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The relevant Verses are these:

10 ...They[the Beast's Heads] 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. 11 The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction.

Revelation 13:1-2 shows that the Scarlet Beast is a mis-mash of Daniel's four beasts. Due to the fact that Daniel's Leopard has four heads, we can know that the Scarlet Beast shares not only its appearance with Daniel's 4, but also its number of heads.

This provides the possibility that Revelation 18's Seven Kings are the Four Beast's Heads. Both the Traditional & the Scholarly Interpretations of Daniel's Beasts are Problematic.

These heads are traditionally believed to represent the:

  • the Chaldean Empire(as the Lion)
  • The Medo-Persian Empire(as the Bear)
  • Alexander & his Diadochi(as the Leopard & its Four Heads)
  • Rome(as the Indescribable Last Beast)

Secular Scholars now Consider these:

  • The Chaldean Empire(as the Lion)
  • The Median Empire(as the Bear)
  • The Persian Empire(as the Leopard)
  • Alexander & His Diadochi(as the Indescribable Beast)

Is an Indentification of the Scarlet Beast's Heads with the Heads of Daniel's Four Beasts untenable then? Is God completely re-applying them to the Beast in a new way?

4 Answers 4

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Daniel's four symbolic beasts (that have a combined total of seven heads) dealt with world powers related to antagonism against God's people leading up to the one in power at the time of Christ (Rome). John's 'Revelation' beasts take it from there and into the future until Christ returns. The Revelation beasts are an amalgum. Daniel's were separate ones, in chronological order, until the time of Christ. So, 'Yes', to your main question - they are 'related'.

Revelation enlarges immensely on what had been foretold in the Old Testament. If these unseen forces were to materialise (which they cannot, as they are spiritual), they would have the grotesque, terrifying beastly forms depicted in Daniel and Revelation.

The Revelation beasts are what Christians from the first century A.D. till Christ's return need to be aware of. So, who are the world powers involved in Revelation 18:10 (which you quote)? Let me give this explanation from this book below, starting with identifying the seven kings of Revelation 17:9 - necessary as a base upon which to add more info. re. the seven kings given in Rev. 18:10-11 :

"These kings refer to the kings - rulers, governments, or leaders - and their kingdoms, through which the beast, in the scheming of his intelligence respective to each, thrusts up his invisible power in humanity to attain that which he personifies: Satan's bid for world dominion. Five times one king or another has been used to contend for this goal in past history. One was being so used at the time at which John received the Revelation of Jesus Christ. And one, the last and greatest, was yet to come. Hence the respective dominion of each king is depicted as a mountain: a massive, lofty, and dominating feature rearing aloft over the whole earth.

...In the entire period of the new covenant, as opposed to the old, there remains yet but one last king, the seventh, yet to appear; and, at that, with a concentration of power and delusion which shall cause all that preceded to be as nothing by comparison.

Hence the first six kings ruled over the known world centred on Israel under the old covenant. The first was Egypt. The second Assyria. After that, Babylon. Next Persia. Then Greece. These five kingdoms reared up in their eminence over the whole known world of old. These are the first five mountains, on which the woman [Babylon the Great] sitteth. To these pertain the five fallen kings, now but a record in past history. However, of the kings it is written, 'and one is' [the 6th]. That is, contemporary with John. This refers to the Roman empire...

...the respective heads of the beast would rear up throughout the course of history, creating monumental empires dominating the ages as conspicuously as the great mountains soaring aloft dwarfed the earth below. Six world governments, up to and including the era of Christ and the apostles. Thereafter the focus was no longer upon Israel...

'The other is not yet come'. What other is not yet come? The other head of the beast, namely, the seventh and last. This coming manifestation will be the ultimate in earthly wisdom, possessing the experience accumulated over the six previous empires. Now the mind of the beast must be wholly concentrated upon the last head, filled with the intelligence accrued over the long waiting and watching, having been restrained of God throughout the period of time described as Anno Domini. 'And when he cometh, he must continue a short space.' The seventh head by definition expresses the perfection of worldly intelligence, gathering all for the final strife to grasp the crown rights properly belonging to Christ alone.

If so, the last head will be like none other. The methods and forms will change; creeping subtlety will induce a kind of soporific delusion to settle imperceptibly over the entire world, over every earthly form of religion, as the pieces are gently, so softly, lowered into place one by one, preparing the way in a manner frighteningly apparent to the spiritual even at this moment. He is not yet come; no, but he is at the very doors: and when he comes he will in no wise resemble the others, nor in any way be obvious...

Numbers are symbolic, ten being symbolical of completeness... The ten kings are not to be confused with the seventh king of chapter 17:10, who is 'not yet come'. The seven kings mentioned earlier in the chapter answer to the seven mountains, in turn being raised up by the seven-headed beast. These rise up one by one throughout history, separated in sequence by vast stretches of time. Whereas the ten kings evidently come to power in their kingdoms at one and the same time, that is, commensurate with the global authority of the seventh and last world ruler, the unique 'king' of Chapter 17:10. The ten kings give their power with one accord and one mind to the beast, and, if so, to the concept of world government represented by the seventh and last head and personified by the presiding rule of the final governor, leader, or king.

A difference is implied in the nature of the rule of the seventh 'king', Chapter 17:10, from that of the previous six world rulers, each of whose day in turn stretched back over the ages from Caesar emperor of Rome to Pharaoh king of Egypt. The seventh king does not appear to be an imperial despot as were his predecessors, but rather a chief among equals, a president of world executives; that is, one 'king' having the allegiance of the ten 'kings' in the highly allegorical language of the text. But ten kings answers to complete, or world-wide, rule or government. Just as the seventh head answers to the perfect earthly wisdom of their arbitrator or counsellor, whose intelligence springs from the unseen beast. ... the complete number of rulers of the nations with one mind give their power and their strength to the concepts enunciated by so sagacious a leader. Spiritually, though unknowingly, this is to give their power and strength to the beast. Hence the last, seventh, king and kingdom will not appear to be a matter of one world ruler, so much as of one world government. The fact of the ten kings (indicating the complete number of national leaders) giving their power and strength to the beast at the rise of the seventh head (to the figurative seventh 'king') does not indicate world government either by conquest or empire, but world government by assent... But it will not endure. The ten receive power as kings 'one hour'. Chapter 17:12. So brief, this coming world government, which the world had trusted would last for ever. 'For in one hour', with the fall of Babylon, 'so great riches is come to naught' 18:17. The Revelation of Jesus Christ, pp. 469-472, John Metcalfe

The author then goes on to explain the rest of Revelation. All of it needs to be grasped to home in on particular verses, so I encourage that book to be obtained from http://www.johnmetcalfepublishingtrust.co.uk/contact_us.htm

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Many commentators relates the "seven kings" to the early ("Julio-Claudian") emperors of Rome. If we start the count with Julius Caesar rather than Augustus, the sequence goes; 1 Julius Caesar 2 Augustus 3 Tiberius 4 Caligula 5 Claudius 6 Nero, the initiator of persecution The very important clue here is that the sixth king "is" at the time when John is writing (v10) We know that John is writing in the middle of a time of perseuction; "I, John your brother, who share with you in Jesus the tribulation" (ch1 v9, RSV) That seems to make a match. In the first instance, John's sixth king must be Nero.

N.B. That answer doesn't rule out futurist interpretations. It just implies that a future persecutor of the church is "someone like Nero".

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1.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.

a. Cato the Elder,

b. Gracchi

c. Caius Marius

d. Lucius Cornelius Sulla

e. Pompey

f. Marcus Licinius Crassus

g. Cato the Younger

h. Julius Caesar – The Dictator period

i. Marc Antony

j. Lepidus

k. Augustus

2.The seven kings mentioned are those rulers who held Emperor status. No Roman ruler prior to BC 31 ever held Emperor status.

a. These five have fallen

 Augustus, BC 31- AD 14 – the first to be granted the title of emperor

 Tiberius, AD 14-37

 Caligula, AD 37-41

 Claudius, AD 41-54

 Nero, AD 54-68

b. “One is,” refers to the king who was ruling at the time this revelation was given. In this verse, we have one of the clearest proofs for dating this book. 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.

c. These three are rooted up

 Galba, AD 68-69

 Otho, AD 69 – The one who has not yet come who will reign for only 3 months.

 Vitellius, AD 69 – reigned only 5 months from July 1 to December 20.

d.

“The other has not yet come and when he comes, he will remain only a little while.”

This is quit descriptive of Otho who 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.

e. Vespasian, AD 69-79 – The little horn – “who himself is an eighth.” 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)

f. Titus, AD 79-81

g. Domitian, AD 81-96

 Full of eyes

 A pompous mouth

After Vitellius, Vespasian assumed the throne and reigned for 10 years from December of AD 69 to AD 79. It was under his reign that Rome began to stabilize politically. This is the “wound” that was healed, and the beast lived again. 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.

3.

“The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven.”

a. Notice, it says the beast. Which beast – the one who “was and is not,” not one of the seven heads of the beast; thus, this is Rome itself.

b. “Is himself also an eighth.” An eighth what? He is the eighth king. The angel is identifying kings / emperors and he is “one of the seven.” This was Vespatian. His fate was to be the persecutor of God’s people.

4.

“The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour.” '

Horns' typically refer to power or authority. The ten horns represent the linage of emperors from August to Domitian. This does not take into account the brief reigns of Otho and Vitellius,

“They receive their authority from the beast for one hour.” In other words, “for a little while.”

“These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast. These will wage war against the Lamb...”

These kings exist only to give their power and authority to the beast – Rome. These join with the beast in the persecution of the saints – “war against the Lamb.”

As to your second question, yes; this is the fourth best in Daniel's vision in Dan 7.

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The immediate audience of Revelation are the seven churches of Asia (Rev 1:4), i.e. Greco-Roman Asia, which was the region of the Empire where emperors were worshipped while still alive. Quoting from the Wikipedia article "Roman imperial cult" [1]:

"Worship and temples appear to have been routinely offered by Greeks to their Roman governors, with varied reactions. Cicero declined a temple proposed by the city officials of Roman Asia to his brother and himself, while the latter was proconsul, to avoid jealousy from other Romans; when Cicero himself was Governor of Cilicia, he claimed to have accepted no statues, shrines, or chariots."

"In 30–29 BC, the koina of Asia and Bithynia requested permission to worship Octavian as their "deliverer" or "saviour".[48] This was by no means a novel request but it placed Octavian in a difficult position. He must satisfy popularist and traditionalist expectations and these could be notoriously incompatible. [...] Octavian had to respect the overtures of his Eastern allies, acknowledge the nature and intent of Hellenic honours and formalise his own pre-eminence among any possible rivals: he must also avoid a potentially fatal identification in Rome as a monarchic-deistic aspirant. It was decided that cult honours to him could be jointly offered to dea Roma, at cult centres to be built at Pergamum and Nicomedia."

"The Greek cities of Roman Asia competed for the privilege of building high-status imperial cult centres (neocorates). [...] Centres including Pergamum, Lesbos and Cyprus offered cult honours to Augustus and the Empress Livia: the Cypriot calendar honoured the entire Augustan familia by dedicating a month each (and presumably cult practise) to imperial family members, their ancestral deities and some of the major gods of the Romano-Greek pantheon. Coin evidence links Thea Livia with Hera and Demeter, and Julia the Elder with Venus Genetrix (Aphrodite). In Athens, Livia and Julia shared cult honour with Hestia (equivalent to Vesta), and the name of Gaius was linked to Ares (Mars). These Eastern connections were made within Augustus' lifetime – Livia was not officially consecrated in Rome until some time after her death. Eastern imperial cult had a life of its own."

Therefore, the kings who were heads of the beast were the Roman emperors who were worshipped in Roman Asia, starting with Augustus. Thus:

The 5 kings who "have fallen":

  • Augustus (31 BC - 14 AD)
  • Tiberius (14-37)
  • Caligula (37-41)
  • Claudius (41-54)
  • Nero (54-68)

Galba, Otho and Vitellius do not enter the count, as none of them held power over the whole empire. The 6th king who "is" when John received the revelation is Vespasian (69-79). The 7th king who "has not yet come, and when he comes, he must continue a short time" is Titus (79-81). The 8th king who "is of the seven" refers in an immediate sense to the legend of Nero Redivivus, according to which "Nero did not really die but fled to Parthia, where he would amass a large army and would return to Rome to destroy it" [2] and in a metaphorical sense to Domitian (81-96).

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_imperial_cult

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nero_Redivivus_legend

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  • So it's your opinion that Domitian is the 8th? How's that work?
    – A.O.
    Commented Jan 22, 2023 at 18:50
  • The prophecy of the 8th king has three planes of meaning: immediate, mediate and final. In the immediate plane it points to Nero Redivivus, realized alegorically by Domitian. In the mediate plane it points to the Christian-persecuting emperors of the Tetrarchy: Diocletian, Galerius and Maximinus Daza, with the battle of Tzirallum in which the latter was defeated realizing the battle of Armageddon in that plane. In the final plane it points to the final Antichrist.
    – Johannes
    Commented Jan 23, 2023 at 21:56

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