We’d like to look at chapter 17 this week as interpreted by God’s Elijah prophet. As you read the following, notice how all the symbols come into perfect understanding. How God sets it all before us, through His prophet, to know what is soon to come upon the earth.

One of the interesting clarifications shown here is the much discussed Rev.17:10-11,   “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. The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.”

Many within our denomination have believed similar to what Doug Bachelor says, “Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Imperial Rome, Papal Rome. Papal Rome is also the eighth cause it gets a deadly wound, it comes back again.” But  compare this view with what follows, on this subject.

Rev. 17:1-3 — “And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.  So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.”

This beast is seen to portray the world in its day as are all the beasts of Daniel and The Revelation seen to portray the world in their day.

   The wilderness being opposite of the vineyard denotes that the beast’s domain is not in the Promised Land, not in the vineyard (Isa. 5:7), but in the lands of the Gentiles, the “wilderness.”  From his domain, therefore, is excluded the Holy Land.  And by the fact that the woman is sitting on the beast, driving it, is positively shown that she is ruling it, and that the beast itself is the symbol of the dominion of Babylon the Great.

   The beast’s ten horns portray civil powers, as do the horns of any symbolic beast.  And if the wounded head of the leopard-like beast of chapter 13 is symbolical of a religious organization, as is taught by the Denomination, then his seven heads must likewise be figurative of religious bodies!  Thus it is that this beast in its entirety, like all the other such beasts of the Bible, symbolizes the Gentile world in its entirety — civil and religious bodies (horns and heads).

 

   To blaspheme is for one to speak lightly of God, to work hypocrisy, to profess to be something other than what one actually is.  Inspiration’s definition is this:…I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” Rev. 2:9.

Rev. 17:4-6 — “And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: and upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.  And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.”

This woman does not symbolize something new, but something as old as the time of the martyrs, for she is the cause of their slaying.  What could she be but a counterfeit religion which originated with Cain’s unacceptable sacrifice?  Since then she has brought forth sectarianism, has become a mother of harlots.  Her abominations, you note, are made very attractive, being dispensed from a golden cup held in hands that are gorgeously decked with the costliest things of earth.

Rev. 17:7-13 — “And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel?  I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.  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.  And here is the mind which hath wisdom.

The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.  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.  And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.  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.”

Here is a beast whose make-up is similar to that of the leopard-like beast of chapter 13.  The horns of this scarlet-colored beast, though, are crownless, and none of his heads are wounded.  Also, rather than having the name of Blasphemy written only over his heads, his whole body is full of names of blasphemies.

   In previous studies we learned that the leopard-like beast symbolizes the world from the fall of Pagan Rome to our time (The Great Controversy, pg. 442).  Now, since the scarlet-colored beast also has ten horns and seven heads, it is again seen that he, too, is in the stream of time a symbol of the world with its civil and religious powers — horns and heads.

   Inasmuch as his head is not wounded as is the head of the leopard-like beast, and since the wound of the leopard-like is healed, it is clear that the scarlet-colored beast represents the world in the time the wound is healed, in the time the two-horned beast (Rev. 13:11-18) makes a likeness of the leopard-like beast in its pre-wounded state.

 

   You notice that the horns of Daniel’s fourth beast were crownless, and the horns of John’s leopard-like beast crowned, and again that the horns of the scarlet-colored beast are crownless.  Inspiration by means of these symbolical beasts portrays three periods of time, one following the other: (1) the period before the European kings received their crowns; (2) the period in which they were crowned; (3) a period of crownless kings in which Babylon the Great reigns supreme.

   The fact that nearly all crowned kings of the world have already been dethroned is proof in itself that Period No. 2, the period of the leopard-like beast (crowned horns) is about to pass away, and that Period No. 3, the period of the scarlet-colored beast (crownless horns) is about to be ushered in.  In order to make the transition, the present distress of the nations is therefore inevitable.

Rev. 17:14-18 — “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.  And He saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. 

And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.  For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill His will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.  And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.”

Again, the fact that the ten horns (kings) have one mind (unlike the toe-kings of Daniel 2:42, 43), but have no kingdom of their own, besides the fact that the woman rules the beast, and also the fact that the Communist leaders (crownless kings) of the nations and have one mind (work together for one common cause), — all these facts show that though Communism appears to be the next power to rule the world, this symbolical prophecy points out that the world will next be ruled by an international religious system, by Babylon the Great, a rival of the religion of Christ, and a counterfeit of the woman in Revelation chapter 12.  The scarlet-colored beast, therefore, is the symbol of the world government into which the United Nations will finally evolve.

   Since those who have no part in the first resurrection, all the unrepentant sinners from the beginning of the world to the Millennium, are to be resurrected after the 1000 years, they will then positively discover that their names were not written “in the Book of Life”, — no, not one of them, even from the foundation of the world.  The truth thus stands out clearly that then only will they behold the beast in its three phases (“that was, and is not, and yet is”); that is, he “was” before the Millennium; “and is not” during the Millennium; “and yet is” after the Millennium.

   He “is not” during the 1000 years because at the commencement of the 1000 years, the beast and the false prophet are “cast into the lake of fire,” then the “remnant,” all the rest who came not out of Babylon’s domain, are “slain with the sword” of the “King of kings, and Lord of lords.” Rev. 19:21, 16.

   To summarize, having lived before the Millennium, and also after the Millennium, and being dead during the Millennium, the beast is seen in three phases, in three periods: the pre-millennial in which he “was,” the millennial in which “he is not” and post-millennial, in which he “is.”

   He “shall ascend out of the bottomless pit” (out of the pit, in which Satan himself is to be bound for a 1000 years), and then “go into perdition” (Rev. 17:8); that is, he will shortly be put to his second death from which there is no resurrection.

   “He is the eighth, and is of the seven”; that is, there are four beasts in Daniel 7, two in Revelation 13, and one in chapter 17 — seven beasts in all.  But the seventh lives twice, and thus after his resurrection “he is the eighth,” but “is of the seven.”  Then he goes into perdition, — suffers the second death.

   The statement, “and there are seven kings,” shows that these kings are not in the symbolism; that is, they are not the horns, nor are they the heads.  All the horns and the heads are present on the beast, whereas the “seven kings” are not there symbolized — five are fallen, one is, and the other is yet to come.

  We must fully realize that God through this symbolism summarizes the history of the entire world, for the beast, as I said before, is symbolical not only of the pre-millennial world but also of the post-millennial wicked world.  The seven kings of kingdoms “from the foundation of the world before the flood;  

  • (1) The ancient world before the flood;
  • (2) The ancient Babylonian Empire;
  • (3) The Medo-Persian Empire;
  • (4) the Grecian Empire;
  • (5) The Roman Empire.  These are fallen.
  • (6) The one that is, is the world to which the present distress of nations is to give birth (the pre-millennial), and of  which the beast itself, in his first phase, is the symbol.  And
  • (7) the one that is to come, is the world after the 1000 years, of which the beast itself, in its third phase, is also a symbol.

   Thus along with this symbolism the world of sin is represented from its beginning to its very end.  This beast, therefore, is the symbolical summary of the whole world.

(Timely Greetings, vol. 2, no.18, p.15-22)

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One Response to “Revelation 17”

  1. wilfred. Says:

    thanks!!!

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