Mystery, Babylon (Rev. 17)
Bible Passage:Read the prophecy in Revelation 17.
Theme:The final rebellion and judgment.
Overview:All of the prior prophecies of Revelation are now brought together. The identity of the final end-time political powers and their activities are fully unmasked. The urgent and last message of how to avoid their fate is given.
Revelation 17:1-6 " 1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: 2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. 3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: 5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.2 6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration."
|Characteristics of the woman||Fulfillment in the Papacy|
1. Is an unfaithful church.A woman in prophecy symbolizes a church (see Rev. 12, Jer. 6:2, Is. 51:16, 2 Cor. 11:2, Is. 54:5-6, Eph. 5:23-32). Unlike the pure and beautiful woman in Revelation 12 that represents God's faithful church, this woman is described as a harlot because she represents a church that is unfaithful ("whore") to her espoused husband, Jesus. She has turned away from God and His word.
|Other prophecies have shown the unfortunate falling away of the Roman Catholic Church as it compromised with paganism in the 4th century and spread idolatry throughout the realm over the next several hundred years (see period #2, #3 and #4 in the 7 Churches, 7 Seals and 7 Trumpets). Prophecy also foretold the papal system would "cast down the truth" (Dan. 8:12), "speak great words against the most High" (Dan. 7:25), "stand up against the Prince of princes" (Dan. 8:25), "speak marvellous things against the God of gods" (Dan. 11:36), and open "his mouth in blasphemy against God" (Rev. 13:6).|
2. Is a church of world-wide influence.It is supported by many nations and multitudes ("many waters" - v. 1, 15). It also makes the inhabitants of earth drunk (Rev. 17:2), and rules the kings of the earth (Rev. 17:18). This church is of no minor signficance or isolated reach.
|The papacy of the Middle Ages had tremendous inflluence and wide-spread power. This was also prophesied in Revelation 13:7 as the sea beast (papacy) was given power "over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations" for 42 months (538 to 1798 AD).|
3. Has displays of magnificence.The woman wears rich clothing of high position (purple and scarlet - Dan. 5:7, Rev. 18:16) and is decked with costly adornments ("gold and precious stones and pearls"). This church seeks to impress, attract and intimidate with its high position, pomp and display.
|The papacy is portrayed in multiple prophecies as puffing itself up and attempting to appear great before others. For example, it has "a mouth speaking great [domineering] things" (Dan. 7:8), "he magnified himself even to the prince of the host" (Dan. 8:11), "he shall magnify himself in his heart" (Dan. 8:25), "he corrupt[s] by flatteries:" (Dan. 11:32), and "he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god" (Dan. 11:36).|
4. Is inappropriately involved in politics.It has inappropriate relations with kings ("fornication"). This church seeks the support of state powers and corrupts them. Kings of the earth do this church's bidding ("reigneth over the kings"). The picture portrays the church in the position of controlling the state ("woman sit[s] upon a... beast").
|The state powers in the Roman realm became intimately involved with the papacy during the Middle Ages, enabling the papacy to enforce its beliefs on the people. Many prophecies indicate the papacy's political involvement as far beyond the ecclesiastical. For example, the "dragon [pagan Roman state powers] gave him [papacy] his power, and his seat, and great authority" (Rev. 13:2) and "he [papacy] shall subdue three kings" (Dan. 7:24).|
5. Has false doctrines that are widely accepted.It has a cup full of false doctrines ("wine") that are seductive and deceitfully intoxicating ("drunk"). The church spread error to all the nations because of her inappropriate relationships ("fornication") with the rulers of the world (Rev. 18:3). She wanted to please the world, and thus allowed compromise and pagan beliefs into the church. This church convinced people throughout the world ("inhabitants of the earth") to believe and accept ("drink") these idolatrous ("abominations") doctrines.
|The prophecies in Daniel 7 and 8 portray the papacy as flagrantly rebelling against God and actively attacking God's word. It is astonishing that it "cast down the truth to the ground" (Dan. 8:12), caused the "sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot" (Dan. 8:13), and thought to "change [God's] times and laws" (Dan. 7:25). They spread false doctrines to the world.|
6. Is a persecuting power.It has persecuted and killed massive numbers of God's people ("drunken with the blood of saints").
|The papacy influenced state powers to make laws and enforce the church's beliefs through imprisonment, cruel punishments and death. As seen repeatedly in prophecies, the 1260 year time period (538-1798 AD) was full of persecution of God's people by the Roman church-state system of the Middle Ages. Papal-led Rome "made war with the saints, and prevailed against them" (Dan. 7:21), would "wear out the saints", had the saints "given into his hand", "stamped upon" the saints (Dan. 8:10), had the saints "trodden under foot" (Dan. 8:13), destroyed "the mighty and the holy people" (Dan. 8:24), caused God's people to "fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil" (Dan.11:33), "persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child" (Rev. 12:13), made "war with the saints" and "overc[a]me them" (Rev. 13:7). After so much killing, the papacy is fittingly portrayed as drunk with the blood of the saints.|
7. Leads many other churches to follow its ways.It is described as a "mother of harlots" representing that other churches ("daughters") have arisen after it that resemble it and copy its ways. They also are unfaithful churches ("harlots") and become corrupted with state powers. Together, they all form a large city ("great city" - v. 18) of apostate churches ("Babylon").
|Prophecies show the papacy would influence others to follow it. Protestant churches started out faithfully separating from the Roman church during the Protestant Reformation and stood mightily for God's word. However, over time, many did not continue the separation as they learned more Bible truth, and have even gone back to papal errors. Thus, they became the Catholic Church's ("mother") daughters, resembling it. Most Protestant churches today are following various doctrines of the papacy in contradiction to God's word (many individuals within these churches are unaware of this). Together, all churches that are unfaithful, putting man's word above God's word, are part of this confused city of churches named "Babylon".
This city becomes more and more powerful as the ecumenical movement progresses. This will finally result in the conditions foretold in the last part of Revelation 13 as the second beast, symbolizing the Roman realm led by the Protestant USA, is convinced to "make an image to the beast [papacy]" (Rev. 13:14). The "image" is a replication or likeness of the papal church-state system of the Middle Ages. The Protestant-led USA will follow more and more in the footsteps of the papal-led Europe of the Middle Ages.
Seven vials = The 7 Last Plagues. This prophecy portrays the culminating results of persistent rebellion, which is also called "judgment" (v.1). During time period #4 of The 7 Churches, when the unfaithful church ("mother") was in its height of rebellion and corruption with state powers ("adultery"), this time of judgment was foretold:
"Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. 23 And I will kill her children with death" (Rev. 2:22-23).See more details about the 7 Last Plagues.
Carried Away in the Spirit = Taken to another time and place in vision. When John was taken somewhere, via vision ("in the Spirit"), there are several clues given to know the date and place to which he was taken:
- The harlot (unfaithful church) is drunk with the blood of the saints. The drunkenness occurs after the persecution takes place, which would be after the 1260 years (538 - 1798) of persecuting the saints.
- She is a mother. Many churches became her apostate children sometime after the Protestant Reformation and prior to the 2nd Angel's Message in 1844 when they were first announced as fallen (Rev. 14:8).
- John sees her in a relatively sparsely inhabited area ("the wilderness"). The "wilderness" represents the more secluded, less populated areas of the world.
- Revelation 12: God's people hid in the "wilderness" for the 1260 years (538 to 1798) (Rev. 12:14) to escape persecution ("the woman fled into the wilderness" - Rev. 12:6). The "wilderness" is also referred to as the "earth" as it "swallowed up the flood" (Rev. 12:16) to help divert the Roman armies from finding the church ("woman"). God's people hid initially in the mountainous areas of Europe and later fled to the new world, primarily the USA.
- Revelation 13: The second beast of Revelation 13, rose out of the earth, which represents a less populated area of the world (in contrast to the first beast which rose out of the "sea" - Rev. 13:1, 17:15). That second beast symbolizes the USA rising in power as a Protestant nation about the time the first beast was wounded in 1798. The nation that rises out of the "earth" (Rev. 13) and the nation symbolized by the "earth" that helped hide God's people are both referring primarily to the USA.
Woman/Whore (Mother) = Papacy/Roman Catholic Church. The picture painted in the first few verses of this chapter (see table "Characteristics of the Woman"), show yet another image of the Roman Catholic church of the Middle Ages. It is easily recognizable by now as it has been repeatedly portrayed in prophecy as persecuting the saints, boasting, and trampling on truth through state powers (beast).
Harlots (Daughters) = Unfaithful Protestant Churches. These daughters of the unfaithful woman (unfaithful churches), are contrasted with the last child ("remnant of her seed") of the pure and lovely woman (faithful church) of Revelation 12. They started out pure in the Protestant Reformation, but didn't continue on as they learned more, and today follow the ways of the papacy even when they contradict God's word.
Babylon = Apostate Christianity. The woman, which the prophecy initially portrays as the papacy during the Middle Ages, is later joined by her daughters who rule during the 7th time period of Revelation. This city of churches is made up of all the churches that claim to be Christian but are unfaithful to God and His Word ("harlots"). These are the churches that, as daughters of the papacy, follow the laws of the papacy when they contradict God's laws. When the papacy received its wound in 1798, the Protestant phase of the Roman realm began. However, by 1840, many of the churches of the reformation had either wandered back to their "mother", following Catholic tradition instead of the Bible only, or had rejected truth as God tried to lead them step-by-step to complete restoration. Thus, churches that follow man's tradition over God's law, are described as harlots, in the sense they have not remained faithful to God and His Word.
Catholicism, unfaithful Protestantism and "Christian" Spiritualism ("habitation of devils" - 18:2) form this three-part city (16:13,19). As these religious entities are brought closer together by the ecumenical movement, they will increasingly control state powers ("beast that carrieth her") and eventually unite to make religious laws and persecute God's people ("Image of the Beast" - Rev. 13).
Mystery = The city has secrets. The city is called "Mystery, Babylon", which indicates there is something hidden about it. There is a power working behind the scenes to influence all the churches.
Revelation 17:7-8" 7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. 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."
Bottomless Pit = A lifeless/undeveloped place (see Bottomless Pit)
Beast that ascends out of the Bottomless Pit = The Roman realm led by Freemasonry, while the papacy's deadly wound heals and it ascends out of the grave and back into power. In Revelation 12, 13 and 17, the scarlet beast with 7 heads and 10 horns represents the Roman realm in its various phases. This same beast also ascends from the bottomless pit (Rev. 17), which brings our attention back to the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit already identified in Revelation 11 as Freemasonry. Note the following:
- A) The beast in Revelation 17 would ascend from the bottomless pit and was seen at the end of the papacy's 1260 year ecclesiastical reign (538-1798 AD).
- B) The beast in Revelation 11 would ascend from the bottomless pit and was seen when the two witnesses (God's Word) were ending their 1260 years of being suppressed (538-1798 AD).
Since the dividing of Rome in the 5th century, the borders of the realm shifted as Western Europeans expanded their territory to the Americas, Australia and more. Freemasonry, the planners and implementers of revolutions, carried out the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and other revolutions in almost every European country and across the realm. Freemasonry has its roots and strength in Britain, or the English tribe, which is one of the 10 horns on the beast. By 1840, Freemasonry was the dominant political power (7th head), being especially strong in Britain, France and the United States. It rules while the papacy's wound heals.
The "beast that...shall ascend out of the bottomless pit" symbolizes the Roman realm during its Freemasonry-led phase, because Freemasonry rules the realm while the papacy ascends or rises back into power (deadly wound heals).
|Characteristics of the Beast that ascends from the Bottomless Pit||Fulfillment in Freemasonry|
|Ruled in France during the Revolution (Rev. 11).||Freemasonry, and secret societies created by Freemasons and patterned after Freemasonry, implemented the French Revolution, ruled during it and were dominant in the resulting government (see Revelation 11 and Freemasonry and the French Revolution).|
|Rules the Roman realm ecclesiastically while the papacy regains life and influence (Rev. 17).||The word translated to bottomless pit is abyssos, used in association with the earth, or part of the earth, that is sparsely inhabited, undeveloped or lacking life (Rom. 10:6-9, Lk 8:30-31, Mk. 5:9-13, Rev. 17:8, 9:1-3,11) (see Bottomless Pit). In this case, the part of the earth lacking life is the grave, referring to the papacy's "death" in 1798. Freemasonry inflicted the "deadly" wound (Rev. 13) on the papacy during the French Revolution, and went on to implement revolutions and protestant principles in Europe and the new world.|
|Rules in the USA.||The earth beast of Revelation 13 is the same power seen in Revelation 17 as the beast from the bottomless pit. They both rise in power after the papacy is wounded in 1798 and later become a persecuting power as a church-state union. Rulers in the new world have also been either Freemasons or ruling within the framework of a Freemasonry-shaped government.|
|Rules the Roman realm ecclesiastically while the papacy's "deadly" wound heals (Rev. 13).||As Freemasonry inflicted the "deadly" wound on the papacy in 1798, the Freemasonry-led protestant USA (earth beast) was rising into power.|
|Is "yet to come" as the 7th Head in 1798.||At the time to which John was taken in vision (1798), the beast from the bottomless pit had not yet risen as the 7th Head. Freemasonry, though ecclesiastically dominant and very politically active from 1798 on, wasn't politically dominant as the 7th Head until 1840 when it took power from the House of Habsburg (6th Head) (see below).|
Over 100 years ago, Ellen G. White made the following comments, linking the end-time ruling powers with Freemasonry and its web of secret societies:
"The eighteenth chapter of Revelation speaks of mystic Babylon, fallen from her high estate to become a persecuting power. Those who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus are the object of the wrath of this power. John writes: [Revelation 18:1-8, quoted]. This terrible picture, drawn by John to show how completely the powers of earth will give themselves over to evil, should show those who have received the truth how dangerous it is to link up with secret societies or to join themselves in any way with those who do not keep God's commandments" (Ellen G. White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 14, p. 152.1-2).
"This vision that Christ presented to John, presenting the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, is to be definitely proclaimed to all nations, peoples, and tongues. The churches, represented by Babylon, are represented as having fallen from their spiritual state to become a persecuting power against those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. To John this persecuting power is represented as having horns like a lamb, but as speaking like a dragon [Rev. 13:11-17 quoted]. As we near the close of time, there will be greater and still greater external parade of heathen power; heathen deities will manifest their signal power, and will exhibit themselves before the cities of the world, and this delineation has already begun to be fulfilled. By a variety of images the Lord Jesus represented to John [in Revelation 13, 17, 18] the wicked character and seductive influence of those who have been distinguished for their persecution of God's people. All need wisdom carefully to search out the mystery of iniquity that figures so largely in the winding up of this earth's history. God's presentation of the detestable works of the inhabitants of the ruling powers of the world who bind themselves into secret societies and confederacies, not honoring the law of God, should enable the people who have the light of truth to keep clear of all these evils. More and more will all false religionists of the world manifest their evil doings; for there are but two parties - those who keep the commandments of God and those who war against God's holy law" (Ellen G. White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 18, p. 29.1 to 30.1).
Beast that was, and is not, and yet is = The Roman Realm led by the Papacy. From the perspective of 1798, the date to which John was taken in vision, the papacy:
|"was" (past tense)||The papacy was ecclesiastically dominant for 1260 years during the Middle Ages (538-1798).|
|"is not" (currently)||The papacy was declared at an end in 1798 when the pope was taken prisoner by Napoleon's armies during the Freemasonry-led French Revolution. This is described as its "deadly wound" (Rev. 13).|
|"yet is" (future)||Sometime after 1798, the papacy's wound would be healed and it would ascend back into power.|
They that dwell on the earth shall wonder When the beast ascends out of the bottomless pit, the people in the land admire it ("wonder"). This is also portrayed in Revelation 13, when the beast's wound is healed and not only those in the USA, but "all the world wondered [admired] after the beast" (Rev. 13:3). The papacy's ways look attractive to the world and they applaud it and regard it with approval. They join it, follow its ways and mimic it ("image of the beast" - Rev. 13).
Revelation 17:9-11 "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 7 Time Periods of Revelation outlined by the 7 Churches, 7 Seals and 7 Trumpets are now repeated, but here emphasize the ruling powers during each period. Each Trumpet judgment corresponds to a Head (e.g. Trumpet #1 affects Head #1). The Trumpet defines the political landscape the corresponding political power (Head) brings about by its moral fall and eventually causes it to lose power and be replaced by the next Head. The 7 Heads are ruling powers that reject God's messages and experience judgments.
See a visual chart outlining the 7 Time Periods of Revelation.
See "Linking the 7 Trumpets and the 7 Heads" for details on the thought process behind this approach.
Time Period #1 (34 AD to 217 AD): Head #1
Head #1 = Roman Senate (31 - 217 AD): A political institution of great prestige and influence. Every emperor from Augustus until 217 AD, was of senatorial rank and considered an extension or delegate of the Senate. Major military commands and governors were also drawn from the senatorial ranks. As long as the realm wanted to be considered a Republic, the Senate was needed to legitimize the emperor's power. The Senate dealt with the Jewish rebellions in the Jewish-Roman wars and Parthian wars, which destroyed many Jews (a third of the trees) and desolated the Jewish homeland (all of the grass) of the 1st Trumpet. The last Roman-Parthian war ended after the equestrian military coup assassinated emperor Caracalla and set up the first emperor of non senatorial rank in 217 AD. (See more information on Head #1 and Trumpet #1.)
Time Period #2 (217 to 486 AD): Head #2
Head #2 = Roman Military (217 - 486 AD): A great conquering machine led by powerful generals. The military took government into its own hands, often murdering the emperor and placing its own choice in power. Military usurpers caused revolts throughout the empire; a time of massive upheaval and brutality. Emperors developed into mere figureheads, while the real rulers were generals (e.g. Stilicho, Ricimer). This developed alongside an increase of Germanic peoples in Roman lands and in key military positions, which resulted in a decentralized government in 486 AD. This was symbolized by the mountain (kingdom) thrown into the sea (many peoples) in the 2nd Trumpet (and the 10 toes in Daniel 2 and the 10 horns in Daniel 7). (See more information on Head #2 and Trumpet #2.)
Time Period #3 (486 to 752 AD): Head #3
Head #3 = Merovingians (486 to 752 AD): A dynasty of the Franks, a germanic tribe. As central power in the western Roman empire collapsed, the Domain of Soissons became the last place of Roman rule in the West. Clovis, King of the Franks, conquered Soissons in 486 AD. This marks the overthrow of the last magister militum (senior military officer) in the western empire. Clovis then united all of Gaul under his rule, and allied his kingdom with the increasingly powerful papacy in Rome. His achievement is seen as replacing the Western Roman Empire and laying the foundation for future domination in Europe. The armies of the Franks (rivers) spread the corrupt papal doctrines (wormwood) through the realm in the 3rd Trumpet. (See more information on Head #3 and Trumpet #3.)
Time Period #4 (752 to 1299 AD): Head #4
Head #4 = Papacy (752 to 1299 AD): A system of ecclesiastical government under the pope. In 752, the pope provided Pepin III the moral authority needed to overthrow the last Merovingian king of the Franks. This established the papacy as the power that could legitimitize Christian rulers. The blessing or crowning by the pope developed into a critical component of power for those who would rule a Christian kingdom. This time of papal political dominance corresponds to the spiritual darkness of the 4th Trumpet as Christ's righteousness ("sun"), the Scriptures ("moon") and true messengers ("stars") were obscured ("darkened"). (See more information on Head #4 and Trumpet #4.)
Time Period #5 (1299 to 1449 AD): Head #5
Head #5 = Council of Electors (1299 to 1449 AD): An elite group of princes who elected emperors. Papal power over secular matters declined sharply during the reign of Pope Boniface VIII (1294-1303) who pushed rulers too far. When he refused to recognize the Council's election of Albert I of Germany, Albert and King Philip IV of France made a treaty against him in 1299. Council members had been electors in name only, but now gained authority and independent control over elections, exercising the real power over the crown. Religious and political councils became popular during this time period (conciliarism), trumping the monarchial power of popes and kings. This spurred on revolts from papal domination, occurring in Germany (Louis the Bavarian), England (Wycliffe) and Bohemia (Huss) (corresponding to the barely alive 5th church and the injustice of the 5th seal time period). The revolts, internal schisms and Ottoman threats were the primary topics of the ecumenical councils. The major concern of the Council of Basle (1431 - 1449) was a last failed effort to reunite with eastern Christianity so military aid could be sent against the Ottomans. The Ottomans (locusts) of the 5th Trumpet had been taking over Byzantine lands during this period ("five months" - 150 years), but were holding off taking over the Byzantine capital of Constantinople (tormenting but not killing) and not yet touching western lands / the realm of Rome (grass), because of fear of an east-west Christian alliance. (See more information on Head #5 and Trumpet #5.)
Time Period #6 (1449 to 1840 AD): Head #6
Head #6 = House of Habsburg (1449 to 1840 AD): An influential and wealthy family. The defeat of conciliarism and the electors at the Council of Basle (disbanded in 1449) was orchestrated by Frederick III of the House of Habsburg. With his election, the imperial crown remained with the Habsburgs for almost 4 centuries. They ruled throughout Europe and were famous for strategic marriages (Dan. 2:43). This was the time of the Protestant Reformation and great religious disunity in the realm, which the Ottomans ("horsemen") of the 6th Trumpet used to their advantage to expand into Europe / Roman realm and cause great fear during this time period ("an hour, day, month and year" = 391 years and 15 days). A large part of Habsburg land was in eastern Europe and they were seen as the defenders of Christendom from Ottoman aggression. (See more information on Head #6 and Trumpet #6.)
Time Period #7 (1840 AD to Second Coming): Head #7
Head #7 = Freemasonry (1840 to 2nd Coming): A fraternal organization with secrets. Freemasonry, working through liberal western powers, gained the upper hand over the Habsburgs (Metternich was virtual ruler for the Habsburgs) when Lord Palmerston successfully orchestrated the treaty to save the Ottoman Empire from Egyptian takeover in 1840. This marked a monumental shift in power as London became the new center of European affairs instead of Vienna. The way was paved for this shift through the spreading of new ideas (Age of Enlightenment) and the many revolutions of the 1800s. The history of these movements and revolutions are inextricably interwoven with Freemasonry. They are rooted in Masonic principles and largely initiated and implemented by Freemasons and the many other secret societies patterned after Freemasonry and started by Freemasons. Secret societies have their foundation in Freemasonry, and it has its foundation in Britain. British ideas, such as constitutionalism, spread across Europe and to the new world via Freemasonry. Lord Palmerston, most of the British royal family, key politicians, military leaders, clergy and many others were all Freemasons. Rulers in the Roman realm (now much of Europe, South America, USA, Canada, Australia, etc.) have been either Freemasons or ruling within the framework of a Freemasonry-shaped government. Freemasonry promotes humanism, spiritualism and ecumenism, spreading the wine of Babylon of the 7th Trumpet. (See more information on Head #7 and Trumpet #7.)
5 fallen, one is, other not Yet come = The status of each head in 1798. The timing of the heads is seen from the perspective of 1798 AD, the time to which John was taken in vision. When Babylon (woman) emerges from the wilderness (1798):
|"five are fallen"||There were 5 divisions of political power (Heads) that had already fallen:
1. Roman Senate
2. Roman Military
3. Merovingian Franks
5. Council of Electors
|"one is"||The 6th successive political division (Head) was in power in 1798:
6. House of Habsburg
|"is not yet come"||The 7th was still rising:
(Note: The succession of all the heads cannot begin on some future date, because one of the heads was already wounded in 1798 (Rev. 13).
The Eighth = Papacy. The 8th head is not a new power, but a revived previous power. All the beasts in Revelation represent the Roman realm. Each one draws attention to a different phase of Roman power. In Revelation 17, attention is brought to the time when one of its heads (papacy) is ascending out of the bottomless pit (dead/in an uninhabited place), thus pointing us to Freemasonry, who rules the realm while the papacy's deadly wound heals. Eventually, the papacy's ascent is complete and it again becomes the dominant power (8th Head). Characteristics of the 8th Head:
- (A) The papacy "was". It was alive prior to 1798, and was dominant ecclesiastically from 538 to 1798 AD.
- (B) The papacy "is not". At the time of the vision (1798), the papal head on the beast received a deadly wound (Rev. 13:3), symbolizing the papacy's "death" at the hands of Napoleon.
- (C) The papacy "shall ascend". The papacy's wound heals (13.3) and it rises in power.
- (D) The papacy "is the eighth". It will again become a dominant political power ("head") through the 7th head that mimics it ("image of the beast").
- (E) The papacy is "of the seven". It was one of the 7 Heads, exercising dominant political power from 752 to 1299 AD as the 4th Head.
- (F) The world "shall wonder" when they "behold" the papacy. After its wound heals, "all the world wondered after the beast" (Rev. 13:3), admiring it and following its teachings.
- (G) The papacy "goeth into perdition". It will be totally destroyed during the 7 Last Plagues (Dan. 7:11, Rev. 2:22-23, 18:8).
Ecclesiastically Dominant Phase vs. Politically Dominant Phase: The Bible describes the 1260 years as a time the papacy would have dominant power ecclesiastically, or in religious matters (blaspheme God, trample on truth, obscure the sanctuary and persecute God's people). On the other hand, the time period of the 4th Head (752 AD to 1299 AD) marks the papacy's dominance politically in the realm, when it was the legitimizing factor for rulers (see more details about Head #4). It was still able to convince rulers to do much of its bidding related to spiritual matters (executing heretics, banning books, etc.) during the 1260 years, but it was only politically dominant for part of that time (see The Papacy Power Curve).
In the same way, Freemasonry shifted the religious power in the realm from being predominantly Catholic to Protestant in 1798. Influences during the Age of Enlightenment and revolutions were largely concerned with ending religious persecution and oppression by church and king. Thus, when the Freemasonry-led French Revolution gave rise to Napoleon, his army took Pope Pius VI prisoner and the tyranny of the papacy was thought to be forever ended. There is a long history of animosity between the papacy and Freemasonry. Initially, there were some Catholic Freemasons; however, in English speaking countries, the overwhelming majority have been Protestant. The ideas of Freemasonry were instrumental in the push for constitutions, freedom of religion, liberty of conscience, and more. They also promote humanism, ecumenism and spiritualism (communication with the "dead"), which are characteristics of end-time spiritual Babylon. Freemasonry is the dominant ecclesiastical power from 1798 to the second coming and is the dominant political power (7th head), exerting a controlling influence over the seats of power in the realm, from 1840 to the second coming. Note that it, Freemasonry working through the divided nations (horns) of the Roman realm, gives its power to the papacy (8th head), for a short time just prior to the second coming. (See more information on Head #8.)
Revelation 17:12-18 " 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. 14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. 15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. 16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. 17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. 18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth. "
Have one mind = United in purpose. Right before the second coming, the divided tribes (10 horns) unite in purpose ("have one mind") to attempt to control peoples' consciences, legislate religious laws and enforce papal teachings ("give their power and strength unto the beast"). These divided tribes, the realm of Rome, in its end-time Protestant phase, unite to replicate the actions of the papacy of the Middle Age and to cause all the world to obey laws made by the papacy (worship the beast). This coincides with the forming of the "image of the beast" (Rev. 13) and the restoration of the papacy as an 8th head.
Received no kingdom as yet At the time to which John was taken in vision, 1798, this kingdom or phase of the Roman realm, when the horns unite in purpose, was still future.
Hate the whore Eventually, these divided nations (horns) turn on and destroy apostate Christianity ("hate the whore" - 17:16), fulfilling her "judgment" (17:1). They see how the unfaithful churches, who should have warned them and taught them the truth, have actually deceived them and led them to their death. This makes them angry, even though they do not repent nor listen to the truth being preached by God's true church.
Burn her with fire = 7 Last Plagues. The 7 Last Plagues fulfill the judgment of Babylon. In chapters 15-16, the "seven last plagues" (Rev. 15:1) are described as "vials full of the wrath of God" (Rev. 15:7). Then, in chapter 17, one of the seven angels with the seven vials shows John the "judgment of the great whore" (Rev. 17:1), which occurs when the ten horns "shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire (Rev. 17:16). In chapter 18, this event of judgment and destruction is announced by the voice from heaven:
"Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her" (Rev. 18:8).The divided Roman realm (horns) bring disaster (Rev. 17:16, 18:8) on those who have chosen not to be under Jesus' shield. See more details about The 7 Last Plagues.
War with the Lamb = The divided Roman realm make war with Jesus. The tribes ("ten horns" - 17:12) fight Jesus ("Lamb" - 17:14) during the 7th Plague (Rev. 16:14, 19:19). But, they are overcome by Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords! He comes with the armies of heaven, all on white horses and clothed in white (19:14). He is called "Faithful and True" (19:11), executing righteous justice and delivering His people from Satan's long reign of tyranny. Now is fulfilled His promise:
"I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:3).The final transition of power now occurs, establishing The Final Realm.
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Additional Resources:Linking the 7 Trumpets & 7 Heads
The Final Realm