|This section begins
an important “parting of the ways” between the various theories, for it
begins to involve the Roman Catholic Church.
We need to carefully draw our symbols:
|The Sea: clearly “peoples, multitudes, nations and
|(Rev 17:15 NIV) Then the angel said to me, "The waters
you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and
|We miss a point here
if we hold this beast to one location;
in some sense, it is from all people.
|The Ten Horns: By Daniel 7:24, we know that horns are
kings. Since there are ten of them, we
may identify them with the ten toes of Daniel’s statue. This corresponds nicely to the
identification which is made in Revelation 17 -- the beast is Rome. Rome was divided into two parts (Eastern
empire, centered at Constantinople; Western,
at Rome) and then later into ten kingdoms (a fact which escapes futurists,
who often claim that this never happened).
Futurists hold that these ten horns are yet to be fulfilled. Revelation 17 tells us these ten are “yet
to receive power” (at least, from
John’s point of view).
|In the 1970’s,
Lindsey and Smith both saw these ten horns as the Common Market (which had
nine nations at the time, but one more -- Greece -- was expected to
join). It now has more than ten, but
this identification persists.
|The ten crowns
are symbols (as usual) of kings or kingdoms.
|The Seven Heads: (recall that these are parallel to the
seven heads on the dragon) are told to us in Revelation 17 as being seven
kings. Recalling the first half of
Daniel 8, we know that this could be individual kings, or it could be
monarchies (remember all those passages with “King of the South” and “King of
the North”?) This has been variously
|• Preterists, and
some historicists, hold these to be a particular set of seven Roman emperors.
|• Most historicists
hold these to be the seven forms of government of Rome (kings, consuls,
dictators, decemvirs, military tribunes, emperors and finally the Dukes of
Ravenna, etc....) This matches well
with Revelation 17:10, in which five (the first five) were, one now is, and
another is to come.
|• Some also
hold (for reasons beyond me) that these are seven great nations of
antiquity: Rome, Greece, Medo-Persia,
Chaldea, Egypt and Assyria. This view,
for the futurist, makes for a very nice Middle East war.
|Revelation 17 also
tells us that these seven heads are seven hills. This is a clear sign; all of antiquity would have recognized the
city on seven hills: ROME. But which Rome? (or perhaps, Rome when?)
|• Pagan Rome
(preterist, and some poetic)
|• Papal Rome
|• Revived Rome
Name likewise has three meanings:
|• Pagan emperors,
“Caesar is Lord”
|• The Pope, who (for
example) claimed exclusive right to forgive sin.
|• The Antichrist to
|The Order of the
Beasts is interesting. Daniel, looking forward, saw the lion
(Babylonia), bear (Medo-Persia), leopard (Greece) and the indescribable
“beast” -- Rome. John, looking
backward, sees the beast, carrying with it the characteristics of the others
-- in exactly the reverse order.
Poetically, it implies that Rome has all the fierceness of its