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Revelation 17:11 (NASB ) says: As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth ...

Then:

  • NASB says: "and is one of the seven"
  • ESV says: "but it belongs to the seven"
  • KJV says: "and is of the seven"
  • NIV says: "He belongs to the seven"
  • Young's says: "out of the seven he is"

Can anyone shed some light on whether the 8th is "of ONE of the seven"? Or "of the SEVENTH"? Or "of ALL 7"?

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  • It seems fairly clear that the beast is 'of' or 'associated with' the seven : but is also an eighth. I don't see any ambiguity there, myself. It was . . . then seems to disappear . . . but is still there, presumably in a different (eighth) form. Which form may incorporate all that preceded.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 6 '21 at 3:13
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    Hi fandang, Welcome to the site. I edited the title to align with your question. Good start. Nov 6 '21 at 4:51
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    @ Martin Hemsley, thanks for being polite to the new contributor.
    – Bagpipes
    Nov 6 '21 at 11:40
  • NIV and NLT both explicitly translate as the beast being an eighth king, referring back to the angel's explanation of the meaning of the seven heads as both seven hills and seven kings. This perhaps amounts to a bit of semantic interpretation thrown in with the translation; I'm not sure. But it hangs together pretty well as the beast representing an eighth king from the same group to which the others belonged. One possible concrete interpretation that would have occurred to readers of John's time is a future emperor of Rome. Nov 6 '21 at 14:33
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    @Bagpipes Almost didn't see your comment since the @ was detached from my name. Lol. Thanks for the encouraging word! Nov 6 '21 at 15:47
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It looks to me like the translation which reads "of the seven" is the correct one.

Here is the Greek phrase:

...καὶ ἐκ τῶν ἑπτά ἐστιν...

...and out of the seven [he/it] is...

https://biblehub.com/interlinear/revelation/17-11.htm

Note, the cardinal number seven (7), that is, ἑπτά.

In Revelation 17:11, it is not given as an ordinal, that is seventh (7th).

Compare now to other uses of the ordinal:

Revelation 8:1,

  • ἑβδόμην

Revelation 10:7,

  • ἑβδόμου

Revelation 11:15,

  • ἕβδομος

Revelation 16:17,

  • ἕβδομος

Revelation 21:20,

  • ἕβδομος

These all are instances, from the same book, of the ordinal seventh (7th), where the use is unmistakable. However, no such use in Revelation 17:11 is present. It is merely the cardinal number seven (7).

See: https://biblehub.com/greek/1442.htm

Then, looking at the surrounding verbiage, you see the Greek preposition ἐκ, which means out of, or from:

https://biblehub.com/greek/1537.htm

Next, you have the article τῶν, which is in the genitive case, signaling possession, source, or point of origin. The eighth is both out of or from, and finds its point of origin and source in, the seven.

All of this combined make it pretty clear that "of the seven" is the right one.

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  • Thank you for your knowledgeable and logical thought process. Now I have an idea, but it’s not sufficiently thought through for me to write as an answer. Here’s my thinking: so - the beast that the prostitute rides, right? He comes out of the abyss. The only one I know to do that, is Satan and his demons. And the beast- which the prostitute (materialism, excess, violation of human rights, persecution, immorality) currently rides (uses as a foundation) the beast. Which currently is not. But used to be. And will come again. So what I’m feeling/sensing.. is something akin to what we know about… Nov 6 '21 at 17:25
  • … Satan: he used to be glorious (was); he is currently stripped of that glory and held in gloomy darkness/the abyss (is not [yet still exerts enough influence for evil power systems to ‘ride’ on him]), and will one day get his physical, powerful nature back (is yet to come), at which point he will rise up out of the 7 (=complete?) kings (power structures) and rule , as they did. Nov 6 '21 at 17:29
  • This then also ties in with the 1000 years that the dragon (Satan) is chained up… he was unchained (physical, glorious) before the deceiving of the nations (deception of Adam and Eve); was then stripped naked of his glorious body; bound; and stayed that way for a thousand years (a long time), with angels guarding at the entrance of the garden (the Euphrates?) . After the long time, he was released (when the angels at the Euphrates were commanded to stop guarding), he and the armies released tried to fight the Lamb, but was captured. Nov 6 '21 at 17:49
  • Some big questions though: how closely are the Rev 13 and Rev 17 beasts related? What exactly is the degree of connection between the dragon and the beast(s)? How exactly does the 8th king arise out of the 7? Are these kings presented more as concurrent in time but disparate in geography - or successive in time? Is the beast a conglomerate of all evil power structures from the beginning? How is Babylon the Great related to Babylon,and what does this mean? Why is the prostitute’s name “a mystery”? What does it mean to hate the prostitute and burn her up, does it mean peace and fairness for all? Nov 6 '21 at 17:56
  • This is a very helpful answer, +1 2 days ago
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The prophesy was contemporary with the 6th ruler who was ruling the 4th beast kingdom at the time John wrote the book of 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." (KJV)

Present tense verb "is". The 6th ruler was in the time frame of the writing of the book.

Need to know the Year of Four Emperors, where Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian were all Caesars of the ancient Roman empire within the space of one year after Nero's death.

Excerpt from my post "Frequent Mistakes - Part I: The Wounded Head" (1)

The beast of the sea in Revelation was a pagan nation, as the sea symbolized the nations that surrounded the land of Israel (Isa. 17:12; 23:11). Many times in prophetic language, Israel was the “earth” or “land” of God’s people. Therefore, water / sea surrounding land was a metaphor for the pagan nations surrounding Israel, and were many times the “floods” that God brought against them. (See. Deu. 13:7; 28:23; Lev. 26:19; Isa. 5:30; 59:19; Jer. 46:8; and the previous post “Heaven And Earth Have Passed Away.”)

The pagan sea beast had seven heads / kings and ten horns (lesser governors / rulers) (Rev. 13:1; 17:3). Five of these seven kings had already fallen and “one is” (Rev. 17:10). “One is” indicated the present ruler at the time the prophesy was spoken.

The sixth king / head was ruling over the beast nation at the time Revelation was written. That means that the beast nation existed during the lifetime of John, during the first century A.D. The head of the beast that was going to receive the mortal wound (Rev. 13:3) was only indirectly the beast nation. The direct attack was against one of the heads, and the one that was mortally wounded unto death. This mortal wound almost caused the death of the beast, but the beast was healed.

Rev. 17:8, The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit,…” (KJV)

The ruling king / head that received the mortal wound died, but the beast / nation did not die. The deadly wound delivered to the nation at the death of the king was healed by a successor king. As heads of the beast nation, each king took on a beast role.

Rev. 17:11, “ And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” (KJV)

Nero “was and is not”, meaning he had died. He was the last of the Julian line of Caesars. But, he is shown again in the eighth king / ruler. The eighth king / Caesar of Rome was Otho. (Julius, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and then Vespasian)

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.” (1)

The Year of Four Emperors

Galba ruled for just 6 months (Rev. 17:10, “… and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.”). (2) 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)

Possibly in an effort to legitimize their rule in the eyes of the people by calling on the Julian line, Otho and Vitellius essentially resurrected Nero in both their accolades of him and their similar behavior.

The point was that the death of the sixth king (Nero) almost caused the beast nation to die, and its death struggle was a wonder to all those who witnessed the civil wars that ensued.

That beast nation was Rome. Nero died in June AD 68, committing suicide with the help of his servant, and the Roman empire was thrown into a year of civil war under the rule of four successive “heads”: Galba, Otho, and Vitellius, followed by Vespasian.

Thus, it became the Year of Four Emperors. (9) The civil wars of the first three Caesars brought Rome into near ruin, and as a result, Vespasian broke off the war in Judea, leaving his son Titus in charge, gathered his army and marched to Rome. He knew that if the capital city of Rome fell, then so would the empire.

Vespasian and his army took control of the empire in AD 69 and restored order to Rome. Thus, the Roman beast empire received a mortal wound, nearly dying at the death of Nero, but was healed and revived under Vespasian.

The prophesy never said that the head / king that was mortally wounded would revive. Nero, one head of the 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)

Original post here: ShreddingTheVeil

Sources referenced are at the original post and include:

Otho: Britanica

Vitellius: Chicagoedu

The Year of Four Emperors: here

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It is a cultural reference to a once wide spread belief in Nero Redivivus:

a belief popular during the last part of the 1st century that the Roman emperor Nero would return after his death in 68 AD. The legend was a common belief as late as the 5th century.


The earliest written version of this legend is found in the Sibylline Oracles. It claims that Nero did not really die but fled to Parthia, where he would amass a large army and would return to Rome to destroy it.

Dio Chrysostom, a Greek philosopher and historian, wrote:

seeing that even now everybody wishes [Nero] were still alive. And the great majority do believe that he still is, although in a certain sense he has died not once but often along with those who had been firmly convinced that he was still alive.

Augustine of Hippo wrote that some believed

he now lives in concealment in the vigor of that same age which he had reached when he was believed to have perished, and will live until he is revealed in his own time and restored to his kingdom.

In later forms of the legend, among many early Christians, this legend shifted to a belief that Nero was the Antichrist.

Some Bible scholars see the description of the wounding and healing of the Beast in Revelation 13:3 and the mention of the eighth king who is also one of the earlier seven kings in Revelation 17:8-11 as allusions to the Nero Redivivus legend.

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