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Revelation 17 - Expositors Agree


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#1 Fortigurn

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 10:48 PM

Revelation 17: The Seven Heads


In the symbolism used by Daniel, a head on a beast represents a ruling power, either over or part of a political body such as a kingdom or empire. In some cases (as with the third beast of Daniel 7), the heads are represented as existing at the same time, but in Revelation 17 the heads of the beast (undoubtedly the fourth beast of Daniel 7), are represented as having emerged in a chronological sequence, one by one.

In Revelation 13, one of these heads is wounded to death, but is healed again. This description cannot refer to an individual ruler, since it would require the death and resurrection of a ruler of Rome.

The fact that this deadly wound in the head of the beast occurs at the time when the ten horns representing the division of the Roman empire receive power (Revelation 13:1-3), implies that the head is the ruling power of the Roman state in its imperial form, a form of government which passed away when Rome was divided.

#2 Fortigurn

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 10:49 PM

In Revelation 17 the angel informs John that five heads have already fallen, and one reigns in his own day, which will be replaced for a short time by the seventh. This is significant because the eighth head is interpreted by the angel as being not only of the previous seven (that is, the same kind of thing as the seven), but is also referred to as the beast itself – thus the heads do not represent merely individual kings or emperors, but the Roman state itself in some form.

The understanding of the heads as successive forms of government in the Roman state is in harmony with the angelic description of the heads, whilst an interpretation which attempts to make them represent individual kings or emperors is not.

Two first century Roman historians record the six forms of government which had ruled over Rome up to their day as kings, consuls, decemvirs, tribunes, dictators, and emperors (Livy, ‘Annals of the Roman People‘, book 1:60, book 3:33, and book 4:7, Tacitus, ‘Annals’, book 1), and it is this authoritative list which Historicists follow in their exposition of the passage.

#3 Fortigurn

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 10:49 PM

As early as Osiander in 1511, the heads of the beast in Revelation 17 were understood to refer to these forms of government within the Roman state. Even more remarkably, it was understood as early as Mede (1640), that the beast in Revelation 17 is represented by the eighth head (‘he is the eighth’, Revelation 17:11), meaning that the eighth head is a revival of the old beast in a modern form.

By at least the early 19th century this was understood to refer to a Charlemagne like revival of the Holy Roman empire (Faber in 1804 believed that Napoleon’s enforced unification of Europe was the fulfilment of this passage), and by the end of the 19th century it was Garratt who correctly interpreted the eighth head as referring to a voluntary revival of the old Roman beast (not the enforced unification under Napoleon which had distracted Faber).

On the basis of the interpretation of the heads as forms of government in the Roman state, Garratt predicted that the future manifestation of the beast would be ‘a system of European Republics‘, or a ‘United States of Europe’, the very event which took place in the latter half of the 20th century.

#4 Fortigurn

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 10:50 PM

The significance of Garratt’s interpretation is immense, for the accuracy of his prediction (made some 60 years before even the 1957 Treaty of Rome laid the foundation for the European Union seen today), proves that Osiander’s understanding of the heads as forms of government within the Roman state was correct, and can be relied on.

Brother Philip Wale (1938, 1942), Brother F Bilton (1955), and Brother W H Carter (1961), all understood this prophecy to refer to a future European union which was in Brother Wale’s day a mere dream, certainly not an emerging reality until Brother Carter’s day.

#5 Fortigurn

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 10:50 PM

Revelation – The Seven Heads

Date (AD)

Name

The First Six Heads

 

1545

Andreas Osiander

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1573

Benedict Aretius

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1573

William Fulke

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1587

John Foxe

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1593

John Napier

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1601

James I of England

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1605

Thomas Brightman

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1640

Joseph Mede

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1657

James Durham

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1665

J Artopaeus

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1676

Henry of Meath

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1685

Matthew Poole

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1700’s

Adam Clarke

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1701

Robert Fleming

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1712

Matthew Henry

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1748

John Gill

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1784

John Brown

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1795

George Bell

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1800’s

Family NT Notes

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1800’s

J C Philipot

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1806

George Faber

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1807

William Burkitt

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1851

Albert Barnes

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1851

Josiah Dodds

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1862

Edward Elliott

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1863

Uriah Smith

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1870

David Steele

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1870

Joseph Lemuel Martin

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1881

B W Johnson

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1888

Grattan Guinness

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1897

Samuel Garratt

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1900

William Godbey

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1914

Christopher Wordsworth

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1970

E G Cook

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors

1977

A Haynes

Kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, triumvirs, emperors






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