Nazarene Apocalypse ©2000
[“A Hated Mistress and a Victorious King”]
Key Word: Babylon
Theme Verse: 1
#382. Chapters 17 and 18 return now to provide more details in what has earlier been called the fall of Babylon the Great. (Revelation 14:8; 16:19) For this there is a change in position of the visionary John, evidently from his heavenly location to a desert region. It is here he sees the developments which lead to the ruin of Babylon the Great.
#383. John sees and describes a royally dressed woman riding on the back of the wild Sea Beast of chapter 13. This “woman” is particularly blamed for and associated with the blood of the Saints, the Christian martyrs. Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls of God’s anger, offers to satisfy John’s wonderment over the identity of this Woman. Before getting to this Woman, the angel describes the beast she is riding.
RV17:1 And one of the seven angels having the 7 bowls820 came and spoke to me, saying: “Come here, I shall show you the judgment821 on the Great Harlot,822 the one sitting upon many waters,823 [Jeremiah 51:13]
|820||7 bowls: May it be assumed this is sequentially after the pouring out of the 7 bowls? Or, is there an overlapping of the 7th bowl with the vision that follows in chapters 17, 18?|
|821||I shall show you the judgment: That judgment the martyred Saints were told to wait for in Revelation 6:9-11.|
|822||The Great Harlot: This Woman, or Harlot, as been referenced already in Revelation 9:14; 11:8; 14:8; 16:12, 19. All things considered, including that description in chapter 18, the Great Harlot, Babylon the Great, is a religious empire with her roots in Shinar and that first kingdom of Nimrod. Some would limit this to the Roman Catholic Church and thus it would be part of that “man of lawlessness” of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2. Others would expand it to include all those religions traceable back to the Indus Valley and the Tower of Babel along the Euphrates River. Thus, the Harlot is “Religion.” See notes on Revelation 11:8 and the suggestion the Great City is apostate Christianity.|
|823||Many waters: These are explained in Revelation 16:15 as international crowds. These are the same people mentioned in Revelation 13:7, 16. The expression HYDRATON POLLON is found in the LXX at Jeremiah 51:13 and is an illusion to the protective flow of the Euphrates around and through Babylon.|
|824||These kings made earth’s inhabitants drunk: These kings of the earth no doubt include more than the 10 kings or horns later mentioned. Here it is virtually all of the political kings who have ever ruled. These kings have been affected in some way by the Great Harlot. It is not possible to study history and not become aware of the religious influence on all governments who have ever existed up to modern times. The kings have used and been used by the Great Harlot. The political powers of history have intoxicated earth’s inhabitants by their use of religion. The Greek here for drunk, EMETHUSTHESAN, is from the LXX at Jeremiah 51:7. The Jewish atheist Marx put it: “Religion is the opium of the people.” With him, the Bible here agrees. Present conflicts throughout the world are largely religious wars, including wars between Christians and Muslims.|
|825||Her prostitution: Though there has been much literal fornication between kings and religionists, immoral intercourse between the Babylonish Church and the political leaders of history, this “fornication” is that spiritual corruption between politics and religion with poisonous and intoxicating influences. (James 4:4) Compare similar metaphors in the Prophets. (Ezekiel 6:9; 23:11, 29; 43:7, 9; and the Book of Hosea)|
RV17:3 And the angel carried me by inspiration826 into a desolate place.827 And I saw a Woman sitting upon a scarlet Wild Beast,828 [Daniel 7:7] the Beast full of blasphemous names.829 The Beast had 7 heads and 10 horns.830 [Daniel 7:20]
|826||The angel carried me by inspiration: Compare Ezekiel 37:1. Others: WMS: he carried me away in spiritual rapture; TCNT: he bore me away in a trance.|
|827||Desolate place: Or, wilderness, desert. Note this is a similar location to where the Woman of chapter 12 escapes the Dragon.|
|828||A Woman sitting upon a scarlet Wild Beast: The Great Harlot rides the Wild Beast. Judging from the following description this beast may be the same as the wild Sea beast. It may be rightly assumed that this includes the 8th-mode of the Beast, the revived 7th Head. The Beast carries her where she wants to go; or, the Beast carries her because it uses her. The Beast is under her direction and lead. See Revelation 17:18 and Revelation 18:9.|
|829||Blasphemous names: Compare Revelation 13:1, 5, 6. These may be various titles which rightfully belong to God. Compare 2 Thessalonians 2:4.|
|830||7 heads and 10 horns: These are described in Revelation 17:9, 10, 12. Compare Revelation 13:1.|
|831||Clothed in purple and scarlet: The colors of royalty. This Woman Religion may be found in all the royal courts and palaces of the world. Very few who participate in this Woman Religion are free from guilt in taking advantage materially of their flocks.|
|832||Precious stones and pearls: Compare the adornment of the Lamb’s Wife in chapter 21. The literal treasures which reside in Harlot Religion: buried finances, great properties, art treasures. Compare the list of treasures at Revelation 18:7, 11-14.|
|833||She had a golden cup in her hand: It has the appearance of heavenly things but Harlot Religion has magnificent whitewash. (Matthew 23:27, 28)|
|834||Disgusting things: These may include idols. The “disgusting things” done by and in the name of Religion fill the history books. One may judge that much of these “disgusting things” have gone unrecorded, save by God. These disgusting things would include “plunder and immoderateness” and “hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Matthew 23:25-28) There are strong links to idolatry and those anti-God forms of worship in the word BDELYGMATON. TCN: idolatrous abominations. Possibly this Harlot Religion is somehow involved with the Image of chapter 13.|
|835||Upon her forehead a name written: As elsewhere, certain people are clearly identified with a “name” in the forehead. Compare Revelation 7:3; 9:4; 13:16; 14:1.|
|836||MYSTERY: BABYLON THE GREAT: A great deal of mystery has always surrounded organized religion in all its forms. Usually this takes the form of a hierarchy that is the total depository of hidden truths and religious secrets so that the “waters” must come to the priesthood to know divine truths. These take the forms of prophets and channels. Or, a mystery because of John’s amazement and therefore no part of the name. KJ: Mystery, Babylon the Great; NEB: a name with a secret meaning; WMS: a name with a symbolic meaning. BABYLON HE MEGALE occurs in the LXX at Daniel 4:30. The full name occurs 5x in the Apocalypse. (Revelation 15:8; 16:19; 17:5; 18:2, 21) The occurrence in Daniel 4:30 would make it a strong political monarchy. However, Nebuchadnezzar was surrounded by priests and magi. (Daniel 1:20; 2:2, 27; 4:7, 9; 5:11) This must refer to more than just the ancient kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar. It should include all the realm of Babylonish teachings and practices beginning with Nimrod’s Babel. The hierarchy of religious institutions which have borrowed doctrines and religious practices from this Babylonish source. (See the work by Hislop, The Two Babylons)|
|837||THE MOTHER OF THE HARLOTS: Babylon, Harlot Religion, has produced a multitude of “harlots.” As mother, Babylon the Great has produced thousands upon thousands of individual “harlots.” These may be understood to be religious offshoots, but all those religiously disgusting practices from the standpoint of God. (James 1:27) Ancient Jerusalem had her “daughters,” that is, outlying towns and villages.|
|838||The Woman was drunk: Not an occasional imbibing, but thoroughly drunk with shed blood. Since the term “saints” would hold its most important meaning from the time of Christ, Babylon the Great would include all those religious institutions responsible for hateful persecution of the “saints” throughout the last 2,000 years. Compare the occurrence of “saints” in the Apocalypse. Compare Revelation 18.24 where this bloodguilt goes back even before Christianity and also includes ancient prophets and others who were slaughtered.|
|839||The martyrs of Jesus: Or, witnesses. Remember the cry of the martyrs at Revelation 6:9-11. Regarding the possibility of “Jesus’ Witnesses” compare Acts 1:8 and elsewhere. (Acts 2:32; 3:15; 5:32; 10:39, 41; 13:31) This refers to Christian disciples of Jesus and that body of Saints throughout 2,000 years who have been slaughtered by the Great Harlot Religion. Three prominent parts of Babylon have shared in this: Jews, Muslims, and Catholicism (including its Protestant “harlots” traceable to Luther and Calvin). Other pagan and Asian religions have likewise been responsible. Those who had shed martyrs’ blood are part and parcel of Babylon the Great. Some of this “blood” was shed during the Great Oppression which Harlot Religion must have had a hand in.|
#384. Before we continue to the Angel’s explanation of the Beast, we feel it a good idea to consider any identification of those future “saints” and “Jesus’ witnesses” who will face the horrors of the Great Oppression. Does the Bible in its last book identify a particular “religion” or “church” or “sect” which alone among all the others would be the “one true religion” or the “one true church”? Certainly there is plenty of opportunity to make such a precise definition or description, so that any honest hearted person would know which “church” or “religion” to join and then be assured of belonging to the one right religion at this critical time.
#385. Many modern religions, churches, or organizations have made such claims and draw on the Apocalypse as if it were proof that it had pointed forward to their religion as the only true one. They have claimed or at least inferred that if one is not a member of this or that particular sect, cult, or church, one is doomed, for only they will survive the “end of the world.” Does the Apocalypse identify one single “religion” or “church” or “sect” as the only one assuring its members of salvation?
#386. Jesus writes to the presbyter of Sardis that this angelic elder “has the Name that he is living but he is dead.” It certainly would be a simple matter to reveal some precise “name” or designation in the Apocalypse so sincere persons would know which religion or church is the right one. Read as one might they will find no such declaration identifying one particular religion as the only true one in the Apocalypse. This will irritate those who make great claims, indeed, apply all of the obscure details in the Apocalypse to their history alone. What do we learn about the “saints” by looking for their identity in the Book of Revelation?
#387. Clearly, Jesus Christ is their very center and there are many expressions or phrases which link the Saints with the name of Jesus Christ. Beginning with chapter seven we find these Saints described or mentioned in nearly every chapter. They owe their salvation to God Almighty and the Lamb. (Revelation 7:10) They are international. (Revelation 7:9) They are washed in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:14) They are prayerful. (Revelation 8:4) They are ultimately “sealed” with the name of the Lamb and the name of the Father. (Revelation 9:4; 14:1) They are aware of the “mystery of God.” (Revelation 10:7) They are “prophets.” (Revelation 11:3) Their prophecies torment those dwelling on earth. (Revelation 11:10) They conquer the Devil for three reasons: a) the blood of the Lamb; b) the word of their testimony; c) they are willing to die. They observe the commandments of God. (Revelation 12:17) They testify of Jesus. (Revelation 12:17) They endure in their faith. (Revelation 13:10) They are morally clean. (Revelation 14:4) They are not liars. (Revelation 14:5) They are without fault. (Revelation 14:5) They hold the Faith of Jesus. (Revelation 14:12) They have certain works and labors. (Revelation 14:13) They did not accept the mark of the Beast. (Revelation 15:2; 20:4) They glorify the Name of God. (Revelation 15:4) They stay awake. (Revelation 16:15) They are called, chosen, and faithful. (Revelation 17:14) They are righteous. (Revelation 19:8) They are not among those described in Revelation 20:8; 21:27; 22:15.
#388. The above is the sum total of the description of those Saints who will be pronounced happy or blessed when they endure the Great Oppression and then are snatched suddenly out of harm’s way. Is there anything in all of these descriptions which would identify the Saints with one particular religion or sect? Some, so sure there is the only one right religion, would be quick to point to several of these as proof we must belong to their church, sect, organization, or religion, in order to be saved.
#389. Do you find it interesting that the Apocalypse’s description is very generic and abstract, actually not identifying any religion, but rather individuals? What seems to be described in the above verses is an outstanding individual Christian, morally clean, willing to identify self with Jesus Christ and confess the faith, holding to the commandments840 of God, and uncompromising when it comes to idolatrous political worship. These are individuals for no religion is automatically “pure” because of some title or self-designation. Any religion’s membership is filled with just the opposite of what is described above. Also, remember, these apocalyptic descriptions are of those persons who are Saints during the future Great Oppression. However, these descriptions ought to warn any contemporary Christian to come into line with those identifying marks.
|840||COMMANDMENTS. The Ten Commandments are not meant here, nor all the Law of Moses. Judging from John’s own use of the word “commandment(s)” in his Gospel and letters. (John 13:34; 14:15, 21; 15:10, 12; 1 John 2:3, 4, 7, 8; 3:22-24; 4:21; 5:2, 3; 2 John 24)|
#390. It is very likely that the future attack of the wild Sea Beast as the agent of the Dragon, in whatever form it finally takes, will be against Christianity as a whole and only from among all those varied sectarian memberships will arise those Saints who will not compromise with the political winds that blow at that particular time. Remember, this Beast and its associate False Prophet will provide convincing evidence of God’s own heavenly backing by calling fire down from what appears to be a divine, heaven-sent source. Would such a sign mislead you?
#391. Is there a reason Jesus Christ does not identify one particular “religion” as the one true Church in the Apocalypse? There may well be.
#392. Jesus and all of his disciples who composed inspired epistles foretold an “apostasy.” That is, the true Christian Church Jesus would established himself would finally fragment through evil fermentation to become a “kingdom” full of lawlessness and stumblingblocks. Let us review these remarkable prophecies and see how this would affect our understanding of the Apocalypse as we enter the 3rd Millennium.
#393. The Nazarene told his disciples that he would build his congregation or church upon a solid rock. (Matthew 16:18) When he ascended to heaven, Jesus became the Head or King of this congregation which was the realm, territory or kingdom over which he ruled. (Ephesians 1:20-23) However, in several parables the Nazarene outlined what would happen to his kingdom or congregation. This is a good time to read for yourself Matthew chapter thirteen. Take your time and notice how these all involve what Jesus calls “the kingdom of the heavens.”
#394. The parable of leaven in Matthew 13:33 foretells a fermentation process until the whole was leavened or fermented. The parable of the mustard seed in Matthew 13:31-33 describe a small beginning to this kingdom but an eventual growth of grand proportions. Did these things happen to Christianity, or to what has come to be called “Christendom” or Christ’s Kingdom? Anyone familiar with history and willing to accept the truth of what happened will recognize it immediately.
#395. If Jesus had told Pilate that within three hundred years the emperor of Rome would be a Christian himself and the official religion of the Roman Empire would be Christianity, would he have believed it? It would sound like an impossible miracle beyond any powerful work Jesus ever performed. If the average Christians were told their own religion will ferment until the whole of it corrupted, would they have believed it?
#396. The most revealing of these parables, one even the disciples said they understood, was the illustration of the Sower who sows find seed only to discover that an enemy had sown bad seed in his field. The Nazarene explained the parable this way: ‘The sower of the fine seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world; as for the fine seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; but the weeds are the sons of the wicked one, and the enemy that sowed them is the Devil. The harvest is a conclusion of a system of things, and the reapers are angels. Therefore, just as the weeds are collected and burned with fire, so it will be in the conclusion of the system of things. The Son of man will send forth his angels, and they will collect out from his kingdom all things that cause stumbling and persons who are doing lawlessness, and they will pitch them into the fiery furnace. There is where [their] weeping and the gnashing of [their] teeth will be. At that time the righteous ones will shine as brightly as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let him that has ears listen.’ (Matthew 13:38-43 NW)
#397. We have seen this Harvest already in the Apocalypse. This Harvest is the parousia-Judgment just as Matthew 25:31-46 describes what Paul said would happen: ‘For we must all be made manifest before the judgment seat of the Christ, that each one may get his award for the things done through the body, according to the things he has practiced, whether it is good or vile.’ (2 Corinthians 5:10 NW) However, what conclusion are we to draw from this parable.
#398. Jesus began the work of sowing in the field and thus laying the foundation of his Church upon a solid Rock. (Matthew 16:18) However, the Devil did his evil deed and the result was a general and thorough fermentation of the original church or “kingdom” with genuine Wheat, “the sons of the Kingdom,” growing here or there throughout its history as it grows from a tiny mustard seed into a great tree.
#399. Is this what happened? Let any sincere person read whatever historical works they wish and they will find this to be an accurate prediction of what happened. In short, a general apostasy away from the original teachings of the Nazarene and his disciples. A slow corruption of those simple principles of Jesus is what began to occur. This evolution from primitive teachings into a conglomeration of Egyptian, Greek, and Babylonish doctrines, methods, and ceremonies, resulted in what is called “Christendom.”
#400. The Apostles of Jesus, when asked, said they understood these parables. It is not surprising, then, that we find most of them also foretelling a general apostasy or falling away from the original Nazarene principles and truths. Those who deny any prophetic power and who would say these so-called Biblical prophecies were written after the event, may well consider how the Nazarene and his disciples could foretell what would happen to Christianity several centuries down the road. Note, now, what these predicted in harmony with the Nazarene. These are given completely so that any reader may see what was foretold to happen to Christianity.
#401. Acts 20:29-30: ‘I know that after my going away oppressive wolves will enter in among you and will not treat the flock with tenderness, and from among you yourselves men will rise and speak twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves.’
#402. Romans 16:17-18: ‘Now I exhort you, brothers, to keep your eye on those who cause divisions and occasions for stumbling contrary to the teaching that you have learned, and avoid them. For men of that sort are slaves, not of our Lord Christ, but of their own bellies; and by smooth talk and complimentary speech they seduce the hearts of guileless ones.’
#403. 1 Corinthians 1:10-13: ‘Now I exhort you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that you should all speak in agreement, and that there should not be divisions among you, but that you may be fitly united in the same mind and in the same line of thought. For the disclosure was made to me about you, my brothers, by those of [the house of] Chlo'e, that dissensions exist among you. What I mean is this, that each one of you says: "I belong to Paul," "But I to A·pol'los," "But I to Ce'phas," "But I to Christ." The Christ exists divided.’
#404. 1 Corinthians 11:17-19: ‘But, while giving these instructions, I do not commend you because it is, not for the better, but for the worse that you meet together. For first of all, when you come together in a congregation, I hear divisions exist among you; and in some measure I believe it. For there must also be sects among you, that the persons approved may also become manifest among you.’
#405. 2 Corinthians 11:3: ‘But I am afraid that somehow, as the serpent seduced Eve by its cunning, your minds might be corrupted away from the sincerity and the chastity that are due the Christ.’
#406. 2 Corinthians 11:12-15: ‘Now what I am doing I will still do, that I may cut off the pretext from those who are wanting a pretext for being found equal to us in the office of which they boast. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself keeps transforming himself into an angel of light. It is therefore nothing great if his ministers also keep transforming themselves into ministers of righteousness. But their end shall be according to their works.’
#407. Galatians 1:6-9: ‘I marvel that you are being so quickly removed from the One who called you with Christ's undeserved kindness over to another sort of good news. But it is not another; only there are certain ones who are causing you trouble and wanting to pervert the good news about the Christ. However, even if we or an angel out of heaven were to declare to you as good news something beyond what we declared to you as good news, let him be accursed. As we have said above, I also now say again, Whoever it is that is declaring to you as good news something beyond what you accepted, let him be accursed.’
#408. Philippians 1:15-18: ‘True, some are preaching the Christ through envy and rivalry, but others also through goodwill. The latter are publicizing the Christ out of love, for they know I am set here for the defense of the good news; but the former do it out of contentiousness, not with a pure motive, for they are supposing to stir up tribulation [for me] in my [prison] bonds. What then? [Nothing,] except that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is being publicized.’
#409. Colossians 2:8: ‘Look out: perhaps there may be someone who will carry you off as his prey through the philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary things of the world and not according to Christ.’
#410. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12: ‘However, brothers, respecting the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we request of you not to be quickly shaken from your reason nor to be excited either through an inspired expression or through a verbal message or through a letter as though from us, to the effect that the day of Jehovah is here. Let no one seduce you in any manner, because it will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness gets revealed, the son of destruction. He is set in opposition and lifts himself up over everyone who is called "god" or an object of reverence, so that he sits down in the temple of The God, publicly showing himself to be a god. Do you not remember that, while I was yet with you, I used to tell you these things? And so now you know the thing that acts as a restraint, with a view to his being revealed in his own due time. True, the mystery of this lawlessness is already at work; but only till he who is right now acting as a restraint gets to be out of the way. Then, indeed, the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will do away with by the spirit of his mouth and bring to nothing by the manifestation of his presence. But the lawless one's presence is according to the operation of Satan with every powerful work and lying signs and portents and with every unrighteous deception for those who are perishing, as a retribution because they did not accept the love of the truth that they might be saved. So that is why God lets an operation of error go to them, that they may get to believing the lie, in order that they all may be judged because they did not believe the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness.’
#411. 1 Timothy 4:1-3: ‘However, the inspired utterance says definitely that in later periods of time some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to misleading inspired utterances and teachings of demons, by the hypocrisy of men who speak lies, marked in their conscience as with a branding iron; forbidding to marry, commanding to abstain from foods.’
#412. 1 Timothy 6:2-5: ‘Keep on teaching these things and giving these exhortations. If any man teaches other doctrine and does not assent to healthful words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, nor to the teaching that accords with godly devotion, he is puffed up [with pride], not understanding anything, but being mentally diseased over questionings and debates about words. From these things spring envy, strife, abusive speeches, wicked suspicions, violent disputes about trifles on the part of men corrupted in mind and despoiled of the truth, thinking that godly devotion is a means of gain.’
#413. 2 Timothy 2:16 - 3:9: ‘But shun empty speeches that violate what is holy; for they will advance to more and more ungodliness, and their word will spread like gangrene. Hy·me·nae'us and Phi·le'tus are of that number. These very [men] have deviated from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already occurred; and they are subverting the faith of some. For all that, the solid foundation of God stays standing, having this seal: "Jehovah knows those who belong to him," and: "Let everyone naming the name of Jehovah renounce unrighteousness." Now in a large house there are vessels not only of gold and silver but also of wood and earthenware, and some for an honorable purpose but others for a purpose lacking honor. If, therefore, anyone keeps clear of the latter ones, he will be a vessel for an honorable purpose, sanctified, useful to his owner, prepared for every good work. So, flee from the desires incidental to youth, but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace, along with those who call upon the Lord out of a clean heart.
#414. ‘Further, turn down foolish and ignorant questionings, knowing they produce fights. But a slave of the Lord does not need to fight, but needs to be gentle toward all, qualified to teach, keeping himself restrained under evil, instructing with mildness those not favorably disposed; as perhaps God may give them repentance leading to an accurate knowledge of truth, and they may come back to their proper senses out from the snare of the Devil, seeing that they have been caught alive by him for the will of that one. But know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up [with pride], lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power; and from these turn away. For from these arise those men who slyly work their way into households and lead as their captives weak women loaded down with sins, led by various desires, always learning and yet never able to come to an accurate knowledge of truth. Now in the way that Jan'nes and Jam'bres resisted Moses, so these also go on resisting the truth, men completely corrupted in mind, disapproved as regards the faith. Nevertheless, they will make no further progress, for their madness will be very plain to all, even as the [madness] of those [two men] became.’
#415. Titus 1:10-11: ‘For there are many unruly men, profitless talkers, and deceivers of the mind, especially those men who adhere to the circumcision. It is necessary to shut the mouths of these, as these very men keep on subverting entire households by teaching things they ought not for the sake of dishonest gain.’
#416. Titus 3:9-11: ‘But shun foolish questionings and genealogies and strife and fights over the Law, for they are unprofitable and futile. As for a man that promotes a sect, reject him after a first and a second admonition; knowing that such a man has been turned out of the way and is sinning, he being self-condemned.’
#417. 2 Peter 2:1-22: ‘However, there also came to be false prophets among the people, as there will also be false teachers among you. These very ones will quietly bring in destructive sects and will disown even the owner that bought them, bringing speedy destruction upon themselves. ‘Furthermore, many will follow their acts of loose conduct, and on account of these the way of the truth will be spoken of abusively. Also, with covetousness they will exploit you with counterfeit words. But as for them, the judgment from of old is not moving slowly, and the destruction of them is not slumbering. Certainly if God did not hold back from punishing the angels that sinned, but, by throwing them into Tar'ta·rus, delivered them to pits of dense darkness to be reserved for judgment; and he did not hold back from punishing an ancient world, but kept Noah, a preacher of righteousness, safe with seven others when he brought a deluge upon a world of ungodly people; and by reducing the cities Sod'om and Go·mor'rah to ashes he condemned them, setting a pattern for ungodly persons of things to come; and he delivered righteous Lot, who was greatly distressed by the indulgence of the law-defying people in loose conduct- for that righteous man by what he saw and heard while dwelling among them from day to day was tormenting his righteous soul by reason of their lawless deeds --- Jehovah knows how to deliver people of godly devotion out of trial, but to reserve unrighteous people for the day of judgment to be cut off, especially, however, those who go on after flesh with the desire to defile [it] and who look down on lordship.
#418. ‘Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble at glorious ones but speak abusively, whereas angels, although they are greater in strength and power, do not bring against them an accusation in abusive terms, [not doing so] out of respect for Jehovah. But these [men], like unreasoning animals born naturally to be caught and destroyed, will, in the things of which they are ignorant and speak abusively, even suffer destruction in their own [course of] destruction, wronging themselves as a reward for wrongdoing. They consider luxurious living in the daytime a pleasure. They are spots and blemishes, indulging with unrestrained delight in their deceptive teachings while feasting together with you. They have eyes full of adultery and unable to desist from sin, and they entice unsteady souls. They have a heart trained in covetousness. They are accursed children. Abandoning the straight path, they have been misled. They have followed the path of Ba'laam, [the son] of Be'or, who loved the reward of wrongdoing, but got a reproof for his own violation of what was right. A voiceless beast of burden, making utterance with the voice of a man, hindered the prophet's mad course.
These are fountains without water, and mists driven by a violent storm, and for them the blackness of darkness has been reserved. For they utter swelling expressions of no profit, and by the desires of the flesh and by loose habits they entice those who are just escaping from people who conduct themselves in error. While they are promising them freedom, they themselves are existing as slaves of corruption. For whoever is overcome by another is enslaved by this one. Certainly if, after having escaped from the defilements of the world by an accurate knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they get involved again with these very things and are overcome, the final conditions have become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them not to have accurately known the path of righteousness than after knowing it accurately to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them. The saying of the true proverb has happened to them: "The dog has returned to its own vomit, and the sow that was bathed to rolling in the mire."’
#419. 1 John 2:18-27: ‘Young children, it is the last hour, and, just as you have heard that antichrist is coming, even now there have come to be many antichrists; from which fact we gain the knowledge that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of our sort; for if they had been of our sort, they would have remained with us. But [they went out] that it might be shown up that not all are of our sort. And you have an anointing from the holy one; all of you have knowledge. I write you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie originates with the truth. Who is the liar if it is not the one that denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one that denies the Father and the Son. Everyone that denies the Son does not have the Father either. He that confesses the Son has the Father also. As for you, let that which you have heard from [the] beginning remain in you. If that which you have heard from [the] beginning remains in you, you will also abide in union with the Son and in union with the Father. Furthermore, this is the promised thing that he himself promised us, the life everlasting. These things I write you about those who are trying to mislead you. And as for you, the anointing that you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to be teaching you; but, as the anointing from him is teaching you about all things, and is true and is no lie, and just as it has taught you, remain in union with him.’
#420. 1 John 4:1-6: ‘Beloved ones, do not believe every inspired expression, but test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God, because many false prophets have gone forth into the world. you gain the knowledge of the inspired expression from God by this: Every inspired expression that confesses Jesus Christ as having come in the flesh originates with God, but every inspired expression that does not confess Jesus does not originate with God. Furthermore, this is the antichrist's [inspired expression] which you have heard was coming, and now it is already in the world. you originate with God, little children, and you have conquered those [persons], because he that is in union with you is greater than he that is in union with the world. They originate with the world; that is why they speak [what proceeds] from the world and the world listens to them. We originate with God. He that gains the knowledge of God listens to us; he that does not originate with God does not listen to us. This is how we take note of the inspired expression of truth and the inspired expression of error.’
#421. Jude 3-21: Beloved ones, though I was making every effort to write you about the salvation we hold in common, I found it necessary to write you to exhort you to put up a hard fight for the faith that was once for all time delivered to the holy ones. My reason is that certain men have slipped in who have long ago been appointed by the Scriptures to this judgment, ungodly men, turning the undeserved kindness of our God into an excuse for loose conduct and proving false to our only Owner and Lord, Jesus Christ. I desire to remind you, despite your knowing all things once for all time, that Jehovah, although he saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterwards destroyed those not showing faith. And the angels that did not keep their original position but forsook their own proper dwelling place he has reserved with eternal bonds under dense darkness for the judgment of the great day. So too Sod'om and Go·mor'rah and the cities about them, after they in the same manner as the foregoing ones had committed fornication excessively and gone out after flesh for unnatural use, are placed before [us] as a [warning] example by undergoing the judicial punishment of everlasting fire. In like manner, notwithstanding, these men, too, indulging in dreams, are defiling the flesh and disregarding lordship and speaking abusively of glorious ones. But when Mi'cha·el the archangel had a difference with the Devil and was disputing about Moses' body, he did not dare to bring a judgment against him in abusive terms, but said: "May Jehovah rebuke you." Yet these [men] are speaking abusively of all the things they really do not know; but all the things that they do understand naturally like the unreasoning animals, in these things they go on corrupting themselves.
#422. ‘Too bad for them, because they have gone in the path of Cain, and have rushed into the erroneous course of Ba'laam for reward, and have perished in the rebellious talk of Ko'rah! These are the rocks hidden below water in your love feasts while they feast with you, shepherds that feed themselves without fear; waterless clouds carried this way and that by winds; trees in late autumn, [but] fruitless, having died twice, having been uprooted; wild waves of the sea that foam up their own causes for shame; stars with no set course, for which the blackness of darkness stands reserved forever.
#423. ‘Yes, the seventh one [in line] from Adam, E'noch, prophesied also regarding them, when he said: "Look! Jehovah came with his holy myriads, to execute judgment against all, and to convict all the ungodly concerning all their ungodly deeds that they did in an ungodly way, and concerning all the shocking things that ungodly sinners spoke against him."
#424. ‘These men are murmurers, complainers about their lot in life, proceeding according to their own desires, and their mouths speak swelling things, while they are admiring personalities for the sake of [their own] benefit. As for you, beloved ones, call to mind the sayings that have been previously spoken by the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, how they used to say to you: "In the last time there will be ridiculers, proceeding according to their own desires for ungodly things." These are the ones that make separations, animalistic [men], not having spirituality. But you, beloved ones, by building up yourselves on your most holy faith, and praying with holy spirit, keep yourselves in God's love, while you are waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ with everlasting life in view.’ (NWT)
#425. Thus, the entire body of the Christian Scriptures supports the Nazarene’s original parabolic prophecy about a universal corruption of the Christian Church or “kingdom.” We are over nineteen centuries removed from the beginning of this original fermentation. Thus, we are nearly two thousand years into the growth of the wheat and the weeds together in the same field. We are that much closer to the Synteleia Harvest and the parousia-Judgment. The events during the three and a half years of Great Oppression will no doubt serve to identify the wheat from the weeds in the eyes of the King. The parable of the King’s separation of the sheep and goats is very interesting in this regard. For, in it Jesus clearly identifies what makes one a sheep or a goat, a child of the Kingdom, or a child of the Devil. (1 John 3:9-11; compare Ezekiel 34:17, 22)
#426. In this parable note the complete lack of doctrinal or ceremonial criteria save for the acknowledgment of the King as “Lord.” Both the sheep and the goats call him their “Lord” showing both groups are Christians. All the parables before this one described two groups: good and bad. What is it that makes these sheep, sheep; and these goats, goats? A precise organization patterned after the First Century apostolic manner? A creed written in stone? A precise system of religious worship? A particular name or sectarian identification? Miracles or great evangelical works? Great cathedrals? Billion dollar international building projects? An array of satellite television programs? The publishing of millions upon millions of Christian books explaining the Bible? None of these. The King simply says to the Sheep: ‘For I became hungry and you gave me something to eat; I got thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you received me hospitably; naked, and you clothed me. I fell sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous ones will answer him with the words, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty, and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and receive you hospitably, or naked, and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to you?' And in reply the king will say to them, 'Truly I say to you, To the extent that you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.' (Matthew 25:35-40 NW)
#427. The basis for judgment was so simple! Humanitarian and charitable acts performed on behalf of the humblest fellow Christian. Water to the thirsty; food for the hungry; clothing for the cold; hospitality shown a stranger; a visit to a Saint in prison. Not one word about evangelical preaching, or church building, or international publishing, or healing, or tongues, or any other miracle. Just the simple Christian act of kindness and love to the humblest of “brothers”! Why? Because all the religion in the world is one big waste of time if the “pure and undefiled form of worship” is not there first. And, what is this “pure and undefiled form of worship”? The Nazarene’s half brother and disciple wrote: ‘If any man seems to himself to be a formal worshiper and yet does not bridle his tongue, but goes on deceiving his own heart, this man's form of worship is futile. The form of worship that is clean and undefiled from the standpoint of our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their tribulation, and to keep oneself without spot from the world.’ (James 1:26, 27) And how did James write this was to be done? This care for others? He echoes his brother when he says: ‘Of what benefit is it, my brothers, if a certain one says he has faith but he does not have works? That faith cannot save him, can it? If a brother or a sister is in a naked state and lacking the food sufficient for the day, yet a certain one of you says to them: "Go in peace, keep warm and well fed," but you do not give them the necessities for [their] body, of what benefit is it? Thus, too, faith, if it does not have works, is dead in itself.’ (James 2:14-17) So, all the religion in the world is useless if the heart of the Nazarene does not reside within the Christian.
#428. “Why that is too simple!” cries the evangelist with the gold rings and expensive watch, or the highly regimented publishing organization. “No, no, there is much more than that”: world evangelism, television crusades, international publishing. Well, of course, if it is all so simple, why aren’t more doing it? The grandest mark of a true Christian Saint is that kind of charity to a stranger who might appear the very least of human beings!
#429. Can you see how this kind and charitable disposition, this attitude of the Nazarene toward material things, would prepare for the horrors of the Great Oppression. For one selfish and fearful now will probably be selfish and fearful then. Evidently, the worship of the wild Sea Beast not only involves a religious awe, but also a willingness to accept the commercial marking in order “to buy and sell.” If buying and selling have ceased to hold lush interest or terrible need, it will not then present such an obstacle during those three and a half years of Great Oppression.
#430. The End-time Saints during those years of persecution will have need of kindness for their fellows. Who will have the courage to visit such ones already in prison or concentration camps? Or share daily bread with those who refused the mark of the Beast? The parable of the sheep and goats takes on great meaning when its tied in with the Great Oppression just prior to the parousia-Judgment. If one’s life now is dominated by greed and egocentricity and lacking in any genuine charity to the less fortunate, what will happen when temptation to accept the mark of the beast becomes a reality? If money is everything now, how will a Christian resist the temptation to compromise? Or, will the Saint reason: we all have to make living.
#431. In summary on this matter to identify the one true religion in the Apocalypse, in the sense of a particular sect or cult, we see it is lacking. We see the reason for this, the corruption of the entire Church in ceremony and doctrine because of the foretold apostasy. Only individuals, as pictured by the scattered wheat growing among the weeds of the Nazarene’s parable, will be those who are finally “sealed” before the Day of Wrath bursts upon the world.
Now, back to the Angel’s explanation of the Beast.
Revelation 17:7-9 – 7 Kings and 10 Horns
And having seen her, I wondered a great wonderment.841
|841||I wondered a great wonderment: KJV: wondered with great admiration; ASV: great wonder; TCN: amazed beyond measure; RHM: astonished with great astonishment. Compare Daniel’s reactions to various visions.|
|842||Why do you wonder: John would have been aware of Babylon’s history Biblically and possibly historically. So, his wonderment must involve other questions.|
|843||The mystery of the Woman: The Woman may be interpreted by explaining the 7 heads and 10 horns. What follows in chapter 18 clearly deals with the Woman here. The overall mystery from John’s standpoint may have involved the developing situation predicted for the future.|
|844||The Wild Beast which you saw: Possibly also a reference to that Beast already seen in Revelation 13:1.|
|845||It was and it is not: This is so similar to the cured deathblow of chapter 13 as not to be coincidental. In chapter 13 this is “one of the 7 heads” and is most likely a form of the Roman Head if one take into account Daniel 7:11, and the “slain” beast. Judging from Revelation 11:7 and Revelation 13:3-7 the revived Beast is the same as the Sea Beast, or at least one of its Heads. In Daniel there are ten horns that fragment out of Rome; and then, another horn rises. It is likely this Little Horn is the same one here: the Sea Beast, or that one Head of it, which had the sword stroke and yet revived. That is, the one who ascended out of the Abyss. This ascent out of the Abyss, or this healing of the death-blow, must occur before the Great Oppression in order for this self same Beast to persecute the Saints. If we viewed the Sea Beast as the same as the Image of Daniel chapter 2, a conglomerate whole, or an entire political complex dating from Daniel’s time, then we may view the Image of Daniel 2 and the Sea Beast as the same. We may view it collectively or corporately; or, we may view it just from the standpoint of the current political model. For example, if we were to view the Image or the Sea Beast from the moment of Alexander the Great it would have only three heads and the current “head” would be Greece. So, what the current Head does represents the whole. What happens to one affects the entire political matrix. So, one may speak of the Sea Beast as a whole, or the individual parts, such as the current “head.” Now, one of these “heads” has a historical experience in which it ceases to exist, but then is revived. Though this experience befell only one of the heads, it is as though the whole beastly matrix experienced it. Some have applied this experience to the League of Nations and the United Nations. Others would look to the experience of Nazi Germany and Hitler. Others may see Russia reviving as a dominant world power.|
|846||It is about to ascend out of the Abyss: If we place ourselves in John’s perspective, at that prophetic moment when the Beast is still in the Abyss, this apocalyptic context is before the Great Oppression, and likely before the Dragon is ousted from heaven. The Dragon’s anger against the Saints is what causes his resuscitation of the Beast and thus the three and a half years of the Great Oppression begins. The Devil revives a former instrument that worked effectively for him in past centuries. So, here it is at that moment before the Head is cured or steps up out of the Abyss. But, when the Beast is cured or revived, it returns with old Babylon, the Harlot Religion, riding the back of the Beast, the Political Throne of Satan.|
|847||It goes off into destruction: Compare Revelation 13:11. The ultimate outcome is described in chapter 19. This cured state must be over a short period, possibly slightly more than three and a half years, for it is associated with “one hour” in Revelation 17:12. Note the final outcome is “destruction” (APOLEIAN) here. This is described in Revelation 19:20 as the “lake of fire” or the “second death” proving the symbol “lake of fire” means “destruction.”|
|848||All earth’s inhabitants will wonder in awe: Or, “wonder,” means amazed, dumbfounded, utterly astonished. (THAUMASTHESONTAI) This is the same “wonderment” of John, but here it is in a bad light. TCNT: amazed. This is the same “wonder” at Revelation 13:3, 4. As in chapter 13 the wonderment is over the revivification of the Head which had the deathblow and was cured. This would place the moment of the vision of the Harlot at that future time following the restoration of the 7th Head in its 8th (or restored) mode. Wonder may lead to awe, which can lead to worship.|
|849||The Little Book of Life: This is the same as Revelation 13:8 where those who wonder over the revived Beast are not written in the Book of Life. The Book of Life is that record of the “righteous” who have God’s approval. The term occurs at Psalm 69:28; Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27. Compare also Malachi 3:16.|
|850||The founding of the world of humankind: A term in Greek KATABOLES KOSMOU which occurs in various forms at Matthew 13:35; 25:34; Luke 11:50; John 17:24; Ephesians 1:4; Hebrews 4:8; 9:26; 11:11; 1 Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8; 7.8. It generally refers to the first children born of Adam, for KATABOLES alludes to the throwing down of “seed” in reproduction, or planting.|
|851||Those looking at the Wild Beast: “Looking at” is the rendering of BLEPONTON. As part of the wonderment, amazement, or awe. This emphasizes the danger of wonderment over those political matters which influence earth globally. The Christian Saint is no part of the world. (John 15:19; 17:14) The Saint’s wonderment or awe is of a divine sort that embraces only God with those feelings experienced by worshippers of the Sea Beast. This may be a subtle warning to John who also wondered. The sudden restoration or revivification of this slaughtered “head” of the Sea Beast must influence the globe in a powerful way. Patriotism or nationalism can arouse gooseflesh on the skin of those holding certain ideologies or nationalistic thoughts.|
|852||It existed, then did not exist: Or, was and was not. Variously rendered: KJV: was, and is not, and yet is; ASV: how that he was, and is not, and shall come; ALF: and shall come again. The Greek PARESTAI is the root for PAROUSIA and may echo faint hints of the Christ’s own parousia as if this were a counterfeit.|
#432. First, this angel describes the wild Sea Beast as the one who existed once, but then went into non-existence in the Abyss, only to be revived and to come out. This describes a “man,” or the government of such a “man,” or the resulting government and politically entity itself, like those in Daniel chapter seven. These all once exercised great power over a large area. The fourth Beast is described as “slain.” (Daniel 7:11) It is very possible that this “slain” beast (the fourth, Rome) is the same as this revived Sea Beast. Another possibility is the Seventh Head (either unrelated or in some Roman mode) is “slain” and then revived as an Eighth.
#433. This fits recorded history well. For in the days of Jesus’ ascension to heaven in the year 33 AD, as foretold in Daniel 7:13, Rome then exercised rule over much of the known world. It was, in affect, “slain” by the Eighth Century. It then fragmented into “ten” kingdoms. An eleventh Little Horn rose which would have actually been able to trace its roots back to Rome. Thus, this Little Horn may well turn out to be the revived Beast.853 In those days, at the time of the Nazarene’s return to heaven, the other “three” kings or horns were to have their existence extended. True, Babylon, Persia, and Greece were still functioning nations when Rome ruled. They exist to this day in the form of Iraq, Iran, and Greece, whereas Rome is not an existing secular power.854
|853||LITTLE HORN. Another possibility which we will discuss is that this Little Horn is the Seventh Head and it must yet enter the Abyss to come out as the Eighth Head.|
|854||ROME. Some may point to the Vatican with its own ambassador as the remnant of Rome.|
#434. So, the angel describes three phases to this government’s existence: a former existence, a period of non-existence, and then a revival. It is this revival which so amazed earth in Revelation 13:3, so as to cause a form of political and religious worship. This awe is restated in Revelation 17:8. But it is also made clear that any of those who admired this political recovery, as one might stand in awe or wonderment of God, were not inscribed in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and therefore, cannot be among the Nazarene Saints.
#435. For the second time an angel goes on to mention the need for a mind of wisdom and he goes on to explain why.
RV17:9 “Here is the mind, the one having wisdom:855 The 7 heads are 7 mountains856 where the Woman sits on top.857
|855||Here is the mind, the one having wisdom: Variously rendered: KJV: here is the mind which hath wisdom; NEB: the clue for those who clan interpret; GDSP: here is a problem for a profound mind; BER: here is something for the intelligent to ponder. Compare Revelation 13:18. In chapter 13 it deals with 666 and here with the mystery of the 7 heads and the revived 7th in its 8th mode. The need to figure this out is not explained beyond an exercise of “mind.”|
|856||7 mountains: Some would apply this to the seven “hills” of Rome. This may be quite an exaggeration. The Greek is ORE. “Mountain” occurs 8x. (Revelation 6:14, 15, 16; 8:8; 14:1; 16:20; 17:9; 21:10) It can mean a place of safety or a sizable body. In the Psalms and the Prophets “mountain(s)” is used of elevated places of worship or royal establishment. The possibilities of these particular 7 Heads or Mountains are found in what are called the March of World Powers: Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, etc. Some may try to find these “seven heads” in Daniel chapter seven which lists two heads with Babylon and Persia and four (or, five) with Greece, making six or seven. But, this does not seem to harmonize with what follows, though some will search to find the harmony in Daniel chapter seven. It would seem at the moment that the March of World Powers fits the historical circumstances.|
|857||The Woman sits on top: The Woman sits or rides upon the seven-headed Beast, controlling it as Revelation 17:18 suggests.|
|858||5 have fallen: There are some possibilities with the traditional March of World Powers fitting well: the five “fallen” are Assyria (Syria), Egypt, Babylon (Iraq), Persia (Iran), Greece. Some may look for another combination in Daniel chapter seven.|
|859||The 1 is: This moment that “is” may be understood to be in John’s own contemporary times when he was in prison on Patmos, that is during the rule of Rome. Thus, “the one who is” is Rome. One must assume the Apocalypse is adding Assyria and Egypt to the list of powers in Daniel chapter seven.|
|860||The [7th] has not yet arrived: The previous Head, Rome, existed (“is”) for many centuries and then fragmented at last into the “ten” European Papal States from the Eighth Century. This fragmentation of the Republic metamorphosed into the American Experience, and continues to this day. Has this “7th” head arrived now, in the days before the year 2,000? Many would say so. In what form? In that remnant of the Roman fragmentation, the 11th Little Horn, or America. In John’s day this would still be far into the future, allowing for the slow process described in Daniel chapter seven: the fragmentation of Rome, the formation of Ten Horns, the rise of an 11th Little Horn, the “putting down” or “plucking up” of three of the original ten.|
|861||A little time: When the 7th Head comes into existence it is to remain a “little time.” This is not the same word of the “short time” in Revelation 12:12. Can “little time” be viewed from the prophetic standpoint? As a world power, America has existed only a short time compared to Rome, Greece, Persia, or Babylon. One might feel that America has only attained the status of absolute world power in the mid-1980s. It should be understood this is only one of several possibilities and future events may well change this current view. Is this 7th Head the one who has the death-stroke experience, existing for a while, and then ascending into the Abyss?|
|862||The Wild Beast which was, and is not: This may be the 7th Head.|
|863||The 8th is out of the seven[th]: The Greek here is interesting and may have several possibilities that will not result in universal agreement. This is rendered literally, word for word, by The New Greek-English Interlinear New Testament: AND THE BEAST WHICH WAS AND IS-NOT EVEN HE IS AN EIGHTH AND OUT OF THE SEVEN IS. The Interlinear Bible (J. P. Green): “And the beast which was, and not is, even he eighth is, and of the seven it is.” Benjamin Wilson’s Diaglott: “And the wild beast, which was, and not is, even he eighth is, and out of the seven is.” This whole phrase is variously rendered: TCN: So must the Beast that was, but is not, He counts as an eighth king, although he is one of the seven; KNX: And the beast which lived once and now is dead must be reckoned as the eighth, yet it is one of the seven. We see two possibilities: a) the eighth is one of the seven; or, b) is the seventh restored. Either way, it may be inferred that it is the Seventh which expires, enters the Abyss, and then is revived or cured. This new form of the Seventh is now an Eighth.|
|864||Goes off into destruction: For the second time the final outcome is foretold. “Destruction” is what happens in the “lake of fire” or Second Death. Where in the Apocalypse is the Eighth King destroyed? Read as we may, this exact king is never described as being destroyed. The Beast, the Image, and the False Prophet are all destroyed in the “lake of fire.” This may argue that the Eighth King is the same as the wild Sea Beast with a new head, an Eighth.|
#436. For the second time an angel mentions the need for having a mind of wisdom without explaining the reason. (Revelation13:18) The Seven Heads of this Wild Beast are seven mountains where the Woman sits. Many have applied this to the Vatican and Rome’s seven hills, trying to make these knolls qualify as mountains. It is possible the angel borrows this imagery but he has something else in mind. The angel divides these seven “mountains,” likely powerful governments: five fallen ones, one existing at the time of John’s speaking with the angel, and a seventh yet to arrive. We cannot help but rely on the Book of Daniel for help here. If we use the three images of animals in Revelation 13:2 we may trace these five back through Greece, Persia, and Babylon. What world powers existed before Babylon, particularly ones with a strong relationship with God’s purposes and his people Israel? These were Egypt and Assyria, both figuring prominently in the Bible. That would make “five.” So, this Wild Beast has five fallen heads represented.
#437. The Angel says, “One is.” This is likely Rome, which existed at the moment of the vision in the Apocalypse. The seventh is “yet to come.” This is not one of those “ten kings” which were the fragments of Rome throughout Europe. It may well be that this seventh is the same as the Little Horn of Daniel chapter seven. Or, it could yet be another government to rise that has not manifested itself on earth as yet. We tend to believe it is this Little Horn which current historical facts point to America.
#438. When this Seventh Head arrives on the world scene it remains only “a little time” before it goes off into destruction. Here verse 11 mentions “the wild beast” that had the three phases of existence, “was, was not, and yet will become,” seems the same as that “head” in Revelation 13:3 which is slain and yet revives. Do we have here a single Wild Beast going through seven or more phases from Egypt to Rome and then into its seventh mode, a government contemporary with the Great Oppression, the Return of Christ, and then that coming Great Day of Wrath?
#439. It is tempting to see here that it is this Seventh Head, representing the wild Sea Beast as a whole, which experiences the death-stroke and then a revival. If this Seventh Head were the United States of America it would mean that country can expect a “sword-stroke” and end its historical existence in the form known throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. However, it also means some almost miraculous revival of America! Few Biblical scholars and commentators would lake this view because they are want to describe America as a “wild beast” which might prove responsible for some holocaust against Christian Saints.
#440. A reason for suspecting the Seventh Head as the one having this described experience of death and revival, is what verse 11 says: “the wild beast which was, but is not, it is an eighth (king) which is out of this seven(th).” We have chosen this view, though others are possible, because it is our view this might be the strongest meaning. In other words, the Seventh Head has two existences as a dominate power, and in the later phase or mode it is an Eighth Power. Either we look for a contemporary power, such as America who will have this experience, or we look to a future development along these prophetic lines.
#441. Some see the United Nations here. If that be the case, then the UN is the Seventh Head of the wild Sea Beast. It is argued that the League of Nations was the first existence, making it the Seventh Head; and, then in 1938 World War II broke out and the League went into the Abyss. When the League revived in the form of the United nations, it now becomes the Eighth King. It seems straining matters to view the worthless figurehead of the League of Nations as in the same company with those great “five” powers of Biblical history represented in the wild Sea Beast. This may also be the view of many regarding the United Nations, which some feel is a toothless beast.
#442. In review and summary, the wild Sea Beast is related to that total Image in Daniel chapter two and the conglomerate matrix of the beasts of Daniel chapter seven. The wild Sea Beast, which has been growing heads as it were since Assyria, has been the Dragon’s instrument or agency since the Tower of Babel. From then the wild Sea Beast moves through seven metamorphoses with that “beast” or “head” alive and active at any particular historical moment representing the Beast as a whole. These “heads” evolved through Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. The apocalyptic angel predicts a Seventh Head which will have the experience: “was, was not, and ascended out of the Abyss, to become an Eighth and final mode. It is likely this revived Eighth Head or King, which can be spoken of as the wild Sea Beast itself because it is the current representation of it, is the same as the Little Horn of Daniel chapter seven. It is this revived Eighth Head which brings the three and a half years of Great Oppression upon the Saints. In this scenario, the Earth Beast is that lamb-like future government or agency which gives its full support to this Eighth Head. The unidentified Earth Beast, speaking for the wild Sea Beast, compels earth’s inhabitants to make an Image in homage to the Eighth King.
#443. We present these views only as possibilities and we do it for the same reason that Biblical scholars in the past made their own contemporary applications --- we are living now! Rest assured, in the future, when there is some revived power with global control over the world-wide economy which is worshipped via some Image and then forces the population to accept an “engraving” to commercial function, and then also creates a holocaust against Christians --- then you will know: “THE END HAS COME!” But, what about the “ten horns”?
RV17:12 “And the 10 Horns which you saw865 they are 10 Kings866 [Daniel 7:24] who have not as yet received a kingdom.867 But they are receiving authority as kings one hour868 with the wild Sea Beast.
|865||The 10 Horns which you saw: The Greek is TA DEKA KERATA, the same as the LXX at Daniel 7:24. Judging from Daniel, where three of the ten are “plucked up,” leaving seven, the ten here must be literal as the toes of Daniel 2:41. The number 10 can mean a totality or universality as it seems from Zechariah 8:23. Compare Genesis chapter 10. Many see the European Union here.|
|866||They are 10 Kings: In this they are similar to the 7 “heads” or “kings” though they lack the historical power and extensive domain, like comparing France with the Babylonian empire. Some explanation of this follows in the angel’s interpretation.|
|867||Who have not as yet received a kingdom: In the historical framework of time, these “kings” have not yet received a “kingdom.” Perhaps in the sense of the first Seven Kings; that is, they have not become a world power. If the timing is the same as in verse 8, then just prior to the reviving of the Seventh King in its Eighth restored mode, these 10 kings lack any serious rulership on the level of the previous heads of the Dragon. Perhaps they are included in the rhetorical question: “Who can do battle with the wild Sea Beast?” (Revelation 13:4) Judging from Daniel 7:8, 20 “three” of these Ten Kings were humiliated by the Little Horn, the Seventh Head of the wild Sea Beast. However, they are still functioning monarchies.|
|868||They are receiving authority as kings one hour: This is likely the “one hour” of Babylon’s judgment. (Revelation 18:10, 17, 19) The time period is centered on that moment after the beast has been revived and by its agency compels the globe to accept a commercial mark. (Revelation 13:1; 17:3) The Ten Kings must be supporters of this agenda and they back the beastly intention.|
|869||These 10 Kings have one opinion: Or, one thought; one mind. Variously rendered: KNX: a single policy; WEY: one common policy. They possess some power and authority as kings and they agree to give this support to the wild Sea Beast in its Eighth manifestation. Perhaps this is in connection with what occurs as a global pressure in chapter 13. These kings or political powers are united and one is reminded of the European Union.|
|870||These 10 Kings will war with the Lamb: A preview of chapter 19 and Armageddon. How this “war” is fought is nowhere explained. Might nuclear equipped armies suspect they can deal with this alien Cubic City from outer space? Do they think they can surround it even as Satanically led “nations” after the Thousand Years? (Revelation 20:8, 9) Does their radar, listening devices, satellite telescopes pick up the approach of this extra-terrestrial threat? Can they use their “fire from heaven” in defense of their global territory?|
|871||The Lamb will conquer them: Compare the final victory of Revelation 6:1, 2.|
|872||Those with him: those called, chosen, and faithful: Compare 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Before Armageddon, before the final plagues, the living Saints have been snatched out of danger and joined their Master. (Revelation 11:12, 13; 15:2)|
|873||King of kings: Compare the phrase at Ezekiel 7:12; 26.7; Daniel 2:37; 1 Timothy 6:15. This may be one of the blasphemous names used by the Beast.|
RV17:15 And the Angel is saying to me: “The waters874 [Jeremiah 51:13] which you saw, where the Harlot is sitting, are peoples, crowds, nations, and tongues.875
|874||Waters: An allusion to the protective and commercial river Euphrates. (Revelation 9:14; 16:12) The Euphrates was at the same time the source of wealth of Babylon as well as its protection. Thus, the peoples of the globe have in the historical past supported, protected, and nourished the Harlot Religion. Earlier these same peoples become involved in the political worship the restored Sea Beast. This would amount to drying up the protection and support of these citizens of Babylon. The idea suggests a large portion of the Christian Church will not faithfully endure.|
|875||Peoples, crowds, nations, and tongues: The same global peoples of Revelation 13:7, 16. They have been made “drunk” by Harlot Religion’s “kingdom,” her political fornication with the beasts of the earth.|
|876||The wild Sea Beast will hate the Harlot: Earth’s politicians have used the intoxication of Harlot Religion over Mass Man to control and bleed them. Some beasts have loved the Harlot, but now she has grown old and her “waters” have dried up. The religious awe once reserved for Harlot Religion has now swung over to the wild Sea Beast. Mass Man has turned in his religious idols for one single colossal political Image and a one-world government. Religion has little respect or power now. However, compare their attitude once this has actually happened and the smoke of the burning city of Babylon the Great rises. (Revelation 18:9, 10)|
|877||Stripping her naked: Compare something similar at Ezekiel 16:39-41.|
|878||Eating her flesh: Violent cannibalism. There is an echo of Jezebel here. (1 Kings 14:11; 21:24)|
|879||Burning her in fire: In Israel, under the Law, such a woman was stoned and then her body burned at the stake. The Harlot Religion, having compromised during the Great Oppression and the wild Sea Beasts one government commercial control over the globe, is now destroyed. This occurs before Armageddon. (Revelation 18:9; 19:20)|
|880||The God will put into their hearts His opinion: Or, thought. Compare Jeremiah 51:11. Can God have any feeling other than hate for the Harlot Religion which is responsible for the holocaust upon the Saints.|
|881||Give their kingdom to the wild Sea Beast: The Ten Kings combined have one “kingdom” and these unified monarchs throw in their support with the wild Sea Beast in its Eighth mode.|
|882||Until the words of The God will be finished: Compare Revelation 10:7.|
|883||Great City: First mentioned at Revelation 11:8; 11:13; 16:19; 18:10.|
|884||The one reigning over the kings of the earth: This Harlot Religion has ruled through her political maneuvering and occasional outright domination, using the power of the Masses as her protection and support. The Woman is “queen.” (Revelation 18:7)|
#444. The seventeenth chapter continues to describe how this royal Woman rides the wild Sea Beast in its revived Eighth mode. Here, God has a single thought, a will for this Woman, stated in verse 17. The Divine Opinion is one of judgment against this Woman, the Great City which is also a “kingdom” over the historical kings of the earth. (Revelation 17:18) John wondered not only about this wild Sea Beast, but also about this Woman. (Revelation 17:3) The angel tells John that he will explain the mystery of this Woman. The Woman rides the wild Sea Beast after it has ascended out of the Abyss. (Revelation 17:7, 8) She has been described as committing fornication with the kings of the earth and made those inhabiting the earth intoxicated because of this intercourse with the political powers. Who is this Woman?
#445. Judging from the description of her in chapter eighteen, she is a religious empire who has dominated politics and commerce throughout her history. She is responsible for the death of the Christian martyrs and all those slaughtered on earth. (Revelation 18:24) Most Protestant commentators identify the Woman with the Vatican. Others see her as a representation of all “false” religion. The Woman is an abstraction,885 just as the wild Sea Beast, and the Earth Beast (the False prophet). Since the Woman rides the seven headed beast then she must be an abstraction which has existed from the first head, Assyria with that horror’s birth on the Plains of Shinar. (Genesis 10:8-11; 11:1-9) Likely, this Woman has taken different forms, adjusting to the powers that be at the moment: Egyptian priests with their Book of the Dead; Noastrian magi; Buddhist monks and their chants; Nestorian Saints; Catholic cardinals; Protestant clergy; Baptist evangelists. All the Seven Heads have been associated with particular religions. Indeed, it would probably have been impossible for the beasts to reign without the support of the State Religion. The beasts have all had religious representatives as part and parcel with the power behind the throne. From Egypt to Babylon to Persia to Greece to Rome, there have always been those religious priests as consorts to the political power.
|885||ABSTRACTION. As in IBM or FBI. It is true that some individuals are personally responsible, the Woman, the Beast, the False Prophet are likely abstractions and these are destroyed, it does not necessarily follow that all the persons involved are.|
#446. However, never have these spiritual and political fornicators been the so-called “true religion” until Rome. Once the great persecutors of the Jews and Christians, the Roman imperial power slowly was overcome by the very religion it had burned at the stake and thrown to the lions. Who could have predicted it? Beginning in the Fourth Century this Woman, the Harlot Religion, in its Christianized form, became highly associated with the “true religion.” The new state religion became every bit as brutal as any before it. The horrors committed in the name of this religion are beyond recounting. By the Eighth Century this Woman truly rode the wild Sea Beast with its six heads. The Pope could crown or de-throne kings at will. The Papal European states ruled the “civilized” world. This mighty grip of the Church lasted for 1,000 years until Napoleon captured and imprisoned the Pope and then crowned himself as emperor of Europe.
#447. This Woman put on new makeup as national revolutions, particularly the French, American and Russian, began to occur more frequently, the foretold iron hard emperial rule mixing with the clay of the masses. (Daniel 2:41, 42; 2 Kings 9:30) Harlot Religion metamorphosed into a democratic maiden and often took the lead in new political and religious revolutions. Today, at the beginning of 21st century, this Woman is still highly associated with the kings of the world though she has taken on the opposite appearance she had in the Thirteen Century. She now appears as a champion of liberty and a fighter against oppression.
#448. In the process of all these centuries, this Woman has amassed great wealth as described in chapter eighteen. Considering this abstraction, this Woman includes the conglomeration of all “Christian” religions today who have apostatized from the primitive teachings and character of the Nazarene disciples. She includes that part of Jesus’ parable of the tiny seed which has become a tree. That part of the fermented whole. That part of the field which is overgrown with weeds as “sons of the Wicked One.”
#449. It is true some “churches” have refrained from intercourse with the beasts in its more overt forms. However, even those who claim loudly to be “the only true religion” have adopted other Babylonish ideas and manners. Even those small groups and individuals who may insist on their doctrinal or ceremonial purity, in one form or another, they find themselves captive to this Woman. They may scream of their purity while teaching about false prophecies. (Luke 21:8) They may insist on their primitive model while buying more and more property. (Luke 12:33) They may point to their “neutrality” while ignoring “widows and orphans” (James 1:27) and run rough shod over the flock. (Acts 20:29) No religion, church, sect, cult, non-denominational or not, is exempt from membership in the Harlot Religion. “Religion” itself is the Harlot! Though they may fight among themselves, each laying claim to the title “True Religion,” and though each point at the other’s failings and untruths, they all are part of Babylon the Great. Even the “wheat” grows among the “weeds” and the corpses of the Two Prophets are within the Great City, Babylon. (Matthew 13:30, 41; Revelation 11:8) It is out of Babylon the Saints are called at the moment of the Rapture. (Revelation 18:4; Isaiah 49:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17)
#450. However, for the moment let us continue to consider how Babylon the Great, the Harlot Religion, meets her end as a judgment from God. It does not come directly from God as many might suppose. It all occurs through the actions of the “ten horns.” The very Beast she rides, and thinks she controls, along with the Ten Powers, turn on her and devastate her. Their action carries out God’s own single thought, or opinion, to get rid of her as the one responsible for the martyrdom of millions of Jews and Christians. The Apocalypse does not describe how this is to occur, it only states the Ten Powers, representing the former European Papal states, the ancient provinces of Rome, expose her, devour her, and assign her to the flames. No prophetic scenario is outlined so that we can get details of this demise. It is all done in one prophetic “hour.”
#451 If this occurs in connection with the Great Oppression and is linked to that economic pressure described in chapter thirteen, then her end may be tied in with these developments. Verse 12 indicates that these Ten Powers surrender their local authority to the wild Sea Beast for “one hour” during which the Woman is destroyed. The Saints are in heaven during all of this, raptured away from the Great City in full view of their enemies. (Revelation 11:12, 13)
#452. Revelation 17:15 describes the waters where the Harlot sits as an international body of peoples. Ancient Babylon the Great sat upon the river Euphrates (Revelation 16:12) and when these waters were “dried up” it allowed the Persians to capture the city. Here, in the Apocalypse, this same “Euphrates” is a symbol of all those “waters” over which this Woman sits as queen. Would these not be the great body of church-goers, synagogue members, mosque attenders, temple worshippers, and the average supporter of religion in general? If the wild Sea Beast forces all to worship the political state and to demonstrate this submission by accepting the mark in order to buy and sell, then this moment may be the trigger to drying up these waters of support and protection. The religious desert Religion to worship a new object, the Image of the wild Sea Beast.
#453. It is good to remember that the wild Sea Beast and Harlot Religion are abstractions. It is much like referring to IBM, FBI, NATO, UNO, INS, DEA, CIA, etc. These abstractions can end without the loss of all those who made them up. Though certain key figures may be in control or even associated with the abstraction, the wild Sea Beast and Harlot Religion as abstractions cease to exist in the Apocalypse. It seems reasonable that individuals who were part and parcel with the evil that occurs will not escape punishment from God. And so, the “waters” which dry up and vanish are different from the abstraction of the Woman herself. Those who compose these waters, that is peoples, crowds, nations and tongues, are not necessarily destroyed when the Ten Powers turn on the Woman. No where does the Apocalypse describe the total destruction of those described in Revelation 17:15. it is the abstraction of the Woman, Babylon the Great, which is destroyed forever.
#454. How are those members of that “wheat” class or type to escape from captivity to Babylon the Great? It took a miracle of deliverance in the Fifth Century BC and it occurred in a brief historical period. Remember the prophetic two Martyrs of chapter eleven are slain within the Great City, on the “broadway” of Babylon the Great. How do they escape? By Rapture!
Consider the eighteenth chapter of the Apocalypse.
Nazarene Commentary 2000©
Mark Heber Miller
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