CHAPTER 17 | Verses 8-18

Verse 8: “The beast, which you saw, it was and is not, and it shall be (in the future). It comes up from the abyss, but it is going to destruction. The ones who dwell upon the earth, those whose names are not written in the Book of Life, from before the foundation of the earth, they are going to be amazed when they see the beast which was and is not and shall come.”

This beast has a habit of appearing, at specific times in history, and then disappearing. Abyss – it is satanically inspired. G-d encourages us by telling us that this beast will be destroyed. The only hope that we have, in being victorious over this beast, is if our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Life is synonymous with redemption. Redemption is the means by which we become a Kingdom people.

Verse 9: “With this, the one who has wisdom will understand: the seven heads are seven hills which the woman sits upon.”

We need to have wisdom in order to discern this evil empire. A hill or a mountain, biblically speaking, is a seat of government. These seven hills are seven different empires/seats of government.

Verse 10: “They are seven kings (kingdoms). Five of these have fallen. One is, and the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he will stand for a while.”

John gives us a rule to help us to understand what he is speaking about. Five of these empires had already come and gone in John’s day (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medes and Persians, Greece).

The Roman empire was the one “who is” in the time of John.

Verse 11: “And the beast, which was and is not, he is the eighth. He is from the seven and he goes to destruction.”

The seventh kingdom will come and go, and then return briefly as the final or eighth kingdom.

Eight has to do with new beginnings. At the defeat of this final world empire the Kingdom of God will be established on earth. This is a new beginning for creation.

This is the second time (also in 17v8) where we are told that this beast is going to destruction. John is emphasizing this fact, in order to encourage us that there will be an end to this empire.

The first six empires were Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medes and Persians, Greece and Rome. What is the seventh and has it manifested itself yet? The main characteristic of these first six empires is that they wanted to destroy the Jewish people. We know that the seventh (and eighth) one will do the same. In living memory, we remember the Holocaust (preceded immediately by World War 1 and World War 2). 

Could this have been the seventh evil empire that reared its head and killed millions of Jews before disappearing again? If this was the seventh we know, prophetically, that the eighth one will come out of this one and be even more devastating in its ferocity. For the Jewish people it is a time known as ‘The time of Jacob’s trouble’ (Jeremiah 30v7). Israel is very strategic in God’s plans. It is also very strategic in satans.

Verse 12: “The ten horns, which you saw, are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom. For one hour they shall receive authority as kings, and they shall receive it with the beast.”

These ten kingdoms, together, make up this eighth evil empire.

Verse 13: “These have one mind; and their power and their rule they shall give to the beast.”

Verse 14: “They will make war with the Lamb, but the Lamb will prevail against them; because He is the L-rd of lords and the King of kings – and with Him are those who are called, chosen and faithful.”

All of the empires have been opposed to the plans and purposes of God. This final one is no different. This final empire is also opposed to redemption (the Lamb) and the Kingdom of God. The Lamb overcomes them because of His identity – He is God incarnate. If we want to experience victory, we need to be “with Him”

Called: this is an invitation, i.e. to be invited. This word demands a response and those who do respond are called…

Chosen: God places His Spirit within them, which enables them to be…. Faithful.

Verse 15: “And he (the angel) said to me: ‘The waters that you have seen, which this harlot sits upon, they are peoples, multitudes, nations and tongues.”

These people are the peoples of the world. The religion of the antichrist, initially, is going to be a tolerance of multiple religions. But this is going to change. In the middle of the last seven years, the antichrist is going to go into the Holy of Holies, pronounce himself god and demand exclusive worship (Matthew 4v9-10).

Verse 16: “The ten horns, which you saw, and the beast shall hate the harlot and make her desolate and naked. They shall eat her flesh and they shall burn her with fire.”

There is a change in the relationship between the beast empire and the harlot – the false religious system. People will no longer be allowed to do whatever is right in their own eyes. This empire will want to rule over even what people believe. It will want the world to worship it.

This final empire will make her desolate – stamp out her false religion, to bring in a new false religion, that of worshiping the antichrist.

Verse 17: “For God gave into (allowed) their hearts to do His purpose, to be of one mind. To give their rule (authority) to the beast unto the fulfillment of the Words of God.”

This empire, these kings, will want to exalt themselves. God does NOT cause sin. But God will allow/permit them to do the evil deeds that they will do. These deeds are going to lead them to destruction and therefore fulfill God’s purpose for sin – evil/sin has to be destroyed. God limit. how far they can go (unto the fulfillment of His Word).

Verse 18: “The woman which you saw she is that great city and she is mighty, and she ruled over the kingdoms of the earth.”

This beast is going to be a one world empire


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