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Revelation 17:10:

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. (My emphasis)

This sixth king (following the first five) who "was" at the time of this revelation, clearly appears to be the reigning King dominant over the world at the time this revelation of the "woman" and the "beast" described in Rev. 17:7 was given to John:

And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.

This seems to be a very important part of this revelation concerning the beast. Please name the sixth king that "is", (was at that time) and the name of "the other" who is not yet come, (at that time) but who would come after him, and continue a short space. This seems very important because that one who followed would necessarily have to have been the noteworthy seventh king out of whom the eighth--that very beast of Rev. 17:11--would come, making a noteworthy pair out of the seventh and the eighth.

And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

If the seventh had not yet come at that time, then the eighth who was to come out of the seven before him, would have also been a future king at the time this revelation was given. Yet, given the identity of the sixth and seventh kings, the eighth could certainly be traceable--couldn't he?

  • The number of different answers/interpretations to this question will be slightly larger than the number of people reading it. It will also depend on whether one is a dispensationalist, preterist, historicist, idealist, etc. And even within these there will be several variations. – Dottard Aug 16 at 21:03
  • Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome are the six kingdoms seen in scripture. Rome was extant at the time John wrote. One is yet to come, which, clearly from the Book of Revelation, will be a new kind of rule : diverse, which fades and disappears, yet is still there (the eighth). Then comes the end. (This is a comment, not an answer because there is so much needless controversy about this simple fact that it will attract unwanted strife and argument.) +1, nevertheless, it is a good question. – Nigel J Aug 17 at 1:11
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  • As one can quite easily glimpse from its very text, the Book of Revelation was written in times of great persecution, so the sixth king must be the one in whose time a significant persecution against Christianity took place. Nero, the sixth Roman Emperor when counting from Caesar, seems to meet these two criteria.

  • Rome, the capital of the aforementioned Roman Empire, was a city (17:18) traditionally reckoned to have been established upon seven hills (17:9).

  • The seventh king, whose reign is explicitly described as lasting only a short while (17:10), seems like a rather transparent allusion to the year of the four emperors, when three kings followed in short succession; see also Daniel VII:8, 20, 24.

  • The eighth is then Vespasian, during whose reign Jerusalem and its Temple were leveled to the ground, making him a fitting candidate for the ominous title of Beast, ascribed to him in John's Apocalypse (17:11).

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  • Nero makes great sense for the king reigning at the time of this prophesy. I wonder why you chose to apply three rogue kings who you properly attach to Dan. 7:8 as being only one king, rather than three. If these three kings are "plucked up by the roots" (H6132 - Arabic `aqar), how could any of the three be counted in Revelation. Could Revelation be talking about only seven kings (the ten Daniel kings, minus the three plucked-up-by-the-roots kings)? Daniel was speaking about the "prince" that shall come to destroy--Titus--the eleventh. Could Vespasian, the seventh (10-3=7) and Titus (11-3=8)? – Bill Porter Aug 19 at 18:39
  • @BillPorter: Part 1: The text of 17:10 reads as follows: there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other [one] is not yet come. Since 7 = 5 + 1 + 1, the simplest interpretation is that this other one is indeed counted among the seven, as opposed to being supernumerary. Then, the very next verse (17:11) mentions the eighth, strengthening the idea that all seven have been presented; otherwise, we'd expect the seventh to be mentioned somewhere in between 17:10 and 17:11, were that other one not to refer to him. – Lucian Aug 19 at 23:21
  • @BillPorter: Part 2: Furthermore, 17:10 also adds the following description: when he comes, he must continue a short space. Now, were it to refer to only one of the three, then that would identify the much dreaded Beast as an otherwise unremarkable king, which is rather anticlimactic. As already mentioned, the above interpretation is the simplest, insofar aligning the biblical text to the historical data is concerned. Others would force the text to a greater extent, which I am not comfortable doing. – Lucian Aug 19 at 23:28
  • which of the three rogue civil-war kings do you think should be retained as number seven following Nero? Moreover, you seem to be stuck on the word, "short", while ignoring the word "continue". The comprehensive understanding should be that he would "continue" a short space. Even at that, OTHER THAN those three plucked-up-by-the-roots kings, and Caligula, Vespasian was the shortest reigning king of the first ten kings.Since the other one is not yet come, only six have been accounted for up to Nero. You MUST eliminate the three `aqar (H6132 corresponding to H6131) kings after Nero. – Bill Porter Aug 20 at 3:08
  • @BillPorter: I am unable to (truly) comprehend your last comment; as such, the following paragraphs might be (partially) irrelevant to what you are actually trying to say. The word to continue (usually) means to last or to span; it's unclear what exactly it is that you are trying to read into it. Furthermore, Vespasian's reign lasted five times more than all those three put together, and twice more than Caligula's. – Lucian Aug 20 at 3:29
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Revelation 1: The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John

This verse shows that the vision was first given to Jesus himself who recorded it and later showed it to others. Jesus has been around for a long time so its impossible to say exactly what time the phrase "one is" is referring to. I have my own theory but it would probably just get deleted.

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  • Time texts matter. They may not be removed from context, nor removed from the object of the prophesy. – Gina Aug 19 at 22:07
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The "one who is" indicated the present tense when the book of Revelation was written. Christ was telling John of the destruction that was about to come upon Jerusalem in the 1st century AD. So, the ruling beast king had to be the sixth king of the 4th beast kingdom that Daniel ch. 2, 7, & 9 had prophesied would be in power when Christ was "cut off" - crucified.

Those markers limit that 4th beast kingdom to the ancient Roman empire of the 1st century AD. Therefor, the sixth ruler of the ancient Roman empire was the "beast" ruler or king that was ruling that sea beast nation when the book was written. We count them:

  1. Julius Caesar, 2) Octavian Augustus, 3) Tiberius, 4) Caligula, 5) Claudius, and 6) Nero.

Nero was the "beast" ruler at the time Revelation was written. So we can know that Revelation was written before the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed.

The seventh ruler was Galba who assumed power at Nero's death and ruled for about 6 months. The 8th king then was Otho, and the 9th was Vitelius. Then Vespasian took control. The year of four emperors from 68 - 69 AD saw civil wars that nearly destroyed Rome. It was Vespasian who pulled it back from the brink. (1)

Each ruling king of the beast nation took on the role of a beast king. Each head of the beast was also referred to as a beast. So the beast kingdom of the sea and the ruling king of it were interchangeably referred to as "the beast". When the sixth beast (Nero) was mortally wounded unto death, the entire beast kingdom almost fell.

Beasts were / are oppressor nations / kingdoms that preyed upon the people. The word beast in Rev. 13:1 is “therion” and means a wild beast, a predator that preys upon and devours the young and the weak.(2) God used this symbol of a wild beast (lions, bears, leopards, wolves, etc.) for oppressive, parasitic kingdoms that metaphorically fed off the people, draining their wealth through wars, taxation, and theft.

Nero “was and is not”, meaning he had died (Rev. 17:11). He was the last of the Julian line of Caesars. But, he is shown again in the eighth beast ruler. The eighth Caesar of Rome was Otho.

Otho murdered Galba, and was proclaimed emperor by the army. He then ruled for three months, from Jan to April AD 69. He had been a friend to Nero, but had joined with Galba to overthrow Nero. (3), (4), (5) That Otho was “of the seven” possibly refers to his conspiracy with Galba to overthrow Nero.

Vitellius’ army defeated that of Otho in April of AD 69. He ruled Rome for approx. 7 months until Dec AD 69. He had also been a companion to Nero, and signaled the type of rule he would follow by making funerary offerings to Nero and calling for Nero’s songs. (6). He was a very cruel and gluttonous man, and soon lost support of the armies. His army was defeated by Vespasian’s, and the senate confirmed Vespasian as emperor on Dec. 21, AD 69. (7) (8)

Tacitus wrote, “Moreover, on certain days the people and soldiers, as if adding thereby to Otho’s nobility and distinction, acclaimed him as Nero Otho.” (Histories 1.78; cf. 1.13 and 1.25). Note:19 ” On the portrayal of Otho in Tacitus, Plutarch and Suetonius, see Perkins 1993 and Braun 1992.”

Nero, one head of the 4th beast empire, was not the entire beastly empire. But, two of his successors, Otho and Vitellius both honored and ruled in Nero’s memory, in essence making a reappearance of Nero and “ascending out of the bottomless pit” (Rev. 17:8) Both went "into perdition" very quickly.

See more on Rev. 13 at my blog ShreddingTheVeil.org:

Frequent Mistakes - Part 1: Rev. 13:3 The Wounded Head here

Notes:

  1. The Twelve Caesars - here

  2. Therion - Strong's Gr 2342 Biblehub

  3. “Otho” from Encyclopedia Britannica here

  4. Otho from Ancient History Encyclopedia here

  5. Marcus Salvius Otho from Roman-Empire.net here

  6. The Life of Vitellius by Seutonius here

  7. Vitellius from Ancient History here

  8. Titus Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus from Roman-Empire.net here

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  • Otho, Galba, and Vitellius were--all three--rogue civil-war Emperors who were chopped down after only months, not years, because of their anti-Roman aspirations and methods. They were clearly the three plucked-up-by-the-roots kings of Daniel 7:8. which demands that those three rogue kings had to be plucked up BEFORE Titus came to destroy the City. So wouldn't that leave only Vespasian as the seventh of Revelation--the tenth of Daniel--, and Titus as the eighth of Revelation--the eleventh of Daniel? – Bill Porter Aug 19 at 19:19
  • Vespasian did not make any claim to Nero's line as both Otho & Vitelius had. Only those 2 could answer the "resurrection" of the 6th ruler. The Flavian line made clear distinction from the Julian line. Dan. 7:7 - 10 horns r 10 kings. Most ppl mistake the little horn of Dan 7:8 as being an 11th king, when coming up from among them means he was of the 10, & not another king outside of the 10, but outside the Julian line..The 3 that were plucked up by their roots were Galba, Otho & Vitellius - pretenders to the Julian line. TItus, son of Vespasian acted under Vespasian's orders / carried out. – Gina Aug 19 at 22:18
  • Otho and Vitelius made many untrue claims, and suffered quick deaths because of it. They were rogue rulers who reigned counter to "the glory of the kingdom". Notice the extreme condition of being "plucked up by the roots" (H6132 corresponding to H6131). The three civil-war kings were, figuratively, exterminated--rendered useless for work. The sixth ruler will not be resurrected until a thousand years after the beast and false prophet are resurrected. Titus must be the prince that came to destroy the city, who afterward became the reigning heir to Vespasian, and will be resurrected and judged. – Bill Porter Aug 20 at 3:35
  • Ahhh, futurists. How long is "soon" ? 2,000 + years & counting? The last days were defined in the scriptures as the end of the Mosaic sacrificial temple in Jerusalem, & the destruction of Jerusalem - never were the "end of the world" nor the end of time. 1 Pet. 1:20 - "...was manifest in these last times for you," When was Christ manifested on earth? 1st cent. AD. & Peter said He was manifested in "these last times", ergo A=B=C, 1st cent. AD were the last times / last days when Christ was crucified. Pls read the scriptural proofs at my blog ShreddingTheVeil.org. – Gina Aug 20 at 14:15
  • First, in the last days, scoffers, then the coming : 2nd Peter:3:3-4: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. – Bill Porter Aug 22 at 0:07

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