Friday, August 12, 2011

Part 14:
John’s Eighth Beast

To understand John’s Revelation in the context of the time during which he was writing, we need to look through his historic eyes of around 100 AD. The Lord said to him, “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.” (Rev. 1:19.) So when we read the following verses (and indeed consider his entire vision), we need to try and read it as he saw it if we are to understand what he experienced.

Revelation 17:10-11: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. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.”

What we have here are:
1) Five kings which have fallen [in the past before John].
2) One king is [now existing at the time of John writing].
3) One is yet to come [after John], but will remain for only a short time.
4) And then there will be an eighth beast which will be cast into hell.

All together there will be a total of eight kings, and we need to recognize these eight kings in terms of their successive empires since some kingdoms spanned periods longer than their individual leaders. But who, or what, are all of these kingly empires?

To understand who all the other kingdoms are, we first must establish the identity of the kingdom that “IS.” Remember, John is writing as he sees it—he is in the “now,” so to speak. Therefore, the kingly empire that “is” is the one that was in power at the time of John’s writing. That kingdom was the Roman Empire; so Rome was empire number six, the kingdom that “is.”

As stated earlier, all four of Daniels beasts included the Roman Empire, but John’s combinational beast, of Chapter 13, does not include Rome. So we’re dealing with the same thing here, even though Rome is included in this verse. Considering John’s revelation, then, we can see that the 6th king, or the one that “is” in power as John wrote, was the Roman Empire. To John, as he is writing, Rome IS in existence, so the 6th kingdom “is” the Roman Empire.

The five fallen kingly empires were kingdoms that existed and dominated the Holy Land before John. They must have been of some note to be large enough to be included in this prophecy, and they need to have had a major influence in the area. We have learned that the leopard-bear-lion beast of Daniel is the combination beast of Revelation 13; that are part of the five kingdoms that have fallen. So we know the names of three kingdoms that have fallen, but what are the other two? The Bible is not clear as to what kingdoms they are, but for the purpose of this study we are going to assume they are Israel and Assyria. So our five fallen kingly empires are:

1st beast—Israel (Fallen)
2nd beast—Assyria (Fallen)
3rd beast—Babylon (Fallen)
4th beast—Medo-Persia (Fallen)
5th beast—Greece (Fallen)

The first of these five fallen kingly empires was the original Kingdom of Israel established by David. Although Egypt enjoyed a big influence over the region before the time of Israel, it still did not control and unite it as did the Kingdom of Israel. And from a simple reading of the Old Testament we should know what the second fallen kingdom was. It was Assyria, the dominating influence before Babylon that took the Northern Kingdom of Israel captive.

All five of these past kings, or empires, had fallen by the time John received his visions that he wrote in the Book of Revelation. These five beasts made up the geographic area of the Middle East before, during, and after the time of Daniel, but before John, and is the Islamic dominated area of the Middle East today.

Revelation 17:10 says that, “... the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.”

At the time of John, this 7th beastly kingdom had not yet come on the scene. So as John saw the vision, this kingdom “is not yet come,” so the beast “is not.” This kingdom that did not exist at the time of John, but would come in the future, was to be the Islamic Empire.

In the beginning, the Islamic First Jihad had ruled, or “continued,” for the “short space” of 152 years. But during the First Jihad, at the Battle of Tours, Islam was wounded by the sword and lost its power, yet it still lived and maintained its presence in the area. (Rev. 13:14.)

Since Revelation 17 speaks primarily of the Gentile nations that dominated the Holy Land throughout time, the 7th king has to be Islam which controlled Jerusalem from 688 to 1967.

The 8th kingdom is the Second Jihad of the Islamic Empire yet to come: “And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven.”

Consider the geographic area of the Middle East as John was seeing it. This 8th beast is part of both the “beast that was,” meaning it existed before John, and it is the beast that “is not yet come,” meaning it was not existing at the time of John’s writing, but would come in the future.

The 8th beast is not about the Roman Empire. However, the 8th beast is “of the seven,” or part of the seven previous beasts because Rome had major control and influence in that same geographic region. Considering the identity of our leopard-bear-lion beast, the Islamic Empire today, we find it is seated in Syria, Iran and Iraq, and it fits as having been “was,” and also as having been “of the seven.”

The 8th beast, the Second Jihad,
is the one we need to be concerned about today.