Revelation 17:3 describes the scarlet beast in terms similar to the sea beast of Revelation chapter 13, which made war with, and overcame, God’s people (Rev. 13:5-7). It was this earlier period of persecution that caused the pure woman to flee into the wilderness during the prophetic period of 1,260 days/years, from A.D. 538-1798 (Rev. 12:13-14). Though living in an age of ecumenism, Protestants would do well to remember the terrible persecution of the past because, according to prophecy, something similar, but only worse, will happen again.
Read Revelation 17:8. Compare the wording of this verse with Revelation 13:8. How does Revelation 13:3 clarify the three phases of the existence and activities of the beast?
The scarlet beast is identified as the one that was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. This tripartite phrase is, first of all, a counterfeit of the divine name, Yahweh – “who is and who was and who is to come” (Rev. 1:4, NKJV; see also Rev. 4:8). It also further points to the three phases of existence through which the beast has passed:
(1) The beast “was”. It existed in the past. Its prior activities lasted for the prophetic period of 42 months, also known as 1,260 days/years (see Rev. 13:5 and Lesson 9, Sunday). (2) “Is not”. With its deadly wound (Rev. 13:3), the beast went into its nonexistence phase, at least, as a persecutor, in 1798. It vanished for some time from the world scene; yet it survived. (3) Finally, with the healing of the deadly wound, the beast will revive in full satanic rage.
Revelation 17 describes the beast of Revelation 13:1-8 at the time of the healing of its deadly wound. Upon this revived beast, the harlot Babylon sits. Once again there will be a short-lived union of religion and politics as it existed during the Middle Ages, and persecution again will take place.
|“Let opposition arise, let bigotry and intolerance again bear sway, let persecution be kindled, and the half-hearted and hypocritical will waver and yield the faith; but the true Christian will stand firm as a rock, his faith stronger, his hope brighter, than in days of prosperity”. – Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 602. What warning should we take from these words about what our Christian experience needs to be now, even before final events unfold?|