PROPHESY AGAINST THE NATIONS
Chapter 4: An End to Deception – Part 4 (of 5)
The Book of Revelation was given to John to write, but only a few verses actually applied to his time. The book is written to describe the events that were to happen nearly 1900 years later. Those are the events that lead directly into the time of Christ’s coming. Chapters 3 through 20 focus on a few events that involve the last 70 years as things began to move more deeply into the end-time, but the vast majority of it covers a period that began on December 17, 1994. On that date the First Seal of the Book of Revelation was opened by Jesus Christ. It was the beginning of a very specific countdown to his return. Another chapter will cover that thoroughly, but people need understanding of other things first before they can begin to grasp what will be given later.
After the Roman Catholic Church is described by John, the verses that follow quickly move on to address actual revivals within Europe. It is done as an overview, but then the Book of Revelation moves directly into events that occur within the actual timeframe of the end-time countdown.
“Then the angel said to me, ‘Why is it that you wonder at this? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and the beast that carries her, which has seven heads and ten horns. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit and go into perdition. They who dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names are not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is’” (Rev. 17:7-8).
This is written partially in the form of a riddle. It has already been mentioned that this beast carries the woman—the Catholic Church. It is the beast that gives the woman even greater power and prominence. This beast is Satan and the term “beast” also describes those nations he specifically works through (creates) to carry and lift up that church to greater power and prominence during each revival. These revivals are for the purpose of war. This Church has always been involved in one way or another in those revivals. Much of that has always been behind the scenes and in secret, but nevertheless, it is a large part of it because of the actual power that supports it—Satan and the demonic spirit world.
Although these last few revivals did not carry the name of the actual Roman Empire, the early revivals did, but the latter ones still focused on nations of Europe who are revived for war, and who have this unusual relationship with the Vatican and the Catholic religion.
Satan is the one in scripture who is referred to as being restrained in a “bottomless pit” and who then ascends out of it for a short period of time. The timing of these references that use the form of a riddle is very specific.
This “bottomless pit” is first referred to in events that result from the blowing of the Fifth Trumpet. In that specific account, smoke begins to ascend out of the pit at a time when a spiritual phase of the Fifth Trumpet was being fulfilled (Rev. 9:1-3). That phase was fulfilled and was about persecution that Satan was allowed to exert upon God’s Church. That period is now past, and the last phase, a physical one, is to yet be fulfilled once Satan is fully released when he actually ascends out of the pit, out of his restraint, in order to revive ten nations of Europe for one last great war.
The time when Satan will be allowed to fully ascend out of that pit from that restraint is when it is God’s time to allow those ten nations of Europe to be brought together. When those nations are able to fully unite as a single power, without the drag of the rest of the current European Union, it will be time for a full scale WWIII.
If God did not control the timing of all this and release Satan when he does, these nations would still come to war. This is especially true in the end-time. The nations of the world are headed toward WWIII no matter what, just as a result of people and nations becoming so corrupt in their thinking. If God did not intervene in exactly the way He does and yet will, that war would last much longer and carry with it far greater agony, suffering, and a long, hideous upheaval in the world. So not only is God going to intervene to stop mankind from destroying himself, He is also shortening the time that would otherwise multiply the intensity and length of mankind’s suffering.
The “bottomless pit” is simply a physical description derived from two words. One has the meaning of an “abyss” (translated as bottomless) and the other word “pit” is often used to describe a cistern (literally, “a place prepared for holding water”).
It is rather difficult to describe things that exist in a spirit realm by the use of physical explanations or examples. This place is simply a specially prepared spirit state that restrains Satan’s ability to exert his full spirit power. It is a condition or state where he can simply be kept in spirit restraint. This restraint prevents him from using his full powers that have not yet been completely taken from him. However, even when restrained in this spirit abyss, he is still able to broadcast in strong spirit attitude and influence upon mankind. Once he finally becomes sealed in the bottomless pit at the start of the Millennium, he will have NO ability to use any powers upon others during that entire time.
The timing of Satan ascending out of the bottomless pit from this condition of spirit restraint is at the last and seventh revival. It is this last revival that has the ten horns and that will be spoken of again a few verses later.
The Beast that Was, and Is Not
Some of these verses read like a riddle, just as one verse uses the term, “the beast that you saw was, and is not, and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit.” The beast “was” could be referring to any time Satan was active during one of the revivals in Europe when he was not being restrained by the spirit abyss. However, this section of scripture is referring to a very specific time period. It is referring to the last time that he was unrestrained and when he was at work with Germany and Italy through the power of influence that he used directly upon Hitler.
Once WWII was brought to an end, Satan was restrained again, and it is in that current restraint that he “is not” exercising his full power because he is restrained by the spirit abyss, as has been the case now for nearly 70 years.
Even when in spirit restraint Satan has always been able to exercise deceit and powers through his broadcasting in spirit attitude in order to have influence, but he has not been allowed to always use his greater powers to influence to destroy as the Destroyer. This verse goes on to foretell what will follow after this period ends, when he “is not” in full power because of being restrained: “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition” (Rev. 17:8).
Satan is described as ascending out of the spirit abyss, his place of restraint, and he then goes on into “perdition.” This word “perdition” is one that has a wide variety of use and can mean “waste, destruction, to perish, to die.” This has a dual purpose, as it is used here, because once Satan is released, he will quickly move people and nations into WWIII. His actions lead to great destruction, waste, and death. However, this is also the last time Satan will be allowed to stir up a war that causes massive destruction, although he will try one more time.
As Satan stirs up one last great war that causes great destruction and death, he is also pressing forward toward his own destruction and death, for once he has engaged in one last war, he himself will be headed more directly toward his own perdition.
The language of a riddle is used again in the last half of the verse: “They who dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names are not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is” (Rev. 17:8).
This is prophetic and looks at the time, after the 7th revival, when Satan is finally placed in the bottomless pit (spirit abyss) for 1,000 years, beginning right after Christ returns. This is covered in Revelation 20:1-3.
Those mentioned, who are aware that Satan is now bound for a thousand years and who “wonder” (or are astonished) at what Satan has done over the past 6,000 years, are those who rejoice that he can no longer be in the presence of mankind throughout the entire period of the Millennium.
Those “whose names are not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world” are those who live in the Millennium, who do not have Satan and the demonic world’s influence throughout that 1,000 years.
Those whose names “are written” in the book of life from the foundation of the world are the 144,000 who come with Christ at his return. This description does not mean that specific individuals were predestined, as there is no such thing as some groups teach. This is not about specific names of people that were written down in a book before the creation of mankind.
Those “written in the book of life” are about a specific number of 144,000 that God had planned before the foundation of the world who would become part of the first resurrection to spirit life upon Christ’s return. Names have been written in the book of life throughout the past 6,000 years. They are those whom God has “chosen” to be part of the first resurrection to spirit life at Christ’s coming.
In verse 8 that was just quoted, it refers to Satan again in the form of a riddle, as it states, “when they behold the beast that was, and is not, but yet is.” This is speaking of the specific time when the Millennium has finally become established, and “the beast that was” is referring to when he was over the seventh and last revival of a European empire, but now he “is not.” So the timing is showing that he had been over this seventh and last revival, but once the Millennium has become established, he “is not” in power any longer because he is once again in the spirit abyss.
The expression “but yet is” simply refers to the fact that he still is—that he exists—but he can no longer deceive and influence mankind. He yet is the great Destroyer who is still alive and still exists, but now he is “in” the bottomless pit (the spirit abyss), and this time a seal has been set upon the abyss so that not only can he not ever arise to be over any more revivals of a European empire, but he can in no way influence mankind through any broadcasting or any other means over the next 1,000 years.
Although much of what has just been covered may seem a little confusing, in time it will come to mean much more as everything you experience from this time forward begins to fit into place in all those things that God is bringing to pass. As you “see” these things more clearly and “experience” them in your life, you will become more fully encouraged and hopeful of all that lies ahead in a new age. Then, as you begin to experience the things you had actually begun to hope would come to pass, you will experience a joy, fullness, and excitement for life that you have never before remotely imagined possible.
Revelation Given To Herbert W. Armstrong
As these verses continue to unfold, they give an overview of things that will follow. This chapter continues to describe the order of events in a kind of “outline format” that lead up to a final countdown of Christ’s coming.
“Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sits” (Rev. 17:9).
This wisdom was spoken of earlier in the book as being from the very mind of God, as it is the word (logos) of God. Only God can give that to another. Here, God was giving Mr. Armstrong understanding of these verses that applied to the end-time. He had been given to understand that God uses mountains to prophetically speak of larger nations. In this verse, it was clearly revealing that the woman, the Catholic Church, was “on” each of these beasts during their revivals.
“There are seven kings, five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet, and when it comes, it must continue a short time [a little season]” (Rev. 17:10).
There was only one period of time, lasting only a few years, that this specific verse could be read and have the specific meaning that applied to that very period. Its meaning was revealed to Herbert W. Armstrong during the time when it was being fulfilled. God began by showing Mr. Armstrong that these verses coincide with a description that was given to Daniel the prophet. God was revealing that there was one more revival of the old Roman Empire (though not bearing that name) that was to be fulfilled before Jesus Christ would return. Mr. Armstrong had come to see that there would be seven revivals in all.
So at a point toward the end of WWII, God revealed this specific verse to him that was prophetic for that exact time in which he was currently living. He knew there would be seven revivals and that there would be one primary ruler over each of those revivals, even as Napoleon and Hitler have already been mentioned. At this time, when this verse was being revealed to him, Hitler was over the sixth revival.
From this verse, he came to see that, yes, there would be seven kings (one over each revival), five had already fallen, and the sixth one was currently underway in this Second World War. So of the seven kings (revivals), five had already reigned and fallen, one was currently reigning in the form of Hitler, and the other—the seventh and final one—“was not yet.”
It states that the one that comes—the seventh one—“must continue a short time.” That seventh revival will be much shorter in duration than all the others before it, but because of modern weaponry, much more devastation will occur than all the previous six put together.
The next verse, still speaking in the form of a riddle, continues by saying, “And the beast that was, and is not, even it is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goes into perdition” (Rev. 17:11).
As a result of understanding what has been given to this point, it becomes more obvious what this verse is now saying. The one that goes into perdition is Satan. Satan is the beast who gives power to each revival. He is known as the beast power, working during the time of the revivals. Satan is the beast that “was, and is not” that was spoken of previous to this.
So Satan is “of the seven” because he is the power over each revival, and because he is “of” each of the seven and over all of them, he is counted as the eighth.