The Seven Heads and The Seven King-Beasts

And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. (Rev 17:9)

And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. (Rev 17:10)

The Seven Kings and several thoughts their relation to the Sea Beast.

(Rev 17:10)And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. (11)And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. (12)And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.

A second, though less obvious (or more speculative) interpretation of the mystery declared by the Angel symbolized by the “seven kings” (v.10) is that they are the same as the Beast’s seven heads from the previous verse: The number of different successive governing heads of the bestial character, that is, of lines or classes of heathen like ruling Governors or, as might be said, forms of Government, which are (not another Beast or empire) but the same individual seven hills of which the Roman Empire would be under, from first to last, from its early origin to its final destruction: there being here premised however by the Angel one additional and very important notification, as necessary to be taken into the account in the solution of this part of the enigma: That the seventh head/king visible on the Apocalyptic Beast would be, in order of existence, its eighth. His meaning in this is easily seen in so far as the symbol itself is concerned, by reference to the statement so emphatically made and repeated respecting the Beast, when exhibited in the vision of Chapter 13 that one of his heads appeared to have been wounded “as it were to death” by a sword, but that his deadly wound was healed.

The foregoing speculations overlook the prepositional phrase (v.17:10), “And there are,” and instead interprets the text as though it were written, And they are, without explanation or debate, presumably identifying the king/beasts of v.10-11 as the preceding heads, but ignoring the text identification v.11 of the “eighth” king (βασιλεύς) as a “beast” (θηρίον), therefore not necessarily a continued exposition of the seven “heads” (κεφαλή) contrary description from v.9.

Verses 10-11 are rather an enumeration and recapitulation of individual dominating beast (θηρίον) powers, of which the eighth cannot be the seventh, but must be the sixth (the Roman Power contemporary with John), because it is Rome, and already defined by Daniel 2 as the great Iron empire or portion of the Mystery Babylon Image as being destroyed by the coming of Christ to set up His kingdom, and in Daniel chapter 7 as the fourth and last beast, therefore must be identified as the same as described in Rev. 17 as “going to perdition.”

On the alternative, if taken as, “And they are” a double meaning could result and one (the previously described famed seven hills of Rome on which the woman sitteth), the other (as follows), or both may be allowed by the text and original language.

Lets examine what the scripture reveals about these Beast Powers:

  1. Rome, the Revelation chapter 13 Sea Beast, is described as having leopard, bear, and lion features, these features being those of the three Daniel 7 beasts that preceded in succession and were conquered by it. This would account for four of the seven kings or beasts.
  2. Rev. 17:11 enumerates 7 beast powers total in succession, with one reasserting itself at the end being numbered as the eighth, one of the seven.
  3. The sixth being contemporary with John necessitates reaching back in the history of Daniel and Israel for the previous five world (or Israel dominating) ruling powers of which only the three immediately previous are explicitly named as beasts in Dan. 7.

We must intently examine the shared attributes of the four explicitly named beast powers: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome, before we can determine who the remaining or unnamed beasts are.

  1. Each of these four beast powers were individually, original powers when they rose up.
  2. Each then conquered and assimilated the ones before them and dominated the territory and people of its predecessors, having risen up from the same locality, the sea (or waters or flood). The interpretation of the symbol waters, from Rev. 17:15 as “peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues” verifies the like symbol as referring to the old world locality, whereas a flood would represent conquest or warfare.
  3. None of these powers are a division of any of those preceding it, they only assimilate.
  4. They all dominated the Israel of God: Before Christ, National Israel; after Christ, the Church – the supranational Israel of God, along with the other nations around them. (Seventy weeks were determined for National Israel which terminated with the final week during which the Messiah, Jesus appeared to confirm the covenant, according to Dan. ch. 9, after which the Gospel went to the nations and God’s chosen people became a supranational catholic church.)

There yet remain two unnamed beast powers preceding the four sea beasts of Dan. 7. These were previously named as Egypt and Assyria, both meeting the criteria as dominating National Israel immediately before Babylon, by whom they were both along with Israel, conquered and assimilated.

After Rome, the “and one is” concurrent with John, the one yet future “is not yet come” can only be enumerated as the seventh as it remains otherwise unnamed by the text itself. The Revelation, specifically ch. 13, has the only mention of an additional beast power rising up, so must be our seventh king/beast.

We will examine this Seventh Beast in our following, Chapter VI.


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