“And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition” (Revelation 17:9-11).
In Revelation 17, there is a woman sitting on that beast. A woman in prophecy symbolizes a church. Jesus symbolizes His true, pure church (Zion) as a pure woman and an apostate church as a harlot “I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman” (Jeremiah 6:2); “And say unto Zion, Thou art my people” (Isaiah 51:16). A few other texts which also utilize this symbolism are 2 Corinthians 11:2, Ephesians 5:22, 23 and Revelation 19:7, 8.
The apostate church has become involved in manipulating the Roman government. and the “seven heads” represent the seven hills or mountains upon which Rome was built (Revelation 17:9, 10).
“Seven kings”- 7 kingdoms. Here are the seven kings and their interpretations:
“Five are fallen”- five kingdoms that persecuted God’s people are: [(1) Egypt, (2) Assyria, (3)Babylon, (4) Medo-Persia, (5) Greece]*
“One is”– (6) Pagan Rome (ruled by czars) was the kingdom ruling at the time that John the revelator received the vision
“Other is not yet come” (7) Papal Rome ruled by the Pope. The Pope was wounded to death by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1798.
“And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven”– the Papacy who’s deadly wound is healed will come again as the 8th king.
* [These kingdoms are the powers that persecuted God’s people. Assyria conquered the 10 northern kingdoms of Israel. Egypt enslaved them. Babylon carried away the southern kingdoms. Medo Persian and Greece occupied Jerusalem. Bible prophecies do not deal with all the kingdoms of the Earth. Bible prophecy only deals with the kingdoms that directly affected God’s people. In other words, China, India, North and South America had great empires during the time of Israel, however they did not affect Israel.]
Looking (backward and forward) from John’s time of vision, we see:
6-Pagan Rome (present –is- at John’s time)
7-Papal Rome (yet to come and will receive a deadly wound)
8-Papal Rome (the wound will be healed and will come back again – 8th eight king).
In His service,
A closing message from BibleAsk:
Thank you for visiting BibleAsk – an online ministry dedicated to providing Bible based answers to your questions. If you enjoyed and agree with this answer, please like and share! If you don’t agree, please leave a comment below, and we’ll be sure to respond! If you have another question you would like to ask, please click here and someone from our team will personally answer it (don’t worry, your email address will never be shared). Check out our Bible Answers page to see just Bible verses answering thousands of questions. If you feel impressed to support this ministry, kindly visit our donate page to send a tax-deductible love gift to BibleAsk. Any donation size helps 🙂