Revelation 17:8
The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were 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.
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Revelation 17:8-14. The beast that thou sawest, &c. — The mystery of the beast is first explained, and the beast is considered first in general, (Revelation 17:8,) under a threefold state or succession, as existing, and then ceasing to be, and then reviving again, so as to become another and the same. He was, and is not — Καιπερ εστιν, and yet is, or, according to other copies, και παρεσται, and shall come, shall ascend out of the bottomless pit — A beast in the prophetic style, as we before observed, is a tyrannical idolatrous empire; and the Roman empire was idolatrous under the heathen emperors, and then ceased to be so for some time under the Christian emperors, and then became idolatrous again under the Roman pontiffs, and so hath continued ever since. It is the same idolatrous power revived again; but only in another form; and all the corrupt part of mankind, whose names were not enrolled as good citizens in the registers of heaven, are pleased at the revival of it; but in this last form it shall go into perdition — It shall not, as it did before, cease for a time and revive again, but shall be destroyed for ever.

After this general account of the beast, follows an explanation of the particular emblems, with a short preface, intimating that they are deserving of the deepest attention, and are a proper exercise and trial of the understanding. Here is the mind which hath wisdom, Revelation 17:9 — As it was said upon a former occasion, Revelation 13:8, Here is wisdom: let him that hath understanding count, &c. The seven heads have a double signification: they are, primarily, seven mountains on which the woman sitteth — On which the capital city is seated; which all know to be the situation of Rome. It is observed too, that new Rome, or Constantinople, is situated on seven mountains: but these are very rarely mentioned, and mentioned only by obscure authors in comparison of the others; and besides the seven mountains, other particulars also must coincide, which cannot be found in Constantinople. It is evident, therefore, that the city seated on seven mountains must be Rome; and a plainer description could not be given of it without expressing the name, which there might be several wise reasons for concealing.

As the seven heads signify seven mountains, so they also signify seven kings reigning over them. And they are seven kings — Or kingdoms, or forms of government, as the word imports, and hath been shown to import in former instances. Five are fallen — Five of these forms of government are already past; and one is — The sixth is now subsisting. The five fallen are kings, and consuls, and dictators, and decemvirs, and military tribunes with consular authority; as they are enumerated and distinguished by the two greatest Roman historians, Livy and Tacitus. The sixth is the power of the Cesars or emperors, which was subsisting at the time of the vision. An end was put to the imperial name, A.D. 476, by Odoacer. king of the Heruli. He and his successors, the Ostrogoths, assumed the title of kings of Italy; but though the name was changed the power still continued much the same. This, therefore, cannot well be called a new form of government; it may rather be considered as a continuation of the imperial power, or as a renovation of the kingly authority. Consuls are reckoned but one form of government, though their office was frequently suspended, and after a time restored again: and in the same manner kings may be counted but one form of government, though the name was resumed after an interval of so many years. A new form of government was not erected till Rome fell under the obedience of the eastern emperor, and the emperor’s lieutenant, the exarch of Ravenna, dissolved all the former magistracies, and constituted a duke of Rome, to govern the people, and to pay tribute to the exarchate of Ravenna. Rome had never experienced this form of government before; and this was, perhaps, the other which, in the apostle’s days, was not yet come, and when he cometh he must continue a short space — For Rome was reduced to a dukedom, tributary to the exarch of Ravenna, by Longinus, who was sent exarch A.D. 566 or 568; and the city revolted from the eastern emperor to the pope, A.D. 727; which is a short space, in comparison of the imperial power, which preceded, and lasted above five hundred years; and in comparison of the Papal power, which followed, and hath now continued about one thousand years. But still it may be doubted whether this is properly a new form of government, Rome being still subject to the imperial power, by being subject to the Greek emperor’s deputy, the exarch of Ravenna: and, according as you determine this point, the beast that was, and is not Was, while idolatrous, and was not, while not idolatrous, will appear to be the seventh or eighth. If you reckon this a new form of government, the beast that now is, is the eighth; if you do not reckon this a new form of government, the beast is of the seven; but whether he be the seventh or eighth, he is the last form of government, and goeth into perdition — It appears evidently that the sixth form of government, which was subsisting in St. John’s time, is the imperial; and what form of government hath succeeded to that in Rome, and hath continued for a long space of time, but the Papal? The beast, therefore, upon which the woman rideth, is the Roman government in its last form; and this, all must acknowledge, is the Papal, and not the imperial.

Having thus explained the mystery of the seven heads, the angel proceeds to the explanation of the ten horns, (Revelation 17:12-14,) which, says he, are ten kings, who have received no kingdom as yet — And consequently they were not in being at the time of the vision; and indeed the Roman empire was not divided into ten kingdoms till some time after it was become Christian. But they receive power as kings one hour — Or rather, at the same time, or for the same length of time; with the beast — It is true in both senses, they rise and fall together with the beast; and consequently they are not to be reckoned before the rise and establishment of the beast. Kingdoms they might be before, but they were not before kingdoms or horns of the beast, till they embraced his religion, and submitted to his authority; and the beast strengthened them, as they again strengthened the beast. It is upon the seventh or last head of the beast that the horns were seen growing together, that is, upon the Roman empire in its seventh or last form of government; and they are not, like the heads, successive, but contemporary kingdoms. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast, Revelation 17:13 — Which is easily understood and applied to the princes and states in communion with the Church of Rome. However they may differ in other respects, yet they agree in submitting implicitly to the authority of the Roman Church, and in defending its rights and prerogatives against all opposers. But where were ever ten kings or kingdoms who were all unanimous in their submissions to the Roman empire, and voluntarily contributed their power and strength, their forces and riches, to support and maintain it? These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them, Revelation 17:14 — They persecute the true Church of Christ, but the true church shall in the end prevail and triumph over them; which particulars have been fulfilled in part already, and will be more fully accomplished hereafter.

17:7-14 The beast on which the woman sat was, and is not, and yet is. It was a seat of idolatry and persecution, and is not; not in the ancient form, which was pagan: yet it is; it is truly the seat of idolatry and tyranny, though of another sort and form. It would deceive into stupid and blind submission all the inhabitants of the earth within its influence, except the remnant of the elect. This beast was seven heads, seven mountains, the seven hills on which Rome stands; and seven kings, seven sorts of government. Five were gone by when this prophecy was written; one was then in being; the other was yet to come. This beast, directed by the papacy, makes an eighth governor, and sets up idolatry again. It had ten horns, which are said to be ten kings who had as yet no kingdoms; they should not rise up till the Roman empire was broken; but should for a time be very zealous in her interest. Christ must reign till all enemies be put under his feet. The reason of the victory is, that he is the King of kings, and Lord of lords. He has supreme dominion and power over all things; all the powers of earth and hell are subject to his control. His followers are called to this warfare, are fitted for it, and will be faithful in it.The beast that thou sawest was, and is not - In the close of the verse it is added, "and yet is" - "the beast that was, and is not, and yet is." There are three things affirmed here: first, that there is a sense in which it might be said of the power here referred to, that it "was," or that, before this, it had an existence; second, that there was a sense in which it might be said that it is "not," that is, that it had become practically extinct; and third, that there is a sense in which that power would be so revived that it might be said that it "still is." The "beast" here referred to is the same that is mentioned in Revelation 17:3, and in Revelation 13:1, Revelation 13:3,Revelation 13:11-16. That is, there was one great formidable power, having essentially the same origin, though manifested under somewhat different modifications, to one and all of which might, in their different manifestations, be given the same name, "the beast."

And shall ascend out of the bottomless pit - ἐκ τῆς ἀβύσσου ek tēs abussou. On the meaning of the word here used, see the notes on Revelation 9:1. The meaning here is, that this power would seem to come up from the nether world. It would appear at one time to be extinct, but would revive again as if coming from the world over which Satan presides, and would, in its revived character, be such as might be expected from such an origin.

And go into perdition - That is, its end will be destruction. It will not be permanent, but will be overthrown and destroyed. The word perdition here is properly rendered by Prof. Stuart "destruction," but nothing is indicated by the word of the "nature" of the destruction that would come upon it.

And they that dwell on the earth - The inhabitants of the earth generally; that is, the matter referred to will be so remarkable as to attract general attention.

Shall wonder - It will be so contrary to the regular course of events, so difficult of explanation, so remarkable in itself, as to excite attention and surprise.

Whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world - See this explained in the notes on Revelation 13:8. The idea seems to be, that those whose names are written in the book of life, or who are truly the friends of God, would not be drawn off in admiration of the beast, or in rendering homage to it.

When they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is - That is, the power that once was mighty; that had declined to such a state that it became, as it were, extinct; and that was revived again with so much of its original strength, that it might be said that it still exists. The fact of its being revived in this manner, as well as the nature of the power itself, seemed suited to excite this admiration.

8. beast … was, and is not—(Compare Re 17:11). The time when the beast "is not" is the time during which it has "the deadly wound"; the time of the seventh head becoming Christian externally, when its beast-like character was put into suspension temporarily. The healing of its wound answers to its ascending out of the bottomless pit. The beast, or Antichristian world power, returns worse than ever, with satanic powers from hell (Re 11:7), not merely from the sea of convulsed nations (Re 13:1). Christian civilization gives the beast only a temporary wound, whence the deadly wound is always mentioned in connection with its being healed up the non-existence of the beast in connection with its reappearance; and Daniel does not even notice any change in the world power effected by Christianity. We are endangered on one side by the spurious Christianity of the harlot, on the other by the open Antichristianity of the beast; the third class is Christ's little flock."

go—So B, Vulgate, and Andreas read the future tense. But A and Irenæus, "goeth."

into perdition—The continuance of this revived seventh (that is, the eighth) head is short: it is therefore called "the son of perdition," who is essentially doomed to it almost immediately after his appearance.

names were—so Vulgate and Andreas. But A, B, Syriac, and Coptic read the singular, "name is."

written in—Greek, "upon."

which—rather, "when they behold the beast that it was," &c. So Vulgate.

was, and is not, and yet is—A, B, and Andreas read, "and shall come" (literally, "be present," namely, again: Greek, "kai parestai"). The Hebrew, "tetragrammaton," or sacred four letters in Jehovah, "who is, who was, and who is to come," the believer's object of worship, has its contrasted counterpart in the beast "who was, and is not, and shall be present," the object of the earth's worship [Bengel]. They exult with wonder in seeing that the beast which had seemed to have received its death blow from Christianity, is on the eve of reviving with greater power than ever on the ruins of that religion which tormented them (Re 11:10).

The beast that thou sawest; this beast was the Roman empire, the scarlet coloured beast which carried the whore, Revelation 17:3.

Was, and is not; was of old, in Rome’s pagan state, and is not, not in that form, not now pagan;

and yet is (as is said in the close of the verse) the same in another form, idolatrous and persecuting.

And shall ascend out of the bottomless pit; either, out of the sea, which signifies a multitude of people; or, from hell; the word signifies both.

And go into perdition; and shall certainly be destroyed.

And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, &c.: but before he goes into perdition he shall so cheat the world, that the generality of the people shall wonder at the beast, {see Revelation 8:8} setting aside those who are chosen of God to eternal salvation; the one hundred and forty-four thousand, mentioned Revelation 14:3. I conceive that which hath made interpreters so divided in their notions about this beast is, because those words, and yet is, are not added in the beginning of the verse, which being understood, there appears no difficulty considerable; for it is certain the Roman empire was from before Christ, and continued pagan till the year 310; then was not pagan, but Christian, yet after some years was again as idolatrous and bloody against Christians, as the old pagan empire was; especially when swallowed up by the pope, the beast with two horns like a lamb. This is the beast with seven heads and ten horns, Revelation 13:1.

The beast which thou sawest was, and is not,.... It is added at the end of the verse where the same description is given, "and yet is"; this beast is to be understood not of the devil, who "was" the god of this world, "is not", being cast out by Christ, and yet is in being; for he, the dragon, is distinguished from this beast, and indeed from him the beast has his seat, power, and authority, Revelation 13:1 nor any particular emperor, as Domitian, a cruel and savage one, who was in power in Vespasian's time, when he was abroad, and then was out of it upon his return, and yet afterwards was in again, being as one sent from hell, and went at last into perdition; but the Roman empire itself is intended, as we have seen, which carried and supported the Papacy; and variously may this be interpreted; as that it was in the hands of the Romans originally, and long continued with them, but now "is not", in John's time, being in the hands of Trajan, a Spaniard, "and yet is" in being, Rome being the metropolis of it: it was a very powerful and flourishing empire, "and is not", being destroyed by the Goths and Vandals, "and yet is" a large empire under the jurisdiction of antichrist; it was an idolatrous empire, which encouraged the worshipping of Heathen gods, "and is not" guilty of the same idolatrous practices it was, as the worshipping of Jupiter, Mars, &c. "and yet is" much given to idolatry in another way, worshipping the virgin Mary, and other saints; it "was" under kings, consuls, dictators, tribunes, decemvirs, and emperors, it "is not" in such a form of government, "and yet is" under its seventh head the pope; "Rome was", but "is not" the same it has been, in some respects, and yet is the same, for idolatry, cruelty, &c. it has the image of old Rome, when Pagan, and under the power of the dragon; and though antichrist was not risen up in the empire to an head, to supreme power yet it was in being in the apostles' times, and began to work, and by degrees to show itself. In short, the meaning is, that this beast "was" the Roman empire, as Pagan, described by a dragon with seven heads, and ten horns, with crowns on the heads, but is not as yet in the Apostle John's time, as Papal, described with seven heads, and ten horns, and crowns on the horns.

And shall ascend out of the bottomless pit: out of hell, from whence the antichristian beast has its power; see Revelation 11:8 otherwise all civil power is from God, but not antichristian power, that is from the devil:

and go into perdition; everlasting destruction, the lake which burns with fire and brimstone; this will be the end of the beast, Revelation 19:20.

and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder; the inhabitants of the Roman empire, earthly minded men, shall have the beast in great veneration, and follow and worship him; see Revelation 13:3

whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world; none but reprobates, not any of the elect of God, are the admirers and worshippers of antichrist; See Gill on Revelation 13:8.

when they beheld the beast that was, and is not, and yet is; the Roman empire in glory, under the emperors, destroyed by the Goths, and revived in the Papacy. The Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions leave out the last clause,

and yet is.

{12} The beast that thou sawest {13} was, and is not; and {14} shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, {15} when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

(12) The story of the beast has a triple description of him. The first is a distinction of this beast from all that ever have been at any time: which distinction is contained in this verse: The second is a delineation or painting out of the beast by things present, by which he might even at that time be known by the godly: and this delineation is according to his heads in Re 17:12-14. This beast is that empire of Rome, of which I spoke in see Geneva (15) Re 13:11 according to the mutations and changes of which then had already happened, the Holy Spirit has distinguished and set out the same. The apostle distinguishes this beast from all others in these words the beast which thou saw, was and is not. For so I expound the words of the apostle for the evidence's sake, as I will further declare in the notes following.

(13) The meaning is, that beast which you saw before in Re 13:1 and which you have now seen, was (was I say) from Julius Caesar in respect to beginning, rising up, station, glory, dominion, manner and family, from the house of Julius: and yet is not now the same, if you look to the house and family: for the dominion of this family was translated to another, after the death of Nero from that other to a third, from a third to a fourth, and so on, was varied and altered by innumerable changes. Finally, the Empire is one, as it were one beast: but exceedingly varied by kindreds, families, and persons. It was therefore (says John) in the kindred or house of Julius: and now it is not in that kindred, but translated to another.

(14) As if he should say, Also this same that is, shall shortly not be: but shall ascend out of the depth, or out of the sea (as was said) in Re 13:1 that is, shall be a new stock from among the nations without difference and shall in the same state go to into destruction, or run and perish: and so shall successively new princes or emperors come and go, arise and fall, the body of the beast remaining still, but tossed with many frequent alterations, as no man can but marvel that this beast was able to stand and hold out, in so many mutations, verily no empire that ever was tossed with so many changes, and as it were with so many tempests of the sea, ever continued so long.

Revelation 17:8. As the Beast seen by the seer cannot be described as non-existent, it must denote here (as in Revelation 13:3 f., though differently) not the empire but the emperor, or one of its own heads. Such an identification was natural in the ancient world especially, where a king and his capital or state were interchangeable terms. The emperor, here Nero redivivus (cf. the saying of Apollonius, cited in Philostr. Vit. Apol. iv. 38: “Regarding this wild beast,” i.e., Nero, “I know not how many heads he has”), embodied the empire. The Beast is a sort of revenant. To rise from the abyss was the conventional origin of the Beast (cf. Revelation 11:7) even in the primitive tradition; the Nero-antichrist, however, introduces the fresh horror of a monster breaking loose even from death. True, he goes to perdition eventually, but not before all except the elect have succumbed to the fascination of his second advent. The Beast of the source here is evidently the antichrist figure of Revelation 11:7 (also a Jewish source) transformed into Nero redivivus. There is less reason to suspect the hand of the Christian editor in 8 (Bousset) than in 9 a (J. Weiss).

8. was, and is not] On the whole, ancient tradition where it speaks, and modern criticism, agree in the interpretation of these words. Nero, who killed himself in June a.d. 68, “had been, and was not” at the date of this vision: but his reappearance was looked for by many, with various feelings of hope and fear. “When his dethronement and execution were imminent, it was said that he had talked of going to the East, and establishing his throne at Jerusalem (see on Revelation 11:9): while one form (see on Revelation 16:12) of the belief that he survived, was that he had fled to the Parthians, and would return under their protection.

Now St John is not to be held responsible for all the opinions, superstitious or at least irrational, that were held by his pagan contemporaries about the return of Nero from the East. But when we find that the belief in Nero’s destined return was held by Christians for the next four centuries, if not longer, when it had quite passed out of the minds of pagans, it becomes probable that St John was answerable for their belief; at any rate, they grounded it on his words. And it is possible that he means to tell us, that the Antichrist who is to come will actually be Nero risen from the dead (we notice, that in the words of the text his death, the reality of which is historically certain, is not denied, but affirmed): more probably, Antichrist will be a new Nero in the same way as he will be a new Antiochus, an enemy of God as they were, typified by them inasmuch as they were actuated by his spirit. It is needless to suppose with M. Renan that Nero is called “the Beast” in allusion to a loathsome atrocity said to be committed by him disguised as one: the analogy of Daniel 7 is what determines the image.

shall ascend out of the bottomless pit] Revelation 11:7, where see note. Perhaps there is a distinction between the appearance of the Beast indicated here and that of Revelation 13:1. The persecuting Roman Empire, which was antichristian in posse, arose “out of the sea” like other Empires of the earth (Daniel 7:3), out of the confused and often sinful, but not infra-natural, turmoil of the life of this world. But the final and developed antichristian and persecuting power, the Empire of Antichrist himself, will have a directly infernal source.

go into perdition] So Revelation 17:11 : cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:3. The fulfilment of this threat is indicated in Revelation 19:20.

shall wonder] Revelation 13:3-4.

whose names were not written] Revelation 13:8. We should almost certainly read, are [or is] not written, as there: and probably name for “names.”

that was] Read, that he was.

and yet is] Read, and shall come: lit. shall be here: the word is cognate with that ordinarily used of the Coming of Christ.

Revelation 17:8. Ἦν, κ.τ.λ., was, etc.) There are three periods of the duration of the beast: the times of which are by conjecture related in the book, Erkl. Offenb. p. 1147, etc. But, (1.) To the problem there given there may be added a certain secondary course of the number of the beast, from the completion of his rising out of the sea, in the time of Alexander III., A. 1169, to A. 1836. (2.) That which I said above, on ch. Revelation 13:1, Proposition 10, Observ. 29, may be compared. (3.) The whole of that 10th Proposition may be reviewed to explain many parts of this 17th chapter.—[187] βλεπόντων[188]) The Genitive by itself put absolutely, as Luke 8:20, λεγόντων.—ὅτι, that) The point of view, by reason of which the inhabitants of the earth wonder at the beast: thus altogether, ὅτι, John 9:8.—καὶ παρέσται[189]) The ancient authorities, with the greatest agreement, have this reading: some, καὶ πάρεστιν. It is not so clear respecting M. and Pet. 3 only. See App. Crit. Ed. ii. on this passage. Erasmus himself, if he were alive, would, as I think, yield the victory to so many MSS., which are now accessible, and would wonder at his followers, who so superstitiously preserve the readings formerly established by him with difficulty. When I deny, that the particle καίπερ is anywhere used by John, Wolf retorts, that not even the word παρέσται is used by John.[190] But the two cases are dissimilar. For no idiomatic usage excludes the verb παρέσται. The Hebrew usage, which John greatly follows, almost everywhere renders the particle although, by ו or καὶ, according to Noldii Concord, pp. 292, 293, not by καίπερ. Another argument is to be added, which plainly refutes the construction of Erasmus, καίπερ ἐστίν. For all the passages of the New Testament teach, that καίπερ is not construed with a verb, but with a participle: 2 Peter 1:12; Hebrews 5:8; Hebrews 7:5; Hebrews 12:17; and especially Php 3:4. And thus οἱ ἔξω. Demosth., ΤΑῦΤΑ ΜΝΗΜΟΝΕΎΕΤΕ ῬΗΘΈΝΤΑ, ΚΑΊΠΕΡ ὌΝΤΕς Οὐ ΔΕΙΝΟῚ ΤΟῪς ἈΔΙΚΟῦΝΤΑς ΜΕΜΝῆΣΘΑΙ. The same, ἝΚΑΣΤΟΝ ὐΜῶΝ, ΚΑΊΠΕΡ ἈΚΡΙΒῶς ΕἸΔΌΤΑ, ὍΜΩς ὐΠΟΜΝῆΣΑΙ ΒΟΎΛΟΜΑΙ. The same, ΔΕῖ ΜΕ, ΚΑΊΠΕΡ Οὐ ΦΙΛΟΛΟΊΔΟΡΟΝ ὌΝΤΑ ΦΎΣΕΙ, ΑὐΤᾺ ΤᾺ ἈΝΑΓΚΑΙΌΤΑΤΑ ΕἸΠΕῖΝ ΠΕΡῚ ΑὐΤΟῦ. Aristotle, Ἀλλὰ καίπερ ὄντος τοιούτου τοῦ παρόντος λόγου, πειρατέον βοηθεῖν. Euripides, ΚἈΓΏ Σʼ ἹΚΝΟῦΜΑΙ, ΚΑῚ ΓΥΝΉ ΠΕΡ ΟὖΣʼ ὍΜΩς, ΤΟῖς ΔΕΟΜΈΝΟΙΣΙΝ ὨΦΕΛΕῖΝ, ΟἿΌς ΤΕ Δʼ ΕἾ. Sophocles, Γινώσκω σαφῶς, Καίπερ σκοτεινὸς (that is, ὢν) τήν γε σὴν αὐδὴν ὅμως. Dion, ΤᾺ ΤΟῦ ΤΙΒΕΡΊΟΥ ἜΡΓΑ, ΚΑΊΠΕΡ (Xiphilinus, ΚΑῚ) ΧΑΛΕΠΏΤΑΤΑ ΔΌΞΑΝΤΑ ΓΕΓΟΝΈΝΑΙ, ΠΑΡᾺ ΤᾺ ΓΑΐΟΥΠΑΡΉΝΕΓΚΑΝ. Zosimus, Καίπερ ἐν τούτοις ὄντι τῷ στρατοπέδῳ, περὶ φιλίας ὅμως ἐποιοῦντο λόγους οἱ Πέρσαι. Julian, ΚΑΊΠΕΡ ΤΑῦΤΑ ΠΟΛΥΠΡΑΓΜΟΝῶΝ, ᾘΔΕῖΤΟ ΤῸ ΜΈΓΕΘΟς ΑὐΤΟῦ Τῆς ἈΡΕΤῆς. But if any one affirms that ΚΑΊΠΕΡ is construed also with a verb, let him prove it by examples, and those too in which ΠΕΡ is not ΠΑΡΈΛΚΟΝ, as in Apollonius Rhodius, but signifies although. The nature of the particle does not permit it: for even the simple words, of which καίπερ is compounded, namely καὶ (for although) less frequently, and ΠΕΡ (in Devarius), never take a verb joined with them. A more weighty argument is, that the conjecture ΚΑΊΠΕΡ takes away much from the sentiment: for the wonder of them that dwell on the earth is excited not so much by that, that the beast was and is not, as by this, that the beast ΠΑΡΈΣΤΑΙ, will be present. Enough of criticism: but not however to no purpose. The passage is momentous. That tetragrammaton, יהוה, LORD, has a magnificent periphrasis, ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος, who is, and who was, and who is to come. But the dwellers on the earth wonder at the beast, as though a kind of antitetragrammaton; for he was, and is not, and will be present. The Lord is described as ὁ ἐρχόμενος, coming: the beast ΠΑΡΈΣΤΑΙ, will be present, when that other king comes, Revelation 17:10; and that ΠΑΡΟΥΣΊΑ (comp. altogether 2 Thessalonians 2) is by far the most destructive. To the Hebrew word, בוא, both ἜΡΧΟΜΑΙ and ΠΆΡΕΙΜΙ correspond in the LXX.; and in this place, ΚΑῚ ΠΑΡΈΣΤΑΙ most appropriately accords with ἮΝ ΚΑΙ ΟὐΚ ἜΣΤΙ, and it conveys a meaning something less, than if it were said, ΚΑῚ ἜΡΧΕΤΑῚ, or ΚΑῚ ἜΣΤΑΙ.

[187] ἐκ τῆς ἀβύσσου, out of the bottomless pit) The beast ascends out of the sea, when he begins to be: at last he will ascend out of the bottomless pit.—V. g.

[188] Vulg. h and Rec. Text read βλέποντες. AB read βλεπόντων.—E.

[189] ABh read καὶ πάοεσται. Rec. Text, without old authority, reads καίπέρ ἐστιν. Vulg. omits the words.—E.

[190] Since the remarks which here follow belong not only to Criticism, but also to sacred Philology, I was unwilling to reject them, although they are inserted in the Apparatus.—E. B.

Verse 8. - The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition; and is about to come up out of the abyss (Revised Version). "And to go" (ὑπάγειν) is read in א, B. P, Vulgate, and almost all cursives; while ὑπάγει, "he goeth," is found in A, 12, Arethas, Irenaeus. The latter part of this passage is related again in Revelation 19:20. The beast, as we have seen is the world power - Satan in his character of "prince of this world." Three stages are marked out in the existence of this world power: first, it was; second, it is not now; thirdly, it reappears, to be cast into perdition. The first period describes the condition of things before the sacrifice of Christ. Then it was that Satan ruled supreme in the world; that the power of the world - the beast - was. But Christ overcame the world (John 16:33); henceforth to all true believers there is "peace," although they may "have tribulation" in the world (John 16:33); for the faithful Christian the power of the world - the beast - is not. Yet, though for the true servant of God there is a sense in which it may be said that this power has no existence, it nevertheless exists in the abyss, that is, in its natural abiding place in the world, among the worldly minded, and thus may cause "tribulation" to the faithful. A further downfall is, therefore, prepared for it - that which will take place at the last day, when it "will ascend from the abyss to go into perdition." This nonexistence, contemporaneously with existence and subsequent reappearance, is exactly what is described in the wound healed (Revelation 13:3; see also the remainder of this verse). The period, therefore, embraced in these words is that of the whole existence of this world. It coincides with the period referred to in Revelation 12:14 and 17, and in Revelation 20:3. Throughout the Apocalypse the word ἄβυσσος, translated "bottomless pit" (Authorized Version) and "abyss" (Revised Version), is used to describe the dwelling place of Satan (see Revelation 9:1, 2, 11; Revelation 11:7; Revelation 20:1, 3) while working in the world. "Perdition" is described in Revelation 19:20 as the "lake of fire burning with brimstone." And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were 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; whose name hath not been written upon the book... beast, how that he was, and is not, and shall be present. The last words show exactly what is meant in the first part of the verse (which see). The first words are a repetition of words in Revelation 13:8 (which see). Revelation 17:8To go into perdition (ὑπάγειν)

Some good texts read ὑπάγει, goeth. For the verb, see on John 6:21; see on John 8:21.

In the book (ἐπί)

Lit., upon.

From the foundation of the world

In ordinary New Testament Greek these words would belong to are written. construe with the words immediately preceding. Compare Revelation 13:8, and Matthew 25:34.

And yet is (καίπερ ἐστίν)

Read καὶ πάρεσται, and shall come. Lit., shall be present.

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