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The Revelation - Book 7

A study of Revelation 17-19. This is book 7 of an 8 part book series.

Category - Bible Commentaries

Chapter 7

The Eighth Beast

The scarlet beast in Revelation 17 was seen with seven heads and ten horns. The seven heads, according to the angel, are seven “kings” (or kingdoms, dominions), represented by “seven mountains.” These kings are really seven forms or manifestations of the beast, and for this reason they themselves are called beasts. Rev. 17:11 says,

11 And the beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth, and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction.

To reiterate, the scarlet “beast” is not only a single entity, it is also “an eighth and is one of the seven.” There are really only seven distinct beasts, as the angel told John in the previous verse, so how can one beast be two—that is, how can there be eight beasts?

The seventh is a double beast, that is, a beast that comes in two stages. Stage one primarily manifests as a persecutor in his war against the saints. In the second stage, the beast seems to morph into a betrayer, even as Judas the son of perdition. Hence, he “goes to destruction” (or “perdition”).

Daniel did not see this second stage, for his “little horn” waged war only against the saints for “a time, times, and half a time” (i.e., 1,260 years) until the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom (Dan. 7:21, 22). But this time frame brings us only to the French Revolution, which was 1,260 years after Justinian changed times and laws in 529-534 A.D. Obviously, the French Revolution in 1789-1794 did not bestow the Dominion Mandate to the saints of the Most High.

John saw beyond Daniel’s revelation, for it was revealed to him in Revelation 13 that this little horn would receive a fatal wound after its 1,260-year dominion. It would then revive and come into an alliance with the financial beast from the earth. Daniel saw none of this, nor, in fact, did he even see the seven heads on this beast. He saw only the ten horns on this beast, which we will explain later. So John’s revelation fills in historical details after the French Revolution that Daniel had not seen earlier. John builds upon Daniel’s revelation.

Essentially, the seventh “head” of the beast was Daniel’s little horn. It was the church beast, the “Christian” Roman Empire, which made war against the saints (overcomers) for 1,260 years until it received its fatal head wound. The French Revolution marked the beginning of the end of the Inquisitions, for after this, Rome had almost no power to continue its war against dissenters, Protestants, and saints.

What the Law Recognizes

With the healing of its fatal wound, the seventh “head” (or “beast”) rose from the dead and became the eighth “head” of Rev. 17:11. It is a principle of law that when one dies and is raised from the dead, he is seen by the law as a “new creature.” That is how the law views all who have died in Christ and have been raised with Him. 2 Cor. 5:14-17 shows this:

14 For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. 16 Therefore from now on we recognize no man according to the flesh, even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.

In other words, we no longer “recognize” Christ as He was prior to His resurrection. We relate to Him in His post-resurrection state. This is a legal recognition that He is not the same Person that He was while He walked the earth. Legally speaking, He is a New Creation. Legally speaking, Jesus died and Jesus Christ is a new creation. So also are we new creations, if indeed we identify with the new embryos that have been begotten in us as “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).

By understanding how the law views death and resurrection, we not only understand how the law views us, but also how the law views the beast that received the fatal wound and then lived again. It is the same law with very different applications. The little horn, which persecuted the saints for so many centuries, has been (as it were) reborn as another creature. Hence, the seventh has become the eighth from a legal standpoint, but from a historical perspective, they are the same beast, separated only by the fatal head wound.

So it might also be said that although we are new creatures in Christ, we appear to be the same person as we always were. This change of identity works for us in a positive way, taking us out from the law of sin and death into the law of resurrection life (Rom. 8:2), but the same law has a negative effect upon the seventh beast who has become the eighth. The beast does not die in Christ, even though it is a “Christian” beast by religion. Instead, it morphs from persecutor to betrayer, or from a beast that eats people to one that betrays Christ according to the pattern of Judas.

The Rise of Zionism

The rise of the House of Rothschild in the late 1700’s, and especially after the Napoleonic Wars, brought certain Jewish expectations upon the family that were at first quite unwelcome. The Rothschilds certainly desired to use their new wealth and rising influence to raise the status of Jews wherever they could. But their main focus in the 1800’s was to do so in Europe.

Niall Ferguson, the Rothschild biographer, tells us,

“The central dilemma which confronted the Rothschilds lay here: because of their wealth, other Jews looked to them for leadership in their pursuit of equal civil and political rights. As we shall see, this leadership was forthcoming from a remarkably early stage, beginning with Mayer Amschel’s efforts to achieve civil rights for the Frankfurt Jews in the era of the Napoleonic Wars, and continuing with his grandson Lionel’s campaign to secure the admission of Jews to the House of Commons in the 1840s and 1850s. It was a strategy which suited the Rothschilds well, allowing them to pursue their own familial strategy of penetrating the social and political elites where they lived without converting from Judaism; and allowing them to do good works on behalf of their ‘co-religionists’ while at the same time acquiring quasi-royal status in the eyes of other Jews” (The House of Rothschild, Vol. 1, p. 22).

The Rothschild strategy was to break down the barriers that excluded Jews from high social and political status. The strategy was to obtain the right to assimilate into European society without converting to Christianity. But at the same time other Jews arose who lacked the patience required for such a strategy and who believed that Jews needed their own country where they could enjoy full citizenship rights comparable to other nations. Ferguson continues,

“At the same time, when other Jews, despairing of assimilation as an objective, began to press for some kind of return to the Holy Land, the Rothschilds’ position was further compromised; for they themselves had no desire to forsake their palatial town and country residences for barren Palestine.” (p. 22)

Their enemies saw the Jewish refusal to convert to a new religion as evidence of their refusal to be part of the European nation in which they lived—that is, a refusal to assimilate. The religious requirement to convert to Christianity had been a barrier to assimilation, and because most Jews heretofore had refused to join the church, they were seen as refusing to assimilate, more than refusing to convert. Hence, critics did more to create Zionism than the Jews themselves did.

“Hostile cartoons from the 1840s and 1890s depicted the Rothschilds in a throng of Jews leaving Germany for the Holy Land—travelling first class, but leaving nonetheless. Commenting on Lionel’s campaign for admission to the House of Commons, Thomas Carlyle asked: ‘[H]ow can a real Jew, by possibility, try to be a Senator, or even a Citizen of any country, except his own wretched Palestine, whither all his thoughts and steps and efforts tend?’”

“This was broadly the argument (though not the language) of the early Zionists like Theodor Hertzl, who came to believe that the only ‘solution to the Jewish question’ was indeed for the Jews to leave Europe and found their own Judenstaat. Herzl made a succession of attempts to win the support of the Rothschilds in the belief that they were about to ‘liquidate’ their vast capital as a response to anti-Semitic attacks. But his sixty-six-page address ‘to the Rothschild Family Council’ was never sent, as he concluded from an initial rebuff that they were ‘vulgar, contemptuous, egotistical people.’ The Rothschilds, he later declared, were ‘a national misfortune for the Jews’; he even threatened to ‘liquidate’ them or to ‘wage a barbaric campaign’ against them if they opposed him.” (p. 22)

As early as 1836 Jews were proposing that the Rothschilds use their wealth to purchase Palestine for a Jewish state.

“The early French socialist Charles Fourier was another who thought that ‘The restoration of the Hebrews would be a splendid coronation for the gentleman of the House of Rothschild; like Esra and Serubabel, they can lead the Hebrews back to Jerusalem and erect once again the throne of David and Solomon, in order to call into being a Rothschild dynasty…. Indeed, it is possible to see such remarks as expressions of Christian millenarian hopes, with the Rothschilds supposedly hastening the Second Coming. But there is no evidence that the Rothschilds harboured any such intentions; the involvement of individual members of the family in what became known as Zionism was a much later development.” (Ferguson, p. 398)

It appears, then, that the Rothschild strategy was first to rise to positions of power within the European political and social structure. It is difficult to know if their plan envisioned an eventual state in Palestine, due to their secrecy. It was their usual policy to burn all letters written by a Rothschild after his death. Ferguson himself laments the lack of surviving letters, saying,

“More seriously, nearly all the copies of the outgoing letters from the London partners (in so far as these were made at all) were destroyed at the orders of successive partners. All that survive are eight tantalizing boxes covering the period 1906-14. We therefore have precious few letters by Nathan [Rothschild] compared with the thousands from his brothers which have survived; only a frustratingly small number from his eldest son Lionel; and next to nothing from his grandsons for the period before 1906. It should also be said that relatively few non-business letters by the partners were preserved; indeed, the first Lord Rothschild [Mayer Amschel] insisted that all his private correspondence be burnt after his death… (p. 28)

It is clear, then, that the Rothschilds did not want the public to learn of their inner workings. They may have had a long-term Zionist strategy that they did not want others to know. Perhaps they thought that if their enemies learned of this long-term Zionist strategy, it would be used as proof that they could not assimilate and should be excluded from European society.

Whatever the case, it is clear that the 1800’s saw a slow but steady emancipation of Jews, largely through the efforts of the Rothschild family. This coincided with the rise of the eighth (church) beast. At the same time, aspirations of Zionism arose among those who were impatient or who did not believe that real emancipation was possible. It may be that the Rothschilds themselves were ultimately pushed into taking a greater role in the Zionist movement by the early 1900’s.

At any rate, when the British government finally took Palestine from the Ottoman Empire in 1917, British Foreign Secretary Lord Balfour wrote to Walter Rothschild the letter known as the Balfour Declaration (Nov. 2, 1917). In part, it read:

“His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

At the time, Walter Rothschild was the head of the British Zionist Federation. The letter was a statement of intent to establish a Jewish Homeland in Palestine (not a Jewish state). So it is clear that by 1917 the Rothschilds had acquired a leadership role in the Zionist movement, whether they really wanted it or not.

Thirty years later the United Nations debated the Palestinian Resolution from Nov. 21-29, 1947 and then passed the Resolution for a Jewish Homeland, effective May 14, 1948. Not content with this, when the time came, the Jewish leaders in Palestine declared a Jewish state, which went beyond the UN mandate, and this sparked the first Arab-Israeli conflict. To learn how this conflict developed during the first half of the 1900’s, as well as the roots of this conflict in the book of Genesis, see my book, The Struggle for the Birthright.

The Bible prophesies of the return of the Jews to Palestine, but Zionists (including Christian Zionsts) do not really understand what the prophets teach about this. This is mostly due to Christian ignorance of the distinction between Israel and Judah and the callings that each nation had been given by Jacob in Genesis 48 and 49.

Likewise, Christian Zionists overlook or deny outright Jesus’ prophetic pronouncements in the New Testament, where He tells us God’s real purpose for the Jews’ return. He brought them back, not for their good, but to judge them at the scene of the crime when they rejected and crucified the Messiah (Luke 19:27, 28). In other words, the fact that Scripture prophesied a Jewish return to Palestine should not be taken as divine approval or that the Zionists had a right to mistreat or expel Palestinians from their homes and farms.

Christian Zionists, who think they are blessing the Jews by paying their way to move to “Israel,” are actually sending them to almost certain destruction. Over and beyond this, they are supporting those who, in times past, usurped the throne of David and who now usurp the birthright of Joseph. This is the Judas factor that afflicts those who do not understand the scriptures or the prophecy of the eighth beast of Rev. 17:11.