What does Revelation 17:11 mean?
ESV: As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction.
NIV: The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction.
NASB: The beast which was, and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction.
CSB: The beast that was and is not, is itself an eighth king, but it belongs to the seven and is going to destruction.
NLT: The scarlet beast that was, but is no longer, is the eighth king. He is like the other seven, and he, too, is headed for destruction.
KJV: And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
Verse Commentary:
The angel's explanation of John's symbolic vision (Revelation 17:1–6) continues by focusing on the beast. Varied interpretations of Revelation tend to converge here and identify this specific creature as the Antichrist. The beast had a past but not a present: it "was," but it "is not." However, it will emerge from the seventh form of government and take its place as the eighth form of government. It will be destroyed, though. The most likely interpretation of this passage is as a reference to the seventh form of Roman government, in this case the Revived Roman Empire which comes into existence at the beginning of the tribulation. Ten kings will govern this political structure, but the beast from the sea (Revelation 13:1), will succeed these kings and become the dictatorial head of the Revived Roman Empire.

This takeover will introduce the eighth form of Roman government. The eighth form of Roman government will end when the beast—the head of the Revived Roman Empire—is cast into the lake of fire at the hands of Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords. Revelation 19:20 says, "And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur."
Verse Context:
Revelation 17:7–14 explains the meaning of the visions John saw in the prior verses. The angel speaking with John explains the symbols of the beast, seven mountains, and ten horns. In the passage to follow, the angel will explain the downfall of the ''great prostitute,'' who symbolizes an ungodly religion. Other passages in the Bible speak to this vision in Revelation 17. e For example, Daniel 7 prophesies a ''fourth empire'' to produce ten kings and another king. The final king will speak blasphemous words against God and will wear out God's saints for three and a half years. However, the Most High will destroy him and establish God's everlasting kingdom. Daniel 9:24–27 and Revelation 13 also describe this defiant, powerful king. Revelation 19:11–21 reveals his end.
Chapter Summary:
Revelation 17 zeroes in on God's judgment of Babylon as the center of religious corruption in the tribulation. The target of this wrath seems to be an eclectic form of all apostate religions. This might be a concrete, single religion. Or, it might be a near-religious blending or equalizing of all spiritual beliefs. God views religious Babylon as ''the great prostitute'' that has support from heads of state. This system is both extremely rich and murderous, guilty of martyring saints. It has a past and a renewed existence as a religious-political system. Together, the political heads of state and religious Babylon battle Jesus, the Lamb, but He defeats them. The end of religious Babylon comes when the ten kings turn against her and ruin her. They destroy religious Babylon because God puts it in the hearts to do so.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 16 resumed explaining God's pattern of end times wrath, this time describing the seven bowl judgments. As the last bowl is poured out, John is called to see a vision, which seems to incorporate events occurring throughout the tribulation. This chapter focuses on the fall of religious Babylon. Revelation 14:8 and 16:19 mention Babylon's collapse under the wrath of God in the tribulation. Babylon's ultimate fall may actually occur before the bowl judgments, anytime during the second half of the tribulation. Isaiah 13 and Jeremiah 50 and 51 predict the fall of Babylon. Revelation 18 also speaks of the ruin of Babylon, but from a political and economic perspective.
Book Summary:
The word ''revelation'' means ''an unveiling or disclosure.'' This writing unveils future events such as the rapture, three series of judgments that will fall on the earth during the tribulation, the emergence of the Antichrist, the persecution of Israel and her amazing revival, as well as Jesus' second coming with His saints to the earth, the judgment of Satan and his followers, and finally, the eternal state. This content, combined with the original Greek term apokalypsis, is why we now refer to an end-of-the-world scenario as ''an apocalypse.''
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