Revelation Chapter 17:8-11
“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.”
THE BEAST: — that is its body, the people
THAT YOU SAW: — in Verses 3-5. We “saw” it historically during the “wilderness period” of 539-1799.
WAS: — that is to say this particular aberration of the beast only occurred once thus far, during the French Revolution, at that time the body of the beast (the people) rose up against its leaders (head, horns, harlot.)
AND IS NOT: It (the body of the beast) “was not” during the days when this angel (the Seventh) was alive in the flesh explaining Babylon’s fall to the saints.
Remember what we had learned from our previous post, this beast IS (Verse 10) and IS NOT (Verse 8) AT THE SAME TIME! (That is to say some characteristic, some form or aberration or peculiarity) of the beast USED TO EXIST (during the French Revolution), but it does not (now) CURRENTLY exist – EVEN THOUGH THE BEAST AS A WHOLE DOES CURRENTLY EXIST.
IS ABOUT TO COME UP: — to show itself again: another uprising or revolution of the people against their rulers as was in the French Revolution when 1/10th of the city fell is about to take place, however the 9/10ths of the future will be much more severe than was the first 1/10th. “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matt 24:21)
OUT OF THE ABYSS: — out of a condition in which power is not exercised.
AND GO TO DESTRUCTION (Anarchy): — This will be history’s final revolution. The “great earthquake” of Rev 16:18
AN IMPORTANT NOTE: Were not the contents of this verse precisely what the Laodicean Messenger taught? It was distinctly his point that the French Revolution was a prototype of the final trouble which would destroy Babylon. He said in the plainest of terms: The Trouble began in France. It now is abated. But it will come back and do the final work. IT WAS, IS NOT, AND WILL BE again. These difficult words have been a clear part of the harvest message for over a century.
AND THOSE WHO DWELL ON THE EARTH: — those with a vested interest in the current order of things (this is not in reference to the masses of mankind, the sea-class, but rather to a specific element which has, as stated a vested interest in things as they are, in maintaining the present order.)
WILL WONDER: What a wonderful contrast to Verses 6 and 7, the tables are now turned! Now the saints are not the ones who will wonder; but rather the astonishment, the wonder will be on the part of the establishment, the world and the worldly church, the church nominal.
WHO’S NAME HAS NOT BEEN WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF LIFE FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD: Only the spirit-begotten will comprehend what is happening (i.e. the “Little Flock” and the “Great Company”). This phrase clearly excludes “those who dwell on earth” from spirit-begettal.
WHEN THEY SEE THE BEAST: — the partial beast; the uprising of the people (the body of the beast). This will not be a pleasant experience for those trying to sustain the old order — although they will cooperate with this partial beast hoping to preserve their interests (Even now this cooperation, more to the point concession to the will of the beast is transpiring, if you are able to perceive it.)
THAT HE WAS: People KNOW about the French Revolution, but they try to suppress its meaning from their minds. It is just fine with them in their memories to consign this “beast” to history — to the “WAS” condition.
AND IS NOT: — as the angel explains the matter, the beast is yet in his “NOT” condition.
AND WILL COME: The Greek is “and is present.” The thought is that “those who dwell on earth” will wonder when the beast is again present — in their midst.
“Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits.”
HERE IS THE MIND WHICH HAS WISDOM: The angel now invites the saints to reason.
He does NOT explain to us the meaning of the following verses. He merely LISTS SYMBOLIC EQUIVALENTS. This was very much the thrust of Brother Russell’s work in regard to Revelation. He constantly reasoned with us on the symbols but stated clearly that “someone else” would have to write the “seventh volume” (the explanation of Revelation.) He thus indicated to us that we have the tools. We must apply them.
THE SEVEN HEADS: The successive forms of umbrella government over the beast historically
ARE SEVEN MOUNTAINS: All seven forms were empires (kingdoms) this is the first of TWO EQUIVALENTS.
Heads = Mountains. (Later, Mountains = Kings or Heads = Kings is added to the equation.) These 3 words are very important. They are the FIRST lesson in correct interpretation. If we have tried to NAME the heads and we have come up with a conclusion in which not all are kingdoms or empires, this phrase is telling us we are wrong. Thus, if we have guessed that Papacy is a head, we are wrong because Papacy is not a Mountain. Rome, of course, is known as the city on seven hills. All seven of these empires are remnants of Rome.
ON WHICH THE WOMAN SITS: This is no passing phrase of minor import. It is placed here to further the understanding of the previous phrase. Not only must we identify each head as an empire (mountain), but whichever empires we choose, the Roman Catholic Church must have “ridden” (sat upon) them. The harlot DID sit upon (control the direction of to some extent) all of these heads. She will NOT do so on the coming “eighth” arrangement. It, therefore, cannot be called a head upon which she sits. So, a CHANGE IN SYMBOL IS REQUIRED; and the VERY NEXT phrase makes that change. It gives us our second EQUIVALENT to the heads:
“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.”
AND THEY ARE SEVEN KINGS: The switch is accomplished. The heads are now called kings so that an EIGHTH can arise without being thought of as a new head. Kings here, of course, are not individuals, but kingdoms — although in most cases a strong individual (Justinian, Charlemagne, Otto the Great, etc.,) can be equated with the founding of these empires.
FIVE HAVE FALLEN: (All of these reckonings are from the standpoint of the days of the seventh angel. A correct interpretation of this chapter is impossible without realizing and accepting his part in this narrative.) The fifth head, mountain, or king was the Napoleonic Empire. It was now gone.
ONE IS: The Victor Emanuel Dynasty was functioning — the sixth head, mountain, or king.
THE OTHER HAS NOT YET COME: — the Nazi-Fascist Empire.
AND WHEN HE COMES: — after the angel’s “change” (After the Laodicean Messenger died and passed beyond the Vail in 1916)
HE (the seventh head or king, the Nazi-Fascist Empire) MUST REMAIN A LITTLE WHILE: — late 1920’s to 1945.
“The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.”
AND THE BEAST WHICH WAS AND IS NOT: — that peculiar aberration in the beast’s history: the uprising of the body of the beast to form the French Republic and thus destroy 1/10th of the city.
IS HIMSELF ALSO AN EIGHTH: — NOT an eighth head, but an eighth KING. This (partial) beast WILL RULE (therefore as a king), but not as a head — not with the harlot riding it as she is said to have done on all the former heads. There ARE NOT eight heads on the beast — ONLY SEVEN!
AND IS OF THE SEVEN: — is to be found in the history of the seven “legitimate” heads, but IS NOT ONE of the seven heads. The wording would then be “and is one of the seven.” This is not the case.
The angel is trying very hard to make clear that this eighth “thing” is not a reappearance of one of the old heads. Had that been the thought, he would merely have said, “one of the seven will come back to rule again.” The (that is to us) awkward wording is the angel’s specific attempt to lead us away from that wrong conclusion.
AND HE GOES TO DESTRUCTION: This eighth king (the reigning body of the beast — another French Revolution-type government) does not have a good prognosis! His rule will be a disaster. He will be destroyed. There will NEVER AGAIN (after this) be an uprising of the people. Hallelujah!!!!!
(N.A.N.O.R. Pages 136-138)
Continued with next post.