of the phrase, “once was, now is not, ..” depends upon your interpretive
|• Futurists see this
as the revival of the Roman empire (e.g., Talbot seeing this as Mussolini).
when they see anything here at all, tend to feel that this is an expression
paralleling the Nero redivivus myth -- that Nero would rise again to
persecute the church.
|• Historicists see
this as the papacy rising out of the death of the Roman Empre.
|All agree that the
view is future to John’s time. All
agree (for reasons soon to be obvious) that the beast is an expression of
|This beast is said
to come “out of the Abyss.” The
expression is rare in Scripture, but we do know this about it:
|• It is the place
where demons are condemned (Luke 8:31)
|• For the
historicist, in the 5th trumpet, it is the source of Mohammed.
|• By identification
with the Abyss, we know it is this beast who kills the two witnesses (Rev
|• It is where Satan
will be bound for the thousand years (Rev. 20)
|What may we
conclude? Just and only this: it is the source and sinkhole of spiritual
|Finally, there is
that curious expression that those whose names are not written will be
astonished. One author (Wilcox)
|• They see the
three-fold character of the beast:
that he was, is not and comes again.
|• They miss the
four-fould character: was, is not,
comes again and goes to destruction.
Those whose names are in the Lamb’s book of life know who wins.