In this remaining part of this series, we now introduce the last of the 10 foundations to our study of the 7 heads and 10 horns on the beast shown in Revelation 17. As readers will know by now, all of these represent specific kings and kingdoms in what we have called the age-old Man-Satan Collusion. With this last foundation in place, we will state our case for the identities of the 7 heads.
As the Bible states that all of these kings in one form or another will be in existence in the Last Days, we will conclude with our thoughts as to the relevance of this topic to Christians and Jews living on earth today. We are definitely living in a time where the finalprophecies involving the 7 heads and 10 horns are very near. The geopolitical outlook for the world indeed stands to be very tumultuous soon.
(Please note that we adopted a few naming conventions in this study. For the sake of expediency, we agreed to name the 7 historical kings that are shown as 7 heads on the beast of Revelation 17as the Ruler Kings (RK); and the last-day 10 kings (shown as the 10 horns) as the 10K.)
10. What does the Bible mean by its imagery of “beasts”?
The word “beast” is mentioned 40 times in Revelation and 8 times in Daniel.These are the only two books in the Bible that use the terminology of “beast” with respect to prophecy. In total, there are 8 beasts shown in Bible prophecy, 6 in Daniel and 2 in Revelation. Babylon once (Daniel 7); Greece and Persia twice (Daniel 7 and 8); Rome once (Daniel 7); the 7-headed creature, three times (Revelation 12, 13, 17); and the second beast (False Prophet) once (Revelation 13).
However, the term “beast” receives much wider usage in prophecy than to refer to these 8 different prophetic images.
Therefore, one must be careful not to confuse the meanings of the word beast. “Beast” has at least three meanings in Bible prophecy, and always only applies to an entity that is inhabited by Satan or Satan himself (also called the “dragon”). Firstly, we see that the satanically-driven Man-Satan Collusion, comprised of 7 hegemonic kingdoms of Hebrew history (shown 3 times in Revelation), is called a beast. Also, the individual Ruler Kings are also shown as beasts in Daniel. We have amply documented these passages several times in Parts 1 to III of this series.
The second use of the word beast pertains to Satan himself. For example, “[…]the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them” (Revelation 11:7).
Thirdly, the term (“the beast”) refers to the personified Satan in the human body called the Antichrist. He is also called a “beast” (and a number of other names). An example of this usage is found in Revelation 17:11: “The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction.” There are several other examples in this same chapter.
As such, one must always note the context in which the term beast is used. But, just why are these images shown as beasts? Could they not have been shown in different forms? Could a different word have described the Antichrist better?
There is one thing about beasts which does not necessary apply to humans. They perish.Only humans have the opportunity for eternal life (with the exception of angels). Therefore, the prophets see these blasphemous, ungodly kings, kingdoms and peoples—which are sinful, bestial, and unreasoning as “beasts”—as animals. They are said to be unreasoning … whether kings, kingdoms or peoples. Apostle Peter borrows this perspective from the Old Testament (Psalm 49:12, 20), when he says this about false teachers: “But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish” (2 Peter 2:12).
Anything destined to perish is either a beast (an animal) or unreasoning as an animal. The Antichrist will also be slain. “[…] the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire” (Daniel 7:11).
The First Two Kings Unveiled
Now,finally that we have all the foundations in place, we can turn our attention to the 7 kings. However, if you do not agree with any of the 10 foundations and perspectives that we have reviewed to this point,we will likely be parting ways (although, we would welcome hearing of any Bible-based counter theories).
Who are the first two Ruler Kings? If Babylon is the 3rd kingdom in the 7-king lineage shown by the Apostle John, then who are the first and prior 2 that would fit into the world’s lineage of the oppressors of the Hebrews?
Frankly, the Bible only offers three plausible candidates that were in power before Babylon in the Bible: Egypt, Assyria and the Philistines. However, only two meet all of the 7 traits common to the rest of the Ruler Kings, most expressly, oppressing Israel. (Another nation candidate, although unlikely, is Tyre).
Much Scripture is preoccupied with the three nations of Egypt, Assyria and Philistia and their interactions with Israel. For example, the word Philistine (and its derivatives) is mentioned 276 times in the Bible; Egypt (and its derivatives) 793 times; and Assyria, 144 times.But which two of these three qualify as the 1stand 2nd heads of the beast? Just what additional indications does Scripture provide? Consider the following statements:
1. “For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘At first my people went down to Egypt to live; lately, Assyria has oppressed them’” (Isaiah 52:4).
2. “Therefore this is what the Lord, the LORD Almighty, says: ‘My people who live in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrians, who beat you with a rod and lift up a club against you, as Egypt did’” (Isaiah 10:24).
3. “We submitted to Egypt and Assyria to get enough bread” (Lamentations 5:6).
4. “Israel is a scattered flock that lions have chased away. The first to devour them was the king of Assyria; the last to crush their bones was Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon” (Jeremiah 50:17).
We see Assyria and Egypt being jointly referenced as oppressors and persecutors of the Hebrews in the first three verses.If there was any doubt about Assyria’s candidacy, Jeremiah leaves no doubt, definitely categorizing them with the Ruler King, Babylon.The Philistines are not in this same company. Why? The Philistines, though they had been a frequent foe of Israel, were not in the same league as Egypt and Assyria at their apex. The Philistines never completely vanquished the Israelites nor controlled the Middle East. They were considered “sea peoples” and were never rulers of the then known world. Moreover, King David and his troops were at one time even mercenaries with the Philistines, supposedly fighting against King Saul’s army. Philistia does not appear to qualify as one of the 7 heads.
Studying Scriptures, we conclude that Egypt and Assyria, respectively, are the 1st and 2nd heads of the 7-headed beast. There are no other viable candidates in our view. The likely remaining 5, as mentioned,are Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the Roman 10-king coalition. All of these nations, in one form or another, continue to exist today, or have left their legacies and influences upon successive societies. Just what might these be?
Common Legacies of the Ruler Kings Prevailing Today
Just as the great harlot sitting upon a seven-headed beast would be the marker of the apostate and adulterous spirit seducing all of the seven Ruler Kings—the same source of false religion and paganism—we can draw a similar construction from the composite beast shown in Revelation 13. If a spiritual heritage of seven world kingdoms is documented through one “whore” riding on the back of a seven-headed beast in Revelation 17, then we may legitimately inquire whether the depiction of the composite beast in Revelation 13 also provides a key to the historic links of the four prior world regimes with the last form of the Roman-based kingdom today.
As we have already argued, the beast of Revelation 13:1-2 is the same as shown in Revelation 17. Both have seven heads, ten crowns, and 10 horns, and have written upon them words of blasphemy. However, importantly, historic lineage is highlighted in the Chapter 13 account. “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” (Revelation 13:2).
This beast has characteristics from the Grecian empire (the leopard), the bear (Medo-Persia) and lion (Babylon), and the terrible beast (Rome), all mentioned in Daniel 7. We therefore see a composite of the characteristics of these four Ruler Kings in the Revelation 13 image. This, we interpret, represents the legacies of these four societies reflected in our world today. What could they be?
Starting with the earliest kingdom, here are some possible connections. Accomplished historians, no doubt, will see many more connections than we can present. To help avoid any spuriousspeculations, we will try to support each with at least one aligning Scripture.
Babylon (Lion):Secular research shows that Babylon was the mother of modern day commercialism and many financial concepts that we still use today. Its preoccupation with wealth produced the first “gilded age”—after all, it was shown as the head of gold in Daniel’s vision of the tall statue (Daniel 2). The “gilded age” of the late-nineteenth century certainly didn’t compare. Nearly all of the documents recovered from that early Babylonian era refer to commerce. The concepts of banking, compound interest, promissory notes and even mutual funds derive from that time.
Even its numerical system based on the number 60 (the sexagesimal system which extends back to earlier Sumerian cultures) is still deeply imbedded in our society. We still count 360 degrees in a circle and in trigonometry. Until not too long ago, a 360 day cycle was still considered the financial year for purposes of calculating interest.
The word “dozen” is the Babylonian word for “a fifth,” meaning one-fifth of sixty. Twelve is a prominent number probably because it was based upon the 12 moon cycles per year. We still count 60 minutes to the hour; 60 seconds to the minute. From these and other connections, we see that the lion remains the head of gold today. The same “commercial culture” will be (and is) the hallmark of the last-day society of the beast (Zechariah 5:5-11; Revelation 18).
Medo-Persia (Bear):The most significant contribution of the Persians was the principle of tolerance. The figure of Cyrus has survived throughout history as the role model of an ideal ruler. Though a conqueror, he was tolerant and magnanimous. In like fashion, Darius I and Xerxes I, and later Persians rulers were considered to be quite liberal.
The attitude of tolerance is certainly evident in the Bible’s account of Cyrus. He was moved to fund the rebuilding of the Jewish temple (Ezra 1:2). He provided a grant for this humanitarian project, which involved a different people with a religion not his own (Ezra 3:7). Cyrus even returned some of the temple treasures that had been carted out of Jerusalem and the temple by the Babylonians decades earlier.
What reigning powers in history ever considered offering recompense to those that they conquered? If that is the key characteristic symbolized by the Medo-Persian “bear,” then it certainly does apply to our time. If it were not so, how could it have ever been possible for the Jews to again be restored to their own land in 1948, after almost two thousand years of dispersion?
Greece (Leopard): Greece is the source of much humanism. Its ancient society placed a high value upon human reasoning and philosophy. That was still the case during New Testament times. Paul often debated Greek thinkers, notably at Mars Hill (Acts 17). He later tells us that “Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles (1 Corinthians 1:22-23). Here we see Apostle Paul confirming that the god of the Greeks was human logic. Paul also held “discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus” (Acts 19:9) for over two years. Tyrannus was a Greek teacher and sophist whose school was in Ephesus. To the Greeks, the very fact that something might be incomprehensible could only be referred to the Unknown God. Paul showed them that all ways higher than man’s were attributable to God (Isaiah 55:9).The supposed wisdom of humanity precludes the move of the Spirit and rejects the “impossibilities” of God’s ways. This Hellenistic emphasis upon science and naturalism rules our society today.
There are other Greek cultural legacies that still mark our world. Democracy is a prevalent organizational form politically worldwide today (its origin found in ancient Greece). Democracy, assuredly a human system with many good facilities, still harbors the fatal flaw that will enable a spiritually-blind world to willingly allow the Antichrist to come to power. And, of course, we cannot forget the Olympics which are also of Greek origin, the highest celebration of human physical achievement.
Rome (Beast): All Western society and, crucially, all transnational global institutions existing today find their roots in the Roman Empire. From Roman law, civil organization, military techniques to many other influences, the Advanced Nations of the world today—which are still, though waningly, controlling world affairs—remain essentially Roman. We need not spend much time documenting this phenomenon. Rome was a ferocious, military beast two thousand years ago. Today’s revived Roman-derived rule, militarily, economically and financially, is a beast even more ferocious. It is stamping much of the world under its feet (Daniel 7:7, 19).
What about the influences of Assyria and Egypt? Did Assyria or Egypt leave any legacies to the world, as we have proposed for the five later Ruler Kings? These, if any, are not depicted in the composite of morphological features of the beast of Revelation 13or their description in the Bible. Therefore, we must conclude that the Bible did not wish to imply such connections.
Were we to speculate, however, we would point to the economic rapaciousness and brutality of the Assyrians. The prophet Nahum prophesied that “You have increased the number of your merchants till they are more numerous than the stars in the sky, but like locusts they strip the land and then fly away” (Nahum 3:16). Also, the Antichrist that is yet to come is identified as the Assyrian. As for Egypt, we would point to the totalitarian plutocracy and enslavement of its economic system that is introduced following the 7 fat years, shown in the story of Joseph.Taken together, this would imply a rapacious economic environment, combined with a widening wealth skew during the Last Days. Again, these are only unsupported thoughts. Given this writer’s vocational background, it would be no surprise that to the carpenter the solution to every problem would be a hammer and a nail.
We may not realize that our society remains the offspring of our ancestor societies. We have reviewed four such societies mentioned by Daniel. A vast global commercialism is rapidly ensnaring the world into a controlled entity (Babylon the Great of Revelation 18). Tolerance and secular global humanitarian campaigns are spreading humanism and pluralism ever deeper into the mindset of mankind. Democracy is furthering its reaches across the world, and human logic and technological advancements prompt many to deny the existence of God. All taken together, in the absence of a fear for God and in the rejection of Jesus Christ, this mobilizes a fearsome, ferocious beast that is actually taking greater numbers of people into bondage, and is variously persecuting those that believe upon the Word of God.
Points to Ponder
To contrast the Bible’s accounts of all the beasts, we can look to the image of the 4 creatures that are shown in Ezekiel 1. He sees “[ …] what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was human” (Ezekiel 1:5). While the beasts representing theRuler King hegemons are shown as worldly, bestial and non-benevolent, God’s kingdom is shown to give praise to the Lord “[…] the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD” (Ezekiel 1:28).
Our study of the beasts of Daniel and Revelation yields crucial conclusions and urgent perspectives. Though some may indeed think that these visions cannot be deciphered and therefore give vent to nothing more that speculation, our study of Scripture shows that this is not the case. The Holy Spirit put these visions into the Bible for a reason. Our generation of Christians isthe intended beneficiary. Including the objectives mentioned in Part I, the takeaways are as follows:
1. This studyof Scripture definitely speaks to end time geopolitical trends.Firstly, these images give Bible-studying Christians—even more so the Jews—an ability to accurately determine the “season” of the world. An understanding of this topic better prepares the Christian to identify the prophetic “season.”There will be no excuse for not having known in advance the Bible’s admonitions, teachings and prophecies (Romans 1:20).
2. An awareness of the significance of the beasts provides a bulwark against deception. The Last Days are reckoned as deceptive—and expressly so the last-day ruler and the Dragon (Satan)—and a trap. We believe that these deception times are already upon us today. Are you ready?Our enemy is the father of lies and deception (John 8:44). He is full of trickery and intends to deceive the whole world. If you are a believer and you have studied the Bible intently, you will not be so easily deceived.
3. We must remember that the visions of the beast were first given by Daniel, the prophet that spoke directly to the Hebrews. Daniel’s message to them is that anything having to do with any of the heads and kings of his visions is not to be trusted. All, at one point or another, persecute the Jews. Sadly, this also will include America and Canada, the European Union … etc.
4. Not only are the 10K kings relevant to our time to today, but also “all” of the 7 Ruler Kings. The visions of the world’s 7 RK apply to today. All of them will be in existence and on the world scene during the Last Days. The prophet Daniel says that it will be “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed” (Daniel 2:44).
5. The Dragon does influence and inhabit the nations of mankind. Please stop to think about the demonic activity of “princes”that must be going on around the key power nexus points of the world. America would be no exception. Satan knows where he can leverage his efforts best.
6. Our study shows that globalism is not the last state of geopolitical affairs. While it is prophesied, it is nevertheless superseded by multipolarism (the state of the world today), then minilateralism (what we see as the rule of the 10 kings), and finally autocracy (the Antichrist), before the new David rules in the Millennium.
7. Our study yields additional conclusions. Nowhere in the Bible did we discover any indication that the Man-Satan Collusion would ever be won over to Christ before the Messiah appears and intervenes in wrath. The end to all of these human kingdoms occurs forcefully. There is no passive handover of a Christian world to the Messiah when he comes. This means that all the teachings of movements likeReconstructionism, the Manifest Sons of God, and others of similar persuasion, are false. Such views are not Scriptural.
8. Also, the conclusions of this study do not at all align with Preterist perspectives. With this teaching, by necessity the 7 heads and the 10 horns must already be in the past. Scripture must either be “spiritualized” away, or the identities of the 7 kingdoms and10 nations and kings cannot be conclusively documented.
9. Again, we note that the Antichrist does not precede the final 10 kings. He comes after. As such, the often histrionic predictions about the emergence of the Antichrist and Israel’s 7-year peace treaty with him, are mostly out of place. The 10 kings have not yet emerged.
Like no other period, our time today fits the picture of the composite beast of Revelation 13, which portrays the key characteristics of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. The alignments seem compelling. An intense commercial and materialist culture has emerged upon the world. Mankind is eating and drinking without much concern, just as Belshazzar did before the fall of Babylon. Israel is again returning to its land as it did during the reign of Persia once before.
In the name of tolerance, the world has institutionalized its intolerance of Truth and the one and only Way. The Hellenizers are again at the forefront, promoting humanism in all its forms, denying the need for salvation and the real God. And, most significantly, Jesus Christ is again expected to appear as He did during the first and ancient rule of Rome.
Are we not already living near the time of the beast of Revelation 12, 13, and 17? We must conclude that the stage of the ten kings is at the very doorstep. As such, were we to tarry much longer before the Lord’s return, geopolitical changes can be expected to be very rapid and sudden. Most encouragingly, we take heart that the return of the Messiah to collect his Bride and to meet them in the air is imminent. Maranatha.