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Particulars of Christianity:
314 End Times Prophecy (Eschatology)

Prophetic Symbols: Revelation 17 (Part 5)

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

Now that we have established from the parallel between 1 John 4:1-4 and Revelation 17:8 and 11 that the spirit being/fallen angel behind the antichrist was around (or "yet is") in the first century (making him the Roman angelic prince), we can move ahead to identify who the seven kings are of Revelation 17:10.

We must also remember the direct correlation, which the heads have to both mountains and kings and, therefore, the direct correlation the mountains and kings have with each other. To briefly summarize, we saw in Daniel 7:17 and 23 that the beasts represent both kings and the kingdoms under them, which demonstrates the one to one correspondence and the direct correlation of kings to their kingdoms. Daniel 7:17 and 23 also establishes the precedent in which a single symbol can be used to represent both kings and their kingdoms. And we also saw how the term mountain was an established poetic term for a nation from such passages as Jeremiah 17:3, Jeremiah 50:6-8, Jeremiah 51:24-25, Ezekiel 34:5-13, Daniel 2:35, 44-45, Amos 6:1-2, and Habakkuk 3:6-7.

Finally, we saw how interpreting a mountain as a literal hill or mountain does not make sense because there is no way for a literal hill or mountain to be wounded by the sword and healed as Revelation 13:3 and 14 describes one of the seven heads. This problem is even more true for the theory that the seven mountains are the seven hills of Rome because there is no way for one out of the seven hills of Rome to be literally wounded by the sword and healed.

Therefore, we are forced to conclude that in Revelation 17, the word "mountain" is a poetic term for nation or kingdom, just as in Daniel 7 the single symbol of a beast is used to represent both kings and the kingdoms they rule over.

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.

The first fact to establish in Revelation 17:9-10 regards the question, "what kind of kings are these?" Are these human kings? Or are they angelic beings?

On this question, we should note that verse 8 tells us that the beast ascends out of the bottomless pit. Furthermore, verse 11 tells us that the beast is one of these seven kings and he ascends out of the bottomless pit to rule again, and so his second (revived) reign is counted as an eighth kingship over the earth. Because the beast ascends out of the bottomless pit, we know that it is not a man being depicted here, but rather an angelic being, a fallen angel, as we have already discussed elsewhere in the study. And because this angelic being is said to be one of the seven, we know that the seven kings are also of this same category of beings.

Therefore, the seven kings are angelic kings, not men, just as Revelation 9:11 describes the angelic king who is the angel out of the bottomless pit and just as Daniel 10:13-14, 20-21 describe the angelic princes who ruled over Persia and Greece, who Gabriel had to contend with in times past.

Of these seven kings, John writes, "one is." This is the Roman prince, the spirit behind the antichrist who in his first epistle John similar referred to as the "spirit of antichrist," saying, "whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world" (1 John 4:3, 4.) This is the same "prince of this world," which Jesus referred to in John 12 and 14 when he said, "now shall the prince of this world be cast out," and "the prince of this world cometh." This angelic prince was ruler over the Roman empire in the same way that the Persian prince and Grecian Prince ruled over those empires in Daniel 10:13-14, 20-21. And this angelic prince was cast out of heaven during the final days before Jesus' crucifixion at which point he came unto the earth.

So, if the Roman prince was the current reigning angelic prince in the first century, then who are the "five fallen" angelic kings who came before him? Well, here we can draw a great deal of help from not only Daniel 10:13-14, 20-21 but also the succession of kingdoms, which we have established thoroughly from our examination of the visions and dreams in the book of Daniel. We know from Daniel 10 that two of these former princes are the prince of Persia and the prince of Greece. And we know that the order of succession of these kingdoms as we have already established is: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the kingdom of clay. Therefore, the five fallen angelic princes would be 1) the Prince of Egypt, 2) the Prince of Assyria, 3) the Prince of Babylon, 4) the Prince of Persia (and Media), 5) and the Prince of Greece.

Finally, the "one who is yet to come" is the last angelic prince, who will rule over the kingdom represented by clay in Daniel 2. This kingdom of clay will exist side by side in the end times with the kingdom of iron, which is the second emergence of (Eastern or Byzantium) Rome.

At this point, we should recall the words of Jesus Christ in John 12 and 14. In John 12:31, Jesus declares, "now shall the prince of this world be cast out." In John 14:30, Jesus declares, "Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh." So, according to Jesus, at that time the prince of this world was first cast out and then he came. When he came he immediately began to persecute and try God's people, starting even with Jesus Christ himself.

Notice what Revelation 17:11 tells us about the length of the seventh king's reign.

Revelation 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.

Now, let's compare that with Revelation 12's description of what happens when the adversary is kicked out of heaven.

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. 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. 13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

Here in Revelation 12, we find the following sequence of events. There is war in heaven, which results in the dragon, which is Satan, begin cast out from the heaven to the earth along with all his angels. And just as occurred in the days recorded by John 12 and 14, this casting out of an adversarial angel from heaven is followed immediately by his coming down to the earth and coming to persecute the people of God.

What is of particular note from chapter 12 is how the timeframe compares to Revelation 17. We have already identified the seven kings of Revelation 17 as angelic princes. By comparing Revelation 17:10 to John 12 and 14, we know that the sixth of these angelic princes (the prince over Rome) was cast out and then came unto the earth where he immediately began to persecute the people of God beginning with the crucifixion of Christ Jesus. Here in Revelation 12, we have another angelic ruler who is cast out of heaven and comes unto the earth, where he, too, immediately begins to persecute God's people.

Now, Revelation 12:11 says that this last angelic ruler has "great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time." In fact, verse 14 of tells us exactly how short his time is. The woman is given protection from this angelic ruler for three and a half years. So, from the context, we know that the "short time" that this angelic ruler has is three and a half years. And, this is consistent with the occurrence of that same exact timeframe throughout Revelation, as we will soon see.

Revelation 17:10 similarly tells us of an angelic ruler to come after the Roman prince and who "when he cometh," will "continue for a short space" of time. This phrase "short space of time" corresponds to the phrase "he knows his time is short" in Revelation 12:11. And the seventh angelic king who continues for a short space is the same angelic ruler depicted in Revelation 12 using the titles "the dragon" and "Satan." Revelation 12 is simply depicting in greater detail the events summed up where chapter 17:10 briefly says, "and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space." Conversely, chapter 17:10 is merely referring back to the more detailed description of these same events found earlier in chapter 12.

In fact, we can compile a more complete view of the story by comparing several passages of Revelation side by side, including chapters 9, 11, 12, 13, and 17.

Revelation 9:1 begins by describing a great star fall from heaven and that star is given a key to the bottomless pit. With that key, this angelic being opens up the pit and lets out a cloud of locusts and the angelic king over them, whose name is Destroyer.

Revelation 11:7 refers briefly back to the figures and events from chapter 9 by referring to "the beast out of the bottomless pit." This is the first mention of the phrase "beast out of the bottomless pit" and it stands as the opening precedent where that phrase is used as a reference back to the more detailed description of that figure and his ascent out of the bottomless pit given in chapter 9. Notice particularly from chapter 9 that the ascension of the beast out of the bottomless pit corresponds with the falling of that great star from heaven who is given a key and lets him out.

Then Revelation 12 depicts the dragon being cast out of heaven and coming down to the earth but only being given the short time of three and a half years. In fact, chapter 12 begins in verse 4 by referring to stars being cast down to the earth by the tail of the dragon. So, chapter 12 itself employs the idea of falling stars to refer to falling angels. And thus, the casting out of the chief adversary in Revelation 12 and his falling to the earth to begin his three and a half years corresponds to the falling of the great star in chapter 9:1. The great star in chapter 9:1 is the chief adversary (Satan), which is described in detail in chapter 12.

Notice from chapter 9, that the first thing this great star (Satan) does when he is cast out of heaven and comes down to earth is to let another angelic king out of the bottomless pit. This corresponds to the transition between chapter 12 and 13. Revelation 12 describes how an angelic ruler is cast out of heaven and comes down to the earth where he persecutes the people of God for three and a half years. Revelation 13 begins by describing how out of the sea rises a beast with seven heads. As we have already established, these heads correspond to earthly empires and the angelic kings who rule over them. Revelation 13 continues by describing how one of those heads, representing an angelic king and the empire under him, are revived from a deadly sword wound and how that restored angelic king receives his power from the dragon, which is the angelic ruler depicted as cast down and come to earth in chapter 12. Like the angelic ruler depicted in chapter 12, this restored angelic king of chapter 13 also continues for three and a half years during which time he persecutes the people of God.

So, chapter 9 and chapters 12-13 actually describe the same thing, only giving more detailed depictions of varying aspects. Chapter 9 and chapters 12-13 both describe the fall of one angelic ruler to the earth where he releases and restores to power another angelic ruler so that they work together ruling over separate kingdoms to persecute the people of God and prepare the kings of the earth to make war against the soon-to-be-returning Jesus Christ.

This is also what is depicted more vaguely in Daniel 2, where the former empire of the iron, which was present in the legs, reemerges to coexist in the last days with the kingdom of the clay when the clay arises in the time period of the feet. The iron represents the restoration of the Roman (Byzantine Roman) empire under the Roman angelic prince and the clay represents the kingdom ruled by the seventh and last angelic king who is the chief adversary and whose coming to earth is depicted in Revelation 12.

And Revelation 17 depicts the very same thing, only in a slightly different way. Revelation 17 depicts that the angelic king who "yet is" in the time John wrote in the first century and who ascends out of the bottomless pit. This angelic king was the Roman prince who ruled over the currently reigning Roman empire. And also mentioned in chapter 17 is that another angelic king will come after him who will reign for a short period of time. So, Revelation 17 also depicts two angelic beings, one who comes up out of the bottomless pit and another who comes to rule for a short period of time, which corresponds to the final three and a half years in which they both work together to persecute the people of God and prepare for war against Jesus Christ.

And no wonder they are preparing for war against Christ, he is coming as the eternal prince to replace the reign of these fallen angels over the earth by becoming the ruler himself, just as Daniel 2:44 describes.

If we continue on a little further in Revelation 17, we will see exactly how the Roman empire is revived. From Daniel 7, we saw how out of the Roman empire would eventually rise 10 kingdoms. And in Revelation 17, we find out what happens to those kingdoms in the end times.

Revelation 17:12 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.

Eventually, at this last time of three and a half years, 10 kings who have not previously held power will be put in charge of these 10 kingdoms that arose out of Rome. And when these 10 kings are put in power, they will give their kingdom to the beast (the angelic ruler out of the bottomless pit.) In giving their 10 kingdoms to the beast, they will be merging to reform the Roman empire (Byzantine Roman) from which they arose after its fall.

We must also remember the example of Greece depicted in Daniel 8 from earlier in our study. In Daniel 8, four horns are used to depict four kingdoms that will arise out of the Grecian empire, which arose under Alexander. Three of the four kingdoms were not seated Greece itself. Instead, the new kingdoms centered primarily around Babylon (Seleucids), Egypt (Ptolemy), Thrace (Byzantium - Lysimachus.) Or in other words, the horns that came from the Grecian empire did not remain in Greece, but they migrated geographically, particularly to the south and east.

Additionally, in the third century AD, Constantine himself moved the capital of the Roman empire east to Byzantium. Therefore, when we look for a revival of the Roman empire, we are not necessarily looking for kingdoms in Italy or Europe. They may migrate, even migrating perhaps to the south and east and certainly situated about Byzantine Rome instead of Rome, Italy.

Also, from the vision of Daniel 2, particularly verses 33, 40-43, we see that the clay is also present among the toes of the feet, along with the iron, which carries over from the statue's legs. Now, if the ten toes correlate to the 10 horns found on the fourth beast of Daniel 7:7 and the 10 horns of the first beast of Revelation 13, then we must take note that the empire of clay is represented among these horns. From the fact that these 10 horns are associated primarily with the fourth beast of Daniel 7, we can assert that these 10 horns or kings, which are also found in Revelation 13 and 17, arise primarily out of the remains of the Roman empire, particularly the Byzantine Roman empire, which was the last form of the Roman empire.

However, Daniel 2's depiction that the clay is also present in the 10 toes tells us a few other things. First, Daniel 2:42-43 explains that the result of the clay's presence in the toes is to weaken the toes and keep them from uniting perfectly together.

Daniel 2:42 And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. 43 And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.

Since the separate substances in Daniel 2 represent different national entities such as the Babylonians (gold), the Media-Persians (silver), the Greeks (brass), and the Romans (iron), we can understand from this that the national entity represented by the clay will have a political presence and influence in some of the 10 kingdoms represented by the horns and toes. The political presence and influence of the clay in some of these 10 kingdoms has primarily two effects. First, the presence and influence of the clay in some of those kingdoms keeps those kingdoms that the clay is involved in weaker than the ones in which the clay is not present or influential. And second, the presence and influence of the clay in some of those kingdoms is a source of division among the 10, which keeps them from being firmly united.

Thus, we do not have to conclude that some of the 10 toes or horns come from Rome and some from the kingdom of clay. Rather, Daniel 7 plainly associates all 10 of these kingdoms with Rome. However, the presence in the clay in some of the toes represents the meddling political influence that the kingdom of clay has been able to work its way into some of those 10 kingdoms, which arose out of the remains of the Byzantine Roman empire.

One last point we would like to make is that while the sixth angelic prince, the Roman prince, is associated numerous times with destruction, destroying, and sheer crushing brutality (Daniel 7:7, 19, 23, 8:24-25, 9:26, 11:44) and is even given the specific name or title of Abaddon or Apollyon (Revelation 9:11), which means "Destroyer," the seventh and last of the angelic princes, who comes to rule over the kingdom of clay is likewise associated with deception numerous times in the New Testament. Concerning this seventh and last of the adversarial angels, Revelation 12:9 states, "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world."

Furthermore, this seventh and last angelic prince becomes the ruler over the empire of clay, which is the empire of the False Prophet described in Revelation 13. The False Prophet is the human ruler over this empire, which is under the seventh angelic prince in the same way that the antichrist is the human ruler over the revived Roman empire (iron), which is under the Roman angelic prince. And when we read the description of the False Prophet's activities and his empire in Revelation 13, what do we find? Verse 14 tells us that he "deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles," which he has the power to perform. Likewise, Revelation 19:20 says of the false prophet that he "wrought miracles" with which "he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast."

So, in the same way that the driving activity of the antichrist is destruction, since the angelic prince over him is associated primarily with destruction, the driving activity of the False Prophet is deception and the angelic prince over him is associated primarily with deceiving the whole world. Notice specifically from Revelation 12:9's description of the seventh angelic prince and Revelation 13:14 and 19:20's description of the False Prophet that they both are responsible for deceiving the whole world, those that dwell on the earth. It is because of the very fact that he is a deceiver that Revelation 16:13, 19:20, and 20:10 refer to him as a "false" prophet.

Similarly, when writing of the future coming of the antichrist, who he calls the son of perdition, Paul writes the following.

2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.

In verse 9, Paul declares that the coming of the antichrist comes in accordance with the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders. So, here we find Paul associating deception and lying signs with Satan, which is an adversarial angelic prince, as we have already seen. In Revelation 12:9 we find the seventh and last of the angelic princes described as he who "deceiveth the whole world." And in Revelation 13:14 and 19:20, we find that these lying signs and wonders are the work of the False Prophet, in order to get people to worship and follow the antichrist. Therefore, the testimony of Paul is in agreement with the writing of John in Revelation. There is an adversarial spirit whose primary work is deception and who is behind the activities of the False Prophet guiding the world to accept the antichrist. This is even consistent with our interpretation of Revelation 9:1-11, which we have said is a depiction of this seventh angelic prince being cast down from heaven to earth where he immediately releases the Roman angelic prince, whose name is Destroyer, from the bottomless pit. Effectively one of the angelic princes leads the propaganda campaign and the other angelic prince leads the military campaign.

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)

Relevant Maps

Lexicon Excerpts

Comparison Chart

7 Heads of the
Beast Chart

Illustrations of
Symbols Series
(Illustrations 1-7)

Correspondence of
Visions Diagram