Revelation’s Seven Heads are four beasts of Daniel plus the eleventh horn.

Ten horns of the beastThere are three beasts in Revelation that each has seven heads.  They are the Dragon (12:3), the Sea Beast (13:1) and the Scarlet Beast (17:3).  These three beasts are identified in the article: The Seven-Headed Beasts.  The purpose of the current article is to determine what the seven heads are.  Revelation 17 explains these heads as follows:

“The seven heads are seven mountains
on which the woman sits,
and they are seven kings;
five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come;
and when he comes, he must remain a little while”
(Rev 17:9-10 NASB).

SUMMARY

This is a fairly complex article.  For that reason, I put the summary first.  I hope this will help the reader to understand the article easier.  But the reader may prefer to read the detail first.

GENERAL PRINCIPLES

Revelation explains the seven heads as seven kings (kingdoms) that reign one after the other.

In Daniel, and therefore in Revelation, a king represents a kingdom

Since the three beasts each has exactly seven heads and ten horns, it is assumed that the seven heads of the three beasts point to the same seven kingdoms.  In other words, the three beasts are three different manifestations of the same thing.

There is actually no Beast.  It is only the heads that exist.  The Beast is the sum of the heads.  The seven heads are seven consecutive phases of the beast’s oppressive rule.

The heads of the beast in Revelation must be limited to the beasts in Daniel.  The first kingdom must, therefore, be the ancient Babylonian Empire, and not Assyria, as some interpreters assume. 

FIRST FIVE HEADS

The four beasts in Daniel 7 are the first four heads.  They are (See Daniel 7):

      • Babylonian Empire
      • Mede-Persian Empire
      • Greece
      • Roman Empire

We must count the eleventh horn in Daniel 7 as a separate kingdom because it is the main anti-God power in both Daniel and Revelation (the Sea Beast). On that basis, the eleventh horn is the fifth kingdom.

Great Red DragonThe dragon, when it stands before the woman, ready to kill Jesus as soon as He is born, represents the Roman Empire in that context.  On the basis of the principle that the beasts of Revelation are actually heads, this confirms the Roman Empire as one of the heads.

The beast that comes out of the sea is the same as the 11th horn that grows out of Daniel’s fourth kingdom (the Roman Empire).  It is the main anti-God power in both Daniel and Revelation, and we count it as a separate kingdom, namely the fifth head.

LAST HEADS

The fifth kingdom (the 11th horn in Daniel 7) goes through three phases according to Revelation 13:

1. ALIVE – It exists for a time.
2. DEAD – It dies after receiving a deadly wound.
3. ALIVE – It recovers from the fatal wound).

Revelation 17 identifies that the period that the beast is dead as the sixth head.  We, therefore, have the following seven heads/kingdoms:

      1. Babylonian Empires;
      2. Mede-Persian Empire;
      3. Greece;
      4. Roman Empire;
      5. Eleventh horn that arose from the Roman Empire;
      6. Eleventh horn mortally wounded (13:3) / In the abyss (17:8);
      7. Eleventh horn resurrected (13:4); This is when the False Prophet comes “out of the earth” (13:11).

This will now be explained in more detail.

SEVEN HILLS OF ROME

In this NASB translation quoted above, the seven heads are explained as seven mountains and as seven kings.  In the popular Preterist interpretation—generally the view of academics:

The seven heads are seven mountains, which are the Seven Hills of Rome.

The seven kings are seven literal emperors of the Roman Empire. 

In this interpretation, the seven heads and the seven kings are different things.

The KJV and NKJV translations do give the impression that the kings in verse 10 are different from the heads or mountains in verse 9, upon which the woman sits:

AND THERE are seven kings” (KJV);
THERE are ALSO seven kings” (NKJV).

However, all the Greek texts, although differing in word order, include the words, literally translated, “and kings they are seven”.  The words “there” and “also” in the KJV and NKJV translations do not exist in the Greek.  This means that the NASB translation is to be preferred, according to which the heads do not exist simultaneously, like the seven hills of Rome, but one after the other. 

MOUNTAINS ARE KINGDOMS

This conclusion can be supported by noting that mountains, in the Bible, are often used as symbols for kingdoms:

Mountains represent the power of kingdoms and their individual kings (Isaiah 2:2-3; Jeremiah 17:3; 31:23; 51:24, 25; Ezekiel 17:22-23; Zech. 4:7). 

In Habakkuk 3:6, the mountains may be seen as the nations which God scattered. 

The stone (Dan 2:34) becomes a great mountain (Dan 2:35).  This is explained as “a kingdom which will never be destroyed” (Dan 2:44). 

In the last days the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills, And all the nations will stream to it” (Isa 2:2 NASB). 

Preterists agree that:
The seven heads = The seven mountains.
Above shows that:
The seven mountains = The seven kings.
Therefore:
The seven heads = The seven kings.

PRINCIPLES TO IDENTIFY THE SEVEN HEADS

KINGDOMS

The term “king” represents “kingdom” in prophetic symbolism, just as a leader represents his people.  For example, Daniel referred to Nebuchadnezzar as that “head of gold” but explains that another “kingdom” would follow (Dan 2:37ff).  In Daniel 7:17 and 23, the four beasts are first explained as “kings” but later as “kingdoms”.  Most non-Preterist interpreters, therefore, take the seven kings to be world empires, but they disagree on which.

ONE AFTER THE OTHER

Revelation 17:10 (quoted above) explains the seven heads as seven kings (kingdoms) that reign one after the other.

Since the three beasts each has exactly seven heads and ten horns, it is concluded that the seven heads of the three beasts point to the same seven kingdoms.  This would mean that the three beasts are three different manifestations of the same thing.

THE BEAST IS THE SEVEN HEADS.

So, what are the seven heads?  Firstly, the beast consists of the seven heads.  There is no beast apart from the seven heads. 

This is confirmed by the fact that the harlot (Babylon) SITS ON BOTH the Beast and on its seven heads (17:3, 9). 

The relationship between the beast and its seven heads is similar to the relationship between the IMAGE OF A MAN IN DANIEL 2 and the metals it consists of.  Each metal represents a phase in human history.  The image consists of the sum of the phases.  Nothing exists, apart from the phases.  Another similarity is that both the phases of the image in Daniel 2 and the heads of the beast in Revelation represent CHRONOLOGICAL kingdoms. 

There is, therefore, actually no Beast.  It is only the heads that exist.  The Beast is simply the sum of the heads.  Conversely, the seven heads are seven consecutive phases of the Beast.  Everywhere that Revelation says that the beast does something, it is actually one of the heads (kings) that are doing it.  The beast is Satan’s oppressive rule through one head at a time over the course of history.  

ONLY FROM DANIEL

Fourthly, many people find heads by looking at empires that precede the ancient Babylonian Empire.  It is proposed here that such a procedure is not consistent with the principle that Revelation is built on Daniel.  According to this principle, ONE SHOULD NOT LOOK OUTSIDE DANIEL for the interpretation of the heads. 

This approach is confirmed by the fact that the beasts of Revelation all have 7 heads and 10 horns, while the beasts in Daniel 7 also have, IN TOTAL, 7 heads and 10 horns, implying a close relationship between the beasts of Daniel and Revelation.

That, however, does not mean that the seven heads of the beast in Revelation are the same as the seven heads in Daniel 7.  Daniel’s third empire (Greece) had four heads (Dan 7:6).  If the seven heads of Revelation’s beast were the same as the seven heads of the beasts of Daniel 7, then the third to sixth heads would be the four Grecian empires, which existed simultaneously.  This would be inconsistent with Revelation, where, according to 17:10, the sixth head follows in time after the fifth.

FIRST FIVE HEADS

On the basis of the principle that we should identify the heads from the beasts in Daniel, the first kingdom must be the ancient Babylonian Empire and not Assyria.  The four beasts in Daniel 7 are the first four heads.  They are (See the article Daniel 7):

      • Babylonian Empire
      • Mede-Persian Empire
      • Greece
      • Roman Empire

DRAGON

The dragon, which is one of the three beasts that have seven heads (Rev 12), is identified as Satan in 12:9, but that is in the context of the war in heaven.  It has seven heads when it stands before the woman that carries the promised child (12:3-4).  In that context, it is an earthly power that stands ready to kill Jesus as soon as He is born (v4).  Therefore, in that context, it must be the Roman Empire, for that was the empire that ruled when Jesus was born. 

On the basis of the principle above, namely that the beasts of Revelation are actually heads, this confirms that the Roman Empire is one of the heads.

SEA BEAST

The beast that comes out of the sea, with its seven heads (13:1) inherits its characteristics from four other animals:

And the beast which I saw was like a leopard,
and his feet were like those of a bear,
and his mouth like the mouth of a lion.
And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.  (Rev 13:2 NASB)

The leopard, bear and lion are the first three animals in Daniel 7 (7:3-5).  The fourth animal in Daniel 7 is not compared to any known animal but is described as “dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth” (Dan 7:7).  This sounds like a dragon.  The Sea Beast, therefore, inherits something from each of the four beasts in Daniel.  The article on The Seven-Headed Beasts of Revelation, therefore, concluded that the Sea Beast is the 11th horn that grows out of Daniel’s fourth empire (the Roman Empire).  It is the main anti-God power in both Daniel and Revelation, and we, therefore, must count it as a separate kingdom.  Again, on the basis of the principle that the beasts of Revelation are actually heads, this means that this 11th horn, and therefore the sea beast, is the fifth head.

LAST OF THE SEVEN HEADS

Revelation 13 mentions something about the Sea Beast which Daniel does not mention about the 11th horn, namely that this beast receives a DEADLY WOUND (13,3), but RECOVERS from that wound to become the most destructive force in history.  This implies three phases:

1. ALIVE – It exists for a time.
2. DEAD – It dies after receiving a deadly wound.
3. ALIVE – It recovers from the fatal wound).

Revelation 17 identifies the wound-period as the sixth head, argued as follows:

Revelation 17:8-10 explains both the seven heads and the beast in terms of the past, the present and the future:

PAST PRESENT FUTURE
BEAST WAS IS NOT COME UP FROM ABYSS
HEADS FIVE WAS ONE IS OTHER HAS NOT YET COME

The sixth head is the ‘present’ head, but at ‘present’ the beast is in the Abyss, for it is “about to come up out of the abyss” (v8).  The Abyss-period is, therefore, the 6th head.

We are able to link this to Revelation 13, for the recovery from the fatal wound in Revelation 13 is the same as the ascension from the Abyss in Revelation 16, for, after both, “everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life” was “amazed and followed after the beast” (13:3, 8; 17:8).  Therefore:

PERIOD OF DEATH (Revelation 13)
= IN ABYSS = SIXTH HEAD (Revelation 17)

To support this conclusion: It is quite unusual that the powers that oppose God go through a period of incapacity.  It is therefore likely that the period of incapacity in Revelation 13 (the period of death) is the same as the period of incapacity in Revelation 17 (the “is not” or Abyss-period).  (See the article on The Seven-Headed Beasts for more information.)

CONCLUSION

This results in the following seven heads:

      1. Babylonian Empires
      2. Mede-Persian Empire
      3. Greece
      4. Roman Empire
      5. Little horn arise from the Roman Empire
      6. Little horn mortally wounded (13:3) / in abyss (17:8) / in wilderness (17:3)
      7. Little horn resurrected (13:4)—Time of the False Prophet and Image of the Beast

This interpretation provides a challenge because many commentaries hold that the explanation of the vision in Revelation 17 is given relative to John’s time.  This would mean that the sixth head (17:8) is in John’s time.  Please see the discussion of Revelation 17 for a response to this challenge.

TO: General Table of Contents

7 Replies to “Revelation’s Seven Heads are four beasts of Daniel plus the eleventh horn.”

  1. I do not appreciate you uplifting a corrupted version of the bible above the authorized version, but I do appreciate your labour for Christ.

    1. I generally use the NASB, but I use e-Sword constantly, on which I have several versions available, including the KJV. Over the years I found the NASB to be reliable, with a few exceptions.

  2. Greetings from Papua New Guinea, may the good Lord bless your heart as we share together the Word of God to the people of PNG. We are thankful to God Almighty who made is possible to come to know your ministry which is great help to our local church. God bless, Reverend Varo T. Ghou

  3. Hi Andries, I really appreciate your views and interpretation of some of the prophecies. You have helped me clarify certain things like Babylon in Revelation, because as you, I believed Babylon went beyond simply the Roman Church and includes all pagan based religions.

    Anyway the purpose of this message is to just let you know that “and kings they are seven” in the Greek text does not exactly mean the same as “And they are seven kings”. It actually simply means that there are seven kings, which is a lot closer to “And there are seven kings” of the KJV.

    What I would also like to share is that most new Bible translations are not taken from the more reliable “Textus Receptus”. Believe me there are some major differences which have a serious impact on interpretation . And as per Matthew 4:4 we need to follow every Word of God and so we must make sure we have the best translated Word of God…

    One example – In the first lines of Revelations 22:14, in the KJV (as from Textus Receptus) it states “Blessed are they that do his commandments, …” whereas as the NASB states “Blessed are they who wash their robes, …”; these two texts have clearly different meanings. I have also checked this verse with an Italian “Diodati” Bible (the non-Catholic Bible) which is also translated from Textus Receptus, and it states exactly the same as the KJV.

    Write to me if you want to discuss more of the differences in texts.

    God Bless You
    Craig

  4. Shalom,
    NEED HELP, SOUGHT OUT.
    In my dream by the night, behold I heard a voice asking me questions and as well answering:
    You are in darkness; why?
    Because, I am living in a world of good and bad,
    Where is your seal, as to be the Christ like?
    Lost because of the wicked power and principalities of this wild wicked world,
    Where is your strength?
    Lost through illusion, for fear of the unseen, then I asked what next to do, O Lord, my God.
    Suddenly, Jesus Christ interceded, salvation and glory was given unto all mankind. Then I saw people passing through the gate of heaven in Jesus name, one after another, into the city made of all precious stones, at the gates there were two personalities, one at the eastern gate, the other at the western gate, and all the faithful ones are passing into the Lords holy kingdom, once in the kingdom they were instantly made whole and perfected to sing Hosanna along side with the Angels of the living God.
    But unfortunately some were left behind, again I asked the Lord, why? O Lord, that I was left behind, behold a voice said unto me that because I did not follow the way in which I was sent to, to go to, and out of fear you indulged yourself in the things of the world. I then beg for mercy and grace, behold the Lord, God of hosts, granted my request, and I was given the power to proclaim liberty unto Zion. The flaming fire of love, peace, joy and gladness was ignite within me, as to enlighten these who know his name, but had lost hope, and unto these who do not have faith in Jesus Christ, and refused to believed in the saving power of his blood, THE LAMB OF GOD: for the salvation of their souls.
    The miracle of love was so wonderfully and tremendously displayed beyond human perception, both with sign and wonders to the point of grace.
    After those sing and wonders, I was left behind alone, tattered, then the Lord booked me to a high place and showed me two cups, one of the cup is fill with red substance , and the other with white substance. And the seven golden candle stand, burning with flames before the ark of God, I was asked to bow before the ark of God, immediately I bowed down, I shouted blood of Jesus, suddenly my forehead gushed out with blood , and it flows down till it touches the soul of my feet, I was made whole and free, I saw a sword, it was the sword that will be used to cut off the cords, that connect the old earth and the new earth. A kingdom is established within, Jesus is Lord. I saw a new heart, with a cross upon it, and the flame of God burning round about it, and thousands and thousands of Angels cowed their harp and lyre in heaven, and upon the holy mountain of God in Zion. And the Lord God, in his holy homely home in Zion, with all elects, and all the chosen singing praises to the king of kings, and his mercy endured forever, hosanna, hosanna hallelujah, unto the lamb of GOD, so they sang.
    James Oakman.

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