Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 17:12

The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Horn;   The Topic Concordance - Empires/world Powers;   Judges;   Victory/overcoming;   War/weapons;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Antichrist;   Babylon;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Horn;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Church;   Joy;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Antichrist;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Armageddon;   Number;   Revelation of John, the;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Antichrist;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Authority;   Horn ;   King;   Numbers;   River ;   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;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Antichrist;   Smith Bible Dictionary - An'tichrist;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Horn;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Authority in Religion;   Horn;   King;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast - The meaning of horns has already been defined when speaking of those of the dragon. The meaning is therefore as follows: Though the Latin empire be now in existence, the ten horns refer to ten Latin kingdoms yet in futurity, and consequently they have received no dominion As Yet; for that part of the Latin domination now in power is the sixth head, or imperial government of the heathen Caesars. But the ten states of the Latins receive dominion as monarchies μιαν ὡραν, one time, (as it may be properly translated), i.e., at the same time with the beast, or that which ascendeth out of the bottomless pit; consequently, the Latin empire here intended is the one which was in futurity in the apostolic age.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-17.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And the ten horns which thou sawest - On the scarlet-colored beast, Revelation 17:3.

Are ten kings - Represent or denote ten kings - that is, kingdoms or powers. See the notes on Daniel 7:24.

Which have received no kingdom as yet - That is, they were not in existence when John wrote. It is implied, that during the period under review they would arise, and would become connected, in an important sense, with the power here represented by the “beast.” For a full illustration respecting the ten “kings,” or kingdoms here referred to, see the notes on Daniel 7, at the close of the chapter, II. (2).

But receive power - It is not said from what source this power is received, but it is simply implied that it would in fact be conferred on them.

As kings - That is, the power would be what is usually exercised by kings.

One hour - It cannot be supposed that this is to be taken literally. The meaning clearly is, that this would be brief and temporary; that is, it was a form of administration which would be succeeded by one more fixed and permanent. Anyone can see that, in fact, this is strictly applicable to the governments, as referred to in the notes on Daniel, which sprang up after the incursion of the northern barbarians, and which were finally succeeded by the permanent forms of government in Europe. Most of them were very brief in their duration, and they were soon remodelled in the forms of permanent administration. Thus, to take the arrangement proposed by Sir Isaac Newton:

(1)the kingdom of the Vandals and Alans in Spain and Africa;

(2)the kingdom of the Suevians in Spain;

(3)the kingdom of the Visigoths;

(4)the kingdom of the Alans in Gallia;

(5)the kingdom of the Burgundians;

(6)the kingdom of the Franks;

(7)the kingdom of the Britons;

(8)the kingdom of the Huns;

(9)the kingdom of the Lombards;

(10)the kingdom of Ravenna - how temporary were most of these; how soon they passed into the more permanent forms of administration which succeeded them in Europe!

With the beast - With that rising papal power. They would exercise their authority in connection with that, and under its influence.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-17.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And the ten horns that thou sawest are ten kings, who have received no kingdom as yet; but they receive authority as kings, with the beast, for one hour.

These ten kings are the eighth "head" of the beast, and their being presented here as "ten kings" instead of a single king, as in the previous seven heads, is due to the fact of worldwide government not any longer having the monolithic structure which marked the great dominions of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, and the Man of Sin.

The ten horns ... These are ten kingdoms to arise historically at a time long after John wrote, who "had received no kingdom as yet" and whose duration would be comparatively brief, "one hour" as compared with the much longer endurance of the successive world kingdoms symbolized by the "seven heads." "Ten" here is a symbolical number for an indefinite multiplicity, and it would be pointless to attempt any exhaustive definition of these. However, we may hazard the guess that this is the period of history in which the world at this time finds itself; and Russia, China, and other godless states would appear to be typical of what is meant here by the ten horns. The divine foresight of the mighty prophet who wrote Revelation is proved by this verse. Rome indeed fell (476 A.D.); and she was succeeded by "an image" of herself in the form of the Apostate Christianity exercising a worldwide dominion implemented by spiritual controls; but the secular state itself broke up into many kingdoms, "ten kings," among which the great modern nations of Europe are surely included. Remember how long ago Revelation was written.

Receive authority with the beast ... Yes, the beast in the form of its seventh head still continued; but, at this time, there were to be multiple kingdoms, not a monolith; and the Great Harlot, for a time, would be in league with all of them.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". "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 ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings,.... Not ten Christian emperors, which are reckoned up by Brightman from Constantine to Theodosius; for these did not reign with the beast, or give their kingdoms to him, and much less did they make war with the Lamb; they are rather the angels of Michael, that fought for him, the Lamb, against the dragon, and his angels, Revelation 12:7 nor ten kings that will rise up and divide the Roman empire between them, towards the end of the world, which is a sense devised by Papists to obscure and hide from men the true meaning of the passage; but the ten kingdoms which rose up, and into which the Roman empire was divided upon its being ruined, and torn to pieces by the Goths, Huns, and Vandals. They are the same with the "ten toes" of Nebuchadnezzar's image, and the "ten horns" of the fourth beast, or kingdom, in Daniel 2:42. These are differently reckoned up by interpreters: by Napier thus; Spain, France, Lombardy, England, Scotland, Denmark, Sweden, Hungary, Italy, and the exarchate of Ravenna: by Mr. Mede after this manner; the Britains in Britain, under Vortimer their king; the Saxons in the same place, under Hengist; the Franks in Gallia Belgica, or Celtics, under Childeric; the Burgundians in another part of France, under Gunderic; the Wisigoths in Aquitain, and part of Spain, under Theodoric; the Sueves and Alans in Gallaecia and Portugal, under Riciarius; the Vandals in Spain and Africa, under Genseric; the Almains in that part of Germany called Rhetia, under Sumanus; the Ostrogoths in Pannonia, and after in Italy, under Theodomir; and the Greeks in the rest of the empire, under Marcianus: and by anotherF21De Excidio Antichristi apud Poli Synops. in loc. writer they are accounted for in this way; the Almains in both the Rhetia, and in Pannonia, who rose in the year 356; the Ostrogoths, first in Pannonia, and then in Italy, in 377; the Wisigoths in Pannonia, and then in Italy, afterwards in France, and last of all in Spain, in 378; the Huns in Pannonia, and for some time throughout all Europe, in 378; the Britian Romans in Britain, and afterwards the Saxons, in 406; the Sueves, first in France, and then in Spain, in 407; the Alans, first in France, and then in Spain, in 407; the Vandals, first in France, then in Spain, afterwards in Africa, in 407; the Burgundians in France, in 407; the Franks in France, in 410. And it is generally thought all these ten kingdoms were up by the year 450 at least. Though Dr. Allix makes the epocha of them A. D. 486, when the western empire was taken from the Romans, and fixes them in the following order; the Almains in Rhetia and Pannonia; the Franks in Belgica; the Anglo-Saxons in Britain; the Wisigoths in Gallia Aquitania and Hispania Tarraconensis; the Sueves and Alans in Portugal; the Vandals in Africa; the Burgundians in Gallia Sequanensis; the Ostrogoths in Pannonia, and afterwards in Italy; the Lombards in Pannonia, and the Heruli and Turcilingi, who conquered Augustulus: and though these kingdoms were thrown into different forms and shapes afterwards, yet it is remarkable they were just of this number; as, 1. Italy and Germany; 2. France; 3. Spain; 4. England with Ireland; 5. Scotland; 6. Hungary; 7. Poland with Lithuania; 8. Denmark, with Sweden and Norway, Sweden being since divided; 9. Portugal; 10. The Grecian empire seized by the Ottomans. And as these kings cannot be understood of single persons at the head of these kingdoms, or of so many kings succeeding one another; so neither is it necessary to consider these kingdoms as being in the same state, and made up of the same sort of people always; it is enough that they are in the same place, and within the empire; for we, may observe, that different things, at different times, are ascribed to them, or at least to some. They all are at first of one mind, and give their kingdom to the beast; then they, at least some of them, hate the whore, and burn her with fire; and yet others lament the destruction and burning of Rome, Revelation 17:16.

Which have received no kingdom as yet: in John's time, when the Pagan empire was in being, and the beast was not risen, with whom they were to reign; hence these horns have no crowns on them, Revelation 12:3.

But receive power as kings one hour with the beast; as soon as he was risen; and therefore the horns are represented with crowns upon them, Revelation 13:1. Their rise was with the Papal beast, who rose not to his supreme power and dignity until the western emperor, which let and hindered, was removed out of the way; which was done by the barbarous nations, who set up these kingdoms, which made way for the lordly and tyrannical government of the pope of Rome; so that he and they rose up together: and this may he meant by the "one hour"; namely, that at one and the same hour or season he came to his supreme authority and grandeur, and they received their kingly power with him; or this may denote the time of their continuance in their honour and greatness; it was but for an hour, or a short time, as that phrase sometimes signifies, Philemon 1:15 and so the Ethiopic version renders it, "for one hour"; to which agrees the Arabic version,

and their power shall be of one hour: and this shall be "as kings"; for they only have the title of kings, but not sovereign power; they are vassals to the beast, the pope, who reigns over them, Revelation 17:18 and sets up kings in these kingdoms, and deposes them at pleasure; exalting himself above all that is called God, or above all civil magistrates; so that these have only the name, not the thing; they are as kings, and look like such, but are not really so; though what power they have, they receive not from the beast, but from God; the beast receives his power and authority, as well as seat, from the dragon; but civil power and magistracy is from God, who suffers these princes, and gives them up to such stupidity as to give their kingdom to the beast, and to exercise their power as he directs.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-17.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

26 And the ten horns which thou sawest are 27 ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings 28 one hour with the beast.

(26) The third place of this description, as I said in {See (Revelation 17:8) } is a prophetical prediction of things to come, which the beast should do, as in the words following John does not obscurely signify, saying, "which have not yet received the kingdom, etc". For there is an antithesis or opposition between these kings, and those that went before. First the persons are described in this verse, then their deeds, in the two verses following.

(27) That is, arising with their kingdoms out of that Roman beast: at such time as that political empire began to fall by the plotting of the popes.

(28) Namely, with that second beast, whom we called before a false prophet, who ascending out of the earth, got to himself all the authority and power of the first beast, and exercised the same before his face, as was said in (Revelation 14:11-12). For when the political empire of the west began to bow downwards, there arose those ten kings, and the second beast took the opportunity offered to usurp for himself all the power of the former beast. These kings long ago, many have numbered and described to be ten, and a great part of the events plainly testifies the same in this our age.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-17.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings  …  with the beast — Hence and from Revelation 17:14, Revelation 17:16, it seems that these ten kings or kingdoms, are to be contemporaries with the beast in its last or eighth form, namely, Antichrist. Compare Daniel 2:34, Daniel 2:44, “the stone smote the image upon his feet,” that is, upon the ten toes, which are, in Daniel 2:41-44, interpreted to be “kings.” The ten kingdoms are not, therefore, ten which arose in the overthrow of Rome (heathen), but are to rise out of the last state of the fourth kingdom under the eighth head. I agree with Alford that the phrase “as kings,” implies that they reserve their kingly rights in their alliance with the beast, wherein “they give their power and strength unto” him (Revelation 17:13). They have the name of kings, but not with undivided kingly power [Wordsworth]. See Auberlen‘s not so probable view, see on Revelation 17:3.

one hour — a definite time of short duration, during which “the devil is come down to the inhabitant of the earth and of the sea, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” Probably the three and a half years (Revelation 11:2, Revelation 11:3; Revelation 13:5). Antichrist is in existence long before the fall of Babylon; but it is only at its fail he obtains the vassalage of the ten kings. He in the first instance imposes on the Jews as the Messiah, coming in his own name; then persecutes those of them who refuse his blasphemous pretensions. Not until the sixth vial, in the latter part of his reign, does he associate the ten kings with him in war with the Lamb, having gained them over by the aid of the spirits of devils working miracles. His connection with Israel appears from his sitting “in the temple of God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4), and as the antitypical “abomination of desolation standing in the Holy place” (Daniel 9:27; Daniel 12:11; Matthew 24:15), and “in the city where our Lord was crucified” (Revelation 11:8). It is remarkable that Irenaeus [Against Heresies, 5:25] and Cyril of Jerusalem [Rufinus, Historia Monachorum, 10.37] prophesied that Antichrist would have his seat at Jerusalem and would restore the kingdom of the Jews. Julian the apostate, long after, took part with the Jews, and aided in building their temple, herein being Antichrist‘s forerunner.

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". "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

Which have received no kingdom as yet (οιτινες βασιλειαν ουπω ελαβονhoitines basileian oupō elabon). Second aorist (proleptic and prophetic) active indicative of λαμβανωlambanō The heads are emperors and the horns are kings (both called βασιλειςbasileis).

As kings (ως βασιλειςhōs basileis). Compared to kings (see ωςhōs in Revelation 1:10; Revelation 4:6; Revelation 9:7; Revelation 13:3; Revelation 14:3; Revelation 16:21) without identification with the emperors, though succeeding them with “quasi-imperial powers” with the beast.

For one hour (μιαν ωρανmian hōran). Accusative of extent of time, and that a brief time (Revelation 18:10, Revelation 18:16, Revelation 18:19) in comparison with the beast (Revelation 13:2).

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-17.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Kings which ( οἵτινες )

The compound relative classifying: “of the kind which.”

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-17.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

One hour; for a brief season. The ten kings are regarded as denoting the various kingdoms into which Rome was divided after the dissolution of the empire, on the hypothesis that Papal Rome is included in the aim and design of this chapter. It is said below that these powers, though conspiring for a time to sustain the beast, (Revelation 17:13,) afterwards accomplished the destruction of the woman who sat upon it.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/revelation-17.html. 1878.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.

Ver. 12. Are ten kings] Of ten different kingdoms, Naples, Spain, Portugal, France, Polony, Bohemia, Hungary, Denmark, Sweden, and this of England, which as it was the first of the ten that submitted to the pope’s yoke, so was it the first that shook it off again in Henry VIII’s time.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-17.html. 1865-1868.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Observe here, the angel farther explains to St. John this great mystery of the beast; declaring that the ten horns of the beast do signify ten kings, which should employ their power with the beast, and in conjunction with his established idolatry, to uphold his bloody religion; next their wicked unity is declared in giving their power and strength to the beast: They have one mind,, Revelation 17:13 that is, they unanimously concur in aiding, strengthening, and assisting the beast, in using their power, and employing their authority, to maintain him in his idolatrous and Pagan-like superstitions.

Lastly it is declared for what end they thus concur together, in giving their power and strength to the beast, namely, to make war with the Lamb; that is, to take part with antichrist, and oppose Christ in his truth and gospel, in his ministers and members, in his children and servants, But the Lamb shall overcome them.

Some shall be converted by the power of the gospel, others shall be confounded, one way or other brought into subjection: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings, that is, clothed with divine power.

Christ though a meek Lamb, yet is a mighty Lord. The titles here given him show his godhead and omnipotency: and having such a power, he knows how to fit instruments for his purpose; and those whom he will make use of in this work, shall be chosen persons, and faithful in the discharge of the trust committed to them. All that are faithful to Christ, shall share with him in his victory.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/revelation-17.html. 1700-1703.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 17:12. τὰ δέκα κέρατα, the ten horns) The ten horns correspond with the ten toes of the kingly image: Daniel 2:41-42; Daniel 7:7; Daniel 7:20; Daniel 7:24; and since each of the feet has five toes, we must wait to see whether the ten kings are about to be divided by any means into two quinaries.— οὐκ ἔλαβονλαμβάνουσιἔχουσιδιδόασιν(191)πολεμήσουσι, they have not received: they receive, have, give: they shall make war) The past, the present, the future. They have not received, because they gave [their kingdom] to the beast: Revelation 17:17. Objection: The order of the text is thus changed. Answer: Let the Chiasmus lately noticed be weighed: in accordance with which, even in Revelation 17:18, present things are put before the future things noticed in Revelation 17:14; and, independently of that verse, even before the future things of Revelation 17:16, the slaughter of the kings is also mentioned immediately before the destruction of the beast, Revelation 17:8; Revelation 17:14.— ὡς βασιλεῖς, as kings) Having not received the kingdom until now.— μίαν ὥραν, one hour) comp. Revelation 17:10, note. It is not said, in one hour, as ch. Revelation 18:10; but for one hour. A similar use of the accusative occurs, ch. Revelation 20:2.— μετὰ τοῦ θηρίου, with the beast) The beast has his followers, ten kings: antithetical to (Revelation 17:14.) with Him, the Lamb, who also has His followers.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". 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 ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings: possibly by ten kings here are not meant monarchs, but governments.

Which have received no kingdom as yet; which were not in being in John’s time, nor in many years after.

But receive power as kings one hour with the beast; but should, during some time of the beast’s reign, have power with the papacy, employing their power with his to establish his idolatry. But who these ten monarchs are, or what these ten governmts are, I must confess myself at a loss to determine. It is plain they should be:

1. Such as should be contemporaneous with the reign of the beast.

2. Such as employed their power in conjunction with his.

3. Such as should afterwards be instruments to ruin the papacy, Revelation 17:16,17.

The beast’s reign being twelve hundred and sixty years, there hath been, and will be, such a variety of princes and governments, as it is very hard to determine who they shall be. But their being contemporaneous with the beast, makes me think it cannot be understood either of any that were in the world before the year 606, when the beast’s reign began (though the mystery of iniquity was working, and the image of the beast was making, long before); as also that the ten barbarous nations that disturbed Italy from the year 410 till near 600 could not be meant, being all before antichrist came to any reign; nor did they ever show any great love or hatred to the pope; sometimes serving, sometimes opposing him, as suited their respective civil interests. I am very inclinable to think the prophecy to concern some kings nearer the end of antichrist’s reign, who though for a while they served the papacy, yet shall at last be instruments to ruin him; but who they are shall do this, or when it shall be, I cannot determine.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". 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

десять царей См. пояснения к 12:3; 13:1 (ср. Дан. 2:41, 42). Эти цари являются правителями, которые подчинены антихристу. Очевидно, его империя будет делиться на 10 административных районов.

еще не получили царства Это значит, что эти цари не могут отождествляться с какими-то историческими личностями.

один час Символ короткого промежутка времени в 3,5 года (ср. 11:2, 3; 12:6, 12, 14; 13:5; 18:10, 17, 19).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-17.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Ten kings; ten governments, which should arise out of the ruins of the old Roman empire.

One hour; through one period of time.

With the beast; their rise is coincident with that of the beast. At first they give their power to the beast; but afterwards they turn against it.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". "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 ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour.’

The idea of the ten horns is taken from Daniel 7:7 where they represent ten rulers that arise from the great and terrible fourth beast before the judgment sits (Daniel 7:26). Thus they are ten rulers who arise in the end days. They receive authority for ‘one hour’ their period of reign is minimal and they are contemporary with each other as in Daniel. Ten is a number regularly signifying completeness so that in the end all the rulers under the beast are finally in mind. We can compare the lines of ten patriarchs in Genesis 5, 11 which represented all the patriarchs, and how ten ‘rulers’ are described in Psalms 83:6-8 incorporating the nations surrounding Israel and including Assyria in their vendetta against Israel.

So we have in these verses the arising of a ‘Beast’ (a bestial leader over a bestial empire) who will arise towards the end of time and will establish an alliance of powerful rulers. All is building up to man’s final confrontation with God.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". "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

(4) The coordination of the ten kings--17:12-18:

The ten kings of the beast in verse twelve had received no kingdom as yet; but receive power one hour with the beast. These mock rulers of the Roman tributaries had no independent rule; they were the contemporary subordinate rulers with the beast for one hour--that is, a temporary exercise of a delegated power in conjunction with Rome, but of short duration as persecutors; their power would continue no longer than the accomplishment of God's will in the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of Judaism.

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Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". "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

The specific identity of the10 horns (other kings but without kingdoms when John wrote) is not yet clear. Mounce took them as symbolic of complete power without reference to kings or kingdoms. [Note: Mounce, p317. Cf. Beale, p878.] They will be allies of the beast and serve under him in his worldwide government during the Great Tribulation ( Daniel 7:23-24). Each of them will rule a kingdom simultaneously with one another and with the beast (cf. Daniel 7:7-8; Daniel 7:24). [Note: Bullinger, pp545-48; Walvoord, The Revelation . . ., p255; Kelly, pp368-76.] They will have authority to rule "for one hour," very briefly during the Great Tribulation (cf. Revelation 18:10; Revelation 18:17; Revelation 18:19). Evidently their short, independent rule will immediately precede the return of Jesus Christ to the earth ( Revelation 17:14). The beast will give them their authority, but God will permit him to do so.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". "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 17:12. The ‘heads’ have been explained: we come next to the horns. These horns are all connected with the seventh head; they are gathered together upon it, and are a substitute for it (see on chap. Revelation 13:1). They are now explained to be ten kings, i.e not personal kings, but kingdoms, authorities, or powers of the world. They had not as yet received their kingdom, for the Seer has seen only the sixth head actually manifested. The historical applications of these ‘ten kings’ may be passed over without remark. The number is as usual symbolical, denoting all the antichristian powers of earth which were to arise after the sixth head had fallen or the great Roman Empire been broken up.

They receive authority as kings one hour with the beast. The expression ‘one hour’ can hardly occasion difficulty, corresponding, as it obviously does, to the ‘short while’ of Revelation 17:10. It is more difficult to see the meaning of the words ‘with the beast.’ These words appear to imply that the ten kings shall have their authority at the same time as the beast, while it would seem from Revelation 17:11 that the manifestation of the latter follows the appearance of the seventh head. The difficulty is to be resolved by remembering that each of the six powers that had been spoken of before the seventh arose has, no less than the seventh, really ruled ‘with’ the beast. Each of them had been a special manifestation of the beast. The preposition ‘with’ may imply more than contemporaneousness. On this point its use in chap. Revelation 19:20, to say nothing of other passages, seems to be decisive. We there read not, ‘and with him the false prophet’ but ‘and the with-him-false-prophet’ or, more idiomatically, ‘the false-prophet-with-him;’ while we learn from chap. Revelation 13:12 that the relation of the false prophet to the beast is that of subordination. Here, therefore, as well as there, such subordination, such ministering to the purpose of another, is implied in the preposition ‘with.’ But, although the first six heads ruled with the beast and the beast ruled in them, the beast survived them; and, when they have fallen, it makes yet another effort to accomplish its purpose previous to its own total overthrow. This it does by means of the ten horns (or the seventh head) which thus rule ‘with’ it. These, however, are the last through which the beast shall exercise its power. They complete the cycle of seven; and, when the Lord has borne with them till the hour of judgment strikes, He will ‘slay them with the breath of His mouth, and bring them to nought by the manifestation of His coming’ (2 Thessalonians 2:8). The meaning of Revelation 17:11-12 of this chapter, then, is simply this,—that, after the fall of the Roman power, there shall arise a number of powers, symbolically ten, exhibiting the same ungodly spirit as that which had marked Rome and the powers of the world that had preceded Rome. In them the beast shall concentrate all its rage: they shall be the last and readiest instruments of its will. But it shall be in vain. The beast and they have their ‘hour.’ They continue their ‘short while,’ and then they perish.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". "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 ten horns, or ten kings, which thou sawest, as yet have received no kingdom, but shall receive power as kings one hour after the beast; or, as it is in the Greek, with the beast. According to the common interpretation, this must be referred to ten, or many kings, who are different from all the wicked kings that had been, and who should follow and live at the same time with the beast, by which here seems to be signified antichrist. Or, if by these ten kings we understand all the wicked kings, who were to come after St. John wrote, to the end of the world, they had not yet kingdoms, but the kingdoms which they should have, and all their vain happiness, would be very short, and at the same time they would be under the beast, and subject to him. (Witham) --- Ten horns. These denote ten kings or ten powers; namely, Goths, Huns, Alans, Vandals, Saxons, Burgundians, Franks, Heruli, Suevi, &c. the chief of the barbarians that invaded the Roman empire in the fifth century. --- They shall receive power as kings one hour after the beast; that is, they will serve under their own leaders, to assist pagan Rome a little against its enemies; and their one design is afterwards to take the fruitful provinces of Rome to themselves, which we know they did. (Pastorini) --- Ten kings. Ten lesser kingdoms, enemies also of the Church of Christ; which nevertheless shall be made instruments of the justice of God, for the punishment of Babylon. Some understand this of the Goths, Vandals, Huns, and other barbarous nations that destroyed the empire of Rome. (Challoner)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/revelation-17.html. 1859.

Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books

There are always those who ride to power on the wave created by another. They are without real power of their own but do rule for a time with the one they ascended to power with.

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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghc/revelation-17.html. 2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

no . . . as yet. As "not yet" above.

power. App-172.

one hour, i.e. at one and the same hour. Confusion results from substituting "kingdoms" for "kings" in the connection. The Holy Spirit says kings; who and what they are will be known at the time of their association with the beast.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". "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 ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.

Ten kings ... received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings ... with the beast. Hence, and from Revelation 17:14; Revelation 17:16, it seems that these ten kings or kingdoms are to be contemporaries with the beast in its last or eighth form, namely, Antichrist. Compare Daniel 2:34; Daniel 2:44, "the stone smote the image upon his feet" - i:e., upon the ten toes, which are, in Rev. 17:41-44, interpreted "kings." The ten kingdoms are not, therefore, ten which arose in the overthrow of Rome (pagan), but are to rise out of the last state of the fourth kingdom under the eighth head. Three of the former ten, the fourth kingdom's little horn, the papacy, starting subsequently, absorbed Daniel 7:8. But the last ten of the fourth kingdom, the 'ten toes,' shall tread down the earth as ten simultaneous kingdoms, subordinate to the beast. Alford observes, "as kings" implies that they reserve their kingly rights and name in giving "their power and strength unto the beast" (Revelation 17:13; note, Revelation 17:3).

One hour - a definite short time, during which 'the devil is come down to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time' (Revelation 12:12). Probably the three and a half years (Revelation 11:2-3; Revelation 13:5). Antichrist exists long before Babylon's fall; but it is only then he obtains the vassalage of the ten kings. He first imposes on the Jews as Messiah, then persecutes these who refuse his blasphemous pretensions. Not until the sixth vial, in the latter part of his reign, does he associate the ten kings with him in war with the Lamb, having gained them over by the spirits of devils working miracles. His connection with Israel appears from his sitting "in the temple of God" (2 Thessalonians 2:4), the antitypical "abomination of desolation standing in the Holy Place" (Daniel 9:27; Daniel 12:11; Matthew 24:15), "in the city where our Lord was crucified" (Revelation 11:8). Irenaeus ('Haer.,' 5:, 25) and Cyril of Jerusalem ('Ruffinus Hist.,' 10:, 37) prophesied that Antichrist should have his seat at Jerusalem, and restore the kingdom of the Jews. Julian the apostate took part with the Jews, and aided in building their temple, herein being Antichrist's forerunner.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". "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

(12) And the ten horns . . .—The explanation of the ten horns. They are the kings, not necessarily, as we have seen, personal kings, but rather kingdoms or nationalities, who received not a kingdom as yet; as they are on the seventh head, the hour of their power is not yet, but comes at the fall of the sixth head: then they receive power one hour. (Comp. “short time” in Revelation 17:10.) But though these are sundered powers, they are one in their subjection to the wild beast. They have one mind or judgment, and their power and authority they give to the wild beast. The universal empire idea may disappear, but the spirit and principle of mere earthliness will remain; it needs no vast power like Rome to illustrate its spirit. The ten horns are united in one mind; they move as the wild beast directs; their work and tendency of their power is hostile to Christ. They shall make war with the Lamb; and the Lamb shall conquer them because He is Lord of lords, and King of kings. When do these powers make war with the Lamb? The answer is, they make war when the direction of their policy and morals is in favour of oppression, wrong, worldliness; whenever nations or peoples allow the secular spirit to breathe through all they do, they are not with Christ, they are against Him. There are hints that some “special outbreak” of hostility may take place on the eve of the full manifestation of the righteous King and His kingdom (Revelation 19:16-19); busy evil spirits, lawless utterances, unbrotherly federations, unspiritual conceptions, may pave the way for such; the great crisis will then come, when the issue will be secularity and spirituality. It is not necessary to define the ten kings; the number does not need to be pressed as literal; for in Hebrew, “when a whole was to be divided into parts, ten was the number commonly adopted” (Bähr, quoted by Dr. Currey). The war of the ten kings against the Lamb is brought out more fully in Revelation 19. There the King of kings is seen victorious; in His victory they who are with Him, the called, and chosen, and faithful, shall share. This threefold description is a brief summary of the Christian life. This is the only place where St. John employs the word translated “called.” (Comp. Matthew 20:16.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-17.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
the ten
12:3; 13:1; Daniel 2:40-43; 7:7,8,20,24; Zechariah 1:18-21
Reciprocal: Judges 5:19 - kings;  Psalm 2:2 - kings;  Psalm 48:4 - GeneralPsalm 110:5 - strike;  Ecclesiastes 3:17 - for;  Isaiah 8:9 - Associate;  Isaiah 13:3 - mighty ones;  Isaiah 19:2 - I will;  Isaiah 33:1 - when thou shalt cease;  Jeremiah 28:14 - that they;  Jeremiah 30:14 - lovers;  Ezekiel 16:25 - and hast made;  Ezekiel 23:9 - GeneralDaniel 2:41 - the feet;  Daniel 8:24 - but;  Daniel 11:31 - arms;  Obadiah 1:7 - the men of;  Zechariah 12:3 - though;  Zechariah 14:13 - a great;  Mark 14:22 - this;  Acts 4:26 - kings;  Acts 5:39 - if;  Revelation 11:18 - the nations;  Revelation 13:2 - gave;  Revelation 17:16 - the ten;  Revelation 18:9 - the kings;  Revelation 19:19 - I saw;  Revelation 19:20 - the beast

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". "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

These ten kings (or small kingdoms) are named at Revelation 13:1. It says they had received no kingdom as yet. The meaning is they were not in rightful control of their kingdoms although they were acting as kings. But the phrase also indicates that they will finally be kings in their own right after Papal Rome has been put down even as Pagan Rome was, then each nation will have its own chosen form of government. But for the time being they may only act as kings. One hour with the beast is a figure of speech meaning that the time for continued oppression of Rome was to be comparatively short. The reader should bear in mind that the vision goes from the days of Pagan Rome in verse11to those of Papal Rome in the present verse. On that basis the beast now is Papal Rome in conjunction with the state.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". 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 17:12

Revelation 17:12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.

The sixth head, the Roman Caesars had

ten horns;

that Isaiah, provinces, and provincial legates, governors under them: But the seventh head, and eighth king of the Roman kingdom hath ten crowned horns; that Isaiah, ten kings and kingdoms under his dominion.

Which have received no kingdom as yet;

that Isaiah, in John's time, before the beast of the seventh head, the Pope of Rome, the eighth king did rise, and came to be king of kings, then

they receive power as kings one hour (at the same time) with the beast

of the seventh head, the eighth king. See KNOLLYS: Revelation 17:8

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-17.html.

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

Revelation 17:12. And the ten horns, which thou sawest, are ten kings, which have not as yet received kingdoms; but they shall receive power as kings one hour with the beast. The angel turns now from the heads to the horns. The beast, according to Revelation 17:7, has ten horns. It would be a monster if it had these in any other place than where all beasts have them, where the Lamb also has them, according to ch. Revelation 5:6, on the head. But if they could exist only on one of the heads, it is impossible to think of any but the seventh. For this is what was spoken of in the preceding context, at the close of Revelation 17:10, and also in Revelation 17:11. We are led also to the same result by comparing the words, "which have not as yet received a kingdom," with those in Revelation 17:10, "the other is not yet come;" also by comparing the "one hour" here, with "the must abide a short time" there. See the proof for the horns being held to be on the seventh head at p. 77. The seventh phase of the ungodly power of the world, which is denoted by the ten horns on the seventh head, is to be a divided one, in contradistinction to all the earlier ones, in contradistinction especially to the sixth, the Roman—as a proof, that the Revelation is really what its name imports, and did not owe its origin to a conjecture formed after the analogies of the past.

The horns, it is said, are kings. That we are not to think of individual kings, is plain from the whole character of the Apocalypse, which never has to do with single human individuals, but everywhere represents the future only in its most general features. The designation by horns alone leads not to individuals, but to powers. For the horn is the symbol of power, victorious strength—comp. on ch. Revelation 5:6, Revelation 13:1. Further, in the fundamental passage of Daniel, in Daniel 7, the ten horns are the ten kingdoms, into which the fourth great monarchy, the Roman, was to fall.[Note: What comes out of the interpretation, that finds the papacy here, may be gathered from this, that Vitringa on that ground denies the correspondence between the ten horns here and the ten horns in Daniel, ch. 7.

See on this correspondence at ch. 13:2.] So also in Daniel 8:8, Zechariah 2:1, powers, or monarchies are denoted by horns. Revelation 17:9 here shews, that we are not to think of individual kings. And if kings are kingdoms there, they most also have the same signification here.[Note: Vitringa mentions, that the sense of kingdoms is the natural and obvious one: "no one could expect, that single kingdoms of various nations should arise in the world, should set up each single kings, and after these should immediately go to ruin."] The number ten of kings or kingdoms as a round one itself shews, that there were not to be quite exactly and definitely ten, but that it is enough, if the different possible reckonings move somewhere about that number. Matters stand otherwise with the horns than with the heads. The heads denote world-monarchies, of which there was always but one at a time on the theatre. If the numbering is such as to admit of no license, then the whole number must necessarily be a determinate one. But, in opposition to this, the horns denote a constellation of powers, existing independently beside each other. And since it must be doubtful in regard to individuals, whether their independence was so complete, their importance so great, as that they should have a place assigned them in the series, the boundaries must be of a somewhat fluctuating nature.[Note: The ten horns and kingdoms were explained with substantial correctuess by Berengaudus in the 9th century, Expos. in Apoc. in the works of Ambros, T. vii. Ed. Yen. 1781, p. 834: Quatuor bestiae Danieli in visione demonstratae sunt, per quas quatuor regna figurabantur: quarta autem bestia, quae erat fortis atque terribilis, per quam Romani designati sunt, decem cornua habuisse describitur, per quae en regna, quae Romanum imperium destruxerunt, designata sunt. Eandem itaque significationem habent decem cornua in hoc loco; significant quippe ea regna, per quae imperium Romanum destrurtum est. Partem namque Asiae per se (1. Persae) primitus abstulerunt: postea vero Saraceni totam subogerunt: Vandali Africam sibi vindicaverunt, Gothi Hispaniam, Lombardi Italiam, Burgundiones Galliam, Franci Germanism, Hunni Panoniam: Alani autem et Suevi multa loca depopulati sunt, quae eorum subjacebant ditioni. The unsuitable mixture that is found here of the Persians and Saracens, who did not belong with the others to one conjunct state of things, which yet was required by the oneness of the seventh head, has been avoided by Bossuet, who also has some excellent remarks in regard to the number ten: "There appeared much about the same time Vandals, Huns, Franks, Burgundians, Suevi, Alani, Heruli, to whom succeeded Lombards, Germans, Saxons: more than all these the Goths, who were the real destroyers of the empire. We need not torment ourselves about bringing them precisely to the number ten; although it might be possible to reduce them almost to so many fixed kingdoms. But one of the secrets in the interpretation of the prophets, is not to seek after finesse, where it is not to be found, and to lose one's self in minutiae, when we can see great characteristics, that strike the eye at once."] The word kingdom is used here in an active sense, of the government, the kingly rule and authority—see on ch. Revelation 16:10. We are not to explain a kingdom, but rather: which had not yet received kingdom or dominion. (The οὔ πω is at any rate the correct explanation of the οὐ κ, if not the original reading, comp. Revelation 17:10). The matter concerns not a kingdom, but worldly dominion. It concerns not the existence of nations with their respective governments, but this, that they were no longer to come forth as the reigning power on the theatre of the world's history. Not existence, but reiging power is what first belongs to the future.

The expression, one hour, is explained by the ὀ λί γον, a little, short time, in Revelation 17:10.[Note: Against Vitringa's exposition: at one and the same time (Vulg. una hora) the parallel ὀ λί γον αὐ τὸ ν δεῖ μεῖ ναι is decisive. So also in Revelation 17:14, where the ceasing of the ἐ ξουσί α, indicated in the "one hour" is extended. The μίαν ὥραν, one hour long, occurs also in Matthew 26:40, μιᾷ ὥρᾳ, in one (single) hour, in ch. 18:10, comp. Revelation 17:8. πρὸς ὥραν, Galatians 2:5, πρὸς καιρὸν ὥρας, 1 Thessalonians 2:17, correspond.] History delivers for the "one hour," a remarkable confirmation. The first appearance of the German tribes on the stage of public history almost entirely coincides with the commencement of their conversion to Christianity. But the short continuance is here affirmed, not of the power of the horns or kings generally, but only of their power with the beast. What lies beyond this, does not properly belong to the matter. Since after the overthrow of these kings through Christ (comp. Revelation 17:14 and ch. Revelation 19:11, ss), no new human monarchy is mentioned, since also this overthrow is to be accomplished by no inferior instrumentality (as was the case in all the earlier phases of the worldly power, not excepting the Roman), but only by Christ, and his church, we, therefore, cannot doubt, that on the power, which the ten kings receive with the beast, another will follow, which they shall receive from Christ.

As kings, that reign not merely over their own subjects, but over the world. For the context treats of the dominion of the world; it is with the different phases of this, that the prophecy is occupied. The word, with the beast, is involved in the nature of the subject, and would have to be supplied, if it were not expressed. The character of their dominion, as opposed to God and Christ, is implied above in the circumstance, that they are horns on the head of the beast. The admission of the kings is inseparably connected with the abolition of Rome. But the beast is not affected by this change. As Rome at an earlier period received power with the beast, so now the kings receive the same. It is a change in the phases of the worldly power, while this itself continues for the time unchanged. Those, who understand by the beast heathen Rome, and those likewise who understand by it the papacy, are involved in no small perplexity by the expression here "with the beast," and also by Revelation 17:13. They suppose, that the ten kings shall hold only at first with the beast (Bossuet, "with Rome which shall not lose all at once her power"), and that they shall afterwards rise up against her. But it is against this view, that in Revelation 17:12-14, the matter of the horns is so far cut off, that in Revelation 17:15-18, where the whore is the subject of discourse, nothing absolutely new can be introduced in regard to the horns, nothing can be brought in, which has not a point of contact with something in the portion preceding Revelation 17:15. But such would be the case if the beast were heathen Rome, or the papacy. Then, here it would be friendship, there quite suddenly and immediately enmity. Not to mention that according to Revelation 17:16, not merely the horns, but also the beast itself, shall hate and persecute the whore, Rome.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-17.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

12.Ten kings—That is, kingdoms.

No kingdom as yet—They exist, as yet, (that is, in John’s time,) as sections of the empire, and are not developed into nationalized independencies. But (will) receive power— Or, become sovereignties.

One hour—One season. The Greek word may signify a season of the year; a period of human life, as manhood; and in John 4:23, it covers the whole period of the duration of a spiritual christianity on earth. Alford insists that it shall here mean, literally, an hour; but how absurd to suppose that the concurrence of the nations with Rome should be precisely sixty minutes! The national magnitude of the matter requires a correspondent magnitude of the season.

With the beast—For a period the European sovereignties will act in alliance with, and in obedience to, the Romish spiritual empire. The bishop of bishops will be king of kings. Though a large share of these ten kings have, since the Reformation, withdrawn from Romanism, yet Pius IX, in an address to the Italians, once said, “We three millions of subjects have two hundred millions of brethren of every language and of every nation.”—Wordsworth.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 17:12". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-17.html. 1874-1909.