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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 84

The Beast with Seven Heads and Ten Horns

The Beast with Seven Heads and Ten Horns.

In the book of Revelation, chap. xvii., the Roman Empire is represented by a beast, in connection with a woman sitting upon it. This being so, we would caution the reader to be careful not to take the woman and the beast for one object; they are distinct, though closely connected, like the rider and the horse. In this way we must consider the woman and the beast : the beast represents the temporal power, and the woman the ecclesiastical power, of the Roman Empire; and as the horse is the power who carries its rider, but the rider guides and directs the horse to answer his purpose; so the temporal power of the Roman Empire upholds and supports the ecclesiastical power, whilst the latter guides and directs the former for its own intents and purposes, which will be apparent to the reader as we go on. We have examined the marks of the beast before, and found that it indicated the Roman Empire; but in connection with the woman we find it necessary to repeat our examination, in order to ascertain what Church is meant by the woman, so as not to make any mistake in identifying her.

The Roman Empire is represented here by a beast which has seven heads and ten horns, but no crowns upon the horns, as in chap. xiii. We would draw the attention of the reader to the meaning of the seven heads. These heads represent, in chap. xiii., v. 1, seven rulers of the old Roman Empire, before it was divided into ten kingdoms; whereas in chap. xvii. these heads have a twofold meaning-(I) they represent seven rulers of the old Roman Empire, as in chap. xiii.; and also (2) seven mountains, in connection with the woman, as we shall see presently. The ten crowns upon the horns in chapter xiii. represent ten kings, at the time when the Empire is re-established in its visible form, to which formation we have to look forward. But in chapter xvii. these kings, together with their kingdoms of the re-established Empire, are represented by the ten horns upon the beast without crowns, because the kings and kingdoms are taken here together: "And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast" (verse 12). The beast here means the man who re-establishes the Empire. "These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength"—notice, not their kingdoms—"unto the beast" (verse 13). Comparing the passage in Daniel vii. 20, "whose look was move stout than his fellow's," with Rev. xvii. 13, "These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength to the beast," would clearly indicate the manner in which the Empire shall be reformed. It would appear these Kings will unite under one head that great King who shall "obtain the kingdom by flatteries" (Daniel xi. 21). He will make the proposition that there shall be an alliance established between them, in order to strengthen themselves against other mighty powers, under the form of the Roman Empire, in a manner similar to that by which the Germans have been united, to which these Kings will agree. That alliance may Italy commence between France (where, as it would appear, that King shall arise), Spain, and Austria, and the others be drawn in step by step; and ultimately that King called "the beast" to be set up as the Emperor of Rome.

In Revelation xvii., verse 3, the beast is represented as written all over with names of blasphemy; and in chapter xiii, verse l, the names of blasphemy are upon the heads of the beast. The blasphemy thus described refers to the whoreom of the woman whom the beast supports in her abomination, and is thus partaker of her fornification (xvii. 2). But that sort of whoredom will be done away page 23 with, either when the alliance shall be established, or at the time when the then Roman Emperor shall set up his worship (see chap. xii., v. 14 to the end): "And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire." (Rev. xvii. 10.) We wish the reader to notice the difference between the blasphemy of the beast in connection with the woman, and the subsequent blasphemy, which is ascribed in Daniel vii. 8 to the "little horn," and in Rev. xiii. 6 to the wounded bead. The former is carried on in collusion between the temporal and ecclesiastical powers; whereas the latter is the act of the most determined and despotic temporal power.

The Angel who gave the Apostle John the interpretation of the vision, commences with the beast, as follows : "The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; . . . the beast that was, and is not, and yet is" (verse 8). We have had this before. The meaning of "was, and is not, and yet is," is this : The Roman Empire in its shape and form was, as is well known; and there should then be a time when it could be said it is not, which is the present—it has quite disappeared from our view; but it is, nevertheless, in its power, in the ten kingdoms into which it has been divided; and by that power it upholds and supports the woman, represented as sitting upon it. Further, we read, "it shall ascend." (verse 8,)—i.e., it shall be re-established as to its form.

At present it might be compared to a house taken to pieces, of which it could be said "it is," with regard to the materials, ready to be again set up. The heads are added to the beast to show by whom the Empire shall be re-established—viz., by one of the heads of the beast; for the seven heads in this respect represent seven rulers of the Empire before it was divided, five of whom had passed away; the sixth existed when this vision was shown to the Apostle, and the seventh was to come, and continue a short space (verse 10), signifying apparently that he should not rule his full time, as the Empire should become divided. Here we have seven rulers already, representing the seven heads of the beast who ruled the Empire before it became divided. There would, in that case, be no one to reestablish the Empire. But here notice that the Empire is to be re-established by that wounded head—"wounded to death," but his deadly wound was healed again (Rev. xiii. 3). The Angel goes on to say : "The beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is (one) of the seven" (verse 11). How can eight at the same time be seven ? It would appear that, because the Empire was divided under the last ruler, the last one and that one who shall re-establish it in its former condition are to be taken as one; as is represented by the head being wounded to death and the same head being healed again; and of him it is also said that his power shall last "one hour" (Rev. xvii. 12)—signifying a short space, till he shall be destroyed. Wherefore, he who brings it into its visible form again, though the eighth as to number, is nevertheless one of the seven. As if the head wounded to death by the sword (Rev. xiii. 11) was cut in halves, the one half to be added to the last ruler of the Empire, who it is said "shall continue a short space" (Rev. xvii. 10), and the other half to the person who shall re-establish the Empire, of whom it is also said that his power shall bo for "one hour" (verse 12). Or the number, eight, may be illustrated by wight apples of equal size : cutting two of them in halves, throw the two halves of the apples so divided away, and putting the other two halves together, the number, eight, is thus reduced to seven, the eighth apple having become merged in the seventh; like the head being wounded to death by the division of the Empire, and the same head being healed again by another person, though the wounding and the healing are many centuries apart.

It was necessary to be delineated thus, to show the continuance of the Empire during the period when apparently "it is not," on account of the woman, which could thus be more clearly pointed out. and the identity of whom is of very great importance to those who will take warning. It was also necessary to be shown thus in order to identify the Wilful King—the "Man of Sin."

The Empire is at present apparently without a head, or rather with a very large gash cut in its head. Though, however deadly the wound appears to be, it shall assuredly, in the fulfilment of time, be healed again. With God, time is not numbered : everything is present with Him.