Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 17:11

The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Horn;   The Topic Concordance - Empires/world Powers;   Judges;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Antichrist;   Babylon;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Church;   Joy;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Antichrist;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Perdition;   Revelation of John, the;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Antichrist;   Beast (1);   Perdition;   Revelation, Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Apocalypse;   Destruction;   Numbers;   Perdition;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Babylon the Great ;   Horns;   Numbers as Symbols;   Prophets, the;   Roman Empire;   Seventy Weeks of Daniel;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Babylon;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Damn;   Eschatology of the New Testament;   Perdition;   Revelation of John:;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

And the beast, that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition - That is to say, the Latin kingdom that has already been, but is now no longer nominally in existence, shall immediately follow the dissolution of the seventh form of Latin government; and this dominion is called ογδοος, an eighth, because it succeeds to the seventh. Yet it is not an eighth head of the beast, because the beast has only seven heads; for to constitute a new head of the beast the form of government must not only differ in nature, but also in name. This head of the beast is, therefore, εκ των ἑπτα, One of the seven. Consequently the form of government represented by this head is the restoration of one of the preceding seven. The restored head can be therefore no other than the regal state of the Latins, or in other words the Latin kingdom, (Ἡ Λατινη βασιλεια ), which followed the patriciate or seventh head of Latin government. But the beast in his eighth state, or under his first head restored, goeth into perdition. No other form of Latin government shall succeed; but the beast in his last or antichristian condition shall be taken together with the false prophet that wrought miracles in his sight, "and cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone."

It is observable that the eighth Latin power is called by the angel the beast, and also one of his heads. This apparent discordance arises from the double signification of the heads, for if we take the beast upon which the woman sits to be merely a representation of that secular power which supports the Latin Church, then the seven heads will represent the seven electorates of the Germanic empire; but if by the beast we understand the general Latin empire from first to last, then what is, according to the angel's first interpretation of the heads, called the beast, is in this case only one of his heads. See on Revelation 17:18; (note).

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 17:11". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-17.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And the beast that was, and is not - That is, the one power that was formerly mighty; that died away so that it might be said to be extinct; and yet Revelation 17:8 that “still is,” or has a prolonged existence. It is evident that, by the “beast” here, there is some one power, dominion, empire, or rule, whose essential identity is preserved through all these changes, and to which it is proper to give the same name. It finds its termination, or its last form, in what is here called the “eighth”; a power which, it is observed, sustains such a special relation to the seven, that it may be said to be “of the seven,” or to be a mere prolongation of the same sovereignty.

Even he is the eighth - The eighth in the succession. This form of sovereignty, though a mere prolongation of the former government, so much so as to be, in fact, but keeping up the same empire in the world, appears in such a novelty of form, that, in one sense, it deserves to be called the eighth in order, and yet is so essentially a mere concentration and continuance of the one power, that, in the general reckoning Revelation 17:10, it might be regarded as pertaining to the former. There was a sense in which it was proper to speak of it as the eighth power; and yet, viewed in its relation to the whole, it so essentially combined and concentrated all that there was in the seven, that, in a general view, it scarcely merited a separate mention. We should look for the fulfillment of this in some such concentration and embodiment of all that it was, in the previous forms of sovereignty referred to, that it perhaps would deserve mention as an eighth power, but that it was, nevertheless, such a mere prolongation of the previous forms of the one power, that it might be said to be “of the seven”; so that, in this view, it would not claim a separate consideration. This seems to be the fair meaning, though there is much that is enigmatical in the form of the expression.

And goeth into perdition - See the notes on Revelation 17:8.

In inquiring now into the application of this very difficult passage, it may be proper to suggest some of the principal opinions which have been held, and then to endeavor to ascertain the true meaning:

I. The principal opinions which have been held may be reduced to the following:

(1) That the seven kings here refer to the succession of Roman emperors, yet with some variation as to the manner of reckoning. Prof. Stuart begins with Julius Caesar, and reckons them in this manner: the “five that are fallen” are Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius. Nero, who, as he supposes, was the reigning prince at the time when the book was written, he regards as the sixth; Galba, who succeeded him, as the seventh. Others, who adopt this literal method of explaining it, suppose that the time begins with Augustus, and then Galba would be the sixth, and Otho, who reigned but three months, would be the seventh. The expression, “the beast that was, and is not, who is the eighth,” Prof. Stuart regards as referring to a general impression among the pagan and among Christians, in the time of the persecution under Nero, that he would again appear after it was reported that he was dead, or that he would rise from the dead and carry on his persecution again. See Prof. Stuart, Com. vol. ii., Excur. 3. The beast, according to this view, denotes the Roman emperors, specifically Nero, and the reference in Revelation 17:8 is to “the well known hariolation respecting Nero, that he would be assassinated, and would disappear for a while, and then make his appearance again to the confusion of all his enemies.” “What the angel,” says he, “says, seems to be equivalent to this - ‹The beast means the Roman emperors, specifically Nero, of whom the report spread throughout the empire that he will revive, after being apparently slain, and will come, as it were, from the abyss or Hades, but he will perish, and that speedily,‘” vol. ii. p. 323.

(2) That the word “kings” is not to be taken literally, but that it refers to forms of government, dynasties, or modes of administration. The general opinion among those who hold this view is, that the first six refer to the forms of the Roman government:

(1)kings;

(2)consuls;

(3)dictators;

(4)decemvirs;

(5)military tribunes;

(6)the imperial form, beginning with Augustus.

This has been the common Protestant interpretation, and in reference to these six forms of government there has been a general agreement. But, while the mass of Protestant interpreters have supposed that the “six” heads refer to these forms of administration, there has been much diversity of opinion as to the seventh; and here, on this plan of interpretation, the main, if not the sole difficulty lies. Among the opinions held are the following:

(a)That of Mr. Mede. He makes the seventh head what he calls the “Demi-Caesar,” or the “Western emperor who reigned after the division of the empire into East and West, and which continued, after the last division, under Honorius and Arcadius, about sixty years - a short space” (Works, book iii. ch. 8; book v. ch. 12).

(b)That of Dr. Newton, who regards the sixth or imperial “head” as continuing uninterruptedly through the line of Christian as well as pagan emperors, until Augustulus and the Heruli; and the seventh to be the Dukedom of Rome, established soon after under the exarchate of Ravenna (Prophecies, pp. 575,576).

(c)That of Dr. More and Mr. Cunninghame, who suppose the Christian emperors, from Constantine to Augustulus, to constitute the seventh head, and that this had its termination by the sword of the Heruli.

(d)That of Mr. Elliott, who supposes the seventh head or power to refer to a new form of administration introduced by Diocletian, changing the administration from the original imperial character to that of an absolute Asiatic sovereignty. For the important changes introduced by Diocletian that justify this remark, see the Decline and Fall, vol. i. pp. 212-217.

Numerous other solutions may be found in Poole‘s Synopsis, but these embrace the principal, and the most plausible that have been proposed.

II. I proceed, then, to state what seems to me to be the true explanation. This must be found in some facts that will accord with the explanation given of the meaning of the passage:

(1) There can be no doubt that this refers to Rome, either pagan, Christian, or papal. All the circumstances combine in this; all respectable interpreters agree in this. This would be naturally understood by the symbols used by John, and by the explanations furnished by the angel. See Revelation 17:18; “And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” Every circumstance combines here in leading to the conclusion that Rome is intended. There was no other power or empire on the earth to which this could be properly applied; there was everything in the circumstances of the writer to lead us to suppose that this was referred to; there is an utter impossibility now in applying the description to anything else.

(2) it was to be a revived power; not a power in its original form and strength. This is manifest, because it is said Revelation 17:8 that the power represented by the beast “was, and is not, and yet is” - that is, it was once a mighty power; it then declined so that it could be said that “it is not”; and yet there was so much remaining vitality in it, or so much revived power, that it could be said that it “still is” - καίπερ ἐστίν kaiper estinNow, this is strictly applicable to Rome when the papal power arose. The old Roman might had departed; the glory and strength evinced in the days of the consuls, the dictators, and the emperors, had disappeared, and yet there was a lingering vitality, and a reviving of power under the papacy, which made it proper to say that it still continued, or that that mighty power was prolonged. The civil power connected with the papacy was a revived Roman power - the Roman power prolonged under another form - for it is susceptible of clear demonstration that, if it had not been for the rise of the papal power, the sovereignty of Rome, as such, would have been wholly extinct. For the proof of this, see the passages quoted in the notes on Revelation 17:3. Compare the notes on Revelation 13:3, Revelation 13:12, Revelation 13:15.

(3) it was to be a power emanating from the “abyss,” or that would seem to ascend from the dark world beneath. See Revelation 17:8. This was true in regard to the papacy, either:

(a)as apparently ascending from the lowest state and the most depressed condition, as if it came up from below (see the notes on Revelation 17:3, compare Revelation 13:11); or,

(b)as, in fact, having its origin in the world of darkness, and being under the control of the prince of that world, which, according to all the representations of that formidable anti-Christian power in the Scriptures, is true, and which the whole history of the papacy, and of its influence on religion, confirms.

(4) one of the powers referred to sustained the other. “The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sitteth,” Revelation 17:9. That is, the power represented by the harlot was sustained or supported by the power represented by the seven heads or the seven mountains. Literally, applied, this would mean that the papacy, as an ecclesiastical institution, was sustained by the civil power, with which it was so closely connected. For the illustration and support of this, see the notes on Revelation 13:2-3, Revelation 13:12, Revelation 13:15. In the notes on these passages it is shown that the support was mutual; that while the papacy, in fact, revived the almost extinct Roman civil power, and gave it new vitality, the price of that was, that it should be, in its turn, sustained by that revived Roman civil power. All history shows that that has been the fact; that in all its aggressions, assumptions, and persecutions, it has, in fact, and professedly, leaned on the arm of the civil power.

(5) amore important inquiry, and a more serious difficulty, remains in respect to the statements respecting the “seven kings,” Revelation 17:10-11. The statements on this point are, that the whole number properly was seven; that of this number five had fallen or passed away; that one was in existence at the time when the author wrote; that another one was yet to appear who would continue for a little time; and that the general power represented by all these would be embodied in the “beast that was, and is not,” and that might, in some respects, be regarded as an “eighth.” These points may be taken up in their order:

(a) The first inquiry relates to the five that were fallen and the one that was then in existence - the first six. These may be taken together, for they are manifestly of the same class, and have the same characteristics, at least so far as to be distinguished from the “seventh” and the “eighth.” The meaning of the word “kings” here has been already explained, Revelation 17:10. It denotes ruling power, or forms of power; and, so far as the signification of the word is concerned, it might be applicable to royalty, or to any other form of administration. It is not necessary, then, to find an exact succession of princes or kings that would correspond with this - five of whom were dead, and one of whom was then on the throne, and all soon to be succeeded by one more, who would soon die.

The true explanation of this seems to be what refers this to the forms of the Roman government or administration. These six “heads,” or forms of administration, were, in their order, Kings, Consuls, Dictators, Decemvirs, Military Tribunes, and Emperors. Of these, five had passed away in the time when John wrote the Apocalypse; the sixth, the imperial, was then in power, and had been from the time of Augustus Caesar. The only questions that can be raised are, whether these forms of administration were so distinct and prominent, and whether in the times previous to John they so embraced the whole Roman power, as to justify this interpretation - that is, whether these forms of administration were so marked in this respect that it may be supposed that John would use the language here employed in describing them. As showing the probability that he would use this language, I refer to the following arguments, namely:

(1) The authority of Livy, lib. 6:cap. 1. Speaking of the previous parts of his history, and of what he had done in writing it, he says: “Quae ab condita urbe Roma a.d. captam eandem urbem, Romani sub regibus primum, consulibus deinde ac dictatoribus, decemviris ac tribunis consularibus gessere, foris bella, domi seditiones, quinque libris exposui.” That is, “In five books I have related what was done at Rome, pertaining both to foreign wars and domestic strifes, from the foundation of the city to the time when it was taken, as it was governed by kings, by consuls, by dictators, by the decemvirs, and by consular tribunes.” Here he mentions five forms of administration under which Rome had been governed in the earlier periods of its history. The imperial power had a later origin, and did not exist until near the time of Livy himself.

(2) the same distribution of power, or forms of government, among the Romans, is made by Tacitus, Annual. lib. i. cap. 1: “Urbem Romam a principio reges habuere. Libertatem et consulatum L. Brutus instituit. Dictaturae a.d. tempus sumebantur. Neque decemviralis potestas ultra biennium, neque tribunorum militum consulure jus diu valuit. Non Cinnae, non Syllae longa dominatio: et Pompeii Crassique potentia cito in Caesarem, Lepidi atque Antonii arma in Augustum cessere; qui cuncta, discordiis civilibus fessa, nomine principis sub imperium accepit.” That is, “In the beginning, Rome was governed by kings. Then L. Brutus gave to her liberty and the consulship. A temporary power was conferred on the dictators. The authority of the decemvirs did not continue beyond the space of two years: neither was the consular power of the military tribunes of long duration. The rule of Cinna and Sylla was brief; and the power of Pompey and Crassus passed into the hands of Caesar; and the arms of Lepidus and Antony were surrendered to Augustus, who united all things, broken by civil discord, under the name of prince in the imperial government.” Here Tacitus distinctly mentions the six forms of administration that had prevailed in Rome, the last of which was the imperial. It is true, also, that he mentions the brief rule of certain men - as Cinna, Sylla, Antony, and Lepidus; but these are not forms of administration, and their temporary authority did not indicate any change in the government - for some of these men were dictators, and none of them, except Brutus and Augustus, established any permanent form of administration.

(3) the same thing is apparent in the usual statements of history, and the books that describe the forms of government at Rome. In so common a book as Adam‘s Roman Antiquities, a description may be found of the forms of Roman administration that corresponds almost precisely with this. The forms of supreme power in Rome, as enumerated there, are what are called ordinary and extraordinary magistrates. Under the former are enumerated kings, consuls, praetors, censors, quaestors, and tribunes of the people. But of these, in fact, the supreme power was vested in two; for there were, under this, but two forms of administration - that of kings and consuls; the offices of praetor, censor, quaestor, and tribune of the people being merely subordinate to that of the consuls, and no more a new form of administration than the offices of secretary of the state, of war, of the navy, of the interior, are now. Under the latter - that of extraordinary magistrates - are enumerated dictators, decemvirs, military tribunes, and the interrex. But the interrex did not constitute a form of administration, or a change of government, anymore than, when the President or Vice-president of the United States should die, the performance of the duties of the office of president by the speaker of the senate would indicate a change, or than the regency of the Prince of Wales in the time of George III constituted a new form of government. So that, in fact, we have enumerated, as constituting the supreme power at Rome, kings, consuls, dictators, decemvirs, and military tribunes - five in number. The imperial power was the sixth.

(4) in confirmation of the same thing, I may refer to the authority of Bellarmine, a distinguished Roman Catholic writer. In his work De Pontiff., cap. 2, he thus enumerates the changes which the Roman government had experienced, or the forms of administration that had existed there:

1.Kings;

2.Consuls;

3.Decemvirs;

4.Dictators;

5.Military Tribunes with consular power;

6.Emperors.

See Poole‘s Synoptists, in loco. And,

(5) it may be added, that this would be understood by the contemporaries of John in this sense. These forms of government were so marked that, in connection with the mention of the “seven mountains,” designating the city, there could be no doubt as to what was intended. Reference would at once be made to the imperial power as then existing, and the mind would readily and easily turn back to the five main forms of the supreme administration which had existed before.

(b) The next inquiry is, what is denoted by “the seventh.” If the word “kings” here refers, as is supposed (see the notes on Revelation 17:10), to a form of government or administration; if the “five” refer to the forms previous to the imperial, and the “sixth” to the imperial; and if John wrote during the imperial government, then it follows that this must refer to some form of administration that was to succeed the imperial. If the papacy was “the eighth,” and of the “seventh,” then it is clear that this must refer to some form of civil administration lying between the decline of the imperial and the rise of the papal power: that “short space” - for it was a short space that intervened. Now, there can be no difficulty, I think, in referring this to that form of administration over Rome that “dukedom” under the exarchate of Ravenna, which succeeded the decline of the imperial power, and which preceded the rise of the papal power; between the year 566 or 568, when Rome was reduced to a dukedom, under the exarchate of Ravenna, and the time when the city revolted from this authority and became subject to that of the pope, about the year 727.

This period continued, according to Mr. Gibbon, about two hundred years. He says, “During a period of two hundred years, Italy was unequally divided between the kingdom of the Lombards and the exarchate of Ravenna. The offices and professions, which the jealousy of Constantine had separated, were united by the indulgence of Justinian; and eighteen successive exarchs were invested, in the decline of the empire, with the full remains of civil, of military, and even of ecclesiastical power. Their immediate jurisdiction, which was afterward consecrated as the patrimony of Peter, extended over the modern Romagna, the marshes or valleys of Ferrara and Commachic, five maritime cities from Rimini to Ancona, and a second inland Pentapolis, between the Adriatic coast and the hills of the Apennine. The duchy of Rome appears to have included the Tuscan, Sabine, and Latian conquests, of the first four hundred years of the city; and the limits may be distinctly traced along the coast, from Civita Vecchia to Terracina, and with the course of the Tiber from Ameria and Narni to the port of Ostia” (Dec. and Fall, 3:202).

How accurate is this if it be regarded as a statement of a new power or form of administration that succeeded the imperial - a power that was, in fact, a prolongation of the old Roman authority, and that was designed to constitute and embody it all! Could Mr. Gibbon have furnished a better commentary on the passage if he had adopted the interpretation of this portion of the Apocalypse above proposed, and if he had designed to describe this as the seventh power in the successive forms of the Roman administration? It is worthy of remark, also, that this account in Mr. Gibbon‘s history immediately precedes the account of the rise of the papacy; the record respecting the exarchate, and that concerning Gregory the Great, described by Mr. Gibbon as “the Saviour of Rome,” occurring in the same chapter, vol. iii. 202-211.

(c) This was to “continue for a short space” - for a little time. If this refers to the power to which in the remarks above it is supposed to refer, it is easy to see the propriety of this statement. Compared with the previous form of administration - the imperial - it was of short duration; absolutely considered, it was brief. Mr. Gibbon (iii. 202) has marked it as extending through “a period of two hundred years”; and if this is compared with the form of administration which preceded it, extending to more than five hundred years, and more especially with that which followed - the papal form - which has extended now some twelve hundred years, it will be seen with what propriety this is spoken of as continuing for a “short space.”

(d) “The beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven,” Revelation 17:11. If the explanations above given are correct, there can be no difficulty in the application of this to the papal power; for:

(1) all this power was concentrated in the papacy, all that revived or prolonged Roman power had now passed into the papacy, constituting that mighty dominion which was to be set up for so many centuries over what had been the Roman world. See the statements of Mr. Gibbon (iii. 207-211), as quoted in the notes on Revelation 17:3. Compare also, particularly, the remarks of Augustine Steuchus, a Roman Catholic writer, as quoted in the notes on that verse: “The empire having been overthrown, unless God had raised up the pontificate, Rome, resuscitated and restored by none, would have become uninhabitable, and been thenceforward a most foul habitation of cattle. But in the pontificate it revived as with a second birth; its empire in magnitude not indeed equal to the old empire, but its form not very dissimilar: because all nations, from East and from West, venerate the pope, not otherwise than they before obeyed the emperor.”

(2) this was an eighth power or form of administration - for it was different, in many respects, from that of the kings, the consuls, the dictators, the decemvirs, the military tribunes, the emperors, and the dukedom - though it comprised substantially the power of all. Indeed, it could not have been spoken of as identical with either of the previous forms of administration, though it concentrated the power which had been wielded by them all.

(3) it was “of the seven”; that is, it pertained to them; it was a prolongation of the same power. It had the same central seat - Rome; it extended over the same territory, and it embraced sooner or latter the same nations. There is not one of those forms of administration which did not find a prolongation in the papacy; for it aspired after, and succeeded in obtaining, all the authority of kings, dictators, consuls, emperors. It was in fact still the Roman scepter swayed over the world; and with the strictest propriety it could be said that it was “of the seven,” as having sprung out of the seven, and as perpetuating the sway of this mighty domination. For full illustration of this, see the Daniel 7 notes; and Revelation 13 notes.

(4) it would “go into perdition”; that is, it would be under this form that this mighty domination that had for so many ages ruled over the earth would die away, or this would be the last in the series. The Roman dominion, as such, would not be extended to a ninth, or tenth, or eleventh form, but would finally expire under the eighth. Every indication shows that this is to be so, and that with the decline of the papal power the whole Roman domination, that has swayed a scepter for two thousand five hundred years, will have come forever to an end. If this is so, then we have found an ample and exact application of this passage even in its most minute specifications.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 17:11". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-17.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And the beast that was, and is not, is himself also an eighth, and is of the seven; and he goeth into perdition.

As we see it, the Apostate Church, together with many harlot daughters and countless spiritual developments flowing out of it and accompanying it, is the seventh head that succeeded the pagan empire. This head will continue throughout the dispensation, but itself also will be succeeded by an eighth, which we believe to be the era of the "ten horns" (Revelation 17:12). The Harlot will finally lose her power to persecute, a development which, in the principal part, has already occurred; but she will nevertheless continue to the very end. See under Revelation 17:12. The eighth beast will be far more wicked than any of the seven preceding ones; and it may be that he should be identified with Paul's "Lawless One" (2 Thessalonians 2:8), who is apparently to be slain by the personal Advent of Christ himself.

This eighth beast will not even be able to endure Apostate Christianity, but will totally deny God, enthrone himself, demand the worship of the whole world, and will spiritually enslave all people except the elect. As this deals with events yet future, we do not dare to propose any explanation of just how all this may come about, or of how long such a condition may prevail. One thing does seem clear enough: the Apostate Christianity itself shall be hated, persecuted, and consumed by this eighth beast. Some construe the meaning of the words "of the seven" as being "of the seventh," indicating that, if this meaning is allowed, the rise of the eighth beast shall be a development from within the Apostasy itself. We believe the true meaning to be "of the seven," as in ASV, because the ten horns next mentioned are connected with the whole beast, not merely with the seventh head; and, as already noted above, the ten horns are here interpreted as that eighth beast, or eighth head of the beast.

NERO REDIVIVUS

The interpretation of these verses which relies for their explanation upon the myth of Nero Redivivus is as scandalous an interpretation of sacred Scripture as was ever offered. It is unreasonable, illogical, incorrect, unbelievable, and also absolutely contradictory of the New Testament. First, we shall try to explain what the interpretation is:

The heads of the beast mentioned in these verses are held to be the emperors in succession who ruled over the pagan empire. The mention of "one is, is not, and is to come" refers to Nero who was reigning when John wrote, who died, and came alive again (redivivus) and became the eighth emperor after the death of the seventh emperor who had succeeded to the throne after Nero's death!

See our introduction to Revelation 13, above, under "The Mortal Wound that did not Heal," for a very perceptive quotation from Albertus Pieters who declared that the acceptance of this interpretation (of Nero redivivus) denies the book of Revelation as "a genuine prophecy." If this is what John prophesied, he prophesied a lie, for it never happened. This interpretation is almost totally worthless, but some particular attention is demanded by it, because, as Pieters said, "At present it is the popular theory among those whom we may call the "Left Wing' Preterists."

An alleged myth is cited as proof that John's prophecy refers to Nero and that his resurrection was generally expected! "The beast that is" is Nero ... "and is not" refers to his suicide ... "and is te come" means he reappeared reincarnated (!) as Domitian. "John saw in Domitian the reincarnation of Nero!"[44] It is contrary, of course, to the Scriptures and to all reason, to suppose for an instant that one of the holy apostles of Jesus believed in reincarnation. In the first place, current research denies that Domitian was in any sense even similar to Nero. "His reputation (Domitian's, as being a persecutor) rests on a very modest historical foundation."[45]

This theory would make Domitian the eighth Roman emperor, an outright falsehood, no matter how the emperors are counted. Look at the "lists of emperors" various Left Wing scholars have posted in their vain efforts to support this; not a single one of them is accurate. As even Moffatt admitted, "There is certainly some awkwardness in this!"[46] Awkwardness indeed! A Jersey cow sitting in the top of a sycamore tree singing Richard Wagner's "Song to the Evening Star" from Tannhauser is pure grace compared to this Nero Redivivus hypothesis of interpretation. Here is a list of the Roman emperors during the first century and beginning from the death of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C., as compiled by Caird:[47]

JULIUS CAESAR

AUGUSTUS

TIBERIUS

GAIUS (CALIGULA)

CLAUDIUS

NERO

GALBA

OTHO

VITELLIUS

VESPASIAN

TITUS

DOMITIAN (81-96 A.D.)SIZE>

Well, how does one make Nero the eighth emperor in that list? Many devices have been tried: (1) Identify Nero redivivus with Domitian; that won't do it. (2) Skip Galba and Otho; that won't work. (3) Skip Galba, Otho and Vitellius; that doesn't work either. (4) Start counting with Augustus; that doesn't get it. (5) Count only the deified emperors; this cannot be accurately determined, etc. As Ladd said, "This is a rather violent way of treating history and does not really solve the problem."[48]

The thing that amazes us the most is that the scholars adopting this view reject its most obvious corollary, that if Nero "now is" when John wrote Revelation, then it had to be written between the years 54-68 A.D., the dates usually assigned to Nero, and also that if John wrote while Nero was still reigning, then no myth regarding Nero's resurrection (an essential part of this interpretation) could possibly have appeared before he died! What kind of a contortion is needed to solve that? Here it is: John, writing forty years after Nero's death, "sets himself back in time to the period of Vespasian and gives in the form of prophecy events of history that had already happened!"[49] This, of course, is equivalent to making the whole book of Revelation a fraud, and fully justifies Pieters' comment, above, that this theory of interpretation is wholly incompatible with any believing acceptance of Revelation as genuine prophecy.[50]

This interpretation makes Domitian the sixth emperor, because (in this interpretation) five are fallen and "one is"; and it is impossible to do this. There has never been a list of emperors that would make Domitian the sixth. They have tried omitting Julius Caesar, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, either singly or in pairs, or collectively; but failure cannot be hidden. It is time that the Left Wing gave up this nonsense about Nero Redivivus. "No method of calculation satisfactorily leads to Domitian as the reigning emperor when John wrote."[51] It is also true that absolutely nothing in history identifies Domitian as "another Nero." Even if he was a vicious persecutor and tyrant, how does that make him another Nero; why not another Caligula? another Herod? The false allegation that the sacred New Testament prophesied either the resurrection or the reincarnation of Nero is as pagan an idea as was ever imported into the New Testament.

The above brief summary of some of the intricacies and inconsistencies of this mythical interpretation is only the tip of the iceberg; but enough has been given to show the prodigious labors that have been expended for one purpose alone, it seems to us. The very persistence and cleverness of those who have pushed this bastard interpretation betray their knowledge of what this chapter really teaches and their determination to have it otherwise. A wild animal carefully extricates the bait from the trap, but his clever methods show his accurate knowledge of what he wishes to avoid.

[44] William Barclay, The Revelation of John (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1976), p. 141.

[45] F. F. Bruce, A New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing Company, 1969), p. 658.

[46] James Moffatt, Expositor's Greek New Testament, Vol. V (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1967), p. 453.

[47] G. B. Caird, The Revelation of St. John the Divine (New York: Harper and Row, 1966), p. 217.

[48] George Eldon Ladd, op. cit., p. 229.

[49] Isbon T. Beckwith. op. cit., p. 705.

[50] Albertus Pieters. op. cit., p. 222.

[51] George Eldon Ladd, op. cit., p. 229.

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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 17:11". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-17.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth,.... That was in embryo in John's time, and yet was not come to its power and grandeur, is the eighth king; and this is the Papacy, which takes the name of the beast, because it is the head of the beast, and the only surviving head of the beast, or Roman empire, now become Papal:

and is of the seven; one of the seven heads, and the last of them, and is an idolatrous one, as the rest were, requiring and encouraging the worship of angels, of the virgin Mary, and saints parted: the pope of Rome is the eighth king, and seventh head, the latter with respect to his temporal power, and the former with respect to his ecclesiastical authority; for his government is quite of a different sort from the rest, being of a mixed kind, partly civil, and partly ecclesiastical, and therefore is signified by two beasts in the thirteenth chapter:

and goes into perdition; being the son of perdition, and is justly deserving of it; See Gill on Revelation 17:8.

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Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 17:11". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-17.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

22 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is 23 the eighth, and is 24 of the seven, 25 and goeth into perdition.

(22) This is spoken by synecdoche, as if to say, as that head of the beast which was and is not, because it is cut off, and Nerua in so short time extinguished. How many heads there were, so many beasts there seemed to be in one. See a similar speech in (Revelation 13:3).

(23) Nerua Traianus, who in various respects is called here the seventh and the eighth.

(24) Though in number and order of succession he is the eighth yet he is counted with one of these heads, because Nerua and he were one head. For this man obtained authority together with Nerua and was Consul with him, when Nerua died.

(25) Namely, to persecute the Churches of Christ, as history agrees, and I have briefly noted {See (Revelation 2:10) }.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 17:11". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-17.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

is not — his beastly character being kept down by outward Christianization of the state until he starts up to life again as “the eighth” king, his “wound being healed” (Revelation 13:3), Antichrist manifested in fullest and most intense opposition to God. The “he” is emphatic in the Greek. He, peculiarly and pre-eminently: answering to “the little horn” with eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things, before whom three of the ten horns were plucked up by the roots, and to whom the whole ten “give their power and strength” (Revelation 17:12, Revelation 17:13, Revelation 17:17). That a personal Antichrist will stand at the head of the Antichristian kingdom, is likely from the analogy of Antiochus Epiphanes, the Old Testament Antichrist, “the little horn” in Daniel 8:9-12; also, “the man of sin, son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-8), answers here to “goeth into perdition,” and is applied to an individual, namely, Judas, in the only other passage where the phrase occurs (John 17:12). He is essentially a child of destruction, and hence he has but a little time ascended out of the bottomless pit, when he “goes into perdition” (Revelation 17:8, Revelation 17:11). “While the Church passes through death of the flesh to glory of the Spirit, the beast passes through the glory of the flesh to death” [Auberlen].

is of the seven — rather “springs out of the seven.” The eighth is not merely one of the seven restored, but a new power or person proceeding out of the seven, and at the same time embodying all the God-opposed features of the previous seven concentrated and consummated; for which reason there are said to be not eight, but only seven heads, for the eighth is the embodiment of all the seven. In the birth-pangs which prepare the “regeneration” there are wars, earthquakes, and disturbances [Auberlen], wherein Antichrist takes his rise (“sea,” Revelation 13:1; Mark 13:8; Luke 21:9-11). He does not fall like the other seven (Revelation 17:10), but is destroyed, going to his own perdition, by the Lord in person.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 17:11". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-17.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Is himself also an eighth and is of the seven (και αυτος ογδοος και εκ των επταkai autos ogdoos kai ek tōn hepta). This is the angel‘s interpretation and it looks like a reference to Domitian as the eighth, who is regarded as one of the seven because he was considered a second Nero (Nero redivivus). For εκ των επταek tōn hepta see Acts 21:8. John may have used εκ τωνek tōn instead of εις εκ τωνheis ek tōn to avoid absolute identity between Domitian and Nero (Beckwith).

And he goeth unto perdition (και εις απωλειαν υπαγειkai eis apōleian hupagei). As in Revelation 17:8. “Domitian was assassinated (September 18, 96), after a terrible struggle with his murderers. The tyrant‘s end was a symbol of the end to which the Beast which he personated was hastening” (Swete). Cf. Revelation 19:11-21.

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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 17:11". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-17.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

And is of the seven, that is, perhaps, of the same spirit and character with the seven. See John 8:44, for a similar form of expression--"Ye are of your father," &c.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Revelation 17:11". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/revelation-17.html. 1878.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

Ver. 11. He is the eighth] viz. The Pontifficality.

And is of the seven] i.e. Shall exercise that monarchical power that was before in the seven heads.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 17:11". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-17.html. 1865-1868.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 17:11. καὶ αὐτὸς ὄγδοός ἐστι, καὶ ἐκ τῶν ἑπτά ἐστι, is both himself eighth, and is of the seven) καὶ, καὶ, is equivalent to both, and. ὄγδοος is a part the predicate, therefore it is put without the article: the pronoun, αὐτὸς, cohering with it, is also a part of the predicate, adding emphasis to the eighth, in so far as he himself is contradistinguished from the seven. The eighth, and the seven, are masculines, so that the noun king or kings is to be understood.

There is here an intimation of that long celebrated and great Adversary, whom all antiquity and the whole Church of Rome regard as one individual and extraordinary man. Bernard, who is called the last of the Fathers, has hit the matter closely enough. For in his late age, in his sixth discourse on the psalm, Qui habitat [Psalms 111], after bitter lamentations concerning the corrupt state of the Church and its ministers, he says, “It remains that the Man of Sin be revealed, the Son of Perdition, the demon, not only of the day, but even of the mid-day, which is not only transformed into an angel of light, but is also exalted above everything which is called God, or which is worshipped.” Of the Reformers, who in other respects had their attention especially fixed upon their own times, and not without reason, Francis Lambert acknowledged, that one remarkable adversary, the Son of Perdition, was hereafter to come and he mournfully described that calamity.—Exeg. Apoc. pp. 183, 193, 215, 265. Among the Propositions of Hier. Zanch was this: Although the kingdom of Antichrist has long ago been revealed; and he who holds the primacy in it, and reigns, is the true Antichrist; yet it is not in opposition to the Sacred Writings, to say, that just before the end of the world there shall come one of remarkable character, and outstripping all men in iniquity, the true and perfect Antichrist, who may even work miracles. For in a pre-lection at Argentina on the end of the world, he had discoursed to this purpose, and was blamed on that account by others. The Divines of Heidelberg, A. 1561, approved of this Proposition, and those of Zurich even confirmed it, in these words besides others: “Since wickedness becomes greater from day to day, and is increased without measure, there is no reason why there should not at last arise some one κατʼ ἐξοχὴν [by pre-eminence], who may very far outstrip in his impiety the other enemies of the Gospel, and whom the Lord may altogether destroy with the breath of His mouth.” see Zanch Misc. Theol. pp. 1, 18, 21, 44, 48. And in no other way, on this subject at least, Jo. Brent replied in the same year to Jo. Marpach: “I should be unwilling odiously to contend about Antichrist; we know that the Papacy is antichristianity. But it may perhaps happen, that among the Popes there may arise one, who may surpass all the rest in impiety, craft, deceits, cruelty, and tyranny, and may give occasion to the Son of God to hasten His coming for the complete destruction of the Papacy, and the judgment of the quick and dead. The Lord will take care concerning this matter: we will perform our own duty, and will wait for the coming of the Lord.” Compare the Epistle of Lud. Crocius, inserted among those of Voss; Heding. on 2 Thessalonians 2:3; Weismann’s Inst. p. 1121, lin. 5, 6; the Patmos of H. Horchius, p. 70; C. B. Michaëlis on Dan. pp. 247, 248. “What if we should concede to the Papists,” says Bailly, “and in this the orthodox ARE NOT OBSTINATE, that in the long series of Romish antichrists there should at the end of the world arise one more wicked than his brethren, though they are most wicked, by a kind of ἐξοχῇ [pre-eminence] of wickedness,—one who should closely resemble the days of Antiochus: they themselves would gain nothing by this concession.”—Op. Hist. et Chron. f. 244. Vitringa says appropriately to this passage: That the beast itself is also the eighth king, according to the order of his predecessors. Thus it can without any difficulty be imagined, that after these kings of mystic Babylon one is still to be expected just before the close of the power of Antichrist, who shall slay the witnesses of Christ, and rage against the Church above all others; and of him the Spirit had especially prophesied under the name of the Beast: ch. Revelation 11:7. And all at the present day, who take the prophetic times, and among these the 42 months of the beast, in their ordinary signification, agree, namely, in ascribing so short a power to the one king. I am not accustomed to rely on testimonies of human authority: the truth has no need of them; but when there is a possibility of its being supposed that any doctrine is paradoxical, it is expedient to collect the anticipations of the truth which lie concealed in the minds of men. This one, last king, will differ most widely from all his predecessors, as in malignity, so in the manner of his destruction. They for the most part die by a natural death; he shall be given alive to eternal torment: ch. Revelation 19:20; 2 Thessalonians 2:8.— ἐκ τῶν ἑπτὰ, of the seven) Primasius admirably says, LEST you should esteem this one, whom, he calls eighth, OF ANOTHER RACE, he has subjoined, He is of the seven.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 17:11". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-17.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth; this made the eighth succession of governments in the Roman empire.

And is of the seven; this was of the seventh head; for although this was the eighth government in order as we have counted them, yet one of these, viz. the seventh, (which was that of true Christian emperors), must not be counted as one of the seven heads, which were all idolatrous: so though this was the eighth government, yet he was one of the seven heads, i.e. idolatrous governments.

And goeth into perdition; and to be destroyed as they were.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 17:11". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-17.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

которого нетвосьмой Ввиду его мнимой кончины и мнимого воскресения, о царстве антихриста говорят как о седьмом, и как о восьмом. Он седьмой царь до и восьмой после своего «воскресения», когда он разрушает религиозную империю блудницы и требует исключительного поклонения себе (ст. 16).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 17:11". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-17.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

The beast that was, and is not; that is, the beast in his last form ascending out of the bottomless pit, verse Revelation 17:8.

Is the eighth; in the order of succession, since he comes after the other seven.

Is of the seven; he belongs to them, as being a continuation of the same power which they have exercised before him.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 17:11". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-17.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘And the beast that was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is of the seven and goes into perdition.’

But the Beast who arises is the eighth (not the same Beast as chapter 13, for he came out of the sea while this one is to come out of the abyss, which in Revelation is the prison of spirit beings - Revelation 9:1-2; Revelation 9:9). We have seen that this beast is ‘of the red monster’, the embodiment of Satan’s forces. Thus he will come as an eighth when the time comes, in a time beyond the sequence of emperors, yet he will be of the seven for he will reign over the kings of the earth and will seek worship and adoration for Satan as they do, (indeed it is possible he may even claim to stand in the place of Roman emperors, but this is not essential. We are here dealing with symbolism). So John clearly sees ahead one who will not be a Roman emperor like the others (he is not one of the seven) and yet will have the same power and proclivities. He is ‘of the seven’. That this is towards the end of time is suggested by the fact that he then goes into ‘destruction’ (perdition). Compare here Revelation 19:19-20. So this is John’s way of moving from a recognised empire to the end time empire.

It is a favourite position with commentators to argue that ‘of the seven’ means that he is a reincarnation of a previous emperor. But this is to be over-literalistic. As with the Elijah who was coming, whom Jesus confirmed as John the Baptiser (Matthew 11:14; Matthew 17:12), what is required is someone who will behave in a similar way and have similar attributes, someone who will be the ‘reincarnation’ of the whole empirate. But just as some will demand a literal Elijah in spite of our Lord’s words, for they will not receive Christ’s own words, so others will demand a literal Roman emperor.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 17:11". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/revelation-17.html. 2013.

Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation

It is stated in verse eleven that the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seventh, and goeth into perdition. There is a repetition here of verse eight, to which the reader may refer, concerning was, is not, and yet is.

But verse eleven affirms the affinity and continuity of the imperial beasts. From the sixth to the seventh the vision was extended, in verse ten; and verse eleven presents the eighth as having the same genus, the spirit of the persecuting beast appearing in one emperor after another until their course was run.

To the church at Smyrna the Lord said: And ye shall have tribulation ten days. This undoubtedly referred to the period of the ten persecuting emperors from Nero to Diocletian, who vowed to obliterate the name Christian from the Roman Empire; and it fixes the time period of these apocalyptic disclosures from Nero to Diocletian, the tenth emperor from Nero--thus assigning the date of Revelation to the early part of Nero's reign, before the siege and destruction of Jerusalem; and its symbols to the Nero-Diocletian period of persecution.

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Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 17:11". "Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/foy/revelation-17.html. 1966.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Evidently the beast is one of the seven in the sense that his first kingdom is on a par with the seven major empires just mentioned. He is the eighth in that he establishes an eighth major empire with a worldwide government after he revives a previously dead nation having received supernatural powers from Satan. This explanation views the beast"s kingdom before his revival as the seventh kingdom and his kingdom after these events as the eighth. [Note: Thomas, Revelation 8-22, p299.] A variation of this view sees the seventh kingdom as the revived Roman Empire and the eighth as the beast"s kingdom, which comprises the revived Roman Empire and all other nations. [Note: Walvoord, The Revelation . . ., p254.] Beale explained the eighth as "another way of referring to his future attempted mimicry of Christ"s resurrection." [Note: Beale, p875. Cf. Johnson, pp560-61. For refutation of the preterist view that Nero is in view, see Mark L. Hitchcock, "A Critique of the Preterist View of Revelation 17:9-11and Nero," Bibliotheca Sacra164:656 (October-December2007):472-85.]

Jesus Christ will destroy the beast and his (eighth) kingdom when He returns to the earth. It will not just "fall" to a conquering kingdom as the other major empires did (cf. Daniel 2:44).

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 17:11". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-17.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 17:11. And the beast that was and is not is himself also an eighth, and is of the seven; and he goeth into perdition. What is here said is said not of a new ‘head’ but of ‘the beast,’ and this beast is to be identified with that of Revelation 17:8. With a slight exception the description of the beast given in the two passages is precisely the same, and that exception is easily explained. It consists in the omission from the latter of the two of the words, ‘and is about to come up out of the abyss.’ But these words are parallel to that part of the designation of our Lord in this book which speaks of Him as ‘to come,’ and which was omitted in chap. Revelation 11:17, because at that point it was no longer suitable: the Lord was come. The omission of the clause in the present instance is to be similarly explained. The previous and preparatory manifestations of the beast are over. It now comes itself, that it may be ready for destruction when the Lord appears. The ‘beast’ here is, therefore, identical with that of Revelation 17:8; that is, with the beast as it was thought of at a time prior to any mention, in Revelation 17:9, of the successive forms of its manifestation. It is thus distinct from any one of its seven heads. No single head may fully represent it. Thus also we see why it is described in the apparently contradictory language of this verse. First, it is ‘an eighth.’ Not that it is numerically an eighth in the same line with the seven. Then it would be an eighth head; but we are dealing with the beast itself, not with its heads, and it is spoken of as an eighth simply because it follows the seven, and because in its final condition all the malice and evil of its previous conditions are concentrated. At the same time it is possible that the Seer desires to bring out this fact in connection with the beast, that he may identify it with the ‘Little Horn’ of Daniel 7:8. That Little Horn takes the place of three out of ten horns which are plucked up by the roots, that is of the eighth, ninth, and tenth horns. It thus comes after seven, is numbered eight, and represents the ungodly world-power in its highest manifestation. We have already seen that, according to Jewish methods of conception, the number eight was peculiarly fitted to express such a thought (comp. on chap. Revelation 13:18). Secondly, the beast is said to be ‘of the seven.’ The meaning is not that it is one of the seven, when it had just been said that it was distinct from them. The preposition ‘of’ is to be understood in its common acceptation in St. John’s writings, as denoting origin, and, with origin, identity of nature. The beast is the essence, the concentrated expression, of the seven, the embodiment of their spirit; and it was necessary to mention this, lest we should think that it belongs to a wholly different category. The ‘Little Horn’ in Daniel was still a horn, and the great antichristian power is of the same nature and essence as the seven antichristian powers that go before it. This ‘eighth’ world-power is not then wholly new. It is the old world-power concentrating in itself all the rage of the seven. Thirdly, the beast ‘goeth into perdition’ (comp. chap. Revelation 19:20). Nothing is said of its continuing either a longer or a shorter space. Enough that to go into perdition is at once its nature and its fate. Finally, it may be remarked that we seem to have nothing here of a personal antichrist, still less of a human king who has died and risen from the dead. We have simply the last and worst manifestation of the ungodly power of the world.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 17:11". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-17.html. 1879-90.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

The beast that was, and is not: is the eighth: and is of seven. The devil reigns with the kings in all these ages: he is of the seven, because he is the prince under whom reign the wicked in all ages: he is also the eighth, inasmuch as he is their prince, and they are only his instruments. (Witham)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 17:11". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/revelation-17.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

he = he himself (emph.)

the = an.

is. Omit. This being is described as an eighth head, not king.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 17:11". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-17.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

Beast that ... is not - his beastly character being kept down by outward Christianization of the state until he starts to life again as "the eighth" king, his 'wound being healed' (Revelation 13:3), Antichrist manifested in fullest opposition to God. HE [ autos (Greek #846)] is emphatic. He, pre-eminently: to whom the ten kings or kingdoms "give their power and strength" (Revelation 17:12-13; Revelation 17:17). That a personal Antichrist will head the anti-Christian kingdom, is likely, from the analogy of Antiochus Epiphanes, the Old Testament Antichrist, "the little horn" (Daniel 8:9-12); "the son of perdition" (2 Thessalonians 2:3-8), answers to 'goeth into perdition,' and is applied to an individual, Judas, in the only other passage where it occurs (John 17:12). He is a child of destruction, and has but a little time ascended out of the bottomless pit, when he 'goes into perdition' (Revelation 17:8; Revelation 17:11). 'While the Church passes through death of the flesh to glory of the Spirit, the beast passes through glory of the flesh to death' (Auberlen).

Is of the seven - `springs out of the seven.' The eighth is not merely one of the seven restored, but a new power proceeding out of the seven. At the same time, there are not eight, but only seven heads, for the eighth is the embodiment of all the God-opposed features of the seven. In the birth-pangs which prepare the 'regeneration,' there are wars, earthquakes, and disturbances (Auberlen), wherein Antichrist takes his rise ("sea," Revelation 13:1; Mark 13:8; Luke 21:9-11; Luke 21:25-26). He does not fall like the other seven (Revelation 17:10), but is destroyed, going to his own perdition, by the Lord in person.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 17:11". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-17.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(11) And the beast . . .—Better, And the wild beast which was, and is not, even he himself is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into destruction. The wild beast himself, forming as it were an eighth, has to be reckoned with. There are seven heads; when these fall no eighth head will rise, but the wild beast, whose vitality has been seen in these successive heads, forms, as it were, an eighth, which is “out of the seven”—not one of them, but one rising out of them; no eighth empire shall rise, but the wild beast, now smitten in all the seven heads of his power, will, in the convulsive death-throe, seem an eighth power, in which the ebbing life of all the seven finds expression. The wild beast linked itself with seven great empires in succession: these all fell; the wild beast is left, as an eighth: then “the wild beast goes into destruction.” As an illustration, we may recall her whom the seven brothers had as wife; last of all the woman, the eighth, which was of the seven, died also. It has been noticed that the wild beast does not “fall,” like the others, “but goes into destruction;” there are no more world-powers like those who have fallen, but the wild beast is left, a last power reserved for destruction, a final antichrist, the lawless one whom the Lord will destroy with the brightness of His coming (2 Thessalonians 2:3). This fierce and last flickering up of the doomed power of evil is dwelt on again in Revelation 20:7-10.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 17:11". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-17.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
that was
8
Reciprocal: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 - the son;  Hebrews 10:39 - unto;  2 Peter 3:7 - and perdition;  Revelation 13:12 - causeth

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 17:11". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-17.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

The beast that was has been already shown to be Pagan Rome. The apostle says this beast is the eighth; not merely one more beast that would count up to eight, but it was the eighth and of the seven. This denotes that it was in the same line, or bore some fact in common with the others. And the phrase goeth into perdition strengthens that conclusion, for we learned in verse8 that it was Pagan Rome that was to go into perdition. (Not that Papal Rome will escape perdition, but that is not under consideration at present.) The vision means that Pagan Rome as a whole must take her place in the count with all those individual "kings" or chief men in the corrupt institution, and all go down as a unit into the lake of perdition.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 17:11". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-17.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 17:11

Revelation 17:11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth (king of the Roman Empire,) and is of the seven,

as Revelation 17:8 see the exposition. See KNOLLYS: Revelation 17:8

And goeth into perdition.

He came out of the bottomless pit, { Revelation 13:1} and therefore called the angel of the bottomless pit, { Revelation 9:11} and called the king of the locusts. He is the Man of Sin and Son of Perdition. { 2 Thessalonians 2:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:8}

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 17:11". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-17.html.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Revelation 17:11. And the beast, which was and is not, he is an eighth, and is of the seven, and goes into perdition. The words, "which was and is not," do not serve as a personal designation, but form the basis of that which was to be declared in respect to the destiny of the beast. If it has received its death-blow from the atonement of Christ, if its existence from that time is only an apparent one—if, with all its swaggering, it is but a bloodless spectre—its end can only be palpable destruction.

The destruction of the beast, with all that belongs to it, is the proper theme of the whole group. It was only destruction that was spoken of in what immediately precedes: fire have already fallen; the one that is, must fall; the seventh, that had not yet come, is to continue but a short time. So that at the words, "is an eighth," there naturally suggests itself to be supplied, "in destruction."

If there stood merely, "he is of the seven," it would be natural to suppose, that he personally belonged to the seven, (Acts 21:8); as it is decidedly against the manner of the Revelation of John, to put forth enigmas for the solution of which it does not itself provide the means, and to leave space to uncertain conjecture. But as the words "is an eighth" precede, the relation to the seventh is withdrawn from the personal sphere, and by the connection limited to the manners or the issue. In the present case it must be the latter, as in what precedes all has respect to the destruction of the parties in question. But every doubt is removed by the appended statement, "and goes into perdition," q.d., and like the seven, or with the seven, the beast goes also into perdition. With the seventh phase of the ungodly power of the world itself also ceases, the heathen state generally comes to an end.

We have a commentary on what is meant here in ch. Revelation 19:11-21 . There the conflict of the seventh head or king against the kingdom of God is delineated. In this conflict, according to Revelation 19:20-21, the beast also is comprehended, and is cast into the lake of fire (corresponding to the perdition), whereas before the beast survived its particular heads, and soon appeared again on the stage of conflict with a new head.

From the interpretation now given every thing in this verse refers to the destruction of the beast. The current exposition is quite different. It finds the announcement here, that after the seven heads of the beast the personal antichrist shall appear. But the following reasons oppose this view. If the beast were a proper independent power, along with and after the seven heads, then, what was to be said on it, would not belong to this portion, where the author is dealing merely with the seven heads. At all events, it must still he made the subject of discourse elsewhere in its proper place. Further, if it is certain that Revelation 17:9-11 treat of the heads of the beast, this verse cannot contain anything properly new; it can only bring clearly and distinctly out, what had already been indirectly contained in the preceding part. If the heads of the beast are only seven, then it is self-evident, that with the seventh head the beast itself goes to destruction. For, without a head the beast can have no existence. Then, those who understand antichrist here by the beast, fall into either of two equally untenable suppositions. One party, with Vitringa at their head, feign an eighth head, without any foundation for it in the text, and against the express limitation of the heads to the number seven. How should it be possible, that exactly the mightiest and most frightful head in the whole assemblage of heads should have been omitted (The other party have Bengel on their side, who remarks, "The beast consists, as it were, of eight pieces. The seven heads are for themselves, and the eighth piece is the corpus, or the whole body, and, therefore, the beast itself (ch. Revelation 11:7) with his feet, mouth, etc." But the beast cannot be thought of as existing without its head. The mouth belongs to the head, as that with which it blasphemes, the teeth as that with which it tears. As formerly the heads were not without the body, so now the body cannot be without the head. At any rate it would be, not an increase to the frightfulness, but a diminution of it. Bengel himself felt this, and in a very artificial way sought still to vindicate for the eighth a head, the seventh, though after every effort it always remains, that by it the body of the beast is denoted as the beast in contradistinction from the heads. This, too, decides against the interpretation respecting the antichrist, that what was above all to be said of him, his horrid and savage procedure, his "fathomless wickedness and power," must be added by these expositors at their own hand. Bengel's soul was conscious of this. He says, "One might suppose, that in this prophecy there is scarcely enough said of the things, which this adversary will do." He thinks the mere indication enough, as elsewhere this doing was described at sufficient length. But it has already been shewn, (p. 87), that the New Testament elsewhere also knows nothing of a personal antichrist. Finally, the words, "and goes into perdition," resume with intentional literality the "and go into perdition" in Revelation 17:8. Now, if the beast there is the whole of the worldly power as opposed to God, it cannot denote antichrist here as an individual. The identity with Revelation 17:8 is clear from the "was and is not," which itself also does not suit a personal antichrist. For such had not been before.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 17:11". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-17.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

11.And the beast—Passing from the heads, our angel now considers the whole beast.

Was, and is not—As the predicate, and yet is, (Revelation 17:8,) is omitted for abbreviation, this describes the beast through all his historic changes, from Egypt to Pontifical Rome. Each previous phase once was, then by fall is not, and then is in its successor, until the perdition. The beast, here, is the totality of the entire successional antichrist—the whole composite beast.

He is the eighth—The Greek article being omitted, it should read an eighth, that is, a sort of eighth. Not an eighth head, for there were, as the cut shows, but seven heads to the beast. Besides, the Greek adjective for eighth could not grammatically agree with head, being of different gender. The meaning is, that it is the beast, as a totality, which, forming a sort of eighth individuality, finally goeth into perdition. Not one head alone—not merely all the heads—but the entire beast is destroyed. With papal Rome—the last head—all the five or six inherited by and embodied in her—namely, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, pagan Rome—all go as one whole beast with her as antichristianities into perdition.

And is—Or, consists or results of, or rather from, the seven. Counted as a single head he is but one of the seven; counted as the whole beast he is an eighth. The six profane empires, traceable through and beyond Daniel’s image, are all abolished in her; an abolition which does not, probably, imply the destruction of the peoples but of the SYSTEMS by which the nationalities are antichristian despotisms. When, by the power of divine truth and the blessed Spirit, rectitude reigns in every heart, governments of force, of tyranny, and of war, may cease. The inequalities of wealth even, based, as they largely are, upon the thriftlessness and vices of a large share of the community, may largely disappear. And the equalized distribution of the goods of life, with all the necessary reforms of society, according to the laws of a truly Christian social science, would prove the downfall of iron politics and despotisms.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 17:11". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-17.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 17:11. Bruston takes as a translation of , in the sense that the eighth was more (or greater) than the seven, i.e., realising more fully the ideal of the Beast. But even were the case for a Hebrew original clearer than it is, such an interpretation is forced. The verse is really a parenthesis added by John to bring the source up to date. Domitian, the eighth emperor, under whom he writes, is identified with the true Neronic genius of the empire; he is a revival and an embodiment of the persecuting Beast (cf. Eus. H. E. iii. 17, Tert. Apol. 5: portio Neronis de crudelitate, de pallio 4: a sub-Nero) to the Christian prophet, as he proved a second Nero to some of his Roman subjects (cf. Juvenal’s well-known sneer at the caluus Nero). This does not mean that John rationalises Nero redivivus into Domitian, which would throw the rest of the oracle entirely out of focus. Domitian, the eighth emperor, is not explained as the Beast which was and is not and is to come up out of the abyss (Revelation 17:8), but simply as the Beast which was and is not; no allusion is made to his term of power, and the concluding phrase . is simply the conventional prophecy of doom upon persecutors; it need not be a post-factum reference to D.’s murder in 96. He belonged to the seven, as he had been closely associated with the Imperial power already (Tac. Hist. iii. 84, iv. 2, 3; cf. Jos. Bell. iv. 11, 4). The enigmatic and curt tone of the verse shows that either from prudence (“some consideration towards the one who is beseems even a prophet,” Mommsen), or more probably from pre-occupation in the grim, ulterior figure of the Neronic antichrist, the prophet does not care to dwell minutely on the emperor’s personality as an incarnate Nero. He does not even allude to the suspicion, voiced by his contemporaries (4 Esd. 11:12) that Domitian had made away with Titus. His vision is strained, like that of his source, to the final and supernatural conflict; the Satanic messiah, the Beast who is to return from the abyss, bulks most prominently on the horizon. The absorbing interest of the oracle, even in its edited form, is eschatological. John simply puts in a few words, as few as possible, to bring this Vespasianic source up to date, since the death of Titus had not been followed by the appearance of the Nero-antichrist. The latter is still and soon to come however! John thoroughly shares, though he expands and applies, the prediction of his source. The addition he makes to it in Revelation 17:11 must on no account be taken as if it meant the substitution of “Domitian = Nero redivivus” for the supernatural expectation of the latter. There is certainly some awkwardness in the juxtaposition of Domitian as a second Nero and of Nero redivivus, but this was inevitable under the circumstances.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 17:11". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-17.html. 1897-1910.