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Revelation 17 Seven Heads Ten Horns

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Seven Heads Ten Horns

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Revelation 17:7-18 discusses the mystery of the women who has seven heads and ten horns.

7. The angel asked, “Wherefore didst thou marvel?”[KJV]

John is telling us there is no need to be puzzled. I am here to explain it to you.

Mystery of the woman

More detail will follow in verse 18.

The woman represented a false religious system, and the beast was the Antichrist, as the reference to his seven heads and . . . ten horns indicates (cf. v.3; 13:1).” (MacArthur, John. New Testament Commentary: Revelation 12-22. [Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2000], 166)

The beast that carrieth her is the Antichrist. [KJV]

Also note that the Antichrist hath the seven heads and the ten horns. [KJV]

See the discussion in Revelation 12 The Woman v3.

Seven Heads-Ten Horns

8.The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up [NASB1995].

“In verses 8-14 the angel gives John a lengthy description of the beast.” (MacArthur, 168)

MacArthur tells us “that phrase refers to Antichrist’s faked death and resurrection.” (168)

This causes the entire world to be deceived. (MacArthur, 168)

After this the Antichrist is inhabited by a mighty demon which comes out of the abyss and will go to destruction. [NASB1995]

And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world. [NASB1995]

These are the unbelievers, and they will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come. [NASB1995]

“The specific cause for their amazement will be Antichrist’s seemingly miraculous return to life after receiving an apparently fatal wound (cf 13:3-4” (MacArthur, 169)

Matthew 24:24

“One category of people will not be deceived: Those whose names have . . . been written in the book of life from the creation of the world.” [NIV] (Easley, Kendell H., Holman New Testament Commentary: Revelation. [Nashville: B&H, 1998], 309)

“No stronger statement of the sovereignty of God in things pertaining to salvation is found in all the Bible.” (Easley, 309)

9. This calls for a mind with wisdom. [NIV]

“These verses [9-11] are as challenging to interpret as any in the entire Book of Revelation.” (Easley, 309)

The seven heads of the monster are seven hills on which the woman sits. [NIV]” (Easley, 309)

“In the first century, the anti-God city was Rome, the eternal city, famous for it’s seven hills.” (Easley, 309)

In your country what city would be anti-God?

Seven Kings

10 They are also seven kings. [NIV]

The mountains are seven kings. [All versions have seven kings]

Reading verse 9 and 10 without the verse divisions it makes a little since:

The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, and they are seven kings. [KJV]

“Mountains are sometimes used metaphorically in the Old Testament to represent rule, or power (e.g., Psalm 30:7; Isaiah 2:2; Jeremiah 52:25; Daniel 2:35).” (MacArthur, 169)

“The five Gentile world empires that had fallen by the time of John’s vision are Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece.” (MacArthur, 169)

“The one that existed at that time was obviously Rome.” (MacArthur, 170)

“The other has not yet come” is the Antichrist. (McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume V: [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983], 1034)

When he cometh, he must continue a short space. [KJV]

“This corresponds to the brief forty-two months of the sea-monster’s power noted in Revelation 13:5.” (Easley, 311)

11. “When the seventh and final kingdom (seventh head of the monster) finally arrives, its leader with be an eighth king [NIV], the final personal Antichrist. (Easley, 311)

There are only seven heads, why are their eight kings?

“The explanation is that the final Antichrist will belong to the seven. [NIV]” (Easley, 311)

“Antichrist will be one of the seven kings before his supposed demise and resurrection and an eighth [NASB1995]  king afterwards during the second phase of his rule.” (MacArthur, 170)

The Antichrist goeth into perdition. [KJV]

Ten Horns

12.The ten horns “are part of Antichrist’s future empire.” (MacArthur, 170

“The background for this is the ten-horned fourth beast of Daniel 7:7-24, for that is the only other ten-horned creature in Scripture.” (Easily, 312)

“To predict that these ten kings will be fulfilled by ten European countries of a ‘revived Roman Empire’—asserted by some prophecy specialists—goes far beyond anything in the text.” (Easily, 312)

“The reference to one hour is a figure of speech that emphasizes the brevity of their rule; their reign will be short lived because their master’s empire itself will be short lived.” (MacArthur, 171)

13. The kings have one purpose [KIV] to support the Antichrist.

They will give their power and strength unto the beast. [KJV]

14. When they make war with the Lamb the result will be that the Lamb shall overcome them. [KJV]

The reason Jesus will overcome them is because He is Lord of lords and King of kings. [KJV]

Deuteronomy 10:17      1 Timothy 6:15

They that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful [KJV].

This is “a reference that can only apply to believers.” (MacArthur, 171)

Matthew 22:14

Verse 15 was discussed in Babylon the Harlot.

Ten Horns-Ten Kings

16. The ten horns are the ten kings, and they hate the whore. [KJV]

They have turned on the false church!

Having used the false church to help him gain control of the world, the Antichrist will dispose of it. (MacArthur, 172)

“The Antichrist not only breaks his covenant with Israel, but he also breaks his relationship with the apostate church. This hatred against the apostate church is so violent that the reaction is described as the cannibalistic picking of her bones, then burning them with fire! This is what happens to the false church. It has no victory. It never comes in into the presence of Christ. It is not raptured. Finally it is destroyed by the Antichrist.” (McGee, 1035)

17. “It is God who will put in the hearts of Antichrist’s followers to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast.” (MacArthur, 172)

“Satan is the instrument of God’s purposes.” (MacArthur, 172)

All the words of God—every prophecy of Christ’s return and the setting up of His kingdom—will be fulfilled completely.” (MacArthur, 172)

18 The woman is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth. (NIV)

“In his day—the time of the sixth head of the monster—the form of the woman was Rome. During the days of the seventh head of the monster, another great and wicked city will rise. As Antichrist’s splendid capital, she will have no rival.” (Easley, 314)


Scripture quotations from the Holy Bible, King James Version.

Scripture quotations taken from the NIV. Copyright by Biblica, Inc

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB1995. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation.

Easley, Kendell H., Holman New Testament Commentary: Revelation. Nashville: B&H, 1998
MacArthur, John. New Testament Commentary: Revelation 12-22. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2000
McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume V: Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983

Babylon the Harlot                                                           Fall of Babylon

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