XXVIII - 9(95) Excerpt
what of the night?”
"The hour has come, the
hour is striking and striking at you,
EXEGESIS OF REVELATION
The HARLOT and the BEAST
In 1534, the Luther Bible, in connection with Revelation 17, showed a cut of a woman wearing the triple tiara of the popes and riding a seven-headed dragon. The obvious deduction was that this symbolic woman represented the Papacy. Uriah Smith in his Thoughts on the Revelation, adopts the same basic view. He wrote:
"This prophecy is more definite than others applicable to the Roman power, in that it distinguishes between church and state. We here have the woman, the church, seated upon a scarlet-colored beast, the civil power." (pp. 702-703, 1897 ed.)
This same basic concept from the Reformation has continued to be
the traditional Adventist view of the woman and the beast of Revelation 17,
with the added focus on what is termed, "the daughters of
First it is uniquely connected with the time just preceding the Seven Last Plagues. Of the woman who sits as a "queen," it is declared that "her plagues (shall) come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire." (Rev. 18:8; 17:16) Further, it is one of the angels of the Seven Last Plagues who shows to John "the judgment of the great whore." (17:1)
The designation of the angel who unfolds to John these final visions of the book as "one of the angels which had the seven vials" is in itself revealing from different perspectives. (17:1; 21:9) First, "the Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto Him to shew unto His servants ... He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John." (1:1) Twice during the final revelation by the designated angel as one who was involved in the Seven Last Plagues, John attempts "to worship" him. (19:10; 22:8-9) Each time he is told, "See that thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets that have the testimony of
Jesus." (Composite of the two previous references) It was Gabriel who stated to Daniel that "there is none who holdeth with me in these things (the Scripture of truth) but Michael your prince." (Dan. 10:21) Not only does this confirm Gabriel as "His angel" but also clearly indicates that Gabriel is one of the angels involved in the pouring out of the Seven Last Plagues, if not the chief angel.
The question arises, if Gabriel shows to John, "the Lamb's
wife" - "that great city, the holy
One must recognize that in this final section of Revelation there is set forth two cities - Babylon arid the New Jerusalem; two women - the one "clothed with the sun" and the one bedecked with gold and pearls; two wives - one, the wife of the Lamb, and the other, the wife of the "scarlet colored beast."
Who is this "scarlet colored beast"? It has seven heads and ten horns as the serpent-dragon of Revelation 12. It should be observed that when the beast of Revelation 13, which also had seven heads and ten horns, is described, its bodily differences from the dragon are noted. (13:2) No such differences are given of the beast of Revelation 17, except the absence of crowns on the heads, and the color change from fiery red to scarlet. The word for scarlet (kokkinon) is used to describe the color of the robe the Roman soldiers put on Christ in mockery of Him as "King of the Jews." (Matt. 27:28) No longer are the heads crowned, the dragon is reigning.
This beast is described as "was, and is not, and shall ascend
out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition." (17:8) This past,
present and future designation parallels the same description for "the
Almighty" who "is, and which was, and which is to come" (1:8);
but with distinct differences. In contrast to the One who "is to
come," whose kingdom the dragon-beast has challenged, this beast goes into
"perdition," or destruction (20:10) The
The first section (Chapters 2-11) of the book of Revelation closes with three Woes. During the time of the Second Woe, "the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit" is introduced. (11:7) He operates just prior to the Third Woe - which cometh, "quickly." The final Woe marks the close of all human probation, and the pouring out of "the wrath of God." (11:15-19) If then, the activities of the beast designated in Revelation 11 are amplified in Chapter 17, the time frame for the fulfillment of the events in Chapter 17 is established - "the last remnant of time."
"The beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven". Note carefully, that while the eighth, he is not of the seventh, but of the seven. He is the power which, though invisible, has operated through all seven heads. Now he assumes openly his claim of rulership of the kings of earth gathered together to a place called in the Hebrew tongue, Har-Mo'ed. (16:13-14, 16)
This brings us to a review of who are the seven heads. Various
interpretations have been set forth. One must keep in mind that the controversy
between the dragon and the woman who gave birth to the Man-Child goes back to
the first gospel promise (Gen. 3:15) which is symbolically represented in the
vision which introduces the second section of Revelation (12:1-3 ). Further,
the scope of the book included those who sing the song of Moses as well as the
Lamb (15:3). This binding of the Bible together as a unit with Moses standing
for the Old Testament times, and Jesus Christ for the New Testament is an
established concept. (John 1:17; Heb. 3:5-6) Thus the warfare of the
dragon-beast against the people of God must begin with the persecution of the
corporate body by
The reason I suggest the sixth head as pagan-papal
We next turn our attention to the woman. Instead of eisegetically reading into the symbol
the traditional concept from the Reformation and the Millerite
Movement, let us see just what the Scripture is saying. The "woman"
is designated as "that great city" (17:18), or
Perceiving this scarlet-colored beast to be the symbolic
representation of Satan's literal appearing as the long looked for Messiah of
Judaism, and the "Coming King" of Christian tradition, coincides with
God's revelation of Lucifer's intent. He purposed in his heart "to sit
also upon the mount of the congregation (har-mo'ed), in the sides of the
north." (Isa. 14:13) This is defined as
Again, you have a contrasting aspect of the prophecy of Revelation.
While the rulers of earth are gathered on earthly
Now let us return to the three parts of
Attention must also be directed to "the ten horns." (17:12) These ten horns are "ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power (authority) as kings one hour with the beast," not with any "head" but with the beast itself when he appears with his "wife." The parallel prophecy is not the ten horns of the nondescript beast of Daniel 7 - these were reduced to seven - but rather with the ten toes of the image of Daniel 2. Again the identification must wait the "final rapid movements" as they reign only "one hour" with the beast.
The text states that these "ten horns" have one mind and
shall give their power (dunamis)
and strength (exousia)
to the beast. One must ask with a bit of wonderment, how do the "spirits
of devils" effect such a unity when for more than six thousand long years,
Lucifer in his rebellion has sought to create confusion and discord? In fact
the very name of "that great city"
The oneness of these ten horns leads them to unite in "the war (polemos) of that great day of God Almighty" (16:14). In this final phase they now join in the last battle of the "war in heaven" where Michael and His angels fought against the dragon, when at its climax there came the cry, "Now is come salvation, and strength (dunamis), and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ." (12:7, 10) This final battle of the war involves "the remnant of [the woman's] seed." Trusting in the blood of the Lamb, they remain "called, and chosen, and faithful." The Lamb, coming forth to rescue His bride, overcomes the ten kings "for He is Lord of lords and King of kings." (17:14; 19:11)
When the powers of earth see that they have been beguiled and deceived by the final religious union, "these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire." (17:16)
The name of the "whore" that "great city" which
reigned over the kings of the earth - "
 Apostolic Letter - "Redemptionis Anno" - April 20, 1984; Encyclical - Tertio Millennio Adveniente, Nov. 10, 1994.