Also in Rev 17:3
KJV - 1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
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This is a very good question. Interestingly, the Bible presents the answer. Both Rev 13:1 and 17:3 refer to the same object. First, verses 9-10 of Revelation 17 says :" Here is where the intelligence that has wisdom comes in: The seven heads mean seven mountains, where the woman sits on top. And there are seven kings: five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet arrived, but when he does arrive he must remain a short while. " The seven heads thus stand for seven world powers which have had an influence over God's people over the ages and up till today. The book of Daniel in Chapter 7 records the dream that God gave the prophet concerning some of the world powers. This is reinforced by the dream of King Nebucchadnzer of Babylon in Daniel Chapter 2 which Daniel interpreted. “This was the dream. Now we will tell the king its interpretation. You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory, and into whose hand he has given, wherever they dwell, the children of man,...making you rule over them all—you are the head of gold. Another kingdom inferior to you shall arise after you, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, because iron breaks to pieces and shatters all things. And like iron that crushes, it shall break and crush all these. And as you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom, but some of the firmness of iron shall be in it, just as you saw iron mixed with the soft clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay...."(Daniel 2:36-43) The five world powers revealed in the dream include BABYLON, MEDO -PERSIA, GREECE and ROME. There had been two previous world powers that had influence on God's people: EGYPT AND ASSYRIA. Both secular history as well as biblical history confirm the above. Now coming back to Revelation 17:9-10 the five that had fallen were EGYPT, ASSYRIA, BABYLON, MEDO PERSIA and GREECE. These heads were no more during the first century when Jesus and the early Christians were on earth. The "one that is", that is during the time of Jesus Christ and the apostles was THE ROMAN WORLD POWER. The seventh head, " which had not yet arrived" at the time of the apostles is the currently ruling dual world power, also depicted as the two-horned beast, - the Anglo American world power. This will "remain a short while", that is, will not last as long as the previous powers. And from the record in Daniel 2:44, there will be no more human-made world power after the seventh (or the eighth) which the seventh gave life to. The bible in Daniel 2:44 tells us what will take place: " And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.” That is, the Kingdom of God will take over ruler ship, under the headship of Jesus Christ, as confirmed in Daniel 7:13-14. “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away,"
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