The Beast That Is an Eighth


(Spectrumbot) #1

When the seven bowls have been emptied, one of the bowl angels stays behind to talk (Revelation 17:1). This could be interpreted in more than one way. First, it could be the angel’s initiative. If so, it confirms that God is more interested in making things known than human beings are in knowing. By this logic, neither inquisitiveness nor curiosity in the human realm is the driving force. Things happen on God’s initiative; God prods the audience to stay for an extra lesson. Alternatively, the trumpet angels may have seen bewilderment on John’s face. His body language has been noted earlier. In chapter 5, John faced a predicament in heaven that caused intense sorrow and weeping (5:4). In that scene, others took note of his state of mind, and they responded as though his reaction matters (5:5). We have another scene of interaction between heaven and earth in the intermission between the sixth and the seventh seal (7:13-17). In that scene, one of the elders asks a question that John cannot answer. “You are the one who knows,” he says (7:14). This may represent a glimpse of the heavenly pedagogy: God wants us to know, and God uses questions to get us there.

The scene that begins in Revelation 17 could be a mixture of these elements. God wants John to know, and John wants to know. The disclosures so far have left him perplexed. The angel’s offer of private lessons seems to work if we judge by John’s body language. The range of John’s reactions in Revelation is now awe (1:17), grief (5:4), admission of ignorance (7:14), and here — most likely — perplexity. There will be at least one more: shock. “When I saw her, I was shocked with an extreme shock” (17:6) or, “I was appalled with utter disgust.” The type of interaction and response that we see in John are meant to instill similar states of mind in the audience. This is not easy to do. Why was John taken by surprise so late in the day?

Clearer When It Blurs

I have read Revelation 17 many times. The chapter is Revelation’s master class. If we manage to sort things out in this chapter, we have it made. My initial sense is that the tutoring angel seeks to make things clear by images that are hyper-specific, with numbers like “five,” and “seven,” and “eight” for the heads of the beast (17:8, 11). This hyper-particularity has sent interpreters scurrying in all directions to crack the code they imagine John to be using. Perhaps we are barking up the wrong tree. The hyper-particularity does not aspire to present an array of new historical details. Rather, it is tongue-in-cheek particularity driving home a message the contours of which are already in place. Simple does it.

Hyper-particularity goes hand in hand with a blurring of the imagery. The mix of characters, places, and things suddenly seems unstable. Who, what, and where are no longer exactly what we expect. It is as though things get clearer when they blur.

The angel’s private lesson begins with an invitation.

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the exposé of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the inhabitants of the earth have become drunk.” So he carried me away in the spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of slanderous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality; and on her forehead was written a name, a mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of whores and of earth’s abominations.” And I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus (17:1-6).

A wilderness (17:3)? The last time there was a wilderness, the woman that gave birth to the male child was in flight mode into the wilderness, trying to escape the dragon (12:6, 14). Is this the same wilderness?

A scarlet beast (17:3)? Strictly speaking, we have not seen a scarlet beast before. We have seen a red dragon; that was the color of the creature hell-bent on destroying the woman fleeing into the wilderness (12:3, 13). We have also seen a beast rising from the sea that had similar characteristics (13:1). Its color might be surmised, but there is no statement about its color.

A woman (17:3)? We have seen a woman before, the one who gave birth to the male child (12:1-2) and then fled into the wilderness (12:13-16). She barely escaped. Or did she? The summary passage about the woman’s flight from the dragon ends on an ominous note. “The dragon was enraged with the woman. And he went away (in a vanishing act) to wage war against the rest of her seed, those who keep the commandments of God as revealed in the testimony of Jesus” (12:17, translation mine).

How did the dragon’s new plan turn out? There are enough markers of continuity to be certain that Revelation elaborates the earlier story. It might have been easier if John had said the scarlet beast, or the wilderness, or the woman — not a scarlet beast, a wilderness, or a woman. He should not say that, of course. He should say it exactly the way he does and then let his reaction say the rest. “When I saw her, I was shocked with an extreme shock” (17:6). This detail is crucial. As to wilderness, it suggests trouble in the region of apparent safety. As to beast, it suggests a close relation to the pursuing dragon and not only to the beast from the sea. As to woman, now colluding with all her might with the scarlet beast, something terrible, unimaginable has happened. John’s shock must be surprise over the friendly relations between the woman and the beast, not surprise over the awful deeds only. The two are even color coordinated (17:3-4).

Two stable deed-elements stand out here just as it has earlier in the story. There is slander (17:3), and there is violence (17:6). The frightening, shocking constellation is guilty of misrepresentation and murder (13:5-7; 17:3, 6).

And there is more.

The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to ascend from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the inhabitants of the earth, whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will be amazed when they see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come (17:8).

To the great Wilhelm Bousset and many others, the meaning is clear. The beast that returns from the abyss is the expected Nero redivivus, concerning whom people in later times were convinced would come back from the netherworld.” I don’t agree. The symbols and the alleged historical reality would be woefully mismatched if Nero were the great surprise. Indeed, and again, the Nero myth fails to meet the ontological measure in the text. “The beast…was and is not and is to come” (17:8) contrasts with God “who is and who was and who is to come” (1:4, 8). Is not — the point of distinction — is not only a chronological or historical difference. The terms used in the contrast aim for ultimacy. At the level of ultimacy, Nero has no standing, and the same must be said about other candidates that fail the ultimacy test. The ontological contrast is also a contrast of character. Is not — still the point of distinction — can never be said about God. Revelation does not deal in abstractions, not even if the abstraction is the worthy cause of systematic theology. Those who believe that the phrase “who is and who was and who is to come” is a description of God’s eternal self-existence, should think again. Rather, the phrase describes God as one who is ever present; he is never absent; he is God with us. The opponent in the conflict is neither God nor is he with us. He is against us, as proven specifically by the vanishing act described earlier (12:17).

The interest of the tutoring angel centers on this “beast.” By the criteria of ontology (being) and character, he contrasts with God. And now the angel pinpoints his location and his eventual fate. First, “he is about to ascend from the bottomless pit [ek tēs abyssou] — from the abyss” (17:8). This information is a great help. It establishes the cosmic, non-human dimension of the beast. We shall be forgiven for thinking that the angel merely had a few more things to say about the beast from the sea (13:1), but we must now see images blur, blur in the interest of clarity. We have seen the abyss before, in relation to the star that fell from heaven to earth (9:1). We were even given a name for “the Angel of the Abyss,” in Hebrew “Abbadon,” in Greek “Apollyon” (and in English, “Destroyer”) (9:11). The abyss is his home base. In connection with the two witnesses, we read that “the beast from the abyss shall make war against them and win over them and kill them” (11:7). Neither Nero nor the Roman Empire nor some other “Roman” entity suffices for this feat. And indeed, the verbal element describing the ascent of the beast from the abyss is the same in both passages (11:7; 17:8).

Second, the outsize, ultimate character of this power is twice repeated. He “is about to ascend,” but he is also about “to go to destruction” (17:8). This is repeated twice: “to destruction he goes” (17:11). This, too, fits the story of the ultimate destroyer in the trumpet sequence. He is what he does, the Destroyer (9:1, 11). This is his persona in this book, as it is in the antecedent Old Testament poem: “you have destroyed your land, you have killed your people” (Isaiah 14:20). To capture the essence of Revelation’s depiction, we need to enhance the depiction with the right tenor in both places: he “is about to go to self-destruction” (17:8, 11).

We are now ready for the most particular and peculiar text in the angel’s show-and-tell.

the seven heads are seven mountains upon which the woman is seated. And they are seven kings. The five have fallen, the one is, the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must remain a short while. And the beast that was and is not — is itself an eighth and it is also of the seven, and to destruction it goes (17:9-11, translation mine).

Notice how I have preserved the article for “the one who is” and “the other” who “has not yet come.” Who are they, this conspicuous twosome? I won’t say, but I’ll give a clue: Read Revelation 13 one more time. This twosome is important, but they are not as important as the beast, “itself an eighth…but also of the seven” (17:11). Quite a feat, isn’t it, to have an eighth (head) even though the beast only has seven; quite a feat to be “an eighth” but also in the warp and woof of the seven.

John has blurred things in order to make them clearer. What is clearer, is the Destroyer from the abyss and his ascent (9:1; 11:7; 17:8, 11), the one who was and is not and is to be present again, in his own subversive, perverse, and revelatory parousia.

Babylon

The economic predation of Babylon is a subject we must leave for another day. When we scrutinize the background texts in the Old Testament, especially Ezekiel 28:12-19, we will discover that the wicked commerce of “Babylon” is not only predatory trade. It is “trading in slander.” As I have argued earlier, a broad conception is necessary if we wish to be fair-minded to the most harrowing deed on Babylon’s C.V. “And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been killed with violence on earth” (Revelation 18:24, translation). “Her” cannot by this criterion simply be the Roman Empire or some entity that is Roman.

The Rider on the White Horse

I will close with the rider on the white horse, another battle scene from the open heaven (19:11-16). How does he fight in this war (19:11)? What does it mean that he has a name that no one knows but him (19:12)? And the robe “dipped in blood” — whose blood is it (19:13)?

Further Reading:

Revelation: For Re-Readers Only, January 5, 2019

Apokalypsis, January 8, 2019

Revelation and the Neighborhood, January 14, 2019

Timeout: Revelation and the Crisis of Historicism, January 18, 2019

Crisis in the Heavenly Council, January 21, 2019

Timeout: Cosmic Conflict vs. Historicism, January 25, 2019

Silence in Heaven — for about Half an Hour, January 28, 2019

Timeout: From Daniel to Revelation, February 1, 2019

Revelation 7: The 144,000 and the 233,000, February 4, 2019

Timeout: Storm Clouds over Historicism, February 7, 2019

Revelation’s Trumpets: The Devil is in the Details, February 11, 2019

Timeout: Disarray and Trivia in the Trumpets, February 14, 2019

Revelation 12: Don’t Rush at Ground Zero, February 19, 2019

Timeout: “1,260 Days” and the Smoke Signals in Flyover Country, February 22, 2019

Revelation 13: “The Dragon’s Story,” February 26, 2019

Timeout: “And Its Number is 666,” February 28, 2019

God Reacts: The Three Angels’ Message, March 5, 2019

Timeout: “The Smoke of Their Torment,” March 8, 2019

Armageddon Retrospect, March 12, 2019

Timeout: Armageddon Prospect, March 15, 2019

Sigve K. Tonstad is Research Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Loma Linda University.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/9497

(ROBIN VANDERMOLEN) #2

Thank you Dr Tonstad for trying to elucidate the imagery in Revelation Chapter Seventeen,

The kaléidoscope of colors and bizarre beast and bowls, is entertaining — will some modern movie maker use computer graphics to regale us with this scenario in an animated movie?

Frankly, despite your sincerest efforts, I find the endless possibilities of
explanations of these odious symbols obscure, obtuse, oblique and OPAQUE.

When PhDs like yourself have multiple interpretations, what was God thinking?

This whole scene must be gobbledygook to mere mortals, like the vast majority of Christians who are “salt of the earth” but regrettably blue collar, uneducated and often yes, illiterate.

This hieroglyphic hodgepodge of hideous beasts requires hermeneutics at the doctoral level.

One wonders why this abracadabra / jaberwocky / gibberish was included in the canon of scripture ?


#3

The angel’s private lesson begins with an invitation.

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the exposé of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the inhabitants of the earth have become drunk.” So he carried me away in the spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of slanderous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality; and on her forehead was written a name, a mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of whores and of earth’s abominations.” And I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus (17:1-6).

I am not certain but the colors of the clothes worn by the harlot are similar to the colors of the clothes worn by the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31. John might have been trying to pass a message by contrasting the two women.

Proverbs 31:21-22
She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.

She makes coverings for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.


(Sirje) #4

Ironic, isn’t it… When Gutenberg decided to make the Bible available to the masses, he should have left out the entire book of Revelation. Today, if someone comes up with a scenario like this, even from Hollywood, we have to ask “what he’s been smoking”.

I think the problem is that we (humans) have a hard time with abstract, intangible ideas (truths). We have to personify to grasp the ideas. The “Neros” of this world come and go; denominations blossom and wilt; but the aura of them all lingers, only to be realized in the next generation, or the next school of scholars … and we struggle for truth.

The Adventist “present truths” have given the characters in “Revelation” faces and names; and have placed our hopes and fears accordingly. That’s fine; but by doing that we have minimized and limited truth. Nero and the rest of the currently identified characters are those “players who strut and fret their hour upon the stage” and hand the title to the next players. By focusing on the specifics, we may miss what they all have in common - truths behind the masks. Thus, the Antichrist and his supporting players have had many faces, as have the beasts and the angels. Everything said and done, I guess we all know how it ends.


(Thomas J Zwemer) #5

What needs tobe published is Dr Paulien’s Thesis on The Battle Of Armigedden -A Battle Of the Mind.


#6

Here 'tis: The Best Is Yet to Come: A Vision for the Eschatological Remnant.
An Article for Publication in the Journal of the Adventist Theological Society,
Submitted March 31, 2007 by Jon Paulien


#7

Is it possible that Revelation 18:4 applies to everyone who has ever lived and died. Everyone dies by violence, really, when the whole range of deaths is considered. Stroke, heart attack, accident, childbirth, starvation, even a ‘peaceful’ old age are forms of violence to God’s original plan. Even during life, our minds are damaged by fear, disappointment and grief, and the beautiful plans of God (Jeremiah 29:11…) are destroyed. Perhaps we are all martyrs in this cosmic battle, and can take comfort in the concept of souls “under the altar”. This idea may only be new to me; if so, please forgive my temerity.


(David) #8

ezbord: Frankly, despite your sincerest efforts, I find the endless possibilities of explanations of these odious symbols obscure, obtuse, oblique and OPAQUE. When PhDs like yourself have multiple interpretations, what was God thinking?

He thought it was a good idea.

Luke 10:21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.


(William J Baker) #9

Is anybody in this discussion willing to hazard a guess on the identity of “the beast that was and is not”?
The SS Quarterly sees it clearly as Rome.
Dr Tonstad seems not to concur.
Neither do I.
Before you answer, remember that the description “was and is not” was given circa 95AD.

What do you think?


(William J Baker) #13

CC
THE BEAST THAT IS THE EIGHTH:
Since nobody in this rather small
discussion thread has yet offered an
alternative to Rome as the beast of Rev 17:11,
I will offer my reasons why I think both Rome
and the Papacy are poor fits:
The angel said,
“THE BEAST THAT WAS AND IS NOT,
EVEN HE IS THE EIGHTH…” Rev 17:11.
The angel said this to St. John circa
95AD which implies that in 95AD the
beast “that was” had already suffered a
deadly wound and become an “is not”/has been.
That of course can’t describe the Papacy,
because the Pope didn’t even consolidate
his power until about 538AD. And it wasn’t until
1798 that Napoleon jailed the Pope, thus
delivering that deadly wound almost
2 millenniums too late to be alluded to by
the angel of Rev 17:11 as “was and is not”.
Neither can it refer to the Roman Empire
which was quite strong in 95AD and still
expanding its territory. It was strong enough
to sack Jerusalem and burn the Temple
in 70AD and devastate John’s homeland
Judea. And it went on to invade Britannia
and build Hadrian’s wall across it.
So the Angel Of Rev 17:11could not have
been referring to Rome as the beast in
either Rome’s imperial or ecclesiastical phase.
Remember that St. Paul said the “mystery
of iniquity” was already working, and he
warned that “false brethren”/crypto agents
were sneaking in “unawares” to steal our
freedom.I think these “falsebrethren”/cryptoagents
of the dragon are somehow related to
the beast of Rev 17:11.
But that beast does not represent the Pope.
Anybody here care to say what the
beast represents ?


(David) #14

Continuing the discussion from The Beast That Is an Eighth:

If you wish to know who the beast is, who was, and is not, and yet is and ascends out of the bottomless pit you must first determine what the bottomless pit is. Find the bottomless pit and you will find the beast.


(William J Baker) #15

Galiman,
Thanks for the reply.
THE ABYSS or bottomless pit could be a place of confinement, sort of a cosmic jail. The beast, of course, is just a metaphor, and I don’t know if metaphors can go to jail, or if I could see the beast if I visited the Abyss, because he is just a metaphor.
The abyss of the apocalypse is probably not simply a metaphor. I think it could be real physical place, like a black hole or something, and evil angels could be imprisoned there right now.
In Rev 9 the 5th and 6th angels will blow their horns and 200 million demonic locusts and horsemen will be released from the abyss to bring havoc and torment upon the earth. Their king is Abaddon. I don’t know if he is confined there now. Maybe his strength is just curtailed until the time of the end.
THE BEAST of Rev 19 has been metaphorically put in the abyss, but he has escaped and his deadly wound is healing.
To see the beast, we must examine history (both ancient and modern history) and we must search the Bible for clues to his identity.


(David) #17

BBaker>>That Great City has had a more modern name since Christ changed everything at Calvary. Look to chapter 11.
THEIR DEAD BODIES SHALL LIE IN THE STREET OF THAT GREAT CITY WHICH IS SPIRITUALLY CALLED SODEM AND EGYPT WHERE OUR LORD WAS CRUCIFIED.” Rev 11:8
Where was Christ crucified? JERUSALEM. Who did it? The Pharisees, they were Christ’s greatest earthly enemies, and the only people with whom the Prince Of Peace ever picked a fight.
Another minor clue to her identity is that she sits on 7 hills. This is usually taken to mean that Adventism’s favorite boogerman, the Pope, is implicated, because Rome famously sits on 7 hills. But so does Jerusalem, and Christ was crucified in Jerusalem, not Rome.

And the two witnesses whose dead bodies lie in the street of Jerusalem are???

Clues to the beast:
“THE BEAST THAT THOU SAWEST, WAS AND IS NOT, AND SHALL ASCEND OUT OF THE ABYSS AND GO INTO PERDITION” Rev 17:8
In AD70 the Roman Army, acting as God’s blunt instrument, burned Jerusalem and the Temple, and dispersed its inhabitants. Christ predicted the destruction of the temple

Christ predicted the destruction of the Temple but He was not referring to the Earthly temple in the earthly city of Jerusalem (IMO). People in general make the same mistake the Pharisees did in not understanding Christ’s words, “destroy this Temple and in three days I will raise it up”.

Thus the army of imperial Rome inflicted on the beast a deadly wound from which he is now beginning to recover, as he escapes from the abyss. In 1917, England’s Lord Balfour issued the Balfour Declaration, which is now celebrated every year in Israel. In it England agreed to give land in Palestine to the not yet existing State of Israel. England did not own own this land and had about as much right to give away Palestine as to give away New Jersey. And thus the beast began to slip from his cage.

You could say the same thing about the Louisiana purchase. France did not own that land and had about as much right to sell it to the U.S. as to sell Africa.

Israel has been enjoying a much better recovery from the deadly wound than the Pope has from from his deadly wound.

The deadly wound is on one of the 7 heads or hills as you call them. I would go back to the drawing board and study the 7 heads of the beast. I see a general lack of consistency in your applications (IMO).


(William J Baker) #19

Rev 11:8 helps identify the Whore of Babylon:

But first we will have to backtrack to Rev 17 which describes the whore in detail as she rides her beast. And her name is given as “Mystery, Babylon, The Mother of Harlots…”. Then the last verse of chapter 17 tells us she is the “Great City that rules over the kings of the earth”.

“THE WOMAN THAT THOU SAWEST IS THAT GREAT CITY THAT RULES OVER THE KINGS OF THE EARTH” Rev 17:18

Then the following chapter (18) describes in detail the destruction of that great evil city (which IS the Whore of Babylon).

Now we can return to Rev 11:8 because it will tell us who/what is the Whore / evil Great City. Speaking of the aforementioned Witnesses 11:8 says,

“And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of THAT GREAT CITY which IS known as Sodem and Egypt WHERE OUR LORD WAS CRUCIFIED”.

Jesus Christ was crucified in Jerusalem. So that Grest City which has in the past been represented as Sodem and Egypt and Babylon is now said to be Jerusalem where our Lord was crucified. And Rev 17:18 (quoted above) says that the Whore on the beast IS that Great City. So the inescapable conclusion is that JERUSALEM in Palestine IS metaphorically THE WHORE OF BABYLON described in Rev 17.


(David) #20

Continuing the discussion from The Beast That Is an Eighth:

BBaker: However, you probably remember that He specifically spoke of the temple at another time when He said plainly that “NOT ONE STONE WILL BE LEFT ON ANOTHER”, Mat 24:2.

Christ rarely ever spoke plainly. John 16:29 His disciples said to Him, “See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech!

There is no mistaking that statement. Christ obviously meant the Temple would be destroyed. As I pointed out earlier, the Roman Army fulfilled Christ’s prophecy in AD70,

Yes He did but He was not referring to the earthy temple. I believe He was primarily referring to the Temple in heaven which is intimately connected to His Church.

Ephesians 2: Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

2 Cor. 6 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

1 Peter 2: Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

2 Thess. 2 that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

Matt. 24: Therefore when you see theabomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (i.e. In the temple), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

Daniel 8: And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land. And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them. He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down. Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices; and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered.
Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, “How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?” And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.”

Clearly Christ was foretelling the defilement of the Heavenly Temple and the corresponding fall of the Church.

and also Stephen’s prophecy at the same time. Stephen, speaking for God, had prophesied, “I will carry you away beyond Babylon”, Acts 7:43.

Here you misapply Stephen’s quote from the Old Testament where he is simply referring to the captivity of Babylon as punishment for the rebellion of Israel. You’re trying to make Stephen’s reference to Babylon into a prophecy that he himself is giving.

BUT, the point that I made about that event was that I believe the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Pharisees constituted the beast’s deadly head wound spoken of in Rev 13:3, “ONE OF THE HEADS OF THE BEAST WAS FATALLY WOUNDED, BUT THE WOUND WAS HEALED, AND THE WHOLE WORLD WAS ASTONISHED AND FOLLOWED THE BEAST”.
As I pointed out earlier, the timing of this wound in AD70 helps us identify this beast when he reappears in the Abyss to St John in AD95 as “THE BEAST THAT YOU SAW WAS, AND IS NOT,
AND SHALL ASCEND FROM THE ABYSS AND GO INTO PERDITION”…And in AD95 John saw the beast who was in the abyss because he was sent there with a deadly head wound in AD70 by God’s blunt instrument, the Roman Army.

I believe you are restricting the word “WAS” to a specific time relative to when the book of Revelation was written. I don’t believe that restriction is justified. All it says is that there is a time when the beast “was” (when it arose), then a time when it “was not” (when it went into the bottomless pit), and a time when it “ascended out of the bottomless pit”. You are saying that the destruction of the earthly Jerusalem was the deadly wound that put the beast (Pharisees or Jerusalem not sure which) into the bottomless pit. You still have not described the bottomless pit (or abyss as your version says).

I will reiterate that I believe these prophesies of the Whore and her beast don’t fit the Papacy nearly as well as they fit the Pharisees, who are now riding the beast from the Abyss.

If I understand you correctly, you are saying Jerusalem in the Middle East is the beast and the Whore is the Pharisees (plural). Your interpretation is a futuristic interpretation like EGW’s interpretation is. I agree that the Papacy is not the beast. The Papacy is merely the office of the Pontifex Maximus. The Pontifex Maximus was the Pagan High Priest of Rome, manager and protector of the Roman calendar and its “sacred” holiday observances. He is essentially the dragon’s right hand man. It is by virtue of his position as Pontifex Maximus that pope Gregory XIII reformed the Anno Domini Julian calendar.

I think that you probably agree with me that when the USA (2 horned beast) stole this continent, including the Louisiana Purchase, from the indigenous inhabitants that our actions in no way give the beast the right to dispossess and genocide the Palestinians from their own homeland. This is especially true since the beast was evicted from that homeland way back in AD70 by God Almighty Himself as prophesied by St Stephen.

Now you are saying the Pharisees are the beast contrary to your own statement above where you say the “Pharisees (are the whore), who are now riding the beast”.

You can’t have it both ways. Besides, when have the Palestinians ever been the Apple of God’s eye? I think you put way to much emphasis on the Palestinians.

All I can say is, I think it is important because God’s Word warns us to “come out of her my people”, and we can’t easily do that if we don’t know who SHE is.

That’s the 64 dollar question that I don’t think you have answered yet.

Who are the 2 witnesses? I’m sad to say I don’t know the answer to the question of who are the 2 witnesses of Rev 11:8.

That’s okay.

I believe SDA doctrine speculates that they are the old and New Testament. Could be? Nah.

Agreed

The point I was trying to make by quoting Rev 11:8 is that it helps identify the Whore of Babylon.

Yes it does but it must be interpreted correctly.

But first we will have to backtrack to Rev 17 which describes the whore in detail as she rides her beast. And her name is given as “Mystery, Babylon, The Mother of Harlots…”. Then the last verse of chapter 17 tells us she is the “Great City that rules over the kings of the earth”.

“THE WOMAN THAT THOU SAWEST IS THAT GREAT CITY THAT RULES OVER THE KINGS OF THE EARTH” Rev 17:18

Then the following chapter (18) describes in detail the destruction of that great evil city (which IS the Whore of Babylon).

Now we can return to Rev 11:8 because it will tell us who/what is the Whore / evil Great City. Speaking of the aforementioned Witnesses 11:8 says,

“And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of THAT GREAT CITY which IS known as Sodom and Egypt WHERE OUR LORD WAS CRUCIFIED”.

Jesus Christ was crucified in Jerusalem. So that Great City which has in the past been represented as sodom and Egypt and Babylon is now said to be Jerusalem where our Lord was crucified. And Rev 17:18 (quoted above) says that the Whore on the beast IS that Great City. So the inescapable conclusion is that JERUSALEM in Palestine IS metaphorically THE WHORE OF BABYLON described in Rev 17.

I think you are correct in a narrow sense but I think you are lacking the precision of the prophecy. Again, here you say Jerusalem is the whore. You seem to go back and forth between the Pharisees and Jerusalem as far as the identity of the whore is concerned.

Christ said in Luke 21:

"But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

Sodom and Egypt are the two locations in the bible from which God’s people fled. The great city where Christ was crucified is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt. The surrounding of Jerusalem by armies in Luke is another view of what Christ said in Matthew and Mark about the abomination of desolation.

Matt. 24: “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains”.

It is also the same view of what Christ said in Revelation 11:

Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.


(William J Baker) #22

Galiman,
While you are formulating an answer (I hope), to my question about the identity of the whore and her beast, I will attempt to answer some of your observations. One at a time.

You said, that Christ rarely said anything plainly and that when He said “NOT ONE STONE WILL BE LEFT ON ANOTHER”, He was really talking about the heavenly sanctuary.

I think you do injustice to Jesus Christ by saying He rarely said anything plainly. It is true that after a certain point in His ministry he spoke to the people mostly in parables, but please don’t give the impression that you think the world’s greatest philosopher and divine Son of God may have spoken so cryptically that He couldn’t be understood. It would be unfortunate if folks thought that you thought that. He generally spoke plainly to the 12 when they were in private, and they have explained to us.

Back to the quote in question from Christ, “NOT ONE STONE WILL BE LEFT ON ANOTHER”.

Could He have been referring to the Heavenly Sanctuary as you suggested, instead of the Temple in Jerusalem?

I can’t see see that application.
For the primary application I will still have to go with destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem as the main intent of His statement, because that is what they were talking about. The disciples had just pointed out the Temple, saying look at these buildings. And while they were looking at the Temple He answered saying, “NOT ONE STONE WILL BE LEFT ON ANOTHER”. Mat 24:1,2. Clearly He was talking about the Temple at hand being pointed at. To think He cryptically referred to something else is to believe He was obtuse or disingenuous or both.
And if that Temple had failed to fall down people could rightly accuse Him of declaring a false prophecy. And they would definitely do so, because some people love to attack Christ.

I’m not aware that the heavenly temple was harmed in any way subsequent to this prophecy, as you suggested. I don’t think any temple was knocked down in Heaven. The 2300 day prophecy which you quoted had nothing to do with predicting the destruction of any temple anywhere in Heaven or Earth. The Temple in Heaven had been ceremonially defiled by several millennia of sin. Starting in 1844, the cleansing of the Sanctuary in Heaven started removing this ceremonial filth by cleansing it with the Blood of the Lamb in accordance with Daniel’s 2300 day prophecy.

It still stands that the destruction of the temple in 70AD by the Roman Army fulfilled Christ’s prophecy.

Christ had also told them that, “the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people bearing fruit.” Mat 21:43. The Pharisees fulfilled this prophecy themselves by murdering the Messiah and chasing the Christians out of town by relentlessly persecuting them. This was not new behavior for them, they did the same to all the prophets. Luke 11:50-52.
St. Paul now refers to Christianity as the “ISRAEL OF GOD”, Gal 6:16, showing that the kingdom really has been taken away from the Pharisees as foretold by Christ.


(William J Baker) #24

STEPHEN’S PROPHECY OF THE “ROMAN CAPTIVITY”

(This is a response to Galiman, who opined essentially that Stephen did NOT prophesy that Israel would be carried away beyond Babylon.)

As the Pharisees were murdering St Stephen he gave a prophecy that paralleled Christ’s prophecy of the destruction of the Temple. Christ’s prophecy about the temple is discussed above.

St Stephen’s prophecy can be found in Acts 7:43. Speaking for God, Stephen said to the Pharisees, “I WILL CARRY YOU AWAY BEYOND BABYLON”.

Stephen couched his prophecy in the words of the Prophet Amos who earlier had spoken for God when he said,
“I WILL CARRY YOU AWAY BEYOND DAMASCUS “. Amos 5:27.
The Children of Israel had already suffered a captivity in Damascus by the Assyrians, and Amos was warning them of another captivity beyond Damascus. Amos’s prophecy proved true when they were carried away beyond Damascus TO BABYLON.
Then comes Stephen declaring an even worse disaster! He said they would be carried “AWAY BEYOND BABYLON”!!
In AD70 the Romans did just that.
Parts of Israel were slaughtered, dispersed, and enslaved to unknown parts across the Roman Empire.

Amos 5:27 “…therefore I will carry you away beyond Damascus”
Acts 7:43 “I will carry you away beyond Babylon.”

Israel historically is said to have had 2 “captivities”, the “ASSYRIAN CAPTIVITY”and the “BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY” from which God allowed them to return home to Palestine.
St Stephen warned of a third captivity which I shall call the “ROMAN CAPTIVITY”. Most of those poor Jews never returned.They were intermingled, enslaved, and genocided, and a some of the tribes were lost.

Christ had warned the Pharisees that, ”the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people bearing fruit”, Mat 21:43.
Subsequent to that St Paul referred to the Christian Church as the “ISRAEL OF GOD”, Gal 6:16.
So now the Church is the Apple Of God’s Eye, and the modern nation of Israel is recovering from the deadly wound inflicted on the remnant of Solomon’s idolatrous Empire by the Roman Army.


(David) #25

Continuing the discussion from The Beast That Is an Eighth:

BBaker: Could He have been referring to the Heavenly Sanctuary as you suggested, instead of the Temple in Jerusalem?

I can’t see see that application.
For the primary application I will still have to go with destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem as the main intent of His statement, because that is what they were talking about. The disciples had just pointed out the Temple, saying look at these buildings. And while they were looking at the Temple He answered saying, “NOT ONE STONE WILL BE LEFT ON ANOTHER”. Mat 24:1,2. Clearly He was talking about the Temple at hand being pointed at. To think He cryptically referred to something else is to believe He was obtuse or disingenuous or both.

The whole conversation appeared to be staged in order to allow for Christ to teach an important truth. Why did Jesus need His disciples to tell Him about the adornments and buildings of the temple? I’m sure Jesus was already very familiar with the temple. What purpose would be served by simply predicting the destruction of the earthly temple? That Christ was indeed the Messiah because He predicted it? Christ said they wouldn’t believe even if one were to rise from the dead. It’s really just a footnote in history with no real impact on the Church. The temple in heaven on the other hand has a big impact on the Church and that’s why I believe it is the primary focus.

And if that Temple had failed to fall down people could rightly accuse Him of declaring a false prophecy. And they would definitely do so, because some people love to attack Christ.

I’m sure the destruction of the earthly temple was part of the plan but I don’t think it was the primary message that Christ wanted to get across.

I’m not aware that the heavenly temple was harmed in any way subsequent to this prophecy, as you suggested. I don’t think any temple was knocked down in Heaven.

Christ told Peter that what he loosed on earth would be loosed in heaven and what he bound on earth would be bound in heaven.
The planetary week that was adopted by an influential portion of the Church at Nicaea carries with it a lie against heaven - that heaven revolves around the earth. The planetary week is an offense against heaven and the temple.

The 2300 day prophecy which you quoted had nothing to do with predicting the destruction of any temple anywhere in Heaven or Earth. The Temple in Heaven had been ceremonially defiled by several millennia of sin. Starting in 1844, the cleansing of the Sanctuary in Heaven started removing this ceremonial filth by cleansing it with the Blood of the Lamb in accordance with Daniel’s 2300 day prophecy.

The 2300 evenings and mornings is related to the vision of the casting down of the place of His sanctuary. I don’t accept the 1844 interpretation. William Miller rejected it and he’s the one who came up with it. Why should I believe something the originator himself rejected?

It still stands that the destruction of the temple in 70AD by the Roman Army fulfilled Christ’s prophecy.

The destruction of the earthly temple is a footnote. What does it mean to you?

Sorry William, I can’t provide the identities of the whore, beast, and two horned beast. I’m just not ready to give them up yet.


(David) #27

Continuing the discussion from The Beast That Is an Eighth:

William,

I appreciate the vote of confidence. Those things are jewels that I’ve worked hard to obtain. I’m just not ready to give them up. You’re right though; I’m old and I’m a hermit.


(David) #28

Continuing the discussion from The Beast That Is an Eighth:

William,

I gave your request some more consideration. The whore (and only the whore-Babylon) is in the mail. When the ten kings burn the whore, you’ll know that what I’m saying is true.

Dave