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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?

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  • 1
    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 '20 at 21:03
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    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 '20 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)? Aug 19 '20 at 18:39
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    @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 '20 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 '20 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. Aug 20 '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 '20 at 3:29
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An eschatological question. So somewhat shaky’ground’. So whatever the answer, it will not appeal to all. Nevertheless, all views should be put up for consideration. Therefore because this view is not represented yet, I will forward it for consideration….

REV 17:10 They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for only a little while.

First, the foundation for my answer. Daniel was given an end of times prophecy for Jerusalem, and his people. That is, Israel. And John is given Revelation, to shed light on this. Daniel seals up the scroll, John see’s it opened. (Already some may have rejected this interpretation, nevertheless…).

The ‘kings’ (of Revelation 17) are only those that affect Israel. 5 have fallen.

DANIEL 10:20 So he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come;

Here in this passage from Daniel we see that there is a spiritual entity behind these ‘empires’ that persecute Israel. We know from Exodus that God was going to judge the ‘gods of Egypt’. And we know from Jeremiah that God would judge Nebuchadnezzar.

Daniels encounter with the angel that was held up (Daniel 10:20 above) was under the Persian empire, and Greece would come next. So Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece had afflicted Israel before Johns time, and Rome was at his (John’s) time. And, the empire that has afflicted Israel after Rome has been the Islamic empire, starting with the Ottoman Caliphate. So these are those ‘kings’, but more, ‘kings’ actually references the spiritual ‘entities’ behind these ‘kingdoms’.

This view counters many other accepted interpretations, example, ones that put Europe/EC into the ‘picture’, or the UK, or USA, or ?? etc, but none of these have afflicted Israel, and both Revelation and Daniel are only about Israel - as are ‘the end times’ (but that’s another discussion).

The eighth ‘horn (not king)’ (spiritual entity) comes out of the seventh empire. So the identity of this ‘horn’ is or should be quite clear - but I’ll leave out more detail as it isn’t needed here, and would only incite ‘debate’. [All ‘horns’ are a ‘man’ (body) through which the spiritual ‘entity’ works].

So, the answer to the Q, the ‘one’ that ‘is’, is Rome - or rather the ‘spiritual entity’ that was behind the Roman Empire, who ‘operated’ via or through the [human] Emperor’s.

However, I appreciate that there are very many alternative views, There are already 5 others. These (and any others) can all be presented for consideration.

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  • Yes, many views and the truth is quickly becoming clearer. I think you are right to raise the likelihood of an Islamic Antichrist. Oct 14 at 6:32
  • @MartinHemsley Thanks. The term ‘Antichrist’ is in some respects misleading. There is more than one ‘figure’ in the Revelation 17 scenario. There are ‘two’ dominant ‘figureheads’. And one will look very much like Christ. Anti - as in - in his place, as if it were him. (Off course, only my personal interpretation, and I’ve been wrong many times before:-))
    – Dave
    Oct 14 at 6:37
  • Absolutely. the Beast is also very much against Christ even though he tries to imitate him. He is also ante-Christ. When he appears, we know the true Christ is coming soon. Oct 14 at 6:43
  • Is the 8th "of all 7" or "of the 7th"? ie encompassing all of them or a replica of #7? Could you explain?
    – fandang
    Oct 24 at 18:17
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    @fandang Difficult via ‘comments’ - but briefly… the eighth ‘horn’ (Daniel’s little horn) is not the same as the other seven. The seven are leaders/kings of nations/countries. The eighth is a prominent, powerful figure, but not a nations leader. He is spiritually empowered by the entity released from the pit in the 6th trumpet. Likely a religious figure, one that ‘appeals’ to many nations, so much so that they submit to him
    – Dave
    Oct 24 at 19:48
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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 '20 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? Aug 19 '20 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 '20 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. Aug 20 '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 '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. Aug 22 '20 at 0:07
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I answer according to the revelation I have received from the Holy Spirit. The seventh king is the antichrist, he is the embodiment of the secret power of lawlessness. The secret power of lawlessness has been revealed, it is the opposite of Love. The opposite of Love is not hate, as many suppose, rather the opposite of Love is the opposite of John 3:16. The Holy Spirit revealed to me that John 3:16 is to be understood like this: Love is giving to the point of sacrificing self for the benefit of others. The anti or opposite of this is to taking to the point of sacrificing others for one’s own self. The opposite of Love is selfishness caused by narcissism. This narcissism driven selfishness is the most defining characteristic of the human condition, as self preservation is the strongest human instinct. The LORD Yeshua is the embodiment of Love and He is the living Truth. The antichrist is the embodiment of narcissism and lies, and he has already come for his short time. Now we await the appearance of the 8th king.

The 8th king is the beast itself. The Holy Spirit has revealed the secret of this kings identity to me as well. This beast who once was, yet is not, yet is to come is referred to in scripture as remphan. He has been known by many names. Daigon, baal, baal hammon, Mithras, Saturn, Chronos, azazel and moloch to name a few.

He is the golden calf of idolatry, he is the golden image of Daniel 3, he is the Red Bull, he is Lucifer.

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In the beginning of its history, Rome, as a republican state, was ruled by a Senate but governed by a monarch whose power was limited by the Senate. From BC 510-31 there were 10 such monarchs.

  1. Cato the Elder,
  2. Gracchi
  3. Caius Marius
  4. Lucius Cornelius Sulla
  5. Pompey
  6. Marcus Licinius Crassus
  7. Cato the Younger
  8. Julius Caesar – The Dictator period
  9. Marc Antony
  10. Lepidus

Mark Antony, Lepidus, and Augustus formed a triumvirate with each of the three ruling independently over their own territory of the Roman Empire.

The seven kings mentioned in this text are those rulers who held Emperor status. No Roman ruler, prior to 31 B.C, including Julius Caesar, ever held Emperor status except temporarily in time of war. After which their Emperor status was removed by the Senate. So, who are these seven kings?

These five have fallen.

“Five have fallen,” means that five of the seven kings had already come and gone. “One is,” refers to the king who was ruling at the time this revelation was given.

  1. Augustus, BC 31- AD 14

  2. Tiberius, AD 14-37

  3. Caligula, AD 37-41

  4. Claudius, AD 41-54

  5. Nero, AD 54-68

One now is – When John saw this vision, Galba was Emperor. He would be one of the three who was rooted up. He only reigned for 7 months. This means that John saw this vision sometime between June of 68 and January of 69.

These three are rooted up

  1. Galba, AD 68-69

  2. Otho, AD 69 – The one who has not yet come who will reign for only 3 months from January–April, 16th. Revelation 17:9-10 “and the other has not yet come, and when he comes, he must continue a short time.”

  3. Vitellius, AD 69 – reigned only 5 months from July, 1 to De-cember, 20.

Vespasian, AD 69-79 – The little horn – “who himself is an eighth” represents the wound on the head is healed, (Revelation 13:3)

“He shall speak pompous words against the Most-High, shall persecute the saints of the Most-High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time.” (25)

Titus, AD 79-81

Domitian, AD 81-96 Full of eyes and a pompous mouth

Otho reigned for only 3 months from January 15 to April 16, AD 69 and Vitellius who reigned only 8 months from April 16 to December 22, AD 69. This would seem to suggest the time in which the beast “was and is not” and the wounding of the beast. These three briefly reigning emperors represent the three horns that were pulled out by the roots in Daniel's vision in Daniel 7. During the period of these three brief reigns, the beast was essentially dead. Rome had no official emperor during this time because the loyalty of the people had been divided between these three want-to-be dictators. These three were in competition for the title with each one claiming to be Caesar. This resulted in succession by murder. After this, Vespasian assumed became the recognized Emperor and ruled for 10 years from December of AD 69 to 79. This is the “wound” that was healed, and the beast lived again. After Vitellius, Vespasian assumed the throne and reigned for 10 years from December of AD 69 to 79. It was under his reign that Rome began to stabilize politically. Why are only seven kings mentioned? Because it was during the reign of Galba that Jerusalem would be destroyed.

It was under Vespasian's reign that Rome began to stabilize politically. This is why in 13:3-4,

“the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?’”

The reason John only mentions seven rather than ten is because the vision of John only concerns events up to the time of Vespasian. We find in Nero and Galba the terrible persecutors of the Christians at whose hand Peter and Paul were martyred. God used Nero to destroy the Jews. Nero commanded Vespasian to destroy Jerusalem. Nero was the fifth king, suggesting that Revelation was written before the siege of Jerusalem. Traditionally, Nero is the one who persecuted Christians beyond all comparison. John's banishment to Patmos was itself a result of the great persecution of Nero. The apostle Paul was presumably tortured and then beheaded by Nero at Rome in A.D 67. The apostle Peter, who traditionally crucified upside down, was another of Nero's victims.

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