We know the Lamb and we’ve met the beast several times already but the next two chapters furnish us with yet more detail. The seven headed beast it turns out has an eighth head. The beast “was” and “is not” but seems to live again. Yet another picture of how the Roman beast, which seemed dead (AD 476), and to secular historians is still so, but is actually alive and has continued on, in the form of a mysterious eighth head. Imperial Rome passed through its seven phases of government long ago but for those who understand the prophecy they see that it never really died but simply grew a new head in the form of papal Rome.
That same institution (with its red and purple clothed cardinals and bishops) is also depicted as a harlot, a seducer of kings, in bed with everyone who wields power, drunk on the blood of the martyrs. She sits on the seven mountains – everyone knows this to be a classic description of Rome – she ‘sits’ astride the scarlet beast, ‘sits’ upon the seven mountains and also ‘sits’ upon the waters of the earth – all signifying rule and reign from Rome and over peoples and nations. Like Jezebel of old she dominates the weak king Ahabs of the world. However, she has already begun to lose control, first at the Reformation then at the French revolution, and with further great revelations to come and her pending financial calamity (next chapter) her final demise cannot be far hence.
Yet again we meet the beast with seven heads and ten horns but note this time, no crowns. What does this indicate? In chapter 12 the crowns were upon the heads indicating the era of imperial Rome. In chapter 13 the crowns were upon the horns, this was the era of the European kings following the destruction of the old Roman empire. So why no crowns at all in chapter 17? Two possibilities… 1. This chapter is providing a sweeping overview of the harlot’s activities covering both the days of imperial Rome and the days of the European kings, or 2. This represents a third and final phase, where the beast ‘kingdom’ has morphed into something else – i.e. a picture of the current European ‘beast’. Following the last two world wars most of Europe’s monarchies fell and Europe (especially including the EU*) has become an alliance of Republics with only a few exceptions.
(*At time of writing the EU has many more than ten member states but I can’t here engage in comments about whether it can/cannot be represented fairly by the ten horns. Neither do we know what is coming next for this organisation but it certainly spreads across the nations and lands which were formerly represented by the ten kings once upon a time.)
Bearing these two divergent views in mind let’s jump ahead to verse 16…
“And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.”
As previously seen in the first five bowls, and the Napoleonic revolution and empire, the beast certainly turned on the harlot at that time. Priests, churches and the pope himself were dealt with harshly in many ways, from death to destruction of property and imprisonment of the pope. The turning of the beast against the whore has certainly happened once already but there is nothing saying that it can’t/won’t happen again. If the crownless beast represents a more up to date phase then there is another major turning against the harlot to come.
A long way back (chapter 6) we met the martyrs under imperial Rome, who were told that they would be avenged but not until after the others would join them. And so, the many, many others have been added down the centuries. Hounded, tortured and slaughtered by the millions. The oft repeated figure that has been estimated of the number of people slain by papal instruction is around 50 million. This includes individuals, families, small groups and entire communities, sometimes amounting to tens of thousands at a time, who were killed by papal order in “service to God.” She is said to be drunk with the blood of God’s people, so indulged with the killings she once was. She also has a cup full of “abominations.” These are no secrets. Indulgences, superstitions, priestcraft, idolatry, sexual immorality (many cases of paedophilia are now beginning to be exposed in this day) and the list goes on. Just to be clear, no balanced thinking person believes that all ‘Catholics’ are guilty of all these crimes – some may be just as with any other group of people in the world – but these are the institutional sins, committed by the hierarchy, including popes themselves. You do not need to read special ‘religious conspiracy theory’ books to discover these things, many such events are well documented in secular history.