“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.” (Rev 17:1-3)
“The beast that thou saw WAS, and IS NOT; and IS ABOUT TO COME up out of the abyss…”
“All students of Revelation know the enormous complexities of Verses 8-13. These verses will remain complex no matter what we do to simplify them. Nevertheless, it is important to try to identify the players in this saga as clearly as possible, and the Revelator supplies enough clues to make certain conclusions secure. By identifying the players, a great deal of the difficulty of interpretation is eliminated.” Before going any further it is important here to remember that the Beast consist of four parts,
1) The rider: (the “Woman”) the apostate Roman Catholic Church, which has, indeed, by harlotry controlled the direction of the beast.
2) The body of the beast: The People who either have nominally supported, or have by coercion been functionally a part of the arrangement.
3) The horns: The supportive powers (governments, nations) which, throughout the age, have fluctuated in identity.
4) The heads: The forms of authority, which have acted as kinds of umbrella philosophies over this complex entity.
In Verse 8 we are introduced to a BEAST, which we were told we “SAW” earlier.
Point # 1: The Beast here spoken of is NOT the ENTIRE 7-headed, 10-horned beast, spoken of above in Verse 3.
How do we know this? Because Verse 8 says that THIS “beast” (which we saw) IS NOT, (read the Verse again carefully), while (at the same time in history) we learn from Verse 10 that the WHOLE beast IS that is, it EXISTS at this same time WITH ONE HEAD (the 6th) which it CLEARLY STATES “IS” (in existence).
THEREFORE: This beast IS (Verse 10) and IS NOT (Verse 8) AT THE SAME TIME!
This seems like double-talk, but it is not. The expansion of POINT #1 is this:
SOME FUNCTION (some characteristic, some form, some aberration, some historic identity or peculiarity) of the beast USED TO EXIST, but does not (now) CURRENTLY exist — EVEN THOUGH THE BEAST AS A WHOLE DOES CURRENTLY EXIST. By currently, we mean at the time of the angel’s ministry up to the present, (Thus the importance in understanding who particularly the angel or messenger who spoke to John was and at what time his ministry took place. Our understanding is that this was the Seventh Messenger, the Laodicean Messenger.)
Verse 8 gives a further clue. When it says “The beast that you saw,” it clearly refers back to Verses 3- 5 — the “wilderness” period (A.D. 539-1799). THEREFORE, whatever aberration of the beast we are looking for should be found DURING THAT TIME.
NOTE: There WAS one particular and peculiar (and scripturally noted) instance during that period (A.D. 539-1799) when the BODY of the beast had an UPRISING. During the French Republic, the PEOPLE (the body of the beast) rose up against head, horns, and harlot rider. This is when 1/10th of the * “city” fell (Rev 11:13). Apparently this beast (NOT a WHOLE beast, but only the people constituting its body) will ONCE MORE appear for the destruction of the other 9/10ths of the “city.” (Verses 8, 11-13, 16, 17, Consider Rev 11:7-13 CAREFULLY)
NOTE ALSO: The French Republic WAS NOT A HEAD! It DID NOT work with or under the Roman Catholic Church (which all the heads do; thus she “rides” them.) It was contemporaneous with the yet- existing Holy Roman Empire, which was the contemporary head. Napoleon’s overthrow of the Holy Roman Empire (1806) created the NEXT head — the Napoleonic Empire, which was the 5th head, which DID work with Papacy.
Point # 2: The PARTIAL beast (of Verses 8, 11-13, 16, 17) is THUS SAID to be “of the seven,” but NOT ONE of the seven.” (We should not look for a definition of this [partial] beast prior to the first head since Verse 11 says that it is “of the seven.”)
This aberration of the people’s rising up, (the BODY of the beast rising up) happened DURING THE TIME of the WHOLE beast’s continuing to function with its head and horns. Thus this PARTIAL beast WAS (but not for long) during the French Revolution.
It WAS during the “wilderness” period.
It WAS (i.e. it existed in France) while the WHOLE beast continued to function in the other 9/10ths of the city (the remainder of Babylon, Christendom, Europe in this case).
But, in the days of the Seventh Messenger, the Laodicean Messenger, it was appropriately said that this beast “IS NOT” because the uprising of the body was in the past. The prophecy shows, however, that this aberration (uprising of the body, the people) will AGAIN manifest itself — “it is about to come up and go into destruction.” (Verse 8)
Point # 3: The PARTIAL beast is a “king,” but NOT a new head.
When we look at Verses 9 and 10, we are asked to apply wisdom — to interpret the symbols the angel gave us. We encounter an interesting and important SWITCH of symbols. First we are told that the heads (forms of government) ARE mountains (kingdoms.) This is not too difficult to conceive of as each of the seven heads, while in existence, was considered AN EMPIRE (kingdom.) The next statement is the tricky one:
“And (THEY) are seven kings…”
Some translators word it:
“And (THERE) are seven kings…”
The fact is, the Greek does NOT have “they” or “there” both words are supplied by the translators according to their understanding. As we can see, the choice MAKES A SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE!
Which is correct?
There is evidence in the context that the first example is the correct idea, i. e., the seven heads and/or the seven mountains ARE seven kings. Because we KNOW the basic sequence of heads from history, we KNOW that in the days of the Laodicean Messenger FIVE heads (and/or mountains) were in the past. It says the SAME THING about the kings — FIVE are past.
It seems MOST LOGICAL, then, to EQUATE heads, mountains, and kings. If we say the kings are different from and in addition to the heads, we are faced with an interpretation seemingly beyond possibility. But this leaves one big question:
Why does the symbology change from “heads” in Verses 3 and 9 to “kings” in Verse 10?
THE ANSWER: It changes because the beast ONLY HAS SEVEN HEADS — never any more! But, the Partial Beast (the one which was, but isn’t, but will be) WILL BE a king but NOT a new head. This is why the symbology HAD TO CHANGE. Hence:
“The (partial) beast . . . is himself also an eighth (king), and is of (or related to the history of) the seven (kings or heads)” which the beast had in the past.
What does this mean? WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A HEAD AND A KING? This is CENTRAL to interpretation.
The harlot sits on the beast with seven heads. This means that all the heads are in collusion with the harlot. BUT THIS EIGHTH KING does NOT work with the harlot. She does NOT sit on or control this beast (body of people) any more than she controlled the French Republic. It is, therefore, NOT an eighth head; it is an eighth king. It will rule, just as the French Republic did. The change of symbology from the heads to kings was NECESSARY in order to make this point clear.
This “wisdom” or understanding is what was implied by the angel when he stated, “Here is the mind which has wisdom…” if you are able to grasp this thought, i.e. the difference between a “head” and a “king” as used by the angel in the context, then do you possess the mind which hath wisdom.
In the general sense we know the identity of the dragon and the beast; however it’s their “heads” and “horns” which tend to give us the most trouble.” (N.A.N.O.R. Pages 134-136)
*The “city” as explained by the angel, Rev 17:18,
“And the woman whom you saw (the harlot who had controlled the age) is the great city (antitypical Babylon, the capital of Christendom) which reigns (She is an apostate church. She reigned too early and improperly. It is in the present tense because it is the angel speaking in his day) over the kings of the earth (a church over the state: harlotry).”
Continued with next post.