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
APPENDIX 4: Eighth Head
The Revelation 13 passage portrays two Beasts and two powerful persons – known as the Antichrist and False Prophet – rising up to lead the upcoming final empire before the Second Coming. And this ties in with the riddle of Revelation 17:11 – “And the beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven.” The “seven” here refers to the “seven heads” that were attached to the “beast coming out of the sea” in the Revelation 13 and 17 passages.
These “heads” are usually understood to be symbolic of the seven political-military empires who will have ruled over Israel during the course of history: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, and the final Eurasian(?) empire.
The description in Revelation 13 of this “first beast” (from the sea) is actually a combined picture of all the “sea-beasts” that once ruled Israel, some of whom were previously mentioned in a vision given about 600 years earlier to the prophet Daniel and depicted there as separate beasts. (Daniel 7)
As the passage continues in Revelation 17, the guiding angel takes over and starts talking to John the apostle about “the beast that was, and is not”. (17:11) This peculiar phrase was referring 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” aspect of that Beast (its seventh head) which had not arrived on the world scene in John’s day when these Revelation chapters were written.
The angel says of this “beast that was, and is not” that this End of the Age edition will be “of the seven”. Since it is a “beast rising up out of the sea”, then it will have similar characteristics to the other sea-Beasts of history, these strong military-political empires (also symbolized as “metal” powers in the vision of the “image” in Daniel 2). But then the angel says of this “beast that was, and is not” that he is “also the eighth”.
Back in Revelation 13, in addition to the “beast from the sea”, that chapter also depicted another “beast” – of a different sort, one who came “up out of the earth”. The Sea-Beast is named as the “first beast”, which means that this Earth-Beast would be the second one in that chapter. (13:11-12)
Now that Sea-Beast has “seven heads”, symbolic of the entire scope of history of empires who ruled over Israel. Numerically then, the Earth-Beast can be categorized as the eighth “beast” (or eighth “head”) to come along in world history – an economic-religious empire, portrayed as a mysterious “eighth head”, attached to the seven-headed “first beast” of Revelation 13.
Since this new Beast is quite different from the other seven “heads/mountains/kings” of verses 9 and 10 in Revelation 17, he isn’t categorized with them. But even though he’s different, he is still lumped in with them, or at least with the seventh head: “Even he (the seventh) is the eighth.” In other words, this last empire, the seventh one, who “has not yet come… the beast that was and is not”, on closer inspection will be found to have another “head”, and it is these two “heads” who work and rule together over the earth in the End of the Age era.
Interestingly, the angel also states in this verse 11, “the eighth. . . is going to perdition.” Or in the NLT version, “the eighth king… he, too, is headed for destruction.” In verse 8 the angel had said the same about the 7th Beast/King: “the beast that you saw was, and is not, and will. . . go to perdition.” Then further ahead in Revelation 19:20, we read that at the coming of Christ during the Battle of Armageddon, “These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.” “These two”, the passage specifies, are “the beast… and with him the false prophet.”
And if there is any doubt who this False Prophet is, the passage goes on to say that he “worked signs in his (the 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 second 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)
This then identifies the “false prophet”, mentioned in chapter 19, with the Beast from chapter 13 who comes “out of the earth”.
So, if both 7th and 8th Heads/Beasts are headed for perdition in chapter 17, and then later in chapter 19, the same two (called Beast and False Prophet) are again pictured going into perdition (described as getting tossed into the lake of fire), that should confirm that the 8th Head/Beast is none other than the False Prophet Beast from the earth, the second Beast mentioned in Revelation 13.
Could this be the answer then to the riddle of Revelation 17:11 of how on earth does the seventh head manage also to be the eighth? “As for the beast that was and is not [the 7th Head the Antichrist], it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven.” (ESV) That seems to suggest that the 8th Head does not belong in the same category as the other seven Heads. (It comes from the “earth” not the “sea”.) Yet it is still joined to them, or at least to the 7th Head.
So perhaps it means that the eighth Head has been around all through history. At least his religion of materialism has been around; but not until modern times have the merchants of materialism gained a large measure of dominance over the affairs of humankind, thereby qualifying them to be designated as a Head or Beast separate from the other Heads/Beasts.
In the Modern Age the time has finally come for this Beast of materialism, this master of deception, to rise up, to have its own empire. There were mini-versions in the past. For example, the East India Trading Company, which 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 educated and empowered to rule themselves.
Nowadays, there exists a huge nation – China, another vast “trading company” – that is persecuting Muslims and other religious groups, including Christians. And Europe, in a more subtle fashion, looks to be heading in the same direction.
So the question remains, 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 kingdoms’ resources or rule, or something of that nature.
So the single Antichrist kingdom is actually made up of two parallel empires. They do more than co-exist, but it seems they unite or cooperate so that with their combined resources, they can overthrow the Great Harlot and bear rule over much of the world.
To illustrate on a smaller scale how this works, 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 False Prophet and Antichrist 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 at the same time they will be working together as one empire.
To summarize, the earth-Beast is the eighth Beast who, in Revelation 13, is mentioned after the seventh, the Antichrist. In Revelation 13, they are portrayed as separate, yet simultaneous, kingdoms who ally together; and Revelation 17:11 merely restates this fact more concisely. “The beast that was, and is not, [that’s the 7th one, the Antichrist 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 one from the sea 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.