Revelation Chapter 17, Part 6
Now what we are about to present with regards to Verse 8 are two completely different takes on the
subject both of which nevertheless have their merits, and both of which could very possibly reign true in
the end, the first as presented by Brother Frank Shallieu is one which I believe is (was) generally held by
most Bible Students since the Pastor's day, although of late many have departed from this view imaging
such a scenario of events to impossible to fandom, this we believe is most likely due to the fact that as
we have approach the end of this age with most of the Little Flock having been gathered to thier Lord
having passed beyond the Vail, the Great Company class which remains with us today is now in the
majority, this class for the most part is now guiding (and in some instances teaching) and directing the
brethren which remain this side of the Vail.
This class unfortunately is lacking sufficient “oil” in their vessels (the holy spirit, and thus its special
guidance), and so are insufficient, unable to comprehend clearly the path before them (that is with
respects to the unfolding of events here at the end of the age) their “lamps” slowly going out (See Matt
25), thus they are not very competent guides of the brethren, and unless they rectify this matter very
soon (purchasing more oil for their lamps), they along with all those poor souls who heed them will be in
for a great surprise shortly when events foretold begin to transpire.
Now our second view is that presented by the New Albany Class a somewhat newer take on the subject
but nevertheless not without its supporters, myself included. Remember since we’re dealing with
prophecy here, much of which has yet to have been completely fulfilled the wise course before jumping
to any hasty conclusions would be to hear out the arguments of each side before deciding the matter.
Try not to allow any preconceived ideas of your own or someone else’s to becloud your ability to reason
things out. A wise man once said that we should never bury our tent pegs so deep in the ground that we
cannot pull them up again.
As I said we shall begin with Brother Shallieu’s presentation of the matter.
Verse 8 “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and
go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in
the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not,
and yet is.”
“The sacrilegious animal or “beast” betokens a religious government. The beast is the Papacy, the
“man of sin.” The pope claims both
(1) Ecclesiastical authority over the Catholic Church, and
(2) Secular sovereignty over the former papal states.
The beast is not, and never was, the dragon or civil Rome. Neither does the beast represent the
various nations of Europe, for at no time in the past did the nations on the Continent collectively cease
to exist, a requirement stated in Verse 8 as “the beast that . . . is not.” The beast is the Holy See,
the political rule and administration of papal government, viz., the pope and those about him
engaged in that administration (the Curia Romana).”
The Beast That Was
The apostasy, since the time of its inception, has always existed as a church or “woman” and, as such,
boasts of being the “eternal city,” against which the gates of hell will not prevail. Catholicism’s wound
(Greek sphatto, meaning to kill or slay—Rev 13:3 KJV margin) unto death was along political or
temporal lines. In Verse 1, the woman is seen sitting upon many waters. This is the time frame
of the entire scenario of Chapter 17 except for Verses 3 through 6. Verses 7 through 17 merely
show the divine intent as regards the future destiny of the beast and the woman from the
standpoint or time setting of Verse 1.
John was carried away “in the spirit” (Verse 3) backward in time to an earlier period when the
woman was seated not upon many waters but upon the beast. This transferal was approximately to
the middle of the Gospel Age and not to its beginning. During this period the true Church fled into the
wilderness—for the 1,260 years from 539 to 1799, the period of the fifth head of the beast. Within this
time frame (but not necessarily all throughout), the scarlet-colored papal beast full of names of
blasphemy rose to the zenith of its power in support of Catholicism, the woman.
And Is Not
“Is not” refers to the period of time during the “time of the end” (Dan 12:9) when the papal
beast was first shorn of its temporal power. Napoleon took away the Papal States to all practical
purposes in Rome’s sixth head or condition, and in 1870 Papacy lost its last vestige of temporal power
under the Victor Emmanuel dynasty, the seventh head or condition. In other words, the beast remains
in the “is not” condition during the sixth and seventh heads. The beast of Verses 3 and 8, which
passes into a nonexistent state, is the same beast that in Revelation 13:3, 12 is slain in death. The
beast of Revelation 13 can in no sense represent Pagan Rome, for in the same chapter and the same
setting, the dragon, a separate symbolic entity, is seen giving the beast full cooperation and authority. In
Revelation 17 one of the beast’s heads (the fifth) goes into the darkness of oblivion; in
Revelation 13 one of its heads (the fifth) enters death. In reality, therefore, the two beasts are
but the one: Papal Rome. It bears repeating: the beast represents Papacy wherever it is found in
And (Yet) Shall Ascend
It is stated simply and unequivocally that the temporal dominion of the beast would at some time
in the future—that is, future from the standpoint of one living during the sixth head or
condition—be restored from the “bottomless pit.”
The pit is called “bottomless” because of its apparent unlimited capacity to swallow an infinite
number of corpses and still be able to accommodate infinity more, thereby implying a seeming
impossibility of any hope of retrieval of even one of its victims. Verse 8 also indicates that not
until the beast descended into AND ascended from the grave would it then descend with no
hope whatsoever of a second restoration, but it would go into everlasting destruction and
oblivion, namely, “into perdition.”
Dwellers on Earth Shall Wonder
Those wholly submissive to the influence of orthodoxy will “wonder” when they witness in
Europe not merely the restoration of Papacy to its power of yore but, more astonishingly, the
exercise again of its former abusive and persecuting role. In contrast, those whose names, at that
time, are found written in the book of life of the Lamb (Rev 13:8) will not wonder as others.
Jehovah’s book or scroll covenanting life to an elect number was prepared before the “foundation of
the world” in the person of father Adam (1 Pet 1:20; Eph 1:4; Psa 139:16). However, the Lamb’s
book of life must be understood to include the names of those individuals who have presented themselves
in consecration, coming under the terms of the divine call, since the first Advent of Christ, since the
founding of the new creation or the new cosmos of this dispensation (Phil 4:3; Rev 3:5; 13:8). And
who are those whose names are “written in heaven” (Luke 10:20), whose names are found
written in the Lamb’s book of life? Answer: the Very Elect and the Great Company class.
Many of the Great Company will at first be surprised, but when they witness the revival to power
of the papal beast in the near future as a historic fact, they will quickly cease former pretensions.
There are those who have either long taught others or who have been taught themselves to
believe that such an occurrence was an impossibility. Yea, many all along have been at least
superficially familiar with, but not sufficiently interested in, the teaching of other brethren who have
endeavored to enlighten them on events to be fulfilled before their very eyes. However, when these
unprepared ones perceive their understanding of prophecy being shattered, they will quickly adjust to the
situation at hand, fully realizing their inadequacy, and will retrieve their steps with alacrity.
The names of this secondary group, if faithful as overcomers, will not be blotted out of the Lamb’s book
of life; the difference is that the Master will not profess their names in laudable manner before the Father
and His angels. This book, it is reasonable to think, will be compartmentalized into various categories, and
the names of the Very Elect will be found in the honorarium roster or preface.” (“The Keys of
Revelation”, Pages 444-446)
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