The Identity of the Beast of Revelation 13 and 17
  Here is wisdom.
Let him that hath understanding count the number
of the beast: for it is the number of a man;
and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
Revelation 13: 18
 

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Proofs that the Beast of Revelation 13: 1 - 10 is Identical to the Beast of Revelation 17

The BRI has opposed the Biblical Identity that is given to the Beast of Revelation 13 and 17.

They dispute that the beast in the two references are not the same.

I contend that they are the same, and that the differences are all pertaining to the two different times in which this beast is shown in history and in the prophecy. These are "developmental differences" and are expected when the same entity is shown that is being viewed from two different eras. The first during its power and dominion in Revelation 13, and the second during its time in the wilderness, where John was "taken" by the angel in the vision; The angelic explanation MUST be the descriptive of the same period in which the prophetic event occurs for it indeed is the explanation of the end time event that John was being shown. We know that these changes have occurred to the papacy, and therefore account for the subtle differences that are shown in the text.

The BRI writes;

I. The Issues
Before studying Rev 17 in more detail, some basic questions must be answered:

(1) Is the sea beast of Rev 13 identical with the beast of Rev 17 or does the beast of Rev 17 represent a different power?

(2) What is the time frame of the vision? Does John describe events from a first century A.D. perspective, or is the point of reference to be found later and John is placed there in the spirit?

(3) Is the description of the beast in Rev 17:8 “it was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and goes to destruction”–parallel to the description of the horns in verse 10 which says ”five are fallen, one is, the other has not yet come,” or do these different stages of the beast not directly coincide with the subdivision of the heads?

(4) How should the heads be interpreted? We will briefly turn to these questions and propose some answers.

The beast of Rev 17 as well as the heads have been understood differently by biblical scholars within the Adventist Church. The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary lists several views but is not dogmatic about any of them:

(1) Some Adventists hold that the “was” phase of the beast represents pagan Rome, the “is not” phase the interim between pagan and papal Rome, and the “will come” phase papal Rome.

(2) “Others equate the ‘was’ period with that represented by the beast and its seven heads, the ‘is not’ period with the interval between the wounding of the seventh head and the revival of the beast as ‘the eighth’, and the ‘yet is’ period with the revival of the beast when it becomes ‘the eighth.’” In this case the “was” period would probably stand for papal Rome and the “will come” phase for its revival after the healing of the deadly wound.

The heads are understood by some as “all political opposition to the people and cause of God.” Another suggestion is to interpret the five heads as the beasts of Dan 7 plus the little horn, that is, the empires from Babylon to the papacy, the sixth head as the beast out of the abyss (Rev 11), that is, the French Revolution, and the seventh head as the beast out of the earth (Rev 13) namely the United States of America.

Still another proposal considers the five heads as the empires Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece, the sixth head as pagan Rome, and the seventh as papal Rome.

The difference between the second and third view on the heads is that with the second view the sixth head is placed in the year 1798 A.D., whereas in the third view the sixth beast represents the time in which John lived, namely the first century.

We will have to address this issue later. The following interpretation should be regarded as a good possibility, but not as the final word on one of the most difficult passages of Scripture.

Although the sea beast of Rev 13 and the beast of Rev 17 have some common elements, there are also important differences.

Common elements are: Both have seven heads and ten horns (13:1; 17:7). The sea beast has a “mouth speaking . . . blasphemies” (Rev 13:5), whereas the other beast is “full of blasphemous names”

(Rev 17:3). Both are powers opposed to God, Jesus, and the saints (Rev 13:6-8; 17:14). The differences are also remarkable: The sea beast has crowns on its horns (Rev 13:1), the beast of Rev 17 does not have any crowns.

The color of the sea beast is not mentioned, but the other beast’s color is scarlet (Rev 17:3). The sea beast comes out of the sea (Rev 13:1), but the beast on which Babylon rides comes out of the abyss (Rev 17:8). This suggests that these beasts symbolize different entities, although they share some characteristics and pursue similar goals.


Later in the BRI document there is written a direct refutation of the ability to determine the time of Revelation 17, in spite of the overwhelming evidence of the context of the chapter.

BRI:
A natural understanding of Rev 17:10, “and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while” seems to imply that at the time John wrote the Book of Revelation five kingdoms had fallen and the sixth was ruling. We are not told that John was transported into another time. Obviously, John lived during the period of the sixth head. In addition, the Book of Revelation was primarily addressed to Christians living in the first century. Probably they would have understood verse 10 in such a way that the sixth head referred to the time they were living in. If we assume that the sixth head was not ruling when Revelation was penned and John had been taken to another time, then we are not able to come up with any definite interpretation of Rev 17, because there is no way to determine in which time John was transported, whether he was in the first centuries A.D., the medieval ages, directly after 1798, or at an even later time.


To read their words: "seems to imply" is simply lame, and is not supported by the context of the chapter to indicate that it was referencing the time in which John lived.

For them to write after that; "We are not told that John was transported into another time" is an open lie for the very words of the prophecy state thus in Revelation 17:

1. And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:
3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

This obviously shows that John was transported in vision to a place that was not where he was. There is absolutely no indication that the text of Revelation 17 has anything to do with the time of John, nor was it directed to the "Christians living in the first century." For the BRI to assert this view is to "borrow" the preterist interpretation, while still trying to hold to the "Historicist" interpretation. But this mingling of two opposing philosophies has created only error in their rendering of their interpretation of Revelation 17. Rather, there are several indicators that the time spoken of in Revelation 17 is showing the papal beast as it appears after 1798. The woman that rides the beast is shown as being drunken on the blood of the martyrs. This clearly places the papal period shown as after its time of dominion, when there is ample blood that it could have drunk.

Again the BRI writes that the two chapters are depicting two different beasts, and tries to identify the beast of Revelation 17 as being Satan rather than the papacy;

The BRI
Summary
We suggest that: (1) The seven heads of the beast seem to represent kingdoms rather than individual kings. These kingdoms are Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the papacy. (2) The beasts in Rev 12, 13, and 17 do not exactly represent the same power. The beast of Rev 17 is Satan working through political powers.


The dragon is depicted in Revelation 12 as being the power that Satan works through the political powers of the earth. The beast does not do this, but rather it, being given power by the dragon, rules over the kings of the earth, seeing that it is also one of the dragon's horns itself.

In the latest commentary by Ranko Stefanovic; ``The Revelation of Jesus Christ,'' published by Andrews University in 2002 it reads;

``However, as William G. Johnsson states, the seven heads of the dragon represent `the kingdoms through which Satan has worked to oppress God's people throughout the ages.' ''

``It is significant that the beasts of Daniel 7 have together seven heads and ten horns in total.'' THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST Ranko Stefanovic 2002 p. 404

``However, while the dragon had the seven crowns on his heads, the beast has ten crowns on his horns. We saw earlier that the seven crowns on the dragon's heads denote Satan's false claim of full authority and power over the world.'' THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST Ranko Stefanovic 2002 p. 405


The following comparisons are highlighted between Revelation 13 and Revelation 17, showing that the beast spoken about in both chapters are describing the same beast. That beast in Revelation 13 is the papacy, and in Revelation it is also the papacy. The very same elements in both chapters are describing the very same details. In chapter 17, the papal beast is depicted at the time following 1798, and in Revelation 13: 1-10 it is describing the papal beast at the time before 1798.

These are the similarities and common elements of this prophecy that the BRI seems "unable" to perceive that demonstrate that the beast spoken of in these two chapters are identical. These two chapters demonstrate that they align very accurately with the chiastic pattern of the whole book of Revelation. The beasts shown in Revelation 13: 1-10 and 17 are thus demonstrated to be identical.

1 . Seven Heads and Ten Horns

Rev 13: 1. And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.

Rev 17: 3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

2 . Wonder

Rev 13: 3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. Revelation 13: 8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Rev 17: 8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

3 . Blasphemy

Revelation 13: 1. And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

Revelation 17: 3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

4 . Whose Names Are Not Written in the Book of Life

Revelation 13: 8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Revelation 17: 8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

5 . Peoples, Multitudes, Nations, Tongues, Kindreds

Revelation 13: 7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

Revelation 17: 15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

6 . Wisdom

Revelation 13: 18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

Revelation 17: 9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.

7 . Power Given to Him to Reign Over the Kings of the Earth for 42 Months

Revelation 13: 5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
Revelation 13: 7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

Revelation 17: 18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

All these similarities point to the fact that it is describing the same papal beast power. The BRI has attempted to obliterate this comparison by simply denying that it does not exist.

Revelation 3
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

 
 

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