There are a number of different baddies mentioned in The Revelation, as well as in the prophecies of Daniel. Many of them share the same characteristics, almost as though each one is just a different aspect of the same thing. In chapter 20, for example, we saw that the last head of the Beast did things that one of the horns on that head was also described as doing. We talk about both the horn and the head (as well as the body on which the head fits) almost interchangeably, referring to them all as the "Beast".  This happens, because the "Beast" is really a principle that repeats itself at three different levels.

 

The body of the Beast represents all that is evil about governments throughout the world and throughout history. (See the illustration on page 164.) It is similar to the statue of Nebuchadnezzar, where God was saying that all the empires of man (Persian, Greek, Roman, you name it) were part of the same Babylonian system. (Note: The word Babylon means "confusion" and comes from the Hebrew word "Babel".)

 

It is a cynical statement, we know, but it is consistent with Jesus' attitude toward the system as a whole. In his temptation in the wilderness, he never argued with Satan's claim that he (the Devil) owned all the kingdoms of the world. (Luke 4:6) When referring to his crucifixion, Jesus described it as the time when the Devil, or "the prince of this world" was the one really being judged. (John 12:31-32; 14:30; 16:7-11) The Devil really is the Prince of this world at the moment.

 

The seventh head represents the Beast too, in the form of the final world government. It will offer us all that is best from all previous systems, but it'll end up being all that is worst. So far in this book, we have mostly talked about the Beast in terms of this final world government.

 

But finally, the horn on that head will be the Beast in the form of a single individual, who is the dictator at the head of that final world empire. He will be the personification of the Devil himself. We call him the Antichrist (capital "A), or the Beast in the form of a single person. We believe that he will be as much the Son of the Devil as Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

 

But there are other representations of evil in The Revelation as well, and they too seem to overlap, as though they also represent the Beast, but in slightly different ways.

 

We have already commented on the Dragon, which also had seven heads and ten horns like the Beast. (Revelation 12:3) The Dragon was clearly identified as being the Devil. (Revelation 12:9) But this may be just another way of stating that it is the Devil who is behind all that is bad about world governments. (In the update at the front of this book more is said about the Dragon being a symbol for China.)

 

Some people find it easier to fight temptation by picturing the Devil as a force outside of themselves, which they can choose to resist. Because governments are made up of people like ourselves, who have a capacity for both good and evil, it is often hard to think of them as being totally evil.  It may be easier to think of the Devil as being an outside force (i.e. a Dragon) that tries to manipulate and sabotage all human endeavours, including our efforts to govern ourselves. Either way (whether we see the evil as coming from outside or from within), the only solution is to submit to the teachings of Jesus and build the kingdom that he came to establish.

 

Another nasty character in The Revelation is the False Prophet. Little is said about him, apart from the fact that he causes the world to worship the Beast. The Dragon is the spiritual force behind the Beast, while the False Prophet is the religious (or perhaps the scientific?) front that this force takes, in order to make the Beast look outwardly respectable. It is through the efforts of the False Prophet that "good" people are led into becoming more loyal to the system than they are to God the Creator.

 

And now we come to a Prostitute, who characterises the economic side of the Beast.

 

She is described in Revelation 17 and 18. John says, "I saw a woman sit on a scarlet coloured Beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet... having a golden cup in her hand, full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication. On her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." (Revelation 17:3-5)

 

John was given an interpretation of what he saw. The interpretation centers on the Beast and says very little about the Prostitute. So, before we go through a line by line explanation of what this passage says about the Beast, let us consider the overview. Who is this Prostitute? Obviously she is not very nice. She is the "Mother of harlots and abominations of the earth." She sits on the Beast with seven heads and ten horns, yet she herself is called "Babylon", which was the name of the empire from which all of the others in Nebuchadnezzar's dream evolved. If Babylon the Prostitute and the political Beast are not one and the same, then there must be a very close relationship between them. But what is it?

 

Consider this: A prostitute offers sex in return for money. In a world where people are starved for love, the Prostitute promises to meet their spiritual need if they will give her enough money. I would maintain that she represents Greed, and the lie that money can buy happiness and spiritual fulfillment. This lie is at the root of all evil. It is what keeps the masses too preoccupied to question what is going on.

 

Artists talk of "prostituting" their talents by letting profit influence their work. But we each prostitute ourselves when we sell our souls (i.e. our lives, or our time) to the System in exchange for money. The Prostitute grows fat while we starve spiritually. The False Prophet was the religious front for the Beast, but the Prostitute appears to represent the economic front.

 

There will be more to say about the Prostitute and her relationship with the Beast later. But first let us look at what was said about the Beast in the interpretation that John received:

 

"The Beast that you saw... shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition. They that dwell on earth shall wonder (whose names are not written in the book of life...) when they behold the Beast that was, and is not, and yet is." (Revelation 17:8)

 

This fits what we have been saying up to this point: The Beast has seven heads and ten horns, the same as the Dragon. The Beast comes from the bottomless pit and goes to perdition, the same as the Devil (the "son of perdition"). (II Thessalonians 2:3) And everyone, apart from those who follow the Lamb, will "wonder after" (or worship) the Beast, thanks to the False Prophet.

 

But then we come to a phrase which is new. It says the Beast "was, and is not, and yet is." Here are the various levels of meaning that we mentioned earlier. The Beast has prophetic significance in the past, the present, and the future. It "was" in all the governments of man throughout history. At the same time, it "is not" yet come, because the final world government and final world leader, (the ultimate subject of these prophecies) were not around at the time that John was writing The Revelation. But the sentence concludes by saying that the Beast "yet is". For the Beast was present in the world at that time in the form of the Roman Empire, which was the empire that crucified Christ.

 

Then John heard much the same phrase that was used in reference to the number 666 ("Here is wisdom." Revelation 13:18) and in reference to the "abomination of desolation". ("Whoso readeth, let him understand." Matthew 24:15) The phrase was: "Here is the mind that has wisdom." (Revelation 17:9) In other words, something important is about to be said. It is followed by a lengthy explanation of the seven heads, an explanation that is consistent with what we have said about them up to this point.

 

It begins: "The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits." (Revelation 17:9) Why seven mountains instead of seven heads? Many believe it refers to the city of Rome, which is built on seven hills, and which was the center of the empire that controlled the world at that time. St. Peter, in one of his letters, sent a greeting from "the church at Babylon" (I Peter 5:13), apparently referring to Christians who were living in Rome at the time. So First Century Christians saw the Roman Empire and the city of Rome in particular as the Babylon of their day.

 

But the real subject of this passage is the "mountains", and not the city. So whether or not the mountains are a pointer to Rome, what is said about these seven mountains is being said about the seven heads or kingdoms of history.

 

"There are seven kings. Five are fallen, and one is. The other is not yet come." (Revelation 17:10) Whether they are mountains or heads, they are still "kings". Look again at the drawing on page 162. Five empires had fallen (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and Greece). One was in power at that time (Rome), and the other had not yet come. So that tells us that the Prostitute had been "sitting on" the Beast throughout all of these empires.

 

Then the angel starts to describe the seventh king and, for the first time, an eighth king. Here is the paradox that we explained previously, where there is an individual who is the final king or Beast, at the same time that there is a Beast which has existed throughout history. In this explanation the two are described as king number seven and king number eight:

 

"When he [the seventh king] comes, he must continue a short space. The Beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goes into perdition." (Revelation 17:10-11)

 

It's like Jesus being God and the Son of God both. It's a paradox; because he was fully human at the same time that he was fully divine. So the seventh king will be as human as any world leader has been; but there is also a demonic personality (the eighth Beast) which has been around since the beginning of time, and which has been the evil spiritual force behind each of the seven empires. That personality is Satan himself. Satan will enter this final king and rule the world through him.

 

Then the passage turns to the ten horns. The term "one hour" in this passage is not a literal hour. It is an idiomatic expression like when we say, "Wait a second." We don't really mean "one second". Like "one hour", it means "only a short time". Otherwise, what follows should be pretty much self-explanatory by now:

 

"The ten horns which you saw are ten kings which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the Beast. These have one mind and will give their power and strength to the Beast. These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings." (Revelation 17:12-14)

 

(The final war referred to here is the Battle of Armageddon; for the 17th chapter, from which we are quoting now, is in that part of The Revelation which covers the pouring out of God's Wrath from seven "vials" or containers. We have jumped ahead in our reading of The Revelation in order to look at these comments about the Beast, and to consider the overall role of the Prostitute.)

 

Then we come to a most disturbing passage, one that doesn't seem to be consistent with all that we have been reading about the various baddies in The Revelation up until now. It is Revelation 17:16. "The ten horns which you saw on the Beast, these shall hate the whore and shall make her desolate and naked and shall eat her flesh and burn her with fire."

 

Here we have the baddies turning against one another. In addition, there seems to be a change in time at this point, which takes us back to the period just before the Beast came to power (even though the context is during the period of God's wrath... after the Great Tribulation. Revelation 17:17 says: "For God has put in their hearts [i.e. the ten kings] to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom to the Beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled."

 

In other words, the Prostitute is destroyed with the help of the ten kings, so that the ten kings can give their kingdom to the Beast. This sounds like something that would have happened prior to the Great Tribulation. Yet here it is in the chapter just after the seven vials have been poured out (Revelation 16) and just before the famous Battle of Armageddon. (Revelation 19:11-21)

 

But what if the Prostitute (like the Beast) represents more than one thing? The destruction of the Prostitute is symbolically a description of the Battle of Armageddon, where God's wrath is poured out on her and all that she represents. But it may be literally describing an earlier battle, one between her and the Beast, who is assisted by the ten horns.

 

Whatever it is that the Prostitute represents, she herself is destroyed in the battle that is described in Revelation 18, apparently enabling the Beast to take control of the world. However, after the battle of Armageddon, the False Prophet, Dragon, and Beast are all taken alive, as prisoners. (Revelation 19:20)

 

We have already suggested that the Prostitute represents the economic side of the Beast. In Revelation 18, where merchants, shipping companies, and kings mourn her passing, this becomes even clearer. (Revelation 18:3, 9-11, 15-18) We believe that the Prostitute is America, and that the battle being described is one that took place before the Tribulation, between her and Russia, with Russia assisted by the Third World (the ten horns) and perhaps by the Dragon (China). We will deal with the time sequence later.


  armageddon for beginners 1 92

 

Revelation 17:3, and 9 both say that the Prostitute "sits on" the "Red" Beast. What this may mean is that their relationship is not perfectly amicable. They are both world powers, but their emphasis is different. And at some stage the Prostitute gets the upper hand.

 

What a prostitute wants is money. American capitalism, like prostitution, is built squarely on greed, or the love of capital. A prostitute may talk of love, but her real interest is money. America, too, talks of God when her real interest is just in getting more and more capital.

 

The Red Beast, on the other hand, is primarily interested in turning the human race totally against God. The Devil's only interest in money is to use it to get control of our souls. Religion, even if it is hypocritical religion, does not appeal to the Devil either. But he is forced to put up with these two lies until he can get people so totally depraved that they will worship him and blaspheme God without shame and without payment. Only then can he turn on the Prostitute and destroy her.

 

We said earlier that the Roman Empire eventually divided into East and West, and that this seemed to be symbolised in the two legs of Nebuchadnezzar's statue. (The legs are the parts of the statue which represented the Roman Empire). The legs led to two feet, which were described as clay mixed with iron. We said that these represented democratic governments and totalitarian governments.

 

In the Twentieth Century, Russia became the totalitarian superpower which represented the East, and America became the democratic superpower that represented the West. Atheism was an important part of the communist ideology, whereas religion (in particular, the Protestant work ethic) is an important part of the capitalistic ideology.

 

The kings of the earth, the merchants of the earth, and the shipping companies of the earth have all been assisted by the American ideology.

 

Now Russia and communism have suffered a deadly wound; and America is "sitting on" top of world communism. See the picture below.

armageddon for beginners 1 93

 

But the prophecy says that the Beast (with the help of the ten horns) will turn on the Prostitute and destroy her in one hour! The Bear will pluck the Eagle with the help of the Panther.

 

Remember too that the ten rotating members of the U.N. Security Council are from the Third World. The five permanent members include Russia and China (both "red" communists, with a Bear and a Dragon as their symbols)*, and three anti-communist members: America, the U.K., and France. If America could be destroyed, then the U.K. and France would be powerless to stop a communist takeover. Three kings would be subdued, and the other ten would be free to give their support to a communist world government.

 

Now for the reason why this story comes during the time of God's Wrath: When Babylon (represented at the moment by America)** falls, the new world empire will become the new Babylon; for Communism too, like all governments, is ultimately based on greed. It will then become the responsibility of the communist version of Babylon to provide the merchants and kings and shipping companies of the world with business. It will also be the communist version of Babylon that will finally be destroyed at the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:19). The Lamb will destroy that Babylon, whereas the Beast will destroy the American version. (Revelation 17:16-17)

 

(*Note that both the Beast and the Dragon are described as being "red". (Revelation 17:3; 12:3)

 

**I checked the Encyclopedia Britannica to see if there is a city named Babylon today. There is only one city named Babylon that is significant enough to rate a mention in the Encyclopedia Britannica. It is a burrough of almost a quarter of a million people, and it is located on Long Island, in New York, U.S.A., just a few miles from Wall Street)

 
*For more information related to this chapter, please check out the following video: Bro Dave Ch #7 - America in Prophecy

Appendix, Chapter 22

 

Luke 4:5-6. The Devil... showed him all the kingdoms of the world..., and said, "All this power... is delivered to me."

 

John 12:31. Now is the judgment of this world. Now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

 

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

 

John 16:8, 11. When he is come, he will reprove the world of... judgment... because the prince of this world is judged.

 

Revelation 13:18. Here is wisdom. Let him that has understanding count the number of the Beast...

 

Matthew 24:15. When you see the abomination of desolation... (Whoever reads this, let him understand.)

 

Revelation 19:20. The Beast was taken, and with him the False Prophet... These both were cast alive into a lake of fire.

 

Revelation 18:3, 9-11, 15-18. All nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. The kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies... The kings of the earth... will bewail her and lament for her when they see the smoke of her burning... saying, "Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that might city! For in one hour is your judgment come." And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise any more... The merchants... which were made rich by her will stand... weeping and wailing, and saying, "Alas, alas, that great city that was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, for in one hour so great riches is come to nothing." And every shipmaster and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea stood afar off and cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, "What city is like unto this great city!"

 

Revelation 17:3, 9. He carried me away in the spirit to the wilderness, and I saw a woman sit on a scarlet coloured Beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns... Here is the mind that has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits.