SHAPE OF THE FUTURE (Appendix 4)

1. Contents/Introduction
2. Dual Nature of the Empire
3. Spiritual and Physical Geography
4. Economic Superpower: the New Beast
5. Who are the Two Superpowers of the End?
6. Physical Geography: Which Two Territories?
7. Earth-Beast: False Prophet and Money Master
8. Iron-Clay Kingdom = Sea-Earth Beasts’ Empire
9. The Kingdom shall be Divided
10. Role of Technology

11. What the Future Holds
12. Summary

Appendix 1: Modern Religions, Cultures of Darkness
Appendix 2: How Iron Continues in Today’s World
Appendix 3: Background History, Clay-Earth Bloc
Appendix 4: Eighth Head/Beast

APPENDIX 4: Eighth Head/Beast

And the beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.” (Revelation 17:11)

The above Scripture is part of a longer passage (Revelation 17-18), which starts with John the apostle’s spectacular vision of two great empires: one symbolized as a Harlot and the other as a Beast. (17:1-6) Guiding angels then take over to explain the monumental struggle between these two great empires; they focus mainly on the catastrophic downfall of the Harlot. (17:7-18:24)

Although he didn’t understand it so well, the apostle was blessed with a most unusual glimpse into the future – at the world’s geopolitical situation in the End of the Age era of history.

At a certain point the first guiding angel tells the apostle, “the beast that you saw was, and is not”. (17:8) This peculiar phrase refers to the seven-headed, ten-horned beast that had astonished John earlier (in Revelation 13:1) and is mentioned again here in chapter 17; but more specifically, the angel is drawing attention to the final “is-not” Head of that Beast which had not arrived on the world scene in John’s day when these Revelation chapters were written. And he adds a bit more information too, that this Beast will “go to perdition”.

Then the angel makes this peculiar statement about this Beast that he “is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven.” (17:11)

Much of what the angel had said up to this point was mysterious enough, but now he sounds doubly mysterious; the Beast is also the Eighth? What on earth is he talking about?

The answers to most riddles – after we figure them out – seem awfully simple. And we often say, “Of course, how could I not have seen it?” Yet, to solve the riddle, is difficult, because it usually means seeing things from a perspective different from the one to which we are accustomed.

The following may not be the only explanation, or the entire explanation, but should offer a reasonable starting point to solving this mystery of the 8th beast.

Back in Revelation 13, the apostle had his vision of two Beasts headed by two powerful persons – known later as the Antichrist and False Prophet. These two Beasts do not represent consecutive empires but were to rule simultaneously – a powerful combination that will dominate the Earth shortly before the Second Coming.

 The Antichrist and his empire are called the “beast rising up out of the sea”. (13:1) A key point here is that this Beast possesses “seven heads”. (13:1, 17:3,7) In chapter 17 the angel explains that these “seven heads are seven mountains [symbolic of empires]… There are also seven kings” (17:9-10)

So the seven “heads” represent empires, not just their rulers. (See discussion Head=Beast? King=Kingdom?) These are the Beasts “rising up out of the sea” who will have ruled over Israel during the course of her history: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the final Eurasian(?) empire (which is the seventh Head).

Some of these political-military empires were mentioned previously in a vision given about 600 years earlier to the prophet Daniel and were depicted there as separate beasts. (Daniel 7:3-7) But in the Book of Revelation these separate Beasts are portrayed as a single Beast with “seven heads”. And at the End of the Age this Beast is the empire that will dominate the world and Israel.

The symbolism of “seven heads”  seems to carry two messages: 1) there will have been seven separate empires and rulers, and 2) the final one (the seventh) possesses the combined wisdom and might of all of them.

A key detail to consider from Revelation 13: in verse 12 we find that the Antichrist Beast from the sea is designated twice as the “first beast”. Why? To save confusion – because the Antichrist is not the only Beast to appear on the End Time stage. For, lo and behold, in verse 11 “another beast” has popped up! “Out of the earth” this time, not the “sea”. And so, the two Beasts need to be differentiated from one another.

Well, here it is. Here is the key to unlock the mystery. If the final Beast possesses “seven heads” (representing 7 Beasts), and if the Antichrist is the 7th Head/Beast, then logically, this next Beast must be the 8th. The second Beast in this chapter about modern times is actually the 8th Beast, or 8th Head, the 8th superpower, who works simultaneously and in conjunction with the first beast”.

The “seven heads” belong in the category of Beasts “coming up out of the sea”; whereas the eighth one comes “up out of the earth”. (13:1,11) The military-political kingdoms with a powerful ruler at the helm have always been around, these 7 Heads; and the phrase “of the seven” merely clarifies that this 8th Head/Beast, even though it is different in nature, is still to be counted amongst them, or at least with the seventh Head.

Since the Sea and Earth-Beasts are a team, the “first beast” from the sea is found on closer inspection to possess another mysterious eighth “head” (the second Beast of Revelation 13). And both of them will suffer the same fate of “going to perdition” – along with all the other Heads/Beasts.

The power of this 8th Head/Beast depends on his control over the world’s wealth, through which he gains spiritual control over Earth’s inhabitants; whereas the power base for the Sea-Beasts has always started with their military and political control over the world’s people, through which they also gain spiritual control over them.

This 8th Beast, it seems, shows up only in the End of the Age era. But in a way he too has been around since the Beginning, but never powerful enough to rule over Israel and the Middle East and still remain independent. Nevertheless, while different empires have come and gone throughout history, the religion of Materialism has always flourished and encouraged this natural attachment to the things of earth.

What seems different in the modern day is that the power of wealth and industry has grown to such a point that, finally, it has gained a large measure of dominance over the world. It can stand on its own as an independent, strong superpower – a Beast in other words.

In the larger context of this passage, we learn that the Beast from the sea has had to endure the oppression of the Harlot’s Materialism. But in the case of the 8th Beast, those forces of Materialism re-invent themselves into a different sort of entity, known in the Revelation Book as the False Prophet Beast – different in that it doesn’t sit on the other Beast oppressing it, but his control over that Beast is designed to bring about that Beast’s rise to power.

Although both Harlot and Earth-Beast share the similarity of presiding over the religion of Materialism, there are some differences. The False Prophet is not scrounging off the Beast’s empire. Instead of working to tear down the Beast and strip him of his wealth, as the Harlot has always done through history, he is trying to promote him and help him get into power.

In other words, he truly plays the role of “prophet”. Near the time of the end, the Harlot’s control of the Beast is thrown off. The reins will shift fully then into the hands of the False Prophet and his domain – not to control and hinder the Beast, but to guide and promote him into worldwide supremacy.

The time has finally come for this Beast, this master of deception and false religion (of Materialism, secularism, atheism) to rise up, to have its own government – an independent empire whose power base will be headquartered somewhere in the Earth.

There were mini-versions of this empire in the past. For example, the East India Trading Company ruled India for about 100 years, during which time, besides exploiting India’s natural resources, the Company also refused entry to those dedicated men and women who wanted to bring the Good News to that land – for fear the people might become more empowered to rule themselves.

Nowadays, there exists a huge nation – China, another vast “trading company” – that is officially atheist, engaged in suppressing all forms of religious activity. And Europe, in a more subtle fashion, looks to be heading in the same direction.

Related to the question of how can the seventh also be the eighth, we could ask a similar question about the “feet” in the Daniel 2 “image”: why do the iron and clay materials in them “mix”? Well, it must have something to do with a combining of the two separate empires’ resources or rule, or something of that nature.

So the final End of the Age empire is actually made up of two parallel empires. They do more than co-exist; they cooperate and unite their combined resources, so that they can overthrow the Great Harlot and bear rule over much of the world.

Translated into historical reality, what this means is that God is allowing these empires to rise up. And why? He will not continue to tolerate America’s sins of selfish greed and violence against the rest of the world – crimes she is committing in spite of being regarded by the world as the stronghold of Christianity. So He is allowing her enemies to rise up and cause her catastrophic collapse. (More on this in Fall of the Great Harlot series of posts.)

Regarding the concept of parallel empires, here is an illustration on a smaller scale. Consider the influence of a nation’s capital city: even though it is located in one particular spot, the influence of the government is not limited to that city or state, but extends throughout the entire country.

And in many nations, there exist two centers of power; one city is the political capital, while another city has become the unofficial economic capital whose influence also spreads throughout the nation. But even though there may be two centers of power, they’re still part of the same nation.

Likewise, the Antichrist and False Prophet will each have their respective spheres of influence, which will not be confined to their borders, but will spread into each other’s empires and throughout much of the earth. And they will join forces, working together as one empire.

The Antichrist is the warlike “beast from the sea” who actually does the hard work of conquering Israel and the Mideast and overthrowing the American Harlot – with plenty of help from the False Prophet Beast, of course. And because they are co-rulers, then that 8th Beast also gets to rule over the same area.

The 7th and 8th Beasts would have started off as independent empires, of course. Then perhaps what will transpire, as the alliance between them grows, they will essentially become one empire. We are even now seeing the early manifestations of this in the growing cooperation between the Russian and Chinese superpowers. (See Footnote quote to get an idea how this is starting to happen even now.)

It appears that the Antichrist will be recognized as the overall ruler. That could be why verse 11 says, “The beast that was, and is not [the Antichrist], is himself also the eighth”. The wording suggests that the Antichrist’s kingdom comes to include or absorb the “eighth” Beast. Something similar happened in former times. The Persian nation had joined forces with the Medes to create the dual empire of the Medes and Persians, but after awhile the Persians emerged as the dominant ruler in that ancient empire.

This background role of the 8th Beast’s empire in relation to the Antichrist’s empire is not too surprising when we consider that the Earth-Beast was also named the False Prophet in the Revelation Book.  (16:13, 19:20, 20:10) Historically, prophets never had kingdoms of their own since they were always the kingmakers, not the kings themselves.

So it seems that once this final False Prophet has “made” the Antichrist, then he has played his part and steps somewhat into the background afterwards. That seems to be the picture anyway that Revelation 13 gives about this 8th Head/Beast (the 2nd in that chapter) and his activities and role in the empire of the near future. He is a kingmaker whose role is to put the Antichrist into power.

However, to be a kingmaker in our huge-sized modern world requires having available the back-up of a massive infrastructure – a whole empire in other words – to provide the administration, resources, manpower, technology, and industry that will be needed to manage the world. It takes more than just the military might and political leadership of the Antichrist and his host country, Russia.

There is also the economic and religious side (religion of no-religion). China’s (and perhaps the EU’s) participation and cooperation will be essential in the Devil’s plan to establish in the world a new economic and political order, containing also a new secular religion of Demagoguery cum Materialism (known in ancient times as emperor-worship and Mammon-worship).

“And is going to perdition” (17:11)

Earlier, we learned that the 7-headed Beast would “go to perdition”. (17:8) If the 7th is also the 8th, then that means the 8th goes into perdition as well. Some translations make it more explicit, that this is the fate of both Beasts: “the eighth king… he, too, is headed for destruction.” (17:11, NLT)

Further ahead in Revelation 19:20, we read that at the coming of Christ during the Battle of Armageddon, “The beast was captured, and with him the false prophet… These two were cast alive into the lake of fire.” This expresses from a different angle what the passages in 17:8 and 11 say about the 7th and 8th Heads/Beasts “going to perdition”.

By matching these two passages, we understand that the Antichrist and False Prophet Beasts who get tossed into the “lake of fire” (in 19:20 and 20:10) correspond to the 7th and 8th Heads/Beasts in chapter 17 who just happen to go to the same place, only it’s called “going to perdition”. That correlation identifies this mysterious 8th Head/Beast as none other than the False Prophet Beast “coming up out of the earth”, the second Beast mentioned in Revelation 13. (13:11)

And if there is any doubt as to whether or not this False Prophet is the same Earth-Beast of Revelation 13, the passage in 19:20 goes on to say that he “worked signs in his [the first Beast’s] presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.” This echoes what was written in chapter 13 about the Earth-Beast who causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast” and “deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast” and “causes all… to receive a mark.” (13:12,14,16)

Could this then be the answer to the riddle of Revelation 17:11 of how on earth does the seventh head manage also to be the eighth? The cryptic phrasing here was nothing more than an abbreviated way of referring to what the apostle had already been shown (in Revelation 13): two empires working closely together to rule the world in the End of the Age era.

Summary:

The Earth-Beast is the eighth Head/Beast who, in Revelation 13, is mentioned after the seventh Head/Beast. The symbolism denotes two empires and their leaders, known respectively as the False Prophet and the Antichrist. In Revelation 13, they are portrayed as separate, yet simultaneous, kingdoms who work together; and Revelation 17:11 merely restates this fact more concisely. “The beast that was, and is not, [that’s the 7th one, the final empire] is himself also the eighth.”

Because of the Antichrist empire’s alliance with the False Prophet and his empire, the final empire is actually two empires in one. (The verse also suggests that the Antichrist “beast” will be regarded as the official “head” of this combined empire.)

It’s interesting how different parts of the Sacred Book tie together and help us get a complete picture: In Daniel 2 the ”iron mixed with clay” in the “feet” give us a picture of a dual empire in the End of the Age whose regimes merge together.

Then later, the description of the Revelation 13 “beasts” (the seven-headed Sea-Beast and the earth-Beast) fills in many details about these two empires. Significantly, it shows that, although separate empires, they do interact quite a bit, which seems to reflect the portrayal in Daniel’s “image” vision of “iron and clay” mixing together.

We can also understand the identity of the mysterious “eighth beast/head” in Revelation 17:11 that he is the second of the two Beasts from chapter 13 – the “beast coming up out of the earth”. And the merging of the seventh and eighth Heads in Revelation 17:11 helps us to understand that the two separate Beasts of Revelation 13 are, for all intents and purposes, one empire, similar to how the “iron and clay” in the two feet of the Daniel 2 “image” are “mixed” and thereby create one empire.

FOOTNOTE: How one journalist views the Russia-China partnership

The fate of the world is now in the hands of Putin and Xi Jinping. It is astonishing that China is subjecting itself to The Consensus of the Two Leaders and shows without a shadow of a doubt that they are acting in full concert, strategically, politically, economically coordinated, and we know militarily as well, we just don’t know to what extent. A Throne of Chinese Skulls! Oh Yeah? (by Chris Faure for the , 20 December 2021)

[Caveat: The intentions of these two leaders and their empires do not sound malicious; they seem genuinely interested in bringing peace and a better world situation. The question is, how will things change in the future, especially when new leaders come to the fore, inheriting the well-built foundation established by Russia and Chinas present rulers? Will they continue to build wisely, or will they turn aside into totalitarian tyranny?]

[RETURN]

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