Seven Kings and the Eighth

Seven Kings and the Eighth

Copyright © 2013 Jonathan Mukwiri  |   | 

In advocating the view that the seven kings of the beast of Revelation 17, represent seven forms of government that have existed in the Roman Empire, and the eighth power represent the Papacy, this booklet is not dealing in novelties, nor is it here introducing a new view, it is simply advocating an old view which has characterised the Adventist move­ment from the beginning, as it was expounded by Adventist pioneer Uriah Smith (1832-1903) in his much-used and fruitful book called "Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation" also called "Daniel and the Revelation" (Battle Creek, Mtch.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1882; a digital copy is available at California University Library archives at

There are many conflicting interpretations on the seven kings, and the eighth of Revelation 17:10-11.  For Seventh-day Adventists, the start time for all the seven kings, and the eight power must be before 1844, as “there should be time no longer” (Rev 10:6) after 1844.  ‘That is, the people will not have another message upon definite time. After this period of time, reaching from 1842 to 1844, there can be no definite tracing of the prophetic time. The longest reckoning reaches to the autumn of 1844’ (7BC 971.7).

It is error to teach that the seven kings, and the eighth power are individual popes counted from 1929.  Prophetic time after 1844 would mean the angel of Rev 10:6 swore to a falsehood or we must also apply the Revelation 10 messages to this latter time; but this would disarrange the messages of Rev 14, of which it is warned: ‘woe to him who shall move a block or stir a pin of these messages’ (EW 258.3).  It is truth to teach that the seven kings are seven forms of government that existed in Roman Empire, and the eighth power is the Papacy that exists from 538AD to perdition when Christ returns.


Read Daniel and the Revelation 1882

The old view taken in this booklet that the seven kings of Revelation 17 represent seven forms of government that have existed in the Roman Empire, and the eighth power is the Papacy, is derived from Smith’s 1882 book that contains “solid, eternal truth for this time” (1MR 61.2).  Seventh-day Adventist ministers need not err in this teaching if they were to heed the Spirit of Prophecy and read Smith’s 1882 book, for the prophet specifically tells them:

‘Those who are preparing to enter the ministry, who desire to become successful students of the prophecies, will find Daniel and the Revelation an invaluable help. They need to understand this book. It speaks of past, present, and future, laying out the path so plainly that none need err therein. Those who will diligently study this book will have no relish for the cheap sentiments presented by those who have a burning desire to get out something new and strange to present to the flock of God. The rebuke of God is upon all such teachers. They need that one teach them what is meant by godliness and truth. The great, essential questions which God would have presented to the people are found in Daniel and the Revelation. There is found solid, eternal truth for this time. Everyone needs the light and information it contains’ (1MR 61.2, 1901).  This was not Ellen White’s personal view, for she says: “I write all that the Lord gives me to write” (3SM 49.2, 1906).

We are told: ‘This book has been the means of bringing many precious souls to a knowledge of the truth. Everything that can be done should be done to circulate Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation. I know of no other book that can take the place of this one. It is God’s helping hand’ (21MR, 444.3, 1901).

We are further told that: ‘The light given was that Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation, The Great Controversy, and Patriarchs and Prophets, would make their way. They contain the very message the people must have, the special light God had given His people.  The angels of God would prepare the way for these books in the hearts of the people’ (CM 123.3, 1899; CEv 21.1).

Beware of the 1944 edition!  When the first time in 1910 AG Daniells wanted to change Smith’s book, EG White objected: ‘I have been instructed that the Lord is not the author of the proposal to make many changes in books already published ... Satan would be busy at work implanting seeds of distrust and unbelief, and it would require much labor to remedy the evil that would be wrought’ (Letter 70, 1910).  Be sure to read the 1882 edition that was published in Smith’s lifetime, for neither Uriah Smith (1832-1903) nor Ellen White (1827-1915) approved or endorsed, respectively, the changes made in the 1944 edition.


Some guiding principles

When considering the phases of pagan and papal Rome of the beast, keep in mind that the angel acknowledges that there is mystery connected with the symbols of this seventeenth chapter; for he says to John, “I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and [the mystery] of the beast that carrieth her” (verse 7).  We need not, therefore, be surprised if the rules of interpretation that can be adhered to in some other prophecies cannot be so rigidly followed.

The compound symbol first presented (a beast and a woman seated upon it) is evidently designed to show the relation of the ecclesiastical to the civil power in the earthly government to be brought into view, or rather the distinction between them, the state dominated by the church, as the horse is controlled by its rider. It is also to show the corrupt nature of that church; for it is generally agreed that the woman, here, as a symbol, is the papal church.

But note that in other statements this distinction (having once been clearly defined) seems to be dropped; and the beast is considered as embracing the religious element also; for he is “full of names of blasphemy” (verse 3) – religious characteristic; and further on in the prophecy some statements are made concerning the beast, which apply to the papacy. We are thus, in some instances, obliged to interpret the prophecy in accordance with the facts in the case, instead of maintaining, throughout, a rigid uniformity of the symbol, as for instance, when the symbol of the beast and where the beast himself is finally called “the eighth” (verse 11).

The Rev 17 beast is scarlet colored, same colour as the Rev 12 dragon, indicating this beast covers Rome from the beginning of its history in its pagan form, to the end of its career in its papal form; for it goes into perdition, the landing place of the papacy.


Deceiver of All Nations

Revelation 17:1-3 “1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: 2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.  3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.”

‘In verse 19 of the preceding chapter, we were informed that "great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath." The apostle now takes up more particularly the subject of this Great Babylon; and in order to a full presentation of it, goes back and gives some of the facts of her past history.  That this apostate woman is a symbol of the Roman Catholic church, is generally believed by Protestants.  Between this church and the kings of the earth there has been illicit connection, and with the wine of her fornication, or her false doctrines, the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk’ (Uriah Smith, 1882 edition, pp. 747-748).

The harlot is accused of unlawful connection with “the kings of the earth”. ‘It was by departure from the Lord, and alliance with the heathen, that the Jewish church became a harlot; and Rome, corrupting herself in like manner by seeking the support of worldly powers, receives a like condemnation’ (The Great Controversy, p. 382).  All nations of the earth are drunk with the false doctrines of the Papacy.

‘This prophecy is more definite than others applicable to the Roman power in that it distinguishes between church and state.  We have here the woman, the church, seated upon a scarlet-colored beast, the civil power, by which she is upheld, and which she controls and guides to her own ends, as a rider controls the animal upon which he is seated’ (Uriah Smith, 1882 edition, p. 748).

As to “the wilderness”, it must first be understood that the entire prophecy in this chapter is to do with the Christian church and has nothing to do with the Jewish nation.  In Revelation 12:6, 14, John was shown the woman (true church) fleeing to the “wilderness”, which could only be in the Christian era, as the true church was in existence immediately after the “man child … was caught up unto God” (Revelation 12:5), Christ taken up into heaven, after which time the true church “flees” into the wilderness (into hiding) from the face of the Beast/dragon in the form of Pagan Rome, where she was subsequently persecuted by the Papacy for 1260 years (Revelation 12:6, 14), which persecution is aptly represented in Revelation 17:6 as being “drunken with the blood of the saints and... martyrs...".

John had seen in Revelation 12:6, 14 the true church “flee” into the “wilderness” to hide from the persecution of the Papacy, and John now sees the Papacy in the same “wilderness”, the Papacy here was not in hiding, but rather persecuting the true church in the same wilderness.  While the Papacy was not here in the wilderness in the same sense as the true Church, nonetheless, it was in the same wilderness that John saw the Papacy persecuting the true Church.  When John was taken in vision into the wilderness (see 17:3), it is beyond question that it was the same 'metaphoric' wilderness that he saw the woman flee into (Revelation 12:6, 14), as John here was seeing the same seven-headed, ten-horned beast: "seven heads and ten horns" (Revelation 17:3; Revelation 12:3).

Further on the wilderness metaphor, in Revelation 12:15-16 the devil went after the true church through the medium of the papacy with a flood of persecution even when the true church was in the wilderness or in hiding: “15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman [the waters here represent the nations and peoples of the papacy who persecuted the woman in the 1260 years], that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth [after 1260 years], and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.”

Revelation 17:4-5 “4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: 5 and upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”

‘The vesture and decorations of this woman, the Papacy, as brought to view in verse 4, are in striking harmony with the application made of this symbol.  Purple and scarlet are the chief colors in the robes of popes and cardinals.  Among the myriads of precious stones which adorn her service, according to eyewitnesses, silver is scarcely known, and gold itself is less noticeable than are costly gems.  From the golden cup in her hand – symbol of purity of doctrine and profession, which should have contained only that which is unadulterated and pure, or only that which is in full accordance with truth – there came forth only abominations, and the wine of her fornication, fit symbol of her abominable doctrines and still more abominable practices’ (Uriah Smith, 1882 edition, p. 748).

‘Thus is represented the papal power, which with all deceivableness of unrighteousness, by outside attraction and gorgeous display, deceives all nations; promising them, as did Satan our first parents, all good to those who receive its mark, and all harm to those who oppose its fallacies. The power which has the deepest inward corruption will make the greatest display, and will clothe itself with the most elaborate signs of power. The Bible plainly declares that this covers a corrupt and deceiving wickedness. "Upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, The Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth"’ (7BC 983).

Babylon is said to be “the mother of harlots,” if a “mother” it must have “daughters.” ‘The message of Revelation 14, announcing the fall of Babylon must apply to religious bodies that were once pure and have become corrupt. Since this message follows the warning of the judgment, it must be given in the last days; therefore it cannot refer to the Roman Church alone, for that church has been in a fallen condition for many centuries’ (The Great Controversy, p. 382).  In other words, ‘the fact that she is called the mother of harlots, shows that there are other independent religious organizations that constitute the apostate daughters, and belong to the same great family’ (Uriah Smith, 1882 edition, 748).


Drunken with Blood of Saints

Revelation 17:6-7 “6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.  7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.”

‘Why should John "wonder with great wonder," as it reads in the original, when he saw the woman drunken with the blood of saints?  Was the persecution of the people of God any strange in his day?  Had he not seen Rome launch its most fiery anathemas against the church, himself being in banishment under its cruel power at the time he wrote?  Why, then, should he be astonished, as he looked forward, and saw Rome still persecuting the saints?  The secret of his wonder was this: All the persecution he had witnessed had been from pagan Rome, the open enemy of Christ. It was not strange that pagans should persecute Christ's followers.  But when he looked forward and saw a church professedly Christian persecuting the followers of the Lamb, and drunk with their blood, he could but wonder with great amazement’ (Uriah Smith, 1882 edition, p. 749).


Governing heads of the beast

Revelation 17:8-11 “8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.  9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom.  The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. 10 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. 11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.”

To grasp the correct interpretation of Revelation 17:10-11, keep in mind that the seven kings must all have either been part of Pagan Rome or come out of Pagan Rome.  We know this because it cannot be intelligently disputed that the beast of Revelation chapters 12 and 17 is Pagan Rome.  We are told:

‘The line of prophecy in which these symbols [i.e. the seven-headed beast] are found begins with Revelation 12, with the dragon that sought to destroy Christ at His birth. The dragon is said to be Satan (Revelation 12:9); he it was that moved upon Herod to put the Saviour to death. But the chief agent of Satan in making war upon Christ and His people during the first centuries of the Christian Era was the Roman Empire, in which paganism was the prevailing religion. Thus while the dragon, primarily, represents Satan, it is, in a secondary sense, a symbol of pagan Rome.  In chapter 13 (verses 1-10) is described another beast, “like unto a leopard,” to which the dragon [pagan Rome] gave “his power, and his seat, and great authority.”  This symbol [i.e. leopard-like beast], as most Protestants have believed, represents the papacy, which succeeded to the power and seat and authority once held by the ancient Roman empire’ (Great Controversy, p. 438).

‘The beast of which the angel here speaks is evidently the scarlet beast. A wild beast like the one thus introduced, is the symbol of an oppressive and persecuting power; and while the Roman power, as a nation, had a long, uninterrupted existence, it passed through certain phases, during which this symbol would be inapplicable to it, and during which time, consequently the beast, in such prophecies as the present, might be said not to be, or not to exist.

‘Thus: Rome in its pagan form was a persecuting power in its relation to the people of God, during which time it constituted the beast that was.  But the empire was nominally converted to Christianity.  There was a transition from paganism to another phase of religion, falsely called Christian; and during a brief period, while this transition was going on, it lost its ferocious and persecuting character, and then it could be said of the beast, that it was not.  Time passed on, and it degenerated into popery, and again assumed its blood-thirsty and oppressive character, and then constituted the beast that "yet is," or in John's day was to be.

‘The seven heads are explained to be, first, seven mountains, and then seven kings or forms of government; for the expression in verse 10, "and there are seven kings," should read, and these are seven kings.  Five are fallen, says the angel, or passed away; one is; the sixth, was then reigning: another was to come, and continue a short space; and when the beast re-appeared in its bloody and persecuting character, it was to be under the eighth form of government which was to continue till the beast went into perdition.

'The seven forms of government that have existed in the Roman empire, are usually enumerated as follows: 1. Kingly.  2. Consular. 3. Decemvirate.  4. Dictatorial.  5. Triumvirate. 6. Imperial; and 7. Papal.  Kings, Consuls, Decemvirs, Dictators, and Triumvirs, had passed away in John's day.  He was living under the imperial form. Two more were to arise after his time. One was only to continue a short space, and hence is not usually reckoned among the heads; while the last, which is usually denominated the seventh, is in reality the eighth.  The head which was to succeed the imperial and continue a short space could not be the papal; for that has continued longer than all the rest put together.  We understand, therefore, that the papal head is the eighth, and that a head of short continuance intervened between the imperial and papal' [Uriah Smith, 1882 edition, pp. 750-751).

Counting the head that was to “continue a short space” (Rev 17:10), the line up of the heads, including the eighth head, per Uriah Smith, is as follows: 1st Kingly; 2nd Consular; 3rd Decemvirate; 4th Dictatorial; 5th Triumvirate - ("five are fallen" Rev. 17:10; these five forms of governance of Pagan Rome had passed into history i.e. fallen at the time of John) - 6th Imperial ("one is" Rev. 17:10; at the time of John emperors were ruling as one of the seven phases of civil governance of Pagan Rome); 7th Dukedom [The exarchate of Ravenna] (this form of Pagan Rome civil governance was to last “a short space” Rev. 17:10); and then came the 8th head or Papal form of governance of Rome at that time when the seven-headed beast (Pagan Rome) transitioned from Pagan Rome to Papal Rome (538AD to Perdition) and the beast (transitioned to papacy) here is also known as the 8th head (Rev. 17:11).

Note this: that the seven kings were seven forms of governance of the Roman empire, is a well-known historical fact; in general order: “there were seven modes of administering the civil power of Rome: Kings, consuls, dictators, decemvirs, tribunes, emperors and dukes had one after another held the scepter” (William J Reid, Lectures on the Revelation, Pittsburgh: Stevenson, Foster & Co, 1878), p. 403).

The Papacy, the eighth head of the beast, was wounded (Revelation 13:3) in 1798, and such wounding did not change the form of governance of the beast.  ‘The head that was wounded to death was the papal head. We are held to this conclusion by the very obvious principle, that whatever is spoken in prophecy of the symbol of any government, applies to that government only while it is represented by that symbol.

‘Now Rome is represented by two symbols, the dragon [Rev 12:3] and the leopard beast [Rev 13:2], because it has presented two phases, the pagan and the papal; and whatever is said of the dragon, belongs to Rome only in its pagan form; and whatever is said of the leopard beast, belongs to Rome only in its professedly Christian form.  But Rome was pagan in John's day, who lived under the sixth or imperial head.  This shows us at once that six of the heads, including the imperial, belong to the dragon; and if it was any one of these heads which was wounded to death, then it was one of the heads of the dragon, or one of the forms of government that belonged to Rome in its pagan form, and not one of the heads of the beast; and John should have said:  I saw one of the heads of the dragon wounded to death.  But he says that it was one of the heads of the beast that was wounded to death.

‘In other words, this wound fell upon some form of government that existed in the Roman empire, after its change from paganism to Christianity.  But after this change, there was but one head, and that was the papal.  The exarchate of Ravenna continued only "a short space," Rev. 17: 10, and hence it is not usually reckoned among the heads.  Thus it is placed beyond controversy that it was none other than the papal head that was wounded to death, and his deadly wound was healed.  This wound is the same as the going into captivity of Rev. 13: 10.  It was inflicted when the pope was taken prisoner by Berthier the French general, and the papal government was for a time abolished, in 1798’ (Uriah Smith, 1882 edition, pp. 683-684).


Mysteries of the beast and the woman

In Revelation 17:5, 7, we are told that there is a "mystery" concerning [1] the woman and [2] the beast that carries her.  What is a “Mystery” here?  The first mystery is that the 8th power of Revelation 17:11 is the fact that the political system that gives the woman its power is in fact the papacy (the pope being both a religious leader and a head of state), which political system, in turn, is symbolically called the seven-headed beast itself ("And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth" Revelation 17:11).  Note here that in verse 11, the 8th power is called "the beast that was, and is not" that "goeth into perdition," which is the exact expression used earlier in verse 8: "the beast that was, and is not and [but] yet is... and go into perdition."

Now here is the riddle solved: in Revelation 17:11, the words “yet is” of verse 8 are replaced by the words, "even he is the eighth." In other words, the "yet is" phase of Pagan Rome in verse 8 is called, in verse 11, the "the eighth," or the Papal phase of the old Pagan Roman empire, which from all appearances seemed to have passed from the scene of action, but which was in fact the same Pagan system introduced as 'Christian' religion!

Thus, "the eighth" is in fact the revived Pagan Roman Empire, but under the guise or form of a religious system, the Papacy.  That is the second "mystery": i.e., the Pagan Roman beast which had seven heads, or seven phases/forms of civil government is given to be the same as the 8th power in Revelation 17:11 and so in Revelation 13:1-2, the Papacy (identified by the “name of blasphemy” upon its symbolic seven heads) is called “the beast”, just as if it were in fact the seven-headed Pagan Roman beast, for it had now assumed the trappings, idols, holy days and power of Pagan Roman rulers, and so could be properly and figuratively called "the beast".

We can confirm the above explanation from Revelation 17 verses 8 and 11 themselves, for both verses tell us that the eighth will go "into perdition." We know that the 8th power in verse 11 is the same as the beast in verse 8, because verse 11 also tells us the same thing that the 8th will go into “perdition.”

The Apostle Paul calls the pope, "the son of perdition." Hence the Papacy, the ecclesiastical-political system under which popes rule, is the 8th referred to in verse 11: "let no man beguile you in any wise: for it will not be, except the falling away come first, and [then] the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition" (2 Thessalonians 2:3).

Thus, when we get to the vision in Revelation 13 (which is a more advanced or later in time - i.e., 42 months until 1798, Revelation 13: 5 - than that in Revelation 17), the whole papal beast itself is now the revived Pagan Roman religion or 8th power of Revelation 17:11 (in Rev 13 it is symbolically called "the beast" just as if it were Pagan Rome proper, for it still continues with all of the old Pagan saints, idols, statues, holy days, and claims to temporal power as was claimed by the Roman rulers).

Hence, when John sees "the beast" in Revelation 13, he is seeing the Roman empire, but now in the form of the Papacy, hence the reason the beast, which in that chapter is clearly the Papacy (as confirmed by verse 1 upon her symbolic “heads the name of blasphemy,” verse 3 "deadly wound,” verse 5 "forty and two months," verse 6-7 “he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God”, and makes “war with the saints”) is called "the beast" with seven heads and ten horns.  Not literally with seven heads and ten horns, for we know that the Papacy never had seven heads never mind ten horns, but rather it is symbolically called “the beast”, for it has taken over all of the power, religion and practices that were carried out or embodied in each of the seven heads or civil phases of the old Roman Empire.

Further, we are told that the beast "was, and is not, and yet is [i.e. still exists]," which could not be literally true of the old beast (Pagan Rome), therefore it must be symbolically true of the Papacy: "and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is." (Revelation 17: 8).

Revelation 13:8 gives the identical expression that is used in Revelation 17:8 concerning "the eighth" but this time it introduces the additional words "of the Lamb slain": "whose names were not written in the book of life [of the Lamb slain] from the foundation of the world."

Now, it is no coincidence that the expression above ("whose names were not written in the book of life [of the Lamb slain] from the foundation of the world") is found in the same verse in both Rev. 13 and 17: "whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world" [Revelation 13:8; Revelation 17:8].  Nor is it a coincidence that that expression is used in both chapters in reference to "the beast". This is because "the beast" referred to in both chapters is in fact "the eighth" of Revelation 17:11, or the papacy, which in Revelation 13 is now referred to, in symbolic language, as having the entire appearance of the first old Pagan Roman beast (heads, crowns and body).

Therefore, the seven-headed beast of Pagan Rome seen in Revelation 17:8 becomes the symbolic seven-headed beast of the Papacy in Revelation 17:11 (called "the eighth" power), but only after the last of the seven heads of Pagan Rome was "taken away" then was "that lawless one... revealed " (2 Thessalonians 2:7).

This is further confirmed: ‘... mystery of lawlessness" (2 Thessalonians 2:7, R.V.) which, even in Paul's day, had begun its work... In the sixth century the papacy had become firmly established. Its seat of power was fixed in the imperial city, and the bishop of Rome was declared to be the head over the entire church. Paganism had given place to [i.e. no longer restrained] the papacy. The dragon [Satan working via Pagan Rome] had given to the beast [i.e., the 8th, who is now called "the beast"] "his power, and his seat, and great authority" Revelation 13:2. And now began the 1260 years of papal oppression foretold in the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation. Daniel 7:25; Revelation 13:5-7’ (The Great Controversy, p. 55) [emphasis is mine].


Confederacy of Satanic Forces

Revelation 17:12-14 “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.  13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.  14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.”

On the subject of the ten horns, there is no controversy.  All agree that they symbolise the ten kingdoms that arose out of the Roman empire, namely, the Huns, Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Franks, Vandals, Suevi, Burgundians, Heruli, Anglo-Saxons, and Lombards. They receive power one hour [Greek: pa, hora, an indefinite space of time,] with the beast; that is, they reign a length of time contemporaneously with the beast, during which time they give to it their power and strength.

John is seeing the same beast here as he saw in Revelation 13, but at a stage that is later in time than that in Revelation 17, as he tells us in Revelation 13:5 that "power was given unto him to continue forty and two months [i.e. 1260 years from 538AD, ending in 1798]." But in the Revelation  17, the beast has no wound as yet, but was in fact said to be just an "eighth" in addition to the first seven kings (Revelation 17:11).

Thus, the seven heads in Revelation 13 represent the same blasphemous system of Pagan worship of the Empire, even though the former was overtly pagan and the other is supposedly 'Christian'.  It means then that the seven crowns in Revelation 12:3 are on the seven heads of Pagan Rome in Revelation 17.  You will notice that the seven crowns are expressly mentioned in Revelation 12, but not in either Revelation 13 or Revelation 17.  The question then is, why?

The seven crowns are mentioned in Revelation 17:10, but under a different symbolism: the seven kings.  A horn is a power in Bible prophecy, and a reigning power must have a crown.  So, the seven kings in Revelation 17:10 are the seven crowns of Revelation 12.  For example, as in Daniel 7:24, where the first seven crowns are implied in the seven horns that were left after three of the ten horns were uprooted.

In Daniel 7:24, there were first 10 horns, but then there were only seven, and then there came up a little horn to make a total of 8 horns, or crowns: i.e. 10 horns - 3 horns = 7 horns + 1 horn = 8 horns.  That is the same sequence in Revelation 17:9-11, but instead seven are called kings (five are fallen, one is, and one is to come.... and then there is an 8th power is of the seven = i.e., 8 powers [horns]).

In the context of the ten horns/kings, “these have one mind,” it is said: ‘This language must refer to the past, when the kingdoms of Europe were unanimous in giving their support to the papacy, and upholding it in all its pretensions. It cannot apply to the future; for after the commencement of the time of the end, they were to take away its power, and consume and destroy it to the end; Daniel 7:26; and the treatment which these kingdoms are finally to bestow upon it, is expressed in verse 16, where it is said that they shall hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.

‘These make war with the Lamb, verse 14. Here we are carried into the future to the time of the great and final battle; for at this time the Lamb has assumed the title of King of kings and Lord of lords, a title which he does not assume till his second coming’ (Uriah Smith, 1882 edition, p. 753).

In the context beyond the ten horns/kings, after all nations are drunk of false doctrines of the papacy, all nations will support Sunday Law and in the spirit of popery enforce it against Seventh-day Adventists; in that context, as every nation is involved, it is said: ‘"These have one mind." There will be a universal bond of union, one great harmony, a confederacy of Satan's forces. "And shall give their power and strength unto the beast." Thus is manifested the same arbitrary, oppressive power against religious liberty, freedom to worship God according to the dictates of conscience, as was manifested by the papacy, when in the past it persecuted those who dared to refuse to conform with the religious rites and ceremonies of Romanism’ (1MR 297.2).


Destiny of the Harlot

Revelation 17:15-18 “15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. 16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. 17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil His will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. 18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.”

‘In verse 15 we have a plain definition of the Scripture symbol of waters; they denote peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues.  The angel told John, while calling his attention to this subject, that he would show him the judgment of this great harlot. In verse 16 that judgment is specified.  This chapter, has, we think, more especial reference to the old mother, or Catholic Babylon’ (Uriah Smith, 1882 edition, p. 753).  The papacy will end into perdition.


Concluding Remarks

The seven heads/kings of the beast of Revelation 17 are seven forms of government that existed in the Roman Empire, and the eighth power is the Papacy that existed from 538AD until it goes to perdition when Christ returns.  Any contrary interpretation is error.  The papacy, which is the eighth head of the beast, is symbolically called the beast.  Before Christ returns, all nations drunk of the false doctrines of the papacy, will pay homage to the papacy by enforcing Sunday Law against faithful Seventh-day Adventists.