Tag Archives: The beast was

REV 17 AND THE BEAST THAT “WAS, IS, AND IS NOT”

PMW 2018-007 Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In previous studies I presented evidence that the sixth head of the seven-headed beast of Revelation was Nero Caesar, the sixth emperor of Rome. Thus, in Revelation the sixth head of the beast represents the then reigning sixth head/king of Rome. But now we must deal with a passage that seems to contradict this identification. In Revelation 17 the interpreting angel states that:

“The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. . . . The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction.” (Rev. 17:8, 11)

As we focus on these statements, two important questions arise: (1) What is the significance of the beast being the one who “was and is not, and is about to come”? Is this one of the many instances of the beast’s divine pretensions, wherein he parodies divine eternality, which is the view of most commentators? And (2) does this description undercut the early-date position and preterist approach by declaring the beast (Nero) is already dead when John writes? After all, the angel states that he “was and is not [ouk estin].” Continue reading

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