Tagged: the scarlet woman

The woman and the beast explained – Revelation 17:7-8

Previously: Judgment of the notorious prostitute – Revelation 17:1-6

The scripture

Rev. 17:7 – Then the angel said to me, “Why are you astonished? I will tell you the secret meaning of the woman and of the beast, with the seven heads and the 10 horns, that carries her. 8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up from the abyss and go to destruction. Those who live on the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast that was, and is not, and will be present again. (HCSB)

The meaning of the woman and the beast

HellThe angel sees John’s bewilderment and remarks, “Why are you astonished? I will tell you the secret meaning of the woman and of the beast, with the seven heads and the 10 horns, that carries her” (v. 7). The term “secret meaning” is musterion in Greek and refers to what may be known only by divine revelation. John’s questions – and ours – are about to be answered.

The angel begins with the beast (v. 8): “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up from the abyss and go to destruction. Those who live on the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast that was, and is not, and will be present again.”

This description harks back to that of the beast from the sea in Rev. 13. He has 10 horns and seven heads upon which are written blasphemous names. These creatures from Revelation 13 and Revelation 17 are one in the same, and their description makes it clear they are affiliated with the dragon, who also is depicted with seven heads and 10 horns (Rev. 12:3).

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