Revelation 17.7-14 – Eight to one

Today, rather kindly, and with a prophetic foresight far beyond our tiny human comprehension, the angel explains to John the mystery of the woman, and of the beast. No doubt this was so John could communicate it to others, remember, Revelation is apocalyptic in nature, which, by very definition means revealing, not hidden.

7 But the angel said to me,

“Why do you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her. 8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come. 9 This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; 10 they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while. 11 As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. 12 And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast. 14 They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”

Verse 8 tells us that the beast is the beast of 13.1 (And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads.). Those who do not believe in Jesus marvel at the beast, the Antichrist, because he will be a winner, attractive, seeking to unite people with his universal, international character. He uses religion to achieve his purposes, allying with the prostitute until he gets what he wants.

Verse 9 is as perplexing as there are theories to explain it; the woman is sat on the seven mountains which are the seven heads of the beast. They are not the seven hills of Rome, they could be kings and kingdoms, they could be governments…either way, the Bible does not say explicitly so at best we can have an educated guess. Kings and kingdoms does seem to fit with what the angel goes on to say in verse 10, they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while. If we take the major empires of the world at John’s time starting with Egypt, then Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persian, Greek, then Rome would be the one that is, and the other that has not yet come would be the ‘New Rome’ of the Antichrist. A ten nation confedration gets together and basically gives their power to the beast (And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast.), who then all club together for a war on the Lamb.

Throughout all this then, throughout all this prophetic planning, throughout the mind-blowing detail and accuracy (of which we have barely scratched the surface here), we see one thing remain constant; the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.

No matter how complex things get, no matter the size of the army raised against Him, no matter how devious and dispicable the enemy, the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of Kings.

This must surely be where we draw strength from whilst we bear the burdens of life; we carry the cross whilst awaiting a crown, and every single thing we read about His coming again should fill us with an inextinguishable hope and confidence.

Jesus fulfilled upwards of 350 Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament perfectly.

For every prophecy of His first coming, there are 8 of His second coming and we have no doubt He will fulfil them perfectly, too.

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