When is the sixth head of the beast? (Revelation 17:10)

Purpose of this article

Great Red DragonIn Revelation 17, the harlot sits on a beast with seven heads. According to Rev 17:10, five of the seven heads “have fallen,” the sixth head “is” and the seventh “has not yet come.” To understand what this means, we need to know from what time perspective this statement is made. In other words, when “is” the sixth head? 

Based on the argument that this explanation was given to John, and that John had to understand it, one option is that the sixth head existed in John’s time. However, the purpose of this article is to show that the sixth head refers to “the end of time;” a phrase from Daniel 12:4 (Young’s Literal Translation).

Summary

The context of Revelation 17 is the end-time.

In the last of the seven last plagues, Babylon receives God’s wrath (Rev 16:19). Revelation 17 then interrupts the sequence of events to explain who Babylon is and how she will come to her end. The context of Revelation 17, therefore, is the very last events of the history of this world.

The vision and explanation
describe the same time.

Revelation 17 consists of a vision and an explanation. It is possible to argue that the vision and the explanation describe the beast from different time perspectives. However, the vision and the explanation describe the same point in history because both describe the harlot and her beast in an unusual time of weakness. [Both the beast and her beast are in the wilderness and the beast has no horns, “is not,” and is in the abyss (Rev 17:3, 8).] Therefore, Since the context of Revelation 17 is the time of the end, that is the time perspective in both the vision and the explanation.

All events after the sixth head
are end-time events.

In the events described in Revelation 17, after the sixth head “is,” a coalition of the nations of the world will form (v12-13), make war against the Lamb but be defeated (v14), and then turn on the harlot and destroy her (v16-17). Since these events after the sixth head “is” are the very last events of this world’s history—parallel to the last two plagues—the sixth head is the “time of the end.”

The seven heads add detail to Daniel’s beasts.

The seven heads of the beast are the seven phases of the beast’s existence. Since Revelation’s beasts are a more detailed explanation of the beasts of Daniel 7, we must limit the seven heads to the empires symbolized in Daniel 7. But if the seven heads were explained from the perspective of John’s time (Rev 17:10), then the sixth head exists during his time and it would not possible to comply with this principle because we will have to identify 5 empires from before John’s time.

Daniel will only be understood
in the time of the end.

Since the beasts of Revelation are more detailed explanations of the beasts of Daniel 7, the heads will only be understood when Daniel is understood, and the angel promised Daniel that his prophecies would be understood in “the end of time” (Dan 12:4 YLT). That means that that the explanation in Revelation 17 is given from the time perspective of the prophets living at the time of the end.

When the sixth head “is,”
the beast “is not.”

Rev 17:8 describes the beast as existing through four phases:

The beast that you saw was,
and is not,
and is about to come up out of the abyss
and go to destruction
” (Rev 17:8 NASB)

Therefore, at the same time that the sixth head “is” (Rev 17:10), the beast “is not” and in the abyss (Rev 17:8), which means that it is incapacitated. This cannot be true of John’s time because the church was intensely persecuted by the Roman Empire during the first three centuries.

The sixth head is the fatal wound.

Revelation 13:1-8 and 17 describe the same three phases of the beast’s existence. Since the second phase in Rev 17, when the beast “is not,” is equivalent to the deadly wound in Rev 13, and since we know that the deadly wound describes an event much later than the time of John, the present time in Rev 17, when the sixth head “is,” cannot be John’s time.

– END OF SUMMARY –

(1a) The context of Revelation 17
is the end-time.

The “seven last plagues” (Rev 21:9) are described in Revelation 16. In the seventh plague, God gives Babylon “the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath” (Rev 16:19). Revelation 17 and 18 interrupt the sequence of events to explain who Babylon is and how she will come to her end (e.g. Rev 17:16). The sequence of events then continues in Revelation 19, where God is praised for His judgment of Babylon (Rev 19:2), followed by the return of Christ (Rev 19:11). The context of Revelation 17, therefore, is the very last events. This implies that the time perspective in that chapter is the time of the end.

(1b) Both the vision and the explanation describe the end-time.

Revelation 17 consists of a vision (17:1-6) and an explanation. It is possible to argue that the vision and the explanation describe the beast from different time perspectives. However, the vision and the explanation describe the same point in history because both describe the harlot and her beast in an exceptional time of weakness. To explain:

Weakness in the vision

The harlot sitting on the beast symbolizes that religion dominates and uses political rulers to force people to accept her doctrines and decrees. As indicated by the following, the vision implies a time when the execution of this principle is weak:

Wilderness(a) The harlot and her beast are in the wilderness (Rev 17:3). The wilderness is a place of danger and difficulty. That they are in the wilderness implies that Babylon is unable to persecute people that oppose her. In other words, this is a time of religious freedom.

(b) The beast has no horns (Rev 17:3), compared to the other two seven-headed beasts that do have crowns (Rev 12:3; 13:1).

Weakness in the explanation

The explanation-part of the vision also implies a time of weakness, for the beast “is not” and in the abyss (Rev 17:8).
[The abyss implies a state of incapacity. For example, at the return of Christ, an angel will lock Satan up in the abyss “so that he would not deceive the nations any longer” (Rev 20:2, 3).]

Conclusion

The principle that religion dominates and uses political rulers to force people to accept its decrees is valid at all times. Therefore, a time of weakness in the execution of this principle is unexpected and a historical exception.

Since both the vision and the explanation describe the harlot and her beast as in a time of weakness, it is concluded that the vision and the explanation describe the same point in history. Therefore, since the context of Revelation 17 is the time of the end, that is the time perspective in both the vision and the explanation.

(2) All events after the sixth head
are end-time events.

Since “five (heads) have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come” (Rev 17:10), Revelation 17 describes a specific point in history. But most of the explanation-part of Revelation 17, by far, deals with events future from that point in history.

In brief, those future events describe how Babylon will come to her end. Namely, the beast will come up out of the abyss (v8), become an eighth head (v11), join up with the 10 horn-kings (v12-13), make war against the Lamb but be defeated (v14), and then turn on the harlot and destroy her (v16-17). The point is that these events, that follow after the sixth head “is,” are the very last events of this world’s history. This implies that the sixth head “is,” in the time of the end.

In fact, these future events are parallel to the last two plagues:

    • The beast becomes an eighth head when demon spirits come from the unholy trinity (Rev 16:13);
    • The ten horns are parallel to the gathering of the kings at Armageddon (Rev 16:14, 16); and
    • The war with the Lamb and the destruction of the harlot are described in the seventh plague (Rev 16:19).

Given what we learn from the rest of the book of Revelation—such as Revelation 12—these events do not fit the history between the time of John and Christ’s return. Rather, since the events after the sixth head “is” are the very last events—parallel to the last two plagues—the sixth head is the “time of the end.”

(3) The seven heads add detail
to the beasts of Daniel 7.

The seven heads of the beast are understood to be the seven phases of the beast (compare Rev 17:8 and 10). The three seven-headed beasts of Revelation are a more detailed explanation of the series of beasts of Daniel 7. We see this in Revelation 13:2:

Since the sea beast receives something from each of the first four powers in Daniel 7, we can identify the sea beast as the fifth power in Daniel 7, namely, the little horn.

Since the dragon is mentioned in Rev 13:2 with three other beasts from Daniel 7, and since “dragon” is a good description for the fourth beast in Daniel 7 (Dan 7:7), the dragon of Rev 12:3 is the fourth beast of Daniel 7.

If the beasts in Revelation are an elaboration of the beasts of Daniel 7, then we must limit the seven heads (or phases) of the beast in Revelation to the empires mentioned in Daniel 7. But if the seven heads were explained in Revelation 17:10 from the perspective of John’s time, then the sixth head exists during his time and it would not possible to comply with this principle because we will have to identify 5 empires from before John’s time.

(4) Daniel will only be understood
in the time of the end.

The prophecy of the seven heads (Rev 17:10) is given from the time perspective of the prophet, but I would say that John is not the prophet because I cannot believe that John was expected to understand the explanation. John “wondered greatly” when he saw the harlot, just like he wept greatly in Rev 5:4. These emotions were part of the visions and do not indicate that John really understood.

Rather than saying that John had to understand the prophecy, therefore the sixth head “is” in John’s time, I would propose that Revelation 17:10 implies that the seven heads would only be understood with the hindsight of the first five heads or phases of the beast. In other words, the prophecy was given relative to the time of the prophets who are supposed to understand it.

Since the beasts of Revelation are more detailed explanations of the beasts of Daniel 7, the heads will only be understood when Daniel is understood, and the angel promised Daniel that his prophecies would be understood in “the end of time” (Dan 12:4 YLT). That means that that the explanation in Revelation 17 is intended for the prophets living at the time of the end.

A key turning point in Revelation

To further amplify this point, in both the seven seals and the seven trumpets, something comes out of heaven in the time of the end, namely:

    • The seal of the living God (Rev 7:2), initiating the sealing of the 144000, and
    • The little book, symbolizing understanding of the book of Daniel which was promised for “the end of time” (Rev 10:2; Dan 12:4), and initiating the end-time prophesying (Rev 10:11).

The time of the end,” therefore, is a key turning point in Revelation and an appropriate time perspective for the explanation of the seven heads in Rev 17:10.

(5a) When the sixth head “is,”
the beast “is not.”

Rev 17:8 describes the beast as existing through four literal and sequential phases:

The beast that you saw was,
and is not,
and is about to come up out of the abyss
and go to destruction
” (Rev 17:8 NASB)

Therefore, at the same time that the sixth head “is” (Rev 17:10), the beast “is not” and in the abyss (Rev 17:8), which means that it is incapacitated. This cannot be true of John’s time because the church was intensely persecuted by the Roman Empire during the first three centuries.

(5b) The “was … is not … will come
are literal phases of the beast.

The Almighty is described as “Him who is and who was and who is to come” (e.g., Rev 1:4). This is similar to the beast’s description as “was … is not … will come” (Rev 17:8). For that reason, one could argue that the beast is described in this way merely to symbolize that it is a counterfeit of God; not to indicate literal consecutive phases.

However, for the following reasons, Rev 17:8 does describe four literal chronological phases of the beast:

First, the last two phrases in the beast’s description [“is about to come up out of the abyss” and “and go to destruction” (17:8)] indicate literal events. Therefore, the first two phases (“was, and is not”) are also literal.

Second, that the people will “wonder” when they see that the beast ”was …is not … will come” (Rev 17:8) also means that his coming will be a literal event that can be observed. This again implies that the beast’s first two phases (“was, and is not”) are also literal events.

Third, actually, there is no beast. There are only the seven heads. Every time that we see a seven-headed beast in Revelation, we actually see one of the heads. Therefore, since the beast CONSISTS OF the seven heads, and since the heads exist in the past, the present, and the future (17:10), the beast also exists in the past, present, and future. This implies that the beast’s description – “was … is not … will come” (17:8) – refers to the past, present and future.

Lastly, while God’s description is NOT chronological, the beast’s description IS chronologically sequential. So, perhaps the two titles are not directly related.

(6) The “is not” of the beast
is the fatal wound.

Revelation 13:1-8 describes the beast as existing in three sequential chronological phases, namely (a) before, (b) during, and (c) after the deadly wound. This may be compared to the three-fold description of the beast in Revelation 17 as “was … is not … about to come up” (Rev 17:8).

In these two chapters, the third phases are described by Rev 13:8 and Rev 17:8. Both these verses describe the admiration which the people will have for the beast after its recovery. Both verses also describe the people as those whose names have has not been written in the book of life. This implies that these two verses describe the same event and that the third phases in the two chapters are parallel.

The second phases in the two chapters are also parallel for in both the beast is weak:

    • In the second phase in Rev 13,
      the beast is dead (the mortal wound of 13:3).
    • In the second phase in Rev 17,
      the beast “is not” and in the abyss (17:8).

For these reasons, it should be clear that we have the same three phases in the two chapters. Since the second phase in Rev 17, when the sixth head “is” and the beast “is not,” is equivalent to the deadly wound in Rev 13, and since we know that the deadly wound describes an event much later than the time of John, the present time in Rev 17, when the sixth head “is,” cannot be John’s time.

The seven heads identified

The Seven Heads

Previous articles have identified the first four heads as the four beasts of Daniel 7, namely Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Because the sea beast receives something from each of those four beasts, and particularly because it receives its power and authority from Daniel’s fourth beast (Rome) (Rev 13:2), the sea beast was identified as the fifth head, namely as the main character in Daniel 7 (the little horn), which is the medieval church. But the sea beast goes through three phases; (a) before, (b) during and (c) after the deadly wound, giving us the last three heads. For further explanations, see:

The Sixth Head

In the explanation above, the sixth head is the time of the deadly wound (Rev 13:3). In other words, during the sixth head, the beast is dead. Since the beast consists of the heads, when 13:3 indicates that the beast has a mortal wound on one of its heads, it means that that entire head is dead. 

Conclusions

The final conclusion is that the sixth head refers to “the end of time” (Dan 12:4). To arrive at this conclusion, the following general principles have been identified:

      • Revelation 17 interrupts the sequence of events to explain who Babylon is and how she will come to her end.
      • The vision and the explanation in Revelation 17 describe the same point in history.
      • Revelation’s beasts are a more detailed explanation of the beasts of Daniel 7.
      • The sixth head, which is the “is not” of the beast, is the fatal wound of Revelation 13.
      • The future events in Revelation 17 are parallel to the last two plagues:
      • The time of the end” is a key turning point in Revelation.
      • The “was … is not … will come” describe literal phases of the beast.

Articles in the current series

Other articles series

The Seven Heads are Daniel’s 4 beasts plus the 3 phases of the 11th horn.

PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE

There are three beasts in Revelation with seven heads each. The article on the Seven-Headed Beasts identifies them as follows:

    • The Dragon (Rev 12:3) is the Roman Empire.
    • The Sea Beast (Rev 13:1) is another symbol for the 11th horn that grows out of the Roman Empire.
    • The Scarlet Beast on which the harlot sits (Rev 17:3), is not a specific organization but symbolizes the political governments of the world in general; always dominated by false religion (symbolically, sat on by Babylon).

Another article concluded that these three beasts are three of the seven heads. (These two articles should be read before the current one.) The purpose of the current article is to identify all seven heads. 

The NASB translation of Revelation 17 explains the seven heads as seven consecutive kings:

“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).

SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE

FIVE FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPLES

(1) Revelation 17:9-10, quoted above, explains the seven heads as seven “kings” that reign ONE AFTER THE OTHER.

(2) In Daniel, and therefore in Revelation, a king represents a kingdom or even AN ENTIRE EMPIRE.

(3) Since each of the three beasts has exactly seven heads and ten horns, the three beasts share THE SAME SEVEN HEADS.

(4) In reality, there is no beast. Only the heads exist. The beast is simply the sum of the heads. The seven heads are seven consecutive phases of Satan’s oppressive rule on earth.

(5) The heads of the beast must be limited to the beasts in Daniel. The first kingdom, therefore, must be the ancient Babylonian Empire, and not Assyria, as some suggest. 

FIRST FIVE HEADS

The comparison of the beasts in Daniel 7 and Daniel 8 identifies the four beasts of Daniel 7 as follows:

      • Babylonian Empire
      • Medo-Persian Empire
      • Greece
      • Roman Empire

Based on the principles above, these are the first four of the beast’s seven heads.

Great Red DragonPrevious articles in this series in another way confirm that the dragon is one of the heads. One article identifies the Dragon, WHEN it stands before the woman, ready to kill Jesus as soon as He is born, as the Roman Empire.  Another article concluded that the beasts of Revelation are three of the seven heads. It follows that the Roman Empire is one of the seven heads.

The article on the Seven-Headed Beasts identifies the Sea Beast as another symbol for the 11th horn that grows out of Daniel’s fourth kingdom, which has been identified as the Roman Empire.  This organization is the main anti-God power in both Daniel and Revelation. For that reason, we count the 11th horn as a fifth “kingdom” in Daniel 7. On that basis, the 11th horn is the fifth head. The first five heads, therefore, are:

      1. Babylonian Empire
      2. Medo-Persian Empire
      3. Greece
      4. Roman Empire
      5. The 11th horn that grows out of the Roman Empire

LAST TWO HEADS

According to Revelation 13:3-4, the fifth kingdom (the Sea Beast or 11th horn) goes through three phases :

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

Revelation 17:9 identifies that the DEAD period 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. 11th horn that arose from the Roman Empire;
      6. 11th horn mortally wounded (13:3) / In the abyss (17:8);
      7. 11th horn resurrected (13:4); This is when the False Prophet arises “out of the earth” (13:11).

 – END OF SUMMARY – 

THE SEVEN HILLS OF ROME

In the NASB translation, the seven heads are the seven kings:

The seven heads are seven mountains
on which the woman sits,
and they are seven kings
(Rev 17:9-10).

In the popular Preterist interpretation—generally the view of Critical Scholars:

      • The seven heads are seven mountains, interpreted as the Seven Hills of Rome.
      • The seven kings are not related to the seven mountains but symbolize seven literal Roman emperors. 

In this interpretation, therefore, the heads and kings are DIFFERENT THINGS. The KJV and NKJV translations of Revelation 17:9-10 do give this impression. For example:

The seven heads are seven mountains,
on which the woman sitteth.
And there are seven kings” (KJV).

The seven heads are seven mountains
on which the woman sits.
There are also seven kings.” (NKJV).

However, the words “there” and “also” in these translations do not exist in the Greek. The NASB translation, therefore, is to be preferred. In the NASB, the heads do not exist all at the same time but one after the other:

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
(Rev 17:9-10).

This means that the heads/mountains/kings cannot be the the seven hills of Rome, for these hills all exist at the same time.

MOUNTAINS ARE KINGDOMS

This conclusion can be supported by noting that the Bible often uses mountains as symbols for kingdoms and their 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 are the nations that God scattered. 

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

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). 

The seven heads, the seven mountains, and the seven kings, therefore, all refer to the same seven things.

PRINCIPLES TO IDENTIFY THE SEVEN HEADS

KINGS ARE EMPIRES.

As discussed in a previous article, in prophetic symbolism, the term “king” represents a “kingdom” or even a world empire, consisting of many kingdoms.

ONE AFTER THE OTHER

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

THE SAME SEVEN EMPIRES

Since each of the three beasts has exactly seven heads and ten horns, the three beasts share the same seven heads, pointing to the same seven world empires

THE BEAST IS THE SUM OF THE SEVEN HEADS.

As also discussed in a previous article, apart from the seven heads, there is no beast.  It is only the heads that exist.  The beast is simply the sum of the headsConversely, the seven heads are seven consecutive phases of Satan’s oppressive rule. Everywhere that Revelation says that a beast does something, it is one of the heads (kings) that are doing it.   

ONLY FROM DANIEL

Many interpreters find heads by looking at empires that precede the ancient Babylonian Empire.  It is proposed here that such a procedure is inconsistent 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. This implies a close relationship between the beasts of Daniel and Revelation. The beasts in Revelation are a continuation of the beasts in Daniel. 

That, however, does not mean that the seven heads of the beast in Revelation are the same as the seven heads in Daniel 7.  For example, 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 17:10 which indicates that the sixth head follows in time after the fifth.

FIRST FIVE HEADS

Based on 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.  Then, based on the principles above, the four beasts in Daniel 7 are the first four heads.  They are:

      • Babylonian Empire
      • Medo-Persian Empire
      • Greece
      • Roman Empire (See the article on Daniel 7)

DRAGON

Revelation 12:9 identifies the dragon, which is one of the three beasts with seven heads (Rev. 12), as Satan. However, that is in the context of the war in heaven.  When it stands before the woman, ready to devour Christ as soon as He is born, it has seven heads (12:3-4).  That means that, in that context, it is an earthly power.  It then must be the Roman Empire, for that empire ruled when Jesus was born. 

Based on the principle that the beasts of Revelation are heads, this confirms that the Roman Empire is one of the seven 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 explicitly the first three animals in Daniel 7 (7:3-5).  Daniel 7 does not say what kind of animal the fourth is but describes it as “dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong” (Dan 7:7).  However, for the following reasons, Revelation’s “dragon” is the fourth beast in Daniel 7:

      • It is mentioned together with the first three beasts of Daniel 7.
      • The description of the fourth beast in Daniel 7 (“dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong”) sounds like a dragon. 

The Sea Beast, therefore, inherits something from each of the four beasts in Daniel.  For that reason, as argued in the article on The Seven-Headed Beasts of Revelation, the Sea Beast is the same as the 11th horn that grows out of Daniel’s fourth empire (the Roman Empire).  These are two different symbols for the same power; the Antichrist. Since it is the main anti-God power in both Daniel and Revelation, and we must regard it as a separate kingdom.  Furthermore, since the beasts of Revelation are heads of the beast, the 11th horn (the sea beast) is the fifth head.

LAST OF THE SEVEN HEADS

Revelation 13 mentions something about the Sea Beast which Daniel does not say about the 11th horn, namely that this beast receives a deadly (13,3), but recovers from that wound to become Satan’s primary agent on earth.  It is the mark of this beast which people will receive in the end-time (13:16).  The deadly wound implies three phases:

1. ALIVE – It exists for a time before receiving the wound.
2. DEAD – After receiving the deadly wound.
3. ALIVE – After it recovers from the fatal wound.

Revelation 17 identifies the wound-period as the sixth head:

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 /
IN ABYSS
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.

It is quite unusual for the powers that oppose God to 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).

We can prove this, for the following two verses describe what will happen AFTER the beast in Revelation 13 recovers from the deadly wound and after the beast in Revelation 17 comes out of the abyss:

All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life” (13:8).

Those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast” (17:8).

The similarity of these two verses implies that they refer to the same event, which means that the DEAD-period in Revelation 13 is the same as the Abyss-period in Revelation 17, which is the sixth head.  

CONCLUSION

The foregoing results in the following seven heads:

      1. Babylonian Empires
      2. Medo-Persian Empire
      3. Greece
      4. Roman Empire
      5. 11th horn arose from the Roman Empire
      6. 11th horn mortally wounded (13:3) / in abyss (17:8) / in wilderness (17:3)
      7. 11th horn resurrected in the end-time (13:4) — The time of the False Prophet and Image of the Beast

THE TIME PERSPECTIVE

In Revelation 17, the sixth head of the beast presently “is” (17:9-10). The conclusion above means that the ‘present time’ in Revelation 17 is a long time after Christ’s ascension. This creates a challenge because many commentaries hold that the explanations of the vision in Revelation are always given from the perspective of John’s time, which would require the sixth head (17:8) to be in John’s time.  

However, the article on the fifth seal has concluded that both the seven seals and the seven trumpets have a ‘present time’ with events in the past and events in the future, and in both this time perspective is much later than John’s time:

In the fifth seal, the souls under the altar receive their white robes after many Christians have already been slaughtered but before many more will be killed (Rev 6:9-11). This point in time, when they receive their robes, is much later than John’s time, for it is part of the fifth seal, and the starting point for the seals is Christ’s ascension.

In the trumpets, John has to eat the little book and “prophesy again” (Rev 10:11). This implies that he also prophesied before. Since this is part of the sixth trumpet, and because the trumpets also begin at the Cross, it means that the little book comes down out of heaven (Rev 10:1) much later than John’s time.

THE TIME OF THE END

The article on the fifth seal concluded further that the time perspective in both the seven seals and the seven trumpets is the beginning of Daniel’s “time of the end,” when Daniel’s prophecies will be understood (Dan 12:4). At that time, both the seal of God (Rev 7:1) and the little book (Rev 10:1) comes down out of heaven, causing the subsequent sealing (Rev 7:1-8), prophesying (Rev 10:11) and final persecution (Rev 6:11).

It is further proposed that the entire book of Revelation is presented to us from the time perspective of the beginning of “the time of the end.” This would also be the time perspective of Revelation 17, when the beast “is about to come up out of the abyss” (Rev 17:8).

AVAILABLE ARTICLES ON REVELATION

INTRODUCTORY
   Why is the title of this website Revelation BY Jesus Christ?
   Are events described in chronological sequence? 
   Is a consistently literal interpretation appropriate?
   Does Revelation present Jesus as God?
   God’s throne – the center of the universe.
BABYLON
   Babylon; the mother of harlots
   Babylon’s merchants are her false prophets.
   Babylon is not the reconstructed ancient city of Babylon.
   How does Babylon relate to the beast?
SEVEN-HEADED BEASTS
   The Seven-Headed Beasts of Revelation
   The three beasts are three of the seven heads.
   The Seven Heads Identified
REVELATION 13
    13:1-2 – The Beast relates to Daniel 7.
   13:3-4 – The fatal wound
   The identity of the beast
SEVEN SEALS
   Introduction to the Seven Seals – What book is this?
   Seven seals explained
   Does the seventh seal include the seven trumpets?
SEVEN PLAGUES
   The Plagues of Revelation – 16 articles

For further reading, Jon Paulien’s commentary is recommended. For general discussions of theology, I recommend Graham Maxwell, who you will find on the Pineknoll website.