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Revelation 17:7-18 “Identity Of The Scarlet Colored Beast & Woman”

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SIH STSTA ICONTHE TEXT:

Rev 17:7-18 KJV

(7)  And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.
(8)  The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
(9)  And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
(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.
(13)  These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.
(14)  These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
(15)  And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
(16)  And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.
(17)  For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.
(18)  And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

 

 

THE INTRODUCTION:

In the previous chapter, we have seen the contents of trumpet 7, in other words bowls 1-7,  which spoke of God’s wrath being poured out upon Satan’s kingdoms at the second coming of Christ.   As bowl seven was poured out, we saw the wrath of God being brought to completion and the kingdoms of Satan totally destroyed.

Now, in chapters 17: and 18:, we see a detailed look at this kingdom that has just been destroyed…

  1. In chapter 17: we take a step back and review the identity and characteristics of Satan’s kingdom. In this text, we have the two aspects of Satan’s kingdom symbolized by the two main characters being presented to us… “the Great Whore” (the religious aspects of Satan’s kingdom) and “the Scarlet Colored Beast” (the political aspects of Satan’s kingdom).

[Please note Revelation 13: where the “Great Whore” in this passage symbolized as the “Beast from the Earth”, while the “Scarlet Beast”  is symbolized as the “Beast from the Sea”.  This description also links these to a description of Satan as the scarlet dragon with 7 heads and 10 horns in Rev 12:]

  1. In chapter 19: we will see warnings that are given to mankind living now to depart from these kingdoms that are destined to fall under the hand of Almighty God.

 

A brief outline of the coming chapters:

Chapter 17: The Identity and Characteristics of Satan’s Kingdom

17:1-6 – The Woman and The Scarlet Beast Introduced
17:7-17 – The Scarlet Beast In Detail
17:18 – The Woman In Detail

 

Chapter 18:  The Warnings To Depart From Satan’s Kingdom

18:1-3 – Announcement Of Babylon’s Fall
18:4-8 – Warning To God’s People
18:9-10 – Warning To Kings
18:11-17a – Warning To Merchants
18:17b-20 – Warning To Mariners
18:21-24 – Angel With The Millstone

 

THE EXPOSITORY STUDY:

Rev 17:7-18 KJV

(7)  And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.

The angel now comforts John telling him that the two symbolic characters of this disturbing vision (the woman and the beast) will be explained in detail.

 

First, the angel explains the scarlet colored beast…. 

(8)  The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition:

Keep in mind the beast is a symbol of the earthly political kingdom of Satan.  It is symbolic of the seven great world empires:

  1. Egypt;
  2. Assyria;
  3. 3.Babylon;
  4. Medo-Persia;
  5. Greece;
  6. Rome;
  7. The Variety of World Powers following Rome.

 

The angel begins to describe the beast with a three-fold description:

  1. “thou sawest not and is not” ….

The kingdoms not in existence when Rome ruled the world in John’s day:

  1. prior to John – Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece,
  2. following John – Variety of World Powers following Rome.

These are the political kingdoms that John never “saw” (experienced) because they did not exist in John’s day.

The political kingdom of Satan is cyclical in nature.   One rises to power, falls and another one takes it place.  They are all a part of Satan’s political kingdom, which embodies all the nations of the world.  His kingdom simply takes different forms as each individual nation ascends to power.

 

  1. “shall ascend out of the bottomless pit”….

The origin of this beast is Satanic, sinful and deserving of divine punishment.  Keep in mind, the first nations of the world came into existence at the Tower of Babel.  The nations were formed when mankind was divided into separate locations on earth as the Lord confused their languages.  This was done as a judgment against their pride, selfish and rebellion against the Lord. (Gen 11:1-9).  This is the very beginnings of Satan’s political kingdom of this world.

 

  1. “and go into perdition”…

The beast’s destiny is destruction and absolute ruin (“perdition”).  Even though it is empowered by Satan and very dreadful in alliance with the false religions of the world, this beast was already defeated at the cross (Col 2:14-15). His final end will be eternal destruction from the face of the Lord (Rev 19:20).

 

and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

The lost of this world will find themselves gazing in amazement and admiration at the greatness and majesty of the political kingdoms of this world.

The lost are described as “whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world”.  This refers to the book of life that was written in eternity past through the divine counsels of Almighty God.  This book contains the names of those who were foreordained to come to faith in Christ.  This results in their justification before God; their life lived in holiness and service to Him; and their adoption into His family …

Eph 1:4 – “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,”

 

The beast is described as “the beast that was, and is not, and yet is”.  This refers to the many world empires this kingdom represents:

  1. “was” – the world empires that had existed prior to John’s day (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece)
  2. “is not” – the world empires that are yet to exist following John’s day (Variety of World Powers following Rome)
  3. 3  “and yet is” – the world empires that existed in John’s day (Rome)

During all of these empires the beast existed because all of these kingdoms were a part of the beast.

 

(9)  And here is the mind which hath wisdom.

This is the thinking of those who possess Godly wisdom.  This is insight into the true character, identity and nature of this beast that comes from God Himself.  

The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.

(Note: Please remember, prior to this, the woman was seen sitting upon the scarlet beast (Rev 17:3).  This helps us to understand that the mountains and the beast are two symbolic characters that speak of the same political kingdom of Satan.   The seven heads of the beast are representative of the same world empires as these seven mountains.)

The woman is seen setting upon seven mountains.  In John’s day the coins of the Roman government were embossed with the picture of a woman sitting upon seven mountains.  The seven mountains on the coin were representative of the seven mountains upon which Rome sat:

  1. Palatine
  2. Aventine
  3. Caelian
  4. Esquirine
  5. Uiminal
  6. Quirinal
  7. Capitoline

This pointed John directly to the Roman Empire, the current reigning World Empire.  He had just pointed John’s sight to the political kingdoms of the world.  However, the angel then went further explaining the beast was not limited to this current world empire, but was representative of all the world empires of all time … 

 

(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.

This beast, in its entirety, symbolized seven kings (or the kingdoms over which they ruled, the seven world empires):

  1. “five are fallen” – the world empires existing prior to John’s day (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece)
  2. “one is” – the world empire existing in John’s day (Rome)
  3. “the other is not yet come” –– the world empires existing future to John’s day (Variety of World Powers after Rome)
  4. “he must continue a short space” – this is speaking of the seventh king (the Variety of World Powers future to John). He explained to John that these future kingdoms will not exist into eternity.  Although it is described as coming last in time, with no other world kingdoms to replace it, that does not imply it will be eternal.

Each of the individual kingdoms will only have world dominance a short time and never able to completely rule the world.  As a whole, this aspect of Satan’s political kingdom would only last from the end of the kingdom in control at Christ’s first coming (Rome) to the second coming of Christ.  This very time period is described as a single period of time (Heb 1:1-2, Acts 2:16-17) throughout the Word of God.  This same time period is also described as being short, coming quickly (John 4:35, James 5:8, Rev 22:20 etc)

 

(11)  And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

The beast himself (a combination of all world nations):

  1. “is the eighth” – this beast, the combination of all nations, will have a turn being a unified world empire. This takes place following the varied rule of the nations making up the seventh kingdom. This will take place at the Battle of Armageddon when all the nations of the world will unified as a singular world power under their own authority…

Rev 19:19 – “And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.”

(Notice how all the unitied kingdoms are described in this text… “the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies” … this is the eighth kingdom that the angel is speaking about.  It will come into existence as Christ comes in the clouds with His spiritual nation, spiritual Israel (all saved makind in glorified bodies).

(Also please note: there will still be “kings” and “armies”, they will simply be united in effort against Christ.  They will not be melded into just one nation with one ruler.  They will continue to possess their own national identity, but be united fighting as one world power.)

  1. “And is of the seven” – this beast is made up of all the seven world empires throughout history.
  1. “goeth into perdition” – this beast is headed for total destruction. 

 

(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.

The ten horns represent the ten kings (kingdoms) that will come to power after John’s day.  This is the many varied nations that will become world powers.

These many, varied nations will take exist following the Roman empire and leading up to Christ’s second coming.  This is why it is believed these ten horns are located on the beast’s seventh head.  It is the seventh head only that is said to be coming into existence following the Roman empire of John’s day.

These many varied nations will hold individually the position of world powers for a short period of time.  They will aspire to achieve true World Empire status, ruling over all the known world, but will never fully achieve their aspirations.    

 

(13)  These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.  (14)  These shall make war with the Lamb,

Leading up to Christ’s second coming, all of these aspiring world kingdoms will become united in purpose and goal.  They will willingly join forces with all the other nations and put all of their efforts towards a unified goal.  This goal is to go to war against Christ and defeat Him at His second coming.

Please note the term “These”.  This helps us to understand that these nations are still identified as individual nations, but they are united in goals.  They still have individual kings, but these kings are leading them to join up with all the other nations. (see vs 11 and Rev 19:19)  In the future, the nations will always have individual identities.  They will be individual nations fighting as one.  Nowhere in the Bible do we read of the nations literally unifying to the point they will no longer have national identities, becoming one literal world nation.

 

and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings:

At His second coming Christ, the Lamb, will subdue and prevail over them.  He holds the dominating authority and strength over them.  His predominate strength and authority are revealed to us in the titles “Lord of lord and King of kings” 

and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

The army accompanying Him will be made up of His spiritual nation of Israel, the Israel of God, which is made up of all believers of all time.  More on this Battle of Armageddon in Rev 18: and 19:. 

 

(15)  And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

The waters that this woman sits on, spoken of in vs 1, symbolizes the multitudes of lost people on the earth.   This includes all the lost from each race, nationality, language and family. 

 

(16)  And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.

Although they work together for mutual benefit, the political kingdoms of the world are ultimately controlled by the false religions of the world.  This is shown by the woman riding the beast in vs 3.

People will rebel against or oppose political authorities at the request of their false religious authorities.  They would act thinking they are pleasing their god as opposed to pleasing the human authorities over them.  The reverse is not true.  This makes the false religions of this world a constant threat to the existence and well-being of the political kingdoms of this world.   This is why the political systems of the fallen world hate the religious systems of the fallen world.

This can be seen in the many differing types of persecution of opposing religious systems by the world’s nations.   These types of persecution include:

  1. “make her desolate and naked” – economic and persecution of their members forcing them out of their religion.
  2. “shall eat her flesh” – feeding their members to wild animals, a common practice in the times of John
  3. “burn her with fire” – burning her members at the stake was also a common practice in the times of John.

This principle seems to be greatly magnified at the second coming of Christ.  The nations of the world will understand they have been misled by these false religions and now must go to war against God and receive His wrath due to the woman’s false teachings.  This will cause great hatred in their hearts and a desire to bring her to utter destruction.

Please note that the false religious systems are not listed as being a motivating, warring, nor important, character at the moment of the kingdoms unifying and soon defeat at the hand of the Lord…

Rev 19:19 –  “And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.”

However, she is mentioned in the very next verse as being present, in the symbolism of the false prophet, emphasizing her role in misleading the people to follow the political kingdoms to their defeat.  In this passage, she is sharing in defeat at the hands of our returning Lord…

Rev 19:20 – “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” 

 

(17)  For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

All of this “in-fighting” between the two kingdoms of Satan take place under the Sovereign hand of Almighty God.  He is the One that controls the nations allowing them to abuse, persecute and attempt to destroy themselves.

God has worked in their hearts and minds in three ways:

  1. “to fulfil his will” – to do what God has decreed
  2. “to agree” – to willfully perform the dictates of His sovereign will
  3. “ to give their kingdom unto the beast” – to submit to the leadership of the unified nations of the world.

All of these work up to their utter defeat, which brings fulfillment to the end time prophecies of the Lord 

 

(18)  And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

As described before, the false religions of the world control the political kingdoms of the world.

This is symbolized in three ways in this chapter:

  1. The whore riding the beast in vs 3
  2. The woman sitting on the seven mountains in vs 9
  3. The whore sitting on the waters in vs 15

All of these symbolize the same truth.  The false religions of the world, in many ways, rule over the political kingdoms of this world.

Note the woman is described as “that great city”.  This points us back to her title, “Babylon the Great” in vs 5.  Babylon, the symbolic capital of the evil religious kingdom, exercises authority over the political powers of the world and lost mankind in general. She is why the nations of the lost world submits to the political authorities of the world and, ultimately, unite to do battle against Christ.   See verses 3, 5, 9, 15, and 16 for much more detail.

 

CHRIST REVEALED:

Rev 17:14 – “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.”

In this verse, we can see Christ presented as the victorious Lamb , the Lord of lords and King of kings.

Normally, when we think of Christ as the Lamb, we think of Him as the suffering, humble, sinless, Savior who unjustly died on the cross bringing salvation to His people.   However, in this passage that same Lamb is shown as being victorious Lord and King gaining the ultimate victory over the powers of darkness at the Battle of Armageddon.

 

Why would Christ, as He leads His people to victory, be symbolized as a Lamb?

The key is to understand WHEN the victory over the powers of darkness was actually gained.  Christ had won the victory long before Armageddon… Armageddon was simply the outward display that proved the victory had been won.

 

So when was the victory actually won?

This is where Christ, as the Lamb, comes into our view.  Christ’s victory over the powers of darkness took place at the cross.  Our humble, sinless, suffering Savior won the victory at His death.   Because of this, it is only fitting that He be shown as a Lamb as the His victory over darkness is clearly shown to mankind.

 

This was a victory He had won as the Lamb of God hanging on a cross defeating the powers of darkness and bringing salvation to those He loved…

Heb 2:14-15 – “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;  And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”

 

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION (SUMMARY)

May we all remember that Christ has already won for us the victory over the powers of Satan and his dark kingdoms of this world.  He overcame them so that we might be overcomers with Him….

1Jn 4:3-4 – “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.   Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

 

Because we are overcomers in Christ, we can rejoice in the midst of trials, heartaches, times of loss and when face with seeming impossible situations.  How can this be?  We know we will ultimately be given the victory over this world and all the issues it may hold for us.

We are His redeemed… He has gained the victory over this world … and will deliver us from her grasp someday…

Psa 97:9-10 – “For thou, LORD, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods.  Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.”

 

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3 Comments

  1. SLIMJIM says:

    Thank you for this study

  2. I also thank you for the spiritual food you share with us! God bless!

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