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The Lady of the Night: Rides the Beast!
From the Writings of Marvin J. Rosenthal
Published in Zion’s Fire Magazine in May/June, 2000

This is a continuation of an article I wrote previously in Zion's Fire Magazine entitled "The Lady of the Night: She seeks to seduce your soul!"

That article was an exposition of Revelation 17:1-6. In the article, I identified "BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS, AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH" (Rev. 17:5) as the false religious system which was begun by Nimrod and his wife, Semiramis.

History suggests that after Nimrod (the prime mover in the building of the tower of Babel and the city of Babylon) died, Semiramis took upon herself the role of "high priestess." She associated her dead husband with the sun and made him the object of sun worship.

Semiramis propagated the concept that a sunbeam carried Nimrod's sperm from heaven to earth to impregnate her. That is why a sunburst, as a religious icon, is so prevalent in Roman Catholicism, New Age, and other false religions. It was supposedly from that union that her "miraculous" son - Tammuz - was born. Tammuz is referred to in Ezekiel 8:14-15. And Semiramis, the "high priestess," became known as "the queen of heaven" (Jer. 7:18; 44:15-30).

On the one hand, Tammuz was said to be the son of Nimrod. On the other hand, he was also said to be Nimrod himself, now appearing in his son. This concept should not seem strange for a counterfeit religion; after all, Jesus is "the Son of God." He is also "God in flesh." He taught His disciples, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (Jn. 14:9). And again, "I and my Father are one" (Jn. 10:30).

From Semiramis and her son Tammuz began a mother/child counterfeit religious system. This false system spread from nation to nation and from language to language under changing names of mother/son deities (see the article "The Lady of the Night - She seeks to seduce your soul!" for a fuller explanation). Although the languages and names changed, it was always the same mother and son - Semiramis and Tammuz.

The ultimate manifestation of this false system is seen in those who pervert the biblical teaching concerning Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, and add man-made, non-biblical doctrines to God's plan of salvation by grace through faith.

Not without reason, this "Lady of the Night" is called "the great whore" (Rev. 17:1) and "THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS" (Rev. 17:5). All false religions, however noble they may appear on the surface, can trace their origin back to her.

But not satisfied with simply alluring and seducing mankind away from an intimate and satisfying relationship with the living God, in frenzied jealousy, this harlot is said to persecute the true Church - the Bride of Christ.

John describes her violent attack this way. "And I saw the woman [false, man-made religion] drunken with the blood of the saints [believers], and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration" (Rev. 17:6).

The angel who was revealing these truths to John leveled a gentle rebuke at the aged apostle with these words: "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" (Rev. 17:7).

John's "marveling" or "astonishment" was linked to the grandeur, wickedness, and cruelty of this woman. How could a woman of the night - a prostitute - a false lover of the soul - be so successful in her vileness and severe persecution of the true Bride of Christ? The answer is found in the fact that the woman is riding the beast. The beast of Revelation 17, it will be shown, is a composite of specific identifiable empires. It is from being in league with these empires that the harlot received her influence and power and could successfully persecute true believers.

The Destiny of the Beast (Rev. 17:8)

The tandem team of the great harlot and the beast upon which she sits, has, through the centuries of human history, caused enough sorrow and tears to "fill an ocean." And the apex of it all is still to come during the Great Tribulation (Mt. 24:15ff).

John is told that "The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit [abyss], and go into perdition" (Rev. 17:8).

This statement, taken at face value, means the beast dies and comes to life again. The "beast" is both a kingdom and a ruling king. Here, the king is in view. Some commentators balk at the proposal that the king will be raised from the dead, arguing that God alone is the source of life and that no one can be resurrected from the dead apart from God.

That observation notwithstanding, John wrote concerning the beast, "And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast" (Rev. 13:3 - emphasis added). The Greek text translated "as it were wounded to death" in the above verse is the very same expression used in describing the death of the Lord Jesus. And "in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain" (Rev. 5:6 - emphasis added). If Jesus literally died when He shed His blood on Calvary, and He did, then one of the heads of the beast actually died and came to life again. I find no compelling way to circumvent that fact.

That is the cause of the response "and all the world wondered after the beast" (Rev. 13:3). The same response is recorded in Chapter 17: "And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder...when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is" (Rev. 17:8).

There is a vital difference between being raised from the dead and being resurrected from the dead. Lazarus was raised from the dead but would die again (Jn. 11:11-14; 43-44). The daughter of Jairus was raised, but she would die again (Mt. 9:18; Mk. 5:23; Lk. 8:52-53).

In significant contrast, Jesus was resurrected never to die again - He would be alive forevermore. And at His coming, believers who have died will be resurrected never to die again.

The beast king will literally die following a head wound (Rev. 13:3). And he will come back to life again. However, that is not the end of the story. He will go into "perdition." He will be separated from God in a place of eternal torment. The beast will not be resurrected - but simply raised to die again.

The Seven Heads of the Beast

The identification of the beast with seven heads has been debated by Bible teachers since the earliest days - and the debate continues.

Nimrod is the candidate of choice for the identification of the beast by some Bible teachers. He was the architect of the movement toward a one-world religion, the tower of Babel (Gen. 11:4), and a one-world government, the building of the city of Babylon (Gen. 10:10). The very name, Nimrod, may have actually meant "revolt," depicting his opposition to God through corrupted human government and man-made religion.

Some suggest that Judas Iscariot is the beast. He betrayed the Lord and is called "the son of perdition" (Jn. 17:12; 2 Th. 2:3). It is said of the beast that he will go into perdition. This view appears to be a far stretch. And yet, competent theologians have held it through the centuries.

Still others point to Nero as the beast. Roman temples were built in his honor, and he appears to have accepted the status of a god and the accolades of divine worship. He persecuted believers, particularly in Rome, and blamed them for the fire that burned much of the city to the ground. It is said of the beast that he is a persecutor of God's elect.

The above notwithstanding, if we want the identification of the beast with seven heads, I believe we must look in another direction. John gives the clue to the beast's identification with these words: "And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads [on the beast] are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth" (Rev. 17:9).

In the expression "here is the mind which hath wisdom," the idea is this: If you want to understand what I am saying, then get this right. It is akin to the oft repeated admonition "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches" (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22) because it is very important. Or, it is similar to the Lord's warning, "Whoso readeth, let him understand" (Mt. 24:15).

Each expression is emphasizing the extreme importance in understanding what is being said. This article makes frequent references to "beasts," "heads," and "horns" because they are central to the text. For clarification, the designation "beast" refers to a kingdom (Dan. 7:23) and a king ruling over it (Dan. 7:17). The designation "head" refers to a kingdom which is part of a larger kingdom (the body of the beast), and the term "horn" refers only to kings who arise out of the "head."

John had earlier noted that the beast which carries the woman has seven heads and ten horns (Rev. 17:7). He then adds this information: "The seven heads [attached to the body of the beast] are seven mountains" (Rev. 17:9). If we can identify the seven mountains, we will have identified the seven heads. And if we identify the seven heads we will know who the beast is. What, then, do the seven mountains represent?

"Protestant" theologians, "protesting" Rome's unbiblical beliefs during the Reformation, in their zeal, identified the beast of Revelation 17 with the Roman Empire. Their primary evidence was the seven mountains, which they identified as the seven hills of Rome. The seven hills were said to be seven of the Caesars of Rome.

Among the many problems with this view is the fact that there were far more than seven Caesars. With which Caesar do you begin? And with which one do you end? Who are the five Caesars who had fallen? Who was the one still ruling? Who was the one who had not yet come?

Some of the Caesars ruled for long periods, some for a few months. After the death of Nero, three Caesars ruled within a two-year period, each being murdered. Read the commentaries that take the position that the seven heads are seven Caesars and you will find a hodgepodge of confusion, disagreement, and subjectivity.

Revelation 17 and the preceding and following chapters are not speaking of first-century Rome, but of events associated with the second coming of Christ. Identifying the beast as Rome and the seven mountains as seven Caesars simply does not fit the biblical text.

Following the death of Alexander the Great, the Grecian Empire, over which he had ruled, was divided into four parts. Each part, though part of the whole of the Grecian Empire, was its own kingdom. This division of the Greek Empire into four parts is depicted in Daniel 7:6 as a leopard with four wings.

The leopard with four wings represents Alexander and his rapid conquest of much of the world. And the four heads of the leopard represent the division of his empire into four kingdoms ruled over by four of Alexander's generals. Cassander ruled over Macedonia, Lysimachus ruled over Thrace and Asia Minor, Seleucus ruled over Syria and Babylonia, and Ptolemy ruled over Egypt and Arabia.

The four "heads" on the beast represented four kingdoms which were part of the divided Grecian Empire (Dan. 8:21-22). John was told that the seven heads of the beast of Revelation 17 are seven mountains. Since we are told that heads equal kingdoms and heads are specifically said to be mountains then mountains should equal kingdoms. Do they, in the Scriptures?

King David, in speaking of all the vicissitudes of his reign as king of Israel, wrote, "LORD, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain [kingdom] to stand strong" (Ps. 30:7).

The prophet Daniel, using the imagery of a giant colossus, depicts four powerful empires which would arise in the earth. The colossus is awesome in appearance. But at the end of days, Jesus, the smiting stone, will smite the image (representing Gentile world powers) on the feet, and the entire statue will collapse (Dan. 2:34). "And the stone [Christ] that smote the image became a great mountain [kingdom], and filled the whole earth" (Dan. 2:35).

In interpreting the meaning of great mountain, Daniel wrote: "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed" (Dan. 2:44 - emphasis added).

The seven heads on the beast are seven mountains, and mountains are kingdoms ruled over by kings. The animal in Daniel 8, with four heads, represented the one Grecian Empire divided into four smaller empires. The beast in Revelation 17 represents a composite kingdom made up of seven kingdoms which emerged throughout history and, empowered by Satan, opposed the purposes of God. The great harlot rode upon its back through the centuries.

The Seven Beast Kingdoms and Their Kings

The seven beast kingdoms, which make up the one composite beast of Revelation 17, can be identified. So, too, can the seven kings who ruled these kingdoms. John was told, "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" (Rev. 17:10).

The five kingdoms that were fallen are these: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece. And the five specific kings who ruled over these kingdoms are:

  • The Pharaoh of Egypt who "knew not Joseph," enslaved the Jews, and tried to destroy the race by killing all of the male children (Ex. 1:16). His name comes down to us in history as Thutmosis III, according to most scholars.

  • The exceedingly wicked king of Assyria who, in 722 B.C., marched against Israel and took the ten northern tribes into captivity. This resulted in changing the composition and distribution of Jews worldwide. His name was Tiglath-pileser (2 Ki. 15:29).

  • The more familiar Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, who marched against Israel on three occasions - 606 B.C., 598 B.C., and 586 B.C. On the latter occasion, he destroyed the Temple of God on Mount Moriah, attempted to put an end to the rule of King David's royal descendants (2 Chr. 36:7), and took the two southern kingdoms of Judah and Benjamin into captivity.

  • The evil and treacherous prime minister of Persia known in the Book of Esther as Haman. He plotted to kill all the Jews in the 127 provinces of Persia - the world power of that day. Only in the fact that in the sovereignty of God, Esther, a Jewess who had married the Persian king and heroically interceded on behalf of her people, was the tragedy averted (Est. 7:3-6).

  • The wicked and prideful Antiochus Epiphanes who ruled over Syria, a part of the divided Grecian Empire. He corrupted the high priesthood of Israel by bribery, sought to outlaw the practice of the Mosaic Law, put a statue of Zeus in the Temple of God, and butchered large numbers of Jews (Dan 11:31; see also I Maccabees 1:17-24; 41-64). Only the heroic action of a group of people known as the Maccabees, who started a three-year, guerilla-style war against Antiochus and his soldiers, saved the day (Dan. 11:28-35).
John was told, "five [kingdoms] are fallen, and one is" (Rev. 17:10).

The one kingdom, which was in existence when John wrote, was Rome. And the Caesar who was ruling at that time was Domitian. It was during his reign that John was exiled to the Roman penal colony on the island of Patmos. It was under Domitian's reign that emperor worship became the law of the land. It was during his reign that official persecution of believers became universal - in contrast to Nero's persecution, which was largely restricted to Rome.

Five kings were fallen: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece. One was then in existence - Rome, which was the sixth beast empire. But we are told that one king was still to come; and when he came, he would last only a short time. He would be the seventh.

Since the Book of Revelation is the last book of the Bible, written about A.D. 95, this king who was, in John's day, still to come had to appear at a time beyond the first century and the close of Scriptures. And inasmuch as there is yet another (an eighth) king (the Antichrist) who must follow him and will appear at the end of the age, this seventh king must appear during this church age.

This seventh king must rule for only a "short span of time." This seventh king must have a commonality with the six kings who preceded him. That is, he must have an unholy hatred of the Jew, and he must take action to destroy the race.

Many kings and kingdoms have persecuted the Jews during the nineteen hundred years since John wrote the Book of Revelation. But one stands out in bold relief, unequaled and diabolical in hatred and persecution of the Jewish people. The kingdom was Nazi Germany, the king – Adolph Hitler.

Hitler had a meteoric ascendancy to power (1933-38) and in a few short years plunged the world into war (1938-45).

  • Hitler filled a vacuum created by German liberal theologians who denied the authority of Scripture, the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, bodily resurrection, and substitutionary atonement. Theological liberalism helped pave the way for the ascendancy of Adolph Hitler.

  • Hitler was committed to astrology. He made no major moves unless the heavenly bodies were favorable. The British army had a team of men whose job it was to determine when, on the basis of astrology, Hitler would be prone to launch an attack or take some other important action.

  • Hitler wanted to establish a new world order - he called it "The Third Reich" - a thousand-year kingdom. It lasted a short time from 1933-1945. For him the Holy Roman Empire was the "First Reich" (1273-1806). The "Second Reich" began with Otto Von Bismarck and continued through the rule of Kaiser (Caesar) Wilhelm and the First World War (1871-1918).

  • Hitler instituted the Nazi salute which was taken from the Roman salute of the raised hand. The institution of "Heil Hitler" came directly from "hail Caesar." He viewed himself in the train of the Roman Empire.

  • Hitler appeared to have a protective shield around him. There were repeated attempts to assassinate him. But something unseen always seemed to prevent it and protect him.

  • Hitler, even in death, leaves us perplexed. Did he really die in his bunker? Was it a suicide? Was it a head wound? What happened to his body?

  • Hitler was able to persuade the most civilized people in history to commit the most uncivilized acts in history.
Hitler, above all else, had an unholy hatred of the Jews. It was more than an obsession. When, in the last days of the war, his generals were pleading for the use of trains to get desperately needed supplies and troops to the front lines, Hitler was using the trains to get the Jews to the gas chambers.
It is impossible to understand Hitler and the Nazis without understanding that demonic power was behind them.

Germany was the seventh beast empire, and Hitler its king.

To the question, Why was Germany not included in the colossus of Daniel 2 or the beast empires of Daniel 7?, the answer is conspicuous. The Church age was unknown to Old Testament prophets. They saw clearly the suffering of Christ (the first coming) and the glory that would follow (the second coming and final beast empire), but they had no knowledge of the events in between and so could not have written of a seventh kingdom, which emerged during the Church age.

The reason for such hatred, though abominable and inexcusable, is understandable. God, in His sovereignty, chose Israel to be a special people - a nation of destiny. They were politically to be a government ruled by God, a theocracy. Jesus, the Messiah, was to come from that nation, and in God's timing, He is to rule the world in righteousness.

Israel was also chosen by God to be the spiritual leader of the world, to show men the way to God. At first, it was to be through their priesthood, tabernacle, and sacrificial system, which, in time, if followed, would lead men to Christ, the Lamb of God.

Satan, in his attempt to thwart God's glorious purposes for mankind, established a false political system - the beast empires. At the end of time they will become a conglomerate, counterfeit, anti-God, one-world empire ruled over by the progeny of Satan, the Antichrist.

Satan also established a counterfeit religious system - the woman who rides the beast - the great harlot. Again, this was designed to rival and oppose the true system which God established with Israel and which provides for access to God and acceptable worship.

Like the beast political empire, the false religious system of the harlot will be a conglomeration of all false religions at the end of the age.

The woman of the night, the harlot who rides the beast, wants to entice men away from intimate access to God made possible through our great High Priest and His once-and-for-all sacrifice for sin.

The beast with seven heads (kingdoms) has had as its purpose – the destruction of Israel. That would prevent the Son of David from returning as the Lion of the tribe of Judah and establishing a righteous, theocratic kingdom which will never pass away.

But the end is not yet. Seven beast empires have appeared in history. An eighth is still to come - the most violent of all. It is the kingdom of Antichrist and will be the subject in a future issue of Zion's Fire.

The Lady of the Night: Rides the Beast!
From the Writings of Marvin J. Rosenthal
Published in Zion’s Fire Magazine in May/June, 2000