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Particulars of Christianity:
314 End Times Prophecy (Eschatology)

Angels in the End Times - Part 2

Angels in the End Times - Part 1
Angels in the End Times - Part 2
Angels in the End Times - Part 3
Angels in the End Times - Part 4

The Eighth Angelic King* In Revelation 17, the eighth angelic king is described in greater detail than any of the other kings. These details are to help us to identify this angelic king properly.

Revelation 17: (8a) 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, (8b) 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.

The first thing we are told in Revelation 17:11 is that the eighth angelic king is the beast that was, is not, and goes unto perdition. This beast is described three verses earlier in Revelation 17:8 as the beast that was, is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go unto perdition. Next, we are told that this beast is one of the seven kings. That is he is not an additional king, so that there are a total of eight, but he is one of the previous seven, who had previously ruled. This is consistent with Revelation 12, where we are told that the satanic kingdom has seven, NOT eight, chief ranking angels (or seven heads).

So, we now know that this eighth king is really one of the seven kings and that he is an angel that comes out of the bottomless pit. Now, he could not be the seventh angelic king, the Devil himself, because the Devil will also be around at that time, ruling over the seventh empire as we have already discussed above (Revelation 12:7-14, Revelation 17:10). Additionally, prior to his rule the Devil is in heaven and is cast down to earth, while this angelic ruler comes up out of the bottomless pit. So, the eighth king must be one of the first six angelic kings. But which one is he?

The key for determining which one of the six angelic kings is the eighth king comes from the descriptions of him found in Revelation 17:8. The eighth angelic king is first described in the first part of verse 8 (8a) a as "was, is not, and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go unto perdition." Then in the second part of the verse (8b) we are told that he "was, is not, and yet is." Because "is" is rendered in the same tense in both cases ("is not" and "yet is") we are left to understand how and why it is that this beast, this angel, can both "not be" and "yet be."

If we keep in mind what follows in this series of verses we can answer this dilemma easily. Verse 9-10 tell us that there is a series of seven angelic kings, five of which have fallen, one which is, and one which has not yet come. The variation between verse 8a and 8b is meant to transition from verse 8's description of the beast out of the bottomless pit to verse 10's description of the seven angelic kings so that we can identify which of the seven kings is the beast out of the bottomless pit (v.11).

Therefore, verse 8b modifies verse 8a's description that the beast "is not and will ascend…" to "is not, and yet is" in order to identify for us which of the seven kings of verse 10 will become the beast of the bottomless pit, the eighth king. The "yet is" is meant to connect us to the "one is" from verse 10. Verse 8b indicates that the angel of the bottomless pit is the angelic king that "yet is" at the time of John. The description of this angelic king as "was, is not, and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit and go unto perdition" is a description of this angelic king's overall history. He "was" in that he had previously already ruled in the succession of kings ("of the seven"). He "is not" in that he is not while he is in the bottomless pit. He "yet is" in that he is the angelic king who ruled over Rome at the time John wrote. And he "will ascend out of the bottomless pit" and become the eighth king.

Furthermore, according to the Grammatical-Historical method of Bible interpretation we should always interpret less clear passages in light of clear passages, which speak of the same subject. In Revelation 17:8 we have a passage, which is unclear or difficult to understand. It tells us that the beast "is not, and yet is." In both cases ("is not" and "yet is") the same Greek verb is used in the same verb tense. Therefore, we have the confusing description that this beast both "does not exist" (in the present tense) and "yet does exist" (again, in the present tense). Thankfully, we have a clearer passage available, which can help us understand this perplexing statement from Revelation 17:8 and help us figure out exactly what the status of the beast was at the time John was writing.

The apostle John's first epistle states the following:

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. In this passage John is using the word spirit to refer to angelic beings. Verses 1 and 2 and the first part of verse 3 all demand that we understand John to be using the word "spirit" in this manner and not in some other sense, such as an attitude. Therefore, if we are to be consistent with the context we must interpret John's reference to "that spirit of antichrist" to be a reference not to some anti-Christian attitude, but to an angelic being who will be behind or associated with the Antichrist when he comes.

Therefore, we must note a few things from John's discussion here concerning this angel who he associates with the Antichrist. First of all, John does NOT say that the Antichrist himself has come. Instead, he clearly states in verse 4 that the spirit (or angel) that is associated with the Antichrist is already in the world in his day. His reference in verse 3 that they would have heard that this angel would come is a reference to Jesus' statements that John recorded in his Gospel.

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

Therefore, in his first epistle, John is explaining that this angelic ruler, who ruled at the time of the Roman empire was in the world in his day, the first century AD. Yet, John directly connects this angel with the Antichrist himself even though the Antichrist has not yet come and will not yet come until just before the coming of the kingdom of God. This means that this angelic ruler, who ruled over Rome and existed in John's day, will also be on earth in the days of the Antichrist. This is just as Revelation 17:8-11 tells us, that one of the seven angelic princes who had previously ruled on earth is brought back out of the bottomless pit to rule over an eighth kingdom on earth through the Antichrist just before the coming of the kingdom of God. Through John's clear statements in his epistle we can understand the meaning of Revelation 17:8-11's description of this same angel, and we can identify that angel as the Roman angelic prince, the sixth angelic king.

The Star and the Beast out of the Bottomless Pit

But we are not yet finished with our identification of this sixth angelic prince. We can further ask the question, who is this beast, this angel, who ascends out of the bottomless pit that is so prominent in the end times (as the eighth king)?

He is first mentioned by the name "the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit" in Revelation 11:7 where he is depicted as making war with the two witnesses and killing them. However, Revelation 11's description of him is brief, only mentioning him by this descriptive title. It seems rather abrupt for this figure to be presented in the text without introduction or explanation. And without a prior introduction to this figure, the unfamiliar reader, reading the passage for the first time, might wonder "hold on a minute, what beast out of the bottomless pit? Who is this beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit? Where did he come from?" This begs the question, is this "beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit" mentioned prior to Revelation 11 as one might expect? The answer is yes, he is.

Just two brief chapters before Revelation 11's mention of this angel as the "beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit" we find the introduction of this angel into the end time scenario.

Revelation 9:1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. 2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. 3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power…11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.

Revelation 9 describes the opening of the bottomless pit by a star, which falls from heaven. Out of the bottomless pit come locusts and an angel. This angel, which is over the locusts, is referred to as a king using the Greek word "basileus" (Strong's #935). This is the same word that is used in Revelation 17:9-10 to describe the seven angels, one of whom is said to be the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit. So, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit described by chapters 11 and 17 is this angelic king who Revelation 9 records ascending out of the bottomless pit.

So, from Revelation 9 we can see that the sixth angelic king, the Roman prince, is the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit. And we are given two names to describe this angel. In the Hebrew he is known as Abaddon. In the Greek he is called Apollyon. Both of these names mean destroyer. All of this will become important again later on in our study. Now that we have added these details to our understanding of the sixth angelic king, we might ask the question, who releases Abaddon from the bottomless pit?

Revelation 9:1-2 clearly informs us that someone opens the bottomless pit. We know the star is a someone, a being, because they are given keys and perform the act of opening the bottomless pit. And we can be confident that he is an angel for a few reasons. First, stars are used in Revelation and elsewhere in the Bible to refer to angels (or even humans). But he must be an angel and not a man because he falls from heaven to earth. Additionally, this same task is later performed by another angel in Revelation 20:1.

Revelation 20:1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

But who is this angel who releases Abaddon? His description as a star, which falls from heaven unto the earth indicates that he is angel who falls from heaven and comes to the earth. As we have already seen, Revelation 12 clearly tells us that the Devil is this angel who is cast out of heaven and comes down unto the earth in the short period (42 months) before the coming of the kingdom of God.

Revelation 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 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...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. 13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.

From all this we must conclude that the Devil is the angel who releases Abaddon from the pit. Pulling all of this information together, we can see that what is being described here is that the seventh angelic king, the Devil himself, is cast out of heaven and then releases the sixth angelic king, Abaddon, the Roman prince, from the bottomless pit. Then Revelation 13:1-10 informs us that the Devil gives Abaddon power to continue for 42 months as the eighth king over the kingdom that the ten horns give to him (Revelation 17:12-13). All of this occurs during the same short space of time that Revelation 12 and 17 tell us that the Devil himself will rule as a king over the seventh human empire, which we know is the empire of the False Prophet (Revelation 13:11-18).

Abaddon - the Sixth Angelic King

As we have already shown the sixth angelic king is referred to as Abaddon or Apollyon. Both of these titles are helpful for informing us about this angelic adversary.

First, the Hebrew version of his name Abaddon is derived from the Hebrew word "Abaddon" (Strong's #11). This will become more important later in our study. Both the Hebrew and Greek names provided for this angel carry the same meaning, connecting this angel with destructive activity and the place of destruction. This is consistent since Abaddon is identified as the angel of the bottomless pit, which is another name for hell, hades, sheol, or the abyss.

We can demonstrate this by comparing the word translated here as "the bottomless pit," the Greek word "abussos," with the word used for hell elsewhere in the New Testament, which is "hades" (Strong's #86) and the Hebrew word that is used for hell, "sheol" (Strong's #7585).

12 abussos {ab'-us-sos}
from 1 (as a negative particle) and a variation of 1037;
TDNT - 1:9,2; n f
AV - bottomless pit 5, deep 2, bottomless 2; 9
1) bottomless
2) unbounded
3) the abyss
3a) the pit
3b) the immeasurable depth
3c) of Orcus, a very deep gulf or chasm in the lowest parts
of the earth used as the common receptacle of the dead and especially as the abode of demons

86 hades {hah'-dace}
from 1 (as negative particle) and 1492; TDNT - 1:146,22; n pr loc
AV - hell 10, grave 1; 11
1) name Hades or Pluto, the god of the lower regions
2) Orcus, the nether world, the realm of the dead
3) later use of this word: the grave, death, hell
In Biblical Greek it is associated with Orcus, the infernal regions,
a dark and dismal place in the very depths of the earth, the common
receptacle of disembodied spirits.
Usually Hades is just the abode of
the wicked, Lu. 16:23, Rev. 20:13,14; a very uncomfortable place. TDNT.

07585 sh@'owl {sheh-ole'} or sh@ol {sheh-ole'}
from 07592; TWOT - 2303c; n f
AV - grave 31, hell 31, pit 3; 65
1) sheol, underworld, grave, hell, pit
1a) the underworld
1b) Sheol - the OT designation for the abode of the dead
1b1) place of no return
1b2) without praise of God
1b3) wicked sent there for punishment
1b4) righteous not abandoned to it
1b5) of the place of exile (fig)
1b6) of extreme degradation in sin

(For more on the terms for hell and the Judeo-Christian understanding of heaven and hell please read our articles on Bible Cosmology.)

From all of these descriptions we can see that this angel is the angel who has been given dominion over hell and who is associated with destruction. The Biblical depiction of this angel is wonderfully consistent.

Here in Revelation we see that this sixth angelic king, Abaddon (the former Roman angelic prince) is described as a destroyer. In the Book of Daniel, he is repeatedly described as conducting destructive acts, particularly in conjunction with the Antichrist, described in Daniel as the little horn (Daniel 7:7, 19, 23, 8:24-25, 9:26, 11:44). Likewise, in the New Testament we see that this prince who ruled over the Roman Empire at the time of Jesus and John is instrumentally involved in both Judas' betrayal of Jesus and the end time activities of the Antichrist (just as 1 John 4:1-4 spoke of earlier).

John 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

Luke 22:3 Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.

John 13:2 And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him...26 Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27 And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.

These three passages tell us that the Roman angelic prince (Abaddon) entered into or possessed Judas. Thus, Judas is identified as the son of perdition. This term, the "son of perdition" is also applied to the Antichrist in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. Both perdition and Apollyon are derivatives of the same Greek root word (Strong's #622) and both mean destruction. Likewise, the Book of Revelation twice connects Abaddon (Apollyon) with perdition (Revelation 17:8, 11). Therefore, the title "son of perdition" that is applied to both Judas and the Antichrist is an indicator of their possession by Abaddon, the angel of destruction and also fits well with John's reference to the Roman angelic prince (Abaddon) as the spirit of antichrist. And we cannot leave out the Book of Daniel, which we have already said repeatedly describes the Antichrist in connection with destructive activity.

So, from our study we have learned that Abaddon is:
1. The sixth angelic king of the succession of seven. (Revelation 17:8-11)
2. The Roman angelic prince. (Revelation 17:8-11)
3. The angelic king who is of the bottomless pit and who will be released by the Devil and ascend out of the bottomless pit. (Revelation 9:1-11)
4. The angel of destruction. (Revelation 9:11)
5. The angel who has dominion over hell. (Revelation 9:11)
6. The angel who possessed Judas and will possess the Antichrist himself. (Daniel 7:7, 19, 23, 8:24-25, 9:26, 11:44, Luke 22:3, Luke 22:3, John 13:2, 26-27, 2 Thessalonians 2:3)
7. He will be granted authority to rule as an eighth king over the kingdom of the Antichrist and ten kings (who will give their kingdom to him after he ascends out of the bottomless pit) (Revelation 13:1-10, 17:12-13).
(For more on the empire of Abaddon, the Antichrist, and the ten kings please see our series of articles entitled "Prophetic Symbols.")

The Devil - The Seventh Angelic King

Having identified the chief characteristics of the sixth angelic king, Abaddon, we will now do the same for the seventh angelic prince, the Devil himself.

Before we make our list we should take a few moments to establish one last aspect regarding the nature of the rule of the Devil and the False Prophet. We have already stated that Abaddon, the sixth angel, will preside over the empire of the Antichrist. And we have said that both Abaddon and the Antichrist are responsible for and associated with destruction. Likewise, we can make similar statements about the Devil and his man, the False Prophet, and their kingdom.

Both the Devil and the False Prophet are responsible for and associated with deception of the whole world.

Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world.

2 Thessalonians 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.

Revelation 13:11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

As we can see the Devil's top priority in the end time scenario is to deceive the world, just as Abaddon's is to destroy. In keeping with the Devil's agenda we see that he uses the False Prophet to work lying miracles to deceive the world.

And we can also compare Revelation 13:11's statement that the False Prophet speaks as a dragon with Revelation 13:5's statement that a mouth is given to the beast, Abaddon. This mouth that is given to Abaddon (the beast) is a reference to the Antichrist, the man who is described by Isaiah, Daniel, and Paul as a blasphemer of God (Isaiah 14:12-14, Daniel 7:8, 11, 20, 24-25, Daniel 8:11, 2 Thessalonians 2:4). What we see then is that the False Prophet speaks as the Devil and the Antichrist is the mouth given to the beast. The fact that Revelation 13:11 tells us that the False Prophet speaks as a dragon is further proof of his connection to the king of the satanic forces, the dragon, the Devil himself, in the same way that the Antichrist is connected to Abaddon (Revelation 12:3, 7-14).

Here then is our list of characteristics about the Devil:
1. He has been given dominion over the world and gives authority to each of the six other angelic kings to rule in their time. (Luke 4:5-6, 2 Corinthians 4:4, Revelation 13:2, 4, 5, Revelation 17:10)
2. He is the seventh angelic king over the succession of seven empires. (Revelation 17:10)
3. He has not yet come. (Revelation 12:7-14, Revelation 17:10)
4. He is cast out of heaven only 42 months, a short space, before the coming of the kingdom of God. (Revelation 12:7-14, Revelation 17:10)
5. He will release Abaddon from the bottomless pit. (Revelation 9:1-11)
6. He presides over the empire of the False Prophet, the last of the succession of seven Gentile empires and works through the False Prophet to deceive the whole world (Luke 21:42, Revelation 11:2, Revelation 12:9, Revelation 13:14, 16:10, 19:20, 20:10, 2 Thessalonians 2:9).
7. He is the last of the seven angelic adversarial kings to be cast out of heaven and bound in the bottomless pit. (Revelation 12:7-14, Revelation 17:10, Revelation 20:1-3, 7-10).