Home Church Community

Statement of Beliefs

Contact Us

Search Our Site

Bible Study Resource



Printer Friendly Version

Particulars of Christianity:
314 End Times Prophecy (Eschatology)


Prophetic Symbols: Revelation 17 (Part 4)

Prophetic Symbols: Revelation 17 (Part 1)
Prophetic Symbols: Revelation 17 (Part 2)
Prophetic Symbols: Revelation 17 (Part 3)
Prophetic Symbols: Revelation 17 (Part 4)
Prophetic Symbols: Revelation 17 (Part 5)
Prophetic Symbols: Revelation 17 (Part 6)


Articles 7-12
Articles 13-18
Articles 19-25
Articles 26-29



You might have noticed that quite a bit of the last proof (regarding the Roman angelic prince being the beast, which ascends out of the bottomless pit) has come from the Gospel of John. This is fitting since John also wrote the book of Revelation and his familiarity with these concepts is already evidenced by what is written in his Gospel. And it is also fitting that our next and last proof that the beast out of the bottomless pit is the Roman angelic prince also comes from John, and more specifically, John's first epistle.

But before we get into 1 John, we first need to take a quick review of the passage under examination from Revelation 17.

Revelation 17:8 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.

As we have already noted previously, Revelation 17 refers to the Roman ruler as the "one" that "is" among the seven kings in verse 10. Once again, the question before us is as follows: Is the angelic being known as the beast "is" or "is not" in the first century when John wrote Revelation? We have already demonstrated that this angelic being "is" in the first century by referring to Revelation 17:8b where John plainly states that the beast "is not and yet is." We have also noted that "is not" and "yet is" are both the exact same Greek word rendered in the exact same tense. To simplify the issue, the real question is whether or not the angelic being known as the beast was still around on earth during the first century when John was writing or was this angelic being already down in the bottomless pit?

If this angelic being was still around on earth at that time and not yet down in the bottomless pit, then we can further conclude that this angelic being who is referred to as a king, is the angelic prince over the Roman people. On the other hand, if this angelic being was not still around on earth at that time but was already in the bottomless pit, then we would have problems asserting that this being is the angelic Roman prince because Revelation 17:10 states clearly that the Roman prince or king is the "one" that "is" at that time.

For an answer to this question, we turn to the words of John found in his first epistle.

1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 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. 4 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.

What is so staggering about this passage from 1 John 4 is that it relates directly back to Jesus' words in John 14 and 16 as well as to the topics John would later discuss in Revelation 17. In fact, this passage is a perfect connection between those two sets of passages and it allows us to interpret Revelation 17 correctly by doing so in light of Jesus' words in John 14 and 16, which we have already reviewed.

The first thing to note is that John does not say here that the antichrist is already in the world. He says that the "spirit of the antichrist" is "already in the world." So, there is nothing in John's words here that would indicate that the man who is the antichrist was around at that time, only the spirit behind him.

The second thing to note from 1 John 4 is that the word spirit is used to refer to actual spirit beings. Four times in verses 1-3 it is used of spirit beings in general and one time in verse 2 it is used to refer to the Spirit of God. Therefore, when verse 3 refers to the "spirit of antichrist" we know that it is certainly talking about an actual, singular spirit being and NOT just a general attitude or character of the antichrist. That point needs repeating. Because the context of 1 John 4:1-4 uses the word "spirit" concretely to refer to actual spirit beings, we must likewise interpret the "spirit of antichrist" as a reference to the spirit being behind the antichrist. The context prevents us from interpreting the "spirit of the antichrist" as a general attitude, character, movement, cultural trend, or anything else other than the actual spirit being behind the antichrist.

Now that we have established that 1 John 4:3 is clearly referring to the singular spirit being behind the antichrist, we can move on to examine exactly what John says about this spirit being who is behind the antichrist. In verse 3, John says of the spirit of the antichrist that his audience had "heard that it should come." This is a direct reference back to the words of Jesus Christ found in John's Gospel.

John 14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.

Jesus himself was the one who had first said that the prince of this world, the spirit behind the antichrist would come. However, in 1 John 4:3, John actually says that this spiritual prince behind the antichrist "already is in the world." Therefore, when Jesus spoke in John 14, this angelic prince was about to come. He does come and enters into Judas and 1 John 4:3 tells us, he was still around when John wrote his first epistle. In other words, the angelic prince of this world, which was cast out of heaven in John 12 and was coming in John 14, came and entered into Judas and was not yet put into the bottomless pit but still remained in the world when John wrote his first epistle.

And this statement by John in his first epistle that the spirit of the antichrist "already is in the world" (verse 3) and "is in the world" (verse 4) directly relates to Revelation 17, where John writes saying that the beast out of the bottomless pit "yet is" and of the seven kings, he is the "one" that "is" at that time. Let's compare these words in 1 John 4:3-4 with Revelation 17.

1 John 4:3 And every spiritthat 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. 4 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.

Revelation 17:8 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.

In both 1 John 4 and Revelation 17, the spirit prince behind the antichrist "is," "already is," and "yet is" currently in the world at that time when John is writing. Therefore, when John says of the beast out of the bottomless pit that it "is not," he is referring to the fact that after that present time this spirit being will be put into the bottomless pit until it is released for the final three and a half years before the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ.

Notice also that Revelation 17:10 tells us that after the Roman prince will come another angelic prince who will be around only for a short time. This is directly parallel to the fact that in John 12 and 14, Jesus tells us that the prince of this world was then being cast out and was coming while Revelation 12 also records how another angelic adversary will be cast out just three and a half years prior to the Millennial reign, who will be greatly angry because he knows that "he hath but a short time." The phrase "he hath but a short time" is a parallel to the seventh king who was yet to come when John wrote Revelation 17:10 and who would continue only for "a short space." The sixth and seventh angelic kings are the ones spoken of separately as being cast out and coming in John 12 and 14 by Jesus and Revelation 12 by John.

There is one other common statement that can be found in those later chapters of John's Gospel, in John's first epistle, and in Revelation 12. In John 12:31, Jesus says that the angelic prince over the world was about to be cast out of heaven. In John 14:30, Jesus says that this angelic prince of this world is coming. In John 16:11, Jesus makes one last reference to this angelic prince of this world, who is coming, and then in verse 33 of that same chapter, Jesus tells his disciples that although they will have tribulation and persecution in the world, he has overcome the world. In this way, Jesus ties both the persecution of the saints and the overcoming of the world together with the casting out and coming of the angelic prince of this world.

And we find the same thing in 1 John and Revelation.

1 John 4:3 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. 4 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.

Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. 12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

In 1 John 4, John connects the current presence of the angelic prince that Jesus said would come in John 14 with the saints overcoming their difficulties in the world. And similarly in Revelation, John connects the saints overcoming persecution with the coming of another angelic adversary. It is a perfect parallel. In both cases we have an angelic being cast down out of heaven and coming into the earth to persecute God's people who overcome him. One of those angelic beings is cast down and comes in the first century beginning with the final days of Jesus' life before his crucifixion and resurrection. The other one of these angelic beings is cast down and comes in the final three and a half years before the Millennial reign of Christ. And from this we can also see that the angelic being who was in the time of the first century was the angelic prince over the Romans, who was not in the bottomless pit in the first century, is probably in the bottomless pit now, and will definitely be released when the other angelic adversary is cast down at the start of the final three and a half years.


Related Images



Figure 1.1
This animated sequence
illustrates how the term
"beast" can focus in on
1 of 3 distinct aspects
of the same overall entity.
1.) The seven-headed empire system
2.) The revived head
or revived empire
3.) The 8th king who becomes head of both.




Historic Map Series
(Maps 1-12)




Additional
Relevant Maps



Lexicon Excerpts



Apocalyptic
Comparison Chart



7 Heads of the
Beast Chart




Illustrations of
Symbols Series
(Illustrations 1-7)



Correspondence of
Visions Diagram