Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Beast Empire—Was the Beast “Was” or “Is?”: Part 7

As I was halfway through writing this piece I became bothered by the realization that unless you are very familiar with this topic this entry (and the next one) may be getting a bit hard to follow as I chase the prophetic rabbit down many different trails, thus I thought the ridiculous title of this entry was appropriate. I try to keep this blog fairly simple so that those new to prophetic study can learn the basics without feeling bogged down, but at times I just need to veer from the path of simplicity. I’ve done my best to write this Beast Empire study in a simple manner so that all can follow, but I understand if you’re starting to see blurry. Hang in there, and feel free to ask questions. It seems that it’s usually only the very studied individuals that leave comments or questions, but don’t let that intimidate you. If you don’t understand something, just ask.

Are the Heads Empires Also?

Revelation 17:8
The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come.

Some will claim that the beast that “was, is not, and will come” is an empire that fell and will be revived. First, this hardly seems like something that would cause all the people to “wonder” as it says in verse eight. What is so amazing about a former empire regaining its strength? Who would care? We saw the Soviet Union fall, and as we seem to see Russia growing in strength to the point that there is a great possibility that it will regain its oppressive nature. If this happens will the whole world say, “Who is like the Soviet Union? Who can make war with it? I will worship the Soviet Union because it was not and now is! (Rev. 13)” This seem more than an unlikely stretch to me.

Secondly, while Daniel’s vision clearly indicated that the four beasts and the individual statue parts could be viewed as either empires or as individual leaders of those empires, Revelation doesn’t seem to give this leeway. In verse ten of chapter seventeen the interpretation of the seven heads is said to be seven kings, and I think there's a reason why only kings are specified rather than kings and empires.

If the Beast is Viewed From the Perspective of John

An observant individual commented on one of my previous posts that it seemed confusing that John saw one of the heads as Rome and that he saw it as the head that “was,” meaning that it was in existence during the life of John. But now we have John claiming that he saw a beast that “is not!” Here is his question:

“He [the beast] was, and is not and will come. Seemingly ‘is not’ means not present or here (from John's perspective). Did John not say that ‘one is’? Was not ROME the sixth beast empire? Is not the Roman empire to revive as the seventh? What does "and is not" mean from John's time-frame?”

This is one of the reasons why, three paragraphs previous to this, I mentioned that John does not seem to indicate that the beast heads are kings and empires as Daniel did in his visions. John very clearly wrote that the heads were kings, and I can find nothing in his text that indicates that the heads can flip flop back and forth in their meaning from kings to empires as they did in the book of Daniel. And the only reason that I can see for people concluding this in their interpretation is because they simply assume it is the case because the vision in Daniel worked in this fashion.

Now, because I see John's vision is specifically focusing in on the individual kings, and not the empires, John wrote that the king of Rome was in existence in his (John's) lifetime. He did not say that Rome was in existence during his period. Therefore there is no contradiction in saying that the king (of Rome) “is,” as John’s contemporary, and that the king of the future (revived Rome) “is not” during John’s lifetime. The contradiction is only valid if we interpret the heads as empires because Rome could not be present and not present at the same time of John’s existence if the beast is viewed from John’s perspective, and from his point in time. But then again, there might be other problems if we view this "was, is and will come" beast from John's time perspective! Could I be more difficult?

In the next post I will address more "was" and "is" dilemmas, and hopefully I will at least begin to write my final conclusions about this beast and explain what I believe is the best interpretation of the topic in question.



12 comments:

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

You are not going to tell us the Beast will be emperor Nero resurrected?

PWTribune said...

Nope. Sorry to disappoint.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Oh good. I am sure you are advocating a more sensible view than that.

PWTribune said...

We'll see!

Lawofthespirit said...

Dave, thanks for taking the time to expound on this topic. You have forced me into the word! So, I've been thinking a lot about this since your previous post on this topic; I think you are correct; the heads of the beast in Rev 17 represent kings, not kingdoms or empires, like in Daniel. I marvel how I miss these things.

On the other hand, according to Rev 17:9, the seven heads are mountains, not kings. (Although I might argue that the mountains are empires, but enough of that... :)

Then there are the seven kings, five are fallen, one is, and one is not yet come, which are not described in this passage as being of the heads of the beast, although Rev 13:3 suggests they are. So I concur with you, the heads represent kings!

I say all this because my KJV 1611 and KJV 1769, being worded the same as the other, differ from the version you posted:

KJV 1769
Rev 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.
Rev 17:9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
Rev 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.
Rev 17:11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

My point is that, the 1769 KJV helps clear up my thinking in a significant way, as follows:

Notice that those who dwell on the earth "behold" the beast that "was, and is not and yet is". Notice In particular, "... and yet is" is written at the end of both phrases in v8 and v10, rather than the, "... and will come", as per the version in the previously posted image of this passage. I think this difference is important because, ",,, and yet IS." does not mean, "... and will come.".

It is also important from John's perspective in the vision; because the beast was "present" and the people marvelled at the beast for they could see him in person. This is much clearer than "... and will come.", which really confuses the tense in the verse. (And my mind...)

Based on my argument above, which (for me) gives the passage greater clarity; I believe there may be another meaning. After much consideration, I postulate the following:

"The beast, being (a man) the seventh king, is killed and will rise from the dead; he will reclaim his rulership over the empire, glorifying himself as a god, thereby becoming the "eighth" king, ruling both as a man, and as a god (the risen Antichrist) in the same person." In other words, possessed of the devil.

Would the whole world not wonder at that?

In Rev 13:3 (below), we are told that one of the heads (kings) of the beast was wounded, as it were, to death, and his deadly wound was healed. I believe the following passage supports my postulation. It is also important that the heads of the beast be kings, as per your clarification in this posting.

Rev 13:1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
Rev 13:2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
Rev 13:3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
Rev 13:4 And they worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshiped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?

I think this takes care of my previous confusion about "was and is not and is coming", as well as the idea I had about the heads being empires. Good work Dave!

Well, that's my take on it...

PWTribune said...

But lawofthespirit, how can you say that the beast that was, is not and will come is viewed from the perspective of those alive during the seventieth week when only one verse away the heads are viewed from JOHN'S time period and perspective? Don't answer that. Once again you're getting way ahead of my posts!

And did you read my Beast Empire Part 5? I think it shows that there's absolutely no way that the mountains are empires. I THINK you were referring to that post when you said "Although I might argue that the mountains are empires, but enough of that... :) But I'm not sure.

Dave

PS
Lawofthespirit is just too long to write out every time. I'm going to call you L.O.T.S. for short. :)

raul delgado said...

L.O.T.S. is better than "Cheech"(that's what Dave called me).

But, seriously, I'm trying to sort all this "was", and "is not", and "will come". I see what you both are saying and it seems to align with what I believe as well concerning the coming AC. But, I'll stay tune for the rest to unfold. Interesting stuff folks.

Raul

Lawofthespirit said...

L.O.T.S. is ok, but sadly, not as sophisticated and ‘distinguished’ a handle as "Cheech". :)

Well, after reviewing my post, I see that I made reference to "v10", which in fact does not have "...and yet is." in the verse as I claimed.

Hmmm, I would argue that the mountains are empires only if I was writing a post at 02:30 hrs in the morning and was dead tired…

Ok, I'm running way ahead with this topic… will wait.

Kathy Hall said...

I'm sitting here with baited breath wondering if you are sitting somewhere with baited hook? Can't wait for the next post!

Kathy Hall said...

...that's bated breath...

glen walling said...

hi everyone

i just had a thought today, tell me what you think

could it be possible that the man of sin dies just before the 2nd half of the week, and is resurrected by God?

after all the bible says men are appointed to die and after this the judgment, and only God can raise people to life

also we know that multitudes of the wicked will be resurrected for judgment and thrown into the lake of fire

which brings us to armageddon when the beast is captured alive and thrown straight into the lake of fire (he has already died and been resurrected for punishment)

maybe that could be the great working of delusion God sends upon those who will never accept him?
i think it's plausible

opinions?

PWTribune said...

I think it's totally plausible, Glen. But I wouldn't be so quick to say that ONLY God can raise from the dead. If WE can revive individuals that were dead, I'm certain Satan can do so too, and probably more.

This is obviously one of those subjects I'll never speak dogmatically about, because I'm far from 100% sure, but it's kind of fun to wonder about.

And if you haven't figured out by now, there's no one here anymore! :) I haven't added to this blog for more than 2 years and all the regulars are long gone, so I'm guessing you won't get much input from anyone.